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The Wednesday Word: Who Killed Jesus?

Many people say that the Jews killed Jesus but is that true? If the only evidence on the matter were Acts 2:23, one however, would indeed be led to believe in their total responsibility. In that verse, Peter tells his Jewish audience, in no uncertain terms, that they were guilty of slaying the Son of God. So then is it true, that the Jews killed the Lord Christ? Mmmm!! Maybe not! Consider this, no actual Jewish person nailed His hands and feet to the cross. No Jewish soldiers whipped Him and crowned His lovely head with thorns. So why then did Peter say it was the Jews who took Christ, and by wicked hands crucified and slew Him? The answer is this, Peter, under divine influence, imputed the crime of Christ’s death to them. The grizzled bearded leaders of Israel had planned and schemed for Christ’s death, and now the nation itself was reckoned as being guilty of having committed the vulgar and violent crime. Guilt was imputed and reckoned to them because of the actions of others.

This matter of imputation is a serious business and not, as some suggest, a legal fiction. The Jews were guilty, by imputation, and treated as such by God. We also know that although the Jews plotted and planned His death, they did not physically kill Jesus. They couldn’t! Why not? Because Jesus, speaking of His life, plainly said, “No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18). The Lord’s death was His own doing! His life was not taken by any man or group of men!

In Hebrews 7:27 we read that Christ offered himself as a sacrifice. In other words, Jesus, as it were, placed Himself on the sacrificial altar. He was not a helpless martyr reluctantly pulled along by crushing events. He was the Sovereign Lord in charge of all that happened. He was the master and commander of His destiny. Although Pilate sent Him to the cross, Pilate was not the one who killed Him. Guilty as Caiaphas may have been, he did not slaughter the Christ. Christ Himself moved history towards Calvary and there as our High Priest offered Himself as a perfect, sinless sacrifice without blemish.

Do you see His sovereignty here? Let me explain. Unless the Lord returns in our lifetime, we will all die. That’s just the way it is. When the shrouded figure of death points his icy finger at us, we cannot resist. We are powerless against him. Yet Christ went to the cross and chose the very moment of death. Death was not His master. He chose not to die until He was good and ready. We, on the other hand, are powerless against death. Ecclesiastes 8:8 points out, “There is no man that has power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither has he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war;” …. but this scripture is not true of Jesus. He was the only one who ever lived who had the authority and ability to lay down His life (John 10:18). At the precise second, at the fixed moment of His choosing. He humbled Himself unto death (Philippians 2:8) and voluntarily dismissed His spirit (John 19:30).

Jesus chose the exact moment of His death. The truth is; He need never have died — even on the Cross. He had the power to sustain His life had He wished to (John 5:26). But His earthly life was one of voluntarily relinquishing His divine prerogatives. His 33 years here were ones of loving identification with His people. When the redemption of His sheep was complete, and not until then, did the Great Shepherd, as an act of His free-will, bow his head to death.

Hallelujah! What a Saviour

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

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The Wednesday Word: Saved to the Uttermost: Part 2

‘Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.”—Hebrews 7:25.

Here is some excellent news; Christ Jesus, our great High Priest, has been entrusted with full authority and power to save all for whom He died. He is able to save to the uttermost. Many a doctor has wanted to save a patient, but has not been capable of doing so. Many parents have been willing to transfer the suffering of their child to themselves, but were unable to. The will was there, but there was no ability. Do we think Christ is like that?

Here’s the gospel truth; the Lord Jesus is not merely willing to save; He doesn’t just try to save or do His best to save, but He actually saves to the uttermost all who come to God by Him.

Christ Jesus succeeds where everyone else fails! He saves to the uttermost. He saves with an all-sufficient omnipotence. He takes us at our worst and saves us completely … or as one old-time Irish preacher used to say, “He saves us from the guttermost to the uttermost.”

Because He saves to the uttermost, He sacrificed Himself on Calvary. Because He saves to the uttermost, He made full satisfaction for our sins. Because He saves to the uttermost, He intercepted the wrath of God which was headed straight at us. Because He saves to the uttermost, He rose from the grave. Because He saves to the uttermost, He ascended into Heaven. Because He saves to the uttermost, He now makes constant intercession for us.

 

He is the Great High priest who saves to the uttermost.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of guilt.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of condemnation.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of damnation.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of death.

He is able to save to the uttermost!

 

What a staggering gospel. At the cross, Christ was the victim, at the resurrection He was the victor. Christ died, Christ has risen, Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father and ever lives to make intercession for us (Romans 8:34). He saves to the uttermost! Having obtained eternal redemption for us at Calvary, He now applies the blessings of His accomplishments from the Holy of Holies. He is alive with the power of an endless life and thus guarantees that we will realize the full benefits and blessings of His sacrifice. He ever-lives and because of that endless life we have the pledge that we will be saved to the uttermost by Him.

As the Hymn writer wrote,

 

“Five bleeding wounds He bears, received on Calvary;

They pour effectual prayers they strongly plead for me;

“Forgive Him O forgive,” they cry,

“That ransomed sinner must not die.”

 

Christ saves all who come to God by Him. He saves completely with an exhaustive, all-encompassing salvation. The Christ of the cross is now the High Priest and King of Heaven. He is perfectly suited to those who cannot save themselves because He is able to save to the uttermost. Christ Jesus died on the cross, but unlike the priests of the Old Covenant, his death did not signal a cessation of His ministry. Christ Jesus rose from the dead and entered glory as our great High Priest. In Him, we are presented before the Father. He is the guarantee that we will never perish. He saves to the uttermost!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

www.milesmckee.com 

We are currently in the United States, preaching Christ Crucified, and telling people of our growing gospel work in Ireland, the UK and other areas. We are asking Lord to raise up additional partners to join with us in our on-going gospel crusade. Please pray that we find more people to stand with us financially.

Feel free to forward the Wednesday Word to your friends and family. Also, feel free to, without changing the content, post or blog etc this material. 

The Wednesday Word: Saved to the Uttermost

The Wednesday Word: Saved to the Uttermost

 

‘Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.”—Hebrews 7:25.

One of the biggest words in our language is the word, “Uttermost.” It has been said that, ‘no one has ever seen the uttermost nor travelled there. We have mapped the earth, pinpointed the stars and measured the distances between the planets, but in spite of all our learning and knowledge no one has ever located the uttermost!’

The uttermost is like the horizon; it’s always further on. Our understanding of God’s love is like that. Just when we think we have begun to understand it, we see that He loves us to an even deeper degree than we have yet imagined. He loves us to the uttermost! We read in John 13:1, “Having loved his own he loved them to the end (literally, to the uttermost). His love is always greater than we can fathom. He has lavished His amazing love upon us yet, in our experience, its fullest extent, the uttermost, is always farther on.

When we look at Christ’s incarnation and life on our behalf, we glimpse a measure of His love for us, but we are so spiritually dull that it remains only a glimpse. When we look at the cross we continue to receive a sight of His love, but again we can’t grasp its fullest extent because the complete appreciation of His love is always further on. We are loved to the uttermost, but we have not yet arrived there in our understanding. Much as we grasp the wonderful things of the gospel, we are faced with a love that is greater than our comprehension, a love that is always further on. It’s a love to the uttermost!

Notice how in Hebrews 7:25 that we have a Saviour who not only loves us to the uttermost, but who also saves to the uttermost. I’m not sure why some people insist that Jesus can save us and then lose us for the Scripture is clear …He saves us to the uttermost. He has wonderfully accomplished our salvation and now, as our ever-living High Priest, He richly applies that same salvation to His blood bought possession.

 

He is able to save to the uttermost!

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He did not save himself (Luke 23:35).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He died as though he were us (Galatians 2:20).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He loved us and paid for us with His blood (Revelation 5:9).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He has an endless priesthood (Hebrews 7:15-17).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because He appears in Heaven for us (Hebrews 9:24).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because, as He appears in Heaven, He presents Himself with His blood (Hebrews 9:12).

He is able to save us to the uttermost for He is applying the blessings of eternal redemption to us (Hebrews 9:12-15).

He is able to save us to the uttermost because he ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).

 

That same Priest, who died on the cross, is alive never to die again. That same Jesus, who was buried in the tomb, is risen. He ever lives to ensure that His purchase is saved to the uttermost. He alone, plus nothing, is our salvation, and we rest our faith on Him alone. He is the crucified and risen Lord, the Master of all. He alone is our ever-living High Priest who saves to the uttermost.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

The Grace Centre

6 Quay Street, New Ross,

County Wexford, Ireland.

www.milesmckee.com 

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Some men were, from all eternity, ordained to continue in their natural blindness, hardness of heart, etc.

Chapter IV

OF REPROBATION OR PREDESTINATION AS IT RESPECTS THE UNGODLY.

FROM what has been said in the preceding chapter concerning the election of some, it would unavoidably follow, even supposing the Scriptures had been silent about it, that there must be a rejection of others, as every choice does, most evidently and necessarily, imply a refusal, for where there is no leaving out there can be no choice. But beside the testimony of reason, the Divine Word is full and express to our purpose; it frequently, and in terms too clear to be misunderstood, and too strong to be evaded by any who are not proof against the most cogent evidence, attests this tremendous truth, that some are “of old fore-ordained to condemnation.” I shall, in the discussion of this awful subject, follow the method hitherto observed, and throw what I have to say into several distinct positions supported by Scripture.

POSITION 2. -Some men were, from all eternity, not only negatively excepted from a participation of Christ and His salvation, but positively ordained to continue in their natural blindness, hardness of heart, etc., and that the just judgment of God. (See Exodus 9:1Sa 2:25; 2Sa 17:14; Isa 6:9-11; 2Th 2:11,12.) Nor can these places of Scripture, with many others of like import, be understood of an involuntary permission on the part of God, as if God barely suffered it to be so, quasi invitus, as it were by constraint, and against His will, for He permits nothing which He did not resolve and determine to permit. His permission is a positive, determinate act of His will, as Augustine, Luther and Bucer justly observe. Therefore, if it be the will of God in time to permit such and such men to continue in their natural state of ignorance and corruption, the natural consequence of which is their falling into such and such sins (observe God does not force them into sin, their actual disobedience being only the consequence of their not having that grace which God is not obliged to grant them)-I say, if it be the will of God thus to leave them in time (and we must deny demonstration itself, even known absolute matter of fact, if we deny that some are so left), then it must have been the Divine intention from all eternity so to leave them, since, as we have already had occasion to observe, no new will can possibly arise in the mind of God. We see that evil men actually are suffered to go on adding sin to sin, and if it be not inconsistent with the sacred attributes actually to permit this, it could not possibly be inconsistent with them to decree that permission before the foundations of the world were laid.

Thus God efficaciously permitted (having so decreed) the Jews to be, in effect, the crucifiers of Christ, and Judas to betray Him (Acts 4:27,28; Mat 26:23,24). Hence we find St. Augustine* speaking thus: “Judas was chosen, but it was to do a most execrable deed, that thereby the death of Christ, and the adorable work of redemption by Him, might be accomplished. When therefore we hear our Lord say, ‘Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ we must understand it thus, that the eleven were chosen in mercy, but Judas in judgment; they were chosen to partake of Christ’s kingdom; he was chosen and pitched upon to betray Him and be the means of shedding His blood.”

* De Corr. and Grat. cap. 7.

Jerome Zanchius-The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted-Translated by Augustus Montague Toplady

CHAPTER II-IX

September 12, 2013 Leave a comment

THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS

IX. The Ninth Persecution Under Aurelian, AD 274

The principal sufferers were: Felix, bishop of Rome. This prelate was advanced to the Roman see in 274. He was the first martyr to Aurelian’s petulancy, being beheaded on the twenty-second of December, in the same year.

Agapetus, a young gentleman, who sold his estate, and gave the money to the poor, was seized as a Christian, tortured, and then beheaded at Praeneste, a city within a day’s journey of Rome.

These are the only martyrs left upon record during this reign, as it was soon put to a stop by the emperor’s being murdered by his own domestics, at Byzantium.

Aurelian was succeeded by Tacitus, who was followed by Probus, as the latter was by Carus: this emperor being killed by a thunder storm, his sons, Carnious and Numerian, succeeded him, and during all these reigns the Church had peace.

Diocletian mounted the imperial throne, AD 284; at first he showed great favor to the Christians. In the year 286, he associated Maximian with him in the empire; and some Christians were put to death before any general persecution broke out. Among these were Felician and Primus, two brothers.

Marcus and Marcellianus were twins, natives of Rome, and of noble descent. Their parents were heathens, but the tutors, to whom the education of the children was entrusted, brought them up as Christians. Their constancy at length subdued those who wished them to become pagans, and their parents and whole family became converts to a faith they had before reprobated. They were martyred by being tied to posts, and having their feet pierced with nails. After remaining in this situation for a day and a night, their sufferings were put an end to by thrusting lances through their bodies. Zoe, the wife of the jailer, who had the care of the before-mentioned martyrs, was also converted by them, and hung upon a tree, with a fire of straw lighted under her. When her body was taken down, it was thrown into a river, with a. large stone tied to it, in order to sink it.

In the year of Christ 286, a most remarkable affair occurred; legion of soldiers, consisting of six thousand six hundred and sixty-six men, contained none but Christians. This legion was called the Theban Legion, because the men had been raised in Thebias: they were quartered in the east until the emperor Maximian ordered them to march to Gaul, to assist him against the rebels of Burgundy. They passed the Alps into Gaul, under the command of Mauritius, Candidus, and Exupernis, their worthy commanders, and at length joined the emperor. Maximian, about this time, ordered a general sacrifice, at which the whole army was to assist; and like-wise he commanded that they should take the oath of allegiance and swear, at the same time, to assist in the extirpation of Christianity in Gaul. Alarmed at these orders, each individual of the Theban Legion absolutely refused either to sacrifice or take the oaths prescribed. This so greatly enraged Maximian, that he ordered the legion to be decimated, that is, every tenth man to be selected from the rest, and put to the sword. This bloody order having been put in execution, those who remained alive were still inflexible, when a second decimation took place, and every tenth man of those living was put to death. This second severity made no more impression than the first had done; the soldiers preserved their fortitude and their principles, but by the advice of their officers they drew up a loyal remonstrance to the emperor. This, it might have been presumed, would have softened the emperor, but it had a contrary effect: for, enraged at their perseverance and unanimity, he commanded that the whole legion should he put to death, which was accordingly executed by the other troops, who cut them to pieces with their swords, September 22, 286.

Alban, from whom St. Alban’s, in Hertfordshire, received its name, was the first British martyr. Great Britain had received the Gospel of Christ from Lucius, the first Christian king, but did not suffer from the rage of persecution for many years after. He was originally a pagan, but converted by a Christian ecclesiastic, named Amphibalus, whom he sheltered on account of his religion. The enemies of Amphibalus, having intelligence of the place where he was secreted, came to the house of Alban; in order to facilitate his escape, when the soldiers came, he offered himself up as the person they were seeking for. The deceit being detected, the governor ordered him to be scourged, and then he was sentenced to be beheaded, June 22, AD 287.

The venerable Bede assures us, that, upon this occasion, the executioner suddenly became a convert to Christianity, and entreated permission to die for Alban, or with him. Obtaining the latter request they were beheaded by a soldier, who voluntarily undertook the task of executioner. This happened on the twenty-second of June, AD 287, at Verulam, now St. Alban’s, in Hertfordshire, where a magnificent church was erected to his memory about the time of Constantine the Great. The edifice, being destroyed in the Saxon wars, was rebuilt by Offa, king of Mercia and a monastery erected adjoining to it, some remains of which are still visable are still visible, and the church is a noble Gothic structure.

Faith, a Christian female, of Acquitain, in France, was ordered to be broiled upon a gridiron, and then beheaded; AD 287.

Quintin was a Christian, and a native of Rome, but determined to attempt the propagation of the Gospel in Gaul, with one Lucian they preached together in Amiens; after which Lucian went to Beaumaris, where he was martyred. Quintin remained in Picardy, and was very zealous in his ministry. Being seized upon as a Christian he was stretched with pulleys until his joints were dislocated; his body was then torn with wire scourges, and boiling oil and pitch poured on his naked flesh; lighted torches were applied to his sides and armpits; and after he had been thus tortured, he was remanded back to prison, and died of the barbarities he had suffered, October 31, AD 287. His body was sunk in the Somme.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

CHAPTER I-XII

HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRS TO THE FIRST GENERAL PERSECUTIONS UNDER NERO

XII. Bartholomew

Preached in several countries, and having translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

CHAPTER I-XI

HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MARTYRS TO THE FIRST GENERAL PERSECUTIONS UNDER NERO

XI. Jude

The brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa, AD 72.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs