People of The Living God

Psalms 91

 

Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size

November 2010



 

JESUS IS THE HEAD

Randall Walton

        Jesus Christ had the right words to oppose the works of the Pharisees!  He was a first class protagonist, and He really hit the nail on the head when He was put to the test.  It didn’t seem to bother Him at all when He called them hypocrites (for hypocrites they were); blind guides; “like unto whited sepulchers;” “serpents, generation of vipers, that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee;” “how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not” (Matt 23: the whole chapter)!

        He condemned them for their unrighteous attitudes: “they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.”

        They loved to parade their religious fervor for the praises of mankind, and to impress the multitudes of people along the way with their supposed religious ardor.  But Jesus knew their hearts, and He castigated them for their hypocrisy and vain religiosity for taking advantage of the poor, the maimed, the halt, and blind.  Their religion was false; their claims of piety and sanctimonium was a mere cover up for iniquity and disobedience to the Most High God whom they claimed to serve!

        The brazen attitude of those men who loved to be called Rabbi (the equivalent of the Christian “Reverend”) was so great that to be called Rabbi was to be honored and deeply respected by the lower class of people.  It gave those wicked men license to do as they well pleased at the expense of the ordinary citizenry of the people.  The entire religious flavor of the Pharisees (to say nothing of the other denominations) was so base, so murderous, so punishing, as to be a malediction, or a curse, upon whomever transgressed against the word, or words, of the High Priest.

        Jesus so vividly described the hypocritical attitude of the Pharisees as to render Himself defenseless when He was forcibly ushered into the presence of Pontius Pilate.  He was allowed to defend the kingdom of God (John 18:36,37), and testify that His kingdom was not of this world, for He stated that if it were of this world then His servants would fight for His life.  Thus, He was condemned to the Cross, and after suffering needlessly and unmercifully, He was nailed to that old rugged Cross where He hung for six long hours before He died.

        The cries of the multitude of unbelievers was heard by both Pilate and the High Priest, and was approved by both men.  Jesus, the Christ, and Savior of mankind, went willingly and purposefully to the brutal Cross where His precious blood was shed for the transgression and sinfulness of unrepentant men and women.

        Does it seem strange today when you compare the religious aspects of the Pharisees of long ago with the religious elements which make up the average “Christian” church of today with its many programs and practices which are entirely unscriptural and meaningless and have no real moral worth or lasting values which are so bountifully displayed in the plain statements of Jesus Christ and His apostles?  Does it bother you that the same conditions which existed in the synagogue of the Pharisees of more than 2,000 years ago still exist today but with different titles and different services?  It is a shameful act that so many of the same principles of service have been able to squeeze their way into the acts and practices of the modern “Christian” church service, and hardly a voice is heard rejecting the invasion!

        It is time now for every true Christian to examine his and her beliefs and doctrines, and to reject those beliefs and doctrines which are not based solely upon Scriptural foundations.  If your church embraces, or holds to, unscriptural fantasies, it is time to protest and declare that all acts and practices of the church must adhere to the plain, unadulterated truth found in the Holy Bible.  There are many things in the Scriptures which we do not understand, but we leave those issues for another time when God will reveal His truth to us.

        In the meantime, we take the position of following the Lord Jesus where He spoke of our following Him and fellowshipping with Him.  The Scriptures are full of wonderful and glorious blessings, and we need to imbibe these precious and glorious blessings over and over until they become a total part of our religious growth and development.

        We also need to get ready for hard times, for troublesome days are just ahead for us, and we need to prepare ourselves so that we are able to face the troublesome days when they arrive.  With present unemployment at above 10% of the work force, imagine what it will be when the figure grows exceedingly much higher, when jobs are scarce, and the national work force lies in complete disarray.  People will be forming long lines, looking for an elusive job of any kind, and jobs will be hard to find.

        We receive piles of requests asking for a handout for hungry people.  The real test will be when food is difficult to obtain and when it is next to impossible to get what a person needs; that day will surely come, and if people have a strong hold on Almighty God, He will see to it that food, clothing, and shelter are available to whomever needs them, for He has never been known to fail, even in a crisis.  We have learned that it never fails to trust in God who does everything according to plan and purpose, for He is the Lord.  Our trust in the Lord must be sure, true, steadfast, and pure; or otherwise, we will surely fall by the wayside and will be numbered with the transgressors and disobedient, those who failed to trust in the Lord with all their hearts and souls.

        Are you aware of the fact that Christmas, Easter, and hallowe’en are pagan, that they have no Scriptural foundation, that they are the product of Roman church officialdom, and that they are a mockery of the true birth, the true resurrection, and the true state of the poor, lost souls who cry out for deliverance from iniquity?  Where do YOU stand today?!

 

 

WHAT IS WRONG WITH PORNOGRAPHY?

Haven Bradford Gow

        An article in the October 2010 AFA Journal pointed out that 96 percent of juvenile sex offenders have viewed pornography and obscenity; people addicted to hard core pornography are six times more likely to engage in rape; 83 percent of rapists and 67 percent of child molesters confess being addicted to hard core pornography; a man consuming pornography nearly doubles the odds he will sexually assault his partner.

        According to Lawrence, a resident of Greenville, MS, who for several years counseled juvenile sex offenders in California: “Every juvenile sex offender I counseled confessed that pornography had a negative impact on his thinking and behavior; they said pornography instigated their sex crimes; some of them would view pornography and then rape their little sisters.”

        Patrick Trueman, a Washington, DC, attorney who headed the US Justice Department’s Child Exploitation & Obscenity Division from 1988 to 1993, likewise says pornography contributes to anti-social, criminal thinking and conduct: “For so long pornography was thought to be a victimless crime…Now we’re understanding more about the brain science of using pornography…That’s the reason child porn is so common.  It quickly becomes the only thing that excites the porn users.  They often end up molesting children or becoming voyeurs or exposing themselves in public because there’s nothing else that excites them.”

        Mr. Trueman adds: “Pornography is impacting family breakup in high numbers.  There’s a study by divorce lawyers pointing that out.  Plus, there are many other effects such as increase in sex trafficking…Much of it is fueled by porn.”

        According to Audine Haynes, a former child abuse investigator in Greenville, MS, “Common sense will tell you pornography contributes to sex crimes; when I was investigating child sex abuse cases, I would search the alleged offender’s home and the first thing I would look for is pornography.  If I found pornography, that would lend credibility to the victim’s accusations.”

        FBI experts like John Douglas, Roger Young and William Kelly insist that a connection exists between pornography and the nationwide epidemic of sex crimes like rape and child sex abuse; they say pornography whets the appetites of sex criminals and encourages them to view and treat women and children as sex objects to be used and abused and discarded after use.

        Pornography reduces sex to a plaything, human beings to mere bodies and human bodies to sex machines; it denigrates the sacredness of sex, marriage, family and human life; it transforms sex from the communion of life and love within the sacrament of marriage to simply a tool of masturbatory and voyeuristic gratification.

        Certainly if what we read, hear, and see affects our thinking, and thinking influences behavior, then pornography indeed can and does have a damaging impact on thinking and conduct.  Ideas, after all, do have consequences.

 

 

HE WILL REPAY

Randall Walton

        “he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.  According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands (Heb. coasts) he will repay recompense” (Isa. 59:17b-18).

        We are living in a day of high-handed haughtiness, a day in which the self is being lifted up in pride and vanity, a time when man is thumbing his ungodly nose at Almighty God and challenging His supremacy over the earth.  And this arrogant attitude is not extant only in the ranks of the unbeliever and atheist: it exists in the very midst of those who claim Jesus Christ as their personal saviour.  “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matt. 10:36).

        How sad but true this proclamation is!  Within the confines of the professing church of Jesus Christ lurk the very personalities of the greatest detriment to the cause of the kingdom of God.  Too many men of the cloth point their fat fingers at the drunk and the prostitute as if they were the worst threat to society and the church, but the hypocrisy is a product of the pseudo-Christian and is the greatest adversary of the cause of Jesus Christ.

        Those godless institutions which are “full of names of blasphemy” (Rev. 18:3) are those who proclaim to be “the Church of God,’ or “the Church of Christ,” or something similar, and they are NOT what they claim to be.  Any group of people which dares to call itself by such an exclusive title needs to stand in fear and trembling lest they be found to be “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17).

        We are now living in the time which was prophesied by Isaiah in chapter 4, verse 1 where “seven women take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.”  The bread of the Lord, His pure, unleavened bread, is most undesirable because it is too demanding; the robes of righteousness are too confining for carnal man: he wants more elasticity, more room for self-expression, for ostentatious show-off.

The Popular Grace of Lawlessness

        From the first man, Adam, through the history of mankind, there has existed a resistance to authority: mankind resents being told what to do.  This resentment is not limited toward other fellow humans, however.  Man’s first act of rebellion was aimed at his Creator, and he has that same problem today. Peruse the pages of the Good Book and see the pitiful history of man’s rebellious behavior, not only among the Philistines, the Hittites, and Ishmaelites: no, look at God’s own people, the Hebrews, who became God’s bitter enemies.  “They of his own household” became His worst foes, killing His prophets, worshiping other gods, and making void His commandments through their own traditions, and finally murdering the Lord Himself.

        Now, in these last days man has perfected His rebellion against the Creator by changing God’s grace to mean “anything goes” with God; he defies all law, commands, and orders and accepts the word of God as a book of suggestions which one is free to take or leave at will.  God’s law is considered something to be delivered from.  Few and far between are those who love God enough to do what He commanded.

        Lawlessness is a most deplorable condition.  It is not a state where law is non-existent; it is a disregard for law and/or authority which does exist.  This is the real reason why ministers have largely become psychologists and benders of the mind.  Man in his adamant rebellion is plagued with a conscience which must be tranquilized or the person goes berserk.  It then becomes the task of the “minister” to convince the lawless one that the law was nailed to the Cross, and he then is free to do as he pleases.  His one and only obligation is to believe that Jesus took all his guilt and left him with a clear conscience.

        Lawlessness is preparing many for the day of judgment in which the Judge, Jesus Christ, will “judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31).  “According to their deeds, according he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies.”  Let us not suppose that God is pleased with that which is being paraded before the world as the move of God.  The church was to have been the “light of the world.”  What a tragic mockery it has become.

        Mythology has become an integral part of the Christian religion while the words of the Master have been trampled to the ground.  Here we have a system which honors the god of saturnalia with drunken orgies and commercialism on December 25th; a system which reveres the goddess of sex and filth with its sex symbols of bunny rabbits and multi-colored eggs; a system which recognizes the sun-god, Sol, with its weekly homage on the “venerable day of the sun,” Sunday!

        It’s time, friends, to go back to the Bible, the precious word of God and His Son.  God is not pleased with man’s rejection of the commands of His Son.  In fact, He is quite angry, and His wrath is about to be spewed forth on a smug and arrogant generation which has become comfortable and self-satisfied, basking in the sunshine of the world, its pleasures, entertainments and wealth.

        Before Jesus returns, the true church will have become “glorious, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:26,27).  This is God’s plan; this is what He will bring about before Jesus comes again.  If you are not a part of His plan of cleansing and sanctifying, we urge you to “get on board” while yet there is time.  God will punish the inhabitants of the earth for their rejection of the King of Glory; the only alternative is to be a part of what He is doing for His own plan and purpose.

        “Vengeance is mine; I WILL REPAY, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19).

 

 

“FEAR THOU NOT”

Isa. 41:10

Randall Walton

        “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26).

        It is wonderful to know that God is still on the throne, that He is in control, that He still “ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17).

        Many people have the mistaken idea that satan is loose and is responsible for all the moral decay, the violence, bloodshed, and crime in the world today.  Let it be understood that if satan were loosed and had the privilege of doing as he pleased, you would not be reading this paragraph today.  In fact, you would not have the opportunity to attend a religious meeting because there would be none.

        In all truth, Jesus crushed satan when He willingly died on Calvary!  The New Testament is ultra plain on this subject: there is absolutely no reason whatever for God’s people to be afraid of satan and his host of demons.  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Tim. 1:17).

        Remember, the Lord has a plan and a purpose for His people which will surely be carried out.  Satan has a role to play in this spectacular drama of the ages, but he is not the principle player, neither is he in charge.  Satan can do no more than he is allowed to do, for which we are most thankful.  But the plan is the Lord’s, and He is the planner.

        You may wonder why there is such an abundance of violence and bloodshed if satan isn’t responsible for it.  Jesus made it very plain that man’s problems stem from the depths of his own depraved and corrupt heart. (Matt. 15:19-20; Mark 7:21-23).

        People kill, lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery and hurt each other, not because the devil drives them to do it, but because their very natures are evil, warped and deceitful.  Anyone who is outside the pale of the kingdom of God is a candidate for producing wickedness.  Of course, some are more vile than others, but the unregenerated soul knows no limits to sin and foul play.

        “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)

        No matter how a person may feel about and toward the federal government’s policies, there is no justification whatever in blowing over one hundred people to bits.  Only a completely evil soul could stoop so low as to commit such a heinous crime.

        But violence is not the only element which is causing people to cringe in fear.  Disasters in various places (called natural disasters, but are they?) are causing much anxiety among the inhabitants of the earth: the recent earthquakes in Japan and Russia, floods throughout the mid-western and southern U.S., forest fires and mudslides in California, erupting volcanoes, hurricanes and tornadoes.

        Yes, men’s hearts are failing them for fear, fear of disasters, fear of the unknown, fear of predators and thieves, etc.  Yet, the majority of people refuse to turn to the one and only solution to all these problems: the Lord Jesus Christ and His words.

        The person(s) who will willingly place their life in the hands of Jesus will discover a place of serenity and peace which cannot be touched by calamity nor terror.  Lip service is not enough.  A profession is not sufficient.  Church membership is unimportant.  What really matters is to have a personal and intimate relationship with the Master, a relationship which is maintained by following Jesus Christ in obedience to His every command.  “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

        A person so dedicated to keeping His commandments will find that fear of the future fades away as his life more closely coincides with that of the Supreme Commander, Jesus.  Even though He knew full well that crucifixion and cruel torture awaited Him, He never gave over to fear.  He was so deeply devoted to the Father’s will, that He was buoyed up above the misery, the pain, the humiliation, and abject rejection of even His closest devotees.

        Anyone who knows He is in the Father’s will, will have that same measure of peace and contentment.  Though the world disintegrate about him, he will not fear, for he has found the perfect hiding place.

 

 

 

“SANCTIFY THEM”

Randall Walton

        One of the earnest desires of Jesus for His followers was their sanctification: “Sanctify them,” He prayed to the Father, “through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).

        Theologically speaking, every believer becomes sanctified the moment he become a believer; that is, he is separated from the rest of mankind (the unbelievers) through his belief in Christ Jesus.  The only apparent difference between him and others is that he now believes.

        However, this is not true sanctification: to be sanctified, one must be separated, or set apart, unto God.  It is not enough to be merely separated from other human beings because of belief in God or some mental concept or ideology.  Many ascetics have withdrawn from society in the belief that they could only reach God through a rejection of humanity, but this is not God’s way: the kingdom of God consists of a society of God-loving, God-pleasing, God-fearing saints who are devoted both to their God and each other.

        While it is right to withdraw from corrupt society, it is not right to reject fellow-travelers.  This is not sanctification!

Sanctified Through The New Birth

        The experience of becoming “born again,” or the new birth, or being saved or converted, is a glorious act of the Holy Spirit through which an individual becomes a member of the household of God or a kingdom citizen.  He joys in the knowledge that all of his past sins are forgiven and forgotten, and that he has been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

        This revolutionary act makes this new-born person aware of the truth that he is a totally changed individual.  He may not understand mentally what has taken place within his soul, but he realizes that “old things have passed away,” and everything has become new (II Cor. 5:17).

        Gone are vain and empty desires; gone are old hatreds and animosities, jealousies, envyings, and hostilities.  Somehow life is different, completely different: there is a reason for living, a meaning to life that never existed before!

        This difference in perspectives is a degree of sanctification.  There is a “feeling” of a change in direction, a change of acquaintances, of likes and dislikes, of thoughts and meditation.  Suddenly, the world and its pleasures have lost their attractiveness.  The aims and purposes of life have taken on new dimensions.  “For myself” abruptly changes to, “For God and others.”

        The line of demarcation between the old life and the new is clear and distinct.  “we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving (in bondage to) divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3).

        Whether this separation continues past the initial stages depends upon each believer’s diligence in maintaining it.  In too many cases a good start begins to erode and fade away because of the pressures and anxieties of life, or the emergence of old “friends.”  This degree of sanctification must be striven for, defended, protected and nourished.  Daily doses of prayer and the study of the Word are indispensable for preserving this “first love” which comes with this separating experience.

Sanctified Through The Truth

        “Thy word is truth,” Jesus stated.  The word is composed of two main elements: 1) commands, (orders, edicts, words and sayings of Jesus; 2) doctrinal truths.

        1.  Anyone who will determinedly obey the Holy Scriptures will find himself set aside from the main stream of humanity.  He who follows Jesus Christ by obeying His commands is a marked person.  Society deplores him; religionists despise him.  In either case, he makes them look absurd, grotesque, Martian.  And to them, he is fanatical, mentally disturbed, dangerous, suspicioned.

        The words of Jesus are meant to separate the chaff from the wheat, the ungodly from the godly, the hypocrite from the obedient, the sinner from the congregation of the righteous.  When they are rightly applied to the believers’ lives, they produce a state of sanctification-separation.  It is impossible to follow Jesus Christ and be yoked together with unbelievers, the ungodly, the wicked, and the unclean of this world.

        “Now are ye CLEAN through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).  It was not the word which came forth from His lips which cleansed them: it was the application of the word which He spoke which produced the cleansing.  His word produces only when it is applied, or obeyed!  Then, and only then, does the sanctifying process come clearly into focus.  Reading His word is valuable and commendable, but it is fruitless if it is not OBEYED.

        “for if any be a hearer (or a reader) of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass (mirror): For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 2:23-25).

        The world is full of hearers (and viewers), but apparently there aren’t many doers.  The words and commands of Jesus are largely relegated to the distant past or the future, but they do not appeal to the general run of Christian professor for today.  Skilled manipulators have convinced millions of “believers” that the words of Jesus show “neither the duty nor the privilege of the church.”  Consequently, they ended up with a do-nothing religion which requires nothing and gives nothing in return (although it promises everything, including eternal life).

        Adherence to the commands of Jesus will sanctify you: it will separate you from your possessions, your money, your pride, your own self-will, your ungodly relatives, your own way of life.  It will cost you everything, but it will also give you everything which pertains to life and godliness (Mark 10:29,30).

        2.  Doctrinal Truths: it is rather astonishing to behold the lines of separation which are drawn over doctrinal issues.  It is amazing to see how many cold shoulders there are in a crowd of believers when someone declares that he/she doesn’t believe in an imminent, any-minute, secret catching away of the church (pre-trib).  That person becomes sanctified from the mob instantaneously.  The same may be said for amillennialists.

        And if you really want to be separated from the majority, just let it be known that you observe the Fourth Commandment.  Charity and brotherly love become things of the past.  Little slack or elbow room is given for those who are considered legalists of the worst resort.  This is truly truth which sanctifies.

        And if you believe that there should be order in a public worship service in this day of unthrottled emotionalism, you risk being branded as cold, unspiritual, dead, dry, formal, and without power.  Such a person is a part of a scorned minority – But sanctified!!

Sanctified By A Holy Life

          In addition to being “separated unto God,” sanctification means living a holy life, or “holiness.”  It is too bad that the word holiness has come to be associated with a particular brand of religious belief which seems to revolve around certain outward expressions of physical appearances rather than the inward state or condition of the heart.  While it is true that a clean heart will produce a clean life that will affect a person’s dress and style of life, those outward accouterments do not necessarily indicate nor prove that said person lives a holy life.

        We have known some who have had such a pile of hair on their heads that when it was “let down” it was near the knees.  But some of these were mean women: while they were adept at speaking in tongues, shouting and dancing in church, they were involved in adulterous relationships and other ungodly activities.  Their long hair was used for a cover – a cover for their unclean lives.

        True holiness springs from a close walk with the Holy One.  A person who lives a holy life will judge his own heart, actions and activities, and will put forth great effort to abide by the standards of morals and clean living as set forth in the good Book: faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity (agape = love) (II Pet. 1:5-8).  These are the things that really count before God.  Holiness is not just what you do; it is also what you are!

        A holy life is governed by the precepts laid down by Jesus in His many sermons and discourses.  “Ye are the light of the world,” He declared in the sermon on the mount.  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).  Good works!  Good works are those which are approved by God.  They are based upon the principles of righteousness, purity and holiness; that is, they are in harmony with that which is HOLY.

        A holy person will live a holy life.  He will keep himself unspotted from the world; he will separate himself from evil influences, evil acquaintances, evil activities.  He will separate himself UNTO GOD, wholly, totally, completely.  Or as Paul states it so well: “he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (II Cor. 5:15).

        And Peter joins in the chorus with the same theme: “arm yourselves with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin: That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God (I Peter 4:1,2).

        This, then, is sanctification, which is an essential ingredient in walking with God.  It covers every aspect of one’s life, body, soul, and spirit.  A true Christian has no other reason for living than to live in total commitment and surrender to God.  This is the key to that more abundant life which Jesus promised to all who would follow Him (John 10:10).

 

 

“WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION”

II Timothy 3:3

Randall Walton

        Apostle Paul stated in his second letter to Timothy that there would be many significant elements of moral and spiritual decay “in the last days.”  It can be argued, of course, that the last days began with the founding of the New Testament church in the first century A.D., some 1,900 years ago, but the Scriptures indicate that the end time of “the last days” would be more wicked and vile than any period in earth’s history since the days prior to the great Flood.

        Natural affection is an inherent closeness which parents normally have for their children, all their children.  Parenthood carries with it a heavy responsibility to care for, to provide for, to nourish, guard, educate and guide one’s offspring.  But there is an ingrown affection which parents possess naturally for their young.  It is innate within them, a love which includes but supercedes the native responsibility involved in the rearing of offspring.

        Responsibility can be either a duty or a privilege depending upon the attitude of the person(s) responsible.  It is obvious that parental responsibility should be considered a privilege rather than a duty for the simple reason that people are normally brought into the world as a result of parental love.  Consequently, children born in such a climate are wanted children and their parents accept their responsibilities gladly and joyfully.

        However, there is very little normalcy in present day society.  We live in an era of convoluted moral standards where “normal” has many differing standards and definitions.  The only truly normal conditions which are set forth for mankind are in God’s word, a Book which is largely considered irrelevant in this day of gross wickedness.

        This blatant disregard of God and His word has contributed to some very bizarre happenings of late.  There is the case of a young mother sending her two boys into a body of water to drown while they were strapped to their seats – without natural affection!

        Here in McMinnville, a mother left her two sons (under 2 years of age) strapped in their seats while she partied in a motel with four men for eight or ten hours (Both boys died).  The temperature that day reached 92º – without natural affection!

        These two incidents, though terrible, aren’t even a drop in a bucket of all the instances of child brutality, abuse, neglect, deliberate torture by parent(s) who are totally devoid of natural affection.  While it is true that there are many parents who are genuinely concerned for the welfare and good of their children, it is just as true that there are multitudes of dads who walk away from their families for greener pastures with less responsibilities, and no kids.

Why?

        For every effect, there is a corresponding cause!  Some of the contributing factors to this present condition go back several decades when many of today’s young adults were growing up.  Post-WW II attitudes promoted the philosophy of easy-money, easy-life, few responsibilities.  If parents didn’t abundantly supply all the desires of youth, some government agency would.  A sub-culture developed across a wide spectrum of society which believed that life was meant only for fun and self-gratification.

        Discipline, whether at home, at school, or in the workplace was outright frowned upon, if not scorned.  Nearly every segment of society flowed along the same path of disregard for authority.  Open rebellion became the ordinary.  It raised its ugly head in fashions, men’s dress habits, hair styles, music, theatre, politics, social mores, literature, art, and even religion.

        Life was once looked upon as a sacred gift from the Creator, to be honored, respected, protected, prolonged, nurtured.  Children were considered a part of God’s sovereign province, to be loved and cared for.  An intentional abortion might be carried out by a pregnant prostitute, but no respectable woman would stoop to having her unborn torn apart by some butcher.

        Sexual activity was usually reserved until after the wedding where serious vows were taken by both parties in order to ensure the longevity of the marriage.  Even in the isolated cases where young people were overcome in a moment of great intimacy and pregnancy resulted, the couples were joined in matrimony.  That was “natural affection.”

        Much of the popular music from the mid-fifties to the present time has contributed to the disintegration of moral standards.  The general theme running through the majority of lyrics is broken homes, broken hearts, broken vows, cheating, lying, drinking, running around, all of it done in a style that glorifies, rather than condemns, such rotten behavior.  After young people have heard this theme repeated for the ten millionth time, they are persuaded that this is the way life was meant to be!  Conscience is deemed as prudery and square.  “If it feels good, do it!” is the slogan today.

Preservation Of Family Values

        The very idea of “natural affection” indicates that it is perfectly normal for true love to exist among human beings, and especially among families.  The family, as many of us have known families, has taken a real beating from the liberal left, a position which, unfortunately for many well-intentioned folks, has come to include new agers, homosexuals and lesbians, and others who have redefined the word family.

        People who have had gumption enough to speak out about moral values have been laughed at, held in contempt, and have been made to appear as a threat to liberty and freedom.  The family unit, dad, mom, kids, is under attack.

        It is high time for parents and children to evaluate their relationships with each other, to renew their affection toward each other, to allow the bond of love to be restored, to strengthen the family ties.

        “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death” (Mark 13:12).

        These things are already happening at the present time and will undoubtedly increase.  But God’s people need not become victims of this terrible condition – “without natural affection.”  If you struggle with this vicious malady, seek God for deliverance: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:31).

 

 

“IF YE DO THESE THINGS”

II Peter 1:10

Randall Walton

        Brother Peter’s admonition consisted of a conditional promise: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for IF ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”

        The implication is that if you don’t “do these things,” you are most likely to fall, or will fall.  I realize that in this day of free grace, free salvation, and easy living, such an idea as falling is far removed from the minds of most professing Christians.  But such a premise has no place in God’s economy.  The Word is very plain that God rightfully expects, yes, demands that certain standards be met by believers in order to assure and secure their standing with God.

        This fact needs to be stressed again and again because there is so much emphasis being placed upon non-obligatory salvation.  God is generally pictured as bawling His eyes out and begging poor lost sinners to accept His free grace.  We most certainly recognize His compassion for the unredeemed, and we share His concern for them as well, but we believe they need to know the truth about salvation and walking with God.

        It is true that no one earns salvation.  There are no special acts or deeds to be performed in order to be saved.  While confessing one’s sins and repenting of them are necessary in order to receive forgiveness for them, these cannot be called acts or deeds or works with which to merit salvation.  No one truly deserves to be saved.  Salvation comes as a result of conviction in the heart by the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit reveals to a lost person the fact of his being lost; upon recognition of his need and subsequent confession to God, accompanied with heartfelt repentance (remorse) for his past sins, the person is “saved,” or born again.

        But this is a mere beginning…of a long, steep roadway, peopled with thousands of others who are progressing steadily upward.  Some stumble along the way and turn back.  Others go only as long as the mobility is easy and placid.  Some never seem to grasp the reality of what it is all about; they assume that being religious will somehow propel them along on the journey.

        Peter makes it very plain concerning what is required to make one’s “calling and election sure.”  He prescribes a series of diligent efforts which he says are most beneficial and necessary for growth in God.  “giving all diligence,” he commands, “add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love (charity).”

        Notice, he doesn’t say we should pray for these divine qualities, he says we are to ADD them to our faith.  God gives to each of us a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3), and we are to build upon that faith by addition of these divine attributes.  He further states that “he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”  All of which means that it is absolutely essential that a person put forth all diligence to acquire and maintain “these things.”

        He also affirms that “if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”

        It is also pertinent that he specified that we are to do these things: “for if ye do these things ye shall never fall.”  These things are not merely latent qualities that tend to make a person a better individual.  They are DOING qualities: “if ye do these things.”

        The greatest condemnation of professing Christians today is that the majority of them are not DOERS.  They put forth little or no effort practicing what they profess to believe.  They may speak in tongues and prophesy, they may “dance in the spirit” and fall prostrate on the floor, and may even join in on the Jerico march, but they solemnly reject the doing commands of the Lord.

        The hour is late, friends.  There seems to be little time left for the people of God to put into practice the words of the good Book.  It is high time to be serious, seriously serious, about one’s salvation.  Let the words of Brother Peter ring aloud in your ears until you grasp the significance of his important message: “for if you do these things, ye shall never fall.”

 

 

ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?

Randall Walton

It is rather unsettling to walk into a major discount store and be faced with a gigantic display of witches, hobgoblins, paraphernalia for having a scary party on hallowe’en, etc.  Shelves are crammed with the unsavory collection of make-believe skeletons, weird masks, jack-o-lanterns, and other items meant to evoke the suggestion of spirits, ghosts, and corpses.

        The impetus behind all the frivolity of the season is, to the storekeeper, commerce.  Hallowe’en, like Christmas and Easter, is a time for special selling.  Little or no thought is given concerning the origin, the practices of, nor the ramifications of the holidays: what effect do these practices have upon impressionable children?  How will they be affected spiritually and emotionally?

        The merchants, of course, are interested in profits; the kids want to have fun; the parents are expected to supply the funds to satisfy both the merchants and the kids.  But where does God come into the picture?

        Hallowe’en was meant to exclude God.  It is the day for witches, Satanists, and demonologists to convene and celebrate their underworld activities.  It is not only non-Christian, it is anti-Christian, worldly, and hellish.

        In fact, it is reasonable to place all these pagan celebrations in the same category.  They are not called of God, and they are a total misrepresentation of the truth.  Having come via the R.C. church discredits them even further.

        It’s ironic that Christians will cling tenaciously to such man-made traditions while rejecting the plain orders and commands of the Lord Jesus as found in the Holy Scriptures.  There is absolutely no value to be derived from the observance of man’s special holidays, whereas there is eternal benefit in following and obeying the teachings of Jesus.

        “Not everyone that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven (Matt. 7:21).

        Now, if this is true, and we strongly suspect that it is, no one will be saved who is not devoted to the will of the heavenly Father!  No one!!  This being the case, it is of utmost importance that all of us 1) know the Father’s will, and 2) do the Father’s will.  If we really want to know our Father’s will, we need only to read and study the words and sayings of Jesus, for He said the words which He spoke were not His own, but were from His Father (John 12:49,50; 14:10,24).

        Therefore, anyone who does not do (practice, follow, obey, conform to) the words Jesus preached is not doing the Father’s will and will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Admittedly, that sounds awfully narrow minded, but none other than Jesus Himself made the statement and we believe it to be true.

        And this makes the difference between Christianity and being a Christian.  Christianity is that religious machine made up of hundreds of differing religious beliefs, dogmas and traditions, most of which have no foundation on the WORD OF GOD.  They are mere opinions and doctrines of men which have replaced the austerity and awesomeness of the words and commands of Jesus.  There is little or no cost involved in Christianity.  But to be a Christian requires total and unconditional surrender to the will of the Heavenly Father.

        Sad to say, there are few who are willing to surrender their lives, their wills, their all to the Master.  No wonder Jesus said “for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13,14).

        Please notice that Jesus said the way which leadeth unto life must be found, and that those who find it are few in number.  These are shocking statements which should cause every person to pause and wonder about their standing with Almighty God.  It is not enough to be a member of Christianity.  One must be a practicing Christian in order to be assured of eternal life.  And that means applying the commands of Jesus to one’s daily life.

        Friend, what is your position relative to the words of Jesus?  Are you following Him as a true Christian must, or are you a mere professor of Christianity?  If you don’t know the answer to these questions, let me admonish you to seek God and search the Scriptures for yourselves until you can answer with a strong and mighty affirmative.

 

 

JESUS AND WORLD RELIGIONS

Curtis Dickinson

        The struggle of man against God has taken many forms, from the rebellion in the Garden of Eden, to the tower of Babel, to the crucifixion of Jesus, and now to the Parliament of World Religions.

        Participants include Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Catholics, many leaders of Protestant churches, occultists, humanists, earth worshipping environmentalists and religious leaders from all over the world.

        WHO SPEAKS FOR GOD?  You don’t have to be a Doctor of Theology to recognize that, while this event may be a boon to many religions, it can only denigrate Christ and the truth of God.  Everyone who knows anything about the life and teachings of Jesus knows that He claimed to speak for God (John 12:49; 14:10; 8:28).  As He was transfigured before the eyes of the apostles, God announced, “this is my beloved Son…hear him!” (Matt. 17:5)  To acknowledge as true any other religion with a contrary message is to deny the claims of Christ.

        When Jesus said, “I am…the truth” (John 14:6), He labeled as false all contrary religious claims.  To choose the teaching of some religion other than that of Christ is fatal.  “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, has one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (John 12:48,49).

        Many religions claim that their founders were divinely inspired and directed, but if that were true then God would be the author of gross confusion and contradictions.  That which Jesus reveals is consistent with history, with the prophets and with all other truth.

        Pagans are willing to share “the wisdom of their faith tradition” with all who will listen.  Representatives, so-called, of Christianity are welcome in their movement so long as they do not actually contend for the true Christian faith, which holds that God has spoken to us through His Son.  But what happens when one affirms that Jesus revealed God’s truth and everything that contradicts that truth is a lie?  He is branded as a bigot with an unloving attitude, and is no longer welcome.

        WHO SAVES FROM SIN?  Of all the religions of the world, the Christian faith is the only one which gives the reason for humanity being under the curse of sin and then provides the solution.  Sin began in the Garden when the first pair rebelled against God and brought themselves under the condemnation of death.  Immediately afterwards God promised a savior (Gen. 3:15), and His prophets, through the centuries, repeatedly reminded the people of this coming redeemer.

        Jesus announced that His purpose was “to give his life as ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28), and history gives the record of His death on a Roman cross.  It was Jesus who “died for our sins according to the scriptures” (I Cor. 15:3), that He might meet the death penalty for our sin.  “He who knew no sin, He (God) made to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (II Cor. 5:21).  Jesus is God’s only provision for the sin problem.  “Neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

        Other religions have some appealing qualities and some heroic founders, but if one wants to be saved from sin and its penalty of death, he must come to the only One God has given for the purpose, His Son Jesus.

        WHO CAN GIVE LIFE?  Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, Plato, and Zoroaster all lie powerless and lifeless in the grave, but the Son God gave for our salvation, He also raised up from death, and gave Him all authority in heaven and on earth.  No one but Jesus could say, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).  By this statement Jesus says that life itself is in His hands, and will be given through resurrection from the dead.

        None of Christ’s claims and promises are more offensive to other religions than this one concerning the resurrection.  Pagan philosophy and the majority of world religions teach that man has an inherent quality of immortality about him so that he will never die, but continue to live in a transformed state.  They may call it an “eternal spirit” or “immortal soul,” but in some way there is the intent and hope to escape the reality of death, and therefore avoid the need of a resurrection from the dead.

        While the term for “soul” occurs 840 times in scripture, and “spirit” is mentioned 763 times, yet there is not one such phrase as “immortal soul” or “undying spirit” in all the Bible.  Paul’s statement is crystal clear that Christ alone has immortality (I Tim. 6:16).  Nowhere in Scripture is there any record of a promise of immortal life to anyone other than those with faith in Christ.  Jesus insisted that eternal life was possible only through belief in Him, and that the alternative is to perish (John 3:16).

        According to Jesus, life after death depends upon being raised from the dead, and He claimed that the resurrection power was entirely in His hands, declaring, “As the father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he will” (John 5:21).  He boldly stated that the “hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth,” some to life and some to damnation (John 5:28,29).  After one sermon in which He repeatedly told the audience that it was He who had the power to raise the dead (John 6), “the Jews sought to kill Him” (John 7:1).  When He gave proof to this claim by raising Lazarus from the dead, the chief priests and the Pharisees could stand it no longer.  “So from that day forth they took counsel that they might put him to death” (John 11:53).  To think that their eternal destiny should depend upon Jesus raising them from the dead was humiliating and totally unacceptable to that proud religious hierarchy.

        It is still unacceptable to the gurus of world religion.  They may accept Jesus as the example of a wise and humane person, but they strongly oppose Him as the One with universal authority, including the power of life and death.

        WHO SPEAKS TO GOD?  Not only is Jesus the sole means of resurrection to eternal life, He is the only means by which man can be in touch with God.  He said, “No man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).  After dying for our sins, He has “gone into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God FOR US” (Heb. 9:24).  Paul writes that “there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus.”

        For this reason He instructed us to approach God in prayer in His name (I Tim. 2:5).  This fact alone invalidates all other world religions.  Not one of their leaders, dead or living, was ever appointed as a mediator between men and God.  If Jesus is our only Mediator, what then of praying to some dead “saint” or through some clergyman?

        John writes that “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (I John 2:1,2).  Whatever qualities other religions may have, in order to access God they must abandon their false leadership and humbly bow to the Lordship of Jesus, the Son of God, Who alone appears for us before the Father.

        To confess Jesus as the Son of God and Lord EXCLUDES any other religious influence.  All that are outside of Christ are without hope and destined to lose life in the final judgment (John 3:16,24).  All we become or achieve, if we are not serving Jesus, will be of no lasting worth.

        But to be in Christ is to have the presence of God now, and to have immortality in the world to come.  Instead of seeking unity with those of other religions, Christians are instructed to make the gospel known to them, that they might be saved (Matt. 28:19,20).  Instead of encouraging them in their blind celebration of ignorance, we must call them out of the power of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13), through the truth which He alone has revealed.

        Let us hold Him up to the world as the exclusive Savior, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

 

 

GIVE THANKS

Randall Walton

        Thanksgiving comes but once a year to many people.  The last Thursday of November marks the day when everyone is supposed to evaluate their many blessings and give thanks to the great Provider for His provision (this applies to the U.S.).

        We recognize, of course, that the Scriptures do not designate a certain day as a time to offer thanks to the Almighty.  Any day, every day, all day, any time is an appropriate time to give thanks to the Living God for “everything.”

        It is a little strange that people tend to look upon their blessings along material lines only: a secure job, a raise in pay, a new car, a substantial bank account, several closets full of fine clothes, a fancy home, etc.  Occasionally, someone may mention being thankful for salvation, but this doesn’t appear to be the greatest blessing to the majority.

        “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).

        In all fairness, which blessings are greater to you, those in the physical/material realm, or those spiritual blessings in the heavenlies?  Your answer to this question could possibly indicate your condition before the Lord.

        Too many people equate their abundance of material goods with God’s approval.  But Jesus plainly protested that, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world…and lose his own soul?”  True, we should always be thankful for our material blessings, but they do not add to our spiritual stature; they make no contribution whatever to our spiritual growth and maturity.  But they can be detrimental to our spiritual well-being.

        “Making ends meet,” or attempting to measure up to the American standard of living has become a real obsession to the average person today.  This has top priority in the lives of most professing Christians.  Devotion to God and His word is incidental and is not allowed to interfere with one’s economic way of life.

        The bottom line of this is that Thanksgiving Day has become a commercial holiday upon which little thanks is truly rendered to the One who has made it all possible.  Our affluence has dulled our senses to the realities of human existence for the majority of earth’s inhabitants.  For all our wealth and military power, we are a somewhat spiritless population which is more concerned about praising the sports heroes and Hollywood superstars than praising the great Creator.

        And we need to be thankful whether circumstances are favorable or not.  God is always wonderful no matter what our lot may be, and we should be grateful and full of praise to Him because of His benevolence and mercy.

        In a dark prison cell at midnight, Paul and Silas sang a duet of praise as they lifted up their voices in thanksgiving to the Lord of glory, not because they enjoyed the discomforts and privations of the prison, but because they were accounted worthy to suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ, and because they were truly thankful that they had been drawn into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Acts 17:23-25; Col. 1:13)!  And that praise service was shortly after these men had had “many stripes” laid upon them, and their feet were placed in stocks.  That was enough to give a present-day Christian a bad case of condemnation, self-pity, and the blues!

        Real thanksgiving comes from a heart of appreciation, gratitude for whatever comes or goes; gladness for salvation, deliverance from sin and degradation, and for the knowledge that God cares for His people.  We can really never “catch up” on our debt of praise and thankfulness to God for Who He is, What He is, and what He does for us.  “In Everything Give Thanks” should become a vital part of our awareness and walk with God!

 

 

THE KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST

Randall Walton

        In the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) we have a remarkable account of the transfiguration of Jesus, an event which was witnessed by the apostles, Peter, James and John.  So overwhelmingly spectacular was this incident that Peter suggested building a memorial in honor of Jesus, as well as Moses and Elijah, both of whom were seen conversing with Jesus.

        Years later, Peter spoke glowingly of having been an eyewitness of this amazing occurrence (II Pet. 1:16-18), and we can well ponder the overpowering effect it had upon these three men.  “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of his majesty.  For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.”

        This is, of course, a direct referral to the transfiguration as recorded in the three synoptic books, and is a vivid confirmation of the sight those three men were privileged to behold.

        Pay close attention to the words of Peter here:

        1.  power and coming of Jesus

        2.  eyewitnesses of His majesty

        3.  honor and glory

        4.  a voice from heaven, from the excellent glory

        5.  with Him in the holy mount.

        The above is none other than a description of divine royalty!  These men looked upon Jesus’ Kingship: the power, honor, glory and the majesty of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

        This episode, of course, was the answer to Jesus’ statement which He made about seven or eight days previously.  For clarity we will quote from each of the three gospels:

        Matt. 16:28: “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”

        Mark 9:1: “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.”

        Luke 9:27: “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not see death, till they see the kingdom of God.”

        In each of these accounts, the very next thing which took place was the transfiguration where Jesus was seen in His majesty with power, and glory, and honor.

The Kingdom Which Came

        These three glorious accounts give us a wonderful insight into the reality of the kingdom of God:

        1.  It is present.

        2.  It is powerful.

        3.  The kingdom of Jesus and the kingdom of God are identical

        4.  It is a spiritual reality

        5.  Jesus is the King.

        6.  Jesus and the Father are not the same Being (The voice came from heaven;

     Jesus was not speaking about Himself).

        The kingdom of which Jesus spoke was the eternal, everlasting kingdom of the Living God which always has been, which still is, and which always will be.  It is indestructible, everlasting, and cannot be moved.

        It is the same kingdom which Jesus referred to when He said, “and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

        Notice the essence of the message here.  It is most plain that Jesus was not talking about an earthly, visible, material kingdom.  The keys which He mentioned have to do with power and authority, the right and the privilege to lock and unlock.  But this is applicable in the spiritual realm, for the kingdom of heaven is a spiritual kingdom.

        The person(s) who hold(s) these keys does have authority in the spiritual as well as the physical plane, but the authority itself is spiritual.  For example, Moses exerted great power and authority over physical matters when he brought forth a river of water from a great rock.  The kingdom of God in great power was demonstrated in both the Old and the New Testaments.

        When Jesus changed water into wine, this was the power of the kingdom over physical things.  This was also the case when He multiplied a boy’s lunch sufficiently to feed 4,000 + people.

        Peter was thrown into prison where he was bound with two chains and was placed between two soldiers to make sure he didn’t escape.  During the night an angel awakened him and the chains fell off from him.  The angel led him out of the prison; when they approached the city, the iron gate swung open to let him through.  This was the kingdom of God in action.  This was spiritual authority over physical/material objects.

        The keys of the kingdom were granted to the church so that the gates of hell should not prevail over it.  Such power and authority were made available that Jesus made the following statement: “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:23).

        Does this mean that as citizens of the kingdom of God, we have the right and the authority to forgive sins (or to retain them)?  What else could it mean?  This is simply one of the keys of the kingdom.  It is in the same mode as Paul’s claim in Ephesians 2:6 where he says, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Kingdom Blessings Now

The New Testament is filled with examples and promises of blessings in both the natural and spiritual areas.  The church is living far below its privileges because of unbelief in the plain teachings of Jesus and the apostles in regard to the kingdom of God.

        Jesus could not have made it simpler than He did when He told Pilate that “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

        Paul stated that the kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).  He also said that God has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).  Notice that these spiritual blessing in heavenly places are received here and now in this present life.  The ecstasy of the joy in the Holy Spirit is available in the kingdom for all kingdom citizens NOW.  We do not wait for another era, another time for righteousness and peace.  These heavenly blessings are accessible to God’s people today.

        “through him we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph. 2:18).

        “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

        “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).