Introduction to the Epistles

So far, we have discussed the historical section of the New Testament, namely the Gospels and Acts. We now turn our attention to the epistles, which could be termed the doctrinal section. Of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, twenty-one are in the form of letters. Each writer, though inspired by the Spirit, leaves the impress of his own personality on his writings. For instance:

- Paul is the apostle of faith.

- Peter is the apostle of hope.

- John is the apostle of love.

- James is the apostle of works.

- Jude is the apostle of vigilance.


The New Testament is broken up into three groups of writings.

1. Nine Christian Church epistles (Romans – II Thessalonians)

Chapter Five: Sanctification

In the first chapter of I Corinthians, verse 30, there are some words that I wish to use as a starting point for our consideration of another great word of the gospel.

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

It is that word “sanctification” which I desire to emphasize. It is a wonderful thing to know the blessedness of regeneration, to realize that we are saved through an accomplished redemption, to be assured of our justification; and then that leads us on to ask, “What is meant by the believer’s sanctification?”

There are a great many different ideas prevalent among evangelical Christians as to the real meaning of the term “sanctification.” Some take it to refer to a very definite second work of grace, as they put it, whereby the one who has already been justified is later on, by making a complete surrender of himself to the will of the Lord, completely delivered from indwelling sin, his whole nature cleansed from indwelling sin, so that he no longer has any inward tendency to evil to hinder him in his Christian life.

Then there are others who, while refusing that view, have the idea that sanctification is the gradual improvement of the old nature, bringing it eventually into full harmony with God. I think, as we turn to various scriptures, we shall see that neither of these views is set forth in the Word of God, but that sanctification is something very different from either of them.

Grace and Holiness

Thank God we are under grace. But does this blessed fact weaken in any way the truth that “Holiness becometh God’s house forever?” Has it ceased to be true that “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of His saints; and to be held in reverence of all those who are about Him?” Is the standard of holiness lower for the Church of God now than it was for Israel of old? Has it ceased to be true that “our God is a consuming fire.” Is evil to be t...

Sanctification: What is it?

Sanctification: What is it? C. H. Mackintosh. To minister peace and comfort to those who, though truly converted, have not laid hold of a full Christ, and who, as a consequence, are not enjoying the liberty of the gospel, is the object we have in view in considering the important and deeply-interesting subject of sanctification. We believe that very many of those, whose spiritual welfare we desire to promote, suffer materially from defective, or erroneous, ideas on this vital question. Indee...

From Gaza to Glory (Acts 8)

 “From Gaza to Glory”


Acts 8:26-40


Here is an exciting account of the salvation of a man who while traveling on the road to Gaza became a traveler on the road to Glory.

1.  The Worth of A Soul (v.26)

God sent His servant Philip into the desert for the sake of one individual whose heart had been prepared by the Lord.


2. The Witness of A Servant  (vv. 27-30)

Philip unlike Jonah “arose and went” in prompt obedience to the Lord. Leaving the success of a fruitful ministry in the north, Philip ventured into the isolated wilderness and quickly drew near the eunuch, unconcerned about this man’s great authority and aware of the brief window of opportunity to reach this man with the Gospel. Unashamedly, he engaged the eunuch in spiritual conversation asking him a question that exposed his ignorance and opened the door of opportunity to witness. Not silent, Philip preached Jesus to him as he done to the crowds in Samaria. (v. 5) Philip — good in personal and mass evangelism alike.


How Big Are the Little Things!

It has often been said, "Big things come in small packages." The meaning of this familiar adage is quite clear - though something may be small in size, its importance may be far greater than we think. Periodically, Christians need to be reminded of this important principle in their walk with the Lord. Repeatedly, the Scriptures emphasize how important "little things" are in the lives of God's people - each example filled with meaning.


When Israel returned from their seventy-year captivity in Babylon, they needed to be reminded of the importance of "little things." Under the leadership of Zerubbabel, work immediately commenced to restore the temple in Jerusalem which lay in ruins. When it was completed, it proved to be significantly less impressive than the one previously built by Solomon. God had to remind His people through Zechariah not to despise "the day of small things" (Zech. 4:10) Encouraging them, He declared: "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former" (Hagg. 2:9). Though it was smaller, God promised that its glory would be greater.

It has been through this text that the hearts of many of God's children have been greatly encouraged through the years, especially those who have wandered from the Lord. Like the Prodigal Son, they doubted if they would ever be welcomed back into their Father's favor or be useful to Him again. Discouraged and disheartened about their own unfaithfulness, they have felt that their testimony was forever ruined.


The Day of Christ and the Day of the Lord

A number of references are made in the NT to the Day of Christ or the Day of the Lord Jesus. The Apostle Paul, seeking to encourage the Philippian Christians, stated in Phil. 1:6: “Being confident of this very thing that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” He would go on to exhort them to “approve the things that are excellent that ye might be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” (v. 10). Later in this same epistle, Paul stated that he hoped they would hold forth the Word of life so that he might rejoice in the day of Christ, so that he would not have run in vain neither labored in vain. (2:16) Likewise, to the Corinthian assembly — an assembly known for it’s blatant carnality, he could positively affirm the sanctifying work that the Lord would ultimately accomplish in their lives when he reminded them: “He shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 1:8)


Finishing the Course (Act 20:24)

Understanding and Appreciating the Trials and
Triumphs of the Shepherds of the Flock


Mark Kolchin


During his third missionary journey the Apostle Paul stopped to bid a brief, but poignant farewell to the Ephesian elders. (Acts 20:17-38) The tearful parting on the shores of the Mediterranean was the dramatic culmination of a stirring address that he gave regarding their labors for the Master. His plan had been to sail past Ephesus in order to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost and the opportunities that it provided for the Gospel. But being so close to the city where he had spent nearly three years establishing and strengthening the assembly, it was hard for him not to make a contact. While at Miletus he called for the elders of the church and gave them his own testimony of the toils and tears expended for the sake of the Gospel. Testifying how he had not shunned to declare unto them the whole counsel of God, he charged them to take heed to themselves and to the solemn responsibilities entrusted to them by the Lord. The address that he gave and the example that he exhibited not only provides elders today with a valuable blueprint for shepherding the flock, but it also gives the saints a unique perspective into the arduous, yet often unappreciated work of the oversight.


The Hacking of Agag (1 Sam. 15)

"The Hacking of Agag"
1 Sam 15
Mark Kolchin
It would have appeared after Saul's return from his battle with the Amalekites (1 Sam 15) that his victory over them was complete and decisive. Charged by God to utterly destroy these perennial enemies (v. 2), he launched a successful military campaign against them and defeated these foes with the edge of the sword.  Although he had decimated their ranks, Saul had not completely destroyed them but had spared Agag their king and the best of the flocks.  Everything else—that which as "despised and worthless"—he did away with (v. 9).  In many respects, it was an overwhelming victory.  But because Saul had not fully obeyed the Lord, God sent Samuel to confront him for his lack of obedience.  When Samuel encountered Saul in Gilgal, he had just come from Carmel where he had erected a monument—a memorial to himself to glory in his "victory".  Self-assured, he declared to Samuel with an air of confidence that he had performed the "commandment of the Lord" (v. 13).  But Samuel was not swayed.  Bolding exposing Saul's incomplete obedience, he declared the dire consequences of disregarding the command of the Lord.  He asked the penetrating question: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord?"  Not waiting for a response, he sounded forth the truth "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed than the fat of rams." (v.

Am I Teachable?

The words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy are telling: "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Tim 4:12). Apparently, Paul had reason to believe that there might be some who because of their advanced years would be reluctant to be taught by someone younger in the faith. Anticipating this, he admonishes his son in the faith to be an example to believers in more than just words, but in qualities befitting a servant of the Lord. The snare of thinking that we are beyond the point of teachability—for whatever reason—is a trap that can easily snag any of us. Perhaps it is because we have been a Christian for many years that we bristle at the thought of being corrected by someone other than ourselves. Or maybe because of those we associate with that we feel we are beyond instruction in a certain issue. Or maybe it is just a matter of simply refusing to admit that we are wrong—a lack of biblical understanding (and an abundance of spiritual pride!). For whatever reason, the excuses for not having an openness of heart and an attitude that is "easy to be entreated" (James 3:17) are difficult to justify in the light of Scripture—even though we may not be conscious of harboring these attitudes. The Bible is replete with examples of those who thought they were beyond teachability. The Pharisees scolded the man born blind who, after receiving his sight extolled the One who had opened his eyes. His clarion testimony only served to infuriate the proud Pharisees. Incensed, they chided "Thou wast altogether born in sins, dost thou teach us?" (v. 34).

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