People of The Living God

Psalms 23

 

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October 2009



THE POWERFUL WORDS OF JESUS

Randall Walton

       We are often concerned about the amazing degree of neglect regarding the powerful, mighty, magnificent, and glorious words of our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.

       He had much to say about His own teachings!  He staggered not at the importance of His own teachings; yet, this present generation does not understand nor comprehend the absolute imperative nature of His divine teachings.  More emphasis is placed upon the writings of Brother Paul, as if he were the Messiah or the Anointed Teacher, than Jesus who is not only the Messiah but also the Anointed Teacher.

       His words and sayings are infallible; that is, they are reliable, trustworthy, true, faithful, absolute and non–failing.  They are based, not upon the desires nor the feelings of men, but upon the solid rock of truth.  Moreover, the words which He spoke He received straight from His Father.  That was why He could testify that He did nothing of Himself: everything He said or did, He received directly from His Father (John 5:19,20,30,36; John 6:38; John 7:16; John 8:26,28,29,38).

       Near the beginning of His ministry, He gave the following advice: “whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matt. 7:24,25).

       Jesus minced no words in His exhortation.  A wise man will build his house upon a rock provided he does what Jesus taught.  Notice that the rain, the floods, and the winds blew against that house, and it stood firm and immovable because it was founded upon a rock, and that rock consisted of hearing and doing the sayings of Jesus!

       See the contrast between this man and the following: “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:26-28).

       This man’s house fell because it was built upon sand: it had no foundation at all.  He was like so many professors of religion today.  They profess to know Him, but their works deny that profession.  Most professors of Christianity today have to have so much stuff that they can’t see nor understand that Jesus meant exactly what He said!  He gave special recognition to the needs of people, but He warned them of the deceitfulness of riches or the abundance of earthly goods.  It is a fact of reality that things become idols that prevent many people from serving the living God.  The preservation of things – a home, a car (or more), jewelry, money, a TV, a computer, the Internet, movies, a job, etc. – has ruined many a devoted couple or single person, because the objects of their affection meant more to them than a close walk with God!  The idea of acquisition of goods finally drove out the presence of the Spirit of God, and the person(s) eventually gave over to the lure and lust of the flesh.

       Jesus made some amazing statements regarding obeying His words and following Him.  In Luke 6:46 He said this: “why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  That’s a good question, isn’t it?  He is actually saying that it is fruitless to call Him Lord and then refuse to obey Him!  It is really foolish to call Him Lord and at the same time refuse to do what He says we should.  It is really counter productive, for if we do not obey Him, calling Him Lord will be a contradiction!

Other Scriptures

1.  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all they mind, and thy neighbor as thyself” (Luke 10:27).

This divine order is of major importance in this wicked and adulterous generation when there is so little real love in existence.  Now we have couples living together without benefit of commitment or obligation.  We have women and girls by the thousands who are pregnant or have had an abortion.  It is amazing the number of men who disappear when they find that their supposed lover is pregnant.

       And we are plagued with members of the same sex who are either married or live together!  And we have Senators and Representatives who are totally in agreement with the same gender living together and demanding recognition as full–fledged queers.

       But love, true abiding love, is in short supply today because of a lack of complete and total commitment in marriage.  Divorces are easy to get and are cheap also; anyone who wishes to break up a marriage can easily do so and marry again.

       True love is devotion and consecration to one other person of the opposite sex.  The bonds which bind one person to another should be so strong that separation and/or divorce is out of the question.  Let us not suppose that God is unaware of the misbehavior of this present generation.  He knows exactly what is going on, and His eye beholds all the misgivings of modern man.  Love is the glue that holds a couple together; it is unselfish; it is thoughtful and kind; it has strong feelings for those who love God; it is not just a feeling — it is more than that — it reaches out to help in time of need; it does all that is possible to do to help maintain preservation and longevity.

       That’s the reason that Matthew states that, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:40).  This requires a backbone in order to achieve its own purpose and merit.

2.  “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

       True worship must involve our spirits as well as our voices in praise to the Almighty.  There is an over abundance of music involved in modern religion, and most of it is not good.  Few people seem to realize that music has order and rules to follow.  There exists a cacophony of sound which causes the heart to beat faster as if in contrast to the “music” which is played.  Because the hearers feel something stirring in their minds and hearts, they think this is the Holy Spirit, which it is not!  It is the sound and fury of syncopation, that off–beat which draws its emphasis from the unmusical sound of distraction and lulls the listener into a trance–like situation beyond the control of a sane and stable person.  This is the state of many Pentecostal and Charismatic circles in which nearly anything can happen — and does.

       But this condition is not confined to only Pentecostal and Charismatic circles; it has now become almost universal in its use.  The undulating pulse is everywhere, and it has become more popular because of its ability to make people “feel” the music in contrast to the older music of former times when church music was esteemed dead and dry, even though it was according to the rules of music.

       But let it be well known that where licentious music is played, a door is open to demonic influence, and the people don’t know the difference, and apparently they don’t care!  But that will not agree with the plain words of Jesus who said that the true worshipper MUST worship God in the Spirit and the truth.

       How can we be sure we are playing music according to the rules, for there do exist certain rules or guide lines for the playing of all music.  If you have no one in your congregation with an understanding of musical construction, you can test the music by “feel.”  If the music makes you want to participate by clapping your hands or some other form of physical activity, and you do this activity by clapping or other activity on the second and fourth beat of the measure, you are breaking the laws or rules of music.  If you have a difficult time counting the measures of a song, it would be a help to you to not join in the activity because you may be aiding and abetting the enemy to take part, also.

       Remember, God is the inventor of music, and He has set down some important laws of the kind of music approved by Himself.  Music should be inspired by the Holy Spirit.  It should glorify the Living God and lift up the Lord Jesus in words as well as the music itself.  Under the right circumstances, it will honor God and be a blessing to all the congregation.

3.  “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt” (Matt. 15:28).

       Again and again Jesus admonished or rebuked people because of their unbelief.  He was after His disciples quite often for their lack of faith which seemed to disappear shortly after they witnessed each miracle of healing!  It seems that with all the instances of healing powers right in their own midst, they should have had their resources of faith, or God’s ability to do anything at any given moment, upon the right course.

       Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God!  Top priority is given to this fruit of the Spirit.  And Jesus also gave this question when He was teaching: He said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)  It sounds as if faith, real faith, will be in short supply when Jesus comes again.  We may well ask, why?  Why, with all the miracles God has performed and with His power and might exhibited day by day as He keeps the earth, the moon, the sun, the stars and other heavenly bodies moving as they do, is faith in Him difficult to find?

       We may ask the disciples the same question.  Why did they have a problem with having faith with a super abundance of miracles before their very eyes?  Why did they wake Him up when they were in a storm on Galilee with the words, “Carest thou not that we perish?”  We can only wonder about the why’s in regard to their indifference to the miracles they beheld for three and a half years!  It seems that all the many miracles which they saw, in addition to the fact that Jesus gave them power and authority over all the power of the enemy, would have remained an indelible testimony of His glorious power and ability to do anything and everything within the realm of the supernormal.

       We may also well ask why true, real faith in God’s ability to do whatever He so desires today is so fragile and breakable and fading away!

       It is no secret that in Matthew, Mark, and Luke there are no less than 29 instances where faith is mentioned!  Why, then, is there such a problem achieving the level of faith which is well–pleasing to God?  Remember, God is not mocked.  It is virtually impossible to outdo or outshine the living God.  He is ABLE to do anything He cares to do, and He has the right to choose for us the path He wants us to follow.

       If you are having a problem making your faith work, it is imperative that you begin to work on it now, for time has a way of slipping by more than we can imagine, and it takes some time to generate a living, active, genuine life of absolute faith in the living God and His word.

Other Commands of Jesus

       There exists over a hundred different and distinct commands of Jesus Christ throughout the four gospels.  Because of a lack of space, we cannot go over each one.  But it is necessary to be obedient to every word that has proceeded out of His mouth; therefore, we must tell you in as plain a way as is possible that there is little or no help to those who reject His blessed words.  There is truly no excuse for anyone to miss the commands of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

       The very last words uttered by Jesus just prior to His ascension into glory is found in Matthew 28:19,20, where He said the following:

       “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.”

       Remember, also, the words of Jesus in John 12:48 where He states that, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the WORD that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”  This is most serious, and it demands an adherence to His every command.  Why not determine to do that this very hour?

 

 

THE MILLENNIUM – WHEN?

Randall Walton

       It is truly amazing to find so many people who really believe in a future millennium; that is, that Jesus will come back, set up His kingdom with Himself the Administrator, and rule the world for exactly 1,000 years (no more, no less).

       This doctrine is based upon a deluded interpretation of Revelation 20:1-4.  Men have approached the Word of God without having a clear understanding of its message as written in the first verse of the first chapter.  There, in plain and easy to understand language is stated the following: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, To show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and SIGNIFIED it by his angel unto his servant John.”  Pay attention to that word signified, because that is the secret to understanding this mysterious Book.

       The message of the Lord is mostly in sign language, which means that in order to understand it, you must be able to discern the difference between plain language and SIGN language.  Sign language has to be interpreted in order to understand it.  Most of the writings in the Book of Revelation are written in signs, symbols, allegories, and figures.  They CAN NOT be unlocked nor understood by looking at their face value.  There is a big difference in how you approach these words of the living God.

       The words of Revelation 20 are made up of a combination of plain words and signs and must be approached from that perspective.  Those who believe in and teach the future millennium have accepted a literal interpretation of this portion of Scripture, thereby contradicting everything that Jesus and the apostles taught in their writings.  They, Jesus and the apostles, never said one word about a millennium or a future 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ on this earth.  Such a thing cannot be found in all the New Testament!

Look At Revelation 20:1-4

       “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.”

       In this first verse we have three signs that should be a warning to all who study the Word: 1- key to the bottomless pit; 2- bottomless pit; 3- great chain.  These cannot be taken literally.  There does not exist a bottomless pit, neither is there a key for it.  And what is the chain for?  These are SIGNS or FIGURES.  They do have meaning, but what meaning do they portray?

Verse 2: “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.”  Here we have three more signs: 1- the dragon, the old serpent; 2- thousand years; 3- bound him.  Fortunately, the Lord Himself interprets the “dragon, that old serpent,” by telling us that he is the Devil and Satan.  But then the angel binds him for a thousand years.  Let it be understood that a chain, as we understand chains, could not bind satan who is a spirit.  This sign language cannot be taken literally.

       And just as the chain cannot be taken literally, the same goes for the thousand years and the binding of satan.  These have a special message for the people of God, a message of wonderful importance to God’s people, which we will consider a little later.

       Verse 3: “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”  Here are more signs which are very important to us.  Satan is cast into a bottomless pit where he stays for a thousand years.  As we said earlier, this is symbolic language, and cannot be taken literally.

       Verse 4: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hand; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”

       Here again is some highly symbolic language: thrones, judgment, souls, beheaded, beast, image, mark, foreheads, hands, lived, reigned, thousand years!  All of these signs portray certain “conditions” which are prevalent in the earth during the “thousand years.”  The period of time is not confined to a literal 1,000 years.  How long it is supposed to last is in the hands of the heavenly Father.  Almost two thousand years have come and gone, and we don’t know how much more time will be endured before Jesus comes again.

       But this we do know: what is being described in these few verses of Revelation is already a fact, a reality which has a lot to do with the saints of God in this hour.  Consider the following information prayerfully and concernedly, because there are some mighty truths in these few verses of Scripture:

Satan Bound

       Jesus stated that He saw satan fall from heaven (Luke 10:18).  In John 12:31, Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”  Also, the writer of the Book of Hebrews gives us some special information: He affirms the flesh and blood aspect of our mortality and says that Jesus partakes of the same that “through death he might destroy (make powerless) him that had the power of death, that is the devil” (Heb. 2:14,15)!

       Revelation 12:7-11 describes a war in heaven (the word war in the Greek is polemos, meaning an argument or a war of words).  The result of this “war” ended when the devil and his angels were overthrown and were cast out into the earth (the bottomless pit).  Before this time he had access to the throne of God and was allowed to argue his case before God as he did in the case of Job.

       Paul declared in Col. 2:15 that Jesus, “having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”  The victory was so glorious that satan was placed under the feet of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:20-22).

       This victory is given unto us through the power and the might of Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:57).  The power is inherent within us through His blood.  We have a right to this power because of what Jesus Christ has done for us at Calvary.  When He said, “It is finished,” He meant that the final step had been taken and the victory over satan and his forces was complete.  That is why Paul can say in Romans 8:37 that “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

       Another interesting group of Scriptures is found in Matt. 12:28,29.  “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.  Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil His house.”  Jesus did this very thing by binding satan.  He demonstrated His power and strength over satan all during His ministry by setting the captives free and casting demons out of people.  The chain which we read about in Rev. 20 is nothing less than the regulatory control of the powers of darkness by the hand of God.  Jesus had under His feet the demonic entities which were tormenting people everywhere He went.

       All through His ministry He showed that He was in charge of every situation.  Not only was He in charge, He gave His disciples unlimited power over all the power of the enemy.  Pay attention to these words of Jesus in the gospel according to Luke: “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.  Behold, I give unto you power (authority, Greek) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:18,19).

       Here was great authority over the enemy, and it seems that the disciples did not understand nor comprehend the significance of this mighty authority.  After Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection He stated that, “Behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev. 1:18).  He had risen by the power of the heavenly Father, and all authority in heaven and in earth was given unto Him (Matt. 28:18).

       Paul affirmed that “he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (I Cor. 15:25).  That means, then, that He reigns right now!  He sits at the right hand of the Father in the Father’s throne, and He there reigns over the earth, over hell, and over death.  He is not only our Savior and Redeemer, He is our God as well.  He is not coming back to set up a kingdom and rule for a thousand years: He rules and reigns NOW.

       Revelation 12:9-11 says the devil (Satan) was cast out of heaven into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  Then John heard a loud voice which said, “NOW is come salvation (deliverance, setting free), and strength (dunemis, Greek meaning power, ability), and the kingdom of our God (rulership, government), and the power of his Christ (authority, the right to rule): for the accuser of our brethren is cast down…And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

       It is a fact that the blessings of this chapter are NOW present.  When satan was cast out of heaven, that was the beginning of salvation, the redemption of lost souls; that was the ushering in of the power, strength, and ability; that meant the abundance of the kingdom of God with all its power and might and blessing; its laws and precepts; its governing rule; and the power and authority of the rule and reign of Jesus Christ, the Almighty God.  Here are divine peace and rest in Jesus Christ.

       The same blessing and encouragement for the people of God are ours to share with others who accept the rule of the Lord and Savior, Jesus.  As stated in verses 3 and 4 of Revelation 20, the saints have been “beheaded” for the witness of Jesus and for the word of God.  They have surrendered their all to God and God’s word, and they no longer rely on their own thoughts to pass judgment.

       They now sit on “thrones” and judge the circumstances about them.  It can be said of them that “they live and reign with Christ” during the thousand years, or the time known as the “thousand years” which began with the ministry of Jesus many years ago.  They embrace the marvelous words of their Lord and apply them personally and faithfully to their own lives.

The Kingdom Has Come

       Few theologians admit it, but it is a fact that the message of Jesus to His people was primarily about the kingdom of God and the words of God concerning the kingdom.  And it is also a fact that the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a present divine reality.

       At the beginning of His ministry He preached concerning the kingdom.  “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).  And verse 23 of the same chapter says, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”

       In Matt. 5:2 and 3, Jesus opened His mouth, and taught them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  He also said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (verse 10).

       In the Lord’s prayer of Matt. 6, verse 10, He said, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”  The kingdom was right in the midst of the people, but they, the people, did not recognize nor receive it.  Neither did they comprehend the words, “Thy will be done in earth.”

       “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).

       This is but a short list of Scriptures in Matthew regarding the kingdom of God.  There are 52 references in Matthew alone, 20 in Mark, 44 in Luke, and 5 in John.  At the end of this study, we’ll give you all the references to the kingdom in Matthew so you can see that, even to the very end, He preached the good news of the kingdom of God.

       One of the most remarkable facets of Jesus’ teaching was that the “gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14).  It is true that the gospel of the kingdom is NOT being preached in all the world at the present time, because ungodly men have misinterpreted the word of God and have invented a counter kingdom which is supposed to be heralded forth during the supposed millennium.

       We who believe that the kingdom is a present reality have a tremendous burden upon our souls.  We are trying to reach out with the good news that the kingdom of God is a vital force now, that it is still at hand, that is, within the reach of mankind, and that it is a kingdom of great power (I Cor. 4:20) which is able to heal any and every disease, and to forgive and cleanse from every taint of sin and corruption.  None of the kingdom or groups of kingdoms of men can even begin to do what is normal in the kingdom of the living God.  We need only to look upon the great works of Jesus to realize that He has all authority in heaven and in earth, that He is able to do exceedingly far beyond all that He has declared in His word, and that when He returns to this earth, He will judge on the basis of right versus wrong, every act or activity of carnal mankind.

       We are thankful and grateful that there will be no millennium – a future restoration of the kingdom of God – for Jesus Christ now rules and reigns in the hearts and lives of those who know Him and serve Him.  May He ever be praised and glorified!

       Addendum.  Matt. 6:10,13,33; 7:21; 8:11,12; 9:35; 10:7; ll:12; 12:25,26,28; 13:11,19,24,31,33,38,41,43,44,45,47,52; 16:19,28; 18:1,3,4,23; 19:12,14,23,24; 20:1,21; 21:31,43; 22:2; 23:13; 24:7,14; 25:1,14,34; 26:29.

 

 

THE TRUE CHURCH

Randall Walton

       There exists in the United States of America well over 1,000 different denominations, most of which claim to be the True Church of Jesus Christ.  It should be no surprise to a casual observer that all these churches are not, can not, be the one true Church which was begun by Jesus Christ in the first Century, A.D.  Their claims of divine endurance are hollow and bring disgrace upon the church found in the New Testament which Jesus said the gates of Hell shall not prevail against.

       It should be obvious to everyone that a church which would be the same as the one pictured in Acts 2 through 4 should have the same fundamentals as that particular church had.  On the basis of this pronouncement, it is true that there does not exist anywhere in the U.S. a church or a religious organization which resembles, or even closely resembles, that church we read about in the Book of Acts.  All objections aside, we declare that every effort to put forth a copy of that wonderful body of people is a total and complete failure due to the fact that the intended copy is a gross misfit of the original!

       To our great dismay at the status flow of the present church system, we wish there were such a congregation to which we could attach ourselves.  But we have observed for over 70 years the goings–on of the church which calls itself the real body of believers with the hope that we would one day find The True Church of Jesus Christ.

A Look At The True Church

       One big difference between that church and the present day assembly was that they were all of one accord (Acts 1:14 and Acts 2:1).  It was a miraculous feat that about 120 people were in total agreement.  How they accomplished that goal was that they were worshipping and praying with one voice.  They had just finished watching Jesus as He was removed from their midst, and they were in obedience to the Father’s will to be gathered together for the outpour of the Holy Spirit upon themselves (Acts 1:4-8).

       The presence of God was in their hearts as they worshipped and prayed to the Most High.  Such unity as they experienced is not known in this day when people are separated by various doctrinal beliefs.  But their unity was instrumental in bringing about the blessing of the Lord, for Jesus told them that they would be baptized with the Holy Ghost in just a few days.  Three major happenings occurred on that day of Pentecost: 1- They were all baptized with the Holy Ghost; 2- They were all filled with the Holy Ghost; 3- They received the power of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:8).

       This, of course, was a new venture for them, for they had not been baptized with the Holy Spirit prior to this, nor had they all been filled with the Spirit, nor had they received the power of the Spirit upon themselves!  They all began to “speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Brother Peter gave a wonderful testimony about Jesus Christ and advised the people to “Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

       The same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.  “And all that believed were together, and had all things common” (Acts 2:44).  This was the first community in action.  They were a family of believers where there was a sharing of what people needed.  This testimony continued on even though Peter and some of the other men were arrested and put in jail.  But another miracle occurred when about 5,000 more became believers (Acts 4:4).

       As for the power of God among these believers, people were healed and were laid upon the streets so that as Peter walked by, his shadow might fall on some of them.  Great was the power of the Spirit in their ministry.

The Acts of the Holy Spirit

       There was a general manifestation of the Spirit as people allowed the Holy Spirit to work in their lives to produce the “fruits of the Spirit.”  These fruits were in direct answer to the message of Jesus in John 15:1-6 where He talked about fruit, much fruit, and more fruit.  It is true that not much is said about fruit in the modern assembly, yet this is a part of the “putting on the life of Jesus” because the fruits of the Spirit can only be produced by the Spirit of the living God.

       He said very plainly, “Without me, ye can do nothing.”  But with Him, we can do all things.  With Him, we can produce the fruit of the Spirit which will be a reflection of the nature and character of Jesus Christ (Gal. 5:22,23).

       Side by side with the fruits of the Spirit are the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  In I Cor. 12:7-11, Paul lists nine of the gifts of the Spirit which were set in the church by God (I Cor. 12:28).  These gifts were given to the church in order to cleanse and purify the people, as well as to lead them in the work of the ministry.  These nine gifts are: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, the gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues.  There is and has been a great work of pretending to have some, or more, of these wonderful gifts.  We have witnessed a profusion of false tongues as well as an “interpretation of tongues.”  We have also been in meetings where false prophecy was supposed to have been taken seriously.

       All of these gifts are presently copies (they are false) by individuals who hope to profit monetarily through their false claims.  It is true that these characters do much damage to the cause of Jesus Christ through their counterfeit practices.

       In addition to the work of the Holy Spirit by means of the gifts of the Spirit, those saints had a spiritual ministry made up of “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers” (Eph. 4:11-14) for the equipping or supplying of the means for the purifying of the flesh, until we all come into the unity of the Spirit unto a perfect man, unto the fullness of the measure of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such a ministry as this provided all the necessary working of the Holy Spirit in revealing sin in their midst, as well as pointing out the sinner, exposing him to the searchlight of God’s holy standards, forgiving and cleansing him, and pointing the way to following the Lord.

       God could have done more with the people of that era had they been willing to lend their own wills to His will, but they limited God’s ability to work in their midst by rebellion to His leadership.  By the time Jude wrote his letter to the church, conditions demanded that he exhort them to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

       The words and sayings of Jesus had become to them passé, done, over with, forgotten, obliterated.  They had lost their importance, their zing, their flavor.  They were just words and they had little, if any, real significance to the people.  But in these last days, God is stirring up the hearts and minds of a few followers here and there who have a deep and genuine concern for the precious words and sayings of Jesus Christ and who are doing all they possibly can to glorify Jesus by obediently following Him in all He said they were to DO!

The Book Of The Acts Of The Holy Spirit

       The Book of Acts is truly the heart of the New Testament in that it demonstrates what can happen when people give of themselves to the holy will of the Living God.  One of the first things to occur in their midst was they became a community of believers; that is, they had all things common!  The word “common” is from the Greek “koinonea” which simply means to share with others.  People invited others into their homes and no one called anything his own.  We read about this in chapter 2:42-44 and Acts 4:31-37.

       No one forced this way of life upon the people.  They were so overcome with the joy that about 3,000 joined their ranks on the day of Pentecost, and in a few days 5,000 more men (beside women and children) became members of the company of believers (Acts 4:4).  When this group of over 8,000 believers came together to pray, the building itself shook with the power of God.  The Bible says that “Great grace was upon them all.”

       As many of them as had homes or lands, or both, sold them and brought the money they had received for them and laid it before the apostles.  Even Barnabas who had land on Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, sold his land and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36,37).  The Scriptures state that “Neither was there any among them that lacked…and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:34,35).

       God saw to it that everyone’s need was taken care of.  We know nothing of the administration of that first community other than that which appears in Chapters 2 and 4 and part of 5.  But we can say that God was surely in this move and blessed it abundantly, for after all, was not this the manner of the livelihood of Jesus and the apostles for 3½ years?

       It is also a fact that these early saints kept the Sabbath.  There is not ONE SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE DURING THE DAY ON SUNDAY recorded anywhere in the Scriptures!  So why do most professing Christians gather together each Sunday after having labored all day long on the Sabbath?

       By comparison, there are over a hundred Sabbath meetings recorded in the Book of Acts alone!  Read, if you will, the following: Acts 13:14-16, 27, 42, 44; Acts 15:21; Acts 16:13; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:4,9-11.  It is plain that all through the ministry of the apostles and Paul, Barnabas, and Silas, those men of God obeyed the Holy Scriptures regarding the Lord’s day, and they ministered to both the Jews and the Gentiles on that day.  When did people begin this Sunday business, working on the Lord’s day and going to “church” on Sunday?

Many Healings

       It is amazing the number of healings recorded in the Book of Acts.  These started with the healing of a man who had never walked, and he begged for a few alms at the gate of the temple.  Peter said to the man, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”  And the man was totally healed. He leaped and walked and praised God who had brought about his complete healing.

       In Acts 5:12-16 we find the following: “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people: (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.  And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women).  Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.  There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.”

       And we have the restoration to life of Dorcas in Acts 9:36-42 where Peter was sent for to pray for her.  “But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed: and turning him to the body, said, Tabitha, arise.  And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.”  Here was instant power for the raising up of this saint of God, and restoring of life to her!

       And we have the record of Paul in Acts 19:11,12: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.”  God demonstrated Himself through the lives of these people of God who became able ministers of the power of the kingdom of the living God.

Led By The Holy Spirit

       It is wonderful the way the Spirit of God and the angels of the Lord ministered unto the people of that era.  Again and again the Holy Ghost led and guided those men and women who had yielded their all to Him.

       For instance: “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert.”  So Philip obeyed the angel, and when he had arrived at the proper place, he saw a chariot with a man in it reading from Isaiah the prophet.  “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.”  Again, Philip obeyed the angel and joined himself to the chariot.  After explaining to the Ethiopian eunuch about Isaiah’s words, the eunuch noticed some water nearby and requested that he be baptized.

       After the baptismal of the eunuch, the “Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.  But Philip was found at Azotus.”  God miraculously transported this man of God by air to another location (Acts 8:26-40).

       Paul was converted in a most unusual manner (Acts 9:1-20).  He was blinded because of the light which he beheld at his confrontation with the Lord.  But God was dealing with another man, Ananias, at the same time.  “And to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias.  And he said, Behold, I am here. Lord.  And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.”

       Ananias was not too happy with God’s method, and he argued with Him until the Lord corrected him with the following: “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

       God knew Saul’s (Paul’s) heart, and that once he was converted he would give himself with the same zeal and enthusiasm that he had before his conversion.  This leading was indicative of the way and the manner by which the Lord led His people in those days, and still leads His people today by means of the Holy Spirit.

       In Acts 10:1-48 we have the wonderful case of Cornelius, a man who greatly served and honored God, who was led by the angel of the Lord and was shown God’s own way of blessing an obedient servant of the Most High.  This man, a centurion of the Italian band, was given by the angel of the Lord specific directions to a certain man’s house in Joppa where he would find Peter.

       Peter, at the same time, had gone upon the house top to pray and became very hungry.  “He fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.  And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat.  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.”

       It is strange that these men of God always desired to straighten out the Almighty God.  The Lord was most specific about the matter and commanded Peter to “kill, and eat.”  This was done three times, and still Peter had a hard time accepting this marvelous truth!  Peter’s explanation of this phenomena occurs in chapter 11:9 & 10 where he spoke saying, “But the voice answered me again from heaven, what God hath cleansed that call not thou common.  And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.”

       Here was a wonderful revelation from God: not only had God cleansed the formerly unclean, he also gave salvation to the Gentiles!  Peter declared that three men had come after him, “And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting” (verses 11 and 12).

       This was direct leading by the Spirit of God and His angels.  God was in charge of the operation of the business of the church, and He directed their steps as they were prepared and were ready to receive it.  Isn’t it a shame that today we have settled for Boards of Directors or Boards of man–appointed apostles who do not know God nor the work of the Holy Spirit?  All of man’s efforts to lead the church are in gross error and lead the body in a downward and earth–bound descent into confusion and every evil work!

       In Acts 13:2 & 3, we have a divine record of how the Spirit of God led the church even in the selection of its ministers.  God was in charge of every aspect of His body, and He directed as He saw fit irrespective of the desires of the flesh.

       “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”  These men were called, directed, and led by the Spirit of the living God as God saw fit to lead them.  Nothing was left to the desires of the men who were so led, for God knew where and when they should go and He was their leader.

       These men were delivered from prison; they had the peace of God that modern man only knows about by hearing; there was judgment upon the transgressors; there was supernatural travel by means of the Comforter; yes, they suffered persecution, but they rested in the knowledge that God was with them.  Toward the latter part of the Acts of the Holy Spirit, there was a let down of the Spirit and the power of the kingdom of God, but in the first part of the Book, the church was glorious and the presence of the Spirit of God was great as the people yielded their lives wholly to the cause of Jesus Christ.

       We, according to His promise, expect to see a restoration of the power, the glory, the Almighty presence of God, with healing restored, and souls brought into the mighty power of the kingdom (Acts 3:19-21), as well as an adherence to the words and the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.  Even so, hasten the day, we pray.

 

 

THE LORD’S DAY TRUTH

Randall Walton

       “And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27,28).

       It is most plain in the holy Scriptures that the Lord’s day is and has always been the Sabbath, or the seventh day of the week.  It is a fact that not one worship service during the day on Sunday, the first day of the week, has been recorded anywhere in the New Testament Scriptures!

       Yet, there are over 100 Sabbath meetings in the Book of Acts alone, a truth which is little understood by most Christians today.

       Let us take a look at the Sabbath meetings which are mentioned in the Book of Acts:

Acts 13:14-16 (verse 27)

   1

Acts 13:42,43

 

Acts 13:44

   1

Acts 15:21 (every Sabbath)

   1

Acts 16:13

   1

Acts 17:2

   3

Acts 18:4 (every Sabbath)

   1 plus

Acts 18:7-11 (a year and six months)

  78

Acts 18:18 (a good while)

   ?

Acts 19:8 (three months)

 12

Acts 19:10 (two years)

104

Total

202



       In our search for the truth concerning the Lord’s day, we have found that until the middle of the fourth century A.D., the people who loved God kept the Sabbath day holy and attended some form of Christian worship.  In 358 A.D., Constantine, the Roman Emperor, made Sunday a holy day(?) and commanded that no physical labor was to be entered into with the exception of some farmers who were required to work seven days certain times of the year.

       This was an attempt to placate the new converts which were coming into the “church” and already observed Sunday in honor of the sun which they believed was the giver of life.  Thus, by the decree of the powerful Emperor, Sunday began to be observed by the people as the day of rest and relaxation!  The Bible was forbidden to be read or studied by the ruling powers of the catholic, or universal, church.  It was a sad day when people’s lives were set against the word of the living God, and a substitute was given in its place!

       There are many errors taught concerning the keeping of the Sabbath; for example, the Seventh Day Adventist denomination teaches that the Sabbath is the seal of God.  This is not true at all.  The Bible says that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13), and we are kept by the Holy Spirit’s abiding within us.

       Others say every day is alike, that God does not prefer one day above another.  But this is a false premise and an attempt to circumvent the Holy word of the living God.

       Still others state that Jesus was raised from the dead on Sunday morning and that made Sunday a holy day, thus replacing the observance of Sabbath on the seventh day.  This, too, is erroneous, based upon a misconception of the Book of Matthew who disputes the idea of a Sunday resurrection completely.

Matthew 28:1-6

       “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.  And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake and became as dead men.  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.  Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

       Matthew gives the very earliest visit to the tomb of any of the four gospel writers.  It is a deplorable fact that all of the “new” Bibles have changed Matthew’s testimony to read, “After the Sabbath,” or similar verbiage, in order to make Matthew agree with the other writers!  Matthew told the truth and stated it exactly as it happened.  It was “in the end of the Sabbath” that those two women journeyed to the tomb to “see the sepulchre.”  The time was not mentioned, but in order to fulfill His own prophecies concerning His resurrection, the time had to be between three o’clock in the afternoon and sundown on the Sabbath.

       Many people become confused about the word “dawn” as if that means the break of day, but dawn does not always indicate the break of day.  It also means the beginning of another time or era and not the rising of the sun!  The word dawn merely points to the beginning of the first day of the week which began at sundown.  Interestingly, the Greek New Testament says, “as it was getting dusk,” perhaps a more meaningful description.

       Thayer’s Greek dictionary says that the genitive case in which this passage is used places the time as belonging to the phrase, “In the end of the Sabbath.”  The time was before the Sabbath was past, but was somewhere between three o’clock and sundown on the Sabbath.

       Jesus made some astonishing statements concerning His rising from the tomb.  In Mark 8:31, He said that “after three days” He would rise again.  In Mathew 16:21, He stated He would be “raised again the third day.”  And in Matthew 12:40, He affirmed that He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

       In order to fulfill His own words, “after three days,” “the third day,” and “three days and three nights,” He had to have been raised from the tomb somewhere on Sabbath between three o’clock in the afternoon and before sundown on that day.  It was absolutely impossible for Him to have risen Sunday morning or at the break of day!  Mathew was the only one of the four gospel writers to tell the complete story of His resurrection.

       That Saturday night (actually on the first of the week) was full of much activity.  Those who witnessed His horrible death on the Cross had a difficult time believing that He had truly come forth from the tomb.  There were many visits made by various ones of the disciples, and even Mary Magdalene had trouble accepting the fact of His rising!

       The popular idea which was begun and promoted by the Catholic church is that Jesus was crucified on Friday afternoon and rose on Sunday morning.  This falsehood has been believed by many thousands of people who have never taken the time to see that you cannot squeeze 3 days in the little time allotted to Him by the promoters of this false premise.

       If we desire to know the correct day of His crucifixion, all we need do is count back from the time of His resurrection three days!

       But the important issue in this study is that the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb had no bearing whatever upon the observance of the Sabbath which Jesus stated He was the Lord of!

Arguments For Sunday Keeping

       Amazingly, the very name of SUNday is a give away from the sanctity of that day.  God Himself worked on Sunday in the creation, although many people don’t appreciate being told that fact.

       Sun worshippers held Sunday on the first day of the week as a holy day.  The Catholic church was forcing these recruits to join the Catholic religion and adjust their lives accordingly.  It was easier to adopt Sunday and make it a special day than to change all of the people to Saturday.  By stating that God gave them the authority to change the day and call it Easter in honor of the resurrection of Jesus, this was the path they took.

       Today, Sunday is looked upon as divinely ordered, while the Lord’s day is just another work day!  There is absolutely no reason to observe Sunday as a holy day.  It was made a “holy day” by the Roman Catholic church and remains there today as if it were blessed by God.

Acts 20:7-10

       Sunday worshippers refer to a meeting on Saturday night recorded in Acts 20 as if it were a regular God appointed time for the church to gather.  But if you have taken the time to actually read the account, you will see that it was a meeting to “break bread,” not a regular meeting at all, and quite possibly was a carry over from the Sabbath meeting.

       Paul preached till midnight that Saturday night where “many lights” were burning.  This was not a Sunday worship service — it was held for the purpose of breaking bread, or a communion service, and was held at night as was the proper time to observe the “Lord’s supper.”  To use this as proof for a Sunday during the day worship service is a sign of dishonesty!

I Cor. 16:1-4

       It is truly amazing how many Sunday keepers will refer to this Scripture as proof of Sunday worship.  Read it again and see for yourself that not ONE word is said about a worship service.  Paul here is telling the Corinthian saints that they were to “work on the first day” of the week.  They were to gather a collection from their gardens and “lay by him in store as God hath prospered him” to send to Jerusalem to help in the hunger there.  No mention is made of a religious nature.  This was a gathering of food stuff to help the needy in Jerusalem.

Col. 2:16

       “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days.”  Notice that the word “days” is in italics indicating that it was not in the original text.

       This is not in honor of one who keeps an alternate day for the Sabbath!  This is for the defense of one who respects meat, drink, a holy day, the new moon, or the Sabbath.  They are not to allow anyone to judge or condemn them for the observance of those things.  How this can be used to defend Sunday worship is beyond me!

Rev. 1:10

       “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.”  The Lord’s day was never Sunday!  The only day in all the Scriptures points to the Sabbath, not Sunday, as the Lord’s day.  “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27,28).  In the creation, God rested on the seventh day, and He blessed, sanctified, and hallowed the seventh day.  There exists no mention nor suggestion in all of the Scriptures that God ever removed His blessing from the seventh day of the week.  God’s blessing still rests upon that day of every week, and He expects us to remember to do the same today.  The Ten Commandments were carried over into the New Covenant by none other than Jesus Christ Himself, and they stand today with the blessing and longevity of the living God as they were the day they were first given through Moses, the servant of the living God!

The Law Was Done Away!

       There does not exist a Scriptural reference in the entire Bible that says that the Law was taken away.  There is much misunderstanding of the law and the ordinances which were temporary in nature and were given for the carrying on of the Levitical priesthood.

       Paul does not make plain in his letters the exact function of the “law” for Christians.  He addresses both the law, or the Ten Commandments, and the Levitical codes but does not properly separate them, nor explain in detail the vast differences in the two.  We are left, then, to figure out which is which and to make the proper adjustments ourselves.

       In Galatians where Paul speaks about the law (Gal. 4:19), he states that the law was given in the hands of a mediator who, of course, was Moses.  He also states that the law was our “schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.”  The Ten Commandments were not given to bring people to Jesus Christ.  They are permanent requirements for everyone who is a Christian.  Jesus, in Matthew 5:17-18 says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill (observe, do, keep).  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”  The heavens and the earth are still with us today; that means that the law — the Ten Commandments — are still binding upon the people of God today just as much as when they were given to Moses so many years ago!

       Paul does become somewhat more specific about what was done away in Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:14.  He speaks about the “handwriting of ordinances that was against us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”  But the Ten Commandments?  No, never!

       In fact, Hebrews 10:16-17 reads thus: “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”!  The law of the living God is now in our hearts and minds.  There is a constant and compelling urgency to pay attention to the law which God has chosen to place within us.  Too many people pay no attention to the great and mighty laws which are in their hearts and in their minds which was placed there by the divine will of the Lord of glory.

       Friends, God will have a people who believe in the divine law with all their hearts and minds.  Not only are the Ten Commandments there, but also the precious words of the Lord Jesus Christ who has declared His words to be applicable to the men and women of this hour.  God looks for obedience from all of mankind.  Will you be among those who give themselves completely, whole–heartedly, unselfishly into the hands of the mighty God of the universe!  The choice is yours to make!!

 

 

 

NO LICENSE TO SIN

Harry Miller

       An “everlasting covenant” was made by blood, and upon condition the believing man can enter into a living fellowship with his creator.  Day by day the blood of the covenant remains over the man if he walks as he ought to walk.  “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.” I John 1:7

       Because of the work of Christ, man’s intention must be accepted at face value before the bar of justice.  If the believer’s intention is superficial, then he has only deceived himself; heaven always knows the true intention.  True intention has depth, and moves to action.  The presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer registers against every transgression.  This holy influence within makes sin obnoxious.  In humility, the transgressor cries to the Lord, grace steps in, and peace with God is restored!