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WOW Word - Peace

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Peace

The world we live in, wants peace! The world is unified around the concept of peace! However, the peace the world wants requires the manipulation of circumstances. God's peace, and peace with God, however, comes regardless of circumstances. We look in this video at the following things!

  • How can we define true Peace?
  • Look at a short history of Peace!
  • Look at peace with God, other people and with ourselves!
  • How do we maintain peace within?

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POD - Psalm 59

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Psalm 59

For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” A poem by David, when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.

59:1 Deliver me from my enemies, my God.

Set me on high from those who rise up against me.

59:2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity.

Save me from the bloodthirsty men.

59:3 For, behold, they lie in wait for my soul.

The mighty gather themselves together against me,

 not for my disobedience, nor for my sin, Yahweh.

59:4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.

Rise up, behold, and help me!

59:5 You, Yahweh God of Armies, the God of Israel,

rouse yourself to punish the nations.

Show no mercy to the wicked traitors.

Selah

 

59:6 They return at evening, howling like dogs,

and prowl around the city.

59:7 Behold, they spew with their mouth.

Swords are in their lips, “For,” they say, “who hears us?”

59:8 But you, Yahweh, laugh at them.

You scoff at all the nations.

59:9 Oh, my Strength, I watch for you,

for God is my high tower.

59:10 My God will go before me with his loving kindness.

God will let me look at my enemies in triumph.

59:11 Don’t kill them, or my people may forget.

Scatter them by your power, and bring them down, Lord our shield.

59:12 For the sin of their mouth,

and the words of their lips,

let them be caught in their pride,

for the curses and lies which they utter.

59:13 Consume them in wrath.

Consume them, and they will be no more.

Let them know that God rules in Jacob, to the ends of the earth.

Selah

 

59:14 At evening let them return.

Let them howl like a dog, and go around the city.

59:15 They shall wander up and down for food,

and wait all night if they aren’t satisfied.

59:16 But I will sing of your strength.

Yes, I will sing aloud of your loving kindness in the morning.

For you have been my high tower,

a refuge in the day of my distress.

59:17 To you, my strength, I will sing praises.

For God is my high tower, the God of my mercy.

 

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Think Spot - 3 December 2018

 

Here we are Monday again. Are you pleased? Are you ready for a new day at the office, or at college or in the factory or at a desk? You are a Christian right? So what are you thinking as you resume where you left off last week?

Did you pray before you left home? Great for that's the best way to start off. You spent a little time with the Lord in His Word and have sought his leading through the day. That is also commendable. Have you sought protection from the Lord also? Have you realised there is someone who is anxious that you don't triumph in Christ today. That of course is satan. He is someone who wants to safeguard his territory and his prisoners – those who are already under his control.

So look at this day as an exciting day with all kinds of great prospects. If you are walking and talking with God you couldn't be in better company or stronger. He will be your shield and refuge a very present help in time of trouble. He is at your right hand and will be in control as you yield yourself confidently to His direction through the day. Ok a lot of routine stuff but do it as well as you can and cheerfully. But you don't know my boss?

No but God does and he has you there in that place for a reason never doubt. You may not see anything terrific happen today no miracles but you are a light shining for Jesus and will make an impact upon someones day today as you come into contact just your presence in the same room. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God in Heaven.

Trust in the Lord and be not afraid. Watch your behaviour and enjoy God's presence with you. You are in the centre of his will and its going to be a great Monday. Our confidence is in the Lord.

Psalm 23 reads “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake” Believe and act upon those words spoken by David and at the end of day you may well be able to also say with him “My cup runs over”

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 10
Jesus' Mission Continues Away from home

(Luke 4:31-44)

 

Now Jesus walked through the rioting mob and went to Capernaum and here he engaged in public ministry. What does this public ministry look like and what was the reaction to Jesus and his ministry?

  • Preaching (Luke 4:31-32) – Here we see Jesus setting up his ministry headquarters in Capernaum (Matthew 4:13-16) and from there, he started teaching in the Synagogue. People were astonished that he taught with such authority.
  • Rebuking (Luke 4:33-37, 41) – Our Lord did not want the demons to bear witness to Himself and his identity (Luke 4:34, 41). Again, people were astonished at Jesus power and authority.
  • Healing (Luke 4:39-40) – People bought their sick and asked Jesus to help them.
  • Praying (Luke 4:42-44) – he was up early the next morning to pray (Mark 1:35). It was in prayer that he found his strength and power for service, and so must we.


All during this period, we can learn several things about Jesus and his ministry towards those he encountered and interacted with.

  • No new teaching – he has God’s authority to do what he is doing – preaching, healing and releasing.
  • God desires humility – Jesus is looking for people to acknowledge their spiritual blindness and poverty, so that he may liberate them.
  • God’s Word is important – In the previous verses, Jesus counters the devil by using God’s Word, and he continues to do this throughout his ministry. He teaches and preaches in the synagogues (Luke 4:32, 44); rebukes demons (Luke 4:35, 41), and heals diseases (Luke 4:39); all with the authority of his word.

Jesus today

As we read the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, we see that Jesus reached out to all kinds of people, particularly people who society had rejected or were castaways. These included the sick, women, Gentiles (non-Jews), the religious elite – anybody. There was no barrier Jesus wasn’t prepared to break down so as to show God’s love for them. Jesus’ mission was to be the saviour of the world as God’s Son (John 3:16) and the Servant of the Lord. Jesus’ mission was to give a message of hope for the spiritually poor and spiritually oppressed people - people not only in his hometown, nor only in Israel, but rather for the whole world. People have two choices when faced with this fact: accept or reject. There is no other option. That is why as Christian Disciples we are to be actively engaged in evangelism, to tell people of this news about Jesus Christ.


Next week, we look at how Jesus selected his disciples...

 

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)
Part 17 - Hebrews 6:18-19

Hope is an anchor

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

Hope is the desire for something longed for. At school it was perhaps to be in the top team; then it became the hope that our new computer would be as good as we hoped; then we hope for a good and loving life mate; for a happy and enriching family; for a satisfying and rewarding job. In all probability it is only when we reach old age that we begin to think of hope in terms of what might happen when we die. Hope stands out in the New Testament as something to be sought and it is about the last of those things. We, in the more developed parts of the world anyway, are little concerned with such thoughts. They, in the writer’s days, had a life expectancy probably only in the 40s or 50s and a good chance of dying at any age. We, with all the modern medicine available to us, can expect to go on in a reasonable state of health much longer than that. It is therefore no wonder that we are less concerned with hope than they were. They will have been much more used to seeing people die young or not very old. We hide the thoughts away for many years until we come to the point where we begin to hope we shall not get dementia, or will not only die until after a long and painful illness. And what happens next is not a major consideration until we are so set in our ways and beliefs that we have no real hope.

New Testament hope is quite different. Paul talks of “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1: 27). It is that part of hope that, I am guessing, does not come much into your thinking until you are fairly old. In a way that is not surprising because our natural hopes exist with vast gaps between them. When we are younger that final hope is something that flits in and out of our thoughts at quite rare intervals. But this - hope in our future beyond this life, and in our Lord Jesus - is another matter. If we are members of the Kingdom here on earth we have a great and wonderful hope that we shall still be members after we die.

What guarantee do we have that this will indeed be the case? Our writer says it is as secure as an anchor that is firmly embedded amongst rocks on the sea bottom.

Going back a couple of verses he has said that there are two unchangeable things. It is not obvious what these were but he must be referring to what God said to Abraham after Abraham had passed the terrible test of being prepared to sacrifice his son and thus appearing to destroy the previous promise of God that he would have many descendants. “I swear by myself, declares the Lord …” (Genesis 22: 16). Nothing we experience will ever be as bad as what happened to Abraham. The Lord gave his great promise to Abraham and confirmed it ‘by himself’. In other words our God is totally trustworthy, whatever may be happening to us that seems to prove otherwise. This is our hope. Then, mixing his references up in quite a confusing way our writer says that our anchor is in ‘the inner sanctuary behind the curtain’, which is where the Lord God was thought to reside more than anywhere else.

The rocks between which our anchor is so firmly wedged that it can never be pulled out are our Lord, his person, his Word, our Lord and Master.

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Partakers Friday Prayers

30 November 2018

 

Come and join in praying for the world and yourself, offering praises to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit!

 

Order of Service

 Opening prayer

Confession

Psalm 65

Prayers for Churches and Christians worldwide

Prayers for others

Silent time (Prayer for your own concerns)

Prayers for the world

Prayer of Benedict of Nursia

 

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God Roars 1

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God Roars!

God Roars - How?

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I once heard a lion roaring! He was in London zoo and I was in Regents Park in the quiet of the early morning. I wasn't able to make him roar. That happened in his own time, usually when he was alone early in the morning, when things were quiet and still. Then, his roar would bellow over the trees and buildings, cutting right through any traffic noise. Has God ever roared? As Christian Disciples, we believe that God has indeed roared. We believe that God has spoken to this world because He loves this world. 1 John 4:16 tells us that God is love. Part of love is a desire to both know, and to be known. That is why the prophets spoke and the Bible were written. This is why God became man in Jesus Christ, because God wanted to know and be known in the fullest, human way possible. God roars or speaks to the world by three methods.:

  • Revelation: where God has caused the truth to be revealed.
  • Inspiration: Where God causes the truth to be recorded.
  • Illumination: because God causes the truth to be understood.

These three words, revelation, inspiration and illumination are what Christian Disciples believe about the Bible. It is God's revealed word about His Son Jesus Christ, inspired by His Holy Spirit and only illuminated within us, as we seek Him earnestly.

God Roars by Revelation.

Revelation is how God has communicated truths to people, who otherwise would not know them. The story of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 is a good example of this. As humanity was not created until the sixth day, it must have been God who revealed the knowledge about what occurred on the first five days to the author of Genesis, or it would not be possible to know what occurred. We know God did speak to those who wrote the Bible; but how did He speak? Was it in Hebrew? Greek? Some form of angelic language? We know that He spoke to them in their own language, as he did to young Samuel in the temple. Samuel at first thought that the voice was that of Eli the priest.

At other times God spoke through angels, as when the angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would give birth to Jesus. Another method of communication used by God was through dreams and visions. An example of this is in the birth story of Jesus Christ, whereby the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to King Herod. God has also communicated by way of a burning bush and from within of a cloud. God has even spoken through a donkey, as the prophet Balaam can testify! In the Old Testament, often God spoke through the "Angel of the Lord", which some believe to have been Jesus before He came to earth as a human. The Bible, as God's written word, is revelation because through its pages, the Bible reveals the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

God Roars by Inspiration.

The actual word inspiration is only found once in the New Testament, where Paul explicitly states, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" or more literally "God-breathed." Divine inspiration naturally proceeds from divine revelation. Whilst through revelation God speaks to man's ear, it is by inspiration that God works the pen, thus ensuring that the message is written correctly. This process of inspiration has several theories attached to it. One theory called the content theory, suggests that the author garnered the main idea from God, but God allowed the writer to choose his own words.

Another is the natural theory, whereby the Biblical writers were inspired in the same sense that William Shakespeare was inspired. God did not suppress the writers' personalities. For example, the differences between the writing style of John and the writing style of Paul are easily recognizable. However, Jesus said that God chose the very letters of the words. This view states that God inspires all the words of the Bible. God was able to use humans, even with their limitations to say all that He needed to say. God wanted to communicate to ordinary people, so He used ordinary people to write and produce the Bible.

In response to temptation by satan, Jesus said that man is to live by each of these God inspired words. Writers in the bible, such as Peter that knew their writings were being God guided. Peter said this was true of the Old Testament authors, his own writings and also true of Paul's. However inspiration does not guarantee the inspiration of any translation of the Bible, but only of the original manuscripts written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.

God Roars by Illumination

God has spoken and He has communicated His Written Word to us. Firstly by revelation when God spoke to the writers. Secondly, through inspiration as the writers were divinely guided by God, in the process of writing His message. However, in order to understand God's revealed and inspired message, illumination is required. This is where God causes the Bible to be understood by both the human heart and the mind. Why do we need of illumination? Without illumination the reader of the Bible, is blinded by both his nature and by Satan. Just as a light bulb needs power in order to give light, so does the Bible need somebody to provide the power!

The person, who does this illuminating, is God the Holy Spirit. He was promised by Jesus to illuminate the Bible to the hearts and minds of all people willing to listen, both Christian and non-Christian. Take for example the Holy Spirit's use of God's Word to illuminate sinners at Pentecost, where after hearing Simon Peter preach, three thousand people became Christian Disciples. However, as a Christian Disciple, you also need this illumination to help you understand God's Word. The Holy Spirit will show these tremendous truths to you as you read the Bible regularly, and ask for His help in understanding it. He will not contradict what the Bible says! By the Holy Spirit illuminating the Bible, people's lives are transformed and changed. By way of the Holy Spirit illuminating the Bible as God's inspired written word, God's Living Word Jesus Christ is revealed.

So, why not pray for His help when ever you read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate it to you?

For more to think about, please read in the Bible, 2 Timothy 3:14-16; Deuteronomy 29:29; Isaiah 59:21; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

1. What are the 3 methods in the Bible that God has used to speak to the world, and how would you define them?

2. Write down some examples from the Bible of "revelation".

3. What are the roles played by God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in regards to the Bible?

4. Can you tell the difference between two writers, such as the writer of 3 John and the writer of 2 Peter?

 

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WOW Word 14

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Alfie brings you a WOW Word

 WOW Word - Christ

Our WOW Word today is Christ! We are approaching the Christmas season. I wonder if you know what the word Christ means and where it comes from? The word Christ is the New Testament word for the Old Testament word, Messiah. So we look to the Old Testament first, in order to understand what the New Testament word Christ means! It was appended to His name in the New Testament, as a way of expressing who He was! Play the video to discover what Alphiy the WOWChurch Cat has to say and/or download the file to take away! Bless ya! 

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POD - Psalm 127

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Psalm 127

 

 A Song of Ascents. By Solomon

1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.

Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.

2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat

- for he grants sleep to those he loves.

3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,

children a reward from him.

4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.

5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

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Think Spot 26th November 2018

As part of our living as followers of Jesus, here is something which has the capability of affecting every person on the planet.

Jesus, our Master, said in Matthew 12:36-37 "But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Jesus took words and thoughts extremely seriously. Jesus’ words encouraged others gently towards paths of right living. He spoke words of love, kindness, rebuke, forgiveness, encouragement and blessing upon and to others. Jesus is to be our guide and Master in the use of thoughts and words.

In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus equates calling somebody a fool with the physical act of murder. Murder has its beginning in anger developing into uncontrollable rage. Improper attitudes, words and thoughts can lead you and I to sin if we don’t stop their destructive use quickly. May the words we communicate and think about, be like those of Jesus – “full of grace”. How is your WOW factor of Jesus now?

When Jesus Christ called you to follow Him, He called you to follow Him wholeheartedly and be committed to only Him. Jesus calls you and I, to love God and be totally committed to Him.

Here is a brief prayer to help us into the new week.

Father, help us this week to be totally committed to you in all aspects of our lives. May those we live with, work with and interact with, know we are your child by the words we speak. We ask this, through the mighty name of your Son, Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 9
Jesus' Mission - at home

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
Luke 4:14-15


Jesus’ public ministry on earth has begun. These verses at the end of Luke 4 tell us that his mission is to preach God’s Kingdom. A reluctant John the Baptist had baptized Him and the crowds who witnessed this event. They had heard God the Father speaking to Jesus. He underwent temptations by the arch-seducer, satan, and emerged victorious from that ordeal. Now Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, has returned home to Galilee (Luke 4:14). What did he do there and how did those who knew Him react as he grew through childhood?


Jesus at home (Luke 4:14-30)

Jesus is back in home territory and because of the power of his teaching, he is becoming known as a great teacher (Luke 4:15). Jesus spent some time in Galilee, became known and aroused the interest, curiosity and excitement of people.

Worshipping (Luke 4:14-18): It was Jesus’ habit to attend public worship wherever he was. But what did a typical synagogue service look like in the time of Jesus? Here is the outline of a typical synagogue service at the time of Jesus in the early first century AD:

  • Opened with a prayer for God’s blessing
  • Traditional Hebrew confession of faith (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21)
  • Prayer and readings from the Law and the Prophets
  • Brief sermon given by one of the men or a visiting rabbi (Acts 13:14-16)
  •  Benediction or prayer


Because of Jesus’ growing renown as a teacher, it is no surprise that he should be asked to read the Scripture and give a short teaching session regarding it. Here in Nazareth, Jesus declared that the day for demonstrating God’s salvation had arrived and the day the prophets looked forward to, was going to be fulfilled in Jesus Himself (Luke 4:20). Jesus was the Servant who Isaiah had talked about long ago (Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus’ ministry was divinely directed. It was a ministry of hope for all people and a ministry to free the spiritually oppressed (Luke 4:18).

Acceptable Year of the Lord (Luke 4:19): When Jesus said in Luke 4:19 “to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour”, Jesus was referring to the “Year of Jubilee” (Leviticus 25). This was when at every fiftieth year, there was the balancing of the economic system. Slaves were released, set free and returned to their families. Property that was sold, now returned to the original owners. All debts were cancelled and the land lay bare to rest and rejoice in the Lord. Upon hearing this announcement, the reaction by the local people was at first one of astonishment (Luke 4:22) and telling each other he was the son of Joseph. But we remember and know, that Jesus was not the son of Joseph. Rather, Jesus was the Son of God, as announced by angels before he was born. Jesus Christ is the new Adam and the founder of a new humanity. All this, Jesus goes on to explain.

Rejected (Luke 4:20-30): The local people of Nazareth, saw Jesus as the son of Joseph. Admiration turned to anger, because Jesus began to remind them of God’s goodness to the Gentiles. He did this by reminding them about some of the Jewish heroes of the past. People such as the great prophet Elijah who bypassed all the Jewish widows to go and help a Gentile widow in Sidon (1 Kings 17:8-16). Jesus also reminded them that another Jewish hero, Elisha, had healed a Gentile leper from Syria (2 Kings 5:1-15).


Whilst those people in Nazareth could only see Jesus in their local setting, he told them his mission was for all Israel. And if Israel rejected this message of Good News, then the Gentiles would be blessed by it (Luke 4:25-27). Upon hearing this, the astonished admiration turned to furious anger (Luke 4:28-30). Salvation is no longer restricted to Israel but for every child of Adam – every human. Jesus’ mission was not only to be Israel’s saviour but the world’s saviour. When Jesus quoted the proverb “no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24), he revealed his knowledge of Old Testament history. He knew that God’s messengers often were rejected, and even as God’s Son, he was rejected as well. Next week we look at Jesus away from home.

We investigate that in the next podcast of this series.

 

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Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 16 - Hebrews 6:4-8

The perils of falling away.

 
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

This is a tricky passage. It seems not to agree with what is said elsewhere in scripture. But here it is in front of us and we must heed what it says. To highlight the problem here is one famous type of theology, followed by Reformed churches, which indicates the alternative very forcefully. T.U.L.I.P. is the mnemonic used by some of the more extreme advocates of a Calvinistic theology. These stand for:

  • T - Total depravity. This does not mean everyone is just as bad as they could possibly be but that everyone is naturally so sinful the initiative for their salvation must come from God, even when they think it is their own choice to follow him
  • U - Unconditional election. God chooses us; we do not choose him.
  • L - Limited atonement. Jesus did not die for all men and women, being only made effective for those who he chooses. Rather he only died for those who God knew he would call.
  • I - Irresistible grace. If God decides to call us we are called. There is nothing we can do about it; we cannot refuse his offer.
  • P - Perseverance of the saints. Once chosen, called and saved we cannot turn away from that. We are believers for ever.

There is much to commend in this view of faith. All these points can, and are, easily supported by scripture quotations.

Reading through all these things is a useful reminder that becoming a follower of Jesus is not like joining the Boy Scouts or the local golf club. There we, or our parents, pay the joining fee and we are in. It is all our doing. But when we become followers of Jesus we are not the sole partakers in what happens. God has a part to play. In fact he has the major part to play. In particular we receive from him the gift of the Holy Spirit. Once we have received that gift can we back out of the arrangement? No, of course not says TULIP. But the verses in front of us in Hebrews say something different.

There is no easy way to reconcile the two. The easy, but rather unsatisfactory, way out is to say the one who is falling away was never really a Christian believer in the first place, but was just imitating the activities of those who are. But that doesn’t really fit. Our writer talks about a person being enlightened, tasting the heavenly gift (presumably meaning experiencing the power and joy of heavenly love), sharing in the Holy Spirit, becoming excited by reading the Bible and looking forward to the eventual life in the kingdom. These two things simply do not fit.

How you resolve this tension will depend almost entirely on your background and the sort of church you are in. I will say just this:the TULIP type approach gives us great confidence in the Lord and encouragement on our way; what our writer says is a strong warning against the perils of turning away from faith once embarked on the great journey it offers. Both points of view are found in scripture and we must heed both.

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