People of The Living God

Matthew 28:1

 

Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size

June 2013



 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

FALSE TEACHERS WITH A FALSE GOSPEL

Alfred King

        Recently, I was sent an article printed in ChrismaNews under “Opinion,” written by Jennifer Leclaire, entitled, “When Rock-Star Preachers Spew a False Gospel.”  In her article, Ms Leclaire speaks out boldly against the modern “gospel” that she relates to the warning of the Apostle Paul in both II Cor. 11:4 and in Gal. 1:6.  In these verses, Paul calls this deception “another gospel.”  It is not the true and unadulterated gospel of Christ, which Paul preached, but a perversion of wrested scripture to suit the end purposes of the wolf-in-sheep’s clothing.  Ms Leclaire’s concerns were clearly expressed, and her passion was very clearly conveyed.  The responses of many who commented following the article, serves only to give credence to her concerns.  Many of the comments revealed that they were blind to the deceptions that are coming from such ministers, who promote doctrines of devils, which they call the gospel.  Her article can be found online at: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/39350.

        Some who commented wanted to condemn the article because Ms Leclaire didn’t name specific false preachers.  If false prophets and false teachers have to be mentioned by name and cannot be seen by their messages and live-styles, then we are blind and need to pray God will open our eyes to see things the way God sees them.  When a minster stands in the pulpit and refuses to call sin “sin” because he doesn’t want to offend some sin-loving unrepentant sinner, he has departed from the gospel of Christ and resorted to a false gospel.  If he refuses to preach truth, he has succumbed to the devil’s lie, “ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4), and has given his listeners license to continue in sin, and ultimately spend eternity in hell.  Some responded by saying Leclaire’s article was a message of hate.  Since when is warning people of false teachings, which will certainly sent them to an eternal destruction, defined hate?  If pointing out sin and calling it what it is, is hatred then Jesus and the Apostles are all guilty of hatred.  The thing they unanimously hated was sin.  Paul warned Christians that “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; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4).  Sin is an enemy of God and an enemy of man.  If preachers refuse to acknowledge and clearly point out the enemy to their listeners, they leave their congregations vulnerable to be overcome and defeated by that enemy, and consequently, they, being unaware, fall into the enemy’s hands.

Political Correctness: We Will Eat Our Own Bread

        Our nation’s leaders have done just as many minsters do today, they refuse to point out clearly and define who the enemy is.  In the blaring facts that all but one of the terrorists acts inflicted upon America were done by Islamist radicals, they refuse to clearly state who are America’s most likely terrorist group.  If we refuse to clearly define who or what the enemy is, we will be destroyed by that enemy.  Sin is the enemy of man, society, and nations.  Sin is the greatest enemy of America today.  Sin is destroying this once great nation from within, and things like political correctness serve to promote sin by forbidding anyone to speak out against it.  When political correctness infiltrates a nation, that nation is on the path of deterioration.  Likewise when the church has to be concerned about political correctness or concerned that they can’t preach truth because it might offend some weak, undisciplined, impenitent and unashamed sinner, that church has forsaken the true doctrines of Christ and is, by the true definition of Christian, no longer Christian but an antichrist, humanistic organization, using Christ’s name but refusing to live or preach what Christ preached.  Isaiah foresaw this day and prophesied concerning it in Isa. 4:1: “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.”  The seven women mentioned here refer to the church and signifies, by the number, that most churches will fulfill this prophecy.  The false teachers in these churches will take Jesus’ name, yet refuse His teachings, preferring rather to provide their own bread, which is garbage they feed to unwary sheep.  These sheep end up spiritually malnourished and in bondage to sin, the very sin that Jesus came to deliver them from.  Deliverance from sin is the heart of the real Gospel.  These false shepherds must take on Jesus’ name to take away their reproach, for they don’t want the deceived sheep to know they are wolves in sheep’s clothing; so in name they profess Christ but in works they deny Him (I Tim. 1:16).

We Will Wear Our Own Apparel

        “We will wear our own apparel.”  They are not interested in the robes of righteousness, which God not only desires His church to be clothed with, and has provided in Christ, but have forsaken the Gospel of Christ and are clothed upon with that which caters to and pampers the lusts of the flesh.  Gone are the days when Christians were taught to take up their cross, deny themselves and follow Christ through the valley of the shadow of death to self and the world.  Today, “Christians”, have to have prosperity, luxuries and all the pleasures and accruements of Babylon to be satisfied.  Gone are the days when Christians had Christ dwelling within and that was all they needed to be completely satisfied and at rest.  Today we have churches filled with spiritual babies who are content to stay on milk and wear diapers of a watered down “gospel” as a cloke to cover their sins.  As one pastor in a local church recently told his congregation, they were going to serve only milk in his church.  He has determined to leave his congregation as spiritual babies, and when the enemy comes against those members they will fall.  This is what they call “love”.

        The harsh preaching of men in past generations in America against sin and the power of Christ to change one’s life so man could put on righteousness was what made America great.  This preaching of righteousness had its positive effect, not only on believers, but unbelievers also were affected and were constrained to have a respect for God and His Word.  While not all men came to know Christ in salvation, many of the grosser sins were held at bay by the respect sinners held for God.  But when the church refuses to preach righteousness, not only the church will fall, but the nation.  What we see in our society today is a direct result of the failure of ministers of the gospel, watering down the word to make it more palatable for sinners, not wanting them to feel uncomfortable.  This was not how the gospel was preached in the beginning of this great nation.  How many born again believers had first to become uncomfortable with the thought that they were a gross sinner and were already close to being consumed by the fires of hell before they cried out to God for mercy?  It was that conviction of sin that brought most of those who have been saved to the foot of the cross and caused them to call upon Him Who is able to save.  If we don’t know we are sinners, we have no desire to change.  If we don’t know that we have offended a holy God, we don’t see any need to change.  But when our sin is exposed and the wretchedness of our human depravity is unveiled to our inward man by the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, we find we have absolutely no hope but in Christ alone.  It is in this broken and contrite condition that salvation comes and that man is born again by the power of the blood of Christ.  Preachers do a great disservice to their congregations and to God when they fail to preach about righteous living.

        The craftiness of these false teachers and the ability to amalgamate truth with lies is what is so deceptive.  The little truth presented seems to lend credence to their doctrines, which the Apostle Paul calls, “doctrines of devils”.  Satan is skilled in deception and he craftily used it against Eve in the garden.  Satan successfully seduced Eve and consequently condemned the whole human race to death.  Satan even used scripture against Jesus in the wilderness just after His baptism.  Jesus knew this enemy.  He also knew God’s word and would not fall for his devious snares.  Satan uses the scripture against Christians today to deceive, condemn and accuse.  Don’t allow Satan, through these false teachers, to mislead you.  Remember the words of our Master when He was tempted.  He answered Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).  Hide God’s word in your heart.  Repent and turn from your wicked ways and turn unto Jesus Christ, Who alone can save you, cleanse you and deliver you from all sin, for sin shall not have dominion over you if you are truly walking with God.

A MORE EXCELLENT SACRIFICE

James Sanderson

        “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous” (Heb. 11:4).  What made Abel’s sacrifice “more excellent” in the eyes of heaven?  Cain seemed to have a commendable desire to serve the Lord.  He also brought an offering to the Lord.  However, the Lord “had not respect” unto Cain’s offering.  Why was Cain’s sacrifice not acceptable?

        God had given these brothers divine instruction concerning service to Him.  His commands were explicit.  The Lord rightly expected complete obedience.  Nevertheless, Cain chose to serve God in his own way.  He felt that as long as he was doing it for the Lord then God would accept a change or substitute.

        From the time of these two brothers until now the way of man has been the way of substitution.  Jesus Christ Himself cried out against the nation of Israel, “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9).  These custodians of the oracles of God were so out of the will of God that the Lord no longer accepted their service or worship.

        Much vain worship and vain service to God abounds in the land today.  With all the religious activities and programs being carried on in the name of the Lord, it is imperative that one be able to separate the spurious from the genuine.

        Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, came to earth as the Father’s personal representative.  The words that He spoke were not His own, but the Father’s (John 14:24).  His instructions were not mere suggestions for godly living.  They were orders that must be obeyed.  Moses, prophesying of Jesus, declared, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:22-23).  “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).

        Let everyone fully grasp this eternal truth: God expects man to understand and obey the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Any man who feels he can annul, postpone, alter, or reinterpret the directives of our Lord is only fooling himself.  Any religious activity that is not anchored in the principles of Jesus Christ will not receive God’s commendation.

        God desires a certain product as a result of His great investment in mankind.  The Lord is looking for disciples.  “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Greek rendering, Matt. 28:19).  The experience of salvation may be free, but discipleship costs.  “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).  Many have seen the price tag and are not interested.  Like Cain, they would rather rest in the false assurance of a lukewarm religious experience that makes few demands on their materialistic lifestyle.  The cares, riches, and pleasures of this life are more appealing to the heart than the strait and narrow way that leads to life.

        Three requirements of discipleship are set forth in Luke 9:33.  “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  Each of these requirements is worthy of careful consideration.

Let Him Deny Himself

        “Among all the Protestant sermons I have heard, I do not recollect one on the subject of bearing the cross and denying one’s self.  I must think that this subject is exceedingly neglected among our Protestant churches” (True Submission, Charles Finney).  If sermons on self-denial were lacking in Finney’s day, they are certainly woefully lacking in our day.

        In past centuries the man who was highly respected was the man who gave up everything to go to the mission field and live as equal among those to whom he ministered.  Now the emphasis is on prosperity and success.  It is especially important to find a “good” job.  Books that teach one how to love himself and increase his self-esteem are very popular in “Christian” circles.  Any book encouraging a life of self-denial would find a poor market.

        A walk with Jesus Christ is a walk of self-denial.  There are various words in the New Testament that mean deny.  Jesus chose the one that conveys the strongest emphasis.  The Greek word in Luke 9:23 means, “to deny utterly, to disavow, to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connections with.”  The one who has truly entered into the Christian life is one who has utterly renounced his own interests, desires, plans, ambitions, and possessions.  Self-denial places God on the throne of the heart and recognizes the lordship of Jesus Christ in the life.  “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

        The life of Jesus Christ was the supreme example of self-denial.  “For even Christ pleased not Himself” (Rom. 15:3), “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, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:7-8).

        Those who would live a life of self-denial must make the will of God their highest goal in life (I Pet. 4:2).  How few truly desire the will of God for their lives!  Many endorse the will of God in general terms.  The will of God is fine as long as it doesn’t place too many demands on their own goals or doesn’t cause too many changes in their lifestyle.  When God leads them to place their plans and ambitions on the altar of sacrifice, they soon have other ideas.

        A walk of self-denial is a walk in love. Love “is not self-seeking” (NIV, I Cor. 13:5).  “Let nothing be done through strife (self-seeking) or vainglory (empty pride)…” (Phil. 2:3).  Love and devotion to Jesus Christ is the motivating factor behind true self-denial.

        Many will practice self-denial for a season in order to gain a long-term goal in life.  This is not self-denial.  They are doing it for a “corruptible crown.”

        Jesus Christ and the early church lived a life of self-denial.  Throughout His teachings, the Lord emphasized the necessity of surrendering all.  All included physical possessions.  To the rich young ruler Jesus said, “Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me” (Luke 18:22).  To the multitudes that followed Him, Jesus turned and cried, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).  The apostles and the early church followed these instructions by practicing community of goods.  They “had all things common” (Acts 2:44).

        True self-denial is not a drudgery or burden.  “The satisfaction which arises from real self-denial is precious.  It is rich in quality and deep and broad as the ocean in amount” (Charles Finney).  The Apostle Paul declared, “I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:8).  There is immense joy in self-denial because it leads to a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ Our Lord.  A.W. Tozer once said, “If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy, we must go this way of renunciation” (The Pursuit of God).

Let Him Take Up His Cross Daily

                                “Must Jesus bear the cross alone

                                And all the world go free?

                                No, there’s a cross for ev’ryone

                                And there’s a cross for me.” (Thomas Shepherd)

        What is this personal daily cross that our Lord requires every would-be disciple to bear (Luke 14:27)?  If we understand the purpose of the literal physical cross, then we can better understand the disciple’s cross.  The cross was a means of capital punishment.  No one who was nailed to a cross came down alive.  Crucifixion was the most humiliating form of death in the ancient world.  The man who was impaled on a cross suffered a slow, agonizing death.  Searing sharp pains ripped through every muscle of the body.  One could breathe only as he forced himself to stand erect while the nails sent throbbing pains throughout the extremities.  Death came through suffocation when all energy had been expended.  To add insult to injury, the victim had to publicly, before all, bear that rugged instrument of death to his own place of execution.

        Man apart from God is dead in trespasses and sins.  He lives only to satisfy his carnal mind and fleshly appetites.  “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).  This inner condition that is opposed to God is also called the “old man,” “self,” “the big I,” “the flesh.”  This is the condition of every human heart.

        When a person repents and turns to God, he is born again into the kingdom of God.  He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.  The Holy Spirit now dwells within his heart.  Unfortunately, this new birth, as wonderful as it is, does not eradicate the “old man.”  In fact, the baptism of the Holy Spirit will not finish him off.

        The personal daily cross is the instrument that God has provided to deal with this god-defying character within.  Many have tried to pacify, mollify, or satisfy the flesh and the carnal mind.  It will never work.  “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).  The only answer to the problem is crucifixion.  “For flesh is a dangerous foe to grace.  There is no harmony, but only repellency and antagonism, between the earthly affections and the heavenly.  Unless we subdue the flesh we shall die.  It is only when, through the Spirit, we mortify the deeds of the body that we can live” (Charles Finney).

        Obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ through the help of the Holy Spirit will mortify (put to death) all that is contrary to the nature and will of God.  This is a daily struggle.  Paul declared, “I die daily” (I Cor. 15:3).  “For thy sake we are killed all the day long” (Rom. 8:36).  “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake” (II Cor. 4:11).

        This process involves much suffering.  The “old man” does not like to be exposed, humiliated, and put to death.  He cringes and often seeks to run from the crucifixion process.  Nevertheless, the results are glorious.  “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24).  “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (II Cor. 4:16).  The fruits of the Spirit, so vital to a life in God, are manifested only as one crucifies “the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24).

Let Him Follow Me

        “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).  What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ?  The Greek word for “follow, akoloutheo, means literally “to walk the same road.”  Dr. Thayer gives this definition: “To cleave steadfastly to one, conform wholly to his example, in living and if need be in dying, also.”  (Incidentally, Paul and Peter never use this word in their epistles to refer to themselves.  This word is used almost exclusively of Jesus.)

        This definition alone indicates a deeper walk than a mere profession of faith.  There must be conformity to the pattern and standard if one can honestly say that he is following Jesus.  “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked” (I John 2:6).

        Being a follower implies that there must be a leader.  “Behold, I have given Him for a…leader and commander to the people” (Isa. 55:4).  Peter declared this same truth, “therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus…both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).  Since He is Leader, Commander, Lord and Christ, He most certainly has the right to expect complete obedience to His words.  In short, to follow means to obey.

        Don’t be fooled by the majority who are walking in the way of Cain.  The majority have never been interested in the strait gate and the narrow way.

        One day when Jesus was in the temple, many people of every financial level in life were placing money in the treasury.  Many of the rich were casting in large sums of money.  Along came this poor widow who offered a mere two mites.  Jesus called His disciples unto Him and told them that this poor widow had placed more into the treasury than all the rest.  Her sacrifice, like Abel’s, was “more excellent” than all the others because she gave everything that she had.

        God is not looking for great religious activities or wonderful works.  The Lord is looking for those who will humbly present their bodies as a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Rom. 12:1).  Such individuals will surrender everything to Him by denying self, taking up their cross, and following Him.

 

 

“WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN”

Tom Scullin

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

     “For the transgression of my people was He stricken” (Isa. 53:8)

     “All we like sheep have gone astray, Thou hast laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53;6)

     This is all about Divine, Pure, Selfless, Holy Love and how extremely costly and expensive that Love is.  It’s about the grief, the pain, the suffering and the sacrifice that Love will pay for its beloved.

     It’s about the breath, the length, the height, the depth of the Divine magnitude of God’s love and mercy.

     It’s about THE CROSS, that terrible, cruel instrument of torture and death.

     It’s about THE CROSS, that most Holy, Wonderful and Glorious instrument of Divine Love.

     It’s about that horrible and terrible, that wonderful and glorious day when the Prince of Glory died for man the creature’s sin.

     It’s about death; grim, dark and fearful – CONQUERED by LIFE and ABOLISHED, about life and immortality, deliverance, salvation and our KING and HIS KINGDOM.

     It’s about the end of sin and transgression and the REIGN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

     It’s about A KING’S RANSOM, A KING’S CONQUEST and A KING’S INHERITANCE.

     It’s about THE FOUNTAIN opened for sin and uncleanness. (Zech. 13:1)

     That fountain is the ransom price of the KING’S OWN BLOOD. (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Acts 20:28; Rev. 1:5; Pet. 1:18-19; Jn. 1:29; Isa. 53:7; 1 Jn.1:7)

     The death of the Lamb of God is the eternal proof that without the shedding of blood is no remission. (Heb. 9:2)

     WORTHY IS THE LAMB TO RECEIVE: POWER - RICHES - WISDOM - STRENGTH - HONOR - GLORY AND BLESSING. (Rev. 5:1-14)

     The sin and rebellion of man, God’s subjects, was not because of any cruelty toward them, nor was it because of injustices committed against them, or because of any abuse whatsoever; instead it was willful, deliberate and unprovoked rebellion against His goodness, His love and the largeness of His provision for them.

     In total disregard of God's infinite care, provision and supply.

     In absolute disdain of His Divine fellowship and love.

     In defiant rejection of God’s expressed wisdom and will, man threw aside Eternal life, Divine fellowship and Supreme joy with God in exchange for the lure of SELF-WILL.  His sin was SELF-WILL over and against GOD’S WILL, so it was not a trifling or insignificant matter but was his choice to go it alone, apart from God and in defiance of His eternal love and wisdom.

     In the Holy council chambers of the eternal God of all glory and majesty, the creature’s sin and rebellion had to be confronted and dealt with.  It could not go unchecked.  With only a word, God could have obliterated and eradicated all traces of this polluted dust from existence and swept the universe clean from their defilement, but of all the possibilities and choices He held at His command, this choice was never considered; for His Divine, Infinite and Holy love would not let us go!!

     If sinful man and holy God were ever to be reconciled and fellowship restored, it certainly had to be wrought from God to man, because man was totally corrupted and unable to approach unto God.  But how could holy and incorruptible God dwelling in glory and light find any common ground to effect this restoration of fellowship?  Clearly it could not be wrought in the holy of holies where God dwelt, for no sin or evil can ever approach that hallowed place, and sin and evil were the issues to be dealt with.  The place to deal with sin is where sin abounds, for the scripture declares that is where grace will also abound.  That place is none other than in flesh and blood.  So then the arena for this great plan is not, cannot be in heaven but in man himself.  If this be the case, then how can God, dwelling in light which no man can approach and clothed in the consuming fire of His holiness, inter-act with corrupt and fallen man – He cannot!!  It would be an utter impossibility!  Man would instantly be consumed!  Man cannot come to God; God must somehow come to man.

     Before the eons of time; in the great and holy council chambers of the eternal glory of God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, in their indissoluble, indivisible unity and oneness had foreseen the fall of man and his plunge into rebellion and ruin, and in considering all of the possibilities of how to deal with man in this state, divine and eternal love found but one way acceptable to the high and holy dictates of His own infinite wisdom, and that was that God Himself must pay for man the creature’s sin and rebellion in the only way it could be paid.  God Himself in all of His infinite holiness and purity would take the place of corrupt and defiled man and suffer the penalty of the law to be exacted upon Himself; He would die in man’s stead; He would become man’s proxy.

     In order to do this, Jesus must take upon Himself this flesh body at tremendous, tremendous cost, infinite sacrifice and unimaginable suffering to Himself and the Father because it was the only way an absolutely holy God could redeem sinful and fallen man and restore him to fellowship and relationship; because what man needed could not be secured by Jesus while He was in His existence of glory in eternity with the Father.  What man needed in order to be reconciled to God could only be wrought or secured while Jesus was in the body of flesh that the Father had prepared for Him.

     Though man had been created in the image of God to have intimate and close fellowship with his Creator, he now found himself shut out from that fellowship because of his sin and instead given over to death.  God is life, so now there existed no common or even neutral ground between them; instead there was war, because life and death are not only eternal opposites they are deadly enemies and there can be no peaceful coexistence between them.

     God must forever be the implacable foe of sin, because sin is like a caustic, corroding acid that continually eats away and destroys all that is sound and whole; so likewise would sin ultimately destroy all of God’s creation if not opposed and overcome by God.

     “IN THE BODY OF HIS FLESH THROUGH DEATH, TO PRESENT YOU” (Col. 1:22)

     THE CREATOR WOULD DIE TO SAVE HIS SINNING CREATURES? ? ?

     But how could He, the Holy sinless Son of God, ever die in the creature’s place, when He shared in His Father’s glory and Eternal life! ? !  That’s an impossible contradiction.  GOD, ETERNAL LIFE – SIN AND DEATH!!

     The Son would lay aside His glorious oneness with the Father, empty Himself, humble Himself and take the creature’s form of flesh and blood and become THE LAMB OF GOD; GOD’S PERFECT HOLY AND SINLESS SACRIFICE to make atonement and reconciliation for sin.

     The angels must have been overwhelmed with incredulous amazement at the unequal and one-sided nature of the remedy.  God was freely giving His all, in the person of His beloved Son!!  What could man give??  After all, these were enemies who had rebelled against His Benevolent Government to begin with.  Why risk such a High and Holy Ransom for such unworthy and untrustworthy rebels who were aliens by choice, not by accident?  BUT THE ANGELS DID NOT KNOW the depths of the love of God for these who dwelt in death and ruin; but by this NEW MAN, THE LAMB OF GOD, not only angels but the universe would witness and learn of the most profound expression and outreach of love that God Himself was capable of.  Love that plumbed the depths, that scaled the heights, that bridged the uncrossable chasm of separation, that spanned the abyss between life and death, that became the way when there was no way, that would not let go – that love was Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God, God’s perfect sacrifice.

     The incarnation of the Son of God is the fullest, most glorious and wondrous demonstration of selfless, pure love the universe or heaven will ever see.  It is love beyond measure, beyond compare, beyond knowledge.  It will take an eternity of divine revelations to begin to unlock its divine magnitude, its infinite reach, its fathomless scope; but even now, the Father wants us to know that the eternal and infinite value that He places upon the sacrifice and death that His Son endured and paid for us in His earthly body was His estimation and evaluation of the worth of what that suffering and death would secure; that is, it will, “Bring many sons unto glory,” and for this He would willingly and gladly pay such an extremely high and costly price.  This is staggering to the understanding and hard to grasp.  Yet this is the measure of God's love for us, as Isa.53:10-11 so wonderfully and lovingly states it: (10) “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied; by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.”

     Because it was necessary for the Lord Jesus to leave the glory of the presence of the Father, empty Himself and take on the robe of flesh in order to redeem man, this work in the body of His flesh created certain special and glorious relationships between Himself and the redeemed; thus, Jesus as the Lamb of God is inextricably connected to the redeemed by this office in a degree and depth that surpasses all other relationships we have with Him, wonderful and mighty though they are, because there would be no other relationship if not for this most costly and sacrificial humbling and abasing of Himself  to walk among us in a body of flesh so that He could take our sin upon Himself, and die as the Lamb of God, in our stead.  So, every other relationship we have with Him is based upon Him becoming THE LAMB OF GOD, our substitute, our propitiation, our atonement, our reconciliation.

     It is in the capacity of the Lamb that Jesus secured for us Salvation, Deliverance, Victory and every calling, every office, every ministry and every gift that belongs to the Church.

     To the Redeemed in heaven and here on earth THE LAMB is the most precious, the most priceless, the most glorious, the dearest, the grandest and the most lovely relationship and office that our Dear Lord has provided for us.  He is altogether glorious and praiseworthy in all of His offices, but He has bound us to Himself and to the Father by His suffering and sacrifice as the Lamb.  The magnitude of that love has forever captivated our hearts and made THE LAMB our first and foremost love.

     The Revelation given to John is called the revelation of JESUS CHRIST, and throughout that revelation, THE LAMB is exalted and honored and extolled as worthy of all glory and power and blessing (Rev 5:12).  In this revelation of Jesus, all the other offices, positions, stations and rank that Jesus holds are shown to be linked with His office as THE LAMB (Rev. 17:14; Rev. 19:7,9; Rev 16:16-17).

     JESUS is the name the Father gave to the Lamb: “Thou shalt call his name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sin” (Matt. 1:21), and He was Christ the Messiah (Lk. 2:11; Matt.16:16,20).

     JESUS, means: Jehovah is Salvation; that is, Saviour.

     CHRIST, in the Greek, means: anointed or the Anointed one.  The Hebrew, Messiah, means the same thing.

     The name Jesus, then, describes His mission; the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, the Saviour.  The title Christ, was God's certification and verification that He was the Saviour by the anointing power of God to accomplish His mission; He was The Anointed One, the Messiah.

     The Lamb walked and ministered on earth as Jesus Christ; The Father has such deep love, honor and regard for Him because of this, that for all eternity the Redeemed and all of heavens hosts will call Him, CHRIST JESUS, precious Lamb of God, for the Father has exalted that name above every name that is named!!  The Father has given Jesus, the Lamb, the preeminence in all of His Divine order!!

     (7) “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: (10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:7-11)

     (20) “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (22) And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” (Eph. 1:20-22)

     “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18)

     “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” “Col. 2:9)

     (14) “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (15) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  (18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  (19) For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; (20) And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.  (21) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled (22) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight.” (Col. 1:14-22)

 

 

THE JESUS WAY

George Scullin

        Heaven.  What is it like?  The Bible speaks of heaven as a place where God and His angels exist; a place where there is no suffering, no sorrow, no unhappiness; a place where God’s people will dwell forever in peace and harmony.  Peace and harmony?  Really?  If heaven be such a place, there can be no such thing as individualism.  Individualism has to do with egoism, individual peculiarities, the rights of self.  But not in heaven.  In heaven’s society the welfare of the collective society is promoted, not individual welfare.  How peculiar then is the view that here on earth it is permitted of God that His people seek for individual welfare, each one seeking happiness by fulfilling his individual desires, trying to serve God as he thinks best or at least in a way that a permissive God will allow.  This is nothing but self deception.  It does not lead to life.

        The way that leads to Life in heaven makes no allowance for selfish, individual expression.  It is a very demanding way, a very confining way.  The Jesus way demands that the traveler love the Lord with ALL his being and that he love his neighbor as himself.  The Lord made no provision for self-preservation or self-expression.  In fact, He said that unless a man forsake all that he has he cannot be a disciple of Jesus (Luke 14:33).  He taught men that the only way one could save his life was by losing it (Luke 9:24).  Most men do not believe this.  Self does not want to believe it.  That is why the multitudes are following the many voices that declare that God wants men to be prosperous and enjoy the world’s pleasures.  They would have us believe that God does not really want us to leave our individual way of life and our individual possessions and that such is really not necessary in order to follow Jesus.  If such teaching is true then why did Jesus command us to leave it all and follow Him?  Why did He say that if we did not do so we could not be His follower?

        Surrender goes beyond giving up possessions.  Many people can surrender possessions and still not be surrendered.  When the Lord said “–forsake ALL THAT HE HATH-” He was referring to more than stuff.  The hardest thing to surrender is the will.  Every one has a will and he or she decides what they will do and what they will not do.  God wants us to voluntarily surrender control of our whole being to Him.  Only when we are controlled by the Holy Spirit can we realize the assurance, joy and peace that does not fade away when conditions round about us change.  Only when we are controlled by the Holy Spirit are we safe instruments in the hands of the Lord.  We are controlled by His Spirit when we deny the desires of our own natures and submit to that which He has commanded us to do.  It takes more than saying, “Lord, Lord” to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus told us that doing the will of the Father in heaven was necessary for entrance into heaven (Matt. 7:21).  Those that choose to practice individualism, to plan and decide how they will serve God, that ignore or make excuse for not doing the things He said we must do, will not be there.

        This makes the way very narrow.  It is impossible for a man to walk in the broad way and the narrow way at the same time.  He cannot serve God and mammon (Matt. 6:24) even though he thinks he can and endeavors to prove that he can.  Serving mammon requires a spirit of independence.  Those that desire to be their own boss, make their own decisions, live as they choose for themselves and their families, are missing the Jesus way.  The Jesus way demands living for others, not for self.  The Jesus way is very plain if one is willing to look at it with an open heart.

 

 

PRAISE: ENTERING GOD'S PRESENCE

Kenneth Fountain

        Opening a service with praise is not a matter of meeting scriptural requirements as though God would then owe us a blessing; neither is worship a matter of attaining a frenzied state of hyperactivity, but it is a means of spiritually focusing our heart's attention and affection upon Him and away from the distractions and cares of human existence.  When we opt to pollute our worship with self-generated emotionalism, or propel ourselves to activity through a driving sensual off-beat, we are not really seeking the glory of God’s presence as much as merely the excitement of our carnal senses and a desire to feed off the energy of those around us.  Basically, we content ourselves with self-gratification in place of the vastly superior and fulfilling satisfaction of receiving from the glorious presence of God.  “In His presence is fulness of joy” (Ps. 16:11).  Is God truly pleased, glorified and exalted when we create our own means of worship for the sake of fun, excitement or stimulation?  Is the hand raising, clapping, and enthusiasm of a worship service a response to a motivating song leader, or the music, or are these done in response to the moving of the Holy Spirit in the midst?  It is true that we have been created with emotions and we should respond without reservation to the moving of His Spirit upon and among us, but to stir our own emotions through worldly or carnal means circumvents or negates the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to direct: we choose to direct ourselves in lieu of being directed by Him.  Resourceful man has conjured numerous ways to bring fun and excitement into the church, calling it God’s blessing, when actually, His glory has been replaced by merrymaking, and the congregation is ignorantly satisfied.

        This could be equated to having an internationally renowned chef invite someone to his house for an elegant dinner.  The guest accepts the invitation, but brings his own bologna sandwich or split-pea soup or a lettuce salad to enjoy instead of the delectable dishes prepared especially for him.  Perhaps a more celestial example would be a person who chooses to soar through the heavens in a hot-air balloon when a luxurious Leer jet has been provided for the flight.  David said we are to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name” (Ps. 100:4).  We are to bring our thanks and praise with us to church, not conjure it up after we arrive.  As we do this, He responds with His glorious attendance; we do not need to excite ourselves, because He will bless with His joy, love and peace.

       Although we understand the word praise to mean worship, exaltation, expression of approval, admiration or appreciation, it is interesting to view the definitions of the various Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT) words used for praise in the Bible.  From the nine OT words used, we find the following definitions: Strong’s #1288, to kneel to bless God as an act of adoration; #1974, a celebration of thanksgiving for harvest, merrymaking; #1984, to boast, to make a show, to rave, to be clamorously foolish (as when David danced with abandon before the Lord); #2167, to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument to play upon it, to celebrate in music and song; #3034, to worship with extended hands; #4110, fame, praise; # 7623, to address in a loud tone: glory, praise, triumph; #8416, a hymn, a laudation; and #8426, extending the hand in adoration, a choir of worshipers, a sacrifice of praise, an offering of thanksgiving.  From the five NT words used, we have these definitions:  #136, praise; #1391, dignity, honor, worship, praise; #1867 and #1868, applaud, praise, laud, and a commendable thing; and #5214, celebrate in song, sing a hymn.  It is evident by consolidating these that applause, raised hands, loud tones, and musical instruments including strings may be incorporated in celebration, making merry and boasting in worship and honor of our God and King.  So, is there a right way and a wrong way of using these means of worship?  Jesus said, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).  It should be obvious that this spirit and truth must be The Spirit of God and The Truth of God, not in the spirit of carnal man or of worldliness or of the devil, because these are also spirits who are eager to be active in any gathering.  Among Paul’s closing comments in his first letter to the Thessalonians, he said, “Rejoice evermore.  Quench not the Spirit.  Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess 5:16, 19, 22).  God created us as emotional beings and there is nothing wrong with responding to the moving of His Spirit with excitement (enthusiasm, joy), and we certainly can quench the Spirit by not responding, but we need not employ means that originate from the pit or carnality.

        Many assemblies intentionally use drums and electric or bass guitars for the purpose of propelling the congregation to activity.  This is commonly conducted with the attendees standing so they are more inclined to be active, and those instruments employ a driving, syncopated off-beat rhythm such as is the foundation of rock-and-roll, Satan-inspired music.  Further agitation is frequently brought in with the raucous noise of tambourines, castanets, maracas and various other noisemakers.  (note: the Israelites used tambourines and cymbals)  While there may be nothing wrong with any of these and other instruments for music, the methods, intent or purpose of their specific use is not always reverential.  The saxophone, clarinet, trombone and trumpet contribute extensively to jazz and “soul” music, and the piano has long been used for revelry in saloons, but can these and others not be used honorably to express adoration from one’s heart to the King of Glory?  Some choose to conduct worship without any instruments, deeming them inappropriate to a church setting, but adherents spend the rest of the week listening to all manner of spiritually unprofitable garbage on their radios, mp3s, ipods or whatever.  (There is little benefit holding strict guidelines in church and then indulging in all types of worldliness and carnality the rest of the week.)  Other assemblies, in an effort to avoid any self-glorifying displays of emotion, as stodgy clods of clay, sit rigidly in their places with almost no expression or enthusiasm in their worship services.  Somewhere in this mix of extreme methods and opinions is a proper, God-approved means of approaching His throne and honorably blessing His holiness.  It is just as easy for an individual (or an assembly) to get in the flesh as it is to quench the moving of the Spirit – in either case, the presence and blessing of God becomes unwelcome.  Paul said, “That no flesh should glory in his presence” (I Cor. 1:29), and warns us with these words: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).  When we lose the blessing of the Lord, we may also give a false or bad testimony to unbelievers who may be in attendance.  Is the Lord blessed with our times of assembly, or is He grieved?

        Professionally trained singers, musicians and dancers can enhance worship (provided they are also born-again Christians), but it is also easy for any of these to replace the moving of the Spirit by their professionally developed talents rather than following the move of the Spirit in an assembly.  However, without musical training and practice, any of these could contribute to chaos and distraction instead of blessing God with their abilities.  A church may have a wonderful choir, talented musicians, and skilled dancers, but if these are used for show, or indulging the fleshly carnal man, they will miss the attendance of heavenly beings in their service.  Worshipers must worship Him from their hearts, with their spirits in tune with the Holy Spirit.  While the pastor and the song leader are responsible for the direction of the service, all must be sensitive and responsive to the leading of God’s Spirit.  When any aspect of the worship service is going amiss, the problem must be corrected.  Paul said, “Let everything be done decently and in order” (I Cor. 14:40).  Solomon said,  “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Eccl. 3:1,4).  There are times for shouting to the Lord in victory and triumph, there are times to clap and leap for joy, and there are times to quietly and calmly bask in the wonderfully satisfying glory of God.  If we do not truly enter into God’s presence, all our efforts of worship are wasted and may only be an exercise in carnality.  We want to honor God with our hearts, time, talents and beings, not dishonor Him.  Reverence, holiness and awe are too often replaced with casualness, carnality and fun.  If we do not please God in our gatherings, what have we benefited?

 

 

 

BROTHER RANDALL WALTON

        Several of our readers have written asking about the health and welfare of Brother Randall Walton.  Brother Randall turned ninety–one last month and has served God for most of his life.  He was saved in California at the age of fourteen and went as a teenager to Kentucky to minister there with a group of missionaries.  He had a tremendous gift in music and played the guitar, so he was a great asset to the ministry there with his musical abilities and he worked in both the spiritual and physical labors wherever he was needed.  When the war broke out, he was drafted into the army and was sent to France where he drove a tank.  A few years after the war, the pastor, Harry Miller, under whose ministry he was saved, began a ministry in Alabama and invited Brother Randall and his family to be a part of that work.  Brother Randall moved to Alabama and for several years during the summer months, he along with other members of People of the Living God held tent meetings in several of the southern states.  In the late fifties, the church began a move to New Orleans and Brother Randall moved also, laboring there in ministry and teaching music in a private school.  In 1975, he took the pastorate of People of the Living God and held that position until January, 2012.  He also was the editor of the Testimony of Truth, in which he wrote many articles, both of warning to the church and also teaching truth from God’s Word.  However, about three years ago, Brother Randall began to show signs of aging, and it was later determined that he had the beginnings of Alzheimer’s.  In January, 2012, with his three children and their spouses present, he told them that he could no longer carry the responsibilities he had carried for the past 36 years.  He asked that others assume his responsibilities and appointed certain ones he felt should assume those tasks.  He did desire to retain the Testimony of Truth ministry, which he did until June of the same year.  At that time he relinquished that responsibility also because he could no longer carry it.

        All of the members of People of the Living God greatly feel the loss of this brother’s ministry and his encouragement, but we also know that God is sovereign and makes all things work for good.  Brother Randall’s wife is still caring for him, and his three children check on him daily, caring for any needs he has.  Physically, Brother Randall is in very good health for someone his age.  The members of People of the Living God and Brother Randall’s family do greatly appreciate each one who has shown concern and also appreciate all the prayers sent up to the throne of God in his behalf.

        We pray that God will continue to bless this brother and his wife and also all those to whom he has ministered throughout his life.  May God richly bless each one.

 

 

THE LORD’S DAY

Alfred King

        “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.  I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” (Rev. 1:9-10).

        The Apostle John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day when he began to receive revelations concerning future events, which were given for God’s people, especially for those living in the time when much of these revelations would transpire.  What we want to consider today is not the prophecies of the book of Revelation, but this one statement which John writes telling us the day in which he received these revelations; it was “The Lord’s Day.”  Most evangelical Christians today believe and teach that the Lord’s day is the first day of the week, Sunday.  They claim that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week and this designated the first day as the day of the Lord, being the day of His resurrection.  It is not the purpose of this article to deal with the day of the resurrection specifically, although it will be mentioned briefly because it is involved in our study of The Lord’s Day.

        It is a very well known fact that Israel observed the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord.  The Jews have continued to observe the seventh day to the present time.  The question all Christians need to ask themselves is: When was the Sabbath changed from the seventh day to the first?  Where is it found in scripture that God changed the day?  To say that the Sabbath was changed just because Jesus is claimed to have risen on the first day of the week does not give reason to change the Sabbath, when God Himself established that day for His people.  If there is no clear instruction in the New Testament that the day is changed, then no man has the right or power to change what God declared to be His day.  So, let’s see what scripture says about the Lord’s day.

        Let’s begin where the Sabbath was first instituted, Genesis 2:1-3, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 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.” (emphasis mine) Very clearly God, not man nor Moses nor Israel, established and set apart the seventh day by placing His blessing upon it.  This was over 2000 years before the law was given on Mount Sinai.  Some have questioned whether the Sabbath was observed by the men of God before Israel was brought out of Egypt.  There is no record of anyone observing the Sabbath during this time, but there are a couple of scriptures that indicate that it was observed.  After the Israelites left Egypt, they were a few months traveling before they came to Mount Sinai, at which time Moses received the law.  On their journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai, they were given manna to eat.  In Exodus 16, we have the record of God supplying the manna and the instructions regarding gathering it daily.  They were to gather just enough for their family’s daily requirements and no more.  If they gathered more than that, it would breed worms.  However, on the sixth day they were to gather twice as much so they would not have to gather on the Sabbath day, and God showed His respect to His Day by keeping the manna from breeding worms over the Sabbath, and He honored and sanctified His Day by not supplying manna on that day.  This took place before they arrived at Mount Sinai, where the law was given.  Before the law of Moses was given, Israel was instructed to observe the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord. 

        The second indication that the Sabbath was observed before Sinai is within the Sabbath command itself.  Exodus 20:8-11: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”  (emphasis mine) The first word in this command is “Remember”.  It is clear that Israel, while in slavery in Egypt, were not allowed to observe a day of rest.  They had been there 400 years and even if they knew about the Sabbath, to observe it was impossible.  This is born out when Pharaoh refused to allow Israel to go into the wilderness and offer sacrifice to God (Ex. 5:1-9).  Pharaoh refused to allow them to go and then placed a greater burden of work upon them.  When Moses received the Ten Commandments at Sinai, God wrote, with His finger, “Remember” because the truth of this command and the blessings associated with it were, no doubt, forgotten by the Israelites.  Remember then shows that it was observed by faithful men before Israel went down into Egypt.

        The last part of this fourth command says, “For in six days the Lord made heaven, and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.”  We see another indication that God had not forgotten that He rested, blessed and sanctified the seventh day.  It was still very clear in His mind and His will concerning it was not altered.  The debate that there are no recorded cases where the Sabbath was observed during this time in history is extremely weak in light of the evidence that we have considered.

        Since we are considering the Lord’s day specifically, we need to look into scripture, which is the foundation of all that true Christians believe and teach, to find what day scripture calls, “The Lord’s Day.”  We have already seen which day God sanctified and blessed, but let’s consider Isaiah 58:13: “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.” (emphasis mine)  It cannot be thought that “the Sabbath” mentioned in this verse, which is called by God, “my holy day”, to be the first day of the week.  All Israelites (and heathen too for that matter) knew exactly what day God was referring to when He spoke these words through the prophet Isaiah; it was the seventh day.  But in this verse, God specifically declares that His day is the seventh day, not any other day.  As a rather poor example: I was born on August 20th and it happened to be a Saturday at 1:00 pm.  That can never be changed; it is established forever.  I may not like that date for some reason and I may go and tell people that I wasn’t born on that date and anyone who didn’t know better would believe me.  But a lie doesn’t change the truth.  I cannot change the day I was born.  Likewise, God blessed and sanctified the seventh day and that fact cannot be changed.  Today we live in a world where people don’t want the truth because it may require them to change their life-style and they are comfortable where they are.  I am reminded of a family who was watching a favorite show on the television when their house caught on fire.  They didn’t want to hear that their house was on fire because they would miss the climax of their show.  It was said the firemen had to go in and physically remove them.  Surely Christians are not that foolish.  When the book they profess to stand on reveals truth, they will readily accept it and change, won’t they???  As strange as it may seem, some won’t.

        But let us also see what the New Testament says about which day is the Lord’s Day.  Turn in your Bible to Mark 2 and read verses 28 & 29.  “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”  Who then is Lord of the Sabbath day?  According to Jesus, He is.  Then common reason, along with scriptures already mentioned, the Sabbath is the Lord’s day.  All those who heard Jesus’ words in this account, had no question of which day He was referring to.  All understood it was the seventh day.

        One other scripture from the words of Jesus relative to the Sabbath is found in Matthew 24:20.  The 24th chapter of Matthew is the record of Jesus answering the question concerning the destruction of the temple and events preceding His return.  He warns those living in Jerusalem that they will need to flee when they see certain signs of impending judgment.  In verse 20, Jesus instructs them how to pray.  “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day.”  The destruction of Jerusalem occurred in 70 AD, almost forty years after Jesus spoke these words.  If the Sabbath was changed, Jesus never mentioned it or gave any indication that He was referring to some day other than the seventh day Sabbath.  The disciples all understood perfectly of which day He was speaking.

        But some will say, “There are three times in the New Testament where Christians gathered together on the first day of the week.  This is true.  They may have gathered in a mid-week service, but that doesn’t change the Sabbath.  There are many more times in the New Testament where believers met on Sabbath than three.  Some of these, of course, are found in the four gospels, but there are many gatherings of believers in the book of Acts as well, and these Sabbath gatherings are mentioned more than three times.  But some will say that these were just because that’s when the Jews gathered in the synagogues and believers just went there too.  Most of the believers mentioned in Acts were Gentiles, and it is they who gathered on the Sabbath.  (Following is a list of scriptures in Acts where believers came together on the Sabbath day.)  Some were in the synagogues (Acts 13:14).  But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down (Acts 13:42-44).  And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.  Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.  And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God (Acts 16:13).  And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither (Acts 17:2).  And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures (Acts 18:4).  And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

        To think that three times out-weighs these five is to forsake Paul’s words of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15).  It also seems odd that when Paul gathered with the Gentiles on the Sabbath, that he never mentioned, even one time, that believers should begin observing the first day of the week.  Scripture is strangely silent on any change in one of the Ten Commandments, commandments written with the finger of God.  You would think if God was going to change one command that He wrote specifically for those who love Him, He would make it clear and state it so all believers would know, but nowhere do we find this change in scripture.  We find the change in the Catholic Church, with the Pope issuing the change.  Following are some records of church leaders acknowledging the change.

        “Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun.” Edict of March 7, 321 A.D. Corpus Juris Civilis Cod. lib. 3, tit. 12, Lex. 3.

        This law was declared by Constantine and was the beginning of the official observance of Sunday. Notice Constantine’s own words giving honor to Sun worship: “the venerable day of the sun”.

        Another quote from The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic doctrine. Third edition, pg. 50.

“We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea, transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”

        Methodist: “The reason we observe the first day instead of the seventh is based on no positive command.  One will search the Scriptures in vain for the authority for changing from the seventh day to the first.”  Clovis G. Chappell,  The Rules For Living, Pg 61

        Baptist: “There is nothing in Scripture that requires us to keep Sunday rather than Saturday as a holy day.” Christianity Today, Nov. 5, 1976

        Episcopal: “the Bible commandment says on the seventh day thou shalt rest.  That is Saturday.  Nowhere in the Bible is it laid down that worship should be done on Sunday.”  Philip Carrington, Toronto Daily Star. Oct. 26,1949

        It is evident that even protestant professors recognize that Sunday observance does not come to us from scripture.  Consider the following account of questions and answers in some of the Catholic Catechism.

        Question: Have you any other way of proving that the (Catholic) Church has power to institute festivals of precept?

          Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionist agree with her; she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”  A Doctrinal Catechism, by Rev. Stephen Keenan, p. 174.

        Question: What day was the Sabbath?

          Answer: Saturday

          Question: Who changed it?

          Answer: The Catholic Church.

        From Rev. Dr. Butler’s Catechism, Revised, p. 57

        “It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred this rest to Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord. Thus the observance of Sunday by Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the (Catholic) Church.” Plain Talk About the Protestantism of Today by Mgr. Segur, p. 213

        In the Auxsburg Confession, art. XXVIII (Luther) we find this written:

        “They (the Catholics) allege the Sabbath changed into Sunday, the Lord’s day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it appears; neither is there any example more boasted of than the changing of the Sabbath day. Great, say they, is the power and authority of the church, since it dispensed with one of the ten commandments.”

        This and more can be authenticated by taking a little time and searching the internet or at any public library.  Most knowledgeable ministers already know this, but it is not generally shared with their congregations.

        To address the resurrection just briefly we need to read all the statements from our Lord Himself.  The following scriptures speak of Jesus being raised the “third day”: Matt. 16:21, 17:23, 20:19, Mk. 9:31, 10:34, Lk. 9:22, 18:33, 24:7.

        Matt. 12:40: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

        Mark 8:31: And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

        These verses declare three things.

1. Jesus would be in the grave three days and three nights.

2. Jesus would be raised on the third day.

3. Jesus would be resurrected after three days.

        All these statements must be correct.  There is only one way they can all be true.  To be crucified on Friday afternoon and to be resurrected Sunday morning could fulfill being raised the third day but could not fulfill “after three days”.  So this theory is definitely false.  But taking Mathew’s account according to the King James Version, from the 28th chapter and verse one, we find that it was “in the end of the Sabbath” when Mary and the other Mary went to the tomb.  There was an earthquake and the angel appeared and told the two women that Jesus was not there, He was risen.  This was in the end of the Sabbath.  If we just go back three days and three nights, we find Jesus was crucified on Wednesday.  He died around 3:00 in the afternoon.  This fulfills all the prophecies concerning the time He would be in the grave.  It was three days and three nights, bringing us to Saturday around 3:00 in the afternoon.  It was “after three days” because Jesus was resurrected after 3:00 but before sunset.  And it was also the third day.  However, the fact that Jesus rose on Sabbath afternoon does not make Saturday the Sabbath.  God made the seventh day the Sabbath and He never gives any indication in scripture that Jesus being resurrected on the seventh day had or has any bearing on the Sabbath.  All this business about the Sabbath being changed because Jesus rose on the first day of the week, is just so much smoke from the pit blinding the eyes of those who don’t want to face the truth.  “Let God be true but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).

        In conclusion, let’s briefly address the three accounts when Christians did meet on the first day of the week.  The first account where the disciples were gathered on the first day of the week is found in John 20:19: “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”  The disciples were gathered because they were afraid, not because they were assembling for worship or fellowship.  No reason to change the Sabbath found here.

        The next place an assembly took place on the first day of the week is found in Acts 20:7: “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech unto midnight.”  This verse, on the surface, seems to indicate that they met on the first day of the week.  There are many explanations as to why this gathering began on Sabbath and continued over unto the first day, and those reasons may be debatable.  But let’s just suppose that this gathering was on the first day of the week.  Paul was getting ready to depart the next day and he had a special service before he left.  This might have happened on any day of the week but it would not change the Lord’s Sabbath.  If he had planned to leave on Tuesday and had a service on Monday, would that make Monday the new Sabbath?  There is no legitimate reason to change the Sabbath from this text.

        The third place where it is claimed there was a gathering of Christians is found in I Cor. 16:2: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”  If you look in this account, you will see that Christians in Jerusalem were in need because of persecution.  Paul was instructing the church at Corinth to collect aid for the believers in Jerusalem, and he desired that they would get it all together before he came so he could see that it got to Jerusalem.  This was not a worship service at all but a collection of supplies for the needy in Jerusalem.  Again, no reason to change the Sabbath.

        History shows that the Catholic Church changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first.  Most Protestants have been deceived and have embraced the wrong day.  The deception is bad enough, but when pastors and ministers know the truth and refuse to preach it, this is even worse than the deception.  We all have been deceived at one time or another about something, but when we hear the truth, we should see where and how we have been deceived, turn and begin to walk in truth.  May God lead us all into His wonderful truths so we may truly be free.  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32).