People of The Living God

Psalms 91

 

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March 2010



ENTERTAINMENT VERSUS WORSHIP

Randall Walton

        There is a terrible mistake being made in religious circles these days.  It has actually been ongoing for a fairly long time, but recently it has had a new lease on its continuance; that is, a new and energizing impact which sets it apart from the ordinary, custom–like religious service of bygone eras.

        What we are referring to is the aspect of entertainment or “Hollywoodism” which has taken over much of the religiosity of former times when the object of a religious service was to worship the Lord in the Spirit and in truth!  To say that the habits of the modern church world are the same as they have always been is to show oneself not up to the challenges that once confronted the entire “church world” as it was in the great depression days of the thirties when hard times confronted the people and drove the hypocrite and impostor from the ranks of God’s people.

        The true object of a religious service is to worship God; that is, to provide an atmosphere of spirituality in which a person who really loves God and His Word can enjoy the fellowship of other of God’s people who are like–minded and who want to worship God, and together they lift up their voices to the living God and are blessed by His divine presence.  As Jesus said in His teaching, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there.”

        But the practice today is to call on a celebrity or some well–known personality whose presence brings in sufficient numbers and have a resounding noise that makes it all worthwhile!  It is a fact that a big name, or popularity, or substantive representation helps to enlarge a rather dull bunch of people who would otherwise have nothing to show for their efforts.  Under the robes of disingenuous hilarity and false humility, people are able to hide their own selfishness, their worldliness, their pride, and rebellion against God’s holy word.

        After all, the lifting up and recognizing the kingship of Jesus and the elevation of His glorious word are the prime reasons for us to reject the call of the world and its waywardness; there is so little of both those divine qualities among the so–called followers of Jesus Christ in this day.  We know of only two groups of people who make so much of the words of Jesus, and the keeping of them, as we do.  The main glory goes to “Brother or Sister” who has an inside, or interior, point of view of things spiritual or of a spiritual nature.

        We do not exaggerate when we make such comments about the conditions of the church in our day.  Surely God must weep when He beholds the utter complacency, the disregard, the apostasy, the lack of respect for His beautiful utterances in His word.  He has given us His pure, precious words to believe and accept, and so few do!  It’s almost as if He had nothing to say about the conditions which exist in the religious world of this present hour.

        If ministers and preachers were truly honest about the word of God, there would be no rapture taught (because it is not in the word), men and women would be observing the Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday (not one worship service is recorded in the Book on Sunday), men would not waste time trying to settle whether we were saved eternally without the possibility of ever falling away (eternal security is not taught in the Scriptures); shepherds would be showing their flocks how to prepare for the future (preparation was taught by Jesus), the value and appropriateness of the words of Jesus would be taught (the words of men are worthless), the fruits of the Spirit would be stressed (the works of the flesh are an abomination), the second chance doctrine, (the millennium) would not be taught (the millennium is a myth – based solely upon Revelation 20:1–6), there would be no conflict over the Godhead (Jesus can’t be both the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), men would not be attempting to use the gifts of the Spirit for their own benefit (they would not be usurping their callings and elections), men of God would spend more time on their knees seeking God and calling upon Him for guidance and direction (the flesh profiteth nothing), the holidays, Christmass, Easter, and hallowe’en, would not be observed (there is no Scripture for these ungodly observances), men would be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Jesus prophesied of this in Acts 1:5).

        It is true that there are over 1,000 different and distinct Christian denominations in this vast country called the U.S.A.  We now have gay (homosexual) churches, churches which allow singles to live together (without being married), churches where the Spirit of God and Jesus Christ are not welcome, churches which only appeal to the heady and high–minded, churches which claim to be what they are not, churches which appeal to the flesh, or the works of the flesh, churches which are anti–christ in their beliefs, churches which are as religious as were the Pharisees or Sadducees in their day, churches which have published their own Bibles, churches which do not require people to be born again!

        But as long as they substitute entertainment instead of worship of God, they manage to get along somehow.  But what will happen to all the people who belong to those many denominations as we draw closer toward the end?  Will they suddenly wake up?  Will they, before it is too late, realize that their religion is all in vain, that they can never see nor enter the kingdom of God unless they have been born again?  Is all their “going to church” going to be beneficial in that day?

        The one most important thing that Jesus taught was that, “Ye must be born again.”  Unless a person is genuinely converted and the Holy Spirit is dwelling within him, he is still a sinner, unsaved, without God and without hope.  There is only one solution for such a man as this: he must be born again, or born from above.  Then, and only then, can he partake of the things of the Spirit of God and be led by the Spirit into the deeper things that God has kept secret, or mysteriously kept, down through the ages.

        When he has been converted, or been born again, then he is ready to worship God in the Spirit, and in truth.  That worship must come from the heart, from the soul, from the innermost being of the human spirit.  God recognizes the difference, and He will bless and sanctify the person who so openly and prayerfully exposes himself to the blessing and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.

        Friends, “going to church” will not get it done for you: it must be genuine, but it can be in your own home, in your office, in any place where the Spirit of God meets you.  When you come before the Lord of glory, confessing your need of Him, and repenting of all your past life, He will meet you there.  But don’t think that you can hide anything from Him, for He sees and knows our deepest secrets.  You may have to go to a fellow servant of Christ and make amends for the wrong doings of the past; but it is well worth it.  Surrender of your heart and soul and life is what counts with God.

        If you have not made this commitment to Him, do so today while there is still time.  Yield yourself to Him and the Holy Spirit, and He will give you peace and joy that you didn’t know was possible to attain.  God bless you abundantly!

 

 

JUDGMENT?

Randall Walton

        Earthquakes have been taking place worldwide on an increasing rate of speed and intensity.  The U.S. Geological Survey reports that as of February 11, 2010, there have been (within the past thirty days) 389 significant quakes worldwide!  That makes an average of nearly 13 quakes per day, all above 4.0 on the Richter Scale, or about 2 quakes per every two hours, around the clock.

        Evidently, God is trying to warn people of a major calamity coming not only to the U.S., but to the entire world, for these quakes are occurring in many different places throughout the earth and seem to be on a notable increase.

        Here in middle Tennessee, we have had the worst winter in nearly thirty years, as we have witnessed no less than four major storms with at least 4 or 5 inches of snow in each storm.  The temperature for weeks has been in the teens and below, with the temperature never rising above freezing until today (the 8th of March).

        God has promised to shake everything which can be shaken (Heb. 12:26–29) “that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”  We cannot blame God for being angry with this present generation, because they have turned from God and have asked for the judgment of God to be unleashed upon the land.  God sees and knows men’s hearts and He is well aware of all the blasphemy and rebellion among mankind.  The Lord has warned men of judgment to come, and we believe that the multiplicity of earthquakes is but one of the many forms of judgment to which mankind is being subjected.

        Our sympathies go to the people of Haiti and Chile who have suffered such anguish and loss of life.  May the Lord help those poor people who have been so harshly beaten down, and who have lost so many of their relatives and well–known persons.  We pray for those who do not know God, that He will show them His great mercy and love and grace, and that He will visit them with comfort and hope, for there is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit for all who will go to Him in their great need!  God bless!

 

 

THE BIBLE: BOOK OF ENDURING TRUTH & WISDOM

Haven Bradford Gow

        According to religion writer Robert Hutchinson, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible (Regnery), “For approximately 1.8 billion people on the planet – roughly 1 billion Roman Catholics, 280 million Orthodox, 473 million Anglicans and Protestants, and 14 million Jews – the Bible is revered, in one way or another as the word of God.”  As Mr. Hutchinson recognizes, the Bible is “a source of divine inspiration, moral guidance, and the foundation of Western Civilization.”  True, “There are differences among denominations…but a general consensus exists among faithful Christians and Jews worldwide that the biblical texts communicate vital, often shocking and unusual truths central for our self–understanding and the key to our eternal destinies.”

        However, as Mr. Hutchinson notes, “an influential group of academic, government, and media elites (maintain that) the Bible, far from being the cornerstone of Western civilization, is actually the source of most of the evil in the world today – a veritable cornucopia of superstition, obscurantism, and ‘bad taste.’”  To such critics of the Bible, Mr. Hutchinson responds: “We can only gasp in wonder at the wholesale historical ignorance displayed by contemporary secular fundamentalists…when they start prattling on about how much more ‘rational’ atheists are and how much more ‘moral’ their social policies would be, freed from the superstitious morality of biblical religion.”  Indeed, “A century of firsthand, bloody experience with ‘rational’ atheism has proven that it is atheism, not the Bible or religious belief, that is the greatest danger to world peace.”

        According to Elizabeth Ridenour, president, National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, Box 9473, Greensboro, NC 27429, students in the public schools can and should study and learn about the ethical, literary and historical value and insights of the Bible; she wants public schools across the nation to introduce into their curriculums an elective Bible course that would examine the impact the Bible has had on literature, art, music and history.

        These would be the objectives of the Bible course: (1) Equip students with a basic understanding of the significant literary forms contained in the Bible as well as people and symbols often referred to in literature, art and music; (2) equip students with a basic comprehension of the Bible’s influence on American history, law, community life and culture; (3) provide insights into how the Bible helped shape the moral, political and legal philosophies of the Founding Fathers; (4) educate students about the importance of religion in World and American History without showing favoritism toward any particular religious group.

        The American Association of School Administrators notes that “the study of religion in public schools is permitted by the Constitution as long as the subject matter is presented objectively as part of a secular program of education.”  This secular educational organization points out that “the First Amendment does not forbid all mention of religion in the public schools.  It does prohibit the advancement or inhibition of religion.”

        Should God, religion, Bible–reading and morality be restored to this nation’s public schools?  The Founding Fathers provide the correct answer.

        John Adams, for example, said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people,” while Benjamin Franklin observed that “whoever will introduce into public affairs the principles of Christianity will change the face of the world.”

        George Washington stated, “Take away religion, and the country will fail,” while Patrick Henry declared, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

        There, indeed, is a place for the study of and conversation about religion in the public schools, because religion – for better or for worse – played an important role in the founding of this nation.  The Bible can and should be discussed in American history classes because the Bible helped shape the moral, political and legal philosophies of the Founding Fathers; and the Bible can and should be studied in literature classes because – apart from theological considerations – the Bible is a great work of literature.

 

 

THE LAODICEAN CHURCH

Randall Walton

        “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any MAN hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

        This is the true condition of the modern ecclesiastic “church” body which loudly proclaims its innocence regarding God and its position in Jesus Christ.  It is no secret that the professing church is lukewarm; that is, it is neither cold nor hot.  God has stated exactly His reaction to that condition.  He said, “I will spue (spit out) thee out of my mouth,” because He will not put up with a lukewarm condition!  Lukewarmness is a position of abomination which God will not tolerate, no not for anyone irrespective of its, or their, claims of permanency and longevity.  God is totally and completely against the tepid and lukewarm condition claimed by the average congregation of people!

        God’s view of the Laodicean church is that it is wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; and while making great claims and being “rich and needing nothing,” it is lifeless and needs a thorough cleansing through the blood of the lamb, as well as buying from Him gold tried in the fire, white raiment, and eye–salve for the eyes that they might see.

        God Himself has stated that the system of the professing church is wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked; and that being the case, puts the so–called church in a position to be judged by Him as inadequate, unworthy, making false claims, presenting itself as something which it is not, and offering itself as a “neither cold nor hot” religious palliative to a sin sick world without definite standards or requirements.

        What is meant by the word wretched?  How has such a demeaning term been applied to the goings on of the modern church world?  The dictionary says that the word indicates a “deeply distressed, unhappy, unfortunate” condition; “poor in quality, very inferior, contemptible, despicable.”  This is God’s viewpoint as He looks at the condition of the modern church world.  He sees the unhappiness, the failures of the theological jargon to fulfill the needs of the people.  Wretched!  What a denunciation of the whole lot of religious nonsense which is carried on in the name of Jesus Christ.  God’s totally against such rot as this being paraded as the plan of salvation and the hope of eternal life for the souls of men.

        The next word used to describe the condition of the modern church is miserable.  The dictionary says it is “causing misery, discomfort, suffering; bad, inferior, inadequate, pitiable, shameful, disgraceful.”  How terrible, this miserable condition which masks itself in the robes of righteousness as if it is the normal, natural reaction to an emergency, or other tragedy, which deserves an immediate remedy for a horrible situation.  It is as if the emergency, or other tragedy, is a mere feeling of inadequacy; and, therefore, no real solution is offered to alleviate the problem.

        The miserable condition is further amplified by a lack of concern for the actual state of the persons involved.  One of the many “solutions” to the problem is to offer a singer, a special entertainer, a personage who is above and beyond all the small, insignificant problems of the unimportant members of the congregation, thus sidetracking the real troubles and problems of the clientele.  This deplorable condition is rampant and overwhelming: it is easier to dismiss the issue by skirting around it than to face the problems as they really are.  Miserable!  Yes, this word means what it says.

        The next descriptive word is poor.  The Laodicean church claims to be “rich, in need of nothing,” but God says they are poor, impoverished, without natural means of support spiritually.  While they say they are rich, they measure themselves by the abundance of their material goods rather than by their degree of spiritual values.  They may be rich materially, but Spiritually they are paupers hiding behind their profession of righteousness as if by so doing they are truly partakers of the divine will.

        Any group of people who claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ and who are not Spiritual, are impostors, hypocrites, make–believers who profess something that they are not.  Let us make this as plain as can be made plain: there is salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ, and only through His precious blood are we forgiven of our past sinfulness and brought into a knowledge of the Son of the living God (Eph. 1:7; Rom. 3:25).  Water baptism is a sign of what has taken place in our hearts and souls, but it does not replace the effectual work of the blood of Jesus.  Until a person has met the requirements of the blood, he remains in his sinful condition.  It is only by and through His blood that we have true redemption.

        A person can be as poverty stricken as can be, but be rich in his spiritual experience, for God looks upon us for repentance of the past, and for a determination to go all the way with God.  He has promised that He will never forsake us, but this depends upon our faithfulness to God and His word.  The “poor” in this description can only mean that they do not know God nor are they the sons of God, both of which they are sorely in need of: it is not enough to know about God, nor to even believe that He exists.  It is imperative to know God personally, to abide in Him, to dwell in His house, and to observe all that He commands.

        To be blind is to be “without the power of sight; unable to see; sightless.”  A truly blind person cannot tell the difference between night and day.  Their perception of things materially is monitored by their ability to comprehend things as they actually are.  Concerning the kingdom of God, Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3 that “Except a man be born again (or born from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Until, or unless, a person has been born from above, he cannot understand, or comprehend, the mighty kingdom of the living God.  The kingdom is so vast, so all–encompassing, so powerful and wonderful, that a person who has not been born from above cannot see, nor understand the workings and wonderful powers of that glorious domain.

        Jesus was here speaking about understanding the kingdom of God, but explaining to Nicodemus the absolute necessity of knowing God.  It is not enough to believe that the kingdom of God is: he must also believe that the kingdom is within you.  This is the divine way.

        The kingdom is essentially invisible: the miracles which He worked were miracles performed within the kingdom of God.  No one actually saw the kingdom itself (I Cor. 15:50), but they did see the miracles which were given through the power of that kingdom.  To the hypocrite, the ungodly and the worldly disbeliever, even the miracles which He performed were considered meaningless.  But to the believer, they were the power of God brought down through the grace and mercy of the living God, so that the believer could rejoice in the blessings of God.  But the church of Laodicea was not so blessed.  Jesus said to them that they were the sons of the wicked one who would not, could not, behold the glories of that invisible Holy City.

        The last sign given the readers of the New Testament is that they were naked: “completely unclothed; bare; nude;” that is, they had no clothing to cover their nakedness.  What an awful state of being to be found in.  Proper clothing to cover the body is essential for the preservation of the human condition.  It is absolutely necessary that the body be totally covered so that all suggestions of earthly matters are not brought forth.

        The Lord made it plain that white raiment was available to those who wanted it.  Of course, there was a price to be paid for it, but the price was not prohibitive.  If anyone really wanted the white raiment, all that was necessary was to “buy” it, “that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.”  But in Laodicea, the standards are broken down, the moral restraints are taken away, and whatever a person does is okay with the powers that be!  How awful, the conditions of the people have become.

        Nakedness has not been approved by the Lord of glory.  God is against it and we should be, too.  Of course, we understand that this is a spiritual situation, but we can see that the same practice is prevailing over much of the physical side of humanity.  God has prevailed over the physical situation as well as the Spiritual situation, and He demands that we keep ourselves well covered, both physically and Spiritually.  Anything less than this meets God’s disapproval.

        God has not left us without a solution to the problems.  He commands that repentance becomes us in these situations: wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked!  Let us not suppose that God has a special dispensation for a certain class of people.  His standards are the same for everyone everywhere.  He makes not special consideration for people of different make–ups or practices.  He handles all the same.

        Notice in verse 20 that God now calls upon individuals: “if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”  But He still demands repentance and a return to the way of God; that is, doing the will of our Father which is in heaven.  If we meet His demands, He will honor us and will come to us to “sup with Him, and He with us.”  May this be the cry of our hearts, both now and forever.

 

 

OUR GOD REIGNS

Alda Scullin

        “One in a certain place testified saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” (Heb. 2:6)

        “Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Ex. 15:11)

        It is truly a mind boggling enigma that the Lord of Glory should love humanity as He does.  He whom the heavenly beings worship without ceasing, saying, “Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty,” and falling down and worshiping at His feet.  He who is “Lord of Lords and King of Kings” is “a great King over all the earth.”  “The Lord reigneth, He is clothed with majesty,” wrote the Psalmist.

        The monumental evidence of the mighty power and love of the living God should overwhelm these inferior creatures of the dust, but such has not been the case.  While in every age some have recognized and worshiped Him as their God and king, the majority have rejected Him and worshiped the god of this world.

        The scriptures are replete with mention of the majesty of our God, and wonder of wonders, He whom David addressed as “My King and my God,” is also the “God who speaks” (Isa. 52:6).  Amazingly, from Adam to the present day, few people have believed the words that God spoke to them.  Adam and Eve were drawn to the forbidden fruit by their carnal desire and seduced to disobey God’s command by the doubt that was cast upon God’s Word when the serpent said, “Thou shalt not surely die.”  They DID NOT BELIEVE GOD.  They DID believe the serpent!  He told them what they wanted to hear.  The history of Israel followed the same pattern, and in the twenty–first century it is no different.

        Because of His promise to Abraham, God delivered the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt and eventually brought them into the promised land and set judges over them.  Through His prophets He spoke to the people and ordered their ways.  He was their Saviour, their God and king.  Time and again He delivered them from the hands of their enemies, but they soon forgot His love and mercies and rebelled against His ways.  They loved the world and served other gods.

        After Gideon, by the hand of the Lord, had saved Israel from their enemies, the men of Israel said to him, “Rule thou over us…for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.”  And Gideon said unto them, “I will not rule over you…The Lord shall rule over you” (Judges 8:22–23).

        Finally, in the days of Samuel, they demanded an earthly king such as the other nations had; one they could see and who would go before them into battle.  God told Samuel to give them the kind of king they wanted, for, said He, “They have rejected me that I should not reign over them” (I Sam. 8:7).  THEY DID NOT BELIEVE GOD!  Of course, their rejection did not in any way negate God’s power and authority.  As stated in Hosea 13:11, “I gave them a king in mine anger and took him away in my wrath.”

        When Jesus came to earth as a man, He came preaching the gospel of the kingdom.  He demonstrated the power of His Kingdom and said, “If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God IS COME upon you” (Luke 11:20).  Nevertheless, He was not recognized as their king because of their preconceived image of a king who would break the yoke of Rome and set up his own throne in their midst here on earth.  THEY DID NOT BELIEVE the words of the King Himself.

        Jesus made other very plain statements concerning His Kingdom.  He declared, “my kingdom IS NOT of this world” (John 18:36).  It does not come with observation; “neither shall they say, Lo here, or lo, there.  It is WITHIN you” (Luke 17:20–21).

        In his message to Mary, the angel Gabriel said, “Of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33).

        This “good news” of the kingdom, Jesus said, shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Matt. 24:14).

        Modern theologians ignore such plain statements as these.  They say the kingdom of God had not come when Jesus said, “It IS come.”  Their teaching is that His Kingdom is still in the future, that it will be a material kingdom set up on earth; and it will only last one thousand years.  They do not preach the gospel of the kingdom as Jesus and the apostles did.  They have substituted gospels of their own making.  Theirs is a gospel in which there is no king or kingdom and more power is attributed to satan than to Jesus.  Such a gospel is inspired in hell.  Satan does not want men to accept the present Kingdom of God and realize that Jesus, who was given all power in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18), now reigns and has annulled the devil’s power (Heb. 2:14).

        The main argument against the present reign of Christ is that if He were King there could not exist so much evil in the world.  Of course, there is no scripture to support such a theory, nor is one offered.  One must remember that God created man a free moral agent.  God is not a tyrant, and He is not responsible for all the evils and sufferings of the human race.  It is man’s own choice that determines his status.  Does he choose to heed God’s word and walk accordingly or does he choose the way of least resistance when satan again whispers, “Thou shalt not surely die”?

        Before He comes in clouds, when every eye shall see Him, Jesus will manifest His Kingdom in great power through His people who know Him as their King and are filled with His Spirit.

        The manifestation of the sons of God, so long awaited, will be fulfilled (Rom. 8:19).  The saints will possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever (Dan. 7:18,22).  “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron” (Rev. 2:26,27).  Jesus prophesied that “He that BELIEVETH in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and GREATER works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father” (John 14:12).

        In the same era there shall be a great demonstration of power in sign and LYING wonders when that man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition (II Thess. 2:3–10).  Rev. 13:13,14; 19:20 all refer to the beast and the false prophet who brought great deception by great miracle working power.  Jesus warned that these false signs and wonders would be so convincing that “If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:24).  Those who still do NOT BELIEVE what Jesus said will no doubt fall prey to these coming deceptions, even as they are now deceived by the theologians who continue, as Israel of old, to reject Jesus as their King.

 

 

LIVING BY DYING

A. E. Reinschmidt

        “Now if we be dead with Him, we believe that we shall live with Him” (Rom. 6:8).

        Dead with Him.

The root of all sin is in the fallen self–life.  And one is never “dead unto sin,” unless one’s self is crucified.  Yet some people think they are dead to sin and the world, while they refuse to hand themselves over to die on the Cross.  There is no real salvation possible without death to self.

        It is a comfortable feeling to be in any measure dead to our accursed self–life.  Dead to the pride that once caused God to hide His face from us.  Dead to all desire to have the preeminence.  Dead to the flattery, or blame, of men.  Dead to all desire for riches, or fame, or attention.  Dead to doubt, and worry, and fear – all those evil things which have their root and source in the fallen self–life.  Is it not strange, that we are so afraid of this death?  Yet not so strange, when we perceive that it is Satan, prejudicing the soul against the Cross; because he knows that this death to self breaks his hold upon us, rendering him “powerless.”  It is the death of self with Christ that delivers one from the “fear of death.”  It is the self–life, which is under the curse of God for sin, that holds men in bondage through fear of death.  Christ suffered the death of the Cross that He might break the power of Satan by which he holds multitudes in bondage to himself through fear (Heb. 2:15).  It is the self–life that makes us fear death.  If self be really “dead,” we may say with David: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” (Psa. 23:4).

        “If we be dead with Him.”  On this contingency hangs our salvation.  This is not an imaginary death – any more than His death was an imaginary death.  It must be a real death to the fallen self–life.  His death saved our souls from death eternal; but His Cross must also be the death of our self–life; else we shall have no part in His life.

        Buried with Him.

        “Buried with Him by baptism into death” (Rom. 6:4).  Little attention is paid to the burial plank in the gospel.  With the facts of Christ’s death and resurrection, Paul mentions His burial, as a part of gospel truth.  Why, then, do we treat it so lightly?  Perhaps it is because we are not really dead with Him.  For if we be dead with Him, we shall want to be “buried with Him.”  Buried in water: as the symbol of our burial in the Spirit (I Cor. 12:13).  But there is another kind of burial.  If our self–life has been put to death with Christ, we shall very much desire to have it buried out of sight.  So long as we love to show off self in any way, we are neither dead nor buried with Christ.  What is it in us that wants to be seen, and heard, and recognized?  It is not Christ.  It could only be SELF.  What is it that wants the highest seat? that makes us want the last word? that makes us justify ourselves? that causes us to boast when the Lord is pleased to use us in His work?  Does a self that has been crucified and buried do such things?

        Therefore, we conclude that the matter of burial is unpopular because we are not dead with Christ.  Be sure of this: The self that bids for attention IS NOT DEAD.  They that “love to be seen of men” are Pharisees, not Christians.  Now if we “be dead with Him” and “buried with Him” – then we are ready for resurrection into His life.

        “We shall live with Him.”

        When?  Where?  In “the sweet by and by” away up in heaven?  No.  We shall live with Him right down here in this evil world.  For this resurrection follows close on the heels of the death and burial of our old self.

        “Dead with Him;” “Buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).  “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:5).  “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:11).

        Forasmuch as the death to self is a spiritual death, the resurrection that follows is spiritual.  The physical resurrection will take place at Christ’s coming (I Cor. 15:22,23,52; I Thess. 4:16,17).  But the spiritual resurrection, which we may experience in this life, will have a quickening effect upon our “mortal bodies” in this life.  “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11).  It is by His life imparted by the Holy Spirit to our spirit, that we live in Him.  But the life of Christ comes through death.  Not only through His dying for us, but through the death of our evil self by His Cross.  His life cannot enter into us while our self–life is uncrucified and having domination.

        Now it is the spirit alone that has power to put self to death.  But the occasions and opportunities needed for His working the death of Christ in us are supplied by those things which happen in our every day lives.  One does not need to go to some Monastery and lie on a bed of spikes.  You cannot crucify self by heaping affliction upon it.

        Self is kept alive and strong by being pleased.  Self loves those that please self.  It hates those that frustrate its efforts to please itself.  It should be obvious, then, that self will not die while it is being pleased.  Starvation – self–denial – fasting – must play a large part in the death of the self–life.

        Self–pleasing is a religion: the religion of Lucifer, who himself originated the idea of pleasing self rather than God (Isa. 14:12–14).  Self–pleasing was the real “original sin.”  Satan induced Eve to please herself instead of God (Gen. 3:1–2).  Cain, Adam’s firstborn son, fell by the same error (Gen. 4:1–7).  Self–pleasing is called “the way of Cain” (Jude 11).

        Pleasing God is the antithesis of self–pleasing.  This, too, is a religion.  It was, and is, the religion of Jesus.  He could say, “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29).

        Self cannot be crucified by self–torture.  It is crucified only as one turns from those things that please self – to those things that please God.  That is why self hates the Cross, and will try in every way to obscure the Cross.

        But can we ourselves crucify self by doing those things that please God?  No.  It will require the mighty power of the Spirit of God to enable us to do the things that please Him.  Without God’s grace we could not even cast our vote in favor of God and against ourselves.

        Self is kept alive by being pleased.  It is slain by the Spirit of the Cross, when we elect to have it die.  Self fattens on attention.  It withers when it doesn’t get it.  Self fishes for attention, and contrives in cunning ways to get it.  And yet, those who do such things are so naïve as to think that the self in others cannot detect their aims.  In spite of the fact that some selves are so nice, every self is a fallen thing; and will please itself – in some way – as surely as water will run down hill.  The works of its father (the devil) it will do.  Self is inquisitive: and is a cruel inquisitionist.  Self sets itself up as the standard of perfection; and despises other for their inferiority.  Self is a devil.  No wonder some people say that “the only devil there is, is this self–devil”!

        If Christ be not on the throne of our heart, then self is.  And if self be on the throne, how much can Christ do in us or for us?  Self must die if we would have Christ ruling within.

        “If we be dead with Him…we shall live with Him.”  “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life I live in the flesh (the body) I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

        Paul was not figuratively dead.  He was actually dead to his old self, “the old man.”  Christ lived and ruled.  Paul’s life was not his own but Christ’s.  His righteousness was not his own but Christ’s (Phil. 3:9).  Even his faith was not his own: “I live by the faith of the Son of God,” he said.

        When anyone receives the Lord without handing self over to crucifixion, self takes over the task of “living the Christian life.”  There will be some reformation, of course; but self will be the ruler on the throne of the life.

        Look all around you – at the ghastly spectacle of uncrucified selves trying to “live the Christian life.”  In the first century it was, “Christ liveth in me…I live by the faith of the Son of God.”  But today, self is ruling our lives.  Christ cannot live and rule in those who are not dead with Him.

        As we have said before, the Power that slays self is in the Holy Spirit.  But the occasions and opportunities for putting self to death, in us, are supplied by the things that happen to us in our everyday lives.

        There is no need for inventing any tortuous means of death.  Every hour furnishes us many chances to die to self, and “live unto God.”  They come to us on the physical plane, on the mental plane, and on the spiritual plane.  In every one of these we either please God, or we please self.  There is no middle ground.  Either we are activated by the motive of pleasing God, or by the motive of pleasing self.  The first is what makes heaven; the other is what makes perdition.  The children of God please their Father.  The children of the devil please themselves.  To please God is to be dead to selfTo please self is to be dead to God.  So, the most devastating thing we can do to the self–life is to please God in everything.

        God has appointed to us a “work,” a work so simple, and lowly, and displeasing to self – that boasting is out of the question.  “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent’ (John 6:29).  Everything that happens to us – good or bad – is an occasion to believe God.  While we believe God, He works in us “the death of the Cross,” and resurrection to “newness of life.”  For we have this treasure in earthen vessels; that the excellency of the Power might be of God, and not of us – Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

        Self is a cunning devil.  When he is routed out of one department of the life (the physical, say), he moves up into another department and sets up his throne there.  He can act very refined and genteel; and like his father the devil, he can transform himself “as an angel of light,” in the field of spiritual things.

        Self will play “dead,” like a Possum, to save itself from the Cross.  And like a chameleon, self takes on the color of his environment.  Among the Intellectuals he feigns knowledge.  Among the religious, he feigns piety.  He is the soul of all hypocrisy.  He is not fit to live.  Let him die!  It’s a comfortable feeling, “to be dead indeed unto sin.”

 

 

PASSOVER 2010

Randall Walton

        This year Passover is much later than usual.  The first day of Passover is on Thursday, April 29, 2010.  It starts the night previous, or on Wednesday, April 28, 2010.  The last day of Passover is on the following Wednesday (starting at sundown on Tuesday, May 4).  We will do no work on either Thursday, April 29, nor on Wednesday, May 5.  We will observe them as Sabbath days, and will have services on those two days.

        On Wednesday, 28th of April at sundown, we will have a special dinner and the Lord’s supper.  It is a most solemn time for all of God’s people and will be observed in that way.  We hope that God’s people will also be observing this special time of feasting on the blessings of God.  During this entire week of celebration we will partake of no leavening in any of our foods, for this commemorates the first Passover, which was observed by the ancient tribes of Israel when they miraculously left Egypt to journey toward the promised land (Leviticus 23:5–14).

        This announcement will also be made next month, April, to remind you of its observance.

 

 

CAMP MEETING THIS YEAR

Randall Walton

        Due to unforeseen issues facing us here in Tennessee, we have decided to forego the annual camp meeting at our headquarters.  Because of an especially difficult winter, and the resultant “drop–off” in our building plans, we have determined to press on, while we have time, with the building work.  We have a large building to put together and we need all the help we can muster, so we will try to have a camp meeting, the Lord willing, next year.

        If anyone wishes to donate a day (or more) of your time to help us, we will be glad to feed you and give you a place to stay while you are working.  There is much to be done, and God is working with us to fulfill His desire for the safety and success of the building program.  Please let us know in advance of your coming so we can make our plans.  Thank you!

 

 

NOTE

 

The following verses have to do with the longevity of the kingdom of the living God.  Please notice the use of the word “kingdom” in every verse.  There are many other verses which mention some interesting facets of the kingdom of our Lord and Savior.

Matt. 4:17 – Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matt. 4:23 – preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Matt. 5:3 – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:10 – persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:19 – and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 5:20 – except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 6:10 – thy kingdom come.

Matt. 6:13 – For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Matt. 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness

Matt. 7:21 – Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven:

Matt. 8:11 – many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 9:35 – preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness:

Matt. 10:7 – And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matt. 11:12 – the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Matt. 12:28 – But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Matt. 13:11 – it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 13:19 – When anyone heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one

Matt. 13:24 – The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.

Matt. 13:31 – The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed

Matt 13:33 – The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took

Matt. 13:38 – the good seed are the children of the kingdom;

Matt. 13:41 – they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend

Matt. 13:43 – the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,

Matt. 13:44 – The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field

Matt. 13:45 – the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls.

Matt. 13:47 – the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea.

Matt. 13:52 – every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder

Matt. 16:19 – I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven

Matt. 16:28 – shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Matt. 18:3 – become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 18:4 – shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 18:23 – the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

Matt. 19:14 – Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Matt. 19:23,24 – That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Matt. 20:1 – the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder

Matt. 21:31b – the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Matt. 21:43 – the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

Matt. 22:2 – The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son

Matt. 24:7 – Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom

Matt. 24:14 – this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations

Matt. 25:1 – The kingdom of heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps

Matt. 25:14 – the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants

Matt. 25:34 – Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Matt. 26:29 – I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom

Mark 1:14,15 – Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 3:24 – if a kingdom be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

Mark 4:11 – Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God.

Mark 4:26 – So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground.

Mark 4:30 – Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God?

Mark 9:47 – it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Mark 10:14,15 – Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

Mark 10:23,24,25 – How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.  Children, how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of an needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Mark 11:10 – Blessed be the kingdom of our Father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

Mark 12:34 – Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.

Mark 14:25 – I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Luke 1:33 – He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Luke 4:43 – I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.

Luke 6:20 – Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 8:1 – he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God:

Luke 8:10 – Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables;

Luke 9:2 – he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:11 – and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.

Luke 9:27 – there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:60 – let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:62 – no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 10:9 – The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

Luke 10:11 – notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

Luke 11:2 – Thy kingdom come.

Luke 11:20 – if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

Luke 12:31,32 – But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Luke 13:18 – Unto what is the kingdom of God like?

Luke 13:20 – Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

Luke 13:28,29 – when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.  And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

Luke 14:15 – Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

Luke 16:16 – The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Luke 17:20,21 – The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Luke 18:16 – Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:17 – Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

Luke 18:24 – How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:25 – it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:29,30 – There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Luke 19:11,12 – because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.  A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.

Luke 21:31 – when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

Luke 22:16 – I will not anymore eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:18 – I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

Luke 22:29,30 – I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me: That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 23:42 – Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Luke 23:51 – who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.

John 3:3 – Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:5 – Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 18:36 – My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Acts 1:3b – speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

Acts 8:12 – When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized.

Acts 14:22 – We must, through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Acts 19:8 – disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Acts 20:25 – I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

Acts 28:23 – testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets.

Acts 28:31 – Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 14:17 – For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

I. Cor. 4:20 – For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

I Cor. 6:9,10 – the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?…nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God.

I Cor. 15:24 – when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;

I Cor. 15:50 – That flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;

Gal. 5:21 – That they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Eph. 5:5 – who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Col. 1:13 – who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear son;

Col. 4:11 – These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God

I Thess. 2:12 – who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

II Thess. 1:5 – that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

II Tim. 4:1 – Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.

II Tim. 4:18 – will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

Heb. 1:8 – Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.

Heb. 12:28 – wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace

James 2:5 – poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

II Peter 1:11 – into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Rev. 1:9 – companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ

Rev. 12:10 – Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ:

Rev. 11:15 – And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Rev. 19:16 – And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

        All of the above Scripture references are about the mighty and powerful forces of the kingdom of the living God with the exception of Rev. 19:16, but it was too good to leave out.  Please notice that there is no possible way to squeeze in another 1,000 years (called a millennium), because when we have reached the end, that means that it is all past and done: the END refers to THE END!

                                                        Randall Walton