AWAKE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS: BOOK TWO

A six month devotional taken from the daily essays of Robert B. Thompson sent by E-mail.

Compiled and Edited by

Edward J. Reiter

Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

July

August

September

October

November

December

July 1st

TREES OF LIFE

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)

God’s purpose for all of His saints, His Christian people, is that they become, through Christ, life-giving spirits—not just living spirits but life-giving spirits.

Just how are we supposed to do that!

We do it through crucifixion and resurrection. Crucifixion and resurrection are the mainspring of the Christian redemption. The Christian faith is galactically more than a theology competing with the other theologies and philosophies of the world. The Christian faith is an experience with Christ, an experience of crucifixion and resurrection.

God is making man in two stages. The first stage is the adamic, animal creation. The second stage is the life-giving creation. As Christ is the Tree of Life, so are we to become through Him trees of life. This is our eternal role in the creation.

Adam never can become a tree of life. The first animal personality of ours is formed from flesh and bone. Its life is corruptible blood. Its mind is always hostile to God’s will and way. Its purpose is to serve as root stock on which the true and eternal humanity is to be grafted. It lives, moves, and has its being in blood-enabled metabolism.

The new humanity also is flesh and bone. But its life is incorruptible Holy Spirit. It lives, moves, and has its being in the Spirit of God.

We start as Adam and we end as an integral part of Christ, as a life-giving spirit.

Probably every reader would prefer to live in the incorruptible resurrection life of Christ rather than in our perishing animal nature. But how do we get there?

We get there by dying and being resurrected.

Paul said he was crucified with Christ and living by Christ. This is the true Christian life, that of the life-giving spirit.

Paul took it by faith that he was crucified with Christ and had the sentence of death in himself. From then on his life included numerous tribulations and imprisonments—suffering of all kinds. But God kept raising Paul up and the spillover of power brought life to those following him.

All true ministry comes from the death of the cross. We cannot sit in our walnut-lined study with The Pulpit Commentary and Jamison, Fausset and Brown, choose an introduction, three points, a conclusion, and three anecdotes, and expect to bring life to a congregation.

Life comes to others when we take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus through numerous tribulations and imprisonments. We are knocked down continually but God raises us up. As He does, that same resurrection life flows out to others.

This is how we become an eternal human being.

This is how we represent God to His creation.

"The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Every member of the Seed of Abraham was known to God before the creation of the world. We have been chosen to bear fruit. We have been ordained to bear in ourselves the righteous, holy, obedient image of Christ.

July 2nd

THE BASIC STORY OF MANKIND

And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! (Luke 15:17)

The story of the prodigal son is the basic story of mankind. It is the story of Adam and Eve, of Samson, of the Christian Church, of many of us.

When someone is given something of great value for the first time he often loses it. After he loses it he then sees the value of it. He sets out to gain it back. Sometimes he can and sometimes he can’t.

If after arduous labor he manages to get back what he lost he now appreciates it and will not lightly lose it again.

Samson had a marvelous gift of strength and he judged Israel many years. But he thought little of his relationship to God who gave him his great strength. He didn’t try to live a holy, righteous life, preferring to exercise his strength wherever it pleased him.The result was inevitable.

Adam and Eve lived in an unparalleled paradise on the earth. In the wildest dreams of mankind nothing ever could be produced that would rival the garden in Eden as a perfect setting for man. Adam and Eve were unaware of the unspeakable treasure they possessed, the very Presence of God walking around in their neighborhood. (What you or I wouldn’t give for that!)

They threw it all away carelessly.

The early Christian churches had the Apostles, evangelism, tongues, miracles, healing, revelation—all the blessings into which we now are arriving. After the Apostles died the believers and their leadership were not able to hold what had been given so abundantly. Men began to gain preeminence as theologians and scholars. For whatever reason the Spirit of wisdom and revelation departed. The Christians couldn’t hold the Glory.

In place of fishermen and tax collectors there arose one of the tremendous religious organizations of all time, an organization governed by the human mind. The ecclesiastical politics that always will attend human government often resulted in notorious corruption, and the torture and murder of the humble believers who really knew the Lord.

This is life. We are given (some of us) a good home, health, intelligence, talents, perhaps a wife and children, maybe an opportunity to accept Christ and learn in Sunday school, loving friends, a fine career.

If these come too easy we are in jeopardy. Waiting in the wings is alcohol, the cunning adulterer or adulteress in whose heart are chains, gambling, illegal business practices, the neglect of our physical health, overwork and other forms of intemperance, not to mention carelessness in the things of the Lord.

The consequences of our folly may be years in coming. The strong leader becomes addicted to alcohol, drugs, or gambling. He loses his job, his money. The office flirtations turn into betrayal and the wife (or husband) and children are left to make do while the cute secretary turns into a nagging, self-centered hag.

But the boys have grown up without Dad and his little girl is too big for her teddy bear and dolls and is living somewhere with her female "partner."

The Kingdom of God always is an inner kingdom. The outer form of the Kingdom is a manifestation and effect of the Person and rule of God in Christ established in the personalities of the individuals making up the Kingdom.

July 3rd

THE BASIC STORY OF MANKIND, continued

And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! (Luke 15:17)

The respectable businessman finds himself in federal prison, disgraced, while his family attempts to survive the shame. "That’s all right, my wife has strong shoulders. We’ll make it."

The extra thirty pounds coupled with drinking, smoking, and the seventy-hour workweek end up under the big camera while the surgeon threads the catheter into the thigh. "Dear Christ, what if I die? Where am I going? Mother, can you hear me? Help!"

We thought we were God’s pet, the golden boy who was bound to live the good life forever.

Here we are, broken, sick, addicted to alcohol, without God or our family, without the respect of our acquaintances, maybe in prison, maybe with lung cancer or AIDS.

In the newspaper we read of those who at one moment are on top of the good life and the next moment are in the pits from personal tragedy.

What a way to learn!

Maybe it has happened to you. Believe it or not, I have good news for you.

There is a way back through Jesus Christ. And not just back, but back to heights that never could have been attained had we not suffered loss and then recovered.

Through the death of the blind Hebrew the whole company of Philistines was slain.

Out from the descendants of Adam and Eve will come the wiser, battle-hardened sons of God who will judge mankind and the angels.

The Christian Church has fought its way back from the Dark Ages until the Spirit of wisdom and revelation is beginning to rest on the assemblings. Never again will the saints lose the Presence of Jesus.

When the wall is rebuilt, as in the days of Nehemiah, the locks and bars are installed. The result is not as fancy as the original construction but far more deeply appreciated. That which we gain back the hard way we are apt to appreciate and maintain.

The Christian Church will march upward, clearing the stones from the Highway of Holiness, until our Lord returns and the sun rises on the new world of righteousness.

After six thousand years of insanity, by God’s help we’ll never lose Paradise again! "Get thee behind me, Satan!"

How about you? Are you in the pits? That’s the hard way to discover the value of what you once were given so freely.

Perhaps it’s not too late. Go to God. See what He will do for you.

Perhaps what will come out of your return home will prove to be the best that ever could have been.

But don’t be such a fool as to turn to the pigs in order to have the opportunity to be welcomed back home. Appreciate what you have. Make the most of it. You won’t have such a glorious testimony for the Full Gospel Businessmen but you will have your self-respect, a loving wife and children, friends, your health, and your God.

And Brother, those blessings are not to be taken lightly!

The outward man of the glorified saint will be a perfect vehicle for the inward man and will reveal the inward man; unlike today where we cannot determine the nature of an individual by looking at his outward man.

July 4th

TO MINISTER OR TO BEAR WITNESS?

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

There is a big difference between ministering and bearing witness.

Ministry is a means to an end. Bearing witness is the end.

The purpose of ministry is to build the Body of Christ to the measure of maturity as measured by the fullness of the stature of Christ.

The purpose of bearing witness is to reveal to God’s creation His Person, way, will, and eternal purpose in Jesus Christ.

Ministry is temporary and will be done away just as scaffolding is done away as soon as the building is completed.

The witness of God is eternal. Once we become a witness of God we bear witness for eternity.

Consider Noah, Abraham, Job, Daniel, Elijah. They were, are, and from now on will be witnesses of God. When we think of any one of them the Person, way, will, and eternal purpose of God come to mind. It shall always be so. Once a witness always a witness.

True ministry is a witness of God to the one being ministered to. But today we have ministry apart from true witness. We have people who are preaching, teaching, and evangelizing who not only are presenting a warped gospel but who themselves are bearing more of a witness of the devil than they are of God.

The televangelist pleads for money, wears his five hundred dollar suits and begs widows to send him their food money. ("God will send you back five thousand dollars.") Not only is his message incorrect as he oversells the grace of God, but the witness he is presenting by his appearance and actions is not telling the truth about God.

Our country has come to believe the whole Christian business is a money-making scam.

The pastor who has his eyes on the attendance rather than on the Lord is compromising the message of the Gospel so as not to drive people away. He talks of the rapture, of grace, of God’s love, of how to have a successful marriage, of how to be prosperous. His message is not balanced. The witness he is giving of God is false. God is not as he is presenting. God is as much a consuming fire as He is incomprehensible love. To stress the goodness of God and not His severity is to bear a false witness.

Sometimes when we speak of witnessing for Jesus we mean doing the work of an evangelist. The work of the evangelist is necessary. But perhaps even more importantly in our day in America is the witness of people whose lives have been changed. They now have integrity, are honest, joyful, dependable, truth-telling, morally pure human beings.

Perhaps most Americans have heard the Gospel. Many of them have "made a decision for Christ." A significant part of those who have made such a decision are in jail in the present hour.

Why? Because the preachers are emphasizing grace, grace, grace, and themselves are living spiritually careless lives. They are not witnesses of God. They may be ministers but they are not witnesses.

When there is no true witness of God the iron is not present to enable the preacher and his hearers to stand against sin.

This is where we are in America today.

A small deviation from your course becomes greatly magnified when you are journeying to the stars.

July 5th

A TWENTIETH-CENTURY EPISTLE

Whatever you want to do, do it now. You have a right to have fun and be fulfilled. Love yourself above all. Do not let anyone get in your way. The government has promised you life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Make sure you get yours. (Americans 1:1)

The following is taken from "an epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Christian churches of America."

"Dearly beloved, now that Christ has come you are not to be overly concerned with your behavior. Put your trust in Him, and even though you continue in your sin and self-seeking until you die it is impossible for you to incur God’s displeasure.

"In fact, when you sin you are magnifying the grace of God. When you fornicate, God sees only the holiness of Christ. When you lie, God sees only the truthfulness of Christ. When you murder, God sees only the gentleness of Christ.

"I have written some letters to the churches that appear to warn against certain behaviors. But you are not to regard these as necessary aspects of your salvation for even though they seemingly are addressed to the saints they actually are directed toward the unsaved and the Jews. Always keep in mind that faith without works glorifies the grace and mercy of God. Faith must stand alone. Your efforts to live righteously detract from God’s grace and are legalism. You may safely ignore all I have written to the churches concerning moral conduct.

"Remember, dearly beloved, God is love. You may leave your wife and children and live with a prostitute. You may give your word and break it as often as you like. God will not hold this against you, because you believe in the Lord Jesus. You may sin thousands and thousands of times, living in every kind of moral filth. Yet, God will continue to love you with His great Father’s heart.

"(Aren’t we having fun in the Son!)

"No matter how you live your life, no matter how many people you injure, no matter how unfaithful you are, how you despise the Scriptures, how unrighteously you behave, how much you despise mercy and love revenge, how arrogantly and haughtily you walk before God and men, you cannot possibly displease God or lose your salvation. God sees you only in Christ, having His righteousness.

"God loves you in your filth. Christ loves you although you continually disobey His commandments. The Holy Spirit loves you although you rebel against His every prompting.

"Beloved, there is no need for you to live a holy life. Jesus does it all. He will change you from within your personality apart from your having to obey any commandments. Remember, all efforts to obey His words or the words of the Apostles are ‘legalism.’

"If you have ever at any time professed belief in Christ Jesus, when you die you will go straight to Paradise to live forever in a golden mansion.

"Return to your father’s house with your girlfriend and a bottle of whiskey. Live it up. Have a party. Make your older brother jealous. Dad loves you so much he is ready to turn the whole ranch over to you. Maranatha."

It is time for repentance among Christians. Our doctrine is a shambles. Our moral stature is deplorable. We have been deceived.

July 6th

YOU CAN BE A VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN!

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)

The life of victory in Christ, of performing the will of God perfectly, is readily available to every human being.

The "Assyrians" have fled because of Calvary. The enemy has been defeated totally. He can work only in the realm of deception in his attempt to lead us into sin. He no longer possesses the authority or power to truly harm the saint. When we come to understand the Word of God and what Christ actually accomplished on the cross we are able to press into the Kingdom of God with all confidence.

Perfect victory in Christ indeed is for you no matter how weak and incompetent you may consider yourself to be. This moment, cast yourself and your cares on Christ Jesus. Do not worry about trying to explain all the details to Him. He understands perfectly every detail of your life.

With your mouth—out loud—tell Jesus that from this point on you will do the will of God as the Holy Spirit assists you. Tell Him you desire to be one of His conquerors, that you want Him to remove from you the overwhelming desires of the sinful nature, the world, and Satan. You want to belong to Christ and to Christ alone.

From this moment on, believe with all your heart and soul that Christ Jesus will enter you and become the Way, the Truth, and the Life in you. Do not allow yourself to be troubled, worried, agitated in your mind. Give yourself completely to His love, power, and wisdom.

Christ loves you more than you have any idea.

Has life on the earth become a heavy burden to you? Jesus will take you dancing among the stars. Are you concerned about whether you are pleasing to the Father? Jesus will bring you in His name into the Presence of the Almighty God, there to receive the blessing.

There is a song without end. Would you like to hear it? Would you like to have it created in you?

Whatever He says to you, do it through His grace. Instead of being one of those believers who is wandering about in guilt and confusion you can hold up your head in the realization you now are Christ’s responsibility and through the indwelling Christ you are walking forward in victory—in the center of God’s will.

The water is only waist deep. We overcome through Christ, not through superior spiritual ability. If you believe Christ when He states that what He begins He finishes, then lift up your heart and rejoice. Relax and stand up straight in the water. You received Christ by faith when you needed to be saved from the wrath of God. Now receive Christ by faith in order to become a conqueror, an attainer of the first resurrection.

Lord Jesus, we pray You will reach down now and touch the reader of these words. Give to him or her the assurance that You are the Finisher as well as the Author of his or her salvation.

Enter, we pray, into the heart of the reader as he begins to realize the acceptance of Your Presence will lift him from the state of "trying to be a Christian" to the level of the conqueror who, through the Spirit of God, is pressing toward the mark of the first resurrection from the dead.

Come, Lord Jesus, and shine through Your saints. Take to Yourself Your irresistible power and reign on the earth. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on the earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.

Doing the Father's perfect will is the simplest thing in the world, once you make up your mind this is what you truly want.

July 7th

THY KINGDOM GO OR COME?

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

The Hebrew Prophets spoke much of the glory of the Kingdom of God and of how blessed Israel and the nations will be when Christ returns to the earth.

As far as we know, all New Testament doctrines can be found in the Old Testament in some form. The writers of the New Testament gained their understanding of the Christian salvation as the Spirit of God revealed the Old Testament to them.

"The just shall live by his faith" was stated by a Hebrew Prophet (Habakkuk 2:4). The explanation of what the just shall live by faith means is set forth in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, and all the examples are from the Old Testament.

Paul’s teaching concerning the Antichrist can be found in the Book of Daniel. The atonement made by the Lord Jesus is set forth in the fifty-third chapter of the Book of Isaiah. The doctrine of the resurrection from the dead is presented in Daniel 12:2. The history of the nation of Israel is an object lesson to us Christians. We derive our comfort from the promises found in the Old Testament.

Righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God are the major emphases of both testaments. The new covenant does not have a different goal from the old covenant. The new covenant does have improved means of attaining the same goal.

Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude stress righteous and holy conduct in view of the return of Christ in His righteous Kingdom. The issue of salvation always is shown to be what position we will have, what our fate will be, in the Day of the Lord—the Day when Jesus and His saints return to the earth to establish righteousness among the nations. This is the same vision seen by the Prophets of Israel.

Christian believers are looking for the coming of Antichrist. The spirit of Antichrist already is being revealed and has undermined the Gospel of the Kingdom with a deception concerning the escape of the elect to Heaven to live in beautiful mansions.

Satan would be well pleased if all the elect would leave the earth and go to Heaven to live in beautiful mansions doing nothing of significance. Satan fears the coming of Christ and His saints into the earth to establish God’s Kingdom of righteousness and peace. Satan would much prefer that Jesus remove His warriors to Heaven and stay away from the earth. In view of Satan’s ambitions in the earth it is easy to recognize the source of the grace-Heaven model of salvation.

When we pray, "Thy kingdom come," what are we asking? Do we want to stay and see the Kingdom come or do we want to go to the spirit realm? Why don’t we pray, "Our Father, who art in Heaven, help us get up there"?

I would like to be here to see Jesus crowned on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. How about you? Maybe King David will be the one to place the crown on his Son’s head.

What do you really want, to have a mansion in the spirit realm, wear golden slippers, and play a harp, or have a part in the establishing of God’s Kingdom on the earth? Which would you rather have, gold and diamonds in Heaven or people to love on the earth?

How anxious are you to die?

Ask your heart. (from The Continuity from the Old Testament to the New Testament)

The Christian salvation is not a change in God's requirements, it is a change in man so he can meet God's requirements.

July 8th

IN WHAT WAY IS SALVATION A GIFT?

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Salvation often is presented as a gift from God with no strings attached. An evangelist will ask, "If someone would hand you a fifty-dollar bill you would take it. Why won’t you take the gift of salvation?"

The reason is, the gift of salvation is very unlike a fifty-dollar bill and the sinner understands this even if the evangelist doesn’t. This is why he won’t always take it.

Romans 6:23 (above) has been preached to the unsaved for many years. It really is addressed to believers.

In the early chapters of the Book of Romans Paul spoke to the Jews. He told them they could not earn God’s approval any longer by observing the statutes of the Law of Moses. God now has given us His own righteousness, a righteousness purchased by Jesus Christ on the cross. We receive the righteousness of God by placing our faith in Christ’s atonement apart from circumcision, the Sabbath, or any other part of the Law.

The inevitable occurred. People were saying "It doesn’t matter if we sin because God’s grace forgives us no matter what we do." (Sound familiar?)

Paul, a very moral, God-fearing individual, rose up in protest. "What then, shall we sin? God forbid! How shall we who are dead to sin live in it any longer?"

Paul was referring to the fact that when we enter water baptism we are testifying we have died with Christ on the cross and have risen with Him to the right hand of the Father. Thus we, in accordance with our profession of faith, are to count ourselves dead to sin and walk in the newness of a righteous, holy life.

Paul goes on to teach (in the sixth chapter of Romans) if we, having received Christ and been baptized into His death and resurrection, yield our body to sinful practices, we will die spiritually.

But since we now are a Christian we have the authority and power (which non-Christians do not have) to choose to be the slave of the laws of righteous, holy behavior. If we so choose we will live in the eternal Life of God.

In view of these facts Paul, in Romans 6:23, reminds the Christians that to continue in the practices of sin will pay off in death. But God has given them the gift of eternal life provided they take advantage of their new spiritual position and begin to live a righteous, holy life.

It’s not like a fifty-dollar bill. The gift of eternal life is more like the gift of a piano. You have to practice it to get any good out of it.

How about you? Maybe you’ve been saved for several years. Are you still playing chopsticks or are we hearing something worth listening to?

The believer will never make a success of the Christian discipleship until he spends time each day in prayer, in waiting on the Lord, in meditating in the Scriptures.

July 9th

GETTING TO KNOW JESUS

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)

Because of the revelation God gave us in Bible school many years ago we have devoted much of our ministry to describing the work of God that comes after Pentecost. There is the basic salvation experience, and then there is the Pentecostal experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit, often accompanied with speaking in tongues.

But the Bible shows clearly the work of redemption in three stages. The many types, such as the feasts of the Lord, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, the days of creation, Noah’s ark, and so forth, portray three levels of redemption.

We could call the third work of salvation the fullness of God, or the Tabernacles experience, or total consecration, or the throne level, or conquest. (Let us not make another denomination for Heaven’s sake!)

But you know, after all is said and done, the third level actually is knowing Jesus.

When we first are saved we know Jesus a little. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we know Jesus a little more. But isn’t it true that most of our knowledge has to do with our church culture or formulas that we think will enable us to get what we want out of God?

We talk about Jesus.

If you don’t believe me, the next time you are in a meeting listen to what is being said. Jesus is in the third person singular. He does this and He does that. It isn’t You are doing this and You are doing that.

The only time Jesus is addressed directly is in prayer.

God has more than this for us. God wants us to practice the Presence of Jesus in our daily life, as well as in the assembling, much, much more than we are doing. It is not "He is with us," it is, "You are with us"!

Last Sunday I was sitting at the keyboard. We were in the middle of the song service and I had this feeling we were going to go through this service with something important missing.

Suddenly one of the song leaders said, "The Lord wants to do something."

The guitar player behind me said, "The waters are troubled."

I go up and kind of staggered around, telling the congregation we were supposed to do something but I did not know what. Isn’t that great? God’s man of faith and power without the answers.

The young people started marching around the church with their big banners. (I hope this doesn’t shock you!)

Our air traffic controller (the lady who keeps our banners, tambourines, dancing and so forth from becoming chaotic) said, "I think the whole congregation is supposed to do something." I felt the same thing and so I said, "Everybody stand up and do something."

Eternal life is the knowledge of God and Christ. The end of the new covenant is that all believers might know God.

 July 10th

GETTING TO KNOW JESUS, continued

How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. (I Corinthians 14:26)

Even our head elder, an ordinarily sedate individual, came up to the front and started exhorting the people. Pretty soon the whole congregation was marching or dancing or walking around.

Then our worship leader decided to do a combination of singing choruses and inviting up people for prayer who needed release from bondage. Several came up and people prayed for them. Then groups of people went to different members of the congregation and prayed for them.

This went on for about half an hour. When everybody felt Jesus was finished with that part, we took the offering, I preached, we had an altar call, Communion was given (we serve communion to people at the altar while they are being prayed for), sang a song, hugged one another, and went home decently and in order.

The point is, Jesus moved from the third person to the second person. "Lord, You are here. What do You want done?"

My message, prepared before this uproar, was about everyone having gifts of the Spirit. So it kind of fit.

The best aspect of the whole business (apart from the fact we were hearing from the living Jesus) was that several people had the same witness and then everyone participated. There was Divine order. Godly elders were in authority and everyone recognized this. No one got in the flesh and tried to steer the meeting off sideways.

Meetings are much safer when you put in the bulletin everything you are going to do and then do it, even if the angel Gabriel walks in (the ushers will show him to the door).

This other activity is dangerous but it sure is more interesting.

This is the direction we want to go as a church until when a visitor comes everyone rises up and prophesies the secrets of his heart and he falls on the rug and cries out "God is in this place!"

Wouldn’t that be great? That’s like having church.

We need to know Jesus more. We need Him in our life, in our assemblings, not only someone who is a million miles away making intercession before the Father but right here in the middle of the service telling us what to do, leading His army in Person.

How about you? Do you want to know Jesus better? Why don’t you tell Him so.

"But I’m not even a Christian. How can I tell Jesus I want to know Him better?"

You don’t have to follow any formula. If you want to love Jesus and know Him better, look up right now and let Him into your life.

You can worry about "getting saved" later. (You already have the Judge on your side the moment you look to Him!)

It is the will of God that Jesus Christ become the Center and Circumference of every thing, every creature, and every situation to be found in the entire universe of God.

July 11th

POWER OR RIGHTEOUSNESS?

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

It has become fashionable in modern times to seek power with God. Much has been written about how to have power with God.

I doubt if hundreds of years ago the Catholic peasants coming in from the field at vespers thought much about having power with God. It’s probably a modern phenomenon.

The idea of getting power from the spirit realm goes along with the contemporary man-centeredness of everything. If we can get enough power we can build the Kingdom of God in the way we think best (in the way that will profit our own group).

The Bible doesn’t exhort us to seek power, as far as I know, but to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

We need God’s power but for the right reasons. Righteousness always is an issue of power. It takes power to work righteousness and more power comes to us from God when we practice righteousness. So righteousness is the important topic.

The reason we cannot overcome the evil in our own life is that we lack power. We have to pray to get enough power to overcome temptation.

We cannot overcome the evil in our nation until we receive more power from the Lord. (Some day we shall!)

We try to get power by voting or seeking political office or by lobbying or threatening politicians running for office. I don’t know how much good these efforts do.

Since the evil of abortion and other problems are coming from Satan, how are we going to get rid of it by voting or threatening politicians? The source of the wickedness is spiritual. Spiritual battles are not fought with voting but with prayer, righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

It is the prayer of the righteous individual that avails much.

"Brother Thompson, I am righteous through Christ."

Are you sure? James, the writer who said the prayer of the righteous avails much, wasn’t too pleased with the idea of imputed righteousness. He was interested in helping the orphans and widows in their troubles.

The powers of Hell are running wild in the streets of America. We have invited all the demons from India, Africa, South America, and other places, and are protecting them with the Bill of Rights. They are enjoying themselves at the expense of our citizens. (Can you imagine the look on the faces of the framers of the Constitution?)

Yoga, a part of the Hindu religion, is practiced by people in our government, according to the newspaper. (It reminds us of the Book of Ezekiel.)

So you are not going to accomplish much by the democratic process.

As spiritually dark as the present atmosphere of America is, there is far more Divine power available than is necessary to totally clean up the environment.

God is ready to issue all the power we need the moment we turn away from our sins. God has the power. Are we going to do what He has commanded or not?

When we attempt to direct the Spirit of God we are taking away from the Lord Jesus His God-given authority to administrate the resources of the Kingdom of God. Man is in the driver's seat. This is the False Prophet.

July 12th

GOD’S SOLUTION FOR THE LAST DAYS

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:39)

What is God’s answer to the presence on the earth of Satan and the fallen angels?

The cross. The cross of the Lord Jesus and the personal cross of the believer. God will not save what man is. God will not save the race of Adam. The race of Adam died in Christ Jesus on the cross of Calvary. The members of the Kingdom of God are a new race. They are humans, but humans in whom every element of personality has become part of Christ Jesus.

They have died; but behold—they live! They are crucified with Christ, yet they live. But it no longer is they who are living, it is Christ. God has provided the answer to every terror of the last days. The answer is our death and resurrection in Christ.

We must reckon ourselves dead, experience the judgment of God in every aspect of our personality (which includes much suffering and the denial of our fondest hopes), and then receive the Presence of the Father and the Son. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles. It is the provision God has made for the spiritual oppression of the closing days of this age.

In the day when so many are falling into the trap of viewing themselves as God, the Spirit says:

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

We must bow the knee to God, turning away from our pride, our arrogance, our haughtiness. We must keep God’s righteous commandments. The Epistles of the New Testament are filled with guides to righteous behavior. We must keep faith in Jesus, guarding the word of His patience.

To follow the Lord in cross-carrying obedience, turning away from the "Christian" people who tell us we can have everything we want in the world, requires patience.

God is raising up a powerful army in our day. Each soldier has been judged thoroughly by the Word of God. In the moment of judgment the Lord’s soldier will stand because he cannot be harmed by Divine judgment. He can "fall on the sword" and yet not be wounded.

Patience! Patience! Patience and the Kingdom of God!

If we are to possess our soul we must exercise patience in the prison in which the Lord places us. Then, in the darkest of the night, the Lord gives us the solution:

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (Revelation 14:13)

"Die in the Lord from henceforth."

From henceforth. From this time forth. From the time man begins to make himself God. From this moment those who die in the Lord are blessed. In the midst of the fire of judgment they will sing and dance in the height of Zion. They will enter rest. Their works of righteousness and holiness will accompany them wherever they go.

Nothing can hurt them. Antichrist cannot touch them. The False Prophet cannot deceive them. Satan himself cannot overthrow them.

Why not? Because it is not they who are living but Christ who is living in them. In order to conquer them, Satan would have to be able to suppress the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Do you choose to save your life or to lose it in Jesus Christ?

The warriors of the coming Kingdom have died already, so to speak, and are living now by the strength and wisdom of the body and blood of Christ.

 July 13th

GOD HAS HIS OWN WAY OF DOING THINGS

And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24)

Let us ask a question.

Why would God create man on the earth, give him access to many kinds of things, relationships, experiences, and then command him to deny himself?

This sounds like poor planning on God’s part.

Why create little gods from the dust of the ground and then say to them, "Take up your cross and follow me"? "Present your body a living sacrifice to Me"?

The answer is, men are just that—little gods.

There are heavenly beings who are so tremendously large and intelligent, so filled with glory that we would be unable to stand in their presence. Some of these do God’s will. Others joined with Satan in the rebellion against the Father.

God, in His unfathomable wisdom, reached down to the dust of the earth and from it created little gods—creatures who one day will judge the angels, who one day will be served by the most exalted of God’s creatures.

What next?

The predictable—the first little god born on the earth murdered the second because of envy.

The little gods had to be given the chance to do whatever they wanted, although the Lord realized that the result would be six thousand years of agony as the dust-gods strove to glorify themselves.

Then God presented to these inexperienced divinities the only possible solution to their madness: "Take up your cross of self-denial so I may become one with you. Let Me bring forth My life in you. You can realize your foreordained destiny only by entering My death and My life."

It is the story of the prodigal son, the story of man. The Father gives us our inheritance. We end up with the pigs, having lost our inheritance in riotous living. We come to ourselves and return home—to the Father. We have learned we do not have the wisdom to use properly what has been given us.

For two thousand years the Christian churches have attempted to serve God by using His grace and gifts to build a tower that reaches to Heaven. The same attempt is being made today and soon will be supported with signs and wonders.

Some "Christian" leaders are busily engaged in teaching Christians how to live, how to profit by the grace and gifts of God, how to find victory and success in the present world.

They should be teaching the believers how to die in the Lord!

What God said to the Apostles of the Lamb He still is saying to His Church: "It is only by your death that you can live in My Presence. Enter My death and resurrection. Death is the only path to the Throne of God."

By death we mean the surrender of our personality to God, allowing Him to fill us with His Life. We tell the Lord we are His bondslave forever. Our delight is to do the will of God only. We have learned that to follow the desires of our own life brings frustration and pain.

Is this your point of view?

Jesus does not say, Here is life, take it. Rather, Jesus says, "I am life, follow Me." Jesus is the "way" to eternal life. He is the "door." We enter through Him and then walk in the pressured, narrow way that leads to life.

July 14th

LIVING STONES

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

The feast of Tabernacles, the last of the seven feasts of the Lord, reveals to us that God’s eternal purpose is to create a living Temple for Himself. The Temple of God is Christ—Head and Body.

Before we come to the feast of Tabernacles we must experience the Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. The Blowing of Trumpets signifies the coming of the Lord Jesus to His churches to wage war against His enemies, and also to organize His saints into the Army of the Lord.

This is taking place now. The Lord is coming to His people before He appears in open glory to the world.

The Day of Atonement is the period during which each Christian is judged and reconciled to God. The Day of Atonement has begun and will continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Each of us must be reconciled to God so we may serve as a dwelling place for the Lord. We must be delivered from our love of the world. We must be delivered from the lusts of our flesh. Finally we must, through suffering and imprisonment of various kinds, be totally delivered from self-will, envy, presumption, supplanting, and disobedience to the Father. Only then are we ready to be a living stone in the eternal Temple of God.

The emphasis of the Spirit now—today—is that we cease from our own works and look to the Lord. It is a new day. The Lord is calling us to repentance and to listen carefully to His voice. He stands at the door of our heart and is asking if He may enter. We may have been a Christian for many years. Yet this is what is taking place. Are you finding it to be true? Is the Lord speaking to you concerning your thoughts, your words, your actions?

The Lord Jesus desires to enter and dine with us on His own body and blood. We become part of Him as we partake of Him. We become the Wife of the Lamb as we partake of the Lamb.

Are you ready to hear the trumpet of the Lord? Are you ready to be reconciled to God in your entire personality? Are you ready to enter the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, into the rest of God, into the Kingdom of God? Then open your heart to the Lord Jesus and discover what He has for you today, what your role is in the Kingdom of God that is at hand, and what part you are to play in the great latter-rain outpouring.

If the mystery of the Gospel were Christ with us the demands on us would be severe. But since the mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us, the demands on us are total. The Lord will have no idols in His house, no uncleanness, no presumption, no supplanting of the place of another, no envy, no rebellion of any kind against the Father’s will.

Is this what you truly desire—to be made in Christ’s image and to enter total, untroubled rest in the Father, in Him who is the Consuming Fire of Israel? If this is what you really want, then tell the Lord about it right now. Express your desire with your voice. Then get ready for the greatest adventure of your life as the Father and the Son make Their eternal abode in you.

If you are not making progress in purity you are not abiding in Christ. You are not being redeemed. Go to the Lord and ask Him to continue the program of redemption in your life.

July 15th

TO BE A CHRISTIAN

Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)

There are two kinds of "Christian" believers in the world—the church-attender and the disciple. However, only the disciple is a true Christian.

And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26)

"The disciples were called Christians."

The question is, what is a disciple; for it is the disciple who is the genuine Christian.

The Lord Jesus described what He means by a disciple.

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Mark 8:34)

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26,27)

How many "Christians" of our day have forsaken all in order to follow the Lord? Not very many, it appears. How many are following the Master, bearing their personal cross? Not very many!

The Christian churches of today are filled with church-attenders. They call themselves "Christians" but they are not. They are not disciples of the Lord Jesus—not at all! They simply are not genuine Christians.

Let us say that Fred Smith is an apprentice printer. He is twenty years old and is engaged to be married.

On Saturday he attends a trade school where he is studying lithography. The topic this Saturday is color registration. Fred watches carefully as marks are made on the plates to insure that the several colors will not overlap or be outside the specific boundaries set for them.

He understands that such knowledge will lead directly to his becoming a master lithographer with the salary and opportunities that such an attainment will bring. Although he is tired from working all week he forces himself to stay awake. He makes notes and sketches on a pad he carries with him.

On Sunday he and his fiancée, Shirley Samson, attend the morning church service. Fred and his future wife have been raised in church. They slip into a pew. The time comes for the sermon. The pastor delivers a message of great interest and concern to himself. He has prayed over it. The subject is child abuse. The pastor is able to express his indignation at such an outrage and hopes to make some social impact toward relieving this scandalous condition.

Fred has no children but he is interested in the subject. He becomes indignant at the examples of abuse given in the sermon. He looks at Shirley. They agree silently that they would never be guilty of such an abomination (not having experienced the demonic deceptions and pressures that come on all married couples—even Christian couples).

If we are given a piano we are given the gift of the opportunity to become a pianist. The gift of salvation, of eternal life, is the gift of an opportunity. God gives to us the opportunity through the Lord Jesus Christ to attain eternal life.

July 16th

TO BE A CHRISTIAN, continued

Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)

Soon Fred’s head nods. He has worked hard all week. He was busy in school on Saturday. The pastor’s third point, although clearly and simply stated, is not heard by Fred because he is asleep. But when he becomes a father what he has heard may prevent him from venting his anger on his child.

Fred would not bring a notebook and force himself to think about every point made. Why should he? He doesn’t intend to become a minister. His ambition is to be a master lithographer. What would be the purpose of writing down the main points of the sermon and going over them at home? How would he use such information? Toward what goal would it lead him?

Fred is a clean-living, wholesome young person. So is Shirley. But they are not disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are not members of the Body of Christ, of the Body of the Servant of the Lord, except in a nominal sense.

Fred and Shirley will not grow in Christ under these conditions. They have been going to church since early childhood. But they would never invite other young people to meet with them so they could impart the little knowledge of the Scriptures they have gained through years of exposure. They are too busy in the things of the world to set aside the time and energy to minister to others. After fifty years of church attendance they will know little more of the Scriptures than they do now.

Fred’s first interest is printing. His second interest is his fiancée. Church attendance is his religious duty that he performs faithfully. It could not be said truly that Fred is seeking first the Kingdom of God. He is not a disciple.

The current pastor-congregation set of role expectations (the role of the pastor is to preach and the role of the congregation is to attend on Sunday morning and listen) is a wasteful, inefficient system for going into the world and making disciples of all nations. This pattern never will fulfill the great commission given by the resurrected Christ.

The gathering of disciples, on the other hand, is quite different than the church service Fred and Shirley are accustomed to. The assembling of fervent members of the Body of Christ is similar to the gathering of apprentice printers at the Saturday trade school.

Raul Sanchez is a disciple of the Lord Jesus. So is his fiancée, Eliana Martinez. They are both in their early twenties and both have grown up in neighborhoods where violence and gang warfare are common. They had been using drugs since their high school days.

One day they found their way into the Center. The Center is operated by young men and women of their own age having backgrounds similar to that of Raul and Eliana.

The young Christians of the Center are fervent disciples, already having gained experience in conquering sin and the world. They live, breathe, and think about the Lord Jesus twenty-four hours of every day of the week. They are wholly absorbed in following Jesus. They are bearing their cross after Jesus.

Every person who practices perfect obedience to God is a blessing to those around him. But he who insists on his own liberty and happiness harms and deprives others.

July 17th

TO BE A CHRISTIAN, continued

Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)

Raul and Eliana became Christians at the Center with the understanding that a Christian is someone who is following Christ with his whole heart. Christ is the Focus of his life, the Guide and Reason for every decision, every action. The disciples at the Center are learning every moment of their life how to serve the Lord more effectively. For each of them, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Raul and Eliana began to attend a church where the pastor is aware of the transition the Holy Spirit is making—the transition from the clergy-laity concept to the Body of Christ concept.

Their pastor understands he is training disciples who will learn and who will bring to other people that which he is teaching. He is not desirous of gaining large numbers of people to fill the building each Sunday. His concern is that each person whom he is instructing is receiving and mastering what is being presented so that individual soon may be able to present the Kingdom of God to others.

The pastor who is teaching people who will never carry on his teachings is wasting his time and God’s time. The Gospel never will cover the earth until every person who is being taught is committed to teach others also. There no longer is time to "play church."

The pastor of Raul and Eliana, because of his commitment to discipleship, is more interested in building up the saints than he is in building up the attendance. He understands thoroughly that in Kingdom work it is far better to have twenty dedicated disciples than two thousand casually interested church-attenders.

Two thousand lukewarm believers will do little else than seek counsel for their family problems and complain about their lack of convenience and comfort. But twenty dedicated disciples will shake the earth in the name of Jesus.

The assembling of saints that Raul attends is little different from the conventional church. The customary piano, organ, pews, pulpit are all present. The principal difference is that most of those who attend are active disciples. They are assembling in order to worship God and to charge their spiritual batteries so they can go forth as light bearers in this dark world.

There is prolonged, fervent worship in the Spirit. The time comes for presenting the Word of God. The pastor teaches on the subject of forgiving those who sin against us. He stresses the importance to the spiritual life of keeping one’s heart free from grudges, from bitterness, from revenge, from malice.

Raul and Eliana are intensely interested. They know how important grudges and revenge are to the gangs in their neighborhood. They take notes so they can study the Scripture references at home. They are so anxious to please Jesus that they are eager to know more of this spiritual principle. Forgiveness is, they learn, central to our fellowship with God.

Each member of God's elect has been called to serve God as a priest in the new world of righteousness. Whether or not we as an individual manage to lay hold on our own calling depends on the diligence with which we apply ourselves to doing God's will.

July 18th

TO BE A CHRISTIAN, continued

Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)

The number one vocation of Raul and Eliana is their discipleship. Their jobs by which they earn the money for their food and shelter are secondary in importance.

As soon as they relate the principle of forgiving others to their own spiritual condition they will be able and ready to share this understanding with others. It will not be long before they will be heard teaching the new young people who are coming to the Center that we have to forgive those who have harmed us if we expect God to forgive our sins.

There is a difference in kind between Fred Smith and Raul Sanchez. Fred’s chief interest is becoming a journeyman printer and finally owning his own shop. Fred does attend church each Sunday. Each service he hears a well-outlined sermon concerning the moral issues of our culture.

He will do his best to conform to the preaching provided he is not attacked spiritually to the point he is unable to overcome. If that happens he will go the route of numerous men—divorce, alcohol, anxiety, the worship of money. He no longer will find time to attend church.

Raul Sanchez is a dedicated disciple, working at mastering the principles of the Christian life as vigorously and selflessly as the most dedicated musician works at mastering the principles of his instrument.

Raul Sanchez will learn more of Christ in one year than Fred Smith will learn in his entire life. Raul Sanchez soon will find more open doors to share his faith than he will have the time and strength to manage. Fred Smith may never throughout his entire life bring a vital testimony to bear on another human being.

Fred will be taught that saving souls is important. But he will find no practical way to go about saving souls, except perhaps in a time of Sunday-school canvassing of the community.

Raul Sanchez will be taught how to worship and obey God, how to live and fight in the Spirit of God. His whole life will be a supremely powerful force effecting change in his family, his relatives, his friends, and a multitude of other people who are brought by the Holy Spirit to drink of Raul’s fountain of living waters.

When referring to people being blessed by Raul Sanchez we are not speaking of the Christian zealot who goes about attempting to get people to subscribe to the "four steps of salvation," alienating the Jews and others with whom he comes in contact, or to the Christian who has been given by the Spirit a special gift of soul winning.

Rather, our reference is to the true disciple of Jesus. The true disciple is a believer who is becoming a new creation, who is being made the living expression of Christ. Christ is the eternal moral law of God made flesh, the eternal Witness of God. Those who give their lives wholly to the Lord Jesus always have a profound effect on the individuals with whom they come in contact. They save themselves and those who hear them. They are true witnesses of God, and all true witnesses bear witness for eternity.

There will be no kings, judges, or priests in the Kingdom of God by imputation. Only those will be there who are both authorized and competent to be kings, judges, and priests.

July 19th

TO BE A CHRISTIAN, continued

Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)

There are billions of human beings today who are living their life without Christ. The pastor-congregation pattern of role expectations (the pastor preaches and the congregation sits and listens) never will reach the majority of this mass of souls and bring to them the knowledge of Christ.

But the Holy Spirit is calling out from these spiritually inefficient assemblings a warlike remnant of people, young and old, who are ready to be disciples of Christ in the New Testament sense of the word.

Before Christ returns from Heaven these new disciples will make an impact on every human being on the earth. Because of their acceptance of death with Christ on the cross, their absolute, single-minded obedience to the Father, they will accomplish more in the next few years than has been accomplished over the past two thousand years of church history.

There is a military aspect of the Christian discipleship. Discipleship and being a soldier have many points in common.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (II Timothy 2:2,3)

Notice the close relationship between discipleship and being a soldier of Christ. A soldier is a man under discipline. He is dedicated to the service of his king. He will give his life for his country. He will obey orders, even to death. He lives to serve his king and country. So it is with the disciple of Christ.

A good soldier endures hardness without complaining. He realizes that in order to win a war there must be much suffering, much danger, much discomfort to one’s self. He does not complain because complaining would weaken the hands of his fellow soldiers and aid the enemy.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (II Timothy 2:4)

A soldier has one goal in life—to keep himself prepared to destroy the enemy of his king. Every other matter is secondary in importance. A good soldier does nothing that will enable the enemy to catch him off guard and do damage to what he has been assigned to protect.

Fred Smith is entangled with the affairs of this life. His heart is set on making money so he can get married, buy a house, own a new car, furnish his home with nice things, and gradually acquire additional articles of comfort and convenience. The church is a place where he goes on Sunday because that is what a "Christian" is supposed to do.

Fred’s mind seldom is on "things above." He is not seeking first the Kingdom of God. He is seeking first the material riches. Matters pertaining to his religion are secondary in importance. He will give some attention to church activities when he finds the time.

God is calling out of the churches (not out of the buildings but out of the errors) a holy, warlike remnant of saints. They will proceed to establish their lives according to the Scriptures. They will be more than conquerors throughout the age of moral horrors and will encourage and assist many who otherwise would be swept away into the darkness.

July 20th

TO BE A CHRISTIAN, continued

Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)

Fred does not view himself as a soldier of Christ. The concept that he should keep his involvement in this world to a minimum in order that he may effectively serve the Lord Jesus is foreign to him.

He believes he should work hard, and that if he attends church regularly it will help insure he will go to Heaven when he dies. Since he will not die until he is an old man (so he thinks) he will put off worrying about Heaven until he gets closer to it. By the time he is elderly his habits will have become so deeply ingrained that should he desire to become a disciple of the Lord Jesus he might find it quite difficult.

Raul’s attitude of mind is altogether different. His mind, his heart, are kept on "things above." The seeking of the Kingdom of God is first in importance to him. He deliberately keeps his involvement in the things of this life to a minimum so he always will be alert and ready to serve the Lord.

Raul, a skilled auto mechanic and a conscientious employee, already has turned down one excellent job opportunity because he would have had to work nights and Sundays frequently and this would have seriously interrupted his meeting with the saints and his ministry at the Center. By the time Raul is elderly he will have become a prophet—an eternal witness of God.

Raul has the spirit of the Christian martyrs. He would give his life for his testimony if that were required. To Raul, Heaven is not a far off place where he will go when he is seventy or eighty. Heaven is his homeland, the place that each day is becoming more real to him. He is ready to die in his twenties because his heart leaps with joy at the thought of seeing the Christ and the saints in glory.

When Raul’s pastor preaches on the cross, on suffering, on giving one’s life for the Lord, Raul is filled with glory and joy. His spiritual life is an adventure, a joy, a romance with Jesus. He is continually growing in power and vision.

When Fred’s pastor preaches on the cross, on suffering, on giving one’s life for Jesus (which is seldom because the congregation enjoys "positive" preaching and would soon leave if the pastor became "negative"), Fred is disquieted and dismayed. He sees no necessity for dwelling on pain and misery. He would far rather think about the passages of the Scripture that bring assurance to him that God loves him and will protect and bless him. His "promise box" at home contains no "negative" passages.

If the Lord Jesus were to call Fred to service in some foreign land, this would interfere with Fred’s ambitions, hopes, and dreams. He probably would not obey and would continue with his pursuits, hoping that the "feeling" would go away. Although he might be somewhat aware that he may be disobeying Jesus he would trust he will go to Heaven anyway because "we are saved by grace and not by works."

The Lord's people are being separated into two groups in our day. There are those who love their delicious religious experiences. There are those who put on the Lord's yoke and follow patiently after the Master. They leave bloody footprints in the snow as the true saints always have.

 July 21st

TO BE A CHRISTIAN, continued

Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)

Fred is ignorant of the fact that the Kingdom of God will come to the earth in the near future. He never has been taught this. His concept of future events is that some day he is going to Heaven to live in a "mansion." If Fred is pressed hard enough he may compromise his Christianity. He does not have enough inner fire to stand up for Jesus if it means painful personal sacrifice or martyrdom.

Fred is not a soldier of Christ. He is not a disciple, a saint, a man of God, an active member of Christ’s Body. Because he is not a victorious, conquering saint he is not eligible for the first resurrection—the resurrection of God’s kings and judges. He is not ready to be revealed to the creation as a son of God. Fred is being taught he will be caught up in his lukewarm state in a rapture so he will not be called on to suffer tribulation.

The doctrines of the "rapture," of gaining material possessions by faith, of being saved by "grace" independently of the kind of behavior the believer practices (lawless grace), are perfectly suited to Fred. These doctrines, which are foreign to the concept of Christian discipleship, have deceived Fred into believing he can live as a worldling and yet enjoy the rewards of the Christian martyrs and prophets.

Raul is a soldier of Christ, a disciple, a saint, a man of God, an active member of Christ’s Body, His army. Raul is eligible for the first resurrection because he is an overcomer. In fact, his daily life is an attaining to the first resurrection as he begins to share in the incorruptible resurrection life of Jesus and the sufferings of Jesus. Raul is being prepared to be revealed with the Lord Jesus at His appearing. If the Lord called Raul and Eliana to the mission field they would be filled with rejoicing.

Fred is a man of this world, although he hopes that through his agreement with the doctrines of his church he holds a ticket to Heaven. He does not care particularly about dwelling in Christ and God or They in him. He just desires to avoid Hell when he dies.

Raul is starting out to become a prophet. Every true saint of God is a witness and a prophet. The Spirit of the most high God rests on Raul and dwells within him. He is walking in the steps of Moses, of Jeremiah, of Abraham, of Daniel, of Paul, of Peter, of James. He is one of the elect, the remnant of whom this world is not worthy.

Fred is at home in this world. Raul is a pilgrim and a stranger. He is spending his life looking for a city that has foundations, an abiding place of rest in the heart of God. He is seeking—and he shall find—the full knowledge of God through Christ, the "city which hath foundations."

Raul has the promise of Christ that he will be guarded during the hour of temptation that soon is to come upon us. He has kept the word of Christ’s patience and Christ will keep him throughout the age of moral horrors that is on the horizon.

Fred already has surrendered to the antichrist spirit, the spirit of worldliness and material gain, and therefore is in danger of everlasting torment.

Raul Sanchez and Eliana Martinez are disciples. They are Christians. Fred Smith and Shirley Samson are not disciples. They are not Christians.

And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26)

The only persons who will survive the dark days that are ahead are those who are abiding in Christ. In order to abide in Christ and Christ in us we have to keep His commandments.

July 22nd

ANGIOPLASTY

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

Angioplasty is a medical procedure sometimes used to increase the flow of blood through an artery. A tiny balloon is inserted into the constricted artery and inflated.

God is totally righteous and holy. The eternal moral law is derived from God’s Personality. Because God never changes the eternal moral law never changes. Sin is the transgression of the eternal moral law and results in spiritual and physical death, that is, separation from God.

God gave the Ten Commandments as an abridged, covenantal form of His eternal moral law.

The personality of man is bent and twisted, given to worldliness, lust, violence, and self-seeking.

When man faces the Ten Commandments the warping of his personality is revealed but there is not the power to fix it.

The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth from Heaven. His personality is unblemished. Jesus kept the Law of Moses perfectly, thus incurring righteousness in the sight of God. Then Christ died and offered His blood such that the believer can receive by faith the righteousness that would have been his had he kept the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law of Moses in detail.

The believer now is absolutely righteous in the sight of God but his personality remains bent and twisted.

Now the angioplasty begins. The righteous One, Jesus Christ, is born in the individual. As the person reads his Bible, prays, fellowships with the saints, the "balloon is inflated." As Christ grows the elements of the personality are straightened out and lined up until every trace of sin and rebellion has disappeared.

Now the believer is able to keep the Law of Moses, because the law of God has been written in his mind and on his heart.

The disciple of Jesus Christ is not called to the abridged, covenantal form of the eternal moral law of God but to the fullness of the eternal law itself.

How can the human being obey God perfectly? Give attendance to doing what the Apostles commanded and Christ will be formed in the personality. Then the eternal moral law of God, which is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, will come naturally.

The great misunderstanding of our day is that Christ came to forgive men and bring them to Heaven. The truth is, Christ came to forgive men so He would have the opportunity to totally transform them.

Is faith in Jesus our ticket to Heaven? Or is faith in Jesus a means of giving us a daily contact with God that results in the creation of a new, righteous personality?

Let Christ be magnified (inflated) in you.

The new covenant is a new program and includes unprecedented grace; but the goal of righteous, holy, obedient behavior is the same from eternity to eternity.

July 23rd

THE SHEEP GATE

Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. (Nehemiah 3:1)

Under Nehemiah’s leadership many Jews returned from Babylon. They determined to rebuild the wall and gates of the city of Jerusalem.

The first gate to be built was the sheep gate. The second gate was the fish gate.

The rebuilding of the sheep gate represents the building up of the members of the Body of Christ. The rebuilding of the fish gate represents the work of evangelism.

This order is not accidental, it is symbolic. We have it backwards today. We are trying to build the fish gate before the sheep gate.

As long as I can remember as a Christian the emphasis in the churches has been on evangelism, sometimes even on Sunday morning. I cannot remember any pastor, in my limited experience, stressing the building up of the saints. There always has been a mighty emphasis on the numbers of people attending, but as to the actual building up the saints spiritually, "deeper life" or whatever you want to call it, this was reserved for a week-night meeting or ignored altogether.

The idea is, we don’t want saints "getting fat sitting in their pews." "Get out and bring in the lost and dying!"

The sheep gate needs building. The purpose of the gifts and ministries given to the Body of Christ is to build each believer to maturity as measured by the fullness of the stature of Christ.

The Bride is to be without spot or wrinkle. Right? Do you see any Christians around here without spots or wrinkles? Probably not.

Why? Because we are not emphasizing what Christ emphasizes.

Sometimes numbers of people is our criterion of "success." Spiritual growth probably is God’s criterion of success.

The sheep are not being fed. They are not growing. Sometimes they are unchanged after fifty years.

One reason the believers experience little spiritual growth is that the only way Christians can be built up to the measure of Christ is by the exercise of all the gifts and ministries of the Spirit. We must have apostles, evangelists, prophets, pastors, teachers, gifts of healing, wisdom, knowledge, discernment and so forth operating throughout the churches if the saints are to grow.

The need today is for the saints to be fed! The main purpose of the gathering of the believers is to build up the saints. If Sunday after Sunday the emphasis is on "getting souls saved" the saints are not going to grow.

If the pastor is leading the songs, giving the announcements, taking the offering, preaching, and doing everything else, the saints are not going to grow. The Holy Spirit assigns gifts to every member of the church and until those gifts are operating the saints are not going to grow as they should.

We need to minimize or abolish the clergy-laity distinction.

The primary job of the pastor is to feed the sheep with the riches of the Word of God, or at least to see to it that the primary attention of the main service is dedicated to this goal. Pastor-teacher is really one ministry, I believe.

If the pastor doesn’t feel capable of feeding the sheep he needs to find someone who can. That does not mean he has to step down as pastor; he just needs to be a good administrator.

There are millions of believers in the United States but it appears many of them are spiritual babies. This is the army of the Lord?

First the sheep gate, then the fish gate. This is God’s order.

If you love me, feed My sheep!

The Divine Law is correctly expressed in behavior, not just in knowledge.

July 24th

THE PURPOSE OF GIFTS AND MINISTRIES

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (I Corinthians 12:11)

The Bible tells us that the Spirit of God gives grace to every member of the Body of Christ. The grace includes gifts and ministries. In Ephesians, five ministries are listed, the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher (or pastor-teacher, making four instead of five ministries).

The five (or four) ministries listed are not set forth as such anywhere else in the New Testament, and are placed by Paul in the same category as the gifts.

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (I Corinthians 12:28)

Therefore we view the gifts and ministries as examples of the grace given to the believers so they may perform the work of the ministry, without distinguishing between gifts and five super ministries.

The Old Testament reveals the ultimate purpose of the gifts and ministries.

Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. (Psalms 68:18)

The purpose of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit is to prepare a dwelling place for God.

But Christ who is the only dwelling place of God.

Therefore, the purpose of the gifts and ministries must be to build up Christ.

This is exactly what we find.

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:12,13)

God has given to each believer one or more gifts and a ministry so that he or she may be equipped to accomplish the purpose of God, which is to provide a dwelling place for Himself. Since the dwelling place of God is Christ, then the goal of every gift and ministry given by the Holy Spirit is to bring each believer to a perfect man, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

In God’s great house there are many rooms. The chief Cornerstone of the house of God is Jesus Christ. You and I are living stones in that house so that the whole is one dwelling place of the Father.

However, the Father will dwell only in Christ. If we are to be the dwelling place of God, Christ must be formed in us. The purpose of the gifts and ministries given to the believers is to form Christ in each member of the Body of Christ.

We can easily see from this how important each member of the Body is. The ascended Christ has imparted grace to each one of us. Each member of the Body of Christ has an important role to play in building up the Body.

When Jesus spoke of the Father's house He was referring to Himself. God the Father dwells in His fullness in Christ. Christ is the only true and eternal House of God.

July 25th

THE PURPOSE OF GIFTS AND MINISTRIES, continued

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:15,16)

The Body must be built by that which every joint supplies. We cannot emphasize too strongly that every believer is given grace by the Spirit so that the members of the Body can come to the fullness of Christ. But how can a member of the Body of Christ find out what he or she is supposed to be contributing? The only way you can really find and enter your ministry is by presenting your body a living sacrifice. This is how you prove the will of God. The laying on of the hands of a godly presbytery accompanied with prophecy is very helpful, and scriptural. But all will come to nothing until you come before God in stern discipleship.

It is incumbent on the leaders of the assemblings of Christians to encourage widespread participation. An effort must be made to get the people moving, particularly the young people. It isn’t easy and takes lots of prayer. The old programs are not going to bring us into the Kingdom. We must bring the people to an awareness of what God wants.

Prayer is the main thing. We are having forty-five minutes of prayer in our Sunday morning service, just before the main service begins. People with needs come forward and the saints that are there pray for them. This "burden-bearers" time is conducted by elders and experienced Christians. I am in my office preparing the message. Never do for the congregation what they can do for themselves is a good rule to follow, I believe.

Much can be accomplished with banners and tambourines to get things moving, particularly with the young people and children. Expressive worship movements can occur as the children and young people come forward during the song service and portray with their bodies the words of the choruses. We have a group of men doing Hasidic dancing with some of the hymns. There are all kinds of things that can get the congregation involved. Mime is an effective way of communicating. Hopefully this is just the beginning. We still haven’t got to the place where the prophets are acting out their prophecies as well as speaking or singing the words.

It’s onward and upward. This is only the beginning. The people are not going to be able to stand during the age of moral horrors that is upon us if all we have is an introduction, three points, some anecdotes, and a conclusion. Final hymn. Stand by the door. Marvelous sermon, Pastor. God bless you. Football game this afternoon. Mickey Mouse tonight.

Vigorous expression in worship on the part of everyone is necessary to carry us through the week. Hopefully such participation will lead to more manifestation of the gifts and ministries of the Spirit.

Did you know the United States is by far the number one producer of pornography (U.S. News and World Report)? One hundred fifty hard-core pornographic videos are being produced each week. And America is a Christian nation? Business as usual in the churches is never going to prepare God’s people for what they and their children and grandchildren will be facing in the immediate future.

We are to be built up in Christ by that which every member supplies. The clergy-laity pattern must give way before the Body of Christ pattern. The goal is to provide a dwelling place for God. Your contribution is absolutely essential if God is to have the house He desires.

The exercise of faith results in more faith. The exercise of righteousness results in more righteousness. The exercise of eternal life results in more eternal life. Each blessing brings another as we follow the Lord. He who is faithful in the least will be entrusted with the greater.

July 26th

ONLY CHRIST IS THE SOLUTION

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (Revelation 12:3)

The second wonder in heaven is Satan. He has perfect wisdom, power in the world, and authority that God has given him to accomplish God’s purposes.

Much of what will take place in the days to come will be far, far beyond the mind of man to understand or to manage. It is time now to surrender all to Christ Jesus. Only He has been entrusted by the Father with superior wisdom, power, and authority. Only He can tear down and destroy Satan.

It is vain for us to struggle to save the world or to bring in everlasting righteousness. The battle will reach into the heavens and attack the host.

And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. (Daniel 8:10)

We are on the brink of the reconciliation of the creation to the Lord God. God has determined that all of the universe will find its center and circumference in Christ Jesus. The wrath of God, smoldering since the original rebellion in the heavens, is about to be poured on the fallen stars of the heaven and on those people who worship them and accept their leadership.

The wisdom and power exercised in the war of the ages is so great as to make the efforts of human beings to be so much dust blown about in a typhoon. We simply are unable to think clearly or to act effectively.

The only hope is in the travail of Zion. The only hope is that the saints will avail themselves of the glory available in the latter-rain outpouring and become still long enough to permit Christ to be formed in them. Only Christ has the ability to conquer the wicked lords of the heavenlies.

Waiting on God is an attitude of the heart. It does not mean we cease performing the tasks that are before us. It has more to do with looking to the Lord in place of planning and scheming.

Will you be one of those who turns from the efforts of the flesh and waits on God until Christ is formed in you?

All the works of Christians in the earth are an annoyance to Satan. Satan does not fear the believers. Satan fears the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—no one and nothing else.

Satan is terrified at the thought that Christ will come forth in the churches in the earth. Therefore Satan will do all in his power to convince the churches they can build the Kingdom of God in their own strength. Antichrist will subsidize the churches and assist them as they attempt to relieve the suffering of the world.

As long as Satan can keep the saints busy in their religious works he has little to fear. But when the churches go to their knees and call on Christ to come and build His own Kingdom in the earth, Satan’s end is at hand. The mighty Christ will come and with superior wisdom, power, and authority will crush Satan’s kingdom and remove it from the earth.

How about you? Will you look to Christ or to your own strength to establish the Kingdom of God in the earth?

Christ cannot return until the Christian church has brought forth Christ in the members of His Body.

July 27th

DIFFERENCES IN THE KINGDOM

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)

It is taught that if we "accept Jesus" we will be made like Him when we die, and go to live for eternity in a land where there is no more opportunity for sin against God. The sin question is settled by physical death. Deliverance from the bondage of sin comes through physical death. The "last enemy," physical death, has become our redeemer.

Yet there is no evidence in the Scriptures that any spiritual improvement will take place in us as a consequence of, or at the time of, our physical death. The position of the Scripture is that every individual will be rewarded in the Day of Judgment according to his behavior on the earth. The Scriptures are almost silent concerning the period of time between our physical death and the appearing of Christ in the clouds.

The assumption is, what we are in personality, we are. There is no basis in Scripture for believing physical death will change what we are. When we awake in the Day of Judgment we will be unchanged in personality. In fact, what we have become during our lifetime on the earth will be revealed in that day.

The testimony of Christians who have been given insight into the spirit realm, into life after death, is that we experience no change when we die other than the relief of being shed of our earth-bound body.

Sundar Singh, a noted Christian visionary, testified that we go to the area of the spirit realm for which we are suited. Other Christian writers who have had visions of life after death confirm that we are placed according to our spiritual development, that the spiritual world is not divided only into the deepest Hell and the highest Heaven but into gradations of Heaven and gradations of Hell.

Given that the Scriptures do not speak to the contrary, given such grouping of people by spiritual development and calling takes place to a certain extent while we still are alive on the earth, and given such placement is reasonable and compassionate, it is our point of view that all persons—Christian by belief or not—will, when they die, pass into a realm suited to their spiritual development, there to await the Day of Judgment.

This is not to say that some are not lost to God by the time of physical death, or that the wicked will not go immediately into the flames of Hell, there to await the white-throne judgment. It appears evident from the Scriptures that such is the case. Our point is that there are others—a great "sea" of people—who will not be placed in the Presence of God and the Lamb at physical death, or cast into the burning flames, but will find themselves with people of similar development.

It is the writer’s point of view that the occasion of physical death does not result in the grouping of people into two uniform companies; rather, it results in the careful defining of each individual’s progress, or lack of it, in godly character. Let’s hope that such is the case.

God opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. Would you rather be with people who are somewhat like what you are used to or people who are totally different?

If you are not happy with your present group maybe you better change or else find a different bunch. You might be stuck with them for a while.

The goal of salvation is to change us into Christ's image and to bring us into untroubled union in the Father through Jesus Christ. The holding of the scriptural goal is necessary if we are to make a transition from the current mythological concept of salvation to the true scriptural concept.

July 28th

THE IMAGE OF GOD

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

Man is to be in the image of God. The image of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the first Man to be in the image of God.

The image of Christ’s personality is in part that which the Apostle Paul terms the fruit of the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)

The image of Satan fills the earth today. Satan’s image is the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit: hatred, misery, unrest, impatience, harshness, badness, treachery, arrogance, lack of self-control.

We humans reveal in our adamic nature the image of Satan. We can try in our old nature to imitate the image of God, the image of Jesus. It is well that we use the Lord as our example of behavior.

We soon discover we have set ourselves an impossible task. We have been commanded to be in the image of God but we fail miserably when we are tested.

God’s plan of redemption is successful in converting us from the image of Satan to the image of Christ Jesus. God does not reform our adamic nature, He crucifies our adamic nature and gives us a new nature.

The change from the Adamic nature to the nature of Christ does not take place in a moment. But the blood of the Lamb, the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God work together with our circumstances (which the Lord orders) to change us from the personality of Adam to the personality of Christ Himself.

The elect have been predestined to be in the image of Christ, to be the brothers of Christ.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

Adam and Eve were in the image of God in an elementary way. The Lord Jesus is perfectly in the image of God although His Divine Glory was concealed in a flesh and blood body.

The glorified Christ who appeared to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos is what God has in mind by pronouncing man in the image of God.

When the Lord appears with His saints they will be glorious to behold. They will shine as the stars of heaven. If they did not conceal their glory the peoples of the earth could not gaze on them. This is just the beginning.

After billions of eons have transpired we shall have developed further in the image of our Father. Then we shall be mountains of Divine fire—galaxies of power and glory. The eternities following will witness our coming to maturity in the image of God.

What is man that You are mindful of him?

Image makes union possible. Union makes fruitfulness possible. Fruitfulness makes dominion possible. When we possess image, union, fruitfulness, and dominion we are ready to inhabit and maintain Paradise and to bring Paradise wherever we go.

July 29th

THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING

And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits. (Exodus 27:1)

If you know nothing about the Tabernacle of the Congregation, you might want to go to a Christian bookstore and read up on it. It probably is the greatest of the types (symbols) found in the Bible.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation consisted of a fenced-off area, the Courtyard, in which was a barn-like tent. The tent was divided into the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

The Tabernacle compound included three major areas: the Courtyard, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place. The Courtyard portrays the message of salvation to the nations. The Holy Place represents the Church, the Priesthood of God. The Holy of Holies speaks of the firstfruits to God and the Lamb. The firstfruits are an integral part of the Church but compose a dedicated remnant, a Gideon’s army who will work with the Lord in establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The Courtyard was lighted by the sun. There were two elements in the Courtyard, the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Laver. They speak of that which the Lord presents to the world: the blood of atonement (the Altar), and repentance and water baptism (the Laver).

There were seven furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The first furnishing encountered, as one entered the Courtyard, was the great Altar of Burnt Offering.

Whoever would approach God must come by way of the blood, by way of the Altar of Burnt Offering.

The Altar of Burnt Offering stands for Calvary. Whoever would be saved must meet God at the cross, must repent, turning away from the wickedness of the world, and must be baptized in water (the Laver).

Whenever blood was shed as an offering, whether for a whole burnt offering, the sin or trespass offerings, the morning and evening lambs, the blood offerings of the Day of Atonement and the other festivals, and so forth, the sacrifice was made at the Altar of Burnt Offering.

Sometimes people argue that they can repent and this alone will atone for their sins, or maybe do some charitable work, or perhaps be a good husband and father. While all these are commendable the Nature of God is such that only the shedding of blood will balance the scales of equity.

The present-day Jews make much of the Law and attempt to observe it. This is pathetic because they have no Tabernacle, no Temple in which they can offer blood. By their own Law they realize no atonement is being made in spite of their philosophical arguments.

We say to our Jewish friends, "the Atonement has been made for you as well as for us Gentiles. The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, is more efficacious than that of bulls and goats.

"You now have a perfect blood offering you can present for your sins. The atonement has been made in the Holy of Holies in Heaven. God has not left you with no way to satisfy His demands."

Hallelujah!

Before a person can be healed morally, obtain full fellowship with God, and enter his Divinely appointed inheritance in the Lord, his sins must be forgiven and the presence of sin removed from him.

July 30th

THE LAVER

Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. (Exodus 30:18)

The Laver and the Altar of Burnt Offering were located in the Courtyard. This means their spiritual counterparts are to be presented to the nations of the earth. "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved" is the message to be given to all the world.

The Laver represents water baptism and also the washing of water by the Word of God. In water baptism the believer counts he has been crucified with Christ. His old life is over. He no longer is part of the world spirit. He is ready to enter the Kingdom of God. His body is dead because of sin but his new life has risen from the dead and has ascended in Christ to the right hand of the Father.

He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. This is the Christian testimony to the nations of the earth. Water baptism of necessity includes repentance because baptism signifies a turning away from life lived in the malice and wickedness of the world.

How much easier would be our job of teaching sanctification if people were taught when they were baptized in water that their first life is over. They now are dead to the world, to sin, and to their own self-will. This is what they are saying as they go down and come up again. They now are risen with Christ, ready to walk in the new life of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

The bronze Laver portrays not only our water baptism but also our daily cleansing by the Word of God. The Laver was constructed from the bronze mirrors of the women of the congregation. As we read the Bible the Holy Spirit emphasizes to us those commandments He is dealing with in our personality. Suddenly we become aware of sin in our life. We then are to go immediately to the Lord, confess our sin, and receive the forgiveness and the cleansing. In this manner we keep our robe clean.

This is not a confession in which we merely enumerate our sin but a confession in which we resolve by God’s help to turn away from our sin. God will assist us if we mean business. But if we come halfheartedly, knowing we are going to do the same thing again, we are wasting our time and God’s time.

There is power in Jesus Christ—galactic power, irresistible power, unbelievable power. There is all the power you ever will need to resist your fallen nature.

Call upon God for power. Confess your immorality, your profanity, your treachery, your lying, your criticizing of others, your abuse of your body, your anger, your bitterness, your unforgiveness, your gossiping, your slandering, your witchcraft, your covetousness. Confess these things to God. Confess them to another believer if you wish and have him or her pray with you.

Confess your sins!

Determine to put an end to your sins. Yell at them! Condemn them to the Lake of Fire! You will be heard in the spirit realm. Tell that spirit of swearing that it belongs in the Lake of Fire. Get excited! Get angry! Drive the thing from you! If you tell a dog to quit following you and say, "Now Fido, go home," do you think it is going to mind you? You have got to act like this is the dog’s last minute on earth before he will pay any attention to you.

The same is true of the demons of sin. It does no good to talk in tongues at them. Don’t waste your time rebuking the devil. Resist the devil! Resist the devil! Do it with all your might and God will hear you—so will the demons.

The churches are full of sin. It is time to go to the Laver and get washed.

The Altar of Burnt Offering represents justification—forgiveness through the blood of the cross. The Laver represents sanctification—the cleansing through the Spirit and the Word of God.

Imputation without transformation is like a cart without a horse. You aren't going anywhere with it.

 July 31st

THE TABLE OF SHOWBREAD

SCRIPTURE =Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. (Exodus 25:23)

When one moved past the Laver and entered through the door of the Tabernacle into the Holy Place, the Table of Showbread was on the right. Twelve unleavened loaves of showbread were to be kept on the Table at all times.

The term showbread often is translated "bread of the Presence."

The Altar out in the Courtyard represents the blood atonement made by Jesus Christ. The Laver, standing just outside the door of the Tabernacle, speaks of repentance and water baptism.

The Table of Showbread inside the Holy Place portrays the born-again experience. It is by being born again that we enter the Kingdom of God.

The Table of Showbread tells us that the Substance of Christ is born in us and is being formed in us. The Word of God is being written in our personality, taking the place of our natural adamic life.

The mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us. The concept of Christ being in us isn’t always emphasized. The Christian traditions of Christmas, Easter, and the return of the Lord usually are thought of in terms of Christ with us. When the saints have visions of Heaven and Christ He always is with them, never in them. I have seen no exception to this.

But God’s plan is to magnify Christ by having Christ formed in the believers. We are to be the fullness of Him who fills all in all. The full development of Christ in us is God’s goal.

If Christ were merely to be with us, if this were what salvation is, then the Christian life would be a simple matter: we believe, are baptized, and then go to live with Jesus in Heaven.

But this is not what salvation is. Salvation is the tearing down of our adamic nature and the creation of Christ in its place. To be "saved" in this sense requires a life of total commitment to Christ during which every moment of every day is occupied with following the Spirit of God as He brings about our death and resurrection in Christ.

None of the many roles and tasks God has in mind for the royal priesthood is available in full measure to the individual who merely has Christ with him. It is only as Christ is formed in us that we are authorized and competent to be a living stone in the Temple of God, a member of the Bride of the Lamb, a part of the Body of Christ, a judge of men and angels, a son of God, a brother of Christ and so forth.

We must be born again of the Divine Nature. Then we must submit to the ceaseless dealings of God as He crucifies our adamic nature and forms the Divine Nature of Christ in us.

The end of the matter is to come to maturity as measured by the full stature of Christ that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The Apostles of the Lamb pointed toward the fullness of our salvation as coming in the future, maintaining that what we have now is a guarantee, a deposit on what is to be presented in full at a later time. We have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb and sealed by the Spirit of God. These constitute a pledge, a guarantee concerning future acts of redemption.

August 1st

THE LAMPSTAND

And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. (Exodus 25:31)

The Altar, the Laver, the Table of Showbread, and then the Lampstand, symbolizing the blood atonement, repentance and water baptism, Christ born and formed in us, and then the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. A remarkable symbolic portrayal.

There are only two ways in which a human being can conduct his or her life. One way is to live in the flesh, in the five senses of the body. The other is to live in the Spirit of God, deriving guidance and inspiration from Him. It is God’s will that every saved person think, speak, and act at all times under every circumstance in the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit is God. He is active in every element of our salvation. He is as Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, who is bringing the bride to the Son.

"You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you." Power! Power to communicate the truth concerning Christ! Power to live a godly life!

It is the Spirit who gives us gifts and ministries. It is He who empowers their use.

"Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." The reason we yield to temptation is that we are not walking in the Spirit.

All ministry is to be conducted in the Spirit of God. For two thousand years the Christian churches have sought to build the Kingdom of God by their own wisdom and strength. The result is a multitude of competing denominations.

Only the Holy Spirit can properly employ the gifts of the Spirit.

It is not enough to attempt to do in one’s own strength what the Bible commands whether in the realm of ministry or morality. We must pray constantly, looking to the Spirit of God for every detail of ministry and personal behavior.

As we pray, read the Bible, gather with the saints, give of our means, serve the fellowship, we remain in the Spirit. We must begin first thing in the morning seeking the Presence of God. As we do the Spirit of God will guide and strengthen us.

The great problem in America today is the lack of the Spirit of God. Christians sometimes believe that because they have accepted Christ they automatically are filled with the Spirit of God. Pentecostals sometimes believe that because they speak in tongues they are filled with the Spirit of God. Neither is necessarily correct.

The evidence we are living in the Spirit is the increase of love, joy, and peace in our life.

The Spirit-filled life must be cultivated every moment of every day. There is no decision we make that ought not to be submitted to God in prayer. We are to pray without ceasing, to practice the Presence of God always in all matters.

There are three great symbols of Judaism, the Altar, the Lampstand, and the Booth of the feast of Tabernacles.

The Altar tells us God must be approached through blood and sacrifice. The Lampstand informs us that life is to be lived in the Spirit of God—now and for eternity.

The Booth, the third symbol of Judaism, is God’s way of notifying man that he was born to be the dwelling place of God.

As we live in the Spirit we shall proceed onward and upward until we are perfect and complete in all the will of God.

The priests, prophets, and kings of the Lord live and rule by the eternal, indestructible life and power of the Holy Spirit of God.

August 2nd

THE ALTAR OF INCENSE

And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it. (Exodus 30:1)

When you entered the Holy Place of the Tabernacle and looked straight ahead, at the far end was the ornate veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy.

On the far side of the veil, hidden from your eyes was the Ark of the Covenant. The lid of the Ark was the Mercy Seat with two great cherubim beaten out from refined gold. Their wings covered the Mercy Seat.

On this side of the veil, visible to you, was the Altar of Incense.

The Altar of Incense represents the laying down of our life before God. The incense burned on the Altar was compounded from spices, some bitter, some sweet. They speak of death.

We must be born again (the Table of Showbread). We must be filled with God’s Spirit (the Lampstand). And then we must fall down before Christ each day and worship (the Altar of Incense). We must do His perfect will at all times, our adamic personality dying in the process.

This is where the churches are today. We are saved and filled with the Spirit. The Spirit now is leading us into death to self.

The Lord is looking for those of the churches who will lay down their life for His sake and the Gospel’s. Will we try to use our gifts to save the world, driven by our religious ambitions, or will we turn back to the Lord and put our gifts as well as ourselves at His feet?

It is time now to overcome Satan so that Michael will be empowered to drive Satan from the heavenlies. There will be a remnant of saints who will overcome by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and by loving not their lives to the death.

Heaven and earth are waiting for Christians who will set aside their own lives that the perfect will of God may be done.

Will you be one of those who trust in the blood of the Lamb, who work with the Spirit until the testimony of their personalities and words line up with the Word of God, and who—most importantly of all—lay down their lives that Christ may live?

If you will do this you will help put to an end the wrestling match. Satan’s shoulders are to be pinned to the mat.

God will hold you up as an example to Satan. "What else do you want to do to him (or her)? You have dragged him through the mud. You have denied him the desires of his heart. You have tested his determination in every possible way? What else are you going to do?"

Satan shakes his head. His devices have been exhausted.

The Father speaks the Word. Michael and his forces as a single shining shaft of blinding light rushing at the forces of darkness at a speed faster than thought drive Satan and all spirits related to him from the heavenlies.

Now will those in Heaven rejoice because the accuser no longer can approach the throne of God.

But woe to those alive on the earth in that day! An outraged Satan and his followers, once angelic princes of the highest glory, now forced to live among the decaying protoplasm of human beings, will vent their malice and spite on all who are not protected by the blood of the Lamb. The fallen angels will pour into the earth like angry wasps from a burning nest.

Today is your opportunity to join the Gideon’s army that will satisfy the Father’s demands. Forget yourself for one brief moment and get into something of real majesty and significance. Help put an end to the misery of mankind.

You can satisfy your desires later!

It is extremely important that we learn to define salvation as a journey from Satan to God rather than a one-time expression of faith. The world contains millions of believers who have "made a decision for Christ." But among these millions there may not be five thousand true disciples.

August 3rd

THE ARK OF THE COVENANT

And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. (Exodus 25:10)

The Ark of the Covenant was a chest made of acacia wood covered with gold. Inside the Ark were the memorial jar of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the Covenant—the Ten Commandments. A copy of the Law of Moses was placed beside the Ark.

When the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Temple of Solomon, all that remained in the Ark was the Covenant, the Ten Commandments.

The Ark of the Covenant represents the Character of Jesus Christ. The Ark represents also the character of those who are transformed into the image of Christ.

The copy of the Law of Moses placed beside the Ark means that when we begin as a Christian we do not have much of Christ in us. We must obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles as well as we can in our natural strength, praying always to God to strengthen and guide us.

This is why the adamic nature of the believer must have integrity. If we do not have personal integrity we can get nowhere as a Christian. The Seed must fall into an honest and good heart.

If you wait for Christ to do it all for you, you will paddle around aimlessly in your lagoon.

The memorial jar of manna portrays the total dependence on the Lord’s provision that each true Christian learns. We receive grace for the day. We live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God until we become an integral part of that Word.

Aaron’s rod that budded reveals two facts. First, each member of the royal priesthood is to live by the incorruptible, indestructible resurrection Life of Christ, and that Life comes only as we are crucified with Christ.

Second, the members of the priesthood are chosen. No individual can take this honor to himself. Holiness proceeds from God in concentric circles. Aaron was more holy than the Levites who were more holy than the congregation. The Most Holy Place was more holy than the Holy Place which was more holy than the Courtyard.

Only the Lord can call us into a circle of holiness closer to God. To attempt to seize the priesthood, as did Korah and his friends, is to invite disaster.

The fact that only the Ten Commandments remained in the Ark when it was brought into the Most Holy Place of Solomon’s Temple shows us that the end of all of God’s working is perfect righteousness, perfect holiness, and perfect obedience to God.

Jesus Christ is perfectly righteous, perfectly holy, and perfectly obedient to God. As Christ is formed in us we too are brought to this stature, not to some small extent but absolutely.

How can this be seeing we are dust of the ground?

It is not up to us to meet God’s standard of righteousness.Go out at night and consider the mass and energy of the universe. Then embrace the fact that the Creator of all of this declared you are to be made in His image.

Then go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.

The holy city is not holy by imputation. It is not called "holy" because Jesus is holy. The holy city is holy because the holiness of Jesus has been wrought in the saints. The new Jerusalem is the law of God brought to its fullest expression.

 August 4th

THE MERCY SEAT

And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. (Exodus 25:17)

The Mercy Seat was a lid on top of the Ark of the Covenant. Above the Mercy Seat and an integral part of it were two cherubim facing each other, their wings covering the Mercy Seat.

It is generally believed that the Mercy Seat was fashioned according to the actual Mercy Seat in Heaven that Moses saw on the mountain. It is believed also that Satan at one time was one of the two cherubim of glory that covered the throne of God in Heaven.

God does not sit on the Mercy Seat, He never gets tired. God dwells between the wings of the cherubim.

The Mercy Seat was beaten out of pure gold. The Jews knew how to cast figures from metal, a much quicker process than hammering articles into the desired shape. But some things have to be done the hard way. Have you noticed that? Have you been hammered on lately?

Don’t we wish God would cast us into the image of Christ and get it over with? But what do we get? Tap tap tap tap tap!

There were seven furnishings of the Tabernacle. The Mercy Seat was number seven. "Seven" portrays perfection. Perfection is God Himself.

The work of redemption has a specific beginning, a specific process, and a specific conclusion. The fact that redemption has a specific conclusion does not mean we will not grow in the image of God forever. In fact, God Himself may be growing, and in that case we will never catch up!

But the work of redemption has a specific conclusion. Jesus is the Finisher as well as the Author of our salvation.

The goal of our redemption is to be made in the image of Christ, body, soul, and spirit (the Ark of the Covenant), and also to be brought into untroubled rest in the Father (the Mercy Seat).

To have image apart from union is to be the False Prophet. The Christians of today are in danger of becoming the False Prophet because they want to be like Christ without being part of Christ. They want to have the power of Christ (the two horns of the Lamb) but they speak with the voice of the dragon, always talking about their own dead works.

Satan wants to be like God but he would never consent to be part of God. He desires "to do it himself"! We have Christians today who wish "to be me."

God does not want many Christs. There is one Christ and we are to be branches from the one true Vine of God. We are called to be part of Christ not partners with Christ—a most critical distinction in our thinking!

We cannot be brought into untroubled rest in the Father except as we are being conformed to the image of Christ.

There you have it—the two great aspects of the goal of the Divine redemption: image and union. Neither stands alone. They both are totally necessary.

Are you waiting to die and go to Heaven? Get up and move forward in Christ. We haven’t as yet reached the mark God has placed before us!

The purpose of the Christian Era is to construct the Body of Christ, to bring it to the standard of unity and maturity required for the indwelling of God and Christ.

August 5th

THE GOAL NEVER CHANGES

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

God’s goal for every person has never changed and never shall change. The Divine goal can never be expressed more accurately than in Micah 6:8.

The problem with today’s preaching is that we have changed the goal. The goal no longer is to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. It is to get to Heaven the cheapest, easiest way possible.

We have not been commanded to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God in order to go to Heaven. We are to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God in order to be pleasing to the Father and to have fellowship with Him. No creature ever will be pleasing to the Father and have fellowship with Him by mercy, grace, or any other device, only by doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

"Ah, Brother, these ideas are nice but I am saved by grace." Nonsense. You are not saved by grace, you have been deceived by a false teaching of grace. Did you think God has changed His mind?

The present teaching of Divine grace is a muddle of historic proportions.

Let’s look at the Divine goals in another way. They are that people behave righteously, that they be holy in thought, speech, and action, and that they be sternly obedient to God.

Righteousness is probably the main subject of both Testaments and means fair, upright dealing with other people. The righteous individual is honest, honorable, faithful in his commitments, truthful in his statements.

Holiness has to do with our relationship to God. All people are to be fully righteous but the level of holiness has to do with our calling. The closer to God we are being drawn the holier are the demands on us. Aaron was more holy than the rest of the priests who were more holy than the Levites who were more holy than the rest of Israel.

Kohath didn’t like this but it was true. No man takes the honor of the royal priesthood to himself. Holiness has to do with the calling of God.

Holiness has to do with freedom from unclean spirits.

Righteousness, holiness, and then the third aspect of the Divine goal, which is stern obedience to the Father. It is fashionable in Christian circles to declare that no one can obey God or keep the commandments of Christ. If there ever was a lie from the Pit this is it. We are able to keep God's written or personal Word if we will come boldly to the Throne of grace and obtain help in our time of need. But when we continue in disobedience we are regarded as rebellious children.

Today Divine grace is presented as the alternative to obeying God. Can you imagine the moral and spiritual havoc this doctrine has caused?

Righteous behavior. Freedom from uncleanness of thought, speech, and action. Strict obedience to God. These goals are unchanging from eternity to eternity. They never have changed, they are not changed in the present hour, they never shall be changed!

The changes from covenant to covenant are never in God’s goals but in the Divine grace (enablement) provided by the Lord and also in the degree of attainment of the goal that is being required.

Under the old covenant the Jews learned righteousness from the Law. They learned about holiness from the Law. They learned what God wanted them to do from the Law and from their prophets. Then they had to do this in their own strength.

The purpose of God's grace is to make a new creation. It is not to be used as an excuse for ungodly behavior.

August 6th

THE GOAL NEVER CHANGES, continued

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

God dealt with Israel both as a Bridegroom and as a Father. As a Father, God exhorted the Israelites to be obedient to Him, just as any Father would His children.

God asked of the Jews that they not carry loads through the gates on the Sabbath, that they deal generously with the poor and not charge interest, that they refrain from eating pork. The teaching of grace has become so perverted in our day you would think that God always was asking some impossible thing that no one could ever do. This is not true.

This whole modern concept that God gives us commandments He does not expect us to obey so we may be saved by His forgiveness and not by any effort on our own part is straight from Satan. It is weird, perverse, unfruitful—destructive of any possibility of our coming to know God.

When God commanded Abraham to walk before God and be perfect He expected Abraham to do just that.

"Oh, Brother Thompson, nobody is perfect. We have to be saved by grace."

Nonsense! God’s commandments are straightforward and He expects them to be obeyed. When we need help He always provides it. But He requires that we obey Him as our Father.

How we ever got into this weird, stylized, caricature of grace that prevails in our day is beyond me. But it has nothing to do with God or the Bible.

Of course we cannot save ourselves. Of course we cannot earn salvation. Nobody is talking about saving ourselves or earning salvation.

We have to come to Christ through the blood of the cross. God forgives us and gives us His Spirit. If we will then live as a Christian, doing all good Christian works such as praying and reading our Bible, we will grow in our ability to keep all of God’s commandments.

Most of what we hear today is weird! I hate to keep using the same adjective but the most descriptive term is weird! The idea that grace is some kind of magic so we don’t have to obey our Father in Heaven is a terrible viewpoint. Away with it! Away with the whole concept of "Jesus did it all," "we have no law but love," "if I try to keep God’s commandments I’m a legalist," and all of the other warped, confusing, destructive, fantasies that pass for the Christian salvation in our time.

If you don’t begin to keep God’s commandments in the New Testament you will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

"Oh, but Christ is the overcomer and when I believe in Him I am an overcomer by identifying with Him."

This concept is foreign to the tenor of the New Testament.

Sometime when you are fornicating, or gossiping, or slandering (there is enough of that around!), or dividing the church and demolishing the saints with your tongue, or swearing, or lying, or stealing, or flirting with the girls in the office, or getting even with Sister Jones, or trying to steal the sheep from your brother’s church, go to Jesus and ask Him if you are overcoming by identifying with Him.

The "lawless grace" that is preached today maintains the believer can continue to steal, lie, evade responsibility, become drunken, waste his resources on reveling, and fail in his responsibilities because of his shiftlessness and laziness, and yet be a royal priest in the Kingdom of God. He is "eternally secure" because of lawless grace.

August 7th

THE GOAL NEVER CHANGES, continued

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)

"Oh, but I’m busy for the Lord."

You’re busy "for the Lord" all right but if you are behaving unrighteously He doesn’t know you and your religious works do not compensate for your bad manners.

You may be facing the fire. Better check with the Principal and get a report card.

God is calling for repentance today, not for excuses about how we are saved by grace or identification.

God is our Father. Let’s obey Him as a father should be obeyed.

The Jews learned righteousness—to be generous with the poor and to deal faithfully in their business dealings.

They learned holiness—specific things to eat; specifics regarding their hair, their dress, the way to deal with leprosy. They were a people set apart to God for His purposes and were not to live in moral and physical filth like Gentiles.

They learned obedience—to bring their sacrifices to the Altar of Burnt Offering; to follow the cloud by day and the fire by night.

Under the new covenant we learn upright dealing with people from the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

We learn we are to be morally clean, from the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, and that our bodies are to be presented to God as a living sacrifice.

We learn from Christ and His Apostles that we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus every day. We are to be led of the Spirit, obeying God strictly in all matters.

Thus the goal remains the same under both covenants, with two major exceptions. The level of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God to which we are called under the new covenant is infinitely greater than that of the old.

Also the Divine grace (enablement) provided under the new is infinitely greater than that of the old.

The tremendous error in current thinking is that we are in a "dispensation of grace" such that the Divine goals have changed. (There is no such thing as a "dispensation of grace" as presently conceived!) The Divine goals never change. Grace is not an alternative to righteousness, holiness, and obedience, but the means of achieving these.

It is true that the blood of Jesus compensates for our weaknesses in these areas while we are starting out in God. But—and this is of awesome importance to understand—that compensation prevails only as long as we are walking in the Spirit of God and making progress in achieving the goals. The moment we cease following the Spirit in sanctification we come under condemnation. Then we are chastened of the Lord. If we do not repent we are in trouble.

New-covenant grace is God in Christ giving us the power and wisdom to behave righteously, to set ourselves aside as holy, and to obey the Father in every detail. Grace is nothing more nor less than this. Our sins are forgiven for eternity. Guilt is never an issue provided we are following Christ. Forgiveness under the new covenant is not an amnesty but a Divine provision that makes it possible for us to come before the Mercy Seat and get the power and wisdom we need to overcome the enemies that would cause us to behave unrighteously, dwell in moral filthiness, and disobey God.

We Christians are determining our eternal destiny today. Grace is not an unconditional gift of membership in the royal priesthood. Grace is the opportunity to become a member of the royal priesthood, to become a son of God.

August 8th

READY ACCESS TO SIN

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12)

The Internet committee met last night. We discussed the problem of seeming to encourage people to go on the Internet. We are not going to encourage Christian people to use the Internet even though we ourselves are using the Internet to convey ideas. We are not going to encourage families to bring something into their home, whether on computer or television, that could cause someone to become addicted to pornography.

We have set up an E-mail system so you can get our essays as part of your E-mail without having to search the Internet.

We are entering an era in America, the era of the personal computer. The technological advances are breathtaking. The improved screen resolution, the advent of the large screen, improved sound, acceleration of computer speed, the compression of data, are just the beginning. Virtual reality is on the way. We soon shall have a nation of zombies—animated corpses.

But we are not going to take your time to fret about wickedness. We are here to change things.

One of our engineers (a senior programmer) said last night there is no practical way to screen pornography from the Internet. So what we are reading in the newspaper is a spin like all the other lies that blanket America.

The possibility for access to pornography due to the technological advances goes far beyond anything that could have been imagined ten years ago. A recent novel describes a Christian girl being seduced into immorality because of a virtual reality experience in her high school health-education class.

If you could see the horrible demonic creatures behind pornography you would never even glance at it. Take my word for it. Or, wait until you see your new spiritual companions for yourself when it is too late to do anything about it. The spirit realm is more real than the physical. For one thing it is eternal. For another it is not mostly space, like the world of molecules, but is totally dense. It is real!

One addict who is dead now told how, after getting "saved" several times and attempting to kick drugs, he felt himself descending into some kind of box. As he sat there he asked the Lord how long he would be confined in the box. The Lord said, "Forever."

With this the man let out a scream so loud the neighbors called the police. He went and flushed his drugs down the toilet and got back to the Lord.

For a few months after this he went around saying, "He said, ‘forever!’"

Then he died.

Listen, there are demonic creatures that get their pleasure from rock and roll, drugs, and pornography. They have the fun and you pick up the tab. You have better things to do than to sit like a fool in a virtual reality suit, amazed by the chemicals in your body, ruining your personality, a silly grin on your face, your character disintegrating, destroying yourself and doing nothing to help the needy around you, living as a totally selfish, mindless, slobbering slave of the demons of lust.

You are giving your money and soul to the porn merchants. They are getting rich and you are losing your soul. They are going to the bank and you will be going to the hospital, prison, or destruction.

It isn’t religion that is the opiate of the people, it’s the personal computer and the television if we can’t learn how to handle them!

Do you desire peace? Cease from wickedness and follow the righteous ways of the Lord. You will have righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

August 9th

THE PROGRAM OF SALVATION

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1,2)

"And of eternal judgment."

Let us think for a moment about the process of salvation. Salvation is deliverance from the guilt, power, and presence of sin. Man comes into the world with tendencies toward loving and trusting the world and the things of the world, with various lusts and passions dwelling in his flesh, and with self-will, self-centeredness, and self-love strongly entrenched in his personality. All of this is his inheritance from Satan, a rebellious cherub.

It is easy for man to sin, very difficult for him to behave righteously, to think, speak, and act in a holy manner, and to obey God faithfully. It is easy for man to serve and worship Satan (or so it seems!), very difficult to serve and worship God (or so it seems!). Actually the Lord is a loving and kind Master whose commandments are not grievous while Satan is a harsh, cruel master who never can be satisfied. But Satan has convinced the churches we are not able to keep God’s commandments and we must keep on sinning. This is a lie.

The purpose of the program of salvation is to move man from the power of Satan to the power of God.

Following are some of the major steps of the program of salvation:

God draws us to Christ Jesus.

God sprinkles the Passover blood of protection on us so we are not condemned with the world.

God assigns our adamic nature, our first personality, to the cross with Christ.

God puts His Holy Spirit in our personality and Christ is born in us.

God raises our new born-again nature to His right hand in Christ.

God judges and removes from our personality all that is unrighteous, all that is unholy, and all that is disobedient and self-seeking. This is an eternal judgment.

God forms Christ in us.

The Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit take up Their eternal residence in our transformed personality.

Our physical body is raised from the dead and then clothed with our house from Heaven, the white robe of righteousness that has been formed as we have obeyed the Holy Spirit throughout our discipleship.

God assigns us to the various roles and tasks we now are eligible and competent to perform.

In our day we are placing an unscriptural emphasis on the beginning aspect of salvation to the neglect of the process and the goal. The product of this overemphasis is people who "make a decision for Christ" and then fall away; make another decision for Christ and then fall away; make another decision for Christ and then fall away. There are many such individuals in jail at the present time who go to a Bible study and make another "decision for Christ." They make a decision for Christ because they want to please God, they want to be righteous. But what they are being taught is a philosophy, a system of belief, not the Divine salvation.

The three areas of redemption are as follows: (1) basic salvation; (2) the entering of the Holy Spirit into us; and (3) the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us for eternity.

 August 10th

WHAT WE NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (II Thessalonians 2:3)

Antichrist, we believe, will begin his (or her) career as a Christian disciple (just as Judas did). He will arise at the time that most of the peoples of the earth have been converted in the latter-rain revival, the unprecedented manifestation of the Glory of God portrayed in the Book of Revelation by the two witnesses. Antichrist will perceive the possibility of uniting all the religious people of the earth in a miracle-working Christianity, and of the suitability of libertarian democracy, and perhaps capitalism, as a form of one-world government and economics seemingly compatible with Christianity. The truth is, there are elements in libertarian democracy and capitalism that could not be more violently opposed to the Kingdom of God.

Antichrist will involve the churches in the government and the government in the churches. He may present "Christian" supernatural power as a means of relieving the problems of the world: hunger, disease, crime, poverty, violence, addiction. He may support the notion that all of mankind’s ills can be healed by a positive-thinking, miracle-working "Christianity."

Antichrist will not fight the churches, he will support them.

The fundamental Christians will do just as they have done with the contemporary errors in Christian thinking, particularly the notion that we can have faith in Jesus Christ without living a righteous, holy life. They will embrace Antichrist because they have neglected prayer; because they have not guarded the word of Christ’s patience; because they have not taken up the cross of death to self and followed the Master into crucifixion.

They have found a better way—the way of positive thinking, of using self-centered faith to better their condition on earth, of getting what they want now. But there will be a few, a handful of saints whom God will warn. God will come to them in judgment, testing every aspect of their personality. They will become accustomed to the suffering and patience of the Kingdom of God. They will seek to warn the remainder of the believers that God is not accepting the marriage of the church to the world.

Antichrist and the leaders of the church will scorn the saints as being morbid heralds of doom and gloom—a deviation from what is normal, wholesome, healthy. At first, the saints merely will be snubbed by the government and the main body of believers. As Antichrist gains power he will bring economic pressure, and physical terror in some instances, on the Lord’s little flock. The babylonish (man-directed) church at first may object to the persecution of the fervent believers; but the government soon will cause the religious leaders to understand that the remnant of saints are a threat and are not to be tolerated.

The organized Christians will not have the moral strength to stand in the way of the government as it attempts to destroy the remnant. Some of the members of Babylon will repent and run to the true saints for spiritual deliverance. Others will join themselves to the remnant but with flattery, having hypocrisy in their hearts. The love of the majority will grow cold as every form of sin becomes commonplace and readily available.

You can be a part of the godly remnant of saints that is being drawn to the Lord. But you will have to cease your spiritual laziness and begin to get serious with God!

We read in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation that the False Prophet will support Antichrist. According to our understanding Antichrist is the administration of man in the political realm and the False Prophet is the administration of man in the religious realm.

August 11th

PENTECOST AT THE CROSSROADS

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. (Revelation 13:11)

Today the Pentecostal believers are at a crossroad. Some have decided to take the gifts and spiritual understanding that have come to us during the twentieth century and by these bring the Kingdom of God into the world. This is the False Prophet of which the Book of Revelation speaks. The False Prophet comes out of the "earth," that is to say, out of the soul of self-centered people.

A much smaller group of believers is hearing from the Lord Jesus, from Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire. These are the believers whom God has chosen to be as Esther, in the last days; to be as the "lad" who guided the hands of Samson (the Church) to the "pillars" that support the kingdom of Satan.

The Lord is not exhorting this holy remnant to "go forth and bring the Kingdom into the earth." Rather He is facing them with the personal cross of self-denial, with the fires of judgment on the works of the flesh. He is teaching them humility, not arrogance. He is leading them back to the old paths of cross-carrying obedience to the Lord.

This is the remnant God has chosen. Meanwhile, the Christian churches are as Vashti. They are making a banquet of their own, although doing so "in the royal house that belonged to king Ahasuerus" (Esther 1:9). They are so full of their own ways that when the Lord calls to them they refuse to come.

The remnant is as Esther, coming before the Presence of Jesus with fear and trembling. Truly, Esther has been called to the Kingdom in the present hour because of the destruction facing God's people, both Jews and Christians.

The church leaders sometimes are as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, seeking to rule the congregation of the Lord. They "leap" as the mountains of Bashan. The holy remnant are as Aaron. They do not vaunt themselves, scheming and plotting in order to gain power and prestige. Rather, they wait on the Lord until they bud, blossom, and bring forth fruit.

The memorial jar of manna speaks of the Substance of Christ, the body and blood that nourish the born-again inner man. Each day of our life we come to realize to a greater degree that in our natural man dwells no good thing, no wisdom, no strength, no righteousness.

The Divine Virtue in us sustains us as we are being brought daily into conformity with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The Virtue is from God Himself. It is the daily portion of Christ, the "hidden manna," given us in order to provide strength during our wilderness sojourn. As our days so is our strength from the Lord.

Day after day the Lord knocks down our old nature by circumstances beyond our control. Day after day the Lord feeds us with His body and blood. We learn to live by Him as He lives by the Father. We drink His blood and eat His flesh. This is the true Bread from Heaven. Christ is our manna, and by His strength we are able to overcome the evil that comes against us each day.

The False Prophet comes out of the earth, out of the soul of man. He wants the power of Christ but he speaks with the voice of the dragon. We are not to seek power but the Presence of the Lord Jesus.

August 12th

TWO SONS

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; (Matthew 21:28)

In the day of reckoning God called two of His sons to stand before Him.

To the first son God said: "Son, I have loved you with an everlasting love. I found you when you were a Gentile without hope, in the guilt of your sins, in the filthiness and pride of your self-centeredness and self-love. I said to you at that time, ‘Live!’ And you came to life in My Presence.

"I forgave your many sins. I taught you to take up your cross so you would have the opportunity to overcome your self-centeredness. I gave you the gift of My Son and put My Spirit in you. I watched over you night and day and guided you with My eye. Many times I forgave your ignorance and foolishness. All these things I did for you that I may be your God and you may be My son.

"What, therefore, have you done with your life?"

The first son answered God and said, "My Father and my God. I thank and praise You that You saw fit to reach down from Heaven and save me. Since that time I have served You with all my heart. Although I behaved ignorantly and foolishly on many occasions, when You corrected me I changed my ways and ceased from sin and rebellion.

"I redeemed the time to the best of my ability. I never sinned knowingly and willfully. Many times I set aside my greatest desires and chose to do Your will instead.

"I have laid down my life, have taken up my cross, and have followed Your Son, Jesus Christ. Whatever He has said to me I have done, as He has given me wisdom and strength.

"I have prayed, studied the Scriptures, and have fellowshiped with the saints. I have been loyal to my wife, family, and friends. I harbor hatred against no person but would rejoice to see everyone enter the Kingdom of God.

"I have been diligent in the ministry Christ has given to me and have placed the work of the Kingdom of God first in importance. I did not spend my days cultivating my own abilities or insuring my own security. Many have turned to righteousness as a result of my testimony.

"I have cheated no person but have made restitution whenever it has been clear that I should do so.

"This is what I have done with my life, as the Lord Jesus has helped and guided me through the Holy Spirit.

"I stand ready now to do, by Your grace, whatever You would have me to do."

To the second son God said: "Son, I have loved you with an everlasting love. I found you when you were a Gentile without hope, in the guilt of your sins, in the filthiness and pride of your self-centeredness and self-love. I said to you at that time, ‘Live!’ And you came to life in My Presence.

"I forgave your many sins. I taught you to take up your cross so you would have the opportunity to overcome your self-centeredness. I gave you the gift of My Son and put My Spirit in you. I watched over you night and day and guided you with My eye. Many times I forgave your ignorance and foolishness. All these things I did for you that I may be your God and you may be My son.

"What, therefore, have you done with your life?"

Holiness is closeness to God and we get it by election. But we have to do our part.

 August 13th

TWO SONS, continued

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; (Matthew 21:28)

The second son answered God and said, "Sir, I thank and praise You that You saw fit to reach down from Heaven and save me.

"It is true that since the time You revealed Christ to me I have not chosen to serve You as I should. Although You attempted to correct my ignorance and foolishness on many occasions, I was not able to learn. I continued on as before because it is difficult for me to change the way I am, the way I do things.

"I spent much time on the things that interest me. I did sin many times, even though I was aware or suspected what I was doing transgressed Your laws. Whenever I wanted something badly enough I took it, although I realized what I was doing might displease You or harm myself or some other person. I confess Your will was clear to me on some occasions and I chose instead to do what I desired to do.

"I could not bring myself to take up my cross nor did I follow the Lord Jesus as I should have. I can’t stand to suffer. It is very hard to give up one’s whole life and follow Jesus. Instead, I lived my own life and hoped Christ would help and bless me in the things I wanted to do.

"I was busy and could not find the time to pray as one ought, and I find it difficult to understand the Bible. I did not fellowship with other Christians very much because there were too many faults in the churches. They were all full of hypocrites.

"I divorced my first wife because we fought all the time and I could not believe You would have me to be so unhappy. It is true that I left my two children, a son and a daughter. I felt they would be better off without me.

"Where are they now? I don’t know. My son is a drunkard. My daughter is living with some man. Neither my children nor my first wife will attend church. The wife I have now and I attend church on Christmas and Easter, and when friends get married.

"There is one person whom I hate because of what he did to me. I cannot forgive him. I hope You will forgive me for that.

"I do not know of any ministry You have given me. I have worked hard at my job all my life and have spent most of my time that way. I do not know of anyone who has come to know You because of me.

"I have offended some people but was too embarrassed to go to them and ask their forgiveness.

"This is what I have done with my life.

"I realize I have not been a faithful Christian; but I was taught when I was first saved I could never be lost no matter what I did. I have professed Christ. I believe He died for my sins and that He is the Lord and Savior of the world. I have been taught we are saved by grace, not by works of righteousness we have done but by Your mercy.

"I still am afraid to do Your will but I hope You will not be too hard on me and that You will allow me to enter Heaven on the merits of Jesus Christ my Lord."

How will God respond to each of His sons?

Current Christian teaching is divided as to how God would respond to these two men.

We always and continually must be laboring to insure that our election is not rendered invalid by our behavior.

August 14th

TWO SONS, continued

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; (Matthew 21:28)

The opinion that would be given by the most extreme proponents of "grace" is as follows:

God answered the first son and said, "All of your self-righteousness is as filthy rags in My sight. Your works mean absolutely nothing to Me. I hope you are not thinking you deserve a reward because you have tried to please Me!

"Don’t you understand you are saved by My grace alone?—that there is nothing you can add to My salvation? If your works are to be added to My grace, then grace is no more grace. Jesus Christ alone is righteous. You will enter Heaven, not because you tried to please Me but because Christ is righteous.

"Your perseverance has nothing to do with your salvation. I have saved you by My grace alone and your answer reveals to Me that you do not understand this thoroughly.

"You have acknowledged that Jesus died for your sins, and so I am obligated by My Word to allow you into Heaven. But it is not by any works of righteousness you have done, it is because you have professed faith in Christ.

"You really are wicked because you are implying that My grace is not sufficient for your salvation. You are setting yourself against Me in a legalistic, pharisaic manner, not allowing Me to save you by My unmerited favor. You are trying to present some righteousness of your own. But, My son, it is not what you have done, it is what Christ has done. Please remember that in the future!"

God said to the second son, "Well done! Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter the joy of your Lord. You acknowledged that Christ died for your sins. You called Him, Lord. You perceived correctly that it is only the righteousness of Christ that brings salvation.

"By not attempting to please Me you have caused My grace to shine as a jewel. My mercy is enlarged because I have saved you—you, whose conduct was so ungodly and self-centered. You have not worked but have believed in God who justifies the ungodly.

"When you left your wife and children I saw only the faithfulness of Christ. When you fornicated I saw the moral purity of Christ. When you ignored My will I saw only the obedience of My Son. When you lied and stole I beheld the truthfulness and honesty of the Holy One of Israel.

"You never repented, but repentance is not necessary because you have been clothed with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus ever since you professed belief in Him.

"Enter the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world."

Do you truly believe that the God of Noah, Abraham, and Daniel would respond in this manner? It would be the logical consequence of much contemporary Christian teaching.

The opinion that would be rendered by less extreme Christians is as follows:

God spoke to both sons and said, "Well done, good and faithful servants. Enter the joy of your Lord. Because you have believed in Christ Jesus, making a statement of faith in Him, each of you will be allowed into Heaven and given a beautiful mansion. You are complete in Christ. Your behavior in the world will not increase or decrease the power of My grace."

Thus we have made the commandments of God in the New Testament vain and useless by our traditions.

Again let us ask, do you truly believe that the God of Noah, Abraham, and Daniel would respond in this manner?

Our own good works cannot produce salvation but true salvation always produces good works.

August 15th

TWO SONS, continued

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; (Matthew 21:28)

Now, let us suppose that you, dear reader, were wealthy and owned a large business. You were ready to retire and called your sons to you to speak to them concerning the managing of your estate. One of your boys has been an excellent worker, always doing what you wanted. The other boy has been lazy, careless, having disobeyed you at every turn. You now are ready to divide your estate between them. What would you do?

Would you, in order to demonstrate the love you have for them, turn over your business to the son who would not behave himself properly and scold your other son for his exemplary behavior? Probably not. Neither will God. He also is a father and a businessman.

Would you divide the inheritance between them, making them equal partners in the business? Probably not if you cared whether or not the business continued to be successful.

If you loved both of your sons, you might say to the virtuous son, "Son, you already know the family business. You have learned quickly. You are dependable. You have made many mistakes but you have gone on to learn rapidly and to improve your abilities.

"If I leave the inheritance to you, you will be able to use it well. You already have demonstrated the kind of person you are—your trustworthiness, your conscientiousness, your faithfulness in small, difficult, bothersome responsibilities. I know well what you will do. It will be your responsibility to take care of your mother and brother when I am gone."

To the other son you might say, "Son, your Dad loves you. You have made many mistakes, and even now you are confused about what you have done that is wrong. You have not demonstrated the strength of character your brother has. But your life still is ahead of you. If you will apply yourself you can learn and grow in responsibility.

"I have given the inheritance to your brother. He is able to manage it after I am gone. He will take care of your mother and you. He cares for you and will help you to learn."

Or, you might say to the disobedient, lazy son, "Son, you have wasted every opportunity I have made for you. You have broken your mother’s heart. The way you act, I am not sure you even consider yourself to be my son.

"I have given everything to your brother. He deserves it. I am leaving you five thousand dollars. Why don’t you use it to try to get yourself straightened out?"

Somehow, the Christian doctrine of "grace" has gotten off course. The term grace is being employed in an unscriptural manner.

The current doctrine of grace teaches that if a person will "accept Christ" in the sense of acknowledging and applying personally the fact of the blood atonement, he will escape Hell and go to Heaven on that basis. All who profess belief in the Lord Jesus Christ will receive virtually the same reward.

The profession of Christ has taken on a kind of magical characteristic. The program of salvation has become an acknowledgment of the facts of the death and resurrection of Christ. If we believe there is a God and that He has sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins, we have pleased God. Our behavior is not essentially important because we are only waiting to go to Heaven.

The current Christian message really is a philosophy rather than the Divine salvation.

There are those today, as there have been throughout the centuries of the Christian Era, who are making themselves ready. They are washing their robes and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. Every time the Spirit of judgment reveals a sin or rebellion in them they take that darkness to the Lord. The blood of the Lamb forgives the sin and cleanses them from all unrighteousness.

August 16th

TWO SONS, continued

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; (Matthew 21:28)

Recently the Lord spoke to a minister who was preparing to teach a seminar. God said, "Do not preach about Christ. Preach what Christ preached." When the present writer first heard about the Lord telling this to a man the writer does not know, it rang true. It was difficult to understand but somehow it seemed to be correct.

Since that time we have come to see how very important that word was (and is). When reading commentaries and footnotes, especially concerning the New Testament Gospels and Epistles, one can find many paragraphs telling how great and exalted Christ is. We agree wholeheartedly with the descriptions of the majesty of the Lord.

But the paragraphs that advise us to practice and preach Christ’s commandments are few and far between. One is more apt to read that it is not necessary to keep Christ’s commandments than he is to find that if we do not keep Christ’s commandments we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

It is a massive, grievous error. We are calling Jesus Lord! Lord! but not doing what He commands. We are building our house on the sand instead of on the rock of His commandments.

How terribly frustrating this must be to the Lord!

There is something wrong here. It is a mental assent to theological facts, not expressing itself in godly works, while the Scripture informs us that faith apart from godly works (an abstract faith) is dead.

It is true that the Scriptures stress faith. But the "faith" of the Scriptures is the faith of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. It is the faith that seeks Christ day and night. "The just shall live by faith" has little or nothing to do with belief in doctrine, it is speaking of the life lived in humble dependence on God.

It never was God’s intention that a profession of belief in Christ would be the whole scope of the Christian discipleship and that the behavior of the believers would be cast into an inconsequential role. This is obviously unscriptural.

It is God’s intention that the Lord Jesus Christ be the Rock, the chief Cornerstone, the Door of the Kingdom of God, the Center and Circumference of the entire creation.

On this Rock the glorious Church is being built; not glorious because it professes belief in Christ but glorious because of the radiant Glory of the indwelling Christ revealed in the character and works of the Church.

The Christian who is not growing in good works is defeating the purpose of God in saving him or her.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

The reason the righteous are saved with difficulty is that salvation is the removal of sin from our personality and our transformation into the image of Christ. The fiery trials we experience are removing sin from us and teaching us total dependence on Christ for every detail of life.

August 17th

TWO SONS, continued

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; (Matthew 21:28)

The Christian who is not bearing the fruit of good works will be cut out of the Vine by the Father.

Something has gone wrong with the Gospel of the Kingdom. The results of the error can be seen in Christianity’s loss of testimony—loss of the only testimony that glorifies God, which is the testimony of good works. Is the Kingdom of God primarily a set of doctrines that brings us exemption from the eternal moral laws of God—from the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping? We do not think so.

Is the Christian Church actually a favored group of Gentiles who, because of their statement of belief in the facts of the atonement and resurrection, are released from the rules that govern all other men? Are these people destined to be whisked away to do nothing in Heaven forever, while a Jewish Kingdom of God proceeds to establish righteousness and praise among the nations of the earth? We do not believe such to be the case.

How shall God respond to His two sons?

God answered the first son and said, "My son, My son, how I rejoiced over you in My love! You were quick to receive correction. You employed your time wisely and well. Your sins were those of ignorance, and through My grace you outgrew them. When you stumbled and fell you repented, confessed your sins, and with My assistance took up your cross and marched forward.

"I noted very carefully and was deeply gratified when you made those extremely difficult decisions. I saw you give up the desires of your soul to the point of death. This is the kind of sacrifice I accept—the sacrifice that is selfless, being as a whole burnt offering to the Lord.

"Indeed, you did set aside your own life. At times your cross was heavy and cruel but you guarded and observed the precious words of My beloved Son. You did what He said to do. You followed Him every mile of the way as He revealed Himself (and Me) to you.

"I was with you in your prayers. I opened the Scriptures to you. I gave you a love for the saints, and a breadth of soul so you were able to overlook their shortcomings as I overlook their shortcomings (and your shortcomings). You were loyal to your wife, your family, and your friends. Now you have their love and respect—that which could not be purchased with a king’s treasure.

"Although some have wounded you, you have found the virtue needed to forgive them, through the body and blood of My Son.

"You have been diligent and conscientious in the ministry Christ has given to you and have placed the work of the Kingdom ahead of your own interests. As a result, a multitude of people have been helped and strengthened in their attempts to find God. You have no idea how many have been blessed, for the influence of one righteous person spreads across humanity as the waves across the ocean. The Body of Christ is nearer to My standard of perfection because of your faithfulness.

"No person on the earth or in Heaven can speak against you. I am He who justifies you. You have kept your relationships with people holy to the best of your ability, always looking to Me for guidance and strength. I know you stand ready to do My will by My grace because your life has trained you to do that. I now am ready to reveal to you the pleasure of a grateful Father and God."

Then the Father spoke a powerful word. Before the astonished view of His son there opened up a scene of wonder and glory. He gazed on the glorious and huge kingdom being given to him—that already had become part of his personality although he did not realize it until now. He saw many people whom he knew. (I cannot speak further of his reward because it belongs to another age.)

The members of the Bride must be found worthy by the Lord, and their worthiness is demonstrated by their patience in affliction.

August 18th

TWO SONS, continued

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; (Matthew 21:28)

God answered the second son and said, "It is true that you did not choose to serve Me with your whole heart. Although I yearned over you with a father’s love you refused to accept correction. Change is difficult for every person. You simply were unwilling to make the effort. You wasted the greater part of your time. When you desired something you went ahead and obtained it, even though it harmed your relationship to Me and injured other people. You rebelled against My will, following instead your own impulses. You were afraid if you did obey My will you would be harmed and deprived of things of value. In this manner you continually revealed your distrust of My intentions toward you.

"You refused to take up your cross, choosing instead the path of pleasure. You did not follow Jesus at all. You called Him Lord but you did not do what He said. Indeed, you did live your own life and attempted to use the Name of Christ to further your own interests and pleasures. You were not a good and faithful servant. You seldom made an effort to pray or to read the Bible. There is no love of your Christian brothers and sisters in you, only bitterness and suspicion.

"You divorced your wife because of your lust. If you had asked Me, I would have saved your marriage. You left your children at an impressionable age. Your son is a drunkard because you had nothing further to do with him. Your daughter is living in fornication instead of marriage because her mother grew to hate you and put in your daughter a distrust of all men. You married a self-willed, rebellious woman and the both of you have been living in adultery ever since. The man whom you hate is not as bad as you think he is. But in any case, I cannot forgive you while you are full of hatred toward him.

"You have abilities dwelling in you that would have been very helpful to a certain assembling of saints that gathers in your town. So that those saints would not suffer loss I have given to another man what was to have been your inheritance. Do you see that galaxy of stars over there? That is the man who took your place in the assembling.

"I am the merciful God. In My boundless mercy I found you when you were a Gentile without hope, in the guilt of your sins, in the filthiness and pride of your self-centeredness and self-love. I said to you, ‘Live!’ and you came to life in My Presence. I forgave your many sins. I taught you to take up your cross so you would have the opportunity to overcome your self-centeredness. I gave you the gift of My Son and put My Spirit in you. I watched over you night and day and guided you with My eye. Many times I forgave your ignorance and foolishness. All these things I did for you so that I would be your God and you would be My son.

"In return, you chose to follow Satan, the world, and the lusts of your flesh. You professed belief in Christ but by your works you denied Him. You did not choose to be filled with My Spirit, you chose instead to be filled with death and Hell.

"Like Esau, you have sold your inheritance that your belly may be satisfied. I cannot bless you. You have not chosen Me to be your God. I am not choosing you to be My son.

"Depart from Me into outer darkness."

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)

God leads every saint through much tribulation and suffering. Such suffering is a judgment on us, a separating of the good from the evil in our personality.

August 19th

HOW CHRIST’S WORD ABIDES IN US

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)

"If my words abide in you."

What does it mean to have Christ’s words abiding in us or remaining in us?

The answer to this question gets at the heart of what the new covenant is.

The new covenant is one of transformation, of change of personality. Divine grace contains the virtue and power that produce the desired change.

The old covenant, the Law of Moses, included righteous, holy statutes and ordinances that bring life and prosperity when they are observed. Numerous Jews, such as the mother and father of John the Baptist, were blameless in terms of the observance of Moses.

However, the rank and file of the Jews did not attain God’s goals for them. God’s goals for them were that they would behave righteously, be a separate holy people unto Himself, and obey His commandments stated in the Law and the written Prophets and brought up to date by the contemporary prophets speaking in the name of the Lord.

God summarized the intent of the law as doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

These goal are eternal. They never change from eon to eon. They always have been, are now, and forever shall be the requirements for fellowship with God.

We are under a new covenant but the goals remain the same. The difference is that a higher level of attainment of the goals is required under the new covenant and infinitely superior grace (enablement) has been provided that we may attain the goals at a superior level than was possible under the Law of Moses.

God was not pleased with most of the Jews under the old covenant. They behaved unrighteously, keeping fellow Hebrews as slaves long past the seven years, for example. They violated the rules of holiness by marrying Gentiles.

They refused to obey God's laws concerning the Sabbath and concerning the making of images. Also they sought help from Gentile kings rather than trusting the Lord.

When they offered sacrifices they presented blemished animals instead of the perfect specimens demanded by the Lord. They held back their tithes. Sometimes they offered the required sacrifices when their heart was far from God, like people sitting in church on Sunday morning and thinking about the Super Bowl.

God was not pleased with them and so He authorized a new covenant. The new covenant is described in the Book of Hebrews.

Let us think about the new covenant because it has to do with Christ’s words abiding in us.

First of all, the new covenant is not primarily one of forgiveness, as was true of the animal sacrifices under the Law of Moses. The new covenant is one of transformation.

Under the new covenant God Himself is to write His righteous laws in our heart and in our mind. This is what it means to have the Word of Christ abiding in us.

Two aspects change from covenant to covenant. The demands on the human personality to behave righteously are increased and the availability of God's Glory and assistance are increased. The goal, however, never changes for it is the moral image of the unchanging God.

August 20th

HOW CHRIST’S WORD ABIDES IN US, continued

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

Christ is the Word of God made flesh. We human beings are the flesh being made the Word of God, living epistles, as the Divine laws are engraved in our heart and mind. They are written in our mind so we understand them and in our heart so we obey them.

The process of writing the law in our heart and mind is the mainspring of the new covenant. Let’s see how it works, for this is what salvation is. It is not that the writing of Divine law in our personality leads to salvation, rather it is what salvation is—an important distinction.

When we begin our Christian walk we assign our old adamic personality, that born of our mother and father, to the cross with Jesus. We count ourselves crucified with Christ. Every part of our old personality must go to the cross, the good as well as the bad, or the program won’t work.

Next, we count our new born-again personality, that which is born of God when we receive Christ, as already having been raised with Christ to the right hand of the Father. These are not figures of speech. We actually, although in the spirit realm, have been born of God and actually have risen with Christ to the right hand of the Father, far above all other personages in the heavenlies.

Our body and soul are kept locked up under the blood of Christ and therefore free from condemnation. Our new spiritual personality is dwelling in Christ in God on the highest thrones.

Now the program of salvation, of change, begins.

As we pray, read our Bible and think about the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, gather regularly with fervent believers (if possible), serve in the church, give, seek God’s will, tend diligently to the needs of our family, and do all else associated with wholesome Christian living, the Lord begins to reveal to us the sins of our personality.

We are not under condemnation because our old personality is kept under the blood of the atonement. Now God is ready to begin to bring out these hidden enemies one at a time and deal with them.

Let us say that someone hurts us. A flaming arrow has hit us—perhaps from a fellow believer of the same church.

The moment of truth is here. We have a decision to make.

Our first personality is ready to climb down from the cross. "They are not going to do that to me!" "It isn’t fair!" "I’m going to get even!" "If they think they are going to get away with that they have another think coming!"

The Word of Christ says, "God will forgive you if you forgive those who harm you."

We now have a choice to make and that choice is one of those that will determine our eternal destiny.

The covering of the blood of Christ gives us the start we need. We are discipled by the Word of God until we arrive at maturity as measured by the full stature of Christ.

August 21st

HOW CHRIST’S WORD ABIDES IN US, continued

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (II Corinthians 3:3)

If we, as so many Christians do, choose to get off the cross and try to harm the tool God has used to uncover the sin in us, we will continue in spiritual death. No salvation will take place. If we continue to ignore what Christ has said we will save our adamic life and then lose the Kingdom of God in the end. We will remain a bitter, spiritually dwarfed person.

But if we go to prayer and ask Christ to help us to keep His commandment by forgiving the individual who harmed us, something very, very powerful takes place. Divine grace steps in. The Virtue of Jesus Christ enters us through the Holy Spirit. The vengeful part of our adamic nature dies on the cross. In its place comes the Life of Jesus Christ. A new creation appears.

This is how the new covenant operates. This is what salvation is. The death and new life do not bring us to salvation, they themselves are the salvation of God under the new covenant.

This is how Christ’s Word is to abide in us so we may always have our prayers answered.

Death, and life. Death, and life. Death, and life. The old dies. The new lives. We continually are crucified with Christ. We continually are living by the Life of Christ and therefore remain without condemnation.

Are you having problems with worldliness, too much television watching, involvement in the American sports idolatry, preoccupation with money? Come to Jesus. He has the power. The power! He will stretch forth His mighty hand and yank such worldliness out of you. In its place He will install Divine life. This is salvation.

Are you bound with the lusts of the flesh, adultery, fornication, pornography, drugs, alcohol, a violent temper? Come to Jesus. He has the power. He will cast all such darkness from you. In its place He will put His own Nature. This is salvation.

Do you gossip, criticize, slander the church members, seek to draw a following after yourself? Are you stubborn, self-willed, self-seeking? And then you wonder why your husband won’t serve the Lord?

Come to Jesus. He will set you free. Adam will die and Christ will live in you. This is salvation. This is the new covenant.

Are you disobedient to God? Are you unwilling to stay in the prison you have been put in? Are you ready to leave your spouse and children and run off with some wicked person (probably a "believer")? Come to Jesus. He has the power to change your heart.

Why should you five years from now wake up to the fact you have betrayed those who trusted in you. Roll over in bed (in your imagination) and take a hard look at the unprincipled person who removed the crown of glory from your head; who took you away from your precious wife and irreplaceable children; who caused your mother and father to grieve over the son they had such hopes for, were so proud of.

I hope the thought makes you sick. It ought to!

To enter the Kingdom of God means the inward, adamic nature is crucified and the Divine Nature of Christ is so fused with the human soul and spirit as to produce a new inward nature. This process does not happen instantaneously but line upon line, rule upon rule, command upon command. Here a little and there a little our adamic nature is crucified and Christ is formed in us.

August 22nd

HOW CHRIST’S WORD ABIDES IN US, continued

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

Wake up! Shake yourself while there still is time! Come to Jesus. He has the power! The power! He will kill that snake coiled up in your heart. He will put eternal life in you and you will walk forth free from the snares of Hell. This is how grace operates. The gift of Divine grace is infinitely more than forgiveness. It is the power of God in Christ to set you totally free from the person and works of Satan.

Satan is after you, make no mistake. He hates to lose a servant. He is wise, cunning, crafty, skillful at deceiving the believers.

Come to Jesus. He has greater wisdom, greater cunning, greater craftiness, greater skill. He will release you from the chains. This is the new covenant. This is salvation. This is eternal life. This is the operation of Divine grace. This is the Kingdom of God.

You can see that the Divine salvation is not pointed toward Heaven or toward any other place. Salvation is pointed toward fellowship with God and toward participation in the many roles and tasks assigned to the royal priesthood. Apart from your change from Adam to Christ participation in the Kingdom is impossible. Adamic flesh and blood life cannot possibly enter the Kingdom of God, only the new creation which is born of Christ and formed from the Life of Christ can enter the Kingdom.

Let me give you an illustration of the true nature of the Christian salvation.

Let’s say that there was a wealthy Englishman who decided to help a boy.

He went to the East End of London and chose a young man. He brought the boy to his mansion and gave him a fine room.

The philanthropist said, "Welcome to your new home." Then he charged the boy strictly: "I am going to raise you as a son. You do not know very much about our manners and ways of doing things. You are used to living in dirt, speaking Cockney, stealing, fighting, lying. We don’t do that around here.

"We are all your friends. We want you to have a nice home and to grow up as a valued member of our household. When you are older we will help you get the education you would like to have."

This is a pretty good picture of grace. God comes to a Gentile and invites him into the royal family to stand in the palace among the princes of Judah. There is nothing the Gentile has done to earn this—he is a boy off the street. He is ignorant of the splendor of the palace to which he has been invited freely. He has lived in Gentile corruption all his life. His ancestors were hardly out of the caves when the elders of Israel were eating and drinking in the Presence of God Almighty.

This is the gift of God’s grace we cannot possibly earn.

When God testifies we are a coheir of Christ He is not giving to us "by grace" a uniform or a title. He is declaring that we shall be prepared by Himself, through education, experience, and the transformation of what we are, to rule the nations of the earth.

August 23rd

HOW CHRIST’S WORD ABIDES IN US, continued

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (I Peter 1:23)

But what comes next? One of two things.

The boy will appreciate what has been done for him. He will take advantage of the lessons in culture presented to him, working hard to learn the manners of the house and to make his new father proud of him. Little by little change will come in his actions, his speaking, his thoughts.

When he is older he will decide on a career and go off to school. There he will study hard—again to show his appreciation for being removed from the slums and made a worthy member of an illustrious household.

We would not say he had earned his place in the family. Rather he responded appropriately to the gift given him. He worked it out. He proved himself worthy of the good fortune bestowed on him.

But suppose the boy decided the old fool (not realizing the iron discipline that had made the man wealthy) was soft in the head. "Dad will give me anything I want." He began to sneak out at night with his old friends. Pretty soon he was bringing them in through his bedroom window where they drank and fooled around with girls.

It became evident to the household there was no change in his actions, his speech, or his thinking. Once in a while he would pretend to be fitting into the household but it was evident he was conniving so he could live in luxury but maintain his old filthy ways.

When the time came for school he enrolled in college where he continued to drink and womanize, failing every course. He was a drunken lout—a disgrace to the family that had adopted him.

Now you tell me. How will the father respond to this?

You are right, he will disown him and look for a more worthy candidate.

Can you see from this illustration how Dispensational thinking has destroyed the reality of the Kingdom of God?

We are saying (in Dispensational thinking) that no matter whether the boy becomes a worthy member of the household he is part of the home forever because of the gift given him in the beginning.

I wonder how many passages of the New Testament directly deny this point of view? There are a number of them.

We must be proven worthy of the Kingdom of God. There are several verses of the New Testament speaking of the need for us to behave in a manner worthy of the Kingdom of God. It is not at all a case of our attempting to earn the gift of grace or to improve on it in any manner. It is rather that we must prove we are worthy of it. This clearly is scriptural.

The fruit of the Spirit cannot be imputed to you. It has to be grown in you as you cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

August 24th

HOW CHRIST’S WORD ABIDES IN US, continued

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)

In showing that the concept of Divine grace as an unconditional amnesty independent of any lasting change in our behavior is totally unscriptural I will present just one verse taken from among the many. If the reader is an inquirer after truth the one verse will suffice. He will notice the rest of the passages as he studies the Bible.

But if the reader is bound to hang on to the traditions of Dispensational thinking that have brought the Christian churches to the present state of moral corruption, he would not be convinced if we presented twenty-five passages that clearly stated the believers who live in the appetites of the flesh, continuing in the old adamic nature, will kill their spiritual life.

Such blind traditionalists will ignore every Bible passage, throw dust in the air and cry "I’m saved by grace" for the space of two hours, and then return home to continue in their eternal spiritual babyhood.

There is a knee-jerk reaction today to anyone who dares question the concept of salvation as a sovereign action that guarantees our eternal safety independently of our behavior. The suggestion that maybe we are not as safe as we thought proves to be overwhelmingly threatening to people.

Anyway, here is the passage. Notice it carefully. It is a bomb.

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

The church in Sardis was one of the seven golden lampstands.

We are speaking of the believers in Sardis, not the unsaved, because the people addressed all had "garments."

Of all of these people "saved by grace" only a few had not "defiled their garments."

What does it mean for a Christian to defile his or her garments? It means to practice the sins of the flesh; to live in the malicious ways of the world, not taking up our cross and following Jesus.

What will be done for those who have kept themselves pure by following Christ? They will walk with Christ in the white robe of the royal priesthood.

Why will they walk with Christ in the white robe of the royal priesthood? Because they have proven themselves worthy of the gift of grace by keeping themselves clean through confessing and turning away from their sin.

What about the majority of believers in Sardis? They will not be permitted to walk with Christ in the white robe of the royal priesthood.

Why will they not be permitted to walk with Christ in the white robe of the royal priesthood? Because they have not been found worthy to do so.

Why have they not been found worthy to do so? Because they have continued to walk in the appetites of the flesh. They regard God as a soft-headed old fool who will give them anything they want and will keep on forgiving their carelessness and disobedience because of His "love and mercy."

We are wrong in this. The sword of judgment is hanging over America. Unless the churches repent we are going to have a Gentile holocaust terrible beyond imagination.

God’s wrath is as great as His love. Divine wrath and Divine love do not dilute or compromise each other. Each is perfect and complete when it is exercised.

God is not altering the Divine law of sin and death, of obedience and life. Rather, God is altering us until what we are and do brings life instead of death.

August 25th

HOW CHRIST’S WORD ABIDES IN US, continued

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. (Mark 4:20)

We believers did not choose Christ. Christ chose us. He has chosen us that we might bear fruit and that the fruit would be lasting.

The fruit we bear is the moral image of Christ. We keep the commandments of Christ. The fruit is borne first in us and then in those whom we influence.

God has planted a Vine. The Vine is Christ. It is God’s will that the Vine fill the whole earth with the fruit of righteousness and praise to God.

Every Christian without exception is called to be a fruit-bearing branch of the true Vine. If we will abide in the Vine the very Life of Christ will flow through us such that our actions, our words, and our thoughts are conformed to Christ’s image.

How does Christ’s Word abide in us? As we have described. As we are willing to put to death through the Spirit of God the works of our fleshly personality, the Word of God will take the place of that which has been killed The resulting change in our behavior is the fruit God is looking for, the image of His Son.

As we are willing to let God kill us and raise us, the power of our resurrection spills over to other people and the Life of Christ is born in them. In this way Divine fruit is born in us and in those who hear us.

We Christians owe a debt to our nation. The unsaved people depend on us to be a moral light to guide them. When we are not bearing that light, the fruit of righteousness to which we have been called, the people will turn against us. As Jesus said, we will be gathered in bundles and burned.

The Christian who is not revealing in his or her personality the light of good works is not fulfilling his or her role in society. Man or woman, boy or girl, we have been called to show forth righteousness and praise before the nations.

When the Christian churches do not, by their example of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God, provide moral guidance to the secular society, they will be attacked by that very society. The secular people will know intuitively we are not fulfilling our role and they will have their revenge.

We think the next few years will be critical in America. If we Christians will humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways, God will hear from Heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.

But if we persist in the lawless-grace-rapture heresy that has destroyed our moral strength and rendered the Scriptures incomprehensible, not turning to God, not putting away the filthiness of the flesh, then the moral abominations and consequent persecution and destruction that certainly will follow will remind us that our destiny as Christians is not to be carried off to Heaven but to be the light of the world.

Our God has given us an honored place in His house. Let us not disappoint Him but become a worthy member of the most distinguished family of all. This we can do through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our role in life is not merely the informing of other people concerning the Christ of history. Our role is to demonstrate, to reveal, His indestructible, incorruptible resurrection Life that is dwelling in us.

August 26th

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)

Previously we discussed the concept of seeming contradictions. We would like to take this idea a step further because it is crucial to the changing of Christian thinking concerning the relationship of God’s grace to righteous behavior.

Remember, in resolving these seeming contradictions we are not speaking of balance. We think balance has more to do with the diet fed the sheep, that is, we are not to harp continually on one aspect of salvation such as Divine love, or Divine wrath. Faithful pastors and teachers attempt to provide a balanced diet. For example the attention given today to the "rapture" teaching is far out of balance in terms of the little emphasis given it in the New Testament.

The problem with the application of balance is that "balance" can be used to dilute truth. We cannot dilute the perfection of the Divinity of Christ with the perfection of His humanity in an attempt to balance aspects of His Nature.

Neither are we, when referring to the resolving of the faith-works controversy, speaking of the possibility of "earning salvation." We cannot earn a salvation that is being offered freely by the Lord and has been paid for by the blood of Christ. Rather we are speaking of something quite different, and that is the correct manner of determining Divine truth when seemingly contradictory statements are made by the writers of the Scriptures.

Here are a few of the seeming contradictions found in the passages of the Scriptures:

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Jesus does not bring peace but a sword.

Believers are not judged. Believers are judged. God gives us mercy. We shall reap what we sow.

We have been elected according to the foreknowledge of God. We are to labor to make our calling and election sure.

Prostitutes enter the Kingdom. The works of the flesh cannot enter the Kingdom.

We are justified by the gift of grace apart from any works of righteousness. We are exhorted to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

How are we to approach these seeming contradictions? We shall present two incorrect and destructive ways, and then the three components of the correct way. After this we shall select one seeming contradiction, the one involving the gift of God versus the necessity for righteous behavior, and show how the incorrect way of approaching this particular seeming contradiction has tended to destroy the churches of America and is preventing the depth of repentance and moral change God is demanding in the last part of the twentieth century.

The first incorrect way of approaching a seeming contradiction is to accept the one part of the seeming contradiction and to ignore the other. The part we have accepted then becomes an axiom. It is unassailable truth from which conclusions are drawn. If a seemingly contradictory idea is suggested by any passage of Scripture it is discarded or else treated in some manner that renders it incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial.

This is, of course, what we have done in the case of the truth that salvation in Christ is a gift from God, and with its seeming opposite, the believers are commanded to live a godly life.

The second incorrect way of approaching a seeming contradiction is to develop a compromise that waters down each position. A good example of this is the adding of parts of the Law of Moses, such as the Sabbath day, to the Christian salvation. The Law of Moses is not rigorously observed and salvation has strings clinging to it.

The written Word of God tries the spirits. But the sons of God are not led by the written Word but by the Spirit of God. To attempt to be led by the written Word produces a religious, Christ-murdering spirit.

August 27th

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH, continued

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (Romans 3:21,22)

The third way of approaching a seeming contradiction is to accept both positions as equally valid, equally necessary to salvation. We have not done this with faith and works. The result has been moral destruction.

We must accept all of the passages without doubt or compromise. They all are the Word of God. The New Testament remains unimpaired. We hold resolutely to the plenary verbal inspiration of the accepted Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. If therefore there is a seeming contradiction, and yet all is equally true, what method shall we employ to arrive at the Divine will?

Three aspects must be considered if we are to rightly divide the word of truth and resolve all seeming contradictions. We must consider carefully the immediate contexts of the passages under examination. We must consider carefully the entire context, that is, the entire Scriptures. We must consider carefully under what circumstances a given passage is to be emphasized. If we will apply these three considerations we will find no contradictions in God’s Word and we will not create havoc in the Church of God as we have done in the past.

Now, let us look at the doctrine of concern to us. Are we saved by faith, or by works, or by some compromise in which we are "saved" by faith and then try to do good? Or is it true that both faith and works are essential aspects of salvation? If the latter is true the present Christian churches have a problem of enormous proportions. Before we begin with our three considerations, the immediate context, the entire context, and the circumstances governing application, let us mention an important factor, and then drop it because it will add complexity that may not be needed at this point.

The important factor is this. Salvation has little or nothing to do with going to Heaven. As long as we think of salvation as being a ticket to Heaven our arguments become hopelessly confused. The process of salvation is that of being conformed to the image of Christ and being brought into untroubled union with God through Christ. It is not a program designed to qualify us for eternal residence in Heaven.

The reason we must be changed into Christ’s image and brought into union with God’s Person and will is first to please God and have fellowship with Him, and second to be authorized and competent to perform the various roles and tasks necessary to the establishing and operation of the Kingdom of God. Three of the many roles and tasks are as follows: to be a living stone in the Temple of God; to be a member of the Bride of the Lamb; to be a judge of men and angels. None of these many roles and tasks are possible to us until we are in the image of Christ and resting in God’s Person. This is not to say however that we cannot in an elementary measure enter the roles and tasks before we have attained the fullness of image and have entered perfectly the rest of God.

Heaven is a place. The goal of salvation is not a movement from one place to another (the earth to Heaven) but a change in the individual so he or she always is acceptable to God (the meaning of righteous). The reader will see immediately how our concept of what it means to be saved has a most significant bearing on our discussion of whether we are saved by grace or works or some combination of these or by both.

Heaven is more down to earth than we realize. We are looking for Disneyland in the sky but God is looking for the growth of Christ in us.

August 28th

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH, continued

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:6)

The concept that Christians are saved (usually meaning they will go to Heaven when they die) apart from the observance of moral law (which is antinomianism—an ancient heresy) is derived largely but not exclusively from Paul’s arguments in the early chapters of the Book of Romans, John 5:24, Romans 8:1, Romans 10:9,10 and Ephesians 2:8,9.

On the other hand, the concept that Christians must keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles can be found in such a large part of the New Testament, beginning with the Gospels, that one must say with all fairness it has far, far greater scriptural support than is true of the belief that Christians are saved without any necessary transformation of their personality.

Christ said, "If you love me you will keep My commandments." That alone should warn us there is another side to the "faith alone" argument. Christ is God!

Paul on several occasions pointed out that if we live in the flesh we will die spiritually. The writer of Hebrews cautioned us that the plant that does not bear fruit will be burned. James argues that faith without works is dead.

Peter advises us of the need to suffer in the flesh in order to be purged of sin.

If we are on solid ground thus far, let us apply our three considerations.

We shall take one passage from Romans that we believe would be acceptable to many Christians as being representative of the current position that we are saved by the gift of God’s grace apart from righteous works on our part.

For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (Romans 5:17,18)

Here is an excellent statement of the position that we are saved by the gift of God’s grace in Christ. If we employ this as an axiom from which conclusions are to be drawn and forget the rest of the Bible we have a good foundation for antinomianism, that is, the philosophy of salvation apart from adherence to any moral code.

Now we turn to our three considerations. What of the immediate context? What is this passage talking about?

When we look carefully at Romans, Chapters Three through Five we find that Paul is contrasting faith in Christ with the Law of Moses, not with doing justly, loving mercy, or walking humbly with God, or doing to others what we would have them do to us, but with the works of the Law of Moses—circumcision, the Sabbath, the feast days, the laws governing leprosy, the laws governing agriculture, the dietary laws, the animal sacrifices, and the covenantal form of the eternal moral law—the covenant known as the Ten Commandments.

Paul was contending with those who were attempting to mix the Law of Moses with the redemption offered through Jesus Christ.

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:13)

"Abraham, or to his seed, through the law."

If you do not bear the fruit of Christ's image in your life you will be removed from the Vine. Does this mean you will be lost? Yes it does, if being saved means you are part of Christ.

August 29th

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH, continued

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)

The immediate context of Romans 5:17,18 is Paul’s argument against the Judaizers. Paul was reasoning with Jews about the role of the Law. Paul was not informing Gentiles they no longer were obligated to behave righteously.

Now we must consult the larger context.

The main question is, are we safe in concluding we are saved by the gift of Divine grace independently of a change of behavior on our part?

The larger context consists of the entire Scriptures, all of which thunder "God would never issue a covenant that does not require obedience to His commandments!"

However, we need go no further than the sixth chapter of Romans. Apparently Paul recognized that his arguments against the Judaizers could be used as a license to sin. The sixth chapter of Romans is a refutation of today’s doctrine that faith in Christ frees us from the obligation to keep the moral law.

Now, there must be no confusion here. It is not enough to say "we stand in grace but we ought to try to do good." It is this kind of sloppy thinking that has destroyed the churches in America.

Either our acceptability to God depends on a change in our personality or it does not.

Either there are spiritually fatal consequences to not abiding in Christ or there are not.

Either a new righteous creation is an absolutely essential and integral aspect of salvation or it is not!

Either we shall surely die or we shall not surely die!

There can be no compromise here if we are to arrive at truth!

What, then, does Paul state in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans?

In the sixth chapter of Romans Paul states clearly and unequivocally that the Christian (not the unsaved but the Christian) has the opportunity to choose to be the slave of sin or the slave of righteousness.

If the Christian chooses to be the slave of sin he or she will reap death.

If the Christian chooses to be the slave of righteousness he or she will reap eternal life.

Take a moment right now to open your Bible and read Romans Chapter Six. Pay particular attention to verses one, four, six, twelve, sixteen and twenty through twenty-three.

How could anyone claim this chapter is not addressed to Christians? How could anyone claim these passages do not state that the choice is ours whether to obey righteousness and live or to obey sin and die?

If this is the case, then the conclusion drawn from the earlier chapters of Romans that the gift of Divine grace does not require a corresponding change in our personality toward righteous behavior is ruled out.

Considering the immediate context we must say the argument is pointed primarily toward Jews, telling them they can be righteous apart from the works of the Law of Moses.

Considering an enlarged context we must say the conclusion that the gift of Divine grace does not necessitate righteous behavior if eternal life is to be gained is ruled out.

Christ is the Vine. You are the branch. The fruit of righteousness the Father is looking for is grown on the branch.

August 30th

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH, continued

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)

Considering under what circumstances the truth that God has granted righteousness and life to us as a gift apart from the Law of Moses should be stressed, we conclude this argument would apply most beneficially to someone who was attempting to earn righteousness by the observance of the Law of Moses or by some other moral code. God has given us righteousness based on a covenant conceived and administered by Himself. For us to then set out to attempt to earn righteousness by following our own set of rules is to bring confusion and incompetence to the covenant.

However, the doctrine of the gift of grace would not be appropriately explained to a Gentile who was saying, as so many do today, "I know I should do good but God sees me through Christ and so I am saved no matter what I do." This would be to pour gasoline on the fire and to lead the novice to spiritual and moral destruction.

God has presented different sides to the one truth because of the different sides of the problem of man’s need for redemption. In one instance we stress rest in Christ. In another instance we stress awake to righteousness and quit your sinning. One major problem of today’s preaching is that we attempt to force our axiom on every person in the same manner without a sense of the will of the Spirit of God for the specific occasion.

Now, let us go to the other aspect of the seeming contradiction. Let us look at what those who stress righteous works would consider to be a fair presentation of their position.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

In the immediate context Paul was speaking to the Gentile Christians of Galatia. Paul was informing them that they were not to attempt to add circumcision or any other aspect of the Law of Moses to the salvation that is in Christ. Then Paul explains carefully, in the second chapter, that in throwing off the yoke of the Law of Moses he is not giving them permission to sin. What Paul is teaching is that although he no longer is bound by the Law of Moses he still does not sin. Why not? Because Christ is living in Him. Paul tells the Galatian Christians they are going to reap what they are sowing, that God is looking for a new creation of righteous behavior. This is the immediate context of Galatians 5:19-21 (above).

Now, let us think about the larger context. Is there any passage of the Scriptures (as there was in the case of the position that we Christians are saved by the gift of Divine grace apart from works of righteousness) that obviously renders our conclusion invalid? There is at least one passage that could be so interpreted.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)

We cannot look to both Moses and Christ at the same time. Moses produces righteous behavior by obedience to what God has said. Christ produces righteous behavior as we offer our body a living sacrifice to God, counting ourselves crucified with Christ and living by His Life.

August 31st

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH, continued

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Titus 2:11,12)

Does Divine grace teach us that God has sovereignly declared us righteous with no effort on our part? What do you think? A glance at the entire Book of Titus will reveal an emphasis on righteous behavior rather than free grace.

But perhaps what we are saying here is that even if we do not obey the several admonitions to godly behavior found in the Book of Titus, righteous behavior still is not critical because we are saved by grace. Remember, we are addressing Paul’s statement to the Christians of Galatia that if they continue to sin they cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

Does Titus 3:5 weaken the strength of Galatians 5:19-21, and if not, why not? It is our opinion that Titus 3:5 does not alter our conclusion from Galatians that the sinning Christian will not inherit the Kingdom of God. We think rather that two different aspects are being presented. The first, as in the early chapters of Romans, that salvation proceeds from a covenant that God sovereignly has issued through Jesus Christ and we cannot earn it by any amount of righteous works.

The second aspect has to do with how we work out the covenant, how we work out our salvation. If we do not permit the salvation of Christ to operate in our daily life our spiritual life will die, as in the parable of the sower. We will be cut out of the vine, as in John, Chapter Fifteen. We will die spiritually, as in Romans 8:13.

When would we apply the position that good works are a necessary part of salvation? Not when an unsaved individual in deep depression and guilt is reaching out to God for help or when a devout Jewish person is racked with guilt being unable to keep the Law. On these occasions an emphasis on God’s gift would be in order. We think the Spirit would agree to this, although on some occasions the Spirit of God works in ways contrary to our immediate understanding.

How, then, do the two ideas of grace and righteous behavior come together? They come together in the following passage.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

We are God’s workmanship. He reaches down and saves us for the purpose of creating us in Christ Jesus unto good works. If we quote Ephesians 2:8,9 apart from verse 10 we have a distorted, very destructive view of the Christian salvation.

We mentioned earlier a complexity that can be added to the above discussion. The Bible does not teach that eternal residence in Heaven is the goal of salvation. Although there certainly is a Heaven in the spirit realm where God, Jesus, and the saints and holy angels reside while preparations are being made for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth—given all of this, Jesus still does not present Himself as the way to Heaven. Jesus is the way to the Father—an altogether different concept.

Jesus is bringing us to God, not to Heaven as to a place.

To move unredeemed believers from the physical realm into the spirit realm accomplishes nothing. Sin began in the spirit realm and is perfectly at home in the spirit realm, in the heavens. Salvation is in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in the heavens.

September 1st

RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH, continued

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)

Let us offer a new definition of salvation for your consideration.

Salvation is our change from the adamic nature to the image of Jesus Christ and our being brought into untroubled union in God through Christ.

Salvation is not addressed to Heaven or to any other place, only to our change of personality.

I can’t imagine any sincere Christian having much trouble with our definition that salvation is the power of God through Jesus Christ to change us from a sinner to a saint. After all, if any individual be in Christ there is a new creation, old things have passed away, all things have become new and all things are of God. It is the new creation that is at issue. I think we all understand this.

But look at what this new (and perhaps acceptable) definition does to our argument!

How can one maintain we are saved apart from works when it is the works that themselves are the purpose of the salvation?

How can one maintain that once we have been saved we never can be lost, unless he means by this that once we have been transformed into righteous behavior we never can be untransformed?

To add one more complexity—our present Christian teaching stresses the opening move in our salvation. However the Scripture teaches clearly that salvation has a specific beginning, a specific process, and a specific conclusion. The Scripture adds that we are not saved until we endure to the end.

We are saved when we believe in Christ and are baptized in water.

Then we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, holding our confidence steadfastly to the end, being careful not to draw back to destruction.

Finally we are kept by the power of God unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.

I think God is saying that the American churches are to repent during the last few years of the twentieth century, that if they do our nation will be blessed; if they do not disaster will overtake our country. It appears to me that the level of repentance God is demanding cannot come about until we Christians realize we are preaching our traditions and not the Scripture, and that God is insisting His commandments be kept.

The depth of spiritual-moral evil on the horizon is so much worse than anything we have encountered thus far that apart from the most sincere repentance and turning to God the Christian churches will flounder in moral weakness and sin. We are not to seek power. We are to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, a Divinely inspired righteousness that will work out demonstrably in the lives of the saints. When we turn to God and start seeking righteousness God will pour out all the power we need to be more than conquerors through Christ.

In so doing we shall save ourselves and our nation.

God's plan for man, including man's obedience to the eternal moral law, his acquiring righteousness by faith, the Divine insistence on purity of heart, meekness, and a number of other conditions and relationships, has not changed from the time of Adam and Eve and never shall change.

 September 2nd

TO EVANGELIZE OR TO MAKE PROSELYTES?

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19,20)

I am writing the present essay out of experience and the resulting personal conviction. Sometimes when you’ve been through something yourself it helps others. If this discussion helps you and gives you peace, praise the Lord!

During the last few years we have had questions in our church over evangelism— "getting people saved." Ours is a teaching church with a burden to build up the members of the Body of Christ. Many of the people around the world who get our books and tapes are evangelists, chaplains, pastors and so forth who are busily engaged in evangelism. So we feel we are helping in that direction.

However our personal commission is to go into all the world and make disciples, teaching them to keep God’s commandments. This precisely is what we are doing with our tapes and books in, the Philippines, several countries of Africa, Israel, India, Nagaland, the United States, Canada, England, Hawaii, Guam, Denmark, and in other places I can’t remember because I don’t have our map with the flags on it in front of me.

Some time back a concern in our assembly arose centered around the idea that everyone is supposed to be an evangelist and our church should be converted into an evangelistic center.

Our response was to appoint a Minister of Evangelism and offer assistance in whatever program of saving souls was undertaken. "But," we said, "we know God has called us to do what we are doing. Our ministry is bearing fruit worldwide and we are not going to change until we hear from God."

Unfortunately, this was not enough. After a period of time several people found another place to attend that may have more of an evangelistic thrust.

Sometimes it seems those with a gift of evangelism have tunnel vision such that they cannot see the other ministries of the Body!

Recently we had a meeting of our teaching elders and officers to discuss a lingering uncertainty about whether we actually should be pressing on the congregation to "get out and save souls." An interesting discussion followed which examined the role of the evangelist and the place evangelism has alongside the remaining gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the Church to bring us into the mature stature of Jesus Christ.

To be "saved" in the narrow sense means not to be destroyed in the day of God's wrath, not to be assigned to the Lake of Fire. To be "saved" in the fullest sense means to inherit all that the Lord God has spoken concerning man.

September 3rd

TO EVANGELIZE OR TO MAKE PROSELYTES?, continued

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)

As we were in bed that night after the elders’ meeting, in the process of falling unconscious it seemed the sweet Presence of Jesus was there. You know what I mean? He seemed to say the following. You be the judge whether it is in accordance with the Scriptures.

While we make no claim that these were the precise words used, this was the burden. And I am checking it out in prayer as I am writing and it seems to be the general idea.

The evangelist is a gift given from the ascended Christ.

All members of the Body of Christ have not been given the gift of evangelism.

Some members have been given the gift of intercession; others, leading worship; others, serving; others, working miracles; others, teaching; others giving and so forth.

Every ministry without exception is to operate according to the will of the Holy Spirit just as the parts of the human body operate according to the brain. (This was stressed.)

Every member of the Body can, as the Spirit directs, act as an evangelist, or intercessor, or can serve, or give, or work miracles, or teach. We can "see" with our fingers when in the dark, but this is not the customary use of the fingers.

It is true also that some members of the Body of Christ exercise more than one function, as Paul was an apostle, a teacher, and an evangelist.

No member of the Body is more important than another just as no member of the human body is more important than another. The importance of any particular function derives from the present need. When you need to run away from trouble your feet are more important than your hands.

Each Christian is to let his or her light shine. This does not mean he or she is obligated to "tell others about Jesus." It means he or she is to live righteously. (The emphasis was on the need for Christians to live righteously, that this is the light of the testimony.)

There is no verse of the New Testament that directs the believers to act as evangelists to everyone they meet. The New Testament directs us rather to bear witness by doing the works of righteousness. Then, if anyone asks us concerning our great hope we are to meekly answer their questions. (I wonder what would be true in the United States if the Christians bore witness by living righteously rather than by trying to make converts to their religion!)

Only the Father can draw people to Jesus. When we set out in our own strength to "save" people we are as blind leading the blind.

The Great Commission instructs the Lord's apostles to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to keep the Lord's commandments. We have changed the commission to mean every believer is to go into all the world and tell people they do not have to keep the Lord's commandments, just believe and they will go to Heaven when they die.

September 4th

TO EVANGELIZE OR TO MAKE PROSELYTES?, continued

And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. (Jude 22,23)

The Lord Jesus will make each of us fishers of men as we carefully follow Him. We are not to take our eyes off Jesus and in the blindness of the flesh attempt to "bring people to Jesus." We are to look always to Jesus so that the Spirit of God may show us whom the Spirit is dealing with.

Then we are to listen to the Spirit, because the "four steps of salvation" may not be what the person needs at that time. It may be a word of comfort, or wisdom, or a friendly hand, or perhaps just an example of godly behavior.

One sows, one waters, but God gives the increase. Other people have labored and as we follow the Spirit we find our part in the worldwide harvest.

The several functions of the Body of Christ are as the pipes of a great organ. If a cat walks across the keyboard of an organ the product is discord. But as a master organist plays a Bach fugue he builds a cathedral of sound that inspires and uplifts as each pipe sounds according to the direction of Johann Sebastian Bach and the organist.

So it is true that the Body of Christ will build itself up and then radiate Divine Light to the world when each pipe sounds according to the direction of God and Jesus Christ.

This is the end of what we got last night from our Friend in high places. What do you think? Sound like the Lord?

There seemed to be two emphases. One was that all ministry is to be conducted by the Spirit of God. Well, we know this is true because in some cases the Lord told those who were ministered to to go and tell their city, and in other instances He said tell no man. Have you noticed in the Gospels that when the Lord told some people to keep their mouth shut they went out and broadcast what they had seen and it caused trouble for the Lord?

The other emphasis of our pre-unconsciousness instruction (while we were on our face before the Lord, as Bob Mumford puts it) was that the purpose of salvation is to produce righteous behavior in us, and that it is the righteous behavior the world is waiting to see.

When I first became a Christian I was given Joshua 1:8 to memorize and advised that we will never prosper while we are acting in an unscriptural manner.

The stress on "saved to save others" is unscriptural. The stress on growing in righteous behavior is scriptural. Shall we obey the Scriptures or our traditions?

This struggle over the thought that the world is going to Hell and I need to get out and save others began in my mind over a half century ago when I became a Christian.

The numerous passages of the Epistles that warn us concerning the consequences of sin are often preached to the unsaved, but none of them were written to unsaved people. Unsaved persons are already dead in their sins. It is the Christians who will lose their eternal life, who will slay their own resurrection, if they continue to live according to the lusts of their flesh.

September 5th

TO EVANGELIZE OR TO MAKE PROSELYTES?, continued

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (I Peter 3:15)

I was informed that I should "testify" to everyone I met, I was "saved to save others," that I should "burn out for Christ," willing to stagger with malaria across a rice paddy until I fell in and drowned if I could "bring one soul to Christ," that it would be worth it to crawl on my knees over broken glass from here to China to bring "one soul to Christ."

I was also pressed to adhere strictly to the Bible (although the Bible said nothing about "having a passion for souls" or "testifying to everyone I meet").

One morning standing in chow line I turned to the Marine behind me and said, "I want to tell you what Christ has done for me."

He said, "What has Christ done for you?"

I couldn’t think of one blessed thing. I had been saved for two weeks and did not have a blazing testimony. It was embarrassing!

In fact, I never repented when I got saved. I was seeking God on my own when I moved into a tent with a backslidden Baptist boy and begin to pump him about the Gospel. He told me about the atonement. I received the good news and he got back to the Lord. This was in Honolulu.

A night or so later I was born again listening to the chaplain in a Quonset hut. I know when I was born again. After the service a zealous Marine (bless him!) led me through the four steps of salvation. I took the steps in a hurry so I could get out of there and marvel at the love of God that came into my soul when the Chaplain was preaching from Ezekiel about how God was longing to be our God.

I carried this load (of worry about getting everyone saved) on my back for two or three years—the obligation to tell everyone I met about Jesus. It reminds me of some of the things C. S. Lewis strained over.

One day I was wrestling with myself over this issue at a bus stop. (You can tell from all of this I do not have the gift of personal evangelism in spite of the supposed universality of this grace.) I got on the bus, went to the rear, and squeezed in next to a rather large lady. I put steel into my back, girded up the loins of my mind, and said, "I would like to tell you about Jesus."

Her response was something like "No hablo Ingles" (I hope this is correct Spanish). "I do not speak English."

That did it! I said to myself, "This simply cannot be God!"

In Christian practice, the minute a baby is born he is commanded to go out and get more babies. How about feeding the baby until he or she is old enough to get married?

September 6th

TO EVANGELIZE OR TO MAKE PROSELYTES?, continued

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)

The hounds of personal evangelism tracked me to Bible school. We even had a class in personal evangelism (the devil take it!) I had a friend in Bible school who was good at personal evangelism. He would get on the bus and pass out tracts (he is passing out tracts to this very day and is almost eighty years old). Everybody loves him. When I try something like this all I get are icy stares.

While in Bible school I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Soon thereafter the Lord began to speak to me about what He was going to do after Pentecost. Can you imagine? As green as grass and the Lord is giving me this profound word. This was in the late 1940s.

The wrestling match intensified. Was I to take a freighter to the Orient and begin to tell others about Christ or was I to listen to what the Lord was informing me about the feast of Tabernacles?

Souls are sliding into Hell by the moment. Babies in foreign lands who may die in infancy are going to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire because they have never heard of Christ. And I am wasting time eating lunch and thinking about what comes after Pentecost.

I went to a missionary service in the First Assembly of God church in downtown San Diego, Ben Hardin Pastor. The call to service was given. I hastened to the altar and flopped on my face while the piano player played parallel octaves with more than average facility. (He later became a Methodist minister and since has retired, which has nothing to do with my story.)

I was not married as yet. I cried to the Lord, "I will go to Tibet wearing only this sweater if this is what you want. Anything, Lord! I am ready to stagger over the horizon and drown in the rice paddy. I am ready to burn out for Christ." (Who coined this wild expression?)

"To the Regions Beyond I Must Go"!

All of a sudden I knew the Lord was going to speak to me. I turned over on my back (I was laying on the rug at the front of the church) and waited for my travel instructions.

The Lord said three words, "I love you."

I love you, when I am ready to rip it all up for Jesus?

I knew it was the Lord, so that ended that.

Well, I came to a decision. I quoted to myself from Shakespeare, I think it is, "To thine own self be true." I thought if I am ever going to be my own man I am going to have to do what I think is God.

If the world goes to Hell it goes to Hell. I am going to wait and find out what God wants me to do. What do you think of that approach?

God continued to speak to me about what comes after Pentecost, and this has led to related topics. The fruit of evangelism has occurred as a byproduct of our ministry. There is at least one fairly well known evangelist on the field who told me he is serving the Lord today because of one of our tapes. Another lady was inspired to go to the mission field because of one of the tapes.

So maybe I’ll receive a commission. But my main job seems to be to get the Christians saved.

Never take anything for granted. Persist in prayer until you know God has heard you, until you have God's mind.

September 7th

TO EVANGELIZE OR TO MAKE PROSELYTES?, continued

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)

As I said we had a meeting last night of some of the officers of our church. We discussed the confusion caused by the fact that the evangelists who had left said we were missing God by not getting everyone in the assembling to go out and save souls.

As we contemplated the problem we all came to the conclusion that the spirit so common in Christian churches that stresses "we are saved to save others," the constant guilt-producing emphasis on the need to "go out and compel them to come in," "the king’s business requires haste," is not of God. It is a spirit of proselyting.

The more we talked about the power and prevalence of this spirit, how it corrupts certain texts such that the fruit Jesus mentioned is the fruit of "getting souls saved" and what Paul meant when He said "that I may win Christ" actually means "that I may win some to Christ," how Sunday after Sunday the message of salvation is preached to saved people in case there is one person who is not saved, while the rest of the believers are not fed the meat of the Word, we began to feel we are dealing with something that is not of God but of Satan.

So we joined together in prayer and bound this ungodly spirit of proselyting that prevents spiritual growth, that brings guilt to church people who want to obey the pastor and yet do not have the grace to go door to door and "compel them to come in."

Hopefully this confusion will leave our assembling altogether and never be heard of again.

How can we ever find rest in Jesus and hear His voice when we feel we are not doing God’s will because we are not saving souls from Hell?

But there is more to it than this. The unscriptural concept that our first job after getting saved is to save others actually works against growth in righteousness, and we think this is precisely what Satan is after.

I personally have numerous opportunities to talk to people about the Lord. During recent heart problems I spoke to several doctors and nurses, as well as patients in the ward, about the things of God.

"Did you take them through the four steps of salvation? Did you bring them to ‘closure’?" (Lord I hate these Bible school terms. They smell like something the cat dragged in.) "Did they ‘make a decision for Christ?’"

No, I just talked to them as a friend, and in every case the conversation turned to the Lord.

In one instance a dermatologist was blasting me with carbon dioxide. I said, "This is going to turn black and I have to preach tonight."

The doctor then wanted to know all about the church and about Pentecost. The same thing happened recently in a carburetor shop. I got to talking to one of the mechanics about Aimee Semple McPherson and her miracles. This particular mechanic was a minister in the Jehovah Witnesses. He was fascinated with the account of Mrs. McPherson (who wouldn’t be?).

According to Ephesians the ministries and gifts of the Spirit are to labor until we all come to the unity of the faith. Does this mean we all will believe the same doctrine? Probably not. There is another unity of the faith that is not based in the human brain.

September 8th

TO EVANGELIZE OR TO MAKE PROSELYTES?, continued

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (Mark 2:5)

It’s as Oswald Chambers said, if you come at people with the idea of converting them they can smell the gunpowder. Chambers took a dim view of the idea of a "passion of souls." As I remember what he said, Brother Chambers felt the notion was suspect. It certainly isn’t scriptural.

I notice in the Gospels that when people were brought to Christ they were not impaled on the "four steps of salvation." When the woman touched the hem of His garment Jesus did not say, "We must have closure here. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. You are a sinner. You cannot save yourself. You must confess Me with your mouth. You must make a decision for Christ. Now that you are saved go out and tell others how to get saved. And boys, be sure she is listed on the monthly report as a decision for Christ."

Isn’t this a bit stilted? Honestly, I think our four steps of salvation sometimes prevent people from coming to the living Jesus. It’s too unnatural, too contrived, not reflecting the breadth of God or the infinitely varied way He gets Himself into the bosoms and businesses of people.

No, He didn’t assure Himself of their theological position. He reached out and touched them. The blood stopped. "Your sins are forgiven. Take up your bed and walk." That’s our Jesus. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hey, the Man is alive. You don’t have to be catechized to be saved. You have a need? Ask the Man to touch you.

I make a practice of inviting unsaved people to take Communion. Horrors! I tell them to get saved while eating His flesh and drinking His blood. "Receive the Life of the Man! You can figure it out later. He’s alive!"

We don’t tell everyone they have to have a ministry of working miracles, why do we tell everyone they have to have a ministry of evangelism?

"Ah, but evangelism’s different!" Chapter and verse. I was told to go by the Book. Show me in the Book where every saint is to be an evangelist. There is no emphasis in the New Testament writings that each saint is to get people saved. The emphasis clearly is on bringing to maturity the Body of Christ, on personal righteousness and holiness, and the ministries and gifts of the Spirit were given by the ascended Christ for this purpose.

Satan’s purpose in pressing the concept we are saved to save others is to put the stress on external activity rather than growth in internal and external righteousness. By the doctrine of grace Satan has removed the emphasis on righteous behavior. At the same time he is pressing for constant evangelistic activity. His purpose is to prevent the growth of Christians to maturity. Satan is not threatened by spiritual babies.

It is time the pastors of America put the work of evangelism in perspective. There are numerous other ministries needed if the believers are to be able to stand during the age of moral horrors on the horizon. Every member without exception of the Body of Christ has been given a ministry. We can find that ministry only by presenting our body a living sacrifice to God. When we find our ministry we are to wait on it, faithfully serving God and man by what we have been given.

There are times when someone asks us of our incomparable hope in Christ. With meekness and fear we are to offer our bread to the hungry. We are to always have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. When we all do our part the job will get done. I have found my place and I am happy in it. I hope my contribution will be a blessing to you, and I know you will have something with which to bless those around you.

Always pray "Your will be done." This is not a passive or fatalistic prayer, it is the most powerful prayer possible. Always seek the will of God and pray with all fervor and diligence in the name of the Lord Jesus.

September 9th

IT’S TOO HARD!

And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. (Luke 16:9)

We had our discipleship class last night. A lady came up afterward and told me how she had mentioned to a pastor that she was writing a tract about being conformed to the image of the Lord.

The pastor’s comment was, "You’re being too hard."

If this remark isn’t characteristic of our country I’ll eat my Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, genuine leather cover and all.

Too hard! The Bible is too hard! You bet it is too hard for pleasure-loving people.

What’s harder than denying yourself, taking up your personal form of execution, and following Jesus?

But our whole country is like that. The standards for graduation are too hard, so change the standards! It’s too hard to lose weight, so cut the fat off your body with a knife! It’s too hard to keep from fornicating, so develop pills and vaccinations so you can keep on fornicating and not get a disease! It’s too hard to be responsible for a family, so don’t bother with marriage!

This world is not paradise. It was once and then God cursed it. The curse is still operating. You may notice there are weeds in your backyard.

The fastest way there is to lose your soul is to try to restore paradise before God’s time. The only way you can live a happy, carefree life is by breaking God’s laws and losing your personal integrity.

The present world is a testing ground for future rulers. You will be tested constantly concerning your integrity. Take the easy way, follow the line of least resistance, leave your wife and children, change partners all you want, and you will lose your soul. By that I mean the soul that was given to you by the Lord will become full of poison and corruption. You will lose control of it. You will become the slave of Satan.

Go ahead, preacher, tell the congregation the way of the Lord is easy. "Do you owe the Lord a hundred dollars? Take your bill and write down fifty."

The people you are courting now will receive you when you die. You can live with them in the cobwebbed shacks of Hell. At least there you will have friends. You would be kind of out of place with Elijah and Jeremiah in Heaven.

The Lord’s yoke is easy and His burden is light—for the individual who is doing His will. It is true that the Lord’s will more often than not leads to the death of much of what we crave. We are sinners and the purpose of salvation is to change us, not forgive us and leave us as we are.

But the Lord’s way is light and joyous compared with the way of Satan and self-will. The way of the transgressor is hard!

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is a tough message for a nation of relatively rich people. But it is the only right way, the only way that leads to the castles in the sky.

Take the easy way, live an undisciplined life, and you will have a long time to sit in remorse wishing that someone had cared enough to tell you the truth about the Lord and His demands! And that you had had brains and character enough to listen!

Where are the faithful stewards?

Christian preachers and teachers because of their overemphasis on grace are destroying man's normal association of righteous behavior with God's favor. Can we be surprised, therefore, when there is little strength of righteousness in the Christian churches?

September 10th

BECOMING THE WORD

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

We find in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation that when Christ returns, His name is The Word of God.

Think of it, His very name is the Word of God.

John tells us He has been the Word from the beginning and now is the Word made flesh.

Gabriel told Mary His name is Jesus, meaning He will save His people from their sins.

When He appears He again will be The Word of God.

What does it mean for Jesus to be The Word of God? It means that Jesus is the living representation, the portrayal, the personification, the demonstration, the Substance of all God ever has said, is saying, and shall say in the future.

The Bible tells us we should be true and faithful. Jesus is true and faithful. The Bible tells us there is perfect joy in the Presence of the Father. Jesus has perfect joy in the Presence of the Father. The Bible tells us we are not to be afraid of bad news. The Lord Jesus is not afraid of bad news. The Bible tells us we must be righteous, holy, and obedient to God. Jesus is righteous, holy, and obedient to God.

This is a marvel beyond all marvels.

But there is something more marvelous than this!

Every saint is called to become the Word of God. Our life is to proceed eternally from the mouth of God.

We are being changed into the image of the Glory of the Lord. The eternal moral law is being engraved in our mind and heart. Christ, the living Word, is being formed in us through the operations of the gifts and ministries given by the Spirit of God.

Line upon line. Precept upon precept. We are the flesh being made the Word, the covenant of God with mankind. We are God’s covenant with the peoples of the earth for through us they can receive the wisdom and mercy of God.

You and I have about as much chance of making ourselves the Word of God as an ant does learning algebra.

But we didn’t think up this great thing and we are not doing it. God is doing it.

Let’s say that you are a liar. Many Christians are liars although they don’t like to think of their behavior in such a vivid manner.

The Bible commands us to speak truthfully. God is truthful and Psalms tells us deceivers will not stand in His sight.

So you confess your lying nature to the Lord and He forgives you and cleanses you from all unrighteousness. You do your part and then God will do His.

In the meanwhile, if you truly are living as a disciple of Jesus (the Bible promises don’t always work for the average church-attender, you have to be a disciple), Christ is being formed in you. Christ was born in you when you received Him and now He is being formed in you through the travail of the ministry as well as the circumstances through which the Lord is bringing you.

What is being formed in you is the Word of God. In this particular instance, Truth is being formed in you. When you have come to the fullness of maturity as measured by the stature of Christ, the Word of God, you will be truth incarnate. There will be no lie left in you. The Divine nature that has been formed in you does not and cannot lie.

The transformation from the human nature to the Word of God is God’s idea and He has the power to do it. Don’t you agree?

Christ formed in us results in iron righteousness and integrity, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father.

September 11th

FAITH—MAGIC OR A RELATIONSHIP?

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1,2)

Faith is being treated today as though it were magic. One aspect of this is the current faith-prosperity exercise in metaphysics. If I can believe hard enough all I want will be given to me. Wishing will make it so. When you wish upon a star everything you desire will come to you. Cinderella. Peter Pan. Hollywood is great on this kind of faith. Believe you can play a trombone, and presto!

A more serious warping of faith is the current "make a decision for Christ." The idea is if we can get someone to go through the "four steps of salvation" he or she is magically transformed from a sinner to a saint. No more is necessary. The conductor is saying, "Next stop, Heaven."

This is so far from the Christian salvation it has almost no relationship to it.

While it is true that the sinner can come to Jesus and have all of his sins forgiven at once, it must be recognized that this is an introduction to salvation, not the whole program of redemption The individual is at the gateway to life. He is at the entrance to what will prove to be a long, treacherous journey before he is ready for the victor’s crown.

Let all the experienced saints say, "Amen!"

God has placed evangelists in the Body of Christ. The evangelist is kind of like a salesman. He is stationed at the entrance to the Kingdom and is inviting whoever passes by to join the party.

Sometimes evangelists oversell the Gospel. "Once you accept Jesus you will have no more trouble." I wish they wouldn’t do that. It makes the job of the pastor and teacher more difficult.

It is the job of the evangelist to announce the good news of God’s gift of forgiveness to those who turn away from the world, not to hand people a package all wrapped up and tied with a bow.

When an individual receives Christ he or she is embarking on the most wonderful of all adventures. But it is a fight to the death, make no mistake.

Once we make a profession of Christ we are to be handed over to the pastor and teacher. It is his or her job to work with us until we stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, until we attain maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Faith is not a magic that transforms us into saints. Faith is a grace given to us by God so we can relate successfully to Him and come before Christ every day of our life.

As we seek always to abide in Christ we are given a portion of evil for the day and a portion of Divine good by which we can overcome the evil.

The next day we are given a new portion of evil and a new portion of Divine good—both a little more advanced than that of the previous day.

We must by faith abide in Christ each day. As we do we grow in the ability to discern between good and evil and in the desire and strength to choose the good and turn away from the evil. This is what Christian growth is. This is what salvation is—the ability to refuse the evil and choose the good.

No, faith is not a magic that transports us in our unchanged state into Paradise. Faith is our daily relationship with God and Christ. As we continually behold the Glory of the Lord we continually are transformed into the same image by the Spirit of the Lord. This is the new covenant.

I have heard marvelous prophecies go forth over people. In many instances the marvels prophesied did not come to pass because the individual did not present his body a living sacrifice.

September 12th

LAWLESSNESS

And because iniquity [lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12)

The main problem of the last days is and will continue to be that of lawlessness. Antichrist is the man of lawlessness.

We are so immersed in our contemporary life that the tapestry of history is not always visible to us. It is hard to realize that for most of his history man has been under severe laws. The Star Chamber, the Algerian hook, drawing and quartering, lining the road with crucified criminals, keelhauling, starving children hung for stealing a loaf of bread—these horrors no longer exist in the Western democracies.

But in America while the penalties are getting lighter the crimes are increasing in horror. It is not unusual to read in the paper of a raped, murdered child, or someone who has been carved into pieces and the parts strewn around, or a victim in a car wreck who is raped and robbed while lying helplessly in the wreckage before the police get there. Some of our larger cities are in anarchy such that people, including children, are shot for no reason at all. The punishment increasingly is diminished while the crime increasingly is rampant. Perhaps there is a relationship here.

Satan is behind the minimizing of punishment. He is hoping somehow to escape the Lake of Fire. I think Satan’s plan is to so arm people against the idea of severe punishment that they will force God to reconsider the idea of an eternal lake of fire. But Satan is deceived in this. Once the Father speaks there is no power that can change the Word.

There are two realms of lawlessness today. One is in the Western democracies. The other is in the Christian churches. Secular lawlessness in the Western democracies is produced by the notion that man can govern himself. Man is not able to govern himself. He must have strong governmental controls and quick, severe penalties for wrongdoing—wrongdoing as described by the Bible standards of morality.

I am not speaking here of returning to the Law of Moses but to the concepts of justice and righteousness found in the conscience of all people until they are corrupted by an outside philosophy, such as that of relative morality. The laws of the Bible coincide with the laws of the unpolluted human conscience because both came from the same God. The natives in the bush have stronger, more effective social laws concerning morality than is true of Americans. We don’t know where we are morally!

When someone willfully harms another person he or she should be punished appropriately and then prepared for another chance at citizenship, perhaps under supervision. A second offense should bring quick, severe punishment and more prolonged incarceration as well as preparation for eventual release. Society must be protected from criminals. It is obvious that some types of criminals must be removed from society permanently.

The other realm of lawlessness is the Christian churches. It is taught commonly that we have been freed from the Law of Moses so we can do pretty much as we please without severe punishment. The truth is, we have been freed from the Law of Moses so we can be married to Christ—an infinitely more demanding government. Because Christian people have been taught they can sin without severe, lasting punishment they do not grow in righteousness.

Now we have a lawless secular society (Antichrist) and a lawless Christian society (the False Prophet). One will assist the other in the last days and the result will be utter chaos. God’s response to the chaos will be the great tribulation. God is a God of law and will not tolerate lawlessness for any length of time. His patience should be leading us to repentance.

A church that is part of the world is of no use whatever to the world and of no use whatever to Christ. It is fit only for the garbage.

September 13th

CITIES OF REFUGE

Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man [each of them] shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (Isaiah 32:1,2)

God has called out many disciples from the various churches to serve Him as a holy remnant. They will be "cities of refuge" for God’s elect throughout the second half of the prophetic week, the period of the great tribulation.

The Lord Jesus rules in righteousness. As soon as He has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, they too will reign in righteousness.

There will be spiritual wind and storms because the ancient rulers of the heavens are going to come down to stand against the Lord Jesus and His saints.

The ancient rulers against whom we wrestle are spiritual beings of exalted personality. At one time they had governed the universes of God’s creatures.

Dissension arose among them just as it does among the Lord’s people on earth. The Father noted the spirit of rebellion.

At the height of the discontent God spoke. He chose Jesus, the eternal Word. He exalted Jesus above all other beings. He established the throne of Jesus above all other thrones.

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalms 45:6,7)

The princes of the heavenlies resent Jesus. They are jealous of His exalted position as Lord of all of God’s creation. Yet they were created originally by the Lord Jesus.

Even though they were created by Him, the Word of God, they are seeking to usurp His place as supreme Head of the Kingdom of God.

The lords of the air are not convinced the Father is willing or able to cast them into the lake of fire for eternity.

At the present time they are content to watch the demons play with the flesh of the earth. But as soon as God’s holy remnant is brought to a place of spiritual strength and authority the princes will be hurled to the earth, outraged over the change in their status.

When they come to the earth, tribulation of an intensity and scope beyond man’s ability to imagine will torment the nations. Blood will flow like water and the demons will be satiated with the flesh of humans.

Man is no match for the fallen rulers. Religious man is not equal in wisdom or strength to the lords of wickedness. Converted, tongues-speaking Christians are not able to prevail against the huge, sophisticated beings who are about to attack the earth in their fury.

Only God the Father, and Jesus, whom God has made Lord and Christ, are able to prevail against the lords of darkness.

Therefore God is prepared, in the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles, to come down and take up His eternal abode in the hearts of those who keep the commandments of Christ Jesus.

The dwelling of the Father and Christ in the holy remnant will be the place where the devout of the earth can hide from the face of the wicked.

The King and His princes—each of them—will be a hiding place from the winds of Satan, a shelter from the storm, as rivers of water in a dry land, as the shade of a great rock in a weary land.

If you will be patient with the Lord He will make you a city of refuge for the weary and oppressed. Would you like that?

There must be a company of strong people in whom and with whom God in Christ can drive all sin and lawlessness from the face of the earth.

September 14th

A BETTER COVENANT

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

The Law of Moses could not produce people who always exhibit righteousness and praise in the sight of the nations of the earth. Yet the bringing forth of righteousness and the worship of God are God’s purposes in calling out Israel from among the nations of the earth (Isaiah 61:11).

Because the old covenant did not and could not bring about the type of royal priest God desires, God has given us a new covenant. The new covenant, while it includes the forgiveness of our sins, is not primarily a covenant of forgiveness. The new covenant is the putting of the law of God in our minds and the writing of the law in our hearts.

The new covenant includes the eternal forgiveness of our sins. The forgiving of our sins is meant to serve as a foundation on which the Lord can proceed with the work of conforming us to the moral image of Christ. We are to be transformed into new creations of righteousness and holiness. The forgiving of our sins under the new covenant never was intended to be a means of escaping God’s insistence that we be in His image. Grace is never an alternative to godly behavior, only to the statutes of the Law of Moses—circumcision, the feast days and so forth.

The new covenant is being preached today as the Divinely ordained means of escaping the Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping. It is taught that grace is an unconditional pardon, and as long as we believe in Christ Jesus we can sow sin and reap the fruits of righteousness. We have aborted the intentions of God.

We are saying to the Christian who works wickedness that he will not reap what he is sowing. We are claiming that if he accepts Christ Jesus he then can proceed to fumble ineffectively at the task of following the Lord and never be condemned for his lack of diligence. If this were true the new covenant would be virtually worthless for the Kingdom purposes of God. The new covenant would be the lesser covenant, for the old covenant at least demanded righteous behavior, bringing a blessing on those who obeyed the Word of the Lord and a curse on those who disobeyed the Word of the Lord.

Notice what the unchanging Christ spoke through Isaiah:

Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. (Isaiah 3:10,11)

These words were addressed to Jerusalem and Judah, to God’s elect. If such were the case under the old covenant, how much more is it true under the new covenant where we have every grace of God to help us turn away from wickedness and live righteously? For us this is a new day. The winds of God are blowing away the dead leaves of Dispensational thinking. The righteous Lord has come to bring true, actual, living righteousness to His saints.

How about you? Are you ready to move into actual righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit? The Kingdom of God is at hand. Rejoice with us! Wave banners! Sound trumpets! Sing songs of war and victory! Welcome the King as He comes!

The believers who have trusted in a sovereign, unconditional grace that operates only in their mind and is separate from actual transformation of personality will come forth in the day of resurrection to discover that no new creation has been formed in them. The cold gray light of the resurrection morning will reveal their experience to have been virtual reality (for those acquainted with computer terminology), not actual spiritual reality.

September 15th

WHAT IS ETERNAL LIFE?

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:53,54)

If we would understand the statements of the New Testament concerning eternal life we must realize that the expression in its fullest sense refers to the resurrection of the body to a certain kind of life—not just to perpetual existence but to a specific kind of perpetual existence.

What does "have everlasting life" mean? Is it the same thing as going to Heaven?—as being washed in the blood of the Lamb?—as being born again?

We know that eternal life is the Substance of Christ Jesus in us. As we eat His flesh and drink His blood we have eternal life in us. If we cultivate that eternal life, learning to live by it, the Lord Jesus will raise us when He appears and we will be eternally alive with Divine Life in body, soul, and spirit.

There is the biologic life of flesh and blood and then there is eternal life. If we would attain to resurrection unto life in the Presence of God and Christ we must develop and nourish the portion of eternal life given us when we received Christ.

We must learn to think of our initial experience with Christ as being the beginning of our quest for eternal life. At the outset, righteousness is imputed to us. Our sins are forgiven by means of the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. The Divine Seed is planted in us. We are touched with a beginning portion of eternal life, a deposit on the fullness of eternal life that will be ours if we pursue Christ until we attain to to the mark set before us as an individual.

Thus we are given a marvelous start. Now it is up to us to fight the good fight of faith, laying hold on eternal life until we attain the out-resurrection, the first resurrection from the dead.

We must always keep in mind that every aspect of salvation is an opportunity. There is a spirit of assurance among Christian people that is not based on reality. Godly assurance is a blessing but false assurance is a destructive deception.

We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, not with a blithe, overconfident attitude that we are a favorite of God and no matter how we behave God would never punish us severely nor could we possibly lose our inheritance of eternal life. God always is looking to see if we are serving Him. There are no favorites, no respect of persons. The believer who continues in well doing will inherit eternal life. The believer who is careless, not being careful to observe the Lord’s commandments, will inherit corruption in the Day of the Lord.

We do not have to strive to bear fruit. We do have to strive to be found in Christ. We must continue in prayer, in the Word, and in diligent devotion to Jesus if we expect to have the strength to continue abiding in the Vine. The rewards go to the victors.

September 16th

SOWING AND REAPING

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:7,8)

There is an immutable law that operates in the Kingdom of God. It is the law of sowing and reaping. For every action there is a result. For every decision there is a consequence. There are no exceptions to this.

One of the catastrophic effects of the so-called "dispensation of grace" is the weakening of this iron law. The believers are not sure to what extent (if any) they will get back what they have done, especially in the form of loss of inheritance. They may be rewarded for their good works (some do not believe even this!) but they never will be punished for their sin. Their pastors and teachers stand in line to assure them that no Christian need have any fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ.

How terribly incorrect! How terribly destructive of our moral behavior!

First of all, let us assure ourselves that Galatians 6:7,8 (above) is speaking to Christians. An examination of the text of Galatians will reveal beyond all doubt that Paul is writing to Gentile believers who were being seduced by Jewish teachers. These teachers were advising the Galatians of the need for circumcision if they were to be saved.

To the Gentile Christians in Galatia (as well as Jewish Christians) Paul was saying, "You are going to reap what you are sowing."

To get anything else out of this passage is to willfully distort the Scriptures. And there are several other passages in the New Testament that state the same law of sowing and reaping.

Notice that we Christians, in terms of our behavior, reap either corruption or eternal life. We need to think carefully about this because we are apt to think in terms of Hell and Heaven, not in terms of corruption and eternal life. The expressions may not be equivalent.

Current teaching is that you obtain eternal life when you "make a decision for Christ" (an unscriptural expression). We do not "make a decision for Christ." We either come to the Man or we don’t. This is no mere academic distinction.

When you come to Christ you get a deposit on eternal life. Then you have to fight the good fight of faith constantly in order to hold onto this deposit. If you are faithful in maintaining the life given to you, you will get the whole bank account when the Lord comes.

Eternal life is something you reap in terms of your behavior. It is a deposit on eternal life that is given when you truly receive Christ into your personality. The Scripture is clear enough (the parable of the sower, for example) that you can lose your deposit if you do not obey the commandments issued by the Apostles of the Lamb.

How then do we explain the statements of Paul that salvation is a gift given to us upon our belief in Jesus Christ? What is this teaching about reaping what we sow?

The explanation is simple and straightforward. Paul, when stressing the role of faith in both Romans and Galatians, was reacting to those who were attempting to add the Law of Moses to the Christian experience. In Galatians the issue was circumcision.

Paul resolves the seeming contradiction by showing, in Galatians, that while he was not under the Law of Moses he was under an infinitely stricter law. He was crucified with Christ and was now living by the Life of Christ.

In this context it makes perfect sense for Paul to emphasize, on the one hand, the role of faith in Jesus Christ in the plan of salvation; and to state, on the other hand, that Christians will reap what they sow.

One crippling, blinding concept that pervades the Christian churches is that after the careless believer dies he will become a spiritual giant, a warrior of Christ.

September 17th

SOWING AND REAPING, continued

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

Christ did not come to excuse our sins. Christ came to make us righteous, holy, and obedient to God. In those areas of our personality and behavior in which we persist in unrighteousness, filthiness of spirit, and disobedience to God, we certainly shall reap corruption in place of eternal life.

To ignore this certainty and to maintain the present Christian posture that God does not see our sinning is to insure a very bleak future for ourselves!

You cannot blame your pastor or teacher for leading you astray. You are responsible to search the Scriptures and determine for yourself what is true. It is the future of you and your family we are talking about!

Now, let’s think for a moment about when we will reap what we have sown.

It is true, of course, that even in this life we reap what we sow.

If we are not careful with our diet and do not exercise we may get a heart attack. I did! It’s not pleasant!

If we are not prudent with our spending we may end up bankrupt.

If we behave in an immoral fashion we may contract a dreadful disease.

If we smoke we may develop cancer.

If we are dishonest we may end up in prison.

If we overwork we may have an anxiety breakdown. I had this too. No fun!

But these penalties, however painful, are as nothing when compared with the possible suffering during the Day of Christ. In the Day of Christ we are going to reap what we have sown while in our body.

The body is of great importance in the plan of salvation. We will be rewarded or punished in our body.

There are numerous rewards that accrue to the believer who pursues the life of victory in Jesus. Many of these are listed in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. They include eternal life, closeness to God, power, authority, freedom from the harm caused by the second death, and finally a permanent position with Christ in His throne.

The rewards are summed up in Revelation: "He who overcomes will inherit all the glory of God, and God will be his God and he will be God’s son."

But we wish to limit ourselves at this point to one aspect of our reaping. It is that of the body from Heaven.

Two bodies are involved in the resurrection from the dead. The first body is that which we have now. It shall be raised from the dead. The body of every human being who has lived on the earth will be raised from the dead.

The second body is the body from Heaven, of Second Corinthians. The body from Heaven is the robe we will be given. It will "swallow up" our newly resurrected body.

The point is, what kind of body will our heavenly body be?

You are deciding that right now. Your heavenly body is the result of your conduct, whether good or bad.

Every decision you make, every action you take, is affecting your body that is being fashioned before the Throne of God in Heaven.

If you are developing Christian character, if you are becoming a new righteous creation, then righteousness, holiness, obedience to God, love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, teachableness, courage, self-control, kindliness, generosity, are being added to your robe, your body from Heaven, your crown.

The kind of change our physical body will experience when it is raised depends directly on the faithfulness with which we have served the Lord Jesus. It is not at all true that every believer on the basis of grace will receive a body like that of the Lord Jesus. 

September 18th

SOWING AND REAPING, continued

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)

Unlike our body on earth, our heavenly body will reveal what we are in our inner personality.

If you, although a Christian, are not following the Spirit of God, are not becoming a new creation in Christ, then unrighteousness, spiritual uncleanness, disobedience to God, hate, malice, misery, bitterness, impatience, evil tendencies, treachery, stubbornness, timidity, self-indulgence, self-centeredness, self-will, unkindness, selfishness, are being added to your robe, your body from Heaven, your crown.

The body that clothes your resurrected frame will reveal all these things to the onlooker. You will be viewed with disgust. Your role in the Kingdom, if you are allowed to enter the Kingdom, will be minimal.

You are going to reap precisely what you are sowing today.

I hope everyone who reads these words takes me seriously for this is what the Scripture teaches. It’s your future we are dealing with here!

Here is the perfect justice of God.

However, the love of God has made a provision for us. We can wash our robe in the blood of the Lamb.

When you confess a sin, as the Holy Spirit guides you, the Lord washes your garment in His blood.

Let’s say you tell a lie. When it comes to your attention confess to the Lord that you have told a lie. When you take this action the Lord will wash your robe in His own blood. Then it will not appear in your house from Heaven.

The Spirit of God will lead you into the sexual fantasies hidden in your heart. Don’t be afraid to tell God all that is there (He already knows anyway). But you must confess your imaginations and actions and judge them as sin. When you do God is faithful and righteous to forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

The practice of continual confession and repentance will lead you at last to the first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood.

Then as God brings you into various situations and you conquer your worldliness, lusts, and self-will through the help Christ gives you, you will add virtue to your body before the Throne of God—that with which you will be clothed in the Day of Resurrection.

However, if you do not confess and forsake your sins your robe will remain filthy. You will be clothed with corruption and filthiness in the Day of Resurrection, not with the incorruptible resurrection Life of Christ.

Let the filthy be filthy still!

All of us must face God’s judgment. We can go through it now by judging ourselves and confessing our sins and thereby attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection to life as a member of the royal priesthood.

Or we can wait until we die. In this case we will receive in the Day of Resurrection the bad things we have done.

We shall be rewarded for the things done in the body and we shall receive the reward in our body.

God gave us a spirit and soul. He placed these in a temporary, animal body. If we obey God in all things we will receive our true, eternal body in the Day of Christ.

But if we lose control of our soul to the spirit of the world, to the lusts of our flesh, or to the self-will of our soul and spirit, we will forfeit our soul to the enemy and we will be clothed accordingly.

Do you know that when you use profanity an unclean spirit is in your tongue? Your mouth is set on fire by Hell.

September 19th

SOWING AND REAPING, continued

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (I John 3:7)

These are iron laws of the Kingdom of God and they are not tempered in any manner by grace, mercy, or God’s love. You will trifle with these facts at your peril.

Imagine the Day of the Lord, the Day of Resurrection. Your body has been reassembled and then animated with spiritual life, the life by which angels live.

You are standing beside your grave, not knowing what to expect.

The Lord Jesus comes with your body from Heaven.

Perhaps you will see some believers clothed with great mountains of fire and glory, prepared to shine as the stars forever so they may guide people to the rest of God.

With what will you be clothed in that moment?

If you have done that which is good you will be clothed with a body of life fashioned according to your conduct on earth. If you have suffered you will have in your new body the capacity to govern nations of people.

If you have done that which is evil you will experience weakness and darkness. The hold of sin will be strong upon you. You will not be happy at the thought of being close to the blazing light of Jesus, the Divine fire of God.

People will turn away from you in disgust. You will slink away to the habitations of those with personalities like yours.

What I am describing is real. It will happen some day to you. You cannot be certain that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. But one thing you do know: the moment will come when you stand before Jesus Christ to answer for your conduct on the earth.

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

Perhaps many Christians in the United States will become aware we have misunderstood the role of God’s grace and will turn to God and begin to bring forth works in keeping with their repentance. But remember: one runs into trouble if he attempts to tell a child he no longer is going to be given everything he wants and must now be subject to the denial of his desires and other discipline. You will have a howling tyrant on your hands.

No doubt the truth that we are not as secure as we thought we were will unsettle multitudes of believers. Perhaps God in His goodness will send the Spirit of repentance on us so we can successfully manage the idea that the only reliable evidence of our salvation is a new creation that works the righteous works of God. To be sure, interesting developments are ahead of us.

But no matter what others do, why don’t you go to the Bible and see what it says about the Lord rewarding every one of us according to our works. If you are persuaded we indeed shall be rewarded according to our works, Christian or not, then go to the throne of grace and tell God that from now on you want to grow in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

The victorious saint is living in the Presence of the Lord. His relationship with the Lord will not change when he is separated from his body. He will continue living in the Presence of the Lord, drawing eternal life from the Head—Christ. The defeated believer is living in the pleasures of the world. He is spiritually dead now and will not be more dead when he dies.

September 20th

SOWING AND REAPING, continued

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (Matthew 6:19,20)

And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29,30)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)

Read carefully the above verses. In your heart of hearts, do you believe these apply to you? If not, to whom do they apply? The modern teaching is that all these Bible statements are invalid as far as Christians are concerned. We are saved by grace, meaning that salvation is an abstract legal maneuver of God that brings us to a mansion in Heaven independently of our conduct.

The defining of "grace" as an unconditional amnesty applying to Gentile believers in Christ is a monumental error that has resulted in the destruction of the Christian churches of America. Because the churches do not teach righteous behavior with any great conviction (hoping to fly away any moment in a "rapture") the secular society is drowning in the lusts of the flesh.

The so-called "rapture" is late in arriving. Multitudes of Christians have been tortured and slain so far in this century, more than in any other century of the Christian Era, statisticians inform us. Sorry, people, you should have waited for the rapture.

Where are our brains? The moral condition in America is our fault! How do you feel about this? Would you behave differently if you believed you are to be clothed with your own works in the Day of Resurrection? If so, set out to behave differently and the Lord will help you. He loves righteousness!

Death will not deliver us from sin or make us righteous. Rather death will reveal what we have done during our lifetime. It is appointed to men once to die and after this the judgment. The purpose of Divine grace is not to attempt to change this unchangeable fact but to change what we are doing now.

September 21st

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

The Day of Judgment will be applied to mankind in two separate manners. The first applies to the royal priesthood to those who attain to the first resurrection. They are judged so thoroughly in the present world, and respond to that judgment so correctly, that their sentence is to be raised and rise to meet the Lord at His appearing. There is no further judgment applied to them, as we note in Revelation 20:4-6. The Lake of Fire has no further jurisdiction over them.

The second applies to the remainder of mankind, to those who are raised in the second resurrection. They will be judged according to their works. Their sentences will vary all the way from a few stripes to eternal residence in the Lake of Fire.

To those who comment that no individual will be saved at the second resurrection because no person can be saved by works we reply that every individual, whether of the Church or of mankind, is judged according to his or her works (note II Corinthians 5:10 above).

Christ did not come for the purpose of preventing our judgment according to our works. Christ came to transform us so that our works will merit the approval of God. Any other viewpoint will lead the seeker into the corrupting morass in which many Christians flounder in the present hour.

But isn’t it true that Jesus said if we hear His Word and believe in God we will not be condemned?

Yes, and this is true of course. The believer who presses forward each day in the moral transformation that is the new covenant is kept without condemnation by the blood of Jesus. Such an individual will find his entire life has become one of judgment as the Holy Spirit guides him in putting to death the deeds of his body. His work has been that of maintaining an unswerving commitment. He or she is an attainer to the first resurrection of the dead.

We notice, however, that many believers in America of today are not maintaining an unswerving commitment to Jesus Christ. They are not denying themselves and carrying their means of execution behind Jesus. They are not living by His resurrection power. They are not sharing His sufferings. They do not understand that such is the only true Christian life.

"Brother Thompson, how can you say this of most church-attenders in America? How do you know they are not disciples of Jesus?"

By their works!

They have been taught that Jesus loves them and has granted to them an unconditional amnesty that insures their eternal residence in Paradise. They behave accordingly. This is an unscriptural program and an unscriptural destiny.

Every human being on the earth will be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ began in the first century, according to the Apostle Peter. The Judgment Seat of Christ will end when Christ and His saints sit on the great white throne and judge angels and the world.

We are not purified by ascribed righteousness (imputation), except as an initial device to get us started in the program of redemption. We are purified by the casting out of Satan, through the power of the Holy Spirit on the authority of the blood of the Lamb. 

September 22nd

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT, continued

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: (Romans 2:5,6)

Every person who has lived on the earth, Christian or not, will be judged according to his or her works. As we have noted, the Christian remains without condemnation provided he is following the Spirit in putting to death the deeds of his flesh. The judgment of God is always on the deeds of our flesh. God has made provision for us through the blood of Christ that authorizes and empowers us to judge and put to death through the Spirit the deeds of our flesh. As we do this we are attaining the earlier resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood.

It appears that most Christians of our day, having been taught incorrectly, are not putting to death the works of their flesh. They are lying, stealing, betraying their marriage vows, dabbling in witchcraft, gossiping, slandering, causing strife and division (they are not peacemakers), engaging in adultery, fornication, pornography. They are molesting their own children. They abuse their body with drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. They are covetous, seeking money instead of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

They do not understand the program of continual judgment that is operating today. They are not appearing before Christ today that their sins may be confessed and cleansed from them. They are under the delusion that God sees them through Christ and they have nothing to fear at the Judgment Seat.

We Christians of America are horribly, horribly deceived!

We are not showing forth righteousness in our personality. As a result the secular world has no moral light. Judgment is soon to fall on the United States unless the churches repent.

The demons fear the coming Day. The Christians do not fear the Day of the Lord. Why? Because they have been taught that how they live does not matter because they are "saved by grace." Thus we have made Divine grace an excuse for our sins. We are not scriptural in this.

We have been commanded to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. But we do not fear God and are not trembling at the thought of the coming Day of Judgment. In our filthy pride we are willing to reverence God but not fear Him.

We do not know the terror of the Lord.

Whatever the rest of the church world does, you can save yourself and your family. Pray, humble yourself, call on the Lord, turn away from your sin. If you will do this the Lord Jesus will come to you. He will help you confess your sins and turn away from them. He will make you a new righteous creation.

Then you will have boldness in the Day of Judgment because the love of Christ has been perfected in you.

But know of a certainty that if you, Christian or not, do not humble yourself, do not pray, do not call on the Lord, do not turn away from your sin, you will experience agony and corruption in the Day of Christ.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

Many Christians of today are living under Divine condemnation without realizing it because they have not expressed godly sorrow concerning their sins and have not repented of (turned away from) them with nearly enough vigor and resolution. Their sense of God’s approval is a deception.

September 23rd

THE FOUR GREAT TYPES

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: (Exodus 12:3)

There are many types, or symbols, or illustrations, however you wish to refer to them, in the Old Testament. They give concrete expression to the spiritual realities of the new covenant.

We have identified four major types:

The seven feasts of the Lord.

The seven furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The seven days of creation.

The seven stages of the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan.

Each of these four great types tells us something about God’s plan of redemption. God’s plan of redemption begins when we are in the moral image of Satan and have Satan’s spirit working in us. God’s plan of redemption concludes when we are in the image of Jesus Christ, in spirit, soul, and body and living in untroubled rest in God through Christ.

God’s plan of redemption can be viewed in seven steps. These seven steps are not seven rungs on a ladder but as seven facets of one diamond. The diamond is Christ and so when you have Christ you have all of God’s redemption. But it is in the working out that we encounter the seven stages of development.

Okay so far? Review if you need to.

The first feast of the Lord is Passover. The first furnishing of the Tabernacle was the Altar of Burnt Offering. The first of the days of creation was the giving of light. The first stage of Israel’s journey was the exodus from Egypt.

Do you see how we did that?

Taken together we have a picture of redemption. We begin the plan of redemption when we accept the blood of God’s passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, as the covering that protects us when God judges the demon gods of the world.

We begin the plan of redemption when we come to the Altar of Burnt Offering. We bow our knee at the cross of Jesus Christ and confess we cannot save ourselves. God will meet man only at Calvary. If we are too proud to humble ourselves and come to Calvary we cannot even begin the journey of redemption.

We begin the plan of redemption when God speaks light into our soul and we see the Lamb of God hanging on the cross of Calvary. If we accept the Spirit’s gentle invitation we move into the plan of redemption and the light is separated from the darkness in us.

We begin the plan of redemption when we leave Egypt, the spirit of the present world. We must make up our mind once and for all that this world is not our home and we desire to enter the Kingdom of God.

Since we now are going to march through the remaining six stages of redemption, make sure you understand what we have written thus far. Go back over it until you see what we are getting at.

Forgiveness makes it possible for us to come to God so we can be saved from all that is of Satan and brought into all that is of God.

September 24th

THE FOUR GREAT TYPES, continued

Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. (Exodus 30:18)

The second feast of the Lord is Unleavened Bread. The second furnishing of the Tabernacle was the Laver. The second day of creation was the dividing of the waters by means of the firmament of heaven. The second stage of Israel’s journey was the crossing of the Red Sea.

When we accept Christ we must put away the leaven of malice and wickedness in which we lived while part of the world spirit. Another figure is that of circumcision. For us to be part of God’s Israel we must be willing for God to cut away the fleshly impulses of our heart. We must experience a circumcision of the heart if we are to enter God’s covenant.

The Laver speaks of our death and resurrection in water baptism and also of the washing of our personality by the Word of God. When we go down into the water of baptism we are entering the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

As we read the Scriptures the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. Then we are to confess our sin so that God may forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is a continuing program by which we wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb.

The dividing of the waters portrays what happens to us when we receive Christ. Heaven in the form of Jesus Christ enters our personality. Heaven divides between our spiritual life and the carnal, animal life of our soul and flesh. The unsaved person is one chaotic mass in terms of the Divine redemption. The individual who receives Christ enters the separating of the carnal and the spiritual, thus making him or her, for a season, a divided personality.

This is why Christian people often act in foolish ways when compared with a disciplined worldly person. We sometimes find more competence in professional people who are unconverted than we do in Christian professionals.

When you tear down a machine in order to rebuild it you lose the use of the machine for a season. So it is that we Christians are being taken apart that we may be reassembled in time to come. And so we often behave in a silly, undisciplined manner.

Christians are usually decent people but we must remember that a division has taken place in our personality. We must be careful we do not fall into a gap of lawlessness in which we are under neither the Law of Moses nor the law of the Spirit of Life.

A baptism of fire is near for us Christians. When it happens to you, hold on. God is ready to bring you to a higher position in the program of redemption.

The new Christian must go through the Red Sea, so to speak. Jesus Christ is holding back the waters of death so you may pass through safely. When the water closes, Satan, who is trying to follow you, will drown. What comes up on the other side is the beginning of a new personality.

It is God’s goodness that knocks down every stone of our life until there is not one left on another. All we have built for our self-glory is demolished. Then God in Christ comes to us and builds His own place of rest.

September 25th

THE FOUR GREAT TYPES, continued

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. (Genesis 1:9)

The third feast of the Lord is firstfruits. The third furnishing of the Tabernacle was the Table of Showbread. The third of the days of creation was the appearing of vegetation. The third stage of Israel’s journey was the arrival of the Jews on the east bank of the Red Sea and the beginning of the march through the wilderness.

The feast of firstfruits notifies us that we have been born again. Our new inner nature has been raised to the right hand of God in Christ. The fruits of righteous behavior begin to appear on the face of our "land."

The Table of Showbread (Bread of the Presence) symbolizes the new Life of Christ that is in our personality. It is the Substance of the Divine Nature. Through the Virtue of it we are able to overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust.

On the third day of creation the waters were gathered together to one place and the dry land appeared. This made possible the appearance of vegetation. Again, this is a portrayal of the born-again experience. The fruit God is looking for in mankind, which is the moral image of Jesus Christ, is seen in our life for the first time. This marks the beginning of our transformation into the image of Christ.

Israel now stood on the east bank of the Red Sea, ready to begin the march through the wilderness. Egypt, the known, was behind them. Their destination was Canaan, the land of promise, the place of milk and honey, the area that did not have to be irrigated from the Nile but drank of the plentiful rain from the sky.

But between the Jews and the milk and honey lay a forbidding desert of sand and rock under a blazing sun.

So it is with us. Our goal is to be in the image of Christ and to be living in untroubled rest in the Father through Christ. But between us and the Glory of God Almighty at whose right hand are eternal pleasures lies a spiritual desert of sand and rock under a blazing sun.

Sometimes the Gospel is preached today as though we are going to fly to Paradise on flowery beds of ease, as the old hymn has it. But it may turn out that instead of floating through flowery beds of ease we may find ourselves sailing through bloody seas.

But God will send us manna every day—grace for the day.

We have emerged from the death of the cross and now, in our reborn spiritual nature, are at the right hand of God, far above every other authority and power. Satan, the world, our flesh, our self-will, will seek continually to tear us down from our exalted position, to take from us our crown of life and righteousness.

If we are not diligent these forces of darkness may succeed!

But if we will keep our eyes on Jesus we will arrive finally at the fullness of God. There is no power that can take us out of Jesus’ hand.

It is pure Glory to have Christ and God dwelling in us, even when we are in difficult circumstances. But Paradise is another name for Hell when we do not have Christ and God. Christ is our goal. Paradise will follow.

 September 26th

THE FOUR GREAT TYPES, continued

And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:1-3)

The fourth feast of the Lord is Pentecost. The fourth furnishing of the Tabernacle was the solid-gold Lampstand. The fourth of the days of creation was the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. The fourth stage of Israel’s journey was the giving of the Law.

After we believe, repent, are baptized in water, and are born again of the Substance of Christ, we are to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostal outpouring began two thousand years ago and continues every time a believer looks up to God in order to be filled with God’s Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God in the Church. He gives and directs the gifts and ministries and also guides and empowers us as we become righteous, holy, and obedient to God in character.

No growth in Christ’s image is possible apart from the enablement of the Spirit and no ministry is to be conducted apart from the direct supervision and enablement of the Spirit. The reason the churches have accomplished so little of eternal value over the Church Era is that the ministry has been conducted by the will of man rather than the will of the Spirit.

The solid-gold Lampstand portrays Christ—Head and Body. This is the Servant of the Lord who will return when Christ comes to maturity in the members of His Body.

The fact that the Lampstand is solid-gold tells us that no part of the eternal testimony of God comes from the flesh of man. God alone can bear a true witness of His Person, will, way, and eternal purposes in Christ.

The fourth day of creation takes us to the heavens. There shines the sun (Christ), the moon (the Bride of the Lamb), and the stars (the victorious saints of all ages). The light of Christ, of the Bride, and of the victorious saints comes from the Spirit of God. The term Christ means the One anointed with the Spirit of God.

Jewish tradition informs us that the Israelites came to Mount Sinai on the fiftieth day after the Passover. The term Pentecost is related in the Greek language to the number fifty.

To this day the Jews, on the annual celebration of Pentecost, celebrate the giving of the Law.

One of the great errors of current Christian thinking is that Christians are under no law. This is not true. It indeed is a fact we no longer are under the Law of Moses when we count ourselves crucified with Christ.

But if we would be free from the law of sin and death, which is the interaction between our flesh and the Law of Moses, we must obey the law of the Spirit of Life in Jesus Christ. The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ is a far stricter law than that given to Moses.

The Holy Spirit descended as a Dove on Jesus because there is no sin in Jesus. But the Holy Spirit descended on the early believers as tongues of fire. This is because there still is sin in us. It is the Holy Spirit who deals with the sin that is in us.

The Holy Spirit, working by the authority of the blood of Jesus, leads us in putting to death the deeds of our sinful flesh. We are baptized with the fire of Divine judgment. If we cooperate with the Spirit of God, following Him faithfully in every aspect of life, He will set us free from the law of sin and death working in the members of our body.

Christianity actually is nothing more nor less than the unfolding of true Judaism, that is, of the revelation given to Moses and the Prophets.

September 27th

THE FOUR GREAT TYPES, continued

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:24)

The fifth feast of the Lord is the Blowing of Trumpets. The fifth furnishing of the Tabernacle was the Altar of Incense. The fifth of the days of creation marked the beginning of animal life. The fifth stage of Israel’s journey included the constructing of the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the organizing of Israel into an army.

A part of the Christian Church has been at Pentecost since the early days of this century. The Pentecostal movement has been expanding since the middle of the century and now is termed Charismatic.

But the Ark is never stationary for long. God now is moving ahead to the Blowing of Trumpets.

The Blowing of Trumpets is the coming of the Lord of Hosts to declare war against His enemy. It is the beginning of the end of Satan and His followers.

We notice an increase in war choruses, the waving of banners, the playing of tambourines in a militant manner. The Holy Spirit is pointing us toward war and judgment, the war and judgment that will attain their climax at Armageddon.

To the individual believer it means that Christ is ready to wage war against the sin in his nature. All worldliness, lust, and self-will must be brought forth, judged, and put to death.

The believer cannot do this alone. Christ will not do it alone. It is the sword of the Lord and of Gideon if there is to be total victory.

The number five is symbolic of entrance into the Kingdom. We find the Altar of Incense, the fifth furnishing of the Tabernacle, at the entrance to the Holy of Holies. After we move past the Lampstand (Pentecost) we are faced with the prospect of death to our self-will, a difficult death indeed! Death to self is more demanding on us than death to sin because it deals with what we are, whereas death to sin has to do with forces alien to us—the sin that has entered our personality, particularly our flesh.

The fifth day of creation produced the beginning of animal life—fish and birds. After we are filled with God’s Spirit and move forward in the Lord, Christ begins to be formed in the depths of our personality (the fish). Also we become increasingly aware of life in the heavens (the birds). We are becoming a new humanity, a humanity that is thoroughly of man and thoroughly of God, just like our Lord. It is not enough to have a spiritual life in the heavens. We also must have integrity and strength in the inner part of our personality.

As we follow the Lord the great "whales" of solid character, courage, integrity, judgment, are created in our personality as well as an infinite variety of lesser "fish." We become a new humanity, solid in transformed human character and well acquainted with and a participant in life in the heavenlies.

The fifth stage in the journey of Israel was the construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the forming of Israel into an army. During the last fifty years we have witnessed an unprecedented emphasis on the Body of Christ (the Tabernacle) and a call to war (the forming of the army of the Lord).

We used to sing "Sweet Hour of Prayer." Now it is "Summon Thy Power O God!"

This is just the beginning!

The Divine redemption is not a religion. On the one hand it is a personal discipleship to the risen Jesus of Nazareth. On the other hand it is a kingdom—a kingdom that will be brought into the earth suddenly and with great violence.

September 28th

THE FOUR GREAT TYPES, continued

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26)

The sixth feast of the Lord is the Day of Atonement. The sixth furnishing of the Tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant. The sixth of the days of creation emphasized the creation of man. The sixth stage of Israel’s journey was the series of battles to subdue the land.

The Day of the Atonement (Yom Kippor) is the most solemn day of the Jewish year. The ten days from the Blowing of Trumpets to the Day of Atonement are known as The Days of Awe. This is because of the belief that God judges the world during this period.

It has been almost fifty years now that the Lord spoke to a certain Bible student and said, "The Day of Atonement portrays the judgment of the Church."

Having no knowledge either of the feasts of the Lord or the judgment of the Church the student was mystified but realized it was the Lord. The following forty-nine years have proven the truth of the message.

There is no question but that God is ready to judge His people in America and throughout the world. Wherever people are willing to confess their sins and turn away from them the Presence of God is experienced.

We need in our day, perhaps as never before, a tremendous conviction of sin to come upon the churches. Perhaps if we call on the Lord for rain in the time of latter rain we will have the outpouring of Glory and judgment we are hoping for. The Glory of God is highly desirable. So is conviction of sin if our nation is to be saved from destruction.

But should we experience a marvelous revival of Divine Glory and conviction of sin, the final results will be disappointing if the outpouring of the Spirit is not followed by sound doctrine, the doctrine that Divine grace is an enablement of righteousness and not an alternative to righteousness.

It is taught today that we stand in grace such that we ought to do good but God sees us through Jesus and so we are without condemnation whether or not we sin. If you think about it, such a warped understanding of grace provides no real basis for repentance.

True, lasting revival must have a sound, scriptural foundation under it. We must come to understand that God does not see us through Jesus, God actually sees our sins. Godly behavior is not a "nice" thing we do when we feel like it or during seasons of refreshing. Godly behavior is the only valid evidence of salvation and is itself salvation.

The sixth furnishing of the Tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark, containing the memorial jar of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the Ten Commandments (which we have discussed previously), represents perfected Christian character.

On the sixth day of creation man was made in the image of God.

The sixth episode of the journey of Israel was preparations for invasion and the actual invasion of the land of promise. So it is with us that as we experience the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement we bring the Ark of God’s Covenant against the worldliness, lust, and self-will in our personality, and in the Day of Christ will bring God’s holy Person and ways against the demons of the world.

If you are a saved, Spirit-filled individual you may have noticed that the Spirit of God is making you aware of the sin in your personality. You are to judge these behaviors as sin and resist them by the Spirit of God. In this manner you become reconciled to God’s Person in actuality rather than just legally by ascribed righteousness.

The Lord is separating out His army today. The test is how you drink the water. Do you stick your head in the pond or do you watch carefully what you are doing while you are drinking?

September 29th

THE FOUR GREAT TYPES, continued

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. (Leviticus 23:34)

The seventh feast of the Lord is Tabernacles. The seventh furnishing of the Tabernacle was the solid-gold Mercy Seat. The seventh day of creation is God’s rest. The seventh stage of Israel’s journey was rest in the land of promise.

The three great symbols of Judaism are the Altar of blood sacrifice, the Lampstand, and the Booth.

The Altar of blood sacrifice tells us that God will meet man only through the blood of the cross of Jesus.

The Lampstand informs us it is God’s will that every saved individual think, speak, and act in God’s Spirit.

The Booth portrays the eternal purpose of God—that man become the eternal dwelling place of God. We were brought into existence that God might have a living temple through which He can relate to His creation. Man is the eternal throne of God, the chariot of God.

Every human personality contains a throne room. When we come to Christ, King Self is on that throne. But Christ, and God in Him, wants to sit on the throne of our life.

Much pain is required for most of us before we can get King Self off the throne. But it is of the essence of the Kingdom of God that God sit on the throne. There is only one legitimate will in the universe—God’s will.

After God in Christ has been established firmly and eternally on the throne of our personality we are invited to sit with Them in Their throne. This is the rest of God, the goal of redemption.

The feast of Tabernacles portrays the rest of God. Man was created to enjoy God forever in the booth of his own person. When we open the door to the knocking Christ we sit down at the table and eat His flesh and drink His blood. This is how we marry the Lamb. This is how we are raised from the dead.

The Mercy Seat of the Tabernacle of the Congregation is the end of our quest. Jesus is not the way to Heaven but to the Father. To go to Heaven would satisfy no one. (It didn’t satisfy Satan or his followers!) Only God Himself finally can satisfy the longing of each soul. Human fulfillment is possible only in the Person of God.

On the seventh day God rested. There were no evening and morning because the rest of God is eternal.

The people of God did not attain perfection when Joshua brought Israel into the land of Canaan. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

The Jewish Sabbath is a portrayal of the eternal rest into which the Christian is called, the rest where we do not think our own thoughts, speak our own words, practice our own behavior. We are to think, speak, and act in the Person of God through His Spirit. This is how Jesus lives. This is how we are to live for eternity. This is the transcendent fulfillment of the Sabbath.

A mark has been set before you. The mark is that you be in Christ’s image, body, soul, and spirit and abide forever in untroubled rest in God through Christ.

Is this what you truly want?

It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.

Before Christ is finished He will have accomplished His goal of revealing the Glory of God through His saints in the sight of the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

September 30th

QUALITY CONTROL

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Many modern corporations have a quality control department. This is where the inspectors evaluate selected items from the assembly line.

Let us say we are machining quarter-inch bolts. Let us say further that these are part of a sophisticated range finder and must be machined to plus or minus one ten-thousandth of an inch.

The inspector uses his micrometer (perhaps now it is done with a computer) to determine whether we are within or outside the specified tolerances.

Can you see that quality control is impossible apart from the dimensions and tolerances specified on the blueprint? How do you know when the bolt is correct without clearly defined objectives?

So it is with every kind of system. If we do not know precisely what the objective is there is no way of knowing when we get there or how close we are to getting there.

One of the major problems of Christian thinking today is we do not have clearly specified objectives. Apart from these quality control is impossible.

Salvation often is viewed as being open-ended. Since we have no clear goals let us concentrate on the means. Should the coffee and doughnuts during the break be free or should we charge for them? This is how you drive a systems engineer crazy.

The assumed goal of salvation is eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven. There indeed is a place in the spirit realm called "Heaven" where God, Christ, and the saints and angels dwell (although probably not in mansions since it doesn’t rain there or get cold as far as we know). However, there are two problems with this goal. The first is that quality control is impossible since we do not know if we have reached our goal until we die. The second problem is that neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament presents eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven as the goal of salvation.

John 14:2, the venerable passage confirming the goal, is not talking about Heaven. The context of the chapter is the abiding of the Father and Christ in the believer. The "mansions" are properly translated rooms. God’s House is not Heaven, this is not scriptural. God’s eternal House is Christ and those who are part of Christ. Thus saith the fourteenth through the seventeenth chapters of the Gospel of John.

The true, scriptural goal of salvation has two aspects: transformation into the image of Christ and untroubled rest in the Father through Christ. Christ is not the way to Heaven but to the Father.

Participation in the roles and tasks of the royal priesthood are not possible except as we attain both aspects of the goal of salvation.

Quality control indeed is possible once we know the goals. We can assess our progress or lack of it in becoming a new creation in Christ while we yet are alive. (If you need assistance in evaluating your progress ask your unsaved neighbors to help you.) Also we can assess our progress or lack of it in subordinating our will to the will of the Father.

God the Father dwells eternally in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the "Zion" in which God finds perfect rest. Christ is the House of God. There is no other house of God.

October 1st

QUALITY CONTROL, continued

For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:31,32)

Any systems engineer will inform you that when you change the goal of your system you must make changes all the way back down the line. Every department, every effort must be organized in terms of the new goal. Cost effectiveness, for example, is impossible until your goals are clearly expressed. All of the quality control instruments that measure progress must be designed in terms of clearly defined goals.

Paul did not say, "I press toward I know not what because I don’t know where I’m going." Paul wanted to be with the Lord of course. Who wouldn’t if he was chained to a Roman soldier all the time. But going to the Lord was Paul’s hope of a joyous future, not the goal of his redemption.

Paul said, "I press toward the mark." Paul was not talking about getting saved, obviously. His words were written after churches had been established and epistles written.

Paul was seeking the perfection described as attaining to the out-resurrection from the dead. Paul was laying all else aside that he might win Christ, that he might live by the power of Christ’s resurrection and share His sufferings.

These goals are nearly unknown to the Christian churches of today. God is not pleased with this fact because God knows we will never make progress toward the goals set before us until we know exactly what they are (and what are the penalties and losses of inheritance associated with not attaining to the goals).

Every time a new feast of the Lord comes around on the Jewish calendar the Jews are commanded to cease what they are doing and pay attention to the Lord.

A new feast of the Lord is here in our day. We are moving past Pentecost to the spiritual celebrations of the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. It is time to slow down and listen to what God is saying.

Someone advised a farmer who was chopping wood that his axe was dull and it was time to sharpen it. The farmer said, "I don’t have time to sharpen the axe, this wood needs cutting."

This is the case today. We can keep on looking all over the place for Moses so we can revive him. But Moses is dead! Christ is moving from the twenty-third to the twenty-fourth Psalm. He is taking off His shepherd robes and sandals and putting on His armor.

The gentle Shepherd is becoming the Lord, strong and mighty in battle, a Commander of Battle so fierce Genghis Khan appears gentle and benign. Julius Caesar was a kindergarten teacher by comparison.

Jesus is not half-Shepherd and half-Warrior. When He is Warrior He is fierce beyond belief. The world has never seen the likes of King Jesus when it comes to the ruthless destruction of His enemies.

The slain Lamb will return and confront His murderers.

"Kiss the Son that you not be destroyed when His anger is kindled." "His wrath can flare up in a moment," the NIV proclaims.

It appears that the Apostle Paul toward the end of his life still was striving to attain to the resurrection from among the dead, and that the first resurrection is a mark, a prize given to those who are "perfect."

October 2nd

QUALITY CONTROL, continued

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (II Corinthians 13:5)

Total war is being declared. Satan and all that pertains to him will be driven from the earth. The wrestling match is approaching its righteous conclusion.

If you are a believer and yet have a heart to compromise with wickedness, change or get out of the way.

The kings from the East are on the horizon.

New goals are before us. When God said we are to be conformed to the image of Christ this is what God meant, and He is not pleased with our changing His goal to that of residence in a mansion. The very fact that our goal would be to take our ease in a wealthy setting in Paradise reveals that we have no heart for God and no understanding of the Kingdom that is coming to the earth.

When Christ prayed we would be one as He is one with the Father, this is what Christ meant. He is not pleased with our changing His goal to that of residence in Heaven in a useless, cumbersome mansion. Do we picture the Lord of Glory cooped up in a mansion? How ridiculous!

We must listen to what God is saying today. The Spirit is speaking to the churches about war, about repentance, about righteousness, about deliverance from sin and self-will, about the coming of God and Christ through the Spirit to make Their eternal abode in us (the actual, contextual meaning of John 14:2-6).

God’s system engineers must redesign the operation to conform to the newly expressed goals. Quality control must be instituted so we can understand whether we are making progress, whether the system is working.

To continue in the past ways of thinking and preaching may accomplish much good. But those who are hearing from God will move forward. This has been true in every generation.

We have compassed the mountain of Pentecost long enough. The cloud is lifting from the Tabernacle. The ram’s horns are sounding. Moses and Aaron, followed by the tribe of Judah (praise), are moving toward Canaan. The dancers and singers are out in front. The rest of the tribes are proceeding according to the designated order.

Where are you? Are you going to remain here forever while the entrepreneurs are selling prayer cloths, ripping you off with "Christian" fetishes and amulets?—booking concert tours around the country?

Are you moving forward with Christ? Are you pressing toward the mark set before you? Or are you going to sit here while your brothers go to war? Be sure your sin of indifference will find you out!

If you are frightened at the thought of moving toward the enemy in the land, ask Christ for His courage. He has enough for everybody. Leave the timid in the Lake of Fire. You move forward toward the glorious inheritance waiting for you.

Get on the side of the Conqueror. Nothing can stop you. The Bible tells of the happy ending. No other power is as great as our Father. The demons understand well that the time has come and they are trembling.

Be a Caleb. Claim your mountain!

Let’s go!

Abiding in Christ is a matter of decision-making. Your daily life is filled with decisions. Either you look to Christ for the right decision in each instance, great and small, or you look to your own intelligence, experience, and desires. Also, you must pray, read the Bible, and gather with the saints. Remember, every decision you make without looking to Christ is loss for Christ and loss for you.

October 3rd

THERE’S ENOUGH TIME

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (John 17:4)

I am a type-A, time-urgent personality. Are you? It’s not good for your health. But what can you do about it? There’s so much pressing on us in America! Somebody has to do the work while others are at the parties.

I like what Jesus said: "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."

That speaks volumes, doesn’t it? It tells us that when we are serving God there is a specific job to do. When it is finished, it is finished. The task is not open-ended.

I can remember as a public-school teacher what it feels like to never finish the job. No matter how hard you worked, how many papers you brought home, there simply was no way to accomplish all that needed to be done.

Let all the grade-school teachers say "Amen!"

After twenty-five years out of the classroom I still have nightmares about not making progress in all the subjects listed on the report card. What a frustration! Do you have frustrating dreams?

It’s not this way with God. God has given us something to accomplish on the earth. We do not have to agonize about souls going to Hell, or the people starving to death in the world, or even the fetuses being aborted in America; unless, of course, God Himself directs us to do something about it.

The Bible commands us to cease from our own dead works and enter the rest of God. The "rest of God" means that God finished everything from the beginning of the world and now is resting. Our task is to enter that rest, not just any rest but the rest of God. As we do we flow with the flowings of the Godhead.

Jesus told His brothers that their time was always ready but His was scheduled. When you are abiding in Christ your time is scheduled. It is like a dance in which Christ does the leading. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your back. But you do have to present your body a living sacrifice to the Lord in order to prove His will for your life.

When you do each day what God tells you to do, the blood of the starving and mutilated is not on your hands. If you are not seeking God and doing His will, God will hold you accountable for not serving your generation.

Is there enough time to do what you are supposed to do? Yes, there is. God would be stupid to assign you a task and not give you enough time to finish it.

You have something you are supposed to do, no more and no less. There is time enough to finish it. There may not be time enough for you to do all you want to do but there is time enough for you to do all God wants you to do.

Then you’re ready to come home.

You don’t die when you’re old but when you’re ripe, the Russians say.

Who wants to wait until they’re rotten?

All God asks is that we cease from our own works and receive the heaven and earth, and the personality and role, He has chosen for us.

October 4th

ENTERING THE REST OF GOD

For if Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (Hebrews 4:8)

Joshua brought the children of Israel into Canaan, the land of milk and honey, the promised-land inheritance, the rest of God. The Israelites never did receive the fullness of the inheritance because they were stoutly resisted by the inhabitants of the land.

As soon as we endeavor to rest with God in the blessings of His creation we discover there are enemies already living in the places assigned to us and that they will resist being dispossessed.

The present inhabitants of "our land" are crafty, diligent opponents who are determined to destroy us. It is impossible for us in our own wisdom or strength to obtain our inheritance. We are flesh and blood. The enemy is spirit. He is wiser, stronger, and more experienced than we.

Every time we attempt to enter God's rest something happens that produces unrest, pain, unbelief, sin, rebellion or some other evil or troublesome situation. Such opposition is caused by the enemy, with God's permission. God is using the enemy to humble us and to instruct us, to teach us discipline, and to make us know that man does not live by bread alone but by the words proceeding from the mouth of God.

Even though the works were finished before the world was created, and the land of promise is legally ours by inheritance, yet it is impossible for us to enter. What do we do? We come to Christ and follow Him as He destroys His enemies because He and we have the same enemies.

We learn to follow the Holy Spirit into the land of promise. We labor in the Spirit of God to enter our rest, our inheritance in Christ. Anyone who is of the opinion that we just fall into the fullness of Christ by accepting Him as our Savior, and then continuing with our business as usual, has no idea of what it means to enter the rest of God.

Entering the rest of God requires total diligence on our part. We must give ourselves to Christ wholly if we expect to make any progress. No one can be a disciple of Jesus until he forsakes all he has, takes up his cross, and follows the Lord Jesus.

We cannot earn the rest of God, but we must follow the Holy Spirit every second of every day of our lives in order to wrest the inheritance from the hand of the enemy. The Christian discipleship is a battle to the death. There is a crown of glory to be attained. Let us make sure we do not lose the reward but are followers of those who through faith and patience obtain the fullness of the inheritance.

The promises of glory and authority are to the victorious saints. To be an overcomer requires all that a person is and possesses. Christ must become the center on which life revolves in worship and obedience. Anything less than total devotion to Him will prevent the seeker from laying hold on the fullness of God's rest. We must labor with everything that is in us to enter the rest of God.

That labor is not the wearisome striving of the religious seeker. The labor that is effective in the Kingdom of God is the labor of perceiving the mind of the Holy Spirit and then resting in the strength of God while the Spirit brings victory.

As we enter the "Tabernacles experience" we notice a change taking place in our relationship with the Lord. He Himself is becoming our salvation. No longer are we able even to think anything by our own wisdom or knowledge. He Himself becomes our mind, our prayer, our salvation, our health, our wisdom, our help, our strength.

October 5th

THE COMING OF THE SAINTS

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)

The evil forces of the end-time will rule from the cities of the earth, or perhaps all the cities will be combined into one large city. It seems that the major portion of the frightful judgments of the last days will be poured on the cities, on the headquarters of the rule of Antichrist and the great babylon (man-directed Christianity).

The Lord and His army will invade these centers of demon rule. They will tear down every wall, every defense that people will erect against Christ's appearing. The sons of God will enter every home, judging the inhabitants concerning their attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the horror stories with which we entertained ourselves as children there are descriptions of monsters coming to our windows and peering in. We shrieked in horror at the imaginary sight of weird faces as we huddled in our house in terror.

The reverse of this will come to pass during the Day of the Lord. The practitioners of every ungodly, filthy, demoniacal wickedness will be cowering in their houses in that day. Then at the windows of their dwellings will appear what will be to them the most tormenting sight in the universe—the faces of God's saints radiating a pure light as bright as the sun. The Divine brightness will expose every filthy practice, every unclean deed, word, and fantasy in which the demon-possessed revel.

The peoples of the earth already are practicing in their homes filthy works that the saints are not allowed to mention. In that day the filth will have reached its climax. The Spirit-filled saints of the Lord will break into every dwelling, bringing the Divine light into the private moral cesspools.

The demon-possessed will crouch in their dark corners in terror just as the demons screamed in fright whenever Jesus of Nazareth came close to them. Their homes may be barricaded in those days but the righteous will break into their privacy unhindered.

The Day of the Lord will surprise the hypocrites like a thief in the night.

So great will be the onslaught of Christ and His army that the earth will shake. The heavens also will tremble. The army of Christ will affect not only the wickedness in the earth but in the heavens as well.

Every person, spirit, and thing in the universe, physical and spiritual, will tremble when the army of the Lord begins its march. All acts of men and angels will be brought into judgment. Nothing will be able to stand before the advance of this army. It is the avenger of all the sin and rebellion against God that has ever occurred. The army is filled to overflowing with the power and fire of Divine judgment. God has delegated to His army the execution of His wrath, and the army is instantly obedient to God.

The sun, moon, and stars will cooperate with the saints by ceasing to give their light, just as in the time of Joshua. Darkness will cover the earth, but the light coming from the sons of God will be as many suns.

The Light of the Lord's Presence will bring into terrible contrast the distinction between what is holy and what is unholy, what is clean and what is unclean. The brightest light in the world in that day will be the Light of God Almighty in Christ radiating from the invading troops.

Habakkuk trembled when he saw the army of the Lord. And he was a prophet!

Where are you in this picture?

When the Lord appears from Heaven His power and glory will be revealed in His saints on the earth and in the clouds of the heaven at the same time. This follows the type of the flood of Noah where the "fountains of the great deep" were "broken up" at the time the "windows of heaven" were opened.

October 6th

THE EXODUS

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (I Thessalonians 5:3)

The world will be exclaiming, "Peace and safety!" Then there will appear signs in the heavens. The sun and the moon will be darkened. The sign of the Son of Man will appear for all to see. The heavenly Moses has appeared to call His people out of Egypt. "Pharaoh" will attempt to reassure his people, but plague after plague will descend on the world. The people of the Lord will be hidden under the hand of protection of the Lord God just as Israel in Goshen was not harmed by the plagues that fell on Egypt.

Darkness will cover the earth and oppressive spiritual darkness the people. Suddenly, light will appear on the people of God. The Lord God now is ready to "roar from Zion." The trumpet of God will begin to peal, shaking the earth. Michael will give his war cry. Suddenly the saints of all time will be filled with resurrection life. Their dead bodies will arise and stand on their feet.

To the consternation of the rulers and peoples of the earth, every dead saint will come from his place of burial and stand on the earth. There will be a time of rejoicing among God's people as they are reunited in holy fellowship that will far exceed in glory any previous occasion in the history of God's dealings with mankind.

Antichrist, the rulers, the peoples of the earth, who one moment before had been declaring peace and safety, must now stand and—to their excruciating horror—watch the saints of God embracing each other and praising the Lord. God has prepared a table before His people in the presence of their enemies. The living Christians will gather together with all who have died in Christ. Such a time of praise! Such a time of rejoicing, of reunion of family members! There is nothing the peoples of the world will be able to do about it other than to look on in trembling—and tremble they shall!

The most awful thing yet will then occur. The most powerful sound ever to stir the air will be heard. Christ will cry: "Come up here!" The saints of God will begin to ascend just as Jesus ascended in the sight of witnesses. They will go up through the air to be with the Lamb of God, their bodies having been changed so there is no injury to them. There will be multiplied millions of them—as clouds that hide the face of the sun.

The people left on earth will now proceed to destroy each other. They will turn on their rulers with cursing and murderous hatred. They will hurl down the pieces of silver with which they have betrayed Christ and demand an answer of the evil forces. Like Judas, they will realize they have betrayed Christ and are lost forever. The result will be anguish of spirit, weeping, gnashing of teeth. Just as Judas was driven by despair to commit suicide, so people will attempt suicide but will not be able to take refuge in death (Revelation 9:6).

The bowls of God's wrath will be poured out. Plague after plague will strike the earth. Humans will howl in torment, cursing God, cursing Christ, cursing the Christians. They will be mocked by the demon hordes.

After the world has writhed in pain for a season, the ungodly must endure another great terror. Down from the heavens with the speed of light will thunder the Lord and His army. Filled to overflowing with the wrath of God, invincible, ready to avenge the injustices of the world, will appear the sons of God. Men will scream in terror for the mountains and rocks to hide them from the face of the Lamb. Death itself will flee away in fear in that day.

This is a true vision of the future. It is time now to prepare yourself and your family.

Satan has no fear of the plans and programs of the Christian churches. But Satan is in trouble when the churches abandon their own resources and turn to Christ in trembling humility and repentance, seeking His will in every detail.

October 7th

THE AUSTERITY OF GOD

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (Romans 11:22)

In the Kingdom you can be as young as you want to but you never can be older than you are.

No one wants his father to be a child. It’s nice if your father will play games with you, but there come times when you want Dad to lead the way.

It seems our culture in America has become childish. One of the passages of Scripture talks about a displeased God putting children in charge of a nation. I think that sometimes we long for a godly individual who is ahead of us in character, who stands as a beacon of wisdom, strength, and integrity in times of crisis.

We do not need political leaders who are continually suing for peace, grinning at us and trying to please us.

God is gentle and kindly, perfectly able to play with babies and young children. In fact, God delights in such.

But as we grow in Christ we find that God becomes increasingly austere and stern. There is no foolishness here. He expects us to endure long seasons during which we are denied what we want, times of perplexity, sometimes darkness, sometimes pain, sometimes agony.

As the Lord said, God expects you to come in from the field about ready to drop, and then to gird yourself and wait on Him. He does not want to find self-pity in us. He does not expect grumbling or complaining from His sons.

Faith must be exercised. We must remind ourselves constantly that no matter what happens to us, God is seeking our good.

It is time for us to get serious. God is serious. God is austere. "I know you are an austere man," the lazy servant said. While He is ready to play with His children He expects us eventually to begin to grow. The sign of growth is that we are better able to discern between good and evil and have increased strength and willingness to choose the good and reject the evil.

In order to grow in such discernment and ability we must be willing to experience increasing hardness. God begins to reveal to us the depths of the spiritual and moral horrors of Hell arrayed against us. As we are able to bear it God permits us to experience some of the sufferings of Christ. These sufferings are severe!

We need to become more acquainted with the austerity of God. He can have better fellowship with us if He doesn’t have to keep babying us and sending His angels to change our diapers.

Lead on, O King eternal. We know you are the one Leader with the wisdom and strength to keep us from harm and to lead us to that which is lovely, joyous, peaceful.

We know you are austere and are glad for it. We need that kind of strength in a silly, fatuous, undisciplined age. Father, we want to be just like You.

Help us to grow up until we can have fellowship both with the goodness and the severity of God.

If God and Christ were to remain external to our personality the demands on us would be a small fraction of what they are. But because God and Christ are seeking total union with us, desiring to enter us and become one with us and we with Them, our character transformation must be total.

October 8th

GOD OR COWS?

Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan. And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? (Numbers 32:5,6)

Israel was preparing to go across the River Jordan and attack the Canaanites. The Jews were occupying the land of Moab on the east side of Jordan.

The tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh owned much cattle. They came to Moses and asked that they be allowed to inherit the land of Moab instead of the country on the other side of the Jordan. They said Moab was an excellent place for their cattle and they wanted to make it their home.

This may sound like a reasonable request to us. In fact, this would provide more territory for those of Israel who inherited the land across the Jordan.

But Moses became very angry!

Moses understood that the whole purpose of the journey through the desert was to obtain that which the Lord had promised—the land of Canaan. Moses knew also that to disobey the Lord was asking for trouble.

"Will you ever learn?" Moses roared. "As if we don’t have enough trouble, now you want to settle on the wrong side of the Jordan!"

The cattle lovers responded, "Look. We will go across Jordan and fight alongside our brothers so they can get their land. Then we will come back here and settle down with our families and cows."

Moses said, "All right. But you better be sure you do what you are saying."

This all sounds reasonable. But think about it.

The Ark, the Tabernacle, the priesthood, Moses, Joshua and the elders, the singers and musicians, the Glory of God, were about to cross the Jordan.

Do you think Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh cared about these? They did not! They had milk, butter, and hamburgers on their mind.

Have you ever been around cows much? They are not intelligent like horses and dogs. A cow barn does not smell nice. Cows are placid in their bovine manner but not truly inspiring. They hardly can be compared with the Shekinah when it comes to glory and power.

Can you imagine the Lord and His army returning on cows? It is not an inspiring thought.

I like cows as much as the next fellow. But when you put cows next to the Ark, the Tabernacle, the priesthood, Moses, Joshua and the elders, and the singers and musicians there really isn’t much comparison. And think about the manifest Glory of God that was traveling with the Jews! Not a difficult choice except for Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh. Kind of shortsighted, don’t you agree!

So it is today. People have their "cows" they are weighing against the Glory of God in Christ. Perhaps they are having difficulty deciding between the Baby Jesus and the other inhabitants surrounding the manger.

How long will you halt between two opinions? Do you want to spend eternity with Jesus or with your "cows?"

Don’t wait too long!

Moo!

What will it be for you, a crown or a frown?

October 9th

IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

Here is one of the verses that governs Christian thinking. The only problem is it doesn’t mean what we think it means.

Let us deal first with the venerable "mansions." It means room or abiding place. How long will we keep talking about mansions in Heaven when no verse of the Bible speaks of mansions in Heaven? Do we just enjoy being wrong? Or is it that we all hunger for a house bigger than what we have?

I suppose wealthy Christians talk about the mansion they are going to get in Heaven with seventeen bedrooms, ten and one-half baths, and a circular driveway a quarter mile long.

There may be mansions in Heaven for all I know. I will find out quicker than I otherwise would if people keep preaching about mansions in Heaven!

First of all, it doesn’t rain and it isn’t cold in Paradise. Second, if you have lived as a victorious Christian you will have a body like Jesus. In this case you would find a mansion confining to say the least.

So forget the mansions. What is the verse talking about? It is talking about the Father’s house. We are so taken up with the thought of a fancy home we can’t perceive that the issue is the Father’s house. All of this is for the Father, not especially for us!

The Father’s house is not Heaven. The Father’s house is Christ and those who are part of Christ. Jesus is telling us He is not to be the only room in the Father’s house, He is going to the cross and then to Heaven to prepare a place for us in Himself and thus in God. Jesus is the way to the Father, not the way to Heaven! Whether we know it or not what we want is God!

The Lord Jesus is the chief Cornerstone in the Father’s house. We are living stones in the same house. All that is taking place in us is so the Father can find rest. How can God rest in Heaven when the angels are rebelling?

The fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John is speaking of the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles. God is creating a tabernacle for Himself, as the martyr Stephen told the Sanhedrin. The eternal temple of God is one of the main subjects of the Scriptures.

The following verse tells us we are the mansion of God.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode [mansion] with him. (John 14:23)

The word "abode" in the preceding verse is identical to the word "mansion" in verse two. Bible scholars could have saved us endless confusion and speculation if they had been consistent in the translation of the Greek term.

Now tell me, in your hope for the future, would you rather live in a large house and have all that cleaning to do, or would you prefer to have the living God Almighty and Jesus Christ His Son live in you for the ages of countless ages?

Would you rather get a house from God or be the house of God?

If you choose the latter there still is some housecleaning to do. But the Holy Spirit will help you do it if you will cooperate with Him.

Mansions in Heaven? Perhaps, if that is what we truly desire. But mansions in Heaven certainly is not an emphasis of the New Testament.

The Christian salvation is not a ticket to Heaven. The new covenant is the creation of Christ in the believer such that he keeps the eternal law of God by nature. Forgiveness is a means of keeping the believer acceptable to God while the transformation is occurring. The goal of the new covenant is fellowship with God, not eternal residence in Heaven.

October 10th

WORKING OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

When we employ the grace-Heaven model of salvation, Philippians 2:12 (above) does not make sense. What is there to work out? We "make a decision for Christ," are forgiven our sins, and wait to die to go to Heaven. There is no "working out" of salvation.

When we employ the grace-transformation model of salvation the verse makes perfect sense. The goal of the grace-transformation model has two sides. The first side is our change into the moral, and eventually bodily, image of Jesus Christ. The second side is our entrance into the rest of God, that is, into untroubled abiding in the Personality of God.

The grace-Heaven model leaves us with nothing substantial to do in the way of affecting our salvation. The grace-transformation model demands our total attention every day of our discipleship.

We can think of salvation as a continuum. The individual on the one end of the continuum is in the moral image of Satan and has the spirit of Satan in him. The person on the other end of the continuum is in the moral image of Jesus Christ and has the Spirit of Christ in him. When we first come to Christ, believe, repent, and are baptized in water, we still are in the moral image of Satan. This is extremely important for believers to understand because many of them believe that by accepting Christ they have suddenly become new creations. Your neighbors can tell you better than this! Ask them!

It is a fact that in many instances people do make a great change for the better when they accept Christ. But this is a honeymoon period. After a few months it will become clear that not all the old things have passed away. Right? But we have made the all-important start. Our sins have been completely forgiven, we have the Spirit of God, and the Divine Nature has been born in us.

Now the journey through the desert begins. The Holy Spirit is in charge of us. We receive a portion of evil each day and a portion of Divine good that is sufficient to enable us to overcome the evil. The Holy Spirit points out to us what there is to overcome, the immediate challenge. When we are faithful in praying and doing whatever else is necessary to overcome the evil, we move forward toward our goal of change into the image of Christ and union with God.

When we are not faithful in praying, when we become angry with the tools God is using to test us (often other people), or angry with God Himself, we do not move forward on the continuum. Instead we become bitter and full of resentment. Multitudes of Christians are bitter and full of resentment. This is because they do not understand the program of redemption. They have not been encouraged to take everything to God in prayer. They have not been taught that their goal is change into the image of the Lord and this is why it is absolutely necessary for them to keep gaining the victory over sin.

As long as we view eternal residence in Heaven as the goal of our salvation we will not understand the New Testament writings and probably will flounder in our discipleship. When we realize clearly that it is our change into the image of Christ and our rest in God’s Person that in fact are our salvation we will cease railing against the tools God uses and get on with the program of confessing our sins and obtaining the Virtue of Christ. In so doing we shall be able to keep singing and dancing in the heights of Zion.

Are you bitter, mean, and unforgiving? You are not profiting from the lessons the Holy Spirit is attempting to teach you. You are going to have a miserable resurrection. Turn to Christ and ask Him to remove your filthy garments before it is too late. I am speaking to experienced Christians!

It is not true that at Christ's appearing you suddenly will be transformed in personality, changed from what essentially you are.

October 11th

STARTING FROM THE TOP

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

The elect start at the Throne of God—as high as it is possible to go in the Kingdom. Then they must go back and work through each aspect of redemption one step at a time.

By faith we begin at the top, the summit of the new Jerusalem. Then faith is worked out in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. If we do not press forward in faith until our personality is a new creation, our original position in Christ is placed in jeopardy.

By grace, by the Lord’s deliberate action, we are placed spiritually on the highest throne. It is possible, however, to pervert God’s grace into lawlessness and immorality.

We start at the right hand of the Father spiritually. Then we obey God until what we are in total personality is identical to our spiritual assignment. What we have initially, when we first receive the Lord Jesus, is a "firstfruits" of redemption. Because the firstfruits is holy, having been offered to the Lord, the rest of our personality and our household are holy to the Lord. As soon as the firstfruits has been received, God begins the work of judging (reaping) the remainder of our personality and also, in many instances, our household.

Notice the exalted position of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (Ephesians 1:20,21)

The Lord Jesus can be brought no higher. He is "far above" every other authority. The Father has given Him all authority, all power in Heaven, on the earth, and under the surface of the earth in the dark caverns located there. Jesus is on the highest throne. All things are being put beneath His feet by the Father. Then, a remarkable statement is made by the Apostle Paul.

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [hath made us alive] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2:5,6)

When we were dead in our sins, God gave us the resurrection life by which the Lord Jesus lives, and then made us part of His ascension so we are seated on the unbelievably high throne of the Lord Jesus.

When we receive Christ Jesus, although we are dead in our sins at the time, God makes us part of Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Now we are located in Christ in God at the highest level of the ruling city, the heavenly Jerusalem. We have done nothing to acquire such an exalted station, the position in Christ given us from the creation of the world.

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

Called, justified, and glorified—all in the past tense! We can go no higher. We are at the highest place we ever shall attain. We have the greatest authority we ever shall possess. We are as close to God as it is possible to be. God has brought us on eagles’ wings to Himself.

The coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory will be a revelation, a manifestation of a marvelous creation that already is in the earth but not visible as yet. We are talking about the portion of Christ that is here now in the personalities of the victorious saints. 

October 12th

JUDGMENT AND GLORY

And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Genesis 2:8)

And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, (Revelation 16:10)

The greatest contrast imaginable is that between the scenes portrayed in the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis and the horrors described in the Book of Revelation; the contrast between the peace and beauty of Eden and the roaring inferno of the last days.

The result of the transgression of Adam and Eve has been thousands of years of agony and death. The history of mankind has been tragic. But of all the catastrophes of history, including the Holocaust perpetrated on the Jews by the Nazis, nothing has occurred as yet on the scale outlined in the Book of Revelation.

We may wonder, why would God permit such awful torment and chaos to be visited on the earth? There are good reasons. First we must point out that the Lord God takes no pleasure in the pain that comes upon man. The anguish man experiences is of man’s own doing. It grieves the Lord to see a single human being suffer pain and confusion. It is the conduct of man that brings pain and confusion upon him. Spiritual laws are inviolable. Certain kinds of behavior bring love, joy, and peace. Other kinds of behavior bring murder, torment, and anxiety.

God has done all in His power to save man. If God went any further in controlling the conduct of people they would cease to be human beings and would be puppets possessing no will or judgment of their own.

God is permitting Satan to realize and express all that is in his personality. The exposure of Satan’s personality will continue until sin and self-will have been brought to maturity. God’s purpose in allowing Satan to utilize the physical world to portray the consequences of his ambitions and lusts is to provide an object lesson for the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth. All the creatures of God now have portrayed before their eyes the results of not abiding in the will and love of the Father. Indeed it is a horrible sight.

At the same time, God is bringing forth sons in His image. God’s sons will be filled with glory and, under Christ Jesus, will reign supreme over all the works of God’s hands. The angels are ministering spirits for these heirs of the Divine salvation. But before the sons are fully born (to be fully born as a son of God we must be born of woman, born of the Spirit, and raised from the dead) they must be thoroughly exposed to Satan’s being and works.

Each son must of his own will choose to abhor Satan and cleave to God. The Lord Jesus Christ came to help us do that. God’s Glory is revealed, not only in forgiving sinners but in bringing forth sons in His image—sons who, under the most difficult of circumstances, have chosen to obey their Father in all things.

We are drawing near the days of vengeance. It may be true that the hour of temptation already is upon us. Even now the tares may be being removed from the wheat. The foolish virgins may be running out of oil.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles is the coming of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit to make Their eternal home in the personality of the saint. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the provision God has made for His saints so they may be able to stand during the age of moral horrors that is on the horizon.

October 13th

THE SOLUTION TO GOD’S PROBLEM

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)

Salvation is deliverance from the guilt, power, and presence of sin.

When we Christians think of the future, whether it be residence in Heaven, or life on the new earth in the Holy City, or service with Christ on this earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, we assume sin no longer is present with us.

Although we have come to trust in God’s mercy during our life on earth, if we think about it we would not want to live in Paradise, in the new Jerusalem, or on the earth during the Millennium, if we and those around us still are behaving in a sinful manner but were forgiven by grace.

How would you like to live in Paradise or in the new Jerusalem if people still were envious, spiteful, angry, jealous, lustful, slanderous, covetous, as they are today in the Christian churches? Suppose you were told it doesn’t matter how people behave because God has forgiven us by grace? How would you feel then?

What if you were given a beautiful, large mansion to live in but the people were angry, spiteful, and treacherous as they are today in the Christian churches? Is this part of your hope for the future?

If you will take a little while to consider this problem seriously you may find you are assuming that not only the guilt but also the urges and presence of sin have been dealt with somehow. You hope that sin can never enter Heaven—not even your sin. Am I correct?

If so, then salvation must include deliverance from the guilt, power, and presence of sin if it is to produce the kind of world we desire to live in.

Even if no death or trouble followed sin, the true saint in his or her heart does not wish to live in a sinful environment.

Christians understand that the guilt of our sin was taken care of on the cross of Calvary. The message of forgiveness through the atoning blood of Christ Jesus has been preached and taught to the ends of the earth.

However there is a problem with today’s preaching concerning the guilt of our sin. It is that the message of deliverance from guilt, if it is to be presented according to the Bible standard, should always be accompanied by a demand for the most sincere, vigorous repentance. Very often the forgiveness is emphasized today but not the vigorous repentance.

The lack of emphasis on thorough repentance may account at least in part for the moral weakness and confusion so evident in the churches.

The power and presence of sin are another matter. It appears that the Christian preachers and teachers have come to believe that salvation is primarily forgiveness. If such were the case the new covenant would not be any more effective in dealing with the problem of sin than was true of the Law of Moses.

We must always keep in mind, if we would understand the plan of redemption, that it operates primarily for God’s benefit. God has a problem. His creation is in rebellion. God’s solution is to create sons in the image of Christ who are able, because of their mature character, to sit as judges and rulers over the creation.

If every person on earth were forgiven his sins it still would not solve God’s problem in any manner. But one individual who presses forward in Christ until he is in the moral image of Christ and at rest in God’s will, is a definite part of the solution to God’s problem.

Every doctrine that comes from God leads to righteous behavior. The grace-Heaven teaching does not lead to righteous behavior and therefore is a most dangerous and destructive deception.

 October 14th

THE SERVANT OF THE LORD

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (Isaiah 42:1)

The Servant of the Lord is Messiah. Messiah (Christ) is the One anointed with the Oil of the Holy Spirit. In ancient times it was customary for the Jews to anoint kings and priests with olive oil as a sign of their high position. Christ is not Jesus’ last name. Christ is the title Jesus has as the Anointed Deliverer from God. Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.

The Servant of the Lord also is Israel, the people God has anointed with His Holy Spirit to reveal His Person and law to the nations of the earth.

The Messiah (Christ) and Israel are closely related, except that Jesus Christ is the One who has been with the Father from the beginning.

The great revelation of the Bible is that Christ, the Messiah, includes not only the Divine Head, Jesus Christ, but also a Body. We are going to capitalize the Body of Christ because it is an inseparable part of the Lord Jesus Christ and also to distinguish it from the physical body of Jesus Christ.

Christ, the Messiah, includes the Lord Jesus the Head and also the members of His Body. Please note that Jesus is not merely one member of a many-membered Christ. Some have fallen into this error. Jesus Christ is the Lord and supreme Head of the entire universe of God let alone of the Church. The Lord Jesus is the Center and Circumference of all the works of God and all shall be summed up in Him. He alone is the slain Lamb and the Bridegroom.

Having established this rock forever let us proceed to describe the nature and destiny of the Servant of the Lord—Christ, Head and Body.

Messiah (Christ) is coming. The Jews know this. The Christians know this. "When Messiah comes" is the song of Jews and Christians. What Jews and Christians do not always understand is that the term Messiah includes all who are anointed with the Spirit of God to bring deliverance to God’s elect and justice to the saved nations.

You may notice in our writings that we make a difference between the elect and the saved nations. Let us hasten to explain. God’s elect are Israel, the physical people of Israel of the Old Testament and the Christian Church (including Jews and Gentiles) of the New. All of these are the one Bride of the Lamb, the elect of God, Israel, the Church, and in the sense in which we are speaking, the Messiah of God. They are not the Lord Jesus but they are His Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

The saved nations are the remaining peoples of the earth who have been accepted of God because they have believed the testimony of God’s elect. Until you come to realize that God’s elect are one anointed company with the Lord Jesus as the Head, and that they as a governing priesthood are forever separate from the saved nations of the world, you will understand neither the Old Testament nor the New. I know this sounds arrogant of me to make such a statement but I am too old and tired to waste time trying to be humble.

It is fashionable in science to test a hypothesis by assuming it is true and then examining the consequences of your position to see if they line up with the relevant phenomena. Assume that the statement in the preceding paragraph is true and then read the Bible to see if your hypothesis covers the bases.

As we draw near the closing of this age we are beginning to understand that the land of promise is the glory of Heaven brought down into the earth. It is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth that is the Gospel message. The inheritance of Christ is in the earth and earth's peoples.

October 15th

THE SERVANT OF THE LORD, continued

He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. (Isaiah 42:2)

Let us proceed with our description of the Servant of the Lord.

The Servant of the Lord, the Christ, the Messiah proclaimed in the Book of Isaiah, includes the Lord Jesus Christ, the exalted Head, and all who are an integral part of Him. We become an integral part of Christ, of Messiah, by first being born of Him and then by abiding in Him throughout our discipleship until He comes to maturity in us.

He, Christ, is the Vine. We are the branches from the one true Vine. We are not little christs running around, we are part of the one true and only Anointed Deliverer from God.

The Lord Jesus Christ came to deliver the members of His Body and to make them oaks of righteousness. When we grow up in the Head our job will be to serve as rulers and priests of those whom God has spared from destruction, that is, the members of the saved nations. They are our inheritance. Without the saved nations we would have no inheritance.

Fruit does not appear on the Vine but on the branches. As we abide in Christ His Life causes righteous, holy, and obedient behavior to be seen in our personality. When the nations see our good works they will glorify God.

We are the moral light of the world because the one true Light of God is being formed in us.

It is the plan of God that Jesus Christ, and we as an integral part of Him, fill all of the creation so that righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God is seen everywhere. This is the Father’s solution to the rebellion of Satan and his angels.

We are the one Seed of Abraham if we are part of Christ. There are not two seeds, a Jewish seed and a Gentile seed, there is only the one Seed, that is, Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, only Christ, only one new Man.

The Church is looking for Christ to come and whisk us away to Heaven. How ridiculous! How utterly illogical and unscriptural! How mythological!

Take the light, the witness, the branches of the Vine, to Heaven? Why?

What about the world? What do you think the world is going to do without the salt, the light, the Presence of God in Christ in the saints?

No, the Day of the Lord is not the going of Messiah it is the coming of Messiah.

The world is filled with corruption. Many areas of the United States are cesspools of moral corruption.

Murder, rape, abortion, perversion abound. How wonderful are our First Amendment rights! Let us now concentrate on football and baseball for they certainly are more significant than the trouble in the Middle East or the poverty in Africa.

Has God cut away much of what has been true of your Christian life? Rejoice and expect abundant fruit to come of this. Branches that are not pruned are soon full of growth that is not productive.

October 16th

THE SERVANT OF THE LORD, continued

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (Isaiah 42:3)

The debasing of God’s handiwork will be halted soon because God and His Lamb are coming to drive all the corruption from the face of the earth into the dark fires that give no light. The tide will come in, and when it withdraws the raucous clamor of naked flesh and the jungle beat of transistor radios will be silent. The peace of God will reign supreme.

Christ and His saints, God’s judges, will direct the invincible angels. Those of the nations who embrace the Presence of God in the saints will be brought into a new age of righteousness. Those who resist will decide their own destiny, and there is no recourse. The holy will remain holy and the filthy will remain filthy.

The world is killing itself because it does not understand the laws that govern our relationship to God and other people. God, our Father, views with sadness the drunken orgies of His creatures. But the destruction will continue until we of the churches are willing to overcome Satan through the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and through loving not our own life to the point of death.

Until at least some of the believers are willing to go to the cross with God, Heaven will retain the army of Christ that is being prepared to descend and put an end to the murder of fetuses, to the violating and prostituting of children, to the perverting of the minds of the young, to the destroying of the environment, to the accumulating of the resources of the earth by the wealthy few, to the hordes of filthy spirits suffocating the peoples of the earth with a blanket of moral filth.

Messiah will not come and bring justice until Satan is overcome by the stern obedience of the saints.

Messiah is coming. Christ is coming. Joy to the world for the travail of the creation is bringing forth the Kingdom of God. Now will justice be brought to the meek of the earth. The power of the oppressor will be destroyed beyond repair.

When Christ appears we will appear with Him provided we are part of the solution and not still part of the problem.

Until we are totally consecrated to Jesus Christ we are still part of the rebellion against the Father. In this case we will not appear with Jesus when He returns. What use would we be? How are we to go through the earth and compel obedience to Jesus when we ourselves are still disobedient?

The army of Christ is composed of dead-living people. They are crucified with Christ and the life they now are living they are living by the faith of Christ. Living by faith does not mean they are holding to truths of theology. It means every thought, every word, every action of their personality is wrought in Christ and by Christ. They look continually to Jesus for every aspect of life, every decision they make. This is what it means to live by faith.

There are not too many who live like this, but there are some.

God will not have fellowship with people who are not observing His laws of righteous conduct. The servant of the Lord always is called in righteousness.

October 17th

THE SERVANT OF THE LORD, continued

He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:4)

Let me put the challenge to the young people. Forget what you have seen in the churches. Just be thankful the churches have brought you this far.

Now get a vision of the Lord high and lifted up. He is calling you up to be with Him and to be in His image. Never mind what others do. Reach up, up, up to the full stature of Christ.

What we are seeing in the churches of today is not the full stature of Christ to which we have been called. There is much, much more for the believer who will allow God to prune, prune, prune, prune. Reach up again. Press upward. Let every nerve in your personality be focused on doing the will of Christ.

Paul at the end of His life was still seeking to win Christ. Be like that. Count that you have not yet attained that to which you have been called.

Climb the highest mountain in God. Others may choose to dwell in the valley of nominal Christianity. The brightest flowers, the richest fruit, are on the highest peaks.

Are you up to it? Will you fight for God’s highest? Will you get up again when you are knocked down and fight on?

There are some who will succeed. Join the Lord’s army. Every soldier has learned to march in his or her rank. Gideon’s army will return with the Lord and set this world right.

We are surrounded with scoffers, critics, slanderers. I am speaking of believers. Never mind them. You press forward until you are ready to solve God’s problem, to march against the sin and rebellion in the world.

God upholds His Servant. He is the Mighty One of Jacob. We have no strength at all but God has all power. The nations are as a drop in the bucket to Him. There is no way you or I are going to change the world. But God can and will change the world if we will obey Him sternly and promptly.

There is no disappointment, no discouragement in Jesus. God will keep us going. To overcome us the enemy would have to overcome the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

God delights in us because we have chosen to serve Him. We stand for righteousness in a world filled with wickedness.

God has put His Spirit on us so we can be part of the royal priesthood, the Servant of the Lord. By God’s Spirit we build up one another and by God’s Spirit we bear witness to the world of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of Christ. We can do nothing at all apart from God’s Spirit.

Our role is to bring justice to the nations. The nations already are in confusion and pain but today’s agony is nothing compared to what is ahead. There is no solution for mankind apart from the return of Christ—Head and Body. It is they who will bring righteousness, peace, and joy to mankind.

All the rulers of the Kingdom of God must drink the cup of suffering, must be imprisoned until all self-rule has been destroyed out of them, and must be baptized with the fires of Divine judgment.

October 18th

THE SERVANT OF THE LORD, continued

Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (Isaiah 42:5)

We do not have to strive to bring the Kingdom to the earth. Our efforts should be directed toward pressing into Christ. Then when Christ is ready to move we shall move with Him. Nothing can resist those who are moving in Christ!

Jesus will work with each individual, no matter how weak, until the person is able to serve God.

Messiah, Head and Body, will bring truth with Him. (We are speaking of the entire Christ as one Person, which it is—one new Man.) Truth is rare in our day. But Christ is Truth and will bring truth with Him.

Truth does not merely tell us what a thing or event is. Truth tells us why the thing is or the event took place. Science collects facts but only Christ knows the reason behind the facts, what everything signifies.

Justice is yet to come to this world. That which the most optimistic of Utopian dreamers have visualized is a pigsty compared with the new world of righteousness and glory that lies ahead. All things are working together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to His purposes in Christ.

The peace and joy that are to fill the earth will not drop down from Heaven. They will proceed from the personalities of Christ and those in whom Christ is living. The reason we go through the training we do is that we might be prepared to bring peace and joy to others. Those who are living in the flesh, following their self-will, are of no use in the grand plan. They are still part of the problem. It is those who have given all to follow Christ, as did the Apostle Paul, who will be able to appear with Jesus and bring Paradise back to the earth.

Righteousness, peace, and joy will follow the sons of God wherever they move through the earth. All demon powers will be driven to the underworld where they belong. The mountains and hills will begin to sing and all the trees of the field will clap their hands and break forth into singing, Isaiah says. Perhaps this animation of nature will be more literal than would first appear. A dead nature will come to life.

The sons of God will be revealed and a creation cursed with corruption will emerge from its chains. The massive gates will begin to open and the prisoners will gasp as the first rays of light penetrate their cells. The material creation is to be loosed. The Jubilee is at hand.

But first there must be those who will give all to Christ that He may enter them and prepare them for the Day of days that is at hand.

God has called each believer in righteousness, not imputed righteousness but an actual righteousness that proceeds from the forming of Christ in him or her. By forming His Word in us God is making us His covenant with mankind. We ourselves, having the Word engraved in our personality, are the new covenant. We are the light of the nations.

God is holding our hand. There is little we can do except seek Christ with all our might, day and night, night and day, and then obey Him implicitly.

Make the seeking of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness your chief interest. Then God will use you to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from their prison.

He has kept the good wine until now.

Emotional experiences can be helpful but it is the Word of God that makes disciples. The disciples learn and obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

October 19th

TRUE CHRISTIANITY

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (Philippians 3:7)

Antichristianity is the employment of every means, of anything that appears to work, including the power of God if available, to enable ourselves and certain other people of our choice to enjoy a secure, happy, and successful life. We take for granted that it is morally right and God’s will for people, especially us and our loved ones, to be happy and healthy now and to enjoy "nice" things in this world. Our goal is our own betterment and sometimes the betterment of others. Also we would like to have as much fun and money as possible.

True Christianity is found in seeking God in order to work with Him to accomplish His goals in our own life and in the lives of others. We must lean as completely as possible on our ever-increasing union with God in order to determine what God’s methods and goals are, not taking for granted what we are to do or how we are to do it. We seek God because we love Him and desire to glorify Him.

God’s wrath is on Antichrist because the Antichrist spirit is man making himself God, man preserving his individuality against God, man striving to use what God has given him—and God Himself if possible—in order to gain security, pleasure, and achievement.

Before the peoples of the centers of civilization become fully aware that the plagues of the last days are coming from God’s hand they will persecute viciously any who would dare suggest it is sin that is causing their problems. When the inhabitants of the cities finally recognize that the plagues and disasters of the end-time judgments are coming from God they will curse God and blaspheme His name. People will band together against God and His saints, becoming part of the adversary, Satan. The wicked will be the body of Antichrist.

Indeed, God does plan to make people happy and prosperous for eternity but only as part of Himself. Sometimes it is necessary for us to be unhappy and restrained, perhaps for a long period of time as we measure time, in order for us to attain the happiness and prosperity that come as we are part of God. Any gain we make that is not part of Christ is loss to Christ and to us.

The individual who attains security, happiness, status, fame, ability, health, power, fulfillment, apart from union with God through Christ, who accomplishes anything at all apart from Christ, is a potential antichrist. If he does not set aside all he is, all he has accomplished, becoming nothing in order that he may be fully born again in Christ, he never will see the Kingdom of God. God will not receive him. He is another god and will dwell in eternal night. He is a source of doom to himself and those whom he influences.

To overcome Antichrist is to take God’s side against man making himself God—against our own determination to become God, to be like God apart from union with God, to maintain our own way against God. The human being who becomes angry with God, whether or not he is a Christian, is of Antichrist. He must repent of this grievous sin, humbling himself and asking God to forgive him for such blasphemy.

No matter what has happened to you, God is always righteous, always compassionate, always fair, always loving.

Consider Calvary and then say that God does not love you!

There are many vines in the world, many ideologies and forces. A human being is decaying protoplasm in the universe until he or she is attached to a vine. Only Jesus is the true Vine, the Vine that bears eternal righteousness, peace, and joy. All other vines lead ultimately to corruption, death, and eternal remorse.

October 20th

DECEPTION

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (Matthew 24:4)

Deception has always been a problem for Christians. Given the nature of deception, how are we to keep from being deceived? If we knew when we were deceived we would not be deceived.

First we must recognize that the strongest among us can be deceived. The believer who thinks that because he reads the Bible and prays he can never be deceived, is deceived already. The Lord did not say, be sure that Satan does not deceive you but rather that no man deceive you. However, deception comes originally from Satan although he works through people.

Satan does not possess the power to force the elect away from Christ. Satan attacks the mind. He convinces us of a lie and we then enter into one sin or another, thus placing ourselves in Satan’s power. In the realm of wisdom we are no match for the fallen cherub. How then are we to make certain we are not being deceived?

Only God can prevent our being deceived. Salvation is of the Lord. No person can keep himself in the truth except as the Lord assists. This is important to understand. Notice the following:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (II Thessalonians 2:9-11)

Notice that the passage above is referring to a man, to Antichrist, but that the "deceivableness" that proceeds from Antichrist is actually the "working of Satan." Notice also that if we do not receive the love of the truth, God Himself will send delusion upon us. The expression above, "the deceivableness of unrighteousness," gives us the key to protection from deception.

It is unrighteousness, wickedness, that deceives us. God has commanded us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. We are not to strive for happiness but righteousness. This is the will of God for us. We are to deny ourselves, take up our personal cross, and follow the Lord Jesus. As we do this we achieve right standing before the Lord. Multitudes of believers in our day are not willing to deny themselves. They are not seeking righteousness and God’s Kingdom first. It is the pursuit of happiness instead of righteousness that makes us vulnerable to deception.

Remaining in the Lord’s prison, carrying our cross and following after Christ, requires a lifetime of patience accompanied by a considerable amount of tribulation. Satan studies our personality. He sees where our areas of strong desire are. Our areas of strong desire are often the gifts of God to us and are the places in our personality of the greatest danger as well as the greatest opportunity for fruitfulness in the Kingdom. Satan uses people to present us with an opportunity to gain what we desire fervently. Then he places in our mind the thought that what has been presented is natural, right, and must be of the Lord because it feels so good. In addition there may be signs and omens that reinforce the idea that this new experience or hope is of the Lord.

There is only one protection from deception, and that is to take up your cross and follow the Master.

There will be mighty signs and wonders performed in Jesus' name in the days in which we are living. Are you mature enough to test the spirits no matter how powerful the manifestations may be? The False Prophet will call fire down from heaven in Jesus' name.

October 21st

WHAT FAITH IS NOT

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)

No term is more familiar to Christians than faith. Faith is discussed in association with Divine healing, financial need, and success in living the Christian life. It is important we understand the difference between mental faith and scriptural faith and how to apply scriptural faith in our hour of need.

There has been a "word of faith" teaching, the idea being if we "speak the word," creative energy will be released that will arrange or change our environment as we desire. This is to have faith in faith instead of in the Lord Jesus. It is actually a metaphysical practice, as we see it, and not Christian at all. There has been the teaching that faith is merely confidence in experience.

Faith often gets confused with presumption. "If I smash my glasses God will heal my eyes. If I cash a check with no money in the bank God will deposit the money." If you have tried one of these you now are a sadder but wiser person—if you lived and are not in prison!

There is a modern concept that faith is a spiritual force we can use to manipulate our surroundings. We can learn to use faith to get what we want. We can command the angels. This is the spirit of religious delusion that has "two horns like a lamb" and that speaks "as a dragon" (Revelation 13:11). It is to attempt to use the power (the horns) of Christ (the Lamb) apart from entering into the death and resurrection of Christ. It is to remain a spiritual single and yet try to draw on the bank account of Christ.

Perhaps the most common use of the word faith is to refer to a doctrinal position or denominational affiliation, for example the Catholic faith, the Episcopal faith, the Pentecostal faith. "The just shall live by faith" (sometimes used today to mean stedfast belief in one’s doctrinal faith) was the cry of the Protestant Reformers. However, doctrinal faith is not the "faith" of the Scriptures, of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews. "The just shall live by faith" has little to do with a confession of faith in theological facts.

There is a "gift of faith" that the Holy Spirit gives to some Christians. Smith-Wigglesworth of England apparently possessed the gift of faith. Sometimes God gives us special faith for our own need. Such extraordinary faith is quite different from "trying to believe," as every person knows who has experienced a special gift of faith to solve a certain problem. We are commanded by the Apostle to not step beyond the actual confidence God has given us.

It is God who gives one individual a certain amount of faith and another individual a different degree of faith. We must use the faith we have but not attempt to force results when we do not have enough God-given faith to accomplish our goals. We must learn to distinguish between what we as a person can do and what only God can do. When we are sick we are commanded to call for the elders of the church. This we can do. Only God can heal us, but we are directed to call for the elders of the church. We must do what has been commanded if we expect God to do His part.

The Lord Jesus invited us to ask in His name for whatever we desire. This we are to do but only the Lord Jesus can grant our request. We are not to place our faith in faith but in the Lord Jesus. It is the Lord who grants our request. It is not that our imagination or spoken word sets in motion "spiritual forces" that bring the answer.

Being in God's army does not depend on whether you drink the water but how you drink the water. Also, ask the Lord about the water before you drink it. Maybe it's the wrong water!

October 22nd

WHAT FAITH IS

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

It is characteristic of our man-centered times that we are trying to put faith in the hands of people so we can control the outcome. This hardly was the case with the heroes listed in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews.

In the first verse (above) we see the terms "substance," "hope," "evidence," and "things not seen."

First of all, substance. Other translations have "assurance." The substance or assurance comes to us when God speaks, whether to us personally in the Spirit or in the written Word. We must keep in mind, however, that the letter without the Spirit kills. The letter of the Bible doesn’t make alive as does the Spirit.

There has been considerable confusion in Christian circles as people have seized on a passage of Scripture and "claimed it by faith." Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. But what comes from God always works!

The words of the Scriptures are not alive nor are they life-giving until they are made alive by the Spirit of God. Many of us have had the Lord make a passage alive to us. Then it works the way it is supposed to.

But we can’t just pick out a passage and say that this is the Word of God to us at this particular moment. You can have a sick person in front of you, lay a Bible on them, say "He sent His word and healed them," and have the person die in front of you.

You can’t use the Bible this way! No individual in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews tried to use the Scriptures this way. They dealt with the living God, not with the scroll! So it is today.

Things hoped for. What is your hope? Do you want God or a mansion in Paradise? Here is how you can tell. How happy would you be in a perfect paradise of love, joy, and peace if Jesus wasn’t there? Be honest now!

The true saint wants God above all with or without Paradise. The Father knows who the true saints are! Suppose Jesus asked you to just be with Him and you never were permitted to do anything. He just wanted your company like He did the disciples in Gethsemane. Would you be willing to go unnoticed? Watch how you answer, you may be tested.

The evidence or conviction. True faith holds a certainty concerning the Character of God. This certainty can only come from the hand of God. It brings the Bride through the mud still persuaded that having Jesus is worth every suffering. I heard of a missionary that starved to death trusting God. I cannot verify the story but I do not doubt it. But . . . But . . . But . . .

I know what the Scriptures say about God’s provisions. The Scriptures can never be changed. But sometimes we are not aware of the bigger picture. We are to hold to God no matter what happens to us or our loved ones. We know God is absolutely good, absolutely trustworthy, absolutely righteous no matter what happens. Are you convinced of this beyond all doubt?

Things not seen. Even if we could see God it would not change our judgment of His Character, and faith is just that—our judgment of God’s Character. Satan could see God but he and his followers have no faith in God’s Character.

Whatever happens to you or me doesn’t change God’s Character. God demonstrated His goodness on the cross of Calvary. Some day we will see and know as we are known. But whether such sight and knowledge result in joy or anguish depends entirely on how we have behaved when we couldn’t see.

The saints of all ages have more in common than they have differences. This is why the Spirit of God, in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, uses Old Testament personalities, beginning with the second son of Adam, to teach Christians the meaning of "the just shall live by faith."

October 23rd

THE ELECT AND THE SAVED NATIONS

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)

Since in these essays I sometimes make a distinction between God’s elect and the saved nations maybe I better explain. Israel, God’s Church under the old covenant, and the Christian Church, God’s Church under the new covenant, are a people chosen from the ranks of mankind to represent God to the rest of the nations of the earth. The word church means "called out from."

The members of the Church were chosen from the beginning of the world through the foreknowledge of God. God has chosen them for glorification. They will attain their calling if they, as brothers of Jesus Christ, will cooperate with the Spirit of God. Thus each Christian, Jewish or Gentile (the Gospel is always to the Jew first for the Jews are the original chosen people), is a firstfruits of mankind to the Lord. This is not because they are better than anybody else, it is because God has chosen them.

Basic salvation is another matter. To be saved is to be spared from destruction in the Day of Divine Wrath that is coming, the Day of the Lord, the Day of Christ. It is God’s will that everyone be saved, although not everyone will accept the Divine salvation. To be saved we must believe that Jesus is Lord and be baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

To become a member of the Church, the Body of Christ, is an exceedingly high calling. To attain such closeness to God requires a lifelong following of the Holy Spirit. It is a race. It is a fight. It requires all that an individual can bring to it, as we see in the words of the Apostle Paul in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians.

We cannot choose to "just be saved" and ignore the standards of discipleship. If we are called to be a member of the Church then we will be judged according to this calling. To those to whom much has been given, of them will much be required.

One of the primary reasons for the milksop, puerile preaching of the Gospel in America is that the ministers are emphasizing "getting saved" and in many instances are virtually ignoring the severe demands made on every member of the Bride, such as taking up our cross, denying ourselves, presenting our bodies a living sacrifice to God, enduring hardness as good soldiers, not entangling ourselves with the world.

"We are saved and that’s all there is until we’re caught up to Heaven in a rapture! Until that merry event let’s all have fun in the Son."

The true disciples of Jesus Christ throughout history have left bloody footprints in the snow. They have pressed toward the heavenly calling. With every breath of their body they have called on the name of the Lord, turning aside from the moral corruption of the world, living in dens and caves of the earth, as Hebrews tells us concerning the members of the Church under the old covenant.

Each of them has stood in triumph before the Lord Jesus. Each has attained a better resurrection. Compare them with today’s silly prattlers about grace. They make us look ridiculous. God’s standards for His Church, His eternal temple and priesthood, have never changed. Either we follow Christ with a perfect heart or we will never end up as part of the royal priesthood.

There will be nations of saved people, nations whose only calling is to receive the Presence of God dwelling in the royal priesthood. They are the inheritance of Jesus Christ and therefore our inheritance.

You are not called just to be saved from destruction. You are called to be a member of the governing priesthood. Serve the Lord with all the strength you have or another will take your crown! Be careful what you do with your talent. The consequences of carelessness are dreadful!

There will be three groups of people in the age to come: the Church, the nations of the saved, and the lost.

October 24th

GOD SEES US THROUGH CHRIST—OR DOES HE?

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Colossians 2:10)

The Scriptures can be misinterpreted. I wonder sometimes if God deliberately guided the writers so that whoever wishes to distort them may do so and have "solid" scriptural support. There is a great Divine truth in Colossians 2:10 (above). It is that God sees us perfect and complete in Christ. What a blessing to the conscientious soul who thinks God never is pleased no matter how hard he tries! However, this great Divine truth is being perverted today. It is coming out as, "No matter what you do God sees only the righteousness and holiness of Christ."

The teaching that when we sin God sees only the righteousness of Christ runs counter to the bulk of passages of the New Testament. If God does not see our behavior, how are we to judge ourselves? Why did Paul deliver the incestuous believer in Corinth to Satan for the destruction of his flesh? This makes sense?

The modern commentators write (concerning the incestuous Corinthian), "This sinful believer never was a true Christian!" Never was a true Christian? According to the Scripture the brother began as a Christian and ended up as a Christian. Did he slip out at some point and then slip back in again? You don’t handle sin by becoming a non-Christian and then a Christian again. You handle sin by confessing it and turning away from it. And there is no point in doing this if God doesn’t see it in the first place. (The sorrowful believer of Corinth repented.)

What, then, does God mean when He says He sees us perfect in Christ? He means that if we do what He says in the New Testament our ultimate glorification is assured. God has the authority and power to forgive and transform those who continue to abide in Christ.

God sees us as perfect and lord of the nations (under Christ). Does this mean He will not judge our behavior and chasten us severely? The Bible says He will! Does this mean we cannot possibly end up in outer darkness or have our name blotted from the Book of Life? Not according to the Scriptures it doesn’t!

In order to cut a straight course in the Word we have to read the whole book. We can’t pick out our favorite ideas and throw out the rest.

According to the Bible, if a Christian sins and does not repent he or she is flirting with spiritual death. This is true from Matthew to Revelation. The fact that God sees us as complete in Christ, apart from an observance of the Law of Moses, and envisions our glorification, does not mean when we sin it goes unnoticed!

Colossians 2:10 is found in the Book of Colossians. Also found in the Book of Colossians is the next verse:

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (Colossians 2:11)

We are supposed to put off the body of the sins of our flesh. Receiving Christ each day results in a circumcision of our heart.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (Colossians 3:8,9)

If God doesn’t see our anger, malice, filthy talk, why is it so important that we put off the old man with his deeds? This world would be a better place if everyone would read the whole Book of Colossians and believe what it says.

The Bible is known as the "good Book." When it doesn't make people good it is being misunderstood. 

October 25th

THE KINGDOM FROM HEAVEN

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

The Kingdom of Heaven (Kingdom of God) is God in Christ in the saints performing God’s will.

The Kingdom of Heaven is the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the Church, the eternal Temple of God.

Christians speak of "going to Heaven" as though our goal were to go to a place—to a Paradise that will put an end to all our pains and dreads.

But the Scriptures speak of entering or inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven. This is a somewhat different concept from that of merely going to a delightful place.

Because God, His Christ, the saints, and the holy angels have their residence in the spirit realm above us in beautiful surroundings, the goal of the Christian salvation often is thought to be that of entering this desirable environment when we die. The idea that the principal objective of the Christian believer is to enter the spirit Paradise when he dies is one of the most widely embraced concepts in all Christendom.

We may be looking forward to residing for eternity in the spirit realm above us. But the Scripture teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven is coming to the earth. In that day the "heaven" to which we aspire will be located in the earth.

Because the Kingdom of Heaven is God in Christ in the saints performing God’s will, the "heaven" we desire is not primarily a place but a state of being, a state of being based on a set of relationships with God and people. "Heaven" will be a city, the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is above us and we hope to see it and become part of it when we die. Nevertheless the Kingdom of God primarily is a state of being based on relationships with God and people. Let us explain.

We think of Heaven in terms of mansions, jewels, valuable minerals, and sometimes as a beautiful garden of birds and flowers. All these are present in the spirit Paradise above us to which the saints go when they die.

But let us reflect for a moment. What we actually desire is righteousness, peace, and joy, as well as freedom from sorrow, fear, and pain.

Now, what is it that brings peace and joy to our heart?

The peace and joy of a human being can come only from his relationship to God and to people.

There are individuals on the earth who can afford to own a mansion, jewels, gold, silver, and other articles of value. Their mansion may be secluded in an Eden-like setting—a paradise on the earth.

It is not unusual for such persons to be miserable most of the time. Sometimes such idyllic environments are filled with hatred, greed, violence, immorality, and other sinful attitudes and behaviors. Often there are scenes of strife with children in rebellion against their parents.

Notice that these wealthy estates may contain most of the tangible elements that are often mentioned when we are describing the beauties of Heaven above. Yet there may be far more anguish present than there is peace of mind.

It is clear that mansions, gold, silver, jewels, and paradisiac surroundings cannot by themselves bring peace and joy.

On the other hand, picture a humble dwelling in which lives a family filled with the love of Christ and love for one another. There, we must agree, is the essence of what we mean by "heaven." It is not the external things that bring peace and joy to our hearts, it is relationships.

Our salvation has to do with our relationship with Christ rather than with moving from earth to Heaven. We hope for the resurrection so we can resume our life on the earth.

October 26th

THE TRUE NATURE OF THE AMNESTY

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)

Christ has come as the great Jubilee, the Divine Redeemer. He has proclaimed an amnesty to those who will turn to Him and believe in the atonement He has wrought for them.

However, the terms of this amnesty do not make provision for our continuing in sin. The amnesty is for the truly repentant.

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26,27)

Christian scholars who do not understand the conditional nature or the purpose of the amnesty conceive of the Christian redemption as a forgiveness that God hands out to us so we can enter Heaven when we die regardless of how we live on the earth. This is a misconception of both the goal and the process of the Divine redemption.

The purpose of redemption is not to bring sinners into Paradise. The purpose of redemption is to make it possible for sinners to repent, to turn to God, to be delivered from the power of Satan, and to inherit eternal life.

Redemption does not bring the old personality into Paradise; rather, it creates a new personality that belongs in Paradise by nature.

Christ did not come to earth in order to bring back to Paradise the sinful and rebellious. Christ came to the earth in order to turn sinners from the power of Satan to the power of God. Christ was revealed for the purpose of undoing the works of Satan (I John 3:8).

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18)

There are "Christians" today who do not show mercy, who are spiteful, who force their will on others, who do not practice the virtues that the Lord Jesus set forth in the Sermon on the Mount. Such people would turn any paradise into hell.

The believers have been taught, in some instances, that the proclamations of Jesus concerning righteous and holy behavior do not apply to them because they are saved by "grace." They are trusting that in the moment of their death they will be able to hold God to the current formula of "salvation," and God will be required to declare them guiltless. God then will place a crown on their head, a rod of iron in their hand, and they will govern the nations of the earth as one of God’s royal priests.

They seek to manipulate God to their own advantage as they have sought to manipulate people all through their life.

They, perhaps without realizing it, are attempting to mock God.

Salvation does not work this way.

Those who, having made a profession of Christ, continue to walk in the ways of the flesh, especially those who are harsh with their fellow servants, will receive in the Day of Christ precisely what they have given. As they have done so will it be done to them. They have denied others their rights and their rights will be denied to them. As they have sown so shall they reap.

This is why it is so important to distinguish between the scriptural "entering the Kingdom of Heaven" and the traditional "going to Heaven when we die."

The end of Satan's kingdom comes, not when we are forgiven but when we are delivered.

October 27th

CHANGE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. (Joshua 1:2)

The Book of Joshua is an illustration of what will occur at the end of the Church Age and the beginning of the Kingdom Age. The death of Moses and the installation of Joshua as leader portray the change of the Lord Jesus from Shepherd to Commander in Chief of the army of God.

Historic changes take place in the Kingdom of God from time to time. Such changes are very unsettling for the people involved but also offer wonderful opportunities for those who have the opportunity to participate. The change from the leadership of Moses to the leadership of Joshua was one such important step in the Kingdom. God promised to give to the Israelites every place where they set their feet but only when they followed His specific directions. God has promised to give us that which we ask in the name of the Lord Jesus but only as we follow His specific leading. The promised land of the Hebrews was set forth clearly:

From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. (Joshua 1:4)

The land of promise of the Christians is not set forth in the Scriptures with such definition, it must be gleaned from the Old and New Testament writings. Joshua was exhorted to pay close attention to the "Book of the Law." The Christian doctrines of our day are filled with traditions and errors of all kinds. If we are to press forward in God we must discard much of what is being taught today, particularly the understanding of Divine "grace" as an alternative to godly behavior, as a covering of the continued sinning of the believers. It is time now to return to the Book!

The Spirit of God is telling us to get ready for the big push forward in the Kingdom. We are close to the coming of the Lord and preparations must be made. God is ready to guide and assist all who will listen and obey Him so they may stand in total victory throughout the tremendous conflict that lies ahead.

The present hour is a time to listen carefully to the Spirit of God. Whenever the Jews came to a new feast of the Lord (as today we are moving past Pentecost toward the spiritual fulfillments of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles—Leviticus, Chapter 23) they were commanded to cease from their regular work.

God is ready to do marvelous things in our day, but we must receive the instruction and provisions He is offering now so we shall be ready when God moves. There will be tremendous opportunities ahead for every believer who will cease from his own programs and listen carefully to the Lord.

The Reubenites, the Gadites, and half of the tribe of Manasseh wanted to remain on the east side of the Jordan and take care of their cattle. It did not matter to them that the Glory of God, the Ark, the Tabernacle, the priesthood would depart from them or that their brothers would have to fight.

The two and a half cattle-loving tribes resemble the believers of today who are occupied with the things of the world and have no heart for the Glory of God. They will have to fight for their inheritance in the Lord whether or not they wish to do so.

The two spies sent out by Joshua portray the dedicated disciples in the present hour who are being sent out by the Lord to press into the promises of God. They will return to the Church and describe the good land they have seen.

The Kingdom of God is at hand! Are you interested?

Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles are at hand, ready now for careful attention and acceptance by the Church. This may be the first time in history when such a large part of the Church is at the place where this kind of progress in Christ can be made.

October 28th

PARADISE AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

A dramatic change has occurred in the preaching of the Gospel. What began in the first century as a call to repentance in light of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth has been altered to a flight of the believers to Heaven. This alteration has serious consequences. The most serious consequence is that much of what Paul commanded has become irrelevant. Paul taught that we had to be changed so we could be part of the Kingdom of God, that those who sin cannot inherit the Kingdom.

The Christians today do not understand the difference between Paradise (Heaven) and the Kingdom of God. They view salvation as a movement from earth to Paradise rather than what it is, the forming of Christ (who is the Kingdom) in the believer. Satan would love it if all the believers would go to Heaven and stay there in mansions doing nothing of significance. But the thought of Christ being formed in a believer sends the demons scurrying for cover.

Yesterday, Sunday morning, a young lady approached me after the service and said, "Pastor, you mentioned that Paradise is a place and the Kingdom of God is some kind of abstraction. I’ve been here seventeen years and I don’t understand the Kingdom of God." This started me thinking and so last night during the service we talked some about Paradise and the Kingdom of God.

I have now (Monday morning—supposed to be my day off) taken computer in hand to reward you with a continuation of the discussion of Paradise and the Kingdom of God. MacDonald said in Phantastes something to the effect that he had started to write and didn’t know where it was going. This is the condition I am in now because the Kingdom of God is a tremendous subject. I trust the Holy Spirit to give understanding at this point.

First of all, it is interesting that John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostle Paul preached the Kingdom of God. This was the original Gospel message. "Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand," as though the Kingdom is coming to the earth.

At some point in the early history of the Church the message changed to, "Repent so you can go to Heaven." How this happened I do not know. It probably had something to do with the philosophy of Gnosticism and the influx of pagan religions as Gentiles brought into the originally Jewish assemblings their beliefs concerning life after death, fertility symbols, and other ideas that have become part of the Christian tradition.

I do not wish to make a cause célPbre of Christmas trees and Easter eggs, but the issue of Paradise versus the Kingdom of God has direct practical bearing on the way we Christians work out our salvation.

I looked at the statement of faith of our denomination (which is as good as any denomination!) and do you know what? The Kingdom of God is not mentioned. Since we are fundamental believers, how can this be? Check out the statement of faith of your denomination and see if you can find any statement about the Kingdom of God. You may not.

How could it be that a Bible-believing denomination does not mention the Kingdom of God in its statement of faith? How did we get off the track? We still pray the Lord’s prayer, most of us, about the Kingdom of God coming to the earth. But we are looking forward to getting out of here, and you can’t blame us for that these days. In any case we are mixed up and it is time now for the Lord to get us back on the track concerning the Kingdom of God.

There is Paradise and then there is the Kingdom of God. By the way, the manner in which we currently use the term Heaven makes it synonymous with "Paradise," at least for our purposes here. So when we say "Paradise" think of Heaven.

Christ's goal is not to bring us to beautiful homes in Heaven but to the place of rest in the Father. It is the same rest Jesus enjoys—God resting in Him and He in God.

October 29th

PARADISE AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD, continued

How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (II Corinthians 12:4)

Paradise is a place. If you were wandering around the Persian Gulf a while back you would have seen a sign that said "You are now entering the country of Eden. Get your passport ready."

After you entered Eden and traveled east for a while you would come to another sign, "Paradise City Limits."

Paradise is a place. In Paradise was everything we could ever want in Heaven, including the Presence of God. There were no mansions because the weather was nice, like in Heaven.

Because we sinned God drove us from the garden and lifted Paradise out of Iraq up to the third heaven where it is to this day.

From some of the statements of the Prophet Isaiah it appears that Paradise will be restored to the earth when the Lord returns. The children will love this.

There was a man hanging on a cross next to Jesus. We know nothing of the history of this individual. But we know he was a true man because he didn’t blame other people for his misbehavior.

But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:40-43)

"Today you will be with Me in Paradise."

The criminal said, "Lord, remember me when You come into your kingdom."

Your kingdom! He recognized Jesus as a king.

Then note Jesus’ answer: "Today you will be with Me in Paradise"; not in the Kingdom but in Paradise.

Why? Because Paradise is a place. Soon after this statement the man and Jesus were walking in the garden of God.

Why not the Kingdom of God? Because the Kingdom of God is not a place where you can take somebody. You can bring someone under the rule of the Kingdom but not into the Kingdom itself. Let us go on to explain.

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing and blessing the creation of God. The Kingdom of God came into existence when the Lord Jesus rose from the dead.

The Kingdom of God is being created in response to the rebellion of the angels. The purpose of the Kingdom of God is to get the snakes out of Paradise. Sin is not only possible in Paradise, sin began in Paradise!

At some point in an era so far back in time as to be incomprehensible to us, Satan was one of two cherubim who overshadowed the Throne of God with their wings. While in the holiest area of all of the Paradise of God it came into Satan’s heart to rebel against God and to set himself above the other creatures of God.

he purpose of the Judaic-Christian salvation is to solve the original problem of disobedience to God.

October 30th

PARADISE AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD, continued

He that hath an ear, let him her what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of tahe tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

Going to Paradise does not solve the problem of sin. Sin began in Paradise. Going to Heaven will not solve the problem of sin for you. Sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God.

All people could ever desire was to be found in the garden in Eden, including the Presence of the Lord, as we said.

There was also a snake from Heaven there. Think of it! A snake from Heaven!

One thing was missing. Can you guess?

The Kingdom of God.

If the Kingdom of God had been formed in Eve she would have said, "Get behind me, heavenly snake!"

If the Kingdom of God had been formed in Adam he would have said, "Eve, why did you do that?" They both would have spoken in Hebrew, of course.

You want to remember Eve was a sanguine creature, impulsive, whimsical, very dramatic, flitting from one interesting object to another, always pirouetting around and chattering merrily. Adam was a choleric personality but he loved his butterfly and indulged her. Eve was just what Adam needed to keep him from getting careless. However she had just made a serious move.

Had Christ been formed in him Adam would have brought Eve immediately before the Lord, asked forgiveness, got some clothes from the Lord, and promised that neither of them would eat any more apples. Something like this.

Are you beginning to get the picture? Paradise is a place. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God. If Adam or Eve or both of them had had the Kingdom of God in them they would not have sinned.

We teach that you have to be born again to be saved. What do we mean by saved? Do we mean we go to Paradise when we die? Or do we mean we are saved from sin so if we are tempted we do not eat apples when we have been told not to? Obviously going to a peaceful garden and being immunized against sin are not at all the same thing. Do you agree?

By now you probably are wondering whether or not you are saved.

The Bible does not say we have to be born again to be saved. It says we have to believe and be baptized to be saved.

Aren’t being born again and believing and being baptized the same thing? Hardly.

Let me ask you. Is to believe something and to be immersed in water the same thing as being born?

To believe is one matter. To be baptized in water is something else again.

To be born of God, to actually be born of God, is a different matter. Belief, water baptism, and being born again may take place at the same time but they are not the same thing, obviously.

An age of moral horrors soon is to engulf the world. The assortment of myths and errors we term the Christian religion will be weighed in the balances and found wanting.

October 31st

PARADISE AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD, continued

And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15)

In America we use the term born-again Christian. We don’t know what we are talking about. We are referring to a religious conversion of some kind.

The Apostles, as recorded in the Book of Acts, never preached being born again.

To be born again is not referring to religious conversion. It is speaking of the Divine Substance of God being planted in our personality, as in the parable of the sower.

The parable of the sower is the main parable of the Kingdom of God. The seed that is sown is the Word of God, or Christ. In one instance the seed is snatched away before it germinates. In another it is crowded out by the cares of life and dies. In another it is in rocky soil (a hard heart) and does not send down roots. In time of severe trouble it withers and dies.

In a fourth instance the seed falls on an honest and good heart and brings forth eternal fruit. The amount of fruit varies from one person to another.

It is the Kingdom that is born in us (Paradise is not born in us!), and this is why we must be born again to see or enter the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is Christ, the Word of God, born in us. As Christ then is formed in us through all the graces God provides, we become increasingly righteous, holy, and obedient to God.

The only valid proof that Christ is being formed in you is that you are growing increasingly capable of recognizing good and evil (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for which Adam and Eve were not sufficiently prepared) and increasingly willing and strong enough to reject the evil and choose the good.

Can you see that this is God’s response to the original rebellion?

If Adam and Eve had been able to discern between good and evil, and willing and strong enough to reject the evil and choose the good, they still would be with us.

Can you seen now why Satan has diverted Christian thinking from the Kingdom to going to Paradise to live forever in a mansion? Satan desires that every believer go to Heaven to live in a mansion and do nothing so Satan can be free to enjoy himself. What Satan wants is for sin to continue in the earth.

The Kingdom of God is the Word of God formed in us a line at a time. It requires patient endurance if we are to be able to stand up under the dealings of God.

What is the big picture? The big picture is that of God creating people forever. Of the increase of Christ’s Kingdom and of peace there shall be no end.

What is going on now? Now there is being formed a governing priesthood. The priesthood is being prepared to govern God’s children forever. We are, as James says, a firstfruits of mankind.

Christ is the Vine. You are the branch. The fruit of righteousness the Father is looking for is grown on the branch.

November 1st

PARADISE AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD, continued

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: (Acts 1:3)

First the nobility, then the rest of the country. Make sense? If God did it the other way around it would not accomplish God’s goal of an earth filled with righteous behavior.

We presently are trying to survive in a moral cesspool. Country people will understand about cesspools. We are drowning in filth in the United States. A recent cartoon had George Washington saying something like, "Why are they observing my birthday when character doesn’t count any more?" I don’t even want to repeat the things discussed in the newspaper. The same is true of England from what I hear. Both were godly countries at one time.

God knows what He is doing. Out from the cesspool will be drawn shining jewels—saints who will serve God under any condition.

These are the Kingdom of God.

When the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven He will bring His jewels with Him. They will govern the works of God’s hands forever.

The reason there will be no sin in the Kingdom Age to come is not that the possibility of sin will suddenly disappear, it is that God’s righteous kings will have the authority and power to prevent sin from taking place.

You either will rule or be ruled in the world to come. There will be no more unwalled Edens.

Will there be sin in the Kingdom of God? No. Sin is not present in the Kingdom. Sin was present in Paradise but will not be present in the Kingdom because the Kingdom is God in Christ governing from within our personality.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

We read this and think, "If we do such things we will not go to Heaven." Or, "If we do such things we will not be saved."

Paul did not preach about going to Heaven. Paul preached about our being ready for the Day of the Lord, for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

There is no adultery, strife, or drunkenness in the Kingdom of God. The voice of Satan is heard in Heaven to the present day, accusing the saints. But when the Kingdom is formed sufficiently in the saints they will speak the word of judgment and Michael and his angels will drive Satan from Heaven.

But don’t the prostitutes enter the Kingdom before the chief priests and the elders? Yes, they do, but they do not enter as prostitutes. The prostitutes enter the Kingdom by humbling themselves and turning from their wicked ways. This the chief priests and the elders will not do.

It must become true that our whole personality is reconciled to God in actuality, and it is not true that the personality of most Christians has been reconciled to God. There is much darkness in every one of us that is at war with God, with God's will and purpose in us.

November 2nd

PARADISE AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD, continued

Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. (Acts 28:31)

Think about the parables of the Lord Jesus. Not one of His parables is about Paradise, about Heaven. They all are about the Kingdom. They show us that the Kingdom is something that takes place inside of us.

If we are saying that the Kingdom of God is God in Christ in us, two questions arise: first, how can angels cast people out of the Kingdom at the end of the age? and second, how can we see Abraham sitting down in the Kingdom if the Kingdom is an inner formation of personality?

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; (Matthew 13:41)

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. (Luke 13:28,29)

What about the new Jerusalem in this picture? And where does the idea of salvation fit in?

The answer to all of these questions is this: The Kingdom of God indeed is the forming of God in Christ in us. This is the new covenant—the writing of God’s law in our heart and mind.

This is the Kingdom proper.

Then there is the sphere of influence of the Kingdom. The sphere of the influence of the Kingdom is the immediate environment of the Kingdom and also the larger area that the Kingdom governs.

To be saved in its primary sense is to be permitted to enter eternity under the auspices of the Kingdom. Thus a saved person can be part of the Kingdom proper or merely be governed by the Kingdom.

All other people are contained outside the Presence of God—the worst of all possible fates.

At the end of the present age the angels will remove sinful people from the beneficial influence of God in Christ.

At the end of the present age it will be possible for us to see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets in the Kingdom of God and yet we ourselves not be allowed to partake of the Presence of God in Christ.

The new Jerusalem is actually a place that expresses in its elements the virtues being formed in the personalities of the saints while they are seeking God during their imprisonment in the present cesspool.

To be saved is to be allowed to enjoy the paradisiac environment that always will follow those who are members of the Kingdom of God. Each member of the Kingdom is greater than the greatest of the prophets. Each member of the Kingdom is as a highway to Zion. He can pass through the waters of bitterness and make them a spring of refreshing.

The parables of the Lord Jesus describe the inner Kingdom (such as the parable of the sower--Matthew 13:3) and also His return in the glory of the outer Kingdom (such as the parable of the talents--Matthew 25:14).

PARADISE AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD, continued

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)

The practical aspect of understanding the difference between Paradise and the Kingdom of God is as follows: If you view the Christian salvation as a way of entering Paradise when you die, and God’s forgiveness through Christ as your free ticket, a ticket that you can never lose, then the great majority of the passages of the New Testament will make little sense to you.

How can you work out your salvation with fear and trembling if salvation is a ticket to Paradise and you are going to get there by forgiveness?

Do you see there is nothing you can do after you "make a decision for Christ" except wait to die? Of course you can enter Christian service. But how many church-attenders that you know are presenting their body a living sacrifice to God so they may prove His will?

The truth is, the Christian churches are backslidden, and part of the reason is they do not understand the Kingdom of God. If you view the Christian salvation as your entering the Kingdom of God then there is a challenge that must be met every day. Also, you can tell right now if you are entering the Kingdom whereas in the Heaven model you can’t tell how well you did until you die.

God is forming His Kingdom today in those who will cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Each day the Lord will give you a portion of evil and a portion of Divine good wherewith to overcome the evil. Each day you make a basic choice. Every time you choose to overcome the spiritual darkness of the day with the Divine good of God you have the Kingdom formed in you. Every time you choose to fool around and dabble in sin, not taking advantage of the grace being offered you, you lose ground in the Kingdom.

Entering the Kingdom is a fight. Entering the Kingdom is a race. Entering the Kingdom is a continual struggle. God sees us perfect in Christ with the understanding we are fighting the good fight of faith each day.

The horrible error of our day is the teaching that God sees us perfect in Christ independently of whether we are following the Spirit in putting to death the deeds of our body.

Are you having the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, formed in you today—right now? If you are not sure, ask God to show you. He will. Then determine every remaining day of your life to seek God with all your heart.

The Kingdom of God soon is to come to the earth. The nobility, the governing priesthood, is being formed now. The precious stones of the wall of the new Jerusalem are being created by the intense heat and pressure upon us. The gates of pearl leading to the tree of life and the Throne of God result from the irritations we are experiencing.

Prepare ye the way of the Lord! The King of kings is coming with His lesser kings. See them on the horizon! It is the rising of the sun of the Day of the Lord. The drums of El Shaddai are beating to the attack. The trumpets sound louder and louder, clear, piercing, deafening, penetrating every barrier. The thunder of the hoofs of the war stallions is terrible.

The slain Lamb will soon appear overhead, ready to draw up to Himself those who live by His body and blood. The powerful of the earth as well as the slaves will try to hide from the face of God and the wrath of the Lamb. "Mountains, rocks, fall on us. An avalanche. Anything! We can’t stand this!"

The sun may not rise tomorrow morning, but one thing is certain: you and I will see the events of the Day of Wrath when they take place. Where will we be? Change your way of living. I’ve changed mine! The Kingdom of God is at hand!

The Christian redemption is not an escape from the battle but victory in the battle.

November 4th

THE GOSPEL AS A HOME REMEDY

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (I Corinthians 15:19)

A shift has occurred in Gospel preaching. This is noticeable in the titles of the new books coming out. I hope people are still buying """With Christ in the School of Prayer" and "My Utmost for His Highest." The newer titles have to do with how you can use the Holy Spirit to get you anything you want.

I think the change from God-centeredness to man-centeredness is significant. Perhaps we have been more heavily infiltrated with humanistic thinking than we realize. The Gospel message from Matthew to Revelation is not focused on how we are to prosper in this world. Rather it is a call to repentance because of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth at some point in the future. The person who wants to gain Christ has to put his hopes beyond the grave. Otherwise he or she is going to cave in when the going gets rough. If the Western "Christian" nations were not so affluent it probably would be easier to preach the Kingdom. Jesus told us that the rich have a hard time entering the Kingdom. So it is proving.

Here comes the Apostle Paul into town. "Come closer, folk, and let me tell you the good news. Christ has come to heal your marriage, to enable you to find fulfillment, to heal your body, to make you rich, to deliver you from any and every problem. Everyone is invited to the big rally tonight. Hear Peter’s wife sing ‘Christ Became Poor So You Might Be Rich.’ There’s no charge for attendance. An usher will be at the door to collect your freewill offering. Keep it green, folks, your coins aren’t sanctified. Ha ha."

Go into your Christian bookstore. See if you can find a current title that refers to the Glory of God other than using God’s Glory to help us out in some way.

It appears we have a few years of prosperity in America. Then the axe is going to fall unless we Christians get serious with God. Let us make the most of this time. Let us seek God fervently. Certainly God wants to help us with our daily problems. But there is a bigger scene. Imagine the early Christians in the arena, in the catacombs. Think about the multitudes of believers who have been tortured and slain and still are being tortured and slain in the twentieth century.

A few months ago I warned the congregation about getting involved in the professional football and baseball games. Some pundit in the newspaper compared the American fascination with professional sports with the early Indian practice of throwing virgins off a cliff as a sacrifice to the gods. If the secular writers can recognize this idolatry what in the world is wrong with the Christian churches?

I’ll tell you I was a speckled bird after touching that great idol. In fact I was served for lunch that very Sunday afternoon. But not by most of the congregation. The majority are getting the message: "Be not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Watching twenty-two millionaires playing with a leather bag full of air is not my understanding of redeeming the time. It’s okay for the kids. Even so it is time for the children to begin to see themselves as soldiers in the army of Christ.

Great things are afoot in the Kingdom. Let’s get our mind off the vanishing concerns of the present distress and become serious with God. Why wait until we are in deep trouble before we turn to the Lord?

Have you read A Christian’s Guide to Professional Football by Luke Warm?

God's people are being deceived on the right hand and the left. This is because they have refused to take up their cross and obey Christ's commandments. God is sending a strong delusion upon them in the present hour.

November 5th

TO NOT BE HURT OF THE SECOND DEATH

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Revelation 2:11)

He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.

In terms of our scriptural understanding this is a peculiar statement. We know the second death is eternal confinement in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. We know it is the everlasting home of the fearful, the unbelieving, the abominable, the murderers, the whoremongers, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars.

We would expect the verse to say, "He who overcomes will not be thrown into the Lake of Fire" or "will not suffer the penalty of the second death."

Let us suggest that all of us, Christians or not, are under the authority of the Lake of Fire as long as we are fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderous, immoral, a practicer of sorcery, idolatrous, or a liar. God has spoken. Those who do such things will be hurled into the Lake of Fire. The Scripture cannot be changed.

But didn’t Jesus come to change all this so whoever believes in Him can never be in danger of the Lake of Fire?

Not quite! Jesus did not come to change the unalterable Word of the Father!

Jesus came to forgive us and give us a fresh start. Then He through the Holy Spirit goes to work to deliver us from fear and timidity, from unbelief, from practicing abominations, from the spirit of murder and hatred, from lust, from sorcery, from covetousness, from lying and treachery.

Salvation is deliverance from all that belongs in the Lake of Fire. You have to overcome these things before the second death can’t harm you. The Lake of Fire, the second death, always and forever retains authority over fear, unbelief, hatred, lust, and lying. The Word cannot be changed.

But when you are delivered from these abominable behaviors, the Lake of Fire cannot hurt you. It no longer possesses authority over you. Now the phrases fit without having to force them like a wrong piece of a jigsaw puzzle.

So salvation is not only forgiveness but primarily deliverance from that which the Lake of Fire controls. The question always arises: "What if I don’t get the victory over all of these, will I be cast into the Lake of Fire?" The question usually (but not always) comes from someone who wishes to live the contemporary lukewarm "Christian" life without having to fear Divine judgment.

I cannot tell you what Christ will decide concerning any believer in the Day of Judgment. But I can tell you this. The Bible standard is far, far above what is being preached today. If you waste your talent it will be given to another and your home will be outer darkness. If you do not gain the victory you will not walk in the white robes of the priesthood with Jesus Christ and you stand in danger of having your name blotted from the Book of Life.

These things I know because they are written.

The preaching today is far from the Bible standard. It is your responsibility to go to the Scriptures and read for yourself.

Ask the Lord to help you!

It seems numerous believers are under the impression that the removal of sin under the new covenant means the removal of the guilt of sin. While the new covenant includes the removal of the guilt of our sin its main purpose is to remove the compulsion and the presence of the sin itself.

November 6th

DRAWING BACK FROM SALVATION

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (Hebrews 10:38)

The expression "the just shall live by faith" is found once in the Old Testament and three times in the New. The verse above is the third and last time the expression is used in the New Testament.

Chapter Eleven of Hebrews is one long definition of "the just shall live by faith."

The key to understanding the just shall live by faith is the expression (above) "draw back." "But if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."

The expression the just shall live by faith is used today to mean if we hold the correct profession concerning Jesus Christ we will go to Heaven when we die. However the just shall live by faith is not speaking of a theological position but of the way the righteous live. The righteous press forward every day into the rest of God. The unrighteous do not press forward every day into the rest of God. Simple as that!

When the Apostle Paul originally compared faith and works he was referring to the works of the Law of Moses. To this day Christian preachers and teachers assume Paul was comparing faith and righteous behavior. Such a comparison would be inconsistent with Paul’s other writings because Paul always stressed righteous behavior as an integral part of salvation.

When the Protestant Reformers compared faith and works they were referring to the works of the Catholic Church such as indulgences and various penances. I do not know enough about the Protestant Reformation to know how far the Reformers went in claiming we are saved apart from righteous behavior.

In any case, things are in a mess today. When people say, "the just shall live by faith," they mean an individual is saved by believing Christ died to make an atonement for his or her sins. Godly behavior, while it is nice, is not really of the essence of salvation.

This error accounts in large part for the miserable condition of the churches of our day.

The just shall live by faith is speaking of how we live. Either we are pressing forward in faith, striving to enter the place where every part of our personality is subject to the Holy Spirit, or else we are drawing back and flowing with the powerful currents of the world.

The Book of Hebrews was written to experienced believers who had a fervent start in the Lord but now were relaxing and paying too much attention to the things of the world. They were neglecting their salvation. This is why the writer said God would have no pleasure in those who draw back.

We enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation. The way to eternal life is narrow and compressed. The righteous are saved with difficulty.

The tares of sin and ungodliness are coming to maturity today. So is the wheat of righteousness. Christ is being formed in those who are seeking God.

God is looking for those who are willing to live by faith in Him until every aspect of their personality is flowing with the Life of the Godhead.

We are not to draw back. We are to press forward into the rest of God until we are abiding always in God’s perfect will.

To draw back is to die spiritually. Push on! Push on!

Hebrews 6:4-6 has been difficult for Christians to accept at face value. I have not seen a commentary that accepts the passage as it is written. Today's teachers and scholars simply will not accept the severity of God but rush to assure us that no matter how we behave there is nothing to fear. How then can we claim to believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God?

November 7th

HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE IF WE NEGLECT

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; (Hebrews 2:3)

The Jewish believers to whom the Book of Hebrews was written were neglecting their salvation. Had they been saved? Of course. Had they known the blessing of the Holy Spirit? Yes.

They had seen the power of God. They had been persecuted cruelly and had accepted joyfully the confiscation of their property.

These Jews had made an excellent start. They had suffered some. But as the years passed and the Lord did not return they began to live the ordinary life of the world, not pressing forward fervently into the rest of God.

The Book of Hebrews contains many solemn warnings to these Christian people—warnings we must take to heart today.

They were saved and filled with the Spirit. What were they neglecting? They were neglecting to press into their inheritance in the Lord.

Hebrews 2:3 often is preached to the unsaved, telling them that if they ignore God’s plan of salvation they will not escape Hell.

However, references to the Jewish believers throughout the epistle reveal clearly that the writer was speaking to Christian people who had started on the way and now were growing cold.

They were "holy brothers" but they were warned they would not inherit Christ if they did not press forward to the rest of God.

What a warning this is to us today who are preaching "Jesus did it all" and once we "make a decision for Christ" there is nothing we are to do except to encourage others to "make a decision for Christ."

If current preaching is true the Book of Hebrews is incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial as far as the Christian salvation is concerned.

Your present writer believes that the Christian teaching and preaching of today is in error. We are preaching "another gospel." We have created some kind of religion based on a magical use of the name of Jesus. Instead of a discipleship in which the disciple faithfully follows the Master each day, laying aside all that hinders the clear view of Jesus, we have an unscriptural "dispensation of grace" that brings unchanged people to Paradise.

I really would be worried if I did not know that God will never change. The gospel of today will soon vanish under the pressures that are to come on the world.

You are saved. You have been baptized in water. You have been filled with the Spirit. Now what?

Now you must press into the rest of God. The rest of God is that place in the center of God’s will and Personality where the truly righteous live.

Many enemies, including the world, your fleshly lusts, your self-will, and Satan himself will seek every moment of every day to prevent you from keeping your eyes on Jesus and living in His rest. This is why you have to labor to enter the rest, a paradoxical commandment.

To enter the rest of God requires your total commitment every hour of every day. All of your thinking, speaking, and acting must be found in Jesus. You will not attain this rest in a moment but you shall attain it if you mean business with God.

Let other believers waste their time as they will. But you go forward. They will die in the wilderness of doubt and indecision. They will inherit lashes, not Christ.

Don’t let that be true of you. Forget the past and move on with God. There is more Divine glory available today than ever before in history. You can have it if this is what you desire above all else.

That the elect were predestined to be glorified with Christ does not mean their glorification is an accomplished fact, that their destiny will be fulfilled whether or not they respond to their calling. There is no place in the redemptive processes for an attitude of inevitability on the part of God's elect. We must grasp that for which we have been grasped.

November 8th

USING GIFTS OR SEEKING GOD?

But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. (Genesis 24:4)

The Lord invites us to abide in Him. This is the voice of love. Each day we choose to go our own way or else to seek the Presence of Him who loves us and whom we love.

God has given the gifts of the Spirit to today’s churches to an extent that probably is greater than any time of past history. But to possess such power and knowledge presents a problem. Should we use the things of God to attempt to release and bless the prisoners of the earth, or should we return to the Lord and seek His will in every instance?

To decide whether to use the gifts or to seek the Lord is no mere academic issue. It is the major problem facing the Spirit-filled people of today. To attempt to go forth to release and bless mankind is the wrong choice.

We hear the ministry of today saying, "we must go out and minister to a lost and dying world." One would look in vain for such a sentiment in the Scriptures. This is the voice of humanism, not of the Spirit of God.

The saints are not called to relieve the suffering of a lost and dying world. The saints are anointed with the Holy Spirit that they may bear witness of God and His salvation to a lost and dying world. There is a vast difference between relieving the suffering of people and bearing witness to people. The one is focused on the needs of people. The other is focused on the needs of God. The first seeks to lift the judgment that has come because of sin. The other rebukes the sin so people may learn to obey the commandments of God.

We are to continually seek union with the Father through the Son. When we do this the Spirit of God will guide us in the use of our gifts and ministries. Our allegiance is to God, not to people!

The ministries and gifts of the Spirit are not given for us to use as we will—even in the assisting of other people. They are abilities set in the Body of Christ for the building up of the saints to the full stature of Christ. All of our abilities are to be used only as the Lord directs. In order to find the Lord’s will we must present our body a living sacrifice.

The Holy Spirit has come, as Eliezer of old, loaded with gifts from the Father. However, the Spirit has not come to give but to take. The gifts are for the purpose of gaining a bride.

The believers who do not understand will marvel at the gifts and rejoice. The true Bride will perceive the intention of the Spirit and turn and go with Him to meet the Bridegroom.

The desire to use the gifts to release and bless the world will result in the False Prophet. The False Prophet will assist the Antichrist world government as people are brought into what appears to benefit mankind but actually is in rebellion against God. Numerous Christians will accept this false Holy Spirit and false Christ because they do not pray, because they have no love for the truth, because they are not willing to take up their cross and follow the Lord. Don’t you be one of them.

The blessings the Holy Spirit is showering on the churches today are a means to an end. The Spirit has not come to give but to take.

November 9th

THE SIREN CALL

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (II Timothy 4:3)

The preaching of today has deteriorated to the point the believers think the purpose of the Christian Gospel is to help them live a happy, self-fulfilled life in the present world. The concept of being a stranger and pilgrim on the earth has not been preached to them.

Go into any Christian church in America and listen to what is being preached. Do you hear the pastor or teacher warning the people they must present their body a living sacrifice if they are to do the will of God? Do you hear the demands of discipleship? Do you hear that the believers are not to entangle themselves with the things of the present life but are to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ?

The odds are against your hearing such preaching.

You will hear over and over that the believers will fly away at any moment so they cannot be harmed by Antichrist or the great tribulation. You will hear that God does not see the behavior of the believer but only the righteousness of Christ. You will hear that the believer has no need to fear the Judgment Seat of Christ because even if he has not served the Lord he will be saved as by fire. (Do the preachers and people have any idea of what it means to be "saved as by fire?" By fire?)

There may be some statements made about being crucified with Christ, or serving the Lord but everyone understands the pastor is not practicing such a world-rejecting gospel and does not really expect them to do so.

Rather, the pastor in his unfaithfulness wishes to make friends with the people. He is advising them to change what they think they owe the Lord so the demands are not as great.

Perhaps after he dies the members of his congregation will receive him into the caves of darkness where they are dwelling.

To be circumcised in heart is to be separate from the world and holy to the Lord. We are to totally reject the claims of the world. We are to cleave to the Lord and all His holy ways. We belong to the Lord and to the Lord alone! We are not of this world. We have been called out of this world that we may belong to Christ. We are to be holy as He is holy.

The enticements of the world continually, unrelentingly, claw at the believer. "Look here! Look there! Isn’t this wonderful! Isn’t that wonderful! Just think how marvelous life would be for you if you would take advantage of the opportunities the world is offering you."

Wasn’t this what Satan offered Eve? Think about the result of her acceptance!

The follower of the Lord must wrench himself away from this siren call and follow the Lord with a holy heart. If he does not reject the malice and wickedness of the world spirit and set himself apart as holy to the Lord, it is absolutely impossible for him or her to destroy the enemy and enter the land of promise that is the inheritance of God’s warriors.

We are being made an eternal part of Jesus Christ. This is God's love in action, not another way we invent so we can have power in prayer. If we Christians ever get rid of our self-centeredness it will be the miracle of the twentieth century.

November 10th

ENTERING THE NEW JERUSALEM

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)

When we think of Heaven, two thoughts come to mind. One is the place in the spirit realm we term "Heaven." The other concept is that of the glory, love, joy, and peace in which God, Jesus, the angels, and the deceased saints dwell in the present hour.

The heavenly Jerusalem fulfills both of these ideas concerning Heaven. The heavenly Jerusalem is a place in the spirit realm in which we shall experience glory, love, joy, peace, God, Jesus, the holy angels, and the saints.

One could go to the spirit realm and not find glory, love, joy, God, Jesus, or anything or anyone else we associate with Heaven.

Satan and his angels are in the spirit realm. Sin came into being in the spirit realm.

It is not enough to die and pass into the spirit realm. Our objective is to enter through the gates into the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem in Heaven is all we mean by the word "Heaven." There is no other paradise of God.

One day, Heaven, Jerusalem, is coming to the earth.

It is interesting that whenever the Prophets described the blessings that are to come with the new earth they limited themselves to Jerusalem.

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 65:25)

"In all my holy mountain."

The Glory of the Lord shall fill the earth in the ages to come. But what we think of as Heaven will be found in Zion, in Jerusalem, in the holy mountain of the Lord.

It is not just the spirit realm that is our mother, it is Jerusalem—the Jerusalem that today is in the spirit realm.

Whenever the Lord speaks of the glory to come He always speaks in terms of Jerusalem, of Zion; never of anything or anywhere else.

Every person who is abiding in Christ already has come to the Jerusalem that is in Heaven. Our physical body is dead because of the sin that dwells in it. But our born-again spiritual nature is drawing its life from the heavenly Jerusalem.

We already have come to Zion, to God’s holy mountain, if we have become part of Christ. We have come to the city of God and to the numerous angels who perform God’s will.

We now are part of the general assembly, of the whole family of God of all ages.

God judges all who come to Mount Zion. If we have been a believer for any period of time we are experiencing the Divine judgment as the sins of our personality are pointed out by the Holy Spirit.

The spirits of people who dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem are righteous. But it is not enough that they are righteous, they must be made perfect. God leaves the bodies of His saints dead in sin on the earth while He concentrates on the perfecting of their spiritual nature. The spiritual nature receives its Divine nourishment and guidance from its position in Christ at the right hand of the Father.

This is why God is dealing with you continually and severely. Endure patiently. Your reward will be great in the Kingdom of God.

The fullness of what today is in Heaven at the right hand of God is destined to find material expression in the earth in the Day of Christ. The spiritual will clothe itself with the physical. This is the Kingdom of God—the clothing of righteous spirits with the physical creation.

November 11th

PSALMS 37:1

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. (Psalms 37:1)

We are entering an age of moral horrors. All that Paul stated about the last days is upon us. Men are lovers of themselves. Immorality, perversion, violence, and covetousness will exceed our worst nightmares. One of the greatest dangers to the disciple is that of fretting. Every form of communication, the newspapers, radio, television, books, magazines, and now the Internet, will keep holding up before us the antics of Satan. This is what Satan desires. He hates to be ignored.

The Christian people are a lot like Lot. They are righteous at heart and deeply grieved and vexed over what people are doing. They see the injustice of those who will do anything to amass money no matter whom they harm. They see the cynical politician who would sell out his country if he and his family were promised safe conduct.

They see the average person making minimum wage or maybe as much as twelve dollars an hour with no medical benefits (and glad to get it!) when the doctors, lawyers, athletic stars, and heads of corporations make a million dollars or more a year and then lie so they can make even more money.

They see the criminals released to molest children, to rape and murder again and again. They see the monster who chops the arms off his victim and then have to listen to his lawyer howl about cruel and unusual punishment. They see the army of militant women who murder their own offspring in the name of "reproductive rights" (but how about the rights of the fetus?).

They see the endless jockeying for power in government at all levels while the needs of the constituents are often ignored. They see the United States being remade by people with an agenda that ordinary people do not even understand. The people are sick of it and yet there is little they can do without breaking the law.

Things are not going to get better, they are going to get worse. What is a Christian to do?

First of all we are not to fret ourselves. Fretting leads to sin. We are not to envy those who by stepping on other people advance themselves in the world. We have been commanded not to fret and we are not to fret. We have been commanded not to be envious of the evildoers and so we are not to be envious of them.

We have been commanded to think about things that are lovely and of good report and that is what we are to do. I am not speaking of a stupid, ignorant Pollyanna attitude. I am talking about resisting the devil who is determined we will take our eyes off Jesus and watch him instead.

When God commands us to do something we are to do it. If we find we are bound with fretting, envy, or negative thoughts, then we are to come before God in prayer until we get victory over these harmful emotions and attitudes.

You are not helping anything by fretting about evil. You are grieving the Lord and everyone around you. They do not enjoy hearing you talking about the young punks or the lesbians or the gays or the liberals or anything else you are stewing on.

My father-in-law was a strong Christian but he harmed himself. He let himself become bitter because of the selfishness of the management of the company he was working for. He was a truck driver.

God has not called us to publish the works of the devil but to walk with Jesus in the joyous heights of Zion.

If you can’t handle the garbage in the newspaper or on the television then throw the poison out. Nobody is making you read the paper or watch the television. Many Christians are sitting on the east bank of the Red Sea watching television so they can make sure the Egyptians are not getting away with anything.

When God has something constructive for you to do He will show you exactly how to proceed. In the meantime quit your fretting!

God is able to rest in us as we learn to rest in God.

November 12th

PSALMS 37:2

For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. (Psalms 37:2)

I remember as a boy the great pronouncements made by Mussolini and Hitler. Where are they now? What happened to all their boasting? Sin catches up to people.

Sometimes it seems the wicked will prosper forever. They increase more and more and yet those who know them know of the evil things they do. This continues for years. It appears there is no justice.

God has a way of waiting until He sees you have attained the peak of your desires, whether they are good or evil, before He reveals His judgment. Sometimes God waits until after the individual is dead. Some men’s sins are revealed beforehand. In other cases they follow after. But be sure of one thing. There is no act of righteousness or wickedness that goes unnoticed by the Lord. He gives both the righteous and the wicked plenty of space until He is certain of their character and intentions.

When the wicked individual really turns from his wickedness and begins to practice righteousness, God forgets about his wickedness. He is judged as a righteous person. Rejoice with God over a son who has returned home.

When the righteous individual turns from his righteousness and begins to practice wickedness, God forgets about his righteousness. He is judged as a wicked person.

No one gets away with anything. If we will cease our judging and trying to avenge ourselves God will avenge us. As long as we are attempting to exert our own justice God will not move. We have to let go of the situation. When we hang on to our bitter, vengeful attitude we keep ourselves and the object of our hatred in prison. Turn your problem over to God and let Him vindicate you. He may not bring forth your righteousness today because He is allowing the other fellow time to repent. And this is what you want anyway!

The wicked make loud noises now but tomorrow they will be stilled. The most boastful, arrogant of men will crawl like a worm before the Lord Jesus once that person sees the reality of the spirit realm. Physical trouble is trivial compared with that which faces the wicked in the next life.

There is no death there, no sleep, no unconsciousness, no way of escaping the grotesque creatures they have decided to join. There is no love, no joy, no child’s laughter, no saintly mother to make intercession. They have chosen Hell and into Hell they shall go.

There is a God in Heaven. He is holy and righteous. His justice is perfect and it always is exercised, although it may be slow coming according to our standard of time. It is not your responsibility to judge the wicked or to pay them back. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him. Let your thoughts be full of peace and joy. Learn to live in the "now."

No power of man can change the future. God holds the world in His hands. The nations are viewed as a drop in the bucket. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. God gives riches and power to whomever He chooses. Except the Lord build the city they labor in vain who attempt to construct it. Unless the Lord guards a country the watchman might as well go back to sleep.

God watches over Israel, over His elect. He wants them to live in righteousness, peace, and joy. He desires that they sing and dance in the heights of Zion and walk on the high places of Jacob. God intends that you find delight in Him. Maybe your world has just fallen apart. Maybe there is some wicked individual you can accurately blame for your personal disaster. Just know this. If you will go to God until He removes the turmoil from you, you will find His love and peace in the very worst of situations.

But if you lift your hand to punish evildoers (apart from the Lord’s specific and peaceful guidance) you will accomplish nothing except to destroy your own peace and joy.

Leave the wicked with God. He will take care of them in His time.

It is God's will that righteousness and praise fill the whole earth. They shall because these are the fruit borne by the saints when they are abiding in Christ.

November 13th

PSALMS 37:3

Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. (Psalms 37:3)

Trusting in the Lord is different from faith. When the Lord gives us faith we have the victory. When we do not have conquering faith we hang on by trust.

We trust in the Lord when everything is going the way we think it should and we trust in the Lord when we can’t figure out what is happening.

We know God is good. We know He is seeking our good. We know He understands our problems and concerns. We are certain He knows very well every detail of every day.

Do you care much for yourself? Tell me, how many hairs are there on your head? What? You don’t know? Well, God knows. So who cares the most for you?

God can be trusted to keep His Word. His promises are a mountain of granite that cannot be budged. His Word is a lighthouse that guides the storm-tossed, fogbound vessel away from the rocks.

We live in a crazy world. The things we have trusted in for years are changing. There are people in power over us we do not trust at all. Our values are being trampled underfoot.

One thing does not change, the Bible. It has stood for thousands of years. After man gets through playing God the Bible will remain unchangeable. When personal computers, satellites, and cloning are archaic concepts the Bible will be new, fresh, radical.

You want to be part of something eternal? Get hooked up with God. Give your life real significance.

Try to do some good each day. Ask God to help you do good. Go into the office or shop and pick out something good to do to somebody. Be a peacemaker. The world is full of troublemakers. Make peace among people and you will be called a son of God.

Unless God directs you otherwise, stay where you are and make it work. People move from place to place hoping to find their Utopia. You’ll never find it. Pastures only look greener from a distance because you are looking at the grass sideways.

You are in this world to learn certain lessons. When you move to another place the angels put your curriculum in their briefcases and move with you. Your lessons continue wherever you are. Only now you have to find a new barber, an auto mechanic you can trust, get a new telephone line and so forth. But the same old lessons continue as before.

Stay put! Did you ever eat fruit off a tumbleweed?

Trust God, keep on doing good, and dwell in the land. If you do this you will find that God will faithfully keep you. When you lay down at night the Lord will be your security.

Terrifying days are ahead. When we go to bed at night we will be filled with fear of what we are facing. Memorize the following verse. We will need it in days to come

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety. (Psalms 4:8)

"You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."

You may crawl into your warm bed at night; you may be in a narrow bunk on a ship; you may be sleeping under a tree in India; you may be on the floor in an overcrowded jail. It is all the same. Evil is always present but so is the Lord if you are trusting Him.

You can survive by depending on God’s faithfulness. Only the Lord can keep you safe—and He shall if you trust in Him, keep on doing good, and stay where God has put you.

God knows the details of your life; God cares about you; God is bringing you to joy; God has the power to bring you from where you are into perfect joy. God knows, God cares, God is bringing you to joy, God has the power to do this. To believe these four aspects of God is what faith is.

November 14th

PSALMS 37:4

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4)

Do you delight yourself in the Lord? Or is serving the Lord a pain in the neck? Remember, God opens His hand and satisfies the desires of all of His creatures. Eventually you will get what you truly want so be careful of the desires you have.

The Lord loves the person who rejoices and behaves righteously. "I delight to do Thy will." Do you delight to do God’s will or do you hate doing it?

The only truly free, fulfilled, and happy person in the universe is the one whose desires are the same as God’s desires.

When we start out in Christ we have to turn away from many things, situations, and relationships we fervently desire. This is not easy to do but absolutely necessary if we are to make any progress at all in the Christian life.

If we keep doing God’s will a change takes place in our personality. We find our thirst for righteousness is increasing. Soon it becomes an all-consuming passion—a craving to practice righteousness, to do God’s will, to be entirely pleasing to the Lord.

Little by little God’s desires become our desires. We learn by experience that when we go against what we perceive to be God’s desire for us we end up wishing we didn’t. God knows best and He has our good in mind.

If we are intelligent we finally get the point: "If you do what God wants you to do you become a happy person."

And so you begin to pray: "God, put Your desires in my heart. Make me want to do exactly what You want me to do—nothing else!"

God hears that prayer. He works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. Your will and God’s will for you become identical. Isn’t that neat? What release! What freedom!

The believer who chooses to maintain his or her own way before the Lord is in a miserable condition. He is bound by his fleshly, soulish desires and follows them. They lead, of course, to increased misery and more fleshly, soulish desires. He not only is laboring under condemnation but is making one unfortunate choice after another. This is the way many believers live—maybe most believers!

It is so much easier and nicer to delight yourself in the Lord.

When you delight yourself in the Lord He gives you the desires of your heart. Many of these desires do not come right away, but they certainly shall come, make no mistake about this.

There are two ways to get your desires. One is to take a shortcut. This is what Satan tried to get Jesus to do. The other is to take God’s way.

The interval of time between your desire and its fulfillment is where the saints are made. The Kingdom comes only through patience. The believer who finally succumbs to his fervent desires, figuring that God doesn’t care, or has forgotten, may seize what he wants but it will be ashes in his mouth before long.

The believer who refuses to yield but puts his hopes beyond the grave, places his treasures in Heaven, will change from an animal to a king with God.

Picture a well-trained dog, starved for three days, confronted with a juicy bone. The trainer watches him drool. Will he advance without the signal? If he does, the training is not complete and the dog may eventually prove to be worthless for any use except as a pet.

Is this what you want—to be someone’s pet?

Delight yourself in the Lord and wait for Him. You won’t be disappointed. When the desire comes it will be a tree of life and He will add no sorrow with it.

We are ripe for deception today because we are looking for spiritual experiences rather than keeping Christ's commandments and waiting patiently upon Him.

November 15th

PSALMS 37:5

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:5)

To commit our way to the Lord is to give every issue to Him for His solution.

Things come up in our life that are hard to figure out. We are supposed to go somewhere or do something, and then we hit an obstacle. Now what are we to do? We can keep on hammering away on the closed door. Sometimes we force it open and there in front of us is an empty room. Nothing we desire. God knew this was not what we wanted.

When the door you want doesn’t open, look around you. There may be another door that is open just a crack. Perhaps this is God’s will for you.

Brother Dowell used to say, "If you can’t get God to go your way why don’t you try going God’s way?"

We see people who are determined to have things their own way. Sometimes you see a wife who has decided what her husband should do or what he should be like. People counsel her to leave him with God. But no, she can’t let go. She nags, schemes, manipulates, does everything she can think of to conform her husband to the image she has in mind. But he remains immovable.

This goes on for years and years! You would think she would get the point—he is not going to change.

Much of life is like this. We determine what should be done and we are going to force the Lord and everyone else to do what we think best.

Maybe you are in this kind of position. You have been kicking at the door, pounding on it, beseeching God and all your friends, screaming, crying. Did it ever occur to you God might have a different idea?

Do you want your way or God’s way?

Friend, let me tell you something. God’s way is the best. Unless you just enjoy remaining a spiritual dwarf whose destiny is eternal misery, let go and let God have His wonderful way.

You are in the rest of God when you are flowing with the Godhead, when God’s thoughts, desires, words, and behaviors are your thoughts, desires, words, and behaviors. Does this sound like anything you want?

Then commit your way to the Lord. Pray the prayer of relinquishment, of committal.

Isaac means "laughter" they tell me. Do you know why Isaac was able to laugh? Because when someone wanted his well he gave it to them. He kept doing this until people quit bothering him.

Why don’t you commit your way to the Lord? I’ll tell you this: When two people get in an argument the more spiritual gives in. This doesn’t mean that you do what is wrong to please someone, it merely means you do not clutch fiercely what you desire.

When there is an issue go to God. Remain peaceful and teachable. God will bring about the best possible situation.

The same pain that causes the overcomer to grow in Christ results in bitterness, resentment, and hardness of heart in the nonovercomer, the defeated Christian.

November 16th

PSALMS 37:6

And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. (Psalms 37:6)

Have you ever been slandered? Have you ever been the subject of hatred, of bitterness, of criticism, of gossip? Has your good been attributed to evil motives? We are called to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and to share His sufferings. Slander and criticism are an important part of Christ’s sufferings. You have to be a mature Christian before you can successfully handle this kind of test.

King David experienced hatred and envy from his son, Absalom; Moses and Aaron from Korah; Jesus from the chief priests and elders.

God knows we do enough things wrong that it is not surprising people regard us with raised eyebrows. In this case we are getting what we deserve and should pray and ask God to help us give a better testimony. But when we are following the Lord closely and still are confronted with bitterness and accusations, that is a more difficult challenge. Our adamic nature wants to fight back. We occupy our thoughts with the perversity and meanness of those who slander us.

When I was in public-school work as an administrator there was some opposition. When I would come home and start talking about this one and that one my wife would say, "Bob, they’re getting to you." We knew the Lord well enough to know that God does not want us focusing on people who in our eyes are evil. This was good preparation for the ministry. Pastors and their wives are often accused unjustly. They are a target for Satan’s venom—Satan, the accuser of the brothers.

Immature congregations are an easy mark for the accuser. He soon finds a way to get them to take sides, to slander, to gossip. The Apostle Paul mentions this tendency and refers to it as immaturity and also as the works of the flesh.

Bitterness and division can be found in numerous Christian congregations. Yet we are called to love one another. It would be a lot easier without Satan trying to cause suspicion and hatred all the time.

What are you to do when the honeymoon is over and people discover that you didn’t come down from Heaven? You do what the Bible says. You commit your way to the Lord. You let Him justify you. This is what Jesus did! If we will look to the Lord He will fence our mind against the evil. He helps us get our thoughts up into the heavens with Him. Soon we find that the negative is gone out of our mind and we are rejoicing in the Lord.

God has not called us to fight people but to feed the Lord’s sheep. We can feed the sheep only as we ourselves are spiritually and emotionally healthy. We can stay spiritually and emotionally healthy by committing all people and situations to the Lord. Under no circumstances are we to seek to avenge ourselves or even to justify ourselves.

I like King David’s attitude toward Shimei, the man who cursed David as he fled from Absalom. Abishai offered to cut off Shimei’s head. But David said, "It may be that the Lord will look on my distress and will return good to me for his cursing this day." (Solomon took care of Shimei later.) David committed his way to the Lord instead of giving Abishai permission to kill Shimei on the spot.

Here is a lesson for all of us. When people curse us let us turn to the Lord instead of attempting to justify ourselves. This way we can keep a happy heart like Isaac. God will bring forth our righteousness as the light and our judgment as the noonday if we don’t avenge or justify ourselves. Let ’em have the well! I want the birds to keep singing in my heart. How about you?

If we go to God concerning someone who is causing trouble for us, and achieve victory with God, then we will achieve victory over our human circumstances.

November 17th

PSALMS 37:7

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalms 37:7)

To be able to rest in the Lord and to wait patiently for Him—this is the mark of Christian maturity as I see it.

One cannot possibly enter the Kingdom of God apart from the exercise of considerable patience. We pray, do the will of God, and then wait! wait! wait!

Satan tempts us to jump off the gable of the Temple. Satan urges us to come down from the cross. "Come down you fool. Can’t you see everyone is prospering except you?"

Lately there has been a rash of teaching that we can have what we want now if we will exercise "faith." This teaching is so opposed to the way of God that it is not worth further discussion.

We enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation. Tribulation works patience. Patience works its perfect work in us.

God did not put us in this world to be happy but to learn the ways of God. This fact is not widely understood. People seek happiness when they should be seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. One cannot pursue happiness in this world without losing his integrity, without betraying other people, without sinning against God.

God wants us to be happy and we shall know the fullness of joy at His right hand. But first we must come to know the Lord. If we would know the Lord we must submit to His rending and tearing of us and then the bandaging and healing. There is no other way to get acquainted with God.

When we decide to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him we find ourselves surrounded with people who are prospering far more than we. Yet they sometimes are bending the rules. We place ourselves at a disadvantage by waiting for God. Others charge ahead "doing God’s work."

We are not speaking of passivity. Waiting on the Lord is not a passive state in which we sit around waiting for "the Spirit to move us." The person that takes this approach will soon find himself in classic deception, unable to make a clear decision about anything.

Rather we are referring to praying and waiting until we are pretty sure we know what God wants. Even then we can be deceived and so we must move cautiously, watching carefully to see what kind of fruit our action is bearing.

Joshua’s one mistake was not to seek the Lord in what seemed to him to be an obvious decision. There is no such thing as an obvious decision. The Christian who takes something for granted without asking the Lord will soon wish he hadn’t.

And so here we are, waiting patiently on the Lord while others rush about, planning their own way, applying the principles of "church growth."

Our church is small enough that I know everyone by name, even the little children. This is the best part of being a pastor. How could you do this if you had two thousand people? I expect the Lord would make it work somehow.

The Lord said He would build His own Church. Either He will or He won’t.

I’m betting He will. Others can play church politics if they want to. They can slander, cause division, seek their own glory. They certainly appear to prosper while doing this.

But I like a church regardless of its size where there is simple down-home integrity and love. Others can make a big splash but I have decided to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

I wonder what He will do!

Because Jacob would not let go of God, God met him and answered his prayer. This is what we call "praying through." We pray until we know God has heard and answered prayer.

November 18th

THE RISING OF THE DAY STAR

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

Peter was with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. He heard the voice of the Father bearing witness of Jesus.

Now Peter is speaking of "a more sure word of prophecy."

What could be more sure than the voice of God from the bright cloud?

Only one thing—the written Word of God.

Peter says we do well that we pay attention to the Scriptures.

All Christians chorus, "Oh yes, we must pay attention to the Scriptures. They are the very Word of God. We hold resolutely to the plenary verbal inspiration of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Oh yes indeed!"

But we do not do it.

Why don’t we pay attention to the Scriptures?

Because we have been taught we do not have to do what they command because we are saved by grace and not by works or righteousness we have done.

If we have no intention of obeying the commands of the New Testament, why do we bother to read it?

We have changed the Great Commission. The Great Commission commands us to go to every nation, make disciples, and teach them to keep Christ’s commandments including His commandments given through His Apostles.

We absolutely do not do this.

To us the Great Commission is, "Go to every nation. Get souls saved. Tell them they are saved by grace and do not have to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. Tell them they are to go out and tell other souls they can be saved by grace without keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. And build churches and bring as many people into them as you can so they can learn they are saved by grace and do not have to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles."

Am I right or wrong? If I am right somebody ought to do something about it instead of business as usual.

The bottom line is, the Christians do not keep Christ’s commandments. Is this God’s will? No. Is this Satan’s will? Definitely yes.

Well let’s see. Did Christ give us any commandments? Yes, He assuredly did.

Name one if you please.

"Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you."

Now, are we supposed to do this or not?

"Well it would be nice if we did but we are saved by grace and not by works of righteousness we have done."

We are certainly making Christ out to be a fool who gave us commandments we are not supposed to keep!

Let me point out to you, Christ said, "He who endures to the end shall be saved." The footnotes of my Bible, a popular edition, say it is not necessary for us to endure to the end because we are saved by an unconditional grace.

God said He who endures to the end shall be saved.

A religious experience is worse than worthless if it does not result in righteous, holy, obedient behavior. People love the gifts of God. God loves the fruit of the Spirit.

November 19th

THE RISING OF THE DAY STAR, continued

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)

Brother, Sister, we have come to a time of profound apostasy due to an erroneous understanding of Divine grace.

We might as well throw out the four Gospels because we can safely ignore the commandments of Christ. This includes discarding the need for being born again because this requirement is found in the Gospel of John.

We should get rid of the Great Commission on two counts. First, it is found in the Gospel of Matthew (which safely can be ignored). Second, the Great Commission commands us to keep Christ’s commandments. Since we do not have to keep Christ’s commandments we can forget the Great Commission because we are saved by grace and not by keeping Christ’s commandments. It doesn’t matter anyway because we have corrupted the Great Commission.

I’m having fun writing this. I hope you are enjoying reading it.

My opinion is that we are absolutely bound by all the commandments of Christ and His Apostles and if we do not keep them we do not love the Lord and we have about as much chance of the Day Star rising in our heart as we do of jumping over the moon.

So much for the current destruction of the Gospels and the Great Commission. Let’s see if we have better luck with the Epistles.

Are there any commandments in the Epistles? Yes, several hundred.

Name one.

"Present your body a living sacrifice to God."

What if I don’t do this, will I still go to Heaven? I don’t know about Heaven but I think you have about as much chance of having the approval of Christ as a snowball in the Sahara Desert in the summer.

"Well I don’t care about the approval of Christ just as long as I get to Heaven."

That’s about the attitude today.

What stupid men the Apostles were. Here they gave all of these commandments knowing the believers do not have to keep them because they are saved by grace and not by works of righteousness they have done.

People, we have been deceived on the grand scale. Christian doctrine is not only not building up the believers into the image of Christ, it is steering them in the wrong direction. We have silly spiritual babies who know nothing of the severity of God, waiting to be caught up to Heaven in an unscriptural "rapture."

Big trouble is close at hand. There will be no rapture. The Lord impressed me recently to begin to teach the Psalms because they will hold us steady throughout the age of horrors, the Gentile holocaust that is on the horizon.

We all better set our house in order because destruction is on the way.

I don’t enjoy raining on the Christian parade (you lose fellowship that way) but I have to do it. Jesus has commanded me to feed His sheep and that includes warning them when the wolf is at the door.

God is looking for fruit, the moral image of His Son. When He does not find it coming forth on that which He has planted there is trouble.

November 20th

THE RISING OF THE DAY STAR, continued

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

We fundamentalists are wrong! wrong! wrong in our teaching of grace. Grace is not an alternative to keeping God’s commandments. What have we been thinking of?

Now we have a nation of Christians who have been taught they do not have to keep God’s commandments. Brother, they are doing exactly as they have been taught. Thank God for the recent revival of repentance. When you hear the confessions of the Christians, leaders and congregations alike, you will realize they have not been keeping Christ’s commandments. They have had bad teaching!

Let’s look at our verse again.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

How do we keep the "more sure word of prophecy"? By going before the Throne of Grace and getting help in our time of need.

Christ commanded us to bless our enemies. How do we do that when it is so difficult? By praying and asking God to help us. He indeed will help us. Some of the Virtue of Christ on the cross will flow into our life and we will be able, as He, to forgive those who harm us, to pray for our enemies.

The Apostle Paul commanded us to present our body a living sacrifice. How do we do that when our adamic nature is whining like the spoiled brat it is?

We go to the Throne of Grace and get help from God. God sends His Holy Spirit and the first thing you know we have the desire and strength to hold up our body before God as a sacrifice that we might prove His will for our life. This is our reasonable service of worship.

How do we keep all the commandments of Christ? By living as a Christian should and asking God for help in Jesus’ name.

How do we keep all the commandments of the Apostles? By living as a Christian should and asking God for help in Jesus’ name.

What if we don’t keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles?

In this case we are not a Christian, a disciple. We may be a church-attender but we most assuredly are not a Christian.

Our destiny is outer darkness. We have buried our talent.

God’s wrath and the severity of His judgments are not constrained by American sentimentality. Be sure you understand this. You are facing an Oriental Monarch not a weak politician who is trying to get the people to love him and who is afraid of lawyers and public opinion.

By "a more sure word of prophecy" Peter was referring to the Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament. That’s all they had at that time, but I am sure God also counts the New Testament writings as Scripture.

We hear Christians saying the Old Testament does not apply to us. They are mistaken. Except for the covenantal statutes of the Law of Moses, such as circumcision and the dietary laws, the Old Testament is the very foundation on which we are to build.

In fact, Peter tells us that the Prophets were not speaking to their own generation but to the Christian people.

All people, Christians and non-Christians alike, know that God is righteous and whoever would walk with God must be righteous. Alas! The Christian salvation has become a mental concept, the idea being that a Christian is one who has knowledge of and has assented to the atonement and the lordship of the Lord Jesus.

November 21st

THE RISING OF THE DAY STAR, continued

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27)

The things and incidents of the Old Testament were written for our instruction. They are a light shining in a dark place. How is it true then that the Old Testament does not apply to us? If the Old Testament does not apply to us then forget about the 23rd and 91st Psalms.

We have unscriptural teaching today!

The commandments of the Old Testament and the New Testament concern righteous, holy behavior and obedience to God. We are to keep all of these commandments by the wisdom and power of the grace God gives to us. They are a light shining in a dark place. This is true also of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit.

All of the blessings and graces of God lead to one thing: the rising of the Day Star in our heart.

We are to keep the commandments of God by the help God gives us—much greater help now than was true under any preceding covenant.

However, keeping the commandments of God is not the new covenant but leads us to the new covenant.

I hope you took note of the preceding sentence for it is the heart of what we are saying to you.

The new covenant is the rising of the Day Star in our heart.

We spoke in a previous essay of the two day stars. Jesus Christ is a day star and Satan (Lucifer) is a day star. Both day stars speak of the new age to come.

The New Agers refer to the new age as "the Age of Aquarius," the age of the water bearer. Their God is Lucifer.

Jesus Christ refers to the new age as the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ God is the Father.

Both day stars have their throne in the heart of man.

Now you have to make up your mind which day star you wish to follow, whom you want in your heart. Lucifer is offering you the water of moral filth. Jesus Christ is offering you the water of eternal life.

Deep in your heart you want either Satan or Jesus. You are going to get what you want so rejoice.

Some poor soul will think, "I really want Jesus but I think in my heart I want Satan." If you are in this condition ask God to make you want to want Jesus. God will work with your "want to wants." The truth is you really do want Jesus but you recognize the depravity of your fallen nature. Dp not fear! God will pull you up out of the slime if you ask Him to.

All those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled. This is the promise of God.

If we are to enter the new covenant we must keep God’s commandments. We have to do this in our adamic nature as God’s grace enables us. God will make it possible for us to do what He has commanded us if we will pray, read the Bible, confess our sins and turn away from them, serve, give, seek the gifts of the Spirit, assemble with fervent Christians, and do all else that is part of the life of the disciple.

But keeping God’s commandments in our adamic nature by His grace is not the new covenant. The new covenant is the rising of the Day Star in our heart. However we will never enter the new covenant, the rising of the Day Star, except as we by God’s help keep His commandments. We will not be entrusted with the greater except as we are faithful in the lesser.

Numerous Christians of our day are expecting to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant" when they die and face the Lord. But their goodness and their faithfulness are all in the legal state of imputed (ascribed) righteousness. They have not lived as the bondslaves of the Lord Jesus.

November 22nd

THE RISING OF THE DAY STAR, continued

For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. (Isaiah 2:12-18)

"Until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts."

"Until the day dawn."

The "day" is the Day of the Lord.

As we through the Spirit keep the commandments of God the day of the Lord dawns in our heart. We say day with a lower case "d" to distinguish that which dawns in our heart from the worldwide Day of the Lord that will fill the creation.

The day of the Lord in our heart is that condition of our personality where the Lord alone is exalted. We have to go through much tribulation, much chastening, before all the works and pleasures of the flesh—all of our "dead works"—are brought under the feet of Jesus Christ.

The cedars of Lebanon (the passage above) that are high and lifted up, the oaks of Bashan, the high mountains, the hills that are lifted up, the high towers, the fenced walls, the ships of Tarshish, the pleasant pictures, are all speaking of aspects of the human heart.

The idols must be utterly abolished.

To be in the place where the Lord alone is exalted in your heart is to experience the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles. It is to be in the rest of God.

All the worldliness, lusts of the flesh, and self-will have to be brought down and Christ exalted in us.

As we seek to keep the commandments of God, through His enabling grace, the day of the Lord rises in us. We are to do all in our power to work with the Holy Spirit as He brings down every idol and exalts the Lord Jesus. He must increase but we must decrease.

When Jesus appears those in whom the day of the Lord has been formed will go throughout the creation. This is how the Day of the Lord will come to the earth. It will not drop down from Heaven it will proceed from within the saints.

We can see at a glance that those who have wasted their time, not following hard after Christ in total discipleship, will not be raised to appear with Jesus. They still are part of the problem. The Day of the Lord cannot be brought to the earth through them, obviously.

In the physical universe the planet Venus, the day star, heralds the new day. Spiritually it is Christ being formed in us who is the biblical Day Star announcing the great Day of the Lord, the day when the Lord alone is exalted.

Christ is entering the members of His Body in the present hour, preparing each of us for the fullness of God. He is casting out what does not belong in the eternal Temple of God, in the Wife of the Lamb.

November 23rd

THE RISING OF THE DAY STAR, continued

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

God will not dwell in human flesh. Christ must be formed in us first. Then Christ and God Themselves come and dwell in the new creation that has been formed in us.

Notice how the new covenant operates. When we first come to the Lord He forgives our sins. He puts a part of Himself in us and we are born again of the incorruptible Seed. He touches us with a deposit of the Holy Spirit that is the eternal Life of God in us. Now we have the authority (the blood of Christ) and the wisdom and power of God (the Holy Spirit) to enter the Kingdom of God, which is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.

It also is true that the Divine Life of Christ has been conceived in us. Something has been born in us.

Now all the grace God has given us goes into action. We have access to the Holy of Holies in Heaven. We have the written testimony of the Apostles. We have the fellowship of fervent believers. We have the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit to bring us to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The goal is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God, the rest of God, is Christ Himself. He is the Resurrection, the eternal Life, the Kingdom, the Rest, the complete and perfect Goal toward which we are to be pressing.

Each day a portion of evil and a portion of Divine good is placed before us. It is up to our adamic man to be willing to choose to overcome the evil with the Divine good.

If we indeed have a faithful and good heart and fight the good fight of faith our adamic nature will be weakened that day and a corresponding growth of Christ will occur. It is the growth of Christ that is the Kingdom, the eternal house of God. It is the growth of Christ that is itself the new covenant, the engraving of the Word of God in our mind and heart.

First we keep the commandments of God by the help the Lord gives us. Then as Christ is formed in us we begin to keep the commandments of God by nature, by the Divine Nature that is being formed in us.

The Divine Nature does not sin and cannot sin.

Our adamic nature drinks sin and rebellion like water. God is not reforming our adamic nature but crucifying it. As our adamic nature is crucified the very resurrection Life of Christ is developed in us. Now we are able to keep God’s commandments easily and naturally.

The new covenant is not an excuse to sin. The new covenant frees us from the old by substituting a new law, the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

We are crucified with Christ. Nevertheless we live. Yet it is not we who are living but Christ who is living in us. Even though the Law of Moses no longer has jurisdiction over us we still do not transgress the moral law of God. We do not sin because the new Nature of Christ in us does not and cannot sin.

The Book of Hebrews is a stern warning to experienced Christians against the danger of falling back into sin. The goal of our salvation is that we may be changed into the moral image of Jesus Christ and arrive at untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.

November 24th

THE RISING OF THE DAY STAR, continued

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Each believer is at some point on a continuum between the fullness of the adamic nature and the fullness of Christ. As we move away from the fullness of the adamic nature and toward the fullness of Christ we increasingly are able to overcome worldliness, lust, and self-will. In the meanwhile the blood of the cross keeps us without condemnation.

When the Lord returns He will remove from your personality the last vestiges of worldliness, the lusts of the flesh, self-seeking and self-will. Then you will be clothed with a new body that has been formed by your patiently putting to death the deeds of your body through the Holy Spirit. How you will rejoice as you find in your new body a total rejection of sin and an embracing of righteousness! This is your reward for fighting against sin under the handicaps of life on earth.

Let not the lukewarm Christian think he will receive such a body of righteousness! He has sown to his flesh and he will reap corruption. He has not been faithful in the least and will not be entrusted with the greater.

There are two aspects of Christ in us. The first is the forming of Christ in us, which has to do with the creation of the Divine Nature in our personality. The second is the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in that new creation, that house, that has been formed in us.

If we love Christ we will keep His words. As we keep the words of Christ His Divine nature is formed in us. This is a new creation, a re-creation of what we are in personality.

The purpose of this re-creation is to provide a dwelling place for God the Father through Christ. This is the meaning of "In My Father’s house are many rooms." Each Christian is to be a room, a living stone in the Father’s house, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone. This is why you are subjected to continual pressures. The Spirit of God is forming you, preparing you to be the throne of God and His Christ.

Never, never, never give up. You are destined to be the dwelling place to the King of all kings. Your end will be glorious if you don’t quit. When Jesus appears His kings will appear with Him. They are filled with God in Christ and will go about releasing the creation from the curse of futility and corruption. They will bring the saved nations into the liberty that always accompanies the glory of the children of God.

Search the Scriptures and see if what we have written is true. If so, forget the sorry example set by so many churches. They will only drag you down. Go for God with all your might. Set your house in order. We don’t have too long in America.

A new day is dawning. It is Christ in us. When Christ has dawned in us a new day will dawn in the world. We are approaching the morning of the Day of the Lord. The path of those who are keeping God’s commandments will shine until the glorious radiance of the rainbow Throne appears on the horizon, the army of the Lord stands at attention, and the angelic chorus thunders the Good News: "The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our God and of His Messiah and He shall reign forever and ever. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!"

It does no good to restore a man to Paradise until you get Satan out of the man.

November 25th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 1:3)

It is a marvel to me there isn’t more preaching on Revelation, Chapters Two and Three. Maybe it’s because these two chapters are a love letter to the Bride and those who are merely church-attenders are blind and deaf to it.

Here we have the rewards, the goals of our salvation. They are spelled out for us.

We have made our own goals such as eternal residence in a mansion doing nothing, a harp (are you fond of harps?), golden slippers (they hurt the feet), and acres of diamonds. It’s funny that none of these appear here as rewards to the overcomer. Maybe they are the rewards to the nonovercomer, the defeated believer.

The main idea of these two ignored chapters is that salvation is expressed in works. The Lord keeps talking about works.

"Oh, now Reverend Thompson is saying we are saved by works." No, Reverend Thompson is not saying we are saved by works. Reverend Thompson is saying if we really are saved we are going to obey God’s commandments.

If we are Christians we are supposed to act like it.

Revelation Two and Three are about righteous behavior. If you behave righteously you will sit on the throne. If you don’t you stand in danger of being blotted from the Book of Life. The Lord doesn’t talk about your faith but about your works.

Maybe this is why the two chapters are ignored. They don’t fit current theology.

I will now quit speaking of righteous behavior and get to the point of this essay—the rewards to the victorious saint.

First I better talk about what it means to be a conqueror, an overcomer, a victorious saint, a winner. The opposite is to be a loser, a defeated believer.

Each day there is something God wants you to do. If you are doing it, you are an overcomer. If you are not doing it, you are a loser. (And you thought you were going to hear something profound!)

We get talked out of our assurance. We are convinced no one could ever do God’s perfect will. Of course you can do God’s perfect will. It is Satan, not God, that you never can please.

So we walk around with a guilty conscience, afraid if we hear from God He will tell us to do some fantastic thing impossible to us. Satan is running a bluff on us.

Right now, before you go to work, tell God today you, with His help, are going to do His perfect will. "Show me what to do and with Your help I will do it."

Now the ball is in God’s court.

Do what He tells you to do. He will help you. Now you are an overcomer, a victorious saint, a winner. That wasn’t so painful was it?

Tomorrow you have to do the same thing. And the next day. And the next for eternity.

Satan tries to make it complicated but actually all there is to it is what we just said.

When we walk in the light of God's will for our life, then we have fellowship with the Father and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.

November 26th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (Revelation 2:5)

Notice the emphasis on works in the above verse!

He who overcomes is the Christian who is living in the center of God’s will. Through the Spirit of God he has fought successfully against Satan, the pull of the world, the lusts of his flesh, and his self-will and personal ambition.

The Christian discipleship is a race, a fight. Only those who call on the Lord frequently have any chance of staying in the center of God’s will.

The fact is, however, that any believer can choose to stay in God’s will. There is no power that can take us out of God’s will if this is where we are determined to be.

Another point of confusion in our day is the need for overcoming, for living victoriously in the Lord. The overcomers are not super Christians. They are the true Christians. Those who are leading careless lives, not being careful to gain the victory over the world, sin, and self-will are not Christians at all. They are church-attenders but not Christians, not disciples of the Lord.

We have millions of believers in America who are not genuine Christians although they regard themselves as such. They think when they die they will find themselves in the new Jerusalem. They won’t. They will find themselves in some level of the spirit realm with others like themselves. Whether or not they will be saved into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ remains to be seen. They will be judged carefully according to their works.

The true Christians are those who each day are gaining the upper hand over sin. This every Christian can do through the Virtue of Christ. It is not God’s will that we lose the fight. The rewards go to the conquerors.

God will work patiently with the weak. God loves His disabled children just as earthly parents do and helps them endlessly.

But the unwillingness or inability of American Christians to get serious with Christ is not chiefly due to emotional weakness (such as a woman who was molested as a child), or spiritual ignorance (we had no opportunity to read the Bible), or even spiritual immaturity (we had no time to grow in Christ). Our problem is neglect of Christ and fascination with material things. We are permitting materialism to destroy our spiritual life.

American Christians often are smug, self-satisfied, rejecting any suggestion that they are not perfectly saved through grace and on their way toward endless bliss in Heaven. They are mistaken. They don’t know the Lord and He doesn’t know them.

It is a time for national repentance! We are profoundly confused!

The overcomers, as we have said, are not super Christians. They merely are Christians.

Please note: The promises to the overcomer are not the promises to the professed Christian. They are for the overcomer alone, not for the professing believer who claims to be "saved by grace."

The mixed multitudes in the Christian churches have been promised they will "rule and reign" (sic) with Christ. They are not fit to rule with Christ and will not rule with Christ. It is cruel to lead the blind into the ditch.

They can’t govern their own personality today and they are to govern nations in the future? Whatever happened to common sense?

The thought of the silly believers of today governing the nations is ridiculous. Talk about star wars! We would have galactic confrontations as self-seeking, lukewarm believers exercised the unlimited authority and power of Jesus Christ.

November 27th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

One of our problems, as we have noted before, is that we view salvation as being only that which we experienced when we first accepted Christ. In actuality salvation occurs at a specific point in the past, is a continuing experience, and will climax with the coming of the Lord.

It is true we receive eternal life when we first come to Christ. But it is a deposit on that which is to come. One of our primary tasks as a Christian is to sow to that life, to lay hold on it, to allow it to lead us to complete victory over sin.

We will receive the fullness of life when the Lord returns and makes alive our mortal body.

It also is true that we can kill that which we have been given. We can lose our resurrection life. This is what Paul means when he teaches that if we through the Spirit put to death the deeds of our body we will live. But if we choose to live in the appetites of the flesh we will die.

This is what Paul means when he states the wages of sin is death. He is speaking to Christians.

This is what Paul means when he says, she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives.

We Christians have been taught in America we will not surely die even if we do not put away our sin. We have been taught a lie. We will surely die spiritually if we choose to live in the flesh and soul.

We must eat of the tree of life continually. Each day a portion of evil and a portion of Divine good is set before us. (I know I have said this several times previously and may keep on saying it. We need to understand what we are doing with our life.)

We can choose to yield to the evil. If we do we will start to die spiritually. We can choose to use the Divine help to overcome the evil. If we do we will be given to eat of the tree of life. Every time we overcome sin we are given to eat of the tree of life.

God wants us to be filled, filled, filled with eternal life. Straight is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life and few find it.

When we sow to our flesh we reap corruption. When we sow to the Spirit of God we reap eternal life.

You want to see three-dimensional eternal life? Watch some Christian in your assembling who is praying, forgiving, serving, and getting the victory over sin each day.

You want to see three-dimensional corruption? Watch some believer in your assembling who is partying, gossiping, criticizing, stabbing others in the back, promoting division, slandering, seeking preeminence.

We don’t have to wait until we die. We can see eternal life, and corruption and death, played out before us each day.

Are you bitter? You are living in spiritual death. Are you seeking the Lord for every decision, forgiving those who seek to harm you, trusting God continually? You are living in eternal life.

There are believers who are doctrinally sound, positive they have eternal life. But they hate their brother. They have no eternal life. No murderer has eternal life.

Eternal life is not a legal state God attributes to us because we believe in Christ. Eternal life is the Divine, incorruptible Life of God in Jesus Christ in the person who is doing God’s will.

He who does the will of God abides forever.

The new covenant is being preached today as the Divinely ordained means of escaping the Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping. It is taught that grace is an unconditional pardon, and as long as we believe in Christ we can sow sin and reap the fruits of righteousness. We have aborted the intentions of God.

November 28th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Revelation 2:10,11)

The Lord talks to the church in Smyrna about being in prison.

More often than not, it seems, the Lord permits Satan to put us in some kind of prison. The purpose of the prison is that we may be tested.

The Lord allowed Satan to put Job in a prison of poverty and physical suffering. In addition to his physical agony Job also suffered from the fact he did not understand the reason for his trouble.

Maybe you are in a prison today. It seems you are shut up and cannot come forth. You are not receiving the desires of your heart. Your future grows increasingly bleak.

Yet you have tried to be a good Christian. You have made every effort to maintain a Christian home, to raise your children according to the Bible. Now the roof has caved in on you and there is no explanation.

The Lord is extremely ingenious in designing our prison. Satan thinks he is having his way, as in the case of Job. But the Lord knew from the beginning the wonderful change that would take place in Job, how he would prosper in the end, how many people would be helped by his testimony.

Satan thought he was going to have someone to join with him in rebelling against God. Satan hoped to turn a righteous man into a hater of God. But God knew what would happen and so He let Satan attack Job.

God always is ahead of Satan.

What kind of prison are you in? The Lord is testing your integrity. If it actually is God who is allowing you to be boxed in, then you cannot escape without sacrificing your integrity, without breaking your vows, without sinning against God.

The main purpose of life on earth is not to make us happy but to teach us righteousness and the knowledge of God.

If you will stay patiently in your prison until God lets you out, even until death if necessary, you will receive the crown of life. This means you not only will have eternal life but the authority and power of eternal life to enable you to govern the area given to you. The reward is rulership.

Also, you cannot be harmed by the second death. The reason for this is that you have already died. You were faithful to death in your prison. Your self-will died there as you waited patiently for the Lord.

The sins that the Lake of Fire governs, the timidity, the lying, the immorality, died with your self-will. Now if you were immersed in the Lake of Fire there would be nothing left to burn.

The holy fire that God Is consumes all that is not found in His Son. Staying put in God’s prison will make you fireproof.

Stay there! Stay there! Stay there! You will be everlastingly glad you did for true saints are made in the fire of suffering and denial.

God will not be the means to any man's ends. When God Himself is not our goal our values have been perverted.

November 29th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (Revelation 2:17)

Again the accent is on works. "I know your works." "You hold fast my name." "You have not denied my faith." "You have them who hold the doctrine of Balaam" (this involved things sacrificed to idols, and fornication). "You have them who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans." Whatever the teaching of the Nicolaitans was, it was their practices that Christ hates.

"Repent!" Repent means to turn away from what you are doing and go in some other direction.

If we are not willing to repent Christ will fight against us with the sword of His mouth, that is, with His Word. This is what is taking place today. Christ is fighting against the Christians in America with His Word. It is time to repent!

"To him who overcomes."

Can you see that the issue facing Christians is what they do, how they act? If the Divine salvation consisted of an unconditional forgiveness of sins past, present, and future (as is taught today), the admonitions of Christ in the Book of Revelation would be irrelevant. It is no wonder these two chapters are not preached more often!

How could Christ hold some things against us if God saw us only through Christ or if we were forgiven unconditionally? Truly today’s Christian teaching is "another gospel."

The member of the church in Pergamos who follows Christ with a pure heart will be given some of the hidden manna to eat, a white stone, and a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the person receiving it.

These rewards sound mystical but they actually are very present and practical. All of the rewards to the overcomer are steps in attaining to the first resurrection from the dead. They are rights and abilities that give access to closeness to God and opportunities for service in His kingdom.

The hidden manna is the body and blood of Christ. It is hidden from the nominal Christian. It is Divine wisdom, life, and strength given only to those who are fighting the Lord’s battles, who are doing His will in every matter.

The white stone is a voting pebble signifying that the person receiving it has passed from the ranks of the called to the company of the chosen—chosen because he has turned aside from all else and has elected to serve Christ.

The new name is given to the new person we have become in Christ. The old adamic nature, that bearing our first name, is forever gone (thank God!). The new nature formed in us receives its proper name.

The new name is known only to the person receiving it. Overcoming is a highly personal matter. It is never "to them who overcome." You cannot bring wife or husband, son or daughter with you.

What Christ has done in your life is the heavenly romance wrought in the dens of leopards, on the mountains of spices. You do not and cannot share with another that which Christ has made you and the name He has given the new creation. Maybe later but not now unless you wish to invite scorn and mockery.

It is our understanding that the unity of the faith has to do with our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, our grasp upon His Person, our abiding in Him, not so much our agreement on points of doctrine.

November 30th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. (Revelation 2:18,19)

Notice how our nice, little, gentle Jesus appears to this sinful assembling: "eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze." Why do we never see this picture of Christ in a Bible book store?

Whenever we sin this is how Christ comes to us. Revelation is written to Christians, not to the secular society.

Christ knows our works, our love, our service, our faith, our patience, and again our works. Works, works, works, not grace, grace, grace.

Christ has something against us. We permit the teaching of fornication and the eating of things sacrificed to idols.

Two of the great idols of America are fornication and professional sports. We see churches where the Pastor, because of fear of the people, mixes the important games with the church service. The "believers" sit in the assembling with their transistor radios listening to the Super Bowl.

Let me hasten to tell you that engaging in the worship of the spoiled brats (so some of them are proving to be, starting in high school) who are naturally talented in sports is not what the Bible means by redeeming the time.

Do you think the Lord Jesus Christ is pleased when the believers in the affluent nations are occupied with football, baseball, basketball, and soccer when much of the world is starving to death spiritually and physically?

If you think He is you don’t know Him.

God is giving us Christians in America a few years to repent. If we do not, disaster shall overtake our nation.

All who follow Jezebel (worldly Christianity) will be killed with spiritual death. Christ shall give to every believer according to his or her works. Ignore the warning of Revelation at your peril.

There is a remnant today who have not been living in fornication and idolatry, they have not known the supposed depths of Satan. Christ will not add to their burden but they are to hold fast what they have until He appears.

If we keep Christ’s works to the end of our life on earth (no retirement from serving Christ is permitted!) we will be given authority over the nations. Through Christ we will break their resistance to pieces.

Who wants this kind of authority and power? I do. I want to stop the killing of babies, among other things. I want to stop the abuse and prostituting of children for another. I want to close down the institutions of learning that lead our young people astray. If I remain faithful to Christ I will have that kind of authority and power when the Lord returns, and somewhat today through prayer.

If we are to rule we need the morning star. The morning star is Christ in us heralding the new day of His Kingdom. No believer living in his adamic nature is going to be "raptured" into Heaven and then return at a later time to govern nations. Only those in whom the Morning Star has been formed and is dwelling are authorized and competent to rule with Christ.

Grace is to be preached to the unsaved. Keeping God's commandments is to be preached to the Christians. To preach keeping God's commandments to the unsaved will only frustrate them. To preach too much grace to Christians can destroy their moral strength.

December 1st

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:4,5)

Sardis had a name that it was living because it was growing rapidly, the people were enthusiastic, new programs were being added continually, the music was upbeat. It was an exciting place to go on Sunday morning and was filled with bright, happy faces.

The ideal church we would say. A dead church the Lord says.

Why was it dead? Because the activities were not coming from God but from the energy, wisdom, and talents of the flesh. It was an animated corpse propped up by busy believers. It taught sound doctrine but sound doctrine is not life!

Christ was troubled about the (you guessed it) works, of the assembling in Sardis. Christ advised them to remember what they had received originally and to repent of charging off in their own strength.

He then told this apparently large assembling they had a few people who were keeping their robes clean (walking in righteousness). They were eligible to walk with Christ in the white robes of the royal priesthood.

But what about the majority of church attenders in the "living" church in Sardis? What about the majority in your church?

He who conquers the fleshly works of Sardis, going back to the ways of the Spirit, of prayer and holiness, will be clothed in white so he can always be with the Lord in the work of the priesthood. His name will remain in the Book of Life.

The majority of believers will have no such privilege. They stand in danger of having their name removed from the Book of Life. They cannot be certain of their eternal destiny until they stand before Christ and His conquerors at the white throne.

The name of the victorious Christian will be confessed before the Father and His angels but the name of the defeated Christian will not be confessed before the Father and His angels.

Any believer can be an overcomer if he or she chooses. It means merely that you do God’s will at all times. If you are weak call on the Lord endlessly until you gain victory.

But if you hang back in self-pity, telling yourself and everyone around you that you are unworthy and cannot make it and it’s no use, guess what? You are defeating yourself. No one feels sorry for you. God can bring any soul no matter how messed up to perfect victory. But God can do nothing with those who judge themselves unworthy of the Kingdom.

The first class of people in the Lake of Fire are the timid!

You better quit feeling sorry for yourself. Think about the Son of God on the cross of Calvary and get busy serving Christ. This is serious business!

The army is not going to wait while you are pouting and plead with you to get on your horse.

No human being can become a warrior, a saint, a "mighty man of valor," by imputation (ascribed mightiness).

December 2nd

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

Philadelphia was one of the better churches as measured by its works.

Christ appeared to this church as the Holy and True, the Holder of the Key of David, the One with the authority and power to open and shut regardless of the efforts of people.

Maybe we are in this church today. Maybe the emphasis today is on holiness and truth.

We do see in the churches what may be an unprecedented emphasis on binding and loosing in the Spirit. But holy behavior and truth must come first if we are to avoid the spirit of the False Prophet.

The power of Christ must never be exercised apart from the moral image of Christ.

We don’t have to worry about the doors for missionary work being closed. The problem today is with the churches. When we repent and begin to live righteously, seeking the Presence of the Lord instead of running off to try to do the work of the Kingdom in our own strength, every door will open that Christ wants open.

There are numerous people in our churches who have every appearance of being "Jews," that is, members of God’s elect. (We are not speaking of Jews by race.)

Peter and Jude have much to say about the deceivers among us. When Jude speaks of the Lord coming with His army of saints to judge the wicked he is referring to the wicked in the churches. Check the context!

We do not like to think about it but just about every Christian assembling has Korahs and Absaloms in it.

As John says, they go out from us because they never were of us. Socially this is very difficult to adjust to. Let me tell you this. The people who will remain in your assembling, if it really is an assembling of the Lord, are those who are related to Christ and His Word. All who are part of the assembling but related to it on a social basis or for some other reason will finally be offended and leave. The Lord knows those who are His. His holy fire will discover and burn away the chaff.

In the Christian assemblings there are many who are present for social and other reasons, and then there are the victorious saints. Periodically there come divisions between the two kinds of believers. Because of the social bonds between the two groups there is much grief and pain over the rending and tearing that occurs.

You can imagine the ripping of the social environment when Korah and a number of leaders of the assembling defied Moses and Aaron. Even after the ground swallowed up the rebels the congregation grumbled and gathered together against Moses and Aaron for harming "the people of the Lord." Can you imagine? How dumb could they be?

To be continued.

If next Sunday all the Christian preachers in America were to tell their congregations that when they were baptized in water they were crucified with Christ and raised with Him to the right hand of the Father, and now they are to live by Christ's Life and to share His sufferings if they are to experience God's salvation, it is possible over half the "believers" would leave their churches. They have their ticket out of Hell (they think) and that is all they want!

December 3rd

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (Revelation 3:9)

But Korah was well liked and highly respected. Dathan was always ready to help older people with putting up and taking down their tent. Abiram was a roly poly little guy who loved kids. He would make animal sounds and amuse the babies. His wife, Adah, was known for visiting the sick and bringing them soup and other things they needed. (You realize, of course, I’m making all this up. But it was something like this!)

The Jews saw the ground tremble and then open. Their beloved friends and neighbors with their small children fell into the chasm screaming.

"Moses was angry with them because they wouldn’t do everything he said. He always wants to be the bigshot. Look what he’s done to our friends!"

And then Absalom. Look how ready the Israelites were to forsake King David! Talk about stupidity! But then Absalom was tall and handsome. The Bible says he did not have pimples or anything like that, and he had glossy black hair that fell down over his shoulders. He always had a kind word and a handshake for everyone, rich, or poor. Absalom was smooth!

Did Absalom really think he would begin to prophesy and write psalms once he was king? And why were the Jews so willing to forsake the greatest of their kings?

As Joab pointed out, David was more concerned over his faithless son Absalom than he was over the rest of the Israelites. These kinds of uproars happen and they test our relationship to the Lord.

The Lord’s people are blind and as ready to follow a self-serving deceiver as they are a true servant of the Lord. It is the people of Israel, the Lord’s elect, who stone the prophets.

The day soon will be here when we will be able to distinguish between those who have been faithful to the Lord, and the Korahs and Absaloms.

Before the Lord returns, all that is false will be removed from the Bride. God will do it, so we do not have to destroy our joy by fretting over the deceivers in our midst.

The "synagogue of Satan" will yet worship God in the presence of the true saints and realize to their horror they have harmed those whom Christ loves.

There is coming an hour of temptation (if it is not already here). Sin will be so approachable, so accessible, that numerous believers and their pastors will fall. The availability of pornography on the Internet, for example, is an illustration of unprecedented temptation.

Who will be guarded by Christ? Those who have kept the word of His patience. The exercise of infinite patience is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the true saint. As we have stated before, the man or woman of God is created in the Lord’s image in the period of time between the onset of a desire and its fulfillment. Those who cannot wait for God are not among the true saints of the Lord.

Of the two problems of the last days, the great tribulation and the hour of temptation, the most dangerous by far is the hour of temptation. It is the abundance of sin and lawlessness of the hour of temptation that will cause the love of the majority to become cold. The great tribulation will serve rather to refine the saints.

December 4th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

If we are willing to guard the word of Christ’s patience Christ is willing to guard us during the hour of temptation. The majority of believers will turn away from God in the last days because of the abundance of available sin.

The Lord always comes quickly. To us it seems forever, as we wait for Him. But just compare the few miserable years of our life with the scope of eternity. Be patient!

You were given eternal life, a portion of Christ, and a crown of glory when you received the Lord. Your task is to hold your position in Christ.

All day long a chorus of voices will ask you, in one manner or another, to come down from your high place in God. It is the highest of all places in the spirit realm, but on the earth it is seen as a cross.

Satan and his demons will use every device they can think of to get your eyes off the Lord, to get you down from your high place, your place of rulership. It is your responsibility to use all the grace God is offering you to hold your position.

"Come down! Look at this! Isn’t this wonderful! If you only had this! They are coming to kill you in the night! Do you think you are going to keep on being a Christian, what a laugh! This brother is going to harm you! That sister is gossiping about you! God wants you to be happy! Have fun in the Son! Everybody is doing it! Don’t you care about your relatives? You are not going to be able to pay your bills! That pain you feel is cancer! They are gaining on you.

"Come down! Come down! Look at what the devil is doing! Avenge yourself! Don’t let them get away with that! Make people see you are right and your accusers are wrong!"

On and on it goes. Men will take your crown if you let them. The only solution is to keep your gaze riveted on Jesus. Have the peace of God. Let the Lord justify you. Let Him bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.

One time the Lord gave me the verse, "Who is he who can harm you if you are a follower of that which is good?"

Isn’t that wonderful? The Lord has all power. He has promised to shield us from all harm if we will keep on doing good and not in any manner be concerned about those who would harm us. Every person will come to his or her proper end and we do not have to lift a finger.

The fact that we stand fast together in the Gospel is a sign to those who oppose us that they will be destroyed but we shall be saved. Therefore we are not to be frightened by our enemies.

Worship God and look to Him alone for joy. In His Presence is fullness of joy and pleasure for eternity. You do not have to worship Satan in order to find joy.

December 5th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

It was in a little Assembly of God Bible school in San Diego, in 1948, that I first came across Revelation 3:12 (above). It so impressed me that I wrote it in large letters in the back of my Rotherham Bible. That copy of Rotherham is now tattered but in the back is still the crude drawing of a pillar and the words of the verse.

Almost fifty years ago and that verse is as new and fresh today as it was then.

Think of it! To be a pillar in the eternal Temple of God!

Anyone who has studied the Old Testament knows the importance of each pillar in Solomon’s Temple. To remove one pillar would be to destroy the strength, the symmetry, the beauty, and the symbolic meaning of the entire temple.

To be a pillar in the Temple of God, the dwelling place of the Father that is destined to be His home for the eternity of eternities—no one could ever ask for a more marvelous inheritance than this!

Compare the reward of becoming a pillar in the Temple of God with that of going to a mansion in the spirit Paradise. Would you rather get a house from God or be made the house of God? Our traditions certainly do not come up to the standard of the Bible!

"He shall go no more out." I love this. It means that wherever we are in the universe we are the house of God. God is in us for eternity governing and blessing His creatures. Here is eternal security.

The name of God will be written on the overcomer just as the mark of Antichrist is placed on the worldling. The name of God written on us means we now belong to God. All who see us will say, "This is a member of the royal priesthood. This person represents the rainbow throne!"

It was for this reason that we were born—that we might be the dwelling place of God and His representative throughout His creation. You want to know your destiny? This is it if you prove to be faithful.

The name of the city of God, the new Jerusalem, will be written on the overcomers. This is because the new Jerusalem is a living city. Wherever you are, this is where the new Jerusalem is. All that is true of the new Jerusalem is true of you in miniature. You will bring the light of God wherever you go. This is Heaven come to earth. You will come down out of Heaven to the earth and be "God with us" to the saved nations.

The new name of Christ will be on you as belonging especially to Him. We will have a new name, as we said, because we have become a new creation. Christ also will have a new name because the eternal Logos has become a human being—Son of God and Son of man. His name will be on you because you are married to Him, an eternal part of Him.

How do you like these promises? Personally I believe being part of the new Jerusalem is a better hope than that of living forever in a mansion in the spirit world.

God and the Lamb are unique as to identity but not as to individuality. They are called by one name—God. It is impossible to have the Father apart from the Son or the Son apart from the Father. When the marriage of the Lamb has been perfected our individuality (not our uniqueness as a person) will be gone.

December 6th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Revelation 3:14)

If we are not already in the church in Laodicea we certainly are close to it. Look at the issues Christ raises (above): "the Amen"; "the faithful and true witness"; "the beginning of the creation of God."

The term Laodicea may come close to meaning "the rights of the people." If so we certainly are talking about America of today. The worst sin you can commit is to take away someone’s "rights" even though for them to have their "rights" protected is to have everyone else’s rights destroyed. We must protect the individual even if society is imperiled. It probably will take the installation of some kind of totalitarian government in America before this race toward anarchy is averted.

For everyone to have his "rights" means everyone will lose his rights.

An excellent example of this is the destruction of the rights of the baby so the "rights" of the mother may be preserved.

"The Amen" means that Christ says amen to the Word of God. Today the Word of God is watered down when it conflicts with human "rights" and pleasure. The substitution of the term reverence for fear is an example of humanism. Reverence and fear are not at all the same thing. But who in America wants to actually fear God? Certainly not the humanist or the Christian who has been influenced by humanistic thinking and sentiment.

Christ is the faithful and true witness of God. If anything is needed in the Christian churches of our day it is a faithful and true witness of God.

The reason we do not have a faithful and true witness is that we are trying to build churches instead of saints. To build a church you find out what the people want and give it to them. It doesn’t matter what God wants or what Christ has said or is saying, "we must not offend the people or they will leave."

One minister reasoned with me that if you drive off the people by saying hard things then you can’t help them at all. With this kind of thinking the minister will never get to the point of telling his congregation what Christ demands of His disciples. (Eventually this man’s congregation split and he was stuck with those who will never do what Christ has commanded. We heard that the believers who wanted to serve the Lord went somewhere else.)

The New Testament does not emphasize church growth but it does emphasize the growth of the saints.

To go through life without making progress in eternal image, eternal union, eternal fruitfulness, and eternal dominion, is not to become "man."

December 7th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Revelation 3:17)

It is up to those who teach and preach to bear a true and faithful witness of Christ. In so doing they may have to accept a much smaller church than the minister who is hustling the Gospel and giving American people what they want. On the other hand the preacher may bear a true witness and have a large following. It is not the size of the congregation that is at issue, the main consideration is the faithfulness to what the Spirit is saying today.

The Spirit is not saying love, love, love, grace, grace, grace, but repent, repent, repent. Pray and see if I am correct.

How miserable to be a false witness of Christ! Some of us may be "ministering" to people when we ought to be bearing witness to them.

Christ is the beginning of the creation of God. I know theologians may disagree but it is my thinking that at some point in eternity past Christ came forth from the Person of God and then, through Christ, God created the spirit world and eventually the physical world. This is not to say that Christ was created but that He created all things from the beginning.

Christ also is the beginning of the new creation in that He is the Firstborn from the dead.

In any case, God has determined to make Christ the Center and Circumference of the whole creation so that all is summed up and finds fulfillment in Him.

The American believer is often lukewarm. He is not on fire for God and not on fire for the devil. He or she is determined to be vomited from the Lord’s mouth (so much for eternal security!).

You never in your life heard a church say it was rich and increased with goods. Every church has its hand out because Christ is broke. So if the Laodicean church is saying it is rich it is because the government is subsidizing it.

I see an attempt on the part of the presidency of the United States to appear as Christian and to ask Christian leaders for their counsel. No doubt some Christian leaders will fall for this because they are so anxious to get everybody to love them.

In the day that the President does like the rest of us, repents of his sins, takes up his cross, and follows Jesus, standing against the moral sins of the nation, then I will be persuaded he has been born again.

But deliver me from a secular political attempt, combined with an ecclesiastical political attempt, to dupe the American sheep into thinking that somehow the government will finally become Christian.

The Christian Church is the lampstand of God. Its job is to bear witness of the Person and will of God. It needs no assistance from the secular government.

If the Church will do its job of witnessing and the secular government will do its job of punishing evildoers and rewarding the righteous (according to the Bible definition of evil and righteousness) we will get along just fine. But there is to be no mixing of the two! The government and the Church have different roles from God.

The will of God is the only legitimate will in the universe. All other wills must yield to the will of the Father. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."

December 8th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:19)

Some day the Lord of the Church will flip the United Nations building with His little finger and it will fall into the Hudson River never to be seen again.

We have a limited idea of Christ’s wealth and power!

In many instances the American churches are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Is your assembling like this?

We are wretched because we are smug and self-satisfied.

We are miserable because we are not serving the Lord with our whole heart.

We are poor because we are building our own houses and not the house of the Lord.

We are blind because we are not adding virtuous character to our personality.

We are naked because we are not receiving the sparkling white linen of righteous conduct.

But we don’t know it!

We don’t need help from the government. We need help from God!

We are to buy gold tried in the fire. This is faith refined by suffering.

"Oh Brother Thompson, haven’t you heard? We are not supposed to suffer. If the Apostle Paul had had faith, he would not have had to suffer.

"We are all going up in the rapture in our Sunday clothes, the little girls in their party dresses. We practice every Sunday for the rapture by jumping up and down next to our pews. We always carry warm clothes in the car because it might be cold when we get a few miles up.

"We understand that Christians of all ages and even today have suffered and are suffering. But we are God’s pets. We are going to disappear and then all the cars are going to crash into each other.

"We will be sitting on clouds in air-conditioned comfort while the poor Jews face Antichrist without the Holy Spirit. Isn’t it marvelous? Here we are eating popcorn in perfect comfort while a hundred and forty-four thousand Jewish evangelists are being slaughtered. They are preaching the Kingdom but cannot enter it because they haven’t been born again. You see, the Holy Spirit left with the Gentiles. Praise God for His grace! Can you say amen?"

The weird doctrines that are preached today make you weep and laugh at the same time.

For those who are waiting for the unscriptural rapture to deliver you from trouble, you may find that it’s late in arriving. You better do what the Bible says and arm yourself to stand in the evil day.

Pure faith can be refined only by suffering and temptation. But its worth is far above all we can imagine.

White clothing is woven by righteous, Christ-filled behavior.

Our blindness can be removed only as we turn to the Lord, take up our personal cross, and follow Jesus. Only the personal cross of the believer can prevent deception. Bible study always is a help, but only the cross can guard against deception.

If we do not act on the Lord’s counsel we will be poor, naked, and blind in the day of His appearing.

Contemporary Christian preaching is "another gospel" from that preached by John the Baptist and by the Lord Jesus and His Apostles.

December 9th

THE REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER, continued

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

The Lord says He will rebuke and chasten those whom He loves. When He does this some believers get angry at God. Wrong response! When we are rebuked by the Lord we are to repent fervently. To be angry with God is to prove there is deep rebellion and lawlessness in our personality.

The Lord is standing at the door of the hearts of Christians. We have our church attendance and now we are facing something else. Christ Himself is asking for entrance into our personality. He is ready to eat and drink with us. The food is His flesh and the drink is His blood. We are married to the Lamb by eating the Lamb and drinking His blood.

One time the Lord had a revival going—thousands of people. Then He left them and started out to hike across the lake. He had multiplied food for them. Free lunch. Great! "The rabbi can teach whatever He wants. The bread and fish were the best I’ve ever tasted."

The next morning guess what happened? They got hungry again so here they came. They didn’t want to act crude and ask for more food so they came up with, "Why Master, when did you get here?" Jesus didn’t even bother to answer. Then Jesus forsook all the principles of church growth. He deliberately began to teach things He knew would drive away all but the most sincere.

Now came the greatest backdoor revival in history. The free-lunch crowd left by the thousands. I’ve held some backdoor revivals in my time but this was on the grand scale. Not enough people left to make the mortgage payments.

Did He have to say, "Eat My flesh and drink My blood"? Oy! Of all the things to speak to the Orthodox. No wonder they left!

"Will you also go?"

Peter said, "You can preach whatever you like. I’m staying with you." When we have the attitude that no matter what takes place we’re betting on Jesus, then we pass from the ranks of the called to the smaller company of the chosen.

I guess Jesus never studied the principles of church growth. When you talk about eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood you may offend many of today’s believers. They can accept the Communion service but that’s far enough. (It was too far for the free-lunch congregation.)

But the true Christian can’t get enough of the body and blood of the Lord. He wants to eat Christ’s flesh continually and drink His blood. He desires to live by Christ as Christ lives by the Father. The talk about mansions in Heaven and acres of diamonds makes him sick. He wants Christ!

When we Christians let Christ into us and live by His body and blood we soon find strength and joy in driving King Self from the throne of our personality. Then the Father and Christ come and sit on that throne. After a while, when the Lord is sure of our obedience, He permits us to get back on the throne that is in us. Now there are three of us on the throne of our personality—the Father, the Son, and us. You always get everything of worth back, but only after it has died and been raised again in Christ.

The greatest reward of all is offered to the worst of all churches. But notice the supreme wisdom and humor of God! To the church of the "rights" of people, the miserable humans who think the universe owes them everything they desire, the opportunity is given to surrender all of their rights to another, to God. After they have learned to enjoy being the slave of God they are permitted back on the throne.

The marriage of the Lamb will be the fullness of the incarnation of the God of Heaven.

December 10th

THE OVERCOMER AND THE FIRST RESURRECTION

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. (Revelation 7:4)

As we have stated previously, the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation are of extreme importance and should be read and taught often. These two chapters reveal how Christ views the churches on earth. The members of the Christian churches are divided into two groups. There are the majority who are having problems with their dedication to the Lord. Then there are the minority who are serving God with a pure heart. It is the minority who are the true saints, the ones who will be resurrected from the dead when the Lord appears from Heaven.

It is our point of view that the rewards to the overcomer are steps toward the first resurrection from the dead.

We have explained previously that there shall be two resurrections from the dead, one at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, when the Lord returns, and one at the end when all the dead appear before the great white throne. The first resurrection must be attained. At the second resurrection everyone who did not attain the first resurrection will be resurrected, some to eternal life and some to judgment. There is no need to attain the second resurrection. Our body will come forth from its place of interment whether we want this or not.

The Apostle Paul was seeking to attain the first resurrection, the out-resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:11).

The rewards to the overcomer are increments of relationship to Christ, authority, and ability that give the saint eligibility and competence to rise in the first resurrection. These are the members of the royal priesthood. Each one must be authorized to rule and able to rule.

The steps toward the first resurrection begin with eating of the tree of life and culminate in our position with Christ in His throne.

We see the overcomers eight times in the Book of Revelation.

First they appear as the one hundred forty-four thousand who are sealed (Revelation 7:4).

Second they appear as one of the two lampstands (Revelation 11:4).

Third they appear as the firstfruits to God and the Lamb (Revelation 14:1).

Fourth they appear as the Son, the male Child, who is caught up to God and to His throne (Revelation 12:5).

Fifth they appear standing on the sea of glass and singing the song of Moses (Revelation 4:6; 15:2).

Sixth they appear as the firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7).

Seventh they appear as the army of the Lord (Revelation 19:14).

Eighth they appear as the resurrected royal priesthood (Revelation 20:4-6).

In their first appearance the true saints are sealed before the messengers of God harm the sea and the trees. We notice during the blowing of the trumpets that when the heavy woes begin, with the fifth trumpet, those who are sealed are exempt from the punishment.

Joseph and Ephraim are treated as one of the twelve tribes because they represent the Gentile stick in the Lord’s hand. Ephraim is the father of many nations, not just of the Jews. The tribe of Dan is omitted because this is not merely a literal list of the Jews. If it were, one of the twelve tribes would not be omitted. The omission of Dan (meaning "judging") signifies that the overcomers have been judged before the resurrection.

The first resurrection will take place when the Lord Jesus returns, at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Its mission is to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. The judgment of most people and their entrance into eternal life or eternal death will take place at the second resurrection.

December 11th

THE OVERCOMER AND THE FIRST RESURRECTION, continued

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

The concept that the overcomers are being judged in advance is important to understand. Those who are following the Lord closely are being judged now. You may have noticed that God is bringing sins to your attention that you thought were long gone out of your life. Here you are, a Christian for twenty years, filled with the Spirit, and now the Spirit is dealing with you concerning sin. Exactly! You are right on target. Confess the sin, turn away from it, and God will forgive you. It is an eternal judgment. You will not hear about it again unless you keep doing it.

The one hundred forty-four thousand are not part of the multitude of believers who wash their robes during the great tribulation. Rather they are the bond-servants of God serving Him with a perfect heart. They already have been judged so "Dan" is not mentioned.

Then we see the victorious saints as one of the two lampstands of Revelation, Chapter Eleven. The other Lampstand is Christ. The churches are as seven lampstands in the first three chapters of Revelation. Now the saints drawn from the seven churches appear as one witnessing lampstand.

The victorious saints are portrayed as a Son, a male child, in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation. The birth of the male child illustrates the travail of spirit and soul we undergo as Christ is formed in us. When with the help of the Spirit of God we finally break through the weights that would prevent us from attaining victory we have a stronger sense of being risen with Christ than ever before. From now on our experience becomes more that of maintaining what was born in intense prayer and dedication than it is one of continually struggling to gain victory.

The next time we see the overcomers they are standing on Mount Zion. This is particularly important. Zion was the location of the Ark of the Covenant when the remainder of the Tabernacle was at the high place of Gibeon. This prophetic portrayal means a warlike remnant of the Church will rule with Christ during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

Several major symbols of the Old Testament, not the least of which is the story of Gideon, tell of a remnant taken from the Church in order to gain victory over the enemy. Later the remainder of Israel (God’s elect) will share the spoils.

The description of God’s firstfruits in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation shows several things about the overcomers—these who have the Father’s name written in their forehead. One is they are not in spiritual bondage to anyone except Christ. Another is there is no guile in their mouth, which is a mark of spiritual maturity.

Yet another distinguishing characteristic is they follow the Lamb wherever He goes. We see this also in I Thessalonians: "So shall we ever be with the Lord."

When we see the overcomers again they are standing on the sea of glass, perhaps that same sea of clear glass that is before the rainbow throne. These are the victorious saints and they possess throne authority. There is fire in the sea of glass because it is time for the wrath of God to be exercised—wrath smoldering since it first came into Satan’s heart to rebel against the Father.

They are singing the song of Moses and also the song of the Lamb. This signifies they are the fruit of all the covenants of God.

We understand that to have eternal life is to live, move, and have our being in the Presence of God in spirit, in soul, and in body. We understand also that Christ Himself is eternal life.

 December 12th

 HE OVERCOMER AND THE FIRST RESURRECTION, continued

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. (Revelation 15:2)

There is this about God’s victorious saints, His conquerors, and we need to note it carefully: They give glory to God in all situations!

We are near the time when men will rise up and declare God is unjust in His treatment of mankind and His treatment of Satan and his followers. But God’s victorious saints are on God’s side, like Levi of old. "God is just," they declare. Can you say that and mean it? Or are you filled with the Antichrist spirit of human sympathy? Do you care how God feels or are you man-centered?

It has been given to the saints to judge mankind and the angels as well. The true servants of the Lord learn to not judge according to what they see and hear with their eyes and ears but what they see and hear from God. To judge according to what we see and hear, or by what people tell us, is a common weakness of the believers. Satan takes advantage of our weakness and the first thing you know we are gossiping about a fellow Christian or slandering him or her. This is how Satan tears down the work of God.

Take control of your emotions. Don't form an opinion about a person until you hear from God. Better to pray about people than to talk about them. This is a big, big problem in Christian circles. Those who will sit in the throne with Christ and judge the nations will be victorious saints who have learned to wait until they hear from God before they form an opinion about anyone or anything.

Then the overcomers are seen as a firstfruits of the Bride. They are robed in their righteous deeds—the righteous behavior that always proceeds from those in whom Christ is formed and dwelling. When Christ returns the firstfruits will follow Him as an army along with the army of angels.

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

The last time we see the overcomers they are seated on the thrones of glory (Revelation 20:4). They have been raised in the first resurrection. They are poised for the onset of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. They are blessed and holy. No books are opened because "Dan" is not present. The second death has no authority over them. They have been judged and delivered previously.

Anyone can be an overcomer! Christians have been drowning in water that is only to their waist. They have been taught that no one can please God, that while they are in the world they have to sin.

Satan is running a bluff on us.

All it takes to be an overcomer right now is to look up to God and offer to do His will as He gives you wisdom and strength. Presto! You are an overcomer. Just keep on doing that every five minutes for eternity.

All the blessings we have talked about will be yours if you will look to Christ. Satan will try to scare you away, telling you God will demand some awful thing of you. This is not true. God will never require anything of you that is not in your best interests. Have faith in God. Put your trust in Him.

You can do it.

Eternal Life is a Person. This Person is Christ. As we abide in Christ and He abides in us, Satan is cast out. The casting out of Satan is the coming of the Kingdom of God, redemption, salvation, the rest of God.

December 13th

GETTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:17)

So often we hear Christians talking about the need to "go forth and save the lost. Get the world saved for Jesus!"

The Lord didn’t ask Peter to prove His love by saving the world but by feeding Christ’s sheep. All the gifts and ministries were given to build the believers to the stature of the fullness of Christ.

God gives the gift of evangelism to people, and the result is multitudes who make a profession of faith in Christ. Thank God for this!

But the churches of today are filled with spiritual babies, and with people (at least in the United States) with severe emotional and domestic problems.

One of the great needs of the hour is to build up the members of Zion until they are oaks of righteousness. It is only then that the Lord can return with His saints and bring righteousness, justice, love, joy, and peace to the saved nations of the earth.

The evangelists have brought in great numbers of believers. Now these believers need to be worked with until they are in the image of Christ and are dwelling in untroubled rest in the heart of the Father; for this is where Christ desires to bring each of us.

I am not implying the work of evangelism should cease. I merely am suggesting that there is an awesome need for the other gifts and ministries of the Body to operate so the saints can be built up by that which every part of the Body supplies. Am I scriptural in this? How do you think Jesus feels about this?

"If you love Me, feed My sheep!"

Righteous behavior always is an issue of power. This is because righteous behavior on the part of Christians or unbelievers always will be resisted fiercely by Satan and his workers. We understand that if America is to have a major turn to righteous behavior, and this is what we all desire, there will have to be an intervention of great Divine power.

I think the Lord told me recently that we are in the day of the Lord’s power and the power we need is there for the asking. But the power will not be issued until the Lord’s people repent of their worldliness, the lusts of their flesh, and their self-will and disobedience.

The Lord Jesus taught us that when we are one in Him and the Father the world will believe that He was sent by God.

We know that those who will believe and receive Him will be saved. One reason people remain unbelievers is that the Christians are not one in the Father through the Son.

I fear that in the days in which we are living church leaders will come to understand that the world will not believe until the Church is one. They will attempt, for this reason, to bring the churches into a unified effort to convince unbelievers of the reality of Jesus Christ. This effort to bring unity will produce Babylon the Great.

Christian leaders want more people to be drawn into the churches. God wants those whom He draws into the churches to be conformed to the image of Christ and to find rest in His perfect will. I think we better give more attention to the development of the gifts and ministries in the Body of Christ, because the gates of Hell cannot be overcome until the saints come to maturity.

The sheep gate must be built before the fish gate can be restored.

I think the Lord told me this clearly. How does this strike you?

Living in Paradise will not make you righteous, holy, or obedient to God. But living righteously, holily, and obediently to God will eventually result in your being in Paradise.

December 14th

TWO KINDS OF BELIEF

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)

The longer I live the more I come to believe that God has written the Bible so that if your heart is wrong you will believe the wrong thing. This is why Jesus spoke in parables—so people wouldn’t understand Him and be saved. Does this run against the grain of our our humanistic thinking?

And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Luke 8:10)

If you want to understand the Bible and get it straight then look to Jesus, take up your cross, and follow Him. Buy the truth and don’t sell it. God sends delusion on those who do not love the truth and they end up believing a lie.

Christian teaching in several aspects is a lie. This is because the believers are not carrying their cross behind Jesus. They are proud, smug, complacent. Therefore the truth is hidden from them.

Let’s look at Romans 4:5. If you want to see a verse that can be misconstrued, this is the one.

It is said there are three ways to do anything, the right way, the wrong way, and the Navy way. I don’t know what the Navy does with Romans 4:5 (having been in the Marine Corps I know they must do something with it) but I know what we are doing with it today and it’s the wrong way.

There are two possible interpretation of this verse.

One is as follows: the Christian salvation consists of belief in the atoning (forgiving) blood of the Lord Jesus. We are to do nothing but believe in the atonement made on Calvary on behalf of the ungodly. If we will do this God will ascribe righteousness to us.

This is the manner in which the verse is interpreted today. The multitude of verses in the Old and New Testaments that exhort us to righteous conduct are viewed as nice, "Christian" things we should do but they are not absolutely tied in to our salvation. We believe in the atoning blood and so God ascribes righteousness to us.

In fact, there is an implication in Romans 4:5 that God is pleased when we refuse to do anything and just believe He justifies the ungodly. Naked belief is seen to be the best kind of faith, the faith that pleases God and brings righteousness to us.

However there is another way of interpreting this verse, one that does not leave most of the pages of the New Testament in the trash. It is that Paul is talking to Jews and telling them they do not have to earn righteousness by keeping the Law of Moses (or the tenets of any other religion for that matter).

Paul is not saying that people can walk in moral filth and please God by believing that Christ died for the ungodly. Rather the concept is that God has given Christ to us as the means of pleasing God and this new path to righteousness supersedes the Law of Moses.

The contrast is between Moses and Christ, not between living righteously and living in moral filth and rebellion against God.

Every Divine covenant from the time of Adam has had precisely the same goal—that people be in the image of God, that is, that they act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

December 15th

TWO KINDS OF BELIEF, continued

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

All intelligent people will be able to see the difference between the two interpretations of Romans 4:5. One approach is the idea we can continue in ungodly behavior and be viewed as righteous on the basis of our belief in the atonement. The other approach is interpreting Romans 4:5 as an integral part of Paul’s entire argument in the first part of Romans concerning the replacing of Moses with Christ.

God’s will for man is that he live righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. This goal never, never, never changes one whit. Romans 4:5 is not stating that righteous behavior no longer is required if we are to please God. Romans 4:5 is maintaining that belief in Christ takes the place of attempting to earn righteousness by observing the statutes of Moses.

Now, I said all intelligent people can understand that the goal of God’s dealing with man remains unchanged and Romans 4:5 is speaking of a change in approach to the one unchanging goal. Viewing the verse as a change from Moses to Christ, while maintaining the same goal, is certainly not the same as understanding the verse to mean we are to do nothing but believe, and it doesn’t matter how we behave!

Now that you understand the two interpretations of the verse, the choice you make as to which viewpoint you choose to believe reveals clearly what is in your heart, the kind of person you are. If you choose to believe God justifies the ungodly, on the basis of their belief in Christ’s atonement, so they may continue in ungodliness without angering God, you have a wicked heart. It is your heart you must deal with, because this verse is worded in such a manner you can fasten on it and from it deduce that the remainder of the New Testament is somewhat irrelevant.

To those who love God in their heart, knowing He has not given us a covenant that overlooks much less endorses ungodly behavior, let us point you to the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans. There you will find the Apostle Paul shaking off his back those who would use his teaching of Divine grace to mean we should sin so grace may abound.

In the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans Paul states several times that if the Christian, having been baptized in water, then permits himself to be the slave of sinful behavior, he will die spiritually. If the Christian, having been baptized in water, then becomes the slave of righteous behavior, he will live spiritually.

What is the resolution? The resolution between freedom from the Law of Moses and the all-important growth in righteous behavior is stated as follows: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I am living. But it is not I who am living but Christ who is living in me. The life I now am living in my body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."

When this is true of you, when you have submitted your natural man to crucifixion, when it is Christ who is living in you and revealing in your personality the moral purity of God, as was true of the Apostle Paul, and the life you now are living you are doing so by faith in Jesus, then you can come and tell us how marvelous it is you don’t have to earn the approval of God because He has declared you righteous apart from the observance of any religious ritual.

The Bible is known as the "good Book." When it doesn’t make people good it is being misunderstood.

Many—perhaps most—of the believers in Christ are living in the gap of lawlessness. They have been taught that the Law of Moses does not apply to them but they do not understand how to enter the law of the Spirit of life.

December 16th

THE MOVE OF GOD AFTER PENTECOST

. . . Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

John 7:37-39 (above) is speaking of the fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus was observing the rejoicing of the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles, that "great day of the feast." The priest was bringing water in a golden bowl from the Pool of Siloam and pouring it on the Altar of Burnt Offering. The twelfth chapter of Isaiah was being sung.

In the last day, that great day of the feast [of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.(John 7:37,38)

This Scripture is fulfilled in a measure when we receive the Holy Spirit. But the maturity of the fulfillment has been reserved for the Day of the Lord.

When the Father and the Son sit on the throne of our heart in the complete fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, the water of life will flow from the Throne of God in us. We will become "rivers." The Glory of the Lord will pour from us until it covers the "sea" of mankind.

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

Ezekiel 47:9 is the fulfillment of John 7:38.

The Lord is cleansing us today in preparation for the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us in a greater measure than we have known.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

John 14:23 is a definite experience, as definite as being born again or being filled with the Holy Spirit. Unlike the baptism with the Spirit, however, the fulfillment of the Tabernacles experience proceeds over a period of time as we are cleansed of sin and learn to live in God’s Person and Presence.

The definite experience, the personal fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, that is coming to us is described in the twelfth chapter of Isaiah—the words that were sung as the Jews celebrated the feast of Tabernacles.

Let us think about the words of Isaiah, Chapter 12. As the individual enters the personal spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles these words become very meaningful. We understand then what the Spirit of Christ was proclaiming in Isaiah.

Isaiah, Chapter 12:

And in that day.

The expression "that day" is used throughout the Book of Isaiah, and also in John 14:20. It refers to the Day of the Lord, the day when Christ comes to rule in our heart in untroubled, unconcealed splendor. "The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day."

Jesus Christ came to earth that people might have fellowship with the Father. Christ reveals the Father to each one who faithfully keeps the Word of Christ.

December 17th

THE MOVE OF GOD AFTER PENTECOST, continued

And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. (Isaiah 12:1)

Thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee.

For two thousand years Christian people often have pointed toward themselves and their works. But as we enter the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles the Lord Himself becomes the glorious Center of our attention. We praise Him always!

Though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.

Every Christian must go through periods of chastening, of judgment, of warfare. God is not pleased with what Satan has brought about in our personality. The tribulations through which we enter the Kingdom of God are part of the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the reconciling of us to God’s righteous and holy Nature. They are Divine judgment on us.

Many times the suffering is intense and prolonged. It indeed is a fiery trial. How we desire to escape from the Lord’s prison! But in order to escape from God’s prison we must break God’s laws.

After we have suffered awhile, He who has wounded us binds us up. The chastening of the Lord creates patience and the peaceable fruits of righteousness in us. Our sins and self-seeking depart from us. We enter rest in God and God enters rest in us. Our warfare has been accomplished, our iniquity pardoned.

Behold, God is my salvation.

In all our prior dealings with God He has been separate from us. He has saved us, healed us, given us wisdom, helped and strengthened us in every way. God has done these things for us and in us.

But as we enter the "Tabernacles experience" we notice a change taking place in our relationship with the Lord. He Himself is becoming our salvation. No longer are we able even to think anything by our own wisdom or knowledge. He Himself becomes our mind, our prayer, our salvation, our health, our wisdom, our help, our strength.

Sometimes it is difficult for us to "let go." Without our realizing it there are things we do that constitute our "religion." Our set of beliefs and practices are "earning" our salvation to a certain extent, although we Christians would reject that concept if it were brought to our attention. Nevertheless we trust in these religious behaviors and perceive them as being our salvation.

Oftentimes, as God begins to move us into the fulfillment of Tabernacles, events in our lives take place that cause our religious activities no longer to be effective. We discover that one by one the things and thoughts in which we trust are being removed from us. We attempt to hold on, to preserve our former relationship, our former kind of contact with the Lord. But if it is the Lord who is making the change we never again will be content with the old way.

The program of redemption begins when we are in union with Satan and reveal Satan's image in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. The program of redemption has been completed when we are in restful union with the Father through Christ and are revealing in our thoughts, words, and actions the image of Christ.

December 18th

THE MOVE OF GOD AFTER PENTECOST, continued

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)

It seems there are people whom the Lord never moves past the salvation experience and others who do not proceed beyond the Pentecostal experience. They do not understand our behavior as we enter the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. In fact, we ourselves many times are perplexed over the dealings of God with us.

We do know that something is taking place in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. God is shaking loose our grip on Himself and in its place is substituting His grip on us.

I will trust, and not be afraid.

The prospect of "letting go and letting God" can bring fear to us. We have trusted for so long in our own grasp on God that the experience of "letting go" and allowing the Lord to work His works in us causes us to be afraid. We are afraid to trust that the Lord is redeeming us according to His own foreknowledge and will, that it is God’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.

If we would move past the "waters to the ankles" into "waters to swim in," we must be willing to follow the Lord wherever He leads.

We move along prayerfully, watchfully, observing the results of what is taking place in us. The wisdom from above always is pure, always peaceful, always full of good fruit. Whenever we feel pushed, fearful, driven, that is not the Lord, ordinarily. The Lord’s ways are joyous, full of love and hope. This is not to say there are not seasons when we are tested to the limit.

For the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song.

The darkness is coming during which no man can work. It is at the door. Christian works and institutions of all kinds will crumble under the spiritual darkness and oppression that will shake the earth in the near future.

God has made special provision for His elect that will enable them not only to stand throughout the great tribulation but also to finally overcome the darkness. This special provision is the personal spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

God will enter His people and be their strength and their song. Neither Satan nor Antichrist nor the False Prophet can stand before God in His people.

The world and the fleshly churches will be deceived and overcome by the forces of Hell. But the believers in whom the Father and the Son are dwelling will be able to persevere throughout all calamities. God working through them will crush Satan under their feet.

It will not be the saints who are persevering and finally overcoming Satan, it will be God who, through Christ, is dwelling in them. The victorious believers will sing and dance on the heights of Zion while the world is drowning in the flood of filth that will issue from Satan.

The only portion of our life’s work that will endure is what has been wrought in God.

December 19th

THE MOVE OF GOD AFTER PENTECOST, continued

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)

Then God in Christ in the saints will descend on the nations and deliver all those who call on the name of the Lord. But the wicked and rebellious will be destroyed out of the earth.

The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13)

He also is become my salvation.

It is not merely that God has provided all the elements of our salvation. Rather it is true that God Himself has become our Salvation, a most critical distinction. In that Day we will know that Christ is in God, and we are in Christ, and Christ is in us. Christ is the Wheel in us and we are the wheel in Christ in God. We have become God’s chariot.

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

We undergo fiery testings while the Spirit of God is cleansing us from all unrighteousness. But then there is joy indescribable and full of glory when we become conscious that the Father and the Son are dwelling in us forever.

The feast of Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacles are both associated with water. Pentecost speaks of the former and the latter rains that will be poured on us, while Tabernacles signifies the establishing of the Throne of God and of Christ in us and the issuing of the River of Life from the Divine Presence that has been formed in us and is abiding in us forever.

Pentecost is associated with rain. Tabernacles is associated with the rivers of living water. Both speak of the Holy Spirit.

Can you see why the spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles makes infinitely more demands on us than is true of Pentecost? Pentecost symbolizes the rain of God, the Holy Spirit, falling on us from Heaven. But the water of Tabernacles comes from the Throne of God and of Christ that has been formed in us.

It is one matter to have rain falling on you. It is another to have the Throne of almighty God formed in you so the water flows out from you. The Holy Spirit always flows from the Throne of God, from nowhere else!

The forming of the Throne in you requires that you do the Father’s will absolutely, at all times, under all conditions.

Perhaps it was at the point when this verse (Isaiah 12:3) was being sung that Jesus of Nazareth stood and proclaimed the flowing of the River of Life from the belly of the believer.

In the experience of Pentecost the believers have ministered in fragmented gifts and manifestations of the Spirit. When we arrive at the complete fulfillment of Tabernacles, that which is perfect has come. No longer will we be seeing as in a clouded mirror. In that Day we shall know as we are known. We shall draw enough living water from the throne of Christ in us to release the entire creation from the bondage of corruption.

Great persecution and tribulation are about to come upon the churches. The purpose of the suffering is to purify and unify the one Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem.

December 20th

THE MOVE OF GOD AFTER PENTECOST, continued

And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. (Isaiah 12:4)

As we move into the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles we exalt the Lord as we never have before. Prior to the Tabernacles experience we speak much of what we are gaining from salvation; how we shall persuade God to do this thing or that thing for us; how busy we are as we attempt to build the Kingdom of God.

But as the Lord settles down to rest in us, and we learn to rest in Him, we exalt Him. It is a natural transition from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness. The Holy Spirit possesses infinite wisdom. He knows precisely how to move each of us from the bondage of self-love and self-will into the wonderful liberty of love for God and for performing God’s will.

Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.

For the first time, perhaps, we understand and appreciate the fact that the Glory of God fills the whole earth. Satan strives to keep the saints concentrating on his repulsive antics in the earth, on the increasing wickedness, perversity, and foulness of the deeds of people, so we will not perceive God’s Glory.

While we are immature our first thought is to flee from the earth and its corruptions and to escape to the spirit Paradise where all is holy, pure, peaceful, joyous. It is absolutely true that we always should keep our heart and our hope in Heaven where Jesus sits at the right hand of God. Now, in addition, the Spirit of God anoints our eyes so we may be able to behold the Glory of God in the earth as well as in Heaven.

When we are able to see with Christ’s vision we shall understand that it is God’s intention to redeem, not destroy, the earth and its peoples. The catastrophes falling upon the earth are the pains of birth, the birth of the Kingdom of God. The Father and the Son are taking up Their eternal residence in us. Out from us the rivers of living waters will flow to the meek of the earth.

The waters of life will flow on and out until the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord covers the earth and its peoples as the waters cover the sea. The nations of the saved will respond with great joy when God moves into the whole earth through His elect.

And the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:3)

The nations that refuse to come up with rejoicing to Zion to celebrate the Glory of God in His people will be punished.

And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:17)

It is as we enter the Tabernacles experience that we become conscious of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Although the coming of the Kingdom of God is the main topic of the four Gospels, many of us have not had an understanding of the plan of God concerning the earth.

But as the personal spiritual fulfillments of the last three feasts take place in us, as a firstfruits of the day when the great kingdomwide fulfillments come into being, we see and enter the Kingdom of God.

The blood of the Lord Jesus has redeemed mankind so that all who are found worthy of the Kingdom of God may be brought forward to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, where God's intention concerning man may be carried forward.

December 21st

THE MOVE OF GOD AFTER PENTECOST, continued

Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. (Isaiah 12:5)

The Kingdom of God will come to its earthly capital, the city of Jerusalem. Therefore we can expect the promised scriptural awakening of the Jewish people to the knowledge of Jesus as Christ to take place in the near future, for the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is "to the Jew first."

It is in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles that all will be brought together in Christ. The Kingdom of God will be established on the earth. Christ will sit on the throne of His "father," David, in the city of Jerusalem. The "good olive tree," of which every true Christian is a member, whether he or she is Jewish or Gentile by physical birth, will "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6).

When Christ is dwelling in us we discover we are singing in our heart and it is a love song to the Lord.

Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.

The Glory of God dwelling in us causes us to shout for joy. God is great and greatly to be praised! God has come to take up His eternal abode in the Body of Christ, in the Wife of the Lamb.

For two thousand years the Christian churches have been "leaping" in their attempts to build tabernacles "for God," hoping thereby to achieve something of merit.

But God will dwell only in Zion, in Christ—Head and Body.

Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill [Zion, the Body of Christ] which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever. (Psalms 68:16)

The Christian churches have been as Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration. They have seen the glory of the coming of the Kingdom and they desire to do something about it. But they do not know what they are doing just as Peter did not understand what he was saying.

The Spirit of God spoke through the Prophet Zechariah on the occasion of the restoring of Solomon’s Temple:

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

This is a prophecy concerning the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in His saints. It is the Body of Christ, the holy city, the new Jerusalem. It is the eternal Temple of God.

The eternal Temple of God will be brought to completion and perfection but not by the wisdom, talents, and energies of man. The eternal Temple of God will be perfected by the Spirit of God.

God is moving today in all the earth to fulfill the words of the Hebrew Prophets and of the Apostles of the Lamb.

The living stones of the eternal house of God are being fashioned "at the quarry." Each stone will be "made ready" before it is brought to the construction site. God perfects us where we are. When it is time for the Body of Christ to come together there will be no sound of a "hammer or axe."

One of the purposes—if not the purpose—of the past two thousand years of the Christian Era has been the creating of the Body of Christ.

December 22nd

THE MOVE OF GOD AFTER PENTECOST, continued

Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. (Isaiah 12:6)

It always is commendable to desire the unity of the members of the Body of Christ. But when we attempt to bring the members together by our own means we find we must "cut and hammer" so the pieces will fit. But in the Day of Christ the Body will flow together by the Spirit of God just as the animals were brought by the Lord into the Ark. All that was required of Noah was to build the Ark. The Spirit of God took care of the remaining details.

Our responsibility is to "prophesy upon these bones." God’s responsibility is to cause the bones to come together, to give them strength, beauty, and life.

The Lord Jesus stands at the door of the heart of each Christian. If the Christian hears Christ’s voice and opens the door of his heart, the King enters him and dines with him, giving to the disciple to eat and drink from His own body and blood. Then the King works many wonderful works of reconciliation and hope in him, casting out sin, driving out the moneychangers, enabling him to make the transition from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness.

Just before He returns in the clouds of glory the Lord Jesus will summon His holy ones from the four corners of the heavens and the earth. In that Day, two believers will be sleeping in one bed. One, being full of the Life of the Lamb, will be taken. The other, being full of mere human life, will be left.

Then the Father and the Son in Their Fullness will enter the believers who have been living by the Life of Jesus. The clay vessels of the earthly frames of the saints will be shattered in that midnight hour, as portrayed by the breaking of their pitchers by Gideon’s soldiers. The Glory of the God of Heaven will stream from their personalities. This is the lightning that will blaze from horizon to horizon. Christ and His chosen ones will be glorified together in the sight of the peoples of the earth.

. . . and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 14:5)

The members of the Body of Christ, the true and only Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb, will be gathered together into one complete, perfect, light-filled Temple of God. Then the Wife of the Lamb, now shining as the sun in the purity of righteousness and holiness, will be lifted up triumphantly by the Spirit of God to be with her Lord forever.

Antichrist and the nations, seeing this lovely, glorious spectacle, will set themselves to prevent the taking over of the rulership of the earth by the Lord and His saints. But Antichrist will be destroyed by the brightness of the coming of Christ and His saints.

Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. (Isaiah 24:23)

Many of us have been saved and filled with God’s Holy Spirit. We have experienced the spiritual fulfillments of Passover and Pentecost. Let us now follow the cloud and the fire until we inherit the fullness of the salvation in Christ, until we enter the personal spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. (Joel 3:16,17)

The Holy City, which is the Lamb’s Wife, the true Church, will be the center of the universe and will govern the creation of God forever—ages without end.

December 23rd

PSALMS 34:1

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalms 34:1)

God desires that we always bless and extol the Lord. The Lord is good. We who have been Christians for a period of time have found that the Lord indeed is good.

Christians suffer just as much as other people. But if we keep before the Lord constantly we find that the suffering does us good. It knocks the sin and self-seeking out of us if we take it right and don’t start complaining and blaming people.

I would be a different person today if it were not for a multitude of tribulations. How about you? Would you like to be the same kind of person you were thirty years ago? I sure wouldn’t!

"Life is not a bowl of cherries," a fifth-grader I was teaching told me once. Her parents were going through a divorce. Poor thing! But she spoke the truth and we all know it. Unless we are one of these people with no principles (they are multiplying like flies in our day) we have to pay our bills and act responsibly toward those who have been entrusted to us.

Life has a lot of good times and a lot of hard knocks. Yet we find that God is good. For those who walk with God there are flowers to be picked in every valley.

We are to praise God continually. Sometimes this is easy, like in church. But at other times when we are facing a major crisis it is hard to praise the Lord. We feel more like going home and hiding under the bed.

When we have to look up to see the bottom, when our head feels like a rotten melon, when we are scared witless because we see disaster ahead, then is the time to praise the Lord. The Lord likes for everyone to praise Him for His love and goodness. But when we are in a dark valley and make ourselves look up in praise and worship, then the Lord regards that highly. It is an act of majesty on the part of one of His sons.

We will not always be at the bottom of the barrel. That dark place you are in now is not a grave, it is a tunnel. Don’t quit. God is just as good as He was when you first accepted the Lord.

At one time you had the world by the tail on a downhill pull and were singing the happy choruses of Zion. Now you are wondering if there even is a God.

I’ve been there! What you sang and what you testified are still true. I understand that you have entered a black pit of problems and confusion. How could God let this happen?

Believe it or not, this is working for your good! Day unto day is filled with words but it is at night, when you are following the fire, that you gain the knowledge of the Holy.

Whatever you do, don’t give up on God. Get on the roller coaster. Fasten your seat belt. You are in for the ride of your life.

When you get to the end the assistant will help you out of the car. Then you will stand up and say, "It wasn’t so bad after all! I think I’ll just carry my cross for one more day before I put it away for eternity."

Jacob took his inheritance from the Amorites with his sword and bow. So must we take our inheritance from Satan by fighting the good fight of faith.

December 24th

PSALMS 34:2,3

My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. (Psalms 34:2,3)

How good it is to lift up the name of the Lord!

It appears the nations which historically have been associated with Christianity are following the example of ancient Israel. They are forsaking the Lord in favor of human philosophies and ingenuity.

Everything today is money and power. The Bible is seen as a venerable tradition that puts a nice cloak of respectability on civilization. But where raw power is being exercised by the movers and shakers, the Bible is kicked out of the way.

Do not think for one moment I am bewailing this. It is good that things are getting colder and may they proceed until they are frozen. A society that is half Christian is worse than useless because it leaves the impression that somehow God, although not entirely pleased with us, is giving reluctant approval to what is going on.

Each new departure from morality and common sense brings a burst of indignation from several sources. But money talks and the outrage soon is eclipsed by a new outrage.

The latest flap is human cloning. Of course it is possible to clone a human as any animal, and it will be done because of the potential for money, power, and entertainment. But the product will be as any other animal because it will have no soul. You can’t clone a soul!

No, God is not wringing His hands over the antics of His creatures. He is using their foolishness to teach lessons to the angels. When school is over the army will descend from Heaven and the gibbering of demon-driven flesh will be silenced.

Get a view of Jesus, God’s King. No earthly monarch has attained one millionth of the authority and power possessed by Christ. He is laughing at the fools who would throw off His guidelines.

When you and I boast in the Lord and exalt His name, the humble of the earth rejoice. They are mourning the current trends. They bewail the sexual perversion, the murder of the little darlings that would have graced someone’s home, the cynicism and lies of the politicians who are serving themselves, the greed of the wealthy. But there is little they can do.

Take heart, little flock. Your King is aware of your sorrow. He is coming to vindicate you.

Some time ago an attorney said something to the effect that the meek may inherit the earth but the lawyers will win in court. He will answer for his proud boasting in the day he stands in the courtroom of Jesus Christ.

You and I are not to fret ourselves because of the increasingly arrogant boasting of those who do not know our Lord. The shoe will be on the other foot when they see Him coming, seated at the right hand of Power.

Jesus is supreme Lord and none can successfully oppose Him. Let us make our boast in Him, magnify Him, and exalt His name together.

What do you say?

God has given us a vision. He has shown us what He had completed in vision before the foundation of the world. The total restoration has been completed in God's mind all the way to the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now God is resting. Our task is to follow the Lord Jesus into that rest, into that finished work.

December 25th

PSALMS 34:4

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. (Psalms 34:4)

Fear is one of the worst plagues of life on the earth. One thing we look forward to in the next world is the absence of fear and dread.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on a radio address during World War Two, said something like, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." I think he was quoting Winston Churchill.

I was about fifteen years old at the time so maybe I didn't get it just right.

There is a lot of truth in that statement. The thing to be feared is fear itself.

The first class of people in the Lake of Fire are the fearful, the timid, the cowardly. Why is this such a great sin that it would be the number one candidate for eternal torment? It is because fear prevents us from doing God’s will. The fact that we are fearful reveals a lack of trust in God.

Fearfulness and cowardice are related to self-pity, I think. One time I had done something for which I could not forgive myself. Then I had a kind of vision of myself standing by the sidelines while the Lord’s army was parading past me. I was wallowing in my self-pity because I felt I was no longer worthy.

I was cheering the soldiers on, encouraging them for the battle. But I stood there in my abject unworthiness.

Then a riderless horse stood in front of me. I said, "I am not worthy to ride in the Lord’s army, I can’t get on that horse."

I knew in my heart I was bound by some kind of inverted pride. I remained for a few moments, in the meanwhile cheering the others as they rode past.

What a mess we humans are!

Then I knew the Lord was not feeling sorry for me and if I expected to go with the Lord I had better get on that horse.

It was a battle to overcome my self-pity and get on the horse!

Are you bound with self-pity, cowardice, timidity, fear? Poor me!

Don’t expect God or anybody else to feel sorry for you. Everyone has his own problems.

I think it was Woodrow Wilson who explained that people need justice instead of pity.

Get up on your hind legs and do what you are supposed to do if you want God’s blessing!

If you will seek the Lord He will deliver you from all your fears—all your fears!

Here we go. Are you ready? One—two—three! "Hear me Lord! Deliver me from all my fears, cowardice, timidity, and self-pity! Help me get going again! In Jesus’ name!"

Now, expect your fear to be removed, whether it’s cancer, a son in trouble, getting laid off from your job, your marriage, war, an earthquake, the death of your child.

It’s the fear that is killing you, causing endless dread and anxiety.

Is this the way you want to spend your days? Without the fear you will make it just fine through everything.

Get up on your horse and ride behind Jesus to perfect victory in every situation.

Your goal is to be in the image of Christ in spirit, soul, and body and to be abiding in God's perfect will in spirit, soul, and body. Do not stop pressing forward in prayer, faith, and obedience until you arrive at your objective.

December 26th

PSALMS 34:5

They looked unto him, and were lightened [radiant]: and their faces were not ashamed. (Psalms 34:5)

There is a public reproach on those who trust in Christ in front of other people. He who departs from evil makes himself or herself a prey. Sometimes he becomes an object of scorn to less-consecrated church people.

But there never is an occasion for shame for those who look to Christ in all matters. They are truly righteous in God’s sight and He will justify them.

Sometimes it appears that the social environment is becoming increasingly hostile toward Christians. The American people are used to practicing sins of various kinds and if they ever feel that Christians are hindering them from doing as they please there will be vicious persecution.

The Christian influence in America was strong in the beginning. Great trees die slowly. It is hard for Christians, who can point back to the original leaders and jurists of America as believers in the Scriptures, to realize that those days may be gone forever. The public has had a taste of unrestrained evil and they will not be frustrated, I believe.

I look for a tremendous increase in pornography and other sexual excesses in the days to come and woe to that individual who stands in the way of the juggernaut.

What then, are we followers of Christ to roll over and play dead?

Our response must be to look to Christ. We must learn righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God from Him. Then when we pray God will hear us.

The increasing sin in our land must prove to be a whip that drives us to Christ. God is all powerful. When we pray God is able and willing to move on behalf of those who are seeking righteousness.

The wicked may mock us today. They know we have very little power. But they do not know our God.

We who follow the Lord understand that no power is as great as His. No one can harm the individual who is good in God’s sight.

Let the wicked mock as they will. We shall turn to our God and He will save us.

If the Christian people of America will humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from their wicked ways, God will hear from Heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land.

The Lord seems to be telling me we have a few years left in America. If the believers will turn away from the foolish faith and prosperity doctrines, the overemphasis on lawless grace and a pre-tribulation rapture to save us from suffering, and begin to seek God in earnest, He will hear us and send a revival of righteous behavior. Otherwise we will be unprepared for suffering or even for a rapture should one take place in the near future (which I seriously doubt).

The Bible commands us to arm ourselves against the evil day. It does not tell us we will not be exposed to the evil day.

The Divine call today is to repentance, a turning away from the world and its ways. We do not have enough strength to overcome evil. But God does and He will if we live uprightly and look to Him.

Then our faces will be radiant with His Glory and righteousness will spring up in our country.

Maybe, as with Samson, the hair of the Church will grow back!

The reason the earth remains in darkness is that the members of the Body of Christ are immature in the things of God. They have not had created in them the conquering personality.

December 27th

PSALMS 34:6

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. (Psalms 34:6)

Jesus came to bless the poor in spirit. James tells us that God has chosen the poor, and not just in spirit.

It is noticeable when one goes to India how humble the people are. They are poor in spirit and poor in material wealth. You see the same thing in Mexico.

Maybe we Americans are prouder than we think. Maybe we don’t see the miracles of God more than we do because of our pride, some of it based on money and some on our "superior" education (which is not so superior anymore because God is not blessing our schools!).

Perhaps David meant he was poor in that he was afflicted and in trouble. He was on the run from Saul. Most of us know the story how he pretended to be mad in front of Achish, the king of Gath.

In any case, if you want to get something from the Lord, do not come before Him with a proud, self-sufficient attitude. God sends the rich away empty.

We Americans regard ourselves as superior to the rest of the world, especially if some country doesn’t govern like we do or eat McDonald’s hamburgers or fails to meet our standards in some other manner. We are so pleased when they salute and acquiesce to our demands.

Oftentimes we do not show much respect for other cultures.

Maybe if other nations become as democratic as we they can advance to drive-by shootings of civilians or having their children in school shoot or stab each other or poison the teacher. But then the other countries of the world aren’t doing so well either.

It seems to me while the poorer nations are bowing and scraping they are regarding us as decadent. Are we too blind to see it? They are afraid of us because the blessing of God on America (the result of our past Christian population and values) has provided us with wealth and power. But it is likely that many countries even now are plotting to attack the United States in the future.

We are doing little today to maintain the blessing of God! We have grown arrogant and self-satisfied.

When God decides the United States has played its role in history, a rowboat full of boy scouts would be able to overcome our military establishment.

Unless there is a wholesale repentance and turning to the Lord Jesus Christ we are in deep trouble.

It has been said that optimists are learning Russian and pessimists Chinese. If we don’t get right with God we better learn Russian and Chinese with maybe Libyan thrown in. I doubt the Libyan leaders have forgotten we made a bombing raid on them a few years back. Arabs are remarkably patient when planning revenge and they don’t like to lose face.

David had the quick wit to feign insanity. Maybe we will have to do that some day.

Let’s get poor in spirit and cry mightily to the Lord. Now we are hiding behind our chained, peep-holed doors while we drink beer and watch television. If the entire West Coast fell into the Pacific and it interrupted the Super Bowl we would be grossly upset.

When the hairy fist crashes through your security door it may be a little late to call on the Lord.

If we will humble ourselves and cry to the Lord He will hear us and save us out of all our troubles. All our troubles. You may need that promise some day.

Spirituality grows best in the shade, someone wisely said.

December 28th

PSALMS 34:7

The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. (Psalms 34:7)

The angel of the Lord.

Encamps round about.

Those who fear the Lord.

Delivers, or rescues them.

We are going to need this kind of help in the days to come!

First of all we must come to understand the power of the angel of the Lord. The angel of the Lord, or of any person, contains in himself all that the person is, all that God has given the individual. What we are is in our angel.

The angels of little children see the face of the Father, an incomprehensible privilege. These angels soon lose this privilege because the children become adults.

The Lord’s glory, authority, and power are in His angel. When this all-powerful angel pitches his tent next to yours you are well protected. His presence fills the valleys and the mountains.

But you must fear the Lord. We are so smart these days we don’t have to fear the Lord, we reverence Him.

"Oh Brother Thompson my New Testament uses the word ‘reverence.’ We had to fear that awful Jehovah of the Old Testament but now we have this nice Jesus and He would never want us to fear Him. But we must reverence Him. Anyway there is no difference between fear and reverence."

How we have become fools!

Would you feel a sense of reverence at Arlington National Cemetery? Would you be filled with fear?

Yes, there is a profound difference between reverence and fear.

The humanist might reverence God (if he thought there was one) but he certainly would never humble himself to fear God—not until the Lord Jesus Christ picked him up and he dangled there unable to even glance at the eyes of fire (something like a cross between the sun and the heart of an active volcano).

Have you ever been held in the hand of God? I have. I don’t recommend the experience unless you are on excellent terms with God.

All of our proud posturing and actions will vanish like a drop of water in a furnace when our Lord begins to stir Himself. We are absolute fools if we think we are going to stand upright in our haughtiness and guile before the throne of God.

If we have any brains at all we will choose to fear God—now, when the sun is shining and we have a full belly and the rent is paid and the children aren’t sick.

Fear the Lord! He is almighty God! He can cast you into Hell or establish you in Paradise at His will. And you are in no position to answer back!

Jesus Christ holds the keys of Hell and death. In order for Satan to enter or leave Hell he has to ask permission from Christ.

An age of moral horrors is at hand. Spiritual darkness and oppression will make it nearly impossible to pray. People no longer will be able to resist temptation or even think clearly.

If you will humble yourself and fear the Lord. His angel will deliver you from trouble and danger.

God knows, God cares, God is seeking your good, God has the power to help you.

You are not going to be able to be victorious in the days ahead in your own strength.

Be wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Humble yourself. You are not as strong as you think you are. Don’t wait to find out whether or not I’m right.

Why do you want spiritual power? To exalt yourself? Seek the Lord Jesus and love Him. Leave the "big things" to others.

December 29th

PSALMS 37:8

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psalms 37:8)

Do you remember when Mother put something on your plate you didn’t like, maybe spinach or beets?

She would say, "Just take a taste. It’s good for you."

In your opinion a hamburger and French fries topped off with a candy bar were much better for you.

Now you are getting chest pains when you walk uphill and you are wondering if Mother might have been right after all.

It’s like that with the Lord. If you have never known the Lord, why don’t you taste and see if the Lord is good? If you want purpose in life, if you want to know there is someone there to help you when you’re surrounded with dread, if you want to have a good feeling about where you are going when you die, then get with the Lord.

Let me tell you from experience that when you are in an ambulance traveling Code 3, oxygen mask on your face, wondering if you will see your family again, it’s a marvelous feeling to know the Lord has everything under control. When they slide you under the big camera and start the probe up an artery, it’s a happy thought that the next minute you might hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

The Bible says we are in bondage throughout our life because of the fear of death. When you know Jesus the hope of dying is like that of a ten-year-old the night before Christmas, or the thought that summer vacation is at hand.

Is that the way it is with you? If not, it can be. Look up to Jesus right now. Taste and see that the Lord is good. I have found Him so for fifty-two years and I have no reason to lie to you.

Happy is the individual who trusts the Lord. We see the world situation today. It doesn’t look good for Israel. We have some good friends there and I know our Arab brothers and sisters do also.

Who knows what is going on in the secret chambers of Russia, China, Cuba, and other places. What is tomorrow going to bring? Will our children and grandchildren survive drugs, AIDS, gangs; and if they do, what will they be facing ten years from now? A world gone crazy with lust, greed, and violence?

There is a way out of this. I found it when I was nineteen. It works. We do what good we can in the world but our hope is in the next age. I know it’s real. People disappear when they die. Their body is with us but they themselves are somewhere else. We will see them all again in the Day of Resurrection, not as wraiths but as flesh and bone people.

Life is like the old Mission Impossible television series. Events are fabricated to get people to do things they would not do ordinarily. Their real environment remains unchanged but a simulated environment causes them to react in revealing ways. If our eyes were open we would see we’ve been fooled as to where we are and what really is taking place.

Once the truth is out and the play acting is over, the "dead" actors get up and go out for dinner.

Some day the play will be over. What kind of truth came out of you? You will be amazed that you always have been in the midst of a multitude of spirits and people observing your reactions.

No one has really gone anywhere. They are in various holding areas waiting for the great Day of Judgment.

That which is spoken in secret shall be proclaimed on the housetops. Nobody will ever know what you have done in secret—except the whole universe.

Put your trust in Jesus and He will make sure that when the program director says "Cut!" and everyone comes back to life you will be proud of yourself—and of Jesus.

Mother really does know what she is talking about!

We sing our song, utter the parable that is our personality. There is some laughter, many tears, and then the present life is finished. Now we have all eternity to consider how we behaved while under the dark pressures of earth.

December 30th

NOT BY MIGHT NOR BY POWER

So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6—NIV)

Zechariah saw a lampstand and two olive trees.

The angel informed him what the vision signified: "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit."

What was to be not by human might or power but by God's Spirit?

The answer is, the completion of the restoring of the Temple of God, the placing of the capstone. Zechariah prophesied during the time of the rebuilding of the Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians.

In the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation the symbolism is extended. Now we have not one lampstand, as Zechariah saw, but two, as well as the two olive trees.

The golden lampstand always represents Christ or Christ's churches—that which is of Divinity and anointed with the Holy Spirit of God. The two olive trees speak of the giving of the Holy Spirit without measure. The oil comes directly from the trees to the cups of the lampstand rather than a portion being given each day by the High Priest of Israel. This portrays a greater fullness of the Spirit in place of the partial gifts to which we have become accustomed. The two trees reveal the fullness of Pentecostal power reserved for the closing days of the Church Age.

The one lampstand of Zechariah is Christ. The two lampstands of Revelation, Chapter Eleven are Christ and His Body.

Here the Spirit of revelation is pointing toward the greatest of all revivals, the last-day harvest outpouring of the Spirit of God.

In the tenth chapter of Revelation we find that when the seventh angel is about to sound, the mystery of God will be finished, or accomplished. The mystery of God is Christ in us. The significance of the vision is that in the days of the seventh angel the Body of Christ, the eternal Temple of God, will be completed. Then the Capstone, who is also the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ, will be joined to His Body.

God is telling us that the coming to maturity of the Body will not be performed by the might and power of man but by the Spirit of God. This is the meaning of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation.

There is stress today on unity, on bringing the Christians together in joint efforts. There may be good accomplished by this and it always is desirable that brothers dwell together in unity.

But there is the everlasting (from the time of the Tower of Babel) temptation to get ahead of God in the effort toward togetherness. How easily our best intentions can be siphoned into the man-directed building of a kingdom!

Brothers, let's get our hands off the Glory. The great stones of the Temple of God are being fashioned at the quarry. When God's time arrives the stones will come together, stone to stone, without the sound of an axe or hammer.

Noah's job was to obey God and build an ark. God's task was to bring in the animals when the ark was completed.

We plow, sow, water, or cultivate according to the gifts given us. But it is the Spirit of God who will bring in the eternal harvest.

Let us make sure our efforts in the Kingdom of God are not by our own might or power but by God's Spirit. Thus we will escape the False Prophet of the last days.

We Christians are becoming altogether too experience-oriented. We need to get back to the Bible. The False Prophet is at hand with his signs and wonders and we are accepting what he says uncritically.

December 31st

THE BLOOD; THE WITNESS; AND THE DEATH

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11—NIV)

We have been so accustomed to the idea we are in a wrestling match with the dignitaries of the heavens that the concept of their being finally, totally defeated is difficult to grasp. Yet the Scripture teaches plainly that they actually will be cast down from their vantage points in the heavens.

There will come a day when the accuser's shoulders are pinned to the mat.

First of all, notice that "they overcame him." Who overcame the accuser? Our brothers whom he is accusing before our God day and night.

But look at the means by which the accuser is overcome!

First of all, by the blood of the Lamb. The brothers continually walked in the light of God's perfect will. Therefore the blood of Jesus Christ kept on cleansing them from all sin. No room for accusation here. The accuser is defeated.

Second, by the word of their testimony. They cooperated with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit created them living epistles, the testimony of God. Like Enoch, they had this testimony—they pleased God!

There is an abundance of ministry today but the testimony of God's Person, will, way, and eternal purpose in Jesus Christ has been destroyed by the ungodly conduct of the believers. No amount of ministry can shut the mouth of the accuser when there is sin in the camp.

Finally, they loved not their lives to the death. Like Samson, they tore down the kingdom of Satan by their death.

We of today understand the authority of the blood of the Lamb. We understand also that we bear witness by the power of the Spirit, both in miraculous acts and, of equal importance, in a righteous, holy life.

But the call today is for those who, like Abraham, will obey God to the point of giving up all they hold dear.

We are in a time of the greatest of all opportunities and the greatest of all dangers, in the Kingdom of God. The greatest of all dangers is that we will attempt to use the things of God and try, in our own wisdom and strength, to save the world.

The greatest of all opportunities is this: the Father is looking for those who will obey Him in every matter great and small. There absolutely is no limit to the demands He will make on us. He must be certain we will obey Him without question, never once yielding to the temptation to try to use, according to our own thoughts and desires, the things of God to accomplish what we think should be done in His Kingdom.

To those who will give their all God is ready to give His all.

The mightiest of all interventions of God is at hand. However God's Divine power and glory will not be given to those who still are governed by their own religious impulses.

It is only through our death that the heavens and the earth will be released from bondage.

This is the call today. Are you willing to give everything to God that His creatures may be delivered from the bondages of the accuser?

The concept that we never shall be anything but rebellious sinners who are saved by God's mercy, and that our eternal life, sonship, participation in the New Jerusalem, and overcoming status are eternally imputed to us independently of any change of what we are and do, comes from Satan not from God.