The First Twelve Preachers

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The First Twelve Preachers

“And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: And Simon he surnamed Peter; And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house. And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.” (Mark 3:13-21)

Here the Holy Spirit describes the calling of the twelve Apostles by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is an event, which ought to always be remembered and studied with deep gratitude. No twelve men in history have been so important as these twelve. None have done so much good. None have been of such benefit to us. J.C. Ryle wrote…

“What a vast amount of benefit these few men have conferred upon the world! The names of a few Jewish fishermen are known and lived by millions all over the globe, while the names of many kings and rich men are lost and forgotten.”

These apostles were a special order of men. The apostolic office was in existence for only a very brief period of time, during which the canon of Holy Scripture was completed. They had distinct gifts of healing, tongues, and inspiration, which no one has possessed since the Apostolic Era. They were men specifically chosen, gifted, and ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ to preach the gospel during the earliest days of Christianity and to write the New Testament, explaining by divine inspiration the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. They had no successors. When they died, their office died. And when the Apostles died, all the gifts and signs accompanying apostleship died as well.

Twelve Men Continue reading

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Discerning Between the Righteous and the Wicked

Malachi 3 v 13 to  18

“Our Lord tells us to let the tares grow with the wheat. We are never to attempt to separate them. Why? Because we do not have the ability to know the one from the other. If the task of separating them were ours, we would pull up the wheat and keep the tares every time. None of us knows who is saved and who is lost. Those who pretend to have such knowledge are as arrogant as they are ignorant.”

DISCERNING BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED

Don Fortner 

My subject tonight is Discerning Between the Righteous and the Wicked. — Our Lord Jesus tells us plainly that in every age, wherever the righteous are found the wicked will be found among them. In every field of wheat, there tares grow and thrive. Wherever sheep find pasture, goats will be found grazing beside them. He also tells us to let the tares grow together with the wheat and let the goats graze with the sheep. We are never to try to separate them. That is the Lord’s work, and he will do it by the gospel.

 

We must never try to separate the tares from the wheat; and we must never try to separate the wicked from the righteous. But that does not mean that they be discerned and will not be separated. In Malachi 3, the Lord God makes a very clear discernment and assures us that, when he has finished all things, we shall with him — “discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” Continue reading

Lessons for Troublesome Times

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“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what signwill there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:1-24)

We are living in troublesome times. These are perilous days. These are difficult days for everyone. But they are particularly difficult for people who believe God and seek, in all things and above all things, to honor Him. I know that your minds are constantly full of questions, for which there seems to be no answer. Moral decadence, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and the pedophilia that it spawns are not just tolerated, but actively promoted in our public schools and by law. The brutal slaughter of unborn babies is as common as the removal of warts. By some perverse logic, the same people who want to protect rattle snakes from extinction and weep over the misuse of laboratory rats tell us that the murder of a baby is a matter of choice! Domestic violence is epidemic. War is an everyday activity. And the religion of the day is nothing short of men worshipping themselves. When I think about these things, three passages of Scripture come to my mind (Deuteronomy 31:17; Psalm 10:4; Galatians 6:7). Continue reading

A Call For Separation

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And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
(Revelation 18:4 KJV)

Don Fortner

Revelation 18:4

Always endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Bend over backwards to get along with God’s saints. Make allowances for one another’s faults, failures, and offenses. Never be guilty of alienating a brother, or refusing to graciously embrace one who is a child of God. But this brotherly kindness is not to be extended to those who are “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?” (II Chr. 19:2; Ps. 139:21-22; Gal. 1:6-9). Continue reading

Faith And Love

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Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
(Habakkuk 2:4 KJV)

Don Fortner

“In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Galatians 4:6

Here is the law of Christ’s church and kingdom. This is the believer’s rule of life. And this must be the principle by which we function as a church. “This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (I John 3:24). Being united to Christ by faith and to one another in the bond of love, let us endeavor always to demonstrate these two graces.

1. WE LIVE BY FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  “The Just shall live by faith.” First and foremost, this means Continue reading

We Must Not Give Ear To Talebearers, For They Feed The Fire Of Contention

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Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
(Proverbs 26:20 KJV)

He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport? Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
(Proverbs 26:17-28 KJV)

Here below follows Mathew Henry’s exposition of these verses, taken from e-Sword.

Proverbs 26:17

1. That which is here condemned is meddling with strife that belongs not to us. If we must not be hasty to strive in our own cause (Pro_25:8), much less in other people’s, especially theirs that we are no way related to or concerned in, but light on accidentally as we pass by. If we can be instrumental to make peace between those that are at variance we must do it, though we should thereby get the ill-will of both sides, at least while they are in their heat; but to make ourselves busy in other men’s matters, and parties in other men’s quarrels, is not only to court our own trouble, but to thrust ourselves into temptation. Who made me a judge? Let them end it, as they began it, between themselves. 2. We are cautioned against it because of the danger it exposes us to; it is like taking a snarling cur by the ears, that will snap at you and bite you; you had better have let him alone, for you cannot get clear of him when you would, and must thank yourselves if you come off with a wound and dishonour. He that has got a dog by the ears, if he lets him go he flies at him, if he keeps his hold, he has his hands full, and can do nothing else. Let every one with quietness work and mind his own business, and not with unquietness quarrel and meddle with other people’s business.

Proverbs 26:18-19

See here, 1. How mischievous those are that make no scruple of deceiving their neighbours; they are as madmen that cast firebrands, arrows, and death, so much hurt may they do by their deceits. They value themselves upon it as polite cunning men, but really they are as madmen. Continue reading

If I Love Christ There Are Some People I Cannot Love

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Don Fortner 

True Christian love is not universal. It does not extend to all men. The fact is, if I love the Lord Jesus Christ there are some people I cannot love. There is such a thing as a righteous hatred.

Listen to God’s servant David, the man after God’s own heart. He wrote these words under the infallible influence of God the Holy Spirit – “Do not I hate them, O Lord,- that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred. I count them mine enemies” (Ps. 139:21-22). A reasonable inference from those two verses is that those who are the Lord’s enemies, those who hold our God in contempt, are to be counted as our enemies and held in contempt by us. Continue reading