People of The Living God

I Corinthians 13

 

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December 2011



 

THE BIRTH OF JESUS

Randall Walton

        We are amazed every year at all the gaudy lights and displays of celebration in honor of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  The truly amazing thing about all the muss and fuss of this “reason for the season” is that few people question the legitimacy of December as the time of Jesus’ birth.  It matters not to them that the supposed birth date of Jesus has been concocted by the Roman Catholic church after they “Christianized” a purely heathen holiday formerly known as the Saturnalia and termed it the birth date of Jesus.

        The Bible does not tell us exactly when Jesus was born, but there is enough in the Scriptures to show that He was not born in December!  Furthermore, there is no command in the words of Jesus or any of the other writers of the New Testament that we are to celebrate His birth, nor is there any record anywhere that the saints in the early church celebrated or acknowledged His birth date.

        Luke, the author of the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, gives us somewhat of a clue of the time of His birth, but it is not absolute.  However, there is enough in his writings to show that December was out of the realm of possibility for His birth.

        In Luke the first chapter, verse 5, he mentions the father of John the Baptist, Zacharias, who was a priest who served in the course of Abia (Abijah).  In I Chronicles 24:7-19 there is a list of the 24 annual courses for the ministry of the priests.  Each of the priests served for a two week period which explains the 24 courses for the year.  Verse 10 says that Abijah was the eighth course.

        The priests began their service at the beginning of the year which began at the first new moon after the vernal equinox.  This date, of course, fluctuates from year to year, but is close to the first of April.  For convenience sake we will assume the first of April as the beginning of the year.  The eighth course then would be 4 months later, or between the 15th and 31st of July.  This was the time when the angel Gabriel announced to Zacharias that his wife, Elizabeth, was to have a son.

        Luke 1:23,24 says that as soon as his temple ministry was finished he went home, and “after these days” Elizabeth conceived, possibly in early August.  Counting 9 months from early August brings us to early April which is usually the time of the celebration of Passover.  Is it possible that John the Baptist was born on Passover day?

        In the 26th verse of Luke 1, it is stated that “in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth.”  There he told Mary that she was to have a son and He was to be named Jesus.  This was in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (verse 36).

        In verses 39-49 we read of Mary’s visit with Elizabeth: “Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah.”  And in the conversation that followed, Mary told Elizabeth “that he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.”  She was evidently already pregnant, carrying her son, Jesus!

        Mary stayed there with Elizabeth about three months, almost to the time of John’s birth, verse 56.  This means then that at the time of John’s birth Mary was three months pregnant, and her son would be born six months later.

        It so happens that Passover and the feast of Tabernacles are exactly six months apart.  This means that if John the Baptist was born on the Passover, Jesus was born six months later, or on the feast of Tabernacles.  (Passover occurs on the 15th day of the first month.  Tabernacles is on the 15th day of the seventh month.)

        The time of the feast of Tabernacles is governed by the time of the Passover.  Assuming that that year Passover occurred on the 15th of April, the feast of Tabernacles would have been on the 15th of October, over two months before December 25!

        Please notice that we used the word “assuming” because we do not know the exact date for Passover the year John was born, nor do we know the exact date for Tabernacles.  But this we do know: Jesus was not born in December!  It is therefore gross error to celebrate the Master’s birthday on a heathen, pagan, orgiastic holiday.  We do not do it, and we will not do it.

        We are not saying that John the Baptist was born on Passover day and that Jesus was born on the first day of the feast of Tabernacles, but we are saying that it was totally possible because of the record of their births in Luke, and because Passover and Tabernacles are exactly six months apart.

        It is also of importance that a Dr. J.O. Kinnaman, late editor of The Bible Archaeological Digest, stated that Sir William Flinders Petrie discovered a diary of the Rabbi of the Synagogue in Bethlehem, which recorded that Jesus was born October 4, 4 B.C.

        If that were the date of the feast of Tabernacles, then Passover would have occurred on April 4 that year, a date which was entirely possible.

An Xmas Tree?

        Hundreds of years before there were Christians on the earth, heathen people were cutting down trees and decorating them with special ornaments as a part of their customary practices.  God warned Israel that they were not to do as the heathen did, either in decorating trees or following the signs of the Zodiac (Jeremiah 10:2-5).

        Yet, professing Christians spend millions of dollars every year doing what God said not to do.  Is it any wonder that the sword of judgment hangs heavily over this once God-fearing nation?  It seems that in the light of God’s precious word, people would be afraid to blatantly disobey His counsel and commands.

        Let us encourage you to take a stand against the ways of the heathen.  Not only will you conserve on your finances, you will have the added joy of knowing that you are pleasing the living God, and that is worth a lot.

 

 

THE GOOD NEWS

Randall Walton

        The word gospel, which is used extensively throughout the New Testament, is properly understood as GOOD NEWS, or GLAD TIDINGS, the implication being that the message contained is extraordinary, outstanding, remarkable.  It is not only worth listening to, it has a most special connotation for the hearer.

        While the word gospel appears only in the New Testament, reference is made to the preaching of the gospel in the Old: “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham” (Gal. 3:8); “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them (Israel), but the word preached did not profit them” (Heb. 4:2).

        The Scriptures bear out the truth that there is but one true gospel.  It may be referred to by several different terms, but in actuality they all speak of the same thing: the gospel of God, of grace, of Christ, of peace, of salvation, of the kingdom, My gospel.  The gospel then, the true and only genuine gospel, is the good news of the Kingdom of God, the gospel which was preached by John the Baptist, by Jesus the Christ, by all the apostles including Paul!

        “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1,2).

        “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).

        “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel OF THE KINGDOM, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matt. 4:23).

        “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14,15).

        Talk about good news!  This was an exceptionally good message.  The Kingdom of God, Jesus declared, was an immediate reality.  He demonstrated the power and glory of the kingdom before their very eyes.  All of the sick and afflicted and those possessed with demons were healed; the dumb were made to speak, the blind received sight, lepers were cleansed, the dead were raised.  Even the elements responded to His command.

The Gospel Misunderstood

        Remarkably few who heard Jesus’ message and beheld His mighty works understood the significance of His ministry.  The theologians had blinded the eyes of the people regarding the kingdom and the Messiah.  With one accord, they longed for the glory days of Solomon when the heraldry of the kingdom of Israel was known throughout the world; its riches, pomp, and beauty were visible proofs that this was truly God’s kingdom, they thought.  But was it?

        Of course not!  They had traded God’s kingdom for a man-made, earthly, visible, political affair which was a poor substitute for the real thing.  God Himself had been their king, but they rejected Him and His kingdom by demanding an inferior kingdom like unto the heathen nations!  How horrendous! (I Sam. 8:4-22)  But God gave them a king in His anger.

        But He also took the king away in His wrath (Hosea 13:11).  The kingdom of Israel was a total failure almost from day one.  The history of that adulterated kingdom is very ugly, so bad, in fact, that God was obliged to wipe it from the face of the earth.  It was not His will in the first place, and since carnal men had so abominably corrupted every aspect of it, there was nothing left to do but destroy it.

        “And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes (carefully and continually), and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till THERE WAS NO REMEDY” (II Chron. 36:15,16)!  NO REMEDY !!?!!

The Promise

        Fortunately, God had made a promise to His faithful servant Abraham that “in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (Acts 3:25).  Please note that the promise was not for one family alone (Israel) but for all the families, or kindreds of the earth.

Paul affirmed that the seed spoken of to Abraham was none other than Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16).  It was in HIM, Jesus, that all the families of the earth would be blessed.  Paul further stated that “they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Ga. 3:7).

        Jesus came from the heavenly Father on a mission which was two-fold: as the Messiah or Saviour, whose death was on behalf of the entire human race (Heb. 2:9, I John 2:2, John 1:29, II Chron. 5:15); as the King of Zion in fulfillment of the prophecies through Zechariah (9:9) and Isaiah.  “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation, lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”  Compare this with Matt. 21:1-9, Mark 11:1-11, and Luke 19:29-40.

        “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given;…Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.”

        Did Jesus come and occupy the material throne of David?  No, there was no Davidic throne when He came.  However, He ascended to the throne spiritually.  The throne spoken about in Isaiah was NOT that seat which David sat upon when he reigned as king over Israel.

        In Revelation 3:21 Jesus stated this: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”  It should be obvious to anyone that the throne Jesus referred to was not that little one-passenger affair David occupied.  There will undoubtedly be millions of overcomers who will be eligible to sit with Jesus in His throne.  If this were to be taken literally, how humongous would that throne have to be?!  It should be plain that Jesus is speaking of a spiritual reality, not a physical or material condition.

        In fact, Paul asserts that we are already seated “together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).  The Scriptures make it very plain that believers are now, in this life, “kings and priests,” a “royal priesthood,” “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:5; Rev. 5:9,10; I Pet. 2:9-10; Rom. 8:16,17).  Few people seem to realize their position in Jesus when they have been converted, or born again.  They inherit a certain degree of authority.

        Read carefully these terrific words from the pen of the apostle Paul: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear son” (Col. 1:13).  It would be well to read these powerful words over and over, again and again.  If they mean what they say (and we firmly believe they do), then all of the theories of a futuristic material, physical, visible, earthly kingdom evaporate into thin air.

        Paul seems to agree with Jesus that the kingdom of God is a spiritual entity which is “at hand,” i.e., available, within reach, and is entered into through the new birth!  Those who have “redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14) are citizens of that heavenly kingdom NOW, and as kingdom citizens are subject to the laws, the rights, and the privileges available in the kingdom of God.

        Is this good news?  There is no greater!

Thine Is The Kingdom

        All through His ministry of three and one half years, Jesus taught and preached about the kingdom.  This was the very heart of His message, this was THE gospel.  It was the message He commissioned the twelve apostles to preach.  And it was the message He commanded his seventy disciples to teach.

        “And as ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:1,7-8).

        “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face…And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” (Luke 10:1,9-11).

        The kingdom of God, then, is a kingdom of power – power over sickness, disease, death, and demons.  “For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power,” Paul said (I Cor. 4:20).

        The New Testament writers left us their own documented testimony of the kingship of Jesus and the actuality of the kingdom of God as a spiritual entity which is accessible to all who believe in Jesus Christ.

        “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink (lit., eating and drinking); but RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE AND JOY IN THE HOLY GHOST” (Rom. 14:17).

        “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (I Cor. 15:25).

        “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his MAJESTY” (II Peter 1:16-18).

        “from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince (ruler) of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5).

        Yes, here in the kingdom of the Living God is peace – peace which passes all understanding, peace universal, available to all people everywhere who will call upon the name of the Lord.  It matters not where they live, nor what may be the color of their skin.  Peace, overwhelming peace, can be had for the asking.  In the midst of trial, persecution and trouble, a kingdom citizen is assured of peace.

        There is joy, “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Pet. 1:7,8).  This is joy which the world cannot give.  It is not based upon possessions, wealth, health, nor any other physical or material condition.  It is the blessed joy which is only known by the person who has experienced translation into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.  It is a contentment which comes by living in the presence of the Living God.  The closer one walks with God, the keener, the sweeter, the deeper is the joy.  It is a state of happiness and satisfaction that only comes to a person whose life is surrendered to the King and Master of his soul.  And it’s one of the manifold blessings of the Kingdom of God.

        Righteousness belongs to kingdom citizens also.  “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Cor. 5:21).  Righteousness, purity, holiness are divine attributes which are current possibilities.  God intends for the citizens of His Kingdom to measure up to His standards.  He has commissioned the Holy Spirit and the angels (ministering spirits) to aid us in our pilgrimage here, to enjoy the blessings and benefits of clean, pure lives, to be totally devoted to Jesus Christ our King.

        The words and commands of Jesus are the Constitution of the Kingdom of God.  In them are found the standards to which every kingdom citizen is to conform.

We Are Kingdom Ambassadors

        “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (II Cor. 5:20).  This is kingdom work.  Ambassador is one who is an official representative with authority to speak on behalf of the One who sent him on a special mission.  We are here as official representatives of the King of glory and His holy kingdom.

        Paul certainly recognized that this message was the gospel of Jesus Christ the King.  Throughout his ministry, even up to the point of his death, he was engaged in teaching the truth of the kingdom of God:

        “And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8).

        “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God shall see my face no more” (Acts 20:25).

        “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus” (Acts 28:23).

        “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him” (Acts 28:30,31).

        Paul stated in his letter to the Galatians that “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).  Paul preached the gospel of the kingdom of God.  What gospel are you or your preacher preaching?

        The only true gospel is the good news of the Kingdom of God, which must be “preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Matt. 24:14).

 

 

A WORD TO THE WISE

Bro. Thomas Kidd

        “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will get wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning” (Proverbs 9:9).

        Jesus says to us in His Gospels, Mathew 6:19-21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

        Great numbers of professing Christians trust wholly in a bank account and their 401K.  The Words of Christ are to them as a tinkling cymbal and a sounding brass.  In their meeting houses, their hired preacher spends his time telling funny tales, never daring to warn the wayward to turn from their sins and be drawn to God.  It’s like a bunch of spoiled children; as long as there are funds, they continue to play the games of the 21st century.  No wonder Jesus said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God.”  People, let’s be honest with ourselves; that bank account is all the faith most people have.  Many, when that treasure is suddenly taken away, will throw up their hands and quit!  But thanks be to God, some, when all their treasures and their stuff in their houses are wiped out and they begin to walk through the dry places, will begin to mightily call upon their God.  Nothing will bring one to truth like the destruction of their false hopes.  That’s when the children of the Lord will shine forth as the sun in His Kingdom.

        When the judgment of the Lord begins to fall upon this wicked and sinful generation, those at the well and in the field will turn and go back to get their stuff.  No doubt many will rush to their banks and try to get their money out.  At that last day there will be many at the ATM’s, pushing and shoving one another, because they are in great fear of losing their treasures.  Then will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth.  Then will be the day of great horror and fear as they realize it is hopeless, that there is no more time to play and lust after the pleasures of this old world!  Not even time to repent.  The Day of Salvation is soon coming to an abrupt halt.  At this time a few are beginning to learn to trust God and begin to live by faith.

        Friends, “now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation.”  Now is the time of preparation; when trouble begins to be poured out on this sinful nation and world it will be too late.  The only way for many to get their eyes opened to the awful truth of how far they are from God will be the destruction of all their material, worldly play things.  As things get worse and worse, some will begin to loose themselves from this sinful and terminal earth.  Read Isaiah 24:19,20.  We are quickly coming to that time of trouble of which our Lord Jesus spoke of, when asked of these days by His disciples.  In His words of warning are comfort and peace.

        Not many will be shaken by these words of warning.  Not many will forsake all for the Kingdom of God.  Few will hearken, but the few that do will become more precious than gold tried in the fire.  “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near” (Isa. 48:10).

        “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” (Isa. 53:1)  Who will hearken to the words of the Lord of the things to come?  God bless those who hearken until He says unto Zion, Thou art my people.  Amen.

 

 

THE UNPLEASANT TRUTH

Kenneth Fountain

        Truth is not based upon one’s beliefs!  Sadly, one’s beliefs are often not based upon the truth either.  Truth IS based upon the sovereign will and purpose of an omniscient, omnipotent God.  Beliefs should be based upon God’s divine authority (righteousness), not upon the viewpoint, understanding, or teaching the individual chooses to believe because he is comfortable with it.  God did not and does not consider the counsel of any other beings – neither men, angels, nor Satan and his imps.  God is GOD: Supreme, Inerrant.  God is only interested in a person’s belief insomuch as that belief is faith and obedience to His Word and Will.  Man’s opinion, viewpoint, or preference is totally irrelevant to God’s truth.  Woe be to the individual, family, or assembly who “believes” a particular teaching, or attends/initiates a certain church simply because they want to.  (The same applies to every aspect of one’s life, including his pursuit of certain goals, or choice of career.)  The servant of God is to follow God’s leading, His Word, and His truths (Matt. 7:21).  These are contrary to man’s choice or comfort.  Many, it seems, perform their service to God in a church setting of their own choice based upon their rating of the pastor’s credentials and personality, the activities and programs available to members, the musical preference and missions/ministries.  What has become of “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47; 5:14)!  Is a church to be merely a social gathering of like-minded individuals, or disciples seeking Godly fellowship, Scriptural truth, spiritual growth and development of Christ-like character?

        The people Christ describes in Matthew 7:22,23 are not out-and-out sinners rebelling against God: these are self-proclaimed followers of Christ, evidently doing their own thing.  They are deceived into thinking they honor God!  After all, they prophesy, cast out devils, and do many wonderful (outstanding, even supernatural?) works in Christ’s name.  His response will be, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.”  No doubt, they will be shocked and disconcerted, but He speaks the TRUTH.

        Since Jesus is The Truth, our love for Him would also equate to love for truth.  Anyone who truly loves God unreservedly, as He requires, would naturally (due to the divine influence of the Holy Spirit within the life) love truth.  Anyone who loves makes sacrifices for the object of his love, and having a love for truth – God’s Truth – includes personal sacrifice to conform to those truths regardless of the cost.  This is part of what Paul was referring to when he said, “I die daily” (I Cor. 15:31).  He, like Christ whom he followed, did not choose his paths: the Father did.  Those paths are determined by God’s innate righteousness and truth.  Jesus’ every word was truth and came to Him directly from the Father (Jn. 14:10), yet His teachings were completely revolutionary to His listeners, people who were primarily Jews taught weekly from the Old Testament Scriptures.  (The Israelites were repeatedly responsible for killing God’s prophets because the truths they delivered were displeasing to the hearers.)  Obviously, truth is upsetting because it demands change – compliance to information undesirable to the natural man.  The religious leaders of Christ’s day were stirred by indignation against Him; His followers cried out, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” (Jn. 6:60), and His closest disciples were thrown into a quandary and said, Lord, to whom shall we go?  Thou hast the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68).  Yet modern man has resolved these difficulties with a wide (and sometimes wild) variety of options so one may attend the “church of his choice” where he is pampered (reminds one of babies), things are done to his own liking and his wishes are catered to.  This is often supported by the church fathers to the point that if a message is deemed abrasive to the congregation, it is prohibited, and substituted with something more acceptable.  (After all, the members of this social gathering referred to as a church are paying to attend, and must be kept contented and happy.)

        Paul wrote these words to Timothy (II Tim. 2:3,4): “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4) and they shall turn away their ears from THE TRUTH, and shall be turned unto fables.”  There are some who are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7).  There are also others who wrest scriptures unto their own destruction(II Pet. 3:16).

        Too many times, the student of the Holy Bible approaches study with his own preconceived ideas, or an ingrained thought from another’s teaching (seminary, sermon or relatives and friends) instead of with an open mind, and surrendered heart so the Holy Spirit, who is the teacher of truth, can direct his learning in the word (Jn. 15:26; 16:13).  This is not to say that we should not listen to what others have learned, but that we do as the Bereans, who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:11).  We are each responsible before the Lord to examine in the light of Scripture what we are taught, not simply accept something because someone important to us said it.  It is foolhardy to not examine our beliefs honestly and openly before the light of truth in Holy Writ.  However, many cringe at the thought of their views being questioned as though it would be a sacrilege to do so.  THE TRUTH will withstand any examination, but some take the stance of, “I’m happy with what I believe, don’t show me anything different.”  Is this the position of a humble servant of God pursuing truth so he may draw ever closer to the Author of all truth?  Since God is no respecter of persons, and the Holy Spirit (Comforter) has been given to each born-again believer, He will affirm in our hearts when we hear truth and when we hear error IF we ask Him and are willing to receive and accept whatever His guidance is.  This alone would eliminate the chaos and conflict separating most assemblies from others who also claim the name of Christ.  Paul reprimanded the Corinthian church for their strife and divisions, calling them carnal (I Cor. 3:3-9).  They were following various teachers of Christianity instead of Jesus Christ.  The Bereans were not berated for testing what they heard, they were commended: they wanted to be certain it was TRUTH!

        A skilled preacher, teacher, or orator can present things in an understandable format, but also in very convincing fashion even if the presentation is not entirely truth.  Any human can make an error, or promote a falsehood (even innocently), no matter his station or reputation.  Some people may become convinced of almost anything, others of almost nothing.  In Ephesians 4:14-18, Paul shares this wisdom: (14) “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (17)…walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, (18) Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”  His prayer for this church was that the Lord Jesus Christ, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (Eph. 1:17,18).  We are not to be tossed about as a rudderless ship in a storm, but founded in the Word with understanding granted and directed by the Holy Spirit.  “All Scriptures is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16,17).

        King Solomon put high value upon truth with these words from Prov. 3:3-5: “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.  (5) Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”  King David had a lot to say about the importance of truth also, and in Ps. 91:14, we read “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”  Perhaps the strongest emphasis on the value of truth is found in these verses from II Thess. 2:10-12: “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  (11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”  It seems unnecessary to state that if God sends deception to an individual, he will most definitely be deceived, but most of humanity would rather blithely believe that the God of love and mercy would surely not do such an unkind thing to them!  God is also just, righteous, and holy – these qualities justify the deception because some “receive not the love of the truth!”  Evidently, this love of the truth was proffered, but not accepted.  God did His part, but the individual rebelled and would not receive what God had for him.  The result is ultimately deception and damnation – rather serious, wouldn’t you say?

 

 

THE COMMANDS OF JESUS CHRIST

Randall Walton

        Quite often in our messages we mention the “commands of Jesus,” and we have stated that there are over 70 commands that He set forth in The Sermon On The Mount and His other teachings, which apply directly to the church – His people.  We have been questioned about our making such a broad and radical statement and have been asked to make a more specific explanation and, if possible, a listing of the things we consider His commands.

        If anyone is in a big hurry to find out what Jesus commanded, we suggest you obtain a “Red letter edition” of the New Testament which places all the words of Jesus in RED so they may be easily and quickly distinguished from the rest of the writings.  Any person who is genuinely concerned about what the Master expects of His followers can certainly find it rapidly in this manner.

        To state that the observance of the commands of Jesus is very important is a gross understatement of fact.  It is so important as to be essential to salvation.  While this may sound extreme and opinionated, we believe the Scriptures teach this very viewpoint, and we will submit enough evidence to substantiate this claim.  For example, Jesus declared, “Ye MUST be born again!” (John 3:7)

        Of course, there are those who will protest that this is not a command because we can’t do this ourselves.  However, the New Birth comes about by the supernatural work of the Spirit AND the assent of the will of the person, in addition to faith, confession, and repentance.  Therefore, the bottom line is that submission to the words of the Lord is necessary in order to be born again.  No one is ever saved against his own will!

        There are other references which we will use to show that there are commands to be obeyed in order to maintain one’s walk with Christ.

        Jesus placed so much significance upon His own words, that it is difficult to see how anyone could miss how vastly important they are.  He used such terms as: do, hear, follow, keep, observe, receive.  These words show action: in order to fulfill any of these, there must be a willing response of the soul in positive movement or motion.  There is no neutral ground, there are no options offered.  “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).

        “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)  It is not logical to call Him “Lord,” and then disregard His words.  Nearly everyone will agree that a citizen of a state or city or a nation is obligated to keep the laws of the respective state, city, or nation, but when it comes to being a citizen of the Church of Jesus Christ, the prevalent idea is that you can do as you please.  If it requires any effort at all, then God doesn’t expect nor demand it!  Such nonsense as this has produced a generation of professing do-nothings!

        Even Brother Paul is accused of going along with the notion of spiritual inertia.  He is said to have warned people of the dangers of becoming legalistic and, thereby, walking in the flesh rather than the Spirit.  However, Paul soundly rejected and castigated those who “teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Tim. 6:3-5).  He went so far as to tell Timothy to withdraw himself from those who fit the description!  (Sounds a little sectarian?)

        Perhaps the greatest enemy of Jesus Christ in modern times was a man named Cyrus I. Scofield, who had the audacity to declare that the “Sermon On The Mount gives neither the privilege nor the duty of the Church.  These are found in the Epistles.” (referring to Paul)  This man has deceived hundreds of thousands of people into believing that Jesus preached one gospel and Paul preached a different one.  Jesus’ message, he says, was intended for the Jews, but Paul’s teachings were for the church!  Paul, I’m sure, would rise in profound protest if he were alive today and heard such rot as this, because he most certainly did not believe nor teach it.

        John also affirmed the viability of the words of Jesus (doctrine = teaching, Strong’s).  He said that anyone who does not hold to the teachings of Christ does not have God, and we should not even let them into our house (II John 9:11)!  He was sort of radical, don’t you think?  Well, he understood that Jesus had the words of life, or as He testified Himself: “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

The Nature Of The Commands

        Through our study of the words or sayings of Jesus, it has become apparent that his commands fall into two main categories: 1) direct, 2) implied.  By this we mean that Jesus presented His message by directly stating what He expected of humanity, and also set forth principles based upon divine qualities or qualifications.

        For example, a direct command which Jesus uttered is: “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you“ (Luke 6:27).  This is plainly stated and directed.  This is a requirement for God’s people to obey.

        In contrast to this, the Beatitudes do not give direct commands or orders.  We are not commanded to be “poor in spirit,” but we are told what the results will be if we meet the condition (theirs is the kingdom of heaven).  Therefore, we say this is an implied command.  Jesus did not say “thou shalt be merciful,” but He described the outcome for those who meet this divine standard – “they shall obtain mercy.”  We are told what we must do, or be, if we expect to receive the blessing!

        Sad to say, too many want the blessing without producing the means for procuring said blessing.  But Jesus has the keys of the blessings, and He told us frankly how they may be obtained.  This constitutes law, whether we like the term or not, but it is law which is implied by the stating of the conditions which produce the desired result.

 

 

THE FUTURE IS BEFORE US!

        “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof…The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.  The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.  The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.  Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left” (Isa. 24:1-6)

        It sounds as if there is no remedy, for the situation has grown ugly and disported beyond imagination.  This entire condition is enormous!  It is beyond our expectations.  It is a situation that can only be described as God Himself has “uttered His voice” in crying out against the wayward schemes and turmoil of the rebellion.  Notice the fact that “they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and have broken the everlasting covenant.”

        According to justification, there is NO remedy, for the situation has become gross; mankind has become as wicked and rebellious as he has been able to be wicked and rebellious.  He has committed crimes against his Master; “he has transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, he has broken the everlasting covenant!”

        These three things, “transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant,” are the highest, the greatest, the ultimate negligence of rebellion against the Most High God.  Mankind cannot get any worse than the above three things, that circumstantial evidence has decreed that the door was shut behind them.  It is a well–known fact that people are totally unprepared to dwell with the demonic angels who have followed the devil and his troops into the wages of evil.  There is, therefore, no mercy, no grace, no sympathy, nor feeling of rapture, nor any other lament, for all is lost and undone!  Don’t think that all is “well with my soul,” when the enemy is able to sow you up and put great evil in your soul.

        Yes, Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, has mercy, compassion, grace untold, patience, forgiveness, and longsuffering; and He is able to keep you on the right track if you are willing to go all the way with Him.  He is willing, are you?

 

 

SPIRITUAL VALUES

Harold Scullin

        “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers (sharers) of the Divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4).

        This promise is to the servants of Jesus Christ – in this life, in this present time.

        The Divine Nature is that quality of being that is associated with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that which is eternal, holy and righteous.

        The Divine Nature is a state of being that is above and far beyond the carnal, fleshly realm of this present world.  The Carnal mind is not capable of understanding this glorious state.

        According to Paul, “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God hath ordained before the world unto our glory…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (I Cor. 2:7-9).

        “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Holy Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God” (I Cor. 2:10).

        Peter wrote that we could be made partakers, or sharers of this heavenly substance in this life.  The quality of this divine substance is such that it never wears out, never gets old, is always fresh and living, and gets better as time goes on.  The most wonderful part of this divine substance is that this ultimate reality cannot be corrupted in any way.  It is beyond the reach of that which is vile, filthy and evil.  Everything within the confines of this divine realm is sacred and holy.

        Just think, Peter wrote by the anointing of the Holy Spirit that by “these exceeding great and precious promises, ye might be partakers of the divine nature.”  Heavenly, eternal values waiting to be claimed.

        Through the experience of the new birth, or being born again by the Holy Spirit, an individual is “delivered from the powers of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear son,” a realm of eternal glory (Col. 1:13).  The individual is still in his fleshly body, but through the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus, his sins have been washed away, the Holy Spirit has come into his being and actually translated him into this wonderful, real realm of glory of the divine nature.

        I, personally, am convinced that the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts of God’s people to cleanse and purify them, that they will walk in the Holy Spirit, live in the Holy Spirit, be led by the Holy Spirit, minister by the Holy Spirit, and be filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

        It will take your complete submission to the will of Jesus to enter into this close, intimate relationship.

        The Kingdom of God is unique in character.  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), but the Kingdom of God is very real.  The substance of the Kingdom of God cannot be seen with the human eye, but the Holy Spirit can touch the eyes of your understanding that it will be possible for you to see and to comprehend the kingdom of God.

        Read what Jesus had to say of those individuals who had been born again or saved.  “They are not of this world, even as I am not of this world” (John 17:16).  Jesus also stated, “Ye are not of this world, because I have called you out of the world” (John 15:19).  Jesus also stated, “The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation (joining a church or becoming affiliated with a religious group) for the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20,21).

        The Kingdom of God is not of this world; the people of God are not of this world.  The people of God are in the Kingdom and the Kingdom of God is in the people.  Confusing?  No!

        To better understand the truth and the reality of how the Kingdom of God functions, study the first eight or nine chapters of the book of Acts.

        In these chapters we have a description of how the New Testament church of believers functioned or carried on the work of the Kingdom of God.  The present day Church should follow their pattern.

        In chapter two of Acts, one hundred and twenty individuals were filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4).  They were all with one accord, of one mind, one heart, one purpose; they were filled with heated passion to please the Lord Jesus.  There was absolute harmony and unity among these early believers (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 46; 4:24; 5:12; 8:6).  Peter told them that with this filling of the Holy Spirit, “your sons and daughters shall prophesy” (100 per cent supernatural), also visions and dreams were to be received.  Peter’s sermon was anointed with the Holy Ghost and three thousand souls were added to the church.  And they didn’t have T.V.!

        Peter and John went up to the temple to pray.  A lame man asked them for alms.  Peter replied, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto thee.”  Peter had the heavenly value that was needed to heal this man (Acts2:6,7).  A few days later, five thousand souls were added to the church!

        “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:4,32).

        “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes, both of men and women, insomuch they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.  There came also a multitude out of the cities round about Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one” (Acts 5:14,15).

        This is a demonstration of the pattern of the ministry of the early church.  These people were filled with the Holy Ghost and power.  They were given the ability by the Holy Spirit to “heal the sick, cast out evil spirits, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers.”

        These people were also led by the voice of the Lord; instruction was given them (Acts 9:1-8; 10:1-7; 10:9-16).

        Where is that Holy Ghost power and leading today?  The early church was rich with spiritual values.  They had truth as their foundation, not fables and a set of rules established by he wisdom of man.

        Jesus has made complete provision and has promised to restore again the Kingdom of God and these heavenly values.

        Now that we have been translated into the Kingdom of God, into this realm of the divine nature, let us consider some of the exceeding great and precious promises, that we might be sharers of the Divine nature.  Each individual should know and realize that each one of us is obligated to demonstrate our desire to be a partaker of the Divine nature.  We must make it known before the angels of heaven and that great host of evil spirits, that we are not going to permit one thing to hinder us from entering into this close and holy relationship with Jesus.

        Consider this promise: “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).  This is a bona fide promise issued by the Lord Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit.

        Notice the conditions – You must abide in Him and His word must abide in you.  In other words, to abide means to dwell there, constantly, twenty-four hours a day.  Read the following promise: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10).  Simple, isn’t it?

        What about those who do not believe in His commandments?  How can they abide?  How can they enter into this heavenly realm?

        “This is my commandment, that ye love one another” (John 15:12).

        The Scriptures teach us that our love for each other is just as vital as our love to Jesus.  “If a man say I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he can see, how can he love God whom he cannot see” (I John 4:20).

        The greatest testimony that will ever be given will be demonstrated by those who love each other: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

        Notice these commands of Jesus: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father, which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:44,45).  Consider the spiritual value that is in the following scripture:

        “I counsel thee to buy of me, gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be right, and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes, with eye salve that thou mayest see” (Rev. 3:18).

        The very fact that a price tag “to buy” has been placed upon the “gold, tried with fire” is evidence that what the gold and white raiment represent or stand for, actually possess value and, in this case, the Divine nature.

        Gold is identified with that which is Divine: The Divine nature.

        The Divine nature cannot be bought in the physical sense; however, the Divine nature can be obtained and shared by those who will obey the teachings of Jesus.

        Jesus set an example for all of us to follow.  I Peter 2:23, “leaving us an example that ye should follow in his steps.”  He suffered.

        “They spit in His face, and buffed Him; and others smote Him with the palm of their hands” (Matt. 26:67).

        “And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on His head” (Matt. 27:30).

        “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not” (Isa.53:3).

        Just how serious are we in our commitment to Jesus?  Are we willing to suffer as He suffered, walk as He walked, live as He lived, minister as He ministered?

        Have you counted the cost to follow Jesus whole heartedly?

        “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.  He that findeth (saveth) his life shall lose it and he that loseth his life, for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 10:37,38).

        “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

        John the Baptist taught this gospel, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

        Paul stated, “I die daily” (I Cor. 15:30, and in Gal. 2:20, “Not I, but Christ.”

        To be able to stand for the Word of God, to be prepared for the events that are coming to pass, requires that each individual make a complete surrender of his will to the will of Jesus.  This can be extremely difficult sometimes, but God’s grace is sufficient to bring us through to victory.

 

 

TO DO OR NOT TO DO?

        We have recently received several letters condemning our stand regarding the Sabbath of the Lord.  The truth of the Scriptures concerning this doctrine is so plain and simple that it seems incredible that the majority of professing Christians have difficulty understanding it.

        “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Gen. 2:3).  The entire issue of the Sabbath is all wrapped up in this verse.  You see, if God Himself blessed and sanctified the Seventh day, then it was blessed and sanctified; sanctify means to set apart, make holy, to dedicate.

        The question now arises: “Did God ever remove His blessing and sanctification from the Seventh Day?”  Search the Bible from cover to cover and see if you can find ONE place where God ever removed His blessing and sanctification from the Sabbath which He placed upon it at the very beginning.

        If I had $100.00 I’d be glad to offer it to anyone who could find such a statement as this in either the Old or New Testament.

        Notice carefully that God’s blessing and sanctification came as a result of His finished work of creation.  If it’s possible to alter or change His manner of creation, then it might be possible to alter or change the blessing and sanctification which He placed upon the Seventh Day.  Simple?  Of course it is – and did you know that most of the major denominations agree with this premise?  Read the following:

        Methodist: Buck’s Theological Dictionary – “Sabbath in the Hebrew language signifies rest and is the seventh day of the week, and it must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day.”

        Baptist: The Watchman – “The Scripture nowhere calls the first day of the week the Sabbath.  There is no scriptural authority for so doing, nor any Scriptural obligation.”

        Presbyterian: Dwight’s Theology – “The Christian Sabbath (Sunday) is not in the Scriptures and was not called by the primitive church the Sabbath.”

        Church of England: Plain Sermons On Catechism – “We are commanded to keep the seventh but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first.”

        Protestant Episcopal: Manual of Christian Doctrine – “Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday?  None!”

        Congregationalist: The Ten Commandments – “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devoutly we spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath.  The Sabbath was founded upon a specific, divine command.  We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday.”

        Presbyterian: American Board of Publications – “The observance of the seventh day Sabbath did not cease till it was abolished after the Empire became Christian.”

        Roman Catholic: “The Catholic Faith – The Credentials of the Catholic Religion” (John A. O’Brien, Ph.D.) – “The Bible does not contain ALL THE TEACHINGS OF THE Christian religion, nor does it formulate all the duties of its members.  Take, for example, the matter of Sunday observance…But where does the Bible speak of such an obligation?  I have read the Bible from the first of Genesis to the last verse of Revelations, and have found no reference to the duty of sanctifying the Sunday.  The day mentioned in the Bible is not the Sunday, but the Saturday, the last day of the week.”

        It is a historical fact that Christians did not reverence Sunday until Constantine, the great Roman Emperor, ordered the people to rest on the “venerable day of the sun” in 321 A.D.  From that time on, the “Christian” world, with the exception of a few scattered sheep, followed the edict of this pagan Christian and forsook the day that God said was HOLY.

        If you think you have proof that the Sabbath was changed or abolished I would be glad to have it.  But please don’t send me Ephesians 2:15 or Colossians 2:14, because they are not talking about the Ten Commandments in general nor about the Sabbath in particular.  The law of commandments contained in ordinances were those various codes that regulated both the people’s civil affairs and their ceremonial practices.  The Ten Commandments were not abrogated nor abolished (Matt. 5:17).

        Nothing that Jesus did changed the order of the creation, and the Sabbath was a testimony of the great power of God which was manifest through His creation.  It is just a little strange that mankind would pick out that one command and do away with it isn’t it?  Ever wonder why?

        “Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot (the smallest letter) or one tittle (a mere stroke of a pen) shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled!”

        Today I saw the sun, last night the moon and stars, and today I walked upon the green earth, so the evidence points to the fact that the heaven and earth have not yet passed, so the law (The Ten Commandments) is still complete.  Not even a comma, or a period, has been deleted from them!

        Isaiah said in 42:21 that the Lord would magnify the law.  Jesus explained this in His Sermon on the Mount.  He transferred the offense from the act to the motive of the heart (Matt. 5:27,28).  In this case, He referred to adultery, but it is evident that He was concerned with more than one aspect of man’s moral conduct.  On the basis of the law being magnified and put in our hearts (Heb. 10:16), it is then possible to break the Sabbath by the improper attitude of the heart.  The same principle can be applied to the other commandments, also.

        The proper motive for obedience to His word is Love, not coercion nor force.  Because we love Him, we desire to please Him, and His laws are an expression of what pleases Him!  The more I love Him, the more I want to please Him.  Simple, too, isn’t it!

        And since He made the Seventh day holy, and I love Him, I want to keep it holy also, not just because He requires it, but because I love Him.

 

 

GLORIFYING SENSUALITY

Randall Walton

        The few years of the 21st century have produced a new trend among the people of the world in regard to what is usually referred to as “social mores,” or the accepted norm of human conduct.

        It would be wonderful if we could say that mankind has improved, that his goals and aims are nobler, loftier, and more uplifting than ever before.  But such a hope as this is but a mere mirage, a vain vagary of wishful thinking.  Society has made a determined effort to reduce humankind to the status of brute beasts of the field, moved and motivated by unbridled passions and drives.

        Margaret Mead, the anthropologist who spent considerable time among the natives of Samoa in a study of their habits and practices, held these people up as examples for the rest of mankind.  There, in their easygoing way of life, there were no inhibitions, no sexual hang-ups, no do’s and don’ts about sensuality and physical relationships.  She assessed their manner of life (however primitive) as superior in many ways to that of cultured and more civilized peoples.

        The idea seems to have caught on and spread to the far reaches of the globe.  The so-called sexual revolution which began shortly after WWII and is still under way has possibly outstripped the loose living lifestyle of the Samoans.  Amazingly, the educational systems of the world have done more to promote sensuality/sexuality than any other single force!  They, of all people, should have been the first to defend the standards of fidelity and chastity, but it has been the exact opposite.

        A recent article in the Los Angeles Times describes the mandatory sex education program called “Family Life Education” which is currently used in over 30 states.  In seminars which are held to show teachers how to use the material, some of which reportedly violate local obscenity laws, one teacher said there was a general assumption that everyone was sexually active, and the main concern of the program was to teach kids how to use appropriate means to prevent pregnancy and disease.  Abstinence was not considered part of the program.

        An article in a recent Newsweek magazine pointed out the proliferation of nudist camps and beaches in the U.S.  According to this report, the coastal areas of this country abound with beaches where total nudity is allowed.  Sensuality has free rein in such an environment.

        It comes as no surprise then that the taxpayers are forced to support teenage unwed mothers to the tune of $21,000,000,000.00 annually.  Twenty one billion dollars in one year!  The percentage of girls becoming pregnant in the 15 to 17 year bracket is steadily increasing, from 30 per 1,000 in 2010 to 34 per 1,000 in 2011.  This, of course, does not reflect the amount of sexual activity among teens, because most of them are being trained in the use of contraceptives which are distributed to boys and girls alike from school-based clinics!

        Obviously, we shouldn’t single out the teenagers for criticism; for they are, after all, merely following the examples set for them by the adults.  Promiscuity is a way of life for many people because sensuality awareness has heightened through advertising and open discussion of topics that should only be heard between married couples in privacy, or with a counselor.

        A few years ago we were astonished when we turned on the radio for the news and heard a female sexologist giving advice to couples, both married and unmarried as well as homosexuals, on how to improve their sex life.  She referred very explicitly to the various parts of the anatomy and described the most intimate feelings which “normal” people should expect, as well as advised how to meet available sex partners.  She spoke of “having a lover” as a very natural thing to do.

God Speaks Out

        Scripture is plain about relationships outside the pale of marriage.  Fornication and adultery are still mortal sins (howbeit, forgivable).  Nations past who have allowed these iniquities to go unchecked have paid the ultimate price for their rebellion.  Let us not suppose that any modern nation is immune to the awesome hand of judgment for their permissive behavior.

        “How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.  They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbor’s wife.  Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 5:7-9).

        The nations of the world, including the U.S.A., are about to be judged for their disregard of God’s standards.  Thousands of AIDS sufferers are already reaping their harvest of death, and that without remorse, while young people are being taught that homosexuality is an acceptable alternative lifestyle.  Kids are instructed to practice “safe sex” as if there is any such thing apart from monogamous, heterosexual marriage.

        If an STD doesn’t get them, the judgment of the Almighty surely will.

        The only truly “safe” relationship is one which involves commitment, and that for life.  Love and sex are not necessarily synonymous: you can have sex without having love, but where there is true love, there is commitment, and it is not based upon sensuality, but devotion, dedication and desire to please.

        How long will God permit man’s preoccupation with sensuality to continue?  We don’t know; but we can see the handwriting on the wall.  Though we don’t have television, we do receive a daily newspaper and a weekly magazine, and the message in these two sources is gross.  We know people who do have TV, and their testimony is that sensuality, vulgarity, profanity, and voluptuousness are common fare and are portrayed as the normal, natural manner of life.

        If this be so, judgment is not so very far away.  When it begins, let us not think that God is unjust nor detached from earth’s happenings, but his eyes “run to and fro through the whole earth” (Zech. 4:10).

        Expect difficult times: unemployment, shortages of commodities with possible rationing, commerce at a near standstill, suicides increased wholesale, homeless millions, banks foreclosed, violence, bloodshed, robberies, farm crops lying in fields unsold, hunger everywhere, factories shut down, people shivering in the winter for lack of fuel, ethnic wars, riots in the streets, etc.  This will all come to this present generation, in part because they have chosen to be sensual rather than spiritual.

        SEEK THE LORD: THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND.

 

 

NOTICE

        We have a supply of books entitled “Teachings of Jesus” compiled by Keith Siddens, describing in Christ’s own Words, His plan of salvation to the nations.  This message must be heeded by all, both Jews and gentiles, as they struggle through their vain and empty conflicts in life.  Packed with 116 pages of the Master’s Words, it is well worth the price of $10.95 plus $4.00 shipping/handling.  But remember, it is to be followed!  May God convince and convict you to a new life in Jesus Christ, that you will conquer death and the old man!

        Orders may be mailed to:     People of the Living God

                                        366 Cove Creek Road

                                        McMinnville, TN 37110

        Or online at www.peopleofthelivinggod.org/contact.shtml