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p. 23The point of contrast, therefore, is this, that in the ceremonial law there was a multitude of sacrifices day by day, and year by year, repeated; whereas in the new covenant there was but one, and that one effectual for ever. In the one there was multiplicity, in the other oneness; in the one unceasing repetition, in the other one final act, which set the whole at rest for ever. The contrast stands out so plainly that he may run that readeth it. Nay, more, it is written with that perfect clearness, and often-repeated statement, that I confess myself perfectly unable to comprehend how any person, reading these two chapters, with a real desire to discover the mind of the Spirit, can arrive at the conclusion that there can be any repetition of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ under any form whatever, or any supplementary work of any kind whatever to complete or fill up His one perfect sacrifice for sin..
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p. 11The wafer, therefore, or the piece of bread, is here said to be after consecration nothing less than a real, living Saviour, with body, soul, and divinity, to be worshipped with that holy, reverential worship which belongs exclusively to the God of heaven and earth, for that is the meaning of the word Latreia. There is something very awful in such a statement. It shows that there can be no peace with Rome鈥攏o compromise, no middle path. If they are right, we are awfully wrong. If we are right, they are guilty of idolatry. If all these pieces of bread are living Saviours, we have been terribly guilty in never worshipping any one of them; but if, on the other hand, they have remained bread still鈥攑lain, simple, unchanged bread鈥攖hen we have idolatry of the most unquestionable character when that bread is exalted by the priest for adoration, and men fall down and worship it as the living God..
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It follows, therefore, that the subject of the ministry is one respecting which it is of great importance that our views should be scriptural. And yet, for obvious reasons, it is one seldom preached upon. The great object of the servant of the Lord is to throw Self out of sight; and it is so hard to disconnect the office from the office p. 48bearer, that too little is often said about the office from the fear that too much attention should be drawn to the man. It will be well, therefore, for us to take the subject of the ministry for our careful study this morning. And may God enable me so to speak, and you so to hear, that we may all receive God鈥檚 word in faith, and may, together, be compacted as a holy people in the Lord!?
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II. This then being, I trust, clear, our next subject will be the object of the ministry; and this is taught very clearly in the words,鈥斺淭he p. 52ministry of reconciliation.鈥 The reconciliation of the sinner to God is the great result, to attain which God founded the ministry. The question has been raised whether, by the reconciliation here mentioned, is meant the reconciliation of God to the sinner, or the reconciliation of the sinner to God. Surely both are included. In our guilty and ruined condition there is a double enmity. Man, through his corruption, is at enmity with God; and God, through His righteousness, is at enmity with rebellious man. And as there is a double enmity through sin, so, likewise, is there a double reconciliation through Christ. God, His law being satisfied, is reconciled to the sinner; and the sinner, his heart being changed, is reconciled unto God.!
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III. But our third question still remains,鈥斺淚n what way, or by what means, is this great object to be attained?鈥 I am, of course, speaking of the human instruments, and not of the sovereign power of God the Holy Ghost, without whom nothing is strong, and nothing holy..
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I. On the authority of the ministry this text is perfectly clear; for the Apostle traces it to no human source when he says, 鈥淎ll things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.鈥 The ministry, therefore, is a gift from God, and not a plan of human contrivance. It is not an arrangement adopted p. 49by the great Christian society as a means for its own improvement, but it is an institution by the authority of the Founder of that society, God Himself. Both the office and the men are gifts from God. In this passage he speaks of the office, and says, 鈥淕od hath given us the ministry of reconciliation;鈥 and in v. 19, 鈥渉ath committed to us the word of reconciliation.鈥 The men, therefore, received their office from their God. Just so he said to Archippus (Col. iv. 17), 鈥淭ake heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.鈥 But perhaps the most striking passage on this subject is St. Paul鈥檚 address to the elders of the Church of Ephesus, in Acts, xx. 28; for he there teaches not merely that the ministry in general was given to these elders, but that they had been made by the Holy Ghost overseers of that particular people amongst whom they were called to labour. 鈥淭ake heed, therefore, unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.鈥 Now, bear in mind that these persons were not apostles, nor persons holding any extraordinary office, as some did in those early days, but ordinary p. 50clergymen; some, probably, ordained by St. Paul himself, and some by Timothy, appointed to labour together amongst the rapidly increasing church in the large heathen town; and mark well the fact, that the Apostle does not say, 鈥淭o which I appointed you,鈥 or 鈥渢o which Timothy appointed you,鈥 but he regards the appointment as from God Himself, and says, 鈥淲hereof the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.鈥
In Matt. xxvi. 29, our Lord calls the wine the fruit of the vine after consecration.
3. That this sacrifice is a sacrifice of propitiation for sin. There is a sacrifice of self-dedication, which every loving heart is required to offer: as in the words after the Lord鈥檚 Supper,鈥斺淗ere we offer and present unto Thee ourselves, out souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto Thee.鈥 But in that case the offering is ourselves, and the motive is not propitiation, but dedication. According to the teaching of Rome the offering is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the object is to make a propitiation for sin.
21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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