People of The Living God

Matthew 24

 

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October 2017



 

 

 

WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS

America Needs God!

James Sanderson

        “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent (unrestrained, Vine), fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Tim. 3:1-5).  No other portion of Scripture so aptly describes twenty-first century American society as this portion does.  In His Mount Olive discourse, describing conditions in these last days, our Lord Jesus Christ stated, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matt. 24:12).  Iniquity, idolatry, and ungodliness permeate American society.  Men have become more enamored with the things that this world has to offer than with a walk with God.  America does not need more shiny cars.  America does not need bigger houses.  America does not need more lucrative careers.  America needs God!

        America is in a state of moral decay.  There was a time when our public schools started the day with the pledge of allegiance, Bible reading, and prayer.  Graduation ceremonies began and ended with prayer by the local clergy.  Young people knew right from wrong.  Moral improprieties were the exception not the rule.  Schools have become change agents bent on turning the minds of our youth away from a biblical worldview.  At least two generations of Americans have been taught that there is no Creator because all life appeared by happenstance.  According to this secular worldview there are no moral absolutes.  Right and wrong are merely a matter of one's personal choice.

        George Barna, a Christian pollster with The American Culture and Faith Institute, released the results of a survey that revealed the percentage of individuals that adhere to a biblical worldview in various age groups.  The results are somewhat shocking.

        Ages 18-29 only 4% held a biblical worldview

        Ages 30-49 only 7% held a biblical worldview

        Ages 50-64 only 15% held a biblical worldview

        Ages 65 and older only 17% held a biblical worldview.

        Speaking of millennials (those 18-29), George Barna stated, “By and large they are not inclined to move toward Christianity.  They're less likely to describe themselves as Christians.  They're less likely to embrace Christ as their Savior, and they're more likely to say they have no kind of faith connection whatsoever.”  He went on to state, “They're much more accepting of lying, they're more accepting of cheating, they're more accepting of abortion and divorce and stealing and pornography.”  Furthermore, “only about a third of born-again Christians in America actually have a biblical worldview” (Steve Jordahl, “Barna Detects Dangerous Breach in the Wall,” March 16, 2017).  It is also of concern that the US Census Bureau reported that those who marked “no religion” on the census more than doubled between 1990 and 2010.

        How long can a nation last when it has turned its back on God?   How long can a nation continue to enjoy its freedoms when it disregards the moral and spiritual principles upon which it was founded and which made it great?  The politicians do not have an answer.  Our judicial system cannot cope with the problem.  Merely placing “In God We Trust” on our currency will only mollify the conscience.

        Belshazzar, the last of the great monarchs of the Babylonian Empire, had assembled his court for a night of revelry and debauchery.  As the party-goers drank from the golden vessels stolen from the temple at Jerusalem and “praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone,” the fingers of a man's hand suddenly appeared and wrote a message on the wall (Dan. 5:3-6).  Daniel, having been summoned by the king, interpreted the message, “God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.  Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (Dan. 5:25-28).  That very night Belshazzar was slain, and his kingdom was given to another.

        Like the Babylonian Empire of old, America has been weighed in the balances of God's word and found wanting.  The only real answer to America's moral dilemma is a renunciation of sin and a return in heartfelt repentance to God.  America needs God!

 

 

 

 

PRAYER AND GOD’S ELECT

Part 15 of a series

Matteo Pacifico

        Church history is replete with the inroads made by heretical doctrines into Christendom.  Nineteenth Century America witnessed the rise of Russelism, Mormonism, 7th Day Adventism, Spiritism, and "Christian Science," which all continue to mightily impact the whole world.  But what is not quite as common is the appearing of congregations professing to be Christian, while at the same time advocating moral anarchy.  It is the emerging of gatherings just like these which should deeply concern the Lord's beloved people and set them to cry mightily to the Lord of Hosts to vindicate His cause in the earth.  Our small town of Danville has a thriving congregation, very Representative of similar congregations springing up all over America, and though the position of this congregation is not stated in exactly these words, their unmistakable appeal is: NOTHING IS CONSIDERED WRONG HERE…NO ONE HAS ANY RIGHT TO INTERFERE WITH YOUR PERSONAL LIFE…IF IT'S ALRIGHT WITH YOU, IT'S ALRIGHT WITH US…GRACE HIDES AND CANCELS ALL SINS…WE WILL NOT DARKEN GOD'S LOVE FOR THE WORLD WITH REFERENCES TO ADULTERY, FORNICATION, COMMON-LAW MARRIAGE OR ANY SEXUAL PREFERENCE OR ORIENTATION…THESE ARE ALL PRIVATE MATTERS, AND WE WILL NOT BRING PEOPLE INTO BONDAGE OVER THEM…WHAT YOU WEAR IS YOUR PRIVATE BUSINESS.  No, such horrid "Turning of the grace of God into lasciviousness" (Jude 4) is not new, but what is new and terribly alarming is the very rapid increase of such congregations and the throngs that are flocking to them.  O what an almost unbelievable "sowing of tares" among the wheat is taking place in the earth!  Of course, this massive apostasy has not taken our God by surprise; indeed, our blessed Lord declared the CAUSE of it:  "BUT WHILE MEN SLEPT, HIS ENEMY CAME AND SOWED TARES AMONG THE WHEAT" (Matt. l3:25).  Sleep, of course, is not the same as death, and yet it does suspend all useful activity, and for a Christian there is no activity so essential to his peace, blessing, safety and fruitfulness as prevailing prayer.  No living soul will ever unite with a religious orgy such as we have in Danville, and yet, how easy it is for our walk with God to be gradually overtaken by some level of spiritual sleep, so that VERY gradually our times of private prayer become shorter and shorter, until perhaps less than l5 minutes of the day is given to this most sacred exercise.  Is it possible for a living soul to be unconsciously conformed to the madly hectic spirit of the age, until there is barely any sign of spiritual life?  Yes, it is.

        How wonderful it is when the Believer regards his private seasons with his God with the same ardent delight as the miser does his gold and silver!  Yes, he rejoices to be able to spread before his gracious Father all the daily concerns and needs of life, but what is far more precious to him is the sublime heart-delight he finds in communion with Him.  This is the silent language of his soul through the day, "O GOD, THOU ART MY GOD; EARLY WILL I SEEK THEE; MY SOUL THIRSTETH FOR THEE, MY FLESH LONGETH FOR THEE IN A DRY AND THIRSTY LAND WHERE NO WATER IS; TO SEE THY POWER AND THY GLORY, SO AS I HAVE SEEN THEE IN THE SANCTUARY…MY SOUL FOLLOWETH HARD AFTER THEE" (Psalm 63:l-2, 8).  Jonathan Edwards stated, "It is the peculiar character of saints that they seek God."  Dear reader, does your heart so pant after God, and have you tasted the incomparable pleasure of heart-communion with Him in prayer?  Blessed are you if you have!  And now, the most important question: Is He still the supreme Delight and Treasure of your life?  If so, you very carefully guard your times with Him.  Concerning Christian stewardship, John Wesley stated, "Our luxuries must give way to others' necessities."  And you apply this principle to your stewardship of time in regard to your prayer-life: I can do without a meal, but not without prayer; I can get by with insufficient sleep, but not without prayer; I don't have to know the latest news, but I must have sufficient time alone with my God; it makes no difference how lawful, harmless and popular among saints the activity may be, if it robs me of my time alone with my God – it must go.  O the beauty of such unfeigned, fervent following after God in prayer!  Precious!  Supremely precious!  But it can slip from us without our hardly noticing it.  Most gracious Lord, surely there is no loss like this.  O do graciously visit our hearts with Thy searching Spirit, and restore what has been lost.  Grant that the sad experience of others may powerfully draw us back to our precious Bethel.

        Could any words be sadder than those spoken of Samson, "He wist not that the Lord had departed from Him" (Judges l6:20)?  True, Lord, Thou didst restore his strength, for Thou art great in mercy, but O, that gradual drifting from Thee did so dishonor Thee, and so deeply ruined Thy servant.  Do graciously impress on us the solemnity of those words, "HE WIST NOT."  See, dear reader, how relentless is our tendency to drift and sleep in our Christian walk: "WHILE THE BRIDEGROOM TARRIED, THEY ALL SLUMBERED AND SLEPT" (Matt. 25:5).  How many sleeping preachers, elders, pastors, deacons and Christians did it take to produce the present tragic state of things in Christendom?  O for that "Midnight cry" to pierce my heart and yours, dear reader, so that all weights, hindrances and lukewarmness may be cast aside, and our "lamp" of testimony may shine again with the ardency of our first love!  Samson "wist not," and the Church of Laodicea "Knew not that they were wretched, miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Rev. 3:l7).  This is a loss which an abundance of this world's goods cannot replace.  It is a great mercy to believe the "doctrines of grace," and defend them, but this can be done without a spark of heart love for, and communion with the precious Christ.  Poor, unstable and unworthy as this writer is, he has no desire to be judgmental, but can anything in this world be more lamentable than a professing Christian who is not to be able to speak of the "Hidden Manna" that his beloved Savior brings to him as they meet together in that "beautiful garden of prayer"?  And as he "sups" with Christ and Christ "sups" with him?  O God of our salvation, we meet so few that can to any degree say,

        I have walked along with Jesus in a fellowship divine.

        Never more with anguish laden, I am His and He is mine.

        I have seen Him, I have felt Him, for He deigns to walk with me,

        And the glory of His Presence shall be mine eternally;

        O the glory of His Presence!  O the beauty of His face!

        I am His and His forever, He has won me by His grace. – selected

        O Lord, how glad we would be to see the whole world adoring Thee, delighting in Thee and earnestly seeking Thee.  But grant that however dark the world scene becomes, we may ever rejoice to hear those words resounding in our hearts, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh. go ye out to meet Him."  May we ever be able to say,

        And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own,

        And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

 

 

 

 

THE DEITY OF JESUS

Alfred King

        As they stand their watch, every Christian watchman knows and sees the sword coming; they fully realize Christianity is under attack.  From every direction, our faith is questioned, criticized, mocked, belittled and hated.  It is not difficult to see the great adversary at work in today’s world laboring to extinguish the Gospel and terminate Christianity and those who believe in Jesus Christ.  Carnal men have fully determined that they “will not have this man reign over” them (Luke 19:14).  They have intentionally blinded themselves to the realization of pending judgment and eternal damnation which hangs over them.  They have seared their conscience with lies and deception in order that they may continue in sin without the torments of conscience, that law of right and wrong which God has placed in the heart of every man, woman, and child.  If there was ever a generation who lived in a time of great deception, it is the present generation.

        While so many attacks on Christianity from the enemy are obvious, there are just as many that are subtle and elusive, and not so easily seen.  One of these is the attack on the deity of Jesus Christ.  Although it has been around for centuries, questioning the deity of Jesus Christ is one that still prevails even in many “Christian” churches in America today.  But time has given it opportunity to become more cleverly refined.  It is not broadcasted or posted on billboards throughout the land but rather delicately and tacitly presented in church Bible studies and subtly passed on and strengthened through other teachings and doctrines of the church.  Most who have encountered the Jehovah’s Witnesses know that they are one group that does not believe in the deity of Jesus.  They teach that Jesus is Michael the archangel.  Unfortunately, they are not the only group that teaches this error; there are many others.  There are Christians who attend churches whose doctrinal positions stand in agreement with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The seriousness of this false doctrine cannot be overemphasized, for it has eternal consequences.  What are some of the repercussions that this false doctrine promotes?  Where does it lead those who accept this teaching?  We might answer that question to some degree by considering those who rejected Jesus as the promised Messiah when He was here in the flesh, such as the religious leaders, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and other religious zealots.  Where did the rejection of Jesus leave them?  What were the ramifications for those that refused to acknowledge Jesus as God?  The annihilation of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the carnage which that destruction entailed was only part of the repercussions of that rejection by the Jews, for even more seriously than the desolation of Jerusalem, was that it culminated in eternal damnation for those who rejected Jesus Christ.  Jesus wept over Jerusalem because He understood their hopeless condition, their house was left unto them desolate.  The same is true today for those who reject the deity of Jesus.  If Jesus were not God He could not have borne the sins of the world.  If He were not God He could not have taken man’s place on the cross.  If Jesus is not God there is no salvation for man.  If Jesus were just another man and one who never sinned, although he lived a perfectly holy and righteous life, he could have died only for one man’s sin and not the sins of the whole world.  It was because He was and is God that He could die for the sins of the whole world.  Consider just a few scriptures which clearly reveal the deity of Jesus Christ.

The Deity Of Jesus

        Let’s begin with Malachi’s prophecy of the forerunner of Christ found in chapter three and verse one.  “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”  Sometimes the use of pronouns in scripture can be confusing as to whom the pronoun refers.  This verse is not too difficult to distinguish which pronoun refers to John the Baptist and which speaks of Jesus if we connect this verse with the history recorded in the Gospels, the account of John the Baptist and Jesus the Son of God.  Malachi’s prophecy identifies the One to come, who was preceded by John, was “the Lord”.  He shall suddenly come to His temple.  He is also called “the messenger of the covenant.”  The New Covenant, established upon better promises, was established by Jesus Christ.  Malachi calls this messenger “the Lord.”  The Hebrew word used in Malachi 3:1 for Lord is Adonay which James Strong defines as, “the Lord (used as a proper name of God)”.  Clearly this Messenger of the New Covenant was God incarnate.

        Continuing, we move on to the supernatural birth of Jesus Christ.  There are four times the expression “only begotten Son” is used in scripture referring to Jesus Christ.  The most well-known is John 3:16 which reads, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”  (See also John 1:18, John 3:18, 1 John 4:9).  Those who would deny the deity of Jesus will proclaim that we are all sons of God and might even state that Michael the archangel is a son of God because he was created by God.  However, when scripture declares Jesus to be the “only begotten of God,” it vividly sets Jesus apart from created beings.  In the following verses we catch a glimpse of the meaning of “only begotten of God.”

        “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).  The fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded for us in Luke 1:26-35.  For this article I will include the verses which are pertinent to the fact that Jesus is “the only begotten of God”.  Verses 26-27, “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.”  “A virgin shall conceive”.  Here we have a wonderful, stupendous and divinely orchestrated work of God Almighty.  It was an exquisite heavenly venture that made all heavenly beings stand in awe as they beheld God making a way for His Son to become a man and dwell among mankind, with the full intention and determination to save man from eternal destruction.  Such is the love of God for mankind.

        Continuing in Luke: “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.”  This clearly and undeniably states that Jesus is the Son of the Highest or the Son of God.  In conclusion of Luke’s account, verse 34-35, “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

          I realize that these verses state He shall be “called” the Son of God and some will say that He was only called the Son but was not actually God’s son.  But go back to Isaiah’s prophecy, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  The fulfillment of this portion of Isaiah’s words are found in Matthew 1:23: “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”  These scriptures mean nothing unless Jesus is God.

        Another prophecy concerning Jesus given by Isaiah is found in chapter nine, verses six and seven.  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”  From these verses we see that a child (Jesus) is born, a son (Jesus) is given, the government will rest upon His (Jesus’) shoulder (“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matt. 28:18).  We have in Isaiah’s prophecy that upon this child or son would rest the government of God, and scripture records Jesus claiming this authority is given to Him.  But the question always arises concerning this “child” and this “Son” of whom Isaiah prophesies, is the phrase, “The everlasting Father.”  “How is this possible?”  Or we’re asked, “This clearly shows that Jesus is not the One of whom this prophecy is speaking,” or we’re told that “Jesus is the only God,” therein denying the trinity.

        This phrase, “The everlasting Father” in Isaiah’s prophecy may seem a little confusing at first glance but, if one contemplates its meaning and connects it with other portions of scripture, the truth begins to emerge.  Jesus is the One who brought eternal life to mankind.  This makes Him the father of eternal life or the One who made eternal life to man a reality.  We might better understand this phrase if we paraphrase it somewhat.  “The father of everlasting life.”  In the beginning when God created the world and all that is in it, he created Adam, and Adam is called “the son of God” (Luke 3:38).  Was Adam born or created?  He was created and, therefore, God is the father of Adam, just as Eli Whitney is credited as the “father” of the cotton gin.  Karl Friederich Benz of Germany is considered the “father” of the modern automobile.  From the same perspective, we see Jesus as the father, or the One who “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Tim. 1:10).

        One of the clearest portions of scripture that reveals the deity of Jesus Christ is John the first chapter.  Let’s begin with the first four verses.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”  The “Word” in these verses is equated with God.  The Word was first: “with God”, second: “was God”, third: the Creator, fourth: He was in the beginning with God.  The word “beginning” refers to the beginning of the world as we know it.  This is clearly seen in the next phrase, “All things were made by him.”  From this we can safely conclude that He (the Word) existed before the world was created, and we also see from these verses that He possessed eternal life.

        Now, let’s read verse fourteen.  “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  How plain can it be?  This same “Word” which was in the beginning, was with God and was God, was also made flesh and dwelt among man.  The writer of the book to the Hebrews writes, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).  This writer is clearly speaking of Jesus Christ.  God specifically verifies that Jesus was not a son as Adam was, or one of the prophets through whom God spoke under the Old Covenant, but was the only begotten of the Father.  In verse six the writer informs us, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”  According to Jesus Himself, we are to worship God only (Matt. 4:10).  Yet at the birth of Jesus when an angel came to inform the shepherds of the birth of the Savior, “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:13-14).

        There are many other portions of scripture that exalt Jesus Christ as God, but these should be sufficient for any soul searching for truth concerning the deity of Jesus Christ.  Let us therefore worship Him Who gave Himself for us and proclaim His deity, for it is in His precious name that we have forgiveness of sin and have eternal life.  “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26).

 

 

 

 

“SO GREAT SALVATION”

Harold Scullin

        “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?” (Heb. 2:3)

        This Salvation is so great, so mighty, so majestic that nothing will be able to deliver us from destruction, if we neglect it.

        The magnitude, the scope, the height, the depth, the length, the width of this SO GREAT SALVATION is so glorious and so wonderful that only the Holy Spirit can touch that which is flesh and reveal the true meaning of this heavenly experience to the heart of the individual.

        “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:9,10).

        Human wisdom cannot explain or understand the Divine Purpose and the Divine wisdom that planned and designed SO GREAT SALVATION.  But when the Holy Spirit can touch the heart of stone in man and open the eyes of his understanding so that he begins to comprehend, in a small degree, that there is a great Divine heart of love that is working within him, he becomes more yielded and surrendered.  So warm and compelling is this love, as it strives within him, that he finds there is a desire in his heart to respond, to yield, to cast himself in complete submission at the feet of Jesus – broken and contrite.

        “FOR GOD SO LOVED the world, that HE GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  Here is love that is completely unselfish, long suffering, merciful, yet so full of understanding that provision can be made for every need and for every problem and for every eventuality that might arise.

        The design and plan for this SO GREAT SALVATION was a “mystery, kept secret, before the foundation of the earth.”  Jesus referred to this mystery in His teachings, “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the earth” (Matt. 13:35).  By Divine revelation, the apostle Paul wrote, “by revelation this mystery was made known unto me (V-3), which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (V-5).  In V-9 he writes, “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of this mystery” (Eph. 3:5-9).  Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul was made to understand that “He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4).  Again Paul writes, “Now unto Him that is of power to establish you…according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.  But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets…for the obedience of faith” (Rom. 16:25,26).

        Jesus, in His prayer in John 17, stated, “for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

        In the Book of Revelation, John informs us that Jesus, The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world was: “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).  Also in Rev. 5:6,12, John writes here of the Lamb that was slain.

        And here is an astounding statement, “the works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Heb. 4:3).

        Consider what we have just read, that happened, “BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.”  Jesus taught things which “were a mystery and kept secret;” “we have been chosen in Him to be holy and without blame;” “eternal life was promised;” “the Father loved Jesus;” “the Lamb was slain.”

What does All of This Mean?

        According to Eph. 3:8-11, all these events and happenings that took place before the foundation of the world are closely related “to the ETERNAL PURPOSE which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

        The heavenly Father “SO LOVED – THAT HE GAVE” is an expression of the magnitude of the love of God.  The Father desired a family of sons with whom He could fellowship.  These sons would be placed in an environment in which, as moral beings, they would be required to make choices – for or against the Kingdom of God.  These sons would share His Divine Nature.  Through the power of love and moral persuasion, God would appeal to their hearts.  Of their own volition, they would make their choice to obey Him.

        He has given us an understanding of what is required of every individual who makes a profession of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).  “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).

        Strong words!  But these are the Words of Jesus.  The Father gave His all – “His only begotten son;” Jesus left His all, when He came to this earth “not to do His own will, but the will of His Father.”  IS THE SERVANT GREATER THAN HIS MASTER?  “If ye love me, keep My commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy strength, and with ALL thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself” (Luke 10:27).  These sons would become immortal, incapable of transgressing the laws of the Kingdom of God.  They would be “the express image of Jesus,” of His nature, of His character and of His devotion.  They would be “created a little lower than the angels,” but as glorified, redeemed beings they “would judge angels.”

        Lucifer, better known as Satan, contested God’s wisdom.  Satan was one of “the anointed cherubs.”  He was a created being of the angelic order.  The fact that redeemed man would eventually judge angels was humiliating to him; his pride was hurt; he rebelled and one third of the angels followed him (Rev. 12:4).  As “the anointed cherubim” he stood in the very presence of the Father.  He corrupted the heavenly sanctuary (Isa. 14:12-14).  Satan determined that by lies, force, deceit, and every evil expression, he would not only thwart the plan of God, but he purposed in his heart, “I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH.”

        Rebellion was not an accident in the plan of the Father.  His great wisdom and foreknowledge permitted Him to make preparation for such an event – “THE LAMB WAS SLAIN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH.”  This act of rebellion, on the part of Satan, permitted sin to enter the universe.  The execution of the law of God alone could not stop or control this evil expression – rebellion.  The law cannot subdue the heart.  The Lord cannot condone sin – the law states “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).  The Word of God also informs us “that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Will All Die?

        Again, we have the answer in the counsel chambers of glory, “before the foundation of the earth.”  “For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb slain without blemish and without spot who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (I Peter 1:18-20).

        THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS was the Father’s provision and answer to the question of sin and rebellion.  The BLOOD OF JESUS that was shed on the cross was the only possible means whereby a sinner could be reconciled to God.  The death of Jesus on the cross was an expression of the love of the Father to transgressors, that the door is open to whosoever will.  Also, this great manifestation of the love of God will contradict the lies that Satan used to seduce Adam and Eve, by saying that God was selfish and tyrannical in demanding that His word and law be obeyed.  The blood of Jesus was also that provision of God which would completely and fully deal with the effects of sin and transgression.  CALVARY WAS THE CLIMAX.  Calvary demonstrated to the universe what was in the heart of the Father.  It was an expression of His true nature and character.  This expression of love on the part of the Father will cause those who love Him to surrender, to submit, and to yield to Him and desire to please Him.

        Jesus also had a very important part in the Father’s plan.  He had to be willing to submit His will to the Father’s will, which He did.  Because of His complete surrender and His death on the cross, great victory was brought forth.  Through His death and the shedding of His blood He made him powerless that had the power of death, that is the devil (Heb. 2:14,15).  “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy (make powerless) the works of the devil” (I John 3:8).  The major purpose or reason for the coming forth of the Lord Jesus, and of His death on the cross, and the shedding of His blood was to completely nullify and to abrogate all effects of sin and transgression in the past, at the present time, and in the future, in heaven and in the earth and for all eternity.  As a result of His blood being shed, this made provision “for the remission of sins.”

        The Lord Jesus did “enter into the strong man’s house,” He did “bind him,” He did “spoil his goods,” He did take “the keys of death and hell” from the devil, and NOW “ALL POWER IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH HAS BEEN GIVEN UNTO JESUS” (Matt. 28:18; Matt. 12:28,29; Col. 2:15; Rev. 1:18).

        Read this declaration of triumph and victory, “NOW IS COME SALVATION, AND STRENGTH, AND THE KINGDOM OF OUR GOD, AND THE POWER OF HIS CHRIST: FOR THE ACCUSER OF OUR BRETHREN IS CAST DOWN, which accused them before our God, day and night” (Rev. 12:10).  “And they OVERCAME HIM BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB, AND THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY” (Rev. 12:11).

        The KEYS TO THE KINGDOM have also been given to the people of God, “that whatsoever they bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever they shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19).

        Great is the victory and triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ, over the realm of darkness.  “Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15).  “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13).

        The demands of justice have been met.  The law has been upheld.  There is forgiveness of sin – through the death and shed blood of Jesus.  His blood was shed “for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28).

        “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame, before Him in love” (Eph. 1:3,4).

 

 

 

 

THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS

Harry Miller

        The first thirteen verses of the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew are very familiar to all people who love the word of God.  This parable of the “wise” and the “foolish” virgins covers many conditions of the church universal that names the name of Jesus Christ.  The full significance of the message contained in this parable takes on greater importance as we near the end of this age.

        The door of salvation has stood open for many centuries: however, the day is near when the door will be shut.

        Only the spiritually deaf, dumb and blind prattle the words: “Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (I Peter 3:4).  A “cry” has been going up, “Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him” (Matt. 25:6).  While the great giant (the universal professing body of Christ) slumbered and slept, there were a few who faithfully watched for the signs of His coming.  Not every knee has bowed to the image of Baal; neither has every heart surrendered to the vanities of this latter day.  God has a remnant of saints who remain faithful to the heavenly vision; these are the people who are aware of His imminent coming; these are the folks who give the midnight cry.

        Millions of professing Christians have heard the part of the cry which says, “Behold the bridegroom cometh.”  A lot of them are very busy tearing about, mimicking the first portion of the message of the faithful: “The bridegroom cometh.”  They are making a stir among professing Christendom, but what good is any statement of fact IF IT HAS NO APPLICATION TO ONE’S LIFE?  The mere knowledge of the fact of the immanency of Christ’s coming is of doubtful benefit; on the other hand, if we are informed of certain things to do, in relation to His return, then we are greatly benefited.

        The COMMAND contained in the message of those who heard His return is: “Go out to meet Him.”  How few ministers of the gospel(?) of this present hour tell the members of their flocks to “GO OUT”?  But, let us not lay all the blame to the ministry, for the “people love to have it so.”

        The people of this generation are supporting the sort of teaching that they want.  We see II Tim. 4:3 and 4 being fulfilled before our eyes, “they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they HEAP to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

        The sleeping giant of Christendom loves to dream.  The stark, naked reality of truth never has been popular to the carnal man; so patronizing ecclesiastical clerics have accommodated their patrons with the vague, nebulous and tranquilizing trivia of religious opiates, “and My people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31).

        Millions of religious books are constantly pouring into the hands of humanity with their ABSTRACT APPEAL for men to accept their etherealizations of so-called Christianity. The “way of Christ” we are told is exciting, beautiful, glamorous and it costs little or nothing: only believe!  Twentieth century Christendom has blissfully slept under the sedation administered by the quacks who allay their fears and it continues into the twenty-first century.

        Who dares preach of an angry God and burning hell?  Well, friends, he who preaches thus, now finds himself without a congregation: “they will not endure sound doctrine.”  Let a man full of the Holy Ghost turn the “heat” upon any congregation in America and see how fast the crowd melts away.  Actually, it is an astonishment when one first sees the melting of the effeminate, spineless jellyfish.  A good puff of wind can blow most of American Christendom out of existence; and when the “floods” come (and they will come on schedule) surely few men of this generation will be left standing for the cause of Christ.

        “Go out to meet Him” is a divine order, a command that will not be ignored.  The sleep of the giant is now being disturbed.  He will be forced to awaken.  Oh yes, “All those virgins arose” states the prophetic parable.  The powers of heaven will shake all the conditions of earth and create circumstances that will bring about indisputable evidence of His return.

        Upon awakening they “trimmed their lamps.”  Of course, the word of God is the “lamp.”  And this “trimming” is not a cutting up, or mutilating, of the Word; rather, it is a setting in order.  (The Greek word used here is kos-me-o, and it is used by our translators to signify: honour, embellish, set in order.)

        It is well to note that the Biblical doctrines (lamps) of all professing Christendom were in need.  Both “wise” and “foolish” got busy at the jobs of trimming.  One religious group cannot say to the other group, “Your doctrine needs revision.”  THE BELIEFS OF ALL ARE IN NEED OF REVISION.  “All slept,” “all arose,” and “all trimmed.”

        It is at this point in the awakening and trimming that the tragedy of this hour is made manifest: the “foolish” suddenly realize that they are unprepared.  Until the time of the trimming of the “lamps” there is little disparity manifest between the “wise” and the “foolish” virgins; however, it is in this end time that the essential difference between these two classes of believers is made evident to all.

 

 

 

 

“WHY ME, LORD?”

John Sanderson

        This is a common question every Christian asks during a struggle.  We get the feeling of being the only one to have such a hard time.  Many of God’s servants down through the ages have experienced many of the same trials at one time or another.  “the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (I Peter 5:9).

        The Bible shows many examples of people who became depressed to some degree.  The mighty prophet Elijah became so afraid of Queen Jezebel that he ran to the wilderness.  What?  Did he not just prove to the children of Israel that the true God was not man-made (I Kings 18:19-39)?  Nevertheless, he asked the Lord to take his life (I Kings 19:4).  The Lord told Elijah that there were seven thousand in Israel who did not bow to Baal (I Kings 19:18).  The Lord is faithful in every situation.

        Moses became so disgusted with the people that he asked God to kill him.  “kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness” (Num. 11:15).  Here was a mighty man of God who witnessed the Ten Commandments being written by the finger of God.  The Lord was more than faithful to Moses.  He had Moses choose seventy men of the elders to help him with the burden (Num. 11:16,17).

        These men overcame their battle with depression, recognized the origin of it, and went to the source of strength to gain the victory over the problem.  “The Lord God is my strength” (Hab. 3:19).

        Here are a few suggestions that may be a help to fight and overcome depression.  I must say that the only way we can possibly gain victory is FROM GOD ALONE.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

Recognize The Source Of Negative Thoughts

        Satan loves to capitalize on the difficult circumstances in our lives.  “It sure would be nice to have a fancy new car like the neighbor has in his nice garage.  Since our job does not pay much, I guess we will just have to keep our old car.”  We can become so envious that depression can sneak into our minds.  Here is what the Lord said about lasting, real treasure: “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt. 7:20).

        I have yet to find a scripture in the Bible showing negative thoughts originating from God.  We need to realize that these thoughts come from the father of lies, Satan.  The Lord said, “when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).  [Read: Luke 10:19; Rom. 8:17-39; II Cor. 7:6; I Peter 2:24]

        Brother Peter described Satan as a roaring lion (I Peter 5:8).  A lion does much roaring.  The lion is a mighty animal in the jungle.  Once he is in a cage at the zoo, he becomes pretty quiet.  Satan is the same way – as long as we keep him in the cage (Read I Peter 5:9,10).  Stay out of the cage!

Become Aware Of The Presence Of God

        One of the biggest lies that Satan tells us is that God does not listen to us.  If this were true, why did Christ make this promise: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7)?  We have to do something.  God has ALWAYS been faithful down through the ages.  I am sure He is not gong to quit now.  We must be faithful to Him.  Whenever the problems and trials seem as though they are too much, reach out to the Lord and do not let go.  “Call unto me and I will answer thee” (Jer. 33:3).

Go To The Lord In Prayer

        When you feel “down” in your being, ask the Lord to give you strength.  He cares enough for us to listen and take our problems to our Heavenly Father (Heb. 4:15).  Satan knows that if we go to God, then he does not stand a chance.

        “Talk to God simply and naturally, expressing what is uppermost in your mind, realizing that He understands perfectly and fully.  Pray for others, those who are friends and those who are not.  Maintain absolute willingness to submit to the will of God in everything.  Commit everything to God, trusting Him unreservedly” (Talks to Young People; pg. 34).

Start Thinking Of Others

        One of the best ways to overcome feeling sorry for ourselves is to start doing for others.  Try a few of these ideas without a reward.  I guarantee you will be strengthened.  It is an automatic result.

  1. Galatians 5:13 – “by love serve one another”
  2. Ephesians 4:32 – “be ye kind one to another”
  3. Hebrews 3:13 – “exhort one another”
  4. James 5:16 – “pray one for another”

        There are many things we can do for others.  After we start doing for others, how will we have time to worry about our problems?  After all, the Lord always did for others.  He even thought of others when He was on the cross (Luke 23:34).

        Now, I am not saying that victory over depression comes overnight.  With the Lord’s help, we can fight it day by day.  I still fight it!  If we are going to gain the victory, we must fight (See I Tim. 6:12).  Our enemy, Satan, would love for us to give up.

        Listen, you do not need to suffer from depression any longer.  Ask the Lord to help you.  I promise that He will never let you down.  After all, there is only one way to go after you have found the bottom of the barrel.  Up!!

 

 

 

 

“THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST”

W. C. Moore

        This is a day of extreme Lawlessness – and the JUDGMENTS of God are coming upon this ungodly generation – except there be a deep repentance.

        Within the Church, too, there is a great amount of Lawlessness – due in part to a misunderstanding as to God’s plan for His people during the Church age.  For God the Father has ordained that His Son, Jesus Christ, be the Head of the Church, and that the Church be subject unto Christ (Eph. 5:23,24).

        Some, denying the Headship of Christ in relation to His Church, assert that to Paul was given the great foundational truths which are to govern the Church during this dispensation.  (By “Church” we mean all truly born-again, Blood-washed children of God, without reference to denominational affiliations, etc.)  But such doctrine is distinctly in error – and leads to great delusions.

        It is Paul himself who, through the Holy Ghost, states that Christ is the Head of the Church and that the Church IS SUBJECT UNTO CHRIST.  Not only so, – but Paul designates himself as a servant of Christ, a follower of Christ, a minister of Christ.  To Paul were indeed given many revelations concerning details of Church affairs – but Christ Himself is the Head of the Church, and it is Christ Who has laid down the great foundational truths to govern us till He comes again.

        Confusion has come into the minds of many because of a misconception as to the meaning of Law and Grace.  It is true that we are not living under the law of Moses at this time, but to say that we are under Grace, and not under any kind of Law, is a misstatement of fact.  Some say that Jesus, in the Gospels, spoke to the Jews under the Law – and that His teachings do not apply to us now.  But Jesus’ own words, and other Scriptures also, give the lie to such teaching.  “If a man love Me, he will keep my words” (John 14:23).  “Therefore WHOSOEVER HEARETH THESE SAYINGS OF MINE and doeth them, I will liken him unto a WISE man” (Matt. 7:24).  “If ye love me, keep MY commandments” (John 14:15).  “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love” (John 15:10).  “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings” (John 14:24).

        Jesus commanded His disciples to “Go…teach ALL NATIONS…teaching THEM to observe ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU” (Matt. 28:19,20), and this was to last “even unto the end of the world.”  “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).  “Jesus Christ…is the propitiation for our sins…Hereby we do know that we know Him, IF we keep His commandments.  He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar” (I John 2:1-4).

        It was Jesus Christ, and not Paul, who gave His reproofs and instructions and encouragements to His Church in the Book of Revelation.

        We cannot get away from the words of Jesus.  If we reject His Words now – we will surely meet them at the judgment, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: THE WORD THAT I HAVE SPOKEN, THE SAME shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

        The Lord tells us to follow Him.  “If any man serve me, let him follow me” (John 12:26).  Christ is the Chief Corner Stone (Eph. 2:20).  He is the FOUNDATION (I Cor. 3:11).  What would we think of a builder who put down shingles for a foundation and then put concrete on the roof?  Yet, that is precisely what even eminent Bible teachers are doing when they refuse to acknowledge the Headship of Jesus in relation to the Church, and attempt to relegate His teachings to some other dispensation while they take the words of Paul as establishing the foundational truths for this church age.

        Our submission to God and our submission one to another as children of God is NOT in slavish fear.  Real love to God makes us GLAD to do His will.  We love God acceptably only when we love Him above all else.  Salvation and the true Christian life is a gigantic love affair.  Slavish fear, the galling yoke, the unwelcome bondage – all these are as far from true Christianity as the East is from the West.  Slavish fear is one thing which God delivers us from when we are truly saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.  “We love Him, because He first loved us” (I John 4:19).  We obey God because we love Him, and because we know that He loves us – that He knows all things, and that His plan is always best – therefore, we obey Him gladly, willingly, wholeheartedly.  We enjoy doing things to please those we really love.

        The relation of a Christian husband and wife is typical of the relation of Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:22-23).  The husband is the head, and his rule is a love-rule.  The Christian wife, if she really loves God, is glad to submit to her husband – not in any sense in slavish fear – but because she loves God FIRST, and because she realizes that God’s plan as revealed in His Word is BEST.

        Now, we find in this “enlightened”(?) age, that there are theologians who would remove Christ from His position as Head of the Church, and as “A Son over His own house” (Heb. 3:6), and who would ignore God the Father’s plan to the effect that Christ in all things might have the pre-eminence (Col. 1:18).  Just so, we find in this day, modern philosophers who despise God’s plan for the home, with the husband as the head, and their teachings have penetrated even into many Christian homes with disastrous results.  We cannot treat God and His Word with contempt and not eventually suffer for it.

 

 

 

 

HAMMER BLOWS OF TRUTH

E.A. Erny

        The depths of revival currents will be in proportion to the depths of conviction for sin.  Where there is little conviction for sin the work of the Spirit is usually shallow.  Only when the church has been deeply convicted of the sinfulness of sin have the tides of salvation run deep.

        Much of our preaching today winks at sin, excuses it and fails to deal hammer blows of truth against this malady of the heart.  Defective views of sin are prevalent and, wherever man’s view of sin is defective, you may be certain he will have defective views concerning the saving power of the Gospel.

        There can never be a true spiritual revival which does not begin with an acute realization of sin.  Spiritual advance cannot be made until we see the necessity of getting rid of that which is hindering it and which, in the sight of God, is sin.  With this consciousness, the heart will cry out to Christ for all His fullness as Saviour, Sanctifier, Lord and King of all.  Out of such an experience of Christ will grow every other experience of the Christian Life.

        The question arises as to how we can effectively present the subject of sin so as to produce conviction for the same.  First, let us Preach on Sin.  Not only in a general way but in a particular sense.  Note the prominence given to lists of particular sins in the New Testament.  Preaching on particular sins in their various aspects is sure to produce conviction on the listener.  It will reveal sin as it affects ourselves, as it affects others and thus makes us conscious that we are transgressors of God’s law and sinning against His love.

        Again, we must look to the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin.  He uses the Word preached, words spoken, testimonies given and the effects of holy lives.  Jesus said the Holy Spirit would convict of sin.  He uses the Word as a light and as a mirror, causing men to see their utter sinfulness and helplessness.

 

 

 

 

FOCUSING OUR FAITH

Curtis Dickinson

        Faith accomplishes great things.  We are saved by faith, we live by faith and we are to proclaim the faith to all the world.

        By faith the ancient confronted terrible foes and put them down.  By faith Noah sustained the flood that wiped out all the rest of the world.  By faith Abraham defied the force of natural law to accomplish the will of God.  By faith Elijah put down a whole denomination of religious pagans in one day.

        The apostles boldly advanced the faith against the bloody persecutions of their enemies, and, under all the terror and pressure the empire could bring to bear, they survived.

        They not only survived, they thrived, multiplied, rejoiced, gained spiritual stature and challenged the world to a life of faith.

        Where is that faith today?  Over one billion people in the world claim to be Christian!  Yet it is a world of violence, hatred, fear, depression, lust, lies and murder.

        In the business world, where is the faith?  In the arts, where is the faith?  In politics, where is the evidence of faith?  And in the average life of church members, where is the faith?

        For many their faith is in their feelings.  They go to church to get a “jolt from Jesus” and, if there is not enough excitement to give them an 8 on their emotional Richter scale, they start looking for another church.  Their faith is in feelings generated by their own experiences.

        There is an on-going effort to focus faith on one's self.  Self-confidence is healthy, as is a sensible and realistic self-image.  But this is all to come as a by-product of the true faith, and when it becomes the focus of our faith it spells failure.

        There has been and continues to be an effort to focus faith in the Holy Spirit.  People put their faith in some experience attributed to the Holy Spirit.  “He is real to me because this is what happened...”.  When this doesn't happen to other people, they find no basis for faith!  The scripture never tells us to focus faith on the Holy Spirit, but that the Holy Spirit is given to us as result of our true faith in Jesus Christ.

        Legalism attracts the faith of many.  “I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get” (Luke 18:12).  These were the words of the Pharisee.  He had faith in his own success!  His type fills churches over the land.  They go to church regularly, pay their dues and do not commit any embarrassing sins, but are filled with anxieties and fears at every disruption of their comfortable lives, because their faith is misplaced.

        Faith does not embrace success in any worldly sense.  A Christian may fail in business, live and die in poverty, yet be filled with faith and die in faith which saves him.  It is not in health.  Some of the most faithful have suffered miserably from physical infirmities.

        Christian faith is “faith toward God.”

        It embraces all that He declares of Himself, what He has done through Christ and what He reveals as His purpose for us.

        Faith for the Christian centers on the unique three and one-half years ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, focusing on His atoning death by which we are delivered from sin and death, and His glorious resurrection and subsequent enthronement as the Lord of heaven and earth.  This was the most glorious 42 month period in all history, and should dominate our thinking, permeate our conversation and fill our hearts and minds to overflowing with joy and thanksgiving so that our faith is victorious in every situation.

The Unseen

        Focusing faith on God means that we “walk by faith and not by sight.”  We cannot see what the days ahead may hold, nor are we given a complete picture of the ultimate life in the new creation; only that it will be life without the sorrows of this world and lived in the perfect environment with God.

        But all this is invisible to us in our present state.  That's why it is by faith.  If we can see it, feel it, know it by natural senses, it is not by faith.

        The things which are seen, says Paul, are temporal, but the things which are NOT seen are eternal (II Cor. 4:18)!  But “we look at the thing which ARE NOT SEEN,” he writes.  That is, we do if we have faith.

        Strong evidence for the lack of faith today – both in and out of the church – is the conspicuous absence of any recognition of God and His power in the great questions of famine, nuclear war, and government leaders.  Not only is there seldom any mention of God's power in these things, but the populace (in or out of the church) ignores the fact that none of these events are without God's knowledge and overriding power.

        An example is found in the second chapter of Daniel.  The king of Babylon was confident that the nation was his to rule as he saw fit and for as long as he lived.  He credited himself with the glory of the kingdom, just as people today credit prosperity and freedom to the ingenuity of men and the wisdom of the ruling administration.  But Daniel revealed to the monarch that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will, and sets up over it the lowest of men” (Daniel 2:21).

        There are few who stop to consider that God has a hand in elections; that He still removes presidents, and even judges and sheriffs, and sets up leaders according to His own wisdom.

        For the past generation people have been cringing in fear that evil men might set up a world kingdom of invincible power which no one would dare oppose.  Some claim this is part of Bible prophecy (then they work day and night to keep the prophecy from coming to pass!).  But there is one who is stronger than all world rulers combined.  God has given all authority to Jesus our Lord, and it is He that will bring history to a close, will judge the world, destroy all evil, and bring in the perfect eternal world “Wherein dwells righteousness” (II Peter 3).

        In the meantime, His hand in judgment may be seen often in the affairs of the world.  We are not to find some way to worm out from under the judgment, but to have faith that it is righteous.

        Men cannot legislate God out of their affairs.  He will not be separated from government, school, economics or law.  Such legislation may be passed, but it only brings the legislators under condemnation.  God still acts.

The Reality

        Faith is to treat the unseen as reality.  God is not just “somebody up there” but a real personality.  When you pray, you are not talking to the air, nor as psychology has it, merely to get a load off your chest.  When you pray God hears each word.  He even hears when you don't pray.  He is there.

        More than that, the Holy Spirit is present to interpret your secret desires and make them known to God.  God is more aware of what we say than those to whom we speak.  We can be more sure of His presence than we are of those sitting right across the table.

        Involved in Christian faith is the fact that God, His angels, His Spirit and His Son are all more real than anything we can see or touch.  They are eternal, changeless, and more dependable than anything temporal. Things seen are changing, dying, decaying and they disappear.  This means that we are the unreal ones, with life that is only temporary and that it is fading away with time.  We will not become real until we have been translated at His manifestation and made incorruptible for the real world of eternity.

        This makes the walk by faith the only security.  To walk by sight is to walk on shifting sand; when we walk by faith we are setting our feet down on the path that is eternal.

        To many, “faith” is only a vague hope that things will all turn out “okay.”  But that is not Biblical faith.  True faith is the very conviction that God is sovereign, that it is He “who works in you both to will and work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13), and that in spite of all outward circumstances He will accomplish His purpose in our lives.