Sunday, January 26, 2014

THE HOLY TRINITY


It is my desire to share with you the truth of the Holy Trinity which is comprised of our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. These three persons have absolute and perfect unity which cannot and never shall be divided.  Unfortunately, this subject is not correctly understood by all individuals who profess to be Christian.  A failure to understand the truth of the Holy Trinity will result in confusion about Their relationship to mankind and the entire plan of salvation.  The profound nature of divine unity has been obscured to the minds of people who walk in the spiritual darkness of false religion. 

It is good to be reminded of these truths lest we forget them.  We have a sure witness in the Word of God which confirms that there are three different personalities or three different persons in the Godhead of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We desire to share those scriptures which testify of this truth.  It is not only good that you understand this subject but also be able to give an answer to anyone who should ask you about this subject. 

God, the Father, has made it so clear that there exist such perfect unity between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, it is recorded in the scriptures that they are “one”.   Satan, being the master of deceit and the father of lies, has used, and continues to use, this expression of oneness and unity to confuse people and lead them to not recognize these three persons of the Godhead. 

It is insufficient to believe in God only.  We must also believe in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  We must recognize them individually and understand their relationship to us in the divine plan of salvation.  Listen to the words of Jesus as recorded in John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

Let us look at some scriptures which confirm and identify the existence of these three persons of the Godhead. 

1 John 5:5-7
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

What is the meaning of the phrase “these three are one”?

Matthew 19:4-6
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

What is the meaning of the phrase “they twain shall be one flesh”?

Are you and your wife one flesh, or does God bind you together as one flesh in unity and oneness?  You are not one body, but you ought to be of one mind and purpose.  Your unity ought to be so strong that you are inseparable and when we hear the words of one, we hear the words of the other.  Even if the wife disagrees in her mind with her husband, she ought to submit to his final decision so that unity is never broken.  This unity can only exist in that relationship where both the husband and wife are in subjection to the commandments of God.

The words of the prophet Jeremiah has surely come to pass in our day:  Jeremiah 31:22, “How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.”  This word “compass” is translated from the Hebrew word, OT:5437  cabab (saw-bab'); a primitive root; to revolve, surround, or border; used in various applications, literally and figuratively (as follows):  bring, cast, fetch, lead, make, walk, whirl, round about, be about on every side.”

When Christ is not the head of the man, then the man is not qualified to be the head of the woman.  In our world today, many men and women have lost their head and are no longer in submission to the law of God.  If you have lost your head, it may be difficult for you to fully understand the unity of the Godhead.

Just as the husband and wife are one flesh, so also are the three persons of the Trinity one Spirit.  In the family of God, there must be unity and no division.

Matthew 7:21
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Jesus speaks of His Father as someone separate from Himself.  This fact is confirmed by many scriptures. 

Matthew 18:18-20
18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 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.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
 
Jesus repeatedly refers to His Heavenly Father as someone who is a different person and as someone to whom He is in submission.  Listen carefully to this next scripture.

Matthew 26:36-39
36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Jesus is asking for permission to avoid drinking this bitter cup which He is about to drink at Calvary.  He submits to the will of His Father.  His will is submitted to the will of His Father.  If He and the Father were the same person, then there could be no act of submission.  The word “submit” means to yield to another’s authority. 

If Jesus was talking to himself about himself we have a dichotomous (contradictory) conversation where appearance and fact are opposed to each other.  That would be deception.  Jesus is no deceiver. 

Matthew 3:13-17
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Jesus recognized His Heavenly Father; and His Heavenly Father recognized Him as His Beloved Son.  I am a father and I am a son; but I am not the father of myself.  Jesus was not His own Father.

Mark 9:2-8
2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.
5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.
7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.

The disciples witnessed the presence of both the Father and the Son.  They report that they were present at the conversation of two different persons. 

2 Peter 1:16-18
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

The apostles did not forget what they witnessed in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Many years later, they are recording the facts of that experience. 

If we have successfully set before you firm evidence of the existence of the Father and the Son as separate persons, then we ought to be able to help you accept that there are also three persons in the Trinity of the divine Godhead.  We have a clear statement in our opening text. 

1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

These three are in perfect unity of thought and purpose.  They never disagree on any subject or issue.  The Holy Ghost has been given to us to teach and remind us of those things which the Father and the Son have commanded. 

John 15:24-27
24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
 
The Holy Spirit is the comforter, whom we have received from the Father, whom was sent by the Son.  If the English language has any meaning at all, if words have any consistent definitions, then it must be acknowledged that there is a Holy Trinity which consists of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. 

“Both” still means two; and these two sent another whom is called the Comforter.  The Holy Spirit is sent by Christ, from the Father, to the children of God to bear witness of both the Father and the Son. 

John 14:16-17
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Jesus Christ is our Comforter and the Holy Spirit is another Comforter whom our Heavenly Father has given to us to help us stay saved and keep the victory over Satan.  The word “another” is used to refer to an additional person or thing of the same type as one already mentioned or known about. 

Jesus said that “the world cannot receive” the Spirit of truth, which is the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit.  We know that the world can receive Jesus Christ.  That is what repentance and justification is all about.  When we receive the mind of Christ, the Spirit of Christ, we will be like Him.  We will be holy and pure because we have ceased from sin and do the will of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As a child of God and having the mind and Spirit of Christ we become eligible to receive another Comforter, if we will ask God for the gift of the Holy Spirit just as we did ask for the gift of Jesus Christ. 

In conclusion:
Do you know the three persons of the Holy Trinity and do they know you? 
If you are not living in obedience to their commands, they do not know you. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

WHAT BURDEN?


 
What burden?
Do you have a burden?
Do you understand what having a burden means?
What is “the burden of the Lord?”
What is “the burden of unsanctified men?”

The dictionary definition of the word “burden” is:  a heavy load or weight.  Do you have a heavy load or weight upon your soul, your mind and your conscience for the salvation of souls?  If you do, you will be consistently mindful of your duty and the work of the Kingdom of God?  Or, is your burden entirely about your need for material things and pleasures of this world?

When a person has a “burden” it will occupy a high priority in their daily life.  It will be a matter of sincere prayer for some precious soul.  It will not seek for revenge, retaliation, retribution.  It will be motivated by loving mercy and for the purpose of obtaining redemption, grace, healing and blessings.

I think that some people believe that they have an acceptable burden when they pray for others, if they shed tears when they pray.  Tears are often accompanied with a heavy burden; however, with some individuals, they are merely the physical results of an emotional state of mind.  The tears of saints, who labor in prayer under a Holy Ghost inspired burden, are precious to God and will not be forgotten. 

What doth the Holy Scriptures say?    

Jeremiah 23:29-35
29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.
33 And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.
34 And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.
35 Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken?

So I must ask you and I must ask myself this question:  What hath the LORD answered?  What hath the LORD spoken? 

The Lord was telling Jeremiah to let the people know that He had no burden to work with them any longer.  The people did not have a burden for God’s work.  They were a rebellious and disobedient people and His mercy toward them was past.  The people were just playing church and God was not playing.  God had come to the place where He was ready to forsake them. 

If you lose your burden for God’s work then He may no longer have a burden for your soul and your needs.  If you have no burden for the work of God, why should God have any burden to show mercy to you? 

1 Corinthians 10:1-12
1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Here, in the New Testament, we have a witness that God has not changed.  These warning are given to us in this New Testament letter to the Hebrews for our instruction and learning.  When people play church, God is not going to tolerate their foolishness.

I want you to notice what Moses said of the people in his day and compare it with what you see in congregations today.

Exodus 32:6
And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

PLAY: SEC: NT:3815  paizo (paheed'-zo); from NT:3816; to sport

The service of God is no light matter.  People go through a form of serving God and worshipping God without any sincerity and then they turn to their entertainment with no burden for the salvation of souls.  Too many people are more interested in sporting than they are in salvation. 

Matthew 22:34-40
34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
 
Verse 35 gives us insight to the motive and attitude of these people who were asking Jesus question, not for the purpose of learning righteous principles.  These religious people were not interested in learning or understanding spiritual truths.  They were more interested in trying to trap Jesus and catch Him in some error than they were in learning truth.  Many people today will gladly argue with you about the scriptures but they have no real desire to know what is true so that they can keep the commandments of God.

Matthew 12:9-10
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.

Did these people want to know the meaning of the laws of God?  Did they have a burden to grow in knowledge, wisdom and grace?  Did they want to learn so that they could obey?  No, they only wanted to find some subject in which they could accuse Jesus. 

Mark 7:1-9
1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Some people are more interested in finding fault than they are in finding help from God.  Some are more interested in finding a reason to accuse than they are in learning why another person acted a certain way. 

The only laws some people what to keep are the laws they make for themselves and they expect you to submit to their laws. 

Why do you ask questions?
What attitude is motivating the question?
Are you willing to give serious consideration to thoughts and spiritual understanding that may be different from your present beliefs?

Although we should not be tossed about with every wind of doctrine, we should be mature enough to examine what someone has to say without being deceived with some false doctrine.

Do you have a spiritual burden for the work of our Lord Jesus Christ?
If you have been called and chosen, have you consecrated yourself to do the perfect will of God?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

THE CHRISTIAN WIFE

Our burden today is to study the Word of God so that we can know what God wants to teach us concerning wives and women in the church of God.  We do know that God is no respecter of persons.  We also must acknowledge that not all members of the body of Christ, which is the church of God, have the same function or responsibility. 

The definition of “equality” is: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.  Has God ordained and established equality among all His children, men and women?  The answer is obviously NO.  We do not have equal talents, skills, abilities, muscles, brains, etc.  We do not have equal assignments in the home.  However, we do all have the privilege of knowing God and His mercy. 

Galatians 3:26-29
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
 
Does this true statement which the Apostle Paul has made, make us all equal in every respect?  I am very confident that the statement in verse 28 is in relation to the following statement made in verse 29.  Regardless of your nationality or gender, if ye be Christ’s, then you are heirs according to the promise.  God is no respecter of person and you alone are the ultimate keeper of your soul.  You have the ability to obey the commandments of God; and, you have the ability to disobey the commandments of God.  No man has dominion over your faith, unless you give them that dominion.

However, the Word of God has made it plain to understand that there are some social and organizational differences in the roles of men and women.  It is our duty to study and understand. 

Matthew 19:5-6
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
 
Does a husband and wife become one flesh?  Are they no longer two separate individuals?  In the eyes of God they are one body and one flesh.  They are not separate individuals.  In Holy Matrimony, they have been coupled together and should operate as one flesh.  They should function in all their social and marital relationships as one body.  Because of their love for each other and their vows made before God, they have united in holy matrimony to honor and cherish each other until death parts them from each other. 

1 Corinthians 7:1-5
1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
 
Paul recognizes that it is better to be single than to be married as pertaining to the work of the Kingdom of God.  A single person can give themselves wholly to the work of the Kingdom.  A married person must give time and resource considerations to their spouse and children. 

1 Corinthians 7:10-16
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
 
A single person is free to marry whomsoever they will only in the Lord.  A child of God should marry another child of God.  God does not want His children to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  However, if your spouse backslides, that is not a justification for divorce.  A Christian husband may by his holy and loving conduct save his wife.  A Christian wife may by her holy and loving conduct save her husband. 

1 Corinthians 7:27
Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.
 
As Elder Willie Gordon would say, “It is better to be single than to wish you were single.”  An unmarried person has only the Lord to please.  Paul’s instruction here is given only to those who have the grace of God to be single.  If you have a burning desire to be married, you should seek the companion which God would give to you and be married.  The apostle Paul also said, “It is better to marry than to burn.” 

Ephesians 5:23-31
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
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.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
 
Jesus Christ is the bridegroom, the husband; and, the church of God is the bride, the wife.  Is the church equal to Christ in every duty and responsibility?  The answer is NO!  Can the church disagree with Christ and overrule His judgment?  Again, the answer is a definite NO!

Genesis 3:16, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

 
The judgments of God which were pronounced against the Serpent, against Eve and against Adam, were not for that serpent only or for Eve only or for Adam only.  The consequences for their disobedience has fallen upon all serpents since that time; and upon all women since that time; and upon all men since that time. 

God made the man and the woman to compliment one another.  They are meant to be workers together and inseparable.  But God did not set them to be equal in every sense.   He did say to Eve and to all generations of women who were to follow her that in their relationship to their husband, “…he shall rule over thee.”  God made woman the helper and man the ruler.  When people in any society get out of the order set by God, they will cause problems.  

Ephesians 5:23-31 is still a rule and a standard which has been set by Jesus Christ.  Read it again:

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

The husband must honor and respect the wife.  She is a helpmeet to him.  She can provide valuable advice from a feminine perspective.  However, she does not have veto power over the decisions of her husband.  In the absence of sin, the wife should submit to her husband in everything.  The wife is never expected to submit to her husband in any manner that would cause her to violate her conscience and commit sin. 

1 Timothy 2:9-15
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
 
These are strong words in our social relationships today.  Many women resent any implication that they are to be in subjection to their husband.  They strongly object to these scriptural restrictions.  In many relationships, the woman believes that she is superior to the man and that he should submit to her instead of her submitting to him.  Satan has succeeded in disrupting the godly homes with children usurping the authority of the parents and the wife usurping the authority of the husband.  Also, in many cases, the husband has neglected his duties and responsibilities which have compounded the family disorder. 

We need to learn what the will of God is and be busy attending to the rules of God for the marriage and home.  If we do not understand what the will of God is; then, I am sure He wants to teach us.  God has given us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things.  Some people do not have the Holy Spirit and it is evident in their attitudes and actions.  Some people are not listening to the Holy Spirit and this also is evident in their attitudes and actions.

There are serious relationship deficiencies in our congregations and our nation.   Godly marriages and godly families are needed to produce godly congregations and a godly nation.  Satan has been very successful in drawing men and women away from the righteous, social characteristics we have set before you in this message. 

In far too many homes the young boys and girls do not have an excellent example of a godly father who takes the time to train them up in the way of the Lord to keep His commandments and to love one another even as Jesus Christ has shown His love to us.  Likewise, in far too many homes the young boys and girls do not have an excellent example of a godly mother who takes the time to train them up in the way of the Lord to keep His commandments and to love one another even as Jesus Christ has shown His love to us.  This father influence is critical to the proper training of the children.  Likewise, this mother influence is critical to the proper training of the children.  The child is known by the way he acts.  The godly family is the strength of the church.

Have we kept the commandments of the Lord; or, have we strayed away from righteous principles that produce congregations strong in faith and power?  I encourage the church to pray for their ministers.  Pray that God will raise up young men and women who are full of the Holy Ghost and able to exercise spiritual discernment.  And how about you?  Pray that God will give you wisdom, understanding and spiritual discernment.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

I am very concerned about the level of spiritual discernment in the true church of God.  Please understand that I am not judging or criticizing any particular person.  The whole body is in need of Holy Ghost help to improve spiritual discernment.  Without spiritual discernment minister, pastors, teachers and saints make hurtful and hindering mistakes. 

Of course my opinion is predicated upon my 67 years of experience.  It is influenced by the actions and attitudes of the ministers who have been my mentors.  It involves all my spiritual experiences, failures, victories, trials and tests.  It involves my excommunication from the Southern/Lakeland Fellowship. 

To this very day, I continue to ask the questions which have not been answered.  How can true minsters who are anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit excommunicate another minister against whom they acknowledged that they had no sin charge and with whom they have had mutual fellowship for over 15 years?

Because I do not believe that the “third earthquake” of the Seventh Seal took place in the 1960 decade; does that make me a sinner and a false prophet?  They say, yes.

Because I temporarily used one month of my tithe to help with an urgent need in Africa; does that make me a robber of God’s tithe?  They say, yes.

Because eight years ago, when a minister asked me if I believed Jesus could come back that very night, I said no.  Does that make me a sinner?  They say, yes. 

The burden for soul winning seems to be declining.

The proper interpretation and understanding of scripture is becoming more and more uncommon.

The desire to fast and pray is seldom mentioned.

The exercise of faith for divine healing is rare.

The ease by which an unsanctified person can lead people away from righteous judgment is disturbing. 

These issues make me ask, “Where is spiritual discernment?”

Last week, a dear child of God called me and shared with me that a particular minister, whom I will not name, called and led them to believe that I taught that their young child who is under 10 years old would go to hell if they died.  AMAZING!!!  Why would any minister who claims to be full of the Holy Ghost make such a false statement?  Thankfully, the person called me and said, “Brother Storts, I just could not believe that you would teach such a doctrine.”  I assured them that I do not teach such a doctrine.  In fact, I have never heard any church of God minster teach the doctrine that a child under the age of accountability would be sent to hell if they died. 

Why would any minister make such a false report?  Did he obey the scripture which commands us to prove all things?  Where was his spiritual discernment?

Spiritual discernment is the ability to know the correct side in a controversy or conflicting sides of an issue.  It is the ability to distinguish the difference between what is right and what is wrong.  This ability can only come by that understanding which is from the Holy Spirit.  It is that Holy Ghost discrimination which enables you to select the right way and avoid the wrong way in the multiple choice decisions of life.

The opposite of discernment is “surmising.”  Human surmising comes from faulty judgment.  If you form a judgment without adequate, factual truths pertaining to the subject issue, then you are surmising.  Surmising shows a lack of God’s assistance, direction and guidance. 

The word “surmise” means to make an “unfounded allegation or charge.”  It is the same as suspicion, mistrust and random conclusion. 

God given discernment comes from the Holy Ghost.  To have true discernment is to be able to lay hold of truth with the understanding of the mind by the help of the Holy Spirit. 

Discernment is that spiritual gift of God which enables a person to make out that which is hidden or obscure. 

1 Corinthians 12:4-11
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
 
You need to pray for the ministry that God would give them the gift of discernment for your profit. 

If the Holy Spirit will help us to be discerning in your situation, we will be able to give you good counsel.  As ministers and helpers in your salvation, we have the responsibility to feed you spiritually with wisdom and knowledge and understanding.  The better we do our job, the more blest you will be.  If we leave you to yourself and to your own way, you will suffer. 

Ezekiel 44:23-24  Speaking of the ministers of God’s people:
23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.

Your pastor is given to you to help you.  Take advantage of the help which God has provided to you. 
·        Can you tell the difference between holy and profane conduct?

·        Can you tell the difference between holy and profane speech?

·        Can you tell the difference between holy and profane thoughts?

·        Can you tell the difference between holy and profane attitudes?

Acts 14:7-10
7 And there they preached the gospel.
8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked:
9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.

Paul perceived that the man had faith to be healed.  Many prayers have failed because the minister failed to perceive a lack of faith.  You need a pastor who can receive understanding from God about your ability to exercise faith.  Jesus asked people if they had faith to believe.  Many people want God to answer their prayers even though they doubt God will answer. 

If you do not have faith for a particular battle, the minister needs to perceive that weakness and be able to instruct you accordingly.  If the minister perceives that you do have faith, he should encourage you to use it.

You can not conjure righteous discernment.  It does not come from within yourself or from any other source except the Holy Spirit.  If the Holy Spirit does not help you discern between good and evil, you will not know the difference, even though you may think you do.

Young people are not well experienced in the exercise of spiritual discernment.  This is why a Bishop should not be so young as to be a novice. 

I was counseling a certain seven year old child and he asked me this question:  Why do children argue with their parents?  He was trying to understand why he argued with his parents when he already knew that he should not argue with his parents. 

The answer to his question involved an explanation of maturity and the carnal state of a child.  Children need to be in subjection to their parents until they are mature enough to make wise decisions with the help of God.  Children will need to learn to suppress their will and submit to the will of their parents.  From time to time you may need to suppress your opinion and submit to the judgment of your pastor.  If you do not have enough faith and confidence in your pastor to trust his counsel, then there are other issues which must be resolved. 

1 Corinthians 2:9-16
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
 
God has not left us without help.  God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us all things.  With God’s help we can solve every problem and win every battle.

Deuteronomy 19:15-20
15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;
17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;
18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
20 And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.
 
How many witnesses do we need?  2 or 3.     
Is one enough?  No.
What is a controversy? 
It is the “agitation of contrary opinions.”

When people have agitated contrary opinions, the person in authority must make diligent inquisition and pass judgment.  Someone must judge between what is right and what is wrong. 

Nehemiah 6:1-9
1 Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)
2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.
3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
4 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.
5 Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;
6 Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.
7 And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.
8 Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.
9 For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

These people were making false charges and false reports about Nehemiah.  They were accusing him of building Jerusalem’s wall so that they could rebel against the Persian King.  They were spreading the report that Nehemiah wanted to set himself up as king.  The accused him of appointing prophets to proclaim him as king. Nehemiah replied: “There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.”

In this life we will meet deceivers and false accusers.  They come against us to stop us from doing the work which God has assigned us to do.  We must discern who they are and why they tell their lies.  We must not believe every report which may come to us.  We must search out every matter and find the truth.  Little errors can lead us into big trouble. 

There are many scriptures which we could read to you that support the teaching which we have given to you today.  Let it suffice that God has provided three witnesses to help you discern between good and evil.
1.   The Word of God
2.   The Holy Spirit
3.   A Pastor  (or in the case of children, a Parent)

By these three avenues of light you can know the truth and the truth will make you free. 

These three witnesses will not be forced upon you.
You must choose to use them and submit to them. 
If you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by evil. 
Do these words agree with the holy scriptures?

God will give you spiritual discernment, if you seek after Him with all your heart.

God may speak to you directly through the Holy Spirit; or, He may speak to you through His Word; or, He may speak to you through a man of God who has been called to be your pastor.

If you want more spiritual discernment; then you must pray for it, study for it, ask for it and humbly listen to the Holy Spirit.