The Parable of the Pig and the Puddle

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a farmer’s son who was raising a pig for a 4-H project. Fair time was approaching fast, and Pete (the boy) was having a hard time keeping his pet clean. As all pigs are wont to do, it would instinctively investigate every mud puddle that it happened upon—even immediately after Pete had given him a good scrubbing with firm instructions to stay clean!

Pete knew that he stood no chance of winning the blue ribbon if he took a dirty pig to the show. But try as he might, he could not get his pig to keep himself clean once he had been given a thorough scrubbing. Pete’s only place to keep his pig was in a pen in which one corner stayed dry, but 90% of the pen was a mud hole—much to the pig’s great delight!

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The Spiritual Resurrection (Part 2)

Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ep. 5:14

 

Resurrection

Introduction to Part 2

The previous issue carried a sermon by Menno Simons on the new birth. Originally, the plan was to use a short excerpt of that sermon, but it was such a thorough article that we went ahead and published the whole thing. Now, in Part 2, we want to continue the original aim of providing an overview of the Anabaptist teaching on being born again.

We are surrounded by voices claiming to be born again. As mentioned in the last issue, over 40% of the USA claims to be born again. But ... where are the fruits?

The sad part is that many people claiming a new birth are accepting something less than the real thing—a counterfeit. As you read these small excerpts, notice words like “character,” “nature,” and “creature” ... all connected with another very important word–“NEW”!

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The Spiritual Resurrection

Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ep. 5:14

Resurrection

Introduction

The following article is a sermon by Menno Simons, an early Anabaptist minister. Due to his influential leadership, the Anabaptist congregations in northern continental Europe came to be called Mennonites. I am sure Menno would have detested the thought of naming churches after him, but the name stuck. By the time some of the Swiss Brethren immigrated to North America in the early 1700s, the name “Mennonite” had become attached to them also. Most of the immigrants to Pennsylvania were actually Swiss Brethren, not Dutch “Mennonites.”

In the USA, over forty percent of the general population claims to be “born again.” Read this article, and then try to imagine a society with forty percent living it out! On the other hand, some of today’s “Anabaptists” almost deny that a new birth is necessary. This article provides a clear teaching on the subject.

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ON THE BUILDING OF BATTLEMENTS

Battlement

Tucked away in the middle of the Mosaic Law is, of all things, the following building code:

When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence. De. 22:8

Now we know that the letter of the Law is not meant for the New Testament believer, but we understand that from its principle we can gain an insight into the Kingdom of God. Thus, from the prohibition of plowing with an ox and a donkey—just two verses below our text—Paul could admonish us to not be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” From another Mosaic precept, he instructs us that “muzzle not the ox that treadeth out the corn” means that we should materially support those who are laboring in the spread of the Gospel.

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Words We Speak

Women talking

A meditation based on Proverbs 25


This morning in our family devotions time we read Proverbs 25. I was impressed with how much the Bible has to say about our words. It has plenty of warnings against sharp words, as well as encouragements to say the right word at the right time.

The words we speak are important. We can change many things by the words we say. A child learns early on how to persuade his parents to allow him a favor. An attorney chooses his words carefully to persuade the judge to decide in favor of his client.

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The Christian’s Bill of Rights

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Thus reads the preamble of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. But how reads the preamble of the “Consitution of the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Certainly, all men are equal. And equally certain is the fact that all citizens of the kingdom of heaven have rights, even while living as foreigners on planet earth.

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Made Alive by the Blood

Blood sacrificeYou may have seen one of those bumper stickers that says “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” I don’t know about you, but those bumper stickers sadden me.

From all appearances, we have been suckered into believing that the central theme of the Gospel is forgiveness of sins. Just ask ten people what the whole essence of Christ’s coming can be summed up in, and at least nine out of those ten people will probably blurt out: “For the forgiveness of our sins!” To refocus our attention, in this article I would like to put our magnifying glass over the blood of the Lamb.

The bloody religion

Christianity is a bloody religion, no doubt about it. Yet the very essence and reason it is bloody is often grossly misunderstood. For example, let’s start by asking the “silly” question, “What is the blood?” Simple, right? Yet, I am afraid we may have missed an important point by not stopping to ponder on verses such as Deuteronomy 12:23: “Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.”

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