The Absolutes of Christian Faith

Over twent years I started a journey of re-examining the issues of my personal faith.  I began to deconstruct every issue and began to search out the Scriptures trying not to depend on my previous bias of any subject.  

It was difficult to stay silent with all that was happening in the Christian enviroment around the world.  Christians being beheaded in many eastern countries, others being imprisoned because of their faith.  Churches keeping their location hidden for fear of the state breaking in and arrresting and persecuting those in attendance.

I was raised with a Christian outlook on life so this journey I would take through the written Word was a tedious one.  I attacked my studies with the same intent that I used when active as a pastor or an evangelist.

Yet, my conclusion was this, there are definite, absolutes of our Christian faith.  In our Christian walk these must be the underpinning for our foundation, for without them our Christian house will not stand the rigours and storms of life.

So, I am going to try to bring to words these absolutes of Christian faith.  These absolutes are those things that as babes in Christ must have a firm grip in our spiritual understanding.

It is so difficult to weed out all the voices in our media, the internet, and in print, and find the absolutes of what it is to be a Christian.  Our spiritual being is only strong if we have a foundation of absolutes of truth as our bedrock and foundation.

So, join with me as I present to you these truths are sure and absolute.  Grab your Bible, a pen, and some note paper and let us study these absolutes together.

  • Gods Word is True
  • God is Faithful
  • The Cross of Calvary is the bedrock of Salvation.
  • No Remission without the Shedding of Blood.

Now, that is the outline I would like to expound upon in my next several articles.  Most would also call these absolutes, “The Tenets of Faith”.  I will do my utmost to cover all that is crucial for one to have a sure foot on the solid rock that Christ established for us to have a stable spiritual life.

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July 11, 2018- A Sobering Thought!

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Revelation 13:   MSG
1  And the Dragon stood on the shore of the sea. I saw a Beast rising from the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads—on each horn a crown, and each head inscribed with a blasphemous name.
2  The Beast I saw looked like a leopard with bear paws and a lion’s mouth. The Dragon turned over its power to it, its throne and great authority.
3  One of the Beast’s heads looked as if it had been struck a deathblow, and then healed. The whole earth was agog, gaping at the Beast.
4  They worshiped the Dragon who gave the Beast authority, and they worshiped the Beast, exclaiming, “There’s never been anything like the Beast! No one would dare go to war with the Beast!”
5  The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous. It could do anything it wanted for forty-two months.
6  It yelled blasphemies against God, blasphemed his Name, blasphemed his Church, especially those already dwelling with God in Heaven.
7  It was permitted to make war on God’s holy people and conquer them. It held absolute sway over all tribes and peoples, tongues and races.
8  Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world’s foundation in the slaughtered Lamb’s Book of Life will worship the Beast.
9  Are you listening to this?
10  They’ve made their bed; now they must lie in it. Anyone marked for prison goes straight to prison; anyone pulling a sword goes down by the sword. Meanwhile, God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.
11  I saw another Beast rising out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke.
12  It was a puppet of the first Beast, made earth and everyone in it worship the first Beast, which had been healed of its deathblow.
13  This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven.
14  It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived.
15  It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed.
16  It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead.
17  Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything.
18  Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It’s a human number: six hundred sixty-six.

As an evangelist, pastor, and a gospel musician/singer I was barely ever at a lost for words.  However, as I try to write this article I will admit I am at a lost.

Over the past several months and days I have been giving much thought to something that is sobering, even in just a passing thought.  I have stated in previous articles that it is my opinion that America is not mentioned in Biblical end-time prophecy.  I find that the Scriptures remain Daniel's Imagesilent about this land in the west.

History shows that empires rise and also fall.  In the vision of  Nebuchadnezzar he saw empires that would fall in sucession. Those being, Babylon(head of Gold), Medo-Persian(arms of silver). Greek(thighs and legs), Roman(feet).  These falls are recorded history, and prophesided by Daniel.

Through the words of the Apostle John in the book of Revelation that a former empire will rise again.

Revelation 13:   KJV
3  And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Many theoogians, evangelicals, and others hold to the school of thought that this revived empire will be Rome, the Papacy.  

However, I have come to believe this will not be the case.  As far as I can understand the revived empire will be the Babylonian Empire, the head of the image in the book of Daniel.

We also know that there is coming a world leader who will put into place a one world government.  This leader will also initiate a new ecomonic system, and give power to a new religious order.

The Beginning of The End?

When listening to the news it is filled with turmoil across the length and breadth of the planet.  Governments, nations shaking to the near destruction and total annihilation.  Yet, if we know the Scriptures we already know that Christ gave us a brilliantly picture of these end time days.  Wars and rumours of war, nation against nation, brother and against brother.

Matthew 24:   KJV
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

Now these symtons have now reached North and South America.  America is extremely divided, so much that if the rift keeps growing it could mean the downfall of the country.

Hatred seems to have been unleashed, ethnic discrimination runs amok around the world.  Anti-Semetic feelings are at a level not seen since the reign of Adolf Hitler in Germany in the late 1930’s until 1945.

So, I must admit that my thoughts have been this, “is this the beginning of the end” as we read in Matthew twenty four and in the Book of Revelation.

If history is about to repeat itself we can be sure that governments and the soon to be the world leader, hatred against Israel and then to the Christian will increase leading to persecution, and also death among these two groups.

Christians, the Body of Christ must guard against falling into this massive wave of hatred, racism, and anti-semetism.  We may not always agree when it comes to “faith”, that is allowable, but, we cannot hate the person of a different faith.  Through Christ we are to be a beacon that shines for others to see and be a welcoming refuge for all that surround us.

If Christians find themselves spouting racism, hatred, and anti-semitism, they have lowered themselves to the level of the world.  They must return to the cross and ask for forgiveness and let the blood of Christ cleanse them and renew and refresh.  For if they continue in the ways of hatred against other ethnic groups their witness is as “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal”.

Radio Silence

If you look around many preachers and ministers act like there has been a “gag order” when it comes to all these events happening around the world.  It is hard to find a voice that is giving a message to the body of Christ to prepare because of what is about to take place on this planet.

Making Merry!

Revelation 3:1-6 KJV
1  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4  Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Matthew 24:   KJV
37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Take a look around, the stock market is soaring, jobs are coming back and everyone is care free, giving little thought of what is on the horizon.  This was also the situation before the great depression in 1929.

The world is on the precipice of collapse of the world economy, the rise of a world leader that is describe as the “man of sin”, “son of perdition”, “anti-christ”.

Never Poke A Bear

Daniel 7:2-5 KJV
2  Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
3  And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
4  The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
5  And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

As it is, my understanding is a bear is fiercest when it awakes from hibernation.

Theologians mostly agree the bear mentioned in verse five is Russia.  This bear is on the prowl.  Bears do not make friends, they are carnivors, they will attack anything or anyone they consider as prey.  The bear, Russia, is spoken of throughout Bible prophecy.  

It is reported throughout news outlets that the president of Russia is trying to re-create the former Soviet Union.  Russia’s armies have already invaded the Ukraine by annexing Crimea.

The Church of Sardis

The message to Sardis reveals nothing definite about the church’s predicament beyond the fact that it is about to die. Only the metaphorical reference to those few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes(v. 4) offers a possible clue. They are promised that they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy (v. 4), a promise immediately reinforced by a word to those who “overcome,” who will, like them, be dressed in white, whose names will not be blotted from the book of life, but rather acknowledged before my Father and his angels (v. 5; compare Mt 10:32-33 par. Lk 12:8-9). At Sardis, clearly, the few who had not soiled their garments were the “overcomers.” (excerpt taken from: https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Rev/Message-Sardis)

The body of Christ, in my opinion, is standing at the crossroads, two choices, deny the world and follow Christ, or continue in their gluttony of wealth and lose their souls to the devil.

I realize that I must sound lke one broken record but deep within me is an urgency to speak and call attention to the dangers that are creeping in to the Body of Christ in North America.

Lessons Learned In The Wilderness – Following Christ Not The World

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Matthew 4:   KJV
8  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11  Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

If the reader has read my previous articles then you would know that I do not hold or espouse the doctrine of the “prosperity gospel”.  I will re-iterated that it is a “doctrine from hell”.

The stated verse above I feel is the anchor for the rebuke of the so called “prosperity gospel”.  If you will take note of what the devil promised he would give Christ if Christ would bow down and worship him.  The promise, “…all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them”.  This is the basis of the this eroneous doctrine spouted by a large majority of “faith preachers”.  They claim God wants to make them rich and prosperous.  This is in total opposition of the message Christ and the early church teachings. Let me direct you to the following words of Christ.

Matthew 6:19-21 KJV
19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (emphasis mine)

You can tell a mans heart from where is by that which he holds a major concern for in his life.  If he is always seeking wealth, fortune, and fame, it is almost certain that is devotion for the Lord Jesus Christ is weak if not totally deficient.

As a youth there was a hymn that was used during an altar call urging those in the congregation to consecrate their lives to Christ.

1 I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.

2 Though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
no turning back, no turning back.

3 The world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
no turning back, no turning back.

Over the past several decades the message of the Christ, take up your cross, has been diminished and it’s place a message that promotes the wants of the flesh.  Self-esteem, positive thinking, name it and claim it, all things that take away the focus of the work that was done on the cross of Calvary.

The altar has been removed and replaced for a theaterical stage all to make the soul of man feel good.  The gospel message has also been put off to the side and entertainment along with entertainers now take center stage.

The hymns of the church, like “There is Power in the Blood”, “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus”, are replaced with songs that could be played on any secular radio or television station.

Maybe I belong in a past decade, yet, I do not believe it is me, but it is the lack of the saving grace of Jesus Christ that is at fault.

Mr. “Prosperity” Preacher, one day all your money raising abilities will be for naught for the money you so want to heap into your coffers will be worthless.  Your efforts should have been placed on winning souls for Christ.

Proverbs 11:30 KJV
30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

When the economies of the world collapse the very people you entertained will be screaming, asking you why you never prepared them for heaven.  You will be held accountable for the lives you led astray.

The revival of repentance must start at the pulpit before it will fall on the ears of those in the pews.

1 Peter 4:   KJV
17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

Mr. pastor, stop your message that caters to the congregation, your church board, or your seminary and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 4:1   KJV
17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

There would be no salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ if the Saviour would have yielded to satan and followed his way.  Because he knew what He was sent to do told the tempter to get behind him, he resisted the devil and the devil fled.

James 4:7-8 KJV
7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

*All images are from http://www.pexels.com*

Lessons Learned In The Wilderness – Sustenance

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Matthew 4:1-4 KJV
1  Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.(emphasis mine)

***I believe in fasting, however, it should be done with some caution.  Not everyone should fast especially if have a medical situation such as, diabetes.  If you have medical issues it is best that you speak to your physician before attempting any type of fast.***

Fasting is an issue that will get you many scoffers.  It is something that this present generation knows little about, for it is been silenced in the pulpits of North America.

There are many types of fasts, such as, “The Daniel Fast”, water only fast, water and food until sundown fast, and no water and food whatsover.  Fasting should be to one’s own convictions.

However, fasting is not the subject that I would like to draw your attention to.  It is what Christ answered the tempter with., “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”.

God spoke His word in many ways to His people, by an angel, a burning bush, the Levite Priest, the prophets of old, and the Apostles of the New Testament Church.  He still speaks His Word, through the written Word, and also by the leading of the Holy Spirit.  One though must be in a receiving mode to receive His Word, for it is spiritual and not carnal.

Isaiah 55:  KJV
9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Romans 8:   KJV
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Sometimes the Word of God grates against what we want to do, it sometimes seems so foolish.  

1 Corinthians 1:   KJV
18  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19  For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20  Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24  But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

Many times in my ministry I would have missed what the Word was saying if it were not for something within me that spoke differently.  A preacher once said, “God doesn’t always speak with a thunder clap”.  There have been times when I would have something ready before I left my home to minister, yet, I would go to the pulpit and would find myself turning to a completely different portion of the Word and a totally different focus on a subject.  Thinking to myself afterwards that I had missed the mark only to have a person come up to me and say, “Pastor that was just for me, I needed that”.

One time I had just bought a new song book filled with some songs I wanted to learn.  At that time I did not have a piano in my home.  So, I went to the church early, sat at the piano and started to sing one song in particular that was quite popular on the southern Gospel charts, “Oh, For A Thousand Tongues to Sing”.  Well I started to practice and after awhile I was totally lost in the song forgetting about the time.  I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Sometime had past and I became aware of my situation and of the time on the clock.  I stopped singing, turned around to the congregation, what I saw totally floored me and left me totally amazed.  I saw people lost in worship, some standing with hands uplifted, some kneeling in their seats, others at the altar.  All ages were caught up in the spirit of worship.  I never did preach that Sunday evening.  I dismissed the congregation and turned and started singing the song again.  People didn’t get up to go home they just continued in the same spirit. The message of that one song was the word that God wanted for those people at that specific time and place.  I have never forgot that evening.

Oh, I realize that many pastors are controlled by a program, a board, and a fussy congregation that wants everything done in order and on time.  They want to get out of the church, head for their favorite restaurant, or go to their local golf club to hit a few balls.  Sometimes, God would have us throw out the program and totally give way to His’ will.

When I was travelling with that evangelist were were in the city of Cincinatti, Ohio and I was at the organ.  I was asked to sing a certain song and proceeded to do so.  In the midst of the song, which was not an altar call song, a man jumped up out of his seat ran down the middle isle and told the evangelist he wanted to be born again.  That song was a word for that man that day.

Maybe the word you have to share might be to cook a little extra for dinner that night and take a plate to the shutin that lives on your street.  It may also be to speak a thought of kindness to someone that is having a really tough day.  God can use us in ways that does not always find us quoting the Scriptures.  

Please take time a study the thirteeneth chapter of the Book of First Corinthians where Paul says this:

1 Corinthians 13:   KJV
1  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I have learned these lessons way too late in life for I was to absorbed in what I wanted.  Too much of being in a hurry, sometimes sharp with my words.  I have learned that I cannot live except by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

SPECIAL COMMENTARY – July 1, 2018 – What’s All the Fuss About!

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Matthew 24:   KJV
36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

2 Timothy 3:   KJV
1  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9  But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

I probably have more days behind me than that is in front of me.  I look in the mirror and see all of my hair turned white and often wonder where did all the time go to.  I also find myself using phrases and terms that I only heard from my grandparents.

So, I find myself musing on whether or not will I in my lifetime see the King of Kings part the clouds and place His foot on the Mount of Olives.  My grandfather, grandmother, my mother also thought they would see this marvellous event in their own lifetime.  Yet, in my fifty – six years of life I have witnessed several of the prophecies fulfilled concerning the last days.

I often find myself going to retrieve an item from a room then when I get to the room I have forgotten which item I was going to get.  Some would laugh and tell me that is what it is like when you start to reach a certain age.  Maybe, the reader can relate to this experience.

Events seem to be happening at a break-neck speed, so that it is almost impossible to keep up.  We have major headlines coming out almost hourly, Russia(the bear), Syria, Iran/Iraq, the Asian countries, Eygpt and also Germany.  Many of these have a role in prophecy during the last days.  The major area to watch is that of the nation of Israel, the apple of God’s eye.

Zechariah 2:   KJV
8  For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

The major headline at the moment coming out of the United States of America is the vacant seat in the Supreme Court.  

Specualtion is rampant on all cable news outlets, the major print newspapers, and also in the digital world.  Everyone is wondering if the new justice revoke the law about abortion, marriage equality, and so much more.

Now because of this evangelicals in the U.S.A are almost overflowing with glee with this turn in events.  Yet, I ask myself as I listen to the news and read the headlines, have evangelicals, Christians, and Catholics forgotten that we were give much warning about all these things.

God has a plan, a timeline, and He has set all things in motion.  Man may try to bring about a certain event by manipulating the political arena, yet, no matter how much they try, bemoan the situation, God’s plan cannot by delayed, or thwarted.  One can pray, elect different politicians, presidents, prime ministers, senators, and representatives, but it will not change the mind of God. 

A heard someone once say that a man who is planning on moving out of his house does not concern himself in fixing the place up.  I am not concerned about owning a mansion here on earth because I have the Words of Christ that He is preparing us a place where He is.

John 14:   KJV
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

My my earthly birth I am a Canadian citizen, but, I am more than that I am a child of God and a citizen of Heaven.  I am not building up treasures on this earth, but rather, laying up my treasures in Heaven a place where there is no rust of corruption.

Matthew 6:   KJV
19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Yes, if I allow myself to get all worked up, biting my nails and losing sleep for what I see happening around the world and yet I am helpless in preventing any of those major events from happening.

 

Matthew 6:  KJV
25  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

The late Gospel song writer, Ira Stanphill wrote a beautiful hymn that we would sing in my home church and I still find myself singing it when I feel stressed about what tomorrow may hold.

I don’t know about tomorrow;
I just live from day to day.
I don’t borrow from it’s sunshine
For it’s skies may turn to grey.

I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Refrain:

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

It is my opinion that the Body of Christ in North America have lost their focus on what truly matters, that is  the prize which is in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:   KJV
12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
16  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
17  Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
20  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

You may say well I am doing God’s work, but let me pose this question, is it really God’s work, or are you busy to seek some sort of glory for yourself.  Remember, we are not of this world for it is carnal.  Our focus should be that which would finally lead to hearing those words from Christ when we stand before the throne of God.

Matthew 25:21 KJV
21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

So, which house are you building, and who are you building it for?  Earthly houses are nothing but wood,  hay and stubble, that one day will burn up and be destroyed.

1 Corinthians 3:   KJV
10  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

So, during chaos and upheaval we can do many things, things that make us feel good here on this earth, or we can do that which will go before us into heaven that when we arrive we shall receive our heavenly reward.

Let me ask again, “what is all the fuss about”?  Learn to place it in God’s hands, pray for those in rule over us, pay your taxes, but, become fishers of men for Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

Lessons Learned In The Wilderness – Romans 8:23

cropped-bible-cross1.jpgRomans 8:28 MSG  That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Lately I have been fixated on why certain things happen in one’s life.  For myself it is dealing with health issues, fractures in my back caused by osteoporosis.

I truly believe that God’s word is absolute and it is true.  Yet, the above verse brings somewhat of a contradiction in the way I was taught growing up.  If I believe all other Scripture is truth, then, I must believe that this scripture in Romans is also factual.

I am not quite sure where theology went sideways, but, it truly has.  Somehow doctrine has been subverted.  

It has been taught for as long as I can recollect that any sickness is of the devil.  There are some within the charismatic movement that teach if you are sick there must be sin in your life.  Or if you are not healed you must not have enough faith.  To both of these teachings I say, heresy, false doctrine.

In a previous article I took a look at the life of Job.  He was sinless, yet he went through hell and back.  Lost all of his family, home, crops, and livestock.  The people around him said that God must be angry with him.  His wife mocked him and told him, “curse God and die”.  The true reason is in the first verses of the book of Job.  Satan told God that if God would remove His protection from around Job, Job would turn against God.  God took down the protection so that the enemy could do all he wanted, except for, he could not take Job’s life.  Job came out spotless, sinless, and never once accused God foolishly.  The end for Job was greater than the beginning of his life.

There is another school of thought that declares, if you are sick God must be teaching you a lesson, that’s erroneous.  God does not teach us lessons by giving to us sickness or ill in our body.  We sometimes as earthly parents teach our children how to be safe around the house, but we do not cause them pain to teach that lesson.

So, it is my belief and opinion that when we are faced with such challenges in our life that maybe, just maybe, God is showing the enemy that He has faith in us not to charge God foolishly.

Now, with all that said I would like to bring to your attention the fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew and the record of when Christ went into the wilderness and faced temptation.  It was in this wilderness account that we have lessons that we can learn and apply to our everyday life.

It is my objective for the next several writings to take and delve into that account of the temptation of Christ and break it down lesson by lesson.

Matthew 4:   MSG
1  Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it.
2  Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger,
3  which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”
4  Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”
5  For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said,
6  “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
7  Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
8  For the third test, the Devil took him on the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were.
9  Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”
10  Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
11  The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.

I would like to invite you to join with me to see what gem of truth we can find in the above eleven verses of Matthew chapter four.

I would encourage you to study this with me, have a pen and notepad at the ready.  Maybe, have a friend or a group to study, “Lessons Learned In The Wilderness”.

 

The Church: Past, Present, Future Prt. 5

Luke 18:   KJV
1  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Revelation 2:   KJV
1  Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2  I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3  And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Jude 1:   KJV
3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Basic facts on understanding end – time prophecy:

  1. Before the cross – Israel – Dispensation of Law
  2. After the cross –  The Church – Dispensation of Grace
  3. The Woman – Israel
  4.  The Bride – The Church

Many Bible scholars, students of the Bible and this writer agree, we are living in the “grace dispensation”.  God’s clock stopped after the resurrection of Christ.  The focus now turns to the church, and then to the Gentile nations.

However, this current dispensation is coming to a close and God will turn His focus towards Israel.  I do not the exact time, yet, Christ told his disciples that they should know the season. He related the parable of the fig tree.

Mark 13:   KJV
28  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
29  So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
30  Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
31  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

I know what the church should be by knowing the Word of God and properly discern it.  However, I am not sure it is ready for what is about to come upon this earth.  

Christ, than later, Paul, speak about the church in the sense of future as a bride preparing to meet the bridegroom, or a wedding.  

Christ speaks about this event using a parable of the ten virgins.

Matthew 25:   KJV
1  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Paul in his epistles talks about the bride’s wedding garment.

Ephesians 5:   KJV
27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Then John the Revelator describes what he is shown concerning this wedding, he calls it the marriage supper of the lamb.

Revelation 19:   KJV
6  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

As I see it the exact prophecy that Jesus gave about the last days is now already upon us.  The church is also caught up in it’s party like mood with little thought about the bridegroom coming.  There is little preparation going on, instead the building of kingdoms on earth, men erecting monuments that heap praise of the builder.

Matthew 24:   KJV
36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

As followers of Christ, a member of God’s church we should be filled with anticipation of the coming of the Lord.  A preacher once said, “if a man is fixing up the house it means he is planning on staying”.  Too many are fixing up dwellings here on this old world.

Reader, this is truly those days as Christ spoke about in the previous portion of Scripture.  We are instructed to be on a full watch for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the church the days that lay before it are going to get rough.  As I have stated in previous articles the only thing we have for sure to build our hope on is Christ, the cornerstone that the builders rejected.

This is my reason that the church should not be aligning itself with any government of man, for it will be a man, the son of perdition, the anti-christ who will turn on the church.  This man will give his soldiers the orders to hunt down Christians and give them two options.  One, deny Christ and live.  Two, affirm Christ and lose your head.

Remember, the government of the land in the days of the early church ordered Stephen to be stoned, Peter was crucified upside down, Paul was beheaded in Rome, and John was sentenced to live out the rest of his life in a prison colony on the Isle of Patmos.

These will be the same actions carried out by the anti-christ towards the church of Christ in these last days.

As I write this article there is a hymn that I heard growing up speaking about this church.

A Glorious Church

Ralph E. Hudson

  1. Do you hear them coming, brother?—
    Thronging up the steeps of light,
    Clad in glorious shining garments,
    Blood-washed garments, pure and white!

    • Refrain:
      ’Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle,
      Washed in the blood of the Lamb;
      ’Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle,
      Washed in the blood of the Lamb.
  2. Do you hear the stirring anthems,
    Filling all the earth and sky?
    ’Tis a grand, victorious army;
    Lift its banner up on high!
  3. Never fear the clouds of sorrow,
    Never fear the storms of sin:
    We shall triumph on the morrow—
    Even now our joys begin.
  4. Wave the banner, shout His praises,
    For our victory is nigh!
    Following our conqu’ring Savior,
    We shall reign with Him on high!

I fervently pray that you are making yourself ready to be part of this glorious church!

The Church: Past, Present, Future -Prt. 4

Mark 11:17 MSG
17  And then he taught them, quoting this text: My house was designated a house of prayer for the nations; You’ve turned it into a hangout for thieves.

Dateline: 2018

For the church universal, this should be their greatest days, to show the marvellous glory of God, going out into the highways and biways compelling the lost to come to Jesus.

Throughout time the church has experienced revivals of God in their communities.  Sparked maybe by one or two people leading into revivals that saw thousands upon thousands turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me go back to the 1500’s and a man by the name of Martin Luther.

Martin Luther’s ’95 Theses’ and the Reformation

Taken from: www.biography.com/people/martin-luther-9389283

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, angry with Pope Leo X’s new round of indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Basilica, nailed a sheet of paper with his 95 Theses on the University of Wittenberg’s chapel door. Though Luther intended these to be discussion points, the 95 Theses laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences, good works (which sometimes involved monetary donations) that popes could grant to the people to cancel out penance for sins, as corrupting people’s faith. Luther also sent a copy to Archbishop Albert Albrecht of Mainz, calling on him to end the sale of indulgences. Aided by the printing press, copies of the 95 Theses spread throughout Germany within two weeks and throughout Europe within two months.

His actions created a move that went around the world which we now know as “The Lutheran Churcch”.

Then in 1904 a man, Evan Roberts started to travel around the country and spawned a revival that led to 150,000 people converted and added to the churches and chapels in Wales. (citing: http://truthinhistory.org/the-welsh-revival-of-1904-1905-2.html)

These revivals and many more, like that of the one in Los Angeles on Azusa Street.

The Azusa Street Revival was a historic revival meeting that took place in Los Angeles, California, and is the origin of the Pentecostal movement. It was led by William J. Seymour, an African American preacher. It began with a meeting on April 9, 1906, and continued until roughly 1915. (citing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azusa_Street_Revival)

Again, they saw multiple thousands saved and added to the churches and chapels around the country, just like that in the early church.

Acts 2:42-47 KJV
42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44  And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45  And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

So, we have examples throughout history where the church was in it’s finest hours, days, years.  There was one major thing throughout all of these revivals, they were not personality centered, rather they were God centered.

Preachers acting like some “superstar”, think they are God’s gift to the church.  It seems like their memory has a short circuit for they have forgot who it was that called them to minister.  They have stolen what belongs to God, the glory!

In the infant years of North America being settled little communities sprung up across the land.  They didn’t have steak houses, bars, or coffee house to gather in.  Their lives all intersected at one place, the community church.

It is my understanding that in the Jewish communities around the world that their synagogues are built within walking distance of each community.  Evangelicals could learn a great lesson from this model of worship.

I grew up going to a small country church where tall poplars lined the one side of the yard where in the summer and autumn the corn would grow tall, if you looked out the window of the church you would feel like you were right in the middle of the crop.

We didn’t have any choir or great band, up until the passing of my grandfather the only instrument in the church was my grandfather’s guitar which he played for the song service.  Their was no permanent song leader, the pastor would pick someone to come up at the beginning of the evening service.  It’s capacity for seating would not be any greater than fifty, if even that.

I have often thought about these super large congregations if God himself would approve.  The pastor is the sheperd, yet I would venture to guess he knows very few by first name.

As I turn to the Scriptures I find the Apostle Paul outlining the structure of each local church and it’s objectives.

Ephesians 4:   KJV
11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

I sometimes tune into some Christian programming just to hear some preacher expound on the Word of God.  Then instead they are not preaching, but, has his son preach.  Some of these super churches the pastor is grooming his son to take over when he is called home to glory.  This is nepotism.

In the Cambridge English Dictionary defines nepotism this way:

the act of using your power or influence to get good jobs or unfair advantages formembers of your own family:

In my own opinion I feel this is not Scriptural, because one has to be called by God, not a man.  I have been among congregations where the son is being molded to be the next pastor and I have found their is jealousy, animosity, and sometimes down right hatred.

Now, let me circle back to my opening comment that this should be the church’s finest hour, days, years.  Unfortunately it is not, it has ceded it’s authority in almost all areas where the world needs them.  As spoken by the Apostle Paul apostasy has crept in.

2 Thessalonians 2:   KJV
1  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

They have lost their saltiness the very question Christ posed to the disciples.  Someone has said, “the church is becoming worldly, the world is becoming church”.  I feel that this statement is true.  The church of Jesus Christ is to be seperate, different, a light in the darkness, but they have pushed those things aside so that they might appeal and have more attraction to the world.  Preacher, preach the Word, give it to God and let God give the increase.  God’s wisdom is far greater than any finite mind of any preacher on earth.

The church will have to face a great shaking.

Hebrews 12:   KJV
27  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

God knows how to get man’s attention so that His glory will be shown throughout the earth.  It may take one or two people just getting together for a serious prayer session.  Or a pastor who has had enough and God begins to renew his spirit and causes the pastor to have a fresh vision.

I am not able to physically be part of a congregation due to my ability to be mobile.  Yet, as I write this sentence the following verse has come to mind.

Matthew 18:20 KJV
20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (emphasis mine)

Now there are a lot of different events where two or three get together even thousands.  This does not mean that Christ is there in their midst.  The difference between a crowd at a football game and what Christ was speaking of is the condition He gave.  They must be gathered together in His’ name.

That is what happened with all of the fore mentioned revivals, just two or three getting together in the name of Christ and seeking God’s face.

 

The Church:Past,Present,Future-Prt. 3

Acts 2:   MSG
42  They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.
43  Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles!
44  And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common.
45  They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.
46  They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful,
47  as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

Something new was happening, the air was filled with excitement, awe, and wonder.  No one really knew what to do next, but they knew within their hearts that the prophecy of Joel has just been fulfilled before their very eyes.  Also, everyone spoke in a new tongue, everyone listening heard someone speaking in their language.

I am quite confident in saying that the understanding of Christ’s words became clear, that what He promised would happen about sending another comforter was the event they were now experiencing.

A new dispensation had begun, God was doing a new thing and it started with the resurrection of Christ.  This new thing would send men and women into all nations around the world spreading the good news of the gospel, with God receiving all the praise and glory.  God was now going to show His glory through the creation of the church.  God now would begin to focus on other nations for His beloved nation of Israel had rejected its messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.  This dispensation is now known as the dispensation of grace.  One would no longer have to bring a sacrifice yearly for their repentance for the sacrifice of Christ on the cross would put an end.  Man now has just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved from sins.

Now this new group called “the church” would not have it easy.  The Romans were threatened about the news of the resurrection of Christ.  Their goal would be to persecute, and put to death those claiming to be followers of Christ.  They believed if they killed these followers that it would put to death the story about Christ being resurrected. (Acts 4)

There was others who also were disturbed by what they were hearing and seeing, the Saducess, the religious elites from the temple.  They go to the disciples trying to forbid them from spreading the gospel.  Now it would be a three sided fight, religious elite, Roman government, and the fledgling church.  Later a friction between whether the gospel should be preached to the gentiles, or just the Jewish nation.

Those in the church would soon experience, stoning, jail, beheading, crucifixion, and also deportation in the case of John the Revelator.

It is my hope the reader will have an appetite to being to study, research and learn about the small beginnings of the church, an expression of God’s glory for all to witness.

I have only just skimmed the surface on the history of the church.  There is so much more that one could write, study, and learn about something that would eventually encompass the entire known world, then every nation on the earth.

In the next article I want to take a journey of the present day church, where it is at.

 

The Church:Past, Present, Future Prt. 2

Psalms 19:   KJV
1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Psalms 97:   KJV
6  The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.

Luke 19:   MSG
37  Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:
38  Blessed is he who comes, the king in God’s name! All’s well in heaven! Glory in the high places!
39  Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”
40  But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”

For us to truly understand the purpose, place and why of the church we first must understand our place as a Christian.

We are more than just a warm body that occupies a seat in some building with others.  We were created for a purpose, that is to show to the world God’s glory in us.

When God created Adam it was not just so God would have something to admire, for He had the whole of all creation for that.  He created Adam so that He may have someone to fellowship with.  Someone to know the Father’s glory.  He created Eve so that Adam would not be alone in the garden, but to have an another to fellowship with also.  They were to live to fellowship with God and also each other.

When they disobeyed God and sin came into the picture, the direct fellowship that they knew was broken.  The place they lived in that gave them all they need to sustain life was now a place to look back on of where they were cast out of.

God needed a plan, a plan that would restore that fellowship between Him and man.  So He sent His son in the form of a man, a man without the sin nature.  God’s glory in the flesh.

John 1:   KJV
1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2  The same was in the beginning with God.
3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Christ was more than just a man, he was the very essence of God in the flesh.

John 14:   KJV
1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5  Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8  Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11  Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
12  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Christ knew His destination, which was the cross.  He understood that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.  That He would become the sacrifice for the salvation of all mankind.

Hebrews 10:   KJV
1  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3  But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5  Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
8  Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
13  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
14  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
15  Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
16  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18  Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Christ death and resurrection prepared a way for us to enter the holy of hollies, to know God in His fulness and glory.

The veil that once hung in front of the holy of hollies which kept man from entering the holy place was now torn from top to bottom.

Matthew 27:50-54 KJV
50  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52  And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53  And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
54  Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

The birth of the “church” was about to take place.  For God was about to visit man with the Holy Ghost. God was going to show His glory to man that was never known before.  

John 16:   KJV
7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9  Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15  All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Prophecy was soon to be fulfilled in the most unlikliest places with one hundred and twenty dejected people, with the world listening and watching as God’s glory descended in the form of “cloven tongues of fire”.  That day is now called “the day of Pentecost”.  For all those there, their lives would never be the same.

Joel 2:   KJV
28  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

Acts 2:   KJV
1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6  Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

That upper room was the birthplace of the “church”.

On the next article I will address how God showed His glory through the early church.