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September 1, 2012
I & II Corinthians
Grace to the End

Grace is an active, live ingredient, not a passive covering. Grace is the equivalent of an umbilical between the heart of God and the heart of the spirit man. It nourishes, even when the people of God are unaware of its actions. Grace delivers the sufficiency to overcome evil and grow the inner man toward the stature of Christ. Grace, however, refuses the company of the three confrontations Paul made with the Corinthian church: immorality, division and judgmental Pharisee-ism. Grace is never a covering for sin.

Grace is the flow of the river of life, bringing the ingredients needed to sustain and cause growth in the believer. "By grace we are saved through faith." Grace gives birth to faith and faith gives access to Grace. "By grace" is a powerful attachment to the heart of the saint. When the soul and spirit awaken to Grace's provision, then songs of worship and praise come from once silent lips, testimonies pour out of soon-to-be prophets, pages fill up with writings from revelation's advances, while preachments find their expression in the moving of the Spirit. Grace never stops pouring out what is needed to expand man's vision and enrich his spirit. When Paul cried out for deliverance from his thorn in the flesh, God's answer was, "My Grace is sufficient."

Although Paul wrote an epistle of confrontation regarding Corinth's three affronts, he wrapped it in declarations of Grace. Paul was growing in his ministry. This third set of writings, in the chronology of epistles, is nothing short of a rich clarification in his heart for what is important in the kingdom. When one reads these letters, there is a sense of, "Why should I have to deal with these temporal issues when there are so many life changing lessons to be addressed?" There is a sense of urgency in these two epistles toward, "Presenting what is really important for the saint to know." Alas, Paul knew his priorities.

He did not live in a perfect world. Corinth was a city rife with sexual symbols and perverted religion. Prostitutes were used to worship pagan deities while the population practiced a form of sexual ritual that tainted every waking moment. Even the mosaic tiles that were used for sidewalks contained images of phalluses. Corinthians believed, while sexual congress was taking place, the gods hovered over and protected the participants; therefore, they used sexual symbols in moments of danger to guard against harm. Even greetings between citizens contained language and expressions of a sexual nature.

It was out of this culture that a church was born. Grace reached down and saved the heart of men and women who turned from darkness to light. Grace poured into them the spiritual nutrients necessary to grow saints in a world of sinners. They grew in spiritual prowess, and Paul was the catalyst God used to bring a message of hope and change that was not a political ideology, but an inner resource given through Christ Jesus. Paul wrote Corinthians to affirm how it was God who established His beachhead in their hearts and through whom must come a witness that was holy and undefiled. The Corinthian church did not exist as a testimony of one man's message, but a fortress to which a crazed populace could run to find Grace.

I Corinthians:

Early on, Paul entered these epistles with declarations that built a wall to surround the three issues he wanted to confront. He surrounded them with teachings on Grace and how it works in the heart of the saints. These opening verses form a point of reference to be used in other parts of his treatise. As a matter of fact, Paul stacked one lesson atop another to build a wall of resistance to sin and error.
1 Corinthians 1:4
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,

1 Cor 1:5
you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,

1 Cor 1:6
even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, (witness and the spirit of prophesy)

1 Cor 1:7
you come short in no gift, ( including those of the Spirit)

1 Cor 1:7-9
eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is a fact: God's Grace does a mighty work in the heart of the true believer. When received with gladness and acted upon, it will produce a wall of defense and fill one with Holy Ghost power. Its source is Jesus (v.4). "What grace does" is methodically enumerated by Paul who knew by experience its works.

The Corinthians were "enriched in everything," with an overflowing of utterance and knowledge.
(Note: Think on this one statement.) Is this not what is needed among our impoverished, Spirit-starved, congregation? There needs to be a massive prayer for the works of Grace to fill hearts and to enrich in everything by Him. Grace-filled speech is different from theology-filled teaching.

Grace-propelled knowledge is exceedingly perceptive. (Think of the kind of Spirit knowledge that Peter experienced when he read the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira.) Lost to the modern church is this kind of Grace-Knowledge. (I was discussing with two missionaries, who were visiting in our home, this very issue. Where is the Spirit-knowledge that once characterized the saints at the turn of the last Century? They would get in the presence of someone and know their past and speak to their future. Grace enriched them in all utterance and knowledge. Their holiness prevailed against almost insurmountable odds [i.e.: John Lake, others].)

(Note: Take into your heart, I Cor. 1:6, 7.) Grace engendered prophecy cries out a different message than is heard in modern times. ("The testimony of Christ" is the Spirit of prophecy.) Paul lived this testimony. He perceived his ministry to have the inclusion of sacrifice and he precluded he must become, in all things, like Jesus. Paul came short in no gift (including all the gifts of the Spirit outlined in this epistle). He excelled in the gifts because of Grace. He knew, in order to multiply his witness, he must teach this to others.

Building upon what he wrote in Thessalonians (his epistle was circulated in Corinth), he declared that Grace is sufficient to bring them to the end and "confirm" them "blameless" in "that Day." Theirs was to be a true Grace-fellowship. Each should be able to see the Grace of God in the other.

Because the focus in this study is Grace and the passages that point to it, we will simply expound on each successive passage as it appears in Paul's treatise, while noting the growth of intensity in each expression It is one thing to declare a truth; it is another to emblazon it with hot imperatives.
1 Corinthians 3:10
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
(Note: Both Paul and Apollos had ministered effectively in Corinth, but because of pride and the spirit of elitism [expressed mainly among the Judaizers], there arose division among the congregants. I and II Corinthians, as a whole, continually addressed this and two other issues, while bringing together a mighty lesson about Grace.)

Always, in the background of Paul's teachings, is an awareness of his Damascus road experience. He was never far away from appreciating God's Grace which turned him from a Saul to a Paul. At this point, Paul settled forever one of the basic tenets of ministry. All ministry is because of God's grace and it is never a personality issue. (We can only hope TBN and others can grasp this truth.) Here, the Apostle gave his initial teaching on what would be a major expression in his future epistle to the Ephesians. Paul (and other apostles) laid a foundation that others would eventually build on. There is only one criterion for building on their foundation, "Take heed how you build on it." Grace-filled structure is all that will be tolerated. Wood and stubble will not be tolerated. (The straw men, who are seeking to build "their ministries" today, should take heed. How dare they approach the edifice of Grace with unclean motives?)

Personality cults are rampant today, as evidenced by smiling billboards and television/internet appeals. There is but one sermon to be broached for the local minister's gathering, "Take Heed, how you build, brethren!"

Fortunately, these next passages explain things even better.
1 Corinthians 3:21-23
21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours:
22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come - all are yours.
23 And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

1 Cor 4:14-16
I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.
15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
How many of you know these salient truths apply to today? Boasting in men and their agendas has become the rule of the day. (Many years ago a graduate Professor, Dr. M. B. Wade, said, "One can accomplish a great deal in this world, if one doesn't mind who gets the credit." Among today's leadership Dr. Wade would have few takers.)

Strangely enough, we now actually have ten thousand instructors in Christ, but we still have few fathers. Fathers care for their sons and daughters. They sacrifice themselves in order for their offsprings to have their expertise and knowledge. Encouragement and correction are their hallmarks. Such behavior costs and is the reason so few fathers exist!

However, in the next set of verses, we hear Paul render a self appraisal rarely heard from church leadership. Truly, great men of the gospel are rarely moved by accolades - they are moved by the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:9-11
For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
I thoroughly attest that Paul believed the grace of God to be the determinate factor in His life. It is the determinate factor in all our lives, and we need to talk about its work in us, until a church awakens to the kind of Grace the early disciples knew best. (Notice Paul's use of conjunctions) The conjunction, "but," usually changes everything that precedes its use. It was Grace working in Paul which moved him to love his fellows to the point of wishing himself anathema. It was Grace working in him which moved him across seas and into countries barely known by his generation. It was Grace working in him, which moved him to abandon himself and yield only to the Son of God, so his testimony rang out, "For me to live is Christ!"

This is what grace wishes to do with all of us: however, most of our stiff necked generation wants to rationalize Christianity to the point of oblivion. "What can WE accomplish" is spoken just before, "this is our agenda and plan." Paul abandoned his plans when the Spirit forbade. Paul went beyond physical capability to accomplish the mandate of, "Go ye." He never once considered himself. Grace does that for the man who testifies, "I am what I am, by the grace of God."

Paul wished his hearers to grasp "the whole picture." He wrote the following passage in light of that wish.
2 Corinthians 1:9-14
9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.
12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
13 For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end
14(as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.
The fragmented picture often given the church today needs the teaching of Paul in order for the whole picture to be seen. The Apostle urged the Corinthians to review his circulated writings (James and Matthew had been written by this time and was known among them, as well as Galatians, I, II Thessalonians and perhaps Romans). The church today needs to know the vastness of God's grace flowing toward mankind. They need to know the difference between Calvary Grace and the cheap grace often preached. True grace expresses itself in God's love and mercy. True Grace is the flowing of the river of life toward people ordained of God to be His sons. It was this kind of Grace that caused the apostle to pen Ephesians with its many affirmations about the intent of God toward mankind. No person can read Ephesians Chapter one apart from its sealed qualities.
Ephesians 1:13-14
You also believed, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
The vastness of the grace of God ought to be praised and honored and glorified among all of us every day and especially on the Lord's Day. Is this not the message found below?
2 Corinthians 4:13-15
And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed and therefore I spoke," we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
Paul now gives one of the greatest appeals of his ministry. It is aimed at the heart of the church which was rocked by sin and division. (If any preacher wishes to address the needs of the modern church, let him begin with the preaching of these verses. Clergy must cry out, "Do not receive the Grace of God in vain.")
2 Corinthians 5:17-7:1
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 6:1-18 (Be careful to re-read the first verse of this section
Note also the "by" passages and the "as" portions, then the bold note of Holiness.
We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you."
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.
But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purityby knowledgeby longsufferingby kindness,by the Holy Spiritby sincere loveby the word of truthby the power of Godby the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the leftby honor and dishonor,by evil report and good reportas deceivers, and yet trueas unknown, and yet well knownas dying, and behold we liveas chastened, and yet not killedas sorrowful, yet always rejoicingas poor, yet making many richas having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Be Holy O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.
Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people."
Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you."
'I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty."
In the passage above, I have underlined several principals that must be spoken universally to the church at large: the primary one is, "You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections." Another is the appeal to "Come out from among them," which was a great necessity for those living in Corinth. (It is of utmost importance today as well ... lest grace be received in vain.)

Next, Paul injected his famous "therefore," to call the church to order:
2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Oh, it is time for us to cleanse ourselves and perfect holiness, but Paul did not end his work at this point-he went further. He called upon the Corinthian brethren to exercise grace and expand their reach to others. (The needs of others will always be met by those to whom grace is a major factor in their life. I like to think that God's plan is to meet all need through others. It becomes circular and returns by one's needs being met via someone totally outside the realm of one's acquaintance.)

As Grace Gifts appear among the saints, sometimes it is expedient to review how those gifts operate in others and then desire for those same graces to work in us, in other words, "Grace calls one into greater Grace."
2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Now comes what I term the "Great Grace Parenthesis." It is as if Paul intentionally started this treatise with grace market and closed it with the same.
2 Corinthians 9:8-14
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written: "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever."
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.
(Those offering takers who use this text out of context had best repent. Yes, giving is a part of this passage, but its main theme is the grace of God is what provides us with abundance and exceeds our limited view of His great power to provide.)
2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Paul learned through a thorn in the flesh that God views His grace toward us to be all sufficient.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9
Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
What are you struggling with? His grace is sufficient. What is it for which you have need? His grace is sufficient. Yes, I know that sounds like glib advice, but we are challenged to learn more about His grace and the depth of its provision. Paul declared that his understanding of grace expanded and grew after this word came to him. Grace always causes us to grow.
2 Cor 13:9
And this also we pray, that you may be made complete.

2 Cor 13:11
Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete.
Paul's final word to the Corinthian church, and to all those who read his epistle, is "Be complete." Today, there is a sense of "undone-ness" and "loose-end living" prevailing in the "fractionalized church." Completeness seems an illusion, only answered by entering eternity. Not so! Completeness in Him is attainable now and should be the goal that ends aimless existence. Grace can bring all of us to the place of completeness even in this chaotic world.

Paul called for "completeness in the middle of a degraded, sexual licentious culture." He knew that Grace was sufficient to sustain and keep them and us from the evil one. Grace is still able. Grace to declare, "Nothing will separate us from the love of God, no matter to what extremes one may wish to test it."

Until Next Month,

Dr. C. R. Oliver, PhD

Additional Studies in I, II Corinthians.

Called to be Saints:
One of the great themes of Paul is "the calling of God (God-initiated salvation)." Paul also used the phrase, "us who are being saved," to remind us salvation is an ongoing interaction within us.
1 Cor 1:18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Cor 1:23-24
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The deep wisdom of God:
One thing can be said of the modern church, "it is shallow." It is greatly lacking in the deep wisdom the Spirit longs for it to walk in. Think of the rush of revelation that came to the early Disciples and their congregations. Think of how much "changed theology" they were offered and how quickly they received it. Congregations today are almost incapable of receiving these depths because of their spiritual walk and the amount of sin in the camp.
1 Cor 2:7
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory

1 Cor 2:10
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

1 Cor 2:12
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

1 Cor 4:1-2
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
(The stewardship of the mysteries is non-existent in most arenas.)

Jerusalem's Temple replaced by the temple-heart:
1 Cor 3:16-17
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
The matter of sin in the Camp:
In Corinth, among its citizens, there was such a large scale of accepted sexual behavior in the general society; no one was shocked when a brother was discovered to be taking his step mother to bed. Paul was forced to clarify his earlier teaching about "associating with immoral persons." He declared he was addressing the church, not the open society. His solution was disassociation with the person and the following remedy:
1 Cor 5:5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Paul continued to address sexual sin in the church with other remedies.
1 Cor 5:11-13
But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person.
12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."
The Apostle continued with the subject, after criticizing taking each other to public court and not handling matters within the house of the Lord (Courts are a common practice today, with divorce and greed what they are in the church.). Nonetheless, Paul left nothing to conjecture in the matter of immorality and sin.
1 Cor 6:9-10
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Cor 6:13
Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body

1 Cor 6:15-18
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!
16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh."
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
The major issue is, "Just how many of these Scriptures are we, 'the Bible believers,' willing to omit?"
Consider the recent debates about churches allowing homosexual membership and leadership. Consider the congregations (with their pastor's knowing sexual immorality prevails among many) which do nothing. Consider what must be a Christian's response to businesses that support the terminology known as, "diversity." What is the saints response to a merchandiser who openly supports gay rights? (Target Stores are raising $200,000 for the GLBT cause---shall you continue to enter those stores and purchase their merchandise, saying nothing to management or owner?) What about political parties that make a part of their platform homosexuality and pro-abortion. Is the saint licensed to vote for their candidates? (Anise Parker is an outspoken leader of the GLBT of Houston as mayor. When challenged by Pastor Steve Riggle (See his letter to Mayor Parker, below), most ministry leaders did not support him. Lakewood's pastor, Joel Osteen, actually stood on the platform at her inauguration and prayed a prayer of blessing on her.)
When a company chooses an openly gay actor or actress to promote their products, will the Christian continue to purchase those items? (Cover Girl Cosmetics is just one example.)
1 Cor 10:8
Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;
When entertainment enterprises promote a homosexual agenda, what is to be the saints response?
Review the following recent advertisement for a live theater production:
"Next Fall," August 22-September 15. Geoffrey Nauffts' comedy-drama depicts a gay couple's relationship, with a twist: One man is an atheist; the other, a devout Christian. It advanced to a Tony-nominated 2010 Broadway run after critical acclaim off-Broadway. The New York Times deemed it 'artful, thoughtful and very moving.'(Houston Chronicle, Aug. 5, 2012, Zest, p.H-9)

Tell me, "What is wrong with this picture?" If your reply is, "One should not be unequally yoked to a 'non-believer,'" then please email me immediately.

Letter to the Mayor of Houston: Annise Parker

Dear Mayor Parker,

I am writing on behalf of myself and as the Senior Pastor of Grace to express my deep disappointment in your recent public actions and statements that undermine the express will of the people of the State of Texas in regard to traditional marriage. As you are aware, we have declared by constitutional amendment that marriage is to be defined as between one man and one woman. While you are certainly entitled to your personal views and lifestyle that does not embrace traditional marriage (even if I happen to disagree with those views and I do), it is very disturbing to me when you make statements as an elected official that are contrary to what the people have decided should be the foundational values and definitions that define our culture.

I was deeply disturbed some months ago when a memo was circulated by an office connected to your office that titled your partner as the first lady of Houston. You should have corrected that since you know that title has been given only to the wife or husband of the mayor in the appropriate gender language.

At your swearing in, I heard you take your oath of office and swear to uphold the constitution of the State of Texas. To then, just a few weeks later, stand with other mayors and call for action regarding marriage that would violate the very constitution you were swearing to uphold is less than integral. In what I have seen, you were described not as citizen Annise Parker, but as Mayor Annise Parker. That says to me, you were speaking as our mayor.

I respectfully request that you not use your office or title to press your personal views and lifestyle on this subject that we, the people, have so clearly spoken. Additionally, as our mayor, I would request that you be true to the vow you took to uphold the constitution of the State of Texas and stand for traditional marriage since we, as the citizens of Texas, have expressed by amending our constitution that marriage will be defined as between one man and one woman.

Respectfully, if you cannot uphold the Texas constitution, then you should do the honorable thing and step down.

I do appreciate the commendation you have given Grace and our service to the social needs of the community as we continuously care for the least among us, and our hosting the services when a first responder falls in the line of duty. However, on the issue of marriage, I respectfully, but very strongly, stand in opposition to what seems to be your agenda. While we will continue to serve the needs of our city as we have done for many years, we will oppose your efforts to represent us as our mayor.

We, the fifteen thousand people of Grace, have always done our best to be supportive of our elected officials and to pray for them on a regular basis. Regretfully, while we will continue to pray for you, we will not support your actions or stand passively by and allow you to redefine what has always been the definition of marriage.

Dr. Steve Riggle
Senior Pastor
Grace Community Church

This is a copy of the letter sent to Annise Parker, by Pastor Steve Riggle. The Houston Chronicle ridiculed him for his stance. Slurs and slanders were made by many, who opposed his views. Few pastors stood with him.

The issue has been shoved aside by the community. It has not been shoved aside by God!
A Holy Church:
          Paul teaches many things in I, II Corinthians, but mainly he aims toward a holy body of believers. Although he touches on relationships within the church, they are to be holy ones. When he teaches about conduct in the market place or gives examples of Old Testament events, it is to promote holiness. Even in teaching about the Lord's Supper (Chapter 11) and the Spiritual gifts (Chapter 12), his message was about worthiness and holy living in order to be instruments of righteousness. The great Christian love chapter (Chapter 13) could not have been taught apart from setting straight the issues before it.

          When Paul addressed speaking in tongues (Chapter 14), it was for the edifying of the body of Christ. They are to build up spiritual holiness. That is still the goal. Regardless of the mass exodus from speaking in tongues by Charismatic and Pentecostal groups, it is still a foremost capstone for those seeking excellence in Him.
1 Cor 14:26
How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

(How long has it been since all of verse 26 was evidenced in your church or group? No one moves like this now; the fear is that things will get out of hand.)
(Author's note: I could continue and teach the entire book, but my readership is capable of reading and interpreting for themselves. However, the focus of my work on Grace is not to the dereliction of other truths.)

From the Mailbag:

Kenneth L., Houston, Texas
(Addendum to book order) These products are so important that Everyone, Everywhere, should use them Every day for the rest of their lives.

Elverne B., Elmira, Ontario, Canada
(After receiving his book order wrote) Having read Hudson Taylor's Union and Communion, I wanted to get into Solomon's Secret. I have read to page 33 with great profit ... ( He then references Leonard Ravenhill and the impact he had on his life when he spoke at a Spring Bible Conference, many year ago.) Comment: Ravenhill impacted my life as well, brother.

David W, Missionary, VOM

Thank you for helping us touch many lives in Latin America. We feel your love and Partnership. I send this with a prayer for your ministry. May Jesus bless you. Galatians 2:20

Julie J., Michigan
You would think, or at least I did, that there weren't that many people ready to hear the message of the Sons of Zadok - but Hallelujah! - I was wrong! May God's word continue to run very swiftly and perform its work in us who believe it!

Dan & Lisa, C.
Thank-You for adding us to your news letter list. I've watched your Sons of Zadok, and Song of Solomon, videos. They are both very good. We have done a very good Bible study on the Sons of Zadok, some time back, so your video really touched home with me. The clean, pure, holy, saint of the lord, fellowshipping in the Inner Court, to the Lord. 

Missions Report:

(Here is a report from a missionary in Mexico. His initials only are used to protect his identity.)

Hello everyone

I just want to take a minute and relate to everyone an incident that happened to me here in Mexico yesterday. The reason i am telling you this is to impress on you just how far things have gotten out of hand here, which, I believe, is merely a reflection of what is happening all over the world now days.

I was coming back to our mission base here yesterday from a trip to a city about 30 miles away from where i live here, driving a new 4x4 double cab pickup truck that a church in the United States had donated to the mission here. I was traveling alone as my wife and my son stayed at home yesterday. I had just entered the city limits of (City Name Withheld), the city where we live, when a white van got right on my bumper. It pulled up alongside me, swerved in front of me and ran me off the road. The car was full of people, and they piled out of their car with AK47 Assault rifles pointed at me. One of them came up to the driver side of my car and covered me with a rifle pointed at my head. 3 of them opened the back doors of the double cab pickup I was in and got in the back with a rifle pointed at the back of my head. One of them got in the front passenger side. The one in the front spoke English, and he said "We want your truck". I replied, "No problem, take the truck, just let me out and I will walk home". Then they said, "We want your money also". I opened my wallet and gave them all my money, which was about $150.00 dollars. Then the one in the front said, "Who are you, and what is your business in Mexico". I replied, "I am an American missionary" The one in the front said something to the ones in the back. They had radio communication with someone, and they started talking to someone on the radio, I didn´t understand what they were saying. Then they said, "We don´t rob missionaries", and they handed my money back to me and said ,"You are free to go."

This all happened in broad daylight, inside the city limits, with police cars driving by on the street up ahead of where I was. Mexico is descending into complete anarchy. The police have lost control of the situation completely, and I believe that what happened yesterday is merely a reflection of what is happening all over the world right now. If there was ever a time that Christians need to get their lives cleaned up and get in a right standing with God that time is now. I firmly believe that if Almighty God had not had his protective hand upon me I would be dead right now.

I have said all this in order to say this: The church has been praying for a corporate revival for years now, and for the most part nothing has happened. The time has come for the church to stop praying for a corporate revival, and begin praying for an individual revival. You know whether or not you need a revival in your life. If you are spiritually stale you need to get on your face before God and fast and pray until you get the spiritual revival that you so desperately need. Quit praying for a church wide revival and begin praying for a revival in your own life. Let me give you a warning brothers and sisters, what happened to me in Mexico yesterday is merely a reflection of what could happen to you at any moment at whatever part of the world you happen to live in. Get before God, and don't take no for an answer. Pray and fast until you get the revival that you need in your own personal life. Time is getting short.

Blessings from the Mexico brethren. RT

Barnabus Mam's New Book: A Must Read for those wanting a true picture of Cambodia and the man we support in building churches both there and surrounding areas.

Many of you have heard of Barnabus Mam, Regional Director in Asia for Ambassadors for Christ International. Some of you have heard him give his testimony when he has been in the states. This book chronicles his experiences in the Killing Fields era, but also shows his never failing faith in His heavenly father. In his last conversation with his earthly father, his Dad said, "Son, it looks like the Khmer Rouge will soon take over most of the country. As you know, they are opposed to all religions. If they destroy your church buildings and your Bible, if they disrobe your priests....if they dismantle it all, can you still worship your God?" Barnabas' answer was, "Dad, just like I've said before; Jesus is in my heart. I can worship Him anywhere. If everything is taken away, I will worship Him on the back of a water buffalo. I will worship Him in the branches of a tree. I will worship Him while rowing a boat. He is everywhere." That is a fitting question for every Christian today to answer in his/her heart.

Barnabas joined the Communist party as a teenager and was converted to Christ while spying on a Christian evangelistic meeting in the early 1970's. He was later arrested and sent to the Killing Fields where he spent four years in captivity. After his release, Barnabas was forced to flee the country and spend another eight years in a refugee camp in Thailand. After returning home, Barnabas helped rebuild the church in his native land. Over 400 churches have been planted in Cambodia since that time. This is the story of how one man's conversion led to a rebirth of faith that brought hope to a nation. This is a book about God's provision and sustaining grace in the most difficult of circumstances. It answers the question, "Why me, Lord?" Why did some survive when most perished? Why and how did the Killing Fields occur? It leaves the reader with hope, but also makes him realize that every nation's freedoms are very fragile--but God!

The book is available in the U.S. through

Ministry contact information!

          Zadok Publications
          P.O. Box 132874
          The Woodlands, Texas 77393

          (936) 230-3543

          On The Web:

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