People of The Living God

Psalms 8

 

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April 2011



 

A PROFILE OF THE CHURCH

Randall Walton

        In this twentieth century of the Christian Era, there is a massive array of religious organizations which are known as “The Church.”  Most of these institutions consider themselves an example of the true and accepted church of God, or as having God’s stamp of approval.

        But of the hundreds of different denominations scattered abroad, no two are exactly alike, by which we know that they are most certainly not all “God-ordained.”  In fact, it is our solemn conviction that there does not exist anywhere on earth a “true church,” or one which follows the pattern which is laid out in the Book of Acts.  It is our contention that the body which was established by Jesus Christ through His apostles is/was the only corporeal Body which has ever met the demands and standards of its Founder, and it is quite evident that it was very short-lived!

        While it remains true that a handful of faithful followers have existed down through the dark centuries since the passing of the apostles, it is also true that the divine pattern which they knew has never been replicated.  We seriously wonder how anyone can refer to his own religious company as a “New Testament Church.”

        Let us substantiate this claim with a brief profile of that pristine body which was established by none other than the Lord of Glory Himself, and which existed but a few short years due to carnality that was allowed to go on unabated and unchecked.

1.  They were all with ONE ACCORD (Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1; Acts 4:24; Acts 5:12).

        It is doubtful that this condition has existed at any time since those days.  There have been attempts made to require everyone under some regime to conform to certain set ideas and beliefs, but all of these have failed to succeed because it is “with the heart” that man believes; no regime or order has been able to conquer, control, or change man’s heart.  The 120 saints who gathered in the “upper room” were united in their fervor, zeal, and aim/purpose.  We do not assume that they believed every minor and major point exactly alike, but they were of one accord in their desire to please God and to see God’s will done.

        Too many people today are concerned about the will of the Board, or the Elders, or the Organization rather than the will of the living God.  It is obvious that the early disciples were bent on receiving the “promise of the Father” and doing His will.  A careful reading of the first several chapters of Acts reveals that the “church” became a way of life for the people: it was the very epicenter of their existence.

        This attitude, that their lives were wrapped up in a new life where “old things are passed away,” contributed greatly to their being of one heart and soul.  Church was not just a pastime, or a week-end event, or something different from a mundane existence; it was their reason for living, for there in the confines of that glorious body they continued “DAILY with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat (food) with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church DAILY such as should be saved” (lit., “those who were being saved,” Grk.) (Acts 2:46-47).

2.  They were baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5; Acts 10:44-46 & 11:15-17; Acts 19:6).

        Just prior to Jesus’ ascension, He told the apostles to remain in Jerusalem to receive the promise of the Father.  “For John truly baptized with water; but YE SHALL BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST not many days hence” (Acts 1:5).  So it was just seven days later that Pentecost was fully come and these saints (about 120, both men and women) were baptized with the Holy Spirit, the evidence of which was that they all spoke with “tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.”

        Peter related the incident of the man Cornelius and his household who were also recipients of that wonderful experience: “the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.  Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water: but ye shall be baptized with the holy Ghost” (Acts 11:15-17).  They, too, spoke with tongues just as the disciples did on the day of Pentecost: “on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” (Acts 10:45-46).

        We need to emphasize the fact that this experience was “with the Holy Ghost,” and that these people spoke with tongues “as the Spirit gave the utterance.”  There are many people today who claim to have received the Holy Spirit baptism with speaking in tongues who have not really received it at all.

        Sad to say, some ministers are teaching(?) people how to talk in tongues.  Some actually hold classes where people can learn how to be baptized and speak in tongues.  One preacher we heard said it was like turning on a water faucet: you can do it whenever you want to!

        This is, of course, a disgrace and leads us to believe that there are probably very few who have truly been baptized with the Holy Spirit.  If the Spirit of God is not the dominating factor, if He is not in control, if He does not give the utterance, then you may safely say the activities are counterfeit and are most likely the manifestations of the flesh.  Also, if Jesus is not glorified, beware of the demonstration (See John 16:13-14).

        Genuine speaking in tongues (glossalalia) is 100% supernatural.  When the Spirit gives the utterance, the human voice is but an agent through which the Holy Spirit speaks.  Just as water baptism is a sign, so also is the Spirit baptism a sign.  The important part of the Baptism is not the outward manifestation of tongues, but that which is done inwardly within the heart and soul, for the Holy Spirit momentarily possesses the person and he is immersed or “buried” in the Spirit.

        It is God’s will that all His people are baptized in the Spirit, for it is the “earnest of the Spirit:” God’s guarantee that there is more to come, and also a foretaste of that heavenly state.  The fact that few people have experienced the genuine Baptism is shown by the shallowness of the average churchgoer.  Even among the Pentecostals and charismatics who seem to claim inalienable rights to the experience, there is a cold wind of apathy and worldliness which blows through the assemblies where they gather.

        Much effort is put into “working up the spirit” rather than allowing the Spirit to manifest Himself as He wills.

3.  They were all filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4; Acts 4:8,31; Acts 9:17; Acts 13:9,52; Eph. 5:18).

        There is much talk today about “Spirit–filled churches,” “Spirit–filled preachers,” etc., but the early church bore the signs thereof.  Where are Spirit-filled people today?  Just because a person speaks in tongues, or rolls on the floor, or dances a holy jig does not mean that person is filled with the Spirit.  Filled means FILLED, not partially filled, but FILLED.  Being filled is not the same as an anointing of the Spirit, either.  Too many people claim to be filled with the Spirit who are not filled at all.

        If you fill a cup or a glass with water, how much coffee or tea can you add to the cup or glass?  None!  So likewise with the Spirit.  A Spirit-filled person will reflect all evidence of a Spirit-filled life.  Needless to say, that kind of a person is rare, if not non-existent.

4.  The early church was a channel of power (Acts 1:8; Acts 5:5-10, 12-16; Acts 9:36-42; Acts 12:4-10; Acts 20:8-10; etc.).

        “But ye shall receive POWER (dunamis, [dynamite] Grk.), after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.”  Supernatural power was one of the earmarks of the church.  There was power over sickness, sin, satan and death.  Jesus had stated that “he that believeth on 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).

        Very little power is demonstrated among believers today.  Sin and lawlessness dominate most of the religious scene today, whereas in the early church, even liars were smitten by the power of God (Acts 5:1-10).  Demons were cast out of those who were possessed; an ungodly man was struck with blindness (Acts 13:11); a fornicator was turned over to satan (I Cor. 5:4,5).

        “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power” is a fair description of the church in our day (II Tim. 3:5).  It grieves us to hear people justify the powerlessness of the church by claiming that the power was only for the apostles in order to get the church started, but we don’t need it today!

5.  They had all things common (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-37).

        One of the outstanding outcomes of the Pentecostal experience was the selflessness of the people, a condition which is sorely lacking among the professors of the Christian faith today.  The outpouring of the Spirit not only changed their manner of worship, but also their manner of living.  Now, no man called anything his own, but distribution was made of all the resources according to each one’s needs.

        While it is true that there have been many corrupt and abusive communal groups over the years, this is no reason to pass judgment upon all.  The early church functioned well with over 8,000 members (Acts 1:15; 2:41; 4:4)!

        It is no mere coincidence that the decline of the power in the church was accompanied by the death of the community way of life.  Consider the spiritual benefits which are possible when all work together for the welfare of all members as compared with each person working for the good of himself and his own immediate family.

6.  The FRUIT of the Spirit was manifest: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith(fullness), meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22,23).

        Fruit is a product, or the result, of certain action having taken place.  In this case, it is the Holy Spirit at work in the heart supplying the necessary impetus and spiritual nutrition to produce the expected results.

        In a study of the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament, it is very easy to find evidence of each of these divine qualities, thereby confirming the fact that the Holy Spirit was actively at work within them, aiding in the production of these characteristics of the divine nature.  Following is a thumbnail sketch of these nine inimitable values:

LOVE: Love is a working word, not a mere feeling or sentiment toward another person.  “God so loved the world that he gave.”  The evidence of love is that the person who loves is a doer.  He seeks ways to serve and minister to the one(s) he loves.

        He takes great pleasure in doing things to ease another’s burdens without demanding or expecting anything in return.  Jesus declared that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all the heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.  All other obligations hinge on (or hang from) these two.

        John asked the question, “he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (I John 4:19)

        Yet we see so little love shown among God’s people today.  True love is selfless, or as Paul said in I Cor. 13:5, it “seeketh not her own.”  It remains true that most Christians “tolerate” or “put up with” each other rather than love each other.  If God’s people will allow the Spirit to have greater influence in their lives, greater love will be produced.

JOY:  Joy is a state of happiness and contentment, and is evidenced by expression of gladness.  Born again people should be the happiest and most joyful people on the face of the earth.  “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:52).

        We could say the reason they were filled with joy was because they were filled with the Holy Ghost.  This joy followed close on the heels of severe persecution, a fact which tells us that joy is not dependent upon ideal and pleasant circumstances.  Nor is joy limited to those times when we may be in an exciting meeting or service. The joy which is produced as a fruit of the Spirit is always accessible, night or day, rain or shine, poverty or prosperity.  Anyone who walks in the Spirit knows constant joy, for there is no discouragement nor condemnation in the Holy Ghost.

        Let’s face it: is there much real joy among the ranks of the Christians you know?  In the event of catastrophe, calamity and calumny, are you able to maintain a rejoicing heart?  “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptation; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2,3).

        These “divers temptations” are adversities and severe trials of many different kinds.  We, as Christians, are expected to endure these things with joy and gladness of heart, never ceasing to praise God no matter how bleak the situation becomes.  God is just as wonderful in the valley as He is on the mountaintop; but you really understand this if you live in the Spirit and allow this divine attribute to be developed.

PEACE:  A good synonym of this word is tranquility.  This wondrous quality is not manufactured nor produced by the efforts of the natural mind.  True peace comes as a result of the inward working of the Holy Spirit and not a mental acquiescence of adverse conditions.

        Paul and Silas sang praises to the Lord while they were bound with chains in a prison at midnight.  They had not enrolled in special classes to learn how to cope with such undesirable circumstances.  They obtained this calmness and stability by being in tune with the Holy Ghost.  This fruit of the Spirit was produced only as these men allowed the Spirit to do the necessary work within their hearts.

LONGSUFFERING:  The best synonym for longsuffering is patience, the ability to endure hardship, distress, persecution, disagreeable circumstances without complaint or grumbling.  Patience is the product of experience and the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is valuable both because of its inherent worth and the high cost of obtaining it.  Many a saint would have more victory in their lives if they would allow the Holy Spirit to infuse them with more longsuffering.

        GENTLENESS:  In this day of mega-violence, gentleness seems to be a rare quality.  Kindness and compassion are integral parts of gentleness, both of which are sorely lacking in both secular society and in religious circles.  A word which describes modern mores is abuse, and it covers the whole spectrum of man’s activities: child abuse, spousal abuse, abuse of the aged and infirm, sexual abuse, etc.  We hear of battered wives, husbands and children.

        While we all desire to be treated with kindness, we do not all practice being kind to others, simply because this fruit of the Spirit has not been brought to maturity.  At the risk of becoming wimpish, we hold firm to our claim of individual dignity and self-esteem and refuse to allow the Holy Spirit to develop this divine quality within us.

GOODNESS:  We can understand this fruit by considering its opposite: badness, or wrongfulness.   Whatever is good is right, pure, just, and holy.  Goodness shows up when evil would prevail.  It is God’s way as opposed to man’s way.

        It is that Holy Spirit-inspired ability to do good to those who do evil to you: “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44).  Notice that goodness works irrespective of circumstances.

FAITH:  This is better understood as faithfulness or trustworthiness, rather than belief or trust.  This is the ability to remain faithful to God, to His word, and to His call no matter how adverse conditions may become.  It is that blessed ingredient which causes the feet to remain implanted upon the solid rock; let the winds blow, the floods rise, the rains fall.

        The eyes of the faithful are ever forward, focused upon the goal set before him by the Saviour, and never looking back nor glancing over the shoulder.  Without regret or remorse, the faithful, through the power of the Holy Spirit, plunges onward, taking with him as many as he possibly can.  Clearly, this is produced only by the work of the Spirit.

MEEKNESS:  Humility; teachable; governable.  Moses was the meekest man to have lived before Jesus came (Num. 12:3), and He said of Himself: “I am meek and lowly of heart” (Matt. 11:28,29).  But neither of these was weak nor spineless.  They were quick to stand against evil and wrongdoing, but were just as ready and willing to hear the voice and will of the Father.

        Jesus stated that He came only to do the will of His Father.  He never interjected His own thoughts nor desires but rather declared, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).  Meekness and submission to authority are fingers of the same hand, a quality of character which is in short supply today.

        A walk with God in the Spirit does not inflate one’s ego.  Beware of the super egoists who put their personalities on public display to impress people with their superb abilities: meekness does not contribute to conceit; neither does the Holy Spirit!  The more spiritual a person becomes, the more meek he becomes, also.

TEMPERANCE:  Self-control is probably the most accurate definition of temperance.  It is demonstrated in the difficult areas of life when one’s natural impulse is to give way to anger, depression, discouragement, and despair, or some other action attributable to some crisis or temptation.

        A person who lives in the Spirit receives strength and ability to rein in the “old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22).  This divine fruit is produced only as a person learns to yield to the goadings of the Holy Spirit as He works and moves in the heart to help the person surrender his all to the will of God.

        The Holy Spirit never forces nor coerces; nor does He usurp authority over the will of an individual.  Through patience, He directs a person to conditions where a decision must be made by the person.  This “exercise” never ceases as long as the person cooperates and “presses on.”  This cultivation is an ongoing, unceasing work of the Spirit in an effort that the fruit, or result, of that work will become evident and will grow to complete maturity.  The resources of heaven have been committed to the Holy Ghost for that very purpose.  We see so little of these fruits today because so few people are concerned enough to allow the Spirit to produce these essential qualities within their beings.

7.  They had the Gifts of the Spirit:  “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of WISDOM; to another the word of KNOWLEDGE by the same Spirit; To another FAITH by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of HEALING by the same Spirit; To another the working of MIRACLES; to another PROPHECY; to another DISCERNING of spirits; to another divers kinds of TONGUES; to another the INTERPRETATION of tongues” (I Cor. 12:7-10).

        The operation of these gifts in the church made it a vibrant, powerful, living body of which Jesus was the Head.

        While it is true that there are many claims today of apostolic succession and the use of the gifts of the Spirit, it is probably safe to say at least 99% + of these claims are false.  We do not know of any place where these nine gifts (or even one) are in existence. We have witnessed many counterfeit attempts to display these spiritual manifestations, but to this present hour we have not discovered the genuine.

        WISDOM:  This precious gift covers every aspect of man’s existence.  He who is blessed with this gift has a perfect understanding in things both spiritual and natural and can convey this understanding through counseling and advice.

        KNOWLEDGE:  This gift enables the gifted person to understand doctrinal truth.  This does not mean he knows all truth, but he knows which is truth and which is error.  He, also, has a special and unusual insight in the Word of God.

        FAITH:  Most of us must exercise ourselves in faith (active belief), but the person who has been given this gift has a clear channel of utmost trust and confidence in God, His ability, and His word.  Gone are doubts and questions and wonderings.  This faith enables a person to put his life on the line, to stand fast in God irrespective of circumstances, conditions, or troubles.

        HEALING:  With this gift, sickness and disease are banished.  This was one of the more visible ministries in the early church because every sick person was healed.  There are many fakers in the religious world today who claim this gift, but people remain in their sicknesses after the “healer” has made his pitch.

        It is true that God answers prayer and many people are healed as a result of anointing with oil and the laying on of hands.  But this is not the same as the gift of healing.  Prayer was unnecessary where the gift was present.

MIRACLES:  Many miracles are recorded in the early church: the dead were raised, a poisonous snake’s bite was rendered harmless, Philip was transported by the Spirit from one place to another, etc.

        PROPHECY:  A prophet was an instrument through which God spoke to the people.  As a mouthpiece of the Lord, God spoke to him in dreams and visions and he relayed the message to the people (See Num 12:6).  There are many “would-be” or “wanna-be” prophets in the world today, but where is the “seer” whose message comes directly from the throne of grace?  There were many prophets in the early church, but their ministry is sorely lacking at the present time.

        We know of several who claim to prophesy, but their claims do not measure up to God’s standards.

        DISCERNING OF SPIRITS:  It is of prime importance that every child of God know the identity of the spirits that manifest themselves in religious circles.  There are familiar spirits, unclean spirits, infirmity, foul, lewd, fear, error, seducing, vexing, bondage, suicide, etc.

        In most supercharged meetings, one or more of these spirits are at work, and they manifest themselves in such a way as to deceive people into believing they are of God.  It is not always possible to detect the source of a manifestation of spirit activity.  These spirits just do not identify themselves as evil beings for obvious reasons.  But a person with the gift of discernment will always know the spirit(s) at work.

        TONGUES:  This is perhaps the most abused phenomenon in the entire range of spiritual expression.  And there is also much controversy about the subject.  While some people say that this gift is the ability to speak foreign languages, others claim that once you have done it, you can do it any time you want.

        We believe that both these views are in error.  For example, read I Cor. 14 and substitute some foreign language (Spanish, German, French, etc.) wherever the word tongue appears.  It should be obvious that it won’t work this way.

        Also, since tongues were given “as the Spirit gave the utterance,” it is obvious that a person cannot speak in tongues at will.  James said that the tongue is the most unruly member of our body, and that no man can tame it (James 3:5-8).

        But the Holy Spirit can control the tongue, and when He does, He uses a heavenly language, or as Paul stated in I Cor. 13:1, “of angels.”

        There are definite regulations for the use of this gift, which are set forth in I Cor. 14.  Though these rules are generally disregarded in most groups, it is evident that a great deal of confusion is the result.

        INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES:  This gift is just as important as the gift of tongues, for when the two are in operation, they are equivalent to prophecy.

        On the day of Pentecost there was a dual miracle; not only did the saints speak in unknown tongues, observers heard the messages interpreted into their own native tongues!  Thus, the message which came from God was intelligible to the people because it was interpreted for them.

        These nine spiritual gifts set the early church apart from all other religious orders.  There was never anything like this before, and there has not been an equal to it since it slowly faded into oblivion.

8.  They had God-ordained Ministries:  “And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and some teachers” (Eph. 4:11).  These five ministries or offices are generally referred to as the “Five-Fold Ministry.”  There are several religious bodies which claim to have these ministries.  Frankly, we doubt that all of these offices are in existence today.  It would be truly wonderful if this were true, but the record speaks differently.

        Compare today’s professed apostles with the apostles in the Scriptures.  Based on the information we have, these modern apostles are man-made, not God-ordained.  And if God has not sent them, they are not true apostles.

        The same can be said of prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

        Too many professing ministers of the gospel have chosen their careers as a vocation.  God did not call them: they chose their particular job.  This is not to say that there are no God-called ministers, for some are surely bearing good fruit, but it is a skinny minority to whom this applies!

A Restoration Promised

        Would you like to see a truly New Testament Church?  On the basis of what we have covered thus far, it is plain that no such creature exists on this planet today (This includes People of the Living God).

        However, we have the assurance that God is going to restore the church to its original splendor and glory, and that before Jesus returns in the clouds: “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27).

        “And he shall send Jesus Christ…Whom the heaven must receive (keep) until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (from of old. Grk)” (Acts 3:20-21).

        It is on God’s program – this restoration of all that once belonged to the people of God: the same glory, the same power, the same ministries, gifts, manner of life, and experiences.  The greatest display of spiritual might and power is due before Jesus comes back to judge the world in righteousness.

        But the church (lit., the people of God) must first be sanctified and cleansed.  There exists too much worldliness, carnality, and fleshly activity for this restoration to take place presently.  If you are a member of the “called-out-ones,” expect some severe trials and testings, for these are instrumental in the cleansing process to which He will subject His elect.

        “The washing of water by the word” implies the embracing and application of the word to the lives and hearts of God’s people.  As we conform ourselves to the word of the Lord, we will see great changes taking place within ourselves.  Those who are willing to pay the price of obedience to the word of the Lord will be privileged to have a part in this great last day move of the Spirit of God.

        For a preview of these things, we encourage you to read the Book of the Acts of the Apostles.

        And when the restoration is completed we believe these eight factors will be plainly visible:

        1.  The saints will be of one accord.

        2.  They will be filled with the Spirit.

3.  They will be baptized with the Spirit.

4.  He will be endued with power from on high.

5.  They will have all things in common.

6.  They will have the fruit of the Spirit.

7.  They will have the gifts of the Spirit.

  1. They will have the God-given ministries of the Spirit.

Truly, that will be a glorious church !

 

 

THE ETERNAL LIFE INSURANCE

Harry R. Miller

        In these days of so much uncertainty, the insurance companies are doing a booming business.  It is now possible to get insurance coverage for most any and all evil eventualities that are common to man; even some of the big religious denominations have entered this lucrative trade and now sell “policies” to their clientele.  The human race is frantically trying to fortify itself against the judgments of Providence, for it has forgotten the words of Jesus concerning these things: “He that seeketh to save his life shall lose it.”

        According to Isaiah all insurance is a “refuge of lies” (28:17) that will be swept away in the wrath of God.  Few people ever consider that in securing the help “of the arm of flesh” they have turned their backs upon “the shadow of the Almighty,” and the care of man is considered more important than the protection of the angels who have been “given charge” over saints.  Isaiah calls the “refuge of lies” a “hiding place.”  Consider the lying implications of these so-called “life insurance” policy dispensers.  They have no power to preserve life.  Such a policy is not LIFE insurance; it is DEATH insurance.  The heirs of your estate are benefited financially if you die.  The buyer of such a policy is like a gambler: He bets that he dies in twenty years; the insurance company bets that he will not die in twenty years.  The company shows more faith in life than the policyholder!  But, after all, the policyholder has bought rest at a price; it wasn’t money he wanted so much as peace of mind.  “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm” (Jer. 17:5); however, the prophet goes on to say, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (verse 7).  We might say that the man who has made “flesh his arm” has insurance, but the man who has made the Lord his hope has ASSURANCE.

        Earthly insurance and heavenly assurance are both based upon Contracts or covenants.  These are conditional agreements between two parties.  Such a covenant or agreement remains in effect as long as both parties fulfill their obligations as stated in the contract.  The man who holds an insurance policy is obliged to make payment at agreed intervals.  If his occupation becomes very hazardous, he is obliged to notify his company and is required to pay extra for the “extended coverage.”  These are CONDITIONS of the agreement, and, according to the “fine print” in the contract, they become binding.

        The “everlasting covenant” may be likened unto an insurance policy in a general sort of a way; the main difference between God’s contract and man’s is that His agreement is sure and that which He offers is the real thing – life.  The factors in these two covenants (agreements) that can be likened to each other are that they represent an agreed arrangement between two interested parties, and they both involve cost.  Each of these covenants has stipulated obligations, stated conditions and exacting terms upon which the whole covenant rests.  It would be well that professing Christians re-examine “the everlasting covenant” that every saint makes with his creator.  It seems that men have just accepted the “large print” on our eternal, life insurance policies, and they have failed to look carefully at the “fine print” that explains the CONDITIONS of our covenant.

        Humanity’s most favorite quotation from the “large print” is: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31); the last three words in this statement should be a warning that this whole passage is conditional.  The salvation of one member of anyone’s house will prove a blessing to all, but it does not necessarily follow that if one member has made his peace with God that all the others are assured of eternal life.  How can the faith of any one man save his whole house?  Not even the faith of Job was able to save his house; every man must make his own peace with God.

        There are two sides to any “covenant.”  It is time that men read and then put into practice the things that the Lord requires from His angle of the agreement.  The prophet Isaiah has written the obituary for millions of people of this latter day, and his final reason for the extreme wrath of God upon this generation is: “they have…broken the everlasting covenant” (Isa. 24:5).

        It is possible to break the covenant with God by failing to comply with the conditions upon which the agreement rests.  Let us carefully examine some of the “small print” in our life contract: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord.  I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” (Heb. 10:16).  It seems reasonable to contend that law in the heart is more exacting than law written on stone.  Is it not an honest conclusion that law in the heart is LAW MAGNIFIED?  “He will magnify the law and make it honourable” (Isa. 42:21).

        The magnified law in the heart is most exacting, and he who fights it will most certainly suffer penalty.  Heart law may be just as repulsive as the law written on the tables of stone, but it is much harder to ignore.  He who attempts to trifle or by-pass the law of his heart makes his way of life very difficult.  Every man lives with the thoughts of his heart, and he who is not honest but rebels against the voice of the law in his heart does violence to his whole personality.  If such rebellious activity is continued within the individual, he will have a spiritual heart stroke and suffer the death of his soul.  After the soul is dead there is no more twinge of conscience concerning God’s laws, and the apostate finds that he can justify himself in almost anything.

        “Today if ye will hear His voice” (Heb. 3:7,15; 4:7) is an obligatory stipulation of the new covenant, for those who refuse to hear “harden their hearts,” and the “evil heart of unbelief” takes over, and they are soon found “departing from the Living God” (Heb. 3:12).  It then is imperative that believers “hear” (obey) the Lord.  Here we have a law of the Spirit world and its penalty explained: refusing to hear does violence to the heart.  Soon unbelief asserts itself and the soul is moved to depart from God.

Other Conditions

        But let us consider some of the other conditions of the agreement (covenant) we have made with the Lord: “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me BY SACRIFICE” (Psalms 50:5).  Here we have one of the terms of this contract with our Lord – personal sacrifice.  It would be well to note here that the covenant with God was made on the grounds of, and by the means of, personal sacrifice.  Personal sacrifice, then, constitutes one of the costs of securing the covenant.

        There are other things expected of man in his covenant relationship: “If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).  Here is another obligation, and it also is a condition of discipleship.  If the believer is to continue under the blood covenant he must obey the Lord; “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).  We are cleansed by His blood as we walk.  It is plainly implied by the word “if” that he who refuses to walk in the light will not be cleansed by His blood.  Walking in light is a condition of the new covenant.  WE MUST WALK IN LIGHT.

        Our covenant made with God through his Son Jesus Christ requires that we “hold fast…unto the end” (Heb. 3:6).  “Cast not away therefore your confidence,” for “if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him,” but, good brethren, “We are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the SAVING of the soul” (Heb. 10:35-39).  Another obligation of the covenant is that men dare not draw back – God expects progress not retrogression.

        “He that overcometh…I will confess his name before my Father” (Rev. 3:5).  He that is denied before the Father is lost; therefore, the effort of overcoming is an obligation to which the believer must apply himself if he is to retain his relationship with the Father and the Son.

        We offer one more Scripture as evidence that “eternal life insurance” requires numbers of obligations on the part of the insured: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).  Not just “believing” the commandments, but DOING them is what counts with heaven.  To “do” the commandments, then, is a vital condition of the everlasting covenant; he who fails to “do” breaks his right to the terms of the covenant; to such a man – heaven is not obligated.

        All the covenants that God has made with man have been made upon condition; He has never failed to meet His side of the agreement, but the Scriptures record a long list of the failings of man, and the subsequent judgment of God upon those who broke their part of the bargain.

        Under the ministry of Moses, God dealt severely with the lawbreakers who defiled the “carnal ordinances” and the “shadows” of the heavenly things.  Animals’ blood was counted sacred because it typified a much more precious blood, dear to the heart of God.  But the Old Testament (covenant, agreement, contract) did not meet the need eternally; so the Father made a new one that shall last forever; this is now known as the “everlasting covenant.”

        So sacred was this agreement between man and the Lord that He had it sealed with the blood of His Son, “the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Heb. 13:20).  Oh, my brethren, carefully read these words from the “fine print” of our agreement: “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:28,29)  In these verses we have two authorities: Moses and Christ.  Two sets of laws are mentioned: the laws of Moses and the severities of the penalties that fell upon the lawbreakers; the laws of the Son of God and the “sorer punishment” upon all who despise Him and tread Him under foot.

        Many times in the Scriptures we find the person of Moses so identified with his laws that they appear as one: “Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him” (Acts 15:21); “If they hear not Moses” (Luke 16:31); “All baptized unto Moses” (I Cor. 10:2).  The person, Moses, and the Moses MESSAGE were indivisible.  Bear in mind that this patriarch personified our heavenly Father’s MESSAGE to the nation of Israel; he was God’s voice.  We might put it this way – this man was the Father’s message through the Moses voice box.  We can now understand the phrase: “He that despised Moses’ law;” men were not despising the person of Moses, they despised his message.

        In these verses of Scriptures from the book of Hebrews (10:28,29) there is a comparison between two groups of despisers: those who despised Moses and those who despised “the Son of God.”  The phrase “hath trodden under foot” is an idiomatic saying; it does not mean that a person does this, or even can do it, literally.  The phrases “despised Moses’ law” and “trodden under foot the Son of God” are parallel phrases in that they express contempt; however, “trodden under foot” is a much stronger phrase; it does not stop with mere disrespect, disregard or disdain, but it implies deliberate acts of scorn and desecration.  Understand, this scorn is not against the person of Christ; it is against His MESSAGE.

        All manner of Satanic attacks have tried to separate Christ from His message.  The dispensationalists offer a Christ (false) separated from what He came to personify: the word of God the Father.  Men are given a Saviour (false) separated from the words of the Father.  “Many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:5).  Friends, this Scriptures has been fulfilled in this our day. The Son of God is being trodden under foot by these impostors who despise and reject Him.

        Let us examine the word “despise” as it is used in relation to Moses in Hebrews 10: The Greek word is afeteo, and Strong (Strong’s Concordance) says it means to displace, set aside, annul, reject.  This same word (afeteo) is used in the following places: “He therefore that despiseth (afeteo), despiseth not man, but God” (I Thess. 4:8); “Ye reject (afeteo) the commandment of God that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:9); “He that rejecteth (afeteo) Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him” (John 12:48); “He that despiseth (afeteo) Me despiseth Him that sent Me” (Luke 10:16).  Let the reader now place the words “displace, set aside, annul, reject” where afeteo is used in the above Scripture texts, and the result is astounding.

        The sum of these things is this: he who displaces, sets aside, annuls or rejects the words of Christ is guilty of treading under foot the Son of God.  We can now understand the severity of the words of Peter when he said, “Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:22,23).

        Peter’s message may be summed up in these words: obey Christ or be destroyed.  Let us face this fact: the New Testament (the everlasting covenant) demands obedience to the words of Christ.  To refuse Him by disobedience to His words is rebellion, and he who rebels shall have no mercy.  “See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh.  For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:25-28).

        By despising the message of the Son of God, rebels are not only trampling under foot, but they, also, are rejecting the blood of the covenant.  “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).  Upon condition, the blood of the Son cleanseth (note the tense: present active).  The implication is that if men will not walk in the light the Son’s blood will not cleanse, and most certainly, without the shed blood of Christ there is no salvation.

        “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 1:1,2; 2:1-3)  These passages from the Good Book scream OBLIGATION.  The burden of doing-something-about-it rests upon the believer.  The Lord has made every provision for our moral transformation; it is now obligatory that we obey these words from the writings of the teacher of great grace: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).

        “Salvation” is not a religion; it is a state of being, a life that is offered to any man who will make a contract with the Creator on the basis of the “everlasting covenant.”  Every believer’s first confession of faith in the Son of God is accepted at face value (if it is genuine); he then becomes a novitiate, an apprentice, who seeks by his labors to become a full-fledged disciple of Christ.

        Churchanity and Christianity are as different as day and night.  The multitudes that profess Christ and travel the “broad way” are not headed for life everlasting.  It is the few that find the “strait gate” and who walk “the narrow way” that are accepted of God.  It is these “few” that are known as saints.  The Almighty God has made a covenant with His saints upon this basis: that man accepts the life of Christ in exchange for death to self.  This makes “death to self” a condition of having “the life of Christ.”

        We now run into conflict with many who will say we are teaching that eternal salvation must be bought or earned by the believer.  Multitudes of ministers are teaching that “salvation is a free gift.”  Friends, there is not one Scripture that states such a thing.  Salvation has been made possible for mankind, but it is not a “free gift” that makes no demands upon the human race.

        Christ, Himself, is the father’s “free gift.”  In the epistle to the Roman church this subject is discussed in chapter five.  The writer states that “death passed upon all men” because of the sin of Adam, and he goes on to say, “By the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus Christ) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Rom. 5:18).  The sin of Adam placed the whole human race in jeopardy, but the Father made a “free gift” that provided relief, deliverance, salvation for all who will avail themselves of His offer.

        We again remind the reader that Jesus Christ “tasted death for every man” (Heb. 2:9); and He was a ransom for all” (I Tim. 2:6); and “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2).  God has provided His Son as a “free gift” to the whole world.  But “the whole world” is not going to be saved even though He gave it a “free gift.”  However, those who apply themselves to the great salvation that God has provided will be gloriously saved; but let all men know that those who please the Lord are they that have “WORKED the works of God.”

 

 

“I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST”

Harold Scullin

        “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

        Crucifixion is a most excruciating, painful, humiliating, slow death.

        “I am crucified with Christ” implies that the “I,” the ego, the self life is dead.  I have renounced everything that stood between me and Christ.  I am identified with Christ in His death.  The presence of Jesus within my being is most satisfying and pleasing.

        “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature; old things have passed away and all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).  There is a sense of cleanness and purity that was not there before.  Old appetites and desires are gone.  The conscious presence of the Lord Jesus within me completely satisfies my soul.  I have peace, joy, and rest within my being.

        As servants of the Lord, we are admonished to love not the things of the world, the pleasures of the world.  Even the members of our immediate family must be held very loosely.  “He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37).  “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me is no worthy of me” (Mat 10:38).

        “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).  Crucify the flesh, crucify those habits.  Do not tolerate them.

        “Take up his cross.”  That which is contrary to the way of Jesus – your own plans, your own desires, even your own thoughts.  “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (fleshly) but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (Conditions, habits that we have permitted to become a part of us); casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:3-5).

        These are strong demands.  The carnal mind, the fleshly mind does not understand why such stringent means are necessary to subdue the carnal nature.  We define stringent to mean that which is greater, more powerful, and more satisfying than that which the flesh has to offer.

        “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God” (I Cor. 1:18).

        Jesus is our example.  “For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did not sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who when he was reviled, reviled not again: When he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (I Peter 2:21-23).

        When you are in a hard place, read these Scriptures and also ask Jesus for divine strength and guidance.

        “And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?  Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock” (Luke 6:46-48).

        “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Mat. 7:13-14).

        “Wherefore by their fruits, ye shall know them.”  Their everyday living standards, their conduct, their conversation, their behaviour, their interests in life, their relationship with other people.

        There are two forces that influence the lives of human beings, the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit: A holy force and an evil force.  You make the choice as to which one you will surrender.

        Out of the midst of this warfare that is taking place all around us, the heavenly Father desires to obtain a family of SONS.  These sons will have the same divine nature, they will be immortal, they will judge angels (I Cor. 6:3), and they will be “conformed to the image of Jesus” (Rom. 8:29).

Sin Entered The Universe

        Satan became jealous; he rebelled against the government of God.  In his state of rebellion, he persuaded one-third of the angels to follow him (Rev. 12:4; Isa. 14:9-16; Ezek. 28:2-18).

        But the Father was prepared.  The wisdom of the everlasting Father was sufficient to devise laws that would be equitable, honorable and fair and just.  The fact the devil did not rise up and contest the wisdom of the Father is evidence these laws were so holy, so just, and so fair the enemy remained quiet.

        Galatians 6:7,8 is an example of the profound wisdom of the Father.  “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.  He that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  These two laws are irrefutable and incontrovertible.  These laws are impossible to prove false or erroneous, neither are they open to question.  God is just in all of His dealings with humanity.  If it were not so, the devil would have objected.

        The individual, by his own choice and free will, will decide into which realm or state of being he will enter at the end of his earthly existence.  This is his own choice.  This expression of the love of God is an expression of the immutability of His law.  The Scriptures state that the “law is just, holy and good” (Rom. 7:12).

        Man is a free moral being.  He has the power of choice.  No exterior force or intelligence can force him to change his opinion, so that he will do that which is contrary to his will.

        “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye shall be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13).  Justice demands it to be so.

        “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16)

        “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Rom. 6:6).

        “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24).

        “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14).

        “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him” (Isa. 59:19).

        Evil spirits tremble at the mention of the blood of Jesus.  The blood of Jesus that He shed on Calvary is too holy, too powerful, for the devil to come against – he trembles.  When the evil spirits would come against you, as the servant of Jesus Christ, you can plead the blood of Jesus over your body, over your mind, over your whole being and shout the victory of Jesus. The enemy will have to flee.  This is a part of our inheritance we have in the crucifixion of Jesus.

        Remain CRUCIFIED WITH JESUS at all times.

 

 

IT’S LATER THAN YOU THINK

Alda Scullin

        “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (II Tim. 3:1).

        “Perilous times” are upon us, yet men are still saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”  Peter said they are “willingly ignorant” (II Peter 3:4,5).

        Few people today are able to face reality.  They do not want to know how bad conditions are in the world, so they ignore the facts that are constantly before them.  They close their eyes so they will not see, pretending that things are no worse than they have ever been.  With very little effort one can find volumes of proven facts to disprove this delusion of peace.

        The precarious state of the nations and the increase of weapons capable of annihilating people by the millions is alarming enough, but there are perils even more imminent and more horrible.  Americans have been appalled by the tales of the tortures and brutal murders committed by the German Gestapo and the Russians, but right here in our country, day after day, crimes are committed that equal the Nazi viciousness.

        What is almost inconceivable is the fact that many of the most violent and vicious crimes are committed by children: “Delinquent” is now too mild a word for many juveniles.  The Welfare and Health council of New York City once urged a municipal program to combat juvenile delinquency, costing $41 million, but the combined efforts of all social agencies have only helped to decrease by a small percent the great increase in juvenile crime.

        Some hoped that church programs might help to solve the problem, but the modernists have nothing of spiritual value to offer.  Instead, they try to allure with game rooms, parties, TV rooms and rock music.  Children sometimes have clearer vision than older people and are hard to fool.  They are quick to spot hypocrisy and other kinds of insincerity.  They know the modern religions are a sham.

        So, what caused a child to pour lighter fluid or kerosene on another child and set fire to it?  This has been done, not once, but numbers of times.  Hanging and strangling are also popular forms of torture among the juveniles.  Then there was the 18 year old who killed five people within sixty hours.  Two other young men beat a nurse to death with a rubber mallet.  Women have been killed on the streets and in their own yards.  Men have been injured and killed while riding trains or strolling in the park.  The attackers are often very young, not having reached their teens.

        Children’s crimes are so violent and vicious that reporters and police hardened by years of criminal investigation are shocked by such brutality.  The bodies of their victims are often beaten or hacked until almost unrecognizable.  No motive is needed for children to murder.  They admittedly do it for the “fun and thrill” of it.  The complete lack of remorse for the terrible things they have done is one of the most shocking aspects of these cases.

        Can anyone face these facts and say there is no reason for alarm?  That conditions have always been thus?  Where can we lay the blame for these happenings?  on poverty, slums, broken homes, irresponsible parents, lack of intelligence or insanity?  A thirteen– year–old arsonist who caused one child to burn to death was judged legally sane; his IQ of 124 was above average.  His father was a Long Island Brewery executive.  His neighbors described him as a “fine, gentlemanly boy.”  He was indifferent to the harm he had caused.

        None of the above reasons, nor all of them together, can account for the inhuman qualities exhibited by the criminals of our day.  There has always been poverty.  There have always been slums.  There have always been negligent parents.

        One major factor has been the new psychology which teaches that children naturally have aggression and so must have outlets for them.  The director of Association for Family Living said, “Hostility is one of the basic emotions and has to be expressed someplace.”  Teachers at a conference in New York were told, “It is necessary to stress the normality of hostility.  Teachers must appreciate also the importance of accepting hostility without attaching moral values.”

        There are no doubt many factors that have contributed to the degeneration of human beings and thus brought about the formidable conditions that exist today, but what is at the bottom of it all?  What has allowed these factors to materialize?  They have not come upon us overnight.  They are the result of the “desolation of many generations” (Isa. 61:4).

        In the Scriptures we have been warned of these conditions.  Paul wrote to Timothy that during the perilous times of the last days, “men would be lovers of their own selves, unthankful, unholy, disobedient to parents, without natural affection, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good” (II Tim. 3:1-3).  Jesus predicted that “brother shall deliver up the brother to death and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death” (Matt. 10:21).

        Today, children kill their parents, and it is not uncommon for parents to torture and kill their own children.  What could be more “unnatural”?  As one reader in “Letters to the editors” expressed it, “Their actions are the logical end result of a Godless education.”

Lawlessness

        Long ago, God gave men laws to live by that were holy, just and good; perfect, converting the soul (Psa. 19:7; Rom. 7:12).  When men walked in His laws, all was well, but only godly men love law and godly men have always been scarce.  Fathers were to teach their children the laws of God, that generation after generation they could walk in them (Psa. 78:1-9).  Since most fathers did not walk according to God’s laws themselves, they did not instill a love for law in their children.

        Now, those who profess to be God’s own representatives are teaching lawlessness instead of teaching men to obey the commands of the Lord.  Search the Scriptures and nowhere will you find that the way of God is without law.

        God called His people to lift up a standard for the people (Isa. 62:10), but in our time there are virtually no standards.  Religious leaders today teach that there are no laws that we must keep, for, say they, Christ did away with law and we now live in a dispensation of grace and liberty.  James spoke of liberty, too, but it was the LAW of liberty.  Paul admonished that we “use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,” however, this is exactly what is being done, “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness” or loose living (Jude 4).

        The NEW trends in raising and teaching children have been very helpful in bringing about the conditions that were prophesied centuries ago.  Children now rule the parents and the new psychology leaves parents and teachers without a defense.  Respect or even regard for others is considered old fashioned.  The lowering of this standard leads naturally to lawlessness and disobedience.

        Eph. 2:2 leaves no doubt about the spirit that works in the children of disobedience.  The lawless receive inspiration from hell and are stimulated by their lawlessness.  When people disregard and break the laws of God they are paving the way for the spirits of evil to work.  That a man reaps what he sows is a natural law of God. For generations, men have been sowing more and more to the flesh and continually exchanging the standards God set up for “standards” easier to live by.  This generation is reaping the harvest, and it is horrible to contemplate, for the horrors continue to increase.  A few are alarmed at these trends and are crying out against things that seem to contribute to the evils, such as the steady diet of crime, horror and vice that is fed to our children through the media of TV, movies and comic books.  Upon most people, however, there seems to be a spirit of deep sleep, and the cries of the few fall on deaf ears.

        The loose moral code of today – if there be a code at all – is strengthened by the modern mental religions that teach there is no evil.  Can the terrible crimes of children be good, not to mention the many other evils of the day?  These things are not the plan of God; they are a denial of God.  For this cause, God will destroy the earth which is “defiled under the inhabitants thereof” (Isa. 24:5).

        The deterioration of moral principles among those called “Christians” is undoubtedly the greatest factor in bringing society to its present state.  The Spirit of God in His people has been a restraining force, but since the modern religionists have completely rejected God as Lord of their lives, His Spirit is no longer in their midst, and like Samson of old, they “wist not that the Lord has departed from them” (Judges 16:20).

A Hedge

        Law and obedience are in God’s word from Genesis to the last chapter of the book of Revelation, but it is scorned.  Those who have no love for truth have received “strong delusion” from God Himself (II Thess. 2:10-12), and society as a whole has been affected.  Many are so brainwashed that churchmen today accept behaviour that was once repugnant to men of the world.

        If there was ever a time that the people of God needed to come out and be separate, it surely is now.  There is protection from all evil for us and our children under the shadow of the Almighty, but we must make Him our HABITATION.  Then, though a thousand fall at our side and ten thousand at our right hand it shall not come nigh us (Psal. 91).  If we walk in the laws of God and teach our children so, we need not fear the evils that the people of the world have good reason to be in terror of.  We are warned to separate ourselves from Babylon.  “Come out of her my people that you be not partakers of her sins and that you receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).

        The time is NOW!  Tomorrow may be too late.

 

 

WHERE CAN WE GO?

Randall Walton

        We receive many letters from people who want advice concerning a church where they can go for fellowship, a place which teaches doctrines similar to their beliefs, or the teachings as presented in the Testimony of Truth.

        This is an impossible question for us to answer, because we know of no other organization anywhere that holds to all the same teachings which we do.  There are several which are similar, but the differences are too great to be ignored.

        The best answer we have found to this problem is to recommend that people look for others in their area who are of the same persuasion and have “meetings” in their homes.  Admittedly, such a meeting wouldn’t be the same as a gathering in a traditional church building, but it is very possible that there would be much more of the presence of God in such a setting as this than you would find in a structured atmosphere in a conventional religious service.

        There are several reasons for this: those who gather in small groups are generally more sincere and serious than the nominal churchgoer.  Entertainment is neither an attraction nor a by-product of such a meeting.  Those who thus come together are usually hungry for truth and fellowship, and enjoy Bible study and research.  They also desire to genuinely worship God, which is not always possible in a regular service.

        Home worship services are a scriptural method for God’s people.  Consider: “Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house” I Cor. 16:19b; Rom. 16:3-5).

        “and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house” (Col. 4:15).

        “Archippus our fellow-soldier, and to the church in thy house” (Philemon 2).

        There are, of course, some real problems in starting such a venture as this: how does one contact others who are like-minded?  Who is to conduct or order the meeting?  Who decides what the topic for study will be?  Do we try to have music?  Who is responsible for the carrying-on of the meeting?

        These questions may be answered as the meeting develops and progresses.  The best answers will come as you diligently seek the Lord to know His will.

        It is possible to meet other people who are sincere and hungry for God through newspaper notices.  A simple announcement that you are interested in holding Bible Studies in your home may bring some very rewarding results.  It is, also, possible to meet other people who are dissatisfied with the status quo at various churches they and you may attend.

        We are confident that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of honest hearted truth-seekers who desire fellowship with others.  We wish we had the means to establish places of worship for all these many lovers of truth, but our personnel pool and our resources are too small to accomplish such a task.  We have but one place on this continent.

        We record our Sabbath day services on cassette tapes.  We will send a copy of these to interested parties on a rotational basis, i.e., after having used the tape, you return it so we can reuse it.  Anyone desiring to keep the tapes would be asked to make a small contribution for them.

        It is our sincere desire to help God’s people to have a firm foundation to face the catastrophic events which lie before us.  People need spiritual strength as never before, and we want to do all that we possibly can to help them be made strong.  May God richly bless you.