Unity

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10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (ICor. 1:10-13)

This morning the Lord was reminding me of the importance of unity  in the body of Christ.

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?
(ICor. 3:1-4)

Those who call upon Christ and claim discipleship are quite divided upon denominational lines. They have been for years. Some call themselves Baptists or Methodists. Some are Lutherans. But who is it that simply calls upon the name of Christ without all these distractions?

It is very few. For most will continue on the path of whatever denomination teaching they were taught without questioning it. But our Christ has called us away from such divisions as so clearly demonstrated by what Paul wrote to the Corinthians of his day.

For we cannot perfectly walk after the example and pattern that Christ has left us if we continue to blindly and proudly hang on to the teachings of our church fathers. For it is our church fathers  who were led astray and then led us astray. History proclaims this truth, if we are willing to listen. And Christ proclaimed His way to all those who are willing to hear:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:25-26)

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.” (John 10:25-30)

We can no longer lift up the example of Saints of bygone days. Or even lift up those of today. They are not Christ and cannot be the perfect example our Christ is. That is what the children of Israel did with Moses and Abraham. The lifted up man, but not God. So, all we can hope to do is point to Him who is perfect. The one who is the Captain of our Salvation. Christ Jesus. The One born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.

If you hear His voice today, I plead you not to ignore His call to repentance. For He calls us out of the world into His kingdom and His way.

And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. (Rev. 18:4-8)

There is only one way to come out of the world. We must humble ourselves and learn from the Lord Himself. We must follow the example and pattern that He left for us.

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:1-10)

Humility, the act of not thinking of yourself as more important than others. If we do that, then we will never take a stage, we will never take money for sharing the word of God. If we have to travel, we will never ask money from others to share God’s truth. And most importantly, when disagreements come about in our assemblies, we must seek God instead 0f lifting ourselves above the rest of the assembly. This can be difficult though at times. I have been among those who claim to know God, but they each have their own answer instead of clearly seeing the word of Truth. But we will be unified. There is no doubt. God will do it. But it will be a remnant and not a great awakening. That is God’s pattern. The path is narrow and few will find it. But for those of us who do. The rewards are great.

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand:
A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains.
A people come, great and strong,
The like of whom has never been;
Nor will there ever be any such after them,
Even for many successive generations.

A fire devours before them,
And behind them a flame burns;
The land is like the Garden of Eden before them,
And behind them a desolate wilderness;
Surely nothing shall escape them.
Their appearance is like the appearance of horses;
And like swift steeds, so they run.
With a noise like chariots
Over mountaintops they leap,
Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble,
Like a strong people set in battle array.

Before them the people writhe in pain;
All faces are drained of color.
They run like mighty men,
They climb the wall like men of war;
Every one marches in formation,
And they do not break ranks.
They do not push one another;
Every one marches in his own column.
Though they lunge between the weapons,
They are not cut down.
They run to and fro in the city,
They run on the wall;
They climb into the houses,
They enter at the windows like a thief.

10 The earth quakes before them,
The heavens tremble;
The sun and moon grow dark,
And the stars diminish their brightness.
11 The Lord gives voice before His army,
For His camp is very great;
For strong is the One who executes His word.
For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible;
Who can endure it? (Joel 2:1-11)

Blessings to you as you seek His truth and His way. To learn to humble yourself. To not lift yourself above others. Even if we have the knowledge. God is able to save anyone. We are here to plant the seeds. He is the master gardener. We must be obedient. He will cut the tares and burn them. Even if we have to leave the company of the tares, He is faithful to draw out the few who are willing to listen.

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The BitterSweet Life

Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.”

So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.”

And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”

10 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. 11 And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” (Rev. 10:8-11)

Following our Lord Jesus Christ can be a great joy. But it can also be bitter. For His words are bittersweet. He describes this in the Book of Revelation to John. He had John take a book. This book represents the Word of God. How do I know? Because the next words spoken to John were that he would need to prophesy again.

But this isn’t the only Scripture that describes an angel handing something to someone to eat which was sweet as honey in the mouth, but bitter in the stomach. Consider the words to Ezekial.

“And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.
(Ez 2:6-9)

Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll.

And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness. (Ez 3:1-3)

14 So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me. (Ez 3:14)

So Ezekial went on his mission in bitterness. But the Lord was with him and strong upon him. You can imagine how it was for him preaching God’s truth to the nation. A rebellious nation. One that was refusing God’s warnings and causing harm and death to them.

And so it is for us who love His truth and commandments. His joy and salvation is sweeter than honey, but bitter because of what we suffer at the hands of this world.

Take courage my friends. Christ is near, even at the door. Let us remain patient in His Spirit. We know that time is short and His return is imminent. He will repay just as He promised.

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Rev. 1:6-7)

 

 

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SELF-CENSORING AMERICAN CHURCHES: Surrendering In Liberty While Illegal Churches Thrive In China

Real Christianity

Blog Pic 1026 2017

        Real Christianity’s ongoing forty-year surge in China is due in part to the incessant attempts by the Communist government to control and eliminate it.

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        This attempt failed in Rome two thousand years ago. The Roman Empire at first made little issue of real Christianity. Yet, while the Lord’s Community was in its early formative stages, the Romans began getting somewhat concerned as the burgeoning Ekklesia began exploding in growth. Its impact began being seen and felt all over the empire and its presence soon threatened the established ideologies and cults, especially the emperor cult.

         In Rome the emperor was god, and all Roman citizens and subjects were forced to honor this credo whether they wanted to or not. The idea of religious freedom and a personal conscience was a joke. Forced faith was the order of the day. Those countries…

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Mark of the Beast Alert

Call for Athletes to be fitted with microchip

So now the call for microchipping takes another step in the public eye. As more and more people become accustomed to the use of technology around and on us, so too will we become accustomed to the idea of putting it in us. This will become the norm some day. But the error of mankind is that those of us who choose to partake are giving up our free will and dependence on God.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. (Psalm 40:1-4)

22 Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

23 But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction;
Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days;
But I will trust in You. (Psalm 55:22-23)

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Matt Walsh: Dear churches, you’re killing yourselves and this is how

Matt Walsh: Dear churches, you’re killing yourselves and this is how

 

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Outside the Walls?

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I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a booth in a farmers market in my hometown. The market is within a shopping area and they block off the streets so vendors can set up their tents to display their produce, crafts and products they sell. It’s a well balanced market with over 150 vendors.

Adjacent lies a park with a stage. It’s setup like an outdoor amphitheater. They usually have concerts there on Friday or Saturday nights. Sundays they usually have zumba classes and during market time. This past Sunday was different though.

This Sunday a church came to the amphitheater, presumably to preach and also to baptize. I know they believe they were baptizing in the Lord’s name, but I would not want to be apart of this display. I observed 4 horse tanks filled with water. Next to each horse tank was a microphone. During their services there was a band playing and of course a preacher preaching. And their baptisms took place. What was missing? Jesus.

While it is a glorious thing to preach the Gospel to the masses and baptize people in Christ Jesus. It is a blasphemous thing to make a show out of God’s assembly. Or showboat instead of remaining humble.

For Scripture says

Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:1-2)

So then we should boast or brag in ourselves. When these churches are putting on these shows they do not mirror the example that Christ Jesus set forth. They mirror the ways of the world. There almost always a stage.

I am of course not discouraging the coming together of the saints to worship, pray or baptize. But we are to do it in a Holy and humble manner. Not to purposely draw attention in the manner of singers and actors. But in the manner of Christ.

So I have titled this post “Outside the Walls?”. It is interesting that if these were of Christ they would have listened to His still small voice who says:

And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. (Rev. 18:4-8)

This in reference to Babylon the Great. That whore who calls herself the church. The organization of men and women who claim the name of Christ. The same one whom Christ Jesus will say:

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Mat. 7:21-23)

These same people who are the event, even though it was outside, did not come outside the walls. They did not come into the market to preach the Gospel of Christ. They stayed in the confines and walls of the amphitheater. That place of “safety” so that they would not be persecuted or looked down upon for sharing the Truth of the Gospel for the remission of sins. In their mind that is the job of the pastor. That they are passive participants.

Christ Jesus did not call us to be passive participants. He called us to be disciples and to LIVE the Gospel.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (Rom. 12:1-8)

So then if we are many members and have different functions, we have a personal role to play in the assembly. And that’s not to sit in a pew looking at the back of someone’s head. If these people are of Christ they should be in the byways and highways, in the market, wherever God leads us to share the Gospel. For there is a warning to those who claim the name of Christ but do not follow His lead.

23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’(Mat. 7:23)

 

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Throwback Thursday ~ Persecution in the Pew

Michelle Lesley

Originally published August 7, 2015persecution in the pew

Beheadings of Christians by ISIS. Crosses forcibly torn off churches by the Chinese government. Pastors imprisoned. Believers tortured for leaving Islam or sharing the gospel.

The treatment our brothers and sisters across the globe receive at the hands of pagans is nearly unfathomable. They are made to suffer – simply for claiming the name of Christ – by those who openly hate God and want nothing more than to stamp out Christianity.

This is how we, as the American church, have come to define persecution. Outsiders, non-Christians, and the government, all on the attack against the Bible, our faith, our practices, and other beliefs we have long held dear. It’s a correct definition, but it’s not a complete definition.

While we already see a “light” form of this type of persecution in the U.S. – mainly over the issue of homosexuality – there’s another kind…

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FAITH, Being a living testimony

Faith is a beautiful act before the Lord of lords. Faith demonstrates our loyalty to Him who loves us. The one who gave His life as the sacrificial lamb for our sins. Amen and Glory to Him alone. Even as Scripture declares:

Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen. For therein the elders had witness borne to them. By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear. (Heb 11:1-3)

We cannot see God’s physicality in this life, but we can see His work and Glory. We see it in the very nature He created. In the animals, plant life, stars, planets, sun & moon. Everything according to its order.

These things of His creation are beautiful, wonderful and exciting to behold. Even unbelievers are taken aback by God’s Glory in the earth. Even if they refuse to recognize the Creator and King of the Universe.

But there is something even more beautiful that God beholds. What is it? It is the disciple of Christ who lays down their own life and ambitions and begins to walk in His way. Jesus spoke to us in this way:

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:23-24)

The answer to faith is love for Him who died for us. For if we love Him we will put away the ways of the world, walk in His character and nature in obedience. Then He will answer our prayers and keep us safe from the world.

I am not talking of the same safety as the world thinks. For the world locks away its own for protection. Our Lord will protect us by placing us into adversity to refine us for the Kingdom. He has called us to be living sacrifices

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom. 12:1-2)

So then if we have faith in Him who has mercy on us, then are we not also called to be a living sacrifice if we have left the world and entered His Kingdom? The apostle Peter spoke of faith in this same manner,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. (1Pet. 1:3-9)

Brothers and sisters, if you are grieved by your various trials, then look up and keep the faith. Whatever we are going through, we are going through it for Him. Peter encourages us further,

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1Pet. 1:13-21)

Let us learn these words and apply them to our walk. For the days are getting darker and we need the Light to see. Be encouraged my friends. For many are falling away even now into utter darkness. Do not lose the hope that you had at the first. Be blessed in Him!

 

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Kids Tell Jimmy Kimmel The Story of Easter

To prove the point of the effects of the world upon to Truth of Christ I offer a recent video where Jimmy Kimmel sends his people out to ask children what happened to Jesus on the day of Easter. Story and video linked below from the Huffington Post. For those of us filled with the Spirit you will be offended.The Lord will be mocked but He will have vengeance on the unrepentant. Have mercy Lord Jesus on those who mock, that the scales of their eyes fall away that they may yet find everlasting life in you. May the offense and abomination be cleansed from their conscience as they turn to you alone. Amen.

Kids Tell Story of Easter Link

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Eggs, Chocolate, Bunnies and Christ?

Ever wonder what eggs, chocolate and bunny rabbits have to do with Jesus Christ? So do I. I’ve read Scripture over and over and I can’t find anything that relates to Christ to these other things that folks seem to include in the celebration of what they call Easter. If you know what Scripture it is can you point me in the right direction?

Year after year many children wake up to an Easter basket placed at the foot of their bed. Parents bring their kids to church on Easter Sunday so they can hunt Easter eggs.  They are told the Easter Bunny left them a gift. After all this activity the parents and children all go listen to how Jesus was crucified for our sins followed by His resurrection.

But beyond the practice, what is the connection between these things? Truthfully, nothing at all. Quite honestly, as I understand God’s word and his character and nature, God is very angry that such practices are mixed in with His story of death and resurrection. Scripture is on His side.

Before I get to Scripture let us consider that we are called to holiness. Not our own, but Christ’s. The word holy is defined as:

dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.

The apostle Paul who knew God’s will encourages disciples of Christ in this way:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
(Rom. 12:1-3)

Paul also wrote this

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
(I Cor. 3:16-17)

Are you beginning to understand? Do you still think hunting eggs with your church family and then worshiping Christ is harmless? Maybe I haven’t thoroughly demonstrated that eggs, chocolate and bunnies don’t have a connection with Christ. But then perhaps you haven’t considered the cartoonish immature nature of such practices in the light of the holiness and righteousness of what Christ did for us on the cross.

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb. 10:26-31)

 

 

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