People of The Living God

Romans 8

 

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November 2014



 

 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

Attack On The Church

Alfred King

        The Apostle Paul warns that God will deliver those who do not want to acknowledge God over to a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:28).  Reprobate minds are minds void of common logic and reasonable judgment.  As one radio commentator asked, “Is there any common sense left in America?”  We find more and more in our society that the blind are attempting to lead the blind.  Jesus teaches us very clearly why we see the transition of the society around us in His conversation with Nicodemus.  “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:19–21).  Those who are evil don’t want to see their sins but rather desire to blind themselves so their conscience is not troubled.  The more sin we see in our world, the more people can sin without consciousness of it.  This fact reveals why the world is growing darker and darker and sin is permeating our society.  Men love sin.

        In the October issue of the ToT, the “Watchmen” article revealed how the hatred for Christians is increasing in our world.  The recent event in Houston, Texas, is just another example of this hatred.  The lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, has struck out against the pastors of Houston.  She subpoenaed all the pastors in Houston to hand over their sermons and writings dealing with homosexuality or gender identity.  After major opposition and uprising throughout the country, she amended her subpoena omitting sermons but retained the requirement of all speeches and presentations regarding Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) be subpoenaed.  The subpoenas appear to be in response to HERO, focused on the “Bathroom Bill”.  This bill states that men who feel they are more woman than man, should be able to use the bathroom of their choice.  This way of thinking is absolutely absurd and asinine and is a vivid portrayal of God having given to those who hate truth a reprobate mind.  The more clearly one understands God and His law and the holiness and righteousness of His kingdom, the more ridiculous are the reasonings of carnal men.  The closer a Christian draws to God, the more sin and evil will become exceedingly sinful, for he will see sin as God sees it.  A burden will begin to rise up in his heart and extreme grief over the sin that permeates society.

        The activities in Houston spread rapidly across the country and has produced a great outcry from religious freedom groups.  Even conservative politicians have voiced their disdain of the demands of Annise Parker.  Senator Ted Cruz showed his contempt for the policy in a rally held recently stating, “Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit.”  The great threat to churches is that they can be fined and can lose their tax exemption.  In Houston, most pastors quickly took a stand that they would go to prison before they would give in to the city’s demands.  It’s good to see some ministers bold enough to stand up for God’s law above the laws of the land.  It would be far better for churches to lose their tax exempt status than to lose God’s blessings.

        While this mandate by Houston political leaders will probably be overruled at this time because of the outcry from around the country, it reminds me of other laws that, when first presented, were rejected as unfathomable.  But after a few years they made their way into the American legal system.  Abortion, Legalized marijuana, Adultery, Fornication, Same–sex marriage are just a few issues that only a few years ago would have caused people to rise up in protest, but today are accepted and most think little of it.  Public nudity is becoming popular as more and more skin is exposed by Hollywood stars and models in one’s efforts to out–do another.  And the populous desires to have it so.  Scripture is being fulfilled before our eyes and Jesus’ warnings are coming to pass.  He said, “when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it (His return) is nigh, even at the doors” (Mark 13:29).  Some of the signs Jesus spoke of are seen in what we call “climate change.”  The battle goes on about whether humans are causing this change or not.  The truth is that humans have, because they have sinned and brought God’s judgment upon our land and the world.  It’s not something man can in his wisdom “fix”.  The “fix” is to repent and return to the God of our fathers.  Can this happen?  Yes.  Will it?  Probably not.  Just as it is easier to keep ebola out of our country than it will be to eradicate it once it gets in, so it is much easier to keep sin out of our lives, our homes, our churches, and our country than it is to get it out once it has made its way in.  It is most difficult to eliminate sin once it gains a strong hold in our lives, and the same is true regarding our country.  Unfortunately, sin has moved into our country and we have accepted it as normal.  God is the hope for America and the world.  It’s time that all Christians lay aside many of the mundane things that divide us and unite against a common enemy.  Christians are not the enemy, sin is the enemy of the church.  However, sin was dealt a death–blow when Jesus died on the cross bearing man’s sin, freeing man from the bondage of sin.  The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit has been given to every believer so that he can overcome sin in his own personal life, even in this present evil world.  Don’t believe the lies of the devil that would make you believe that we have to sin just because we are living in an evil environment.  Jesus said that although we are in the world, we are “not of the world” (John 17:14,16), and He proclaimed, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

        The victory is sure; God will finish the work He has begun and will present to Himself a bride, adorned in garments clean and white.  Let us not be weary in well–doing but press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Christ (Phil. 3:14).

 

 

 

AMERICA IN CRISIS

Bro. C.F. Woodard

        The USA is plagued with crime, aids, rock music, divorce, single parent homes (fractured families), drugs, gangs, unmarried sexual relationships, corruption, internal disorder and decay!  A Humanist philosophy has produced a society that cannot distinguish between right and wrong.

        The greatest challenge to our nation is not economic but moral!  A return to the Judeo–Christian ethic, belief in God, or biblical principles alone will not save America!

        The same One who saves individuals is the only One who can save our nation.  Society as a whole will not have the great shepherd.  The Lord Jesus Christ said: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

        By these words, He proclaimed His deity.  Only He who was and is God can save America.  To see Jesus is to see God: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father (John 14:9).

        To obey the words of Jesus is to live; to disobey Him is to die.  This is true of individuals and nations.

        If the world thinks of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is to use His name to curse things or people; they must have some latent idea of the power in His name!

        Much of professing Christianity knows only of the Christ on the cross, an historical Christ who is recorded in the Bible.

        Many know only of the Christ of emotionalism.  His presence is thought to be in signs and wonders and healing of the physical body.

        There is an abiding Christ!  One who dwells within!  He alone can save an individual or a nation.  To know Him is joy unspeakable; to not know Him is “hopeless sorrow.”

        “For Godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly – breeding and ending in death” (II Cor. 7:10 AMP).

        The “hopeless sorrow” of a person or a nation will result in “Death!”

        Our people are doomed by sex and sin.  Sports have become their God.  Education without a knowledge of a resurrected Savior is incomplete.

        America can only be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ.  AMEN

 

 

 

LET US PRAY

Mary C. Woodard

        One of the most talked–about subjects in Christianity today, and one that is least practiced, is prayer.

        In a meeting recently I asked a group of people how many of them thought they prayed too much.  Everyone laughed.  Of course, it was a rather laughable question since I seriously doubt if anyone prays too much.  Then I asked, “How many of you feel that you don’t pray enough?’  Almost every hand went up.

        Why do we not pray enough?  I suspect it is because so many are caught up in secular and worldly activities and minds are not stayed upon our Lord.

        Some speak of “coming into the presence of God.”  I submit to you that we are ALWAYS in the presence of God, and He should ALWAYS be foremost in our minds.  Since “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7), certainly we should seek after the spiritual mind.  A spiritual mind will produce spiritual thoughts and prayers.

        The same Bible that tells us “we have the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:16) also tells us “let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).  We have a responsibility here.  Our minds, which have been regenerated through the new birth, need to be constantly renewed by the Holy Ghost.  We are to “put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man…and be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Eph. 4:22,23).  Then we are ready to “seek those thing which are above” (Col. 3:1) and become effective in our prayers.

        What is prayer?  Prayer can be nothing more than a ritual, or it can be a spiritual communion with God through our Mediator and Intercessor, Jesus Christ.  I like to think about prayer as a conversation between a Father and his child.  We do not need to be shy whether we are alone or in the presence of others:

        “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confessions.

        “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

        “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain and find grace to help in time of needs” (Heb. 4:14–16).

        Some feel they must have someone else do their praying for them.  No!  Your prayers are as important to Him as those of anyone else.  “How important are our prayers to Him?”

“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty–four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8).

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16b).  I am sure this is true of groups or churches as well.  When there is prayer, things happen!  The miracle–working power of God is unleashed.  Here are a few examples from the Book of Acts:

        On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell, the disciples and others (about 120, we are told) were “with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14).  A man lame from his mother’s womb was healed (Acts 3:1–8).  Three thousand people were saved through the preaching of Peter (Acts 2:41).  A prayer meeting followed where the place was shaken and all those present were filled (refilled) with the Holy Ghost and proclaimed the Word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).

        As the disciples gave themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4), miracles continued to happen.  Peter was put in prison for preaching the gospel with miracles following.  He was “bound with two chains between two soldiers, and the guards before the door were keeping the prison” (Acts 12:6).  Constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church (vs. 5).  What happened?  An angel of the Lord visited the prison, raised him up and his chains fell off.  The outer gate opened and Peter was free!  Praise God for the POWER OF PRAYER!

        How badly do we want the power of God to work in our individual lives and in our fellowships and churches?  It is up to us.  We can “give ourselves to prayer” and reap the rewards, or we can miss the real blessings of God for ourselves and others that our lives might touch.

        There are social and humanitarian messages being preached in many of our churches.  There is a “spirit of entertainment” and undue emphasis on “fellowship with one another” in others.  Let us bring down the strongholds of Satan through our prayers so that the Lord Jesus Christ will once again have first place in our lives.

        I find it difficult to find words to emphasize the importance of maintaining daily prayer communication with the Lord.  I can only guide you to the Word of God with the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide (John 16:13).

        Too numerous to chronicle here are the many examples of answers to prayer from the Old Testament when God’s people “cried unto the Lord.”  I will close by reminding us of the one with which we are no doubt most familiar and which we need to take very seriously and do it:

        “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (II Chron. 7:14).

LET US PRAY!

 

 

 

AS TIME GOES BY

Randall Walton

        If you were born before D–Day, 1944, you have seen some amazing changes: There was no penicillin, no television, no radar or laser beam, no ballpoint or felt pens; frozen foods, contact lenses, or dishwashers, and clothes dryers were talked about but not yet produced; credit cards, electric blankets, window air conditioners, perma–press and drip–dry clothes were in the future, as well as videos, cassette and CD decks, electric typewriters, word processors, computers, atomic energy, Fax machines, and yogurt.

        It was customary for people to get married and THEN live together.  You never saw a man with an earring or a pony–tail, nor did you ever see two men walking arm–in–arm or holding hands.  Neither did men “come out of” their closets; they hung their clothes in them.  Gay people were those who enjoyed happiness.  And Aids were nurses’ helpers!

        There were no day–care centers, nursing homes, nor instant coffee.  Gasoline could be had for 12 to 18 cents a gallon, and people were content to hold down one job at a time.  Those were the days when coke was “the Pause That Refreshes,” pot was what Mother cooked the beans in, and once a week you MOWED your grass.

        First class mail went for 3 cents, airmail for a nickel, and a penny postcard cost 1 cent.  You could ride a streetcar or bus all day for 5 cents and a few transfers, and a 6 oz. Bottle of coke or a 12 oz. Bottle of Pepsi was only a nickel.  Most daily newspapers were 3 or 4 cents, and a Sunday paper sold for a dime.

        And in their innocence, people thought it was necessary for a couple to be married before having babies!  How times have changed!

 

 

 

THE MARRIAGE SUPPER

Alfred King

        In Matthew 22 Jesus gave us a parable that has tremendous import for those who are living just prior to His return.  As we see many signs of scripture, which have been given us by Christ and the Apostles being fulfilled, it is time for the virgins to awaken and trim their lamps, for the Bridegroom is soon to return.  Matthew 22 contains valuable instructions and warnings in regard to these days in which we live, and therefore we need to seriously consider them and what they mean to us.  Let us therefore look into this parable closely and glean some of the jewels contained therein.

Matt 22:2–14

2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?  And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

        It is important to understand that the word translated “marriage” in this parable (and many other places in the New Testament) does not necessarily refer to the actual wedding but to a wedding feast.  To be most accurate, we must consider the context in which the word is used.  In Matthew 22 it is obviously referring to the feast rather than the marriage, for verse 4 reads, “I have prepared my dinner.”  The Greek word translated dinner is gamos and is defined by Thayer’s Lexicon as “a wedding or marriage–festival.”  Marriage feasts in Bible times generally lasted seven days and preceded the actual wedding.  There are other references to wedding feasts in Jesus’ day which show the aspect of the time element involved; they are found in John 2 and Matthew 25.  In John 2, Jesus attended a marriage feast in Cana where He turned the water into wine.  In Matthew 25, Jesus gave a parable of ten virgins who fell asleep while waiting for the bridegroom to come.  The actual marriage of the Lamb will take place when Jesus returns to receive to Himself His bride, which is the church.  But before His return there must be a feast which precedes the marriage.

        Until the time of the actual wedding, there is always the possibility for the union to be cancelled.  The seriousness of (what we call today) the engagement period was much more important than in today’s society, for it was as though the commitment was already made.  This is seen with Joseph and Mary in Matt. 1:18–20, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost”.  Although not yet wed, Joseph is called her husband.  To put Mary away was a serious decision with grave consequences, and one which could cause great disgrace to Mary, not just because Mary was pregnant, but because a man who had been espoused to her had rejected her.

        An interesting observation we find in Matthew 22 is the bride is not mentioned.  She is not described or identified.  But from other portions of scripture, we can determine who this bride was and who she is.  Let’s consider a few.

        Jer. 3:14: “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:”

        Jer. 31:31–32: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:”

        In both of these verses, God is speaking of national Israel.  Consider a couple more verses:

        Mal. 2:11: “Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.”

        The Lord expresses His love for Judah (Israel) but she has gone after other gods.  She commits spiritual adultery.  Israel and Judah are often termed “adultereress,” for they forsook their God and Husband and served the gods of the heathen.  In the following verse from Isaiah, we get a glimpse of what the New Covenant would produce.  God forsook Israel and sent His invitation (the gospel) to the Gentiles.

        Isa. 54:1: “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.”

        Returning to our parable, certain facts begin to emerge from our passage.  The Jews standing before the Lord and hearing His parable, knew those words were addressed to them specifically.  They were the ones in the parable who had rejected Him.  It was Israel who entreated the messengers and prophets of God spitefully and killed them.  Israel had, throughout the centuries, refused to follow God’s laws and commands.  If we blend Luke’s account of the parable of the marriage feast with Matthew’s, Luke makes a most profound statement regarding those who spurned the invitation of God.  “For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper” (Luke 14:24).  Let the seriousness of those words sink in.  Those who reject the invitation to this marriage supper will have no part in this marriage.  These are sobering words which our Lord speaks to all men of every generation.  But let us who have been grafted into the Vine take heed lest we also be cut off (Rom. 11:21).

        The facts we find presented in this parable are: 1) The parable is speaking of a marriage feast which God has prepared.  2) Israel was the first group invited to this feast.  3) God chose Israel to be His wife and was a husband to her.  4) Israel, as a nation, refused this invitation, mistreated and slew the messengers God sent.  5) God has turned to the Gentiles and invited them to His feast.  (This point is also seen further in that the king sends his servants into the “highways and hedges” and they bring in good and bad [Gentiles] people.)  6) Many Gentiles will come and take part in this feast.

The Parable’s Pertinence For Our Day

        Up to this point in our study, everything is pretty much straightforward and clear.  But its relevance to the 21st century is what is most important for this hour in which we live.  Some teach that this marriage feast is to be kept in heaven and is often coupled with the false teaching of a pre–tribulation rapture.  If one uses this parable in support of the rapture, he misses one of the most important points of the parable.  In the parable, we find that after the good and bad are in attendance, the king comes in to see the guests (verse 11).  He finds a man there who does not have a wedding garment on and addresses the man, “Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?”  It is impossible for anyone to gain access to heaven without having the proper garments, so our conclusion must be that this feast takes place on the earth, before Christ returns to receive His bride.  The man without the proper garment was bound hand and foot and cast out into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Jesus concludes His parable with these words, “for many are called, but few are chosen.”  From this parable those who are chosen have on the proper garments and those who do not will be cast out even if they manage to get to the place where the feast takes place.  To get into the feast alone is no assurance that one will not be rejected when the King comes in.

Why Some Are Rejected

        Taking the parable again from the top, we find that those who were bidden had excuses as to why they could (would) not attend.  Consider these excuses carefully lest we find ourselves falling into the same trap, using similar rationale and reasoning and miss this great and most glorious invitation.  These who made excuses were those who had been given an invitation to attend; they are the “bidden.”  I liken these to those who are saved and received the call to walk with God.  But they “made light of it” (verse 5).  This translation “made light of it,” leaves us missing the truth contained in the Greek word.  The word is to neglect.  This same Greek word means to be careless, unconcerned, or negligent.  It is used in 1 Tim. 4:14, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery”.  Again in Heb. 2:3, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.”  The warning proclaimed by Jesus is that these were not great sinners who gave themselves to the most diabolical acts of evil but were saved.  But they were unconcerned, negligent and careless, and consequently did not have time for God when the invitation to the feast was given.  Many, no doubt, were those whom the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches choked the word and they became unfruitful (Matt. 13:22).  It is so easy, with all the demands we face daily, making a living, providing all the expectations of family life in America and by bombardment of so much entertainment, pleasures and conveniences of this life, not to find time for God’s word and those things it demands.

        Those who will stand before God are “they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14).  There are those who teach that all we need is the blood of Christ to be righteous because we have His righteousness imputed to us.  We must never underestimate the efficacy of the blood of Jesus or diminish its absolute necessity, but we must also realize that the blood only cleanses as we walk in the light as He is in the light (I John 1:7).  The robes of righteousness, which every child of God must put on, is compliance to God’s word.  Read the means by which Jesus says Christians are to be cleansed: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”  (John 15:3)  Paul clearly places importance on the word of God as a cleansing agent: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25–27).  The reason the man was bound hand and foot and cast out?  He was no doubt saved but had not applied the word of God to his life in such a manner as to purge out the sin and the sinful nature.

The Place Of The Wedding Feast

        If this feast to which Jesus invites us is not to be in heaven, where will it be?  It will be here on earth.  When Jesus came into Galilee, He came preaching the kingdom of God and calling for repentance and saying, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).  Jesus taught plainly that His kingdom was not of this world, but it is a kingdom that is within a Christian’s heart (John 18:36 and Luke 17:21 consecutively).  The kingdom is within the heart.  It is here in the heart that Self rules.  The Gospel call is to have Self step down from being the ruler of one’s life and to make Christ King.  Its work is to destroy that destructive work which the fall created and restore those who will allow the cleansing power of the blood and the word to conform them to the likeness of God’s dear Son, Jesus Christ.  We must put “on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14).  “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).

        God will gather His people together, those who have (or are at least striving to) put on Christ before His return.  God will have a people who dwell together in unity and will be an example of Christ–likeness before He returns, for He will receive to Himself a glorious and clean church (Eph. 5:27).  The gathering of God’s people together is crucial, for it is in this unity and togetherness that they will possess the kingdom.  The call to possess the kingdom of God, while it is something working within each believer’s heart, is something that will be entered into and possessed by the church.  Over and over in the prophesies of the Old Testament, God pledged to gather Israel (His people) together and to restore to them all that had been lost.  He swore He would bring them into the promised land.  The promised land of the New Covenant is the Kingdom of God.  That promised land is not present day Palestine, nor is it heaven, but is a spiritual realm where the power and glory of God rests upon His people while still on this earth.  The promises to Jerusalem are not for that Jerusalem in the Mideast where our Lord and Savior was crucified, but the Jerusalem which is above and is the mother of us all.  The promised land is the kingdom that Christ preached.  God promised Daniel that the time would come when the saints would possess the kingdom: “But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Dan. 7:18).

        The marriage feast Jesus spoke of in the parable refers to when the saints possess the kingdom.  This will take place here on earth just prior to Christ’s return.  Revelation 12 tells of the time when Satan is loosed and sets his eyes upon the man–child, which is brought forth by the woman (church).  The man–child is caught up to God and His throne, and the woman flees into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God for her safety.  God is preparing places even today for the protection of His people during the time when the great tribulation comes upon all the earth.  The great tribulation will be one of the many means by which God will drive His people together.  Tribulation causes men to lay aside many of their differences and unite with others for support and to unite against a common enemy.  The devil is not the Christian’s only enemy.  The world is one of the enemies of God and has seduced many believers.  Self is an enemy of God and is the greatest enemy of the New Covenant, because the devil’s works and power were destroyed at the cross and the world has been overcome.  The blood of Jesus cleanses the man who believes, but God’s word, when applied to the believer’s life, is what crucifies self and allows God to set up His throne within the believer’s heart.

It is time to seek God and to hear His voice while there is still time to prepare by following the teachings and commands of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We don’t have to be caught unprepared as the man without the wedding garment or as the five foolish virgins of Matthew 25.  It is a time to be clothed with robes of righteousness and truth.  It is not a time to hide ourselves from our own eyes but to gird on the whole armor of God and be prepared for the days which are ahead.  May God awaken His sleeping bride.

 

 

The purpose of the following article is to show who true Israel is.  God does care and is interested in all nations, Gentile and Jewish, for God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9).  This preface is to assure the reader of God’s love for all and at the same time to clearly express that Israel is not a special people above all other nations and that they have access to heaven through a different means than Gentiles.

ISRAEL?  WHO CARES?

Wayne King

        God is not interested in the Jews.

        God is not interested in that strip of land in the Middle East called Israel.

These opening comments are intended to grab your attention.  After all, it is deemed criminal to assert any form of disrespect against Israel.  Ever since our youth, we have all heard God’s words to Abraham repeated: “I will bless them that bless you (Israel) and curse them that curse you.”  Therefore, we must never say anything derogatory against Israel.

        It seems that every time one turns on Christian radio or T.V., we hear more commentators asserting the fulfillment of scripture as Israel is encompassed on every side by its enemies and is subjected to increased threats against its safety.  History proclaims Israel’s stunning military victories over its enemies in the last several decades.  Jewish people from across the globe are returning to their land – the land of Abraham – seemingly another fulfillment of scripture.  It’s an unchallenged law – world events involving Israel are a measure of God’s end–time clock.

        And why is this?  Why do we consider Israel to be relevant as we near the time of Christ's return?

        There are several reasons, of course.  The book of Revelation, which describes events at the end of time depicts Jews in the middle of all activity.  In Revelation 14, the 144,000 “being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” are made up of the twelve tribes of Israel.

        And then there is the rapture doctrine – the ever popular doctrine that requires that a new group of people replace the departed church.  After all, once the church has been raptured, removed from this earth, the responsibility to stand firm for God in the face of adversity then falls on someone else.  And that someone is Israel and the Jews.  Therefore, the rapture doctrine, out of necessity, proclaims Israel’s coming involvement in global spiritual events.

        It is a certainty.  The sky is blue.  The grass is green.  Israel is God’s time clock.

False Doctrines

There are two reasons why we must state Israel is not God's time clock.

1.     There will be no rapture.  (Numerous articles in this Testimony of Truth publication have proclaimed the rapture doctrine is false.  The saints of God will be here throughout the tribulation).  That fact alone completely changes our understanding of what is to come during the tribulation period.  Yes, the Jews will be here, but so also will all of God’s saints.  The Jewish people can be a part of God’s defeat of Satan, but they must become a part of the body of Christ by accepting Christ as their savior.

2.     Literal, physical Jews are not God's chosen people.  It is important that we understand whom God was referring to when He made His covenant with Abraham.  Let us go back thousands of years and revisit this event.  What appears to be a Biblical certainty concerning Israel may need a closer look.

Our entire understanding of the Jewish question begins in Genesis 12:3 when God told Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” (TLB)  In order to be a part of the special people that God was referring to, we must be a part of those included in the word "you."

Who Are “You”?

        Herein is the basis of understanding for this issue, the implications of which are much more profound than is initially apparent:  Those that are included in the word you are those that would be “of Abraham” or those that would be “like Abraham.”  God’s words to Abraham did not include those that were not like Abraham.  The promise to Abraham’s descendants was conditional.  It applied to some, and not to all.  There were those that were included, and there were those that were excluded.  To this day, God’s promise still applies to some.

        Let us look at the words of Jesus Himself concerning who was “of Abraham.”  In John 8:39, the Jewish scribes and Pharisees stated, “Abraham is our father.”  Their statement was correct.  They were Jewish and part of the long line of descendents directly from Abraham.  However, Jesus rejected their claim in verse 44 by stating, “Ye are of your father the devil.” 

How could that be?

        As far as Jesus was concerned, these Jewish scribes and Pharisees were not of Abraham.  They were not among those that God said he would bless.  In verse 37 Jesus continued, “You are Abraham’s seed, but my word has no place in you.”  In other words, though they were physical Jews, they were not spiritual Jews.  They were, indeed, of the lineage of Abraham, but they lacked Abraham’s faithfulness and trust in God.  Jesus didn’t care that they were physical descendants of Abraham.  He was looking for those that had a relationship with God.

        In order to be of Abraham, a love of God must be present.  Based on this condition, most of Israel at the time of Christ were not Jewish.  They were not like Abraham.

        We now understand that not all Jews are part of the covenant between God and Abraham.

Who Is Jewish?

We have seen that not all descendents of Abraham were believers in God and that Jesus plainly rejected those Jews with no relationship with the Father.

        Can one who is not a physical descendent of Abraham be counted with the spiritual Jews?

        Paul stated in Romans 2:28–29: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

There are two points to make here:

1) One can be a Jew outwardly (physically) but not qualify as a Jew to God.

2) Those that are not Jewish outwardly can, nevertheless, qualify as Jews.

        Paul confirms this in Romans 11:20.  “because of unbelief they (Jews that did not believe) were broken off (from the source of God’s blessing to man), and thou (a non–Jewish believer) standest by faith.”

        When one who is non–Jewish believes on the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation, he is grafted into the root.  He becomes a spiritual Jew.  The root is the source of God's blessing to mankind that was established when Abraham believed God.

        Does a non–Jewish person become physically Jewish?  Not at all.  He becomes a Jew in the spiritual sense.

Taking A Giant Step For Mankind

We will reiterate the facts already established:

1.     Not all physical Jews are of Abraham.

2.     Many non–Jewish people are now of Abraham.

        Therefore, to those that can receive it, consider the next step, the deeper understanding of the Jewish question or the next layer of the onion that is God’s Word:

Galatians 3:7: “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham”.

Romans 4:11: Abraham was “the father of all them that believe.

Because true Christians are “of faith” and are of “them that believe”:

Christians are of Abraham.

Christians are of Jacob (Israel).

Christians are the children of Abraham.

Christians are the children of Israel.

Christians are of the tribes of Israel.

Spiritual Israel is made up of those that are spiritual Jews.

Spiritual Israel is the church.

        Therefore, when we read passages such as Revelation 14:1 and 4 concerning the 144,000 that have become the first fruits unto God and are made up of the twelve tribes of Israel, who is this speaking of?

        It is not speaking of those of Jewish descent.  It is speaking of true Christian believers.

Conclusion

Let us repeat the opening comments.

God is not interested in the Jews.

God is not interested in that strip of land in the Middle East called Israel.

God is, of course, interested in all nations and all people.  But the idea that God will exact special favors on the Jewish people merely because they are descendants of Abraham is false.  Christ’s words to the Pharisees still hold true today to nonbelievers, whether Jewish or not, “You are of your father the devil.”

God’s favor is to all that love Him regardless of nationality.

        It should be pointed out that the opposite is also true.  Satan’s anger is now, and especially will be in the future, towards all that love God and not especially directed towards an unbelieving nation or people.  Revelation 12:12b: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

        Satan is concerned about spiritual Israel, not physical Israel.

 

 

 

LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES

James Sanderson

        “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Cor. 7:1).  Here in this portion of Scripture, the Apostle Paul addresses Christians including himself with a call to a life of purity and holiness before God.  God is looking for a clean people.  “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord” (Isa. 52:11).  When God saved and called us out of a life of sin, He had a distinct goal in mind, the perfection of “holiness in the fear of God.”  The Amplified Bible states it this way, “Therefore, since these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the (reverential) fear of God.”

        This portion of Scripture reveals that the cleansing process is a joint venture between God and the individual believer.  In this second letter to the Corinthians, Paul had just reminded the believers of some wonderful promises given by the Spirit of God, promises of eternal fellowship between God Himself and the believer.  These divine promises are available only to those who willingly cooperate with the Holy Spirit in this cleansing process.  As the Holy Spirit reveals to the believer that which “contaminates and defiles,” it becomes the believer’s responsibility to cleanse himself by utilizing those resources made available by the Lord.

        In order to fully explore this topic of cleansing, one must understand the problem of sin in the human heart, the believer’s obligation to come to grips with that sinful condition, the resources available for this cleansing process, and God’s goal for the believer.  Implicit in this study of the cleansing process is the understanding that God makes a sharp distinction between that which is clean and that which is unclean.  The prophet Ezekiel stated, “And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean (Ezek. 44:23).  Modern society has attempted to blur the lines that God has drawn between what is clean and unclean.  In turn, man often futilely attempts to justify his actions and hide his true condition.  The final authority is the Holy Spirit Himself residing in the believer.  The Holy Spirit will faithfully work with the believer to accomplish this task of cleansing.

The Problem Of Sin

        “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).  The writer is not talking about that organ that pumps blood throughout the body.  The word heart stands for “man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements.  In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life” (Vine’s, page 547).  The heart is the “real you.”  Moral expression emanates from the heart not the head.  The brain is merely an organ that responds to the dictates of the human heart.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “For with the HEART man believeth unto righteousness” (Rom.  10:10).

        God is dealing with the heart.  “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I  Sam. 16:7).  God’s concern is with the spiritual condition of man’s heart.  “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts” (Rev. 2:23).  “Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts” (I Cor. 4:5).

        When the Apostle Paul admonishes believers to cleanse themselves, he is talking about the uncleanness residing in the human heart.  Jesus Himself stated that man is defiled by the things that come from within the heart (Mark 7:15).  What are some of those things?  “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, 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).  When the sinner comes in sincerity to God, repents, seeks forgiveness, and gives his life to the Lord, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses him of sin (I John 1:7–9).  He renounces his old way of life, and he becomes a new creature (that is, a new creation) in Christ Jesus (II Cor. 5:17).  This experience in God is called “the new birth.”  This experience does not eradicate those unclean propensities of the human heart.  The new believer now receives power through the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life to deal with those conditions so that he can live above sin and the desires of the flesh.  Those conditions listed by Jesus no longer have to control his life.  He has victory over them through the work of the Cross and the blood of Jesus Christ.  All the resources of Heaven now become available to the new–found believer to perfect holiness and purity in his life.  As one draws closer to the Lord, he becomes more sensitive to this inner work of the Holy Spirit.

By Divine Command

        The cleansing process is absolutely obligatory if one expects to make it through the pearly gates.  The new birth does not free the individual to do what he wants in life and then make it to heaven.  The new birth frees him from the power of sin so that he can live a clean and holy life in Christ Jesus.  His new life in God allows him the freedom to work with the Holy Spirit in order to come to grips with those areas in his life that do not display the character of Jesus Christ.  “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:3).  Once again, this command is addressed to Christians who have “this hope,” in other words, this expectation.  What is that hope or expectation?  The hope of becoming like Christ in moral purity.

        A number of other scripture references also emphasize the burden that rests on the believer in this quest for moral purity and holiness.  “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Tim. 3:19).  The Apostle Paul continues with this discourse, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour.  If a man purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (I Tim. 3:20–21).  The Greek word for purge means to cleanse thoroughly (Strong’s).

        Another portion of Scripture that emphasizes this same theme is found in the book of Revelation.  “And one of the elders answered saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes?  And whence came they?  And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.  And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:13–14).  This heavenly company of believers that the Apostle John saw had attained this wonderful position in God because they had availed themselves of all the means that God provided and dealt with the impurities of the heart.

By The Word

        “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).  Again in John 17:17, our Lord also prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  The word of God, especially that spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ, has therapeutic value for the soul.  As one applies that word to his life, he begins to experience a cleansing of those things that defile or contaminate the heart.  The word that Jesus spoke is not a magic wand that instantaneously cleanses the believer.  One must both hear and do them for His words to have the desired results (Matt. 7:24).  The Apostle Peter also wrote, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit” (I Peter 1:22).  Purification of the heart occurs only as one steadfastly obeys the word of God.  Without obedience, the word of God will only produce hardness of heart in the individual.  On a number of occasions, our Lord castigated the religious establishment of His day for “making the word of God of none effect” through their traditions (Mark 7:13).  The word of God did not accomplish its designated purpose because they did not apply it to their lives.  They had developed a theology that circumvented any obligation to God’s word.

        Many other Scripture references attest to the value of the word of God in this cleansing process.  The psalmist declared, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7).  God’s law and His word are one in the same.  James speaks of the “engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).  He continues by admonishing his readers, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). The Apostle Paul commends the Thessalonians, ”For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thess. 2:13).

        The Scriptures often liken the word of God to a lamp or light.  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).  “The commandment is a lamp; and the law is light” (Prov. 6:23).  The Apostle John writes, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).  Note that the blood of Christ is efficacious for cleansing only as one walks in the light.  That command to “walk in the light” means to apply the word of God to one’s life.  This portion of Scripture again emphasizes the fact that God has a part and man has a part in this process of cleansing or sanctification of the soul.

The Laver Of Brass

        After God led the Children of Israel out of Egypt into the Wilderness of Sinai, there the Lord gave Moses specific instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness.  This divine structure, made of linen, gold, silver, brass, and wood, would be a mute testimony of the glorious gospel inaugurated by our Lord Jesus Christ.  This whole edifice with all its ornate furnishings was an “example and shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5).  Of specific interest to this study of the cleansing process is the laver of brass.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.  For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations” (Ex. 30:17–21).  One must note that every priest who ministered in any way in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was under divine obligation to cleanse himself before offering sacrifices or before entering the holy place to minister before the Lord.  More specifically, he had to wash his hands and his feet.

There is great significance to the washing of the hands and feet.  Hands represent one’s ministry and feet represent one’s walk.  Under the new covenant, there is no longer a Levitical priesthood.  Every believer is a member of that “holy priesthood“ called “to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:5).  As a priest under the new covenant, each believer has a place of ministry in the body of Christ.  Although there has been a change in the priesthood, God's expectations have not changed.  Every believer must have clean hands and a holy walk before God.  All that “contaminates and defiles” the human heart must be cleansed out.

        Also of significance is the water that filled the laver.  Water was a vital agent in the cleansing process.  The Scriptures often link water with the word of God.  “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:25–26).  The laver of brass gives witness to the tremendous value that God places on the application of the word of God to one’s life in this process of cleansing.

The Goal

        According to the Apostle Paul, the Spirit of the Lord instituted this cleansing process with one goal in mind: the perfection of “holiness in the fear of God.”  A huge expectation?  Yes.  Impossible?  No.  God has set a high standard for His people.  God wants a holy people.  “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44).  The Apostle Paul wrote, “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (I Thess. 4:7).  The Apostle Peter echoed the same theme, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct); Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:15–16).  In the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

        Yes, God’s expectations are high; however, the Scriptures declare that God will have a people who will meet these divine expectations.  The Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).  When this earthly drama has ended, our Lord Jesus Christ will present “to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but” will be “holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27).

 

 

 

GOD HAS A CHOSEN PEOPLE

Harry Miller

        The struggle between the forces of good and evil are fast approaching the final grand climax.  The Creator does not intend that this conflict of spirits continue forever.  Justice demands a day of retribution, a time when the rebels shall be dealt with, and the effects of their iniquity brought to an end.

        For six thousand years, heaven has tolerated the attempts of “principalities and powers” in the heavenly spheres to set at naught the work of the Son of God.  In the days of Noah, these evil forces were almost successful in their attempts to corrupt the whole earth, but one man and his family remained to keep the light burning for God.  Many nations have come and gone since Noah, and God has ever had a remnant who keep His commandments and honor His Name.

        In this end time when “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people” (Isa. 60:2) God still has a representative body who have not bowed the knees to the idols of this world.  There are very definite characteristics that identify the people who truly serve God.  Bear in mind that this is the day in which the sons of God shall be manifest.  The devil and his agents are manifest on every hand; why should not the true people of God be properly represented?  Thank God, they are.

        “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (Jno. 13:35).  Here is a dependable witness, a testimony of the most powerful impact: the true love of saints.  This divine relationship is not like that of a fraternal order, or of neighborly friendship, or even the affection of earthly kinfolk.  Christ Himself defined the kind of love: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (Jno. 13:24).  Here is a quality of love which the hypocrite, the carnal impostor cannot duplicate.  Christ shared all of His blessings with His followers.

        Sharing is the chief characteristic of love – not that we might share the bounties of those who possess, but that we might share the means we have in our hands with those who are without.  Like the Saviour, saints provide for others.  Here, again, we see the operation of a quality of the divine nature that seeks rest in expression.  Love is not a dormant trait of nature; it is an impelling force.

        Many people have thought that the saints of the apostolic church were overzealous and misled when they sold their properties and, sharing with the rest of the saints, “had all things common” (Acts 2:44).  This is what a church full of the Holy Ghost will do; this is the Spirit of Christ in action.  It is a travesty on the work of Christ for a group of people, claiming to love one another, to let the poor of the flock go without the necessities of life.  Many people think that equality will come when we all get to heaven, and in the meantime each one of us can greedily strive for selfish possession in the old rat–race.

        A great many people looking for the “manifestation of the sons of God” expect to see them manifest by great miraculous miracles: signs and wonders.  But heaven is not looking for the people who work signs and wonders; heaven looks for the people who have the fruit of the Spirit.

        The first and great commandment is that we LOVE GOD.  Not that we have a sudden infatuation with God, but that we learn to know Him; and in knowing Him our love grows with intensity and great devotion.  Such love is not impetuous and fickle, as it is often manifested by shallow individuals who have been blessed by an outstanding revelation.  True love has a solid foundation of knowledge; it has unshakable faith and complete reliance in God’s ability to take care of all things.

        Take notice of the relationship between the divine love and the commandments: “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (I Jno. 5:3).  Here we have heaven’s definition of the “love of God.”  “My little children, let us not love in word (in oral testimony), neither in tongue; but in deed (work) and in truth” (love according to “The Book”) (I Jno. 3:18).

        If your faith in God is such that it has made you a satisfied church member, and your devotions to Him are confined to the weekly church services, then you stand among that number who have been deceived; you are a victim of sectism, a soul in peril of eternal damnation.  Church membership cannot save a soul.  The prayers of saints or priests cannot redeem you from the grave.  Your salvation rests in your own hands.  You, as a free moral agent, must determine your own future: “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (I Jno. 2:4).  This is very plain speech, but it is imperative that we OBEY HIM!

        “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I Jno. 2:3).  Many think they know Him.  This is a sad state of affairs; some just hope that they know Him, others assume that they know Him.  All this is error of the worst sort.  We should know that we know.  “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:12).  If a man’s heart is not where it ought to be, it is possible for his “thinker” to deceive him: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)  No man should be presumptuous concerning his relationship with the Almighty.  Millions have been deceived.  We are told that there is one way to be absolutely certain of God’s favor: KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.

        America today is filled with pleasure–loving, professing Christians who are satisfied with some “form of religion” that is but a sop to a troubled conscience and a curse to the soul.  So–called “faith” and “believeism” is the popular philosophy of the hour.  The people of this generation have shut their eyes to the flood of evils about them, and they have cast aside the good old standards of truth and righteousness.  Lying and thievery are common practices among the perverts of our day.  The radio, the motion picture theater, television, internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc. have been inventions for the purpose of communication.  It is an easy matter to see what powers control these avenues to the eye and ear of man.  Moral corruption is fast spreading to the ends of the earth.  It is evident that the day of judgment is near at hand.

        Let no man come to the conclusion that heaven has been outwitted and that the devil has conquered the world – not so.  God has been preparing a choice people, and we have the privilege of living in the time when His church, the true body of Christ, will be manifest to all the world.  “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be Beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel” (Isa. 4:2).

 

 

 

CALL TO SIMPLICITY

Vernon Schroeder

        Selfishness is everywhere.  The craving for “more” has become so common that we hardly notice it.  We live in a consuming, accumulating society.  The cry is “get,” even “take;” and certainly “buy” rather than “share” or “give.”

        The pursuit of affluence is a chase down what Jesus called “the broad way leading to destruction.”  Our mad, rushing, rat–race society brings sickness problems, marriage and family problems, and social and international problems.

        Life has become so complex, so competitive, so ruled by the attitude of keeping up with the Joneses.

        It’s time to take stock.  Do we have to behave as if having possessions, traveling the world, and doing better than other people is everything?

        We do not!  Jesus showed a better way.  It is the way of life discovered by those who have been awakened by God’s Good News and follow it.  It is living in His Kingdom, among brothers and sisters we can trust, strengthened in the Spirit as we dedicate ourselves to a common, worthwhile goal.  In such a fellowship, the way of simplicity is the natural, logical choice.  Love is better than things.

        Transformed by the Word of God, we choose and enjoy an evangelically disciplined fellowship.  How did we ever think that we could be Christian alone?

        To become a people with a sense of purpose, we must build carefully, so that the group can benefit by the insights of each member.  Together we can be empowered to reject the rat race as we encourage one another in joint planning toward more satisfying and achievable goals.

        It will mean changes in food, clothing, furniture, gadgets, cars, housing, and liberation from the consumerist syndrome, the shopping craze.

        It will mean the return of community life – with distribution as the hallmark, rather than accumulation.  Most of us have never experienced the joy of a real, Christian community.  The technological revolution has robbed us of it while the churches were asleep.  Christian cooperation is the way of salvation for individuals and can give us a realistic hope for world peace.

 

 

 

GIVE THANKS

Alfred King

        As we come once again to this special time of the year when most Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, we as Christians are grateful and thankful for our many physical and material blessings, yet our most precious blessings are those found in Christ Jesus.  God’s word speaks of those many blessings bestowed upon His people, for they are precious to Him and He is ever touched by their needs.  God promises those who will keep His commandments and follow His teachings, His continual presence and strength.  He does not promise that His disciples will not endure hardships, but He promises to be with them and bring them through those difficult times.  Consider briefly some of the blessings God has promised to those who love Him.  The Sermon on the Mount gives many blessings for those who will take Jesus’ words to heart.

        Matt, 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  We could read this another way: “Those who will be poor in spirit have God’s blessing, for they will inherit the kingdom of heaven.”  What a tremendous blessing is promised to those who will humble themselves and become as a little child before God.

        Matt. 5:4: “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”  While every man, woman and child find themselves at times in great grief and sorrow, God’s promise to them is His comfort.  Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to be our constant Comforter, who will never leave us no matter in what situation we find ourselves.  There is another aspect to those who mourn, and that is that they mourn over sin they see in their own lives.  To have a clear vision of those sins that seek to destroy one’s walk with God is a true blessing and to grieve over them will cause the honest Christian to seek for complete deliverance from the bondage of those sins.  Those who mourn are blessed in that they are not indifferent to their own sins, nor content to continue in them.

        Matt. 5:5: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”  Those who are meek are blessed of God.  To be meek is to be submissive to God.  Submitting to God puts Him in charge of their lives so that the dictates of the world have no power over them.  God, Who is sovereign, is not only able but does make all things work together for good to them that love God.  How thankful the saved should be when we contemplate these promises.

        Matt. 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”  While hunger and thirst are not pleasant experiences, they do provide motivation for the one plagued by them.  When one has no hunger or thirst for God, other things begin to take precedent over God.  If you, as a Christian, experience the pain of hunger or thirst for God, how blessed you are, for it will cause you to seek Him and in seeking, you will find Him.

        Matt. 5:7: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”  Being merciful is not always easy but it is commanded.  If there is anyone who does not need God’s mercy every day, especially on the day of judgment, then he will not need to be merciful now.  If we want God to be merciful to us, then we must show mercy to others.  We all need to be grateful for God’s mercy.

        Matt. 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”  The greater the purity that exists within our hearts, the more clearly we behold the beauty of Christ, for we are becoming more like Him.  The Apostle John, in his first epistle, speaks of the clarity by which we will see Christ, 1 John 3:2: “but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  How blessed those whose hearts are pure, for they receive the revelation of Christ.

        Matt. 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”  Every saved soul knows the blessings of God’s peace when He came into their lives.  To impart this peace, the salvation provided in Christ to others, is to be a peacemaker.  One song–writer wrote, “I never shall forget that day, when Jesus washed my sins away.”  Those who remember that day will find in that wonderful transformation, a myriad of reasons to be thankful.

        Matt. 5:10: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Can one rejoice and be thankful when suffering persecution?  Those who can are blessed in that they have found in Jesus Christ such a lasting love, joy and peace that even suffering cannot take it away.  Many martyrs have in their dying moments lifted up their voices in praise and thanksgiving to God as their life slipped away.  They will receive a blessed resurrection.

        Matt. 5:11: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”  Jesus said, “If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).  We are in good company if the world hates us.  As hatred of Christians increases in our world, consider yourself blessed that you are accounted worthy to suffer for Christ.  Those who will stand before the throne are those who have come out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

        Matt. 5:12: “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

        So, as we approached this year’s Thanksgiving, let us be thankful and give glory to God for His many blessings.  And although we see our world in turmoil, God’s blessings being restrained because of sin and the world’s rejection of God, yet we have wonderful promises.  God will always be with those who honor Him and follow His teachings to live righteously and in truth in an ungodly world.  God’s blessings rest upon His people.  Thanks be to God.

 

 

 

ABOUT THE COVER

        We’re sure our readers will notice the face of The Testimony of Truth has been changed.  We would like to explain why we have decided to change the cover page and why we have chosen this new picture.  Several years ago the late pastor of People of the Living God and editor of The Testimony of Truth, Randall Walton, had a dream which changed the course of People of the Living God fellowship.  In the dream, the Lord revealed to Brother Walton that judgment was coming upon America.  America had been weighed in the balance and found wanting.  The dream revealed the United States with a sword drawn which stretched from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic and he was given understanding that God’s people were to begin to prepare for this coming judgment.  It was at that time that People of the Living God began their move to Tennessee, to an area in the country where God had instructed them to move.  Since that time, other revelations have been given to members of People of the Living God of this coming judgment.  God warned His people over and over in scripture that judgment would fall on His own people if they turned from His laws and America has departed from the Biblical principles upon which this country was built.  More and more we see around us signs of God’s judgment beginning to fall and Jesus said these are the beginning of sorrows.  It will continue to get worse unless people begin to repent and call upon God to forgive us and return to His pattern and His laws.  To think that God will bless America just because He has for 250 years, does not mean He will continue to do so, especially when America is daily rejecting God and His laws. 

        The Lord promises that out of the chaos and destruction that will come upon the world, He will bring forth His bride, purified through the furnace of affliction.  God is calling His people to come out of her (Babylon: the world system) and enter into His kingdom.  God is calling at this time for His people to begin to gather together to find strength and protection for the days which are ahead.  God is forming His body and they will be made up of those who have made a covenant with Him by sacrifice. 

        We hope this change in the cover page will express more clearly the seriousness of the times in which we live.  May God awaken His people and stir each one to begin to trim their lamps and be a bright light in an ever darkening world.

Judgement of America