Sunday, February 27, 2011

GOD’S GATHERING

Who does God gather?
Saints who are scattered and Sinners who repent.
Why does God gather?
It is not his will that any should perish.
When does God gather?
When people humble themselves, keep his commandments and worship Him.
Where does God gather?
He gathers them from the threshing floor into His barn the church of God.
How does God gather?
Through preaching the gospel and personal testimonies of salvation.

Isaiah 11:10-13
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

On the day of Pentecost, Jesus Christ established and empowered the church with His Holy Spirit.

During the Sixth Seal, the Lord set His hand to gather His remnant, His people from Babylon, sin and false religion.

During the Seventh Seal, the Lord will set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people.

During the Sixth Seal, the time of the first gathering, not all nations and people were reached with this gathering.

During the Seventh Seal, the second gathering, all nationalities of people will be reached.

Jeremiah 23:1-4
23 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.
2 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.
3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.

It is a great evil to scatter God’s people.

When men try to rule the church of God without the Holy Spirit, they will always cause a scattering, a division and confusion.

It is the will of God that all nations and countries be reached with this gospel.
God wants to bring us into a place where there is no lacking of God’s blessings or His power.

Matthew 13:27-30
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

A parallel is drawn between a literal harvest of wheat and the spiritual harvest of souls. To understand the spiritual harvest you will be helped by an understanding of a literal harvest.

Mark 4:29, “immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”

Revelation 14:14-15
14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

After the sickle is put in and the harvest is reaped, it is brought to the threshing floor. It is then beat, not by men’s condemnation, but by the judgments of Holy Ghost anointed preaching. Then it is exposed to the work of the wind; and the wind separates the chaff and the tares from the wheat. Since the chaff and the tares are lighter than the weight of the wheat, the wind separates them. The reapers do not separate the chaff and tares from the wheat. The power of God working through the wind which is the Holy Spirit is the force that separates.


When does this harvest take place? Rev 14:20 implies that it is at or by the space of 1600 furlongs. 240 furlongs equals one days journey. 1600 divided by 240 equals 6.66 which is the mark of man. The number six has always been God’s indicator for man. Six days should a man work. Man was created on the sixth day. Perhaps God has allocated man six days journey to walk upon this earth and then shall the final harvest come.

Matthew 13:41-43
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

When the iniquity of a person is exposed and revealed by the preaching of righteousness, the sinner shall not stand in the congregation of the righteous.

Psalms 1:4-5
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

Who drives away the ungodly and the sinner? Not the reaper. Not the harvester. The wind, which is the Holy Spirit, separates the chaff and the tares from the wheat.

Matthew 24:23-31
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Mourn: Definition: NT:2875 “to beat the breast in grief.”
There is coming a day when all the nations and tribes of the earth will mourn, “beat their breast in grief.”

There is a prevailing premonition around the world today that the end of time is near. No one knows when that time will come. What is 1% of time? What is 1/10th of a percent of time? What is 1/100th of one percent of time? If this world and time continues for 60 more years, that is only about .01 of a percent of the time that man has journeyed upon this earth. Will you be here in 60 years, or will the death angel come for you before the end of time?

Jesus told his brothers in John 7:6, “My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.”

Our time is today. We have no promise or assurance of tomorrow.
Are you ready for the harvest?
Have you been gathered into God’s barn?
Or, has the wind blown you away?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

BE STRONG

We are given a command in the scriptures to “Be Strong.” When God tells us to do something, He will also instruct us on how to do what He has commanded. We have an instruction manual on how to “be strong and of a good courage.”

Deuteronomy 31 Verse One says: “And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel.”

What did he say to Israel and to Joshua?

Deuteronomy 31:6-8
6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.
8 And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

First, before anything else, you must “desire” to be strong in the Lord and for the Lord. If you do not want to be strong, you will never be strong. If you want to give in to the flesh and enjoy the pleasures of worldly comfort and ease, you will never be strong spiritually.

You must not let fear and suffering cause you to away from your obedience to the commandments and will of God. You must have victory over the pain of suffering. Everyone in this life will suffer in some fashion. Sinners suffer for their sins. The suffering of the saints is only for a short season so that God may show Himself strong in your behalf, delivering you from your suffering.

Acts 5:38-42
38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

When others treat you wrong and cause you to suffer, that is your opportunity to show forth the power of God’s grace in your life. This is the time for you to “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other.” This is the time for you to act like Jesus. Let the same mind that was in Christ be in you also. Be humble, Be merciful, Be kind and gentle so that others can see that you are different. This is your opportunity to cause them to wonder why you are so strong when times of suffering come. Show them and tell them about the way of Jesus Christ.

Suffering will tell people whose child you are, God’s or Satan’s.
Don’t be afraid to suffer. Believe in God’s promises to deliver.

Romans 8:13-18
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

You can be strong and of good courage by putting a real value on what you are going through. Is it worth losing your soul? What reward is promised to you if you suffer for righteousness sake?

Deuteronomy 31:6-8
6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
7 And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.
8 And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

There is an inheritance promised to those who trust in the Lord. Don’t let Satan cause you to run away from suffering and therefore cause you to run away from your blessing.

King David told his son Solomon to “Be strong and of good courage.”

1 Chronicles 28:20
20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.

God told Isaiah to tell the people to “Be strong and fear not.”

Isaiah 35:4-6
4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Paul told the people at Corinth to be strong and act like men.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14
13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
14 Let all your things be done with charity.

Be strong and courageous like a soldier and a warrior, but don’t forget to do everything with love, with charity, with kindness, with a sweetness in your soul and in your voice and in your attitude. Yes, you will need the grace of salvation to do that. You can not be Christ like, if you are walking after the flesh.

Ephesians 6:10-19
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Verses 14 through 18 instruct us on what is needed to be strong and of good courage. Without these things you will be weak and defeated. You must have:

TRUTH - the truth shall make you free
RIGHTEOUSNESS -is mercy and judgment in divine balance
THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE -study, meditate, seeking God
FAITH -believe God, trust and obey
THE WORD OF GOD -the Holy Bible is the expressed word and will of God
PRAYER -you have not because you ask not in faith, believing
WATCHFULNESS -watch lest you fall into temptation and hurtful lusts

John 13:17
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

You can be strong and of good courage, if you will follow the instructions given in the word of God. These things have been written for our instruction.

If you disregard these instructions, you will suffer for your sins.
If you obey these instructions, you will have peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:17-19
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

If you are weak and fearful, you need to experience the love of God that removes fear. The fear of God’s punishment is tormenting to the mind and soul.
Perfect love casts our fear, because it brings confidence in your relationship with God.

You must first have the grace of salvation before you can grow in grace.
You must first repent of doing it your way before you can enjoy doing it God’s way.
Jesus Christ has paid the price for your strength and your victory.
He invites you to come to Him and receive of His mighty power.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

The answer to this question has escaped the attention and recognition of many saints of God and yet the answer is very clearly stated in the scriptures.

Because this question has not been answered in the mind of many people they have concluded that God is not a just and loving God. Many have not obeyed because they do not trust. They do not trust because they have believed a lie of Satan.

It is the responsibility of the church and the ministry to dispel lies and darkness with the light of truth. However, if the church is weak and full of doubt, they will not be able to help those who are lost. They will not be able to help those who are sick and afflicted.

John 9:1-3
1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

What is the obvious conclusion of this passage of scripture?
Can anyone deny that God allowed this man to be born blind for the express purpose that Jesus would come and heal him? What was the final conclusion to this blind man’s condition?

John 9:35-38
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

Which has greater value the problem or the solution to the problem?
I believe that the joy of being healed far outweighed the sadness of his years of blindness.
This man was healed because Jesus had faith.

God allows bad things to happen to good people, to innocent people, so that the power and goodness of God can be manifested. When bad things happen to innocent children where is your faith to touch God with their affliction? It is the will of God to deliver them. If thou canst believe. Where is your faith? Why do you blame God when it is you that has no faith?

This condition ought to be obvious to everyone. People do not obey God. They live after their own way and do not keep the commandments of God and then they blame God for bad things happening to good people. Where is your faith and where is your obedience?

Matthew 9:27-29
27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.
28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

Thirty-two times from Acts to James we are told that all these things happen “BY FAITH.”

During times of apostasy and sleepiness and lukewarmness, faith falls to a disabling low.

Acts 4:8-10
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

The miracles of God, which include divine healing and divine protection, are present or absent in conjunction with the presence or absence of faith in God.

James 5:14-16
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Psalms 103:1-6
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

Matthew 8:16
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:

Acts 5:14-16
And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

Acts 28:8-9
And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.
9 So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:

I want to quickly read to you from ten different passages of scriptures what happens when people have faith in God.

Matthew 9:22, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.”

Matthew 15:28, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. “

Mark 5:34, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”

Mark 10:52, “And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. “

Luke 7:50, “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

Luke 17:19, “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.”

Luke 18:42, “Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.”

Luke 22:32, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

Philemon Verse 6, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”

James 2:18, “shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

Romans 9:30-33
30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Hebrews 10:35-39
35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

If you have cast away your confidence, your faith, where then is your “great recompence of reward?” If you cast away your confidence, you lose your reward.

If the church is weak in faith, what will happen to all the people who need to be healed?
What will the world think when the misfortunes of life are the same in the church as happen in the world? Whose fault is it that people are not healed and miracles are rare?

When bad things happen to good people, and to bad people, where is the power of God to show that God is a God of love and of great power to save and deliver us?

The gospel has not changed. The message of truth has not changed. The power of God has not changed. What has changed? The faith of the people has changed, it has become weak and ineffectual. We must rise up and take hold of faith.

Mark 16:15-18
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 .They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

When bad things happen to good people and to bad people, God wants His children to come to their rescue with the faith in God which moves mountains.

Hebrews 11:33-35
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

And when we do not understand the way the Lord may choose, we endure to the end knowing that there is a great recompense of reward to all those who trust in the Lord. Afflictions, persecutions and even death are not to be feared. The solution to our problems is of much greater value than the problem.

Do not complain to me about the suffering of innocent children when you have crucified afresh the most Innocent Person who ever lived on this earth. Those who complain the loudest are those who have crucified Christ as the scriptures says, “…they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” If you are truly concerned about the welfare of the innocent, then repent of your sins, have faith in God and let the goodness and power of God flow through you to those in need.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

CHRISTIAN COMMUNICATION

OUR DUTY TO VISIT ONE ANOTHER

It is my belief that Satan has worked a work among us which has caused us to spend too little time with one another. The Bible teaches us to exhort one another and encourage each other with wholesome words. It is encouraging and it is a strength to our souls to hear each other’s testimony of what God has done for us.

Hebrews 10:24-25
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Does this “assembling of ourselves together” apply exclusively to going to church on Sunday and Wednesday? Matthew 18:19-20, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

When you meet privately in your homes, make sure you are gathered together in “Christ’s name” to do His work and for the purpose of His praise and glory. There is an opportunity for both a blessing and a danger with any assembly. If your heart is right, there will be a blessing. However, if someone present in the assembly has a bad attitude or purpose, there is a danger.

1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Communicate defined as: NT:2842 GREEK koinonia (koy-nohn-ee'-ah); from partnership, (social) intercourse, monetary benefaction: KJV - communicate, communion, distribution, fellowship.

Christians have a duty to care for the needs of one another, materially, emotionally and spiritually. Satan wants us to be so busy with our own lives that we don’t take time to meet the needs of others.

Hebrews 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

The word communicate here carries the same definition as in the previous text.
As the family of God we have a duty to each other to communicate in the full meaning of the word. Talking and sharing with a holy desire to bless and encourage others.

Acts 17:10-12
10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

It is good to study the scriptures with others. We need private study and group study. We learn from the wisdom and experience of one another. None of us knows everything, but collectively we have much knowledge. We need to listen to one another and consider their words. We must speak with a holy desire to increase in the wisdom of God and the understanding of righteousness.

Acts 2:46-47
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.

There is a significant difference in the learning environment of the local congregation and the relaxed atmosphere of the home.

Ecclesiastes 5:1, “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear,” Although we do not have a program which dictates the exact order of our services, we do have a more formal structured environment than an open Bible study in a home. There is not as much liberty to express your questions and understanding in the assembly of the congregation.

The assemblies of the church have great value and are vital for the spiritual growth of the people. But we should not neglect the work of personal visitations.

Acts 20:18-21
18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul went house to house teaching and exhorting the people. We need to do that today. We need the informal interaction which gives the saints opportunity to ask questions and have their specific needs met. One of our greatest needs is the friendship of fellowship. God did not make us solitary people. King David said it this way in Psalms 68:6, “God setteth the solitary in families…” God takes the lonely person and puts him in the family of God. And King David went on to say that the sinner dwells in a dry place. In their crowded parties, sinners suffer from loneliness.

Let us not forget there is a danger to private assemblies. Unsanctified people are prone to ask foolish questions and make hurtful statements. Be careful that what you say in private can be repeated in public.

1 Timothy 5:11-15
11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

This applies to both young men and young women. It applies to everyone of every age. Don’t let your private assemblies turn into gossip parties. It is the fear of this danger that has led to the neglect of this important role of visiting one another.

I have heard pastors express that they would rather do all their counseling from the pulpit than to get into difficult private conversations. I believe that the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom, grace and divine leadership to meet the personal needs of those whom God has placed under our ministry. To meet this need will take an uncommon measure of prayer and fasting.

James 1:27
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Can you consecrate yourself to visit those in need and keep yourself unspotted from the world? Can you visit without gossiping? Can you visit without speaking evil of another person?

Can you visit without becoming dogmatic in your discussions? Dogma is “a doctrine or body of doctrines of theology and religion formally stated and authoritatively proclaimed by a church.” Can you be careful to not to use your opinions to judge and condemn those who do not have the same understanding?

Matthew 25:41-45
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

We understand that every church member can not visit every sick person. But someone in the church needs to be caring for and visiting that sick person or that person in need whom God has placed under the care of the family. Much of this duty will be that of the pastor of the local congregation. Although, it is certain that each member will have opportunity to meet the needs of others. There are plenty of opportunities for all of us to work and visit those who need us.

Are you measured to the holy standard for Christian Communication?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What is the basis for fellowship?

Has Jesus Christ purchased the church of God with His own blood? YES!

Does the church of God belong to Christ and none other? YES!

Does a faith in Jesus Christ coupled with godly sorrow and repentance bring salvation? YES!

Is salvation, being born again the basis for Christian fellowship? YES!

Do Christians grow in knowledge and grace at different measures of time? YES!

Does the light of truth possessed by one person condemn another who has not yet received that light? NO!

Is it possible that your judgment of another person’s understanding could be erroneous? YES!

When is it possible to judge another person as being guilty of willful disobedience to God?

Answer: 1. When the person voluntarily confesses his disobedience without the coercion of either Satan or any other external adversary.
2. When the Holy Spirit reveals and exposes the sinful heart with two or more worthy witnesses.

Sin separates man from God. Sin separates men from each other. Sin is the cause of division.

Holiness is the absence of rebellion and disobedience. Holiness is the state of an innocent heart which is kept by the grace of God from every sinful motive, action and attitude.

To charge another person with sin, the one judging must have infallible knowledge of the heart condition of the condemned.

To falsely charge someone with sin is an error that no Christian should make. It is evidence of a lack of patience, longsuffering and the essential guidance of the Holy Spirit. A person who falsely condemns another person of sin is in great danger of being condemned himself.

Sin, willful and knowing disobedience, is the initiation of division. Sin separates. The person who commits sin initiates the division.

The church of God is not divided; neither can division exist in the church.

However, when a Christian commits sin, he divides or separates himself from the body of the church. The children of God do not initiate the separation. The sinner initiates the division by reason of his disobedience.

Friday, February 4, 2011

When is Separation Right

Carefully consider this scripture and may the Holy Spirit give you understanding.

Acts 19:8-12
And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Notice that for three months Paul worked with the Jews and ministered to them in their synagogue. But, when a number of the Jews took a position of opposition to the truth AND BEGAN TO SPEAK EVIL OF THAT WAY Paul separated the true disciples from the opposers and limited his teaching to the school of one Tyrannus.

According to this example, we can work with those with whom we may disagree until one side begins to speak evil of the other side. It is possible to have unity of the spirit without having unity of the faith. However, when the spirit of individuals become adversarial and they begin to speak evil of those with whom they disagree, there can be no unity at all.

Brotherly love, mercy and grace will help us to endeavor to come to the same understanding with those whom we have a disagreement. But if one side begins to speak evil of the other side, there can be no endeavoring, only separation. Speaking evil of another person brings about a definite division. Paul labored with the Jews at Ephesus for months until they began to speak evil of the way of truth. This public declaration that Paul and his teaching are evil brought about a separation.

How many divisions have occurred in the church of God congregations in America because one side begin to speak evil of the other side? One side begins to condemn in judgment instead of endeavoring to teach and exhort to believe the truth. How often have misunderstandings led to “a sin charge” when no willful sin was committed? How often have individuals been cut off when their motives and attitudes have been misinterpreted?

It is a serious matter to judge another person to be a sinner when they profess to be sincerely serving God. Wisdom would teach us that we should endeavor in love and longsuffering until the Holy Spirit reveals the attitude of the heart with strong evidence and proof.

Proverbs 14:29, “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”

Proverbs 29:20, “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.”

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.”

Romans 14:1-7
14 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

Galatians 5:14-16
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.