WE ARE RE-PRINTING THE HOLINESS V/S TRADITION MESSAGE; WHICH WAS FIRST PRINTED IN JANUARY 1981. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO ANSWER A LOT OF QUESTIONS THAT SOME HAVE ON THEIR MIND. THIS WAS A MESSAGE THAT PROVED TO BE VERY HELPFUL THIRTY YEARS AGO; AND THE SCRIPTURAL TRUTH THAT IS CONTAINED IN THE MESSAGE IS AS IMPORTANT TO TRUE SAINTS TODAY AS IT WAS BACK THEN. IT IS TOO LONG FOR ONE ISSUE, SO WE ARE MAKING THE TYPE A LETTLE LARGER AND USING TWO PAPERS FOR IT. WE ARE STARTING THIS ISSUE EXACTLY WHERE THE JANUARY ISSUE LEFT OFF.
In Romans 13:8, Paul says, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law,” and some have taken that verse to mean that a Christian should never finance anything, nor borrow any money. I have actually had people say to me, Bro. Jackson, I have never borrowed money in my life; I just do not believe in it. If any of you feel that way, let me ask you this; on what scripture in the Bible do you base such a conviction? I hope you have more than Romans 8:13. Maybe some of you, who might feel that way, have never had to borrow money. That is well and good; God bless you, but I am one that has had to. I will always remember one time, when I wanted to put a furnace in my house, and my salary in the church was very small, so I knew I would have to borrow a little money, if I was going to do that job. I was praying about it, for I always tried never to do anything that would be in excess of what I saw my future potential to be. As I continued to pray about it, one night, I had a dream. I had said, Lord, you know what I need, and you know when I should do this, and in the dream, I saw myself standing in the Corydon, Indiana State Bank, when Mr. Miller was still alive. I was standing just outside his office door, waiting, and I could hear him talking to another person. After that man left his office, Mr. Miller said, Raymond: Come in. I saw myself go in and sit down, and I could hear myself telling him what I wanted to do, and how much money it would take. When I finished, he said, Raymond, when you get ready to do it, come on in. That was the dream, and it was some time after that, before I felt that I should go ahead with the project, but the day I went to the bank to see Mr. Miller, that is exactly what happened, just like I saw it in the dream. I do not owe the bank for that furnace now though. To owe no man nothing, means, do not borrow, without paying it back. Furthermore, you should pay it back on the contract basis, and not wait until your creditor catches up with you and demands payment. You do not have to take my word for this; just open your Bible to Matthew 25:15-27, and read the parable of the talents, and you will see what Jesus said of the slothful servant that should have at least invested his master’s money with the exchangers, so that he could have received interest from the use of his money. In other words, they could have loaned the money and received interest, (usury.) That just goes to show, that borrowing and loaning is a part of the economics of our society. What we have to realize is that there are always certain people who will twist every truth of the Bible, trying to get someone else under bondage. It is all right to borrow money, or to finance a purchase, but it is not all right to fail to keep up with the contract agreement. Now, do not worry about what will happen if the rapture takes place before you finish paying for something you have bought; you are not going to take it with you. Some people ask questions like that.
CHECK YOUR CLOTHING
Brothers and sisters: True holiness is more than just a shell that we put on. True holiness is perfected, when you are inside, what you appear to be on the outside, if what you appear to be on the outside is in harmony with God’s principles of righteousness. Raymond Jackson has his faults, but by the grace of God, I try to keep them subdued, so that they do not rule my life, nor cause me to become a stumbling stone to you. My desire is to be a stepping stone that may enable some to draw closer to the Lord. It is one thing to have faults, but there is something wrong with your experience in the Lord, if you do not appreciate His grace enough to try to better yourself. We should never allow anything to become an obsession with us. Take clothing, for instance. We are living in an age when clothing has become an obsession with many people who profess to be Christians. You do not need to have on a new dress or a new suit every time you go some place, and certainly, Christian people do not need to be trying to keep up with the styles of the world. Back some time ago the miniskirts were popular. The worldly crowd started that fad, but it crept right into the churches. All you could see was women’s knees, everywhere you went. Then the styles changed, from extremely short to extremely long, but what did they do then? As the skirt length got longer, the blouse necks got lower and lower. Everything is designed with a sex slant, to grab the lustful attention of the opposite sex, and men are just as bad as the women, with their clothing. It makes me wonder, what will they come up with next? One thing that has become popular as the women’s skirts got longer is the slits up the sides. At first glance you may think a woman is modestly dressed, and then find out that her skirt has 3 slits that run practically all the way up. We encountered such a sight on our way into Canada recently. Walking down through the Toronto airport terminal was a nicely dressed man, with what seemed to be a very modestly dressed woman, walking by his side. Her skirt length was about half way between her knees and her ankles, and at a distance you could find no fault with her appearance, but as they came on in and sat down, it became very obvious that the front panel was the only thing that hid the woman’s nakedness. When she sat down across from us, the whole underside of her body was exposed. All you can do is just bow your head to keep from looking at such as that. It is all a design of the devil, in this sex crazy age. Not all of those skirts are slit that far up, but if they are slit at all, it identifies with the spirit of that thing. Let me hasten to say this, now; Do not become legalistic about this, for I am sure that any right thinking person will know the difference between this kind of skirt, and others that may have always had a little ½ inch or 1 inch gap where the seams are, on the sides. There is nothing that can be done about how people of the world dress themselves, but Christians do not have to identify with them. Christians ought not to display themselves in such a way as to draw sexy glances from the opposite sex, and you do not need a list of do’s and do not’s; all you need is some Holy Ghost convictions.
OPEN TOED SHOES
Now I want to call your attention to another extreme. Some preachers in times past, have preached so hard against women displaying themselves, sexually, that they have even forbade women to wear shoes with the open toe. They feel that a woman’s toes sticking out the end of her shoes is displaying herself in the wrong way. I sometimes wonder, just how silly some preachers will get before the end? I have never seen a woman’s big toe yet; that I felt would entice anyone sexually. I have always felt that any preacher who preaches like that should be prepared to go into Africa, India, as well as other places, and furnish shoes for all of those women. Saints: It is not whether your toe shows or not, when it comes to this thing of holiness. There are Christians in the world, who have never owned a pair of shoes in their whole life, and just to have a pair of little sandals would be the most that they could ever hope for. Could you say those dear souls are not holy? Shoes are just like anything else. They can reveal a lot about the individuals who are able to have any kind they may choose, but you can never set up a standard, and enforce it around the world. That brings us right back to our text. “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.” I would never try to get any brother or sister to violate their convictions on these issues of holiness, but I do encourage every one of you to strive to bring your convictions into harmony with the word of God. If you believe that it is wrong to wear a wedding ring, it would be wrong for you to wear one, if you did it just because I said it was not wrong. But just as Rebekah put something on her head, showing that she was espoused, you owe it to yourself to display something, showing that you are married. Otherwise the man on the street sees you young married sisters, the same as any other young virgin. The ring could prevent a lot of ideas on his part. I wear a wedding ring myself, and I do it mainly for that reason, to show that I am a married man. I was asked to take it off one time, and for the sake of the preacher who asked me, I did it, while I was in his pulpit. But within three days, some of his people started coming to me, Bro. Jackson: Is it wrong to wear a wedding ring? That kind of puts you in a corner; you cannot be a hypocrite, yet you do not want to cause trouble in a man’s church, so I said, If you believe it is wrong, it is wrong for you, but to me, it is not wrong. Before long, that preacher’s wife told my wife, to tell me, to go ahead and wear my ring. The next time I went back there, you could see wedding rings all around the place, but deep in his heart, the preacher himself was stubborn. You know what the Bible says about stubbornness. That is what happened with King Saul, that made him go against the word of God, and here is what the prophet Samuel, had to say about it. (1st Sam. 15:22-23) “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and STUBBORNNESS is as INIQUITY and IDOLATRY. (Notice what a severe penalty he received.) Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.” A person should have convictions that are based upon the word of God, but stubbornness, and manmade traditions can never stand in the place of true holiness with God. Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. If you have trouble with your family, and your old friends, let it be because of a genuine conviction from the word of God, and not just because of something you may have heard me say. I hope you get the point.
HYPOCRITES – BLIND GUIDES
We have all read 2nd Corinthians 7:1, where Paul wrote these words, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS in the fear of God” and I suppose every extreme theory of holiness might have been instituted because someone read that particular verse. The real problem seems to come from carnal minds which read certain scriptures, then stretch the truth of that scripture, just like a rubber band, until it breaks and slaps them in the face. Every rubber band had a certain amount of elasticity, and within its limits, it will hold things together, compactly. However when you stretch it beyond those limits, it breaks, and whatever it is holding together, falls apart, many times, making a mess. That is exactly how a scriptural truth is. When it is applied within its scope, it will serve a good purpose in the plan of God, but when it is stretched beyond its true application, and carnal minds are allowed to play with it, sooner or later, you have a mess for someone to straighten up. We definitely are to be about the business of perfecting holiness both in our bodies as well as our spirits, just like this verse says, for without holiness, no man shall see the Lord. But like I have said over and over again, True holiness is a relationship between every genuine Christian and God; and it cannot necessarily be measured by man’s standards of holiness. There are some obvious areas in individual lives, where a lack of holiness can be detected, but there is no possible way that we can look at people, and declare that they are holy, for outward appearances and ways of life are very deceptive. If holiness was based only on outward appearances, then Jesus did wrong when he spoke to the scribes and Pharisees as He did. Listen. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, (whitewashed tombs) which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so YE ALSO OUTWARDLY APPEAR RIGHTEOUS UNTO MEN, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matt. 23:27-28) Do you see what I mean? He could speak to them like that, only because He was able to look inside their outer shell, and see what their heart condition was like. We have people, supposedly in this end time message of restored truth, who travel around from place to place, measuring holiness by what they see. Regardless of what part of the world they may be in, their measuring standards are the same. They dwell on the length of hair, the length of dresses, whether you wear jewelry or not, whether you speak in tongues, how high you jump when a fast song is sung, whether the men wear neckties, and whether the women wear shoes that cover their toes. Brothers and sisters, they have a list of do’s and don’ts a mile long, but they do not all dwell on the same things. They all have certain main points that they pick on. If they can get you to subscribe to their formula of holiness, you are a true child of God in their mind, but if you do not agree with them on every point, they will put you out of the family of God. At least in their mind, you are out. But listen, while I read another verse from this same chapter of Matthew’s gospel. Verse 23, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, HYPOCRITES! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, (in other words they followed their own little set of rules, which were alright as far as they went) and have OMITTED the WEIGHTIER matters of the law, JUDGMENT, (JUST JUDGMENT) MERCY, and FAITH: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” In other words, if our heart is right with God, we will not dwell on certain outward ways and appearances, and neglect other things that are just as important. Verse 24 applies to those who do. Jesus just looked at them, and said, “Ye BLIND GUIDES, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” It is not my responsibility to judge the eternal destiny of anyone; that is in the hands of God, but to those scribes and Pharisees who placed so much importance on their outward appearance, when their heart was full of deceit and ungodliness, Jesus said, verse 33, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” I know that is strong language, but it was Jesus Himself that made the application, and He made it applicable to men whose hearts are so vile that they would destroy another man’s image and testimony, if he refused to bow to their set of rules.
Some of you may think I am speaking a little too plain about these things, but let me tell you something, the hour is late. Our time for playing around with the scriptures is running out. I have never said anything to deliberately hurt anyone. God forbid that I ever would, but there has to be a dividing line drawn somewhere, so people may have an opportunity to get their eyes opened, and see why they are following whoever they may be following. I have said many times, and I am going to say again this morning, Please do not follow my flesh, regardless of how much you may like me as a person. Without a revelation, you will miss God completely, even if you do and say all the right things as you go through life. Upon what did Jesus tell the apostle Peter that He would build His church? I know there are ten thousand different opinions as to what that rock is, but I hope all of you are able to see that He was speaking of the rock of revelation. He had just asked His disciples a question, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Some of them replied, John the Baptist, others said that the people thought He was Elias, or Elijah, and that some thought He could even be Jeremiah, or one of the other old prophets. After hearing them report what the multitudes were saying about Him, He looked them in the face and said, “BUT WHOM SAY YE THAT I AM?” Peter always seemed to be the quick one to reply, or to act, so he blurted out, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” We are in the 16th chapter of Matthew, and in verse 17, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” That simply means that no earthly man revealed such a thing to Peter. He knew it because the Spirit of God had revealed it to him. This caused Jesus to say, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (this rock of revelation, not this rock Peter, as some have understood it) I will build my church; (the rest of this verse gives a clue to understanding what the rock is, for anything that is built upon any man is subject to have the gates of hell prevail against it, but that which is a revelation to you is such a part of you, that the devil and all his angels can never take it away from you.) And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Those who have the word of God hid in their hearts by a spiritual revelation are not at the mercy of the devil and all of his angels, but anyone who is just following some man, without a personal revelation to stabilize them, are as helpless as a fly in a tub of molasses. The devil can run them up any old road he chooses to.
DO NOT PLAY
Now let me ask you, Are you in this end time message of restored truth, or are you just trying to play around with it like the denominational theologians play with their theories. This is not a message that you can play with. This message that so many people claim to have heard, from the mouth of God’s prophet messenger to this age, will place a demand upon your life, and require you to meet Bible standards in a holy walk with God. All who play around with it, get hurt. Many have been hurt already. Some of them have gone past the point of no return. They have departed from the truth that Bro. Branham stood for, deified him, and given him the place that only the Lord Jesus Christ could ever have, and because of this, God must deal with them as idolaters. To a great extent, their conscience is already seared, as with a hot iron. They are branded, and regardless of who they may be, they should be treated according to Paul’s instructions in the 5th chapter of 1st Corinthians. As we begin reading with verse 11, I want you to pay attention to what is written here. “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man THAT IS CALLED A BROTHER be a fornicator, or covetous, or an IDOLATER, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one, no, not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth THEREFORE PUT AWAY FROM AMONG YOURSELVES THAT WICKED PERSON.” Brothers and sisters, that is plain enough. Paul says, do not keep company with such people; do not even eat with them. Many such people have been blindly led into such a place; therefore, there is hope for them if they will come to their senses, and return unto the word of God, but there are others that have gone too far. They will never return. You could preach to them until you become grey headed, and all they will do is look at you with a smirk on their face, as if to say, Preacher; God gave me this revelation. That is exactly what those idolaters will tell you, if you question them as to why they have elevated Bro. Branham into such a place of deity. I have heard them say, you have to have a revelation of who he was. Saints! I praise God because I do have a revelation of who he was. He was a man, just like you and me, in the sense that he needed a savior. But he had a call of God upon his life that no other man among us had. He was commissioned to put us back in the Bible, where we could see just exactly what a Christian is supposed to be. He did what he was called to do, and he will receive his reward for it, in that day when God rewards His saints. God will not hold him accountable for the extremes that some have gone to with the words he preached. They have become idolaters by their own choice; they become subject to be dealt with according to Paul’s instructions. Saints, it is bad when we lose fellowship with people because of the truth we stand for, but I would certainly hate to be deprived of fellowship because some crazy, devil idea had grabbed hold of me, and true believers had to put me out.
Look with me, at some other instructions that Paul gave to believers in Thessalonica. 1st Thessalonians 5:21, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good, (That lets me know, that somewhere in our Christian lives, we have to reach a point where we know what good principles are.) Abstain from all appearance of evil (that means, abstain from those things that God calls evil, not just every little whim of some carnal minded person you may respect) and the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Speaking of abstaining from every appearance of evil, reminds me of something that happened years ago, out in the state of Missouri. I was invited to a young couple’s home for an evening meal, and the young man was one of these fellows that are always doing some kind of bodily exercise. He spent fabulous sums of money, buying exercise equipment, trying to keep his muscles built up. He was very careful about eating the right foods, and taking vitamins, and all of that. When he found out that I drink coffee, what do you think he did? He went over to a cabinet, took out a bottle that had some little yellow pills in it, and said, Bro. Jackson, I do not mean to be offensive, but according to research findings, each cup of coffee has an amount of caffeine in it, which is equivalent to one of these caffeine tablets. Now what would be the difference between you drinking a cup of coffee, or just taking one of these caffeine tablets? I knew what he was driving at, this was not the first time I had encountered this sort of thing. I just took a little time to think, and then I said to him, God knew when He made the coffee tree that some people would have a nervous type stomach, and coffee would not set well with them. But he also knew that some other people would have a stomach that could consume a barrel of coffee, without any adverse affects. These people might enjoy the taste of it, and also appreciate the warm stimulating feeling that a cup of coffee can give them on a cold winter morning. As a matter of fact, I learned to drink coffee years ago, when my sister and I had to walk 3 miles through the woods, going to school, on those cold winter mornings. A cup of hot coffee helped a lot. I have been drinking it ever since, and it has not affected my salvation one bit, and I do not believe it hurts my physical body either. If I thought it did, I would quit drinking it. Furthermore, if you think it would hurt you, then do not drink it, but please do not try to tie it to holiness. When the apostle Paul wrote to those Christians at Philippi, and told them to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, it was this matter of holiness before God that he was referring to. We all know that there is only one way for lost sinners to be justified from their state of unbelief, that is, by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We do not work that out; it has already been worked out for us, there at Calvary. But we do have to work out the affairs of our life, after we have believed, to bring our lives in line with the word of God. If you do not work out your own salvation on this question of holiness, you will always be under bondage to the devil, trying to follow some man. Brothers and sisters, what I am trying to get across to you, is that holiness is a personal relationship between every true believer and God; it is not just a doctrine with a set or rules to follow. Of course there are some guidelines to get you started on your Christian walk with God, but then, you must have your own convictions about what is right or wrong for your own personal life, and a lot of that is based upon the culture of your own society. When it comes to water baptism, for the remission of your sins that is the same, no matter where you are. It requires you to repent first, and then be immersed in water, not sprinkled, and just pouring a little water on your head is not good enough either. You must be put under the water. That is the only way your baptism can be a type of burial. When you bury something, you put it under. Now God has one formula for receiving the Holy Ghost, (Acts 2:38) and there is no other formula, so you do not have to work that out. You just believe the word of God, and obey this one formula from the heart, and it then becomes God’s responsibility to give you the seal which is the Holy Ghost.
NOT AN OPTION
When you receive the Holy Ghost, there is no certain manifestation that you have any right to expect. You may speak in tongues; then again, you may not. You may fall out under the power of the Spirit of God, but then again, you may not. It is up to God to give you the Holy Ghost with whatever manifestation pleases Him. The only important thing is that you receive the Holy Ghost, not how you receive. The Holy Ghost is not an option in salvation. You do not have the new birth until you receive it. That is why Paul wrote as he did to the Romans. Look in the 8th chapter of Romans, beginning with verse 8, “So then they that are in the flesh (without the Holy Ghost) cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. NOW IF ANY MAN HAVE NOT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE IS NONE OF HIS. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But IF the SPIRIT of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive, raise from the dead) your mortal bodies BY HIS SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU.” That should help you understand why I said, The Holy Ghost is not optional. It is the Holy Ghost that places us in the body of Christ, and if we are not in that body, we are not of Him. Look at 1st Corinthians 12:13. “For by ONE SPIRIT (the Holy Ghost) are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one SPIRIT.” Brothers and sisters, we are either in the body of Christ, or we are not; it is as simple as that. If we are in that body, we have the Spirit of God in us, to enable us to have a holy walk with Him. But if we do not have that Holy Ghost experience, we are not in the body of Christ and whatever amount of outward holiness that may be displayed is just a shell, and God will not accept it. Perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord is to be constantly moving toward a Bible picture of holiness, not a human picture. We titled this message, Holiness versus Tradition, to keep the title simple, but what we are dealing with is true Bible holiness in contrast to man made traditional holiness. One is by the Spirit of God in true believers, and the other is by human zeal. That which is by the Spirit of God will allow for circumstances, but that which is by human zeal is rigid and unbending, without mercy, and without just judgment. It is only for an outward show.
We have already touched on clothing, and I do not mean to be repetitious, but there are yet a couple of things I want to say. As you travel around the world, you become very conscious of the fact, that in every continent, there is a traditional type of clothing that identifies those of that continent. They are known by that certain style the world over. Therefore when you go into their part of the world, and convert them to Christ, are you to touch their dress style? Only that which might tend to draw immoral, suggestive glances from the opposite sex. Only then, would you interfere with their traditional style of dress. When Jesus Christ came into the world, He was manifested to the Jewish race. His natural genealogy was traced back through Jewish parents, therefore He did not dress like a Turk, nor like someone from the Orient; He dressed Himself according to the traditional life style, and customary dress of the Jewish people at that time. He did not dress Himself in such a way that when he walked down the street, His clothes made Him stand out like a sore thumb. If you did not know who He was, you could have taken Him for any average Jewish man walking down the street. I am certain of one thing though, He was dressed conservatively. Now when we say conservative, it must be understood like this; whatever the traditional custom in clothing may be, in any nation, God will accept that. When Paul or Peter spoke of apparel, they were dealing with fads that pop up for 6 months or a year or so, until another one is introduced to take its place. The devil works in those things, most of the time to display the human body in some sex suggestive way. People who design things like mini skirts, or skirts with slits up the sides, or promote the image of the unbuttoned blouse, or the low neck blouses, do not do that to portray morality, decency and godliness; it is just the opposite of that. Therefore every woman who wears clothing like that, no matter how pure in heart she might be, is looked upon by degenerate mankind just like any woman of ill fame. If your style of dress identifies with that kind of image, what else can you expect? That is why I do not hesitate to say, No born again child of God will submit themselves to such an image as that. Just plain common sense is all it takes to know what conservative clothing is, in whatever part of the world a Christian may be living for God in. Over the years, living standards and modes of travel have brought about changes in traditional customs of dress; that is understandable. But that kind of change will always have a consistent pattern; it will not be one thing today and something different six months from now. In other words, just for an example we will think about the American style of dress, back around the turn of the century, when the automobile first came on the scene. Up until that time people rode horses, or in a buggy or carriage of some sort, that required a different style of clothing than what we are used to now, since most all of our transportation is motorized, and on good roads. The Amish and the Mennonite people are an example of those who refuse to change with the times. You will see them going down the road in a horse drawn buggy, where everyone else is driving a modern day automobile. You will usually see, in that buggy, a man dressed in black, with a low profile, wide brimmed hat, and the same style shirt and trousers that was worn in Holland, back in 1400. Their ancestors came out of the Dark Ages with convictions against worldliness, against worldly appearance, world fashions in dress, and everything else that seemed like worldliness to them. In almost 500 years, they have not changed their style of dress. They will not own an automobile, or any kind of farm tractor or equipment, and they will not even have electric lights in their houses. They are not all like that, not that strict anymore, but many of them still are. They will not even have window shades.
I heard the testimony of an old Mennonite brother, back in the late 1950’s. He told how a certain physical condition had caused him to go to one of those salvation and divine healing meetings. I have forgotten who the particular evangelist was, but in that meeting, God got hold of him, healed his body, saved his soul, and filled him with the Holy Ghost. Then God got hold of his whole family, and saved them, but his testimony later, was that back on the farm, he was plowing corn one day, with an old horse drawn cultivator, and he could look out across the fields and see other farmers with their high powered tractors, plowing acres of corn in one day’s time. It made him feel that he was at a crossroads in life. He just stopped right in the middle of the field to rest his horses, got off the seat, and took off his hat, wiping his brow, and saying in his heart, O Lord, if this condition was only changed. At that moment, he heard an audible voice speak to him; Go tell your people wherein they are wrong. It scared him. He thought someone had slipped up on him, and heard him talking to himself. He looked all around and did not see anyone, but then, he heard the same thing again; Go tell your people wherein they are wrong. Then he knew that God had spoken to him, so he did exactly that. He went right back to that old Mennonite Church, took his seat, and waited for his time to give testimony and read scripture, according to their custom. When he finished giving his testimony, and telling them they were wrong about this, wrong about that, and wrong about tractors, electric lights, automobiles, and so forth; they held court right there in the church, and voted to throw him out. Now the point is this, they were so old fashioned in their lifestyle, that God could no longer talk to them, yet you could not say that they were not a holy looking people, from their outward appearance. That is why I said, you can get into a holy looking shell, and miss God altogether. In other words, you can get yourself so separated, that even God will have to pass you up. That may sound strange, but that is exactly what happens when individuals, or groups, just pick out certain things, and make a doctrine out of it. They always reach a point where they will jump over Biblical truth, in order to enforce their doctrine. The Shaker movement was a good example of that. They had what you and I call the Holy Ghost, but they got off course. They secluded themselves into colonies, practiced confession of sins, and community of goods, which you could not say is unscriptural, but they went on to demand celibacy, and equality of the sexes, which definitely required them to jump over many scriptures. For instance, did not the apostle Paul tell Timothy, that the younger women should marry, bear children, and guide the house, without giving the adversary an occasion to speak reproachfully? Did he not also tell him that the women should learn in silence, with all subjection, and that they should not teach, nor have authority over any man? Yet this society of Shakers, or Shaking Quakers pushed women into roles of leadership. They had no formal statement of beliefs, but starting out in America with only a handful of members, somewhere around 1780, and by the middle of the 19th century they had grown into eighteen colonies, with around six thousand members. History records that the Shaker movement was the most successful experiment in religious communitarian living in the New World. They were noted for their neat, well planned, and peaceful villages; their pure architecture and fine craftsmanship; their progressive practices in agriculture, and their concern for social betterment. They suffered persecution at times, because of their peculiar ways, but it was all in vain. They had jumped over too many scriptures, therefore God allowed the movement to die out. In 1959 there were only twenty nine known members of this society. It just goes to show, that when you leave the scriptures, no matter how holy you may appear, the day will come when you reach the end of your rope. Shakertown, Kentucky, today, is nothing more than a memorial of bygone days.
FOR GOD TO LEAD
It seems that many people get to feeling so holy, and so close to God, they begin to feel that they do not need a scriptural foundation for what they decide to make a doctrine of. That was the case with these Shakers, on the issue of celibacy. In the year 1758, a twenty two year old young lady joined the society, which was then under the leadership of James Wardley and his wife Jane. This young lady was Ann Lee, a textile mill worker. Four years later she married a man by the name of Abraham Standerin, a blacksmith, by whom she had four children, which all died in infancy. Hers was an unhappy marital experience complicated by severe illness, and during these trying times the conviction grew upon her that “concupiscence” was a cardinal sin. (That, of course, is the condition of man and woman living together physically, intimately as man and wife.) She became convinced in her mind that this was strictly wrong, and that it was the cause of sin in the world in the first place. It was because of her influence that the discipline of this sect became so severe. But it was while she and some others were in prison, for disturbing the congregation of a church during worship services, in the year 1773, that she claimed to have a vision whereby she was divinely ordained to complete the mission of Jesus Christ, on earth. This would require her to repudiate, or abstain from every lust of the flesh. Her testimony was so powerful, that she was accepted as an inspired prophetess, and appointed leader of an order known as “The Millennial Church.” Ten months later, in the year 1774, seeking freedom of worship, Ann Standerin, with seven devoted followers, sailed for America. Coming from England to America, they settled first in New York, where they waited for an opportunity to open their testimony on the shores of the New World. Their big opportunity did not come until the year 1780, and Ann Standerin died four years later, but she left behind, American born converts that expanded the movement until it reached its peak with about 6 thousand members, before it started its decline. During that time they spread into Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, as well as various parts of New England. They rebelled against the established church, because it condoned marriage. Saints! When you start establishing teaching like that, no matter how holy you may appear to be, you are stepping over the Bible to do what you are doing. What did the apostle Paul say, in Hebrews 13:4? “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” That scripture meant nothing to them; they converted whole families to their teaching. But sad to say, many times they only converted either the husband, or the wife, and this broke up that home. The men lived in separate dormitories from the women, and the children were placed in nurseries. There was no home life, as we know it. Brothers and sisters: when you go to that extreme in your holiness, you have left the Bible completely. God told Adam and Eve, to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. Then, after the flood of Noah’s day, God spoke to Noah and his sons, and said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and the fear of you shall be upon every other living creature. It was at this time, that God told Noah and his sons, Every living thing that moveth upon the earth shall be meat for you, but do not eat flesh that still has the blood in it. This last part is for you that believe it is wrong to eat meat. It does not matter whether you eat meat or not, but if you teach, abstaining from meats, as a doctrine, you have left the Bible to do so. God never reaches into the leadership realm of movements like these, to pull out men who will stand for truth. No. He goes down the line until He finds some little fellow who is hungry for the truth, and then He has someone He can lead, by His Spirit. That is the reason John the Baptist, did not come from the ranks of the Scribes and Pharisees. That is also why the messenger of this age, did not come from the high ranks of oneness Pentecost; they had already settled down upon their statement of beliefs, and locked all the doors and windows so tightly, that God could no longer speak to them. Then, when Bro. Branham did come on the scene to fulfill his calling, Pentecost looked at him with a big bug-eyed look, and wondered how he could be of God, since he did not come from among their ranks. They thought they already had all that God had to give, and they tried to lock the devil out, but that will not work for anyone. If you are going to be led by God in these last days: for goodness sakes, leave the door open. When you lock the devil out, you lock God out too. But if you will keep the door of your life open to God, He will make a fool out of the devil when he comes around.
Did you ever take time to think about what causes a denomination in the first place? Every denomination that has ever been started has been the result of God reaching down into some old dead system, and dealing with the hungry soul of some individual that did not lock up his own heart’s door along with the system he was in. God leads individuals out of those old dead systems, through a revelation of truth that He imparts to them, but before long they begin to notice how the devil is harassing them. The first thing they think of is to lock the doors and windows, so to speak, in an effort to keep the devil out, but the moment they do, God is locked out also. How is that, Bro. Jackson? It is very simple. The devil is a spirit, and he gives people ideas. He causes some people to read the Bible and get strange revelations from it. Therefore to prevent such a thing from being mixed with the teaching of the Church, they all get together and make a list of the basic Bible truths that they all stand for. This is what they call these articles of faith, even though we realize that not all of them are Bible truths; the devil has already been busy. Nevertheless what they commonly agree upon is all that they are going to allow in their services, therefore God is shut out along with the devil, for He (GOD) also, is a Spirit, and that is how He deals with human hearts, by causing them to see things in His word, that their denominational system does not see. The truth is, you will never keep the devil out like that; he gets in just the same, but God will not force His way into those old cold places; He just lets them go on and die, but He is ever looking for a hungry soul that has His heart’s door standing open for Him to enter. Now all of this should lead us to one conclusion; we can never keep the devil out of the church building, as long as people are free to come and go by their own will and choice. But every true child of God absolutely can keep the devil out of their personal life. How many of you know what I am talking about? There are always some who will not walk where I walk, but I am not the final judge of the matter. I will say this though, Brothers and sisters of this end time restored truth: If we will walk with God day by day in a true Biblical holiness, it will get harder and harder for the devil to sit among us. As perfection becomes more and more a Biblical reality for us to attain, the devil has less and less room to move around in.
WHAT ABOUT MUSIC?
Let me say another thing or two, and then I will try to bring this message to a close. I want to touch on music in the church for the next little while. I had Bro. Neil Connolly play that song on his slide trombone for a reason. Five or six years ago, when Bro. Connolly was here, he was asked to play that song for us. It is a beautiful song to me. “Down from His glory, every living story, my God and Savior came, and Jesus was His name. Born in a manger, to His own a stranger, a Man of sorrows, tears and agony.” I did not know that the tune itself originated in Europe, years ago. But there was a man in the congregation at that time that had come over from Norway. I had picked him up at the airport myself. While Bro. Connolly was playing that song, I saw the brother get up and start toward the platform. I met him, and checked him. He was wanting to say something. But I said, not now, and lead him back to his seat. When the song was finished, and one of the preachers started to preach, (This was in our convention) the man came down to the platform and turned around, like he wanted to say something to the congregation. I went over, and said to him, Brother: Is there something wrong? Yes. He wanted to say something. By that time the preacher was already preaching, and I again said, not now. Wait until after the service. He went back to his seat for a few minutes, but then got up, and went outside. He would not sit in the service. The deacons told me after the service, that they had taken him back to his motel room when he would not remain in the service. I went to his room to find out what was wrong with him, and this is what I heard, “The song that the brother played on his horn is a worldly song.” I said, “Brother, that is not so. That is a beautiful song.” But he insisted, “It is of the world.” Then I said, “How do you know that?” At that, he began to tell me how the song was written in Europe, so many years ago, and that it was a worldly song. It was a classical number, and it was worldly, and Christians ought not to be playing it. I knew that whatever classical music America had, came from Europe, but I said, Brother, the only time I have ever heard that tune it was to the beautiful words known to us as, Down From His Glory. But he did not want to accept it any differently, and I thought to myself, this is where people can really get carried away. They think if any tune was ever associated with the world, that brands it as no good for God, and Christians should not play it. I realize that he did not hear the words that we sing to that tune, and this naturally made the worldly association, when he heard it played by Bro. Connolly, but that did not give him any right to be unreasonable, when I tried to explain the situation to him. I wonder how many of you sitting here, realize just how many of the gospel songs we like to sing, at one time or another, the tune to them has been used by the devil’s crowd? Does that make it a bad song? How many of you ever heard that little song, “Oh, I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes?” It is a worldly song, about a sailor that was far over the seas, and he is thinking about his love back home. It was not a vulgar song, like most worldly songs of our day, but it is a worldly song. Now, Let me ask you this, How many of you know that the tune to that song is the same tune that Roy Acuff sang, “The Great Speckled Bird,” to? The great speckled bird is the Bible in this song. Should we throw that song out, now that we all know this? If you feel that way, I could probably help you throw away a lot of your gospel albums that you love so much, for I can think of a lot of gospel songs that are sung to what, at one time, was a worldly tune. Suppose we leave America with this thought, and go to the other side of the world. A few years back, there was a little country western tune came out, “Anybody Going to San Antonio, Anybody Going My Way.” I know some of you have heard that little song. Truck drivers enjoyed hearing it on the radio, as they drove along. It was not a vulgar song either, but it was a worldly song, not for the church. But when we went to Norway, we heard some young people singing a little song in church, and it was to that same tune, “When I Remember What He Has Done For Me, I’ll Never Turn Back Anymore.” We sat there listening to that little song, and I kept wondering, now where have I heard that tune? Then I remembered it was the tune to “Anybody Going to San Antonio,” and then I wondered where the tune first originated? Which song had it first? It does not make any difference as far as I am concerned, for it is the message contained in the words that determines whether it is a worldly song or a gospel song. Those young people had learned that little song in Germany. They did not know that the tune was used with any other words, just like I did not know that the tune to “Down From His Glory” was one that my brothers and sisters in Norway would consider a worldly tune. Saints, we really need to keep an open mind about all these various things that are attached to holiness. The first thing you need to be conscious of, is that the Church of the living God is universal, and that we Americans have no right to make a sin list for saints that live in a completely different environment than ours. God knows how to deal with every soul that is truly born of His Spirit, regardless of where they may live, and those that are not born again, can never be made holy in the sight of God, just by following your rules for holy living. Just let me say it like this, You follow your own rules, so that you yourself may have the answer of a good conscience before God, but leave room for the Spirit of God to deal with you, just in case you do not have all of your convictions built upon a solid foundation.
WHAT ABOUT DOCTORS
For another example of extremes that some people are guilty of, let us consider divine healing. I have crossed paths with many people in the last 25 years who did not hesitate to express their viewpoint on divine healing. Many of them would say, so piously, if you believe in divine healing; then it is wrong for you to take pills, and go to doctors. Brothers and sisters, listen carefully to my question. Where did they get such an idea as that? In all of His 3 ½ years of preaching, Jesus never preached one sermon against doctors, nor against taking medicine. Neither did Paul, nor any of the other apostles. On the other hand, we do find where a certain woman had been ill with a blood disease for twelve years, and that she had spent all she had on physicians, and constantly grew worse, instead of better. In other words, she had a medically incurable physical condition. But when she heard about the miraculous power that worked through this man called Jesus, the Christ, she said in her heart, Oh, if I can only touch the hem of His garment, I will be made whole. No one instructed her like that; it was a feeling from within her own heart. Therefore she pushed her way through the crowd until she got close enough to touch His garment, and at that very moment Jesus turned, and said, “Who touched my clothes?” She had hoped that she could do that without being noticed, but Jesus felt virtue go out of Himself, and that caused Him to ask the question. His disciples said, Lord, you can see all this multitude thronging about you on every side, and yet you say, “Who touched me?” About that time, Jesus looked over, and saw the little woman fearful and trembling, and said to her, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” The little woman was healed immediately, from a disease that physicians could not help her with, but did Jesus or any of the others; take that opportunity to condemn all physicians? You know they did not, as well as I know it. Let me tell you what probably did happen though. When Jesus went back to the Capernaum area, after the news of that had had time to spread, they probably had all the sick folks lined up waiting. It is such a common thing for people to feel that whatever works for one will work for everyone, I can just see them, Lord, just walk along here where we can all touch your garment. We are not asking you to pray a long prayer for us, just let us touch you. Does that sound familiar? Is that not the way many preachers of our day, promote such things? I am not making fun of them; many people have been healed in much the same way as that little woman in the scriptures, but I must point out one thing, That little woman was probably not the only sick person that touched Jesus that day, in all of that great multitude, so what was it that made the difference? It was her faith. “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 8:48-Mark 5:34) Every believer should know, that when that kind of faith reaches out to God, favorable results come back in return, but none of these scriptural accounts of healing, provide any reason for us to condemn a brother or a sister for going to see a doctor. People have such a tendency to take certain scriptures and use them for a club or a whip, just to beat someone else down, and make them feel bad. They all quote scriptures such as 1st Peter 2:24, which reads like this, “Who His own self (speaking of Jesus) bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed,” and they will say, If you are already healed, why do you go to the doctor? Brothers and sisters, it is alright to remind each other of the many benefits and provisions that are in the Bible, but it is wrong to do it in such a way that it becomes a whip, and brings feelings of guilt upon some who may need to go to a physician. I have always said this, if you can live above sickness, without going to the doctor or taking medicine, that is wonderful; may God bless your soul. But please! Do not condemn a brother or sister that has not attained such a place. Always allow room for the grace of God to work in every person’s life. Do not be so foolish as to think that God is helpless to deal with His true children when they need to move up a notch or two. What do we read in Romans 8:29? “For whom He (God) did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His son, (Jesus) that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” If God has predetermined to do a thing, Brother! You can be sure that He has a way to get it done. Bro. Jackson, does that mean that we should not try to help each other? Of course not. Did I say anything against the children of God, helping each other? Everything I have said has been to help you keep from condemning each other, and to keep you from condemning yourselves, when carnal minded people find fault with you. I have not said one thing that should keep anyone from obeying any scripture that God may reveal to them. Some of you, who have grown more in the stature of the Lord Jesus Christ, may recognize many things in the lives of others that you feel should not be there, but it would be wrong for you to assume a pious attitude toward them, knowing that growing in the grace of God is a progressive process. No one reaches maturity suddenly.
DO NOT BE LIKE CAIN
Let us read a few more words that Paul wrote to the church at Rome, and then we will try to bring this little message to a close. Our hope and our confidence must rest in the ability, and the faithfulness of the one that called us to this great salvation by the wooing of His Spirit. Picking up verse 30, there in Romans 8, we read these words. “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? WHO SHALL LAY ANYTHING TO THE CHARGE OF GOD’S ELECT? IT IS GOD THAT JUSTIFIETH.” God is able to carry us through, if we will just hold steady and depend upon Him. Let us not be as concerned about what other people may think of us, as we are about what God thinks about us. Let me read you a few verses from the little epistle of 1st John, beginning with 3:11. “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, WHO WAS OF THAT WICKED ONE, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because HIS OWN WORKS WERE EVIL, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. HE THAT LOVETH NOT HIS BROTHER ABIDETH IN DEATH. WHOSOEVER HATETH HIS BROTHER IS A MURDERER: AND YE KNOW THAT NO MURDERER HATH ETERNAL LIFE ABIDING IN HIM.” There are some people who become so violent when they cannot get others to subscribe to their formula of holiness; they are almost like Cain, who physically slew his brother Abel. They may never kill you physically, but they will do everything within their power to kill any spiritual influence you may have with people. Why? Because their own deeds are evil. Their own heart is not right with God. Who would follow such leaders? Those who have drifted along through life without ever becoming grounded upon the word of God. Those who love excitement, more than they love truth. Those who hope for some material advantage, and those whom the devil has set in your assembly just for such an occasion. All of this is foretold in the scriptures, that those who love truth, and desire a holy walk with God, may be forewarned. I am going to close now. I never had any intention of making a sin list for anyone. If you have a Bible, you already have a sin list. If you do not have a Bible, try to get one. Then just humble yourself before God, and ask him to show you from His word, how to conduct yourself as a child of God. If anything in this message leaves a question in your mind, do not hesitate to write us. We are here to help you, if we can. I have always felt that there is a Bible answer for every honest question that anyone may have, concerning their spiritual walk with God. Meanwhile, May His grace be precious to each and every one of you. Amen.