People of The Living God

I Corinthians 13

 

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January 2016



 

 

 

 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

IN GOD WE TRUST

Curtis Dickinson

        Throughout the nation we have forgotten what it means to trust in God, and instead we seek solutions to our ills through all kinds of human systems – secular education, government agencies, governmental regulations, high technology, psychiatry and psychology, military power, and economic manipulation

        Few churches seem to trust God’s method of drawing people to Himself through the truth and the power of the Gospel.  If attendance at the service is low and members are not being added each week, a new and bigger program is proposed.

        In a great number of churches, the emphasis is not on the simplicity of the Gospel and the teachings of Christ, but on psychology and counseling.

        The big issue with many Christians today is government.  To any alert citizen it is obvious that society is crumbling, that our nation is being invaded by barbarians from every side and that we are bankrupt – financially, socially and morally.  No longer does our citizenry, including the lawmakers, have the moral fiber to hold to the constitution, and the younger generation, along with millions of immigrants, does not even understand the basic principles of that constitution.  We have traded responsibilities for rights and duties for desires.

        Christians are looking to politicians and political solutions, in spite of the fact that one cannot see on the horizon any political party or national political figure truly aligned with Christ and a God-first agenda.  It is easy to think that the nation can be “saved” by using the means of political power to accomplish Christian goals.  But invariably the power of the politicians becomes the end to be served, rather than the means to a just end.

        The truth is that we cannot put our trust in government or any other human power.  Throughout history, nations have traveled down this road to their destruction, and we haven’t much farther to go in this direction until the disintegration of our own America becomes visible to all.

        It is time for Christians to focus on the kingdom of God and to put our trust in Christ the King.  Jesus emphasized that to be His true disciple one must renounce dependence upon the world.  If our form of government and our freedom are to be saved, it will be by the power of Christ, who has all authority, and only when we turn from worshipping the idols of the state to trusting our lives and future to the Lord.

        What we have today is a great portion of the nation who claim to believe in God but not many who believe God.  It is one thing to believe God exists, and quite another to believe that His word is the absolute truth and trust Him to keep it in spite of all obvious obstacles.

        Such trust means that we accept God’s definition of sin and recognize His justice in condemning it.  Yet among Christians are a vast number who refuse to recognize that sin exists and who say that to identify anything as sin is being judgmental.

        Religious leaders, supported by the media, are challenging their churches to erase that part of scriptures that identifies the sin of homosexuality, as it offends too many people in this age of permissiveness.  God’s law can no longer be trusted to describe what is right and best, rather denominational assemblies trust in the vote of its membership.  In effect, they are saying, “What God calls sin is no longer to be considered as such in this enlightened age.  We must stop considering a person sinful just because he violates God’s laws.  Instead, we must accept such a person and show him our love and respect for the very reason that he chooses a different lifestyle.”  The same attitude is demonstrated with regard to the wholesale killing of the unborn, sexual activity outside of marriage, and many other practices forbidden by God.

        If we cannot trust God to give us commandments that rightly govern our relationships here, how can we trust Him to do right in judgment?  If we cannot believe the life He wants us to live now, how can we believe in the life eternal?

        In the early days of our nation the children were educated in Christian schools, but when public schools were created with tax money, people began to trust their children to the state.  Many excuses are given for choosing government schools: the children need to learn how to interact with society; they can witness for Christ in the public schools; they will be able to participate in social activities.  But a high school teacher told me just recently that in her class there are six young people on probation and five pregnant girls.  That’s social interaction, government style.  And how many Christian pupils actually “witness” for Christ in the school?  Do they speak up when evolution is being presented, and do they refuse to sit through sex-education presentations where the discussion denigrates their faith and insults their moral values?

        In spite of the many Christian teachers involved, public schools are the major channels of propaganda for secular humanism and are the humanist’s strong arm for the destruction of Christian morals and the free enterprise system which is the basis for our economy.  It is admitted even by the educators themselves that a large percentage of those who go through the system come out illiterate.

        It is time that Christians recognize the evil of the humanistic culture and take a stand to see that their children are taught the truth of Christ and His commandments.  Bold action requires courage, and that courage is derived from trust in God.

        Throughout our nation there is a frantic striving for security, which results in greed and corruption.  Trust in God abolishes this goal of security.  Instead we can “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” knowing that the necessities of life will be supplied.  This is the promise of Jesus.  Trust Him.

        Many are gripped with a bundle of fears, fear of a total economic collapse and fear of a New World Order which embraces a new religion that excludes the truth of Jesus.  All of this may very well happen.  But it should not cause fear in the heart of one whose “life is hid with Christ in God.”  Whatever direction the world powers take, we are still in the hands of One who has authority over them.

        What we are called to do here in the beginning of the twenty-first century is to testify to the world in word and deed that we are part of a kingdom not of this world and that we are going a different direction and to a different destiny.

        One reason we so often fail at this is the lack of trust.  We take action only when we are assured of the exact results.  To abandon present ties and walk by faith into the uncertain future is foolishness to the world, but it is the way of trust.  The future belongs to God, so Jesus said, “Be not therefore anxious for the morrow.”  The anxiety will diminish in ratio to the increase of our trust.

        Do not think I am suggesting that we cease our labors to help our neighbor, our community and our nation.  But the present government is humanistic and anti-Christ, and for these reasons it must be under God’s judgment.  It has become “a god unto itself and determines for itself what is right and what is wrong, what is virtue and what is sin.”  Jesus prayed that we not be identified with the world, and Paul wrote that Christ died “that he might deliver us out of this present evil world.”

        We are called to uphold God’s truth and righteousness in every facet of life.  Such service to God and our fellowman does not depend on government and, in fact, must be performed in spite of and, if necessary, in opposition to government.  This requires the kind of faith and trust exemplified by the apostles when the officials forbade them to teach in the name of Jesus.  They answered, “We must obey God rather than men,” even though they had already been imprisoned twice for defying those in power.  It is only when we are willing to fully trust God with our whole lives that we are able to be obedient in the face of fierce and powerful opposition.  Such trust can become a light to those in the world’s dark misery.

        It is not by our effort or ability but by our faith that we are brought into fellowship with God.  Neither sickness, suffering, hardship, nor persecution can stop the process by which God conforms His children to His own image.  He is able to accomplish it all after the counsel of His own will.

        “For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.”  In God we trust.

 

 

 

 

YOU, CHRISTIAN, HAVE A WORK TO DO

Harry Miller

        “Letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month…and to take the spoil of them for a prey” (Esther 3:13).

        This sounds like a decree that Stalin or Hitler might have made, but actually it occurred about twenty-five hundred years ago in the land of the Medes and the Persians.

        These Jews were God’s people.  It is true that they were in exile, being punished for the sins of their fathers.  They were bearing the reproaches of men because as a “house,” or family, they were in need for corrective punishment.  The God of heaven had for many centuries borne with this stubborn and rebellious people, until, as the prophets said: “There was no remedy.”

        In the eyes of heaven the Lord of Glory could not continue to bless a people who were absolute apostates.  Since His people are His witnesses their lives are a constant testimony to all the world.  If their lives testified a lie, and the Lord continued to bless and favor them, then the nations would have reason to be confounded.  To bless some in their sins is to become a partaker with them of their sins.  This the God of Glory will not do.  The God of heaven never blessed any man, or people, in their sins.  The law of God says that “the wages of sin is death.”  This applies to any human being in any age.

        The Jews are no exception to the demands of eternal justice.  These people had broken the laws of their Lord; they were reaping what they had sown.  In the great capital of Shushan, thousands of Hebrews suddenly became aware that God’s heritage are pilgrims and strangers in the earth.  They began to mourn.  Men and women openly wept in the streets.  Sobbing turned to bitter wailing.  The devout put on sackcloth, and began to cry unto the Lord.

        “O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations…for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God” (Dan. 9:18,19).  (An example of effective approach to the “throne of grace.”)

        And so these people were forced by circumstances to earnestly seek the Lord.  Impending calamity caused them to seek God in TRUTH.  All sham and hypocrisy were laid aside; mock religion had no place in this issue.  This was a time for heart searching and sincerity.  The many frivolities of human life were suddenly cast aside as men and women in desperation prepared their hearts before their Maker.  A mass of people were about to die – their blood and the blood of their children was to run in the gutters.  Very often it takes desperate situations to compel people to be sincere and truthful.

        So many people love the world of their own creation.  In their make-believe-world they walk about posing as God’s own.  Hypocrisy is an old, old practice of the human race.  But in the day of judgment these shallow, childish attitudes are hastily cast aside for the stark naked truth.  It is then that men confess their true state.  Abhorring what they see in themselves they very often make extravagant promises for future heart devotion in exchange for the immediate help of the Great God.

        Here it is that the “grace of God” is made manifest.  “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa. 55:7).  The Jews of Shushan had hope in the Lord, but like every creature that seeks Him, their own consciences told them that the special mercy of the Lord was conditional.  That condition they were now ready to meet.

        Upon such a platform the Creator is ready in all ages to shew Himself strong in behalf of any of His creatures.  The king of Persia had made an unalterable decree; there was no retracting even if there had been a supreme court of appeal.  No man could now help them.  Here was an impossible situation for the “arm of flesh,” but God, who knows the end from the beginning, is more than equal for any and every situation.

        Long before this terrible day, the Lord had foreseen this calamity and had prepared a way of escape.  Right in the king’s palace was the instrument of deliverance.  Not a prince, or a mighty ruler, but a little Jewish woman.  Not a woman to be compared with the intellectuals of our day, neither one who had been raised in a king’s court, but a sheltered soul whose uncle had raised her and taught her the fear of God.

        For any Jew to appeal to the king meant that he must surmount almost impossible barriers.  Few Jews there were who had passed the outer gates of the king’s court, and no man, whether Jew, or Gentile, layman, or prince, would presume to appear before the king without a special invitation.  The law of the land which was immutable stated that any person who would presume to come before his sovereign without a special invitation would be subject to die unless the king’s favor of immunity was granted to such a bold person.  Since kings of that day were almost absolute monarchs, it would be the height of folly for anyone to presume upon the mercy of the sovereign.

        Esther, the youthful maiden whom the Lord had made a chosen vessel, also trembled before the awful power of the king.  Her uncle, Mordecai, had told her that the hour had come for her work and ministry to begin.  She it was who would now stand in the breach and bring deliverance to her people.  But Esther feared the wrath of the King, and in weakness she tried to comfort her uncle; she sent him new garments to exchange for the sackcloth he wore.

        Mordecai was not a man to weep for himself, neither were his sackcloth and prayers for his own deliverance.  He was one of those souls that God has set as watchmen in every age, so he was not daunted by Esther’s weakness.  His stern warning was sent back by his niece’s messenger: “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.” (Take note of this man’s faith in God) “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13,14).

        With this warning ringing in her ears, Esther fasted and prayed; then she solemnly went before the king where her petition was heard and her request was granted.  Thus her people were saved.  “He that loseth his life for my sake and the Gospel’s, the same shall find it” (Mark 8:34).

        This woman was an important cog in a wheel.  Had she failed, a strain would have been put upon the other “cogs in the wheel,” But the wheel would still have turned.

        There are many people today who shrink from the call to the work of Jesus Christ.  They think that the work of the kingdom of Christ is for the professional people: trained ministers, and graduate missionaries.  The commands of Christ have been too lightly considered by present-day Christians.  Do you know that every Christian has a very specific and definite call to the ministry?  I do not mean that they are all called to preach.  There are many other ways of ministering, besides preaching.  The twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew teaches that Christian service is imperative.  It is a prime requisite for receiving the commendation of the Lord.  Even the reward of eternal life rests upon faithful service (Matt. 25:41-46).

        Many think that since they are not especially qualified for a public ministry, they have no personal call to the work of the Lord.  Such people are often satisfied church members, giving a little tithe, and a little of their time, to the church.  This, they think, is sufficient.  But not according to the words of our Lord and the apostles.  Christians are called to “present their bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).  They are definitely told not to live the rest of their days to the lusts of men, but to live for the Lord (II Cor. 5:15; I Peter 4:1,2).

        Paul, a great New Testament teacher, said, “Be ye followers of me…as I teach everywhere in every church” (I Cor. 4:16,17).  If you will follow in the footsteps of Paul, you will surely know a real life of service and devotion.

        We are living in the “last days,” and the coming of the Lord Jesus is near at hand.  Who knows, my friend, it may be that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.  We are His witnesses; what are YOU doing with your talents, your life?  Are you one of the many who give the Lord a tithe and spend nine tenths upon themselves?  Does God get the crumbs in your life?

        Do you realize that apostasy, infidelity, and wickedness, are fast engulfing our nation?  What are you doing to stem the tide?  Do you contribute to the sources that are corrupting our children, our youth?  Modern instruments of communication: the radio, movies, T.V., “funny books,” all could be used for the great benefit of the whole human race.  But instead, man has permitted the powers of evil to deliver much that is corrupt and of evil influence through these channels – and to our children these things have become a far greater menace than the four horsemen of Revelation six.

        The salt of the earth should NOW have savor.  If we are to prove to the world that we are Christians we must prove it NOW, by acts, not by holding a mere philosophy, or system, of belief.  As true followers of Jesus Christ, let us hold up the banners of truth and exalt the standards of righteousness.  Let us make an active campaign against the forces of corruption by all-out, complete, devotion to the cause of Christ.

        The time for Christians to build Christian communities and schools is at hand.  Let every person who calls himself a child of God come forth to complete Christian service.  In saving others, my friend, you will save your own self also, for if you continue to serve self while the rest of the world crumbles, “Think not within thyself that thou shalt escape.”

 

 

 

 

KENOSIS

Alfred King

        Questions concerning the deity of Jesus when He came to earth have often puzzled many people.  There are some that teach that Jesus had two natures, one deity and the other human.  Others teach that Jesus laid aside His deity completely.  When we approach a subject such as this we must realize that there are many things about God that we just cannot fully grasp with our human minds.  However, with some studying and research, we can in many cases understand certain aspects of heavenly things.  Most, if not all of us, cannot fully comprehend everything contained in the book of Revelation but we understanding and absorb some of the truths revealed to John, while he was on the isle of Patmos.  Yet to say we understand everything contained the book of Revelation is like saying we perfectly understand how Jesus came as both God and man.  It’s doubtful that anyone fully knows how Jesus’ deity and His human nature were merged together.  However, since it has been brought to our attention recently by one of our readers, we would like to present what little understanding we have and what we believe to be in keeping with scripture as well as that which glorifies both Jesus and the Father and reveals God’s wisdom in the salvation of man. One thing is certain, the idea that Jesus had two natures is just not true and neither is the theory that Jesus laid aside His deity. 

        Wikipedia defines Kenosis: “In Christian theology, kenosis (Greek: κένωσις, kénōsis, lit. emptiness) is the 'self-emptying' of one's own will and becoming entirely receptive to God's divine will.”  The teaching of some is that Jesus “emptied Himself” of His deity, which in consequence would mean He was not God during His earthly sojourn.  The primary scripture used in the theology of “Kenosis” is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippines, chapter 2 verses 6-8.  “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  The phrase we want to examine is “made Himself of no reputation”.  The Greek word translated “made of no reputation” is ‘kenoo’ and is used four times in the New Testament.  They are Phil. 2:7 (made of no reputation), Rom. 4:14 (is made void), I Cor. 1:17 (should be made of none effect), and I Cor. 9:15 (should make void).  If we use these definitions in place of ‘made of no reputation’, we can get a better grasp of the truth.  Christ’s divinity was made of none effect and was made void.  Delving deeper, the root word of ‘kenoo’ is ‘kenon’.  Kenon is used four times in the four Gospels and translated in each verse “empty”.  These verses are: Mk. 12:3, Lk. 1:53, Lk. 20:10, 11.  Kenon is used in Acts and the epistles 14 times and in every verse is translated “vain”.  Vain means useless, worthless, ineffective, futile, etc.  So whatever divinity He may have retained was not used while He was here on earth.  What purity of heart He possessed came through His being born of God, His Father.  Jesus demonstrated this by His constant communion with His Father.  In His constant fellowship with His Father, He could say the works that I do are not mine, they are the Father’s.  The words that I speak are not mine but God’s.  John 12:49-50 “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.  And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”  John 5:17 “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”  John 9:4 “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”  John 17:4 “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” 

        So while on earth He did not operate in the power of His divinity, rather He lived with the nature incurred through his mother Mary.  In the four gospels, Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of God five times but Son of man appears over eighty times in the four books.  Were there times when He would operate in His deity?  He allowed some to worship Him.  He claimed to be the Son of God, therefore declaring Himself to be deity.  In these cases, He clearly accepts the fact that His deity was retained, even while He walked as a man.  However, we see that He also forgave sins, He healed the sick, raised the dead, calm storms and walked on water.  Jesus clearly stated that the miracles He performed were not of Himself, rather it was His Father that did the works as referenced in the paragraph above.  We see then that Jesus “emptied Himself” or did not use His heavenly power but lived as you and I do.  That brings us to the crux of this topic.

A Look at Adam

        The basic question here is: “How did Jesus’ deity and humanity merge into the man, Jesus?”  It is the conviction of this author that Jesus came to earth just as Adam did except that Jesus was not created as Adam was, He existed from eternity.  Considering the creation of Adam gives us a better understanding of Christ’s deity and humanity.  Adam, when created was sinless, he did not have a sinful nature.  Genesis 1:27 reads, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  Four verses further down, verse 31 scripture states, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”  Adam was “very good” before the fall for he was created in the image of God.  Adam’s temptation to sin was not like ours is today for he was created in the likeness of God and in that image he was sinless, he did not have the proclivity to sin.  We might better understand this through an example.  Do you have any tendency to rob a bank?  Do you have any desire to kill someone?  I would say that neither you nor I have any inclination to perform either of these deeds.  And it’s not just because we are saved because even before we were saved we probably didn’t even consider doing those things; most people don’t.  But there are other things that we did have the proclivity for that are sinful and even after we are saved we still have certain unholy desires that we must curb.  There are some areas of our lives in which we can easily be tempted; maybe such things as worldly possessions or certain lusts of our flesh.  It may be we have a tendency to complain and gripe about things.  It may be we have an appetite for reading and read things that we know are not wholesome.  In some of these areas we can be tempted and can easily fall.  So in these spheres we must be extremely careful and watchful that we not fall into things that hinder our walk with God.  While we have no inclination to steal or kill, we do have other areas where we can be easily tempted and in which we can fall short.  This is how I look at Adam, he had no area at all in which he had the appetite for sin, just as we have no appetite to kill.  He was perfect as he was originally created.  However, he was not incorruptible.  Though he was sinless and had no leaning toward sin, yet lacking incorruptibility, it was possible for him to be tempted and to fall.  Just as Lucifer was perfect in the day he was created, yet becoming proud, sin entered his heart and he sinned, in like manner Adam, being tempted by the serpent, allowed sin to enter his heart and he disobeyed God’s one command. 

        Understanding Adam’s original state helps us understand Jesus and His life.  As far as giving up His deity or “emptying Himself” is concerned, Jesus set aside His divine power, or He did not avail Himself of that power, He lived as the Son of man.  It was not in the sense that He was no longer God but that He laid aside His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence while He was here on earth, and He emptied Himself of His own will.  He learned obedience by the things He suffered (Heb. 5:8).  In the garden He prayed, “Not my will but thine be done” (Lk. 22:42). When Jesus said that no man or angel or even Himself knew the day of His return, He is very clearly stating that He laid aside His omniscience.  It is the opinion of this author that He now knows the day but He did not while in His humanity.  Although He laid aside those attributes which make God God, He was still God choosing freely to lay them aside temporarily for the task that was at hand, that task being to make salvation available for all men.  So Jesus, our second Adam was free to make choices and at the same time free of the sinful nature, just as was our first Adam.  The great difference in Jesus and Adam (relative to this topic) is that Jesus did not succumb to the temptations of the serpent.  Jesus, when tempted by Satan in the wilderness, did not give over to the temptation: Adam did give over to temptation, Jesus stood upon God’s word and resisted the tempter. 

God cannot be tempted

        This brings up another question: Could Jesus as God be tempted since scripture states that God cannot be tempted with evil? (James 1:13)  If Jesus could not be tempted then the temptation in the wilderness was a farce.  It also makes void the scripture found in Heb. 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”  If Jesus could not be tempted because He was (and is) God, then He was not tempted in all points as we.  Since He was tempted we must conclude that He laid aside something of His deity.  Jesus faced temptations that no other man has ever faced and certainly much greater temptations than Adam experienced.  The onslaught of hell against Jesus was more than any man has every experienced.  Every weapon hell had in its arsenal was used against Jesus.  Yet Jesus chose not to sin and determined to maintain His sinless nature.  Unlike Adam, He refused to allow sin to destroy His pure and holy nature.  While He kept sin at bay, it was not that it was impossible for Him to do so.  He had the choice and He chose to honor His Father rather than succumb to the lies of the devil.  The greatest temptation Christ faced was when He faced the cross.  It was not the physical death and accompanying pain that caused Him to recoil from this final hour but rather that He, Who knew no sin would have heaped upon Him the sins of the world.  Sin was an anathema to Him, something He had chosen since His birth to have no part of and yet now in His infinite love for mankind, He would carry their sins and iniquities and in consequence, His Father would turn away and God’s wrath against sin would fall upon Him.  What anguish of soul must He have felt as He prayed in the garden and sweat as it were great drops of blood.  Yet scripture informs us, “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” (Isa 53:11).  Jesus made the way that those who believe will one day be His glorious bride and He will be satisfied.

Did Jesus have an advantage?

        That written above, while answering a few questions at the same time raises more questions.  Where does this leave man today?  If Jesus had an advantage by not being born with a sinful nature, then how can He call us to walk in the path He walked, striving for holiness and spiritual maturity?  We lack the powerful advantage which He possessed, the advantage of having God as His Father.  Let’s try to address this thought.  First let’s consider John the Baptist.  We know from scripture that John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb.  Luke 1:15, “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.”  John was ordained for a special ministry which necessitated a special enduement of power and it was given him through the infilling of the Holy Spirit at his birth.  Jesus also had the Holy Spirit in a measure which was inherited through the virgin birth, God being His father.  With that advantage, He had a power not known to those of us born of sinful parents.  He did not possess a sinful nature.  Jesus was the Son of God as well as the son of man.  The crux of this issue concerning the advantages He possessed rests in the fact that when a man is born again, he receives the same power of the Holy Spirit that John the Baptist possessed and the same help and aid that Jesus possessed. Receiving the Holy Spirit is one of the great blessings of being born of God.  Those who are truly saved are given the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the power through which they can be overcomers.  Every born-again man, woman or child has the power to be an overcomer through the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit abiding and working within him.  He is now a child of God just as Jesus was the Son of God “wherefore He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:11).  This is a most wonderful thought and should give us great confidence, for what God has called us unto can be obtained as we, like Paul “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).  The commissioning of the Holy Spirit to live within man’s heart is a tremendous blessing that unfortunately most Christians don’t realize.  Jesus said it was expedient that He go away for if He did not go the Comforter would not come.  His departure by way of the cross made it possible for the power of God to dwell in human hearts in order to empower them to overcome the sinful nature.  Oh the glorious privilege, honor and blessing we have received through the entrance of the Holy Spirit.  The gift of the Holy Spirit with His power to overcome sin is the grace that is so often made to be a mere cloak for sin.  Man has disgraced God’s grace.

        God has called us to be like Christ Jesus but He has not called us to do something He has not equipped us to do.  If I were told to remove a transmission from a car and install a new one but I was given no tools to accomplish the job, I would be required to do something impossible.  But if I were given the proper tools and the instructions, then I could perform the task.  So God has called us to a task, which without the tools and know-how is impossible.  However, He has provided everything one needs to walk with Him perfectly.  He first offered Himself as a sin sacrifice taking away the penalty which we deserve, forgiving us for every sin ever committed and remembering those sins no longer.  He then lived the life before us as our Example.  He left us His word as the textbook for accomplishing what He has called us to do, and lastly, He sent the Holy Spirit to live within us to instruct (using the textbook) and empower and enable us to walk above sin in an evil world.  Everything we need has been delivered unto us through the death of Jesus Christ.  Did Jesus have an advantage over us?  The law states in Luke 12:48b, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”.  More was required of Jesus than of any man, consequently He was provided with the necessary tools to fulfil His divine calling.  Any advantage Jesus possessed does not release man from the obligation to strive with absolute confidence that he can be conformed to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.  Not that man will ever be God but that He can put on the divine nature or the characteristics of God.  As he obtains godliness, all sin becomes abhorrent in his eyes, his whole being recoils and is repulsed by even the thought of sin. 

Holy Spirit power is for today

        Rex Rouis in his article, “Jesus Gave up His Superpowers” wrote, By what power did He accomplish His mighty miracles?  We know that the source of His power was the power of God, but by what authority did He wield it, as the Son of God – God Himself, equal with the Father?  The answer to this question will determine much about what you believe concerning whether miracles are possible today and whether we also have access to this same miracle working power.

        If our view of Christ’s deity leads us to forsake miracle working power today, I would have to believe our deductions are incorrect.  Jesus gave authority and power to His disciples, a power and authority that was not only for them but for them also which should believe on Him through their word.  Peter stated, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39)  Jesus also stated that greater miracles than He performed would be done by His disciples.  The teaching that Jesus did not lay aside His power seems to lay a foundation that permits a weak and superficial Christianity.  It gives Jesus special abilities that are not given to His followers and therefore His call to men is unattainable since we do not have the same power He had.  If we are called to be conformed to the nature of Christ, we must have the power that enables us to come to that state; that power is in the Holy Spirit. 

In Conclusion

        One thing we must always remember in our search for truth and to know God more intimately is that our natural understanding, our fleshly mind cannot comprehend God.  To understand God even remotely comes as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to us.  Human cogitations will lead us around in circles and debate, arguments and division are the result.  Who can truly comprehend God?  God is infinite and even in heaven His glories will be continually expanding, they will be new every morning and we will be ever learning of His majesty, His wonder, His omniscience and omnipotence.  No wonder then that no man can see God and live.  As Christians we must not be divided over things that we are so limited in understanding.  I have written this article with a certain trepidation and caution for I don’t want in any way to take away from the majesty, honor and glory of Jesus Christ, our Lord and King and my desire is that He might appear more glorious in the eyes of those who read these things.  Yet concerning doctrines, I believe God’s people are divided over too many non-essential doctrines (by non-essential, I mean not essential to one’s salvation), and yet at the same time I believe that every false doctrine has some element of danger contained therein.  It is a kink in the armor which allows Satan to get his foot in the door and through which other serious doctrines can enter, some which have damaging effects and in many cases, eternal consequences.  This is where it appears to me that the idea of Jesus having two natures could lead.  It places man in the place where he cannot overcome so he must just live a superficial “Christianity” because he doesn’t have the nature nor the advantage Jesus possessed and therefore is only required to possess a shallow and superficial faith, a very dangerous teaching indeed.  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15) 

 

 

 

 

 “WHAT IS TRUTH?”

James Sanderson

        As Jesus stood in Pilate's judgment hall before His crucifixion, the Roman magistrate posed a vital question that philosophers throughout the ages have sought to answer, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).  Unfortunately, Pilate did not wait for an answer.  Truth is definitely a scarce commodity.  Many study and search all their lives unable to discover the answer to this important question.  The Apostle Paul aptly wrote, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7).  The Word of God has much to say about truth: the pursuit of truth, the source of truth, the value of truth.

        A love for truth is an absolute requisite for anyone who would pursue truth.  The biblical accounts of the crucifixion reveal that Pilate had little interest in truth.  Many are like Pilate.  Truth eludes them because they lack a love for truth.  The Apostle Paul writes about those who “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (II Thess. 2:10).  Such individuals do not believe the truth because they find “pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:12).  A love for truth and a love for righteousness go hand in hand.

        The Scriptures also admonish, “Buy the truth, and sell it not” (Prov. 23:23).  In other words, there is price attached to truth.  Those who sincerely love truth are willing to embrace truth no matter what the cost may be.  Jesus relates a parable of a merchant who was in the business of buying and selling pearls.  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matt. 13:45-46).  Truth is that “pearl of great price.”

The Source Of Truth

        In order to find truth, one must go to the very source of truth.  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).  Christ is the embodiment of truth.  Truth emanates from Him.  He is the creator and sustainer of life both in this realm and in the one to come.  The pursuit of Christ is fundamental to the pursuit of truth.  “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).  Christ is the fountain of all truth.  When a man rejects Christ, he is rejecting truth.  He demonstrates that he has no love for truth.

        The Apostle Paul wrote, “The truth is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21).  In writing about this particular verse, Vine states, “The meaning is not merely ethical truth, but truth in all its fullness and scope, as embodied in Him.  He was the perfect expression of the truth” (Vine's Expository Dictionary, page 1182).  Christ is the door to all truth.  If a man will not come to Christ, he will never find truth.

        The ecclesiastical leaders of Christ's day had no interest in truth.  Their only concern was the outward display of religious practice.  Jesus declared, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:39-40).  Truth came and dwelt among them, yet they were unable to recognize His true identity.

The Value Of Truth

        “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6).  God has little use for mere head knowledge.  The accumulation of biblical facts has never saved a soul or produced a lasting change in the life.  For truth to fulfill its purpose in the life, it must find its way into the heart of man.  There in the heart under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit, truth will accomplish a mighty work.

        Truth is not always pleasant.  It lays bare the soul and exposes the true condition of the human heart.  In His prayer to the Father, Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John17:17).  Truth is a vital agent in the process of sanctification.  A major purpose of the advent of the Holy Spirit was the revelation of truth to the believer.  Jesus declared, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).  It is quite noteworthy from this verse of Scripture that God does not force truth upon us.  He is not coercive.  As we willingly yield ourselves to Him, He reveals a greater measure of truth.  Truth in the inward parts cleanses the life and sets it apart for the service of God.  In his second epistle to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul reinforced these words of Jesus, “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (II Thess. 2:13).  As the believer embraces truth through the anointing of the Spirit of God, his life will begin to reflect those qualities of character pleasing to God.

        Truth is also a liberating agent.  Jesus stated, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).  Thayer states that this phrase make free has to do with being liberated “from another's control” (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, page 204).  In this discourse, Jesus continues, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:34-36).  Man apart from God is under the dominion and bondage of sin.  Sin controls his life.  Truth, through the power of the Spirit of God, has the ability to free the sinner from the shackles of sin.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Cor. 3:17).  Thayer, in his definition of this word liberty, states that this is “freedom from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we do by the free impulse of the soul what the will of God requires” (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, page 204).  The good news of the gospel is that man, having been freed from the tyranny of sin, can now live a life pleasing to God.  Truth plays a vital role in this liberating process.

        Finally, truth is a weapon.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14).  Lies are fought with truth.  In his discourse with the scribes and Pharisees of His day, Jesus stated, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).  There is no truth in Satan.  Satan's greatest weapon against the people of God is the lie.  Truth will dispel the lies of Satan.  Those who arm themselves with truth will have the power to withstand all the “wiles of the devil.”

Walk In Truth

        “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (III John 4).  Truth has little value unless it affects the life.  Even the devil believes in God; nevertheless, that truth has had no effect upon his character.  God expects truth to effect changes in the life.  If truth does not produce spiritual fruit, it is of little value.  James writes, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).  Mental assent to truth is not sufficient in God's eyes.  Those who pay lip-service to truth are only deceiving themselves.  Jesus Himself stated, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).  Those who merely say, “Lord, Lord” have deceived themselves into believing that all is right with God.  James calls them “forgetful hearers” (James 1:25).  The Apostle John also wrote, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).  God expects His followers not only to acknowledge truth but also to walk in truth.

 

 

 

 

MARKED OR SEALED?

Lorraine Scullin

        Jesus spoke some of the most significant words of His entire ministry during the last few days He was with His disciples.  Significant, because these words refer specifically to our day.  Four times in Matthew 24, He warns: “TAKE HEED that no man deceive (Greek: mislead) you” (verses 4,5,11,24).  His implication is clear that MANY would be deceived.

        How can this be, when our means of communication reaches the farthest outposts of civilization?  When more periodicals, books, and even Bibles are printed today than in any previous period of time?  When religious matter passes through our mail terminals in tons daily?

        Something of a most unusual nature has had to occur that would blind people so that they could not discern the fraudulent from the genuine.  The heartbreaking tragedy is that many of God’s sheep are likewise caught in the traps of delusion of this last day, “for as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-36).  NONE shall escape the impact of deception.

        John, in Revelation 9:1, says, “I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.”  (Jesus’ own words in Luke 10:18 agree with John’s statement; He Himself, also, saw Satan, a fallen star, cast into the earth.)  “And he (the star that fell) opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit” (Rev. 9:2).  Let no man think that this pit is yet to be opened.  The key has already been used, and as a result, a smoke screen of tremendous proportions is filling the earth.

        “Satan…shall go out to deceive the nations” by means of the smoke (Rev. 20:7,8).  It is a “cover-up” for the enemy’s movements; smoke blinds, affecting the vision of people.  “The sun and the air…darkened” refers to man’s normal environment wherein he can see and reason.  His world has been drastically influenced by the violent social, civil, and economic upheavals of our time, by the general moral decay prevalent throughout the civilized world, and by the spirit of lawlessness that pervades our institutions.  Standards are gone that once held together a stable society.  The cry of many is: NO MORE RESTRICTIONS, LAWS, OR OFFICERS TO ENFORCE THE RULES!  (They would destroy the very cohesive that makes our civilization function.)  All of these changes have helped to produce the smoke that distorts the perceptions of people so that even the natural and normal things are blurred.  The norm, or standard of values, has undergone a change, IN THE SMOKE.  Art that is twisted and bizarre is now the accepted pattern through the power of the smoke.  Corrupt communication through T.V., current magazines, and books is the format of hell to defile the minds of young and old alike; these have added to the SMOG that contaminates the thought-life of many.

        “And there came out of the smoke LOCUSTS upon the earth” (Rev. 9:3), evil powers to help finish the work of deception.  These evil spirits were given power to hurt men – ALL except a certain class of people.  “And it was commanded them that they should…hurt…only those men which have NOT the SEAL OF GOD in their FOREHEADS” (Rev. 9:4).

        In this end time all men will bear either the beast’s mark or the seal of the living God (Rev. 13:16,17; 7:1-3; 9:4).  There is no middle ground, for there are only two categories of individuals before God.  As a matter of fact, there have always been just these two classifications of men: (1) those who do His will by obeying what He says and (2) those who disregard His will by ignoring what He commands.

        In the Scriptures a mark and a seal are both used to designate a particular class in such a way as to distinguish it from all others.  In the usual sense, both a mark and a seal are thought of as exterior or surface identifications.  However, the word “mark,” in the Greek, comes from the same root word as “character,” signifying something imprinted, engraved, or etched within the individual.  This indicates that a process has been involved, so that in time a clearly distinguishable pattern of behavior develops, and finally emerges from within the person.  In this last day the character of both classes of people will stand revealed, for “every man’s work shall be made manifest…because it shall be revealed by fire” (I Cor. 3:13).

        Those who are finally identified by the mark of the beast are individuals in whom the carnal nature rules – where the beast nature is in control.  Whatever a man, be he religious or not, practices daily, year after year, that he becomes.  If he walks in the flesh, he serves the flesh and the powers who rule this world (Eph. 2:2; Luke 4:5-8).  He is marked by a love of “this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4), where “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” dominate him (I John 2:15-17).  These drives affect his actions; they influence his thought life.  They stamp his character as irrevocably and indelibly as the actual mark that he will receive in his forehead, or in his hand, at the very close of time (Rev. 13:16; 14:9).

        It is not enough in these hazardous days of the end that men know something about the power of God, or have some experience in being led of God, for many men have had such a walk, and yet have lost their way.  This was true of Samson.  The Spirit of God moved him to do miraculous works (Judges 14:5,6,19; 15:15), and yet he was essentially a man of the flesh who let his carnal desires destroy him.  In the end, he was both physically and spiritually blind, knowing NOT that the Spirit of God had departed from him (Judges 16:20).

        Balaam was a very gifted person in the knowledge of the Spirit of God (and other spirits).  He had the gift of prophecy, among other ministries, and was given understanding of events yet to come (Num. 24:15-19).  However, greed ruled this man, for he “loved the wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:15), and he used his supernatural gifts for personal reward (Jude 11).  This man was marked by the beast’s brand; though Balaam bore no outward identification, yet his life testified where his thoughts were, and where his heart was.  “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21).

        There was another man who was distinguished by a very different kind of mark.  Though Jacob had made mistakes in his youth, he loved and feared God, and had placed great value on those things God had bestowed upon the families in Israel.  His brother, however, lightly esteemed these blessings of the Spirit of God, for he was a man of fleshly appetites, “minding earthly things,” whose belly was his god (Phil. 3:19).  Therefore, to Esau, the dish of “red pottage” (Gen. 25:29-34), had more appeal than “the prize of the high calling of God” (Phil. 3:14).  Jacob, aware of Esau’s wrath because of the stolen birthright, sought strength for the coming ordeal, as he wrestled in his desperation, with a heavenly being all night.  Jacob refused to let him go until he received the blessing he so desired.  This heavenly being touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh which put it out of joint.  In the eyes of the world, he was a cripple from then on, but with God, he was a prince, whose mind and affections were set on the things of God.  He was a marked man physically and spiritually, bearing a certain identification in his body as well as in his mind – testifying that he valued eternal treasure more than the trifles of earth.

        Cornelius was a devout man who “feared God with all his house” (so effective had been his testimony!), and who “gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway” (Acts 10:1,2).  Only a man whose mind is set “upon things above” has this kind of devotion to the Lord.  He was told by the angel who was sent to answer his prayer: “Thy prayers and thine alms (his works) are come up for a memorial before God” (Acts 10:2-48).  Such a person is identified as one who belongs in the company of the sealed ones of Revelation 7:1-8 and Ephesians 4:30, whose minds have been transformed by obedience to the word of God and to the work of the Spirit of God.

        There was another individual whose works testified that she is also a member of this company of the sealed ones.  During a supper given in Jesus’ honor, she came with an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on His head and His feet.  To Mary’s accusers Jesus said, “Let her alone…She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying…Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached…this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her” (Mark 14:3-9).  Her heart was filled with love for her Lord, and her works proved that her affections were set upon Him.

        Which shall it be?  MARKED by the Beast? or SEALED by the Holy Spirit?  You, my friend, are making crucial decisions today that shall determine your state in the perilous time ahead when all men shall be identified by their works.

 

 

 

 

A TEACHABLE SPIRIT

Mary Woodard

        A person who has a teachable spirit is one who does not have a “closed” mind: one who is willing to learn something beyond that which he has already learned: one who is ever searching for new truth.

        It is especially important that one have a teachable spirit in the spiritual realm.  The Holy Spirit of God, who is the teacher and guide of the Christian (John 14:26; John 16:13; I John 2:27) is continually unveiling and unfolding the beautiful mysteries of the kingdom of God to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, to those who have a teachable spirit.

        As we near the end of this present age and the Holy Spirit is bringing forth new revelation which has been hidden until this time, it behooves us to keep an open mind and heart in order that the Holy Spirit will show us “things to come” (John 16:13).  Certain things are only revealed at God’s appointed time.  God told Daniel, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9).

        Many make the mistake of thinking that just because something has not been revealed unto them as truth, it is either false or not relevant for today.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There is much false doctrine, to be sure, and much misinterpretation of the Scriptures.  This is because many have not received the love of the truth that they might be saved and God has sent them strong delusion that they should believe a lie (II Thess. 2:10,11); or because they are trying to figure out what the Scriptures mean with the carnal mind instead of letting the Holy Spirit interpret it to them; or because they have put too much emphasis on one particular portion of Scripture and neglected others equally important.

        “If any man will do (desires to do-Amp.) his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God” (John 7:17).  As we are willing to do God’s will, as we hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matt. 5:6), as we ask, seek, and knock (Matt. 7:7,8), God reveals His eternal truths and mysteries to us individually according to His will and purpose for our lives and in His own time and way.

        If we are earnest seekers after the truth and prayerfully study God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will teach us as we are able to bear it.  The apostle Paul had to feed some with milk and not with meat, because they were not able to bear the strong meat of the Word as they were yet carnal (I Cor. 3:1-3).  The writer of Hebrews said that strong meat belongs to them that are of full age (Heb. 5:14), or those who are spiritually mature.  In other words, what we understand of the things of God depends upon where we are spiritually.  It is a waste of time to seek for experiences or truths for which we are not spiritually prepared and ready to receive.  It is far better to seek the Giver of all good gifts, and let the gifts come as God wills that they should.

        Before one becomes a Christian, the Bible has only a historical interest to that one.  He may read it diligently, but its message remains closed to him.  This is because the natural (Nonspiritual) man receives not the things of the Spirit of God.  For the most part, they are foolishness to him because they can only be discerned by the spiritual man (I Cor. 2:14).  It takes a spiritual mind to receive spiritual truths, and to have a spiritual mind one must have the Spirit of Christ.  Once one has been born into the kingdom of God through the new birth (John 3:3-7) and receives the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), the Spirit can begin to reveal unto him some of the hidden mysteries of the Word.

        Of course, one can become “stunted” in one’s spiritual growth at any time should one fail to walk in obedience to the Word which has already been enlightened to him; close his mind to further light; or quit seeking the Lord in prayer, fasting, and searching of the Scriptures.  This is what many have done.  However, when one is willing to go beyond that which his natural reasoning comprehends or beyond that which his organization or denomination teaches, he has a teachable spirit and is ready to receive new truths from the Holy Spirit.

        Oh, there are so many precious experiences with God, and one should not attempt to limit them!  There is one in particular, however, which has an important bearing upon our subject.  There is a question which the apostle Paul asked certain of the disciples and which I should like to ask certain of you: “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” (Acts 19:2).  These disciples frankly confessed that “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” (same verse).  I am afraid there are many in this position today.  If you are one of them, I pray that you, too, will have an open mind as these disciples did, for when Paul laid his hands on them “the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).

        I speak from my own experience and the experience of many others when I say that after we receive this Pentecostal experience of Acts 2:4, we receive new spiritual truths from the Word that were heretofore hidden to us.  They just seem to “come alive;” we know that miracles, supernatural healings, the gifts of the Spirit – the power of God in action – did not stop at this time or that time, but that they are for the body of Christ today!  Wonderful revelation!  We learn that Jesus is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Heb. 13:8), and that He has not left us comfortless, but that He has come unto us to fill us with Himself and to give us the abundant life which was the purpose of His coming (John 10:10), praise God!

        And why does one shy away from yielding that last little member, the tongue, and allowing it to speak as the Spirit gives utterance (Acts 2:4)?  We do not attempt to persuade you.  If you have a teachable spirit, the Holy Spirit will do this.  We can only witness of the blessing that comes from allowing one’s spirit to pray (I Cor. 14:14,15); from edifying one’s self (I Cor. 14:4), which according to Webster’s dictionary means to build up mentally or morally and to teach and improve, and, oh, how we need this; or just to pray “in the Spirit” simply because we know not what we should pray for as we ought (Rom. 8:26,27) but the Spirit does and makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

        A person who has a teachable spirit will want to be a part of the outpouring of God’s Spirit upon the earth (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28) in order that he will have power to be a witness unto Jesus and in order that he may live a holy, godly, sober, righteous, separated life for the glory of God.

        We must not make the mistake of thinking that we ever “have it all,” as God is progressively revealing His Word and His plans and purposes to those who are willing, open, and ready to receive them.  Many things are hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes (Matt. 11:25).  One may be a “babe” in the natural (or as far as worldly wisdom goes), but may be mature in the things of the spiritual realm, for “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Cor. 2:10).

        We receive the Spirit of Christ when we are saved, then we go on and receive the baptism with which Jesus baptizes us (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16) in order that we may be full of the Spirit of God, and in order that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God (I Cor. 2:12).  Then we are able to walk in the Spirit (Rom. 8:1; Gal. 5:16) and be led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14); Praise God!

        Neither is God limited in His ways of revealing himself, and here again we must keep an open mind, or a teachable spirit; and remember God “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6).