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         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Day 43 - Be Strong And Of A Good Courage


Jerry
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Numbers In The Bible Series
43 - Be Strong And Of A Good Courage

Day 43 - Be Strong And Of A Good Courage

Deuteronomy 31:14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation.

Moses was near the end of his life - very soon (within a matter of days) he would be passing off the scene, and Joshua would then lead the nation of Israel into the Promised Land. It was time for Moses to give them (and Joshua) his final words of exhortation and instruction. Seven times in Deuteronomy 31 and Joshua 1, we read the exhortation to "be strong and of a good courage." God had a plan for the nation of Israel - to conquer the land of Canaan - and it would involve strength and courage; it would require God's strength and the perfect courage He could give them, if they relied on Him.

1) Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Perhaps, upon hearing this, Joshua was reminded of his commission years before of spying out the Promised Land and bringing back a report - as well as the consequences of the nation of Israel rebelling against God's clear leading:

Numbers 13:17-20 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

Joshua, just like you had nothing to fear back then, even so you have nothing to fear today! As your name indicates: The LORD is salvation - He it is that goes with you, and will deliver you from all your enemies. In fact, He will deliver all your enemies into your hand and give the land to you. You do not need to fear man - the Lord is with you! He will not fail to keep His promises, and He will never forsake you; therefore there is no reason for fear or hesitation. Go conquer the land in His name! He will give you the victory!

What has the Lord commanded you to do in your life? I believe this promise is just as much for us today as it was for the nation of Israel. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

This is one of my all-time favourite verses - one I memorized to a melody, and one that continually comes back afresh to my mind whenever I need it. We have the Lord's seven-fold promises to spur us on!

It is interesting to note that two other people within the Bible itself quoted this verse to exhort others:

Joshua to the nation of Israel - in Joshua 10:24-25 And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them. And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.

King David to Solomon his son - in 1 Chronicles 22:11-13 Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee. Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.

And again in 1 Chronicles 28:20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.

We are following in the footsteps of faith when we take and apply God's promises to our lives!

2) Deuteronomy 31:7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.

The first of these seven promises was to the whole nation of Israel (though still addressed to the individual, as the word "thee" indicates), but the other six were specifically directed to Joshua himself. He is the leader that will go before the people and lead them into the Promised Land, lead them into the inheritance that the Lord God has promised them. Our Joshua, our Leader, the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who will lead those who trust in Him into their inheritance. Our inheritance is through the Saviour, and by the Saviour. He is the one that will cause us to inherit it! Despite the cost, despite the powers of darkness arrayed against Him, despite the separation from God the Father as He bore the sins of the world, Jesus, our Leader, was strong and courageous - and fulfilled the Father's will for His life and provided for our salvation.

In the following four passages, the Greek word for prince, captain, and author means "the chief leader," the pioneer.

Acts 3:13-15 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

Acts 5:30-31 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Deuteronomy 31:8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Just as the Lord led Joshua through the Jordan River and into the Promised Land, even so the Lord Jesus Christ led the way through the Garden of Gethsemane, from the cross to the tomb, and then arose in victory over the grave. Even in times of trials and afflictions, the Lord goes before us and prepares the way.

A Song In The Night

Though darkness hides the sunlight,
A song is in my soul;
In the night of my affliction,
The Lord is in control.

I cannot see His footsteps –
The path He leads me down;
All the way, there’s a promise:
His path leads to a crown.

Within the stormy blackness,
Jesus has His eye on me;
Though the darkness hide Him,
By faith I still can see.

Though nighttime falls around me,
The cross leads to the tomb,
My footsteps will not falter,
His Word lights up the gloom.

Though I know not the journey,
The Lord will take me through;
I will trust in my Saviour –
He has my best in view.

Even though my steps be darkened,
My Father knows the way;
And He will safely guide me –
From the shadows into day.

June 14th, 2006
Jerry Bouey

3) Deuteronomy 31:23 And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.

I love the certainty of this verse: thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land... I will be with thee. What God called Joshua and the nation of Israel to do, He equipped them for; what the Lord calls each of us to do in our walks with Him, He will equip us for. We do not need to fear - we just need to be strong and of a good courage, and step out in faith and obey Him as He leads the way! The times the nation of Israel did not have the victory were times they were not walking by faith or in obedience to God and His Word.

4) Joshua 1:6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.

The Lord exhorts Joshua to go conquer the land of Canaan, because God promised it to them! God was telling them it was already theirs and they only needed to enter into it and claim it by faith.

Joshua 1:1-5 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.*

The following quotes are taken from Genesis: Claiming The Promises (please read that study for the context of these quotes):

I believe the land we are to claim are the promises found in God's Word. We are to go through the land of the Scriptures, walk about the length and breadth of them - From Genesis To Revelation - find the promises that the Lord wants to give us, and then claim them by faith. How many believers do this? Not enough from what I have seen! There are many promises and passages that the average Christian is woefully ignorant of - yet those very same promises and passages would have helped them so much in the battles or struggles they faced day by day!

Too many people want to find satisfaction and fulfillment outside of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word - as if these weren't enough to equip us for the Christian life. Yet I find that this is exactly what we need - a living, vital relationship with Christ and a heart that meditates on and digs into His Word.

...When was the last time you walked spiritually through the Promised Land - or should I say, the Land of Promise? When was the last time you searched through the Scriptures, looking through the length and breadth of God's Word for promises that applied to the situations you were currently facing, and then claimed them by faith? Isn't it about time you took another stroll? There are more promises waiting to be discovered! Claim some today!

*Joshua 1:5 is quoted in the New Testament and is applied to all true believers:

Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

5) Joshua 1:7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

If you want to prosper in your walk with the Lord you need to heed His Word. God won't bless a rebel; however, He will bless the believer who humbly walks in faith, who trusts and obeys. Consider the very next verse in this chapter:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Success is doing God's will for your life. George W. Truett made this excellent statement:

"To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge. To find the will of God is the greatest discovery. To do the will of God is the greatest achievement!"

We cannot do God's will unless we are meditating upon and applying His Word by faith, day by day.

Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 119:1-3 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

Psalm 119:97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

6) Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Don't be discouraged - be of a good courage! Encouragement is pouring courage and strength into someone. Our courage comes from the Lord, as does our strength. How do we receive that courage? By waiting upon the Lord in prayer and stepping out in faithful service to Him.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

7) Joshua 1:18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.

It will take strength and courage to do God's will! It takes strength to resist a world that is bent upon rebelling against your Heavenly Father. It takes courage to go against the flow, to stand up for what is right in a world that is darkened by sin. We can't expect the Lord's blessings when we follow the crowd, when we swim downstream with the rest of the world, into the muck and mire of sin. But what tremendous promises and encouragement is ours when we follow the Lord by faith!

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Step out in faith, walk through the Land of Promise, be strong and of a good courage - claim the victory that is yours through the Lord Jesus Christ - for we have His wonderful promise to each one of us that He will not fail us, nor forsake us!

With a Saviour that faithful, what are we afraid of? Be strong and of a good courage!

July 30th, 2007
Jerry Bouey

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    • Bro. West  »  BrotherTony

      The original question by Brother Tony was about Peter being wrong in Acts two. Peter is responsible only for the light God gave him at that point. Later God gave him more light as in Acts 10. He is not the only one to have this happen Apollos (Acts 19:1-7) He was re baptized, why because he did not reject more light given to him.
      Cornelius was another who went by the light that he had, but when Peter spoke to him he received that light, in fact Peter may have received light himself not only about the gentiles, but that the Holy Spirit was given before baptism. (Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? Act 10:47) This is different than Acts 2:38.
      My main point is that the book of Acts is a book of progressive revelation and to rest your doctrine now on Acts two will produce damnable heresies. I know this first hand as being a member of the “Church of Christ” in good old Tennessee as a youth. I could of died and went to hell. Here in Indiana we have plenty that place the plan of salvation in Acts two. No, I am your Brother and not a MR. West, that is if you believe what Peter said again: For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 1Pe 3:18. This is the ministry of reconciliation spoke by Paul.
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