Friday, September 22, 2017

Ministers of Satan


For such men are pseudo-apostles, deceitful workers,
masquerading as apostles of Christ.
And no wonder, for Satan disguises himself as a messenger of light.
Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also disguise themselves
as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.
2Corinthians 11:13–15

Paul was not just hurling insults at people he did not like when he called them ministers of Satan.  Rather, he was warning his children in the Lord of men who had rejected the truth and were misleading them.  Nor was Paul condemning those men merely because they did not understand the true doctrine.  Paul was very patient and loving with the ignorant, as were those who worked with him.  For example, when Paul’s fellow-workers, Aquila and Priscilla, heard Apollos teaching the wrong thing, they took him aside and “explained to him the way of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:26).  Ministers of Satan are those who have heard the truth and rejected it, teaching their own doctrines instead.
Ministers of Satan minister to people things that are from the realm over which Satan has control – this world.  Satan is god of this world (2Cor. 4:4), and his ministers minister using worldly things such as worldly water for baptism, worldly food for communion ceremonies, worldly uniforms for worship, etc.  All such fleshly things are from this world, and Satan is this world’s god.
Ministers of Christ minister things from heaven, where Christ sits at the right hand of God.  No man can be a minister of Christ without the holy Ghost, because the holy Ghost brings from heaven the power and revelation necessary to preach the gospel.  True men of God “preach the gospel by the holy Spirit sent from heaven” (1Pet. 1:12), and there are precious few of them.  They may be like Apollos, and not yet see things perfectly, but they will continue to grow in knowledge until they do.  They are living up to all the truth they have been given, and because their conscience is clear, Jesus will continue to feed them the knowledge of God.
As a young man, Paul did great evil to the body of Christ, but he was able to do it with a clear conscience (2Tim. 1:3) because that was all the knowledge he had, and he thought he was pleasing God.  But when Jesus touched his heart, he ceased to do evil and began to learn to do good.  He told Timothy, “I received mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief ” (1Tim. 1:13).  Ministers of Satan, on the other hand, teach false doctrine in spite of having been shown the truth.  Their conscience is not clear.  Apollos was never a minister of Satan, even though he was teaching things that were not exactly right.  His conscience, like young Paul’s, was clear, and he, too, obtained mercy because of it.  If Apollos had rejected the more perfect way when he heard it, however, he would have become a minister of Satan, teaching false doctrine out of self-will.
If Jesus condemned everyone who thinks wrong things about God, nobody would ever come to the knowledge of God.  All of us have had wrong ideas.  That is not even the issue.  The issue is this: How many of us will give up those wrong ideas when Jesus shows us the truth?  There are many ministers who are teaching wrong things with a clear conscience.  I have been among them.  Maybe I still am; God knows.  But the critical question is this: Will those ministers continue in a clear conscience when they hear more truth?  Will they continue to grow in grace and knowledge, or will they reject the truth and cling to what they have always been told?  God is incredibly patient and kind to us who are ignorant.  Pray that He will grant us the grace to humble ourselves to His truth when we hear it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Good for Nothing


You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor,
with what will it be salted?
It is good for nothing, but to be cast out and trampled on by men.”
Matthew 5:13

Those who come to Christ should be warned that if they fall from righteousness and become entangled with the world again, they will be good for nothing.  Children of God cannot go back and be the same sinners they once were; without Christ, they can only become worthless to everybody.

================

Pastor John,
This blog gave me a thought, that is: The life we live as sinners, before coming to the knowledge of Christ, is a life that God has designed for us, to get us to Him.  And though it be a life of sin, if we are children of God, God is still there guiding us to Him and to repentance, all along the way.  The LORD knows His sheep, and He is guiding them to Him, even while they are in darkness of sin, and cannot yet see.
That life of sin, is a protected life of sorts.  It is a life that ultimately has purpose, and serves as a means to an acceptable end.
But a life of sin after we have known the goodness of God, and received the washing away of our sins, is a life with no purpose, that leads nowhere, and has no end, except for the Lake of Fire.
That life of sin is the most fearful life of all.

Jerry

Saturday, July 15, 2017

God Does Not Get Over Some Sins


And Jehovah said to Samuel . . . “I have sworn to the house of Eli that
I will damn myself if the iniquity of Eli’s house
will ever be covered over by sacrifice or offering.”
1Samuel 3:11, 14

There are some evils which God will not forgive.  For example, the high priest Eli sinned greatly by not stopping his sons when he saw them grossly and repeatedly abuse God’s people who came to worship Him.  Long before that, the prophet Balaam greatly sinned by teaching the Moabites to seduce God’s people into joining them in idolatrous worship (Num. 25; 31:16).  Over a thousand years later, Jesus still had not gotten over that; he was still angry about what Balaam did to God’s people (Rev. 2:14).
There are some things God does not get over.  And there are some things we’re not supposed to get over, either.

Friday, July 14, 2017

God Condescended to Us


Paul exhorted us to “condescend to men of low estate” (Rom. 12:16).  But we cannot condescend to anybody as far as God condescended when He came down to help us.  Nobody is as far beneath us as we are beneath God.
Let’s always remember where we came from.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Difference between Repentance, Godly Sorrow, and Reconciliation


Repentance has been redefined by many to mean feeling sorrow for having sinned.  But as good as godly sorrow is, the actual repentance is the actions that godly sorrow leads one to take.  Paul stated plainly that godly sorrow produces repentance (2Cor. 7:10); he never said that sorrow for one’s sin is repentance itself.
This is why John the Baptist told people who were convicted by his preaching to go do deeds that reflected godly sorrow for sin (Lk. 3:10–14).  He knew they did not understand how to repent, and so, he defined repentance for them:

Luke 3
10. And the crowds asked him, saying, “What, then, shall we do?”
11. He answered and said to them, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none, and let him who has food do the same.”
12. The tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13. And he said to them, “Exact nothing beyond what has been mandated to you.”
14. And even the soldiers asked him, saying, “What about us?  What shall we do?”  And he said to them, “Don’t extort money or harass anybody, but be content with your wages.”

When men came to be baptized by John who felt no godly sorrow and had no heart to repent, John rebuked them, refused to baptize them, and commanded them to go and “bear fruit worthy of repentance” (Mt. 3:8).  Paul, likewise, warned men to “do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20).  Indeed, no true man of God has ever taught that merely feeling sorry for sin is repentance.  They all told people that if they regretted sinning and wanted forgiveness, they had to do something with those feelings, and in both the Old and New Testaments that “something” is called repentance.
Reconciliation is another issue.  Reconciliation may take place when we go to a person that we have wronged and repent, but it is also possible that reconciliation will not take place, for that wronged person may not be willing to forgive me for my wrongdoing.  In that case, I have repented, but he and I are not reconciled.  My repentance was not our reconciliation.  Those who repent have no control over how another person will respond to their repentance, and so, reconciliation cannot be defined as repentance; it is only a possible fruit of it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

“Where Is the God of Judgment?”


I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil.
I the LORD do all these things.”
God, in Isaiah 45:7

If God were a Christian, He would not have said such things about Himself.  As it is, however, He is free to tell the truth.
God was also free to tell the truth when He said through Moses, “I kill, and I make alive” (Dt. 32:39), and He was free to tell the truth when He warned Israel through Micah, “I will make you sick” (Mic. 6:13).  And the author of 2Samuel was enough like God not to talk like a good Christian, either.  He said that God struck David’s infant son so that it died (2Sam. 12:14–15), and in 1Samuel, he said that God took His holy Spirit from King Saul and sent an evil spirit upon him instead (1Sam. 16:14–15).  David’s tearful prayers did not save his child, and Saul’s tears did not obtain forgiveness.  Moses said that God cursed man to labor, and cursed man to die, and cursed mankind with languages to prevent them from working together.  And Moses also said that God overwhelmed this planet with a flood, drowning the men, women, and children in it.  And their helpless screams for mercy did nothing to stop the flood waters from rising.
It is rare to find any righteous soul in the Bible talking the way most modern Christians talk about God.  What Christian minister will go on television and declare that God is a man of war (Ex. 15:3), or that God hates the wicked and the violent (Ps. 11:5), and that every day, God is angry with those who do evil (Ps. 7:11), and that if sinners do not repent, God will cast them into a lake of fire where they will be tormented forever (Rev. 20:10; 14:10–11).  God knows nothing of what Christians call “unconditional love”; He has never forgiven anyone who did not first repent and confess their sin (cp. Prov. 28:13).  God promises eternal life only to those who obey Him, but “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God” (Ps. 9:17).
God is a God of love, and He always has been.  He was a God of love when He condemned the man in the wilderness to die because he picked up sticks on the Sabbath, contrary to the commandment.  He was a God of love when He cursed Miriam and then Gehazi with leprosy.  He was a God of love when He starved the Israelites in Samaria to the point that they began killing and eating their own children.  Yes, God is, and always has been a God of love, but that is not all He is!  He is also, and always has been “a consuming fire”, and it is also, and always has been a fearful thing to fall into His holy hands.

Where Is the God of Judgment?
Malachi 2:17

A particularly detestable spirit of our time is the demon that promotes a God who is not a man of war, who never hates, is never angry, who never makes people sick, or kills a baby, or would even consider creating evil.  I recently read a book by a woman who once belonged to the Lord but now has succumbed to this filthy spirit.  She calls herself a teacher and seduces others by teaching them to “get rid of” the Jesus of the Bible.  She proclaims instead a god who never judges, a god whom no one need fear, and she teaches that there is no such thing as sin.  Those who secretly desire an excuse to commit sin follow her.  She is a fool, and she makes fools out of those who believe her.  Go ahead, you fools!  Try to get rid of Jesus.
Her heresy is an old one.  False prophets in Israel also taught, contrary to all the holy scriptures, that “everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them!” (Mal. 2:17a).  They scoffed at the warnings of the true prophets, saying, “Where is the God of judgment?” (Mal. 2:17b).  But their foolishness attracted no one in Israel who was upright in heart, and it attracts no one today whose heart is pure before God.
Do not be deceived,” my friends.  God is not mocked.  Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap, so that he who sows to his flesh shall from the flesh reap destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:7–8), “for the LORD is a God of judgment; blessed are all they that wait for Him” and do not follow teachers who are blinded by the mad spirits of this age.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fellowship


When Brother Paul Curtsinger dropped by one morning, he made an arresting statement: “I don’t think Jammie and I understand what fellowship is.  It can’t be believing the same teaching because I have seen people who believe the same doctrine not have fellowship at all.”  The subject of fellowship had been on my mind for several days, and I told him so.  Then I told Paul that after much consideration, I had concluded that not only is true fellowship not believing the same doctrine, but it is also not love, for God has loved many a person but had no fellowship with them at all.  So have we all.  There are people whom we all love dearly to this day, with whom we have no fellowship in the light of God.
Genuine fellowship in Christ, I concluded, is in our feelings.  Fellowship with God means to feel what God feels, when He feels it.  Jesus lived that way; he was alive to the feelings of his heavenly Father each moment.  And in that fellowship, there is no sin.  When we feel what our heavenly Father feels, as Jesus did, we will not sin, and we will not make wrong judgments.  Our words and our actions will be directed by the feelings we share with the Father and the Son.
If we feel what God feels, when He feels it, we will rejoice at the proper time, and be grieved at the proper time.  King David, for example, grieved for his little baby as long as there was hope that God would heal it, but when the child died, David “arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and went to the house of the Lord and worshipped.  Then he came to his own house, and when he required, they set bread before him, and he ate” (2Sam. 12:20).  David’s servants thought this was odd behavior, and they asked him, “What is this thing that you have done?  You fasted and wept for the child while it was alive, but when the child died, you rose and ate food” (2Sam. 12:21).  David explained that the time to grieve was when there was hope for healing, and concluded by saying, “But now that he is dead, why should I fast?  Can I bring him back again?  I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2Sam. 12:23).
This is how we want to live with others, especially they of the body of Christ.  If we have fellowship with God’s feelings, we will fast and pray for a brother when he first begins to drift away from righteousness, and not wait until after he is gone to be sad.  After all, when God sees the spiritual condition of one of His children begin to deteriorate, He feels sorrow – and so will we if we have fellowship with His feelings.  When we feel what God feels, our thoughts and our actions toward a weak brother will reflect God’s feelings toward him, at the time God feels them, not later!

Pray to feel what God feels when God feels it.  That is true fellowship with Him, and it is the only way we will ever come to know Him or ever have fellowship with one another in His Son Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Free, Not Muzzled


. . . so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
who do not walk after the flesh but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:4

Almost all of this world’s religions, whether small or great, provide some beneficial service for mankind.  Their chief benefit is that they restrain the wild, beastly element of man’s nature.  They muzzle the beast so that it doesn’t harm itself or others.
God, on the other hand, did not send His Son to restrain our fleshly nature; He sent him to change it.  And this He does when He gives us His Spirit.  By the holy Spirit, God makes us partakers of His holy nature (2Pet. 1:4) so that we no longer need to be restrained, for when we walk in the Spirit, we do “not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16) and are no longer a danger to ourselves and others.
In Christ Jesus, we are “new creatures” (2Cor. 5:17) and then are set free from all restraints, except for the restraint of love for our fellow man, so that even though all things are allowed, only what is good for others is done.  As Paul said, “Everything is lawful for me, but not everything is beneficial; everything is lawful, but not everything edifies” (1Cor. 10:23).
When Jesus said that if he sets us free, we are “free indeed”, this is what he meant.  In him, we are freed from every shackle on earth, including its laws and customs.  But we are set free, not to rebel against the earthly authorities that God has ordained for man’s good; rather we are set free to do the will of God, who “so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that every one who believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Before the Restoration


How is the faithful city become an harlot!  It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.  Your silver is become dross, your wine mixed with water.  Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; every one loves bribes, and goes after rewards.  They do not give justice to the fatherless, neither does the cause of the widow come to them. . . .
Nevertheless, I will turn my hand upon you, and purely purge away your dross, and take away all your tin.  And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counsellors as at the beginning.  Afterward, you shall be called, ‘The city of righteousness, the faithful city.’  Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.”
Isaiah 1:21–23, 25–27

How compassionate God is, to give such a promise to His terribly backslidden people!  What a precious promise, that He will come and restore righteousness to them, and give them – again! – leaders who are wise and good.
But you may have noticed that a verse is missing in the section of scriptures quoted above.  In that missing verse, we are told what must come to Israel before God restores His blessings to the nation – judgment!
Therefore, says the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease myself of my adversaries, and avenge myself of my enemies” (Isa. 1:24).
In other words, before God comes with His promised mercy, He will come with His wrath, and clean house.  And as always when His judgments are revealed, the guilty will become angry and retaliate against the upright.  Righteous judgment always sparks protests from the wicked.  They become bitter, and grumble, and make all kinds of accusations against the upright.  But God is never moved from His purpose by the wicked.  He is only moved from His purpose when the upright are moved by the wicked to turn from their uprightness.
God is determined to rescue His faithful people, those who love Him and His ways.  The foolish will not prevail forever.  Peace and holiness will fill the house of God again.  God has promised it!
The only question is this: Will you be among those who rejoice when God restores righteousness and peace and joy to His household, or will you be among those who are cast out so that it can happen?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The State of Dead Saints


And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw beneath the altar the souls
of those who had been slain because of the word of God
and because of the witness of the Lamb which they had.
And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Master,
holy and true, will you not judge and avenge our blood
upon those who dwell on earth?’  And a white robe was given to each of them,
and it was said to them that they should wait for a while,
until their fellow slaves and their brothers, who were about to be killed
as they also had been, should finish their course.
Revelation 6:9–11

We often hear it said that righteous souls who have died are now in eternal, perfect bliss, but the verses above show that such is not the case.  The souls beneath God’s altar in heaven seem to be pretty miserable.  They were filled with the Spirit (“the witness of Jesus”); they had suffered martyrdom because of righteousness; they were now dwelling in the very presence of God; and yet, here they are, obviously weary with longing for something that has not yet happened.  And God’s only response is only to give them some robes (which no doubt were wonderful) and to tell them they must continue to wait.  We should note that God did not answer their prayers!  He did not do what they were begging Him to do.  These verses reveal that while saints who have fallen asleep in Jesus have finished their earthly labors (Rev. 14:13), they are not yet perfectly happy, that they still have longings and prayers that can go unanswered, and that they still need patience to overcome frustration and disappointment.  Does that sound to you like eternal, undisturbed joy and peace? 
These verses suggest that the saints who have fallen asleep in the Lord still are a part of us, that they still pray for us and have feelings that they express to God about us.  If the wicked rich man who died and went into Torment still remembered life on earth and still felt the feelings he felt on earth (Lk. 16:27–28), it seems reasonable to assume that saints who fall asleep in Jesus and enter into Paradise can do the same.  The dead saints under the altar of God certainly remembered what had happened to them while they lived on earth (unjustly martyred), and they also were aware enough of matters on earth to know that God had not yet avenged them.  If the wicked rich man who went to hell still thought about and prayed for those he loved, surely the saints of God still think about and pray for those they loved.
 The tormented rich man’s desperate prayer for mercy in Luke 16 was unanswered because it was not the will of God to do what the rich man asked.  The dead saints underneath God’s altar were praying for something that God fully intended to do, but their prayers were also unanswered because it was not time for God’s answer to come.  Regardless of the reasons, however, neither the prayers of the wicked rich man nor the prayers of the righteous dead saints were answered, and that means that everyone who prayed, saints and sinner alike, felt disappointment.  And that means that nobody in those two stories was enjoying eternal, perfect, undisturbed peace.
That kind of peace and joy will be granted to God’s children only after Jesus has reigned on earth for a thousand years, has won the last battle, and has destroyed this present heaven and earth: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. . . .  And I heard a loud voice out of heaven, saying, “Behold!  The dwelling place of God with men!  And He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them.  And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more; neither shall there be sorrow, nor crying, nor pain anymore because the former things will have passed away” (Rev. 21:1, 3–4).

What I Learned from This about Believing

In spite of my having read Revelation 6:9–11 many, many times through the years, until Monday, March 13, 2017, when Jesus gave me understanding, it cannot be said that I truly believed it.  In reality, every time in my life that I thought or spoke of dead saints as already enjoying eternal, undisturbed bliss, or every time I said “Amen” when somebody else said so, I was not believing what those verses were telling me.  I was instead still confused by Christianity’s mythological version of the State of Dead Saints.
When we truly believe, that faith moves us and takes us somewhere; it leads us into the knowledge of God, into understanding, because true faith is of God and is alive, and makes us alive to the things of God.  “By faith, we understand that the worlds were created by an utterance from God, so that things that are seen were not made from visible things” (Heb. 11:3).  If you have truly believed the word of God, then you understand the truth.  If you have truly believed, then your true faith has taken you to good places.  It has taken you out of darkness and into the knowledge of God, out of strife and into holy love, out of pride and into humility, out of heresies and into fellowship with every other human being who has also truly believed.  You can’t hide it, and they can’t miss it!
May God grant us genuine faith in His word so that we may know His Son Jesus Christ, and experience the unity and fellowship of the Father and His Son!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Only Proof


It is the Spirit that bears witness because the Spirit is truth.”
1John 5:6b

The increase in number of scientists and educators who are not afraid to publicly confess faith in the Bible’s creation and flood stories is refreshing.  The evolution bullies are having their stranglehold on education and scientific outlets loosened a little.  We may be seeing the beginning of a revival of good, common sense in the scientific and education communities.
Before you start jumping for joy, however, let me remind you of this eternal truth: the holy Ghost is the only completely dependable witness that the Bible is true and that Jesus is Lord.  It does feel like a relief to hear scientists and scholars speak up in favor of Genesis being a trustworthy record of historical events, but if those scientists and scholars do not have the holy Ghost, they do not even belong to God, much less have they been sent to speak on His behalf!  And not belonging to God, they must have an agenda other than love for God for their defense of the Bible.
The theory of evolution has always been goofy.  God’s children have never needed help from “creation scientists” to understand that.  Genuine faith needs no scientific evidence to be strong and sure.  No matter what we know of earthly scientific facts, it is only by faith that we understand that the worlds were formed by the word of God (Heb. 11:6).  Do not be seduced into leaning on the knowledge and wisdom of men!
One of the first truths Jesus taught me as a young believer is that the closer something comes to being true, without being true, the more evil it is.  Someone who is close to the truth can deceive many more people than someone who is nowhere near right.  Likewise, men who defend the Bible, but have not yet been baptized with the holy Ghost into the body of Christ, are only close to the truth; they are not in it!  And the truth is not in them, for “the Spirit is truth.”  Guard your hearts against such men!  Do not trust those who believe in the goodness and need of the Bible but who do not believe in the goodness and need of the holy Ghost!  They are not of God!
The holy Ghost is God’s witness that everything in the Bible is true, and it is sufficient.  The geological, biological, and astronomical facts that “creation scientists” proclaim can be interesting and instructive, but they are all things the human spirit can learn and teach; they can never create righteousness and save a soul.  “If we receive the witness of men,” John wrote, “the witness of God is greater.  And this [the Spirit] is the witness of God which He has borne of His Son” (1Jn. 5:9).
John went on to say that “He who believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself,” and that “he who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar because he does not believe the witness that God gave of His Son.” (1Jn. 5:10).  In other words, those who do not have the witness of God, the holy Ghost, are making God out to be a liar, no matter what they say about the Bible, or even what they say about God Himself!  Some men passionately argue that the Bible is one big myth, while other men passionately argue that it is all factually true, but they are all making God out to be a liar if they all do not have His Spirit.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Correction


Why should you be stricken any more? You will revolt more and more.
The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it,
but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores.”
Isaiah 1:5–6a

God chastens those He loves, and those whom He chastens show their love for Him by receiving His correction.  If, on the other hand, God’s correction is resisted for too long, He will back off and give His child over to his own way.  But the end of that way is death.
For God to care about us enough to correct us is a precious opportunity, for by His correction, we are made more like Him.  Pray to have a heart to receive the correction our heavenly Father gives, while He is still willing to give it.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Growing Abomination


Except the LORD of hosts had left for us a very small remnant,
we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like Gomorrah.”
Isaiah 1:19

The abomination of perverse immorality plagued ancient Judah, too.  Judging by what Isaiah said, homosexuality had all but taken over the little nation in his day.
Later, a hundred years after Isaiah was called and anointed by God to prophesy to the Israelites, young King Josiah began his reign.  Unlike Isaiah, Josiah had the authority and means to do something about the despicable perverseness of God’s people.  The single act that Josiah performed which best shows how far into debauchery God’s own people had sunk is recorded in 2Kings 23:7: “And he broke down the houses of the sodomites that were by the temple of the LORD where the women wove hangings for the grove.”
Yes, a hundred years after the LORD lamented through Isaiah that His people had given themselves to the demons of homosexuality, His people had become so depraved that they had built houses for homosexual activity right beside the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem.  And notice that the Bible says “houses”, not “house”.  There were so many queers in Israel by Josiah’s time that just one house was not enough.  There may have been a bunch of them; we are not told how many.
Be patient, my brothers and sisters in Christ. It will get worse in our time, too.  The abomination will increase.  But you keep yourselves pure.  Jesus will come and make all things right again, for God has promised, “though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.”  In the meantime, be still, and be faithful.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Now You Can Shake Your Head


Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!  For the LORD has spoken:
‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib,
but Israel does not know; my people do not consider.’
Isaiah 1:2–3

Before shaking your head at Israel for not knowing where her blessings came from, consider this: Peter predicted, accurately, that many of God’s New Testament people wouldn’t know, either.  He wrote, “There shall also be false teachers among you, who shall bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them. . . .  And many shall follow them. . . .” (2Pet. 2:1–2).  How did this happen?  I will tell you.
It is the holy Ghost baptism that makes us clean in the sight of God, not repeating a few verses of scripture and “getting saved”.  You are purchased by Christ only when he puts the “down payment” of the Spirit in you (2Cor. 1:22, 5:5; Eph. 1:14)!  Paul said, “The Lord is the Spirit” (2Cor. 3:17), but when someone claims that he received the Lord (“got saved”) before he received the Spirit, he is “denying the Lord that bought him.”  And most of God’s New Testament people are doing just that.
The holy Ghost is what gives us hope of being raised from the dead (Rom. 8:11); the holy Ghost is what washes your sins away, and sanctifies, and justifies you (1 Cor. 6:11); and without it, you do not belong to the family of God (Rom. 8:9b).  But almost none of God’s children in this covenant know that, for they have been taught to claim to have been spiritually cleansed before God bore them witness, baptizing them with the holy Ghost into the body of Christ (Acts 15:8; 1Cor. 12:13).  They give more honor to the spirit under which they “got saved” than to the Spirit that comes from God and truly cleanses the soul.
Now you can shake your head.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Sweet Influence of the Gospel


Much of the irrational, hateful behavior and judgment we see in our time is a direct result of society holding back from this generation the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus.  The sweet influence of the gospel is so great that even if a person does not become a believer, if he has been taught the gospel story, his spirit is influenced for the better by it.
This is a plea for you fathers, and you mothers, to take advantage of the precious time you have with your children still in your home, and teach them about Jesus.  Read the Bible with them.  If you want them to be reasonable in their dealings with others, if you want them to be happier and more stable persons in this life, God has given you the tools and the opportunity to help make it happen.
THE MEETINGS OF THE SAINTS ARE NOT ENOUGH!  The meetings are not the answer.  The greatest help the young will receive is in the quiet of their home, with you.
Love your children with the kind of love which does the most good.  Love them with the love you received from God as He patiently taught you many stories about His Son.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

John, and the “Instead-of-Christ” Movement


In John’s first epistle, he warned that an “anti-Christ” movement had become very strong (2:18; 4:3), but to perceive his meaning, we must understand that in first century Greek, anti did not mean “against” as it does today; rather, it meant “instead of ”.  For example, Jesus said, “What father among you, when a son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or also a fish, he won’t give him a snake instead of [anti] a fish, will he?” (Lk. 11:11).  So, what John meant by “anti-Christ” is “instead of Christ”, not “against Christ”.
This agrees with Paul’s description of false teachers who, he said, considered themselves to be apostles of Christ (2Cor. 11:13).  Those men did not present themselves as enemies of Christ, nor did they speak evil of him.  If they had done so, no believers would have followed them.  What those men did was to proclaim – in Jesus’ name – a gospel different from the true one, and by doing that, they persuaded God’s people of a way of worship different from the right way.  And by doing that, they were, in fact, teaching a Jesus that was different from the real Jesus, and a spirit that was different from the real Spirit of God, just as Paul said (2Cor. 11:4; cp. Gal. 1:6–7).  They were not opposed to the name, “Jesus”, or to the word, “God”; they just offered a different Christ than the true one.
John called such men “deceivers”, adding that they had “gone out [from the faithful saints] into the world” (2Jn. 1:7).  It is important to note that John did not say that the deceivers had come in from the world.  Sinners of the world would not come into the Assemblies of God to proclaim any kind of gospel at all.  These “instead-of-Christ” ministers were believers who “went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they were of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out that they might be exposed” (1Jn. 2:19).  John’s point was that those men did not stay among “us”; that is, the believing Jews.  James referred to brothers who had gone out from the Assembly in Jerusalem to teach believing Gentiles not to trust in Christ alone, but to trust also in the law: “We have heard that certain men among us, to whom we gave no charge, went out from here and troubled you with words, saying you must be circumcised and keep the law. . . .” (Acts 15:24).  These were some of the men who, as John said, “went out from us,” but “were not of us.”
Finally, it should be noted that the word “anti-Christ” does not appear in the book of Revelation.  And it does not appear in that book of prophecy because Revelation concerns the future, and the “instead-of-Christ” movement was already going strong in John’s day.  John had no need to prophesy of a future enemy of God named “the Anti-Christ”, for he said, “even now, many have become anti-Christs” (1Jn. 2:18).
You need not look for the anti-Christ to come in the future.  As my father, “Preacher Clark”, once said, “The anti-Christ has been here so long, God’s people have forgotten about him.”

Monday, February 6, 2017

Beautiful


The LORD takes pleasure in His people. 
He will beautify the meek with salvation.”
Psalm 149:4

The new, glorified bodies that Jesus has promised us are beautiful, every one of them, and every person who receives a glorified body when Jesus returns for us will be a stunningly beautiful creature.
Let’s live meekly in the beautiful life of holiness now, so that Jesus will crown us with a beautiful, glorified body at his return.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

God’s Dwelling Place


Let them praise the name of the LORD . . . .
His glory is above the earth and heaven.
Psalm 148:13

God does not live in heaven; He lives somewhere far above it.  When He glorified Jesus to sit at His right hand, He glorified him, Paul said, “far above all heavens” (Eph. 4:10).
This heaven and this earth shall be destroyed.  Jesus said so (Mt. 24:35).  But God’s dwelling place shall never be destroyed.

Friday, February 3, 2017

“Don’t Internalize Me”


I cried to the LORD with my voice;
with my voice did I make my supplication to the LORD.”
Psalm 142:1
Jesus spoke to Brother Gary not long ago and told him, “Don’t internalize me.”  What Jesus meant was that he wants us to speak out loud when we pray.  He wants us to really talk to him, the way David said he did, “with our voices”.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

God Has Done His Part


He shows His word to Jacob,
His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
He has not dealt so with any nation.
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.
Praise ye the LORD!
Psalm 147:19–20

Just “a remnant” in ancient Israel obeyed God, but that sad reality does not negate the fact that God chose and blessed Israel and blessed as He did no other nation.
In this covenant, just a remnant in the body of Christ walk in the Spirit, but that sad fact does not negate the fact that God has chosen and blessed the body of Christ as He has no other people.
God has done His part.  He has always done His part.  And He is doing His part right now for those who trust in Him.  Praise ye the LORD!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Prisoners


The LORD looses the prisoners.
Psalm 146:7

The LORD does not despise His prisoners.
Psalm 69:33

When God has prisoners, He does not despise them, but works with them so that they might be free again.  Because of their rebelliousness, God cast the whole nation of Israel into a prison of spiritual darkness, but He loved Israel, and Jesus said in his very first sermon in Nazareth that God sent him to set the captives free (Lk. 4:18).  He could have plainly told them that day that God sent him to set them free, but he knew they did not want to hear that.  And later, when he did tell them, they were outraged: “‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’  They answered him, ‘We are Abraham’s seed, and we have never been slaves to anyone.  How can you say, “You shall be free”?’  Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I tell you that everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.’ ” (Jn. 8:32–34).
The Father, through Isaiah, told the Son that the day was coming when He would “give you for a covenant of the people . . . saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out!’  And to those in darkness, ‘Show yourselves!’ ” (Isa. 49:8b–9a).  And again through Isaiah, He spoke to the Son, and said, “I, the LORD,  have called you in righteousness, and I will hold your hand and keep you hidden.  And then, I will give you for a covenant for the people, for a light of the nations, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (Isa. 42:6–7).
If you feel imprisoned by anything – sickness, spiritual weakness, a bad memory, or any unpleasant circumstance – please do not be discouraged.  God does not despise you!  He sent His Son to set you free and make you happy again.  Just admit you are in prison, and Jesus will bring you out!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Abundantly Telling


They shall abundantly utter the memory of your great goodness,
and shall sing of your righteousness.”
Psalm 145:7

We “utter the memory of God’s greatness” by giving our testimony.  But to do just that is not the way of the righteous. No! The righteous “ABUNDANTLY utter the memory of God’s greatness”.  They repeatedly tell what God has done for them because they love it!
The whole congregation knows what God has done for the righteous soul, the one who has “abundantly” told them about it.  So, how well does your congregation know what God has done for you?