Tag Archive | salvation

The First Essential

The First Essential: Faith by B. E. Echols

B. E. Echols

 

 

 

 

 

 “He that corneth to God must believe” (Hebrews 11:6). The gospel of Jesus Christ cannot become effective in one’s life until he believes it. “For . . . the gospel of Christ . . . is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Romans 1:16). Jesus was careful to put this emphasis upon the gospel message when He delivered the great commission to His apostles, as recorded in Mark 16:15, 16: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Faith Our Purchasing Medium

Faith is “the medium of purchase” in God’s kingdom, the same as currency is in this present world. Without faith we are spiritual paupers and unable to obtain the things we need from God. On the other hand, we can obtain anything God has for us if we can “only believe.” So we read: “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Again our Lord said: “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). It is said that every person possesses a certain amount of faith, though it is often channeled in the wrong direction. Some folk can believe in anything except God, it seems some church folk included (Luke 24:13-15, 25). No wonder Jesus said: “Have faith in God.” The very moment a person can put his faith in God for his needs, he can have them—if he will humbly ask and seek earnestly enough for them (Matthew 7:7-8 and 5:6).

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    Four Essentials Unto Salvation Book Cover

    The above article, “The First Essential: Faith” is written by B. E. Echols. The article was excerpted from the 2nd chapter of Echols’s book Four Essentials Unto Salvation.

     

    The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Posted in AIS CD - Featured Stories, AIS CD - Leadership Resources0 Comments

    Water Baptism

    nathaniel Wilson

     

    By Nathaniel J. Wilson

    The following is an important story about greatness: “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, They say unto him, We are able.”
    Matthew 20:20

    Here is a blatant request for greatness. The bold request is made for dominion, recognition, for which one prepares in a practical, systematic way. One learns the basics, develops beginning skills, is schooled in correct processes and procedures, serves an apprenticeship, then launches into full-scale ministry. There is a place and need for such. However, this is not at the core of greatness in leadership. World-class leaders are not simply efficient technicians. While skills certainly matter, they are, nevertheless, not the ultimate point in question.

    In seeking greatness, James and John are led to baptism and “drinking”—both again connected with water and, in the case of baptism, going down into the deep where there is death, darkness, and uncertainty. All believers are submerged into baptism’s “watery grave.” “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death …” (Romans 6: 4). We are further informed that it is precisely this act of being “planted together in the likeness of His death” (verse 5) that is the key to experiencing walking “in newness of life” (verse 4). The old man is “crucified” with Him. Baptism is a disposing of the old life. It is a removal, a negative, “…that the body of sin might be destroyed…” (verse 6). “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him…” (verse 8).

    Thus, baptism is the believer’s Red Sea. It is the dividing line between the old life and the new, a crisis between life and death. Coming to God is not, first and foremost, a gradual process, but a complete and total interruption of one’s old life and a revolutionary birth into the new. Coming out of the water, the Spirit says, “This is my beloved child.” From there, the process of discipleship proceeds into the wilderness for both Christ as well as Israel.

    Just as the Red Sea typifies baptism, it is not the last “baptism” for Israel. There is another at Jordan. Although they are already “God’s people,” they are at Jordan, preparing to enter a new realm of dominion, authority, and responsibility. To do so, they must cross Jordan. As the Red Sea was a “deep” demarcation line between bondage and freedom, so Jordan is a “deep” demarcation line between general living and the primary spiritual event instant called by God and strongly led, or driven, into spiritual crisis and victory. Coming out of this experience, God will again say, “This is my beloved Son,” but this time, it will carry not only the meaning of being a part of the family, but also of being a son with distinct responsibilities and powers, as well as distinct authority and power for leadership. This authority is not confined to Christ alone, but is given to all those who lead in His stead. The Lord reveals in His prayer, “As thou has sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world” (John 17:18).

    Sent as He is sent! He spoke not as the scribes and Pharisees, but rather, He spoke as One with authority! No academician here quoting first this opinion, then that. He speaks rather as an owner—an owner of truth and of the ground of absolute reality. Luke purposely arranges the events of the early ministry of Jesus to point to the cataclysmic baptism and subsequent wilderness temptation of Jesus as the clear turning point in His life. Coming out of this temptation, Luke presents Him as returning to Nazareth where He introduces His own ministry with:

    “The spirit of the Lord is upon me because He bath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He bath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” Luke 4:18, 19

    Upon reading Luke 3:21 through 4:19, one can hardly fail to see the connection between the baptism/wilderness experience and His experience of a new anointing for ministry. Thus, it is evident that the theological meaning of Christ’s ministry begins at Jordan’s baptism, not Bethlehem’s birth.

    The above article, “Water Baptism” is written by Nathaniel J. Wilson. The article was excerpted from the eighth chapter of Wilson’s book Ultimate Leadership.

    The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

    Posted in AIS CD - Apostolic Books, AIS CD - Featured Stories, AIS CD - Pulpit Resources1 Comment

    Accompany Salvation

    Rufus M. Parker

    The writer of the Book of Hebrews stated, “We are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak” (Hebrews 6:9). May I go a little deeper and tell you that Jesus Christ is persuaded of better things of you, too? The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5: 17- 1 8). Paul further stated, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). Some things accompany salvation, and one of those is having a desire for and falling in love with heaven. You have to see yourself someday walking through those pearly gates and dancing on the streets of gold.

    The writer stated, “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12). To be slothful is to be lazy, and laziness does not come with your salvation. We must put our hands to the plow and not look back. We must rise and work while it is still day as the night will come when no man can work. (We must be strong and do exploits.)

    Solomon stated, “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 24:30-34). Picture if you will a broken-down vineyard. Consider the ugliness it presents. Consider what laziness can do to you, the writer said. He further stated, “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster” (Proverbs 18:9). Paul stated, “If any [does] not work, neither should he eat” (II Thessalonians 3:10). “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through,” Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 10:18.

    Laziness causes the building to decay, and idleness of the hand causes the house to drop through. In other words, when Christians do not take time to care for the temple of God, it becomes desecrated and an ugly sight. But when well maintained, it is beautiful and represents the owner,
    Jesus Christ. We are the temple of the Holy Ghost. Our lives must reflect Jesus Christ. Our dress and appearance, as well as our attitudes, must show the world how beautiful Jesus truly is. We are ambassadors for Christ. We are God’s building; we are God’s representatives in the earth.

    Once we receive salvation, our attitude toward the things of God should change, because there are certain things that do not accompany salvation. If you say you are born again of the water and the Spirit, then slothfulness is not part of your life.

    – Adultery does not come with salvation, but a strong marriage does.
    – Fornication does not come with salvation, but abstinence does.
    – Uncleanliness does not come with salvation, but purity and holiness do.
    – Lasciviousness does not come with salvation, but a perfect mind does.
    – Witchcraft and idolatry do not come with salvation, but worship and praise to God do.
    – Hatred does not come with salvation, but love does.
    – Variance does not come with salvation, but cooperation does.
    – Emulation does not come with salvation, but exhortation of your brother does.
    – Envy does not come with salvation, but contentment does.
    – Sedition does not come with salvation, but peace does.
    – Strife does not come with salvation, but unity does.
    – Reveling does not come with salvation, but a Holy Ghost really does.

    There is so much that accompanies salvation. Here are some of the things I have gained:

    – I became a part of the family of God.
    – My life has been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, of which Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone.
    – When the Comforter came into my life, Jesus took up residence within me.

    Paul said old things have passed away. We are now new creatures in Christ Jesus. We do not continue in sin so that God’s grace has to keep abounding to us. We have put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. We received a new battle outfit:

    – A girdle to wrap around us that is called truth.
    – A breastplate that fits perfectly, called righteousness.
    – A new pair of shoes better than Stacy Adams, called the gospel of peace.
    – A shield that protects from head to foot, called faith.
    – Our head has been covered with a helmet of salvation that protects our mind
    – A book, which is called the Bible, the Word of God, is our Sword of the Spirit.

    So much comes with our salvation:

    – We have a new name.
    – Our life is transformed from sinner to saint.
    – Our outlook on life is optimistic, not pessimistic. We have a new life.
    – We have a new walk.
    – We have a new talk.
    – We have a new dance.
    – We have a new look.
    – We have a name we can use for healing.
    – We have a name we can use to cast out devils.
    – We have a name we can baptize people into.
    – We have a friend on whom we can depend.
    – We have a Comforter. We have a God:
    – Who watches over us.
    – Who put our enemy beneath our feet.
    – Who is with us when we are sick and when we are feeling well.

    We have a God, and our God never fails. We have a God! Through salvation in Jesus Christ, we learn to give and receive:

    – Love
    – Joy
    – Peace
    – Long-suffering
    – Gentleness
    – Goodness
    – Faith
    – Temperance
    – Meekness
    – The word of wisdom
    – The word of knowledge
    – Healing
    – Miracles
    – Discernment of spirits
    – Prophecy
    – Tongues
    – Interpretation of tongues
    – Prayer
    – Charity
    – Forgiving others and yourself
    – Giving tithes and offerings
    – Reading your Bible
    – Attending church
    – Worship
    – Praise
    – Kindness
    – Witnessing

    When a person obtains salvation, he must become like Abraham, looking for a city whose builder and maker is God! We must become like Daniel and have a life of prayer. We must become like Paul and be crucified with Christ. We must allow our faith to excel above our thought process. We must know that God can do anything. We must bring every thought into captivity unto the obedience of Christ. We cannot defile ourselves with worldly activities and worldly involvement. You should treat your wife as a queen or your husband as a king. We teach our families the ways of God rather than the ways of the world, for Scripture says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The name of Jesus brings salvation. Being baptized in His name and filled with His Spirit are essential in every life (Acts 2:38). We must represent His name because it is by the name of Jesus that the whole family in heaven and earth is named (Ephesians 3:15).

    Listen to Paul’s instruction to the church at Colosse. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

    As Paul advised Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Timothy 4:12).

    Example setting must become a part of the believer’s life, as we are a city set upon a hill that cannot be hidden. We must allow the things that we say to change others in a more positive way. We must be encouragers and not discouragers. The adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words shall never hurt me,” is not true. Words do hurt, and they do destroy life. Paul informed us in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” We are either on the building crew or the wrecking crew.

    Salvation brings about a change in every born-again believer’s life. A new creature shows forth new things. New wine cannot be put in old wineskins; it must be put in new ones. New garments are not added to old garments. He makes all things new.

    Beloved, I am persuaded of better things from you, things that accompany your salvation.

    This article “Accompany Salvation” by Rufus M. Parker was excerpted from the book, If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us? It may be used for study & research purposes only.

    Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSMS - Miscellaneous Bible Studies0 Comments

    The Value Of A Soul

    By: James L. Kilgore

    Let us carefully consider the word “soul,” for a few moments. I cannot define it and I believe it would be impossible for you to define it to your own satisfaction. You do not have a soul, you are a soul. I cannot see you; I only see the fleshly temple you live in. We are clothed with a fleshly tabernacle, and we see through the fleshly eyes. We hear through the physical sense of the fleshly ears. We .feel with the physical sense of the nerves. We speak with vocal cords, but we are not the fleshly body.

    We can search carefully through the New Testament and find many definite facts, concerning the soul. We learn from the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man that the soul is indestructible, and that it will live on after death, and will exist throughout eternity.

    In school we learn through the study of science that nothing can be ultimately destroyed, we can only change its form. The same can be true of the soul. The soul of man can be changed in form and nature but cannot be ultimately destroyed.

    If the soul of mankind is to live on forever, then there must be a high value placed on it. Jesus is saying in our text, in other words, if a man could accumulate all the wealth of this world, all the gold, all the silver, all the diamonds, all the money, king’s wealth, queen’s wealth, president’s wealth, ruler’s wealth, and put it all together until it becomes a great mountain of riches; yet the soul of man is of more importance, and is more valuable that all the wealth of the world.

    The poet said:
    “To lose your wealth is much
    To lose your health is more,
    To lose your soul is such a loss
    that nothing can restore.”

    Men seek wealth in this life, thinking in doing so they are finding security. And I suppose if a person has enough money he can buy his way out of most any condition. We are told in Zeph. 1:13-18. “Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: They shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. The day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: The mighty men shall cry bitterly. That day is the day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blink men, because they have sinned against the Lord: And their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of
    all them that dwell in the land.”

    There was a time when thousands of German people felt secure. They had their nice homes, and many fine possessions. They felt pretty much at ease. But war came along and bombs began to fall, troops began to march in, and within a short time their possessions were gone, and their homes were destroyed. There is no security in wealth. And though a man gain the wealth of this life and lose his own soul, what will it profit him.

    The soul will always be dissatisfied without Christ, both in this life and the next. Eternal dissatisfaction is the fate of the soul that rejects the Saviour.

    We fail to realize the value of a soul inasmuch as we are not as concerned as we should be.

    In following the life of Jesus, we notice the many times he was concerned about the need of others. Matt:9:36, “And when he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Matt. 14:14, “And Jesus went forth and saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” These are but few examples of the concern Jesus had for the need of others. He wept over Jerusalem with compassion and love.

    A few weeks back a young man in the air force, at Lubbock, Texas was sentenced to die in the electric chair for the murder of his sweetheart. His last words were “everyone has been so good to me.” And then I thought of the many thousands who have died and who will die as did this young man, and the only goodness is the little bit that is
    shown them in this life. Because once they begin to sink into the awful blackness of eternity, they will never know any more goodness, or kindness.

    I heard the story of a man who was an alcoholic, and his wife was a fine Christian woman. He would come in at all hours of night and make her get up and prepare him a hot meal. She always did it with a smile upon her face and a song on her lips. One night one of his companions came home with him, and seeing her kind attitude, he asked her how she could be so kind to her husband, after he had been so mean to her? She answered, “I must be good to him, and I intend to show all the love and kindness to him that I possibly can, because I know, unless he changes his life, that in Hell there will be no one there to be kind and good to him. I am afraid all he will ever know is just the little amount that I show him here.”

    Dear friends, how can we be satisfied to go through life without a vision for he lost? What about the city in which you live? How many souls will you be held accountable to God for? Will blood of the unsaved drip through your fingers, as we stand before God? What about your schoolmates? Are you living close enough to God that they can see
    a difference? Think of the people on the job; they each have an immortal soul. Have you mentioned Jesus to them? I am afraid if we aren’t careful, our time will be taken up with too much foolishness, and frivolity, until we fail to realize the value of the souls that are lost.

    Another thing the New Testament teaches about the soul is that it can be lost. The soul is indestructible, but it can be lost.

    To be lost means to be separated from God. When God first created Adam, “He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul.” He placed man in the Beautiful Garden of Eden, where he could come and commune with him, and have fellowship with him. Hew made him in his own likeness. He could not have communion with the beasts of the field or any of the other animals because they were not made in His likeness.

    The Scripture says, “God walked with Adam in the cool of the day.” But there was a day that man sinned and broke the commandment of the Lord. In doing this, Adam broke the fellowship that God had with him. Adam was driven from the garden to never again have that sweet communion and fellowship with God. But I believe the heart of God still yearns for that fellowship. He made a way whereby man once again be restored to that place he lost. Galatians 4:4. “And when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that
    we might receive the adoption of sons.” Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the tree, at Calvary, that once again mankind could be brought back into divine fellowship with God.

    II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

    It has been said that God is not willing that we should be lost, inasmuch as he made a way for our escape, and inasmuch as the angels of heaven rejoice over one sinner that repenteth, more than the ninety and nine that need no repentance. And then, the lost in hell do not want us to come there. The rich man in hell asked if someone could be sent back to warn his brothers not to come to that awful place. Then we can see, the only one that wants us to be lost is the Devil, and he will do everything within his power to cause us to be lost if possible.

    THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED IN THE GOSPEL TIDINGS, FEBRUARY 1994, BY JAMES L. KILGORE, PP. 6,10. THIS MATERIAL MAY BE USED FOR STUDY AND RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

    Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSMS - Miscellaneous Bible Studies0 Comments

    Baptism In The Holy Spirit

    By: Pat Holliday
    WHAT IS THE PROMISE?

    The Baptism In The Holy Spirit as promised in the New Testament, is quite different in kind from any of the various operations or manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

    “But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name. He shall teach you all things! and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever He have said unto you.” John 14:26.

    Why do Christians need the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

    Jesus said it was for the endowment of supernatural power for service. “Be endued with power from on high … to witness, ” Luke 24:9; Acts 1:8.

    CONDITIONS TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT

    There are seven conditions: For Believers only; Repentance, Baptism, Thirsting, Asking, Drinking, yielding … Salvation

    “Believe, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38.

    Christians need this power to be effective witnesses for Christ!

    BAPTISM IS CLEARLY SHOWN IN THE BIBLE

    In speaking of the gift of the Holy Spirit, Paul stresses faith, while Peter stresses obedience.

    Complete faith results in complete obedience. Peter says that when our obedience is complete, the gift of the Holy
    Spirit is ours.

    The Holy Spirit is received by Christians after salvation.

    1. Acts 2:4 Day of Pentecost

    2. Acts 8:14 Samaria (what did Simon See?)

    3. Acts 10:44-46 Cornelius’ house (before water baptism.)

    4. Acts 19: 1-6 Ephesians disciples

    5. John 14: 17 World cannot receive (only believers).

    6. Luke 11:13 “Father” will give to them that ask (guaranteed if He’s your Father).

    When you are saved you receive Jesus.

    This speaks of another experience when you ask your Father for the Holy Spirit. Remember, repentance is an inward change of heart and attitude to God The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an outward act by which the believer
    testifies to inward change wrought by God’s grace in his heart.

    THIRSTING FOR GOD

    “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not glorified).” John 7: 37, 38.

    The condition is to be thirsty and hungry for God. Its for those who thirst for more of Jesus. This gift doesn’t come from the person that is talking and praying for him. The Holy Spirit comes directly from Jesus Christ Himself.

    HE IS THE BAPTIZER IN THE HOLY SPIRIT! MUST EVERY CHRISTIAN RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT

    No, many never receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit because they feel no need for it. They say they are satisfied without this blessing and God leaves them that way.

    Nevertheless, when Jesus says in Acts 1:8, “Do not leave Jerusalem until you be endowed with power from above.” Christians should sincerely seek the Lord’s will for their lives. It must have been very important then and I believe that it is extremely important today.

    WHAT ABOUT TONGUES

    “Out of the innermost belly will flow rivers of living water. “John 4:13. When you receive the Holy Spirit, you will speak in a new tongue, (language). You could be speaking in French, Italian, Swahilia, Russian, Spanish, etc.

    It doesn’t come from the language center of your cerebral cortex (Brain). It comes from your belly, your innermost being and flows out rivers of living water. Jesus told the woman at the well: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13.

    YOU MUST ASK FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT

    “According to Luke 11:13. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him”

    There are some who say, “If God wants me to have the Holy Spirit, He will give it to me. I don’t need to ask Him to give this gift to me.” This is NOT SCRIPTURAL!

    Just as one has to ask to receive Salvation, The Bible shows that the Believers did have to ask to receive this gift from God. Jesus said to ask for this special gift.

    Jesus says: “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it” If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever. Even the Spirit of truth,
    whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you.” John 14:14.

    DRINKING – RECEIVING – YIELDING

    “If any man thirst let him come unto me, and drink.”

    Drinking represents an active process of receiving. Infilling cannot be received by a merely negative or passive attitude. Psalm 81: 10, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” God cannot fill a closed mouth”

    Simple though it may seem, there are those who fail to receive the fullness of the Spirit, simply because they refuse to open their mouth!

    “Yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God,” Roman 6:13.

    THE DISCIPLES AND MARY HAD THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THEM Acts 2.

    1. They preached the Gospel.

    2. They healed the sick.

    3. They cast out devils.

    4. They confessed Jesus as Lord which no one can do save by the Holy Spirit. However, they did these spiritual activities BEFORE JESUS DIED AND THE HOLY GHOST ARRIVED.

    “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. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement; of sin, because they believe not on me.” John 16:7-9. “Of righteousness because I go to my Father, and you see me no more; of judgement, because the prince of this world is judged.” Satan is condemned!

    THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF

    “I have yet many things to say unto you but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak;
    and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.”

    The Holy Spirit is never going to lift a personality up, nor will He lift Himself up. He will only lift the name of Jesus up because Jesus is the only One that can save a soul.

    The Holy Spirit receives the things of Jesus in the Bible and reveals it to us. Jesus was crucified, raised from the dead, and went to heavenly Father.

    So Jesus was crucified, raised from the dead, and went to heaven for a short talk with His heavenly Father. That same resurrection evening, He came back and had a little talk with the disciples, saying unto them: “Peace be unto
    you; as my Father has sent me, even so send I you”. When He had said this, He breathed on them and saith unto them RECEIVE YE THE HOLY GHOST!”

    “Behold I stand at the door and knock; If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I WILL COME INTO HIM,” Rev. 3:20.

    YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN!

    MANY BELIEVE THEY GOT IT ALL WHEN THEY GOT SAVED

    What does the Word of God say? 40 days after His resurrection, Jesus had his last talk with his disciples Acts 1:4-9. His last talk was about he Holy Ghost and His Power!

    “And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptize with the Holy Ghost not many days hence…. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come up you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth … And when He had spoken these words He was taken up. And a cloud received Him out of their sight.”

    Seven days later, it’s now 47 days later, since Jesus had breathed on them and said, “Receive ye the Holy .Ghost!” “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Acts 2:1. 120 were in the upper room. Mary the Mother of Jesus, who had conceived by the Holy Ghost and had prophesied under the anointing of the Holy Ghost to Elizabeth, was led by the Holy Ghost at the wedding feast of Cana. But even Mary needed to be in the Upper Room to receive the Baptism in the Holy Ghost and speak with other tongues. Just like the rest of them.

    Peter, the bold one, needed to receive this power in order to preach the gospel with boldness.

    “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting . And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2-4.

    New Testament Church unfolds, note that on every occasion everyone receives the Baptism in the Holy Ghost. WE ALL NEED HIM!

    Three thousand Jews were converted by the Power of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:27-29). “They were pricked in their hearts … and said, men and Brethren, … what shall we do?” Peter said repent and be Baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. You shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, for the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” This includes you
    and me and our children and relatives.

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

    Jesus didn’t say, these signs will follow the early church only or until the Bible is printed. I believe the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for our day. God is not a respecter of persons. If He had granted the power and gifts to the early church and removed them from the endtime church, He would be a respecter of persons. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit results in the believer’s life as personal evidence and assurance that Jesus is risen from the dead. His Ministry is to exalt and glorify the Lord Jesus in the Church. He is a present foretaste of the Heavenly power and glory which the believer will enjoy in their fullness in the next world. It is the entrance into a new kind of life. The Holy Spirit received as indwelling personal power, revolutionizes the witnessing, prayer life and Bible understanding. He is the Author and becomes in turn the interpreter of the Word.

    Dear Father, I’m a lost sinner. I repent. Please forgive me and come into my heart and save me. Thank You for saving my soul! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

    If you are backslidden say the same prayer. The Lord loves you and will forgive you.”

    Scriptures show the divinity of Jesus Christ. “Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things and by him all things consists.” Colossians 1:15-17. “I and my Father are one. (John 10:30).

    Scriptures reveals that Jesus Christ took their sins on the cross. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (By grace ye are
    saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Eph.. 2:4-7; 1 John 2:30; 11 Cor. 5:21.

    HOW TO RECEIVE THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

    Heavenly Father gives! “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much m ore will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13 RSV) Jesus is the Baptizer: “I (John) have baptized you with water; but He (Jesus} will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8 RSV).

    THE THREE STEPS TO RECEIVE

    1. He gives the Holy Spirit to those that obey, who choose to make Jesus their Lord (Acts 5:32).

    2. He gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him (Luke 11:13).

    3. The Holy Spirit turned their words into another language (tongue).

    The Holy Spirit is promised: “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39) KJV)

    The Holy Spirit Brings Another Anointing: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power… “Acts 10:38a RSV). Believers Received: “… Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed? … (Acts 19: 2RSV).

    Tongues is a “result of” the Baptism of Holy Spirit: “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6: RSV).

    Anyone who is baptized can speak in tongues if they will. Sample Prayer for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit:

    “Dear Jesus, I do believe that You are the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit and He ask you to baptize me in the Holy Spirit. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness and fill me with your Spirit. Thank You, Jesus.”

    HOW TO BECOME STRONG IN THE LORD

    Even though you may sense the presence of God right now, you may not tomorrow! You are not saved because you “feel saved”. Your faith must stand on God’s Word, not on feeeeelings. Read the Word and get into a Bible believing
    church.

    Praise and thank Jesus every day for saving your soul. “He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21). Expect changes in your life!

    WITNESS

    Tell someone at every opportunity what you have done . . . that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. This is very important. If you truly love Jesus, you will want to tell others about Him, and He will “manifest” Himself to you. Romans 10:9-10. “That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

    SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE

    Read God’s word every day. You are a new born babe in Christ, you need spiritual food and it comes from God’s Word. Then Pray every day and take time to praise His name. Talk to God out loud, just as you would to another person, and in the name of Jesus.

    FELLOWSHIP

    Seek the fellowship of other born again Christians in a strong SPIRIT-FILLED Bible believing church. By studying and praying together, you will be drawn into Christian principles and receive the abundant life in Jesus Christ.

    MIRACLE OUTREACH MINISTRIES, INC.
    Copyright (c) 1994, by Pat Holiday, Th.D., Lifeline Publisher, 9252 San Jose Blvd., # 2804, Jacksonville, Florida, 32257 All Rights Reserved.

    Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSMS - Miscellaneous Bible Studies0 Comments

    Another Jesus, Another Spirit, Another Gospel

    By: David Wilkerson

    Some time ago a minister called our office, very disturbed. He said he preaches holiness and the crucified life in his church, and he did seem to have a true shepherd’s heart. Then he said that some of his church members had attended some kind of special seminar – and they had come home ready to leave his congregation.

    They told him, “God has brought us into a new revelation that has changed our lives. We heard things we’ve never heard before. We thought we were saved before, but now we know we weren’t. Everything we believed about the end times was wrong. We have seen new truth.

    “Pastor, you and your church are in error. Your people aren’t even saved! You think you preach holiness, but we’ve discovered what true holiness is. We’ve found something new!”

    Today, that same group of people does not even attend church anymore, because they can’t find anyone to take them “deeper.” Instead, they feed off some teaching tapes.

    Their pastor told me something I’ve been hearing from churches all over the nation. He said, “What is going on? There are so many new, strange doctrines, so many teachers with new ‘revelation.’ And they all seem to have a number of Scriptures to back them up. No one is discerning what is of God and what is of Satan, what is foolishness and what is righteousness. Our people are getting confused.”

    He was so right! New doctrines, new revelations and new gospels are springing up almost daily. And it’s going to get much worse. The Bible clearly warns that in the last days strange doctrines will come forth –
    introducing another Jesus, another Spirit, another gospel!

    The apostle Paul called together the elders of the church at Ephesus, and his final words to these beloved saints were: “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).

    The whole time Paul ministered to the churches he had established, he harbored a fear that would last to his dying day. It is a fear any true shepherd must have in him, and it was never out of Paul’s mind (“By the
    space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” [Acts 20:31]). It was the fear of false teachers coming in to deceive.

    Paul said to the Corinthians, “I am jealous over you with godly jealousy” (2 Corinthians 11:2). Yet he was not talking about someone stealing his sheep. He wasn’t saying, “Hey, these sheep are mine! I’m their teacher – they’re under my authority.” No, rather, Paul was indignant thinking that some teacher would come between his disciples and their devotion to Jesus: “For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste [pure] virgin to Christ” (verse 2).

    Paul said he had one purpose, one goal, one desire – and it is the same desire all true shepherds must have: to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and present every spiritual child to Him pure, unspotted, holy
    and righteous, rooted and grounded in the Word. It is to see them stand before His throne with assurance, knowing you have given them the whole counsel of God…that they were not tossed about by every wind and wave of doctrine, not deceived by doctrines of demons…that they came through every test and trial with the Word of God hidden in their hearts!

    Beloved, my greatest joy in glory – along with Paul and every true minister of God – will be to hear each of your names called by the Lord, see you stand before Him overflowing with devotion and humility, and hear Him say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

    That truly is the one desire of my heart. And that is why I preach with fire and zeal. If Paul were alive today and preaching from the pulpit of Times Square Church, he would say the same thing to us tearfully every time he spoke: “Beware! An invasion is coming! False teachers and false doctrines will bombard you from all sides. They will introduce to you another Christ. They will not be of the Holy Spirit, but of another spirit.
    And it will not be the true gospel – it will be another.”

    Paul confessed to a fear he had about them: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Paul knew that the Corinthians were too susceptible to false teachers. He was
    saying, “You are too open, too willing to listen, too anxious to hear something new!”

    So often, a good-hearted, solid Christian will hand me a tape and say, “You’ve got to hear this teacher. The message is incredible, powerful! Everybody’s talking about it.” So I listen. And it sounds pretty good – anointed, new and fresh. But then the Spirit begins to churn inside me.

    Does this ever happen with you? As you listen, you feel an uneasiness – so you wait, and you keep listening. You say, “I don’t hear anything wrong yet. But something does not sound right.” And if you stay with it,
    suddenly, there it is – error. Gross, total error – frightful heresy! Unscriptural interpretations, fanciful dreams, man’s own ideas, as if a mystery is being unlocked. But it does not line up with God’s Word.

    Paul was amazed by how easily some of the Galatians were swayed: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-8).

    Paul was saying, “Don’t be so gentlemanly and ladylike about it. If it’s not the gospel you heard from me, it’s not of God. It’s accursed, rotten, deadly. It is serious business, and it will trouble you if you get caught
    up in it. So don’t take it lightly. Don’t bear with it, and don’t be nice about it” Let the one who preaches it be accursed!”

    It doesn’t matter if an angel appears and tells you the message is of God. It doesn’t matter if you and your friends “discern” that it’s all right. The Bible makes it plain: If it does not line up with Paul’s gospel, it is
    of Satan, “accursed.”

    How shall we know then what is the true gospel, and what is accursed? Let me say first that even the most demonic false teachers begin with warnings of false doctrine. They loudly and strongly warn against getting caught up in something unlike Christ. Nearly every false teacher I’ve heard sounds off the loudest about false doctrine, then proceeds to preach what is false. They spend much time persuading their hearers they are unlike false teachers – yet they’re setting them up to hear their message.

    Doctrine is not right simply because the teacher appears to be holy, good, pious and sincere. Throughout church history the most damaging heresies have been taught by men who were considered good and sincere. That makes false doctrine all the more dangerous. Many a Christian has said, “But he is such a good man, so sober, so sincere, so loving.” Indeed, a Christ-centered teacher will be holy, sober and sincere – but the devil’s “angels of light” will appear to be too. They will come as messengers of righteousness, truth and revelation.

    Paul says Satan tries to deceive us, just as he deceived Eve in the garden. He uses the same craftiness, the same deception: “I fear, lest…as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be
    corrupted” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

    Nothing has changed since then! The false gospel Satan introduced to Eve is the same gospel he promotes today – and all false gospels have the leave this important matter to guesswork. He has made it very clear, and there are absolute clues to watch for, which expose the teaching as false:

    1. Any Teaching That Undermines the Fear Of God Is Accursed – Of the Devil!

    All false teachers have this one message in common: “Relax, God can’t be that hard. He won’t hurt you – He loves you. A loving God wants you to enjoy life.” The enemy’s trick is to move you away from the awesome
    reverence and fear of a holy God who judges sin. All false doctrine has this one aim – to undermine the fear of God in you.

    Only the powerful, absolute fear of God kept Adam and Eve from disobeying Him. It was not their love for God, nor their daily communion. It was this: “The Lord God commanded the man…ye shall not eat of it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil]: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

    But Satan came with a smooth message: “Ye shall not surely die” (3:4). This was a total perversion of truth – another gospel! Yet it was just what Eve wanted to hear. You see, something inside her resisted God’s commandment. The Lord’s restriction seemed too much of a yoke, and she chafed under it.

    Satan knew this was in Eve, and he began to undermine the fear of God in her immediately: “Did God really say this? God is not like that. You have the wrong concept of Him. Do you think He will deny you knowledge and wisdom, when He Himself is Knowledge and Wisdom? What kind of a God do you
    think He is? You surely will not die!”

    You may sit under strong preaching that seems like a heavy yoke. You may chafe under it and say, “I don’t like it! ” But don’t be deceived: It is the very thing that brings you freedom, peace and joy. Yet still you cry
    out within, “I can’t serve God this way. I want liberty!”

    There is a teaching currently circulating in the charismatic movement about a new liberty. It says, “Come sing and shout and speak in tongues – and then go out and live like the devil!” That isn’t freedom. It’s Satan
    saying, “You shall not die. God is not hard. He’s too loving, too merciful.” Satan found a gospel that suited the lust of Eve’s flesh – and he’ll find one to suit the itching ears of restless Christians!

    I’ve heard from godly; heartbroken youth pastors who have been fired from their churches or are quitting. They preach holiness and the fear of God to the teenagers, but the pastors and parents are complaining that they bring a bondage to the youth: “We don’t want you preaching that stuff to our kids.” These teenagers (some of whom are preacher’s kids) are living in total rebellion. They are disrespectful, fooling their parents, lusting after the world. And the messages about holiness and the fear of God are shaking these kids up because they’ve never heard it before.

    We have raised an entire generation that is totally devoid of the fear of God. They have never known anything about judgment. They’ve always had everything they’ve wanted. They say, “We want rock-and-roll,” and their parents say, “Don’t upset them. Bring rock-and-roll into the church and give it Christian lyrics.” Or, “They’re going to have sex anyway, so let’s give them protection.” These youth have never known God’s fear, because pastors and parents have made God out to be the great appeaser in the sky.
    Only a handful of Christian youth today walk in holiness. Why? Because pastors are too weak to preach the gospel in the pulpit – and because parents are living double lives, and their kids know it!

    Some Christians have written to me, “Brother Dave, you preach so hard. Do you preach that way all the time in your church? Do the people take it?”

    My answer is this: We are called to preach the Word with such power and authority that it will produce a constant fear of God in every hearer. Those who won’t forsake their pet sins won’t stay, because they will be
    offended. They will turn away their ears from the truth and will seek out teachers to cater to their lusts (see 2 Timothy 4:1-4).

    God’s Word says, “By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6). Here is what I believe a true gospel message must produce in us:

    1) A hatred for sin that allows no excuses or alibis.

    2) A conviction for all spiritual laziness and compromise.

    3) An inner knowledge that God does not wink at our sins.

    4) A conviction that we will reap what we sow.

    5) A righteous, holy fear of God.

    6) A confidence that He will deliver us from every sin we hate and resist.

    Are you uncertain or unconvinced about the need to walk in the fear of God? To end that once and for all, see Isaiah 11:1-3. This passage prophesied about One on whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest – One who would be given “quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.” This passage is talking about Jesus! And if Jesus walked in the fear of the Father and delighted in it, so much more should we!

    Beware of any message that breaks conviction for sin, that produces a spirit of non-vigilance, that eases you back softly and whispers, “All is well.” All such tranquilizers are false gospels!

    2. Beware of Any Gospel That Diverts You From Single-Minded Devotion to Jesus Christ.

    Paul solemnly warns us that Satan will transform Himself into an angel of light – that he will raise up his own false teachers, all of them posing as ministers of righteousness.

    Light represents truth, gospel, revelation. Satan will come using the lovely name of Jesus, and he will attempt to deceive even the elect: “Transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians
    11:13). Think of the terror of such a thing! To face the last days under the power of false apostles, embracing a doctrine of the devil, being under the control of a false spirit.

    How could such a thing happen? How could anyone sit under the kind of perverted gospel Paul describes and not know it? There is only one way – by refusing to forsake lust and continuing to walk in blatant disobedience. Lust is the magnet that draws a person to false apostles. I can promise you, if you hang onto your lust, you’ll come under false doctrine. It’s inevitable – you’ll find it, and it will find you. And you’ll be so blind, you won’t know it.

    In the 18th century, another gospel was introduced called antinomianism, meaning “anti-law.” This gospel is with us today, and it is stronger than ever. It undermines the fear of God by suggesting that once you believe, you can sin and never be damned, because Jesus has covered it all.

    Dr. Tobias Crisp was one of the teachers of this new doctrine, which swept through Germany. Its proponents used Jesus’ name as a by-word:

    “There is much talk about grace and heart-searching, but give me Christ! I seek not for promises, but Christ! I seek not for sanctification, but Christ! Don’t talk of meditation or duty – tell me of Christ!”

    It sounds like pure devotion to Christ – a gospel that’s centered on Jesus. But Jesus Himself tells us that not all who say, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into His kingdom. Not everyone who throws around the name of Jesus will be preaching the true gospel.

    The doctrine of antinomianism is still being preached today, and the charismatic movement is falling for it hook, line and sinker. Listen to the rest of this doctrine:

    “A believer may be assured of pardon as soon as he commits one sin, even adultery or murder. God does no longer stand displeased though a believer do sin often. There is no sin a believer can commit that can cause him any hurt – therefore there is no reason to fear sin. Sin is dead and has no more terror. If we tell believers they must walk holy and do good works or God will be angry with them, we abuse the Scriptures. We are then lying in God’s face. God has done everything in Christ – there is nothing to fear!”

    It is as though the Christians who embrace this doctrine are sitting in some dark pit, waiting for Jesus to come along. They’re saying, “Lord, You know where I am. If You love me, come pick me up out of here.” No! The Bible commands us to resist the devil, and he will flee from you!

    We’ve made Christians appear to be a bunch of helpless cripples – no power or authority, bound by sinful habits, waiting around for a miraculous deliverance. There is no holy stirring against sin, no fear of God.

    3. There Can Be No Devotion to Christ Without a Walk of Holiness.

    This is how all doctrine must be judged: Does it conform you into the likeness of Jesus Christ? You can’t call a gospel pure simply because the teacher preaches against sin, or because Christ is referred to often. The New Age movement speaks much of the Christ Spirit.

    I have heard reprobate preachers scream the name of Jesus into a microphone, thundering against homosexuality, drugs and the sins of society. But the longer I listened, the more I realized: This man is not
    really broken. His messages are not convicting. He’s talking about someone else’s sin, not his own.

    Such preachers play to the crowd, whipping up enthusiasm. They have no real conviction, no consuming desire to conform the people to the image of Christ. Christians love to go to meetings where they hear a preacher talk about the absence of prayer in schools. Perhaps he’ll mention something about our covetousness, pride and adultery, the things that are in our own hearts. But then out comes the soothing, relaxing word. And once the confidence is gained, the fear of God is undermined.

    There is one sure test for true holiness preaching. It is found in 2 Timothy 2:19: “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”

    I feel, as Paul must have, a heart-wrenching cry to warn God’s people of what is coming. There are great theological wars ahead. The whole charismatic movement will be divided into different camps, rallying behind their doctrines, teachers and books, accusing each other of error and false prophecy. And all will believe they are defending the faith!

    They won’t be fighting the devil, because they’ll be too busy calling each other heretics. It will be a time of great confusion, and unlearned Christians won’t know who to believe.

    Beloved, I want to fight the real enemy. And that enemy is out on the streets – and in our own hearts! I’m not going to argue over prophecy. I want to stand with my brother or sister who walks in the fear of God and whose heart is given in pure devotion to Jesus Christ.

    We must get our eyes off teachers and evangelists, and become students of God’s Word. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Don’t look for an “approved” pastor or evangelist. You’ll go to one man after another, and they’ll all fail you, until finally you’ll lose hope. Get your eyes off all preachers and onto Jesus Christ!

    4. The True Gospel Is Concerned With Your Heart – for Out of It Come the Issues of Life!

    The Pharisees saw some of the Lord’s disciples eating bread with unwashed hands, and “they found fault” (Mark 7:2). “For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders” (verse 3).

    These men asked Jesus why His disciples didn’t walk in this kind of “holiness.” Yet theirs was only a ceremonial tradition. It was all outward, having only to do with acts of the flesh. Jesus answered them, “Well hath (Isaiah) prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but 1 their heart is far from me” (verse 6). Jesus said, in essence, “Your teaching is all in vain. It doesn’t change your heart. It’s all show, words, phony deeds!”

    He’s saying to us in this, “If a gospel gives Me nothing but lip service and doesn’t deal with the heart, don’t waste time with it. True doctrine has to get to the issues of the heart.” Jesus exposes the problem with all
    false gospels: They do not reach what defiles the man – the do not convict or change the heart. They offer a form of godliness, with no heart. “But these things which proceed from the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” Matthew 15:18).

    Paul said, “Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). Don’t tell me about the miracles in your church – the praise, worship, or how well the pastor preaches. No – tell me about a people who call on God out of a pure heart! Tell me that, though they’ve not yet arrived, they are being provoked in that direction. They’re allowing God to search and try their hearts, to expose their sinful attitudes.

    That’s the true gospel of Jesus. It’s a gospel that convicts the heart, deals with the heart and changes the heart! Is this the gospel being preached to you? Does it convict you of those inner, hidden sins? evil
    thoughts? adultery? fornication? murder? stealing? covetousness? wickedness? pride? foolishness?

    If not, then find and stay in a church with a people where your heart is exposed, shaken- and changed, for the glory of Christ!

    (The above material was published by World Challenge, Lindale, TX.)

    Christian Information Network

    Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSMS - Miscellaneous Bible Studies0 Comments

    Two Men and a Parachute: A Witnessing Parable

    Two Men and a Parachute: A Witnessing Parable
    Jackson Reed

    …Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
    -Mark 6:15

    Below is a wonderful Parable that relates to witnessing, and sheds some light on the wrong way and right way of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others.

    Two men are seated in a plane. A stewardess gives the first man a parachute and instructs him to put it on as it will “improve his flight.” Not understanding how a parachute could possibly improve his flight, the first passenger is a little skeptical. Finally he decides to see if the claim is true. After strapping on the parachute, he notices its burdensome weight, and he has difficulty sitting upright. Consoling himself with the promise of a better flight, our first passenger decides to give it a little time.

    Because he’s the only one wearing a parachute, some of the other passengers begin smirking at him, which only adds to his humiliation. Unable to stand it any longer, our friend slumps in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart because, as far as he is concerned, he was told a lie.

    Another stewardess gives the second man a parachute, but listen to her instructions. She tells him to put it on because at any moment all the passengers will be making an emergency exit out of the plane at 25,000 feet.

    Our second passenger gratefully straps the parachute on. He doesn’t notice its weight upon his shoulders or that he can’t sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without it. When other passengers laugh at him, he thinks, “You won’t be laughing when you’re falling to the ground!”

    Now, let’s understand it. The two men are two lost souls, and both are given a parachute, which represents the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Salvation.

    The first man is told that putting this parachute on (coming to Christ Jesus for salvation) will make his flight (his life) much more comfortable and enjoyable. He puts it on, but finds it brings much trouble and lack of comfort, and the other passengers laugh at him because of it! This man puts on “Salvation” and winds up with the persecution and troubles that are forewarned to come to those who decide to live following Christ! This man after a while yanks the parachute off and decides never to put it on again, believing he was lied to about it and nothing good can come from it.

    The second man is also given the parachute (salvation) but instead is told that he needs it because of the impending jump (death in life) and therefore to save him from dying (going to hell), he needs to put on the parachute (come to Christ Jesus)! The man immediately puts it on, and doesn’t allow the lack of comfort or the ridicule from others, or trouble it brings to make him take it off, because his mind is saying, “It’s worth it, without this thing, I will die!”

    This is all the same as Witnessing, and represents those who witness to others by saying, “Oh, Jesus can bring you peace, a better life, you’ll really enjoy being a Christian!” and others who say, “Come to Christ! If you don’t turn to Christ, repenting from your sins and asking Jesus into your heart, following Him, you will end up dying and go to Hell! Come to Jesus before it’s too late, you can die at any moment of any day!” The two actions of the men, show what happens when they respond to the gospel presented in that particular way, and when the troubles and persecutions come that are forewarned will come. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12) “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” (1 John 3:13) And as Jesus Himself says, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, the will keep yours also.”

    Which of the two types of witnessing, is most effective and will actually bring someone to Christ who will stay, who will live for Christ, and who will make it to heaven? It should be obvious.

     

    The above article, “Two Men and a Parachute: A Witnessing Parable” was written by Jackson Reed. The article was excerpted from www.workmenforchrist.com.

    The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
    This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

    Posted in AIS File Library, HB - Home Bible Study, HBAC - Acquiring Home Bible Studies0 Comments

    My Day in Court

    My Day in Court
    Author unknown

    Only God knows what you are lacking in your life. I hope this story brings with it many blessings. Praise to Jesus.

    After living a “decent” life, my time on earth came to an end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a courthouse. The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table. As I looked around I saw the “prosecutor”, he was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me, he definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen. I sat down and looked to my left and there sat my lawyer, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed very familiar to me.

    The corner door flew open and there appeared the judge in flowing robes He commanded an awesome presence as he moved across the room and I could not take my eyes off of him. As he took his seat behind the bench he said “Let us begin.” The prosecutor rose and said “My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell.” He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole and in the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke the further down in my seat I sank.

    I was so embarrassed that I could not look at anyone, even my own lawyer, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about. As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at my representative who sat there silently not offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life; couldn’t that at least equal out part of the harm I have done. Satan finished with a fury and said “This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise. Justice will finally be served this day”.

    When it was his turn, my lawyer first asked if he might approach the bench. The judge allowed this over strong objection of Satan, and beckoned him to come forward. As he got up and started walking I was able to see him now in his full splendor and majesty. Now I realized why he seemed so familiar, this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.

    He stopped at the bench, and then he turned to address the court. “Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned. I won’t deny any of these allegations. And yes the wages of sin is death and this man deserves to be punished.” Jesus took a deep breath and with out-stretched arms proclaimed “I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life and he has accepted me as his Savior, so he is mine.”

    My Lord continued with “His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from me. Satan still does not understand yet, this man is not to be given justice but rather mercy.” As Jesus sat down, he quietly paused and replied “There is nothing else that needs to be done, I’ve done it all.” The judge lifted his mighty hand and slammed the gavel down and the following words bellowed from his lips, “This man is free-the penalty for him has already been paid in full, case dismissed.” As my Lord led me away I could hear Satan ranting and raving “I won’t give up, I will win the next one.”

    I asked Jesus as he gave me my instructions where to go next “Have you ever lost a case?” Christ lovingly smiled and said “Everyone that has come to me and asked me to represent them has received the same verdict as you. Paid in Full.”

    Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend, as I have done here, will bless you both. Passing this on to one not considered a friend is something I know Christ would do.

    To be saved; We are saved by:

    1. Grace: Romans 3:23-24; Titus 2:11; Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:8
    2. Faith: Ephesians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:9; Hebrews 10:6; Mark 16:16; James 2:19-20; Romans 10:10
    3. Confession: Romans 10:10; 1 John 1:9; James 5:16; Proverbs 28:13
    4. Repentance: II Corinthians 7:10; Luke 13:3; II Peter 3:9; Acts 2:38;
    5. Baptism (by immersion and in the Name of Jesus Christ): 1 Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:16; Acts 10:48; Acts 22:16; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 4:12; Colossians 3:17
    6. Holy Ghost: John 3:3-5; Romans 8:1-14; Acts 2:1-4, Acts 2:38-39; Acts 10:44-46
    7. Endurance: Hebrews 12:1; Matthew 10:23; Matthew 24:13; II Timothy 2:3; Hebrews 12:7; James 1:12; Hebrews 2:1-3

    This article “My Day in Court” by an unknown author was submitted by Nan Lucas. Used by permission. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

    This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

    Posted in AIS File Library, IN - Inspirational Stories and Illustrations, INGE - General0 Comments

    The Incredible Blessings Of Being In Christ!

    By David Wilkerson

    Christians today live in a time of great light. The Holy Ghost has revealed to us the powerful meaning of Jesus’ work on the cross, and the incredible blessings this means for our lives.

    Yet there was a time when Christ’s wonderful work was obscured from the world. That period was known as the Dark Ages–simply because the meaning of the cross was veiled from the eyes of humanity.

    Most sermons during that time focused on God’s wrath and on damnation. The popes and priests preached a gospel of works -and the people performed a variety of acts to try to find peace with God. They traveled for miles to shrines, knelt in worship before stone icons, repeated long prayers, fondled prayer beads. Yet all these things only increased their bondage and brought deeper darkness to their souls.

    People then knew nothing of the benefits and blessings available through Christ’s victory at Calvary. Yet even today, with all the teaching available on the subject, the majority of Christians still do not understand many important aspects of Christ’s work for us. I would like to talk about one of those aspects in this message–and that is, what it means to be “in Christ.”

    As a shepherd of the Lord’s flock, I occasionally preach on the subjects of hell, damnation and God’s wrath. But more and more I have become convinced the only way I can lead God’s people to victorious living is to preach the blessings and benefits of “being in Christ.”

    The fact is, being in Christ is the only foundation upon which true holiness and righteousness can be built. Without this foundation, we’ll rely on our flesh to try to produce a form of holiness in ourselves. But true holiness is obtained only through knowing the riches of God in Christ Jesus.

    “For me grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). Only God’s grace can teach us the kind of theology that leads to holiness. And no works can ever produce that!

    Only as we understand the blessings that are ours by being in Christ will we stand on a firm foundation: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

    Yet, do you know what it means to be “in Christ”? I’ve heard many Christians speak of it–but I believe very few comprehend it!

    I Pray the Holy Spirit Will Open Our Eyes to Discover in God’s Word the Incredible Benefits Of “Being in Christ Jesus”!

    God spoke to Isaiah about a certain servant who delights his heart: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isaiah 42:1). Who is this one whom God sustains and upholds, guarding his every step? Who is his chosen, his elect – the one in whom he so delights?

    We find the answer in Matthew’s gospel: “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: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17).

    The Hebrew word for “I am well pleased” here is “delight.” God was saying, in other words, “My soul delights in my son, Jesus Christ!”

    Throughout the Old Testament, untold numbers of sheep and cattle were offered to the Lord as sacrifices. Rivers of animals’ blood flowed for centuries. Yet the Bible says none of these sacrifices brought the Lord any pleasure: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins…. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure” (Hebrews 10:4, 6).

    Yet in the very next verse, we read these wonderful words from Jesus: “Then said I, Lo, I come…to do thy will, O God” (verse 7). Christ came to earth to do what no animal sacrifice could do!

    “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me” (verse 5). God had prepared a physical body for Jesus where on earth–a body that would provide the final, perfect sacrifice.

    In short, God abased himself for our sake. Encasing himself in a human womb, he took on our nature. And he gave up the riches of heaven to become poor for us – giving his life to ransom us!

    From the Foundation of the World, God Had Only One Plan to Reconcile Fallen, Sinful Humankind and Bring Us Back Into His Good Graces.

    God’s plan for saving humankind was simple. He said, “I’m going to send forth my own son as a deliverer. And after he has died, risen and stands before me in glory, I will recognize only him!”

    You see, Jesus is of the very Spirit and essence of God–and only he could ever stand before the holy father. God would never accept any works by human flesh, no matter how good they might appear. He would recognize only Christ–the servant who perfectly pleased and delighted him!

    So the Lord said, “My son will be the one end only sacrificial lamb. And he will gather up in himself all who have been severed from me. He will reconcile man to me by his own blood!” “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 8:18).

    Now, when Jesus said, “…a body hast thou prepared me” (Hebrews 10:5), he meant not only a human body, but a spiritual body as well. And this body consists of all who believe in him:

    “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:17, 22-23).

    “There is one body…” (4:4). All who are “in Christ” by faith are born into this spiritual body. Indeed, the moment we give our hearts fully to Jesus, repenting of our sin and trusting in him, we are engrafted, adopted, infused into his body: “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (5:30).

    Yes, there is a physical man in heaven: Jesus, the son, is seated at the right hand of the father. But he is not seen physically in this world. The fact is, we–the members of Christ’s body on earth are the only Jesus this world will ever see!

    Yet the church is not a single denomination or any organized structure. It is not merely a collection of believers gathered around a doctrine or a code of ethics. Rather, the church referred to in scripture is a body of born-again believers who acknowledge Jesus as the firstborn of a new humanity:

    “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (5:32). “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” (5:23). “He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).

    All who are in Christ’s body submit to his headship. And they know God accepts no one except those who are “in Christ”!

    In Micah 6, a Backslidden, Perplexed Israel Asked, “How Can We Stand Before A Holy God?”

    “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:6-7).

    The Israelites in this passage were asking a good question: “How can any human approach a holy God? How can we ever please him and be accepted by him? What kind of sacrifice does he want from us–our blood, our bodies, our children?”

    God’s answer appears throughout the scriptures: “I do not want your sacrifices ‘your good works, your promises, your moral deeds. None of these fleshly things is acceptable in my sight. Nothing can please or delight me, except my son’ and all who are gathered in him!”

    Right now, I want you to try to think of the most moral, upright person you know. Even he or she is not accepted in God’s presence, outside of Christ. And all of that person’s good works, kind nature and generosity are filthy rags in God’s sight!

    So, how are we accepted by God? Paul writes, “…he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). We’re accepted only as we are “in the beloved” that is, in Christ, a part of his body. Our good works come as a result of being in him!

    “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (1:10, emphasis mine). “Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (2:18). We don’t have any access to God – other than by being in Christ!

    If you’ve given your heart fully to Jesus, you’ve probably voiced the same questions Israel asked: “Oh, God, how can I please you? How can I ever stand before you with all my failures and faults? How can I be accepted by you, beloved to you, a delight to you?

    “I’ve striven, made promises, tried my best. But every time I think I’m making progress, I take two steps back. Should I read more of the Bible? Should I spend more time in prayer? Should I do more witnessing? Lord, what do you want from me?”

    God answers us as he did Israel: “I don’t want any of your sacrifices or good works. I recognize only the work of my son, who delights and pleases me!

    “Yet, I have selected you as my own son’s beloved bride. I chose you from before the foundation of the world to be wed to him. I wooed you, convicted you–and through my Spirit I brought you into him. So, I ask you ‘how can I not love and delight in my son’s bride’ the bride of my own choosing? I cannot hate my own flesh!”

    Jesus prayed to the father: “All mine are shine, and shine are mine; and I am glorified in them”(John 17:10). “…the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (verse 26).

    Jesus makes it very clear: When we are one with him, we enjoy the very same love of the father he enjoys. God delights in us as much as he does in his own son! He says, “I love all who are in my son for all who are his are mine!”

    The Bible also, tells us God is our father, just as he is Christ’s father. Jesus testified: “…I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (20:17).

    So, how hard are you striving to please God? Do you go through seasons in which you feel you’re delighting him? And do you have other, “low” seasons when you feel you’re displeasing him?

    Beloved, you have to put facts ahead your feelings! And the fact is, God’s pleasure in you has nothing to do with your strivings, intensity, good intentions or actions. No–it all has to do with your faith!

    I believe God wants us to have what I call a “focused faith.” This is a faith that says, “All your faith must be focused on this one principle–that if you wish to stand holy before God, you must come to him ‘in Christ’!”

    The writer of Hebrews warns against having “…an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12). This is an issue of faith! When we move away from the foundational doctrine of being accepted by God by being in Christ, we depart from the Lord. And we turn back to the law, the flesh and spiritual bondage!

    “We which have believed do enter into rest…for he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his” (4:3, 10). Scripture makes it clear: The evidence of faith is rest!

    The only way to bring your striving, sweating, troubled soul into peace is to convince yourself, “I am in Christ–and in him, I am accepted by God and pleasing to him. He delights in me, regardless of whether I’m up or down. No matter how I feel, I know my position in Christ — that I’m seated with him in heavenly places!”

    If Being “in Christ” Provides Such Incredible Blessings, How Can We Know We’re
    Truly “in Christ”?

    There are many evidences of being “in Christ.” But I want to give you three clear evidences from scripture that prove whether you are in Christ:

    (Please note–these evidences are contingent upon your first repenting of sin, forsaking all wickedness, trusting in Christ for eternal salvation, and allowing him to translate you out of darkness and into his kingdom of light.)

    1. You are in Christ if you are continually in the process of being renewed. Those who are “in Christ” do not rest on a one-time conversion experience. Rather, they constantly cry out to be changed and renewed by the Holy Spirit. Their daily prayer is, “Lord, take out of me everything that’s unlike you. Purge me, and remake me in the image of your son!”

    “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:5-6).

    “Regeneration” here means “making anew,” or “reviving and producing something new.” Paul is saying, “The Holy Ghost is at work in you–giving you a makeover!”

    You see, Christ has the Holy Ghost without measure. And because we are part of his body, his Spirit flows down to each of us, every joint and member. So, as we are in Christ, we are being nourished by his Spirit–made over into the image of Jesus himself.

    2. You are in Christ if you govern your life by the scriptures. Do you revere and fear God’s word? Do you go daily to the mirror of scripture to be changed by it?

    “Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him” (I John 2:5). The Bible makes it clear: We know we’re in Christ if we love and obey his word. And this is also how God’s love is perfected in us!

    Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “…Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1). The phrase “free course” means “meeting no opposition in you.” Paul was saying, “As you read or hear the word, honor it and make it the rule of your life. Let it govern you!”

    Christians often quote this verse: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). But this promise hinges on the preceding verse: “…If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (verse 31).

    The phrase “if you continue in my word” means “if you live in and keep my commandments.” In other words: “As you are in me, I will reveal my truth to you. But I won’t reveal it to you, if you don’t intend to live by it. You’ll know the truth only after you’ve committed to obey it!”

    3. You are in Christ if your faith is mixed with charity. Scripture says if you do not have charity, or unconditional love, you cannot be in Christ:

    “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity. I am nothing” (I Corinthians 13:2). “Nothing” in Greek here means, “I am nothing now–nor will I ever be anything.” In other words: “Without unconditional love for all, I’m a nobody–and I’ll always be a nobody!”

    You can be a gifted preacher or a powerful evangelist can heal others by your faith…you can move mountains by speaking a single word…you can teach God’s word with power and anointing…but if you don’t have love for others, you’re nothing!

    “…If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit” (I John 4:12-13).

    Paul Lists a Number of the “Fruits of Charity”–But I Want to Focus on Just One of them.

    If you possess this fruit, then you have the clearest evidence that Christ resides in you. It’s simply this: “Charity… is not easily provoked…” (I Corinthians 13:4-5).

    The Greek word for “provoked” is “paraxuno.” It comes from a root word meaning “acid” and “quick or sudden.” Yet it also has an additional root meaning of “one close by.” Put together, these meanings become very significant: To be provoked is to fly off the handle with acid remarks, to have a temper tantrum and to aim it all at someone who’s close to you!

    In short, the Bible is saying, “If you’re in Christ, loving unconditionally, you will no longer be easily provoked. And your greatest tests will come from those closest to you–your spouse, your children, your friends!”

    I ask you: Do you have a short fuse? How easily does your temper flare? If you are in Christ, a voice will rise up in you when you’re angry, crying out, “Lord, help me! Holy Spirit, calm me down!”

    Just a few days before I wrote this message, I had to practice what I’m preaching. My wife, Gwen, said something to me that unwittingly pushed a button inside me. She didn’t mean it as a putdown–but I took it that way, and it set me off. I quickly got hot under the collar–and suddenly, out of my mouth spewed a stream of acid remarks – heated, angry words, each one a putdown.

    Gwen tried to apologize (for something she hadn’t even done)–but I turned my back on her and went to my study. I sat for an hour in the dark, complaining to the Lord: “God, she hit me where I’m sensitive–and it hurt. I had to respond!”

    Yet as I tried to pray, the heavens were as brass. The next morning, as I took out my Bible to begin my daily study, the pages fell open to First Corinthians. And my eyes fell on this verse: “Charity…is not easily provoked…” (same verse).

    Suddenly, I was looking into the mirror of God’s word–and I saw the face of a preacher who was easily provoked! My heart was smitten, and I cried out, “Oh, Lord, that’s me. God, forgive me!”

    Immediately I called out to Gwen, to come into my office. When she entered, somewhat bewildered, I could only point to the passage and say, “Honey, read this. It describes me, doesn’t it? I’m too easily provoked. Gwen, please forgive me!”

    Beloved, I know I’m in Christ–because, first, I want to be changed, renewed, formed into Christ’s image by the Holy Spirit. And second, I know I’m in Christ because I tremble at his word. Finally, I know I’m in Christ because I yearn to love unconditionally the person who’s closest to me.

    Do you have these three evidences in your heart? Do you have a hunger to be renewed by the Holy Spirit–to be changed into the image of Jesus? Is God’s word your daily bread, the very substance of your life? And do you have charity, unconditional love, for all people–yet especially for those closest to you?

    Dear saint, you may not be perfect. But if you’re in Christ, then you’re continually dealing with these issues in your life, through the power of the Holy Ghost. And by faith, you can come to the father and be totally accepted, no matter what your struggle–because of Christ in you!

    It’s time for you to rejoice over your blessed position in Christ. You are the heavenly father’s beloved child–his delightful servant, who’s forever being changed into his son’s image–because Christ is in you!

    THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM AND PUBLISHED BY TIMES SQUARE CHURCH, JANUARY 5, 1998. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

    Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSVL - Victorious Living0 Comments

    Salvation Without a Change of Heart

    Scripturally speaking there is NO such thing as one being saved before he has experienced a change of heart. In II Cor. 5:17 we read, “Therefore if ANY man be IN Christ (or His church) he is a NEW creature (to what extent?) Old things are passed away; behold, ALL things are become NEW” or different. Therefore, when a person who is supposed to he saved, goes right on throwing “mad fits ” cursing getting drunk smoking and chewing tobacco dipping snuff (see II Cor. 7:1 & Rev. 21:27) committing immoral sins, lying, stealing, and hating those he dislikes (I John 3:15) he has not experienced a change of heart See 11 Cor. 5:17.
    True salvation must bring a deliverance to us from that “Old sinful and ungodly way of living.” The Apostle Paul informs This in Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation bath appeared unto ALL men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we (who are new creatures in Christ) should live soberly (and drink nothing that would in any degree intoxicate us. Then one must live) righteously and godly, (where?) in this present world.” Paul also said in verse 14, “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority.” Just ignore this paragraph if you have no desire to be saved. Ezekiel, one of the “Major Prophets,” also prophesied: “A NEW heart also will I give you… And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes (which are “God’s written rules of action” concerning moral matters).” For “Blessed is the man… (whose) delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law (or Word) cloth he meditate day and night,” or CONTINUALLY. See Psalms 1:1-6 with 84:11. This halfhearted living for God never pays any worthwhile dividends. King Saul finally found out that his halfhearted living for God had brought him into a terribly deplorable condition, and in a final confession he admitted: “behold, I have played THE FOOL, and have ERRED EXCEEDINGLY,” and  “God is DEPARTED from me. and answereth me NO MORE.”
    A child of God is generally a long way out of line with God when his “communication line” is severed and he cannot hear from His Maker anymore. See Lam. 3:8. Let me exhort all of you who will be reading this message to spend much time in prayer, live close to God, and keep your “communication line” open to heaven ALL the time, by God’s grace. So you will not be left here to face all those horrible things that are soon to be poured out on this old ungodly and sinful world. Please read Matt. 6:33; I Peter 3:10-13; Rom. 8:35-39 & II Tim. 4:5-8. Saved, Yet Unsaved People can be saved according to their own opinion, or the opinion of others, and NOT be saved at all. It is a definite fact that a person is NEVER truly saved unless he is saved according to the Scriptures. In 11 Thessalonians 1:7-9, the Apostle Paul informs us that, “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven … in flaming fire taking vengeance on them (1) that know not God (which includes all heathen folk), and (2) that OBEY NOT the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ”–which is the ONLY gospel that will save anyone during this “dispensation of grace.” See Galatians 1:6-12 with St. John 8:24.
    Many False Religions–Only ONE Saving Gospel Proverbs 14:12, says “There is a way which SEEMETH right unto a man, but (to the sorrow and disappointment of millions of people who are deceived thereby) THE END thereof are THE WAYS of death.” We read again, in Ephesians 4:5, about “ONE Lord, ONE faith (and) ONE baptism”–which points out that there is but ONE WAY to be saved. Jesus taught this same truth (St. John 14:6), when He said, “I am THE way, and THE truth, and THE life: NO man cometh unto the Father, but BY ME,” He also stated elsewhere that, “He that … climbeth up some OTHER way, the same (person) is A THIEF and A ROBBER” (St. John 10:1).
    The First Classification
    There are two ways in which we can define the title of this article. First it definitely applies to people who think they are saved because they have affiliated with some “denominational church” or joined some lodge or “secret order” –that claims one is saved and ready for heaven by complying with their MAN MADE rules and regulations. Certainly all “false religions” and “idol-worshippers” would be in this first classification. None of these ways religions or plans that have been concocted by man ever save anyone. See Jeremiah 10:23 with I Corinthians 2:14. Many so-called “Christian Churches” do not teach the same plan of salvation that the apostles preached in Acts 2:37-40; 10:44-48 with 11:13-18 and 19:1-7. These only present a “partial plan” or say “Just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you ARE saved” — right now and then! Though faith is required of all those who approach the Lord for salvation (Hebrews 11:6) faith ALONE never saves anyone. See James 2:17 20-24 and Mark 16:15-17 with II Thessalonians 1:7-9. None of the “heathen religions” of the “advocates of idol- worship” ever present any part of the “Bible Plan of Salvation ” and how could they since they DO NOT Know God and most of them have never seen any part of His Word? This is why we are duty- bound by tire Lord to get the gospel message of salvation to then,– by some means and by ALL means so help us God!
    The Second Classification
    This SECOND classification of deceived folk in reference to their eternal destiny or salvation will certainly include all those who were ONCE SAVED by obeying the “Gospel of Jesus Christ;” but then later backslid departed from “THE faith” and embraced some false doctrine or they were made to believe “Once in grace ALWAYS in grace” — regardless of their lying (Rev. 21:8 and Proverbs 19:5,9) stealing cursing swearing getting angry getting drunk committing fornication adultery, etc. They and all (heir teachers and preachers have ignored such Scriptural references as “He that committeth sin IS OF the devil” –and, “Follow peace with all men AND HOLINESS without which NO man shall see tire Lord.” So folk can truly be saved and afterwards be lost if they depart from ” THE faith” or go back to living a sinful life. See Hebrews 6:4-6 with 10:26-31 Matthew 24:12-14 and II Peter 2:10-17, 20-22 with 3:10-14 and 17-18.
    Hell is going to be an awful place for people who have once known God and tasted of the good Word of God and “the powers of the world to come” — “The Holy Ghost sent down from heaven ” and spoke in that heavenly language when they were BORN info God’s church “of water and of the Spirit ” according to St. John 3:5 and Acts 2:38.
    THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE LATE ELDER B. E.
    ECHOLS.  THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR
    STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.

    Posted in EV - Evangelistic Sermons0 Comments

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