Pastor's Page - Archive
Introduction —Welcome to our site. You may notice some ideas that are new to you. Hopefully they will be helpful, or at least cause you to stop and think about what is being said.
We have come to the conclusion, after 60 years as a Christian, that some of our traditions need to be looked at again in the light of the Scripture. Our position is, if our tradition does not square with the Bible, then we need to change the tradition and not the Bible.
We certainly question the idea that our behavior does not affect our salvation, or that our salvation does not affect our behavior. Our salvation normally will be revealed in our behavior.
We question also the doctrine of the pre-tribulation "rapture."
The "prosperity" and "faith" messages do not fit the Scripture, as far as we are concerned.
We look for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, rather than eternal residence in Heaven. Have you ever tried to find in the Bible where we are supposed to spend eternity in Heaven?
We want to be with Jesus where He is—in the center of the Person and will of God, not stuck in an unscriptural mansion somewhere.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is beginning to be preached in all the world for a witness. After that, the end of the Church Age will be here.
The Bible teaches us that whoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will not perish but have eternal life. This passage may be the most familiar of all Bible statements.
But what does it mean? It commonly is taught that this promise means that whoever places his or her faith in Jesus Christ will not go to Hell when he or she dies. But this cannot be the correct interpretation, on two counts. First. the verse in question does not mention Hell or Heaven. Second, eternal life is a kind of life. Hell and Heaven are places, not kinds of life, while perishing is the end of life.
If it is true that we do not understand the basic promise of salvation, it may be that much of what we teach is tradition and not God’s truth.
Notice that the issues are "perishing" and "eternal life."
What does it mean "to perish." The same Greek term for perish is used commonly to indicate loss of life: "Master, we perish"; "You shall all likewise perish."
To "perish" does not mean to go to Hell. It is true rather that people who lose their spiritual life by sinning may be placed in Hell. People are placed in Hell because they have perished, that is, have lost their spiritual life, the eternal Life of Christ.
There are several passages in the Bible that set forth the end of the wicked. These are the destinies of those who have sinned until their eternal life has been lost; or of those who never had eternal life but whose conduct on the earth causes the Lord to judge them unworthy of eternal life.
And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind." (Isaiah 66:24)
If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)
They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1:13)
And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:30)
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41)
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2)
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out. Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:29)
Notice it is the body that is thrown into Hell. We shall be punished and rewarded in our bodies.
It seems as though at the final resurrection, all whose names are not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. How then can we account for all the other destinies mentioned above?
Thrown into Hell
Loathsome to all mankind.
Blackest darkness. The flames of the Lake of Fire give no light.
Outer darkness (King James).
Shame and everlasting contempt.
Rise to be condemned.
The fiery lake of burning sulfur.
My conclusion is that the Lake of Fire is like a great room with many compartments, perhaps depending on the type of person confined there. Hell is one of those compartments, since Hell is thrown into the Lake of Fire at the final resurrection. Does that seem to fit all the passages, from your point of view?
The Lord Jesus said that at the resurrection, everyone, those who have done good and those who have done evil, will rise. Then they will be given a body that reveals the type of person they are.
Perhaps those of similar experience will be grouped together. The several levels of maturity in Christ will be grouped together, and the several kinds of wickedness will be grouped together.
The Heaven/Hell model has given rise to a destructive interpretation. It is that once we make a profession of belief in Jesus Christ we instantly and eternally are free from the possibility of experiencing any of these destinies.
If an evil genius set himself to devise an error that would totally frustrate God’s intention under the new covenant, it is that upon once professing belief in Christ we eternally are spared banishment from God’s Presence.
John 3:16 is preached as though once we believe in Christ we never can perish; we never can experience the dreadful destinies set forth in the Old and New Testaments as being the eternal home of the wicked, of those "who have done evil."
By adding our ideas to what John 3:16 states, instead of adhering to the text, we have created a monstrous interpretation—that God is not concerned about changing our moral behavior, only our religious belief.
The harm that has been done to the Christian churches is incalculable! The Christian salvation is perceived as any one of the several religions of the world that promise their adherents escape from punishment and a life of bliss after death.
If the prevailing "grace" error is added to this, we do not have even the righteous requirements of some of the other religions. What is being presented as the Christian salvation is not that at all. It is more like the ancient error Gnosticism. The idea is that if you believe and profess certain doctrines, you are assured that you will have a mansion and walk on a golden street after you die. It is a kind of life insurance.
How did we ever get into such absurdities? I would say our enemy, Satan, is more clever than we have realized.
Satan’s goal is to maintain the nations of the world as his playground. The current teaching of salvation enables him to do just that. Satan’s kingdom is not disturbed by "Statements of Faith," no matter how accurate, but by someone who is living in close contact with the Lord Jesus. Satan and his demons are well aware that the fundamental Statements of Faith are correct. But Satan and his demons have no eternal life.
Now we come to the disaster when we change John 3:16 from having eternal life into going to Heaven when we die. It really is the same problem we have with changing shall not perish to going to Hell when we die. We set forth an initial pronouncement of belief in Christ as an assurance that we never again can be threatened with eternal punishment but will live forever in peace and joy in Heaven.
It is not always pointed out that "perishing" and "eternal life" are related. To perish is to lose our eternal life if we once had it. In the case of the people of the nations of the earth who are not of God’s elect, and had not had Divine Life previously, they will be given of the Life of Christ if God judges them worthy to enter the new world of righteousness. Christ and His saints will be life-giving spirits who can give eternal life to the people of the nations as God directs.
If their behavior on the earth has been such that God does not judge them worthy of life on the new earth, in the new world of righteousness, they then have perished and will be sent to one of the locations mentioned above.
Eternal life often is preached as thought it is a gift given to us, much as someone might give us a hundred dollars. It is not that at all. The verse used to support this concept is Romans 6:23.
In actuality, the preceding verses in Chapter Six, of which Verse 23 is the conclusion, is that if the believer, having been baptized in water, chooses to be a slave to righteous behavior, he will reap the fruit of holiness, the result of which is eternal life.
The difference between that and the current interpretation is radical!
The Book of Romans, Chapter Eight, Verses 1-14, explains the eternal life that is God’s gift to us, provided—and only provided—we choose to turn away from the acts of our sinful nature. We always must obey the Spirit of God.
The Spirit of God Himself is the eternal Life spoken of in John 3:16. We are to obey the Spirit of God at all times throughout every day and throughout the part of the night that we are awake.
Satan’s kingdom is not disturbed until a believer denies himself, takes up his cross, and follows the Lord Jesus at every waking moment. As the believer does this, his self-nature, his will, his life (these three all are the same thing) is slain. The eternal Life of the Lord Jesus Christ enters him bit by bit. It is this life that produces the eternal change into godly behavior. It is this Life of Jesus Christ formed in the believer that overcomes Satan.
It is true that eternal life includes longevity. We see this as God’s expressed his concern when Adam and Eve were barred from the Tree of Life. But eternal life is vastly more than longevity. Eternal life must be distinguished from eternal consciousness, which no doubt is true of those who are eternally incarcerated.
To possess eternal life is to know the Father and the Son. The only manner in which we can truly know the Father and the Son is internally. Christ must be formed in us. Then the Father and the Son come and dwell in that which has been formed in us. Then we do not perish because Divine Life is not perishable. It endures for eternity.
The life of flesh and blood is perishable. If this is the only life an individual possesses, and has no Divine Life, he or she already is dead spiritually and is slowly dying physically. The Lord Jesus came that we might have Divine Life, and that that Divine Life might raise up our physical body in the Day of Resurrection.
As I stated previously, if an individual who has never had an opportunity to acquire eternal life dies, and then is found worthy of eternal life when he or she is judged, he will be given to eat of Christ, of the Tree of Life, and permitted to enter the new, eternal world of righteousness. It certainly is true that the sheep nations, those people who assisted the Lord’s elect while they were being tested in the earth, will enter the Life of Christ upon dying. This is clear in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew.
Eternal life is not referring only to length of life. It is a kind of life, a quality of life. The eternal Life that is in the Lord Jesus Christ is Divine in Nature. It is love, joy, peace, and every other fruit of the Spirit. It includes courage, faith, and every other desirable trait.
Some of these traits are found from time to time in various individuals in their adamic states. But they are not of eternal quality. They are, you might say, a reflection of Christ who created the physical world. But those who are turning aside from their own life, accepting the crucifixion the Lord sends to them, are growing in the eternal Life of God. Nothing is more desirable than this!
The goal of the Apostle Paul was to attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when Christ comes. This resurrection is for those who have pursued Christ until they are eligible for and capable of receiving back their body, now filled with eternal Divine Life, when He returns.
The rest of the dead, including the Christian dead as I understand the program at this time, will be raised at the final resurrection. Their escape from the Lake of Fire depends on what is written in the Books at that time.
It may be helpful for the believer to understand that we possess eternal life in degrees, or increments. We have to lay hold on life. We have to grow in life. Every time we choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, choosing to do what is godly and right, we are fed with the body and blood of Christ in the spirit realm. The body and blood of Jesus Christ are our eternal life. It is these elements that will raise us to meet Christ at His appearing.
As the Apostle Paul taught us, those believers who are giving way to their sinful nature instead of devoting themselves to Christ each day are sowing corruption and shall reap corruption in the Day of Christ. Their destiny shall be the outer darkness.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)
And to whom is the Apostle writing?
Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia: (Galatians 1:1,2)
So we see the current teaching that eternal life is a gift that is handed to someone who makes the correct religious profession is not at all scriptural. The eternal life that the Lord Jesus Christ came to bring us is gained as we deny the desires of our sinful nature and cooperate with the Spirit of God in our daily life.
Perhaps in our determination to construct a religion out of what God intends to be a daily interaction with a living Lord Jesus, we have interpreted John 3:16 to mean that we are to make an initial profession of Christ and view Christ as our ticket to Heaven and our pass out of Hell. This concept is contrary to much of the text of the New Testament.
Would we gain a clearer understanding of the program of redemption if we did not view professing Christ as a ticket? What if we viewed believing in Christ as a continuing act? What if we conceived of our salvation as a daily battle against the death that is in the world spirit, the death that is in our sinful nature, the death that Satan himself is?
What if "whoever believes in Him" means that as we keep believing in Him we keep passing from the death that surrounds us on every hand in this dark valley in which we are attempting to survive, into the bright shining of the Divine Life that the Lord Jesus Christ is? Would this change our preaching?
Certainly the passage from Galatians quoted above appears to lean toward the idea that eternal life is gained by sowing the right kind of seed. And I would suggest it is a continual sowing as we each day we encounter the challenges of that interval of time.
Could you agree with me that our salvation is something that must be worked out, and we are not finished working it out until God is pleased to remove us from this present world?
I think everyone of us who are Christian pastors, teachers, or evangelists, might care to read once again the sixth and eighth chapters of the Book of Romans, particularly Romans 8:1-14. Then we need to ask ourselves, "Does the current Christian teaching conform to these passages?"
It is my opinion that we are in sore need of a reformation of Christian thinking.
The Lord’s Prisons
One of the first sermons I preached when beginning to serve as a pastor of Mount Zion Fellowship had to do with following Christ patiently. I felt in my spirit that the Charismatic movement would be divided over the issue of patient waiting on the Lord. The majority of the movement would seek the power of Christ, attempting to do "great things." The minority would cease from their own works and wait in the Lord’s prison, patiently bearing their cross after Christ, until Jesus saw fit to act. What I have seen over the last thirty years has confirmed my impression.
During modern times (I don’t know when or where it started) a spirit has entered the Christian ministry. I am not sure what to call it, but it seeks to use the power of Christ apart from the traditional cross-carrying obedience and patient waiting on the Lord that we usually associate with discipleship.
There is talk of binding the principalities over cities; putting on our administrative hat; stepping out in faith. I suppose the faith and prosperity errors are part of it. We have had the "laughing revival." And there have been "revivals" in Toronto, Canada and Gainesville Florida that seem to be based more on enthusiasm than the Spirit of God. The Todd Bentley debacle is one of the later manifestations. I wonder what is next.
And then we have, "speaking the creative word." It is a fact that a member of the Body of Christ may be directed to speak a creative word, BUT ONLY AS JESUS DIRECTS, not because we just think it is a good idea.
What we may not understand, we Charismatics, is that Jesus is the only lawful Administrator of the power of the Spirit. We are not to attempt to use the gifts of the Spirit. We are to keep looking to Christ so we will know what we are to exercise and when we are to exercise it. If this simple fact were brought to the attention of Charismatic people, we might have real revival on our hands, not the kind of worked-up things we have been experiencing over the past twenty-five years.
When you think about the dramatic calls to see how marvelously God will work when we all get together and pray, or show by our actions that something remarkable is taking place, and then place these scenes against the ministries of the Apostles of the first century, there is a noticeable difference. Has God’s way of working actually changed?
I believe it is time to ask this question.
For myself, I don’t think much of the present commotion is of the Lord Jesus. Are some people genuinely converted to Christ? Is lasting fruit being borne? I think it is, in some cases.
The thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation tells us of the False Prophet who will assist Antichrist. Notice that the False Prophet has the two horns (power) of the lamb (Lamb?) but speaks with the voice of the dragon. The voice of the dragon is that of self-will. "I will; I will; I will." It is easy to apply this description of what is taking place in some of the Charismatic ministries.
Will it be self-centered Christians who support the self-centered Antichrist world system? I think so.
The following passage is found in the second chapter of the Book of Revelation:
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
God permits (or directs) Satan to put us in prison. But God always is in control. The length of time is determined in advance. The reward is the authority and power of endless, incorruptible Divine Life.
The imprisonment is that of our personal cross. Our personal cross takes two forms: we are not given what we so fervently desire at the time we desire it; or/and we have to live in a situation that we deplore for an unknown period of imprisonment.
When Audrey and I first came to Mount Zion, I resolved to do only what the immediate situation called for, the practical actions any normal person would take in his or her situation. I resolved to avoid planning major programs until I knew what Christ was saying.
If you think waiting on the Lord like this is easy you possibly have never tried it. There are several forms of pressure that urge us to get out and do something. Win souls for Christ. Build a big church. Compel them to come in. Win your city for Christ. Take dominion over the spiritual rulers of your community. In other words, come down from the cross.
So we have waited to see what Christ wanted. No word came. Younger ministers passed us up on their way to the "top." I already was fifty years old with an earned doctorate in education from the University of Rochester in New York. I am supposed to bring glory to my alma mater.
So here I am, waiting for Christ to do something, an old man on my way to the bottom, in a little church in Poway, California. Someone told me that "Poway" is an Indian term meaning "the end of the road." That does not help!
But you know what! I had determined "to fish or cut bait." "If there is a God in Heaven, a Christ who said He would build His Church, let’s find out." Kind of daring, I guess. Meanwhile some are saying we must go door to door and save souls. Oh well . . .!
I have stuck to my guns. It is thirty years later. The church is still less than a hundred in attendance, although it is growing slowly. We have not made any effort to build the church, the Spirit of God always seems to bring in the people we need for what we are doing.
Meanwhile, our outreach is impressive, I believe, in books going out, television, our two Internet sites, our daily essay on E-mail (over a thousand subscribers who read my rantings seven days a week). We still are not making any plans or trying to do anything. In fact, you are reading these words right now and I don’t even know who you are or where you live, maybe in Vietnam. We actually see Vietnam on our stat page for the WOR site, as well as France, England, Italy, the United Arab Republics, and other places you might not think of.
I prayed years ago that God would grant to me to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom wherever people breathe the air. I think He is answering prayer.
Meanwhile I am in the Lord’s prison. You know, resurrection power comes only from the cross, not from our religious efforts no matter how sincere or violent. We can try to twist God’s arm, but all we get are manifestations that seem to be the Holy Spirit but leave kind of a bad taste in our mouth
When we think of Abraham offering Isaac, the numerous kinds of suffering the Apostle Paul endured, the deprivations of those heavenly witnesses mentioned in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, we realize that God’s way is to reduce us to nothing, to remove all our ability to do anything, so that His wisdom and power might prevail.
Are you being denied what you want? Are you in a miserable situation? Pray earnestly that you will get what you want. But do not force your way out! In order to escape you will have to break God’s laws. The route to deception it to try to make our life on earth a pleasurable experience. Accept the trials God sends, and the blessings also. They are equally important.
When the Lord Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, He knew what He was saying. The greatest enemy we have, even worse than our sinful nature, is our self-will; our personal ambition. Our personal ambition is slain in our prison, slain by our cross. This is the purpose for the imprisonment. It is to kill our self-will.
When a self-willed person enters the ministry, what we have is self-will in the ministry. This is what we often see today. An ambitious person attempting to make a name for himself or herself.
I guess being a minister of the Gospel must appeal to people. Maybe it is better than working. For myself, this is not my choice. There are many things I enjoy doing. I would not have picked out the ministry for a vocation. I am in the ministry because Christ called me in a supernatural experience while I was in the Marine Corps during World War Two. Yes, some of us are still living. I am pastoring as a favor for my best Friend, the Lord Jesus. Otherwise I would be doing something I like better.
But, like Moses I think it was, I am looking forward to the reward from a grateful King. So I will keep on pastoring until He says "enough."
I know, from reading the Bible, that the—shall I say monkey business—that goes on today with all its hype and begging for money probably is not Divine Life coming from the cross.
We have had several "revivals" in the last several years. But you know what? I am waiting for God to move. I have been in Pentecost for sixty years. I think I will know when I see the real stuff. I haven’t seen it yet, but I believe genuine revival, the harvest rain prophesied for the last days, is at hand.
When it comes, you will know it and I will know it. There will be no more "big" preachers. It will be a "sackcloth" revival. Little people doing what the Lord has told them to do, and then fading back into the woodwork. Such people refuse to take the Glory. They want Christ alone to be magnified in their bodies.
So I invite you to wait with me in your own prison. Don’t try to be anyone special. Walk with the lowly of heart. Let’s see what our Lord Jesus Christ will do if we keep our hands off the Ark, because it certainly is coming down the road.
Surviving the Decline of America
I am 83 years old. I have seen a good deal of American history throughout my lifetime. I remember Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal very clearly. Happy days were here again and my father got a job.
You know, it is a sad thing to see our great nation forsake its heritage. The once mighty United States of America is on the decline. This has happened to great nations of the past, hasn’t it. And always for the same reason—sin!
The issue is not the liberals or the conservatives, the Democrats or the Republicans, the black people or the white people. There are good people in all of these categories, and also wicked people. Rather, the issue is sin.
I believe, after prayer, that God’s main concern regarding America is abortion-on-demand. I realize there are occasions, such as a life-threatening medical condition, or rape, when God could condone an abortion. And as far as limiting the population of a third-world population for economic reasons, it would seem that preventing conception in the first place would be preferable to abortion.
But in America when so often the problem is one of convenience, or of establishing the "reproductive rights" of the female, murdering the developing fetus is simply not acceptable.
I asked the Lord how he felt about the millions of babies being murdered in America. This is what I believe He said: "I am going to avenge Myself, and the murdered babies as well. I am holding every man, woman, boy, and girl in America responsible for these murders."
You may argue, "You certainly were not hearing from God."
My suggestion is, "Ask God for yourself. The Bible says, let the prophets speak and let the others judge. So go to God and ask Him if what I heard was actually from Him. Don’t guess, ask God.
So I said, "What then shall we do?"
He said, "Get as close to Jesus as you can and obey all He tells you to do. Everyone who does this, whether man, woman, boy, or girl, will be spared the fury of My wrath."
We are not talking about tribulation here but about wrath. Tribulation enables us to enter the Kingdom of God. But wrath is destructive.
Do you think for one moment I would lightly quote God in such a manner? God would punish me for being a false witness. So please do as I suggest. Go to God and ask for yourself. See what His attitude is toward the practice of abortion-on-demand.
I do not care how wise are the forthcoming governmental decisions. America will grow increasingly weak, financially, militarily, educationally, physically, mentally, unless the government condemns and halts the practice of unneeded abortions.
If I am not hearing from Christ, then the country can relax. But if I am hearing from Christ, then our country is in about as bad a situation as is possible.
Regarding boys and girls at the age of accountability. They need to throw out the electronic games. Many of these games deal with demons, supernatural creatures or events, horrible-looking creatures, ghouls, snakes, dragons, and violence. All of these open the door for spiritual darkness to enter the home. Many youngsters will commit horrible crimes as a result of exposing themselves to these wicked games.
It is our fault as parents and adults. We have permitted the young people to become so involved with this witchcraft, and this indeed is what it is, that they cannot conceive of living without their electronic games. Only the most determined of the boys and girls will be able to give up these games.
I found it quite strange that God said He was holding all of the American people, including the boys and girls, responsible for the abortions that have occurred and are occurring. Since I am a responsible pastor and not some kind of nutcase, I am well aware of the consternation my declaration could occasion.
My alternative is to permit humanistic considerations to modify what I think God told me so it is more acceptable and "reasonable." However I am not even tempted to do that, because I have found in a Christian experience of over sixty years that it is best to do and say exactly what God says to do and say, and later we see the wisdom of it. Have you found this to be true.
Our Lord Jesus seems to be more real to me now than at any previous period of my discipleship. I believe He is telling me that because of the rise of the Antichrist spirit in our nation we are going to need to talk to Him constantly throughout the day and night if we are to survive.
The spiritual powers that are appearing in our nation and on the world scene are far stronger and wiser that any we have known. We simply are no match for them in political power are any other power or wisdom. Only Jesus sits as King of the flood. Only Jesus has more wisdom, authority, and power than the greatest of the titans of darkness that God has permitted to invade the earth in the closing days of time.
God knows exactly what He is doing and is in perfect control. He is shaking the earth and the heavens so only that which has been founded on Christ can maintain its position. The Christian activities and professions we have believed to be our guaranty that we cannot be harmed spiritually will vanish before the spiritual onslaught that is approaching.
We can survive and we can help our loved ones and friends to survive during the decline of the American way of life. But we will have to press into Jesus continually. We will have to think about that which is pure, lovely, wholesome, and not participate with those who are seeking that which is ugly, horrible, gruesome.
One of our greatest temptation will be to fret over the actions and words of wicked people, with which America seems to be filled. We simply must not fret! We must set our minds and emotions on that which is above. We must place our treasures in Heaven, understanding that our pilgrimage on the earth is only for a brief season.
If we seek to save our life, we are going to lose it. If we lose our life for Jesus’ sake, we will preserve it.
Make no mistake. Dreadful, terrible days are approaching our nation. I understand the unscriptural doctrine of the any-moment rapture of the believer will cause many to ignore the preparations I have mentioned. Therefore in the hour of calamity they will be of no help to themselves, their loved ones, or their friends. They have not prepared themselves to stand in the evil day, as the Apostle commanded.
I think America finally will survive as a nation, but we no longer will exert leadership in the world. We are throwing away the blessing of God that was gained by the hard work and faith in God of our forefathers. We are throwing it away as we watch the wicked people on the late-night television shows mock and blaspheme God and all that is holy and righteous.
You can let the troubles that are coming press you into Jesus. That would please Him, and he will enable you to save yourself and those who follow you.
Prepare the Way of the Lord!
I think all of us Christians believe the return of Christ to the earth is near. What we may not realize is that the way of the Lord must be prepared. The world will not be prepared for His sudden appearing. But we who believe in Christ must be made ready for Him. This preparation is taking place today.
It seems to be the prevailing concept, at least that which is held by evangelical, fundamental Christians, that Christ is coming at any moment to whisk His Church into Heaven in order to avoid the troubles on the horizon.
This belief is neither scriptural nor reasonable nor logical
It is not scriptural. There is no passage in the Bible that says Christ will return to remove His Church from the earth and bring her to Heaven so she may not have to endure trouble. In fact, Jesus Himself said He was not praying that God would take us out of the world but that God would deliver us from the evil one.
It is not reasonable. It is certain that believer cannot be lifted up to meet the Lord in the air until they first have been raised from the dead, that is, changed from mortality into immortality. Once they thus have been changed, neither Antichrist nor any other evil force can in any manner harm them. So why would Christ have to live immortal saints into the air to escape harm?
It is not logical. The believers of today, especially in America, live in the pursuits of their fallen nature. How many Christian people do you know who have denied themselves, taken up their cross, and are diligently following the Lord each day—that is, when they can tear themselves away from the television? Not very many, I am afraid. Therefore they are not disciples. Therefore they are not Christians, because "Christian" is another name for a "disciple."
If we are under the impression that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming with the victorious saints of all ages in order to receive to Himself millions of half-hearted, double-minded, lukewarm American church members, we are living in a delusion.
The American holocaust is on the horizon, sponsored by the babies that have been aborted without good and sufficient reason. During this season of Divine judgment we will discover that Christ’s way is not to remove us from trouble but to deliver us in the midst of trouble, as He did Daniel, as well as the three young Hebrew men.
What, then, can a believer do to prepare the way of the coming of the Lord to him or her?
First, he must realize that every son God receives He chastens. This means fiery trials to burn away our sin and self-will. God goes to war against every person He receives. He does not comfort us until our warfare has been accomplished.
@SCRIPTURE = Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:2)
Peter speaks of fiery trials. Isaiah tell us about the barren from whom God has turned away for a brief season, about being angry with us. We must receive a double portion of chastening before God will receive and comfort us.
If you have experienced this season of imprisonment you know exactly what I mean. If you have not, then pray that you will stand in the hour of testing.
The crooked places in your personality must be straightened out. Like most of us, you probably are deceitful. You are Jacob with the wounded heel, always trying to prove that your underhanded ways are actually righteous. You are a supplanter until your warfare, your hard service, has been completed.
The high places in your personality must be brought down. You may be arrogant, in love with yourself, presumptuous, expecting Christ to be your servant and give you all you want "right now, thank you." The Lord’s prison has a way of humbling the most proud, arrogant believer until he or she walks humbly with God.
The rough places must be smoothed out. A little lying; a little adultery; a little profanity; a little gossip; a little dabbling in the occult. Who among us can walk with the consuming Fire of Israel? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. How wonderful to live in the center of the Divine Fire! There absolutely is no other place to live in as wonderful as this? But everything that can be burned shall be burned. Covet this purifying!
The low places must be brought up God cannot work with timid, shy, fearful people. The titanic battle between good and evil is upon us. We must seek Christ until we are strong and of a good courage. How many times did God tell Joshua to be strong and of a good courage!
We might have gotten by this far in our church by pleading shyness, or self-consciousness, or whatever. Look at Revelation 21:8 and see who is the first candidate for the Lake of Fire!
Christ indeed will nourish the weak and care for them. But He intends to bring forth victory in them, and that means a personality who boldly trusts in Christ and goes forth in strength and confidence in the Lord Jesus.
Prepare the way of the Lord in your heart! The high comes down. The low comes up. The crooked is straightened out. The rough is smoothed out.
All flesh is as grass. Our natural life is temporary. Jesus told us the flesh profits nothing. Let us call on Jesus and ask Him to make us ready for His coming. He is life eternal. He is That who endures and cannot be shaken. Our mortal life soon shall wither and die, passing away like the grass of the field. Bright and green one moment. Dead and lifeless the next.
Who among us will seek true value, that which is eternal, that which brings everlasting love, joy, and peace?
Prepare the way of the Lord!
Living "In Christ."
This Sunday the burden had to do with what it means to be "in Christ." So often being "in Christ" is translated as "accepting Christ"; making a profession of belief in Christian doctrine. However being "in Christ" is not referring to what we believe but how we are living.
We began in the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians, where we find the expressions "those who sleep in Jesus," and "the dead in Christ shall rise."
I digressed a bit by pointing out that this "pre-tribulation rapture" passage has nothing to do with a catching up of the believers in order to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.
Rather, Paul was comforting those whose Christian relatives had died by telling them that they had no need to worry, because Christ would bring their deceased loved ones with Him when He returns to set up His Kingdom on the earth. Honestly, it is really ludicrous to use the words of the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians to teach that Christians are going to be caught up to Heaven in order to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.
Ordinarily when the "pre-tribulation rapture" is preached, no mention is made of the fact that Christ is bringing with Him all true saints who today are in the spirit world. Since there may be a relatively small number of believers on the earth when Christ returns, the returning saints will greatly outnumber the living saints.
It is less than reasonable to suppose that the returning saints, after having been resurrected, need to be caught up to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.
It is equally ridiculous to imagine that the saints alive on the earth, who are given immortality in their bodies, need then to be caught up in order to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.
The "rapture" doctrine, whether pre-tribulation or post-tribulation has nothing to do with the New Testament. First Thessalonians is referring to the return of Christ with His saints to set up His Kingdom on the earth. The reason they meet Him in the air is that Satan is the ruler of the authority of the air. It would be nonsensical for the saints who have returned with the Lord and who have received their bodies to then return with Christ to Heaven.
The fourth chapter of the Book of First Thessalonians is telling us of the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon. This is why the loud command is given, the archangel is present, and the trumpet is blown.
We need to think carefully about the expressions "fallen asleep in Him" and "the dead in Christ." What does it mean to be "in Christ"?
Today we use the expression "in Him" to refer to maintaining a belief in the doctrine we accept as being sound. This is not what it means. It signifies, rather, that we are living as a disciple. We are looking to the Lord Jesus for every thing we think, say, and do. We literally are living "in Him." I believe this is true of very few Christians in America. Therefore they are not prepared for the return of the Lord. They are not going to be transformed when He returns or caught up to meet Him in the air.
"Accepting Christ," if we choose to use this unscriptural term, might be compared to enrolling in a university. Enrolling in a university does not give us a diploma. We have to pass many tests before we are granted a diploma. This is true in Christ. We have to work patiently each day at the lessons given to us by the Holy Spirit if we expect to be considered to be "in Christ." And yes—we can be in Christ for a period of time, and then, by neglecting prayer, reading the Bible, and obeying Christ, remove ourselves from Christ. Many believers have done this. In fact, you may know of some.
Let us think about some passages that give us an idea of what it means to be "in Christ":
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13)
But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. (Hebrews 3:6)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12)
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:6)
It is obvious from the Scripture that to be "in Christ" Is referring much more than believing in accepted doctrines. It refers to a way of life.
To be "in Christ" means we are living, or, if we are deceased, have lived, as a disciple, pressing forward at all times in Christ, gaining victory each day over the challenges presented to us that day.
If we do not have the sense of forward movement, if we basically are the same person we were a year ago at this time, we probably are not being saved from sin. We merely hold certain beliefs, but we are not being redeemed.
First Thessalonians 4:13-18 describes the resurrection and catching up of the saints when the Lord returns. Revelation 20: 12-15 sets forth the general resurrection of the dead, that which will take place at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom age.
The difference between the two resurrections is that those who are raised (or transformed) when the Lord returns have been judged in advance. The sentence passed upon them is to be caught up and be forever with the Lord Jesus.
You can be judged in advance if you choose to do so. Just follow the Holy Spirit each day. When He points out some spiritual darkness in your personality, confess it as sin and resolve through the Lord’s help never to practice that behavior again. God will forgive you and remove the uncleanness. It is an eternal judgment. You can continue in this process until you have been judged completely. Then, when Jesus comes, your body will be raised and clothed with a robe of eternal life.
If you are alive when the Lord returns, your mortal body will be made alive by being clothed upon with a robe of eternal life from Heaven, if you have been faithful in confessing and turning away from the deeds of your sinful nature.
Those believers who have unjudged sin in their personality when Jesus returns, will not be raised from the dead. at that time. They will be raised from the dead at the resurrection that takes place at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Also, the bodies of all other people, except those who attained to the prior resurrection, will be raised and stand before God. Then the books of record will be opened.
The sentencing and disposition of those who are judged at the final resurrection is not clear to me, except that those whose name is not in the Book of Life are thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is a destiny so terrible as to be inconceivable to us at this time. It is a final, irrevocable sentence.
The remainder will be saved to the new world of righteousness. The elect will receive their robe of righteousness and enter the new Jerusalem in the spirit world, in preparation for its descent to the new earth as the eternal government of the new world of righteousness.
The members of the nations, those who are not of God’s elect, of His church, will be held in their redeemed bodies in the spirit world in preparation for their citizenship on the new earth.
This is how I see the two resurrections, and there only are two periods in which human beings receive immortal bodies.
The point is, we are determining today the nature of our resurrection. If we, as a Christian, live "in Christ" as a genuine disciple, we will be redeemed and caught up to meet Christ at His appearing.
If we have received forgiveness through Christ but have not lived a victorious life, for whatever reason, it is certain that our future will be painful. Either we finally will be judged unworthy of the new world of righteousness and incarcerated somewhere, or we will be chastened and instructed until finally we are willing to accept Christ as our King, whom we are to obey in all matters.
If we would enter the Kingdom of God we must accept Jesus Christ not only as the atonement for our sin but also as our lawful King. This numerous Christian people have yet to do.
The Three Temptations of the Sons of God
The Lord Jesus was tested in three ways: using His God-given abilities for survival apart from hearing from God; agreeing to worship Satan in order to fulfill His desires; putting God to the test—not waiting for God to place Him in a better situation.
Every son of God is tested in the same manner.
This morning the burden was concerning the three temptations every son of God experiences. We are not fully in the image of God, nor are we resting in God’s Person and will, nor are we prepared for the fullness of ministry God has for us, until we successfully pass these three tests.
The very highest calling of every human being is to walk humbly with God. The central problem of the world from its beginning to the present is that of people seeking to conduct their own lives instead of walking humbly with God. We see the consequences in the world of today.
The recent "faith" and "prosperity" doctrines are institutionalized presumption, a putting of God to the test. They are the opposite of walking humbly with our God.
They reveal clearly that even Christian people do not understand that we are supposed to walk humbly with our God.
The central issue involved in the three temptations of the sons of God is that of walking humbly with God. Are we seeking our survival and security apart from walking humbly with God?
Are we seeking to fulfill our desires apart from walking humbly with God?
Are we willing to break out of the difficult circumstances we are in apart from walking humbly with God?
The central thesis of the Book of Hebrews has to do with the rest of God.
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:9,10)
Our chief task as human beings is to endeavor to cease from our own works and enter the destiny that God has ordained for us from the beginning of the world. To not to do this is to prolong the rebellious nature with which we were born.
The result of the ambition of Adam and Eve to go ahead of what God had provided for them is six thousand years of insanity and agony, as is true today. But we never seem to learn. The history of the Christian churches is to a great extent one of the efforts of people to build the Kingdom of God apart from walking humbly with God; apart from waiting for Christ to tell us what to do at every point in our life of thinking, speaking, and acting.
It is true in our time. The denominations produce one plan after another to save as many people as possible. But the people they "save" do not always reveal in themselves the work of salvation, that is, change into the image of Christ and untroubled rest in the Person and will of God.
We as people seem to be unable to turn our thoughts, words, and actions over to God, leaning to live by every word that comes from His mouth. Yet this is the simplest and easiest way to live, in that we are free from having to think and guess our way through the confusions and frustrations we are faced with continually.
Jesus was hungry after fasting forty days in the wilderness. Notice that Satan was with Him during that time. May I inject the thought that the Lord was led into this situation by the Spirit of God. He was not attempting by His fasting to gain power with God, which sometimes is ventured in our day by spiritually ambitious people.
Satan tested Jesus by suggesting that He use His power to turn stone into bread. Satan did not suggest that Jesus walk humbly with God but that He use His power to satisfy His hunger.
So it is with each son of God. We are led by the Spirit into situations where our survival and security are at stake. Will we spend our time, strength, and other resources in order to insure our survival and security, or will we walk humbly with God, waiting for His word to us?
Human beings are made in such a way that food will not bring them the survival and security they need, the satisfaction they crave. Each one of us must learn to wait on the Lord for all that we do, for every word of God to us as an individual.
Recently there have been two wealthy individuals who have committed suicide because of the troubles in the world economy. How terrible to worship money to such an extent that if our god is removed from us we are willing to end our life!
Had these two men gone before the Lord and listened for His voice, He no doubt would have shown them how to survive their loss of money. But this is the end of those who do not learn to walk humbly with God. Hopefully we will learn from this.
The United States is experiencing a severe economic problem as I am writing. The underlying spiritual cause is the wrath of God because of abortion-on-demand. The material problem has to do with the greed of people who have not chosen to live by the words coming to them from God’s mouth. They have chosen instead to follow the advice of Satan, and the result is—and always shall be—chaos.
Our country is losing its position of leadership in the world because it is looking to material wealth for survival and security rather than walking humbly with God. When I say "walking humbly with God" I am not speaking primarily of any religion but of looking to God each moment in a very personal way.
The second test, that of fulfilling our desires by worshiping Satan, was applied to the Son of God and is applied to every other son of God. It has to do with indulging our sinful nature with all of its lusts and passions. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, the Book of First John informs us.
Satan knows well that Jesus is the Son of God and his Creator. Still he asks for worship. He knows that we who are disciples of Jesus are sons of God. Still he asks for our worship.
We are worshiping Satan when we yield to the lusts and passions of our flesh.
Since Jesus did not inherit a sinful nature, I doubt He was as troubled as we are by physical lusts; although the Bible says He was tempted in every way as we are.
My guess is that the main temptation of the Lord was the thought of governing the kingdoms of the world, which is His God-given inheritance. It may be true that the most severe temptations we ever will have are those which offer a shortcut to that which actually is our God-given inheritance.
The solution to this is patient waiting on God for the words that are coming to us from Him at every moment. Righteous behavior coupled with contentment while we are patiently waiting on the Lord is a great treasure.
One of the severe tests of today has to do with sexual lust. We are surrounded with demons of lust, more so than ever before I think. Added to this is the willingness of the electronic media to capitalize on this desire, especially by using communication devices including social networking.
Some of the worst of the software is coming from Japan. I predict that the willingness of Japanese software engineers to acquire wealth by destroying the lives of young people by appealing to their lust for sexual experiences will bring the wrath of God on Japan, just as the wrath of God will come on America because of abortion-on-demand.
The third test may be the most subtle of the three. Satan brought Jesus to the highest point of the Temple and suggested He prove His Sonship by jumping off, quoting from Psalms to support his suggestion.
Notice how it is that God permits Satan to put us in prison.
What is at issue here? It is the basis of all temptations. It has to do with personal ambition; with an unwillingness to be content where we have been placed; it is a willingness to forget all God has done for us and to challenge Him with our present distress; with not being willing to look to Him for deliverance from our problems and pains.
It gets at the root of walking humbly with God, with entering the destiny God has planned for us and not planning our own destiny and ways of attaining it.
Let us keep in mind that this is the original temptation. It began with Satan who was ambitious, not being willing to walk humbly with God. It continued with Adam and Eve, who were not willing to walk humbly with God but must launch out into something new.
We want revival power today. We are not content with the so-called "refreshings" of the last few years, which seem to have the smell of "flesh" about them. We long for the real stuff.
This is good. But God longs for people who will cease from their own attempts to lives their lives apart from Him and begin to look to Him for every thought they think; every word they speak; every action they take.
Such waiting on Christ (without lapsing into passivity), praying each day and reading our Bible, obeying what Christ tells us, ready to be used or not to be used, willing to give Him anything He asks for, is what our time is calling for desperately.
Will I be one such person? Will you?
Crossing the Jordan
There come times in the program of redemption when there is a Divine step forward. Our day is one such time. God is ready now to exercise eternal judgment on His enemies, beginning with His enemies in His Church.
It may be true that many Christian teachers, including myself, view the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan as being symbolic of our Christian redemption. The New Testament supports this interpretation. We begin as part of the world system, and then are called out to travel to a land of promise, referred to in the Book of Hebrews as the "rest."
With this symbolism in mind, we realize that there will come a time when the Church is ready to cross over the "Jordan" and actually enter Canaan, the land of promise. Two interesting events occurred as Israel was poised in the area east of the Jordan. First, the new generation was circumcised. Second, the manna ceased and the Israelites ate some of the grain and unleavened bread produced at the camp in Gilgal These two occurrences are interesting food for thought for those interested in Bible symbolism.
They had to cross the Jordan River in order to enter their land of promise. The Jordan River symbolizes death to our self-will. We simply cannot enter our land of promise while we are living according to our own plans and desires. We have to die in the Lord that Christ may live in us.
The Book of Hebrews regards Canaan as an illustration of "God’s rest into which we are to press.
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. (*Hebrews 8:4-11)
Notice carefully: "Anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his." The above passage is using Joshua and the land of Canaan as an illustration of our entering the promised rest. To enter the Kingdom of God we have to be born again. This fact means our first personality does not enter the Kingdom. It is the Life of Christ in us who enters the land of promise.
When the Scripture says, "rests from his own work," it means we cease living according to our own wisdom, desires, and plans, and look carefully to the Lord Jesus for all we think, say, and do. While there have been outstanding saints of old who have entered this rest, the Christian churches as a whole have not been confronted with this challenge. But it is the prime issue of our day, and is absolutely necessary if we are to move past the Pentecostal experience.
Now we come to an important question: What does Canaan symbolize? Actually what is our goal, our land of promise, our "rest"?
Traditionally, eternal residence in Heaven is viewed by Christian people as being our goal, the goal of our redemption, our salvation. But this is an error. Canaan was filled with natives who had to be overcome before Israel could find rest in their land of promise. Is Heaven filled with natives who have to be overcome before we can enter? Of course not. Also, the New Testament does not teach that eternal residence in Heaven is the goal of salvation.
What, then, is our goal, the goal of our salvation?
Our goal, our inheritance, is the same as that of the Lord Jesus. The second Psalm tells us that Jesus was to pray for the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. We are co-heirs with Christ. Our inheritance is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.
In order to understand what is taking place we must keep in mind that the Canaanites were worshipers of idols. They burned their children in the fires of the idol, Molech.
Israel was bringing into the midst of this playground of demons the holy Law, the Covenant, the Ten Commandments. The Law they were bringing utterly condemned the worship of Molech and the other idols.
Please keep in mind that the purpose of God in giving His Church the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth for their inheritance is that His elect might bring into the midst of today’s playground of demons the Presence of God in Jesus Christ, and His laws of behavior.
The Lord Jesus Christ was our Moses and soon He will return as our Joshua. When Christ returns to establish His Kingdom on the earth, we cannot work with in accomplishing God’s goal of destroying the presence and work of demons until four changes take place in our personality:
The four changes are as follows:
The presence and works of Satan must be completely removed from us:
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. (I Thessalonians 5:23,24)
We must be changed in characters into the image of the Character of Christ.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
We must be filled with all the fullness of God:
And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, (Ephesians 3:19,20)
We must be living in untroubled rest in the center of God’s Person and will:
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
It seems to me that any thoughtful person would agree that redemption is a change in us, not a change in our location. We must be changed if we are to accomplish God’s purposes, His Kingdom, in the earth.
Before we can participate as we should in the roles and tasks of the Kingdom of God, we must have attained to the four changes just mentioned. Before we can be a co-heir with the Lord Jesus of the nations and the earth we must have attained to these four changes. If one of them has not been attained to, we are neither qualified (by the Word) nor competent in personality to serve God as a co-heir of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At this point I will leave the last three goals and focus on the first change, that is, the presence and works of Satan completely removed from us.
Perhaps we have not understood clearly that the work of redemption occurs in two phases. The first phase is the forgiveness of our sins. The second phase, based on the first, is the removal of our sins. Both the forgiveness and removal are acts of redemption, that is, of reconciliation to God.
There is a doctrine of eternal judgment. It may be new to many of us.
Instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:2)
The doctrine of eternal judgment has to do with the eternal removal of all spiritual uncleanness from God’s people, and finally from the entire creation.
The Lord Jesus referred to a "day" in which God would avenge Himself on His enemies.
To proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, (Isaiah 61:2)
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40,43)
I suppose the best news we ever could hear as Christians is that God has set out not only to forgive our sins but to remove all of the presence and works of Satan from us.
Notice that it is clear from the passages (above) that the removal of sin will take place at a specific time. For example, "at the end of the age."
We are happy to announce that we have come today to the beginning of the Day of Vengeance of our God. This work of redemption will continue, according to our understanding, until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. It is The Day of the Lord, the sixth day of creation, the day when man is to be made in God’s image.
In order for us to enter the "rest of God," our land of promise, our Canaan, we must, through the wisdom, authority, and power of Christ working through the Spirit of God, overcome each enemy we encounter. Remember, to cross the Jordan River we must be living in Christ, not in our adamic nature. We must "die in the Lord," as the Book of Revelation exhorts us.
Our enemies are found in three main areas in our life:
In our love of the world.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 2:15-17)
In our sinful nature.
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:16-18)
In our self-will and self-seeking.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)
Perhaps many Christians deplore the worldliness, the lusts and passions of their flesh, and their self-love that characterize their personality. The good news is that today, God is ready to give us total victory over these enemies in our land of promise.
God will give us perfect victory over our love of the world as we keep looking to Christ for help and resolutely give time each day to prayer and Bible reading. Jesus wants us to learn to listen to Him and obey Him in every part of our life. Doing so is the best preparation there is for the Divine wrath that soon is to be poured out on the United States of America because of abortion-on-demand.
God is ready to enable us to drive out every sin that dwells in our flesh, whether it is of the nature of sexual immorality, hatred, lying, sorcery, pride, or whatever else it may be. When the Spirit of God points out to us one of the sins set forth in Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and other passages of the New Testament, we are to confess our action as sin; denounce it as worthy only of the Lake of Fire, and with all our strength renounce and reject it. We may find to our delight that power is present today that may not have been available previously.
Today is God’s time to judge the evil in His people.
As far as being delivered from self-will, if we will take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus, God will see to it that Satan will throw us into one or more prisons. There we must remain, in our miserable state, until God sets us free. It is in these prisons of unpleasant circumstances that the self-will is burned out of us.
While we are in such a prison we are to pray continually that God will deliver us, but never break out, because we will have to break God’s laws in order to do so.
Since we Christians in America are so spiritually weak, sinful, worldly, in love with our pleasures, it is somewhat doubtful that many will be able to cross over the Jordan at this time, although some may, do to the sufferings of the future.
However, this same program of redemption is at work in the spirit world among the deceased saints, as we read in the fourth chapter of the Book of First Peter. It may be true that multitudes of them have the spiritual strength necessary to enter the land of promise God has promised us.
No matter how spiritually weak we are in America, any one of us can choose to turn to Christ and seek the ability to escape the cloying hands of our fleshly "Christianity" and be among those soldiers who lay aside their own lives and live at all times in Christ. The Spirit of God will enable such to drive out the darkness and lies that fill the world at this time and find their inheritance in the Lord.
Working Out Our Salvation
Two misunderstandings prevail today concerning our great salvation. One is that the goal of our salvation is eternal residence in Heaven. The other is that we attain that goal by maintaining our belief in certain facts about Jesus Christ, whether or not we attempt to live a godly life. Some go so far as to insist that once we make the correct profession of belief in Christ, we are assured of our home in Heaven even though we are living in sin. The Book of Hebrews does not support these ideas.
Religion has a way of destroying God’s intention. The purpose of God’s redemption is to bring us into the rest of God, that is, into the way of living that results as we keep seeking the Presence of Jesus and obeying Him in every area of our life. We work out this redemption by continually maintaining this contact and obedience.
When we enter God’s rest, which is our land of promise, we then are able to inherit God, the nations of the earth, and all of the resources of the earth. Thus we become co-heir with the Lord Jesus.
This morning we are considering Chapter Three of the Book of Hebrews. The chapter begins with "Therefore." The previous chapter tells us how great our salvation is, and how the Lord Jesus Christ is bringing us into sonship, making us His brothers.
Notice that Heaven as our goal is not mentioned in the third or fourth chapters of the Book of Hebrews, when our "great salvation" is discussed. I believe it can be said truthfully that just about all Christian explanations salvation assume that going to Heaven when we die is our goal.
One might venture that the rest of God is residence in Heaven. However, this interpretation does not agree with the argument in Hebrews. The "rest" is compared with Canaan, with Joshua battling his way into the land of promise. I don’t think most Christians picture Heaven as being filled with enemies that we have to overcome in order to attain to our inheritance.
To attain to the rest of God is to cease from our own works (religious or secular), our own striving to attain survival, security, pleasure, and success, and to look to Christ for every thing we think, say, and do. To live in continual interaction with Jesus in this manner requires the kind of faith in God that works through our strict obedience to His continually revealed will. This is why we find the expression, "So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief."
Notice, in the following passage, how obedience and belief are related:
And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed[? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:18,19)
It is obvious that the writer of Hebrews is comparing the program of new-covenant salvation with the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan. Therefore we conclude that the idea of holding "firmly tll the end the confidence we had at first" is not referring to holding firmly in our mind certain doctrines but remaining steadfast throughout the numerous problems and trials with which we are confronted.
God was not angry with the Israelites because they did not keep on believing that God had called them out of slavery to inherit a good land but because "Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways."
The problem of the Israelites was their continual sinning. The reason the men of war who left Egypt died in the wilderness was that they did not have faith that God was able to drive out the enemy. They murmured and complained every time they were fearful or uncomfortable.
God humbled them by making them dependent on the daily manna, just as He humbles us by bringing us into situations where we have to look to him constantly for survival and security. But the Israelites wanted meat, not manna.
God said they tested and tried Him even though they had seen His work for forty years. They hardened their hearts with a rebellious attitude.
Then, when they did enter the land of promise, they did not wipe out totally the inhabitants, as God had commanded them to do.
Obviously Canaan, the land of promise, is not a symbol of Heaven. We do not get into Heaven by war and then compromise with Heaven’s inhabitants.
Toward what, then, is our struggle directed as we out our salvation with fear and trembling? It is directed toward that state of being in which the will of Christ is being done in and through us at all times.
The expected Christian state is that of abiding in Christ. We are abiding in Christ when we are thinking, speaking, and acting in His Person and will. The writings of the Apostles serve as a yardstick that we can use to measure out behavior to see if we are growing in Christ. Such abiding is the "rest of God," which is presented in the Book of Hebrews as the goal of salvation.
Each day some sort of problem or pressure will attempt to disturb our rest in Christ. We may become angry or unforgiving. We may be tempted to indulge in immoral, nasty behavior. We may lie. We may steal. We may behave unfaithfully toward someone who is counting on us, such as our wife or children.
When we become aware we are not abiding in Christ in some aspect of our life, we have a decision to make. We can accept this sort of behavior even though we understand it is contrary to God’s Word and will; or we can determine to overcome such behavior through Christ. This is how we enter the rest the God has ordained for us.
God has commanded us to destroy utterly all sinful behavior of our personality. All sin is of Satan and must be driven from us. The reward of such deliverance is closeness to Christ and the opportunity to serve in the Kingdom of God. Such benefits are promised to the overcomers, to those who overcome their impulses to sin.
Israel was not faithful to destroy the enemies in the land. It is this way today. The believers do not attain to total victory over known sin.
Why don’t they attain to victory over their sinful behavior. It is because they do not believe Christ wants to deliver them or does not have enough power to deliver them.
Or it may be because the believers are too spiritually lazy to pursue a besetting sin until it is destroyed out of them.
Another major factor that prevents victory over sinful behavior is the way "grace" is taught. The idea presented today is that something termed "grace" removes the need for deliverance. The believer can continue to sin and it doesn’t matter because God is unaware of their behavior. It is covered by "grace."
Actually, grace, as it is taught today, is rebellion against God combined with schizophrenia. The Christian believes that God is pleased with him when such is not the case. The New Testament warns the individual that to live according to the lusts and passions of the sinful nature is to destroy one’s resurrection unto eternal life.
The teaching given to Christians today would be as though the Israelites were to take the position that because they believed the <MI>Torah<D> was God’s Word. the fact that they disobeyed God in the wilderness did not matter. The truth is, whether or not they believed the <MI>Torah<D> to be the Word of God, they would have died in the wilderness because of their disobedience arising from their unbelief.
In like manner, even though Christian people maintain a stout profession of belief in the plenary verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, they will die spiritually if their unbelief results in their disobeying Jesus Christ.
If a believer prays and reads the Bible each day, seeking the mind of Christ, he or she continually will be faced with temptations and problems that must be overcome. It is the act of overcoming through Christ our temptations that is what the Book of Philippians means by working out our salvation with fear and trembling—fear and trembling that we might miss God’s will for our life.
Our goal is not eternal residence in Heaven. Our goal, our land of promise, is not a place. It is a state of being. It is to be fashioned in God’s image in our character, and to rest in His Person and will. This is what it means for us to enter rest in His rest.
Attaining to this state of being is necessary if we are to participate in the resurrection out from the dead, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord Jesus returns from the spirit world with His saints and holy angels.
The Rulers of the Kingdom of God
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:26-29)
The burden this morning appears to be on the idea that the victorious saints will one day govern the nations of people on the earth. Not only will they govern them, but their rule will be absolute, admitting no compromise.
Christians often speak about "ruling and reigning with Christ." I wonder how much serious thought they have given to this hope.
As we consider the things happening in the United States, and in the world at this time, we can see just how important rulership is. At present there is a debate in California concerning authorizing people of the same gender to marry one another. To many Christian people this simply does not make sense.
If the purpose of a wife is to complement her husband and make fruitfulness and dominion possible, as in the case of Eve, what sense does it make for two men or two women to be married?
Well, it does not make a great deal of sense. But Christian people cannot prevent the courts and the government from legalizing same-gender marriage, although they might wish they could. We see then just how important the ability to rule actually is.
If there had been one strong, governing saint in the Garden of Eden, Eve would not have been permitted to disobey God, thus sparing mankind the following thousands of years of agony and insanity as human beings have rebelled against God.
It seems to me that every right-thinking person is appalled at the thought of the aborting of fetuses. But we can do little about it. The current President of the United States appears to have no problem with abortion-on-demand, even if the baby is about to be delivered. I sure would like the authority, and I believe you would also, to stop such an abominable procedure. It is certain to bring the wrath of God on the United States in the near future.
There is the campaign to spread the acceptability or even desirability, of homosexual behavior, coupled with the notion of permitting people to declare what gender they are regardless of their physical characteristics. Gender confusion might be humorous to some, but it could lead to destructive practices.
Of late we see the infiltration of the Muslim religion into many heretofore "Christian" countries. The Muslim religion appears to regard women as personal chattel. Since a woman is intended to complement her husband, the idea of her being chattel is not acceptable. In this instance she is not a genuine wife. She certainly should not be beaten with a stick! This is not acceptable behavior.
In many instances around the world the Muslim religion is associated with the murder of innocent people. If we had the authority promised to the victorious saints, we could put a stop to this behavior. However, the record shows that there is blood also on the hands of the Christian churches.
Christians have produced commendable social programs such as the abolition of slavery, the improved treatment of wounded soldiers, missions that feed the poor, and the care of lepers. Nevertheless, the past unwillingness of the "Christian" nations to share their wealth and education with poorer countries, instead of stealing from them, has left a black mark on Western civilization. I think we are about to pay bitterly for this utterly abominable selfishness.
How many situations in our country and around the world would we change if we had the absolute authority and power promised to the victorious believers in Christ?
The Scripture states that many who are last shall be first. I think this means that some of the highest ranks in the coming Kingdom of God will be assigned to people born in the present hour. This may account for the wicked practice of abortion, homosexual behavior and marriage, and transgender operations. Such practices may have as their goal the prevention of the birth of those destined to govern in the Kingdom of God.
Because of the increased opportunities for rulership in the eternal Kingdom, the temptations are more difficult. God wants His highest rulers tested thoroughly.
There are any number of distractions operating in America at this time, but the most difficult to overcome may be sexual lust. God has placed in man a strong sexual drive. God requires that we control ourselves and do what He has commanded. Those who obey God will govern the rest of mankind in the new world of righteousness that is coming.
We have to rule now in the midst of our enemies, and we will have to rule then in the midst of our enemies. If we cannot govern now, we could not to be trusted to govern in the age to come.
Why are pornography, adultery, fornication, the displaying of nakedness, so powerful in our day? It is obvious that numerous well intentioned individuals, including pastors and other professional people, are unable to resist these temptations?
I do not know that I can answer this question. However, it may be possible that as more and more people succumb to temptation, and then die and pass into the spirit world, the spirits they nourished are let loose to harass the living people. In any event, the pull of the flesh is becoming increasingly strong.
I said many years ago that the days were coming when people simply would not be able to resist temptation. I wonder if perhaps that day is here.
The unscriptural "lawless grace" and "pre-tribulation rapture" errors have contributed greatly to the weakening of the determination of the believers to overcome sexual lust. It indeed is possible to resist sexual lust, but it requires a very dedicated, consecrated Christian to do this.
The great need of our day is for a godly government with absolute authority and power. Our Lord Jesus has promised us this authority and power over the nations of the earth, just as the Father has promised to Him.
But the stipulation is that we overcome. What are we to overcome? We are to overcome every force, compulsion, urge, idea, teaching that would distract us from listening to the Lord Jesus and obeying Him every moment of every day and night. Those who overcome evil will stand and help others to stand during the Gentile holocaust that is at hand.
I have little doubt that destruction will come upon America in the near future, including severe famine. We have turned away from God and His Bible. We may think that God has changed, but He has not. Rebellion against His Person and will always shall be accompanied by every social disaster, including those disasters having to do with military and economic institutions, and the availability of food.
America is about to be chastened soundly.
So the need is for righteous government that will enforce God’s laws. You and I, if we are following Christ closely today, are being prepared to return with Him and take over the governments of the earth. Let us not come short of our privilege and responsibility.
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery just as I have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26, 27)
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)
The Throne of God
Man has been created to be the Throne of God. There was a rebellion in Heaven among the angels. Rather than moving immediately and destroying the rebels, the Father, in His infinite wisdom, created from the ground of the earth a new race, the race of mankind.
It is God’s plan to make kings and judges from the new race—judges who will pass judgment on the rebellious angels. Because these saints have been faithful under very trying circumstances, they are the guarantee that never again will there be a rebellion against God. This is the master plan. It must be the background for our perception when we think about the Kingdom of God.
What is man?
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet." In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. (Hebrews 2:5-8)
Notice carefully: "God left nothing that is not subject to him." We are speaking here of absolute authority, the authority given to the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are part of His Body, who are co-heirs with Him. It is all authority in Heaven and upon the earth.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18)
In short, it is the supreme Throne of God.
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Please do not count me among those today who are getting God’s people all puffed up with how great they are. The Word of the Spirit today to the believers is: "Confess your worldliness, the deeds of your sinful nature, and your self-seeking. I will help you as you confess and renounce your sins with all the determination you can bring to the conflict."
I said years ago that the Charismatic move will be divided, with the majority walking according to their own plans on how to save the world, and a minority who forsake their own plans and wait patiently on the Lord Jesus. In fact, the majority will become the False Prophet who will support the self-driven Antichrist.
Please notice the following prophecy from Jeremiah:
In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land," declares the LORD, "men will no longer say, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 3:16,17)
"They will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord."
Now notice how this is fulfilled in the new Jerusalem. Remember, the new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb:
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5)
"The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city."
Man has been called to the highest of all thrones:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6)
There is a Divine principle that must be kept in mind when we are considering the high destiny of the new race. It is this: God will never give His Glory to another. The reason the Lord Jesus Christ has received the fullness of the Divine Glory is that He is not separate from the Father. He is an integral part of the Father.
It follows then, that if we are to attain to the high calling that is on us we must become an integral part of the Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him an integral part of the Father. This concept is crucial to our understanding if we are to proceed past the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Pentecost.
I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.(Isaiah 42:8)
If we are to receive the fullness of the Glory that has been promised, we must become part of God. There is no other way.
That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: (John 17:21,22)
I think it is clear from the Scriptures that man has been created to be the Throne of God, and that this is possible only as man becomes an integral part of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we are to govern the works of God’s hands, as an integral part of Christ, and of God through Christ, our character must be formed so we are competent to serve effectively as God’s king and ruler. Our character is formed under the heat and pressures of life on the earth, as portrayed by the precious stones in the twelve foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem.
All of the tests and trials, the sufferings and denials, we experience, when we are following Christ, bearing our cross patiently after Him, are for the purpose of producing a godly personality, a personality that will rule and judge in a manner pleasing to God. The following traits are an example of what our daily experience should be producing:
Stern obedience to God at all times.
Compassion and understanding.
Not a lover of money or power.
There are many more. If we lack these, our ability to govern and judge righteously would be hindered.
The twentieth century was the "Pentecostal Century," in that the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Pentecost spread through the Christian churches of the world. The twenty-first century is the "Tabernacles Century."
There are three more feasts to be fulfilled: the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and, finally, the feast of Tabernacles. This is the goal of the present century.
These three feasts have as their purpose bringing the believer into perfect union with God through the Lord Jesus. The "Pentecostal" experience is anointed flesh. The "Tabernacles" experience is that of man becoming the Throne of God. As he does, as described in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah, the living Water, the Spirit of God, that always flows from the Throne of God, from nowhere else, will pour out from him that eternal life might be brought to the dead sea of mankind.
This is why the invitation to drink of eternal life is given by the Spirit and the Bride.
We have just described the high calling mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians. All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are invited to press forward to the attainment of this high calling.
God is more than willing that we find our place with Christ in the Highest of all thrones. It now is up to us. The price of our admission was paid on the cross of Calvary.
The third chapter of Philippians describes the extreme lengths to which Paul was willing to go in order to attain to this early resurrection. All worldliness must go. All yielding to our sinful nature must go. All determination to manage our own life must go. Christ will enable us to accomplish these three deliverance if we follow Him closely.
Make no mistake. This highest of all callings is going forth in our day, Some will count all else as garbage and reach forth with all their might in order to attain to the "out-resurrection," the first resurrection which is our from among the dead. The remainder of the believers may not be ready to renounce everything in order to thus gain Christ.
Friend, you and I have this marvelous opportunity. Will we leave all and follow Jesus? He is patiently waiting and knocking. Will we open the door of our personality that the King of Glory may enter and dine with us, we on His body and blood, He on our obedience and worship?
I have made my choice. I hope yours will be the same.
Living by the Life of Christ
I have spoken on this topic quite a bit. Yet as I prayed today, this same burden is present. It appears to me that the history of the Christian Church for the most part consists of well meaning Christians working diligently at what they believe to be God’s will. They are attempting to build the Kingdom of God. But far too often, I believe, these builders do not wait until they hear from Christ.
As I read through the Old Testament I notice the attention that is paid to detail. For example, in the seventh chapter of the Book of Numbers we find the leaders of Israel bringing offerings for the dedication of the Altar of Burnt Offering. It might have been sufficient to give the total, as set forth toward the end of the chapter. Instead each of the twelve leaders and his offering is listed, even though the offerings were identical. This is just one example of the multitude of details provided in many chapter of the Old Testament.
As far as I know, we do not find any such attention to God-given details in the work of the Gospel in our day. It appears to be left up to human beings to fill in the details, and sometimes to plan the whole program.
In short, most of the time we are not hearing from Christ. Yet, Christ said He would be the One to build His Church
I notice that today in America there are references in the media to various aspects of religion. One recent magazine mentioned the return to a neo-Calvinism. Right here is the problem. The living Jesus is ignored. We have people commenting on what other people are doing. It is a useless exercise in ignorance.
What is Jesus saying today in America? Is He saying that our government is in confusion because of the sins of the American people? Is He saying if all the Christians will repent He will straighten out the government and the economy? Is He saying we should keep our hands off in the hope that things will get so bad that church people will turn to God in large numbers?
We don’t always know what Christ is saying. We often are guessing. If I am hearing the Lord correctly He is saying that a major reason for the deterioration of the strength of America is the practice of abortion-on demand.
Is He telling me to try to stop the national abortions? I don’t think so, although I certainly would be in favor of that.
What then is He saying to me? He is telling me to preach that the Christians in America need to get as close to Jesus as they can, confessing and renouncing their own sins as the Spirit of God points them out. Why are they to do this? They are to prepare themselves and their loved ones for the severity of the Divine judgment that is beginning to be experienced in America. America has left God, and now God is leaving America. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, "America has asked for Tash, and now Tash has come."
The need today is for God’s people to confess their sins. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement. It is judgment on God’s people, the reconciling of them to God. The Day of Atonement follows the feast of Pentecost.
We must press on through the Day of Atonement until we come to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacle. To experience the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus, and God in Him.
The Christian religion is not intended to be an end in itself. Its purpose is to bring us to the living Lord Jesus, not to the Lord Jesus of history, but to the Lord Jesus who is here now, waiting for us to look to Him.
You know, it must be terribly disappointing for the Lord to keep showing His love to us, and then have us ignore Him while we engage in the practices of our religion. What is it going to take for us to open the door of our personality and dine with Him on His body and blood?
He is here waiting, in the days of Laodicea (the rights of people). He is knocking at the door of each Christian personality. Who among us will cease talking about the Lord and busying ourselves with our religious practices, and look to Him for every decision, every aspect of our life?
Should we do this? Should we do that? What is the answer to this? What is the answer to that? How often do we go to the Lord with our decisions and questions and receive His directions, instead of trying to work things out for ourselves?
I have been a disciple of the Lord for over sixty years. I have come to some conclusions about life and people. One of the major conclusions is that mankind is bent on living apart from God. This is almost as true for Christians (and the members of other religions) as it is for the people of the world who have little or no interest in religion.
We just do not want God interfering in our life! Think about it.
Today’s motivations behind the emphasis on the doctrine of evolution is to eliminate God from human thinking. The idea that civilization as we know it evolved without the application of a Divine intelligence defies a thoughtful appraisal of that our eyes and our intelligence insist on. The doctrine (which has become dogma in American public education )of evolution is ridiculous on the face of it.
But it makes it possible for people to live their lives apart from Christ.
I was not raised in a Christian home. I became a Christian at the age of eighteen, and was supernaturally called to the ministry a year later.
When I first became a Christian I determined to find out if there was anything to it. Kind of, "If it works I will continue with it." That was more than half a century ago.
I am reasonably well educated, holding the degree of Doctor of Education from the University of Rochester in New York. The conclusions I have reached about life and people are without bias, I think. I really have nothing to prove. I would leave the ministry in a minute if I discovered that I have been misled all these years. I am more interested in truth, and especially as I near the end of my life.
What I have found by experience is this: God is good. God will bring us to eternal love, joy, and peace if we will do what He says. He has the power to do this with any person who decides to trust Him. I have seen also that the results of ignoring God and choosing our own way are hatred, misery, and unrest, for the most part.
The state of America today is an excellent example of people trying to live in the world apart from the Presence and will of God.
The end of salvation, however, is more than acquiring love, joy, and peace. It is to become an integral part of God through Jesus Christ. This is the "rest," emphasized in the Book of Hebrews. It is the union with God and other people through Christ described in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John.
It is Christ’s desire that we seek Him until we are thinking His thoughts; speaking His words; and performing His actions. This is how He lives with respect to His Father. This is why He could say, "He who has seen me has seen the Father."
Since the time of the Reformation the Christian Church has been making its way back to the revelation given to the Apostles of the first century. "The righteous shall live by faith" leads ultimately to our becoming an integral part of God’s Person through the Lord Jesus. The path from the Reformers to the fullness of God has been marked by violent, bitter persecution. This is because the religious establishment is threatened when people turn away from the institution and look to the Lord Jesus, as was true of the Pharisees.
I think in the last days the religions of the world will become one. The Book of Revelation refers to this man-made attempt to reach Heaven as "Babylon." Babylon, the self-driven religious system, shall compete with the Antichrist self-driven political system until finally the Antichrist system will "eat her flesh and burn her with fire."
While this is going on, the Spirit of God will bring Divine Glory to the true saints, to those who live by the Life of Jesus. They shall become one in Christ in God. When this takes place, Christ will return and bring this army of saints up to Himself in the air. Then He shall return with them and establish His Kingdom on the earth.
For each one of us, our future welfare depends on our seeking Christ continually until we are living by His Life at all times, in every situation. By so doing we will be able to stand during the coming fiery judgment on America, and help others to stand.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
The Church in Sardis
I have been thinking about the last three churches of the seven mentioned in Revelation. They are Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. As I was preparing for Sunday’s sermons I noticed statements concerning all three churches that stood out as being especially important at this time. So I think rather than try to consolidate them in some manner I will start with the Church in Sardis and leave the remaining two for another time.
The first issue, raised in the Church of Sardis, is that of the total authority and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. He holds the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars—that is, the seven churches. When we consider the unimaginable space and masses of the firmament, and that Christ spoke all this into existence with His word, we gain some small notion of the authority and power the Father has issued to the Word.
Now we see that the Word has become Christ. Christ holds the seven Spirits of God: the Spirit of wisdom; the Spirit of understanding; the Spirit of counsel; the Spirit of power; the Spirit of knowledge, the Spirit of the fear of the Lord; the Spirit of delight in the fear of the Lord.
Christ holds also all the Christian churches. The churches do not hold Christ. He holds the churches.
Given the total authority and power of Jesus Christ, we have no need to fear the hour of testing that is at hand. If we will live in Christ, abide in Him, learn to live by His Life rather than by our own, we will be more than a conqueror throughout all the chaotic conditions of the coming days in America.
There will be no other place or condition of safety in the future.!
Christ knows our deeds. It is taught commonly that God sees only the righteousness of Christ when He sees us. There can be no greater lie than this. God and Christ know all that we are doing at all times. Either we are obeying God and living righteously, or we are obeying our sinful nature and behaving wickedly. Either we are keeping our robe clean, or we are allowing it to become filthy. We shall be clothed with our robe in the Day of Resurrection.
It may be true that the fact most needed to be proclaimed in America today is that the "robe" we are clothed with in the Day of Resurrection will reveal the choices we have made in the present world.
The Church of Sardis had the reputation of being alive, but it was dead in the eyes of Christ. Why would a church have a reputation for being alive? It would be because it was growing rapidly in the number of those who attend.
I have noticed for many years that churches are measured, at least in America, by the number of people who attend. Denominations especially are interested in the attendance. "How is your church doing" may be translated as "how many people are in attendance." It may be the case that few of the members if any are growing spiritually. What a misguided index of value this is!
I think it is safe to say that in some instances, a church of thousands probably is dead spiritually. We have in America what are termed mega-churches. This means there are several thousand people who refer to such churches as their "church home." It is a large, prosperous, thriving church. It is "alive"!
It is possible that the large attendance is due to the fact that the pastors are not stressing patient, cross-carrying obedience to the Lord Jesus as the only life acceptable to God. The rest is churchianity, or religion, or whatever else you may wish to term it. It is not the new covenant. It is not the redemption God has in mind. So Christ would view such an assembly as "dead."
Christ commands the numbers-oriented church to "Wake up! Repent of your worldliness, your sinful practices, your self-love and self-will. Spend time in the Word. Pray sincerely. Seek to die to your own will and learn to live by the will of Christ.
"You think you are alive, but your activities are produced by human talent, wisdom, and ambition. God is not accepting these. They do not produce the eternal righteousness and holiness of the Kingdom of God.
"Perilous times are ahead for your country and you are not strong enough to stand in that hour. I am coming unexpectedly, as a thief would, and you will not know how to abide safely under My protection. The time of preparation is now, and you are wasting your time with the works of the flesh.
"You heard the truth in the beginning. Return to it.
"Among your thousands there is a handful of believers who will walk with me in the whites robes of the royal priesthood. They have shown by their devotion to Me that they are worthy of the Kingdom of God. The remaining thousands of the congregation will never walk with Me unless they repent.
"In your country, America, there are powerful demons of sexual lust moving among the people, young and old. Only the most determined of the believers will be able to keep themselves morally clean. They can remain clean by My power, but it will not be easy. If they do succeed in living victoriously, they will walk with Me in white."
And now, in the message to the Church in Sardis, comes a message that reveals the lie that fills the Christian preaching of our day. "I will not blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels."
How often is it stated that once we make a profession of faith in Christ we never can lose our salvation. The message to the angel of the Church in Sardis clearly denies this teaching. The source of the teaching of "eternal security" is the self-love of people today and the willingness of the Christian leaders to placate their admirers.
God and Christ are not our servants who are trying to please us, to make us comfortable and safe. God and Christ are merciful, but they are not as current
Christian teaching in America are portraying them.
God’s Word, which cannot be altered in any manner, states that it is the believer who lives victoriously in Christ whose name will remain in the Book of Life.
There is an important truth here. It is that we start out with our name in the Book of Life, but then we have to make certain it remains there. If we want our name acknowledged in the Presence of the Father and His angels, we must behave in a manner worthy of the Kingdom of God.
Do we have ears to hear this profound truth? What we are supposed to be hearing is that God, Christ, and Their salvation, is different from what is being preached in so many American churches.
The American churches give the impression that God and Christ love us so much They bend over backwards to make certain we are happy and secure at all times until they receive us joyfully and present us with a mansion befitting a Hollywood star, where we will recline at our ease doing nothing of significance for eternity except eating cake and not getting fat.
Listen to me! Whether innocently or deliberately, we have been lied to. We say Christ loved us so much He left the ivory palaces and came to earth to suffer so we never will have to suffer. The truth is, Christ came to earth in obedience to God, not because He loved us. His obedience was tested severely in Gethsemane, but He persisted in obeying the Father. Now He has been rewarded richly. So shall we be rewarded richly if we will obey Christ when we are led into unpleasant circumstances.
God, at incredible cost to Himself, made a way of redemption for us by sacrificing His Son on the cross. Man decided to follow Satan while in Paradise in the Garden of Eden. Now man must decide to renounce Satan; but this is possible only because of God’s sacrifice.
We may think all this is nice but God loves us so much we always will be comfy and cozy. The truth is, we are facing suffering of every sort in the near future. God is turning His back on America because of our willingness to tolerate the murder of children in the demon-inspired practice we call "abortion."
Are we preparing ourselves to stand, serve Christ, and help others to stand when there are famine, poverty, and severe persecution against Christians? Many believers in the world of today are experiencing these agonies. Are we preparing ourselves, or are we assuring ourselves that nothing bad can happen in America and are entertaining ourselves with orgies of sensual worship?
The trumpet is sounding in Zion today. Who can hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church in Sardis. Can I? Can you? God help us!
The Church in Philadelphia
Some Bible scholars believe that the seven churches mentioned in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation refer to seven stages of world history, with Laodicea being the last stage before the Lord returns. They may be correct for all I know. I do notice that the last three churches, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea contain some exhortations that certainly apply today.
Let’s think for a moment about the Church in Philadelphia.
Notice that "Philadelphia" means "loving people." It seems to me that today there is quite a bit of emphasis on Christians being in unity. Does it seem that way to you? Sometimes, though, it is a physical unity rather than unity in Christ in God.
Notice the emphasis on "holy." I believe there is a great need today for God’s people to live a holy life. "Holiness" consists of the absence of unclean spirits, and closeness to God. Without holiness no one shall see the Lord, the Bible says.
"True" also is mentioned. The world today is one huge lie. Truth is scarce, even in the Christian churches. Our theology is mostly tradition, not Scripture.
The "key of David."
I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. ((Isaiah 22:22)
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. ( Matthew 16:19)
Christ is in control today. The world certainly is spiritually dark and growing darker each day. We Christians must keep in mind at all times that the Lord Jesus is in control. No matter how evil the government becomes, Christ and Christ alone can open and close the activities on the earth. Please keep this in mind.
If you are able to do something about the growing spiritual darkness, then do it prayerfully. But do not fret or worry about the increase of evil in our county. You will only harm yourself spiritually Rather, concentrate on that which is pure and lovely.
We Christians also, under the Lord Jesus, can be in control, but only as we flee from worldliness and the lusts of our sinful nature. Of special importance is that we count ourselves as dead to our own will and alive in the will of the Lord Jesus. Self-willed believers are of little use in the Kingdom of God.
The "Synagogue of Satan." There are people who call themselves "Christians," but they are not. The works of their father, Satan, they will do. The day will come when it is clear who is serving Christ and who is a liar.
Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. (Malachi 3:16)
"They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession.
I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not." (Malachi 3:17,18)
Then in Revelation 3:10:
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.
Like all the other passages used to support the unscriptural "pre-tribulation rapture," the above verse is misunderstood.
The verse is a promise to those who have endured patiently while waiting for Christ to fulfill His Word to them. Christ says since you have guarded my Word so patiently, I will guard you from the hour of trial.
The hour of trial is not the Great Tribulation. The hour of trial is beginning now. It is a period when there is ready access to sin, such as pornography on the Internet, and painful results when an individual is seeking to serve Christ and practice righteousness. Christ will keep us from falling provided that we keep His commandments.
Christ’s way is not to remove us from the sin of the world, it is to protect us from Satan.
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (John 17:15)
Notice how the following verse shows that the doctrine of "eternal security" is a lie.
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Revelation 3:11)
The Lord cautions us to hold on to what we have gained so no one will take our crown. The truth is, when we first receive Christ we are lifted to the highest throne and given a crown. Our task then is to maintain our position in the Lord. If we do not, we can lose our crown, and even have our name blotted from the Book of Life as we saw concerning the Church in Sardis.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. II Timothy 4:8)
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: (II Timothy 2:12)
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
My opinion is that the following verse is one of the most astounding promises in the entire Bible:
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.
The promise is to the believer who lives victoriously in Christ, repenting when a sin is pointed out to Him, confessing and renouncing the sin, and drawing near to Christ that he may continue following Christ with a clean heart and hands.
He will become a pillar in the eternal house of God, an integral part of the living new Jerusalem. He never again will leave the city, meaning, he is the city and the city is wherever he is.
The name of God is on him, signifying that he always does God’s will.
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads (Revelation 14:1)
The name of the new Jerusalem is engraved on him because, as I said, he himself is the city. The name of the new Jerusalem is engraved on him because, as I said, he himself is the city. People will see that name and recognize He is the city of God.
And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6)
Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed." (Isaiah 61:9)
"I will write on him my new name." What the new name of Christ is I do not know. What the new name of the victorious saint is I do not know. I think the new name of Christ will include the idea that now He has a fullness in the form of His Body. Somehow His enlargement, His Church, will be included in His name.
As for the new name of the victorious saint, I believe it will summarize what he or she has become in the Lord. The American Indians used to give names to men who had accomplished some feat, such as "Deerslayer," or "Long Rifle."
We may observe in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation the rise of the False Prophet and of the Antichrist. The False Prophet is the Christian who seeks the power of Christ, the Lamb, but does not submit to crucifixion. He is self-driven. The Antichrist is man endeavoring to be God.
The False Prophet is self-will in the religious realm. Antichrist is self-will in the political realm. The only manner in which we are going to stand in Christ, and help others to stand, in these days of the rise of the False Prophet and of Antichrist, is by "dying in the Lord." We simply must cease living according to our own ambitions and plans and seek the mind of Christ in all we do. If we do not, we will be drawn into sin even though we do not want to be. The powers arising in the world will lead us into sin against our will. Be warned!
From what we read in the thirteenth chapter of Revelation we might conclude that as we draw near the end of the Church Age, the self-driven Christians will support self-driven political leaders.
Note that it is the False Prophet, self-willed believers, who do great signs. They order the peoples of the earth to "set up an image in honor of the beast." This may mean that it will be deceived believers who encourage the nations to set up an image of gold, of money, in honor of the Antichrist world-system of worshiping money. I think this marriage of the self-driven believers and the self-willed political leaders will occur in the near future.
In any case, it is the False Prophet who forces everyone to receive man’s number on his right hand or on his forehead. Man’s number is 666. Six represents man in that man was made on the sixth day. Three represents God because of the three Members of the Godhead. Thus 666 is man seeking to be God.
The mark on the right hand means the person does his own will, being his own god. The mark on his forehead means that he thinks according to the values and plans of the Antichrist world-system.
For six thousand years God has permitted man to be a "free moral agent," meaning he can follow his own judgments. When the Lord Jesus returns, there no longer will be such an abomination as a free moral agent. Every human being and angel, and if there be any other race, will be forced to do God’s will. It is the rule of a rod of iron.
We can see the condition of the world today. It is as corrupt as it is because people do what they believe to be best instead of asking God what they should do. This is an unnatural situation and is the reason for the abominations that are occurring.
There is no political, financial, or educational cure for the ills of the earth. They shall continue until we human beings, especially we Christians, consent to the doing of God’s will rather than our own.
I personally have determined to cheerfully do God’s will in every circumstance. I exhort you, dear reader, to join me in this determination.
"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
The Church in Laodicea
The Church in Laodicea (opinion of the people) reflects the same emphasis on the rights and welfare of human beings. The occupation with the happiness of people may pose as the attitude of God, but this assuredly is not the case.
We may have made a god of the philosophy of democracy, but the true God is far more interested in His own welfare and Kingdom, and that of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, than He is in the happiness and fun of human beings living in their own self-centeredness and self-love.
"Laodicea"—the opinions and decrees of people. These ideas seem so American, so Christian, so desirable, so democratic. We think of the expression "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and suppose that these bedrock principles of democracy were proclaimed from Mount Sinai.
They were not. They were formulated by men who were seeking to escape the various tyrannies of Europe, of monarchies. But because these concepts proceeded from human beings seeking to improve their own welfare, and did not come from the Lord Jesus, they result in an escape from one bondage and an entrance into another, which may be even worse.
It is God’s will that people be governed by a strong king who judges righteous judgment in the fear of God. Notice what God said to King David of Israel:
The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: "When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth." (II Samuel 23:3,4)
It always is God’s will that a government enforce the moral principles found in the Bible. When it does not, it shall be replaced.
Democracy will never bring righteousness, peace, and joy to people. Consider the present distress in America, as elected people vie for power. The political leaders do not work for our welfare, although they say they do, but for their own self-interests. At least that is the way it looks to me.
God’s Kingdom is a rule from the top down, and sometimes arbitrary, from our point of view. It in no way is a rule by the people. It is not a democracy by any means.
Maybe this is why American people are ready to receive Christ as their Savior, but not as Lord of their lives. They are not accustomed to being told by a king what they can do and what they cannot do. They suppose they are "free moral agents" when they actually are bound in worldliness, lust, and self-seeking.
There are numerous problems in America that a God-fearing, righteous king could solve. But it may be true that we will not have such a monarch until the Lord Jesus returns. "Come quickly, Lord Jesus! We are in a mess!"
The Lord Jesus is the only true "Amen." Today the accent is on "relative truth." There is no such thing as relative truth. Truth is truth. In fact, the only truth there is, is a Person. It is the Lord Jesus. He is the Consuming Fire of Israel, and that Fire, that exposes all that is false, is the only actual truth in existence.
Christ is the only "faithful and true Witness." All of us are liars when compared with the Lord Jesus. He alone declares the truth about God’s Person, God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s eternal purpose in Jesus Christ. We Christians overcome the accuser when we bear this faithful and true witness. But how many of us compromise because we wish to please people rather than God.
Christ is the "Ruler of God’s creation." If this is so, why has He permitted the world to be in the condition that it is?
Christ always is in control. The world is like it is because such temptations, pressures, moral filth, lies, and all the rest of the world’s characteristics are the crucible in which the brothers of Christ are being formed. Our immersion in such a cesspool is the only means by which Gods eternal purpose can be accomplished. God must see that the future coheirs with Christ are going to obey God and stand for righteousness in the presence of their enemies.
God knows what He is doing. Do not fret yourself about the current abominations when you cannot change them. They are working for good for those who are called to God’s eternal purpose in Christ.
Christ knows our deeds. There is an abominable doctrine preached today that teaches God does not see our sinful behavior but observes only the righteousness of Christ in us. This unscriptural concept has resulted in the prevailing moral mess in the churches of our day, and is going to bring down Divine judgment until America is a third-class nation—if it survives at all.
Make no mistake—Christ is very aware of all of our actions, both righteous and unrighteous; holy and filthy; obedient and rebellious.
It may be true that the American believers as a whole, with notable exceptions, are lukewarm. Because of false doctrine they are not, as Paul, leaving everything that they may attain to the first resurrection from the dead. Their leaders are telling them they are fine and any moment God is going to carry them to Heaven so they won’t suffer. What a lie this is!
Christ wants us hot for Him and cold for Satan, or hot for Satan and cold for Him.
I don’t think most believers in America would want to be hot for Satan. But because they are not hot for Jesus, this is what we would call in computer terminology "their default position." Because they are not hot for Jesus, He wants nothing to do with them.
We American believers may say we have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. We are proud. We are haughty.
The teachers in our church have found that many American Christians are too proud to receive the Gospel of the Kingdom, whereas the poorer people of other countries receive it gladly.
We may have forgotten that it is God’s way to make the poor wealthy in faith.
We American believers are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked, and think that any moment we are going to be caught up to a mansion in Paradise. If we were, it would be the worse thing that could happen to us, because our behavior is not according to the ways of Heaven. We would be thrown out immediately.
We are to buy gold refined in the fire that we may be rich. Have you been through suffering yet? Has Christ taken you out into the desert and left you there? Have you had to find comfort in the Book of Job? Has God confronted you as yet?
If He has, you know what I mean. If He has not, when He does, do not be surprised at your fiery trial. Stand true and constant. You will come forth as gold, to your amazement.
Are you washing your robe each day in the blood of the Lamb? Are you walking the Calvary road in the confession of your sins as the Holy Spirit points them out to you? "Are our garments spotless, are they white as snow?" as we used to sing. Or are we content to be spiritually naked?
Please realize that in the Day of Resurrection you are going to be clothed in the robe of your own behavior. the robe fashioned while you were living on the earth.
Have you put salve on your eyes so you can see? So much of today’s preaching comes from the minds of well-intentioned people. We need to pray for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, because only then can we understand what is written in the Bible.
If the Lord loves you He will rebuke you. Don’t faint. Humble yourself and accept the correction. Believe me, He will not spare for your crying. Profit from these corrections. Ask the Lord to search you to see if there are any wicked ways in you; and, after your wicked ways have been corrected, lead you in the everlasting way.
Jesus Christ is knocking at the door to our personalities. This may be more true today than at any time in past history. We have a lot of religious activities going, perhaps, but Christ wants to enter you and me until He is doing His own works, building His own Church.
I think there is a specific word of truth for each generation of Christians. The word for our day is the entrance of Christ into us. He wants to dine with us on our obedience and worship. We are to dine with Him on His body and blood.
All that has happened in time past is to bring us to this hour. By "us" I mean those of us living on the earth today, and also the remainder of the Body of Christ who have died and are in the spirit world.
It is God’s intention to place His Throne in the hearts of His elect. The Lord Jesus Christ overcame all the obstacles placed before Him, and now He is the eternal Throne of God. He is sitting with God on the Throne of His own Personality.
Now the challenge has been placed before each of us. We must overcome if we would attain to our foreordained destiny. If we do overcome, then the Father and the Son will sit down with us on the throne of our own personality. This is where all our trials are leading us.
It is my resolve, along with the Apostle Paul, to press through to this supreme destiny. Do you feel the same way? I certainly hope so.
Crucified and Resurrected
When we begin our Christian walk we trust that God is going to save us and we will spend eternity in a mansion in Heaven. We are not certain what our life in Heaven will be like, but at least there will be no more pain, sickness, worries, or death. Our general idea is correct, but what God actually is after may not as yet be known to us.
I do not know whether or not it is because we all do not have the same calling, or whether some of us are more diligent than others. But it is a fact that some reap Christ to a hundredfold extent, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold, some bring forth Christ for a season and then the Seed perishes, and in some the Word never germinates.
You are correct. My mind this morning is on the Parable of the Sower.
Our Lord Jesus pointed it out as the central parable of the Kingdom of God.
I have preached on the Parable of the Sower on many occasions. We all understand that the Seed that is sown is the Word of God, which is Christ.
I have taught also concerning the rest of God, in which we cease from our own works and obey Christ.
I have held forth also on the crucified, resurrected life. I would like to probe a bit deeper on this topic.
I may not be too far amiss if I referred to the basic salvation experience as a thirtyfold reaping of Christ. The baptism with the holy Spirit as a sixtyfold reaping of Christ. And what we are pressing toward now as a hundredfold reaping of Christ.
No doubt there are additional factors that must be considered before we can make such a simple interpretation. We must beware of interpretations of the Bible that are too "neat." However, I do believe it is true that after we have received Christ we may live for a while in this realm of Divine fellowship.
Then we may receive the Holy Spirit as a separate experience with God and live for a while in this realm.
But for some of us, at least, there is a yearning for more of Christ. The goal of the Apostle Paul as expressed in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians becomes specially meaningful to us. We want to press forward to attain to the out-resurrection which is from among the dead.
What exactly is that third realm, that "first resurrection"? How do we get there? What are some signs that we are making progress? What does it mean to reap Christ a hundredfold? Many of us are asking that question today. We are not content with anything less than the fullness of Christ.
Notice how the Apostle Paul described his experience as he lived in the rest of God, in the fullness of Christ:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
This is Paul’s answer to those who question whether or not we should move from Moses to Christ. It is the answer to all who are entangled in any religion, including the Christian religion. A religion is useful only to the extent it brings us to the point where we let go of our own life in favor of living by and in the Life of Jesus Christ.
"I have been crucified with Christ." What does it mean to be crucified? It means that with our diligent, cheerful cooperation, the Spirit of God has put to death the motivations of our spirit, soul, and body.
The Spirit begins with the outermost, grossest aspects of our personality. Then, as we press forward in Christ, the Spirit digs ever deeper until it appears that all that we are is brought up for examination and put to the sword.
Our love of the world is dealt with until we turn away from our trust in the world spirit. Our bodily and soulish lusts are dealt with until we turn away from them.
But there is a citadel that prevents our entering the fullness of the Life of Christ. That citadel, that fortress, is our self-will. Actually, our self-will is our life. When we say we are giving our life to Christ, we mean we are giving our will to Christ.
Many years ago a public-school teacher told me her rabbi teaches that God has given us a mind so we could apply it to the problems of life. I think the rabbi meant by this that God has given us a will that can operate freely as we attempt to use our experience and wisdom to make our way through life successfully.
There is a saying that man is a "free moral agent." The American Declaration of Independence states as follows:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,"
These words are a protest against the political and ecclesiastical tyrants of Europe. They support the concept of the philosophy of Humanism, which holds that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are more important than man’s service to God. Democracy is a form of government supportive of Humanism
Humanistic and democratic ideals are entrenched deeply in the consciousness of American people. Consequently the death necessary to accomplish the fullness of the Life of Christ is not acceptable readily to numerous Christian people.
The believer striving to attend the fullness of the Life of Christ must recognize that God did not give him a mind in order that he may plan his life, weighing alternatives, choosing among options based on his inclinations, ambitions, and experience. The person does in fact apply these when he decides to die in Christ and to live by the resurrection Life of Christ.
But even the desire to make the right choice at this point is a gift of God. (The philosophy of Humanism does not permit us to accept fully how sovereign the Lord is in the life of every person.)
Now that the individual has placed his faith in Jesus, the new covenant begins its eternal work in his personality. The Word of God, Christ, is being formed in his mind and carved in his soul. He must make decisions constantly, but these decisions are not options concerning how his life should proceed. They are decisions concerning obeying the Spirit of God.
Make no mistake: as the believer presses toward the fullness of the Life of Christ, toward the rest of God, the Holy Spirit continues to be living and active. The Spirit is a sharp sword. He penetrates our personality until he divides our soul and spirit and the joints and marrow of our bones. He judges the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. He brings everything in our personality out into the Light of God. Everything in us is laid bare before Christ.
We Americans, who love our independence, must yield it to total dependence upon Christ for every thought, every word, every action. We must live by His body and blood just as He lives by the Father. Christ can think, speak, and act only according to the will of the Father. We are to think, speak, and act, only according to the will of Christ.
You can understand at this point why devout believers draw back from the final death and life. They wish to preserve at least some opportunity to express their own will, their own inclinations, their own ambitions, their own decisions concerning right and wrong. God does not remove these at once, for they serve to keep us going just as a shuck preserves the developing peanut.
But for those who would go all the way to the hundredfold experience, please listen to me: As the Spirit guides you, all that composes "you" must give way that all that composes "Him" may take its place. All that is not of Him, by Him, through Him must be viewed as destructive garbage.
"I no longer live," Paul declares. Do you wish to go that far? It is your "will" that is your life and must die that His perfect, complete will may be exercised in all that you think, speak, and do.
"Christ lives in me." When you walk this road there will come times when you feel forsaken. If you actually were forsaken, this would indicate that God had abandoned His integrity and faithfulness. No, He, who is the Personification of integrity and faithfulness, has declared, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
You may walk alone at times. Yet you never are alone. Your food is to do God’s will. God never forsakes those who do His will. Never! Never! Never! God will never leave you to your foes, as Martin Luther declared.
"The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God." "By faith in the Son of God" Paul does not mean, as is taught today, that we maintain a correct theological position. It means we have left our own life, our own wisdom and inclinations, at every point of decision throughout every day and night, and look to Jesus continually for the way we should go; what we should think; what we should desire; what we should say; what we should do.
We choose continual dependence on Christ rather than the independence of free moral agency. We choose the pursuit of righteousness rather than the pursuit of happiness.
In all our ways we acknowledge Him, and He directs our paths and makes them straight.
Is the hundredfold experience for you? If it is, let nothing deter you. Let us both press forward to the rest of God where it is no longer we who are living but Christ who is living in us.
The Coming of the Lord
The Books of First and Second Thessalonians tell us about the coming of the Lord. It is interesting that the word in both books for "coming" is always the same Greek term—parousia. I believe I am correct in this. This tells us that the coming, or presence, set forth in I Thessalonians 4:13-5:3, is not a special, secret coming of Christ to catch away His Bride to Heaven. Rather, it is the coming of the Lord mentioned in Matthew, Chapter Twenty-four; II Thessalonians; and other passages of the New Testament.
I ended up preaching on the "rapture" in the evening. For whatever reason, the burden of the morning was on what it means to be "born again." I thought I might get back to the rapture, but I never did.
Yesterday sometime during the day (or night) it dawned on me that many of us do not understand what it means to be born again, and the reason we do not understand what being born again is, is that we are preaching grace incorrectly.
From the frequency of its use today one would suppose that being born again is the primary message of salvation, was used by the Apostles in the Book of Acts to get people saved, and fills Paul’s Epistles.
The truth is, the Apostles, as recorded in the Book of Acts, did not preach being born again as the means of salvation. This expression is not found even once in the Epistles of Paul. So it is obvious we are not using the concept correctly.
First of all, being born again has nothing to do with going to Heaven. Being born again has to do with seeing and entering the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not a place, like Heaven. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God through Christ in the hearts of people.
The reason Christian people in the United States talk about Heaven but not so much about the Kingdom of God is that they have not been born again. When they have been born again they will talk about the Kingdom of God and not about going to Heaven.
Have they "accepted Christ"? Yes. Also many of them have spoken in tongues or otherwise exhibited gifts of the Spirit. Well then, what do I mean they have not been born again? The same thing Paul meant when he told the Galatian Christians that he had to travail until Christ was formed in them.
The Galatians were Christians but Christ had not been formed in them as yet.
When Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be born again in order to understand the Kingdom of God, Jesus was not talking about being saved and going to Heaven. What He was doing was letting Nicodemus know that He, Jesus, had no wish to try to explain the Kingdom to him (to Nicodemus). When Nicodemus was born again, then he would see and enter the Kingdom.
Every woman in the world knows the difference between conception and bringing forth a child.
First there must be conception. Then there must be a gestation period of nine months. Then the child is born.
When a person really comes to Christ, not just goes through some church formula, the Holy Spirit gives him or her eternal life. Also, the Seed of God is planted in his heart.
Has he or she been born again? No. Has Christ been formed in him or her? No. What has happened? Christ has been conceived in the individual.
Then follow the many years of the gestation period. Speaking in a figure, the cells must divide until they form an embryo. The embryo must grow until it becomes a fetus. The fetus must grow until it become an infant. Then the infant must be cut from the umbilical cord so it can breathe on its own. At this point it is born.
Physical pregnancy requires nine months. Spiritual pregnancy requires years of patient cross-carrying obedience to Christ before there is a new birth.
We have the hope of Heaven as our goal until the inner child is nearing delivery. Then we become conscious of the Kingdom of God. Our hope now is the coming of Jesus to install His Kingdom on the earth.
The current teaching of "grace," that it is God’s substitute for our becoming a new creation, for our being born again, has kept the believers in such confusion that they think when a person has been converted to Christ he or she has been born again. This is not the Bible usage of the term.
People, why don’t we cease using the term "born again" when we are referring to conception. What do you say.
So much for the morning’s sermon. Let’s go now to the evening message.
The teaching of the pre-tribulation "rapture" of all who profess belief in Jesus Christ is not scriptural. I have come to this conclusion after many years of Bible study. In no way does the fourth chapter of the Book of First Thessalonians present a special, secret disappearance of Christians so they will not be harmed by Antichrist or the Great Tribulation.
The other passages used to support this widespread error are also taken out of context. The pre-tribulation "rapture" simply is a false doctrine. Its purpose is to keep the believers from preparing themselves to stand during difficult periods.
We are facing Divine judgment on our nation because of abortion and the other sins being practiced. When God’s people are told they will not suffer during the coming judgment because they will be "raptured" out of it, they are being lied to.
There indeed is a secret coming of Christ to His disciples. It is set forth clearly in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. It is taking place today. But it is not a carrying of the disciples from earth to Heaven. Rather it is an inner coming of the Father and the Son in the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles. (John 14:21)
The inner coming of Christ and the Father to those who keep Christ’s commandments will indeed enable them to stand and help others during the difficult times on the horizon. But they will be kept during the trouble, not removed from it. This kind of deliverance was true of Daniel in the lions’ den, and the three Hebrew young men in Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, wasn’t it? God always is able to keep His saints during trouble. A thousand fall at their side but it does not come near them.
If you desire this inner coming, then keep Christ’s commandments. If you are one of those who believe you are not required to keep Christ’s commandments because you are "saved by grace," or that you are going to be caught up to Heaven at any moment, then God has sent a delusion upon you because you have not believed the truth of His Word.
You are unprepared for what is on the horizon, and you will not be able to stand or help others to stand. You will be drawn into the Antichrist world spirit and will not even realize you are in deception.
Let us look for just a moment at the passage in question—First Thessalonians 4:13-5:3:
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
It is a good idea when interpreting a passage of the New Testament to step back, as it were, and ask yourself what it is talking about.
If we do that, to the passage in question, we see that it is speaking to those who have deceased Christian relatives, to comfort them concerning their dead loved ones. The passage is not directed toward Christians who wish to be delivered from trouble.
If we agree that this is the Apostle’s intention, then we understand at once that the passage has nothing to do with a secret disappearance of Christians to remove them from tribulation.
I am not certain my explanation at this point will help the majority of believers in the United States. The doctrine of the pre-tribulation "rapture" is based on emotion, the desire to flee from pain. It is not a scholarly interpretation of the Scriptures.
No reputable Bible scholar would agree that Paul was writing to comfort bereaved believers, and then conclude that Paul is referring to a special, secret coming of Christ. In fact, this is the very thing that Christ warned us against!
I realize that God has sent delusion upon the pleasure-loving American Christians and their people-pleasing pastors, teachers, and evangelists. But there may be some who, like the believers in Berea, will search the Scriptures to see if what they had been taught is according to God’s Word. It is to this remnant that I am writing.
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
Have you ever heard a teacher of the "rapture" emphasize that this passage is referring to the coming of the Lord, to the Day of the Lord? Those who have "fallen asleep in Jesus" are the great host of the godly from the time of Abel. They all are returning with Jesus so they can regain their bodies and help the Lord install the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Can you think of how many people will return with Jesus? They will far, far outnumber the Christians who are living when the Lord returns. The living Christians will be but a small handful of people compared with the mighty army of the victorious saints who return with Jesus. Have you thought much about that?
We are referring here to the return of Christ, the Day of the Lord, the one coming of Christ, the one Day of the Lord. This is not a special, secret appearing to whisk away lukewarm American believers who rush home from a sermonette so they don’t miss the Super Bowl on the television.
According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
The Greek term for "coming" is parousia. This is the word used in Matthew 24:3, which undoubtedly is referring to the return of Christ in visible glory. We who are alive at the time will not enter the Kingdom before the dead who return with the Lord. This is to answer the concern of the believers of Thessalonica who were worried that their deceased loved ones would not be present when the Lord returned and thus enter the Kingdom. You see, they thought the Lord was going to return in their day.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
This is a secret "rapture"? Rather, this is the attack of the Battle of Armageddon. The resurrected (and transformed) saints will ascend to meet Christ in the air, and from there descend to crush Antichrist and the False Prophet, and install the Kingdom of God on the earth.
"The dead in Christ will rise" means they will rise from the dead. This is the first resurrection of the dead, spoken of in the Book of Revelation. (Revelation 20:4-6)
The teachers of today stress the ascension ("rapture") so the lukewarm believers will be all "comfy" and cozy. The New Testament does not stress the ascension, and the Old Testament does not refer to it at all, to my knowledge. Both Testaments speak of the resurrection. It is the resurrection of the physical body that is the destruction of the last enemy, the climax of the Divine redemption.
Can you see how Satan has moved the Church away from the "blessed hope"? His motive is to send the believers to Heaven so he can perpetuate his abominations in the earth. How greatly we have been deceived!
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
There is nothing whatever here about going to Heaven. The victorious saints who have returned from Heaven with Jesus have already been there—some of them for thousands of years. They have no desire to go to Heaven. Their desire is to regain their body so they can reign as a king on the earth with Jesus.
They meet Christ in the air, because this is the headquarters of Satan (Ephesians 2:2). All of the demonic principalities must be ruthlessly destroyed in order that the Kingdom may prevail on the earth.
Do you see anything in this passage about the believers going to Heaven? Neither do I! I refuse to believe a lie in order to comfort my flesh. How about you?
Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Who is encouraged? The ones being addressed whose loved ones had died before the Lord returned. How are they encouraged? That they will see their loved ones enter the Kingdom of God even before they do.
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,
Paul was under the impression they already knew about the coming of the Lord, because they had been taught previously.
For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
Can you see that Paul has been writing concerning the one Day of the Lord, not about a special secret "rapture"?
While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
The current teaching of the pre-tribulation "rapture" is that when the believers fly away to Heaven there will be a period of seven years on the earth when business proceeds somewhat as usual, although without the presence of the Christian people.
But if you will notice carefully, when Jesus returns, sudden destruction will come upon the earth. The shout, the voice of Michael, and God’s trumpet will terrify the inhabitants of the earth. They then will realize that the world as they have known it has come to an end.
How near are we to the coming of Christ, to the Day of the Lord? It is my opinion from what I read, in Daniel and elsewhere, that there are some major events that must take place before Christ returns. Perhaps fifty or a hundred years. I am not certain. Time is not a factor in the spirit world. The Lord always will come "quickly."
My exhortation to God’s people is that they look to the Lord right now. Jesus has wonderful things for us at this moment. The Jewish feasts of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles are being fulfilled spiritually in each believer who chooses to seek Christ fervently. Sin is abounding in our country, and Divine grace is much more abounding. Not the grace of forgiveness, primarily, but the grace that is the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ to lead us into green pastures and still waters.
I can see the abominations that are increasing in our land. But there is a table spread for each fervent disciple in the very presence of our enemies.
The Day of Atonement
Last night as I was praying, the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement came to mind, with the Scriptures I have used so frequently in time past. These are old fires to warm my hands by. The baptism with fire is one of the primary revelations Jesus gave to me so many years ago.
Of the seven feasts of the Lord, the Day of Atonement is number six. Pentecost is number four. The Blowing of Trumpets is number five.
The twentieth century beyond all doubt was the "Pentecostal Century," with the spreading throughout the world of the speaking in tongues.
The Blowing of Trumpets signifies the coming of the Lord Jesus to declare war on His spiritual enemies, Satan and the demons.
The Jews celebrate the Blowing of Trumpets as New Year’s Day. It is the first day of the year of doing business. This is why we are hearing more and more about the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
The Day of Atonement is the period when Christ reconciles us to God by removing the sins in our personality. It is judgment on His spiritual enemies in mankind, beginning with His spiritual enemies in His Church. The Day of Atonement has begun now and will continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age, often referred to as the "Millennium."
This present coming of Christ is mentioned in John 14:21-23. Jesus stands knocking at the door of His people today. He wants to enter us and become our very Life.
How can you tell when the King has come to you? The Spirit of God will make you aware of the sin you are practicing. When you become aware of a specific sin you are to confess it clearly; denounce it as evil; renounce it, saying clearly and firmly that you want nothing more to do with it forever. Then you are to look to Jesus knowing you have been forgiven and cleansed. You will discover that you now have the ability to resist this behavior. (I John 1:9)
It is an eternal judgment on that spirit. It will not be mentioned to you at the future Judgment Seat.
The Day of Atonement rightly may be termed the "Day of Reconciliation." There are three areas of our personality that are to be brought into harmony with God’s personality:
First, our love of the world spirit such that we look to the world for survival, security, and comfort.
Second, our sinful nature. Every sort of unclean spirit dwells in our flesh. Each of these must be presented to the Spirit of God for removal, once He shows them to us.
Third, our desire to maintain our self-determination. We want to conduct our life as we see fit.
When Christ cried out "It is finished," He meant the guilt of the sins of mankind had been atoned for. It is true also that the adamic race had come to an end. God desires that each of us by faith die with Christ on the cross of Calvary. Now we are to live by His resurrection Life.
To live by the Life of Jesus means we are to meditate in our Bible every day (if a Bible is available to us). More than that, we are to live in a state of prayer, bringing every decision to the Lord Jesus. We are to live by His Life in our thinking, speaking, and acting.
In the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement we are baptized with the fire of Divine judgment. All that is chaff must be burned up.
It is interesting to note that the trumpet of the Jubilee was blown on the Day of Atonement. The demons are condemned and we go free.
Allow the Holy Spirit to bring you into complete freedom from the Antichrist world spirit.
Allow the Holy Spirit to remove every trace of Satan from your flesh.
Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you throughout the program of death to your self-will and entrance into the Life of Christ.
Some passages you may wish to consider are as follows:
I Peter 4:17.
Note that Lazarus was raised on the fifth day, the day of the Blowing of Trumpets. (John 11:13,14)
Borrowing a phrase from Isaiah 61:2, we just have been discussing "The Day of Vengeance of our God."
In the evening we turned to the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans and considered the Law of the Spirit of Life.
Our current traditions often maintain there is no law but the "law of love." This tradition is based on the idea we are in a new dispensation in which God sees us through Christ. It might be nice to behave in a godly manner, at least some of the time. But when we "accept Christ as our personal Savior" we can forget about any law governing our behavior. Our judgment was completed on the cross and now we will go to Heaven instead of to Hell when we die.
Am I correct? Are there Christians who believe these things and are living accordingly?
I used to rant and rave about these errors. I don’t anymore. I am real calm and soft-spoken—most of the time.
But for old times sake, let me once again, peaceably and quietly, point out the problem with the current traditions.
There is no law but the "law of love."
We are in a new dispensation, a "dispensation of grace."
God "sees us through Christ."
When we "accept Christ."
Our judgment was "completed on the cross."
Our goal is "to go to Heaven."
If you could see me sitting at my computer and writing you would be pleased to know I am quiet and peaceable, "with malice toward none," as Lincoln said.
There is no law but the "law of love." There is a law that is part of the new covenant. Paul calls it "the law of the Spirit of life." The law of the Spirit of Life requires that we live in the Spirit of God and not in the desires of our sinful nature. Thus the law of the Spirit of Life is far more comprehensive than the Law of Moses, governing at all times what we think, what we say, and what we do.
It is important to note that we share in the righteousness purchased on the cross only as long as we obey the law of the Spirit of Life. (Romans 8:4)
We are in a new dispensation, a "dispensation of grace." There is no statement in the New Testament that we are in a new dispensation. There is, however, a statement concerning a new covenant, which is the writings of God’s eternal moral laws on our heart and in our mind.
The Apostle Paul used the term "dispensation" to mean a "trust" or "stewardship." The term is not found in the New International Version or the New American Standard Bible. "Dispensation of grace" is not a new-covenant concept.
God "sees us through Christ." There is no such statement in the New Testament. God always sees what we do. He knows our works, as stated so many times in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. The idea that God sees only the righteousness of Christ when He sees us is not a new-covenant concept. It would mean that when we commit adultery that God sees the purity of Christ.
Do you really believe that? I don’t imagine you do; but we Christians often compartmentalize our thinking. We hold both ideas in our mind at the same time: God sees us through Christ; but God does not see the purity of Christ when we are behaving immorally. It is time we checked out our thinking to see if it is rational. Do you agree?
When we "accept Christ." There is no statement in the New Testament that we are to "accept Christ." We cannot even come to Christ except the Father draws us. At that point we are to believe in Christ to the extent of learning to live by His body and blood. (Check out the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John).
Far too often when we say someone has "accepted Christ" we mean he has conformed to the requirements of his denomination. He has not really come to the Man and laid down his life, determined to carry his cross behind Jesus wherever Jesus may lead him.
Christ stands at the door of our heart today. We are to invite Him into our personality. He is to dine on our obedience and worship. We are to dine on His body and blood, which are given to us in the Spirit every time we turn away from the deeds of our sinful nature and choose to follow the Spirit of God.
Our judgment was "completed on the cross." This can be construed from a passage or two, when we ignore the contexts. But the fourth chapter of the Book of First Peter shows this to be a false idea. Also, the eleventh chapter of First Corinthians, where we read of the consequences of participating in the Communion service when our heart is not pure. Why would we get sick or die if God does not see the sin in our heart?
There are numerous passages in the New Testament that warn the Christians about the danger of living according to the sinful nature. These would make no sense whatsoever if our judgment was finished on the cross.
Our goal is "to go to Heaven." There is no such idea presented in the New Testament. The expression "go to Heaven" is not found in the Bible.
When we make residence in Heaven the goal of our salvation, we simply cannot understand the Bible. The idea of the Kingdom of God coming to the earth, which we pray faithfully in the "Lord’s Prayer," is negated as far as having any concrete meaning in our mind.
Now, if anyone would care to challenge the above statements, please send me the passage of the Bible you are submitting so I can learn. And whatever you do, please do not start your comments with, "But Brother Thompson, don’t you think . . ." This drives me nuts! Obviously I have written what I think. Please address your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Really, the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans is a marvel. All anyone needs to be firmly established in the Christian salvation are the sixth and eighth chapter of the Book of Romans. This is my opinion.
What is the eighth chapter of Romans telling us? It is saying that we can turn away from the Law of Moses and be without condemnation.
It is telling us that because of the obedience and death of Christ on the cross, the full righteousness of the Law of Moses will be assigned to anyone who turns away from his sinful nature and follows the Spirit of God at all times. It is as though he had kept the Law of Moses perfectly even though he knew nothing about the Law of Moses.
It is telling us that our mind is to be kept a prisoner of the Spirit of God.
It is telling us that God intends to make alive our mortal body by filling it with the Spirit of God.
It is telling us that we are not obligated to obey our sinful nature.
It is telling us that if we continue in our sinful nature we will die spiritually; we will not attain to the making alive of our body.
It is telling us that the sons of God are they who are led by the Spirit of God.
It is telling us that we are God’s children and co-heirs with Christ, and will share in His glory if we share in His sufferings.
It is telling us that the material creation is in bondage, waiting for the sons of God to be revealed–they who will release the creation from frustration and bring it into the freedom that comes as we live in the Spirit of God.
It tells us that our reborn inner nature will be clothed with a body fashioned from eternal, incorruptible life when God adopts our mortal body. It is the adoption of our mortal body that is our hope, not eternal residence in Heaven! (Lord, help me to stay calm. Thank You.)
We are told that all of man’s history, including today’s wicked events, exist for the good of those who have been called to be the brothers of the Lord Jesus.
It tells us there is no power on earth, or under the earth, or in the heavens above, that can in any manner separate us from God’s love that comes to us through our Lord Jesus Christ.
As I said previously, I have malice toward no one, even when I yell and tear around. But it does seem to me that there ought to be some Christians who believe the sixth and eighth chapters of the Book of Romans instead of the gallimaufry, hodgepodge, mishmash of errors that compose today’s supposedly Christian teaching.
Today’s burden has to do with God’s elect. The seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John presents the great jasper wall that divides God’s elect, His family, the royal priesthood, the Body of Christ, from the remainder of mankind.
Today’s burden has to do with God’s elect. The seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John presents the great jasper wall that divides God’s elect, His family, the royal priesthood, the Body of Christ, from the remainder of mankind.
This does not mean the remainder of mankind is lost. The remainder of mankind, barring those who refuse the Lordship of Jesus Christ, will be saved to the new world of righteousness, becoming the inheritance of the elect, of the royal priesthood.
It is difficult for the members of God’s elect, His saints, to accept the fact that they are not of the world but have been called out of the world in order to fulfill a special Divine role. This idea is not compatible with the philosophy of Humanism that is filling the world of our day and has influenced Christian thinking.
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. (John 17:14)
America was the last of the great Christian nations. I say "last," because as various secular commentators are pointing out, there now are several diverse religions that claim to be part of America. This is a correct view and it is time the Christian people of America realize this. Otherwise we are going to fret ourselves to death over the events of the future that will be contrary to Christian values.
America and the nations of Europe, formerly Christian countries, can no longer claim that title. Secular values, plus the onslaught of the Muslim religion, are forging to the front with increasing power.
I think it is true that even in the Muslim and Communist countries, the rule of the tyrants will diminish. This will happen because of the commonality of thinking caused by access to the Internet. The people dominated so severely, often women, are discovering there are countries that are not under such oppression.
The people of the world, including the majority of Christians and Muslims, will want peace and material security above all else.
The Antichrist rule is one in which people are in control. Every man is his own god. The political philosophy compatible with such self-determination is Democracy.
Unless I am mistaken, Humanism and Democracy are the wave of the future. These two philosophies, which I think are somewhat synonymous, will be personified in the coming ruler we have termed "Antichrist." He will sponsor "cradle-to-grace" security.
The world cry will be "peace and safety." But it will be an illusion. Talented political leaders by the skillful use of words have the ability to project the vision they desire. People then live in the vision rather than in the desolation surrounding them.
This condition is true today in America. We have been given the vision of a brilliant future while all around us our institutions are weakening.
Christians fret themselves over such issues as abortion (the murder of the innocent), "gay" marriage, and "gay" curricula in public-school classrooms. You may notice that we Americans have elected a president who is a supporter of "abortion rights." You may notice also that "gay" marriage is being legalized in several areas. In addition, the Muslim religion is making astonishing headway in England, formerly a Christian nation.
If we believers step back a little we will realize that our distress comes from our Christian beliefs, not from a rational examination of the "rights of people" in a democratic country.
We may not realize it but we want everyone in America, secularist, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Shintoist, to follow Christian standards. This is not going to happen no matter how much we fret or engage in political activism.
By the way, we are not to fret. We are to remember that the Lord Jesus Christ has been given by the Father authority over all mankind. We are to keep our minds steadfastly on Christ at the right hand of the Father, meditating on things that are joyous, honorable, peaceful, kind, loving, gracious.
To fret is to imply that Christ has lost His control of mankind. He has not. Find rest in this fact.
If I am "hearing" correctly, God is permitting the current abominations, which He can stop at any time He chooses, in order to wake up the Christian people of the world. The Spirit of God is searching our hearts, commanding us to confess our sins and turn away from them. In many instances we are not listening. We are not turning away from our own sins, which are multitudinous, but are gasping in dismay at the abominations practiced by worldly people.
I have said that America was the last of the great Christian nations. We may exhaust ourselves trying to resurrect the old American values, but I think it is a losing battle.
Let me suggest that Christ is opening another door. We Christians are now to recognize that God’s elect, the Body of Christ, is worldwide. True saints, although a minority, can be found in every nation. This is our family.
We still have a nominal citizenship in the United States, which today is a purveyor around the world of the most despicable moral filth, including the murder of babies.
But we have a citizenship that is not nominal only. It is genuine. It is worldwide. It embraces all mankind. It is eternal. Our citizenship today is in Heaven. It is soon to come to earth as the Lord Jesus Christ descends with His saints and installs the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Jesus prayed that God’s elect, His brothers, may be one in Him in the Father and with one another. The Father always answers Jesus’ prayers. Do you believe that?
This means that one day God’s elect will be recognized by the world as being of God. One day the world will recognize that it is the one true God who has sent Jesus Christ to us, and that the one true God loves His saints as He loves His Son, the Lord Jesus.
It is true that Babylon, organized religion, will gather strength and establish its headquarters on the site of ancient Babylon.
It is true that the self-will of man shall bring forth a world leader, the Antichrist.
It is true that Christians, who are not bearing their cross after the Lord Jesus but walking in their self-will, shall work miracles in support of Antichrist.
It is true that the Laodicean churches will continue to stress the rights of people rather than the rights of God.
During this time the United States of America will become a third-class power and the world leadership will move to the East.
What, then, should be the attitude of the fervent disciple of the Lord Jesus? Each one of us must learn to regard every true Christian worldwide as our brother or sister, closer to us than the members of our own country; closer to us than the members of our own family.
We all—every genuine Christian—are destined to become one family in Christ in the Father. If we can do something helpful as our nation slides down into a moral cesspool, then we should ask God to help us make our contribution.
But things are going to grow increasingly corrupt in our country. Therefore we absolutely must get our eyes on the Lord Jesus, not on the antics of Satan. If we continue to contemplate the works of Satan we will damage ourselves spiritually. If we keep our eyes on Jesus we will grow spiritually, and we will be able to bring ourselves and our loved ones safely through the spiritual darkness and resulting Divine judgments that rapidly are engulfing our country.
One last word—It is not impossible that we will have a vicious civil war in America in the not too distant future. The intense moral polarization goes far beyond who is a Republican and who is a Democrat. It is not a political division but a moral division.
I believe Jesus has told me millions of Americans are to be brought into the spirit world. He did not say whether through war, plague, or natural calamity. He has given me some awareness of the spirit world (a very normal, average kind of world actually) to comfort those facing death or those who have lost a loved one. I have written two books about my new awareness, one of which, God’s Wonderful World, is now being prepared by Tate Publishing Co. It is not on the market yet. I am working on a third for very young children.
My purpose in writing these books is that people will not be afraid of death, or assume that it is some kind of black hole in which people, especially children, disappear. There are animals of all sorts, and many children to play with.
So please recognize you are one of God’s elect, if you are a genuine Christian. Your family, the Body of Christ, is eternal. You will be fine throughout the coming catastrophes if you keep your eyes on Jesus and not on the Divine judgments on your nation. Your home is Mount Zion. You are a member of God’s called-out family. Your citizenship is in Heaven and some day will come to the earth with the Lord Jesus.
Preparing for the Seventh Trumpet
Actually, as I have said so many times in the past, the tenth and eleventh chapters of the Book of Revelation should be considered as one chapter. They tell of the time leading up to the blowing of the seventh and last trumpet, and finally the blowing of the trumpet itself.
This passage ought to be of special importance to us because Paul tells us that at the blowing of the last trumpet the bodies of the victorious Christians will be changed into immortality.
But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7)
Notice the expression: "Is about to sound."
There will be a period before the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, perhaps the most significant time of earth’s history. From my point of view, we are entering that period now.
There is a "mighty angel" who announces this period of preparation (Revelation 10:1). The symbolism of his appearance portrays God’s Throne, righteousness, judgment, and power. Also that he has a message for us.
Ours is a day of spiritual power. The titans of the spirit world are facing one another. God is facing Satan. The Holy Spirit is facing the False Prophet. Christ is facing Antichrist. Righteousness is facing unrighteousness. Holiness is facing moral filth. Stern obedience to the Father is facing disobedience and lawlessness. Truth is facing the massive lie the world spirit is.
The voice of the seven thunders, perfect power, is sealed until the witnesses are judged, and worldliness, uncleanness, and self-will have been removed from them. This judgment is taking place today for those who are seeking the Lord Jesus and cooperating with the Spirit of God.
There have been two thousand years of delay, but there shall be delay no longer. The mystery of God, which is that Christ (Messiah) is in us, will be brought to the fullness of revelation.
We then are commanded to eat the scroll, not read it, but eat it. The Word of God, which is Christ, the Consuming Fire of Israel, must be formed in us.
God’s Word of truth, holiness, righteousness, and stern obedience to the Father, is sweet in our mouth but it is the bitterness of death in us. Only then are we prepared to prophesy about "many peoples, nations, languages, and kings."
Today the household of God, especially those who are crying "Not my will but Yours be done" (the Altar of Incense), are being judged (measured). Everything in our personality that is not of the image of God is being exposed. We are to follow the Spirit of God in confessing, denouncing vehemently as wickedness, and renouncing vigorously all the spiritual darkness of our personality that is being revealed.
While we are being judged and cleansed, the "outer court," the part of God’s Kingdom that is not to be part of the coming witness, will be left for the nations to do as they will (shall be "trampled on"). We see that today, even in the United States, as the values once esteemed by us are regarded as garbage to be thrown away.
This division between God’s holy people, and the people of the world, including worldly "Christians," will continue for a specified time. This period is described symbolically as forty-two months, or three and one-half years.
It is obvious that the division between righteousness and unrighteousness has begun already.
During this time, after the saints have been judged, an unprecedented "Elisha" anointing will cover the victorious saints. They will bear witness to "many peoples, nations, languages, and kings." They shall bear a true witness of the Person, will, and way of God, and of the soon coming to the earth of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. We are being prepared for this now, as the Spirit of God tells us to give over our life to Christ so He might live in us.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
When God has decreed (after the symbolic three and one-half years) that the nations have been warned adequately of the coming of the Kingdom to the earth, the double-portion of the Spirit will be lifted from the saints. That which had hindered the full revelation of Antichrist, the man of sin and lawlessness, shall be removed.
Now the work of God will be tested. Worldliness, the lusts of the flesh, and self-determination will flourish. The love of the majority of the believers will grow cold. Some of the saints will fall, as the process of refining continues. Some of the saints will be persecuted to the point of death. This is the hour of evil, and the Divine testimony will be nearly extinguished. It will be given to Antichrist to ascend into the heavens and block the prayers of people. It no longer will be possible to reach Christ or to receive the Holy Spirit.
However, there will be a remnant in Zion in whom there will be deliverance, even during the darkest of the moral darkness.
At the appointed hour, at the end of the second set of the symbolic three and one-half years, the witness will be revived. The victorious saints, those in the spirit world and those still living on the earth, will be revived. Their bodies will be transformed and they will be caught up to Christ in preparation for their descent with Him. The battle of Har-Magedon will be fought, and then the Kingdom of God will be installed on the earth by the Lord Jesus Christ and those who have been faithful to Him.
This is the time when the seventh trumpet will be blown, the hour when "the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ."
God has taken to Himself His great power and will govern the earth through Christ and the saints. God’s will shall be done in the earth as it is done in Heaven.
Now the dead will be judged. Now all who reverence and obey God will be rewarded. Now those who at present are destroying the earth shall themselves be destroyed.
Now God’s eternal temple, Christ and His Body, which always is in Heaven, shall be revealed. The Ark of His Covenant, the transformed personalities of the saints will be seen by angels and people. Now it will be clear that it is the God of Heaven who has sent the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth, and that He loves His saints as He loves His Son, the Lord Jesus.
Living in the Spirit
The true Christian life is that which is lived in the Spirit of God. In order to live in the Spirit of God we must set Christ before us at all times, looking to Him throughout every day and night, asking His wisdom and help in everything we do—I mean, everything! The true Christian life is one of total, complete obedience to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are in Romans, Chapter Eight. Notice Paul’s statement:
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5)
How many Christians in America live in accordance with the Spirit? We have a multitude of distractions, the media in particular. Our culture is one of a frenzied desire to make money. This secular race carries over into our religion. We attend church; sing the songs, give in the offering, listen to the sermon. This is it. But Monday morning, do we have our minds set on what the Spirit desires?
We are facing a horrendous future in America. While the politicians wrangle, each striving to keep his position of power, our nation is declining morally at a rapid rate. A significant part of our population desires to return to earlier American ideals. Another significant part of our population desires to cast off all biblical restraints and indulge in every kind of physical lust.
The difference between these two populations is noticeable and increasing. An intense hatred is developing between the two points of view and may result in some sort of civil war. It is not a contest between Republicans and Democrats, or between liberals and conservatives, or one race and another. It is between Bible morality and the morality of a democratic society.
There may be no problem in a democratic society with homosexual marriage, or abortion on demand without a medical necessity. But there certainly is a monumental problem when viewed in terms of Bible morality.
For myself, I refuse to fret. I am drawing closer to Jesus. My citizenship is in Heaven. The Law of the Spirit of Life is my guide. Whatever the secular community does, it does. If I can help anyone I will. But I absolutely refuse to be drawn into the existing moral confusion. I do not desire to change America. My desire is to walk humbly with God, and set a good example wherever I can.
This sort of breach between God’s people and the secular society has occurred previously in history. The problem in America is that we regard ourselves as a Christian nation and are appalled when we observe the evidences of Satan’s work. We may think it is our responsibility to change the secular population. It is not.
I believe it may be said truthfully that, by and large, our nation in the past has given at least lip service to the concept of America being a Christian nation. It appears obvious that Christianity has been the dominant religion.
However, over the past hundred-or-so years there has been an accelerating weakening of our moral values. I believe this is due to the confusion in Christian preaching. There are millions of Christian church-attenders who hear every Sunday that under grace we do not have to live a righteous life. Christ has done it for us.
Now if you were a professor of sociology, what would you predict would be the end of such preaching? You would predict that Christian people who sat under such preaching would not be careful to lead a disciplined moral life.
If you add to this the current interpretations that the church and the government must be kept separate, and freedom of speech must be honored to the point of worship, even though moral abominations are presented to us, including to our children, we have the formula for social disaster.
Today, America is not a Christian nation. There are numerous Christians living in America, but many of them are casual—actually worldlings who attend a Christian church.
It is my point of view that the true, fervent disciple of the Lord Jesus, must recognize that he or she is a member of the worldwide Body of Christ. This Body knows no national or denominational boundaries. His or her first loyalty is to the one Body of Christ.
The world is hastening on its way to destruction. Sooner or later our government will hand over its sovereignty to the United Nations. America is destined, because of sin, to become a third-class nation.
We Christians are not to fret ourselves over what sinners do. America rapidly is becoming their country now, though we may be slow to recognize this.
Our responsibility is to be a true witness of Jesus Christ. The closer we draw to Jesus in these dangerous days, the clearer our witness becomes. Then it is God’s responsibility to draw people to Jesus who is revealed in us.
The only manner in which we can live a righteous life as a Christian is by living in the Spirit of God. Living in the Spirit of God requires continual fellowship with our living Lord Jesus. When our mind is controlled by the Spirit of God we have life and peace. The battle today is largely for control of our mind.
If we really belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God is living in us. It is our responsibility to keep looking to Jesus so that the Spirit of God is controlling our thoughts, words, and actions. We simply are not to fret because of Satan’s activities in the non-Christian population of America.
If Christ is living in us, our physical body is dead, separated from the Life of God because there is sin dwelling in it. This is true, even though we profess faith in Christ.
However, if we choose to obey the Law of the Spirit of Life in our thoughts, words, and actions, our inward nature is alive with the Life of God. The righteous Christ is being formed and is dwelling in our inner nature.
Here is our great hope: If we continue to sow to the Spirit of God by looking to Christ continually throughout the day and night, when Jesus appears from Heaven He will make alive even our physical body. The same Spirit that has made alive our inward nature will make alive our body.
It is because of the hope of the adoption of our body by the Spirit of God that we are under no obligation to obey the lusts and passions of our flesh.
To live fully in the Spirit of God we must deal with two forces in our personality. The first force consists of the sinful compulsions that reside in our flesh. The second force is not sinful. It consists of the desires of our adamic personality, our human nature.
The first force includes sexual lusts, rage, envying, pride, sorcery, fear, cowardice, lying. These often are unclean spirits and can be driven out as we confess, denounce, renounce them and vigorously turn away from them.
The second force includes what we are as a person. There are the imaginations and schemes of our mind, our desires and goals, our ambitions, loves, joys, pleasures, and so forth. It can be seen that these human drives can be intensified and warped by unclean spirits. But they themselves are what we are as a person. God’s plan of redemption proceeds to crucify and renew in Christ our mind, our desires and goals, our ambitions, loves, and pleasures.
The life lived fully in the Spirit of God has been delivered from uncleanness, and then crucified and born again in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our spirit then is one with the Holy Spirit. Our character is formed from the body and blood of Christ. Our consequent actions are righteous, holy, and obedient to God.
When this is true, then, at the coming of the Lord, the metabolism of our body will be changed from flesh and blood to flesh and Spirit, the Spirit of God. This is the overcoming of the last enemy and the fullness of redemption.
If we continue to obey our sinful inclinations we will die spiritually, even though we are a Christian. In the Day of Resurrection, our body will not be made alive by the Spirit of God. We will slay our own resurrection if we continue to behave sinfully.
If we continue in our uncrucified personality we will not attain to the Kingdom of God, because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
If instead we choose to put to death our sinful inclinations, as the Spirit of God directs and enables us, and choose to live as crucified with the Lord Jesus, we will grow in eternal life. We will attain to the resurrection of our body.
When the Holy Spirit points out to us a sin we are practicing, we are to confess it as sin. We are to describe it clearly. Then we are to denounce it as wicked, belonging only in the Lake of Fire. Next we are to renounce it vigorously, declaring that we do not want to have anything to do with it for eternity. Christ will help us do this if we ask His assistance.
If we have faithfully cooperated with the Spirit of God in putting to death the deeds of our sinful nature, and present our body a living sacrifice in order to do the will of God completely, then, in the Day of Christ, a robe (body) from Heaven will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones. The new body has been created by the Spirit of God as we have sown to the Spirit throughout our Christian life. The new body will obey Christ by nature, unlike our present body that resists Christ at every turn.
But for those Christians who continue to live in the sinful nature, and in their adamic nature, no such reward awaits them. They have sown to sin and to the flesh and soul and will reap corruption. The corruption will be revealed in the state of their body in the Day of Resurrection.
It will be true also for all the citizens of the new world of righteousness. They will have a measure of Christ in them and will live by the Spirit of God. The Church is a firstfruits of what one day will be true of all people. All of the creation shall die and then be raised in Christ; summed up in Christ.
In regard to the dispensation of the fulness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth -- in him; (Ephesians 1:10–Young’s)
With these facts in mind, let’s you and I set Jesus before us at all times, looking to Him for His guidance and help in every activity of our day and night. Our reward will be an inward and outer nature that is filled with eternal life and is an expression of the Person of our Lord Jesus.
God Is My Salvation
I have been "in Pentecost" since 1948. Now God is ready to move us past Pentecost, so to speak. The previous century was the "Pentecostal Century." Speaking in tongues was experienced in many of the major denominations, including Catholicism. But God is moving on. We have not as yet arrived at the fullness of redemption.
If we are to continue naming centuries after the feasts of the Lord, then the twenty-first century might be named the "Tabernacles Century." First, salvation. Then the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Finally the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish celebration of Tabernacles.
What can we expect as we enter the third work of redemption?
The Lord Jesus comes to us in the spirit realm. He knocks at the door of our personality. If we open our heart to Him, He dines with us—He on our obedience and worship; we on His body and blood. How utterly marvelous!
Now we find that we have opened the everlasting doors of our personality to "the Lord, strong and mighty in battle." He declares war on that in our personality which is not in the image of God: our love of the world, the sinful nature of our flesh, and our self-will and self-love.
As we submit to the demands of God’s Warrior, the Holy Spirit leads us in total deliverance from worldliness, from the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul, and from our self-will and self-love. In this manner we are reconciled to God and He to us.
What is God’s final plan for us? It is that He might settle down to rest in us. We have been conformed to the image of Christ. We are dwelling in untroubled rest in the very Center of the Consuming Fire of Israel. This is the Omega of redemption.
What is our life like once we have pressed through to God’s rest? We realize that little by little our life is becoming the Life of Christ. We find that the less we take for granted, and the more we look to Jesus for His judgment of our every action, the more we remain in the Presence of the Lord.
A. B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian Missionary Alliance, told us in a hymn, that once he sought the gift; now he seeks the giver. It could not be expressed more accurately than this, I don’t believe.
I have read that the Jews of Jesus’ day chanted the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah during the celebration of Tabernacles. This passage of the Bible tells us what we experience as we enter the third work of redemption.
In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. (Isaiah 12:1)
For every saint who would move forward with God there will come a period during which God’s anger at his personality is expressed. Such an experience is not pleasant, and it may last for several years. During this time we are brought low. We barely can remember what it was like to be a joyous Christian.
If we endure our hour of darkness, the day will come when our warfare has been accomplished, God’s anger has turned away and He comforts us.
If you are in this situation now, remember that you are not in a grave but in a tunnel. There is light in the end. I have been there.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." (Isaiah 12:2)
Now God Himself becomes our salvation. We learn to trust Him. He Himself has become our Strength. He Himself has become our Song. He Himself has become our Salvation. It can be a bit painful and frustrating as we seek to attain to God’s rest, but it certainly is worth it. Here is the fullness of righteousness, love, joy, and peace.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)
"Pentecost" is the rain from Heaven. "Tabernacles" is the creating of the Throne of God within the saint. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and we ourselves sit forever on that Throne which is above all other thrones. From that Throne proceeds the River of Life. It is an eternal well of salvation. The Spirit and the Bride invite all who will to come and drink of the Life of Christ. This is the ministry of the Body of Christ to the nations of the earth.
In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. (Isaiah 12:4)
I will go so far as to say I do not trust any religion. Do you? If you will notice, the religious organizations are forever exalting themselves. But Jesus said, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to Myself." Didn’t He say that?
But what does the religious organization lift up? Its buildings. Its programs. Its accomplishments. Its Statement of Faith. Everything but Jesus! If you don’t believe me, look around you at the testimony of church organizations.
When God and Christ are dwelling in us, we no longer want to hear about the plans, programs, and achievements of religious people. We want to give thanks to the Lord. We want to call on His name. We want to make known among the nations what He has done. We want to exalt His Name!
When this is true of us we know we have escaped from religion and are living in close fellowship and union with the Man.
Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. (Isaiah 12:5)
"Known to all the world." Do you know what else Isaiah proclaimed?
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:11)
Do you know what the Seed is? It is the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know where the Seed grows? It grows in your heart and mine. Do you know what the result is? The result is all the nations of the earth behold the righteousness and praise that proceed from God Himself.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." (Isaiah 12:6)
When God is great among us, being an integral part of what we are, we shall enjoy the fullness of righteousness; the fullness of love; the fullness of joy; the fullness of peace.
Not only that, but we will be able to bring to the "dead fish" of mankind the Life of God, not theology, not doctrine, not religion, but the very Life of God Himself. Then those fish will come to life, and the Glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters of the Spirit of God cover the dead sea of mankind.
He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live." (Ezekiel 47:8,9)
The Hour of Testing
There is coming to the earth an hour of testing. This is not the same as the Great Tribulation. We can think of tribulation as "chastening." It’s purpose is to refine the work of redemption. We enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation.
Testing, on the other hand, is an opportunity to sin. The Lord Jesus (as will be true of the rest of the sons of God) endured three major temptations, or testings, not three tribulations. Much of today’s preaching warns of the Great Tribulation. This is the response of the natural man to the danger of pain and trouble. The actual danger is not tribulation; we profit from tribulation and are made holy. The danger is the hour of testing.
Satan has employed a grand strategy. It is to convince Christian leaders that new-covenant grace provides a covering such that God does not see the behavior of the believers. How they behave is not really critical. The one essential action is to profess faith in Jesus Christ.
Satan’s purpose in this grand strategy is to disarm God’s people so that when the hour of temptation arrives, they will yield to sin, believing that God wants them to be happy and plans on bringing them to Heaven by "grace."
Godly evangelists, pastors, and teachers should have realized that God never would give us a new covenant that made it possible for the Christians to proceed in their ungodly practices, and then be received into the presence of the holy saints and angels. But for some reason, multitudes of the Christian scholars and leaders have been blinded to what their common sense would have told them had they applied it.
I believe the hour of testing, of temptation, has arrived. How many Christian young people and adults are watching pornography on the Internet or their cell phones or their E-mail? There probably are millions by now.
There is no question that pornography is one of the most compelling attractions of this century. It takes strong determination to turn away from it. If we believe that we are saved by grace and faith alone, we probably will be unable to summon will power strong enough to turn away from pornography and other sexual enticements.
The following is a verse that is employed on occasion in a misleading manner:
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
The word "kept" may be translated "guard." The thought is, if we are faithful to patiently guard the commands of Christ, He will guard us from the hour of testing that is to test those who live on the earth.
This does not mean we will not be tested. Christ Himself was tested. It means that we will be kept from the nearly irresistible urge to disobey God that is to come upon the whole earth, and may, in fact, have begun.
How many Christians, including pastors, are being enticed into viewing pornography on the Internet? They know that what they are seeing is the antics of demons working out the lusts of Satan in human flesh. Yet the drawing toward these scenes is almost past their ability to resist.
Satan has been preparing us for this seduction by warping Paul’s teaching of grace to mean our behavior is not critical because of the sovereignty of the Divine salvation. When we trust we are saved by "faith alone," and faith is defined as our agreement with a "Statement of Faith," and then are presented with the pornographic scenes, we are led away captive by Satan.
The Bible has much to say about the overcoming of the saints in the last days.
As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, (Daniel 7:21) (The "horn" is Antichrist, the spirit of the world in the last days.)
Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. (Daniel 8:12) ("It" is Antichrist)
When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." (Daniel 12:7)
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:12,13)
Can you see from this verse that the saints will be tested; and if they are to be saved they must stand firm? Doesn’t this remind us of Revelation 3:10?
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
The above verse was written to Christians.
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (I Corinthians 10:12,13)
The Greek word for "temptation," (peirasmos), as used in the above verse, is the same word used in Revelation 3:10 for "testing." This is not the Greek word for "tribulation" (thlipsis).
In today’s Greek, peirasmos has the meaning of "to attempt to mislead someone"; "the desire that pushes man to sin." It may be related to "tribulation" in a secondary sense. Our problem in America today is not tribulation, it is the arousing in us of an intense desire to sin.
As I think about it, it probably is true that because of the sin resulting from the Hour of Temptation, wickedness will increase to the point of causing the love of the majority of Christians to grow cold.
The rebellion of the majority of Christians will remove the testimony that restrains the full revelation of Antichrist. The wickedness and the full revelation of Antichrist will cause God to impose on the earth the Great Tribulation. This no doubt is the relationship between the Hour of Temptation and the Great Tribulation.
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction . (II Thessalonians 2:3)
Temptation and testing have the same impact on us. When the problem is temptation, it is coming from Satan. When the problem is testing, it is coming from God. It is Satan who is tempting us but God who is testing us. Sometimes God permits Satan to tempt us, and that is why we are to pray, "Lead us not into temptation."
If you will compare the following three passages, you will see that God is going to permit Antichrist to reach into the heavens and tear down the saints who are not firmly established in Christ. This is taking place today as we see ministers of the Gospel fall into sin.
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." (Hebrews 12:26)
It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. (Daniel 8:10)
His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky [heaven] and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. (Revelation 12:4)
I know that Satan cannot move us from God with any power of his own. But we of today, if we do not stand fast and resist the increasing temptations of our age, will be deceived and consent to what Satan is offering. Be warned, for this is a real danger to each one of us!
There are two problems with yielding to sin. To begin with, when we die we will be placed with people like ourselves. God does not want any mixtures in the spirit world. "Let the filthy be filthy still." "Make straight the way of the Lord."
After that, in the Day of Resurrection, what we are shall be revealed clearly. The Book of Daniel speaks of those who are raised to "shame and everlasting contempt."
Today’s preaching is leaving the Christians with the idea that God has unconditional love for us, so even if we do yield to temptation, God loves us so much he will bring us to Heaven so we will be happy.
This is not true. What we sow we are going to reap. What we are in personality, we are. Our entrance into the spirit world will not change that; neither will the coming of Christ; neither will the Day of Resurrection.
It appears the greater part of the Christian believers are in great deception. There is going to be anguish and crying when our casual American churchgoers suddenly realize that they have died and those have who come to meet them are self-centered, spiritually lazy people who are occupying undesirable habitations in the Land of Darkness.
We will be placed with people like ourselves, not with the victorious saints who are enjoying the righteousness, love, peace, and joy of the Land of Light.
Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:7,8)
The killing of the witness is accomplished by Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem; that is, by the lust of the flesh, by the love of the world, and by spiritual pride and self-will.
The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. (Revelation 13:5-7)
The testimony of Jesus Christ already has been destroyed in the United States of America, by sexual lust, by the love of the world, and by self-love and self-seeking.
Make no mistake. America has asked for Satan, and Satan is being given to her. The pharaohs that have assumed leadership of our land do not know Joseph. The old America ideas and ways are rapidly passing away. Our children are being taught from Kindergarten up that homosexual relations are normal, and possibly preferred. The kindest thing that could be said about this curriculum is, it is wildly insane!
How could our nation deteriorate so quickly as to install a president who supports abortion on demand, a supreme evil that is causing God to withdraw His protective covering from us?
We Christians are so bemused with the late-night comedy television blasphemers we do not realize the America we once knew has been lost.
Now our task is twofold: first, to make sure we are keeping Christ’s commands and not listening to those who are preaching that grace excuses our sinful behavior. By so doing we will save ourselves and those who hear us. Christ will give us the strength to refuse to consent to Satan’s invitations. Second, we are to pray for believers of every nation and race. It is time for us to look past America and see the Body of Christ. Before the Lord returns, the Body will be one in Christ in God. Then the world will believe that God has sent Jesus Christ.
So do not waste your spiritual energy mourning over the works of Satan in America. They are going to become much worse. Keep your mind on that which is lovely, pure, and honorable. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He is not experiencing confusion, poverty, or weakness. He is sitting as King of the flood of the chaos of the world.
He will sit as King of the flood of your life if you will present your body a living sacrifice; deny yourself; and carry your cross patiently after the Master.
Holding Firmly to the End
I may be incorrect in this, but I don’t believe that in today’s preaching there is enough insistence on working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Ever since I became a Christian I have heard the same emphasis: "We need to get people ‘saved,’" meaning, make an initial profession of faith in Christ. The idea that we have to persevere through every sort of testing and temptation if we are finally to be "saved," is not mentioned very often.
It is as though making an initial profession of Christ is a pass out of Hell and an admission to a mansion in Heaven. The idea that the gate and the way to life are constricted and difficult to enter and pursue, and that few find it, is not emphasized very often—at least not in my experience.
In fact, in over sixty years as a Christian I never heard anyone preach on Matthew 7:14. I can understand why. It is because it does not fit our idea of someone gaining eternal life by making an initial profession of Christ.
At the present time we who are citizens of the United States are entering an era known as the "Hour of Testing." The Greek term employed in Revelation 3:10 means a period of intense pressure to sin, an extreme arousal of evil desires.
We see this as so many people, prominent in both the secular and religious realms, succumb to criminal sexual practices. How many pastors are addicted to pornography? How many Christian children have been molested by their parents or relatives?
Because of the increasing pressure to sin that surrounds us, we must become aware that our salvation has to be worked out at every moment. We must keep choosing life while death is pressing on us.
The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan lasted forty years. It was a very difficult period for the Jews. Were they "saved" when they left Egypt (a type of salvation often employed)? Yes, and no. They were saved out of Egypt but they were not at that time saved into Canaan, into the promised rest.
Do the writers of the New Testament tell us we are to consider the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai an example of the Christian redemption? Indeed they do, and very clearly.
Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5)
The reason we are slow to grasp the fact that the Christian redemption is a process, and not a ticket, is that we have been taught that eternal residence in the spirit Paradise, in Heaven, in an ornate mansion, is the goal of salvation.
If we make a profession of belief in Christ, there is nothing left to do but to wait to die and go to Heaven. This hardly fits the New Testament emphasis on enduring the rigors of the Christian discipleship.
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first (Hebrews 3:14)
We might conclude the above verse means we remain confident that we are saved by grace and there is nothing left to do. However, the context of the verse is referring to maintaining faith in God while enduring the numerous difficulties and privations of the pilgrimage through the Sinai desert.
Indeed, if we would be a disciple of the Lord Jesus we have to deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire, and follow Christ at all times.
Sometimes we go through very deep waters and very hot fires. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.
We endure many years of boredom, during which nothing seems to be happening. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.
On occasion the Lord asks us to give up the idol nearest to our heart. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.
In the future in America, the way things are going, the day may come when we are persecuted viciously. Our children may be removed from us if we do not let them attend classes on how to be a homosexual. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.
It may cost us dearly to maintain our testimony as a Christian believer. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.
We may encounter difficulties among our family members. But we continue to hold firmly the confidence we had at first.
Of what are we confident? We are confident that Christ is with us and is leading us to change into His image; to untroubled rest in the center of the Father’s Person and will; to eternal righteousness, love, peace, and joy; and to the unique inheritance planned for us as an individual from the beginning of the world.
Most of us Americans churchgoers are spiritually soft because of the teaching of the any-moment rapture, and unconditional grace. Many pastors make certain their members are comfortable and will keep coming and giving of their money. Many such pastors are going to have to answer to Jesus Christ why they did not preach cross-carrying obedience to their listeners.
One major problem is the incorrect goal that is presented. Our goal is not to go to Heaven. It is to be conformed to the image of Christ, and to be dwelling in untroubled rest in the Center of God’s Person and will.
The salvation which God has given us through our Lord Jesus Christ has as its purpose the making of man in God’s image, and the directing of him to be sternly obedient to Christ in every situation. Obviously, the goal is not often preached today, at least not in America.
Because we have the wrong goal, we cannot understand why redemption should be a process. "When we die we go to Heaven by grace, no matter whether we serve Christ or not, so what is the problem?" The result is, the believers are not giving a true testimony of Christ, the testimony that is created as we struggle against the spiritual darkness.
Because of the ineffectiveness of the Christian testimony, our political leaders appear to be leaving ethics behind in their desire for power. Therefore, God is removing His covering from our country.
In other words, the chaos approaching America is due to the lack of a clear testimony of Christian people, because of the false teaching they have received.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12,13)
God is ready to change every Christian into the image of Christ, and to bring him or her into complete rest in the center of His Person and will. But this is a process. Sometimes there are difficulties, and rigorous demands are made on us. This is why we have to continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
Why do we work it out with fear and trembling? Because it is a dangerous path. There are many minefields, many traps. Every believer who thinks he is standing firmly in Christ needs to always be careful that he is not led astray.
In the days to come we are going to need strong elders, men and women who have considerable experience in Christ, to keep us from being led away into some sort of sin or deception. We do well to pray continually. When we rejoice it should be accompanied with a sober appraisal of our circumstances.
So the happy, jolly American way of life is coming to an end. I dare say in the not too distant future, America will join England as an erstwhile major power, while the leadership of the world passes to a nation that forces ethical behavior on its citizens.
If we are wise we will walk before Christ day and night, obeying Him in every circumstance, giving a clear testimony of righteousness so those who are watching us can learn and follow Christ also. By so doing we can save ourselves and those who hear us.
Our government has not outlawed abortion, and for this reason, if for none other, the handwriting is on the wall. Our leadership shall be given to another nation that fears and serves God.
Babylon was a mighty nation, one that God helped against its enemies. This also has been true of America. But the king of Babylon was not careful to worship God.
Do you remember this instance in the life of Daniel? The handwriting on the wall was addressed to the trembling Belshazzar.
"This is the inscription that was written: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin.
"This is what these words mean:
"Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
"Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
"Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." (Daniel 5:25-28)
Has America been weighed in the balances? Is moral filth flowing out from California to televisions all over the world? Are babies being murdered every day? Are the late-night "comedians" mocking the Lord Jesus Christ?
For so many years the Christian churches have viewed eternal residence in Heaven as the endgame, that is, as the final product of God’s salvation. As is true of any system, when the wrong goal is held, there is confusion back down the line, from the procurement of materials to manufacture to quality control to marketing.
Since Christian theology, particularly that area dealing with redemption, presents an incorrect goal, the formulas for success are misleading and the results are invalid, at least from the standpoint of the Kingdom of God.
Quality control procedures, given the present understanding of salvation, would suggest that the number of people who gather on Sunday morning in the church building is the indication of successful or unsuccessful ministry. The idea is that all of the members have subscribed to the "Statement of Faith" of the church, and now are waiting to go to Heaven and live forever in a mansion, doing nothing of significance. Thus the objectives of the program have been met.
The last two chapters of the Book of Revelation describe the endgame, that is, the result of the Divine redemption. Notice that our destiny is the earth. It is a new earth, to be sure, but it is not the spirit Heaven, the spirit Paradise that occupies so much of our hymnology and preaching.
There is a new sky and a new earth. There is the holy city, which is the glorified Christian Church. There are the nations of saved people, who are the inheritance of the Church and whom the Church will govern.
In what way is the new Jerusalem the glorified Christian Church? The city is the assembly of the saints; and the parts of the new Jerusalem portray their characters.
Here is the main point if we would understand the symbolism presented in the last two chapters of the Bible. The portrayal by the Apostle John is the way God sees the saints. What we would see would be a congregation of people, the Wife of the Lamb, the eternal Tabernacle of God. We would see many activities and hear many sounds that are not portrayed by John.
God would see a massive wall with precious stones in the foundation. We would see saints whose characters have been formed under great heat and pressure.
God would see a River of Life, and trees of life growing on each side of the River. We would see saints who are able to bring life and healing to the citizens of the new world of righteousness. "Out from their inward nature flows rivers of living water," as Jesus said. When they lay hands on the sick, the sick recover.
The holy city is wherever these members of the city are. All who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the priests whom God has chosen to govern and bless mankind.
God sees pillars of glory that provide structural strength and symmetry for His Temple. We see stalwart saints who are responsible for the strength and beauty of the city. God’s name, the name of the city, and the new name of Christ, are on each of those who constitute the new Jerusalem.
God sees what is true of the new Jerusalem. We see the people and their activities.
The same situation exists on the earth of today. We see the great cities of the world, Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, New York City, Paris, London, Beijing, Delhi. They are a wonder world to behold. Driving or flying into Las Vegas, Nevada, at night is to enter a fairyland of fluorescent lights.
But what does God see in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City? A procession of skeletons who dwell in dark caves, participating in a "Danse Macabre," a "Totentanz," a dance of death choreographed by demons.
What does God see in me, in you? What does God see in my house, in your house?
One must overcome the morally dark environment of the world if he or she is to be a pillar in the Temple of God and inherit all this Divine Glory. The destructive doctrine of Dispensational "grace" tells people they can please God by belief in Christ even though they do not overcome the forces that come against them.
Thus this pernicious doctrine of unconditional grace robs God and mankind of members of the Body of Christ capable of installing and governing Paradise on the earth.
Our world began with two people playing in a garden. The new world also will be a garden, a Paradise in which people with the hearts of children perform the tasks for which they were created. They live in righteousness, love, joy, and peace because money no longer is a medium of exchange.
Each one receives freely and gives freely. There no longer are rich or poor. The angels of God minister to the heirs of salvation, making certain that everyone does his part, and no individual accumulates more than he needs or is without what he or she needs.
The Paradise on the new earth will be installed and maintained by the members of God’s elect, those who constitute the new Jerusalem. This is why we are struggling upward in darkness, so to speak, endeavoring to serve God in a world that is becoming more evil each day. All these pains, problems, and frustrations are necessary if we are going to possess the character required for the installing and maintaining of Paradise.
The great majority of the citizens of the new world of righteousness will not be members of the holy city, of God’s elect. Rather they will be governed and blessed by the elect, the saints of God.
I expect that this true vision of the endgame will become clear to all Christians in the next few years. This will redirect the churches into more productive efforts and more scriptural preaching and worship.
The words of the hymns will speak of Christ and of righteous behavior. They will teach us of the warfare that brings us into the Kingdom of God rather than about flying away to a mansion in Heaven. Such words may have been helpful in time past but they are not appropriate today.
The true vision is simple, clear, and scriptural. The present concept of mansions and streets of gold is not simple, clear, or scriptural. In fact, it is not what people really want. What people actually want above all else are loving relationships, whether the setting be luxurious or plain.
Revelation, Chapters Twenty-one and Twenty-two describe what God has planned from the original six days of creation. Now God is resting. We are to enter that rest, that finished work of God. We enter God’s rest by continually looking to the Lord Jesus for His Presence and wisdom in every aspect of our thinking, speaking, and doing.
Notice, in Chapter 22, the "River of the Water of Life." This is flowing from the Throne of God. This means the Holy Spirit will now be issuing from the saints, since the Throne is in the city, in the members of the glorified church. "The streams of living water shall flow from within him," Jesus said concerning those who believe in Him.
The saints follow the Holy Spirit until they are living in waters to swim in, a river that cannot be crossed. They are trees of life on each side of the river.
This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, and Jesus made this proclamation at the feast of Tabernacles. Here is the endgame. The members of the Christian Church, God’s elect, the saints, are to bring eternal life to the saved peoples of the nations of the earth.
Our training as a saint throughout our lifetime is to prepare us to govern and bless those multitudes of people whom God intends to save to the new world of righteousness.
There is only one Tree of Life. It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. But when we have eaten of His flesh and drunk His blood, and the Father and He are dwelling in us, then we are a tree of life. This is how the Tree can be on both sides of the River.
We will see God’s Face and His name will be on our foreheads. This unprecedented blessing makes all of the problems and pains of our discipleship seem as nothing when compared with such an inheritance.
There is "one great street" of the new Jerusalem. I believe this street symbolizes "the way of faith." It is of pure gold, transparent as glass.
The curse has been lifted. The blood atonement has been made on the cross. Since, then, a multitude of people have come up from the dust of the earth, through the grace of Christ, and have obeyed the Father. They have overcome the Accuser, Satan, by the blood of the Lamb. Their lives have given a true witness of God, His Person, His will, and His ways. They have set aside their own life that Christ might have His unhindered way in them.
Through them God is able to lift the curse from the world.
They will live by that light that created an evening and a morning during the first three days of creation, when there were no sun, moon, or stars.
They will be so filled with God’s eternal Life that there will be need of a night in which to rest.
They will govern the works of God’s hands throughout eternity. There will be an ever increasing multitude of people who have been saved into the new world of righteousness. "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end."
The members of the Church, the called out from the nations, have been created for the purpose of installing and maintaining Paradise on the new earth. This is why their discipleship is so rigorous. They must be perfected in obedience to insure that there never again will be a rebellion against God.
People who do wrong must continue to do wrong. People who do right must continue to do right. This is so the way of the Lord can be made straight, transparent, crystal clear to everyone. There shall be no more crooked, elevated, rough, depressed ways among people. There shall be no more mixtures. The holy will be with the holy. The unclean will be with the unclean—throughout the eternal ages to come.
Jesus shall reward every individual in terms of what he or she has done. This statement in Revelation has been fought tooth and nail by religious leaders. They are speaking from Satan when they say this clear statement can be circumvented. But it shall stand. "Let every man be a liar."
I do not know how the saved people of the nations are going to "wash their robes." Perhaps in the same manner we Christians do—in the blood of the Lamb.
In any case, people who continue to sin will not have access to the Tree of Life or be permitted into the city. Therefore they will lead a miserable existence, being denied access to that which would have brought them life and healing. This is true even today, isn’t it? It is not always readily apparent that sinful people lose their vitality; but eventually they do.
The Spirit of God and the Bride of the Lamb invite all who will, to come and receive the Water of Life. Again, this is true even today.
In Verse 18 of Chapter 22, Christ warns against altering in any manner the words of the Book of Revelation. I don’t know if this same curse is spoken concerning any other book of the Bible. This shows us how important the Book of Revelation actually is.
We sometimes hear from the pulpit that we should avoid the Book of Revelation because it will confuse us. I wonder where this advice originates!
I do not know very much, but of one thing I am absolutely certain. The sun may not rise tomorrow morning. The sky may turn green. None of us may be alive. But every word of the Book of Revelation is heavier than the weight of the sand of the combined beaches of our planet. It shall survive every event that takes place. It shall never pass away!
Each and every word shall come to pass precisely as written, and there is no authority or power in the heavens, on the earth, or in the dark regions under the surface of the earth, that can in any manner change what is written in the Revelation that was given to the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos.
The Endame: Two
If you are like me, you want to know where what you are doing is headed. What is the endgame? Why does God work in our lives the way He does? Does He have a plan? Does He know what I am going through?
Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. (Acts 14:22)
Yes, He indeed does. During the first six days of creation, God planned opportunities for every one of His creatures, man and beast. And then He rested.
The Spirit and Word of God are directing and energizing that plan, and it is proceeding towards God’s goal. The plan encompasses the beginning of the world through to the coming down of the glorified Christian Church to the new earth, and then what shall take place throughout the endless ages after that.
The work is finished. Your task and my task is to enter the opportunities already in place for my life and your life. We have to endeavor every day to enter that finished work, that rest of God. There is a temptation to create our own plan and destiny, and that is unprofitable at best; tragic at worst.
There is a goal, an endgame, for you and for me. The endgame is well worth the battle!
Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalms 139:16)
I have given a lot of thought to God’s goal, toward what He is working. While I was in Bible school, as a fairly new Christian, not having been raised in a Christian home, I was open to the teaching and assumptions of the teachers in the Bible school; and also to the assumptions of church people generally.
What was coming across to me is that God has no plan. He has made provision on the cross of Calvary for our salvation (whatever "salvation" is or means), but He has left it largely up to us to burn ourselves out, if necessary, to tell people the Good News so they will escape Hell and go to Heaven when they die.
There really is no Divine plan in place. Salvation is kind of open-ended. This is what I was taught.
If this were true, there would be no "rest of God," as mentioned in the Book of Hebrews, because the works were not finished from the beginning of the world. There is room for all sorts of creativity and spontaneity.
Being a conscientious sort of individual, I could not live with the idea that God has no specific plan for me or for anyone else, other than: "Go out and compel them to come in."
I tried to do the Evangelical thing. I endeavored to force myself to "testify to everyone you meet." I had a good friend in Bible school who did this successfully. I was not as successful.
One morning, while standing in line for breakfast at a base in Hawaii, during World War Two, I was laboring under the burden that I was to "testify" to everyone. This was before I was in Bible school. I turned to a tall Marine behind me and said, "I want to tell you what Christ has done for me."
The tall Marine said, "What has Christ done for you?" Do you know, I could not think of one blessed thing. I was tongue-tied. Maybe you could have thought of something. I turned back around and moved forward with my canteen cup so the Marine on KP could dip into the big can and pour out some coffee for me.
I had a few other similar experiences, and finally said to myself: "If the whole world goes to Hell, then that’s where it goes. If God doesn’t know what He is doing, how am I supposed to know?"
Later, in Bible school, I promised the Lord that if He would give me the grace, I would do anything He said. I have kept this promise to the present day. I was twenty-four years old then. I am eighty-four years old now. God always has enabled me to do whatever He is requiring.
I think some people have come to Christ because of my preaching and personal testimony. But whatever gifts I have are primarily in the realm of encouraging God’s people to live a victorious life.
I am interested in God’s endgame. I know by now that God has a very specific plan for each person and each sparrow, from the beginning and then throughout all eternity; from the beginning of history throughout the endless ages of ages.
Maybe you don’t believe God is that great or that specific. Well, I know He is; so I am seeking to find His will each moment and live in it. This is the "rest" of God.
The forty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel speaks of the four levels of the Holy Spirit, of the Water of Life.
The first level is water to the ankles, representative of our initial salvation.
The second level is water to the knees. This is representative of our learning to commit our life to the Spirit of God.
The third level is water to the waist. This is a portrayal of the believer who turns away from life lived in the flesh. He keeps saying, "Not my will, but Yours." He loves not his life to the point of death to his plans and ambitions.
The Charismatic movement, as I see it, is between the knees and the waist. The majority of believers are supposed to use their gifts and go out and save the world; at least that is what they are being encouraged to do. The minority of believers are waiting in their prison, learning to listen to Jesus and obey Him sternly in every circumstance.
You ought to see the dear Pentecostal people draw back when they realize they are not going to be able to live any longer according to their own plans, that is, if they want to enter the third level of the Water of Life.
But I am speaking now about the endgame. The endgame is the fourth level. It is waters to swim in, a river that cannot be crossed.
A person can attain to the third level, and rejoice that he or she is experiencing a greater measure of the Spirit of God.
But the third level leads, for those who are willing to surrender their life completely, to waters to swim in, a river that cannot be crossed. The River is endless. It is eternal.
When we get as far as "all the Fullness of God," the Spirit of God leads us back to the bank of the River. What does this mean? It means that God wants us to forget about our own spiritual prowess and become a tree of life.
Now we are to lose our life in God and other people. People can come to us and receive of Christ. I do not mean they can learn doctrine. I mean they can receive of the Life of Christ so they can live in the Presence of God. Also, if they have been wounded in body, soul, spirit, or emotions, they can be healed.
The Sprit of God and the Bride (which we have become because we live by Christ’s body and blood) say, "Come. Whoever will may come and eat and drink of the very Life of God which is in Christ."
This is the endgame. God has an eternal tabernacle through which He can govern and bless His creatures. We possess God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and those of God’s creatures whom He entrusts to us.
Our nation, the United States, no longer is as we have known it. It slowly but surely is being internationalized. We can fight this transition if we wish, and seek to resurrect the "good old days" of Shirley Temple, Roy Rogers, and the Hardy Boys. "Over the fields and through the woods we go to Grandmother’s house so we can raid the cookie jar."
However, the empire of America is passing away, as happened to the empires of the Sumerians and the Hittites. Empires rise and fall so that God’s will shall be accomplished in mankind.
I have gone to the Lord many times, but He never has told me He is going to restore the "good old days" in the United States. What has He told you?
But God also has told me that the darker it becomes in our land, the brighter will be the Light that God has prepared for us, and for all members of His Body throughout the world. That Light, that new and surprising thing of which Christ has spoken, is the establishing of the Throne of God in the heart of every Christian who will press past the sin and foolishness of our culture and listen to Jesus and obey Him diligently.
How do you feel about all this? Are you going to fret yourself when public nakedness, incest, and bestiality are protected by law? Or are you going to turn to Jesus and discover that when sin abounds, grace does much more abound.
I have made my decision, and I invite you to share Christ’s stunning victory with me.
For anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)
There is a great wall surrounding the new Jerusalem, the perfected and glorified Christian Church. That jasper wall, whose foundation consists of precious stones, portrays the wall against sin that is in each individual who is one of those who compose the city.
There was no wall surrounding the original Garden of Eden, the birthplace of mankind. Satan had ready access to Adam and Eve. Had there been a wall, Satan could not have entered.
God is going to restore Paradise to the earth. But for eternity it shall be surrounded by a wall through which no rebellion against God’s will can enter.
There shall be no more unwalled Edens!
You may wonder why, when you are serving God with all your might, you are having so many problems; so many testings. It is because God is creating in you a wall against all rebellion and uncleanness.
The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, including the wall. Some seventy years later the work of rebuilding Jerusalem began.
Nehemiah, the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia, heard from Hasani, his brother, that the wall of Jerusalem had been broken down and the gates burned with fire.
Since the ruined city of Jerusalem was surrounded with enemies, who certainly did not want the city rebuilt and become a threat to their domains, the construction of a wall and gates was of first importance. As long as Jerusalem was not protected, the Samaritans and Ammonites would tear down whatever was built.
So Artaxerxes agreed to send Nehemiah to see what he could do to assist those Jews who had left the comforts of civilization that they might restore their holy city.
May I say that this condition exists today in the Christian churches. The wall against sin has been torn down and the gates burned with fire, so to speak. Because of the pressures being exerted by the Muslims, the homosexuals, and the Socialists, Christian people are becoming concerned that our traditional way of life is vanishing. They wish to restore the old values of America, but there is no wall.
There are brilliant comments by various scholars, but there is no wall. There are plans by conservative politicians to overthrow the present regime, but no wall. There are public and individual protests of one sort or another. But as soon as a stand is taken, the enemy enters and tears down the flimsy construction that has been attempted.
I suppose numerous Americans do not realize this, but America has been wealthy and powerful because of the Presence of God, not because of democracy or our Bill of Rights. Now there are abortions and other sins being practiced, and God is leaving us. The problem is spiritual, and our physical weapons, such as politics, cannot prevail.
The wall has been broken down and the gates burned with fire.
The wall is the resistance to disobedience to God, and to moral uncleanness.
How has the wall been broken down?
The wall has been broken down by the Christian teaching of Divine grace as an alternative to godly character and behavior. It is just as simple as that.
It does not take a professor of psychology or a doctor of sociology to grasp the fact that if you tell people God sees their behavior through Christ and they are going to go to Heaven regardless of how they behave; and stir into the pot the demon-filled atmosphere of America, no wall against sin will be created in them. They will not grow spiritually. They will continue in their unchanged nature. They will keep on sinning.
The wall against sin has been broken down in the Christian churches of America. The Muslim people are appalled when they witness the moral behavior of the American people. And well they may be. Our behavior in America, to a great extent, is satanic, not godly; not Christlike.
How can we expect a Muslim to come to Jesus when he sees the immoral activity of Americans, when Americans are supposed to be influenced by Christianity?
I notice that the main concern of American people over the President’s policies has to do with economics. If we really were serving the Lord Jesus, our main concern would be with the practice of abortion, the murder of developing children.
What, then, is to be done?
First, each individual Christian must turn to Christ and find His will for himself or herself. I have done this. The Lord is not speaking to me about trying to save the nation but about my personal walk. Jesus is demanding that I keep Him in my consciousness every waking moment, asking Him for His guidance in every decision, to the smallest detail.
I know that the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is being emphasized today. We must confess our sins as the Holy Spirit points them out to us. We then must accept our forgiveness, and, with the assistance of Christ, turn away from our sins resolutely.
If we are to do this, we must search the New Testament to assure ourselves that God is not seeing us through Christ but is well aware of our behavior. For example, if the Corinthian believers took the Communion when their heart was not right, they became ill or died. That would not be the case if God was "seeing them through Christ."
We must become absolutely convinced that we are going to reap what we are sowing. This is true whether or not we name the name of Christ. In fact, I do not think that most Christians in America actually believe that if we are to be a disciple, that is a Christian, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, our imprisonment, and follow the Master.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is not always being taught. The wall against sin has been broken down in our country because of unscriptural teaching and preaching. The enemy is announcing from the pulpits of America, "You shall not surely die."
Well, we may not be able to convince the ministers of the Gospel that they have departed from the Scriptures. We may not be able to stop the murder of the infants. But there is one thing we can do. We can draw close to Jesus with all the strength we have until we are certain we are doing His will.
A couple of years ago, at a pastors’ convention, the Lord gave me a clear word. I did not have the opportunity at that time to express the word I had been given, but I will paraphrase it as follows: "The days ahead are going to be filled with difficulties and perplexities. You (speaking, I believe, to the young ministerial candidates at the convention) must forget about what is familiar. I am going to work in new and surprising ways (this was emphasized) that will be more than adequate to overcome the difficulties and perplexities. Follow me carefully and be strictly obedient."
This is what the Lord said, to the best of my remembrance.
I am not certain what the "new and surprising ways" will be. I think one of them may be that Christ is going to enter in a greater measure into those who are looking for Him, in fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles. We are going to need this kind of Divine Presence, wisdom, and power if we are to be able to stand spiritually and assist others. I know this is true.
So I am resolved to save myself, my loved ones, and all who will listen to me by exhorting us all to turn away from the fascinations of the media and the electronic toys, and pay strict attention to Jesus.
Our King is mightier than all the forces of Hell. He proved this in His resurrection from the dead. He sits as King of the flood. The nations are as a drop in the bucket. He knows the sparrow that falls to the ground. In fact, He knew about that particular sparrow and when it would fall, when He created the heavens and the earth.
Our Jesus, our very best Friend, is that great! Whoever will call on Him in the catastrophic days that lie ahead, whether the individual be a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, homosexual, Socialist, Buddhist, will be helped.
God’s Word, that cannot be changed, states that "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Rebuilding the Gates
It may be true that many Christian people are feeling the need for a reformation of Christian thinking. Because of the warping of Paul’s doctrine of "grace," the current teaching leads one to believe that how the believers behave is of little consequence. The main emphasis is to maintain a belief in the facts associated with the salvation that is in Christ.
I suppose is it a common practice among the religions of the world to view belief in the various doctrines and the practice of the liturgies of the religion to be more important than the personality and behavior of the individual. Perhaps these mystical belief systems are accepted by the people of the world as part of life on our planet.
However, such separation of the doctrines and practice of the religion from the personalities and behavior of the converts is particularly deadly when it comes to Christianity. The purpose of the Christian salvation is to provide, through Christian people, a true witness of the Person, will, and way of God, and His eternal purpose in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, I am up to my old tricks. I am endeavoring to convince people that when Paul was comparing grace and "works," he was comparing belief in Christ with the "works" of the Law of Moses, not belief in Christ with godly behavior. This fact, although it can be presented clearly, logically, and scripturally, seems to be unknown to most Christian leaders and their followers.
When our belief in Christ does not result in a change in our behavior, it is not genuine belief in Christ. I would imagine we all would assent to this; but the huge emphasis on "faith alone," assuredly not a scriptural emphasis, does not accept the simple fact that when our belief in Christ does not result in a change in our behavior it is not genuine belief in Christ.
Sheesh! Stay calm, Thompson. Be dignified and calm. Remember, charity toward all is your watchword.
So because of this glitch in Christian thinking, the testimony (not the preaching, which continues enthusiastically as though it were Bible based!) of the Christian people is so weak our government is running afoul of just about every moral standard we always have sought to maintain.
False doctrine has led to spiritual weakness, and the destruction of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. I think Jesus is telling us it is time for a reformation of Christian thinking and practice.
I spoke last week of the rebuilding of the wall against sin. Now we come to the third chapter of Nehemiah, and the rebuilding of the gates of Jerusalem.
Each of these gates tells us something about the direction the work of reformation should take.
Notice that the first gate to be rebuilt is the "Sheep Gate." The tremendous emphasis of the Christian organizations of our day is to "go out and get souls saved." However, the tremendous emphasis of the Spirit of God is on building up the Christians into the full stature of Christ.
The gifts and ministries given to the Body of Christ are, for the most part, enablements designed to build believers to maturity in Christ. They are not addressed to the world.
The "sheep" today need to be fed the Word of God. They cannot grow on the traditions of the pre-tribulation rapture, and a sovereign grace that does away with any need for self-denying discipleship.
It is true also that there is a great need for the operation of the gifts and ministries given to the Body of Christ. I think there are going to have to be drastic changes in how the Christian churches operate in America before we have the widespread operation of gifts and ministries that are necessary if the believers are to be brought to spiritual maturity.
As far as the need to be fed the Word of God is concerned, three important doctrines of the new covenant are almost never preached. One such important teaching has to do with what it means "to overcome." The promises to the overcomer are those rewards we ordinarily think of as being the rightful inheritance of all Christians. But the promises are not made to all the members of the churches, only to the overcomers of those churches.
When was the last time you were taught about what it means to be an overcomer?
A second important doctrine is "the rest of God." Leaving our own plans behind and pressing into God’s rest is the thesis of the Book of Hebrews.
When was the last time you were taught about what it means to labor to enter the rest of God?
A third doctrine has to do with the stated "mark" of the Apostle Paul. It is that of attaining to the out-resurrection from among the dead.
When was the last time you were taught that you must lay aside all else in order to attain to the first resurrection of the dead?
What were you taught? Probably how you can have a more successful life if you "accept Christ." Probably how the "rapture" may take place before next Sunday and you will go to Heaven to live forever in a mansion.
Probably that God sees you through Christ, and even though you are watching pornography on the Internet, God sees only the purity of Christ, and is having fellowship with you as you watch men and women behaving as lust-filled animals.
You are not going to grow on this diet. You are not going to be ready when the Lord comes to give resurrection bodies to His warriors. You are not going to be able to stand during the bloody days that are on the horizon for America.
Please notice, in the third chapter of the Book of Nehemiah, that the Fish Gate comes after, not before, the Sheep Gate.
Why is this? It is because the Lord’s "sheep" must be built up before the "fish," the unsaved of the world, will come to Christ.
Jesus said that when His elect are one in Him and the Father, and with one another, the world will believe. Today we are trying to get the world to believe when the Christian people are not one in Christ and the Father or with one another. Is that true?
So it is time for a reformation of Christian thinking.
As we read on through the third chapter of Nehemiah we see the "Old (Jeshanah) Gate."
We need to seek the old paths, the good way. The destructive doctrine of Dispensationalism has cut us off from the Old Testament as though we were in some new kind of relationship to God. Will we ever understand that God and Christ do not change? They always demand righteous, holy, obedient conduct on our part. We ought to know better than to believe God has given us a covenant that permits ungodly behavior!
We notice the beams and bolts and bars. This is because we lost that which was given freely to the Apostles of the First Century. Now we have to build it back up, a beam, a bolt, and a bar at a time.
The basic story of mankind, as well as of us as individuals, is that we cannot retain that which we are given freely. We lose it, and then have to get it back by a lot of hard work and discipline—that is, if we live to have a second chance.
Because of the fear of God held by the pioneers of our country; because many citizens were taught the ways of the Bible; and because of hard work; America became the richest, most powerful nation on earth.
But, as was true of Samson, we Americans have embraced the ways of the world. The world always has been and always will be a prostitute. It will sell its favors to the highest bidder.
Now God is abandoning us so we can find out why we were so prosperous. Our eyes have been put out. We do not have the strength or the wisdom sufficient to overcome the numerous ungodly forces invading America.
The wise men of the media, the scholars, the philosophers, the professors of economics, present one opinion after another. But they do not realize that the problem is God. We have left God and now He is leaving us.
I am not hearing from God that we are going to be able to bring our nation back to its former prosperity. What the Spirit seems to be saying is that each believer is to turn to Christ as never before. By so doing he (or she) may save himself and those for whom he is responsible.
The Bible states there was war in the heaven. We may not have thought much about this. But apparently there were numerous skirmishes of various kinds, as the forces of righteousness attacked the wicked. Angels were involved in the battles.
This accounts for the expression, "Be glad, heavens, and those who tabernacle in them." It is of note also that some of the host of the heavens fall to the earth at the time when some of the saints are overcoming the Accuser.
So we have much to learn concerning the battle between God and Satan; Christ and Antichrist. I believe this battle is beginning in our day, as we see ministers of the Gospel fall from their high position in Christ, due to sexual lust.
Satan is being torn down from the heaven and he is bringing down with him those who spiritually have been raised in Christ but who never have submitted to the crucifixion of their will.
Indeed, ours is a dangerous era. Each of us who names the name of Christ must be exceedingly careful to maintain the Presence of Christ at all times lest he be deceived. Also, he must pray to the Father, "Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from the evil one."
Those who insist that once we believe in Christ we never could fall back to the earth are in error. We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, praying that we not be led into temptation and deceived. Indeed, it is entirely possible for someone else to receive the crown of victory in Christ that originally had been in our possession.
I think we have changed what fundamentally is a battle of God against Satan, righteousness against wickedness, truth against the lie, into a religion, the Christian religion. It appears that numerous church-attending believers have little or no understanding that their life is to be a daily battle against wicked spirits. Perhaps they have not been taught to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.
May Jesus help us save ourselves and our loved ones, because our beloved country is giving away its Christian heritage to that which is not of the Lord.
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. (Revelation 12:7)
Who Is in Control?
From the beginning of the creation, humans have sought to be in control of their lives. The Israelites wanted a king they could see and who would guide and control them. They were not content to follow the Lord and His servant, Samuel.
There never has been, is not now, and never shall be a more important issue than that of who is in control.
God has made Jesus our Savior and our Lord. Throughout church history, Jesus has been acclaimed as our Savior. The atoning authority of the blood of the cross has been preached clearly in many instances.
But if one will examine the history of the Christian Church he will discover that in the majority of instances, Jesus has not been Lord. The Catholic Church is a good example, but by no means the only example, of man seizing control of the Kingdom of God.
Yet, the mark toward which every believer is to press is that of the rest of God, that is, the state of being in which the individual is aware constantly of the need to bring every thought, every word, and every action, to Christ in prayer so that the will of Christ may be done.
Such a state of being and living is not difficult to attain to. It is no more difficult to look to Jesus for the decisions of life than it is to rely on our judgment or the judgment of others. Yet the desire to take control of one’s own life is so terribly strong in people that believers find it difficult if not impossible to commit every aspect of their way to the Lord.
I have not heard of a religious organization that looks to Jesus for His will. All Christian organizations pray that their plans may be blessed. But to wait on Christ for His decisions may not be possible for a denomination because of various pressures and responsibilities.
But it is possible to any believer who is willing to forsake his or her life and follow the Lord Jesus.
What has provoked me to write this present essay is the knowledge that a new error has entered Charismatic thinking. The error is that of seeking to place the Holy Spirit in the role of Christ. The idea is that we can pray to the Holy Spirit and get Him to do what we want. The previous error was that we can command angels.
In connection with this, the position is taken that when we become mature enough we do not have to look to Jesus. We can decide what should be done in the Kingdom.
One man explained it to me like this: When my son is a young child he must look to me for everything. But as he grows older, I expect him to make some decisions on his own.
This allegory appeals to man’s instinct to control his own life. However, it is not valid. C. S. Lewis discusses something akin to this in Perelandra.
The son is not a branch growing out from his father. He is an independent person. He is not the bride of his father. His father is not being created in him. He does not live by the body and blood of his father.
His father did not create him that he may be an eternal temple of his father, such that his thoughts, words, and actions are to come from his father at all times. It is an inviting but invalid allegory. The son does not stand in relation to his father as we do to Christ.
Satan has little reason to fear most American church-attenders. But when one of those attenders decides to accept the crucifixion of his inward nature, take up his cross, and follow Jesus, Hell trembles.
Satan does not fear us, who are little more than intelligent dust. What Satan fears is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we turn over our life to Jesus Christ that He might live in us, and the Father in Him, all through the Fullness of the Spirit of God, then the nations are as a drop in the bucket and Hell is a fading empire.
Before the "we can command the Spirit and we can command angels" errors, there were the prosperity and faith errors. "We do not need to look to Jesus for the answer to prayer, speak the creative word. Use your faith, never mind bothering Jesus with your problem. Declare that there is no problem and it will vanish." Can you imagine there are Christians who believe this?
And, of course, there is the Catholic tendency to place Mary in the position that should be held only by Jesus. Can you picture the Apostle Paul praying, "O that I may know Mary"?
The Catholics are no worse than we. We are seeking a substitute for relying on Christ. "If we can just find the right formula, we can exert power and accomplish whatever we wish."
I do not believe there is greater room for error in Christian thinking than that of who is to direct the building of the Church, the Kingdom of God, or to assist us with our daily needs.
Any device, any formula, any technique, any system or practice that we adopt in order to achieve our desires apart from looking to Jesus at every point of decision, is loss for us and loss for Christ.
When one of our techniques "works," then we are led away from Christ. It is Satan’s use of what retailers term a "loss leader." It is Satan’s way of inviting us to act independently of Christ.
"Perhaps if we go someplace where God poured out His Spirit, or to a cemetery where a saint has been buried, we can pray and God will give us power so we can do what we think is best (and, of course, bring glory to ourselves)."
If you can believe this, some are teaching that the Kingdom of God is here now. If we wish to, we can go forth and exercise the power of the age to come.
If you will think about what I have just written, you will see that all of these errors have one goal—it is to place the power of God in the hands of man rather than in the hands of Christ. God will have none of it.
God the Father is the source of all spiritual power. The Holy Spirit Himself gives gifts and ministries. But it is the Lord Jesus Christ, and only the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the authority to administer the power of the Father. Christ is the Chief Executive Officer, we might say.
When Audrey and I first accepted the pastorate of Mount Zion Fellowship in Poway, California, I stated that the Charismatic movement is going to be divided into two groups. The larger group will attempt to seize the gifts and power of the Spirit and attempt to "go forth and save a lost and dying world."
The second, and much smaller, body of believers will take all their gifts and talents, and their own lives as well, and pour them on the feet of Jesus as did the woman with the perfume.
They will not go forth to save "a lost and dying world" unless and until the Lord directs them to do so. They will wait on the Lord each moment in order to discover what He is doing and what He wants.
Audrey and I have adopted this stance. We endeavor to meet the needs as they arise. We have taken some steps, such as Internet sites, television programs, the sending out of literature. But there is no grand plan, just a patient waiting on Christ.
Meanwhile we have seen, in the arena of denominationalism, the continued emphasis on numbers of people coming to church on Sunday. This is the index of success, it appears. I believe all true Christians would agree that the numbers of people who attend a church are not the index of the worth of that church in the Kingdom of God. Yet denominations persist in this emphasis.
I seriously doubt that this misleading emphasis will ever change, and I am not persuaded that it should. My concern is that people seek to plan and operate the Kingdom of God rather than patiently waiting on the Lord Jesus until we know what He desires. As long as this is true, the pitiful moral weakness of the Christian churches will continue, I believe.
And the problem with the weakness of the Christian churches, at least in America, is that the leaders of government are not being presented with the moral behavior God insists on. Therefore Divine judgment awaits us.
Every nation that has abandoned itself to sexual immorality and other pleasures of the flesh has perished, even though at one time it had been strong and prosperous. Such is the future of America, unless God grants a revival that restores moral strength to our country.
If we are to be given a true understanding of what Christ is desiring today there must be people who have their Job experience; who taste the "strange ashes"; in whom "life that shall endless be blossoms red from the ground"; who can sit in the ruins of their life’s work and say, "Jesus is the sweetest name I know."
These sorts of experiences do happen to people who love the Lord. The purpose of such prisons, such crosses, is that they may know Jesus. From now on He is the Boss. They have no strength or wisdom to "go forth and save a lost and dying world." They are thankful to get through the day, leaning at all times on their beloved.
Such servants of the Lord are not always popular and sometimes do not attract a large following. However they must continue to be sternly faithful to the Lord Jesus. They will receive their reward in due season.
The willingness of Charismatic people to seek power rather than Jesus will lead to the False Prophet. The False Prophet has the two horns (doubled power) of the Lamb, but he speaks with the voice of the dragon: "I will. I will. I will direct angels. I will use the Holy Spirit. I will put on my administrative hat and arrange the master spirits who govern cities."
Brother, Sister, let us remove ourselves from those who are determined to use Christ to build the Kingdom the way they think God wants it built.
"Upon this rock I will build My Church." Jesus did not say the rock would build His Church; He said that He would build His Church.
And so He shall, if we will, as did Moses, look to God for every detail of the construction of the Church, hence of God’s Kingdom.
Fighting the Good Fight, or Just Believing?
About forty years ago I was at a low place emotionally. The psychiatrist at the University of Rochester diagnosed the depression as "graduate anxiety." I was working on the degree Doctor of Education.
One night as I was laying in bed a spirit (or the Lord) came to me. He said to me, "I love to fight." From that moment I began to recover. It took me a few years to recover completely from anxiety, but I finally did.
About ten years ago I was on my prayer walk. I said to the Lord, "Why don’t Christian people fight instead of complaining and feeling sorry for themselves?"
The Lord lifted the fighting spirit from me for a few moments. Then I realized that the willingness to fight is a gift from the Lord.
You know, a considerable part of the Old Testament has to do with war. Many of the Psalms, for example. The New Testament exhorts us to endure hardship as good soldiers of Christ. I am not hearing much about fighting, in the preaching of today, are you? Rather, the emphasis is on how wonderful and ordinarily pleasant everything will be, if we will only "accept Christ."
I have not found everything to be pleasant since I accepted Christ. Have you? Wonderful, but very challenging. Pleasant, no!
The Book of Revelation tells us that the rewards we normally associate with being a Christian are reserved for the "overcomers." Like ruling with Christ, or walking in white as a member of the royal priesthood, for example.
The term "overcome" implies victory over some sort of opposition. The Book of Revelation was written to Christians, wasn’t it? So "to overcome" means more than "accepting Christ."
Has it been true with you, as it has with me, that every day (I have been a Christian for 64 years) we are faced with the decision to resist our sinful nature, or with other sorts of challenges to our abiding in Christ, and we have to choose whether to do what is right or to do what is pleasing to us.
Often these are not the same; and it is at this point that the godly remnant are distinguished from so many church-attenders.
Am I the only one with whom such a daily battle takes place? I don’t think so, after reading the testimony of other Christians.
So what does it mean "to overcome"? It means to be able to look up to the Lord Jesus at every moment of the day and night and know we have done what He has required of us.
I understand numerous Christians live under perpetual condemnation, having been taught that "no one is perfect." If they dare consider their own actions they realize their behavior is questionable at best. But they have been taught "grace," "grace," "grace." And so they throw off any questions they have about their actions and trust that the "grace teaching" is of God and they will go to Heaven and live forever in a mansion, even though their behavior has not been in accordance with the standard set by the New Testament.
They never have denied themselves, taken up their personal cross, and followed the Lord Jesus into the battle against the great lie the world system is.
Some while back a student at a Bible college told me that a lady had mentioned to the teacher that she felt guilty about a certain action. The teacher responded by saying that God saw her through Christ so she could not possibly be condemned or guilty.
In another instance, a student at a different Bible college told me that when in their study they came to Second Corinthians 5:10, about the Judgment Seat of Christ, the professor comforted them by saying they had no need to worry, this verse does not apply to them.
The student recounting this incident to me said you could feel a wave of relief go through the class, all of whom were studying for the ministry.
These two incidents actually took place. The two Bible colleges are part of a large Pentecostal denomination.
Can you see how Satan has disarmed God’s potential warriors? They have no need to fight. There is no battle. Christ has done it all. We abide in Christ by doing nothing but believing we are abiding in Christ.
When I was younger, and this horrible travesty of the new covenant became clear to me, I was not pleasant to listen to. I yelled and ranted, thinking that my listeners were deliberately being blind to what the Bible said.
Actually they weren’t. They merely were believing what they had been taught.
The result of the disarming of the believers, due to the preaching of "easy believability," is that much sin is being practiced in the United States. As long as our culture seemed to proceed relatively intact, the Christian people continued to live their comfortable life, listening to the late-night comedians utter their blasphemies. We have asked for Tash, and Tash has come, as Lewis said in The Last Battle.
Now we have a President and a Congress who appear to be moving our nation away from our traditional values. Slowly but surely the American people are awakening to the fact that our way of life is being threatened.
I am not certain there is enough grief over the major sin, which is abortion. The concern has to do with our economic system and our "rights" to privacy and self-determination. These are not important to God. But abortion is important enough to remove the United States of America from its role as a major power down to the place of a third-rate power, while the leadership of the world moves to the East.
If such destruction does not begin to occur within twenty-five years, I am a false prophet.
The battle to preserve the American way of life could not be won by political action, or even by civil war. It is a spiritual problem. It could be won only by a massive return to godly behavior on the part of the Christian people. Such a return will not take place as long as our Christian leaders maintain that we are saved by belief in forgiveness (grace) alone and our behavior is secondary, if not inconsequential, in importance.
Since I do not believe the leaders are going to change their message, I am pressing as close to Jesus as I can get and am encouraging all who listen to me to do the same. I don’t think we can save our country, but we can save ourselves and our loved ones if we will seek Christ at all times, day and night.
Do you remember how God took care of Jeremiah when the people of Israel were being carried off to Babylon and their nation ruined? God can save an individual in the midst of chaos.
In the evening I explained how the plan of salvation actually works, that is, that which has taken the place of the Law of Moses.
Under the Law of Moses, the believer attained to righteousness by observing to do all that the Law stipulated. These observances were increased by the Jewish interpretations of the Law.
Then "grace and Truth" appeared. But I fear the grace and Truth have been misunderstood and misapplied.
The widespread belief, at least in America, is that we now are free from the Law of Moses, but mercy and forgiveness have taken the place of the Law. Also that the freely given righteousness insures that we will enter Heaven when we die and live forever in a mansion. There we will be praising God for eternity.
So now we have an unscriptural plan of salvation and an unscriptural salvation (eternal existence in a mansion in the spirit world).
Let me discuss these two elements: the plan, and then the result of the plan, or, we might say, the actual goal of salvation.
We know that presenting the plan as an eternal forgiveness that operates independently of our behavior is incorrect, because in several passages the Apostle Paul tells us that if we continue to obey our sinful nature we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. In the Day of Resurrection we will experience corruption. Also, the Lord Jesus told us plainly, in the last chapter of the Bible, that He is going to reward each of us according to our works.
Thus we have an unscriptural plan.
But what then is the covenant, the plan that replaces the Law of Moses? The plan is as follows:
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3:3-8)
Please note that the passage above does away with the current preaching.
What plan replaces the Law of Moses?
"The washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit."
As the new birth develops in us our old sinful nature is washed away. Christ is formed in us. The Holy Spirit continually is renewing us in the Life of Christ. These mercies were not available under the Law of Moses. It is a new covenant. This is transformation, not just forgiveness.
Our unscriptural goal is eternal existence in a mansion in the spirit world. What, then, is the scriptural goal?
There are two dimensions of the scriptural goal. The first dimension is our complete transformation into the image of God, and then the likeness of God.
Change into the image of God means that we behave as God behaves. Change into the likeness of God means we look like God. The change in likeness depends on the change in image. The change in image begins now. But both will require untold ages to accomplish.
The second dimension of the scriptural goal is what the Book of Hebrews terms the "rest of God." The rest of God is our eternal Sabbath. As we enter the rest of God we begin to think as God is thinking; speak as God is speaking; act as God is acting. We are at perfect rest in the very center of God’s Person. We always do His will by nature and delight in it, just as our Lord Jesus does.
I have no idea how long it will take for Christian thinking to change from the forgiveness–mansion mindset to the transformation– "rest of God" mindset. But until it does, the churches will continue to be filled with believers who are living in the sinful, adamic nature, pursuing their independent life according to their own plans and ambitions.
Deliverance From Foes Too Strong For Us
We assuredly are heading into dark days in America. Our traditional values are being trampled under foot. The most vile sexual practices take place in public streets while the police stand by doing nothing, even though such activities are against the law.
Most of us have not experienced such abominations before. All experienced Christians have had to battle against various forms of spiritual darkness; but nothing compared to what we are faced with today. We can be certain that there are powerful spirit of darkness that are influencing people who have authority, especially when we hear of kindergarten children being taught about alternative sexual life-styles.
I realize numerous Americans (and not only Christians!) agree that we are watching helplessly as our nation sinks slowly into a cesspool of moral depravity. We really are going to have to know Jesus if we are to be able to survive morally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually during the coming days. We need to know how to pray until we gain personal victory. In the eighteenth Psalm, King David tells us of his own victory in prayer.
There will come occasions when the enemy is too strong for us. I think sexual lust is intense enough now that Christian people are succumbing to the temptation to perform immoral acts. They do not want to do such things. But the temptations are so strong and fiery that they yield to them while their minds are telling them this is wrong.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. (Psalms 18:17)
Now, what did David do in order to be rescued from an enemy who was too strong for him?
In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. (Psalms 18:6)
David called to the Lord. He did not attempt to use some formula for success. He called to the Lord! I cannot emphasize this too strongly.
It is the practice of many of us American Christians to look for something that will "work." To this end we buy books, booklets, and tapes that will tell us what to do to get victory over this or that. How many Christian books and tapes do you know of that show us how to get what we want from God? If we forgive our enemies we will be healed of arthritis. If we speak the word of faith, the material world will respond in the manner we desire.
"If we will hold steady in faith, God will heal our child of appendicitis, or diabetes, or swine flu. If we take him or her to the doctor we are showing that we do not believe the promises of God. We can get God to do whatever we want if we just keep "believing."
One time our presumption will work, or seem to. On another occasion it does not work, and we assume we have not believed hard enough.
Brother, Sister, will you ask God right now to deliver you from this presumption, this false faith?
I went to the DMV a few days ago to renew my drivers license. The lady at the window said to me, after testing my vision, "Your eyes are stronger than mine!" I am eighty-four years old.
I had been wearing glasses for nearsightedness from the age of seven, I believe. About forty years ago I was praying for a healing line after I had preached. A young girl asked me to pray that she would not need glasses. It is my custom to pray for whatever people ask.
I never heard that she was healed. Three days later when I woke up I forgot I could not read my watch without my glasses, and checked the time. Not only could I see the face clearly, I could read the other fine print on the watch face.
I couldn’t believe my eyes! And I wasn’t prayed for. The Bible says God will heal those who walk uprightly before Him.
On another occasion, when I was principal of an elementary school, I developed severe arthritic pain in my right knee. When it hit, it was so sharp I could not stand on my right leg. It was like a knife stabbing my knee!
When I went home I prayed and asked the Lord what I should do. I felt He wanted me to go to the doctor. So I did. I always ask the Lord whether or not I should go to the doctor. If He indicates I should, I go. While I am on the way I ask the Lord to give the doctor wisdom.
The doctor injected cortisone, I think it was, into my knee. He said, "It will return and you will be on crutches. An elementary school principal on crutches!
Okay. A week or so later my knee began to swell. I thought, I’d better get back to the doctor. We were living in Palo Alto, California at the time, which has nothing to do with this story.
While I was preparing to go to the doctor, I felt the Lord touch my knee. I had felt that touch before so I knew what it was.
I said to Audrey, "I have been healed!" I began to jump around the frontroom, landing heavily on that leg. To this day if I feel pain in that knee, I jump up on down on my right leg. You see, I am determined to keep that healing.
After a couple of weeks the swelling was gone completely.
Why am I saying all this? It is so you will understand that my family and I have experienced Divine healing. My wife Audrey was healed totally of a congenital thyroid condition.
So when I speak about presumption, I want you to understand I know what I am talking about. I know what it is to be healed. I have experienced the sensation of having God touch me, of being actually healed, not just believing I was healed.
Divine healing is real.
But "stepping out in faith" apart from hearing from Jesus is not faith. It is presumption.
Ten thousand formulas for spiritual success, and they earn a considerable amount of money for those who advance these formulas.
Now I am going to tell you the one correct formula: "Call on the Lord, as David did. Be polite when you do. Remind the Lord you are doing His will to the best of your knowledge. Then ask courteously but forcefully. Blow the trumpet so God will know you have a problem.
Whatever you do, do not say you are healed when you have not been healed, or Christ has not told you, you have been healed. This is the power of positive thinking. It is not Divine healing. It is a metaphysical practice and may work on certain occasions. But it will not bring the Presence of Christ. It will not bring the response that David enjoyed when he called on the Lord.
The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.
He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies , great bolts of lightning and routed them.
The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. (Psalms 18:7-19)
How would you like that kind of answer to your prayer for deliverance?
Well, you won’t get it by practicing a formula for spiritual success or by thinking positively. Call on the Lord. Do so several times a day, courteously but forcefully. Keep it up until the Lord delivers you or He tells you what He wants you to do.
Even though it has been made clear to numerous Christians that John 14:2 is not speaking of fine houses in Heaven, this misinterpretation still is a strong, durable tradition in the churches of our day.
Let’s take a look at the verse that has inspired Christians for centuries.
In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2–NASB)
If I am not mistaken, there is no verse in the Bible that states Heaven is the house of the Father. Isaiah does say Heaven is God’s Throne, but never His house.
I would suggest, in terms of the following verses in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, that the Father’s house set forth here is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. God dwells in Christ in God’s Fullness. Christ is the eternal abode of the Father.
Notice that the New American Standard Bible does not speak of a "mansion." The Greek term monee or monai has nothing to do with a fancy house, a structure. The term "mansion" in the Authorized Version most likely was employed as a nothing more than a dwelling place, or abode, in 1611 AD, at the time of the translation of that edition.
Here is another fact. Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that to be saved means to go to a palatial house in the spirit world when one dies. In fact we, being in a spirit body, would probably not find a large manor a suitable place in which to reside.
Isn’t it interesting that in our generation, so many traditional beliefs are being examined to determine if they actually are supported by the Scriptures!
If there is no scriptural support whatever, either in the Bible or in the Greek language for our destiny being a mansion in Heaven, should we not stop talking and singing about going to our mansion in Heaven? It seems reasonable to me that we should cease doing this.
Several years ago I discovered that residence in the spirit world (Heaven) is not the goal of the Christian salvation. There is no basis in the Bible for this venerable tradition.
Is there actually a Heaven to which people go when they die? Yes, there is. It is divided into the Land of Light and the Land of Darkness, according to recent impressions I have had of the spirit world. The Land of Darkness is a place of punishment. The Land of Light is a much more matter of fact world than our mythologies have described. People go about their business. After all, our world was made from the invisible spirit world, so one would expect them to be similar.
My recent impressions of the spirit world are contained in a new book titled Godwill Castle. It may be several months before it is published. If you would like to be notified when it is published, please E-mail <email@example.com>.
Any believer who continues to view a mansion in Heaven as his eternal destiny, when there is no scriptural support for this, is not too interested in his or her, salvation, I guess.
What, then, is the goal, the objective of our redemption, our salvation?
There are two dimensions of our objective. First, to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, both internally and externally (image and likeness). The second dimension is to be in untroubled rest in the very Center of God’s Person and will.
Now stop and think. Can you see that our movement to a place and a mansion would not solve God’s problem? God’s problem is that His creation, both spirit and physical, is in rebellion against Him. Part of the angels are in rebellion against God, not willing to serve Jesus Christ. Most of the world, including the majority of Christians are in rebellion against God, not willing to invite Christ into all their decisions.
Let us say we die and enter the invisible spirit world. Has that caused us to want to serve Christ in all aspects of our life? No, it has not. Why would we change? What we are, we are. If we were going to change, we would have begun to obey Christ while living in this present world.
Sin began with one of the two cherubim that guarded the Throne of God in Heaven. So it is not likely that entering the spirit world would take the rebellion out of us.
What if we go to live in a mansion? Would that solve God’s problem of rebellion, or even our problem? Living in an ornate manor would not remove rebellion from us. And it would not bring us to righteousness, love, joy, and peace which are the hope of every sane person.
If living in a mansion would bring us to righteousness, love, joy, and peace, then we would expect wealthy people on the earth to be righteous, loving, joyful, and peaceful. Are they?
Perhaps I am mistaken, but I think we Christians have many traditions that we have not thought about carefully. Could this be true?
If such is the case, what then is John 14:2 referring to? It is referring to the fact that if we keep Christ’s commands, the Father and the Son will make us Their eternal dwelling place, Their Tabernacle. God in His Fullness will live in us. Also, in addition there may be a multitude of people living in us as our inheritance. Oh yes. When we are made God’s dwelling place we may be a palace, or castle, or anything else that is needed so people will be able to live in the Presence of God.
Do you have people living under your "covering" today? Do you have room for them in your heart? I’m sure you do.
We will have room in our heart for God and others. How does that sound to you? Are you willing to die to your self-determination so you can live in "waters to swim in" and be a tree of life along the banks of the River of Life? God has given us this opportunity, but we must "sell all" to take advantage of it.
The Greek term for "abode" is found in John 14:2, and 23. Also in the fifteenth chapter of John in its verbal form, and is translated correctly "Abide in Me."
It appears to me that in our day there will be a reformation of the Christian understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom. It is interesting, isn’t it, that at a time when the American way of life is in danger of being changed radically, God is opening to us the Scriptures. What is being shown to us has always been there. But we were not able to perceive what was being said. We just did not have the apostolic viewpoint.
I have been prophesying for at least thirty years that there will be a mighty revival in America, but it will occur during a time of great trouble. I think the hour is here, or very close.
There are at least three aspects of any true revival: first, there is repentance; second, there is an enlarged understanding of the Scriptures; third, there is worldwide evangelism. These three aspects characterized the Pentecostal revival of the Twentieth Century.
There must be an enlarged understanding of the Scriptures if any revival is to bear permanent fruit.
Today, much error is being taught. For example:
There is to be momentarily a carrying up to Heaven of all professing Christians.
God has given us grace as an alternative to living righteously.
Our goal is to go to Heaven to live in a mansion.
Christians must not suffer but should be wealthy and enjoy every material blessing, including perfect health.
The size of a congregation is a measure of success or lack of it.
We can move the physical world by metaphysical practices, such as "speaking the creative word."
We are to take our gifts and go forth to save a lost and dying world. There is no need to wait to see if this is what Christ expects of us.
We can be a Christian without denying ourselves and carrying our personal cross behind the Lord Jesus.
Jesus is our personal Savior but not our personal Lord. We are free moral agents.
There are three Gods, all equal in authority and power. Therefore Christ does not have to obey the Father. Can you imagine that this actually is believed?
There probably are many more errors being taught, but I can’t think of them offhand, and you probably see my point by now.
It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking, would you agree to this?
Please let me conclude by saying there are no mansions in Heaven. As soon as we cease thinking in this unscriptural manner we will be able to rightly perceive the true spirit world, which is remarkably like our present world in that our present world was made from the spirit world.
Yes, people go about their business in the spirit world without the pain and tiredness that we experience at the present time. In the spirit world, if we have been a decent person, there always is that "Christmas" feeling that we try to capture during the holiday season.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)
The Fourth Level
There is a fourth level in Christ. The first level is water to the ankles, that is, basic salvation from wrath. We learn about our Lord and Savior at this level.
The second level is water to the knees. This is the level of the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit gives us victory over sin, and wisdom and power to minister.
The third level is water to the waist. It is as this point that we began to learn about the Father and the utter importance of stern obedience to Him.
The fourth level is waters to swim, the river of the Spirit that cannot be crossed over. This is the level of the Fullness of God. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.
I would say that the Charismatic people are approaching the third level at this time. They know about Jesus as Savior, sometimes as Lord. They are acquainted with the Spirit of God. They are not that well acquainted with Jesus as Chief Executive Officer of the Kingdom of God. They suppose they are to go forth to heal a "lost and dying world," command angels, command the Holy Spirit, and appoint presiding angels over various municipalities.
It is time now to stop this foolishness, this ignorance, this "False "Prophet" who will assist the self-willed Antichrist in the closing days of the Church Age.
We now are at the Altar of Incense, so to speak, ready to pass through the ornate Veil into the Most Holy Place, wherein is the Ark of the Covenant and the covering Lid of Atonement. But in order to make this transition we are required to abandon our self-determination and learn to listen to the Lord Jesus at all times. We are to labor to enter the "rest of God," where every decision of our day and night is brought before Jesus.
Such is the eternal Sabbath, the Sabbath in which the Lord Jesus lives from eternity to eternity.
"If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 58:13,14)
Think about the passage above, and then compare it with the Lord’s own testimony of how He lives:
By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.(John 5:30)
And then with the following:
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
Perhaps we intend to overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb. Perhaps we intend to overcome the accuser by the word of our testimony. But are we ready to love not our own life to the death?
The critical issue of our day is abandonment of our self-determination and instant obedience to King Jesus in every situation and in every place.
The "seven thunders" cannot reveal their perfect power until those who are moving past the Lampstand, so to speak, prostrate their self-will before the Altar of Incense, crying out, "Not my will, but Yours be done."
The god of Antichrist is power, the power of his own self-will. This also is the power of Satan. The "seven thunders," of the tenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, speak of the perfect power of God. One member of Christ’s body when loving not his own life to the point of death, represents more power than the combined government and armies of the world.
We may note that the power of the seven thunders is operating in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation. The two witnesses. who represent Christ in and with His victorious saints, bear witness in the irresistible power of the seven thunders. First they must be judged, as portrayed in Revelation 11:1,2. They must say, "Not my will, but Yours be done" until their life and character are coming only from Christ.
The two witnesses are not preachers, but witnesses who portray in themselves God's Person, will, way, and eternal purpose in Christ. They shall present the Gospel of the Kingdom to every nation. But only as they are abiding at the fourth level, that is, in the place where it no longer is they who are living, but Christ who is bearing witness in and with them. It always must be Christ in all things. Otherwise the seven thunders cannot speak.
This is a new day for us. The sin in the world is greater than ever. However, the grace being offered to us is far, far greater than the contemptible wisdom and power of the world spirit.
The fourth level of salvation is spoken of in the third chapter of the Book of Ephesians, where Paul prays that we might be filled with "all the fullness of God."
All the fullness of God always and eternally makes its home in our Lord, Jesus Christ. But Christ is the chief Cornerstone and Capstone of the eternal Temple of God. We are living stones in that same Temple, and are destined to be filled with all the fullness of God.
If we are a candidate for the fourth level of salvation, we will be brought down to very distressing situations. Then we are to call on the Lord, not attempt to deliver ourselves by working our spiritual "moves," whatever they may be.
When we call on the Lord Jesus, the channels of water and the foundations of the world are exposed. This means that the source of our life and the elements of our character are laid bare, as were Job’s.
If we will give over to Christ our life-force and the principles that govern our decisions (our character and our self-determination), then God will come down and avenge us on our enemies.
How utterly wonderful and marvelous it is that in our day such a door has been opened. Are you a candidate for the fourth level of salvation? I am! Let us then fasten our seatbelts and prepare ourselves for the most important experience we will have throughout eternity.
There is one fact we must keep in mind, however. This glorious Fullness of God is not given to us so we can feel good or have self-aggrandizing power. It is so a multitude of people can drink of the water of eternal life. The Spirit and the Bride, not just the Spirit of God, but the Spirit and the Bride say, "Come. Come drink of the water. Whoever is thirsty for the Life of God, come and drink without cost."
We see this plan in the forty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel. After we arrive at waters to swim in we come back to the banks of the River of God and stand as a tree of life. Then the Life of God will flow into the dead sea of mankind, bringing eternal life to whoever will partake.
The spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles (Succot) is described in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah. The Throne of God is established in our personality and with joy we bring forth water from the well of salvation that for eternity is in us. "Rivers of living water," as our Lord said during the celebration of Succot.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:20-23)
Are you willing to give to Jesus every aspect of your character and life, your thoughts, words, and decisions? Am I?
Let’s do it. Of course, there is a cost associated with pressing into the fourth level of salvation. It is true also that there is a loss associated with not pressing into the fourth level of salvation. Are we willing to suffer that loss?
The Day of Resurrection
The resurrection from the dead marks the destruction of the last enemy, which is physical death. It also is the time when people will be judged according to how they have behaved during their lifetime.
The fear of judgment is a powerful deterrent of sinful behavior for most people. This precisely is why the dogma of evolution is so appealing during our present age, when people are in love with themselves. If there is no final judgment, I do not have to worry about pleasing God by my behavior.
This precisely is true also why the unscriptural doctrine of the "rapture" is so appealing during our present age, when people are in love with themselves. According to the "rapture" doctrine, everyone who makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ need no longer fear judgment but soon will be carried up to a mansion in Heaven, where there will be no worries or distress of any kind.
Have you ever noticed how the doctrine of the "rapture" has done away with the hope of the resurrection, which is the central hope of the Gospel of the Kingdom? Have you ever heard any preacher speak about the resurrection, except perhaps during Easter? And then he talks about Christ’s resurrection, not ours. This is because the unscriptural doctrine of the "rapture" has shoved aside the scriptural doctrine of the resurrection.
Ask a fellow Christian about the relationship of the "rapture" to the resurrection from the dead. The response you get will reveal to you the damage that has been done by the doctrine of the "rapture." Satan has managed to eliminate the resurrection as our goal, substituting for it an unscriptural ascension into Heaven, with no resurrection taking place.
The Lord Jesus told us that every person who has died shall come forth from the grave at the sound of His voice. Some will come forth to eternal life in His Presence. Some will come forth to condemnation.
The reason for the difference in destinies is not that one has "accepted Christ" while the other has not. Rather, the reason for the difference is that one has done good and the other has practiced evil.
Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)
I am not teaching here that we can reject the salvation that is in Christ, and then save ourselves by "doing good." What I am saying is that in the current teaching we can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, continue to practice evil, and then "rise to live."
We cannot practice evil and then rise to live, even if we "accept Christ." This is the destructive error of our day.
The nature of our resurrection depends on whether we have done good or done evil, just as Jesus stated, and as the Apostles of the Lamb wrote in their epistles.
We have been deceived!
Now I will explain the perfect justice of God. The body that will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones in the Day of Resurrection is being prepared for us in Heaven. Every thought we think, every word we speak, every action we take, is shaping that body.
Perhaps the most important idea associated with kind of resurrection each one of us will experience is that it will be a reaping of that which has been sown during our Christian life. I have never heard this concept brought forth in Christian preaching, although I am sure it has been.
But someone may ask, "How are the dead raised?" With what kind of body will they come?" How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else (I Corinthians 15:35-37)
We are not sowing the body we will have at the resurrection. We are sowing our adamic personality.
All through our discipleship we are sowing. We are sowing our thoughts, our words, and our actions. In the Day of Resurrection we will reap what we have sown.
Our flesh and bones will be raised, and then clothed with what we have sown. The resurrection is the time of reaping!
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)
Obviously the goal of our salvation is not eternal residence in a mansion in the spirit world. Our goal is a body of eternal life and power, filled with righteousness, love, joy, and peace. Once we have been clothed with these, it does not matter where we are located. It is the kind of person we have become through Christ that is all important.
The "fine linen" with which the saints of the first resurrection are clothed is formed from the righteous behavior they have practiced as Christ has been formed in them.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:7,8)
Notice that the expression "stands for." This does not appear in the Greek text. The translator cannot understand how the righteous acts themselves could be the fine linen. But they are. If we practice moral purity, in the Day of Resurrection we will be clothed with moral purity! There is an infinite difference between "stands for" moral purity and "is" moral purity.
When we are raised from the dead, what we have reaped will cover our flesh and bones. We will be clothed in our own deeds. This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote to the Christians in Galatia that if they continued to live in their sinful nature they would reap corruption.
When the adulterer is raised, he will be clothed with adultery. He will look like adultery.
When the liar is raised, he will be clothed with lying. He will look like a lie.
The the thief is raised, he will be clothed with thievery. He will look like thievery.
By the same token, the Christian who has followed Christ faithfully will be clothed with faithfulness, and with all the attributes a grateful King will bestow upon a faithful servfant.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not come from Heaven to scold us because of our sinning or to condemn us. He came to set us free from the chains of our sin so we can delight in behaving righteously. Christ came to bring to us righteousness, love, joy, and peace, all through the Spirit of God.
If we will confess our sins and turn away from them, the Lord Jesus will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But if we insist on continuing in sinful behavior, our experience in the Day of Resurrection will be as I have described.
It is appointed unto people once to die and after that be judged. We can choose "to die" now, so to speak, by counting that we have died with Christ and have risen with Him. The moment we take that stand, having been baptized in water if possible, our judgment begins. We continually are coming before Christ, the Spirit is showing us our sins, and we are confessing and turning away from them through the wisdom and power that Jesus gives us.
This deliverance is taking place today for everyone who can hear His voice. We are responding by confessing and turning away from our sins. If we will be faithful in doing this, then, when we are raised from the dead, we will be clothed with the white garments of the righteous conduct that Christ has created in us.
Now we will enter into eternal life in the Presence of the Lord Jesus, for eternal life always follows genuinely righteous behavior, in spite of what the Christian teachers of our day are proclaiming.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7,8)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that fara outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (II Corinthians 5:16-18)
Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)
The Two Worlds Reunite
In the beginning the spirit world and the physical world were one world, as nearly as I can tell. God walked in the Garden in Eden. Can you imagine that? God Himself walked in the Garden and was available for Adam and Eve to talk to.
Little did the two children realize what an unbelievably awesome privilege was theirs.
Isn’t it usually true that we do not appreciate good things that are given to us!
There were many losses that resulted from the disobedience of Adam and Eve. One of the most grievous of the losses was that of God placing a "firmament," as it were, between the life (waters) under the firmament and the life above the firmament.
We have such fanciful ideas of the "life that is above the firmament," that is, of the spirit world, of Heaven. Within the past few years I have become more aware of what is going on in Heaven. It is nothing like I had pictured. Heaven is just an ordinary world. The angels do not have wings. The people are going about their business. Most are in a good environment. Some are in areas of punishment. All are awaiting the Day of Resurrection.
I have written three books about my new awareness so people, especially children, will not be afraid of dying. They are: Godwill Castle; Heaven—God’s Wonderful World; and John and Mary Visit Heaven. "Wonderful World" is at the publisher and should be out in a month or two. If you want to send me your name and E-mail address, I will store it and notify you as these books are available. I would appreciate your prayers that I will get these three out, because I think many Americans are going to be facing death in the fairly near future.
As I said, one of our biggest losses has been the "space" placed between us and Heaven, the true, eternal world from which our present physical world was constructed. We can’t see the people who have died and gone into the world that is invisible to us, and that is a pity. I think sometimes they can see us.
Being eighty-four years of age, I am getting interested in the next world, the real, eternal world.. I think Heaven is drawing closer to the earth. The Throne is drawing nearer to the footstool. Perhaps many Christians are experiencing, as I am, an increased awareness of the real world
It appears our nation is heading toward big trouble. We have called for Tash, and Tash has come (C.S.Lewis, The Last Battle). By this I mean that we Americans are throwing away what was purchased for us by the blood, sweat, and tears of the pioneers who went before us. We simply cannot grasp the fact that it was the faithful Christians who brought down the blessing of God on America. Now we are throwing it away as new religions and satanic lusts occupy our time.
My recommendation to all who will listen to me is to draw as near to Jesus as you can every moment of the day and night. By so doing you will save yourself and those who will listen to you during the dark, evil days now approaching our beloved country.
Yes, the two worlds drew apart because of disobedience. But the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ has made it possible for there to be a convergence of the two worlds, the spirit (Heaven) realm .and the physical realm.
The Bible promises us that the Lord Jesus Christ will return and establish His Kingdom, God’s will, on the earth. For this we pray, don’t we?
The conflict between good and evil, truth and the great lie, is intensifying in our day. We may waste our time railing against the politicians. They are not causing the conflict; they only are pawns. The truth is, there are titans of the spirit world who are confronting one another. Christ is confronting Antichrist. The Father is confronting Satan. The Holy Spirit is confronting the False Prophet.
Satan is intent on destroying the United States because for so many years we have been thought of as a Christian nation.
The Christian who does not fervently embrace Christ will default to Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet. Numerous Christians already have done so and they do not realize it.
If we are wise we will ask God for a "report card." We will do so without delay. When we are in deception we do not realize we are in deception. We must pray continually that God will not led us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
We can read the Bible, pray, and go to church, and still be in powerful deception. The only way out of deception is to deny ourselves, take up our personal cross, our personal imprisonment, and follow Jesus every moment of every day and night.
I hope you are hearing me. To not give Jesus your best effort may cost you part or all of your inheritance.
The day in which we are living provides a tremendous opportunity to gain one of the thrones of the Kingdom that still are unoccupied. It also is a time of tremendous danger that someone will steal our crown of rulership.
Below are some passages that may help us realize that God intends to once again live on the earth, as in the beginning:
The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death. So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD. (Psalms 102:19-22)
This assembling will take place on the earth, not in Heaven.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth. (Psalms 96:11-13)
Notice that the coming of the Lord to judge the earth is an occasion for rejoicing on the part of righteous people. It will not, however be a time of rejoicing for the wicked, whether or not they profess faith in Jesus Christ!
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter."He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16)
The passage above describes the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom on the earth. This marks a great increase in the reuniting of the two worlds.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:6-8)
It appears the future of the American people is grim. Too many of us have chosen to serve Satan. A multitude of children have been murdered in the name of "freedom of choice." As a result, there shall be difficult times ahead in our country. It is then we need to realize that the creation is in the throes of birth. The "baby" that is to come forth is the new world of righteousness that shall be installed on the earth at the return of our Lord Jesus.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.(Acts 3:19-21)
God, through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, shall restore all that has been lost through the disobedience of people. This does not mean, however, that Satan and everyone else shall be saved. It is that which was spoken by the Prophets that shall be restored.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
I honestly do not believe that many Christian people are aware that the salvation we have now is a sealing, a down payment on the redemption that is to come. The Lord Jesus died in order to buy back (redeem) that which God had created through Him. When the creation has been redeemed, the two worlds once again shall be united. As it is today, the whole physical world, including much that terms itself "Christian," lies in the lap of Satan.
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. he night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:11-14)
By "our salvation is nearer" Paul is referring primarily to the redemption of his body from sin and mortality. Paul groaned for the adoption of his body. By this he meant the making alive of his body by being clothed with the body fashioned from the Holy Spirit, which is reserved in Heaven for him. The clothing shall take place in the Day of Resurrection, the period that is the centerpiece of the Divine salvation.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (I Peter 1:3-6)
Once again we see that our salvation is in the future. It is kept in Heaven for us. Our faith is causing us to be shielded by God’s power until the Day of Redemption comes, the time when the two worlds once again are reunited.
The promised reuniting of the spirit and physical worlds has commenced. Our task is to maintain an awareness of the Lord Jesus in all we think, say, and do. Before you know it, Jesus will be with us on earth, just as He was with the first two people.
Do you remember that at the beginning of this brief essay I mentioned that the spirit world, of which I am becoming increasingly aware, is not some mystical "Oz," as so often occupies our thinking? Please consider that the following passage is describing life on the new earth after the present heaven and earth have passed away. Notice how familiar life will be in eternity.
Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.
They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.
They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:17-25)
Notice that there will be children and animals, and that the people and animals eat. Remember, we are speaking now of the new heaven and earth reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It won’t be much different from our present world, will it? I like this better than the idea of going to Heaven to live in a mansion.
The two worlds, the physical and the spiritual, will be reunited when the Lord Jesus returns with His saints. The Holy Spirit will flow out from Christ in His saints and the whole earth will be filled with the Spirit of God. The Glory of the Lord will cover the whole earth. The waters of God will cover the dead sea of mankind.
We who are living in the Spirit now are a firstfruits of that which one day will bring liberty to those of mankind whom God saves.
Don't focus on the sin in our nation. It is going to become much worse. As much as possible, commit all you think, say, and do to the Lord Jesus. If you do, you will be one of the instruments God uses to bring together the Throne and the footstool.
The Problem With Fretting
I don’t believe I have ever heard a sermon on fretting. Have you? Yet fretting is going to be a substantial problem in the future for Christians in the United States. We are seeing our religion and our values being trampled on, and there is not a great deal we can do about it, it seems.
Probably the main problem with fretting is that it tears us down from our high place in God. Instead of rejoicing we are complaining, forgetting that God is in control of all people and circumstances.
The thirty-seventh Psalm is one of my favorites. It commands us not to sin.
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; (Palms 37:1)
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. (Psalms 37:8)
Do not fret! Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
I don’t know about you, but I believe the Bible. If the Bible tells us not to fret, and that fretting leads to evil, I believe what it says and ask Jesus to help me obey the commandment.
Many people in America are upset. This includes many Christians. Some of the believers are able to do something, such as resisting the public schools when they teach kindergarten children alternative sexual life styles.
In some cases we are helpless. I have read that there are those who are planning to rewrite the Constitution so it will be more in line with a socialist viewpoint. Apparently this is being taken seriously and it is hoped will be implemented within ten years.
There is a problem with the American financial structure and possibly with the value of the dollar. One of the first signs that a nation is displeasing God is financial problems. A second sign is that other countries or peoples rise up as enemies. Both of these signs are present in America today.
The religion of Islam is making headway in our country. We Americans traditionally have been at least nominally Christian. However our behavior in many instances is more of Satan than of Christ. The Muslim people can see this and desire to keep American values from influencing their nations. Who could blame them?
So America is at a crossroads. The temptation will be for us to fret. Yet there often is not much more we can do concerning the abominations we read about in the paper.
But fretting is sinful. We need to know this. The Apostle Paul commanded us to rejoice always and to think about things that are lovely. When we do not do this, and fret instead, we lose our strength. It is Satan’s way of pulling us down from our high place in God.
In order to destroy our Christian testimony, Satan does not have to seduce us into pornography, although he has successfully accomplished such seduction in the lives of numerous Christians and ministers.
No, all Satan has to do is to seduce us into fretting. By so doing he weakens our spiritual strength and consequently our testimony.
Perhaps you did not realize fretting is a sin. It is, and a serious and destructive one. Sometimes people are led into destructive—even on occasion, unlawful behaviors—all because of the practice of fretting.
You may be ruining the atmosphere of your home by fretting about what some of the liberal politicians in your state government or the national government are saying and doing.
It is my personal opinion that the customary stereotypes of the liberals and the conservatives, the left-wingers and the right-wingers, no longer are accurate. It appears to me that the new division is between those who adhere to the moral principles of the Bible and those who have rejected these moral principles in favor of what I would term, "Antichrist" principles.
The Antichrist principles are based on the idea that belief in God is not really the attitude people should have. People do not need God. They can create a new world of peace and prosperity for everyone by the efforts of man apart from God. Man has no need for God in the new world order.
In actual truth, from the time of the Garden in Eden, people have had a better idea than that of obeying God. This rebellion of man against his Creator has come down through history to the present hour.
Whenever people have sought to obey the God of Heaven by keeping the covenants He has instituted, they have prospered. This is why America has been so prosperous.
But whenever people have sought to build without God, as in the Communist countries, they have not brought peace and prosperity. Because of the sinful nature of man, the power and wealth in the Communist countries have been transferred from one ruling class to the next.
This is what will take place in America, if a socialistic philosophy of government is put into practice. The wealth and power with be transferred from one group to another. We must remember that people are born with a sinful nature. Only stern obedience to God through the Lord Jesus Christ will bring the righteousness, love, peace, and joy, that all sane people desire.
So fretting about the wickedness of our leaders will not accomplish our desires. Rather, each one of us must press into Jesus Christ every moment of every day, and every night when we are awake. In so doing we will save ourselves and those who will listen to us.
As we serve Christ diligently, He will see to it that we have what we need. Should we die, we will not die spiritually but will walk into His Presence in a state of love, peace, and joy the wicked can never experience.
But as for those who are choosing a life without Jesus Christ, who are rejecting the Bible, they may prosper for a season. They may scorn those "weak Christians" who live by faith in God and attempt to obey His commands. When I hear the righteous being scorned, I know their enemies have run out of ammunition.
But I promise the wicked that their end will be worse than anything they can imagine. And their pain may begin in this present world. The day will come more certainly than the rising of the sun in the morning that the righteous will be singing and dancing in the heights of Zion while the wicked are experiencing horror at the hands of those spirits who have rebelled against God and His Christ.
Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off. (Psalms 37:37,38)
Keeping the above passage in mind may help you as you seek to overcome the spirit of fretting.
The Period between the First Resurrection and the Catching Away
I don’t know that I have ever heard anyone preach on the interval of time between our being raised from the dead and our being caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
The fourth chapter of the Book of First Thessalonians speaks of the saints, who will return with Christ, rising from the dead just as Christ rose from the dead. Then the passage goes on to state that the living saints will be caught away in clouds together with the newly raised saints to meet Christ in the air. This is in preparation for the descent of Christ with His saints to establish the rule of God over the earth. It is the coming of the Kingdom to the earth, for which Christians have prayed throughout the centuries.
There were forty days after Christ rose from the dead before He was taken up into the heaven. The New Testament mentions a few of the episodes that occurred while the resurrected Christ was on the earth, such as the conversation with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
Christ poured out the Holy Spirit on His new Church ten days after His ascension, the ten days signifying His observance of the Jewish feast of Pentecost.
But what about those forty days while the resurrected Christ roamed the earth, before He ascended into the heaven? Will it be true that there will be a period of time after we are resurrected, before we are caught away to meet the Lord in the air?
I think it is highly likely.
By the way, the idea that the believers will be caught up in a secret "rapture" in order to escape the Great Tribulation is nonsense, isn’t it? After we have risen from the dead, how can we be harmed by Antichrist or the Great Tribulation? Would it have been possible for Christ to have suffered at the hands of the wicked after He was raised from the dead and before He was taken up into the heaven?
Anyway, this passage from First Thessalonians is not about the going of the Church to Heaven but the return of Christ with His saints to set up His Kingdom on the earth.
The teaching of an imminent "rapture" in which all believers are caught up to Heaven in order to escape the tribulations of earth is of a delicious spirit of error, especially now as we see the disintegration of the comfortable American way of life. All sincere disciples do well to reject it from their thinking. It is not going to happen!
You know, the greatest hope we have when a loved one dies is that we will see him or her again. This is the reason for the forty-day period. It will be a time of fellowship, of the most extravagant rejoicing, as we are reunited with our loved ones. Our supreme joy will be due in part to the awareness that we have attained to the first resurrection and do not have to look forward anxiously to the general resurrection—the judgment that will occur at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
I believe the most helpful action we can take during the next few years is to press into Christ continually—every moment of every day and night. Then, when there is danger, we will be alerted and God will show us what to do.
I started thinking about Adam and Eve. God had told them not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Here came Satan with a reason why they should eat of the tree. God was right there in the Garden. They could have asked Him what they should do. But they did not do this!
Christ is at hand for us to talk to. How many times have we encountered difficulties and pain because we did not seek wisdom from the Lord. Will we ever learn!
I believe there will be a period of time after we have been raised from the dead (or changed into bodily immortality, if we are alive when Jesus returns) and before we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air (in the air because that is where Satan’s headquarters are located, and the establishment of the Kingdom must begin there).
What an unparalleled time of rejoicing that will be! When I "saw" this period between the resurrection and the catching away, in a sort of vision while praying early one Sunday morning in the Annex of the Fremont First Assembly of God Church in California, I heard the Word, "You have set a table before me in the presence of my enemies."
When the hour for the catching up arrives, there will be the sound of thousands of organs and symphonies playing "All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name." Multiplied thousand of angels will be singing this grand old hymn.
Then we who have attained to the first resurrection from the dead will join in the hymn of praise to Him who alone is worthy of worldwide praise.
We will begin to move upward from the surface of the earth toward the clouds. We will be able to see and hear the millions of wicked people below us as they roar obscenities at what they are seeing and cannot prevent or control.
Then we will look up at our destination and see the ranks of white war stallions, waiting for their riders. These fierce horses are pawing restlessly, waiting for the trumpets to sound "attack."
I pray you and I will be among the throng of glorified saints, having our eyes fixed on the huge figure of our Commander in Chief, mounted on His white stallion, "Conqueror." There will be a giant angel on each side of Christ
The white robe of Christ will be covered with blood. Across His chest will be white letters: "The Word of God." The atoning blood and the Word of the Father. There is no authority or power anywhere that can stand against the atoning blood and the Word of God.
So the eternal romance begins with the fiercest of all battles—Truth, against the destructive lie that Satan is. The Paradise we dream of cannot come into existence except as conquering saints, under Christ, install and maintain it on the earth.
So, as always, He has kept the best wine until now. The wonderful reunion and fellowship of the victorious saints when Christ appears. The table spread before us as we rise from the surface of the earth, observing the wicked beneath us as they shake their feasts at God and scream their murderous defiance. The mounting of the saints on the white war stallions at the very place from which Satan destroyed mankind.
Total, complete victory over the enemy. Antichrist and the False Prophet in the Lake of Fire. Satan in the Bottomless Pit.
Quietness over the whole earth. Then from every corner of our planet will be seen people of every tribe wending their way toward Jerusalem, the source of the light that can be seen from every corner of the earth.
In the last days the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2,3)
The Creating of the Witness
Christians often speak of our need to "witness." Actually, what is meant by this is telling others what we understand about the Christian salvation.
"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me." (Isaiah 43:10)
Notice that the emphasis, in the verse above, is on knowing God. It is not on telling others what we think may be true of God and His salvation.
I hope I am mistaken in this, but it seems to me that we have an abundance of preaching in the United States. However, it appears a true witness of God and Christ is not as abundant.
When we read of Paul’s determination, in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians, we notice his goal has to do with knowing Christ. Honestly, when you hear of some of the things that are said and done in Christian circles, you wonder if we know Christ at all!
We read in the New Testament that in the last days the Gospel shall be preached as a witness to every nation. The number of people who "accept Christ" is not the measure of a true witness. A true witness is borne only when the Person, will, way, and eternal purpose of God in Christ is presented, whether or not anyone is "saved."
It may on occasion be a good thing, and result in lasting fruit in the Kingdom, when a zealous believer tells someone about the salvation that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. But it might be better to refer to this effort as personal work, or as evangelizing or proselyting rather than as "witnessing." To bear witness is to describe something we have seen or experienced, without drawing a conclusion.
In court a witness is directed to just tell the facts he or she has experienced, and let others draw conclusions.
Notice what the Apostle John has to say about bearing witness:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (I John 1:1-3)
Most of us have not seen the Lord Jesus Christ living on the earth, as did John. But God in His own time and ways will reveal Christ to us. Then we can tell what we know, what God has shown to us. We then can actually bear witness.
Speaking personally, I have had what may be an unusual number of Divine interventions during my 64 years as a Christian. I have mentioned several of these in my new book, Godwill Castle. These are actual events I have experienced.
Also, as is true of all disciples of the Lord Jesus, God has answered numerous prayers and has shown Himself to be absolutely true and faithful throughout my many years of patient, cross-carrying discipleship.
During the last few years the spirit world (Heaven) has become more real to me. Just when I thought I was going to be called home (I am 84 years of age), I am becoming aware of what is taking place in the invisible world.
What I am "seeing" is a very ordinary world, with people doing all the things people do. If I am hearing the Lord correctly, He has told me that many will be dying in the near future and He wants people to be prepared and not panic when a loved one dies, or when they themselves are facing death.
So much for going home! Oh well, I guess my work is not finished as yet.
I have just finished three books based on my new perception of the spirit world: Godwill Castle, John and Mary Visit Heaven, and Heaven—God’s Wonderful World. This third book is being prepared for publication. It should be being advertised pretty soon. It is somewhat ironic that after have spent the last forty years telling believers that Heaven is not our eternal home (which is true!), I now am describing Heaven. Isn’t that just like Jesus?
When telling about the spirit world, I am bearing witness of what I am experiencing. I am not writing doctrine, as I have for so many years.
Let me repeat this verse. I think it is of the essence:
"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me." (Isaiah 43:10)
We can bear a true witness of God after He has dealt with us for a period of time. It may be true that we have had a dramatic Divine intervention at the time we first were saved, and we can tell about that as the Lord leads us. But for most of us, we come to know, believe, and understand God after a lifetime of problems and frustrations.
We may imagine that once we die and go to Heaven we will see God, and then we will have faith. This is not the case. Even if it is given to us to actually see God, that will not increase our faith. Faith is a gift from God, and it increases in us as God gently leads us from victory to victory.
I think those who have been appointed to high rank in the Kingdom of God are dealt with more severely than those of a lesser calling. The higher the building the deeper the foundation. The Lord Jesus Christ occupies the highest rank in the Kingdom of God, and He was tested more severely than any other individual.
"Can you drink of My cup and be baptized with My baptism," the Lord would ask those who dream of being a ruler in the Kingdom of God. We must be perfected in obedience before we are assigned to a position of rulership. Perfecting a human being in obedience to God is a long, painful process.
We are brought through fire, and we are not consumed because of God’s faithfulness. We are brought through water, and we do not drown because of God’s faithfulness. Fire, water, and seemingly endless problems until we learn to obey God at the moment and not worry about the future.
I like to say to people, "Jesus has been my best Friend for 64 years." This is a true testimony. It is my way of bearing witness, I suppose. It does not seem to offend anyone. I hope that the people who hear me will remember my words. America is approaching a time of chaos and destruction. Perhaps some individual who hears my statement will decide to call on Jesus for assistance during the dark hours ahead.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved!"
I believe every Bible school or seminary should have at least one class devoted to integrity of character and behavior. When one begins to associate with Christian pastors it soon becomes apparent that integrity is in short supply in the Christian world. I am employing the term "integrity" to mean honesty, faithfulness, and truthfulness of character and behavior.
The idea of integrity, of decency and trustworthiness, seems to have diminished greatly in our country, and perhaps in other countries as well, in addition to its lack in our churches.
Perhaps "integrity" is another name for "righteousness"! However, there may be a slight difference in the way the terms are used.
To be righteous in the sight of God is to be pleasing to Him at any given moment.
Integrity refers to sincerity, truthfulness, and honesty of character and behavior.
The question that needs to be raised in today’s Christian preaching is, "Can a person be righteous in the sight of God but lacking in integrity in the sight of people?
"Absolutely," roar the "faith alone" proponents.
"It depends," responds the thoughtful Christian. If a believer obeys the Spirit of God at all times, that individual is righteous in the sight of God. If he is lying or stealing of committing adultery, the Spirit will point out his sins and enable him to overcome them. So while he is growing spiritually, he still may be lacking in integrity but righteous in God’s sight.
The problem with today’s preaching is it offers a perpetual righteousness to whoever makes a profession of belief in "Christ, even though the individual is not obeying the Spirit, and not growing in integrity.
It is as though we are permanently righteous in God’s sight even though we continue to obey our sinful nature.
We do not need to be a Bible scholar to see immediately that the New Testament does not teach we can continue behaving according to our sinful nature and then inherit eternal life. The New Testament certainly does not support this point of view. It has been deduced by selecting a few verses, taking them our of their contexts, and them using them as axioms.
I remember as a boy the anecdote about George Washington telling the truth about what happened to the cherry tree. Also, there was a story, that I remember as having originated in England, about the man who walked several miles barefoot to borrow a pair of shoes he needed to participate in a wedding. He returned home barefoot, carrying the shoes.
After the wedding, he carried the shoes back to the owner, walking barefoot so as to keep the shoes in the best possible condition. Many of today’s Americans would laugh at and scorn such ideals.
Mothers wanted their sons to grow up to be President of the United States, implying that only the very highest and purest of mortals could ascend to that lofty position of honor and purity of character.
And then we have Mr. Clinton and his aide, and their behavior in the White House. The difference between their behavior, and that held as exemplary as recently as a hundred years ago, is just about unimaginable.
Men prided themselves on returning a borrowed tool in better condition than when they were given it: the axe was sharper; the crescent wrench was oiled and polished. A man’s word was his bond, they used to say. A person’s promise was as dependable as a written contract.
Well, it is not true today. We have become more "civilized," I suppose.
Perhaps how people behave is none of my business.
But being a pastor, a Christian leader in that sense, I think that how Christians behave is indeed my business. Perhaps we assume that "accepting Christ" results in an individual of greater integrity than that of non-Christians. Then we remember that the Protestants and Catholics of Ireland are given to murdering each other. They all worship the same Christ, and yet they rejoice as they cripple and murder each other.
How can this be? Is there no power in the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ to make better people? Is being "born again" nothing more than a religious slogan? When we review the history of Christian people we see that the majority are little different in character from the non-Christians. Can this be true? Did the Christians in England force opium on the Chinese? Did wealthy Christians in America engage in the slave trade, and steal land from the Indians? It is little wonder so many of the world’s people are not overly impressed with the Christian religion.
Yet God has promised that righteousness and praise shall spring forth before the nations of the earth.
It appears the power of the Divine redemption has not had its full effect as yet. The goat of the atonement has been operating, but the goat of removal is not in effect as yet.
I have noted on several occasions a lack of integrity on the part of Christian pastors and evangelists. I have been surprised at this lack. I was not raised in a Christian home or under any other kind of Christian influence. However, while I was growing up I looked on churches and ministers with the greatest respect and confidence, although I did not want to attend services.
But now, after many years as a Christian, both as a member of congregations and also as a pastor, I see that various forms of immoral behavior characterize many Christian leaders, ranging from mere lack of disciplined character to outright moral filth and dishonesty.
I have speculated on the reason for this undisciplined character and lawless behavior. As I see it, there are several causes.
It may be true that one primary cause for the paucity of integrity is that through the centuries the Christian salvation has consisted largely of words, of philosophy one might say, rather than of power that transforms character and behavior.
I do not claim to be well versed enough in Church history to make definitive statements about the Christians of the past, but I can venture my impressions. As I outline what seems to be the bulk of the record of the Christian religion, it must be kept in mind that throughout the Christian Era there have been outstanding saints. Also, it is clear that the Christian religion has influenced the nations positively in which Christianity is the dominant religion. There are efforts in the "Christian nations" to treat people humanely that we do not always see in non-Christian nations.
Having issued this important disclaimer, let us proceed.
Prior to the Protestant Reformation, the dominant religion in Europe was Catholicism. I would say that the emphasis of Catholicism at that time was on obedience to the various aspects of the religion rather than on transformed character.
I believe I am correct in stating that the same is true today. While the Pope has stood resolutely against abortion, as I do also, the concept of the Divine transformation of the individual seems to be set aside in favor of various penances. Perhaps I am incorrect here.
The Protestant Reformation may have reacted against the religious works of Catholicism, such as self-abuse, by overemphasizing the role of belief. "Faith alone!" But as I have listened to this watchword for many years, I have come to the conclusion that it is interpreted as "belief alone."
Why do I say this? Because "belief" suggests a mental acceptance of the theologic facts about Christ. "Faith," however, includes obedience to the commands of Christ and His Apostles. The strident call to "faith alone," at least in our day, means "belief alone."
I have been criticized many times for teaching "works." What I actually am teaching is the behavior that results from the work of the Holy Spirit in us. However, the "faith alone" crowd will have nothing to do with any suggestion that true salvation always results in a new moral creation, not the same old creation which by some magical "grace" is seen by God to actually be righteous.
Obviously, if one views "faith" as adherence to the principles of theology subscribed to by a denomination and portrayed in its "Statement of Faith," then any but the most feeble attempt to emphasize integrity will be viewed with suspicion if not outright hostility.
What a mess we are in today! It is no wonder our government has lost its moral compass!
It appears the basic cause of our lack of integrity (righteousness) is the confusion about Christ’s work of redemption. It seems to have been true over the past period of time, perhaps throughout the entire Christian Era, that our salvation is principally "forgiveness" so we can go to Heaven and not Hell when we die.
The fact is, the genuine Christian salvation primarily is not forgiveness but deliverance from the chains of sin plus the desire and willingness to behave righteously, that is, to demonstrate integrity of character. God’s salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ brings forth a new moral creation, a person in God’s image.
Until the confusion about the purpose and nature of salvation is taught clearly, I do not believe that integrity will become a part of the Christian experience.
So the current lack of integrity on the part of Christian people and their leaders may not be due to a willingness to behave dishonestly but to confusion concerning what Christ can due for us. And because the Christian people do not reveal in themselves the good works that are the light of the world, the rest of mankind plows forward in the mud, so to speak, not realizing that the problems and frustrations they suffer continually are the result of their behavior.
Another reason for the lack of integrity is the sense of sins forgiven. When an individual comes to Christ for forgiveness he experiences a lightness of spirit. A sinner has come home. This is why many Christian adults behave foolishly, not exhibiting the discipline and restraint of unsaved people.
Yet another factor leading to lack of integrity is the example set by older Christians and their leaders. When we are young, or a new Christian, we are apt to regard the older saints with awe. We suppose they are pillars of holiness and obedience to God.
After a period of time, as we see repeated instances of a lack of sincerity or even of truthfulness and basic honesty, we become disillusioned. We had supposed that the older Christians behaved during the week as they did during Church on Sunday. We were not aware of the Christian "game," of the practice of repeating the expected phrases of carrying our cross and serving Christ on Sunday, and then living as a worldly person during the week.
When Audrey and I went to pastor a church for the first time, an influential lady in the congregation asked us, "When are you going to get real?" She meant when were we going to "let our hair down" and have a party or two. She did not believe people actually lived like my wife and I were teaching.
The pastor you looked up to when you were a youth leader in his church, who left his wife and moved to a distant city in order to live with another woman.
The evangelist who appointed someone in the audience to stand up and say he would give the first thousand dollars.
The pastor who arranged for air to blow through the air conditioning ducts so people would think it was the Holy Spirit.
The evangelist who had all the young people starry-eyed, who actually was fornicating with women of the church.
The evangelist who sent out workers to the homes of widows to get them to change their wills so their inheritance would go to the evangelist rather than to their children.
The televangelist who bundled up the prayer requests and put them in the garbage.
The evangelist who tells his audience that if they will give him a thousand dollars they will never get cancer.
The lying evangelists who makes up stories about incidents that never took place.
The patriarchs of orthodox churches who fight with one another over property.
The thousands of priests who have molested children.
The "Christian" woman who leaves her husband and goes off with another man, who also left his spouse. Then the two of them go from church to church singing musical "specials." They also record CDs.
The pastor is too busy figuring out how much of the morning offering to hide from the IRS, to spend time inquiring about the integrity of his musical evangelists. Yet the Bible warns us about deceivers, about wolves in sheep’s clothing.
I could easily enlarge this list.
Why is this? Why does the religion that bears the name of the Lord Jesus Christ not change people?
I will tell you why. It is because no religion actually changes the hearts of people. It is only a personal walk with Christ that really changes people. Whenever a Christian church places more emphasis on the faithful practice of its sacraments and rites than it does on growth in integrity of the individual communicant, that church is more of Satan than it is of Jesus Christ.
I know from personal experience that there are fine Catholic people. But when the Catholic churches emphasize penances rather than genuine, heartfelt repentance, a turning away from sin, it is not doing the work of God.
Do you remember the story of the "old prophet" who caused the death of the younger man of God? So it is that a minister as he grows older may neglect to follow Christ. He may go into selling insurance or real estate. He may remember the days when the Spirit of God rested on him. But he has fallen short of what God had for him.
When we say someone has been converted we often mean he has accepted Christian theology as being truth. He did not actually enter the death and resurrection of Christ when he was baptized in water. He went down dry and came up wet. No one ever told him he now is dead to the world that he may live in the Presence of Christ and keep His commands.
I think denominations often regard the local church as a business. The pastor is the chief executive officer of a business. The mark of the successful pastor is an increase in the offerings and in the number of people who attend.
This being the case, the pastor may be wise to not tell the people that in order to be a disciple, a Christian, we have to deny ourselves, take up our cross (our personal imprisonment), and follow the Lord Jesus every day and night. So the wise pastor will choose to preach what God wants, or else curry favor with the people so the church grows in numbers. It reminds us of the parable of the unrighteous steward.
There simply is no middle ground. Either we faithfully present the burden of the Word of the Lord, or we keep in mind how what we are preaching is going to affect the offerings and the attendance.
Sad to say, in addition to the above examples of weak, worldly ministers of the Gospel, there are a few who are blatantly wicked. They have learned how to move congregations with their "great swelling words," as the Apostle Paul said, and obtain a great deal of money in this manner. But they are of their father, the Devil, so there is no use even discussing them.
After reviewing in my mind the sorts of things that take place in the Christian religion, I have concluded that "Depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness" will be the reception numerous Christians are going to receive when they die and stand before Christ.
Integrity! God will not work where there is lying and insincerity. It does not matter if ten million souls "accept Christ." The end never justifies the means with God. Man-directed Christianity, with all of its self-seeking and moral filthiness, will never be accepted by the Lord Jesus.
Those who continue in their sinful nature might just as well leave the Gospel and pursue some other philosophy or religion; for God and His Christ do not know them and have not accepted their works.
To Will and To Act
Therefore my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12,13)
"God who works in you to will and to act."
It is my point of view, as I have elaborated in my book, Godwill Castle, that in the new world of righteousness God is preparing in the present hour, every inhabitant will obey God in all aspects of their life. His will shall be done in the earth as it is in Heaven.
Doing God’s will in all aspects of our life may seem undesirable or even impossible of attainment. However, it is the manner in which numerous other disciples of the Lord Jesus, as well as myself, are living at the present time. It is the "rest" of God, the thesis of the Book of Hebrews.
It is far more restful and pleasant to enter the will and Life of God than to be driven by one’s own ambitions and fears.
How much misery can be avoided when we look to Christ for all matters. Eve had merely to ask God’s judgment when Satan made his suggestions. Would the history of the world been changed if Eve had sought God’s wisdom?
So it is with you and me. We can plan our own way; make our own decisions based on our desires and experience. Or we can look To Christ continually for all we think, say, and do.
The Lord Jesus Christ will walk in the garden of our heart if we ask Him. As He does, we are not to ignore Him but to look to Him continually until it can truly be said of us, "It is not he who lives but Christ who lives in him."
However, if it is to be said of us that it is not we who are living but Christ who is living in us, two factors must be operating: first, God must be revealing His will to us; second, it must be God who then performs His own will.
It is not enough for us to pray until we know God’s will. As soon as we know it, we then must pray for God carry out His own will, whether or not He uses us to perform some part or all of it; or whether our role is to pray and have faith that God’s will is being performed.
It is the role of salvation to bring us to the place where we abandon our own schemes that we may determine God’s will. Then, having found God’s will, we are to look to Him and not ourselves for the performing of His will. Enabling us to thus forsake our own life that we may be an expression of God’s Person and will is the result of the perfect work of salvation.
I have been preaching for over thirty years that God is asking each Christian to forsake his own way, his own plans to save himself and the world, and to seek the will of Christ. A further step must be taken if we are to perform the work of the Kingdom of God and obtain eternal results. We must learn that God intends to accomplish His own work, as we obediently and faithfully do whatever He asks of us.
Glorify the Lord With Me
I never thought I would see the decline of the American way of life, but it is happening. Our President, Mr. Obama, unlike the American presidents before him, does not appear to honor God. If Mr. Obama does not glorify God in the sight of the American people, he will bring himself and our nation down to destruction.
We may accept other religions into our country according to our worship of personal freedom. But regardless of our kindly, gentle attitude toward other gods and other religions, there is only One who shed His blood as an atonement for our sins. There is only one Spirit of God.
America was built with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in mind. Whoever will call on the Lord Jesus shall be saved. There is no other god who can save us, regardless of our acceptance of other gods and other religions.
Because our President is not glorifying God publicly, and multitudes are practicing unclean, immoral behavior, as well as worshiping foreign gods, the Divine covering is being withdrawn from our land. We are in economic trouble, We are in military trouble. God is raising up other nations against us, just as He did when Israel turned away from Him.
Abortion is the murder of innocent people. God will never bless our financial structure or our military actions while abortion is taking place. Our President honors abortion. The increase of homosexual activity, the teaching in the elementary schools of the acceptance of homosexual unions, is clearly against the Old and New Testaments. Our God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, will never, never bless a country that accepts homosexual behavior as acceptable and normal.
What I have written above is the truth. The problem is, what are we who follow Christ to do about it.
The temptation, of course, is to fret and rail against those in positions of leadership who are turning against the Bible. Of course, if we are able to do something about the evil practices, such as a parent who has a child in public school and is invited to join with other parents concerning objectionable textbooks, we should pray and ask the Lord what we should do, if anything.
The problem is, we get our eyes off Christ and begin to focus on what Satan is doing. This precisely is what Satan desires: attention. As hatred, worry, fear, and other negative emotions grow in us because of the evil we see being practiced, we lose our faith that God still is in control of mankind.
There are many passages of the Scriptures that encourage us to rejoice in the Lord always and to worship Him. Such joy and worship are our strength, and this Satan desires to steal from us.
I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. (Psalms 34:1)
When we are railing against evil people in the government we are not following the advice of the Bible. We are not extolling the Lord at all times. We are not rejoicing in the Lord always. Our mind is not focused on what is lovely and of good report.
Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. (Psalms 34:3)
How much better it is in our home or when we are with friends for us to glorify the Lord and exalt His name. We can choose to do this rather than to complain about what wicked people are doing, as we read in the newspaper.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalms 34:4)
The passage above is one of my favorites. It has carried me through many dangerous places. No matter what happens in America because the President and many people have forsaken Christ , those who seek the Lord will be delivered from all of that which they fear. Our attention is to be focused on the Lord Jesus, not on what Satan and his followers are doing. We have to choose whether we are going to rage against the wicked, or seek Christ.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (Psalms 4:6)
God hears the meek and lowly of heart when they pray. God saves them out of all their troubles. We should not be angry and concerned about the sin we see around us. Such is not the way of peace. Rather, we are to patiently call on the Lord until our answer comes.
We Americans like to say that God helps those who help themselves. Such an idea can lead to fruitless efforts. The truth is, God helps those who look to Him and then do what He commands.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Psalms 34:7)
The verse above is helpful when we are surrounded with various kinds of trouble. When we fear the Lord, the angel of the Lord protects us from all sides. There absolutely is no power or authority that can get past God’s angel. Satan has to lure us outside of God’s protection is we are to remain safe from harm. Satan is very successful at doing this.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. (Psalms 34:8)
It is up to us to choose to taste of the Lord’s goodness instead of complaining about the evil in America. If I am correct, the spiritual darkness is going to become more intense. The moral abominations will increase beyond all we can imagine.
If we are to survive spiritually we must keep tasting of the goodness of Christ. We must keep in our mind His awesome power. All of this evil in America is accomplishing God’s goal. All things are working together for good.
The thirty-seventh Psalm reminds us that evil people will increase in prominence until it appears they will prosper forever. Those with integrity have lost the battle and are left without power, it seems.
But if we stay with Jesus, we yet will see the wicked overcome. All they have accomplished will be handed over to the righteous. The meek will inherit the earth and all its resources.
How do we know final victory and prosperity belong to the righteous? Because God said so!
Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off. (Psalms 37:37,38)