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Concluding the Victory

Concluding the Victory

I always find it odd that Christians do not want to read or study the book of Revelation because it frightens them. Do they not know that Revelation declares the final victory for Christ and His children? At the same time it declares the final doom for Satan and those who follow him. Revelation 12:11 declares, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Who is the “they” that overcame? The Christians. Who is the him they overcame? The dragon, Satan himself. What is the word of their testimony? The redemptive power of the blood of Christ. We must also understand that Jesus isn’t going to, someday, overcome Satan and the world, Jesus said in John 16:33 that He has already overcome the world and his children aren’t one day, in the sweet by and by, going to overcome, but they too, through Jesus, already overcame. I John 2:13 says, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.”

As we look at the final part of the Holy Spirit’s convicting power on the world Jesus concluded with the Spirit convicting the world of Judgment. Jesus said in John 16:11, “Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” The ruler of this world is Satan, and as we see in this statement, he has been, past tense, judged. It’s a done deal. Satan’s judgment is sealed and he has been utterly defeated. I John 3:8 says, “The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil,” and Colossians 2:15 says, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”

Remember, this conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment is for the word, not the Christian. Though the Christian can be, and will be, convicted of sin and righteousness, the Christian cannot be judged. Why? Just as Satan’s judgment is sealed so is the Christians. The judgment for Satan is eternal damnation. Since Jesus took upon the penalty of death on the cross and bestowed upon us His righteousness, to those who receive Him, the judgment for the Christian is eternal paradise with God. The judgment for the world, those lost in their sins, will be sealed upon their death. If they die separated from God in their sin they will enter into eternal damnation along with Satan, however, if they repent, they are pardoned from their sins, by the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus and will be eternally saved. Jesus said in John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

The Holy Spirit will not only convict the sinner of his sins and his need for righteousness, but will also convict the sinner of the fact that he stands at enmity against a holy and righteous God because of his sins and is worthy of condemnation and eternal damnation. All who will be eternally damned to hell will first stand in front of the judgment seat of God. At that time, they will know God’s righteousness, and they will understand they are a sinner, and not a single person in hell will be there without knowing God was just for His judgment. When the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin and of God’s righteousness I knew without a doubt that a was worthy of hell. Recognizing the grace and mercy of God I willingly, humbly, and excitedly accepted that grace, repented of my sin, and surrendered myself to the Lordship of Jesus. Apart from the Holy Spirits convicting power in my life, I would have never known, remained unrepentant, and continued to stand in condemnation. Praise God for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, and praise God for the victory we have in Christ. It’ baffles me that people would stay unrepentant when it’s clear that they are not only on a losing team, but have already lost, yet they have the opportunity, through Jesus, to repent and switch sides.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Convincing of Righteousness

Convincing of Righteousness

As we continue to look at how the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, we will now look at how the Holy Spirit will convict the world, the sinner, of God’s righteousness. The Holy Spirit cannot convict the sinner of his own righteousness, for he has none. Romans 3:10 states, “There is none righteous, not even one.” Not only is there none who is righteous, there is none who seek for righteousness. Romans 3:11 says, “There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God.” Apart from the Holy Spirit convicting the sinner of God’s righteousness he would be left abandoned to his own unrighteousness never to seek or long for God’s.

We should give God the highest praise that He has sent the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Apart from that conviction we would be hopeless. Jesus would be useless to us because apart from the Holy Spirit we cannot see, or know Jesus. Jesus said in John 16:10 that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of righteousness, “Because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me.” As stated earlier, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin by convicting us of Jesus Lordship. In the same way, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin by convincing us of Jesus righteousness, and allowing us to know we are utterly lost in hopeless unrighteousness on our own.

Jesus asked in Mark 10:18, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” The bible is clear that Jesus is God, and that He is righteous. He is perfectly righteous as is the Father and the Holy Spirit. God alone is righteous. Jesus proved His righteousness by going to be with the Father. Had Jesus not fulfilled all righteousness the Father would not have accepted Him. Yet, the Father did accept Him; therefore we clearly know that all righteousness has been fulfilled through Christ.

Jesus had nothing to prove by fulfilling all righteousness. He was perfectly righteous prior to taking upon the flesh and He remained so after He became flesh. Jesus fulfilled all righteousness, not for His own sake, but for ours; for we have none. II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Since the wages of sin is death Jesus took upon the penalty for our sake. Since Jesus was sinless, death had no hold or claim on Him, therefore, Jesus arose from the grave defeating death. When one repents from their sin and turns to Jesus not only is their sins wiped away but God replaces the sin of the flesh with Jesus righteousness. Just as the Father would not have accepted Jesus apart from Jesus fulfilling all righteousness neither will He accept us apart from Jesus righteousness placed upon us through the acceptance of Jesus sacrifice to sin.

For this reason the Holy Spirit convinces the sinner, through His convicting power, first, that he has no righteousness of His own, second, that Jesus is perfectly righteousness, and third, that Jesus paid the price for our sins, will blot out our sins, and give to us His righteousness if we simply repent of our sins and turn to Jesus. Wow, that was a long sentence; but it is an amazing work that God offers to those who will receive. Apart from the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and the submission to the conviction, the sinner will remain in his sins, unrepentant, thinking that he is sufficient on his own when he clearly isn’t. Only God’s righteousness is sufficient, and only Jesus paid the price for sin where we can be redeemed and receive His righteousness. Truly, that is amazing grace!

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Confirming the Son

Confirming the Son

After Jesus stated in John 16:8 that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, He told us exactly why the Holy Spirit would do so. Jesus began this instruction in the next verse stating, “Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Jesus and He will start by confirming to the sinner that Jesus is Lord.

The first act of the Holy Spirits conviction is confirming the fact that Jesus is Lord. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” Does this mean that a lost person cannot speak the words, “Jesus is Lord?” Of course not. A lost person can certainly speak the words that Jesus is Lord just as a saved person can speak the words Jesus is accursed. However, those words will not represent the true conviction of the individual’s heart, nor will it represent the direction of the individual’s life.

Paul made this a little clearer in Romans 10:9-10 when he wrote starting in verse 9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Apart from the convicting power of the Holy Spirit confirming to the sinner that Jesus truly is Lord they would never truly confess such a statement, and if they do, it will be a lie. However, once the Holy Spirit has brought about confirmation to the sinner that Jesus is Lord through His convicting power the sinner will then repent and confess Jesus as Lord. Paul then writes in verse 10, “For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” The only reason the sinner has confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord is because the Holy Spirit has brought about confirmation of this fact within his heart through His convicting power.

Once Jesus has been confirmed as Lord the sinner will naturally repent from His sins and willingly, and joyfully, submit to Jesus’ lordship. One who has never repented of their sins may have been convicted of the fact that Jesus is Lord, but they chose to reject the conviction and never allowed it to truly bring confirmation within their lives. Since Jesus isn’t confirmed as Lord, they have no heart or desire to repent of their sins and live for Him.

Only after one repents of their sins and turns to Jesus can he come into agreement with Paul when he gave his testimony stating, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (II Timothy 1:12). Oh, how sweet to have the confirming conviction that Jesus is Lord and know that you know. Do you know?

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Living Stones

Living Stones

Jesus asked the disciples in Matthew 16:13, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They said in the next verse, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Jesus then asked them in verse fifteen, “But who do you say that I am?” At this time Simon boldly answered in verse sixteen, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In the next verse we see that Jesus was greatly pleased with Simon’s answer and said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus then renamed Simon Peter saying, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”

When Jesus renamed Simon He called him Peter which is Petros in Greek. Petros is a small stone or a rock. A brick can fall under the category of a petros. It is certainly not a foundational stone that someone would build a house on. Rather it would be the small stones, like bricks, that would rest upon the foundational stone.

After Jesus named Simon Petros, He said “upon this rock I will build my church.” The word that Jesus used for rock was a different word than the one He used for Simon Peter. Jesus used the Greek word petra as the rock that the church would be built upon. Petra is a large rock, a foundational stone that is much different than the small stone, petros, Simon was called. Clearly Peter is not the foundational stone that the church is built upon; Jesus is. Jesus is the one who gave His life so He could redeem the church. To say any other is the foundation of the church is not only biblically inaccurate, it is outright blasphemous.

Peter clearly understood what Jesus was talking about. Peter wrote in I Peter 2:4-5, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Who is the living stone? Jesus is. He is the one that was rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God. We are the ones who come to Him also as living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house. This is the perfect portrait of the church.

The church is not a physical building, an address, or location. The church is a spiritual house. Jesus is the living stone that is the foundation. We are living stones being built up on that foundation. Just as bricks are laid atop of the foundation of the building we are laid atop of Jesus who is the foundation of the church. We are also laid atop of all of the other believers who came before us such as Peter. Peter was named Petros because he was the first to confess Jesus as the Christ. Upon our confession of Christ we are saved and therefore laid atop of the foundation of Christ as the church.

After Peter gave us this wonderful picture of the structure of God’s spiritual house he then gave us an understanding of its function. He said in I Peter 2:9, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Jesus didn’t save us to give us a get out of hell free card. He saved us out of darkness and into light so we would have a relationship with Him and so we would proclaim to the rest of the world, which remains in darkness, of His excellencies and His marvelous light so they too would be drawn to the light and have a relationship with Him and not stand in darkness separated from God doomed to eternal condemnation. Clearly, this is one of the main functions of the church; the whole church.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” If the gospel is truly the power of God for salvation, as the Word of God says that it is, and we refuse to share the gospel we are then guilty of condemning this world to hell. How will they repent of their sins if we don’t tell? How will they walk out of darkness and into the marvelous light if we don’t tell? How will they know their sins will eternally condemn them if we don’t tell? “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15).

The feet that carry the good news may become callused, bruised, and bloody; they may become dusty, dirty, and grimy; they may become tired, weary, and worn, but they are beautiful to God. Far, they are bringing the good news of Jesus to a lost world of whom He loves.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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The Gospel Must be Communicated

The Gospel Must be Communicated

Have you ever heard someone say “I allow my life to be my witness?” Clearly the bible teaches we should do good works. Titus 3:8 says, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” Jesus Himself said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Godly living and good works should go hand in hand. However, good works alone is an insufficient witness.

Clearly we want the unreached world to see our good works so our Father who is in heaven will be glorified. However, good works alone can be dangerously misleading. The bible clearly states that we are not saved by our good works and that we are only saved by placing our faith in the works of Christ. (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”

If we fail to communicate the gospel, which is the works of Christ that lead to salvation, we can lead the lost world into believing that their good life and good works are sufficient to save them. They will think they simply have to be a good person and perform good works to get to heaven. Paul said of those who teach this perverted form of the gospel, which is really no gospel at all, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8, 9). This is usually not the intention of the one who desires his life to be a witness. However, this is the danger of living a good life and doing good works without communicating the gospel.

True biblical evangelism consists of communication. Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” One cannot preach without communication. The word preach means to proclaim. We are commanded to proclaim the gospel to all creation. We are called to be witnesses of Jesus and his teachings to the whole world starting where we are at. (Acts 1:8).

In the Word of God we find two distinct calls to preach. Paul tells Timothy, who is the pastor of Ephesus, in II Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” This type of preaching is pastoral preaching. It is preaching directed to the church with instruction that leads to godly living.

The other type of preaching is what Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15-preach the gospel. It is evangelistic preaching, or proclaiming. It is preaching directed to the lost with instruction of how to be saved. The Greek word used here is euaggelizesthai. It means, to evangelize. To evangelize is to share, preach, proclaim the gospel. Euaggelizesthai is a verb. It is a word that demands action. This word is used fifty two times in the New Testament.

Preaching is God’s choice of the communication of His gospel message. I Corinthians 1:21 says, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” Whether we are proclaiming to the masses or sharing with individuals we must communicate, preach, proclaim the clear message of the gospel. Every Christian is called to this task.

In the Word of God we find two ways that the gospel can, and should be, communicated. Clearly the first way is verbal. Acts 14:1 says of Paul and Barnabus, “In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.” The spoken word is the most prominent form of communicating the gospel in the New Testament. However, it is not the only form of communicating the gospel.

John said in I John 5:8, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Luke also stated his purpose in writing the book of Luke in Luke 1:3, 4 where he wrote, “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” A quick read through the book of Romans will show you that it is the greatest gospel tract ever written. Writing isn’t preaching, but it is a wonderful form of communication that God has given to us to share His gospel message.

Whether we choose to preach, proclaim, share the gospel through the spoken word or the written word we must clearly communicate it. We are called and should be compelled to proclaim the gospel with the lost with every available opportunity we have. Apart from the proclamation of the gospel the lost world stands condemned to an eternal hell. When we proclaim the gospel they may chose to reject. Regardless of their decision, we have given them an opportunity to make a decision by communicating the gospel. If we however reject the call to proclaim, we not only stand in rebellion against God, we also have to ask, how then will they ever have the opportunity to make the choice?

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Proclaiming the Gospel is an Act of Love

Proclaiming the Gospel is an Act of Love

The ultimate act of love is seen in the act of God so love the world. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God didn’t wait for us to change our wicked ways and then turn to Him. Apart from the power of the blood of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit we can’t turn to God. Apart from the work of God we would never even want too. Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

We did not choose to love God, He chose to love us. I John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” He chose to love us despite the fact that we were living in rebellion against Him. He loved us enough to pay the price for our sins on the cross of Calvary, suffering greatly in humiliation and anguish knowing that His sacrifice would purchase redemption of sin and reconcile us into a right relationship with Him. We love the Lord today because He first loved us.

Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus demonstrated His love towards us by laying down His life. As a result of the cross God also requires us to lay down our lives. Not as a dead sacrifice, but as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Because of the mercies of God, which is the act of Jesus on the cross, we are urged to give our lives as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.

Jesus told us to preach the gospel to all creation. In order to do this we must sacrifice. We will sacrifice our time, our energy, and sometimes our money. We may think that the world is wicked and cruel and therefore is not worthy of my sacrifice. But, we need to ask ourselves, “Are we worthy of Jesus sacrifice?” Absolutely not! Fortunately for us, God didn’t give us what we deserve; instead, He gave us grace and mercy-because of His love. We to are called to demonstrate grace, mercy, and love to a hostile and often rejecting world. We as Jesus did, are to overlook the hostility and rejection of the world in love, hoping to win a few for the Lord.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). God loves the world and everyone in it. Does He love their ways? Of course not. This is why He sent His Son to die on the cross and save them from their sins empowering them to repent and live for Him. Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?  How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” The feet of those who carry the gospel to the unsaved are beautiful to God. They are carrying the good news of Jesus salvation to the world in which God loves so they can hear, and therefore believe. But how will they hear unless we love them enough to go and tell. By telling we carry on the ultimate act of love-God’s sacrificial love.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Turning Condemnation into Compassion

Turning Condemnation into Compassion

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Matthew 23:37-39 NASB

In the 23rd chapter of Mathew Jesus exposed the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and wickedness. He boldly proclaimed truth to them by exposing their wicked ways. While exposing their hypocrisy, Jesus pronounced eight wows warning them of their impending doom for their wicked ways.

Jesus told them of their wicked intentions to kill the prophets that He would send. Jesus was also fully aware of the fact that they wanted to kill Him, and eventually would. Jesus knew that Israel would soon turn on Him and be hostile to Him and His followers.  However, Jesus compassion for them is clearly seen in His statement, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” He loved them even though they were unwilling to love Him back.

I have no doubt that Jesus was not proclaiming the wows to the Pharisees with a smile on His face and joy in His heart. I would imagine He spoke these words with a grief stricken soul and tears on His cheek. He knew if they did not hear and therefore respond to the truth they would stand eternally condemned.

Jesus was not preaching to bring condemnation on them, He was preaching to bring them into repentance. For this reason, He was preaching with compassion. Jesus Himself said, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17). Clearly the unrepentant will be judged. However, Jesus compels the lost with compassion to repent and be saved from eternal judgment. The heart full of condemnation has no desire to see the sinner repent, thinking they deserve what they have coming to them for their wickedness. However, the bible says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, apart from grace, we all stand condemned. How then am I any better than they? I have repented and therefore received grace. They stand in need of repentance, and therefore need to receive grace.

Clearly the world is becoming more and more wicked. Clearly, the world will remain in their wickedness until the Children of God share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them, the good news; and they must share it with a heart of compassion rather than one of condemnation. I have no doubt that the church will never reap a mighty harvest until it repents of its hardened heart. Just as Jesus did, when we evangelize we need to speak the truth. We need to call sin what it is and warn of the impending judgment for those who refuse to repent. However, Just as Jesus did we need to do it with a heart filled with compassion desiring the sinner to come to repentance before it is eternally too late.

The church today needs to be broken with compassion; a compassion that will bring the saint to his knees pouring his heart out to God in prayer on behalf of the sinner; a compassion that will move the congregation out of their comfortable pews and out into the community to proclaim truth and love to the sinner; and a compassion that overcomes selfishness, overlooking suffering and sacrifice for the sake of the sinner. In truth, we need a compassion that looks, acts, lives, and exists, just like Jesus. Until that time, the church will remain in its pews, the sinner will remain in their sin, revival will tarry, and judgment will come.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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