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(The Salvation That Jesus and the Apostle Paul Preached)
1Corinthians 2:2-5 "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." Many have been mesmerized by men that they follow. When that man falls, they fall. What is salvation? Is it saying a sinners prayer, signing a roll, shaking the preachers hand, going to church regularly? It is unnecessary that any man should go to hell, when Jesus has paid the price for all menís sin. From the time of the garden of Eden, every man has been tested to see if he would believe and obey God. We are all tested in the same way, in the same areas. This walk of salvation, is a race through a wilderness full of devils, and it is one that we cannot walk in our own strength or ability, because the demons are more powerful than we are.
Matthew 5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." This is for those who plan to spend eternity with Jesus. The word of God uses the word Ďheartí frequently in reference to the real you, what you are made of. Jesus said it is from the heart that all kinds of evil flow (Mark 7:21-23). The Word of God tells us that those who are saved have received the mind of Christ, and that we are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds (1Corinthians 2:16; Ephesians 4:23). So it has to do with our minds, our mind-set, and reprogramming them. The Word speaks often about meditation.
Psalms 1:2-3 "But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." This is the same river spoken of in (Revelation 22:1-2). Whatís it for? For us to drink from, now. We need it now, not when we get to heaven. "Blessed", what is it to be blessed? Is it material things? Why did Jesus say, what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and loose his own soul? Obviously it isnít things, but Acts 3:26! "Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." Being blessed is to have God turn our hearts from evil to righteousness. To be blessed by God, is to have the Spirit of God attach Himself to a life, and begin the work of circumcising the heart and cleansing it of sinful habits.
Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Many say that those in the church are those going the straight or narrow way, and the broad way is the unconverted sinners on the streets. But God is talking about His house, His people. Those that go the broad way are those that go the way of the flesh, and compromise for the comfort and pleasure of their flesh. Itís those who walk in stubbornness, and refuse to turn from doing things their way to obey God and do it His way. "Straight" means, rigid, exacting, restricted. So this is speaking of a type of lifestyle. What is it to walk the straight and narrow? "Life" is the Greek zoe, the life of God, eternal life. Itís a lifestyle that leads to eternal life. Then He talks about preachers. (V.15) "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." ĎInwardly" - in their hearts. They only want to draw men to themselves and not God. Jesus said, you will know them by their fruits. (V.16). "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" What is this fruit. Why does God speak of figs? Is He some kind of gardener? What is it all about? Grapes have to do with the fruit of the spirit, the love of God. How can you say you love God, when you continue to walk in sin, without any real repentance or sorrow for sin, and excuse your sin so lightly with things like, "well, nobodyís perfect", or "you just donít understand how hard it is to resist the temptation." You cannot continue to walk in filthiness and really be alive in Christ. (V.17) "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Itís our lives He is talking about. (V.18) "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." A good tree is one that is saved, that is walking the narrow way. (V.19) "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." This is a spiritual law. Bad trees are cut down, thrown out of the kingdom of God and cast into hell. (V.20) "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." This is established by God. You donít know them by anything else but the fruits of their lives. You say you love Jesus? Talk is cheap. It isnít what you say, but what you do. (V.21) "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Are you living to do the Ďwillí of the father in heaven? Is this really that important? Matthew 12:50 "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." 1Thessalonians 4:3-4 "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;" 1 John 2:17 "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
Matthew 7:22 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" This is part of the same Ďmanyí listed in v.13 above, who go the broad way. If youíre not crying out to God to deliver you from anger, lust, pride, covetousness, and all the powers of hell that are working in you, He wonít. God the Holy Ghost is a gentleman and only goes where He is invited, and only works in a life that is asking Him to. So if we are going to claim to belong to Jesus, then it is our responsibility to find out what the rules and guidelines of the walk of salvation are, and the will of God for our lives so we can do it and attain to eternal life. "That day": the judgment day when God will judge every man according to his works. Ezekiel 3:20 "Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand." Ezekiel 18:24-26,30-32 "But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die . . . Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." 33:12 "Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth."
Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." "Never knew": God never had an intimate relationship with them. Their lives were never joined together and poured into one another. Their life and will and spirit never was joined to His to became one with Him 1Corinthians 6:17 "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.". When you come into the kingdom of God, you begin to walk with Him. But if you stop following Him and begin to walk an alternate path and think of God as just some giant sugar-daddy-in-the-sky, and never go to Him to find His will, that you might do it, then it will be as if you never knew Him. God will not be your servant. Why does God do this to them? He tells us. Itís because they practice "iniquity". That means any transgression of the law, that which is unrighteousness before God. They didnít practice the rigid requirements of salvation, or walking in the restricted zone called the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life. They professed to know God with their mouths, but they werenít exacting in performing the Word of God, but instead, iniquity. In Luke 6:46 Jesus said: "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
What is the fruit? Some say itís witnessing, others, good deeds. If we are known by our fruit, then we need to look at what the fruit is and consider it. Col.3, Eph.4, Eph.5, James 1, and James 2 tell you about the fruit. If it isnít what you preach to others, what is it? If you are truly walking in salvation, then you donít belong to yourself. You belong to God. Youíve been bought with a price. Now, if something belongs to you, I have no right to come and take it and use it for my own selfish purposes. The principle is the same. If I belong to the Lord, and not myself, then I have no right to take my life and live it the way I please and choose. If you are Christís, then you have no right to live your life the way you choose to live it. You canít pick and choose which of Godís commandments you will obey and not obey. You canít live by how you feel and what you desire.
Whatís the fruit? Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." "Walk": does that mean going for a stroll in the park? Or is it the lifestyle we live and practice daily? What you day dream about and meditate upon is your walk. What you think about and do when no one sees you or knows, except God, is your walk. Your heart is governed by the thoughts and imaginations that you "hang-on to". Thatís why we have to renew our minds daily by the Word of God. Thatís why we have to "cast down imaginations." How do you do it? You speak to the devil. You submit to God and begin to confess the Word of God and call the devil a liar. Romans 8:13-14 "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Does that describe you? Are you calling on God to give you strength to put to death the lusts and deeds of your flesh? "Walk": let your life be regulated by the Spirit, and you wonít carry out the lusts of your flesh. Obviously, your flesh has itís own mind and will. Your flesh isnít your skin. Itís your old fallen nature. Letís look at this will and desire of the flesh. Galatians 5:17 "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." The flesh sets its desire against the things of God. How many times have we known that the Lord said, Ďdo it this wayí; and your flesh said, Ďno, do it my way and youíll "feel" betterí. Itís a war because youíre still double-minded. The flesh and spirit are in opposition to one another. (V.18) "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Why did he bring in the law? Arenít we under grace? We think grace means that we can slide by in our sins. Thatís not grace, thatís grease! What is grace? Itís the power, authority, dominion, kingdom, strength, and anointing of God to overcome. Itís the help we receive from God to walk in victory and press through to righteousness. Grace isnít convincing ourselves that we can walk in sin and still be saved. Thatís blasphemy against Godís holiness. Now He spells out the fruit. (V.19a) "Now the works of the flesh are manifest," "Works" - the fruit and habits of a fleshly life. (V.19b) "Which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness." all sexual impurity, and unbridled sexual thoughts, fantasies, indulgences and actions which God forbids. The punishment for adultery under the O.T., for both parties to the act of adultery, was death by stoning. (V.20) "Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies." "Idolatry" isnít worshipping a statue. Physical idolatry was a problem in O.T. times because all the heathen nations were idolaters. But to Godís people this is talking about idols in the heart. Ezekiel 14:3-7 "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to inquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself." "Witchcraft": so many Christians talk about what sign they were born under. If you belong to Christ, your sign isnít Scorpio or Leo, but the cross. However, in this instance, the Greek word translated witchcraft is pharmakeia from which comes pharmacy, and the root word means medication. By extension it is translated magic, sorcery, witchcraft. "Hatred": who do you need to forgive? It doesnít mean that you want to kill someone, you just hold something against him or her that you havenít forgiven, and God calls it hatred. If you think that is strong, then just think about it, grudges and unforgiveness sure arenít an expression of love. "Variance": contention, debate, strife. "Emulations": indignation, jealousy. Galatians 5:.21 "Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." "Do or Practice": same word used in Matthew 7:23 for those who practiced iniquity. If you donít inherit the kingdom of God, then what do you inherit? There are only two choices!
When you come to God, all the things in your heart that are not right will begin to be brought to the surface. Itís the only way you can be cleansed and sanctified. Are you telling God that you canít help yourself, that you canít stop sinning in your own strength, and that you need His strength to overcome? Now we are given a comparison of a different kind of fruit. Galatians 5:22a "But the fruit of the Spirit is love," - not lust. Not, if you love me, what are you going to do for me, but, What am I going to do for you to show that I love you? Iím going to tell you the truth. The fruit; singular - itís love. The rest are the qualities of love. (V.22-24) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." If you walk after the desires of your flesh and live for your own will, then you are not walking "in Christ". Youíre walking in Adam, in your sinful fallen nature. Jesus said you know them by their fruits.
1Corinthians 6:9a "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" What is the kingdom of God? John the Baptist said, "repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." He got his head chopped off, and then Jesus repeated the same requirement. Repent - change your lifestyle, make an about face in the life you are living and stop living to satisfy the lusts and desires of your flesh. Paul told us what the kingdom of God was in Romans 14:17. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Itís not living for self, but righteousness (not your own, but Godís), and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. That which comes from the Spirit of God! Jesus isnít a religion, Heís life. It doesnít matter what the name of your church is. The only thing that matters is: are you allowing the grace of God to crucify the lustful desires and cravings of your flesh. 1Corinthians 6:9b "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind." Whenever God warns us not to be deceived, you can be sure that is where there will be deception coming forth in the body of Christ. It begins with sexual sins, fornicators and adulterers. To please the people and keep them happy and coming today, many churchís say that all you have to do is tell God you are sorry and your adultery is forgiven and is no longer adultery, though you keep living with that same person. But thatís a lie! (V.10) "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." If youíre not walking in any of those things, itís only because of the grace of God, so donít boast in yourself, but in God and what He has done for you. His love and grace is shown in (V.11). "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." He points us to the cross. If some of those definitions of things that are an abomination before God are present in your life today, the good news is: you can be set free! However, know that you will be tested. Whatever God brings you out of, will come back after you to try you. When God caused Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go, he went after them as soon as they were gone from his presence. What do you do when the devil comes back at you, tempting you with the things which the Lord delivered you from? Do what Moses did. He held up the rod, which represented the Word of God. We too must pass under the rod of Godís Word (Ezekiel 20:37 "And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:").
1Corinthians 6:18 "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." "Flee": meaning to run from, as in terror. (V.19) "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" The problem is that we havenít known it. Then he points to the cross. (V.20) "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." "Bought": purchased. His blood is the blood of the covenant. Hebrews 10:16-18 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." Jesus removed His people from the old covenant of offering sacrifices for their sins because they could not keep the law, to the new covenant of His blood. And Jesus said every sin a man can commit, God will forgive (Matthew 12:31). The only requirement is that you repent - you confess and turn from your sin.
How can you know that youíre saved? One clue was given to us in Galatians 5:24. "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Salvation under the new covenant is spoken of in three tenses. We are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. Itís a process, a lifestyle. Ephesians 4:22 "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." Who has to do it? But how can I do it if sin is supernatural and I have no power in myself to do it? He tells us. (V.23) "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." How do you do that? By spending time in the Word and in prayer daily. The Word and the Spirit of God renew your mind. Most have their minds on earthly things and really hate the things of God that deal with their fleshly lifestyles. (V.24) "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." The new self is Jesus. In Gen.3 the gospel was given to Adam and Eve. They left the garden with the promise of a redeemer, a savior. It said the seed of woman would bruise the serpentsí head. First of all, a woman doesnít have seed. God was telling them that He would personally get involved and do the work without the help of a man. Itís a reference to the virgin birth of Christ. Romans 13:14 "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Thatís putting on the new self. God brought us into this world to choose whom we would live for and serve. We are making that choice now. Ephesians 4:25-26 "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath." What is he saying? I know that circumstances will happen that will cause anger to rise up within you, but donít sin. Donít give in to it. He gives us a clue. First, "donít let the sun go down on your wrath." Donít meditate upon what someone else did to you, or whatever made you angry. In other words, drop it. Why? Otherwise you will give place to the devil. He explains that in (V.27). "Neither give place to the devil." Every time you give into anger and nurse it, you open your heart up to Satan and invite him back into your life. One of the attributes of the Christian is that he has put away wrath and anger. Then he continues in (V.28-29) "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Edify - speak things to build up one another and strengthen your brother. (V.30-31) "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." Put these things away. Hereís the new walk of the person who has come to the newness of life in Christ (V.32). "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." If you walk in unforgiveness toward anyone, then according to Matt.18, the Father will send the demon powers upon your life to put you into a spiritual prison and there you will stay until you have paid all you owe, all the debt of your sins.
Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." How could Christ say that? Ezekiel 3:18a "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die." "Die" here it means spiritually - eternal damnation. (V.18b) "And thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand." If you donít witness for Jesus, youíre guilty of their blood. (V.19-20a) "Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die." John tells us that a righteous man is one who practices righteousness. (V.20b) "Because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand." This is how Jesus could say to those who had cast out devils and done miracles in His name, to depart from Him, because they were workers of iniquity. No matter what you did or how righteous you once were, if you go back to sin, then for that sin you will die and your previous righteousness will no longer be remembered. So where is once saved, always saved?
Ezekiel 18:21 "But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die." That is a tremendous promise. No matter how great a sinner you may have been, it doesnít matter. A Hitler could be saved, if he repented. Peter denied Christ, just like Judas did, but Peter repented, and Judas, in remorse, hung himself. (V.22-24) "All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die." "Iniquity": the sin that you know is sin. You know Godís Word, but you ignore it and sin against Him anyway. (V.25-26) "Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die."
Ezekiel 33:11-13 "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it." That is how Jesus could say, "I never knew you." He no longer remembers their righteousness.
Colossians 3:5 "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." These things are idolatry. In other words, you have another god in your life that you serve. (V.6-11) "For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." When you came to Christ you ceased being white, black, brown, red, or anything else. You became a new man in Christ: part of Godís race, not this or that race.
1John 1:6-10 "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." You will be tested, in the same ways that Adam and Eve were tested, and that Jesus was tested in the wilderness: in the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life.
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