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Ephesians 4:30

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Ephesians 4:30

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.


EXHORTATION:

Christians are exhorted here not to act in a way that would cause the Holy Spirit to be sorrowful. The word “grief” denotes pain or sadness felt in the heart of someone who deeply loves another. This is a reminder that we should always seek to please the Holy Spirit, who so affectionately and assiduously works in us.

The apostle Paul has mentioned the Holy Spirit about a dozen times in his epistle to the Ephesians, in connection with what He does for Christians. The Spirit of God has been at work within us to impart spiritual life, and to sanctify, strengthen, secure us for the Lord. By the Spirit, we are sealed unto the day of redemption (1:13; 4:30). He is “the spirit of wisdom and revelation” that gives us the knowledge of the Lord (1:17; 3:5). It is by the Spirit that we have access unto the Father through Jesus Christ (2:18). Through the Spirit, believers are built “together for an habitation of God” (2:22). We are strengthened with might in the inner man by His Spirit (3:16). The Holy Spirit helps us to keep the unity of the church in the bond of peace (4:3, 4). He fills us that we may sing and give thanks unto the Lord (5:18ff). He equips us with the Sword of the Spirit (6:17), and aids us in our prayers (6:18). When the Holy Spirit does all these and so much more to guide, empower and preserve us, how can we grieve Him?

Let us be cautious of our conduct lest we grieve and pain the blessed Spirit of God who dwells within us. An attitude of ingratitude and sin certainly would sadden Him. Paul had already warned in this epistle against theft, falsehood, anger, unwholesome words, etc. Our open and gross sins will grieve the Holy Spirit. Our carnal thoughts and desires will grieve Him. The Spirit of God is pure, ever working to create within us virtuous passions and goals. So, how can we expect Him to dwell in our soul if it is filled with desires and thoughts that are abominable to Him?

The words of Paul remind us of the prophet Isaiah’s words, “But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit” (Isaiah 63:10). Let us not vex the Holy Spirit if we are genuinely thankful that He has “sealed” us for the final “day of redemption”. To seal the soul unto the day of redemption is to make our salvation sure. The only appropriate conduct in view of all that the Holy Spirit does for us is that we yield ourselves to please Him.

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Ephesians 4:29b

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Ephesians 4:29b

29b But that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.


EXHORTATION:

Immediately after prohibiting corrupt communication, Paul encourages good speech. He advises Christians to see that their words are wellchosen, to the extent that they edify others. The conversation of Christians should be honourable and beneficial, so that it edifies, rather than harms or destroys others.

Speech is a special gift from God. We must use it as His Word directs us. Here we are exhorted to use it for edifying one another. The Greek word that Paul used for “edifying” (oikodómēsis) denotes the act of building a house. In Paul’s epistles, it is used to indicate spiritual nurture or advancement.

We must, through our speech, seek to build one another up. We must speak so as to do good to others. By relating our testimony of salvation and sharing the Gospel of Christ with the unsaved, we can point some souls to Christ our Saviour. Through friendly discussions, we can impart God’s truths to the young or less mature in faith, that they may grow in the knowledge of God’s Word. We can comfort those who are weary and sad with God’s promises. We can prevent some from going astray by providing timely and wise advice. We can correct and restore those who have erred in their ways by admonishing them in love.

There is a great need for us to engage in godly conversation that will bring edification to one another. Merely refraining from corrupt speech is not good enough. Great spiritual disaster will come upon our church, friends and family members, if we choose not to speak when there is a need to do so. Where there is a lack of godly conversation, the unhindered growth of spiritual maladies will take root and fester.

We must speak with wisdom and grace to impart spiritual blessings and protection to others. May our words provide spiritual benefits. As Paul said, we must strive to “minister grace unto the hearers.” Proverbs 25:11 tells us, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Appropriate words spoken at the right time in the best manner are beautiful and precious, indeed. Let us remember that our words have power, either for good or evil. Let us, therefore, speak in such a way that will build up our hearers, and not tear them down.

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Ephesians 4:29a

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Ephesians 4:29a

29a Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.


EXHORTATION:

This is a prohibition against bad speech. The Greek word for “corrupt” denotes that which is putrid, rotten and hence corrupting, defiling and injurious. Jesus said in Matthew 15:18, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Corrupt communication includes many kinds of bad speech, such as bad language, vulgar and profane exclamations, foolish talking, filthy conversation, unprofitable remarks, profane oaths, lies, false witnessing, angry utterances, provocative words, demeaning statements, hurtful words, curses, threatening, abusive language, ridicule, gossips, slandering, false accusations, proud and arrogant expressions, boasting, flattery, misleading advice, false teaching, unwholesome and filthy songs, etc.

Corrupt communication can easily occur; it is a common malady even in churches and among Christians. Not only do new Christians fall prey to it, even believers who are well advanced in sanctification have been overtaken by the sin of evil communication. We must always be watchful against falling into this unsavoury conduct. Since our bad speech is an expression of our defiled thoughts and feelings, we must strive to cleanse our hearts and minds constantly, and to keep them from being defiled again.

It is also important that we avoid the company of men and women who engage in evil communication. Those who spend time communing with people who are unguarded in their speech will soon be like them. Those who read unwholesome materials or entertain themselves with profane shows will easily learn their bad language and mannerism. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Godly men will be cautious of what they say. They will pray to God to help them guard their speech. If we learn to control our tongue, we can avoid many embarrassing situations. We can also avoid many quarrels, as well as the poisoning and even severing of friendships. Let us make David’s prayer in Psalm 19:14 ours as well: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

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The Lord’s Provision through a Young Boy

This is an exposition of the story of Christ’s miraculous feeding of the five thousand. This event is very rich in spiritual lessons for every child of God. Perhaps that is the reason why this miracle of Jesus is recorded in all the four Gospels (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13).

There were more than five thousand people who were as hungry as hunters, and there was no way of providing enough food for all of them. To make things worse, it was also not possible for the people to get back to their homes quickly, as they had come from very far to be with Jesus.

The disciples felt helpless and anxious about the situation. But our blessed Master was not ruffled by this enormous need of the crowd to have food to eat. He was compassionate and concerned, yet calm and confident. So John recorded, “When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do” (John 6:5-6).

The Lord Jesus Christ knew exactly what He ought to do to feed that huge hungry crowd. He knew what He would do to solve that desperate situation. He had all the knowledge and power to feed everyone in the crowd and send them home, full and satisfied. Then, a very canny Philip tried to answer Jesus’ question, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” He quickly did a calculation of the cost of food for such a large crowd, and said to Jesus, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” (John 6:7).

Why did he mention that two hundred pennyworth of bread would not be enough? In fact, it was a large sum of money, which was about eight months’ wages. (One denarius was a day’s pay for a common labourer; two hundred denarii therefore represent about eight months’ wages.) It was sufficient to provide for a large family for more than eight months. But even such a large sum was not enough to feed this huge crowd. Philip could not think beyond the mundane activities of the market place. He was totally lost, and he had no idea how they could carry out their Master’s wish to feed the hungry crowd. Philip needed to believe that the Lord is able to do that which seems impossible in his mind.

Suddenly, the Lord’s work of provision began to unfold. “One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto Him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” (John 6:8-9). Andrew brought to Christ a boy who had five barley loaves and two small fishes.

This was so much lesser than Philip’s mention of two hundred pennyworth of food. The boy’s food was extraordinarily disproportionate to the need. Then why did he mention the boy’s five loaves and two small fishes? It must have been an amazing intervention of God’s providential hand. Against all logic, as it appeared, Andrew talked about what he had found.

Again we must wonder, “How did he find the boy in the crowd?” “Who was that boy?” “Was he a peddler who tried to make some money after having sold all he had except the five loaves of bread and two fishes?” “Or was he a hungry boy in the crowd who was about to eat the food packed by his mother?” We have no answer to these questions.

Nevertheless, we see the providence of God helping Andrew meet this boy in such a huge crowd and then bring him to the Lord. Is it not also amazing that the boy was willing to part with his food? Let us, therefore, believe in His providence. To meet the needs of His work, the Lord can even use a little boy.

The boy was willing to part with his food. There is no doubt that he gave the food to the Lord, for we read that “And Jesus took the loaves” (v. 11). The boy was not selfish, but generous. If the lad had considered his own need as most important, he would not have given that food to Jesus. But now because he had given his food to Christ, it became a blessing for him as well as the thousands who were around him.

Until the boy expressed his willingness to give his food for Christ’s use, he was an unknown lad to most people. So Andrew introduced him to Jesus, saying, “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes” (v. 9). But his anonymity was not a hindrance to his contribution.

So, may you be rest assured that if you are willing to serve God, you need not be afraid that obscurity will ever prevent you from doing it. Do not say, “Nobody knows me, I don’t think I can be of any help to the huge challenges before us.” Just come forward to do what you are capable of for His glory. If you would avail yourself to the Lord, God would use you for great purposes.

The boy’s gift appeared very trivial. Andrew commented, “What are they among so many?” Likewise, some may judge your contributions to be very small too. Now, I dare say, do not let anybody, even Satan, discourage you from giving of yourself to the Lord. You may hear voices such as, “What is the use of you trying to do anything? You cannot serve God.” Do not let any such discouraging voices affect you.

God will honour your loving and ready gift to Him, even though man might first despise it. You may face the derision of men, but afterwards you will be used of God. Let us take note that though some considered the boy’s gift as rather insignificant, the Lord Jesus Christ thanked God for the boy’s food and then commanded it to be distributed to the people who were seated. His blessings made the small gift of the boy sufficient for all the people who were gathered around Christ. The miraculous provision continued until all the five thousand were fed and twelve baskets full of bread were left over.

Jesus cares for the hungry and needy through every contribution that comes out of a willing heart. He manifests His goodness and glory through our gifts to bless the humble and the needy. Praise the Lord!

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Ephesians 4:28b

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Ephesians 4:28b

28b But rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.


EXHORTATION:

A Christian should never pursue any dishonest means of material gain, such as through stealing. He is advised to “labour, working with his hands”. The thief must stop stealing and begin to put in some hard, honest labour. The Greek word for “labour” (kopiáō) denotes toil or engaging in hard work to the point of exhaustion. Paul used this word in connection with “working with his hands”. Christians should prefer hard, manual labour to stealing. The apostle Paul, when he was without any financial assistance, had given himself to hard labour, working with his hands to support the Gospel work (1 Corinthians 4:12). According to Acts 18:3, when he was in Corinth, he supported himself by working as a tentmaker, together with Aquila. In Acts 20:34, referring to his time in Ephesus, he further said “that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” Without question, he worked hard to support himself and those in need.

Whether it was in a secular profession or in the ministry, Paul was assiduous and hardworking. In 1 Corinthians 15:4, he said, “but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” In 1 Thessalonians 2:9, Paul wrote, “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” Like Paul, we must dedicate our hands, our minds and our strength to undertaking and accomplishing tasks that are good, instead of doing that which is bad, contrary to God’s law. We must not be slothful or lazy in our work. We must not detest hard work. Christians must always be industrious people. Whether it is at workplace, at home, or in church, let us be diligent to put our hands to useful and profitable things.

A commitment to hard work will not only help us to cease from dishonest and evil activities (such as stealing), but will also provide us with means to earn a living for ourselves and to help others in need. The Bible teaches us to be eager to help others who are in need. Paul was a tender-hearted, generous person who took lead in helping others (Acts 24:17; Romans 15:26; 1 Corinthians 16:1-9). As he wrote in Galatians 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

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Ephesians 4:28a

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Ephesians 4:28a

28a Let him that stole steal no more.


EXHORTATION:

This is a prohibition against stealing. The word “stole” in Greek is a present participle verb, which has durative force. Thus, it denotes ‘he who used to steal’ or an actual thief. Whatever form of stealing there had been in a person’s life, once he becomes a Christian, he must stop it utterly.

Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19 that thefts proceed from the heart and defile a person. Stealing is an unrighteous act that does not befit the followers of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the apostle Paul listed thieves among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. He said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Theft was regarded as a serious sin in the Old Testament and prohibited in firm words – “Thou shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15; Leviticus 19:11; Deuteronomy 5:19; Isaiah 1:29; Jeremiah 7:9). Jesus cited the commandment, “Thou shall not steal”, in Mark 10:19, and so did the apostle Paul in Romans 13:9. Stealing is a violation of God’s commandment; it is also a social evil that disrupts the peace and progress of every community.

Stealing is taking another person’s property without permission or legal right, and without any intention of returning it. It is the illegal possession of anything owned by others. Many people practise various forms of stealing today - robbery, burglary, shoplifting, looting, petty theft, fraudulent business, profiteering, withholding employees’ promised pay, mismanagement of time and properties at work, cheating on taxes, refusal to pay debts, plagiarism, copyright violation, not giving tithes and offerings to support God’s work, etc.

Let us not engage in any form of stealing. Neither let us admire nor follow the pattern of those who become rich at the expense of others. Do not collaborate with those who covetously deal with others. Some may have committed certain form of stealing without realising the severity of the misdemeanour. Nonetheless, everyone should repent from the sin of stealing when the Spirit of God convicts him through His Word. And wherever possible, he should restore those things to the rightful owner.

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1 Peter 5:11

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1 Peter 5:11

11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


EXHORTATION:

After emphasising God’s grace that leads us through our sufferings to eternal glory, Peter burst forth into a brief anthem of praise to God. This doxology is found at the end of Peter’s prayer. Earlier in this epistle, a similar doxology was mentioned - “that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).

This is the ultimate expression of praise from a grateful heart that has understood the greatness of God’s grace and power which have been made available to him through the Lord Jesus Christ. Every thankful heart delights itself in glorifying God. As Psalm 71:8 says, “Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.

Moreover, praise is due unto Him by virtue of the excellence of His nature, the grandeur of His majesty, the greatness of His power, the magnificence of His wisdom, and the exceeding riches of His grace and blessings. We must render praise to Him all day long. We must exalt His great and wondrous name as often as we think of Him. Whenever prayers are made, we must ascribe honour and praise to Him. We must exalt Him in times of our individual prayers and worship. It must also be our joy to talk of His greatness before others. Furthermore, we must unite our hearts with all His thankful people to raise the anthems of His praise in worship, saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

Note what Peter first of all said - “To him be glory”. The glory of God is what He is essentially. The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of all His manifold perfections. Our God is glorious. All His attributes and all His works are glorious. Now what is giving glory to God? When we acknowledge Him and submit ourselves to Him to praise Him as glorious, we are giving glory to God.

Secondly, Peter also said, “To him be... dominion”. When we ascribe to Him dominion, we acknowledge and humbly yield to His majesty and eternal reign. We honour Him as the Sovereign King and render ourselves to obey His commandments and serve Him. May it be our joy to give ourselves to glorify the all-glorious God and King, every day of our lives.

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1 Peter 5:10b

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1 Peter 5:10b

10b After that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.


EXHORTATION:

Earlier, Peter has said in this verse that God of all grace has called us unto eternal glory by Christ Jesus. But the path through which our gracious God leads us to His eternal glory is strewn with suffering. As we journey through this world, we must be prepared to bear sufferings which we will encounter from time to time. It may appear strange that our gracious God would permit us to be afflicted. However, let us acknowledge that for the present, it is our lot to suffer according to His gracious plan for us.

We may not all experience similar sufferings, but none of us shall be wholly free from them. Jesus said in John 16:33, “In the world ye shall have tribulation”. Our sufferings may be inward or they may come from without. But as Peter has stated, it shall only be for “a while”. The word “while” can mean “for a short or brief time”. In view of the eternal glory that we shall soon inherit, Peter considers our earthly sufferings as just for a little while. This statement by Peter is very much in line with the apostle Paul’s declaration: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Our sufferings are short in the light of eternity; they are light when compared with the exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The contrast between the brevity of our earthly sufferings and the perpetuity of our glory cannot be more pronounced. For the moment, the suffering seems severe; but it is both little and brief, compared to the glory of eternity.

Whatever we may have to suffer, be it an assault on our character or possession or body, let us fix our thoughts increasingly on the eternal glory that we shall soon inherit. Assuredly, our sufferings of this present time will not last forever. Moreover, the God of all grace will sustain and nurture us through our affliction. Peter tells us that He will make us “perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle” us. Our suffering does not contradict the grace of our God. Whether our suffering be a chastisement or trial of faith, His grace will use it as a means for perfecting, establishing, strengthening and settling us. Whatever be our ordeals, we are not going to get worse and worse in our faith, conduct or service. The God of all grace will ensure that we are being equipped, strengthened and established in faith, hope and holiness as a people of eternal glory. So, let us also pray that in our suffering, the Lord will perfect His good work in us.

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1 Peter 5:10a

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1 Peter 5:10a

10a But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus.


EXHORTATION:

It is with great fondness we remember that our God is “God of all grace”. This designation of God denotes more than just God being gracious by His nature. It also depicts Him as the reservoir, source, and supply of grace in all its manifestations. In Him is the fullness of grace. To all who come to His throne of grace by faith in Christ Jesus – who is His gracious provision for their salvation – He will make available the exceeding riches of His grace.

It is by His grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:5). We are justified freely by His grace (Romans 3:4; Titus 3:7). He grants us forgiveness of our sins according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7). The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” So like Paul, each of us can say, “by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Our gracious God will continue to impart all needful grace to us, day by day.

Because of the abundance of His grace, our text says that God “hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus”. The word “called” indicates that God has invited us to what He has prepared for us. It is God’s effective work in our heart to convict us to go to Him by Jesus Christ for salvation and all His blessings. The Westminster Shorter Catechism explains the calling of God thus: “Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel.

Peter here says that by Jesus Christ, God has called us to “his eternal glory”. Peter has used the word “glory” in this epistle several times to refer to our future realities in heaven. Peter refers to this glory as the “glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1:7). Later in chapter 4, verse 13, he says that “when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” This wonderful truth – that God of all grace has called us by Christ Jesus to eternal glory – assures us that our salvation is secured and sure forever! All those who are called unto salvation shall be glorified.

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Ephesians 4:27

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Ephesians 4:27

27 Neither give place to the devil.


EXHORTATION:

The devil always attempts to influence and control Christians. He wants us to rebel against our Saviour and His people. So he strives to overpower and use us for his evil purposes. He is a wily character. If he could, he would use us to bring dishonour and shame to the Lord’s name and to disrupt the peace and effectiveness of the church.

He always looks for opportunities that he can take advantage of. He first studies our infirmities, temperaments, desires, ambitions, propensities, etc.; he then plans his move to assault us. He is a determined enemy. He is resolved to ruin our testimony and stop us from serving our Lord. If the devil gains the upper hand, he will ruin our spiritual pursuits, relationships and testimony. Let us not doubt his resoluteness to destroy us.

The devil has been a deceiver, and is still the same today. If anything, he is more dreaded than before. He will try to dupe us to gain access to ensnare us. He knows how to make the best of his opportunities. Though the devil is not omnipresent, he carries out his evil works through his many agents and tricks. If he gets one foothold, he would try to push his way in. If we allow one sin, no matter how small we may think it is, it will keep up the devil’s interest. One sin makes room for more temptations of sin from the devil. Richard Baxter, a Puritan preacher, said, “One sin inclineth the mind to more. If one thief be in the house, he will let in the rest, because they have the same disposition and design.

We can be sure that the devil never means good, but always evil. The more we yield to Satan’s temptations, the stronger will be his influence, and the greater will be his control of our hearts. Therefore, we should always be vigilant to deny him any opportunity. We must strain every nerve to resist him. The apostle James exhorted us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). If we are always careful to submit to God, the devil will find no room in our lives to exploit us.

Let us not feel obliged to yield to his ploys. Let us remember that he will use all his agents and devices against us. Be resolved to fight a good fight of faith against the devil and all his agents. We must know that we can conquer, if we will, through Christ. Let us vigilantly and prayerfully live our lives to deny the devil – our chief adversary – any advantage over us.

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Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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