Wednesday, May 29, 2013

THE CHURCH OF GOD ONE BODY IS

 Once again, I have a heavy burden to speak to you about the church of God, the Bride of Christ.  She is the most precious organization upon this earth and in all this world.   

The church of God is not the same as a congregation.

The church of God is not a sect or a denomination.

The church of God is not limited to a particular group or fellowship.

The church of God is not ruled by a man or a group of men.

 A congregation may have hypocrites in it, but the church of God does not.

A congregation may be ruled by a man, but the church of God is not.

A congregation may be religious, but not be Christian.

The membership of a congregation may be controlled by men, but the members of the church of God are all holy and live without sin in this present world. 

The only scriptural difference between the church of God and the Kingdom of God is that the church of God in particular refers to the children of God who are alive in this time world.  Whereas, the Kingdom of God includes both those who are yet alive in this world and all those who have died in the faith. 

According to the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and Dictionary, the word “church” is translated from the Greek word “ekklesia” and means:

 “a calling out, i.e. a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation, a Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both.”

Personally, I do not recall reading any scripture which specifically refers to saints in heaven as being identified by the term “church”.  However, this is a very small and unimportant distinction because the saints in heaven are part of the same “body” as the saints upon this earth.  As the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:10, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”

The song poet said, “The church of God one body is”

The apostle Paul wrote often of the church of God as “one body.”

Romans 12:1-10
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

 
Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The church of God is “one body.”
It can not be divided.  If it could be divided, it would fall.
A person can be separated from the church, then he is no longer part of the church.

Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 12:25
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

Mark 3:24-25
24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

Luke 11:17
But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.

1 Corinthians 1:10-13
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

We must keep in mind that there will be different levels of knowledge and understanding.  The reality of this spiritual learning and teaching process which occurs among the children of God, there will be disagreements.  These disagreements should be temporary and submitted to the Holy Spirit for correction.  These disagreements should not cause division.  If division occurs, then sin has been committed and that person who commits the transgression is no longer part of the church which is the body of Christ. 

THE SPIRITUAL FAILURE OF A CONGREGATION

What is apostasy?

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
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.

I want to draw your attention to the verse three and the term “falling away”.  This word comes from the Greek NT:646  apostasia (ap-os-tas-ee'-ah); feminine of the same as NT:647; defection from truth (properly, the state) ["apostasy"]:

Is there such a condition in certain congregations where “apostasy” has taken place?  Have people ever defected from the truth?  What do people do when they defect from the truth?  They once preached the truth and obeyed the truth and now they have quit preaching the truth and they have quit obeying the truth.  This is apostasy. 

This is what the prophet Isaiah was talking about when he wrote what the Lord told him to write in:
 
Isaiah 1:18-27,
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
24 Therefore saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies:
25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:
26 And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.
27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

There are certain men and women who have once know the way of truth, and who have defected from the truth.  They were part of the virgin bride of Christ, now they have become a harlot, because they have left their true husband, Jesus Christ, and entered into a relationship with Satan, who has deceived their soul.

What is the proper attitude of the church toward these who have apostatized? 

We treat them like the Bible tells us to treat them.

2 Timothy 2:24-26
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Not all of the ministers who call themselves “church of God pastors” have operated according to the counsel of this divinely inspired scripture.  There have been too many men and women in church of God congregations who have been hasty and unwise in their “cutting off” those who do not have the same understanding on some doctrinal position. 

It is possible to lose your own salvation if you treat another child of God unjustly and without the love of God.  It is the Love of God which makes the children of God peacemakers.  If you have rules without love, then you have a form of godliness without power. 

Satan has snared many pastors and ministers by causing them to take the “letter” of the laws of God and using them to “kill” instead of endeavoring in the “Spirit” of unity to effect a restoration and reconciliation.  Some have neglected their duty to fulfill their responsibility in the ministry of reconciliation. 

2 Corinthians 5:17-19
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

The ministry of reconciliation will gather God’s people together.  The work of Satan is to divide and scatter.

Psalms 50:1-6
1 The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
3 Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
4 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.

Matthew 12:30
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

Do you (minister, pastor, teacher, child of God) have the grace to participate in the gathering of God’s people?  Can you fellowship someone who has repented of their sins and is justified by the blood of Jesus Christ, without condemning them because they do not have the same doctrinal understanding as you?  

Pray for one another.  Let brotherly love continue.

May the glory and power of God come down from heaven upon His people once again in these last days.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

CAMP MEETING - WHITE PINE, TENNESSEE


CAMP MEETING

THE CHURCH OF GOD

AT DOUGLAS LAKE

185 HWY 25E

WHITE PINE, TN 37890

 

JUNE 9-16,2013

10:A.M. & 2:30 P.M. & 7:00 P.M.

Daily Time of Services

Breakfast—Lunch—Supper

Served Daily

 

CALL 865-256-1445 FOR INFORMATION
 
It is the prayer of the people that each person who attends this fellowship meeting will come with the burden of endeavoring for the unity of the Spirit.  We do not desire to advance an ecumenical compromise, but rather a burden borne of peace and love to fellowship every blood-washed child of God.  Although agreement on the doctrines of the church of God is essential for growing in grace and knowledge, doctrine is not the cornerstone of fellowship.  The cornerstone of fellowship is a true experience of salvation, holiness, deliverance from sin and living free from sin.  With the experience of true salvation comes the love of God which binds our hearts together in sweet, peaceable fellowship. 
 
May the healing of many divisions begin with those whose hearts have been made pure by the love of God. 
 


Galatians 5:22-25
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
COME AND SEE!!!

 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

GREAT GRACE


Grace is the divine influence of God in action.

Grace cannot be produced by any man.

Grace is the power in changing a sinner into a saint.

Grace is the power in divine healing.

Grace is the power in casting out devils.

Grace is the power in raising the dead.

Grace is the power which changes natural science into miracles.


We need grace when we need God to change and influence our situation.

Grace takes what little resource we have and multiplies it into what is sufficient for any need. 

Matthew 14:15-20
15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
18 He said, Bring them hither to me.
19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

The five loaves and two fishes were insufficient to meet the need, but then there was grace.  When Jesus brought the grace of God to influence the conditions the insufficient became miraculously sufficient. 

When what you possess is insufficient, can you pray and believe that Jesus will provide what is lacking?  We sing the song “He is Just the Same Today”. Do you believe the words of that song?  

2 Corinthians 3:3-6
3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Our sufficiency is of God.  It is His divine grace working in our life which meets every need we have.  There is no lacking with God.  He is able to supply every need. 

Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

We have conditions in our lives when what we possess is insufficient to meet the need.  We need grace.  Everyday, we need grace.

Luke 8:43-48
43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him and how she was healed immediately.
48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

This woman had a serious need.  The doctors and physicians were unable to help her.  They had neither the knowledge nor the ability to cure what was wrong in her physical body.  But grace came and she was made well.  She was healed.  Nothing but the grace of God could in an instant of time change her condition.  She went from sick to healthy in an instant of time by the grace of God. 

God still wants to do that for His people.  And if we have the same pure faith that this woman had we will receive the same grace. 

Why do we not see more frequent manifestations of God’s grace in our congregations?  It is because we are not prepared to believe, trust, obey and wait upon the Lord.  We have too many alternatives available, so that if God does not act quickly, we turn to the arm of men and we put our hope in men’s ability.  We are in the Laodicean church age with all of its human influences which work against God’s divine influence. 

The apostle John describes this spiritually tepid condition.

Revelation 3:14-19
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

We have been surrounded by spiritually lukewarm religious people for many years.  If we want God’s grace to be more evident in our lives, there must be some repenting.  The Holy Ghost has rebuked and chastened many saints to move them out of their lukewarm condition.  Some have moved up to higher ground and enjoyed the blessings of God’s grace.  Most have just rolled over and gone to sleep.  They did not take advantage of their day of visitation.  I am convinced that there is a great need of folks repenting and asking God to bring grace back into their life. 

Acts 12:1-9
1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
The saints did not have the power to deliver Peter out of prison.  Peter could not free himself.  But God came and influenced the situation. By His power and by His grace, the chains fell off of Peter.  By His grace the prison doors opened. 

6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
Peter thought he was having a good dream.  He thought he was having a vision of his future deliverance.  But God’s grace made it a present reality. 

The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi these words of encouragement: 

 Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

It is grace which empowers the child of God to do all things: to resist temptation, to stand against the scoffers and opposers, to wait on God during the fiery trial. 

Grace converts people from sinners to saints.
Grace sanctifies people by the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Grace is available in every time of need for the child of God, if thou canst believe.

Acts 9:1-3
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

Paul was doing things his way, until grace came and changed his mind, his heart and his purpose. 

Acts 9:17-18
17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Paul was moved by grace to do what the Holy Ghost instructed him to do. 
By grace Paul was converted.
By grace Paul changed his course.
By grace Paul was sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost.
By grace Paul received his sight back.
By grace Paul became a mighty man of God to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to many people. 

God’s grace will change me and you if we will humble ourselves and ask God to forgive us of our lukewarmness and go forth diligently obeying the voice of God. 

How much grace do you have? 
Are you willing to grow in grace?

2 Peter 3:14-18
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.   

God wants to give you His grace.   You need it.  
You cannot succeed without the gift of God’s grace.  

The power and glory of God comes with His grace.
If there is no grace, there will be no glory and no power.  

If there is little grace, there will be little glory and power.
If there is great grace, there will be great glory and power.

Acts 4:31-33
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

My prayer for myself and you and the church is that we all will humble ourselves before God and obtain a greater measure of His grace that we may be a greater witness of His power for His glory.