Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Beware of Men's Rules

When men begin to co-mingle their self-serving rules with God’s divine laws there will always be strife and contention.

It is a man’s responsibility before God to make rules for the good of his family. These rules may not be stated specifically in the Holy Scriptures. They must not be in conflict with the Word and the Spirit.

We must not make a personal opinion, or an unscriptural tradition, a test of fellowship. We must not add anything to the rules of God to which we require conformance as a requisite for fellowship.

Example: “It is 9 o’clock, time for all you children to go to bed. We have a rule in this house that the children go to bed at 9 o’clock.” That rule is not in the scriptures but the Holy Spirit will bear witness that it is a good rule. Another family may have the rule that the children go to bed at 10 o’clock. One man does not have the authority or responsibility to tell another man when his children must go to bed, even though he may think it is unwise to allow them to stay up that late.

The same principle applies to a local congregation. One minister may teach and exhort the women in his congregation to wear clothing that has a hem which reaches somewhere between the bottom of the calf of the leg and the ankle. Another minister may teach that mid-calf to the ankle is modest. The Bible principle is that a person’s nakedness (which includes the part of the body above the knee up to the neck) be kept covered at all times.

Some fathers and some ministers set rules which infringe upon the liberty which should be properly allowed certain individual members of the family and congregation. A farmer with a large farm may unjustly require his children to bring their spouse and children to the family farm to maintain the family unity. A pastor may unjustly require new converts to permanently attend the congregation where they sought salvation and not allow them the liberty to labor in God’s Kingdom and in such a secular place of employment as may be acceptable to God.

God’s wisdom and His ways are far above the thoughts of men. When we begin to enforce the rules of men which run contrary to righteousness, we have supplanted the rules of God for the rules of men. Men’s rules form the foundation for traditions which may be so long standing that they become sacred in the minds of those who wish to enforce those traditions.

We could spend hours reviewing manmade rules and comparing their righteousness with the rules of God. When men add their rules to God’s rules, they will encounter situations where their rules do not work. God’s rules always apply to the situation at hand. Men should not be so dogmatic and bound to tradition to enforce an unrighteous rule.

Oftentimes and perhaps in the majority of instances where men establish rules, they do so to protect the integrity and purity of the congregation. However, they may easily overreach their responsibility and authority by making rules which are detrimental to individual members of the congregation. It is a serious injustice to cause a person to lose hope and confidence and consequently backslide over an unjust or unrighteous rule.

Listen to what “thus saith the Lord:”

Deuteronomy 4:2
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:5,6
5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Revelation 22:18,19
18 If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

We have been given a sober warning to not add our rules to God’s rules. You may explain and build upon the precepts of God but do not change the meaning or limits of God’s rules. If the motive for establishing the rule is self-serving, conflict and strife will follow. God's rules are never subject to the changing traditions and customs of this world. Neither should His laws be altered by men's additions or deletions.

Mark 2:23-28
23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?
25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

The Jewish leaders were supposed to be trying to protect the Sabbath day and to keep it holy according to the third commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work.” This law was given to impress upon men the importance of allocating a significant amount of time to worship God and learn His commandments as they are taught to them by the men of God. The sabbath day was not the holiness which needed protection. It was the righteous instructions and the understanding of the hearts of the people which needed protection.

Numerous manmade rules were formed to enforce this commandment. Notice how their rules ran against what was right and good in the following passage where Jesus healed a man who had been impotent for thirty-eight years.

John 5:1-16
5 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

Is it evil to do good on the Sabbath day? According to Jewish leaders the answer is yes, if it is contrary to one of their rules. Their rules would prevent someone from doing the right thing. Jesus made this clear in many of His works. Do you make rules which prevent people from doing the right and wise thing to do?

Luke 13:14-16
14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.
15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

When people break their own rules, it is hypocrisy. Some ministers have imposed rules concerning divine healing upon their congregation and then privately and secretly broken those same rules. Many rules have been formed by men concerning: diet, dress, divorce, discipline, vocation, place of residence, and such like which infringe upon the liberties granted by the Holy Spirit. The church of God stands against sin, rebellion and disobedience to God. We must be careful to not judge a brother who is walking in the light of truth which has been made known to him. You say, “But, he is breaking one of our rules!” Is he breaking one of your rules or one of God’s rules. Yet you say, “One of the rules of God is that he must obey those who have the rule over him.” Not if in his heart he truly believed that the rule is unjust or unrighteous; and, you can’t convince him that you have a clear scriptural base for the rule.

Acts 15:5-12
5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

Why would you provoke God’s displeasure by requiring something which He has not required?
Would you provoke God’s displeasure by casting someone out of the congregation because he does not understand one of your rules; even though in the other areas of his life he is living holy.

Romans 10:1-3
10 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Woe be to that person or pastor who is more concerned for his own reputation and position of authority than he is about the advancement of truth and justice for all persons. The Law of Love, if it is observed, will move a person to compassion and mercy so that he does not exercise the force of a situational rule to maintain his position of authority. The Holy Spirit would have you examine the real purpose for which you demand conformance to a rule which is not set forth by righteous principles.

Matthew 15:1-3
15 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Will God say that to you at the great and final judgment?
In your effort to uphold righteous principles have you established traditions and rules, which indrance to a person’s faith and obedience in the righteousness of God? Do people find justice and mercy in your works?

Mark 7:5-8
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 doctrines 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.

Are you holding to beliefs which are not based on the scriptures?
Are your beliefs which your parents and grandparents taught contrary to scriptures?
Are your beliefs based on the influence of some minister whom you respected even though you can not prove it by the scriptures?
Are you teaching for doctrine the commandments of men?

Colossians 2:6-8
6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

BEWARE OF THESE THINGS: men’s philosophies, vain deceit, traditions of men, and beliefs based on things of the world rather than the word of God.

These works can creep into your spiritual life much easier than most people may think.
They can be the result of teaching and training from your early childhood or your early indoctrination in the congregation where you were saved. The people you first associated with had a great influence on you. It is your responsibility to prove that influence, whether it be righteous or unrighteous.

Titus 1:12-16
12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

If we profess to know God, but we deny him in our works and beliefs, we will be lost forever.
Beware of what you have been taught. Make sure your beliefs are founded on the word of God and the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, January 30, 2017

COME UP HITHER!!!

When the saints, the Christians, the children of God, come together as a congregation to worship God and seek to know His will, it is referred to as a heavenly place. When we come together, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are there to help us, teach us and guide us in the way of holiness. This is a heavenly place. This is not a worldly, secular meeting. We are there to hear from God. We are there to hear the Holy Spirit teach us all things. This is a heavenly place. God is calling you to leave the thought level of the affairs of this world and “come up hither” to this heavenly place and listen to Him.

Revelation 11:12-14
12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
We have a serious spiritual problem in our congregations today. It is caused by people not giving earnest heed to the commandment of God to “come up hither.” The Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit are working together to call people up to higher spiritual ground. God wants us to increase in faith and grow in knowledge and grace. We are called to hear and obey. Are you willing to come up to a heavenly place and learn from God?
The Holy Spirit has chosen that we should focus our attention on this commandment, “Come up hither.”
As we look into the Word of God, it is important that we understand our subject and the people to whom it refers and the time to which it refers.
In verse 12, we see that the commandment is given to a people who ascend up to a heavenly place. We also see that they have enemies watching them. When God's people ascend up to a heavenly place, Satan and his servants will always oppose them.
In verse 13, we note that in the same hour there was a great earthquake.
In verse 14, we note that the second woe is past and the third woe cometh quickly.
By studying The Revelation, we can easily find that there were three woes poured out upon the inhabitants of the earth. There was a woe given in each of the last three Seals. The Fifth Seal, Sixth Seal and Seventh Seal periods of time each have a divine judgment of Woe given in them. Therefore, the commandment to “Come up hither” was specifically given to the Sixth Seal church.
The Sixth Seal saints of God were called to “Come up hither.” They were called up to a heavenly place. A heavenly place is a holy place. It is a place where the Spirit of God works and the people of God live. When the Sixth Seal saints were gathered up to this heavenly place, their enemies saw them and there was a great earthquake.
When God’s people are put on display, their enemies will be watching them. The devil and all his wicked spirits will be ready to oppose the holy people of God. Are you willing to be put on display for your enemies to watch you? There will be a spiritual warfare.
Are you willing to “Come up hither?”
Mount Zion is a high mountain. You do not “come up hither” easily. There are some sacrifices which must be made. Mountain climbers only take with them the few essentials necessary to get to the top of the mountain. You cannot carry everything you own with you.
Mark 10:17-22
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

It appears that this young man had a desire to know the truth; but, when Jesus gave him the call to ”come up hither” he refused to obey because of the cost. Jesus asked the young man to give up all to follow Him. Many people want to be forgiven of their sins. They want to be justified and not condemned. They want to be friends with Jesus. But, when it comes to sacrificing their life to have the life of Christ, they pull back into their self-centered life and refuse to keep all of the commandments of Jesus.
Listen to another parable, which is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning:
Luke 14:16-22
16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

Jesus Christ the Husband of the Bride has prepared a marriage feast for all those who will answer His call to “Come, for all things are now ready.” Do you have time to come to the marriage supper of the King and His Bride? Do you have something more important to do than to “come up hither?” People have all kinds of excuses for not coming to the Bible Study Services. Sister Frances has been faithful to invite people for the last three years and many have come, who were chosen by God to come up hither and hear the true gospel. They were called to come up hither to hear. They heard but they did not want to obey. The same thing happened with people who heard Jesus and the Apostles preach this gospel of holiness. They are in bondage to their sins and they can not imagine being free from sin and all of its bondage and destruction.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.

If you do not answer the call of God to “come up hither” to the marriage supper of the Lamb of God, you will not be able to eat at the spiritual table which has been prepared to make you healthy and strong. To receive God’s blessings you must come up to where He is and to where He has called you. You must lay aside all the things of this world which hinder you from coming up to the heavenly place where God wants you to be.
Romans 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I will ask you and I want you to answer me in the privacy of your mind: What idol, what possession, what desire, what hardship or persecution will cause you to draw back and refuse to answer the call to “come up hither.”

God is calling everyone to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ and His doctrine. Will you answer His call to come up hither to the holiness and righteousness of His Kingdom?

How do you answer His call to come up hither? Except you repent of all your sins, you cannot come up to this heavenly place where Jesus rules His people. Except you add trust and obedience to your repentance, you cannot come up hither. Will you pay the price and answer His call?


Monday, January 23, 2017

Repentance Rejected

Question: When is it too late to repent?
Answer: When the Spirit of God has quit calling you to godly sorrow and repentance.

Some people have sinned away their day of mercy and grace and no longer have an opportunity to be saved. The Bible term for this condition is “reprobate.” The serious meaning of this condition is that although you may cry out to God and try to repent, God will not hear your cry or accept your repentance. This awful truth is given to us in both the Old and New Testaments. Come and study with me and take the warning to not ever come to this condition.

A “reprobate” condition is different from the irrevocable condition of “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” It may be that God would turn from His fierce anger of rejecting your repentance and have mercy on your lost soul. However, if you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, then there is no forgiveness for that sin. Our primary topic for this message is the condition of the reprobate.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines reprobate as: to condemn strongly as unworthy, unacceptable, or evil: to foreordain to damnation: to refuse to accept. Can you acknowledge that there are people who have said “NO” to the call of God too many times and God has foreordained them to damnation before they have come to death's door? It is good that you have enough fear of God that you do not allow yourself to reject God so many times that He rejects you.

Romans 1:28
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

In Romans 1:28 the term REPROBATE is defined as: NT:96 GREEK> adokimos (ad-ok'-ee-mos); from NT:1 (as a negative particle) and NT:1384; unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally): KJV - castaway, rejected, reprobate.

Our God is a sober and serious God. He does not play foolish games with the minds and hearts of His creation, the human soul. He is God and Lord of Lords and Master of the whole earth. He has the authority and right to demand our undivided attention and obedience. He is not the author of confusion. If you will listen to His voice, then He will give you the same counsel every time. He is not always changing His mind or His counsel. Sometimes we have difficulty determining whose voice we are hearing. We must let the Holy Spirit help us discernment what voice we are listening to. We know the one speaking to us by comparing what the voice says with what the Bible says. You must know what the Bible teaches.

When God talks to us, we must listen carefully. Our eternal soul is in the balance of justice. We will not be excused for disobedience.


2 Timothy 3:8
Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

Jannes and Jambres were believed to be Egyptian magicians who resisted the truth and the request by Moses to Pharoah to let the people of Israel go free. The Jewish people passed this story down through their generations. They recognized it is a terrible thing to resist the truth and become a reprobate.

Titus 1:16
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

In the New Testament time and unto this very day, it is a terrible thing to become disobedient and a reprobate. People who are reprobates do obey the truth and they hinder other people from obeying the truth. When the purpose for your study of the Bible is to enable yourself to debate and argue and show yourself superior in knowledge, you are in danger of becoming a reprobate. At all times, our purpose for studying God's word is to gain knowledge, understanding and wisdom to keep the commandments of God. We must be holy, pure, innocent, sincere and diligent in our obedience.

Hebrews 12:15-17
15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Esau despised his brother Jacob. Perhaps he would have killed Jacob if their mother had not sent Jacob away for his protection. Esau's feelings and emotions grew to such an evil state that his hatred for Jacob became the reason their father Isaac would not restore to him the inheritance which rightfully belonged to the firstborn son. God caused Isaac to reject Esau's repentance. The prophet Malachi wrote that God loved Jacob and hated Esau. God still hates evil. If people will not turn from their wickedness and do that which is righteous, then God will hate them because their deeds are evil.

Matthew 21:42-44
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

If a person will humbly fall upon the stone which is Jesus Christ, then they can have a broken and contrite heart which God will honor. Subsequently, God will saved them from their sins. However, if a person refuses and rebels, then this stone will fall upon him and grind him to powder. Some receive God's mercy, some receive God's wrath.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

A castaway is the same as a reprobate. If a child of God does not continue to walk after the Spirit and obey the words of Christ, then he may find himself in the awful condition of being a castaway, a reprobate.

Deuteronomy 28:15-20
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.

To whom will God send such terrible curses? To those who knew His commandments and refused to submit and obey.

Jeremiah 15:6
Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.

When people sin every day and then profess to repent every day, God does not hear their voice. He does not forgive their presumptuous sins. He is weary with repenting which is void of godly sorrow and contrition.
Proverbs 1:24-31
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

If when you pray, you can tell that God is not listening or answering your prayers; then, you ought to fast and pray and cry out to God for mercy. It may be that He will turn from His rejection of you and give you another opportunity to answer His call to repentance.

Matthew 27:1-5
1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

There is a sad desperation when a sinner realizes that God will not hear his prayer for help and forgiveness.

Please don't rebel against God; please don't refuse to listen to God, and come to this awful condition of being a reprobate, a castaway like Judas Iscariot.

NOT MY RIGHTEOUSNESS

Righteousness is not by the work of any man. Righteousness only comes from God. It originates with the holy and perfect God. The righteousness of God's children is a gift from God and is not the product of a man's efforts. The child of God, the saints of God, all the members of the church of God which are the family of God, have an abiding righteousness. They are holy. Their holiness and their righteousness comes from God as a part of the gift of salvation.

Act 10:34-35
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

How does a person work righteousness?
The work of righteousness is not the work of a secular life. It is not the work which we choose to do to please ourselves. The work of righteousness is a spiritual work. It is the work and the fruit of the heart under the control of the Holy Spirit.

We do the work of righteousness:
By believing, trusting, obeying, fasting, praying,
How do we know that we are believing?
By acknowledging and accepting Jesus Christ as the Savior of men and the Son of God.
How do we know that we are trusting?
By submission and patiently waiting on God to guide and instruct us in the truth.
How do we know we are obeying?
By measuring ourselves by the Word of God with a desire to increase in the knowledge of truth.
What is fasting and prayer?
It is the combination of not eating your daily food and spending time asking God for counsel and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 4:3-6
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

What was Abraham's work which resulted in God's acceptance as righteousness? It was his believing. It was his faith. It was not that Abraham walked from the land of Ur to the land of Israel. It was that Abraham believed God and trusted God to guide and provide all he needed in life. It was not the going, but rather the motivation for going. Righteousness is not the action but rather the cause of the action.

Some people do the right thing for the wrong reason. That is not righteousness.
Some people do the wrong thing for a good reason. That is not righteousness.
We must do the right thing for the right reason; then, God counts it as righteous.

1John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

Because righteousness only come from Jesus, never from us.
No man or woman can be righteous without an experience of salvation. You must be born again, regenerated. You must die to self and make yourself a sacrifice to be totally controlled by the revelations and inspiration of God. It is not about you or me; it is about the perfect will of God being done in us.
You can not punish your flesh into righteousness.
You can not earn righteousness by adding rules and requirements to the New Testament gospel of Jesus Christ.
You can not suffer enough to become righteous.

1John 3:1-7
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

If you do the works of righteousness, that action on your part does not make you righteous. It is the approval of Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation which makes you righteous.

Once again, you can not be righteous except by the indwelling of Him that is righteous. It is not your work; but His work which He accomplishes using you and me as an instrument of righteousness. You are not righteous because of what you have done, but because of what He has done with you by your permission.

Revelation 19:7-8
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Who gives a person “fine linen?” How do you obtain “fine linen?”
The fine linen is the righteousness of the children of God. It is a gift from God. When you repent of your sins and turn from all your unrighteousness, all your wickedness, all your sins; then, Jesus gives you a robe of righteousness to wear to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. That wedding garment must be spotless, free from any mar or spot of sin. You can not make your own garment. You can not clean your own garment. It is given, without merit, to those who believe and obey.

Romans 10:1-7
1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

When people try to establish their own righteousness, God sees it as something filthy. God imputes righteousness when people have faith and keep the commandments of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:17-23
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Every person on this earth is in one of two categories. You are either made free from sin and become the servants of righteousness. Or, you are free from righteousness and have become the servants of sin. If you commit sin, you are not righteous. If you are righteous, then you do not commit sin. There is no such thing as a righteous man who commits sin. Neither is there any sinner who is righteous.

Do you have the righteousness which God gives to those who believe and obey?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Walk of Faith

In every aspect and circumstance of the Christian life, we must walk by faith. We must believe God and obey His counsel. If we will exercise the gift of faith, our faith will grow stronger and increase unto victory in every trial and test. Can you believe God and trust Him to guide you through the difficulties of your future life? If you will trust and obey, you can be delivered from all your sins and live in peace and joy all the rest of the days of your life. If you are not saved, you must believe the Word of God concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus has given His life and His blood for the payment of your sins. To be saved and have eternal life, you must repent with a humble, broken and contrite heart. You must make a sincere commitment to obey the commandment of Jesus and trust Him to guide you through the future.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Faith is not a mental or emotional state we work to achieve. Faith only comes from our Heavenly Father. It is a gift from Him to help us accept and submit to the laws and counsel of God. If we will walk by faith and obey what the Holy Spirit teaches us, we will prosper and have an abundant life of peace and joy. This verse tells us that “by grace are ye saved through faith.” Grace is the divine influence and power of God working on your soul to cleanse you from all your wickedness. To be saved you must have faith in God's grace to make you a new person; a born again child of God.

Psalms 34:6-9
6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
9 O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
When a sinner cries out to God for deliverance, God will hear and answer. It is not the will of God than any person be eternally separated from God. If you do not choose to serve God, then by reason of your failure to obey God, you have allowed Satan to be your master and father. By reason of your choices, you will either spend an eternity in Heaven or Hell. Every person is either a child of God or a child of Satan. Each one of us makes that choice for ourselves.

Faith is the response of man to a revelation from God. It is an act of the will of man to believe that the promise and provision of God will become a reality in one’s own experience. We do not have faith in ourselves without God. We do not have faith in others without God.
Faith in God is a personal trust in a personal God. Faith is not some abstract, theoretical, impersonal idea or philosophy. We do not have faith in faith. We have faith in God whom we love because He first loved us.

Matthew 9:27-30
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.
30 And their eyes were opened;
When Jesus asked the two blind men, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” what did it take for them to answer “Yea, Lord.”?
The Greek word which is here translated as “Yea” is a very strong word of affirmation, a positive response of SURELY, EVEN SO, VERILY, OF A TRUTH.
These men believed without any doubt in their mind that Jesus was the Son of David, the promised Messiah. Jesus discerned their faith and gave them what they asked for. He will do the same for us if we can believe without doubting.

Matthew 21:18-22
18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Although most people don't want to admit that they do not have faith without doubting, they do not always have faith. They do not fully believe that they will receive what they ask for. They have some faith and some doubts.

It is very important that you understand that having some doubts about something you have asked God about does not mean that you are not saved and justified from your sins. The disciples were saved men and Jesus reproved them for their little faith. I believe that a person can be fully sanctified and full of the Holy Spirit and because of a lack of understanding have some measure of doubt about God's will to supply what you would like to receive. These doubts are a reflection of your lack of knowledge and understanding, not your experience of salvation.

Mark 4:36-41
36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
It is sometimes difficult for the child of God to fully comprehend the lovingkindness of God who wants to give good things to His children. We are so prone to think of our unworthiness. We forget that God has forgotten the sins of our past. It is hard to believe that He loves us with such a pure love.

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
God is not pleased when we doubt that He will answer our prayer requests.
That does not mean that He has condemned us.
It does not mean that we are not saved.
Jesus was displeased with the lack of faith in His disciples.
We must desire and endeavor to increase in grace and faith.
We must not become indifferent or complacent with having weak faith.
Too many people have given up on the idea of becoming spiritually stronger in faith, stronger in power and stronger in overcoming victory.

2 Peter 1:1-9
1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
God wants us to enjoy the “exceeding great and precious promises” which He has provided for this life. We need to work at doing what verse 5 teaches us. We need to add virtue to our faith. What is virtue? Virtue is manliness, excellence and strength. It is the power to resist the enemy of our soul who is always trying to put doubts in our mind about the will of God and our right to the inheritance of his great and precious promises.
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Have you forgotten that you have been purged from your old sins?
Are you doubting your privilege and right to the inheritance of God's promises?
Jesus told His disciples to “Have faith in God.” We also must have faith in God. He is faithful to do all that which He has promised.