People of The Living God

Hebrews 11

 

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June 2011



 

DON’T STOP PRAYING

Randall Walton

        We were pleased with the number of responses we received from people who said they would make July 4th a day of prayer.  It was confirmation to us that God is working with hearts all across the land, provoking the saints of God to turn to Him with all their hearts, minds, and souls and to seek His face.

        The Lord has promised to send a revival to those who will call upon Him, and if there ever was a time when God’s people needed reviving, it’s right now.  Superficiality has become a way of life for many people (if not most).  Man is satisfied with enough “religion” to appease his guilty conscience.

        While the church suffers from spiritual malnutrition, its members continue hobnobbing with the world and acting as if all is well.  But, all is not well.  The world and its ways have infiltrated the ranks of the saints and have influenced their attitude toward God and His immutable word.

        The scriptures are most plain that the church was meant to be HOLY: “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (I Peter `1:16).  So many people have tried to affect holiness by their style of dress or their external appearance, but holiness is a condition of the heart.

        God is moving now to lift up a standard of righteousness among His people.  “A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of his kingdom” (Heb. 1:8).  He is rightfully demanding His people to measure up to those standards.  What is right in the sight of God is usually different from that which is right in the eyes of man.

        The only true measure of righteousness is set forth in the Scriptures, especially in the words of the Master.  We need to return to His words, His sayings, and His commands.  This is an important part of revival!  Go back to the Bible, back to the word of God, reject the traditions of the elders and be a true follower of Jesus Christ.

        Revival also includes becoming spiritually minded: “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).  It apparently will require a major effort on God’s part to shake people from their devotion to the “things on the earth.”  People in America are so geared to material things that they are prevented from walking and living in the Spirit.  God will surely deal with this condition.

        Revival begins with seeking God, humbling oneself, confessing sins and transgressions, and repenting (turning around).  We urge you to seek God as never before.  Spend much time in prayer and agonizing before the throne of grace.  God will come and pour out a blessing upon His people – provided they do their part.

                So, don’t stop praying!!

 

 

CAUGHT UP TOGETHER

Randall Walton

        “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:17).

        This is the greatest source of “proof” that the teachers of the “at–any–minute” rapture theory use in defense of their proclaimed doctrine.  It is logical to state that, if they were to analyze this verse word–by–word and include the two preceding verses with it, they would see that the idea of an imminent, at–any–time coming of the Lord is not expressed nor implied!

        There are three topics which are presented in these three verses, and they are related in time: 1) the coming of the Lord; 2) the resurrection of the just; 3) the translation (caught up) of the saints.  A fourth topic is mentioned which involves eternity: “so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

        Verse 15 states that those Christians (we) which are alive when the Lord comes will not precede those who have already died.  There will be a specific order of events which will take place at that time.

        Verses 16 and 17 list those events in the following manner:

1–The Lord descends from heaven:

  1. With a shout;
  2. With the voice of the archangel;
  3. With the trump of God;

2–The dead in Christ rise first;

3–Then we who are still alive are caught up with the resurrected saints;

4–We meet the Lord in the air;

5–We ever remain with the Lord.

        Notice that nothing is mentioned about the saints being taken to heaven for 3½ or 7 years.  Notice, also, that there isn’t the slightest suggestion that this is done secretly or with stealth.  To the contrary, the Lord’s appearing is loudly announced.

        The proponents of the rapture theory refer to this as the first resurrection, but this is not the terminology which is used here.  The resurrection mentioned here is not the first in a series of resurrections, but is the first event to take place when the Lord returns, or as Paul said in verse 15, “we which are alive and remain shall not precede (Gk.) them which are asleep.”  They will be raised from the dead before the living are caught up to meet the Lord in the air.  Then they and the living shall be caught up together.

        Jesus stated most plainly that the dead saints and the dead sinners will be resurrected at the same time: “Marvel not at this: for the HOUR is coming, IN THE WHICH ALLTHAT ARE IN THE GRAVES SHALL HEAR HIS VOICE, AND SHALL COME FORTH; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28,29).

        That Paul does not mention the resurrection of the wicked in I Thessalonians 4 does not detract from the fact that the good and evil are raised at the same “hour.”  Paul was addressing his letter to those saints who were concerned about the fate of “them which are asleep” (vs. 13).  In that context it is understandable that he would not mention the wicked being raised from the dead.

But in other places, Paul does include the wicked one’s presence at the coming of the Lord: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick (the living) and the dead at his appearance and his kingdom” (II Tim. 4:1).  The living and dead who will be judged at His appearing will be the wicked.  Read also II Thess. 1:7–10 which is a graphic description of the day of judgment, the coming of the Lord, and the rewards and punishments meted out to humanity: He will be glorified in His saints; He will punish the wicked with everlasting destruction!

The whole idea of the imminent rapture teaching is to provide a means of escape from the great tribulation.  Besides the lack of Scriptural proof, we need only to look about us in foreign lands where tribulation has been a way of life for many decades.  Why have not the saints there been “caught up”?  There are good people all over the globe who are being persecuted for their faith now.  When will they be raptured?  Must they wait until persecution and tribulation are facts of life in the U.S. and the rest of the world?

The real reason is because God has not included such a trip in His plans.  The saints (we which are alive and remain) will be here on the earth until Jesus descends with a shout, an event which He Himself declared would take place “immediately AFTER the tribulation” and not before (Matt. 24:29–31).

The schedule, then, in brief, appears to be as follows:

1–The great tribulation.

2–The Coming of Jesus.

3–The resurrection of the just and unjust.

4–The judgment of the wicked: everlasting destruction.

5–The rewards to the saints: everlasting life with the Lord.

        Sound simple?  Yes, it is.  When you scrape away all the cobwebs and debris which men have piled upon the Word of God via their many fables and theories, you arrive at plain, simple, unvarnished truth which will stand the test of scrutiny, investigation and research.

        We have not mentioned, of course, the many intervening events which will take place before and during the great tribulation, but they do not upset in any way this basic outline of the end–time.  You can count on this schedule because it fully agrees with the infallible word of the Living God.  Maranatha.

 

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO HOLINESS?

Randall Walton

        The word holiness means “to be holy.”  This quality is a divine product which is accessible only to those who have been genuinely born again and to no one else.  It is available to ALL who are saved, or born again, provided they desire it and are willing to undergo what is necessary to obtain it.

        There have been attempts made to manifest a holiness which is based upon certain modes of dress and hairdos, but such practices usually serve only to cover up a flaw in a person’s character and personality.  Yet it is true that a clean heart will inevitably find its reflection in modesty of apparel and cleanliness of habits and moral behavior.

        But, there are many people who choose to dress modestly and live decently, respectably and above reproach who do not know Jesus Christ – they are not saved.  They make no claim of piety or religiosity.  This is a matter of preference for them rather than an attempt to portray themselves as something they are not.

        True holiness, then, is a condition of the heart which is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and the response of the heart to that working of the Holy Spirit: “he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with FIRE: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will BURN UP THE CHAFF with unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:11,12).

        Let us be cognizant of whom He was speaking here: this process of burning with fire is not given to the world nor the casual Christian.  It is reserved for those who are fully surrendered to Jesus Christ and His Commission.  Those who acquiesce to the heat of the fire and flame understand it as a blessing from on high, for therein lays the secret of true holiness!

        Because holiness is restricted to those who seriously desire to walk close to God, it is vain to look for it in the world, in society, in secular government; it is simply not there.  This is one reason why it is so foolish for moralists to try to impose their own sense of values upon a God–hating, sin–loving hell–bent society!

        Of course, we are opposed to abortion, homosexuality, lesbianism, teen sex, unmarried sex, immorality in education, gambling, euthanasia, genocide, etc.  But it is silly to think that our opposition to those gross sins would minutely change the world, even if we were to vociferously cry aloud and publicly pronounce condemnation upon all the ungodly practices of the ungodly world.  We strongly abhor all the goings–on of this polluted generation and believe that these degenerate conditions are indicative of the last days.

        But what is even worse is that many professing Christian denominations not only allow these sins to exist, but coddle and accept these sinners as members of their congregations!  It is there that we need to cry out and shout about the abominations which are overlooked, rather than in society, for society makes no claim of representing the Creator.  These churches do!

        We are not surprised that homosexual marriage(?) (an oxymoron) is being considered in Hawaii.  We are not perplexed that the mayor of San Francisco recently joined scores of homos and lesbians in a state of mutual dependency (the word matrimony was avoided).  We were not really surprised that the Dr. Suicide was declared innocent of criminal charges.

        But what is really disconcerting is to read of homos and lesbians being “ordained” to the ministry or priesthood.  It is most galling to learn that homosexuality was not the sin for which God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah; it was because of their rudeness to Lot and the angels who visited him!

Holiness or Hell!

        U.S. News & W.R. recently ran an article about the rottenness which pervades both TV and the movies.  They described some of the shows and the filthy language of a few of the prime time programs, and of course, they denounced the station Managers for showing such when children are apt to watch.

        But the really pertinent question for true Christians is: “Why have the polluted channeler in the house to begin with?  Are Christians really so naïve as to believe that all of that rubbish has no effect on them?  Do they honestly think they can imbibe all the trash and garbage of the tube and not have any scars from the injuries sustained therefrom?”

        No wonder there is so little holiness in the land today among the professors of the Christian religion.  No wonder there is so little spirituality among those who merely “attend” a church “of their choice.”  No wonder the merchants of religion must have a hyped–up program of music and dance to inspire enough enthusiasm to draw a crowd.

        “Follow peace with all men, and HOLINESS without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).  “without which no man shall see the Lord!!  There are many non–essentials in the religion which calls itself Christian, but holiness is indispensable – it is absolutely essential.  No one can be saved without it!

        If this be so (and it is), it is then imperative that everyone who knows God become committed to the acquiring of this divine commodity.  It is not automatically dumped upon a person the moment he/she is converted.  There is no such thing as instantaneous annihilation of the carnal nature.  The obtaining of holiness is progressive: it is likened unto the physical growth of a child from babyhood to adulthood.  There are definable aspects which delineate the adult from the child.

        To be holy is to be as much like God as is possible in this human state of existence.  It involves the assimilation or absorption of the divine character into the innermost depths of the soul until the human nature is consumed by the very purity and beauty of the divine.  Just as there are varying degrees of maturity in the natural world, so also are there many different stages of spiritual development for the followers of Jesus Christ.  Those who are children are no less members of God’s family than those who have grown closer to maturity.

        The important issue is that everyone who is “born from above” consistently and continually commits himself to the process of maturation to which God has called him.  There are no exceptions: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6).  And He has a most definite reason for so doing: “They (our fleshly fathers) for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but HE FOR OUR PROFIT, THAT WE MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF HIS HOLINESS” (Heb. 12:10).

        Chastening (correction, reproof, discipline) is a very positive and constructive means of developing the state of holiness, for it is the means of eliminating those inferior traits of character which prevent holiness from becoming a reality.  Let us learn to accept it, receive it, and be thankful that He loves us so much that He provides it for us on a daily basis.

 

 

THE PROBLEM WITH EQUALITY

Curtis Dickinson

Why Government Is Hostile To Christians

        The present “Politically Correct” doctrine of equality was the battle cry of the anarchists of the French Revolution: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”  Their goal was to destroy the Christian basis of civil order and eliminate any absolute moral concepts.  They achieved considerable success.

The same idea was advanced by Karl Marx some 75 years later, when he quoted the French constitution of 1793 in setting forth his idea of rights under Socialism: “These rights are: Equality, liberty, security and property” (World Without Jews p.25 by Karl Marx).  Special rights and privileges given to various groups today demonstrate how effective the socialist agenda has been.

        As government agencies militantly enforce the socialist agenda of equality, Christians are often faced with the question of whether to obey God or Caesar.

        Of course, all should have equal rights before the law.  Justice must be the same for all, or it isn’t justice.  We are not discussing that aspect of equality, but rather the popular concept that all people must be recognized as socially, religiously, culturally, sexually, and morally equal to one another.  Any discrimination in these areas is now forbidden by law.  Here is where the policy comes into diametric opposition to the Christian faith.

        WAS JESUS A BIGOT?  The answer is Yes, according to the socialist doctrine of equality.  Early in His ministry, in the Sermon on the Mount, He established principles which set His disciples apart, not only as different from the rest, but as those distinctly favored by God.  In the “Beatitudes” Jesus described the blessed as the poor in spirit who mourn over sin, who are meek, whose deep desire is righteousness, who are merciful and pure in heart (Matt. 5:3–12).

        He then contrasted them with the rest of the world; those who despise His commandments, who hypocritically do good only to gain recognition, whose desire is material gain, and who have no faith (Matt. 5–7).  He compared people to trees, some bringing forth good fruit and some evil, the latter finally to be “cast into the fire” (Matt. 7:17–19).  Jesus said that all who do not heed His words are “like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand” (Matt. 8:26,27).

        Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matt. 16:6; Luke 12:1).  He called them murderers and children of the devil, but spoke of His disciples as God’s children (John 8:44; Matt. 5:9).  There is no way to get equality out of this arrangement.

        TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE.  The advocates of equality have used tolerance as a lever to open the door of acceptance, until the abnormal is seen as normal.  Leaders in the media, in education and in government have lost their ability to recognize the normal and to distinguish between right and wrong, between good and evil.  The theory of equality negates all standards based upon Biblical commands.

        Film critic, Michael Medved, wrote, “A war against standards leads logically and inevitably to hostility to religion, because it is religious faith that provides the ultimate basis for all standards” (Imprimis 2/91).

        Jesus recognized great differences in people.  He presented mankind in two categories: the good and the evil.  In the parable of the wheat and tares He taught that while both are allowed to grow to maturity in this world, there is a vast difference, and at the judgment, the tares – “the sons of the evil one” – will be burned up, while the “righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. 13:24–30, 36–43).

        Although it is not our place to sit in judgment upon another person’s eternal destiny, we do have the responsibility to know the difference between good and evil.

        Daily we read of Christians who have been ordered by officials to remove religious emblems or books from their work place, and some have been forced even to remove Christian emblems from their own property.  This hostility to Christians is part of the effort to enforce the doctrine of equality.  All religions must be equal, and the greatest evil is to accept Christ’s words that “no man comes unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).  This puts the preacher of the gospel in violation of anti–discrimination laws.

        Government enforced equality puts all Christians in danger of fines or imprisonment, as we have explicit commands to discriminate between right and wrong and between moral and immoral people.  “Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers,” (I Cor. 6:14) we are told.  “Evil companionships corrupt good morals” (I Cor. 15:33).  “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even reprove them; for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak of” (Eph. 5:12).

        UPSIDE DOWN.  We have had over three decades in which equality has been hammered into the minds of public school students, until the terms, “moral” and “immoral” are taboo.  A famous educator wrote that when you stand before a class of college students you can be sure of one thing, that they have been taught to believe that there are no absolutes, that there is no way to know for sure what is right and wrong.

        This is not merely an attack on Western culture, although that war has been going on for a long time; it is an attack against God and His Son, Jesus, Who has been given all authority.  It is a way of saying that there is no authority; no one can say this is right and that is wrong, not even the Lord Himself.

        This mindset has turned all things upside down.  When one commits a crime, it cannot be because he is evil, but because of his environment, or because he was neglected or abused, or because he lived in poverty or affluence.  Killers are not to blame for killing – guns are.  A youngster is not to be punished for shooting a member of another gang – gang violence is part of his lifestyle.  When parents fulfill their Godly duty to teach their children that these acts are evil and that those who do them are worthy of punishment, it is the parent who is condemned for being judgmental and intolerant.

        TWO PURPOSES.  Perhaps nothing marks the inequality among men more than the purposes for which they live and work.  The faithful Christian’s purpose, contrary to what some think, is not solely to be saved from the fire of destruction in the day of judgment, but in addition to this, to be transformed into God’s image, in fulfillment of God’s purpose in creation.  John writes that when Jesus comes, “We shall be like him…and everyone having this hope set on Him purifies himself even as He is pure” (I John 3:2,3).

        The perfect example of purity is given by Jesus, Who said, “I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:30).  His obedience was total, even to His death on the cross, after He had prayed, “Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42).  Jesus called people to deny self and submit to the Father’s will.

        This is the essence of repentance, that one change his purpose and bring it into harmony with God, that he might become a “new creature” in Christ (II Cor. 5:17).

        A Christian measures every value by the Father’s will, because his life’s purpose is to please Him, in keeping with Christ’s commandment: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33).  But outside the kingdom people pursue their own purposes – wealth, pleasure, fame, satisfaction of the flesh, power – and these purposes drive them in the opposite direction of the Christian way and create conflict.

        TWO DESTINIES.  Jesus said, “Enter in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby.  For narrow is the gate, and straightened the way, that leads unto life, and few are they that find it” (Matt. 6:13,14)

        The humanist sneers at the idea of such final and total discrimination.  He must advocate equality because he rejects the judgment and sentence of death for sin which Christ promised.  It is this judgment that gives meaning to the gospel.  For those who believe, Christ underwent their punishment for sin by His own death (Rom. 5:8; II Cor. 5:21).  “This is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (I John 4:10).

        The Christian’s destiny also will be realized on that great day, but instead of the sentence of death he will be given immortality and eternal life in the new creation, where all is righteousness (I Cor. 15:53; II Peter 3:13).

        We Christians do not seek equality with the world, but with Jesus, that we may be like Him.  Like David, we sing, “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness…” (Psalms 17:5).

 

 

TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS

Alda Scullin

        There is a very erroneous idea in circulation that the new birth and salvation are one and the same thing.  When one comes to the foot of the cross in true repentance, asking for forgiveness, he is forgiven and his sins are washed away in the blood of the Lamb.  He is saved from his sins.  He is translated into the Kingdom of God’s Son.  He has been born again, a wonderful experience, but being born again does not insure eternal salvation.  It is the first step in that direction.  Bear in mind that no amount of good works is able to save anyone from the wages of sin.  Only because Jesus paid the debt with His own blood is salvation available.  The new birth, eternal salvation, and immortality itself can now be appropriated by those willing to meet God’s conditions, and there are requirements, the first of which is repentance.

        Because of the crucifixion of Jesus and the presence of His Spirit in the heart of the newborn, the repentant sinner is accounted holy, but this spiritual baby is not the finished product that the Father waits for with great patience.  Salvation involves a process designed by the Father to bring His children to maturity.  The goal set before them is “The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” not only to be accounted holy, but to become holy.  God, Himself, has provided the means whereby anyone so desiring can reach that goal.  It has been called “the pursuit of holiness,” a deliberate act of the will.

        Just as certain things are required in the natural order for a newborn babe to reach maturity, so it is in the spiritual.  Proper food for growth and health is necessary as are instruction and discipline for building of character.  God has preserved His Word through the ages to nourish, encourage, and lead mankind in the way they should go.  Though the carnal mind stumbles at the Word, the Spirit of God will quicken it to the spirit of one who, in an honest heart, desires to understand and apply the knowledge to his walk with the Saviour.

        Contrary to what some suppose, the human nature, also referred to as the carnal nature or the flesh, is not automatically changed into a holy nature at the time of the new birth.  As a matter of fact, the human nature is the greatest deterrent to spiritual growth and the putting on of the divine nature.  The carnal nature must be put to death in order for the divine nature to develop.  There are many commands in the words of Jesus given for the purpose of helping earth’s pilgrims reach the goal of pure holiness, but the very word law or command is anathema to all who seek to serve God in their own way.

        The greater part of those known as Christians swing like a pendulum from one extreme to the other.  On the one hand are those who declare themselves free of all obligation because Jesus paid the price for their sins.  He said, “It is finished;” therefore, say they, all one must do is accept Christ as their Saviour.  Added to that lie is the teaching that Jesus abolished all law and commandments and consequently there is nothing we must do or even anything we can do to be saved.  Yet the Word says to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

        On the other extreme are the Pharisees who parade their outward holiness of certain kinds of dress, mandated hairdos or beards along with the banning of various foods.  None of these are found in the teachings of Jesus, but they are more palatable to the human taste than the straight and narrow way of the gospels.  When faced with the plain commands, self seeks an easier route.  Jesus called them thieves and robbers (John 10:1).

        Satan, the father of lies, has busied himself inspiring men to teach an easier way to holiness than Jesus taught.  It is a way of substitution.  Jesus said, “Except a man forsake all that he hath he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).  Jesus and His disciples taught that every man must bear a cross, an instrument of death upon which to crucify self, or the nature that so strongly opposes the spiritual development of the creature.  Instead of forsaking all, death to self, and seeking first the kingdom of God, the false shepherds teach the prosperity doctrine, positive thinking and other ear tickling falsehoods that lull the people to sleep, while the ministers themselves build their own kingdoms at the expense of the sheep.

        Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man and that He is Lord of the Sabbath.  In Isaiah 58:13, He called it “My holy day.”  God’s holy day is largely ignored and even despised as men substitute their own “holy” days borrowed from the heathen, such as Christmas and Easter.  And so it goes, on and on, but “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”

        Jesus is looking for honest and good hearts.  He knows what is in every heart.  He does not judge by outward appearance.  He Himself set the pace by example as He walked on earth doing always those things that pleased the Father.  His words set the standard by which men will be measured on the day of judgment — not the words of Moses, Paul or the traditions of men.

        “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him.  The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

        All who choose to follow the ways of man instead of the words of Jesus are completely unprepared for the time of great tribulation that is on the horizon.  Because they have not personally sought the Lord and His truth they will not be able to stand as iniquity abounds more and more and their love becomes cold even as Jesus prophesied.

        It is high time to awake out of sleep and put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

IT IS ALMOST TOO LATE!!

 

 

THE JEWISH QUESTION

Harry R. Miller

        The greater part of the professing Christian Church has taken the unscriptural view that the natural descendants of Jacob (e.g., descendants from all of the twelve tribes of Israel) are God’s people, but the Jews (specifically, only those Israelites descended from the tribes of Levi, Judah, or Benjamin) are God’s “chosen people.”

        It is doctrine such as this that brings in much of the confusion concerning the truth of the second coming of our Lord.

        The great apostle, Paul, declares, “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither because they are of the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God” (Rom. 9:6–8).  This should settle once and for all the question of “holy Jewish FLESH”!  A Jew of the flesh is no holier than a Gentile of the flesh.  As a symbol, the word “Jew” is used in a mystical sense to indicate the ELECT: “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews and are not” (Rev. 2:9), and again (Rom. 2:28,29), “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter.

        Many of the Jews claimed to have Abraham “to their father,” but Jesus said they were “children of the devil.”  Does it seem likely that our heavenly Father will exalt “children of the devil” just because they have Hebrew blood in their veins?

        There are many other words and phrases used as symbols of divine mysteries.  All of these have their temporal or natural side which is used figuratively to show forth certain things that have their counterpart in the spiritual world.  Consider the following: “The first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (I Cor. 15:45).  In verse 47, we are told that this “last Adam” is “the Lord from heaven.”  Quite a difference between the glory of the one and the glory of the other; yet both partook of all the limitations of the body of flesh.

        “Israel after the flesh” had its day of representing the people of God, but when the Lord destroyed “the sinful kingdom” that kingdom was taken from fleshly Israel “and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”  This new nation is now known as “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16).

        The “old covenant” was also an earthly affair: it required ritual and sacrifice by priests of the flesh; but like all things material, it, too, passed away to be no more.  There is now a new covenant, and new divinely ordered customs; and also a new priesthood.  Both this new covenant and this new priesthood are eternal.  The first were of an earthly nature and only prefigured in a meager way the glories of the eternal.

        There was a tabernacle, an earthly affair, which was “a figure for the time then present” (Heb. 9:9), which tabernacle prefigured a far greater and far more glorious tabernacle than that known by the Hebrews.  The heavenly tabernacle “which the Lord pitched and not man” (Heb. 8:1,2) is not a temporal affair, thank God.  It is eternal, and it is located in a place that “hath foundations.”  Its “builder and maker is God” Himself.  The first tabernacle shall never again be rebuilt.  It has served its purpose of mute testimony, and its day of witness is ended.  But the one represented, the eternal, is now open for priestly service.

        David was a man subject to “like passions” of many other earthly creatures; yet it pleased God to use David as a symbol of Christ.  David pleased the Father in that he was a defender of the true faith of God.  Jesus came, as the son of David, to abide FOREVER.  David is dead, but his Son continues to abide forever.

        The “throne of David” was an earthly affair: it was temporal.  As a temporal thing it ended over twenty–five hundred years ago, but David has a Son on the heavenly throne today, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”

        David, “being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn unto him that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ…this Jesus hath God raised up…therefore being by the right hand of God exalted…let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified both LORD (King) and Christ (Saviour)” (Acts 2:30–36).

        Let no man dare to deny that JESUS CHRIST IS NOW KING.  “Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5).  David’s sons of the flesh are dead; so also is David’s temporal, or earthly, kingdom.  But David’s Son, Jesus, is alive forevermore; and “There was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:14).  Even as He told Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world.”

        Like the earth itself, all earthly things must have an end; but the things of that other world of the spirit shall abide forever.  Paul stated as much – “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:18).

        Another parallel, also much misunderstood, is that of the two Jerusalems: there is a “Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.  But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:25,26).

        This earthly city is the “bondwoman” that has been “cast out.”  She is not the “Holy City” mentioned in all the promises of the future.  In the book of Revelation she has an extremely bad name: “The great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8).  Notice that this city is not even named: it is only designated, so great has been the magnitude of her sins.

        The real Zion, the Holy City, is in heaven: “The Heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22), the city for which Abraham looked (Heb. 11:10), the location being in “a better country, that is an heavenly” (Heb. 11:16).  This is also the city which John saw “coming down from God out of heaven” (Rev. 21:2).

        The Scriptures set forth many other earthly types of heavenly places, things, and people.  To look for their fulfillment in this material world is but to make confusion of the Word of God.  Man has been given an earthly body, but it will soon be dissolved, and in its place (for the saints) will be “an house not made with hands,” but a glorious “celestial body” (I Cor. 15:40–49), which will abide forever in the place He has gone to prepare for us.

        What then is the hope of the Jew – the natural seed of Israel?  Is his return to Palestine according to the plan of God?  Is something very special about to happen to these natural sons of Abraham?  The answer is YES, and a most emphatic YES: but absolutely not what the so–called Christian world has predicted.

        The Lord “cut off” these natural branches, and the curse of His blood has rested upon them for many centuries; but when “the times of the Gentiles” will come to an end, the curse shall be lifted, and then suddenly Judah shall see the light.  Unlike the apostate Christians who claim to serve God, these new converts will serve Him according to His every command.  It is then that the Spirit shall be poured out upon these new converts to Christianity.  They will set the perfect example and shake the whole world by their awakening.  But their restoration of the apostolic faith and practices will not be accepted by most of the professing Christian world, and in great wrath shall these impostors from all nations come forth to destroy these true people.  And “At that time Michael shall stand up…and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that is found written in the book” (Dan. 12:1).

 

 

CHARISMANIA

Randall Walton

        Several decades ago a totally new religious movement evolved out of the midst of several of the fundamentalist main line denominations along with a large number of Catholics.  Bunched together, they became known as the Charismatic Movement, an agglomeration of people who began experiencing spiritual phenomena which most of them had never heard of before.  Classic Pentecostalism contributed a portion of its expertise in the field of manifestations of charisma, or “gifts of the Spirit,” and it seemed for a while that much of the Movement would be swallowed up by several of the major Pentecostal denominations.

        But this did not happen.  Instead, there seemed to develop a sense of competition among and between the various groups.  Healing campaigns vied with healing campaigns; healers and miracle workers appeared everywhere, and with the advent of the satellite systems, the supernatural and paranormal became standard fare for religious broadcasting.

        It would be great if we could report that all of the glossalalia, the purported healings and miracles, had given birth to a more highly spiritual citizenry, an enlightened people whose zeal for God, for His word and His truth had burst forth upon the earth.  But such is not the case, for right out of the very core of the Pentecostal/charismatic combine has come a sinister outgrowth which poses a threat to the true cause of Jesus Christ and His church.

        While claiming to be the genuine representatives of the kingdom of God, this inglorious movement has denounced the kingship and authority of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and has embraced much of the occult and some of the dogma of Eastern religions.

        Hank Hanegraaff, in his revealing book Christianity in Crisis, plainly spells out the dangers, deceptions, and delusions of this demagogic union which is better known as the “Faith Movement,” and sometimes referred to as “Name It, Claim It.”

        He methodically documents the goings on of this last–day move and boldly names the names of the main characters who are promoting the unscriptural tenets of the faithless Faith movement.  Some of the statements which are made by the leaders of the cultic movement are brazenly anti–Christ and are nearly defiant of God and the Bible.

        Paul, in speaking of the second coming of Jesus, stated that “that day shall not come except there come a falling away first” (II Thess. 2:1–3).  This Faith movement has all the marks of a “falling away,” or an apostasy, but on a huge scale, for the message being declared by the apostate movement is heralded forth worldwide through the TBN Network and its affiliates.  And there are apparently multitudes of people who have fallen for the “other gospel” of the Faith ministers.

        One thing these men (and women) have in common is their claim that they are God(s), or just like God, or soon will be God(s).  Their message belittles Jesus and pictures Him as somewhat of a failure and a wimp.  It is nearly unbelievable that such people who claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to possess the nine gifts of the Spirit would make such blasphemous declarations against our blessed Redeemer.

        Since it is impossible to fall from a position one does not have, we conclude that these people did have a positive experience with God at one time, but they have fallen into deep error and darkness from which it may be impossible to reclaim them.  “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core” (Jude 11).

        They have perfected the nefarious schemes of wresting money from their audiences, making people feel that they won’t be blessed of God if they don’t shell out, and promising them a hundredfold increase for their gifts.  It has become a highly polished racket done in the name of the Lord.

        We are living in the time which Jesus spoke of when “there shall arise false Christ, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:24).  Television and radio are loaded with these great deceivers, false prophets who “come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening (extortioning) wolves” (Matt. 7:15).  “Beware of them,” He said.

        We admonish God’s people to become aware of what is taking place in the realm of Christian profession.  The false is presently outweighing the true, and thousands of gullible people are being taken in by deceivers who are skillfully ripping them off.  Measure everything you see and hear by the Word of God.  “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).

        No one needs to be deceived in these dark and evil days.  The saints’ refuge is in Jesus Christ and His word.  Those who refuse to walk in obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ are good candidates for deception!  Read and study the words of the Master, then apply His words to your daily life, and you will find that place in God which is far above the world of entertainment, whether it is religious or secular.

        We strongly advise the purchasing of the book Christianity In Crisis, by Hank Hanegraaff, published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402.  We bought ours from Christian Book Distributors, P.O. Box 7000, Peabody, Maine 01961–7000, for $4.95 plus $2.50 for shipping and handling.  Telephone: 1–508/977–5050.

        Do not think from our foregoing statements that we do not believe in the power of God and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We do!  However, we are diametrically opposed to the abuse of the spiritual gifts to which we referred earlier.  We are definitely against the blasphemy which is being carried on in the name of God, as well as the rejection of the words and commands of our King and Lord.

        When Jesus promised that the Father would send the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, He declared that “He shall glorify me” (John 16:13,14).  Any ministry anywhere which does not glorify Jesus Christ can be classified as false, spurious, counterfeit, apostate, and dangerous.  Have nothing to do with such; God is not in them!  Multitudes are being swept along with this gigantic blast of evil wind which gets its inspiration from beneath, not from above.

        Beware of these false shepherds, false prophets, and false apostles, “deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (II Cor. 11:13–15).

 

 

JESUS

Randall Walton

        It is reasonable to state that Jesus of Nazareth was/is the most controversial and misunderstood personality to have walked the dusty roads of planet earth.  He has been both honored and castigated, hallowed and defamed.  His name has been revered and reviled.  He has been considered as both a savior and a scoundrel.  Possibly more books, articles and epistles have been written about Him than any other person, dead or alive.

        Yet, He is not well–known even among those who claim to be His followers.  He is the central figure in all Scripture from Genesis through Revelation, a fact which becomes more evident with the passing of time and the scrutiny of the Scriptures, yet He remains a stranger to millions of earth’s inhabitants.

Who Was He?

        Too many Christians believe that Jesus came into existence only at the time of His ignoble birth in Bethlehem of Judea via the virgin, Mary.  But this is an erroneous idea without support from the holy Book.  The fact that He existed before His short lifespan on earth is readily seen in numerous references.  Consider the following:

        “O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5).

        “for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24b).

        “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (I Peter 1:20).

        “book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

        “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

        “for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:4).

        These verses have the same theme: Jesus lived long before He appeared as the man from Galilee.  He accompanied Israel on their flight from Egypt; He was before Abraham; He was with the Heavenly Father before the world existed!  So, how are we to assess Him in the face of this evidence?

Was He, Is He, God?

        Jesus did not claim to be God, even though He was accused of this claim by His enemies.  However, the Scriptures testify that He was indeed DEITY, worthy of worship and adoration.  Yes, He is/was God, howbeit, not the heavenly Father.  The two, the Father and the Son, are separate but inseparable.

        “My Father is greater than I;” “I and my Father are one” (John 14:28; John 10:30).  These are not contradictory statements.  They are demonstrative of the perfect flawless relationship which exists between the Father and His blessed Son.  They are not one solitary Being, but are so mutually bonded in divine love and purpose, as to warrant the term, ONE!

        This plurality of persons is seen in the creation where “God said, Let US (not me) make man in our (not my) image after our (not my) likeness” (Gen. 1:26).  These pronouns are plural, not singular.  This was a case of God consulting with God, or stated more clearly, God the Father and God the Son formulating a divine plan for the creation of a new species of being in which their image and likeness would be present.

        This plan was drawn up on the basis of God’s foreknowledge of all circumstances, and included every eventuality from its beginning to the very end.  There was perfect agreement about the methods and procedures of this mammoth project.  In their perspective of the future, they foresaw the rebellion of man and the need for reclamation in order to salvage their creation from total destruction and annihilation.  It was determined “before the foundation of the world,” that the Son would Himself be subjected to the inferior state of human existence and offer Himself as a sacrifice/atonement in order to guarantee the successful completion of their mighty PLAN.

        An integral part of their plan was that the Son would be the Creator!

        “For by him (his dear Son, v. 13) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by him, and for him” (Col. 1:16).

        “God, who created all things by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9b).

        “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  (God was with God!)  All things were made by him (the Word); and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1–3).  “And the Word (God) was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

        John makes it very plain that Jesus was the Word, who was also God and was with God, and was the Creator.  The word incarnate does not appear in the Bible; however, the term “was made flesh” has no better equivalent in the English language than incarnate.  The Latin carnis means flesh, or meat, or a human body.  So, God, the Word, according to prehistoric plan subjected Himself to the form of humanity, not to appear as God, but as a man, in order to fulfill their predetermined purpose.  He came to rescue both fallen man and the Plan.

        Let us make clear that while He “was made flesh,” He was not subject to a carnal nature.  The word carnal signifies sensual, controlled by animal appetites, governed by human nature, having its seat in the animal nature, with the added idea of weakness (Vine’s).  None of this can be applied to Jesus.  A carnal nature is a sinful nature, one which leans toward and is attracted by sinful practices.  Of Jesus, it is written, “who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Heb. 7:26).

        As the Lamb of God, He was the antitype of the sacrificial lambs who were offered to the Lord under the Old Covenant.  They were required to be “without blemish,” i.e., perfect, faultless (Ex. 12:5; Lev. 22:19–21).  Any other than a perfect lamb was inconsistent with the Lamb who came to take away the sin of the world.

        Hebrews 6:18 tells us that it is impossible for God to lie.  Paul repeats this thought in Titus 1:2 where he says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”  Remember, Jesus is proclaimed to be God.  He could not/cannot lie.  His very nature prevents Him from indulging in sin and wickedness.  “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God” (Heb. 9:14).

        “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust” (I Peter 3:18).

        “who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not” (I Peter 2:22,23).

        “If God were your Father, ye would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (John 8:42).

        “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29).

        “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” (John 5:19).

        “no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13).

        “for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29).

        “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,” etc. (Phil. 2:6–8).

        “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just” (Acts 3:14).

        “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).  Need we say more?

        It was necessary for Him, as the perfect Lamb of God, to be tested in order that His perfection would be manifest.  To His own glory, He passed every test which came His way.  Just as He could not lie, neither could He be tempted to lie.  Temptation to do evil was not a part of His testing.  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13).

        Paul tells us that He, Jesus, is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15); a fact repeated and amplified in Hebrews 1:3: “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.”  Jesus was an exact copy of the Father’s character, which is why he could say, “He that hath seen me, hath seen my Father” (John 14:9).

Who Is “The Invisible God”?

        It is clear from the many Scriptures we have quoted that Jesus is truly God.  But He is visible; multitudes of people have seen Him, from antiquity up to the present time.

        In the first chapter of John we are instructed that Jesus is God, and in the beginning was with God.  Then in verse 18, John informs us that “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

        Here, John identifies “the invisible God” as the Father, of whom the Son is the exact copy, or “express image.”  Paul adds to this by telling us that Jesus will show who is the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach to; whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (I John 6:14–16).  He, the Father, is “the invisible God.”

        There are many instances in the Scriptures where people have both seen and talked with God.  Is there a contradiction here?  No, not at all.  Since no man has seen the Father, nor can see Him, we conclude that His Son, whom we know as Jesus Christ, was the divine Being who appeared and talked with many people.

        “And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said” (Gen. 12:7).

        “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God” (Gen. 17:1).

        “And the Lord appeared unto him, and said”(Gen. 26:2)

        “because there God appeared unto him” (Gen. 35:7,9).

        “The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying” (Ex. 3:16).

        “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.  And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also, they saw God, and did eat and drink” (Ex. 24:10,11).

        “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deut. 34:10).

        “In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him” (II Chron. 1:7).

        These are by no means the only references to God being seen by men.  But in every case it was He that we know as Jesus, the Christ, the Lamb of God, the blessed Son, the One of whom Isaiah declared, “I saw also the Lord, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” (Isa. 6:1).

        In order to more fully understand the divinity of Jesus, we must remember that He had no earthly, physical father.  “the angel of the Lord appeared unto him (Joseph) in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:20).

        “the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee; and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

        “they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matt. 1:23).

        “And the Word (God) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

        Jesus has many names and titles, all of them descriptive of His character and ability (power): He is known as Jehovah, the self–Existment or Eternal One, the I AM, almighty God, the Alpha and Omega, the morning star, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Lamb of God, the Faithful and True Witness, The Word of God, The Son of God, the Creator, Author and Finisher of faith, the Bread of Life, the Cornerstone, Governor, the Head, High Priest, Light of the world, the Christ, Messiah, Shepherd, Shiloh, the Horn of Salvation, etc.

        “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding” (Isa. 40:28).  Who is the Creator of the ends of the earth?

His Authority

It is imperative that we understand that Jesus IS God.  Were He a mere man, we could possibly find fault with Him and His teachings.  But He made it most plain concerning His office and power: “All power (literally, authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18).  The implication is evident: He has the right and the power to rule!  NOW!! TODAY!!  His words have the mark of finality.  (This does not mean that we pay no attention to the epistles)  He is the way, the truth, the life.  No one can reach the Father except by and through Him.  His words were meant to be obeyed: they are the words of the King.

        It is high time that those who claim to be Christian recognize the Lordship of the One who is our Savior, Master and Lord.  We do not obey Him to be saved, but we obey Him because we are saved.  His love for us impels us to honor Him by striving to please Him through adherence to His words.

Other Titles Of Jesus

Advocate (I John 2:1); Bread (John 6:33,35); Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20); David’s Son (Matt. 9:27); First & Last (Rev. 1:17); Mediator (1:Tim. 2:5); Savior (Luke 2:11); Truth (June 14:6); Vine (John 15:1,5).

 

 

WHAT TO DO ABOUT TEEN SEX EPIDEMIC

Haven Bradford Gow

        The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a report documenting that America is experiencing an epidemic of teen sex, pregnancies, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases and illegitimate babies.  Family Counselor Sharon Hersh, in her book Mom, Sex is No Big Deal (WaterBrook), furnishes immensely disturbing statistics that support the conclusion of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; she points out that “of girls and boys between the ages of 15 and 17, 39 percent of girls and 36 percent of boys engaged in sexual intercourse.  That percentage increased to 45 percent for both boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 19.”  Moreover, “In 2002, 58 percent of teenage girls reported having sex by age 18, and 70 percent reported having sex by age 19.”

        Mrs. Hersh says the pressures on teenagers to engage in sex before marriage emanate from peers and popular culture: “A 2005 Kaiser Family Foundation report notes that 70 percent of the top 20 TV programs that teens watch contain at least some sexual content, with 45 percent showing sexual behavior of some kind…(A study showed) 42 percent of songs on the top 10 CDs…contained sexual content; 19 percent included direct descriptions of sexual intercourse…(Another study said) each year American teens view approximately 14,000 sexual references in the media.”

        Joseph W. Gow and Lena Wong Yee, dedicated and loving family persons, insist the solution to the teen sex epidemic is for families, churches, schools, social organizations and the business community to re–emphasize character–building and the teaching, learning and practice of such moral values as courtesy, kindness, honesty, decency, moral courage, justice, self–respect, respect for others and the Golden Rule for treating others the way we want to be treated.  When young people learn and practice such values, they will know how to conduct themselves, not only sexually, but in all important areas of life as well.

        An article in the January 2009 Living With Teenagers pointed out: “In the mid–1990s, about 54 percent of teenagers admitted to having premarital sex.  Independent studies being conducted a decade later indicate that churches addressing the issue are making an impact.  The popularity of abstinence programs such as True Love Waits has helped lead to a reduction in the sexual activity of teens – down to 47 percent.”

        In his book on Sexual Purity (Moody Press), Protestant scholar/clergyman Rev. Tony Evans says this is what our churches should be telling young people: “To say that God puts a very high value on sexual purity is to understate the case.  The reason people give sex away so easily is that they don’t know how valuable sexual purity is in God’s eyes.”  Rev. Evans adds that in the eyes of God, “a commitment of chastity before marriage is another form of consecration.  Then the act of marriage is another form of consecration.”

        An abstinence teacher, Lakita Garth, author of The Naked Truth About Sex, Teens & STDS (Regal), says that the figures regarding the supposed decline of sexual activity by teenagers does not paint a true picture of the devastating personal and social consequences of premature and irresponsible sexual activity; she points out that in 2005, 47 percent of all high school students already had lost their virginity, and that 14 percent already had had four or more sexual partners in their life; each year in this nation 2.5 million teens contract a sexually transmitted disease; every year we spend $13 billion on medical costs related to STDS; more than 50 percent of all sexually active single adults have or will have a STD; each year in this nation 800,000 teen girls become pregnant; in 2002, 55 percent of males and 54 percent of females aged 15 to 19 had experienced oral sex.

        It has become increasingly clear that the only kind of safe sex is sexual purity before marriage and fidelity within it.

 

 

 

THE KINGDOM OF GOD BRINGS PEACE

Wilfred H. Olson

        The beating of swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks, a time when they shall “learn war no more,” is a clear prophecy of the glorious unity, peace and love which exists in the hearts of the members of the Church.  Since the day the angel made the announcement to the shepherds of old that a Savior was born into the world who would bring “peace on earth and good will toward men,” this has resulted in all who have opened their hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit.  By His grace we are brought into “one fold” (John 10:16); belong to “one” organized “body” or church, the “Church of God” (Rom. 12:4, 5; Eph. 4:4; Acts 20:28; etc.)  This body of believers is “of one heart and one soul” (Acts 4:31-33), “one mind” (2 Cor. 13:11), “all speak the same thing,” and “are perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10); all have “one faith” (Eph. 4:5); “one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17); “one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27); “rejoice together” (1 Cor. 12:26); “assemble together” (Heb. 10:25); and “see eye to eye” (Isa. 52:8).  And. lastly, we may add that the redeemed in this present age have, “One God…who is above all, and through all, and in you all…being knit together in love” (Eph. 4:6, Col. 2:2).

        These blessings are now present in the Church, that is, among those who are members of the Church whose names are written in the book of Life penned there, and watched over with tender care by Jesus Christ.  If you have been “translated into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13) you can “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).  If our salvation does not bring us “joy” and “happiness” even beyond words to express it, then I ask, why pass it on to another?  Micah wrote, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting…and he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth” (Micah 5:2,4).  Here the birth of Christ, and the glory of His kingdom are foretold in one prophesy, and meets its fulfillment in this Gospel age.  Matt. 2:4-6 and John 7:42