Sunrise-Sunset, Part 2

NOVEMBER 1987

We ended part 1 of this message talking about how, to the natural eye, it looks like there are multitudes of Christians in the world today, but close examination reveals that an awful lot of them are just people with a lot of ideas about religion. This is all, right in line with a prophecy given by Amos in the 8th century B.C. which says, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north, even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” That is found in Amos 8:11-12, and if it never applied to any other time in the history of mankind, it sure applies to this present age of time. The society as a whole has plenty to eat and drink; and from the standpoint of natural reasoning, it looks like there are enough Christians in the world today to contradict this prophecy of Amos. But when you know the truth, you know the true word of the Lord is scarce, among them. Every city you go into here in America, you see huge church buildings of every shape, form, and fashion. Even the little country towns all have their share of churches; and as you drive through the countryside, you see them along the way, Cripple Creek Baptist Church, Soft Swamp Methodist Church, Weeping Willow Presbyterian Church and all such like. But I will tell you something saints, Do not get up in one of them, and try to preach the revealed truth of God’s word; for they will literally run you off. All they want is a religious philosophy that will appease their minds, and make them feel religious. You can trace it right back to Cain, there in the very beginning of the history of mankind. He wanted to be religious; but he was not willing to worship God in the proper way. He had his own ideas about worshiping the Creator, and when his offering was rejected, he became bitter. Instead of repenting, and turning to God, he let his bitterness drive him to murder his half brother Abel, and the Bible tells us that he went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod. You can read those early chapters of Genesis, and see what that Cain line of humanity turned out to be like. Then in chapter 6, it speaks of a time when the Seth line began to intermarry with the Cain line, and those mixed attributes in the children from those marriages have passed on down through mankind to this very hour of time. Therefore it is no wonder that you find so many people with religious ideas today; and yet so very few that really hunger after the true word of the Lord; and those who do hunger and thirst after truth, are not able to find it in very many places. Churches today are more like lodges. They really do have a fellowship; but their fellowship is built around things their flesh can agree with, so that leaves no place for the truth of God’s word, because the flesh and the Spirit are contrary the one to the other. The sad truth of the matter is that whatever these carnal minded, so called Christians do, reflects back on everything that is called Christianity, because those making the judgments do not know the difference between true Christians and make believers. Nevertheless, regardless of what the word may say about Christianity, the true church of the living God, still has a commission to fulfill; as long as this grace age lasts. That commission is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” and it became effective there in Jerusalem, almost two thousand years ago, when the Lord sent the promise of the Father upon those who had obeyed His word, and waited in that upper room.

WHAT THE HOLY GHOST WILL DO

 

When Peter used his keys, to open up the kingdom to those that would believe and obey the gospel, it set something in motion that was designed by the Creator, to redeem all of His lost children, and put them on talking terms with Him, and it will remain in effect until all of those who were foreknown of Him, have been redeemed; and in all of this time, people who could never really yield themselves fully to God, have still been allowed to partake of many of the blessings God has poured out for the benefit of His true children. That is why you read in the scriptures that He sends the rain on the just and the unjust. But when it comes to perfection; He is only perfecting His true children that love His truth. Now as we have already said, there are a lot of people out here in the charismatic realm of religion that measure everything by whether a person speaks in tongues or not; mostly because of what happened there in that upper room, in Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost. But I want to ask you a very simple question; and I want you to think about it. If everyone who speaks in tongues truly has received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, how come so many of them reject so much of the word of God? Will not the Holy Ghost in a true believer, bear witness to truth, when it is encountered? I say yes, because the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth. But you find multitudes in the world today, who seem to believe that the Holy Ghost is just something to play with. As for what happened there in Jerusalem with that 120 disciples, you have to consider the time, and the setting, and the people that needed something to convince them that god was doing a new thing in the earth. If the Holy Ghost had come with no more manifestation than what the Baptists, the Methodists, and the Presbyterians of today believe in, No one in the streets of Jerusalem would have had any reason to recognize that scripture was being fulfilled. It took that manifestation of tongues, to get the attention of all those others Peter was given the opportunity to preach to. Therefore let me just say this, I am not against anyone speaking in tongues, I could wish that you all did. But then I expect to see something more from your life than just merely speaking in tongues; and certainly, there is no scripture giving anyone any authority to make a doctrine out of it. When the Holy Ghost comes in, your religion should become more than just a head belief with a set of rules to live by. The Holy ghost is a revelator, a teacher that will guide true believers into all truth. How? By dealing with their intellect from within. That is why Jesus told His disciples, I have yet many things to say unto you, but you are not yet able to bear them; for without the Holy Ghost, their minds could not grasp what the Creator was in the process of doing. But let us go back to the 2nd chapter of Acts, and see what started happening, once the Holy Ghost came.

 

THE CHURCH’S FIRST MIRACLE

 

In the 2nd chapter of the book of Acts, you see where the first 120 disciples received the Holy Ghost. Then you see the Holy Ghost reveal a prophecy of Joel being fulfilled. Those disciples knew that prophecy was there in Joel, but without the Holy Ghost, they did not know what it pertained to. But when the time came, Peter stood right up and preached a sermon on it, by the revelation of the Spirit he had just received; and three thousand other Jews believed, and were baptized, as he presented Jesus Christ to them. The Bible does not tell us that they spoke in tongues; it just says, they that gladly received his word were baptized, and tells that there were three thousand of them. Whether they spoke in tongues or not, is not the important thing; the important thing is the way their lives were changed from that moment on. The first thing they did was get baptized; and there again, people assume things that they have no right to assume. You have churches that teach their people that the apostles took those believers out and sprinkled them, simply because the Bible does not say they were immersed. Brothers and Sisters: I deal with these things in this way, If Jesus was immersed, then I know the apostles immersed believers also. Sprinkling was not even heard of; in that early apostolic church. That is something added later on, for the sake of convenience; but it does not fulfill the purpose of exemplifying death, burial, and resurrection to newness of life, as set forth in the 6th chapter of Romans, where Paul dealt with it extensively. I have always said, The scriptures interpret the scriptures; if the Holy Ghost is allowed to direct our thought, and reveal them to us. Well when we come to chapter 3, we find a record of the first miracle done by the church, after the ascension of Jesus. Peter and John went up to the temple to pray. Praying in the outer court of the temple area, was a Jewish custom, and we have to assume that these Jewish Christians were meeting there to pray also. No doubt on this particular morning, most of the church had already gone up to the place where they met together, and Peter and John were coming along, just the two of them together, when a certain cripple man which lay at the gate of the temple daily, asked an alms of them. This man had been doing that very thing for years; and I could not help but wonder how many times Jesus had passed right by him, as He went to and from the temple. It is easy to say, Why did He not heal him the first time He ever went to the temple? But we have to remember that Jesus only did what the Father directed Him to do and the Father was saving this miracle for the Church; as it moved out, to carry on the works Jesus had been doing. After all, that is what Jesus told His disciples they would do; as we have already read in John 14:12. He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and great works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Greater works, only in the sense that there would be more people doing these works, and it would be a universal thing, instead of just there where Jesus ministered in human form. In verse 13, He said this, to show where their authority would come from. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Some interpret that verse to mean that they can ask for fine cars, million dollar mansions to live in, and all sorts of thing that they can heap upon their flesh. But I would have to ask them, How is the Father glorified in the Son, through all of that selfish carnality? We must leave the lust of our flesh out of this, and apply it to the work of God; for that is what Jesus was talking about, when He said it. Therefore in the light of all that Jesus has taught, we have to recognize this incident there at the temple gate as something ordained of the Father to plunge the Church into their foreordained ministry. We do not know whether God had given Peter a dream, a vision, or what; but one thing is sure; when the crippled man asked for a little offering, Peter knew exactly what to say to him. With that Holy Ghost anointing upon him, Peter simply said to the man, “Look on us.” Which in this case meant, Listen to what we are going to say. Then he said, (as the man looked at them, expecting to receive an offering) “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Peter was not just hoping something would happen; this was a voice of authority, for Hew knew he was being directed by the Father, just like Jesus had been, when He did such works. Verse 7 says, “And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. (8) And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God.”  Brother! That man had been crippled all his life; and now, suddenly, he is able to walk and leap, and dance, and as he did, he got a lot of attention. He went right into the temple court with Peter and John, leaping and jumping up and down and glorifying God; so those Jews there praying, began to look up from their prayer books to see what was going on; and when they did they recognized the man as the one they had seen begging outside the temple gate, for years. This was the first miracle done by the Holy Ghost through the apostles, so as their attention was drawn to the man that was healed, these Jews began to inquire about what had happened; and they all turned their attention to Peter and John; the instruments God had used. Then, Peter, recognizing what was happening, said, “Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” This gave Peter another open door to preach Jesus Christ to a lot of Jews, so he stepped right in, and started, saying, “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our father, hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied Him in the presence of Pilate, when he determined to let Him go. But ye denied the Holy one and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you: And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And His name through faith in His name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him (Jesus) hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” By the time Peter finished this sermon, he had another mad bunch of Jews; but there were also 5,000 more believers, ready to be baptized, and the Lord was adding to the Church daily; so it was time for the rest of the great commission to be activated. Jerusalem had been preached to; so it was time to move out into all Judaea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth, and the way God brought that about; was to allow a great persecution strike the Church and scatter the Christians. When Saul raised up, and started arresting them, and casting them into prison, they began to flee, fearing for their lives; and as they went they could not help but testify wherever they went, of what had happened in Jerusalem. That is how Phillip ended up down in Samaria, preaching Jesus Christ to them.

 

SAMARIA RECEIVES THE GOSPEL

 

Let us go to the 8th chapter of Acts now, and follow what took place down in Samaria, when Phillip preached Jesus Christ to them. Jesus had already preached to the Samaritans, through His encounter with the woman at the well, and many of them believed on Him then. Therefore when Phillip began to preach, and testify of all that he had seen and heard, something really began to happen there in Samaria. Let us begin in verse 4, and read a few verses. The thing that really brought the persecution of Christians to a head, was the stoning of Stephen, which is covered in chapter 7; and that is when Saul really began to make havoc of the Church, causing the Christians to flee from Jerusalem. Then in verse 4, you begin to see how God was using this persecution to fulfill the rest of the commission. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the gospel. Then Phillip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Phillip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. (He was only a deacon when he was still at Jerusalem; but notice what these verses say about Phillip’s ministry in Samaria. He had miracles following his ministry.) For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them; and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed, and there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. But when they believed Phillip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also; and when he was baptized, he continued with Phillip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” From these verses, we get a good picture of what was taking place there in Samaria, as Phillip preached, and testified, and the power of God healed the sick and crippled people. People were getting baptized right and left, but they were not receiving the Holy Ghost; so let us read a little more, and notice something else. “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: For as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” It was important that they receive the Holy Ghost, just like they at Jerusalem had received, for that is the only thing that puts you into the Church of the living God. Please be mindful of the fact that we are not talking about speaking in tongues; we are talking about the infilling experience of receiving the Holy Ghost, that we see in verse 17. “Then laid they (Peter and John) their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” There are two things to take not of here. It says that Simon believed also, and was baptized, and followed Phillip. But verse 18 lets us see that he was different from the others that had believed, for he was trying to buy with money, something he could make a show with, still desiring to be looked upon as some great person. Another thing we will want to notice, without referring to it as an evidence, is that these believers no doubt spoke in tongues, when they received the Holy Ghost; for Simon saw some manifestation that caused him to desire for himself, what he saw manifested through those apostles. He was a man that liked a lot of excitement and attention; and the world is full of that kind, even yet today. They will do anything just to get attention. Nevertheless we do not need to accept the fact that the Holy Ghost did bear witness of His presence, by some manifestation that could be seen or heard. That is how God got the attention of those Jews there in Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost; and caused them to realize that something different was taking place; so even though the Bible does not say so, it is reasonable to believe that these Samaritans also spoke in tongues, when they received the Holy Ghost; and no doubt that is what caused Simon to want to get in on it, and maybe recapture some of the attention he had formerly received from the people, through his powers as a sorcerer. “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. (Peter really rebuked this man for what he had tried to do, so notice verse 21.) Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” He then called upon him to repent of the wickedness of his heart and seek God’s forgiveness. You can read the rest of it, if you like. Our main concern at this time is to show how the gospel of Jesus Christ was received by another race of people, other than pure Jews. Therefore here is what I want you to see. Just as it took some kind of outward manifestation of the inward presence of the Holy Ghost in those first disciples, to cause those Jews in the streets of Jerusalem to see that they had something the rest of them did not have: it likewise required an outward manifestation of His presence in those Samaritans, in order fo the Jewish Christians to be fully convinced that they (the Samaritans) had received. It was not the speaking in tongues that was important; it was the gift of eternal life that they had received, that was the important thing. Brothers and Sisters: Rather than Christians of today, being concerned about an evidence of the presence of the Holy Ghost: they ought to be concentrating on bringing their lives in line with this word of God, that was recorded by those first recipients of this wonderful gift of eternal life. The setting is completely different now. It is already an established fact that God will give this gift of life to anyone who will believe and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of race, color, station in life, country of residence, or anything else, so there is no manifestation required to prove to anyone else that you have the Holy Ghost. The way you prove you have the Holy Ghost, is by allowing Him to lead and direct your life. But this gift of eternal life is an individual thing, not subject to anyone else’s feelings. God only can give it; and no man can take it away from you, so you need not prove anything to anyone, in order to walk with God. But I will say this, Whatever is in you will sooner or later manifest itself in one way or another. If you are a true child of God, other true children of God will recognize the kindred Spirit; and if you are make believer, children of God will sooner or later recognize the absence of that kindred Spirit. But let us move on now, as we seek to follow the course of events that came with the dawning of this day of salvation.

 

GOD PREPARES PETER FOR THE HOUSE OF CORNELIUS

 

Go with me to chapter 10 where we will see the Holy Ghost poured out upon a group of Gentiles, and how by a manifestation of that Spirit, those Jews with Peter were made to realize that these Gentiles had received the absolute same thing they had received. The 9th chapter of Acts tells us of the conversion experience of Saul, as he went about persecuting Christians, and also of some of the works of the Holy Ghost through the apostle Peter, leading up to the even we are going to look at, here in chapter 10. Peter was in Joppa, a little town that lay on the outskirts of what we know today as Tel Aviv. He had just seen a man healed of Palsy, and a woman named Dorcas, raised from the dead, and during those days there, he stayed in the house of another man named Simon, who was a tanner. But about 60 miles up the coast from Jerusalem, in a town called Caesarea, was a Gentile man that had been proselyted to Judaism. A man that feared God; and that contributed to the poor people of Jerusalem, and prayed to God for leadership and direction. His attitude toward the Jewish people, caused him to fast and pray, and seek the will of God for his life, so God gave him a vision. He saw the angel of the Lord coming to him and saying, Cornelius, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side; he shall tell thee what thou ought to do. Now right at that moment, Peter would not have been able to tell Cornelius what he, as a Gentile man, ought to do. But God was not going to allow it to remain that way. While those men from Cornelius were on their way to Joppa, God was dealing with Peter, getting Him ready for what was about to happen. As meal time approached, Peter was hungry; but he decided to go up to the roof of the house and pray, while he waited for the mean to be prepared. Those flat roofed houses were used for many things, sort of like we use a patio, so it was not unusual that Peter chose that place to pray. But think about this. There he was, up above where the food was being prepared, so I can just imagine the aroma that was hitting his sense of smell, as he talked to God about guidance and leadership of his life. Well God used that very setting to speak to him. The scripture says he was very hungry and would have eaten, but before they got the food ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and something like a huge sheet tied together at the four corners, descending unto him. In it were all sorts of four-footed beasts of the earth, creeping things, and fowls of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But he said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. In other words, I am holy. That just shows his human nature, and how he felt about these things. He was a Jew, and he had the Holy Ghost; but he had lived under the law all his life, and up to this point God had not dealt with him concerning these things of the law. Furthermore he had no use for Gentile people, because the law says they are just like dogs. The time had come for God to deal with the Gentiles; but first He had to deal with Peter’s mind, and this vision was designed to do that. The voice spoke back to Peter saying, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done three times and then the whole display was taken up into heaven where it descended from, and Peter was left wondering what it all meant. About that time though, the three men sent by Cornelius were at the gate, inquiring about a man by the name of Simon Peter. That is when the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” What a contrast! Right there in the very beginning of this dispensation, before anyone had ever been schooled on how to recognize the voice of the Spirit of God, this man whose very nature was hostile toward Gentiles, heard the voice of God, and obeyed it, and went right down to those servants of that Roman centurion and said, “Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause where of ye are come?” The men told their story, of all that had transpired in Caesarea, and how God, by an angel, had told Cornelius to send for him, to come to his house that they might hear words of him. He called them in and gave them lodging over night, and the next morning he took six other Jewish Christians, and went to Caesarea with the three men, not having the slightest idea of what he was supposed to say to them, once they arrived. All he knew for sure, was that the Spirit had said, “Go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” No doubt his mind ran through a lot of possibilities on the way. But he actually had to get there and hear the whole story from Cornelius, before he received the anointing to know what to say.

 

GENTILES RECEIVE THE GOSPEL

 

When they arrived at the home of Cornelius, he was waiting for them with a lot of his relatives and close friends, and according to his Gentile background, he fell right down at Peter’s feet and worshiped him. He did not know any better; that is the way that Roman religious society was taught. But Peter knew better, so he reached down and lifted the man up and said to him, “Stand up: I myself also am a man.” Rome still claims Peter to have been the first pope, but Peter never had any part in such an idea. Even when he was still under the law, he knew man was not supposed to bow down and worship any thing other than the Creator Himself. That is what Jesus told Satan also, when Satan was testing Him. When Peter got Cornelius back on his feet, he said to all of them, “Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore what intent ye have sent for me?”  Cornelius told him the whole story, which you can read in the 10th chapter of Acts, and then it was Peter’s turn to speak again. Down in Samaria, they just simply laid hands on people who were already believers, and had already been baptized, and they received the Holy Ghost. But here in this setting, the whole lot of them waiting to hear him speak, were Gentiles: that he had always looked upon as unclean people, unfit for a Jew to have any dealing with. Yet he knew that he was there by the direction fo the Spirit of God, and he knew also that he had nothing else he could say to them, except to tell them about Jesus Christ, and what He had accomplished on behalf of lost mankind; so in verse 34, we pick up the beginning of his sermon. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.” He gave them a quick run down of what they (the disciples that walked with Jesus) had seen and heard, and how the prophets of old bore witness of Him in their long range prophecies. As he spoke to them, they were all sitting there like little birds; just waiting to be fed. God had seen their yielded hearts and the hunger of their souls, so He just simply bypassed the usual procedure, and astonished those Jewish believers that came with Peter, by giving these Gentiles the Holy Ghost, before they were even baptized. Notice, as we pick up in verse 44. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.” Why was it necessary for these Gentiles to speak in tongues, when they received the Holy Ghost? To convince Peter and those men that came with him, that they could not refuse to baptize these for any reason whatsoever, since God had already given them the same thing the Jewish believers had been receiving. Peter was not preaching an evidence message; but when God gave them this manifestation, he could not help but accept the sign. That is when he spoke up and said, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” One thing about Peter, when he recognized God in something, he was for it all the way. But now we want to leave Peter, and look in on another apostle. This one started out persecuting Christians; and then became the apostle to the Gentiles, and most of the New Testament epistles were written by him. We are talking about the apostle Paul of course.

 

PAUL – AT EPHESUS

 

In his first missionary journey, Paul went to Asia, to Lystra, Derbe, and the region round about. Then after a certain length of time, He felt like it would be good, to go back to those same places where they had been before, and see how the believers they left in each place were doing. He took Silas with him, and started right back over the same area, but found himself restrained by the Spirit, and in a night vision, saw a man of Macedonia standing, and saying, “Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” He then turned West, and answered that call, and it was on this second missionary journey that the Galatian, the Thessalonian, the Philippian, as well as the Corinthian assemblies were established. Then on his way back, he came through Ephesus, and left Aquila and his wife Priscilla, whom he had met in Corinth, there. They were two Jews that had been deported from Rome, and they became powerful witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul left Ephesus with his heart set on going to Jerusalem, promising to return to them, if the Lord would permit. In his absence from Ephesus, another Jew named Apollos, a disciple of John the Baptist, came to Ephesus from Alexandria, Egypt, preaching John’s message, concerning the Christ that should come. For some reason, he did not know what had taken place, since he heard John preach like that. Therefore being well instructed in the Old Testament scriptures, he gained some disciples there at Ephesus before Aquila and Priscilla got hold of him, and brought his revelation up to date. He then went on his way, and the next thing we see is Paul coming back to Ephesus. With this little short fill in, we will now go to the 19th chapter of Acts, and begin reading in verse 1. “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, (they were disciples that had believed Apollos’ message concerning repentance, according to what John had preached) He said to them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” That was their way of saying, We know nothing at all about the Holy Ghost. We have never even heard it mentioned. “And he (Paul) said unto them, Unto what then, were you baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” After bringing their revelation up to date, the next thing Paul did was baptize them in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, according to the New Testament formula. Modern evangelism of our day will tell people it didn’t matter whether they are baptized or not, just as long as they repent and believe. They will baptize them in the trinity titles, if they want to be baptized, but they place no real importance upon baptism. To the early apostolic church, it was important; for they had a revelation of what it was done for. Scriptural baptism is to symbolize death, burial, and then resurrection. Death to the old self, and then a new life in Christ. Then you are ready for the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God. Do you actually believe God would place His Spirit in a vessel that absolutely refused to accept scriptural baptism in the name of Jesus Christ? Do not fool yourself. God is not going to cut corners, just to satisfy your carnal beliefs. He gave those Gentiles at Caesarea His Spirit, before they were baptized, but I assure you, not one of them refused baptism when the time came. Those disciples there at Ephesus were following the message of a man whose revelation was way behind time. That is the way denominational churches are today. They are still living way back in the Reformation period. But the big difference is, these disciples of John’s message, were ready to have their experience brought up to date, and most of what the world looks upon as Christians today, are not.

 

TWELVE BELIEVERS RECEIVE HOLY GHOST

 

After those twelve disciples there at Ephesus were baptized, Paul laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost, speaking in tongues, and prophesying. Did it have to be that way? No. But that is the way God ordained it to be. They spoke with tongues and prophesied, displaying two manifestations of the Holy Spirit. God did that, for a sign to Paul, showing that He had fully accepted the Gentiles. Therefore Paul stayed right there at Ephesus for three years, preaching the gospel, and teaching those new Christians how to walk godly in Christ Jesus. It says, there in chapter 19, that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. During that three years, seven churches were established in Asia, from the revival spirit at Ephesus. Paul never preached anything about tongues as an evidence; he just preached the gospel and God Himself gave the manifestations to suit His purpose. You just simply have to realize that there is more involved than speaking in tongues. The Holy Ghost is a revelatory Spirit, and a teacher that instructs and leads those in whom He dwells. Therefore when you see people lock their feet, and refuse to move, and find them constantly denying truths of the word of God, you have every reason to question the spirit they have in them; for the Holy Ghost will not cause you to say not to truth.

 

PAUL – ESTABLISHING DOCTRINES

 

Let us take a few minutes now, and look at the revelatory aspect of this Spirit. I keep reminding you of what Jesus said, in John 16:12, and I have a reason for doing that. He told His disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” In other words, you cannot understand 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.” We all accept the fact that Jesus said that; but have we actually considered the full scope of that statement? Let us see. As Christianity became established in various regions of the then known world, and Satan got his chance to use elements of flesh to cause confusion in different assemblies, there came a time that certain things had to be dealt with. This Spirit of truth in those apostles, caused them to address themselves to the problems that arose, and as they did, important church doctrines were established. They dealt with morals, with proper conduct, with things to come, and with the spirit of antichrist; that would always try to discredit, or change the things of the word of God. You will not find preachers like Billy Graham, touching the doctrines set forth in these epistles very much. They keep themselves out of trouble by preaching mostly from the four gospels. There is nothing wrong with preaching from the four gospels; but all you will ever have is baby Christians, if that is as far as you take them. Now, let us look at some of the things the Holy Spirit taught, to fulfill the words of Jesus, in John 16:12-13. When Paul was still at Ephesus, in that great revival, someone got word to him that there were problems in the Corinthian Church, so what did he do? He wrote them a letter, dealing with those problems; and Christians ever since then, have used this letter to deal with similar problems, in their respective ages of time. In chapter 1, he dealt with a dispute about whose disciples these were, saying, Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? In other words, Put away these petty differences; and follow Jesus Christ, the one who died for you, and rose again. In chapter 3, he referred to them as carnal babes in Christ, because of their petty differences, and so forth. He reminded them that they were the temple of God, because the Spirit of God dwelt in them, and reminded them also that the temple of God is holy. But when you come to chapter 5, you find him dealing with a case of fornication he has been made aware of, there in their assembly. He said in essence, I have already judged this deed, even without being there. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, and the power of the Lord Jesus Christ with you, deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit (of that person, or persons,) may be saved in the day fo the Lord Jesus. He said in verse 9, “I wrote unto you in an epistle, not to company with fornicators.” Brother, he is giving them guidelines to live by. When you get over to chapter 7, you find him dealing with marriage and divorce; and I want you to know he laid it down as a doctrine, and they knew what he meant. They did not have to go around asking, What did he mean by that? We are looking at things that had to be dealt with in the light of grace. There was no way Paul could take the law, which was given to the Jews, and apply it to Gentile Christians in this age of grace. God’s righteous principles have never changed. But under grace, He has a different method of dealing with wrongs; and He revealed those methods to His apostles, by the Holy Ghost, as the need arose.

 

In chapter 11, you find Paul dealing with leadership, long hair, and the proper way of partaking of the Lord’s supper, or communion. Then in chapters 12-13-14, he deals with the gifts of the Spirit, what they are, and the proper use of them. These are all things Jesus could not teach His disciples, before they had the Spirit of God in them, to enable them to understand. “I have yet many things to say unto you.” Is that little verse becoming more meaningful to you as we look at these things which have been revealed to men of God by His Spirit? All of those early Christians expected Jesus to return in their lifetime. Therefore as some of the older ones began to die, the others began to be concerned, saying things like, We thought Jesus was coming back. What is going to happen to our loved ones that have died? Well that caused Paul to wrote what we read in 1st Thessalonians 4, and in 1st Corinthians 15, where he dealt with the resurrection; and the catching away of those saints still alive when Jesus returns. He did not learn anything about the order of these things, from the Old Testament. They were typed, and spoken of; but not explained. The same goes for what he dealt with in Ephesians 1, which was written while he was a prisoner in Rome. Notice verses 4 & 5, and tell me where he got that. “According as he (the Father) hath chosen us in Him (Jesus Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having PREDESTINATED us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” How many of your modern day evangelists will even read that first few verses of Ephesians? Or Colossians 1:19 and 2:9, which deal with the Godhead? Their following will not permit them to get into these doctrines of the New Testament epistles; except to denounce them, as certain ones have done. In 2nd Thessalonians, chapter 2, Paul speaks of the coming of Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him, and then says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin (the Antichrist) be revealed, the son of perdition: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” He has the falling away, the return of Christ, the resurrection and rapture of the Church, and the deeds of the Antichrist, all wrapped up in those few words of verses 1-4.

 

THE BEGINNING OF MORAL BREAKDOWN

 

This falling away, mentioned in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3, brings me to a point I want to emphasize. Fifty years ago, most of the denominational churches still had respect for the word of God, and for the righteous principles therein. America was founded, a nation under God. The Bible was used in all branches of our government as a guide in establishing laws of morality and right principles. Fifty years ago, you would not have found a homosexual admitting to the fact that he or she was one. In fact, even 40 years ago, if a person in the military service of this country was found to be a homosexual, they were given a dishonorable discharge. But look what they tell you today: We are American citizens, and we demand our rights. You have no right to discriminate against us. All of this is a result of Christianity failing to hold up a standard. We are in the clutches of that great falling away; and all the signs point to the soon return of the Lord for the rapture of the Church. Where did it all start? Most of what we are seeing today, is because of a breakdown of the American home, that actually started in the W.W. 2 era, when so many mothers left their homes and went into factories to work, because of the shortage of manpower. When the war ended, and the men came home, a lot of those mothers chose to stay in the factories, instead of returning to their former role of homemaking. This eventually produced a generation of teenagers and young adults that grew up in life, without a mother there to guide them. I am not casting any stones; I am only giving you a little history. We all know some of those mothers were forced to keep on working. They had no other choice. But out of that era came a trend, that eventually bred the feminist movement, and little by little, opened the door for a complete breakdown of the way of life this nation was founded upon. When women of America began to compete with the men, both in the offices as well as in the blue collar jobs in industry, too many of them stopped thinking of themselves as the mother of their children, and as homemakers. You know what I am talking about. Now they are bank presidents, insurance executives, heads of huge corporations, and all such like, and the devil loves what they are doing; because they have to ignore the word of God to go to the lengths they have gone to. Women preachers are demanding a place in the pulpits of America; and scripturally, we know for sure that this is wrong. Nevertheless they are doing these things, and what makes it even worse, along comes their little daughters, bound and determined to do what mommy is doing. The Church no longer has any influence on them; it is just the opposite. The spirit that is on them, has moved into the churches, taking a lot of other spirits with it. That is what moved the age into its apostate condition; the world influences the churches of the land, more than the churches influence the world. When this feminist movement hit the churches; in came dope, immoral dress, worldly music, and just about anything else you can think of. So called Reverends, with their hair hanging down their backs, have hit the streets, protesting just about everything this country ever stood for. They have lost the revelation of what the word of God is alla bout. That is why we have a famine in the land today. A famine is not something that hits suddenly; it slowly creeps up on you. We read the prophecy in Amos, concerning a famine that would hit, a famine for the hearing of the true word of God. When there came a generation that had no respect for the word of the Lord, He just slowly began to cut it off from them. Why give it to them, if they do not want it? When the word of God began to be cut off, then in come the sodomites, with their dope and every filthy practice the world has ever known, right into the churches that once stood for a holy way of life. As long as our nation upheld scriptural principles, perverts had to stay hid in their closets; they dared not step out, and demand equal rights. Well does this mean that God does not have a true witness in the world today? Oh, no. He has some eagles scattered over the globe, that make up the true body of Christ; and they appreciate the revealed word of God, when they are privileged to hear it. That is why Jesus said, Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. The eagles know where to go, to be fed. Saints, I am thankful that there is still food in the land today; even in the midst of this great famine. Surely we can see that the scriptures are being fulfilled, at a very rapid pace; getting things ready for the return of Jesus Christ. The true Church has the revealed word of God, while the apostate church has AIDS and every fowl spirit out of hell. Society in general does not want to admit that AIDS is a curse sent from God, to an immoral society of people. But whether they admit that or not: surely they are not too blind to recognize where it strikes. Their life style is what breeds it; but they are too devil possessed to turn around. That is why it is so ridiculous for these charismatic preachers to harp on a great world wide revival, that is sweeping the land today. If what they are saying were true, then we have been reading the signs of the times wrong, and we are not close to the end after all. I believe everyone of you know better than that, for scripturally, everything is falling right into place. We have to be close to the end.

 

DISASTER AHEAD

 

We have gone through quite a few scriptures, discovering what the dawning of this day of grace started off like; and we have much history that tells us what it was like in the Dark Ages, when the light of the sun (Son) was blotted out by dark clouds that rolled in. That of course, is the condition Zechariah prophesied about in the verses we used to begin this message. I want to read those two verses once again, before we continue on, for I do not want you to lose sight of why we are dealing with this subject. We are endeavoring to show by the scriptures that the light, spoken of in this prophecy, is just as bright and beautiful as it was in the dawning of this glorious day. We are in Zechariah 14:6-7, reading a prophecy that actually picks up somewhere in that day, without telling anything at all about its dawning. “And it shall come to pass in that day, (this day of salvation) that the light shall not be clear nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” It is that evening light that the living element of the bride of Jesus Christ is perfected, and made ready for her translation. Hallelujah! As the little song goes, We are going to see the King. I honestly do not believe it will be very much longer. But, Saints: There are things in the not too distant future, that will without a doubt, bring a lot of heartache and sadness to an awful lot of people. If I did not know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and know from the word of God that the things taking place in the world today were foretold in prophecy, I might be like a lot of others are today. I might be on the verge of committing suicide. The way things are moving, there could well be a condition in the very near future, hit this country, that would be worse than the great crash of 1929 & 1930. I was a little boy when that hit, but I can remember coming home from school one day, and hearing the adults talking about the crash. Then later, heard the old timers tell how bad it was back then. The steel mills at Gary, Indiana, were closed down. Oil refineries were shut down, and many other places, simply because the bottom dropped out of the economy. Life’s savings were lost; and for a long time there was no work, for people to even make any money. Then when it finally did begin to turn around, a lot of people in Kentucky and southern Indiana, went to Gary, trying to get a job. But you can imagine how it was; maybe for every one job that opened up, there were hundreds of applicants for it. Brothers and Sisters: I am not trying to scare anyone; nor do I want you to go away feeling bad; but the sun is getting too close to the western horizon for us to just drift along, feeling that everything is all right. There is definitely a shaking ahead. This nation has built her economy on a false security. She has too little backing her dollar, and she has spread herself too thin, trying to support other countries. I heard on the TV news that our indebtedness is equivalent to that of Mexico, Venezuela, and so many other countries all put together; and do you know what? There is no way you and I can pay it off. That is why I say, There are heartaches ahead. All of this is referred to in the scriptures, as the beginning of sorrows. To the world at large, there is no hope; for their security is a false security. If the dollar is all you are living for, then get ready to run for your life.

 

FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S WORD

 

We have known for years that the war described in Ezekiel 38 & 39, will take place sometime before Gentile time runs out, gospel-wise; and we have known also that Russia would be foolish to come against Israel, without first doing something to disable this country; so I am just simply saying to you today, Be wise Christians; do not just drift along unaware of the hour we are living in. The last stock market crash occurred in the last months of President Hoover’s presidency, a Republican president; and the one we have now is in the last months of his presidency; so some of what we are seeing may be politically motivated, to throw public opinion over to the liberal side. But regardless of which way it goes, I am glad to be on the Lord’s side. I am glad our salvation is not dependent on the stock market. Nevertheless what I intend to deal with for a little while, is the 25th chapter of the gospel of St. Matthew. When Jesus spoke these parables, there was one particular word He used a lot. The word I am referring to is T-H-E-N, a word that gave a future tense to the things He was talking about at that time. But I want to take a little time here, and show you, by the help of the Lord, that T-H-E-N, is now, concerning some of the things that were to take place; and some of the conditions that were to prevail; especially these two parables recorded here in Matthew 25. I believe we can examine these two parables in the light of the time we are now living in, and come to an unquestionable conclusion, that they are being fulfilled in our day and hour. First we have the parable about ten virgins, all going out to meet the Bridegroom. That means they are all looking for the coming of Jesus Christ. They are all expecting one day, to be wed to Him. The other parable is about a rich man, preparing to take a long journey; and how he delivered unto his servants his goods, for the sole purpose of them investing what they received, for a future gain. The conclusion of this parable, is that there is a day of reckoning, when each servant has to give an account of his investment of what was committed to him; and judgment is made, based upon how they handled their entrustment. Both parables have a literal application, but ideas about that application, run in every direction among those professing to be Christians. Nevertheless our lives are definitely going to be affected by them, before any of us ever see Jesus in His corporal body of flesh and bones. Of course, many will ask, How can this be, especially concerning the ten virgins? Was there not a cry made, Behold the Bridegroom cometh? Yes, and I believe we can show that this cry has already gone out. This parable of the ten virgins only has an end time application. But the parable of the talents has been in effect all down through the age of grace; and only the reckoning has an end time setting. Naturally those original servants are all dead; and if there were any fitting this description of slothfulness among them; they are not going to be resurrected along with the righteous ones, just to fulfill this parable. The only ones coming out of the ground in the next phase of the resurrection, are those that went into the ground, ready to meet the Lord. But there will be some living ones here in the end time that will fit both categories, some faithful, and some unfaithful.

 

THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD

 

As we first look at the parable of the ten virgins, let me remind you once again that T-H-E-N is now. We are now living in the fulfillment of this future tense parable given two thousand years ago. Therefore I ask you: If THEN is now, how should we see ourselves in the light of the revelation of this parable? Around the turn of the century, there was a sudden move of the Spirit of God, giving God fearing people this experience of the baptism of the Holy ghost. In the early years of this great move of God, much emphasis was upon the supernatural aspect; namely speaking in tongues, prophesying, and on divine healing. This was God’s way of confirming to the Church that Jesus Christ truly is the same today, that He was back in the first century of Christendom. People have a tendency to read John 14:12, which promised that the disciples, or believers would do the same works He (Jesus) was doing, and apply it only to the apostolic era of the New Testament Church; so I just want to remind you that believers of this hour, are filled with the same Spirit those apostles were filled with; and within the anointing of that Spirit is the potential for everything you read about them doing back then; even Jesus. It was not the physical flesh that made Jesus stand out, nor was it the flesh of the apostles, that made them stand out. It was the acts of that Spirit in them, that attracted the multitudes. The scriptures even tell us that there was nothing about the flesh of Jesus that would cause people to be attracted to Him. As we have said, He was without sin; perfect in every way. But for thirty years, He was just that, and no more. He was not God; nor did He have any power to perform miracles, until after He was incarnated by the Spirit of the Creator, after John baptized Him. After that, He not only performed miracles, He taught spiritual truths in a way that man had never heard them before. His acts, and His words, caused Him to stand out above every other man that had ever lived. What He taught made sense. He could put a picture together that up until that time, had only been like a maze to them. He took one little boy’s lunch, and fed a great multitude of people. He healed sick and diseased people who had no hope left, before He came on the scene. What was He doing all of this for? He was demonstrating the power of the great Creator, and preparing a people to do likewise, after He was taken off the scene. Then He said, I am the light of the world. That is why He could look at His disciples and say, Ye are the light of the world, for it would be that same Spirit in them, reaching out into the world, after He was gone to set at the Father’s right hand, that would be the light of the world. What did He mean by the term light? Well light reveals, by pushing back darkness. When you take the revelatory attributes of the Spirit, and join them with the supernatural attributes, you have what we call light; the light that lost mankind was without. First, Jesus reflected that light to the world. Then His disciples reflected it, and it has been the true people of God ever since, that has been the light of the world. Even when the church world itself was bound by tradition and almost total darkness: God still had His chosen few that were filled with that Spirit of light. Some people have a tendency to believe there was no light at all, during the darkest hours of the Dark Ages; but I want you to know for sure that there has never been a time since the days of Jesus, that God did not have vessels of light in the earth. Knowing what we know today, makes it hard for us to realize how it must have been for those vessels of light, at a time when they were almost swallowed up by the forces of evil and darkness; but God always made sure that the light of the world was not put out completely. From that little glimmer of light that remained, the Reformation was born; and from that time until now, God has been in the process of restoring to the Church precious truths that were laid aside during that time. The world as a whole, loves darkness; but the children of God love light, and they seek light. No wonder then, that we are hated by our families, and by our used to be, close friends; they are just like bugs and creeping things; they love the darkness. Light is only loved and sought after by the true children of light.

WISE – AND FOOLISH – VIRGINS – AND TARES

 

Let me try to get on now with this parable about ten virgins. Naturally the numbers are only figurative, calling attention to the fact that some will be wise, and some foolish, as this age closes out. Another thing we need to realize is that the term virgins, points to the total representation of the Christian world, excluding tares of course; but only God knows for sure who is a tare, and who is a foolish virgin. By the Spirit in us, we are able to discern certain things; but we would have to have the Spirit without measure, in order to know for sure who is who; Because the professing church is made up of three distinctive groups. The wise virgins, the foolish virgins, and the tares. The wise virgins are anxious to see Jesus. The foolish virgins want to see Him sometime, and the tares could not care less about seeing Him; for they are just living for today. They are not virgins at all; they are make-believers. As for the ten virgins: you will notice that they all slumbered and slept. Why? Because their denominational organizations made them feel secure. Organizational religion functions just like a business; namely by the zealousness of human instrumentality. All of this organization has a tendency to make people feel secure; but it is a false sense of security; because it has no solid foundation. But according to the parable, a midnight cry went forth, Behold the Bridegroom cometh! Naturally the cry awakened all the sleeping virgins. They could all accept the fact that the cry pointed to the eminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some thought in terms of His visible return and others thought in terms of His appearing in the clouds to receive His bride. But in reality, when the prophet messenger to this age made that cry: it was a call to the bride Church, to first see the living Christ in His word, and make themselves ready for the time when He would appear to receive them unto Himself. Just to emphasize how far organized religion has drifted from the true revelation of the word of God, I will just mention something I could not help but notice on the way to church this morning. As we drove past the Elizabeth Methodist Church, I noticed how some of the people coming across the street were taking their last puff of their cigarette, before flipping it to the ground, and entering into the church building. I am not condemning them, for except for the grace and mercy of almighty God, I would still be right among them, doing the same thing. But when you stop to think that the Methodist Church was founded by the teaching of John Wesley, a man who preached that without peace and holiness, no man shall see the Lord, you cannot help but realize that the whole movement has drifted into a sound sleep, whereby they no longer hold sacred those truths their founder cherished in his heart. The message of his hour was sanctification; but it was by the same Spirit that leads people to repentance, and causes them to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. The purpose of the Holy Ghost has always been to clean up the lives of those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. The purpose of the Holy Ghost has always been to clean up the lives of those who accept Christ, and deliver them from the powers of darkness that has kept them in bondage, apart from God. In the early years of Methodism, one could not puff on cigarettes, cigars and pipes, and sit among those sanctified saints very long. You either got under conviction, and surrendered; or you got so miserable, you had to get out. But now you could not preach sanctification in the Methodist Church for love nor money. They would very quickly vote you right out the door. They still have the letter of the word of God; but the Spirit of holiness is no longer among them. The Spirit and the word must agree, in order to produce light. What is light? It is an illuminating factor, that penetrates darkness. What is darkness? In this case, darkness is religious traditions, religious rituals, and man made customs that can never produce anything acceptable to God. People without the Spirit, feel comfortable sitting in those systems of religion, because it gives them a sense of security without exposing their fleshly weaknesses. But I ask you, What is the gospel for? To please our flesh? No. It is to deliver us from the bondage of our flesh, and perfect us; not destroy us. Now let me say this, Even though the midnight cry is designed to awaken all of the sleeping virgins; it does not literally awaken all of them at the same instant. It is a message in the world today that is having its affect over a period of time. That is why I always stress the fact that we ought not gauge everything by our own situation; for we heard things twenty some years ago, that people in remote regions of the world are just now hearing, and the Church that Jesus Christ is coming back for is a universal body of believers, made up of people from every nation under heaven, and any message delivered to the Church, has to have time to affect the whole Church, and not just our little local assembly. Sure, the midnight cry sounded twenty some years ago; and, sure, there were a lot of virgins awakened immediately; but God is using instruments from that awakened element, to relay the cry around the world, that all may have their opportunity. Now please bear in mind that this cry is not supposed to wake up denominational religion as a whole; it is only supposed to awaken those predestinated seed sitting in those systems. That is why it is written, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” That is a part of the cry that went out; for it is literally impossible for a true child of God to get dressed up in a proper revelation of the word of God, while partaking of the antichrist deeds of those systems of religion. Organized religion is not looking for Jesus Christ in His word. They read the written word and argue and fuss over what it means; but there is not a wise one among them to give them the true revelation of it; for the wise ones, with the true revelation, have already obeyed the call to come out. God has not purpose at all in perfecting His true children, just to leave them sitting in one of those systems somewhere. Some who have received the Holy Ghost while still in their old denominational churches, have entertained the thought; I will stay where I am; and maybe I can help someone else. Well you may stay for a little while; but sooner or later, even if your own hunger does not lead you out of there, you will go anyhow; they will see to it. Do you know why? They do not want what you are trying to give them. They do not even want you around them, glorifying God, and speaking in tongues; so they certainly are not going to hold still for anything beyond that.

 

THE HOLY GHOST MAKES A DIFFERENCE

 

Now Saints: I have been accused of being against any manifestations of the Spirit, simply because I teach against tongues being the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost; and that is simply not true. I am not against anything that is a true manifestation of the Holy Ghost. I just simply disagree with teaching something as a doctrine, when there is not scriptural authority for it. Tongues is one of the manifestations of the Holy Ghost, but not necessarily an evidence of His presence; for even demon spirits speak in tongues. I wish every one of you who truly are children of God would not only speak in tongues, but also prophesy, jump up and down, shake all over like an earthquake, and even lay in the floor under the power of the Spirit. But when the manifestations are over with, I expect you to walk right. I do not want to see any of you coming in here dressed like the world, with the smell of tobacco on your breath, and worldly music playing on your radio, and then have these experiences. That is not to say that you could not come like that, and have the Spirit deal with you like that; for He can. He can deal with you any way He purposes to, but when He does, it is to deliver you from your old ways of life, not just to make you feel good while going on your same old way. In other words, I believe in all of the manifestations of the Spirit of God, and I want all of you to feel free to yield to Him at all times, but as you do, I expect to see some evidence that He is in you, by the way you live your every day life. When He is in you, it is supposed to make a difference. But like I have said many times before, He does not force you to live right, but He enables you to. So if your experience of salvation is a true experience, it will give you the desire to live a holy life; and the Holy Ghost in you will enable you to fulfill that desire. When I was in the Methodist Church; I thought that was the only right thing there was in the whole world. It just goes to show how blind we can be; without that Spirit of light in us. I just have to praise God for lifting me up out of that old dead system. He gave me something that has changed my life. That same Spirit that placed conviction on me and caused me to yield my life to Jesus Christ, also gave me the desire in my heart to be like Him. Not physically, but in surrender and obedience to the will of the Father. I have been privileged to see Jesus Christ in His word; and that is the only way I have any scriptural authority to expect to see Him, until I meet Him face to face, along with all the rest who truly are watching for His return. When we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, we saw Him only in His word; therefore here in the end of the age, as we look to Him for our perfection, we have no right nor reason, to expect to see Him any other way except in His word.

 

JESUS WILL WED ONLY ONE VIRGIN CHURCH

 

Let us try to get a picture in our minds of the ancient setting Jesus used in this parable of the ten virgins. We all realize we are not carrying literal mechanical lamps around in our hands. But Jesus used this ancient setting to portray a spiritual truth. A parable presents a similarity of what it is pointing to, and should never be looked at as though every detail should have to match perfectly. For the sake of better understanding what He is getting at though, let me just say a few words about the kind of setting Jesus used here. In ancient times, when people were invited to such an event, the household itself did not have sufficient light to light up the whole terrain, where the usual festivities of such an occasion would take place. Therefore it was the custom for all of the invited guests to bring their own light. That way, no one would be able to come and enjoy the festivity, with the eating and dancing, and whatever else might be done, without contributing something themselves. A lot of people in the world are always ready to participate in anything that is taking place, just as long as they can do it at someone else’s expense. They want to be included, but they do not want to contribute anything themselves. But the bride of Jesus Christ is not to be that way. Furthermore I want you to understand that there is only one virgin, bride Church, that Jesus Christ is going to marry. The numbers in this parable are symbolic, used only in the sense of showing that among the ranks of believing people in the world, there will be two categories of them, when the grace age closes out, some that are fully prepared to go with the Lord Jesus to the wedding supper, and some others that are not fully prepared to go with Him. It is up to every individual believing Christian, to submit themselves completely to the Spirit of God, and allow Him to wash them with the water of His revealed word, and enable them to get dressed up in a revelation, that in the eyes of God is a suitable wedding garment. The one virgin Church that the Lord Jesus will come for, will be made up of these individuals who have been so dressed; and also bonded together in perfect unity; so that they, even though many, can still be looked upon as one body of believers. Now the lamps these virgins all had, symbolized the light of the gospel that put them under conviction and turned them to the Lord. But the oil that keeps those lamps burning, is the Holy Spirit, in the measure received by the wise virgins. Now for you who may be wondering how the foolish had any light at all, if they did not, or do not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit, let me say this: Every truth of the Bible carries a certain measure of the Spirit with it. That is what brings conviction in the first place. Remember, Jesus said no one could come to Him unless they were drawn by the Father? It is that convicting measure of the Spirit of God that does that. But those who come to Christ Jesus because of that conviction, must also follow Him in scriptural baptism and receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost, in order to get into the category of wise virgins. If all they ever do is just join some denominational church system and rest on that initial convicting experience, they will never be dressed in a revelation sufficient to be looked upon as a wedding garment. Furthermore even though the parable speaks of those who were ready, going in with Him (Jesus) to the marriage, and the door being shut, we are not to look at it as though they went into a building. This is a universal setting that must have an application among people of all nations, races, colors, and so forth; so you have to realize that what the wise go into, is a revelation; and the door that is shut, is the door to that perfecting revelation, that the foolish played around too long to get into. When the cry went out, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him: Jesus was not standing in mid air, waiting for the bride to get ready. No. It was a cry that caused the wise virgins to awake, flee from those denominations, and meet Jesus in His word. Looking at this, from the standpoint of a natural setting, it is the time when serious courtship starts. A young man and a young woman will begin to express certain feelings toward each other, and begin to make plans to marry and spend the rest of their lives together. Very few of them are together for the rest of their lives any more, but nevertheless they promise that in their wedding vows, and while they are courting, you do not see them walking down the street, one five paces behind the other. They are so close together you cannot see daylight between them. Is that not right? That points to the fact that they love each other. Now this is a natural illustration that we can all understand, but we have to give it a spiritual application in order for it to shed light on this parable.

 

TRIMMING YOUR LAMPS

 

There are an awful lot of people who go to church in our day that are not in love with Jesus. They are not close to Him at all. They really do not know what pleases Him; because they have lost contact with Him. They no longer know how to talk to Him. I am not trying to make anyone feel bad; but time is running out. We do not have another 20 years to play around. If your lamp is flickering, it is up to you to recognize it and take the necessary steps to get it burning brightly. When I first began to hear about some of the things Bro. Branham was preaching, I began to look at myself, sitting there in Methodism, how flickering, my light was. As I compared my testimony to what I read in the book of Acts, about the first generation of Christians, and then in 1st Corinthians 12, and Romans 12, I realized I was not where I wanted to be in my Christian experience. There was too much that just simply did not measure up to what they had. Well, Bro. Jackson: What did you do about it? I began to trim my lamp. In the natural, when you trim a lamp, you trim the charred crust off of the substance the oil flows through, so the oil can again flow free, and cause the light to burn brighter again. That black char that builds up on the wick, just keeps on getting thicker and thicker, and the more it builds up, the less oil that is able to get through; and finally the light begins to flicker, and eventually goes out. Well how do we trim our lamps spiritually speaking? We all know you just have to get rid of that crust on the wick of a natural lamp; but what is the spiritual comparison? There is a long list of comparisons, but the place to start is to get baptized according to the revelation of Acts 2:38. “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.” You get rid of that trinity baptism, and receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and allow Him to get rid of all those old dogmas and creeds of organized religion. There is no life at all in any of that. You begin to start exalting Jesus Christ; not as the 2nd person of a trinity; but as the ONLY person of the Godhead. He who is God, was in Him (Jesus) in the fullness of all His attributable qualities, enabling Him to demonstrate the power and authority of the very Creator, to that element of mankind He walked among; and He wants every one of us to have that same Spirit in us. Not in the same measure Jesus had, but certainly in the same measure those early apostles and Christians of their generation had. The five wise virgins of the parable we are looking at, represent an element of 20th century Christendom, that do have the baptism of the Holy Ghost; and are determined that by the help of God, they are going to walk with Him in truth, all the way to the end. They have come to realize that there is no virtue in denominational church membership, nor in all those man made rituals and programs they once tried to keep up with. The virtue is in your attitude and obedience toward the revealed truth of God’s word. Those who have set up against truth, and closed their mind to it, have had taken from them, every potential God ever set before them. Their system is dead; and they are dead with it. God is not going to revive any of those old systems; they have already served their purpose. But within those systems, there remained an element of individuals that eventually wake up, because of all the commotion in the world, and they begin to come around where the wise virgins are. But the wise virgins are already locked into a revelation that these others cannot understand. These in the foolish category, know that God has saved them from many things of their old sinful way of life. But when they come into contact with the message that awakens the whole thing, it’s not a Baptist message, nor is it even a Pentecostal message, in the sense of what denominational Pentecost believed and taught. This awakening message incorporates every truth any of those founding fathers of those organizations ever stood for, and a lot more, that none of them ever even heard of. It takes the baptism of the Holy Ghost for anyone to believe it right. But listen to me now. In the actual fulfillment of this parable, the words recorded here will never be spoken. In the natural, if someone wanted to get some of your lamp’s fuel, and you knew you did not have any extra, you might say, God down here to such and such a place, where they sell the kerosene, or olive oil, and you can buy what you need. But in the spiritual realm, these words will never be spoken. What this actually means is those who are sitting under the teaching of this perfecting message, already have the Holy Ghost. Naturally we are talking about the wise virgins; and not including everything that may be hanging on to them. But the point is, This message that the wise virgins are feeding upon, is not a message of receiving the Holy Ghost, like they have out here in the charismatics. Therefore when the foolish element (those who have slept past the reasonable awakening time) start to come around and realize their need for the Holy Ghost; it just makes sense to send them to those places that deal in that kind of a message. That is not to say that no one ever receives the Holy Ghost in the gatherings where this message is preached; but that is not what the emphasis is upon. The Holy Ghost is one of those basic elements of your salvation experience that Paul dealt with in Hebrews 5 & 6, saying that from there, we are to go on unto perfection. Therefore in reality, by the time a lot of these people get through playing around in the charismatic gatherings, and realize that they are not getting anywhere, in the way of attaining spiritual stature it will be too late for them to get into the revelation of this message.

 

SOME ARE ALREADY LOCKED OUT

 

I try to keep reminding you that this has to be considered in the light of a worldwide scope. You cannot give the full application of it to what you have observed in your home town. A condition, or phase of it, that prevailed in your town 20 years ago, might just now be reaching some other area of the world. Therefore to some, the door is shut already, and to some others, in another area of the world, it is still wide open; and Jesus has not appeared yet to any of them, except in His word. Now I realize that if you are not in this message, what I am saying is not going to make any sense to you: but those who are in it, will agree that this message and the charismatic message cannot be lumped together. The charismatics want the Holy Ghost, so they can speak in tongues, prophesy, and pray for the sick to receive divine healing. But the emphasis on the Holy Ghost in this message, is that no one, absolutely no one will ever be able to understand the true revelation of God’s word, without it. In other words, we are not in the business of selling the Holy Ghost. (I say it like that simply because of the wording of this parable; “Go rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves”) but we realize that every wise virgin has it, or they would not be a wise virgin. Every last one of us had to take the necessary steps to receive the Holy Ghost; we were not born into this world with it. I can assure you, I spent my time in those places that deal in the Holy Ghost (so to speak) until I received what my soul was hungering for; but I have to thank God for the fact that I am not still hanging around those places, still sucking on a spiritual milk bottle. My appetite now requires the meat of God’s word, something I can grow on. There had to be the Tommy Hicks’, the Oral Roberts’, the A.A. Allen’s, and others, or this parable never could have been fulfilled. But those who have taken the place of those who have gone on, are still out here preaching for what they call, the greatest revival this world has ever seen; and they know nothing about trimming wicks. All they have is a Holy Ghost message. They do not want doctrine. They live strictly for the sensations of the supernatural. Now saints, what I am going to say now, can only be applied in the areas of the world, where the description fits. But for 20 some years there has been an element of people from just about all of your major denominations, out here running from one meeting to another, going to buy oil. They could not follow us. The truth of the matter is, they wanted nothing at all to do with us, after Bro. Branham started preaching doctrines. As long as he just preached salvation messages, and prayed for the sick, they all loved him. “Bro. Branham: You have got to come to my church next.” But when he began to include the doctrinal truths of the Bible in his messages, they started attacking him; instead of begging him to come for a meeting. What did they say about him? He had a great gift, but he went off the deep end with it. Praise God! If what he taught is considered going off the deep end, then let me go off of the deep end too, for it fed my hungry soul. What he taught made them mad; and made me glad. I’m not glad they are mad, I’m just glad I was privileged to hear what I heard. Because of what he pointed me to, I see a beautiful plan of God when I read the Bible. Yet they read the same words and do not see a thing. Why? The door is shut. You can come to a building any time you want to, but you cannot come into the revelation held in the hearts of those people that meet in that building, just any time you want to, while you are still running with that other crowd. It just simply does not work like that. It is an unstable soul that tries to hold a place with both groups. A lot of people whose true desire is to be out there where the big excitement is, still want to hang around with people who have a revelation, just so they can learn what you believe. They have no real desire to sell out for it themselves; they just want to gain enough head knowledge of it, to be able to discuss it at will. That kind never walk close enough to the Lord for you to even suspect that they love Him. Those who are truly walking with Jesus are not always running ahead of Him, trying to see just how much they can find out. He will not always allow you to go full speed ahead. Sometimes He stops long enough to test our patience; therefore if we are truly walking with Him, when He stops, we will stop too. It is really a matter of keeping in step with Him. It is perfectly all right to desire to speak in tongues, shout, dance, roll on the floor, or anything else that the Spirit of God has ever caused anyone to do; but out of all that should come a genuine hunger for the perfect will of the Father to be manifested in our lives; and that includes doctrines and discipline. I would like to see everyone come to the knowledge of the truth of God’s word; but because of this parable, and many other scriptures, I know that can never be. There has to be an element of what is referred to as Christianity, to fulfill each and every category mentioned in the Bible. There has to be an element to fulfill 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-12, where it speaks of God sending strong delusion upon those who have no love for truth, but rather have pleasure in unrighteousness. These particular ones believe the devil’s lie and are damned, so even though they may be running right along with the foolish virgins, they are not foolish virgins; for the foolish virgins will purge themselves through martyrdom, during the great tribulation. These who are damned, because they have no love for the truth, and God sends them strong delusion, have to be tares; regardless of how holy they may appear to be. They love to get hold of something that will make them feel good; but they have no respect, nor love for the revealed truth of God’s word. They will sell it for a good time, every time. I hope you can see that everything out here in charismatics, is not necessarily foolish virgins buying oil; the tares run in that crowd too. Likewise, not everyone who sits where truth is taught, are of the bride Church element, for the tares are in there too. I just have to say something right here; and you can take it for what it is worth. I do not mean to belittle anyone. But when I hear someone talking about how much they love Jesus; and I turn around where I can see then, and they have their hair wacked off up to their ears, and their lips painted up like a clown, and sexy clothing like women of the world wear to display themselves, I cannot have much confidence in their testimony. Neither can I, if it is a man; and he has hair hanging down his back, and wearing an old shirt and trousers to church, that look like they belong out on the golf course, or in a garage working on greasy cars. Now please do not misunderstand my statement. I am not saying that a man has to wear a suit and a tie to church; but I do feel like a person whose spirit is right, should be interested in presenting a little better image than what you see out of a lot of people who profess to love the Lord so much. God can save a person, anywhere, and under any condition, no matter what they are wearing; but Christianity has always portrayed a different image than that of the crowd that runs after the things of the world; and I do not believe it should be any different now. You can observe people, and before very long, know where their interests are. If they have their mind on worldly pleasure, and on identifying with the world, it does not take too long for a spiritual person to discover it. If it takes a plush hotel suite, and a water slide, and all sorts of other gimmicks, for you to feel like you are in a Holy Ghost environment where you can relax, you are also reading the book wrong. While you are basking in the sunlight of physical pleasure, without a care in the world, maybe you should spend some time meditating on why those Christians of the early years of this age had to spend their time in dark, damp dungeons, freezing to death, or dying of starvation; or why so many of them were killed in other ways, because of what they believed. Most of what is called Christianity in this hour, will never have to suffer any persecution because of what they believe. Because what they believe is not a reproach to the worldly crowd around them. They co-exist by doing most of the same things. I am not opposed to Christian people enjoying themselves; but when they get to the place where it takes sports events, games and gimmicks, in order for them to enjoy themselves, there is something badly wrong. I would rather sit out here on a hillside and listen to a coon dog, than to be found in some of the places a lot of people consider to be a Holy Ghost environment. The devil has painted them a wrong picture of what Christianity is, and they are so overwhelmed with it, they cannot read the Bible, and see the difference. The delusion is out there. Some will give themselves completely over to it, and some others will shake loose from it, but only in time to end up in the tribulation, where only martyrdom can cleanse their salvation robes, that have been spotted by the things of the world.

 

DIFFERENT MEASURES OF THE SAME SPIRIT

 

Brothers and Sisters: Nothing we can ever say will ever make wise virgins out of those that are destined to be foolish virgins; but we can look at what is going on around us, and lay it alongside the scriptures, and know where to take our stand in the midst of it all. Many of these who look and see you going in that door of revelation, will warn you about getting mixed up in anything so crazy. But there is something in you, that bears witness of the truth of it, and you go in anyhow. Brother, once Jesus Christ starts communicating with you in a revelation, you never have to change your mind again. When you try to live by man-made doctrines, you are always having to change your mind. But a genuine revelation of some scriptural truth, becomes a part of you, and it is impossible to throw it out for something else. Then when those foolish virgins are standing outside, trying to get in, and cannot, the little bride that was ready, will already be locked inside; and will be in the process of knowing what those seven thunders are saying. Something will happen in the world, to bring these parables into total fulfillment, before the Bridegroom Himself ever shows up to take His bride to glory. We have not read the scriptures we have been referring to, because most of you are well familiar with the wording in the Bible. But maybe it would be good for you to go ahead and read the first 13 verses of Matthew, chapter 25, just to get it fresh in your mind. But remember this, Even in verse 12, where it would sound like the Lord Himself is speaking from within a building somewhere, saying to the foolish. “I know you not,” it is still the Holy Ghost speaking. Jesus Himself will not be visibly on the scene until you get to the 31st verse, where He literally comes to earth, to sit on the throne of David, ruling all nations with a rod of iron, for one thousand years. In the parable He is not in a building; He is in His people in Spirit form, and they are in Him in a revelation, and it is the Holy Ghost, saying to the foolish, “I know you not,” meaning, I have not had the same intimate relationship with you, that I have had with these, meaning, those that were ready to be locked into a revelation with Him. But as I have already stated None of us are going to see Jesus literally; before we rise to meet Him in the air; and not one foolish, nor one evil servant, will rise from the ground. We are going to look at this other parable here, and then try to bring this message to a close, for I believe we have had a pretty good look at the events between sunrise and sunset, in this dispensational day we are living in. When time progresses to the point where verse 31 is moving into fulfillment, we will not be looking at a parable, we will be looking at the visible King of kings, and Lord of lords, and all who have been made ready back here, under the conditions of these parables, will be standing right there with Him, ready to rule and reign with Him, for one thousand years. Therefore realizing how close we are getting, to the conditions of verses 31-46, and realizing that these parables must have their fulfillment before that time, we surely must realize also that, THEN, in the parables, pointed to the very hour we are living in. That is why I say, THEN, is NOW. For over twenty years now, the wise Christians have been going into a revelation of the word of God, that is working in them, to bring them to perfection; and at the same time, there has been another element of people whose lives have been touched by the Holy Ghost, and all they have cared about was the manifestation of that portion of that Spirit they received. I want you to pay attention to how I am saying this; lest you misrepresent it, when you endeavor to repeat it to someone else. That element of virgins referred to as foolish, definitely DO have a measure of the Spirit of Christ. They would not even be called virgins, if they did not. Therefore we have to get real technical about our terminology here. It is obvious that even though they have received something, they are yet without the revelatory part of the Holy Ghost, that the wise virgins have. Are we, knowing this, going to say that they do, or do not, have the Holy Ghost? You have to let the scriptures themselves settle that question for you. When you go to 1st Corinthians 12:13, you find the apostle Paul saying this, “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.” There, is the baptism of the Holy Ghost; and all of those that Paul referred to as the Church, or the body of Christ, had it, and Jesus said in John 14:26, that this Spirit would be a teaching Spirit, and would teach those that received it, all things. He said also in John 16:13, that this Spirit would guide those who received it, into ALL TRUTH. Then we go to 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17, and we find that those whom Paul knew to be the Church, (the body of Christ) will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. He also deals with it in his first epistle to the Corinthians in chapter 15. This phase of the resurrection, along with the translation of all the body of Christ that is still living at that time, moves all of what the Bible calls, “The Church,” to glory; to the marriage feast, that this parable of Matthew 25 points to. Therefore I ask you as sincerely as I know how: If those foolish virgins actually have the baptism of the Holy Ghost, that they claim they have, Why are they foolish? Why are they not led into all truth? Jesus did not say, Maybe He will teach you. He said, He would. Can you answer me? Why are they shut out, when the wise have gone in, if they have the baptism of the Holy Ghost, that the Bible says puts us in the body of Christ? When you see them over in the 7th chapter of the book of Revelation, giving glory to God, and learn that they have suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Antichrist, during the great tribulation, because of their witness for Jesus Christ, you know that they had to have something in them that made them willing to die, rather than to deny the Lord Jesus. But at the same time, our revelation of the word of God lets us know that if they were baptized into the body of Christ, as they all claim to be: they would be with the bridegroom at the marriage supper, during those dark hours of the great tribulation, rather than here on earth, sealing their testimony with their own blood, during that time. You can look in chapter 20, verse 4, and it pinpoints it exactly, for there has never been another time in the history of the Church that could fit into that picture described there. You could see the beast at other times, when believers in Jesus were martyred, but not the image of the beast, nor that mark on their foreheads, and in the hands, of those that sold out to the beast. As I have said, I would like to see every one of them make it in. But at the same time, I realize that those whom the Lord has seen as foolish, will remain foolish. They will not suddenly become wise virgins. But Bro. Jackson: What about all these sitting here that have come out of the charismatic move? You just have to realize that God saw them as wise virgins all the time, even when they were still out there. This is the very reason they are in the truth now, instead of still being out there in that. But the point is, There is only one source of eternal life, and that is the Spirit of god and He is the one that knows our every thought and motive, and the only one that knows where each, of us stand, spiritually. I recognize some of the signs that follow each element; but I will never be found out here trying to separate the wise Christians from the foolish ones. It is the word of God that does that. When the midnight cry is heard, it is up to every individual soul that is awakened by it, to decide which way they will go. But for the sake of understanding this parable, we have to realize that for over 20 years, the wise have been going one way, and the foolish another, and in both camps there is an element of tares; people who are just plan make believers. These are not called wise, nor foolish in this parable. Another thing we need to realize is that this parable is only applicable to one generation of Christianity; the generation that is still living when the rapture takes place. That is the reason Jesus said, THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. This is the generation of Christendom that God has determined to restore the apostolic revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to; and only the wise Christians of this generation are receiving it. As the Spirit of Christ begins to speak to the individuals professing to be Christians, the wise begin to be molded into the image He projected, when He walked upon earth in human form. But the foolish ones are too excited over the manifestation of that Spirit, to get very serious about taking on Christ-likeness in every area of their lives. They are so excited over the sensations, they have no time for revelation; therefore they are foolish.

 

WISE VIRGINS HEAR SEVEN THUNDERS

 

A lot of people worry about those foolish virgins. But listen to me saints: You do not need to worry about them. The fact that it is said to them, “I know you not,” does not mean that they are rejected; and damned to hell. It is simply a case where the bridegroom says to some, (I will just use my own words.) We have never had the kind of love relationship that would qualify you to be in here as my bride. You see, it is the Spirit of the Father that does the choosing for the Son, who is the groom; and the Son will accept without question, what the Father has given Him. He asks for no more, nor no less. But as this condition for the wise nears its completion, something will take place in the world, that will shake the foolish, and cause them to realize that they have been going the wrong way; but it will be too late for them to turn around, and catch up with the wise which are already locked into a revelation with the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, by the time that last wise one is in the revelation that perfects them, it will be time for those thunders to start sounding. Not to perfect anyone, but to inform the wise ones of their next move. Through those seven thunders of Revelation 10:3-4, the wise will receive prophetic utterances concerning the coming of the Lord; and how to answer the call, “Come up hither.” I do not know what will suddenly take place in the world that will cause the foolish to return, wanting what the wise have. That is some of the unwritten part. But I am fully persuaded that we are getting very close to it. For God will not allow this generation to be affected by this message the way it has, and then let it pass off the scene without fulfilling the last part of what is written about it. Therefore it behooves us to check up on ourselves and see if we are walking fully, in that love relationship that the bridegroom requires us to walk in. He has not laid our laws for us to follow. He has just simply been courting us through His word; revealing to us what He requires in a wife, and our response to that is likened unto a love relationship that will eventually lead to marriage. Remember though, when you are looking at a parable, not to try to make every little detail match perfectly. Parables deal with similarities only.

 

PARABLE OF TALENTS

 

In the next parable here in Matthew 25, Jesus does not start out saying, THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto such and such. Do you know why? It is because this condition has existed in every age since the Church had its beginning. It begins in verse 14, so let us look at it, and see if we can get a true understanding of its application. “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” This speaks of a very rich man, going away, and leaving his investments in the hands of his servants, therefore when we give it a spiritual application, we know the man going away and leaving all his goods in the hands of his servants, could be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, who possessed all the fullness of the Father; and the goods He left in the hands of His servants, was His attributable abilities. Notice now. “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several (or individual) ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, (he made investments), and made them other five talents.” It didn’t all happen at once; but over a process of time, his wise investments paid dividends, and doubled the initial investment. “And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his Lord’s money.” He was afraid to take a chance on investing it. You know how the Stock Market is, it is an uncertain thing; but if you are into it, you are required to take a chance. But the chance you take depends upon the wisdom you have gained in life. Nevertheless these servants were expected to put their Lord’s money out for usury; that when he returned, he might have the increase. That is an easy picture to understand in the natural; but what about the spiritual application? What are the goods that the servants of Jesus Christ have had entrusted to them, and what are they expected to do with them? The goods He left with His servants, is none other than that which the Father had bestowed upon Him. There is an anointing which deals with the supernatural side; and there are anointings that deal with revelatory things, and instructive, and within each anointing, is the wisdom to know when to speak and also when to keep quiet. That is exactly how Jesus conducted Himself, when He walked among men, He did not jump into every situation that He had opportunity to jump into. That is why in the 3rd chapter of Acts, you see Peter and John speaking healing to a lame man, that Jesus Himself had surely passed right by, many times. It was simply a case of doing only what the Father directed them to do, and nothing more. Nevertheless when this parable went into effect, Jesus was not here in person to distribute His goods among His servants. His last instructions to them was, God back into the city of Jerusalem and wait until ye are endued with power from on high. Distribution of His goods started in the upper room where they had been waiting together in one accord, and within that distribution were not only gifts of the Spirit, but also callings; and within those callings, there were areas of revelation, whereby each one knew what to preach, how to preach it, and also where and when to preach it. That is how the perfect plan of the Father went forth. Every man in his particular calling, was led by the Father, just like Jesus was. When those disciples came down into the streets of Jerusalem, from that upper room, speaking in tongues, they were not just having a good time with what they had just received, like the Charismatics of our day; they were coming among the people to make investments with the goods that their Lord had left with them. Of course we understand that the distribution was a work of Christ, by the Holy Ghost, just like the apostle Paul described in 1st Corinthians, chapter 12. You not only see nine gifts of the Spirit laid out there; but also callings wherein the gifts will operate. Verse 28 says this, “And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” This lets us see that not everyone does everything. Their particular ministries are allotted by the Holy Spirit, according to the perfect plan of the Creator, from before the foundation of the world. Verses 29 & 30 give us more insight on this fact, for Paul says this, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracle? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” The obvious answer is, No. Each servant is expected to be faithful only in the calling God has laid upon him. He should not try to do everything he sees anyone else doing, nor should he ever hold back from doing what the Holy Ghost has laid upon him to do. That is how we make proper investments of our Lord’s goods.

 

SOME ARE AFRAID TO INVEST

 

Every doctrine the New Testament Church has today, is written in the Bible, because those servants of that first age were faithful to invest their Lord’s goods. Suppose those servants had failed to invest, where would Christianity ever have gotten to? Let me ask you another question. Suppose every one of them had just gone out and done whatever they felt like doing each day? Do you think we would be able to look back today and say, All those first disciples of Jesus taught the same thing? Meaning, of course, that they all had the same revelation. They did not have the same kind of squabbling among themselves that you see out here in the world today. Not one of them ever looked at another and said, That is just your idea; and I feel that my idea is as good as yours. A man like that could never be looked upon as a faithful servant, properly investing his Lord’s goods. I received a letter a few days ago, from a man that came here a few years ago. He had been everywhere, just going in circles. God dealt with him when he was in Norway. He went to see Bro. Strommen, and Bro. Strommen talked with him and gave him some Contenders to read. Then after he returned to the United States, he wrote me a letter, apologizing for his attitude. He said he had let other people influence him, who had warned him against having anything to do with us here. Yet when he came here, he even preached one night, and then came back again, in the following Convention. I am sure now that he was given an opportunity to get himself straightened out. But when he left here, he got scared and failed to invest. People have a hard time laying down their old junky ideas; and picking up a new revelation that is really basic, and essential to their victory in Jesus Christ. Some people think of it, almost like gambling. They are afraid to step out into unknown territory. Sometimes when you start talking to someone about the Godhead, they seem to be scared half to death. A lot of people know in their heart that it cannot be trinity; but when you try to show them the truth, it is like pulling them off of something they have been standing on for so long, they are scared to move. Now my point in saying this is, Those first age disciples did not have anything to read, except the Old Testament, which contained only types and shadows of what they were then walking in; so how did it happen that they all ended up believing the same things? Does that mean they all had the same ability? No. Some of them had to place confidence in the teaching of those who had the greater ability. Yet today, when we are supposed to be restored back to that, you still find ever so many who will say, Bless God, I also have the Holy Ghost; so I will only accept what the Lord shows me. Well we are supposed to accept only what the Lord shows us, but at the same time, realize, that He may show us only through the teaching of someone else. There is one thing I am absolutely sure of saints, Two true servants of God cannot possibly have revelations of the Spirit, that are contrary to each other. I refuse to accept that. Anyhow, in that letter, the man said, Bro. Jackson: I am sorry to be so late, I should have written this long ago. Because I have been getting the Contender regularly and have not sent anything to help with the expenses of printing and mailing it. Therefore I am requesting that you remove my name from your mailing list. He went on to say, I have learned many things as I have studied the messages through the years; but there is one thing that worries me, you talk like a man who believes that what you are saying is right; and that anything different is wrong. Brothers and Sisters: Others have expressed themselves like that also, through the years, but I say this, Would I not be a fool to teach something, if I did not believe with all my heart that it was right? Others may preach, maybe it could be so, messages; but I myself, will not touch a subject until I know in my heart that I am on the right track. When you are called of God to stand for something, you just have to preach what He reveals to you, and let all the skeptics think whatever they choose to. But that is why I say, It is hard for some people to follow truth, because they worry too much about what someone else may say about them. These are the kind that take whatever little something the Lord does give to them, and hide it in the ground, so to speak, instead of investing it. They will look at a truth and say, Yes, I believe that is right, or, That sounds right; but I am just not quite sure about it. They keep listening to a voice in the background that is saying, Be careful now, lest you get off on false doctrine. You know where that voice comes from; it is always present. But the true servant of God will recognize it for what it is, and go ahead and invest whatever his Lord gives him.

 

Since Jesus used the terminology He did, I believe it is all right if I refer to Wall Street; which is a term used when referring to the New York Stock Exchange, located on Wall Street in New York City. When you invest on Wall Street, it is not how much you invest that is important. The important thing is that the potential investor be sensitive to the trends of the market. He must take what he knows already; and weigh it against the rising and falling cycle of the present market, and make his decision accordingly, believing that he has made the right choices. A fearful investor is a miserable creature. Well when you transpose these thoughts into a spiritual setting, you just have to realize that the servants of Jesus Christ had to depend upon what they knew already about the principles of God, in order to trust what they had inside of them after the Spirit was given there in that upper room. When Jesus had said to them earlier, I have yet many things to say unto you; but you are yet not able to bear them: He knew they would not be able to understand deep spiritual truths, until after they received the baptism of the Holy Ghost; therefore none of those many things were ever spoken to them in person; they were all revealed to them by the Spirit of God that indwelt them later. All of the New Testament epistles were written by revelation, as the Spirit of God in those men revealed the plan of God to them. Furthermore what He revealed to them by His Spirit were things vital to the entire body of Christ; not only in the first age, but in every age. Now I ask you, Is God any less able to reveal things that are vital to this end time element of that body, as time closes out? Absolutely not. First of all, He is giving understanding of that which is His written word, in order that the little bride may attain perfection, and be robed in a pure revelation of His word. But beyond that, when it comes time for Revelation 10:3-4 to be fulfilled: He is going to reveal some things through those seven thunders, that are not written anywhere in His written word. Professing Christians in general are so afraid someone will say something that will get them out into deep water, they are absolutely afraid to listen to anyone except their denominational theologians. But I say this, That is where they are all missing it; for God intended to keep the true Church in deep water. That is what it is all about. A born again soul simply cannot live on carnal reasoning; and God will never let a true revelation be put into a Bible school. The Bible was written by men who knew what God had invested in them; and they were not afraid to invest it all in the future; knowing that this was exactly what they were supposed to do. Remember the prayer of Jesus in John 17? He was praying for His present disciples, and then He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” He knew those men were going to invest what HE left with them, and that one day others would stand where they had stood, facing the same conflicts and pressure that they would face. If they had allowed themselves to look back to Judaism, they surely would have felt that they were getting pretty far out into deep water. Their relatives hated them, the whole neighborhood was against them, and all they had ever trusted in, was suddenly of no benefit to them. It always costs something to walk with God in a revelation; but once that revelation gets a hold of you, there is no turning back. When you try to talk to someone in your old system about it, what do they say? You had better be careful; a lot of people have destroyed themselves like that. Yes, fools do, tares do, but not the Church of the living God. She is on her way to glory; and she is burning all the bridges behind her. Hallelujah! I’m glad to be among that number.

 

TAKING ONE STEP AT A TIME

 

Now as we turn our attention back to the wording of the parable we are looking at, the point is, You do not look at these goods, as just the nine gifts of the Spirit. You must also see helps, governments, and various callings as well. It was all put in the Church; to enable the Church to reflect Jesus Christ. But all of this was given by the Spirit. None of it has ever been attained by attending a Bible School. On the other hand though, anyone who has ever been baptized by the Holy Ghost has every potential in him, to be anything anyone else has ever been in the Church. That does not mean we have the privilege of choosing what we will be; God Himself does that. But every one of these gifts and callings are of the same Spirit, just like Paul said in 1st Corinthians, chapter 12. They are allotted according to our several (individual) abilities, by the Spirit of God. But then, we are responsible for investing them in a wise way. Peter, Paul, John, and those other apostles that walked with Jesus, were like the 5 talent servant in the parable; they had the greater abilities. Were they afraid? No. Did they know everything before they started out? No. If they had, they would have written the New Testament before they ever went anywhere. But they started preaching what the Spirit gave them to preach; and most of the New Testament epistles were written for the purpose of dealing with specific questions, or problems, that arose later. Peter preached the first sermon by revelation, immediately after receiving the Holy Ghost; going right into the Old Testament to lay a foundation for what he was going to say. That is when he started investing. He started by investing a revelation. Then later, the supernatural, the miracles, and so forth; and all along the way, the revelation kept on growing. Paul had to be dealt with in a different way; but once he was conditioned by the Holy Ghost, he started a chain of investments that stretched all the way across Asia Minor, and over into the regions of Greece. His investments never did decrease; they got larger and larger all the time. Why? Because he was not afraid to move out and walk in the Spirit in areas unknown to the old school of thought. There was no way a man like Paul could have hid what the Lord gave him to work with. There has to be those that fulfill the one talent part of this parable.

 

THE TIME OF RECKONING

 

All of those original servants that were dealt with in the first age, are dead; and the Lord is not going to resurrect anyone to fulfill the end part of the parable we are looking at. Therefore in order to understand the end part, where after a long time, the Lord of those servants comes to reckon with them, you have to look out here in the world today, and see how it is being applied. I will have to say this though; even though they are all dead also, In the closing days of that first age, someone was guilty of not properly investing the Lord’s goods; for the Church soon began to lose something. Then by the time 300 years have passed, a lot, or we could say, Most of the original goods (talents) given to the Church to work with, had either been hidden, or lost. Therefore as we come back here to the end, where there is going to come a time of reckoning, we need to realize something else, lest we get a wrong picture. The Lord was not present in human form, when His goods were distributed to those first age servants; and neither is He going to be physically present here in the end time, when the end time servants have to give an account of their investments, and be reckoned with. He will come in a revelation for that. Can you see it? That is why denominationalism will have no part in any of this; it was only given out by revelation, and the reckoning will be by a revelation, and all they have to look at, is a distorted picture of the whole thing. Let us read the rest of the parable now. Verse 19, “After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.” There is too much here to read it all; but most of you are familiar with it anyhow. The one that received 5 talents, invested and gained 5 more, and was granted to enter into the joy of his Lord. The one that received two, was treated the same way, because he also had returned double what he had received. But from him that was fearful, and afraid to invest, was taken the one talent, and given to him that already had ten. Verses 29 & 30 end the parable. “For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; (great tribulation) there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Remember now, the one talent servant did nothing at all to gain any increase. That is why it is said, “From him that hath not.” The point is, Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like this; so we have to see somehow the Lord Jesus, the Lord of His servants reckoning with the end time element of servants, and rejecting the ones that have failed to invest what he gave them to be gin with. What is He expecting as a return on what He gave those first age servants? Not a great stock market; but an increase of believers in the body of Christ; so there has to be some here at the end time, that received something; and then became fearful and unprofitable. Let me see if we can visualize any of them. Not individuals by name, but types, that fit the parable. People who never gained one thing beyond what the Lord committed to them initially.

 

HOW SOME INVESTED

 

I will never forget how it was when the message of the hour first began to strike the earth. The messenger said, You Baptists need the Holy Ghost, you Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics and such like, need the Holy Ghost. Then he would say, Tongues are for the Church, that is a part of it. He said the same thing about prophecy; but he was not majoring on gifts of the Spirit. He was only including them in the overall picture of what the Church of the living God is. What he did major on was, Let’s get back to the word of God; back to the apostolic revelation of it! Bro. Branham would pound the pulpit stand, as he would say that. Then when he preached on the Church ages, a lot of those people took that book and ran around quoting statements out of it, not having the slightest idea of what the whole picture pointed to. Concerning the messengers to the other six ages, he would say, I pick this man as having been the star messenger to that age, because of how the Holy Spirit confirmed his life and ministry and so forth; basing his choice strictly on the man’s revelation, and the way the Spirit worked with him. Well as he stepped forth out of the ranks of formality, and tradition, he began to take this precious treasure of God, and invest it in human souls, like no man this side of the Dark Ages ever had. In doing so, he walked in an area where he had never walked before, but the point is, he was not afraid to invest. I also have read how Martin Luther started out. His life had been completely bound up by traditions of Romanism, when the Spirit of God began to stir him and use him. As the Spirit began to give him revelation of the word of God, he recognized it as a valuable asset, a treasure to his inner being. The more he looked at it, the more excited he became. Then he began to get a vision of the value of it, in the light of what it could do for other human souls, and that is when he first began to invest. Before it was over, he had created a revolution in Germany, that did not stop until it had shaken the corridors of the Vatican. Then it found its way into Austria and before long, all of Europe was talking about this man. Just suppose he had been like some others that have been stirred by the Spirit of God, and been too afraid of persecution and pressures of life, to make an investment. How do you suppose the history of the Reformation would have been written, if that had happened? It was a case where the more he invested, the more excited he became, because of the increased revelation he received; and the more he received, the more he invested. He gained many souls for the kingdom of God by his faithful investments; but let us bring that picture over to our day, without going into the various phases of the Reformation, where God used various men in restoring truth from the word of God, back to the Church.

THOSE THAT ARE STRIPPED

 

The message of this hour woke up a lot of people, and the purpose of them being awakened, was that God wanted to deal with them concerning His word. He began to give them an understanding of things in His word that the church world could only argue and fuss about. In every message, Bro. Branham would refer to how those first age Christians were led by the Spirit, and about how the gifts of the Spirit were manifested through them, and about the supernatural element, as well as the revelation they had. He spoke of how those men had to be invested with something that could counteract the fanaticism, and the rituals and creed of traditional religion, and how they were not afraid to speak what the Lord gave them to speak, even if they suspected that it could cost them their lives. The way he presented these things, caused a lot of excitement among those who heard him preach. I will never forget how so many young people got so excited as he preached on the Church Ages, and how they would say, I just pray that god will give me some kind of gift, so I can be a blessing also. That was in December 1960. Brother, an excited element of people returned to their homes, people from ever so many cities around about, and began to fast and pray for the leadership of the Lord, and for an investment of the gifts of the Spirit. But when the spring of 1963 came, and he preached the Seals messages, certain things were said, and then Church Order was established, and those same people took an absolute about face. They no longer prayed for the gifts of the Spirit, because somehow they got the idea that they could now receive everything they needed, through the things they had heard, and would hear. In other words, through a mental understanding of what Bro. Branham taught. Saints: Need I remind any of you that it is completely impossible to follow God all the way, when all you have is a carnal understanding of the revelation given by the Spirit of God. They somehow heard things, that were not in the message of the prophet; and it made them forget about all the times he had stood and cried out, You need the Holy Ghost! Tongues belong in the Church! The gifts of the Spirit are for the Church, and so forth. Somehow they heard him say things, he did not say at all; and a lot of preachers laid down everything they had before that. What little bit of revelation they did understand at first, when God first led them to hear the little man preach: Jesus took it all away from them. All they have left is, God sent a prophet. They are back to the letter of the thing, without any revelation as to what the letter is pointing to. There is no possible way they could invest anything for Jesus; for all they have left is counterfeit; and therefore they are on their way to the great tribulation, which is referred to as outer darkness. No wonder they do not like us; they do not have the Holy Ghost; and without the Holy Ghost, what does that make them? Religious people without the Holy Ghost, are tares. It is sad, for I know where some of those people came from. They came out of United Pentecost, where they had formerly believed in speaking in tongues as the initial evidence of the presence of the Holy Ghost, and embraced all the other gifts of the Spirit as well, and now the believe in none of that. Therefore when the Lord Jesus comes, in a revelation of His word, to reckon with all His servants, these that have laid everything down, regardless of their reason, will be stripped completely, and pointed to their destiny. Yet the Lord Himself will still not be here in person, no more than He was, when those first servants received His goods.

 

FAITHFUL SERVANTS – WICKED AND SLOTHFUL SERVANTS

 

When the Lord says to the faithful servants, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord:” the first thing they will into is the fullness of the body of Christ, that is applicable for their generation. What I want you to see, is that when Jesus appears in person, all of His faithful servants of all ages will be with Him. There will be no more judgment of any kind, of his faithful servants; that will be all over with. Only the judgment of the nations will be left, when Jesus returns in His physical body. That is what verses 31 through 46 are speaking of. Let me say a few more words about the talents; and we will close. Those who fail to invest what the Lord gives them to work with, are referred to as wicked and slothful. That is the Lord’s judgment of them, and it cannot be altered. Which leads me to say this, For quite a few years now, the Lord has been dealing with many people in the ranks of organized religions, giving them an opportunity to see something. Of course He already knew what each one of them would do, but in order to judge them, they had to be given their chance. Just look at the 6th chapter of John, where Jesus fed a great multitude with five little loaves of bread, and two little fish. Now while they were sitting their eating, enjoying this great feast, they all began to get a revelation of who He was. This is that prophet Moses spoke of. Let’s take Him and make Him king right now. But do you remember what happened? The next day it was all taken away from them. It just simply lets us know for sure that when someone receives something, and knows it is from the Lord, and then lets fear take it away from them, the day is coming that they will have to answer for that. You may not have much to start out with; but every time you invest what you have, it comes back with increase, and you then have more to invest the next time, and it just keeps on building; and the Lord will say to you, “Because you have been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” But to those that fall into the one talent category, He will say, Take therefore the talent from him and give it unto him which hath ten talents, and so on: and then, “Cast ye the UNPROFITABLE SERVANT into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” When the rapture takes place, all the faithful servants of all ages and generations will go up together to meet the Lord in the air; and all those still living at that time, who have been judged unfaithful servants, will be thrust into the great tribulation. When the tribulation has run its course, Jesus and all those faithful servants will return to earth to rule and reign for a thousand years. We have looked at events all the way from sunrise to sunset, in this day of salvation; so we will stop here, without saying any more about the Millennium; except to say this, Those who have walked with Jesus in this day of salvation, will be walking with Him over there. Hallelujah! I’m so glad to be one of them. May the Lord bless you. Amen.

Sunrise-Sunset, Part 1

OCTOBER 1987

WE PRINTED A MESSAGE SOME TIME AGO, TITLED, “CHILDREN OF LIGHT,” IN WHICH WE DEALT WITH THE PROPHECY IN ZECH. 14:6-7, THAT WE ARE GOING TO USE IN THIS MESSAGE ALSO. I JUST FEEL THAT WE SHOULD LOOK AT IT AGAIN, AND APPROACH IT FROM A DIFFERENT STANDPOINT. AS I PREACH THIS, WE WILL BE REFERRING TO A LITTLE CHART SHOWING THE SUN: BUT THE NATURAL SUN IS ONLY A SYMBOL, TO HELP US RECOGNIZE WHAT REALLY DID HAPPEN AT THE DAWNING OF THIS AGE REFERRED TO IN ZECHARIAH AS A DAY. SOME OF YOU MAY FEEL THAT YOU ALREADY KNOW EVERYTHING THAT WILL BE BROUGHT OUT IN THIS MESSAGE; BUT I ASK YOU TO HAVE PATIENCE, AND PRAY FOR ME AS I TRY TO PUT INTO WORDS WHAT I SEE, FOR THERE ARE YET A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD THAT DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE CONCERNING SOME OF THE THINGS WE WILL DEAL WITH. WE JUST RECEIVED A LETTER FROM SOME FOLKS DOWN IN LOUISIANA SAYING, “BRO. JACKSON: PLEASE PRINT A SUBJECT THAT CAN HELP SOME YOUNG PEOPLE. THERE IS SO MUCH CONFUSION IN RELIGION TODAY, A PERSON DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE.” SAINTS, THAT IS THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH. WHEN GOD BEGINS TO DEAL WITH YOUNG PEOPLE, THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN SUBJECTED TO REVELATED TEACHING OF THE DEEPER TRUTHS IN THE BIBLE; THEY AUTOMATICALLY BECOME TARGETS FOR BOMBARDMENT, FROM EVERY SPIRIT OF RELIGION OUT THERE IN THE WORLD TODAY. THE VERY FACT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN MADE TO HUNGER FOR THE DEEPER THINGS OF THE WORD OF GOD, PUTS THEM IN A POSITION WHERE THEY WILL BE SUBJECTED TO MUCH CONFUSION; FOR EVERY SELF APPOINTED PREACHER IN THE WORLD TODAY, IS OUT THERE BIDDING FOR HIS SHARE OF HUMANITY, THAT WILL HELP SUPPORT HIS PROGRAM. ONE THING WE CAN BE SURE OF THOUGH, IS THAT EVERY TRUE CHILD OF GOD WHO SEEKS TRUTH TO WALK BY, WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE THAT TRUTH PRESENTED TO THEM; FOR GOD WILL NOT LEAVE HIS CHILDREN IN IGNORANCE FOREVER.

 

WE ARE TITLING THIS MESSAGE, “SUNRISE – SUNSET,” BECAUSE THE THINGS WE ARE GOING TO DEAL WITH PRIMARILY, FIT IN BETWEEN THE BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE AND SUNSET OF ONE DISPENSATIONAL DAY. MANY TIMES IN LIFE, YOU HEAR PEOPLE SAY, “WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE,” AS THAT DISC COMES UP OVER THE EASTERN HORIZON, TO START ONE NATURAL DAY OF TIME. LIKEWISE AS IT DROPS OFF OVER THE WESTERN HORIZON, AND CAUSES THAT BEAUTIFUL GLOW, YOU CAN HEAR PEOPLE SAY, “LOOK AT THAT BEAUTIFUL SIGHT.” WELL THE SAME GOD THAT CREATED ALL THESE NATURAL PLANETS, AND SET THEM ON A PRECISE COURSE, SO THAT SUNRISE AND SUNSET CAN BE CALCULATED WAY AHEAD OF TIME, ALSO DECLARED THROUGH HIS PROPHET ZECHARIAH, THAT THERE WOULD COME A DAY (A PERIOD OF TIME) IN WHICH CERTAIN THINGS WOULD TAKE PLACE, AND IN THAT DAY THERE WOULD BE A PERIOD OF TIME WHEN THE LIGHT OF IT WOULD NOT BE CLEAR, NOR DARK, SO LET US OPEN OUR BIBLES TO CHAPTER 14, VERSES 6 & 7, AND READ THE EXACT WORDS THAT ARE RECORDED THERE.

ZECHARIAH’S PROPHECY IN FULFILLMENT

 

This prophecy was given in the 5th century B.C. The Jewish rabbis had it in their scrolls; but did not grasp the first thing of its true meaning; therefore when this day dawned, most of them still remained in the darkness of their inherited traditions. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” There was no way for anyone to know that this day would cover a span of two thousand years of time, which would be known to mortal man, as the age of grace. A time, in which He (God) would do something for fallen mankind, that man could not do for himself; be reconciled to his Creator. Therefore let us be sure we understand right from the very beginning, that this is a dispensational day, and not a day of 24 hours. Though its dawning was ever so beautiful, there came a period within it, that the light was not clear, nor dark; but it was still daytime, and still is. This dismal period within this one day, is comparable to a natural day when dark, heavy clouds obscure the light of the sun. It is dark looking, but it is still daytime, in contrast to night time; for the sun has not gone down. Verse 7, reveals something more about the day. “But it shall be one day (a dispensation of time) which shall be known to the Lord, (in other words, Once He sets it in motion, He will not forget what He did it for) not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” Evening time of a natural day, is that period just before dark, when the sun is in its steep descent, ready to make its exit over the horizon. Therefore to compare this spiritual picture with a natural one, we would visualize a day that the sun comes up in the dawning, ever so beautiful. And some hours later, dark clouds roll in, and hang there for hours hiding the sun, and making it a dismal looking day. Then late in the day, those clouds move on, and the sun in its descent is just as beautiful as it was in its ascent. If you can picture a day like that in your mind, then just apply that same condition to this dispensational day, that the sun (Son) rose so beautifully in. What this prophecy confirms to us, is that this day will close out with the same beautiful light of understanding that it started with, almost two thousand years ago. This prophecy tells us nothing of what the light of the sun (Son) reflected in that first age of Christendom, in the dawning of this dispenstational day. It just picks up somewhere in the midst of that period of time when the true revelation of the gospel of Christ was obscured by spiritual darkness. Therefore I feel led, to really go into this; and see if the scriptures will not show us how beautiful the light of this day was, in its apostolic beginning. There are many scriptures that will do that. But then, we have to go into history to get a picture of the dark clouds that rolled in; to blot out that beautiful light.

 

A LOOK AT THE LAW

 

May God help us now, as we go back to watch the sun come up, in this dispensational day of Zechariah’s prophecy. Wherein the Gentiles were included in what God designed this day for. Our Gentile ancestors were immoral, heathen, devil worshipers, who according to Ephesians 2:11-13, were completely cut off from all the promises of the Old Covenant, which was given exclusively to the nation of Israel. When this day dawned, Israel had lived for over 1400 years, under the law; and within that law were certain festivities and ceremonials, all of which pointed forward to this day of grace. Those animal sacrifices and ceremonial days, were every one types and shadows of things pertaining to Jesus Christ, and what His sacrificial offering would accomplish in the redemption of lost mankind. Therefore we no longer live under any kind of law; we are living under the very reality of what all that pointed to. Praise God! Saints: who can anyone blame, if they miss out with God, and end up in hell, after what has been done to redeem mankind from that curse of sin? All any of us can do for a lost person, is preach the gospel to them; that is, let them know of the provision that has been made, for all who will believe and accept it. After that, it is up to that individual whether he, or she believes unto salvation or not. Anyhow the law age was to last only for a certain period of time. That was typified in their feasts of sacrifice, like the Passover. You can look back in Genesis, and see where the Lord told the children of Israel, while yet in captivity, that one the evening of the 14th day, they were to take a male lamb, of the first year from the mother ewe, and kill it, and roast it, and eat it all before morning, and for the next seven days, they were to eat unleavened bread, and this was to be a yearly observance from then on. This was to cause the future generations as well as the present one, to look back to the time when the Lord delivered them out of bondage. What was the significance of the 14th day of the month, some will say? Well let us look at the Jewish calendars to get the setting. The months and years of the Jewish calendar, are not regulated by the sun, like our Julian calendar is. Theirs are lunar instead, always starting with a new moon. Of course it is commonly accepted that there is an imbalance in our solar calendar, so without us going into why, let us just go ahead with our thought. We know also, that from the appearing of the new moon right on through its fullness, and back to its dark state, is approximately 29 ½ days. Each month should be exactly 30 days; but it comes a little short. Nevertheless since the Jewish months and years are always regulated by the moon, their days do not start and end at midnight, like ours do. That in itself should have told our ancestors something. They began in darkness, and ended in darkness; but not the Jews. Their days start at sunset, and go through those dark hours first; all of which is significant in the type it sets forth. Therefore when that new moon appears, they start counting days, and the evening of the 14th day brings that 14th day to a close, and time is starting the 15th day. Once a year, in the first month of their year, is this Passover feast observed on the evening of the 14th day, and then for the next seven days they eat unleavened bread. This whole thing together, pointed to the crucifixion of Christ the true Passover Lamb, and the 7 Church Ages that would follow. Through 7 Church Ages, believers have feasted on the unleavened bread of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Their deliverance from Egyptian bondage was a type of our deliverance from the bondage of sin. They look back to the night God delivered them from their bondage; and we look back to Calvary, the time when our Passover Lamb was offered up, purchasing once for all, deliverance from sin, for all who believe and obey the gospel. In both instances, the partakers were pointed back to a finished work, or purpose of God; the first being a type of the second.

 

TYPES AND SHADOWS – THEN GLORY

 

As time went into the 15th day, the moon reached its full circle, and from there on, it began to decrease until finally it ended its cycle, and it was time for it to start the cycle all over again. Now the cycle of the moon does not change; it continuously makes that same cycle. But the law age ended according to that type, and the age of grace has been in effect ever since. Therefore using the moon for a type, God showed that after 1450 years of living under the law, (That is 100 years for every lunar day of the new moon) Christ Jesus the true Passover Lamb, was the end of the law to every one that believeth. We can get that from the scriptures, if you will turn with me to the 4th chapter of Galatians, where in the 4th verse, Paul wrote this, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Then in Romans 10:4 we find these words. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” This gospel was first preached to the Jews, the people that lived under the law, but Praise God! We Gentiles were also included in this new covenant, that was sealed by the precious blood of God’s only begotten Son. Well saints, the fulness of the time that Paul wrote, of, was the fulness of the law age, which contained types and shadows of that which was to come. Through those types and shadows God proclaimed to the nation of Israel, that the law age would not last forever, but they did not understand. Nevertheless they will had first accessibility to the great revelation of God’s purpose for His people, perfected through the shed blood of His own dear Son. Now let us define the difference between a type and a shadow. A type is simply a similarity, and does not necessarily carry a complete likeness. But a shadow is a profile of the very thing itself. Hold your hand up before a light and notice the profile it casts on the opposite side. It may be a little out of shape, depending on the angle from which the light strikes it; but you can still recognize the fact that it is a hand. Israel had great scholars that studied the law. They knew every word by heart, and had all the ceremonies in exactly the right places; but they still did not know what their law was pointing to. All of that is portrayed as a night time season, and that is why the law age ended at sunrise of this day we are now living in, called the grace age, and referred to by the apostle Paul as the day of salvation. As for the law age being called the moon age, do not think it strange, for as you well know, the natural moon reflects the light of the natural sun; just like the elements of the law reflected the grace age. That is why the 12th chapter of the book of Revelation shows a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars upon her head. The woman is the nation of Israel, and the setting is her Millennial glory. The moon under her feet shows that she has passed through the moon cycle. The crown of twelve stars, speaks of her twelve tribes. She is a nation of twelve tribes, and when God brings to pass all that the prophets have prophesied about her: she will be standing over in the Millennium, the queen of all nations, with her twelve tribes restored. As you read the whole 12th chapter, you will recognize that God allowed the apostle John to see a panoramic vision, covering the full scope of Israel’s history. For in verse 2, she is with child, and in verse 5, she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. That man child was Jesus, and we certainly do believe He was caught up unto God, and to His throne. Verse 6 shows her fleeing into the wilderness, during the great tribulation, the time of the Antichrist world rule. The law even typed the Millennium, and just a little farther down in the 14th chapter of Zechariah, you see a prophecy concerning the Millennium. Verse 16 says, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, (Jesus Christ) the Lord of hosts, (as He rules all nations from the throne of David) and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” There is your Millennial setting. But remember this, the woman, (Israel) in the 12th chapter of Revelation, does not incorporate all of the millions of Jews that are upon the face of this earth. Only the spiritual element of the twelve tribes, those who have been loyal to Jehovah, will be represented there in her Millennial setting, or position. Do not let this picture of Israel (the woman) shining in her Millennial glory, confuse your thinking; the grace age Church will be the wife of King Jesus, just like Revelation 19, and 2nd Cor. 11:2, and Eph. 5, declare. Nevertheless the nation of Israel will have the distinct honor of being the nation of people through which the Messiah came, and His glorified presence will be in the land of Israel, as He sits upon the throne of David, ruling and reigning for one thousand years.

 

TWO PROPHETS – REJECTED

 

Just merely memorizing the scriptures, will never enable you to see the beautiful picture that is laid out here before us, a picture that allows us to look more than a thousand years into the future, all the way to the end of the Millennium, when Jesus lays down all rule and authority, and delivers the kingdom of God back up to the Father, as the apostle Paul describes in the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians. Brothers and Sisters: the reason I am saying all of this, is because there are so many people who have memorized the statements Bro. Branham made about various things, so that they can quote them word for word; but they are void of revelation, as to the scriptural reality he was looking at. Being able to quote Bro. Branham, or even being able to quote the whole Bible, is not worth two cents to your inner self, that only grows staturally, on revelation of what the word of God says. God sent those law quoting Scribes and Pharisees of Judaism a prophet, when the nation had been 400 years without a prophet, and they, as a nation, still missed God. John was a preaching prophet. He never wrote one passage of scripture in the Bible, and neither was Bro. Branham a writing prophet. Both men, in their day and hour, took those scriptures that were already written, and brought forth the revelation contained therein. John knew the law age was running out, so his main cry was, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Which in reality meant, There is a new day dawning. Prepare yourself for it. Then when he introduced their Messiah to them: were they ready to receive Him? You know they weren’t. They were just like the Gentile church world is today. They had their own ideas and interpretations of the plan of God, and they were not going to budge one inch from them, no matter what anyone said. That which their types and shadows had pointed to for over 1400 years, stood right among them, and they chose to hold on to the types and shadows, rather than the real thing, and they lost everything, for what they were holding on to was no longer there. God had put a new covenant in effect, and they still tried to live by the old one, so they were left sitting in the dark. If that was true then, do you not see that it is still true today? Bro. Branham came on the scene with a message for this generation living in the closing hours of the dispensation of grace, and got exactly the same response John got in his day, rejection by the big shots of organized religion. His message was, Get back to the Bible, back to the true revelation taught by the apostles of Jesus. Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, just like Peter declared in the 2nd chapter of Acts. He was truly a prophet sent from God, to turn an element of people in this generation, back to the faith of our apostolic fathers, before the Lord’s return for His Church, but most of those who were looked upon as the Church at that time, rejected his message, holding to the traditions of their fathers, and God passed them on by, and left them in darkness, even though they are living in a dispensation of light. Do you know what that proves? The world is full of people who can never receive light, even though their faith is constantly exposed to it. Some are motivated by excitement, and they will run after anything exciting, whether it is scriptural or not; and others bathe themselves in the solemn quietness of their dead traditions, where nothing can excite them. But God has a chosen few, who get excited over the true revelation of His word, but hey are real cautious, to check everything by what is written in the scriptures, knowing in their hearts that God will never do anything contrary to what is already written. These are the ones that shall be caught up to glory, to feast with the Lord at the marriage supper, as the sun sets on this day we are living in. Brothers and Sisters: We really need to be grateful to God for what we have, knowing that this great light of revelation has been made available to the multitudes in our generation, and only a very small percentage of those whose lives it touched, ever allowed it to strike their inner man. That same spirit that kept the multitudes from accepting the light John brought to his generation, also kept the multitudes from receiving the light Bro. Branham brought to this generation.

 

THE MESSAGE OF JOHN – AND OF JESUS

 

Let us notice what the apostle John wrote concerning John the Baptist, in John 1:6-8. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He (John) was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” Well the Light he bore witness of, came on the scene and walked among mankind for 3 ½ years, doing miracles and teaching everywhere He went, to the extent that everyone had their chance to see the great Creator, walking in human flesh. For He constantly affirmed, It is not I, that doeth these works, but the Father that dwelleth in me. In other words, He did everything possible to make it simple for the Jewish people as a whole, to see what was standing in their midst. Yet as He came to the close of His earthly ministry, only a very small number out of all those that had been touched by His ministry, understood even a little bit, of what had been going on in the land of Israel for 3 ½ years. Their Messiah, that they had all talked about, and longed to see, came to them and they watched Him, and listened to Him, as He opened the scriptures and revealed who He was, and only a little hand full of mostly uneducated people, followed Him all the way to the end, and obeyed His instructions. In the closing verses of the gospel of Luke, we find His last words to those who watched Him ascend into heaven, where He has been for almost two thousand years now. Verse 48, “And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”  Only 120 disciples, out of all the multitudes that had followed Him at one time or another, obeyed His last words, and waited together, for the promise of the Father, which was the Holy Ghost that they received, there in that upper room, on the day of Pentecost. What can we say then, about the light John reflected to his generation? It is comparable to the early glow you see in the eastern sky before the actual sun, the disc itself, comes up over the horizon. The skyline begins to light up, and you can see where you are walking, by that early glow of light, before the disc itself comes into view. In other words, There is enough light to drive away the darkness. Therefore as you give that a scriptural application, John brought them enough light that they all should have been prepared to greet their Messiah when He came to them. But the majority chose to remain in the darkness of their traditions instead. Did Jesus shine a different light than what John was shining? No. When Jesus came on the scene, He just picked up right where John was, and started blending right into the glow of what John had been doing to prepare them for this greater light. As He began to preach, and miracles began to follow, the glow of the light John had shone, just got brighter and brighter, for Jesus was speaking of the same dispensation John had been proclaiming. In Matthew 3:1-3, we read of John the Baptist. Notice, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esias, (Isaiah) saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” Now let us go right on over to chapter 4, verse 17, and see what Jesus started out with. “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  When Jesus heard that John was in prison, He picked up John’s message right where he had left off, and His own ministry enlarged from there on. He began to speak of the kingdom of God, which is God in His people, in this dispensation of time called, the kingdom of heaven. You can read the 13th chapter of Matthew, and find six parables Jesus spoke, that started out, The Kingdom of heaven is likened unto, or like such and such. His disciples asked Him (Matt. 13:10) Why speakest thou unto them in parables? His answer was, “Because it is given unto you (those who would truly receive Him) to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them (the unbelievers and scoffers) it is not given.” In the 4th chapter of Mark’s gospel, the unbelieving ones are referred to, as them that are without, meaning, without spiritual understanding, and in Matthew 11:25, as He prays to the Father, He reveals who they are, the wise and the prudent, the smart people who have gone to the seminary and studied religion, and have their own theories about everything. They could hear the same word those disciples heard, but they could never receive it; because it was not dressed up enough for them. Nevertheless the light kept getting brighter and brighter, until the sun in all of its beauty and splendor was fully visible to those who were ordained to benefit by it. That is how this glorious day of salvation opened up; when Jesus Christ came to fulfill all that was prophesied of Him, in that first advent. Of course there are still prophecies lying there, yet to be fulfilled of Him, but they are for a later time, after His high priest office work is finished. He came to Israel according to the scriptures, and presented Himself to them; but all of those who might have been expected to recognize their Messiah when He came to the, failed to, because He did not measure up to their carnal expectations. They just simply could not accept the idea that their long awaited Messiah would come to them riding on a donkey, and associating with the common people on the streets. In other words, It was just too simple for their educated minds to accept. God, by His great foreknowledge already knew what they would do though, so their rejection of Him fit right into the total plan of redemption He had designed to benefit all of lost mankind. Those Jewish religious leaders of that day were just like the great Gentile theologians of our day; they only saw in the scriptures what they wanted to see. Zechariah wrote, (9:9) “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass.” It was right there all the time, but it just simply did not register with them.

 

THE NEW COVENANT MESSENGER

 

Let us go to the 3rd chapter of Malachi, and notice the very first verse there. “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: AND THE LORD, WHOM YE SEEK, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold. He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Malachi prophesied that there would be a messenger sent, to forerun the messenger of the covenant. John the Baptist was the forerunning messenger, sent to prepare the way for the messenger of the covenant, that was to come after him. Jesus Christ was that messenger of the covenant mentioned here, the covenant Jeremiah prophesied about in the 31st chapter of the book by his name. Verse 31, is where we want to start reading. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: (notice now) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, (after what days? After the days when the law has run its course) I will put my law in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Under the law, individuals did not have the Spirit within them, like believers do under this dispensation of grace; so this is exactly what Jeremiah was prophesying about, a time when every true worshiper of the living God would have the law of God in his, or her own heart, because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of God dealt with Israel as a nation, in three offices, under the old covenant; prophet, priest, and king. The average Jewish person desiring to please Jehovah, had to look to instructors, to tell them what to do. Those priests and rabbis of the various sects of Judaism, taught the law, and explained its meaning. But after 1450 years of that, they handled the law of Moses just like denominational religion is handling the gospel of Jesus Christ in our day. In other words, without true understanding or revelation, they just put their own interpretations on all of it, until they had so many versions, none of it made any sense. Whenever you have so many incomplete pictures of what is supposed to be one complete picture, those looking at those pictures, still have too many decisions they have to make themselves, as to which one is right. For almost anyone with any spiritual sense at all, knows a perfect God does not have a dozen different versions of the same thing. You can turn on your radio, or television, any day of the week anymore, and hear some preacher quoting scripture from the Bible, and then using that scripture to justify some idea he wants to project. Oh sure, they all hit something right, or close to right, now and then; but they are without revelation of the true meaning of what they are dealing with. Now naturally some will always say, What makes that Jackson think he is so right, and everyone else so wrong? Well I have never said that myself. But I will say this, At least I do know that Jesus is not the 2nd person fo the triune God. Therefore I do know for sure, that those who divide the one sovereign God into three parts, making each part a person, and yet try to explain how those three persons are still one God, are blind leaders of the blind. Furthermore you never will hear me bounce on some doctrine taught by the New Testament apostles, and proclaim that it is from the pit of hell, as some of your great preachers of this hour are doing. The great commission is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

 

GOD’S REDEMPTION NAME

 

Brothers and Sisters: Listen to me. You just simply cannot stop light. You cannot change the day. The dispensation must go on, regardless of what anyone thinks or says about the light that is projected in it. As this dispensational day dawned: almost two thousand years ago, Jesus, that perfect, sinless Son of God, walked among mortal mankind for 3 ½ years, revealing the great Creator to that Jewish nation through the person of His own flesh. Both by demonstration and by precise teaching, He revealed the Father, and the redemption name of the Father to them. The name Jesus, (Joshua in Hebrew) is the name through which God would redeem lost mankind back to Himself. That is why Jesus, as He prayed to the Father, there in the 17th chapter of John said, “I have manifested THY NAME unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world.” You would have to be spiritually blind, not to understand that the only name He ever manifested, was the name Jesus, which in the natural was His own personal name. It became a compound name, the moment the Father incarnated Him, there at the Jordan River, when John baptized Him. He was no longer just Jesus the perfect Son of God; He was now God incarnate. Meaning, He who is God, is now dwelling within that human body of clay, which was, and is the only human body God (the sovereign Spirit) ever dwelt in permanently, in the fullness of all His attributes. However, Jesus knowing the plan and purpose of the Father, knew that His own personal ministry on earth could only reach a certain element of mankind, and then, the heavenly Father would change the order of events. Not the day itself, just the way in which mankind would be reached with the good news of the kingdom of God, still within the same dispensational day His ministry caused to dawn. Once the dispensation went into effect: it had to continue on, until the whole redemption plan of the Father has been completed. Therefore Jesus began to speak to His disciples, of that which they were to have, in order to fulfill the perfect will of the Father as He had done. We will go to the 14th chapter of John, where in the closing hours of His ministry, Jesus began to say to His disciples, verse 25, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He (not a person; but a Spirit dwelling in believers.) Shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” This new covenant could not fulfill its intended purpose, as long as Jesus walked among mankind in human flesh; so He prepared His disciples for the change they must experience, as He Himself moved into another office work, that of high priest. You will notice though, that Jesus said the Father would send the Comforter in His (Jesus’) name, and that causes a lot of people to reject the idea that this is also the redemption name of the Father. But let us just go right back to John 5:43, and see what He said there, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye received me not.” He was telling them something very plainly, but they could not make the connection. In Isaiah 7:14, we find a prophecy given by Isaiah, concerning a son that shall be born of a virgin, and Matthew 1:20-23 explains that prophecy, so people in this grace age ought not have any question at all about the name Jesus, nor even about the godhead, except those who are just plain spiritually blind.

 

GOD WITH US

 

Let us look at Isa. 7:14 first, and then we will go to Isa. 9:6, and then to Matthew. “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name (Notice now) Immanuel.” Now we will go right to 9:6, where the prophet was speaking of this same son. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, (Don’t miss this) The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Now we Gentiles did not know it; but the name Immanuel, spelled Emmanuel in Matthew, means God with us. How was God with us? In the human body of His only begotten Son Jesus. That is how He was with that generation of people John preached to. The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, the man Mary was going to marry, and said to him, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (Her conception was supernatural.) And she shall bring forth a sin, (The same son Isaiah spoke of.) And thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save HIS people from their sins. Now all of this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, (Isaiah) saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US.” He was given the name Jesus, at birth, but it did not take on its compound meaning until Jesus was baptized by John, and the Father (SPIRIT) came down, and entered into Him. That is when they truly could have said, This is God with us. But did that Jewish nation see this truth? NO. They could only see a man that was tearing their traditions all to pieces, so all they wanted to do, was argue with Him, and then try to kill Him. The church world in general, is still like that today. The only difference is, they do not have this physical body to argue and fuss with. What they do to His word amounts to the same thing though. Some of these talk shows and religious debates they have on TV remind you of a bunch of children playing. You can sure tell by listening to them, that they have not received this Comforter that Jesus spoke of, For “He (said Jesus) shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Most of what you see and hear today, are people seeking honor and recognition for themselves; which is absolutely contrary to what those early disciples of Jesus did, when the Spirit from the Father entered them. Just pay attention, as you read the New Testament, how Jesus always gave glory to the Father, and how that same Spirit, when it came into His disciples, gave glory to Him. Those disciples of that day, had no purpose but to glorify Jesus. Well Jesus enlarged on that verse in John 5:43, so let us finish reading it “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: (But) if another (the Antichrist) shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” Who was He talking to? The nation of Israel, and, yes, they will receive the Antichrist, when he comes in his own name, with a great peace plan for all nations. Jesus, the true Prince of Peace, came to them almost two thousand years ago, and they rejected Him. But when this false prince comes on the scene with his great plan, they will fall for it completely. Not the spiritual Jews, but the political element of the Jewish nation.

 

THE LIGHT IS MOVING ONWARD

 

Saints I hope you are getting the picture of how the sun is likened unto this dispensation of grace, or vice versa. When that disc comes fully over the horizon, it does not just hang there in one spot. It keeps rising until it reaches the very peak of illumination, and then it starts moving on off to the west, to finally disappear over the horizon. But on a clear day it remains bright for as long as it can be seen. On the other hand, if during the day a dark cloud moves over and obscures is, you could say, like Zechariah, The light is neither clear, nor dark. But when that cloud moves on out of the picture, there is that great light once again, still in the same day. It shall be just as light as it was before the dark cloud came. That is the spiritual picture we are looking at here, as we observe how the S-O-N projected a great light into the world at His first advent, and how His disciples stepped up on the same plateau He was on, and continued projecting that same light, until Satan was allowed to bring a dark cloud into the picture, and blot out the light of truth for over a thousand years. You could say, “He has already had his Millennial reign,” and failed to accomplish his purpose His purpose has always been to try to destroy the Church. He first tried to destroy Jesus, and failed. Then he tried to destroy the Church, and failed, and now He is trying to destroy the faith of the individuals that make up the Church. We are in the evening time of that day of grace, and we are privileged to walk in the same glorious light those first age believers walked; but Satan does not like it, and he does everything he can possibly do, to bring reproach upon the true people of God. We have a revelation that he cannot destroy; but he finds ways to keep most believers from reaching their full potential. We should all be little Jesus’, if you catch my though. For Jesus is the family name of God’s redeemed family. Church theologians want to climb a wall, when they hear someone talk like this; but my statement is in line with the scriptures. In Eph. 3:14-15, the apostle Paul declared this, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” As I have already stated, Jesus even though it was the personal name given to this son Mary gave birth to, it was also the Redemptive name of the Jehovah they looked to for their redemption. Therefore when it came time for God’s plan of redemption to be inaugurated, that name became a compound name. After the incarnation there at the Jordan River, when someone called out the name Jesus: they actually got the attention of the great Creator Himself for He was dwelling in this vessel of clay, that had been called Jesus from birth. The name given to Mary’s little baby son, was important enough for God to send His angel to them, to make sure that was the name given to Him, for it means, God with us; and it was to fulfill a 700 year old prophecy. Therefore based upon Paul’s revelation, and what we already know from other scriptures, it is absolutely correct to say that the name JESUS, is the family name by which God’s whole redeemed family is called. We have the same Spirit in us, that Jesus had in Him; and within that Spirit lies every attribute that Jesus manifested during the 3 ½ years of His ministry. Only the measure is different. It is that Spirit of the Father in us, that teaches us all things, and brings things to our remembrance. But believe me saints: That never was meant to give the pope of Rome, the authority to write a bunch of new creeds, and call it the word of God. One brother from Georgia was telling me of a Catholic woman that taught certain subjects in a school he took some courses at. She does not really go along with the whole system of Catholicism. But on the other hand, she will still tell you that it is the church of the living God. When he said to her, But they teach things that are not in the Bible, she answered back, Well we all know the Bible is the written word of God; but since that time, certain things came up that had to be dealt with, which when it was, the traditional word came into being, and we believe this is the word of God for our day. Even though she disagrees with many things of the system of Catholicism, she still believes that system incorporates the Church of Jesus Christ. Brothers and Sisters: Can you not see that these words Jesus spoke are not a reality to an awful lot of people who call themselves Christians? If the Spirit they claim to have, was in them, He would be teaching them all things.

 

OUR POTENTIAL – AS CHILDREN OF GOD

 

Let us go to the 26th verse of chapter 15, and notice something else Jesus said, (of the Comforter that was yet to come) at that time. He lets them know that the Spirit they are going to receive, is the Spirit of Truth, and that it is from the Father, so let us read it. “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.” Now some people seem to have the idea, that since God dwells in the heavens, He has to leave a portion of heaven, in order to come to believers and indwell them. No, saints, He is omnipresent. He never has to leave any place, in order to manifest His presence somewhere else. He has always filled the whole universe. It is just that when He set this new covenant in motion, He had purposed to place His holy presence within the lives of individual believers, in a way that He had not previously done, in other dispensations. In former days, the prophets had spoken of this one to come, whom we know was Jesus. But in this new dispensation; every believer was to have the measure of the Spirit of God in him, or her, and that Spirit in them would testify of Jesus. To testify of Jesus in the way inferred here, is to actually present the gospel message. You do not have to be a teacher, in order to testify of Jesus Christ, and what He has done for lost mankind. Those first disciples were to bear witness of what they had witnessed with their own eyes, as they walked with Jesus; and they did it by the anointing of that Spirit that was in them. We who have become believers since that hour, are to testify according to the revelation given to us by the anointing of that same Spirit, what we have seen and heard of Jesus Christ with our inner eyes and ears. Jesus Himself always testified of the Father, the great Creator whose purpose He was on earth to fulfill. But we, because everything we have, came through Him, testify of Jesus. It is just an enlarging of the whole purpose of God. It was God the Father, who kept Himself from dwelling in people in previous dispensations, that chose to send His only begotten Son, to reveal Him (God) to this dispensation. How did He send Him? By getting inside of Him, and using His eyes, His hands, His feet, and so forth, to manifest things that only God could manifest. Therefore when Jesus was with His disciples, after his resurrection, He said to them, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” Then he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” They did not receive the Holy Ghost at that moment though; this was only a preparatory command. He had to get inside of them first; before He could send them, as the Father had sent Him; and that is exactly what happened a few days later, there in that upper room in Jerusalem. Since He and the Father were blended together into one Spirit, when we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive both the Father and the Son. We have within us, both the potential for the wisdom and knowledge of the Father, as well as that nature to be perfectly obedient like the Son. The reason we fall short in so many areas, is because we fail to allow the Spirit within us to lead us. We have not yet learned that obedience the Son exemplified; but we do have that enablement in us, if we will just lean to yield to it. Even Jesus, the perfect Son of God, had to choose to obey the Father’s will, when Satan tempted Him there in the wilderness, after His baptism. He had already received the Spirit of the Father. But that Spirit in Him did not force Him to obey; He had to make that choice Himself. When He overcame Satan’s temptations, it was by the same means that you and I have to overcome him. He did not use any power against the devil, that you and I do not have to use also. He simply said to the devil, It is written, thus and so, and the devil knew He meant to obey the word of God, no matter what He was tempted with. That should be our determination also.

 

HOW WE BECOME CHRISTIANS

 

We could go into chapter 16 and find Jesus going into more detail about the Comforter He had promised to send to them. He has been talking to them (His disciples) about going away; and it has made them all very sad. Not understanding everything that must be accomplished, they no doubt began to feel that all hope would be lost, if He left them. That is what caused Him to say what we are going to read next. Starting in verse 7, He said, “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.” They already knew the Comforter was a Spirit; for He had just finished telling them, that the Comforter was the Spirit of truth; so what did He mean, saying, I will send Him unto you? Well let us look back into chapter 14, verse 23, for a clarification of that. Maybe we should read verse 21 first. “He that hath kept my commandments, and keepeth them, he is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” That statement brought about another question, How is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world? Then Jesus answered back, “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and WE will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Do not let the word we, cause you any trouble, for it is not two persons, but rather the combined Spirits of both the Father and the Son, and Jesus the Christ could not come to them in Spirit form, as long as He was still with them bodily. But once He ascends into the heavenly presence of the Father, and takes up his intercessory work as high priest: those who have loved Him, and kept His commandments, will receive the promise of the Father. It all took place just like He said; and almost two thousand years later, those who love Him, and keep His commandments, still receive of the same promise. In Romans 8:9, Paul wrote, “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.” As long as Jesus remains in His office as high priest; the day of salvation is still in effect, and it is still possible for anyone who will accept Him as Lord and Savior, to be filled with. There is one other factor though, the most important of all. In John 6:44, when those Jews were contending with Jesus, He said to them, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” No doubt, a lot of people have gone through life, actually conscious of the fact that they needed God in their lives, but always saying within themselves, I am not ready to become a Christian. I want to do this, or that, or something else; and then I will get my life straightened out with God. Not unless the Spirit of God draws you. God has many ways to touch the lives of lost mankind; and cause them to be drawn to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. But no one, at any time, has ever been granted the privilege of determining that he, or she will live a certain length of time for the world, and then surrender to God. A lot have no doubt gone out into eternity thinking that; because of the fact that they have in one way or the other, been subjected to a Christian influence along the way. But God Himself is the sovereign one. He is the only one that can plan everything ahead of time, and have it turn out exactly as He had it planned. That is because He is able to move forces to bring it about. That is why he could inspire His prophets to prophesy certain things thousands of years in advance. Through His foreknowledge, and His omnipotency, He was able to do that, even to know the end of all things, before He ever started to create anything. Therefore we will just say this; It is an unseen force that begins to deal with a lost sinner, to place conviction upon him, and cause him to realize his need for salvation. Of course some will say, Well, if it is God Himself that draws us to Christ Jesus, and it is not His will for any to perish; why does He not just draw everything, and get all lost people saved? I don’t want to go too much into that, because we are trying to keep this message dealing with events within this day of salvation, from sunrise to sunset. But we do have a number of articles in print already, that explain why some are tender toward God, and others cannot hear the voice of God, nor be touched by the drawing of His Spirit. From the time Cain began to father children into the world, until this very day, there have always been attributes present in an element of mankind, that makes it impossible for them to hear and obey the call of God. The Creator even gave Cain a chance to walk with Him; but Cain was already born of another spirit. In 1st John 3:12, it tells us plainly that Cain was of that wicked one. On the other hand, there have been sinners that seemed to be so hard hearted and bitter, and so self willed, that would just simply melt like butter, under the influence of the drawing power of God. Well that is the reason; they had something in them that could be touched by the Spirit of God. The Lord has a way of causing a sinner man’s burdens to become so heavy, he finally just falls upon his knees, and cries out, God have mercy on me; I cannot walk without you any longer.

 

WHAT THE COMFORTER WILL DO

 

Saints: When we start a message like this, we never know exactly where the Spirit may lead. But I am fully persuaded that anything we present from the word of God is going to help someone, somewhere, because the Bible says His word will not return unto Him void; but it will accomplish the purpose for which it is sent. He might direct a whole service in a certain channel, just for the benefit of one soul that might need to hear certain things. Anyhow we were looking at some verses in the 16th chapter of John, where Jesus said, if I depart: I will send the Comforter to you. Then in verse 8, He continued, “And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Let us first define the word sin. He was not talking about reproving the world because of smoking, drinking, or gambling. These are all manifestations of the flesh of sinful mankind; but Jesus goes beyond all of that, right to the heart of it all. The man of the world does all those things that are contrary to the way of righteousness, because of the sin of unbelief, that rules his heart. That is why I said that Jim Bakker’s dilemma has been a tragedy. A lot of people looked to him and his wife as two people who had the answer to their problems in life; and then learned, in one of the worst ways, that they had the same problems. Oral Roberts has also allowed his own image to hit a very low level. Then there is Jimmy Swaggart, who preaches hard against some sins of the flesh, and all addiction and immorality, and has the praises of a lot of people in the world. But he holds to a trinity concept of the godhead, and impresses a lot of people by the way he chews up the truth of the oneness of God, and the way he condemns people who uphold certain scriptural doctrines he does not believe in, even saying they are out of the pit of hell. You do not have to take my word for this; just go back and examine some of his teaching. Take predestination for instance; a beautiful doctrine taught by the early Church fathers, and see what he said about that; and then tell me he is a servant of God, called to minister to the bride of Christ. God may let a man get by with that for a while; but He will not let him go on forever. The most you could say for him is that he is ministering to a great mass of foolish virgins; and foolish people do foolish things. But one day, his world will cave in, because he does not embrace the whole truth of God’s word. I simply do not know just how far God will let him go; I only know he is guilty of denying some very precious truths of the Bible he preaches out of. There are two other things Jesus said the Holy Ghost would reprove the world of. First, of sin, then “of righteousness, because O go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” Why would He say that like He did, about righteousness? You have to look at who it was that actually condemned Him, and caused Him to be crucified. That self righteous bunch of Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of that day. Oh how clean and godly they looked. Yet their hearts were full of hatred, self-righteousness, and pride. I do not mean to debase the outward image they portrayed, I am simply pointing to the fact that true holiness has to radiate from within and not just be worn on the outer shell. If you think Jesus died on the cross, just to get people to wear long hair, and long dresses, you have got the wrong picture. That is just one little part of true holiness before God. If true holiness does not reign in your heart, all of this outward holiness is vain. The outward part is not wrong; it just needs the proper motivation from within. In other words, The very righteousness that was revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, those religious leaders resented it, and said, Away with such a person. I believe with all my heart, that Jesus had certain standards for His outward appearance, and a certain life style that He adhered to. But I am persuaded that He was not crucified because of the way He dressed, nor for the clean life He lived. He was crucified because of the things he taught, for that just simply tore their religious ideas and practices, all to pieces. What He taught, made them so mad, they saw Him as a devil, rather than a righteous man. They were so set in their traditions, they judged everything to be evil, that disagreed with their ways; and that brings us to the last one, of the three things Jesus mentioned. The Holy Ghost was to reprove the world of judgement, because the prince of this world is judged. That ought to let us know that we ought not be too quick to judge everything we see and hear. Take time to lay it along side the scriptures; and then just judge the act, not the person, or persons involved. If you condemn everyone who does something you do not agree with, you may condemn a lot of people God is going to deal with. Those Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, thought they were judging Jesus according to the law of Moses; but as it turned out, they judged Him according to their interpretation of it, and they had the wrong picture of what the law was given for; so they judged unrighteously, and sent an innocent man to the cross. Jesus knew His mission in life and that is why, when the time was right, He voluntarily went with the men who came to arrest Him. If He had been guilty of anything worthy of the sentence they pronounced upon Him, He could not have accomplished for mankind what was accomplished on that old cross. Because He was innocent, and perfect, without blemish, He was able, as a sacrifice for the sin debt of all mankind, to pay the debt in full. He died to set us free. Hallelujah!

 

HOW GOD DEALT WITH ME

 

We are going into the book of Luke to look at some words Jesus spoke to His disciples, just before He ascended into heaven; but first I want to tell something that happened to me while I was in South Carolina recently. I will not call it a dream; for I honestly do not know for sure what it was. It is just a strange way the Lord dealt with me; and I am just waiting to see the outcome of it. I told my wife about it; but I am only going to relate certain parts of it at this time; because I do not want to set up a situation where people can ever say, Well, it has come to pass. Years ago I had a dream in which I saw an Oriental looking person and so forth. However that dream was not fulfilled until years later when we went to India. Therefore I intend to just wait until the Lord sees fit to manifest whatever this is pointing to. I will not call this a dream, for I do not know exactly what it was. But there in South Carolina on Sunday night, after we had held the first service, and gone back to the cabin where we were staying, this happened. Sometime during the morning hours, it was like my mind was just taken and projected into a scene. I saw myself standing somewhere; not in a pulpit. It seemed more like I was just standing somewhere, talking to some people, and answering questions some of them were asking. Then in this scene, I looked and saw a small group, like maybe 6 or 7 people, off at a distance, but coming toward where I was. As they approached, they moved right through the rest of the people and came right to the forefront of them all. I watched, as they worked their way through the rest of the people, and then stood right in front of me listening. But within that small group, there was one certain lady, that stood out from all the others. I will never describe her to you; because I do not want the devil to get hold of it and cause someone to try to fulfill it. If I ever see the lady, I will surely recognize her, for I can describe the dress she was wearing, the color of her hair and everything, right down to the shoes she was wearing. She never spoke one word, she just stood and listened, looking right at me; and all the time I was asking myself, What is she here for? There was just something about her that was different. She was very modest in her appearance; and gave the impression that she was not a forward type of person, but she was definitely listening closely to what was being said. She cast a picture in my mind, of a person searching for truth; but was not going to fall for everything she heard. Now she could very well be a symbol of something; I cannot be sure about that. But if she was not shown to me as a symbol, then somewhere, sometime, I am going to meet her; because I know exactly what she will look like. I could describe her to some of these professional artists; like the police use, and they could sketch her exactly as I saw her. I am really prone to believe it is a person I will meet sometime, because of the deep impression I have of the way she was dressed, her features, and everything; so that is what I will be looking for, and I ask the prayers of all my brothers and sisters, as I endeavor to be led by the Spirit of God. I believe there are yet things that the Holy Spirit will do for the people of God, and it may be done in strange ways; but people in the world will never get a chance to commercialize it. Everything God has done in the past, has been commercialized and imitated; but I somehow feel that it is going to be different; from here on out to the end. So if God sees fit to use us in some way, let’s give all the glory to Jesus, and tell of His wonderful love. He’s worthy. He’s the one that paid the price for the liberty we have, and He’s the one that is coming back one day soon for those that love truth, and allow truth to direct their lives.

 

JESUS’ LAST WORDS TO HIS DISCIPLES

 

We have been using these little charts just to focus attention on what we are dealing with, as we look at these various scriptures. By putting up this first chart, calling attention to the sunrise in all of it’s glory and beauty, and then pushing it to the left, as we insert these scriptures dealing with what takes place between sunrise and sunset, of this glorious day of salvation, we will then place the sun over on the other side, where it is, just before it disappears over the western horizon, and you will have something up here that you can see with your own eyes, to give the whole thing a little more impact. Somehow the children of God must be made to see that the gospel light of the end time, is the same gospel light the early church walked by; but just like the light from the natural sun; in the evening time, you just see it from a different angle. The evening light is the same as the morning light, but seen from a different angle. The evening sun casts the shadows on the other side. We go into the New Testament scriptures to see the effects of the gospel light in its dawning upon mankind. But here in the end time, we look back through time, to see what mankind has done with the opportunities that this light has given, and we are able to make an accurate appraisal, because we have that same light in all of its glory and beauty, that the early Church had. Let us go now into the 24th chapter of Luke, where we find the last words Jesus spoke to His disciples, before He ascended into heaven, to assume His intercessory work on our behalf. Verse 49, is the focal point; but I believe we should go back to verse 46, to start reading. Jesus opened the understanding of His disciples, so that they could understand the scriptures. (Now verse 46) “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to raise from the dead the third day.” Naturally He is speaking of the various Old Testament prophecies that touch on this. The only difference is, He has perfect understanding of what they are pointing to, and His disciples do not. But He goes ahead and says, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye (the disciples that followed Him) are witnesses of these things.” Those who had walked with Him for 3 ½ years, were personal witnesses of His entire ministry. They had heard His teaching and seen with their own eyes, the many miraculous works that were done; but they still needed one other thing before they would be equipped to continue the work He had started, and that is what verse 49 speaks of. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” I thought for quite a while about how to arrange these various scriptures we are using, in order to get your attention focused on the main points first, and this is the order I finally came up with. In other words, They had a commission to fulfill, but they were not to go anywhere, nor do anything, until they had received the promise of the Father. They had walked with Him to the Mount of Olives, where He ascended into heaven from, so the 120 disciples that actually received the promise of the Father in its first outpouring, were the ones that went directly back to Jerusalem, and assembled in an upper room until the promise came.

 

LOOKING BACK TWO THOUSAND YEARS

 

We have already read the scriptures where Jesus told His disciples about the Comforter which the Father would send in His name. He told them this Comforter would be the Spirit of truth; and that it would teach them all things, and bring all things to their remembrance, that He had spoken to them. In other words, We might say that they should have known exactly what to expect, as they assembled back there at Jerusalem. But let me ask you something. If you had been one of them that stood there that day, and been in the same frame of mind that they were in, would you have known what to look for, when He said. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you?” It is important that we catch what happened in that apostolic age; and then be able to look at some of the things that are going on in the world today, without having our own personal faith shaken. The world is full of people who claim to have received this promise; but their very lives prove that what they received was counterfeit. Therefore let us go back to the 16th chapter of John, and take up where we left off. These verses in John were spoken before the crucifixion, and the verses in Luke 24, were spoken after His resurrection, yet they all fit together to make the picture complete. We look at all of them together, as we seek to identify the rising of the sun, in this day of salvation. We want to watch the light of this gospel revelation, as it dawned upon an age of time starting a dispensation. Notice now, as we go back to verse 12 in the 16th chapter of John; where Jesus is speaking to His disciples. “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” What did He mean? Why did He say that? He simply meant that without the Holy Ghost dwelling inside of them, to illuminate their spiritual intelligence, they could not possibly understand all that was involved in the Father’s great plan of redemption. This is why you see so many blind leaders of the blind, in the world today; their spiritual experience is void of this necessary element Jesus is speaking of. Just shaking some preacher’s hand and getting your name placed on some church roll does not automatically give you this promise of the Father. You have to come according to the scriptural formula in order to receive this promise Jesus was referring to, and without it, your mind is subject to believe anything that comes along. Verse 13, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth (A-L-L T-R-U-T-H) for He shall not speak of Himself; (Talking about the Holy Spirit) but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.” That verse backs up what He said in chapters 14 & 15; where He first began to speak of the Comforter. But there are two points here in this verse, you ought not miss. First, the Holy Spirit is there to lead you into all truth. But according to the words of Jesus, He would also show things to come. Now to those disciples standing there, that was every bit for the future. But for the true children of God in this hour, it is a present reality. There stood Jesus, in the midst of a people who had looked and longed for His hour, and failed to recognize who He was, because of their spiritual blindness. Nevertheless to His disciples, Jesus was making a promise of something that would change their lives, when they received it; and He said to them, “He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” Then you have these great men, who have studied the Bible forward and backward, comparing everything with Greek and Hebrew, that will stand up and tell you we are not supposed to understand everything. Their educated minds never will. But true believers will have a Spirit in them, that will reveal the whole plan and purpose of God to them, and will cause them to worship and glorify Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. Jesus the Son, always glorified the Father who was invisible; and now the Father, who still remains to be invisible, yet dwells in the believers of this dispensation, and is referred to as the Holy Ghost, glorifies the Son, whom to us, is invisible also, because we have not seen Him in the flesh. But we will! Praise God, and I do not believe it will be very long until we do. The way Gentiles have seen Jesus, throughout this dispensation of grace, has been by divine revelation wrought by the Holy Ghost, as the word was quickened to their hearts. That cannot be done with theology. But by a revelation of the truth of God’s word: Jesus can become as real to us, as He was to those who walked with him two thousand years ago. Those same attributes that made Jesus stand out when He walked among mankind, the Holy Ghost has taken, and demonstrated among, or through the body of believers which is the Church. That is how Jesus is glorified. That is why it is so important for the Church to be in perfect harmony: Jesus was the light while He was here on earth; but He pointed to the hour, when the true Christians (of every age) would be the light of the world. It is a continual reflection of the revelation of the true and living God. First through His only begotten Son, and then through His redeemed sons and daughters ever since. In His only begotten Son, was all the qualities and virtues He has determined to perfect in us. Jesus was already perfect, before the incarnation; but there was no deity in His makeup, in the first 30 years of His life. Now please do not take this as a contradiction to Hebrews 5:8-9, when I say He was perfect; I am saying that there was no sin in Him. He was without fault in every way. Yet in order to fulfill His predetermined destiny on our behalf; He had to be tested by Satan and prove that He would not forfeit His inheritance, like Adam did. This is what those verses in Hebrews point to, because when His testing was completed, and His obedience established once and for all, He was completely acceptable as the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Therefore this being accomplished on our behalf, we now have the Holy Ghost in us, to make us like Him.

 

THINGS JESUS DID NOT KNOW

 

Now I will direct your attention back to those verses we read in Luke 24, where Jesus gave His disciples a commission, and promised to send them power from on high, to enable them to fulfill it. Those disciples had the various statements He had made, in their minds. Yet they were without a revelation, as far as knowing how to put them together. In one sense of the word, they had a little picture in their mind, because they had walked with Him for 3 ½ years, and seen the miracles that were done, and heard Him teach, but there was still a lot of things they did not understand. Nevertheless deep down inside of them, there was something that made them hold to their belief, that this man has got to be the Messiah. Therefore when He said, “But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high,” there was nothing else to do, but obey Him, so they went right back to Jerusalem, assembled themselves together in an upper room, and waited. That brings us to the 1st chapter of the book of Acts. This book was written by the same man that wrote the Gospel of St. Luke, so even though we will be reading some things here, that were not recorded in Luke’s gospel, they were still spoken at the same time. You just have to realize that, and put them together in the overall picture you are seeing. Starting in verse 4, we find these words, “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.” He was just reminding them of what He had said to them before He was arrested and put to death. “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” That picks up a statement made by John the Baptist, before Jesus came on the scene. In Matthew 3:11, John said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” What He was really saying to them was, The time has come for this baptism of fire John spoke of, to be activated. Acts 1:6, “When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?” They could not get their mind off of the Old Testament scripture, that spoke of the great Davidic kingdom; with Israel being restored. They thought they understood that; but somehow they were not quite able to make that connect up with the things Jesus had been saying to them. But here is His answer to that inquiry. Verse 7, “And He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.” In other words, This was something known only to the eternal Spirit, the Creator of all things, something that Jesus, the Son, did not have to know, to fulfill His roll in the redemption of lost mankind. When I say, Jesus the Son of God, did not know everything, it throws some people who do not know how to rightly divide the scriptures, for a loop. They immediately think of Matthew 28:18, where Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” He was speaking of al power to perform every necessary function pertaining to redemption. In the 24th chapter of Matthew, verse 36, He had already made a statement that proved He did not know everything, about everything. Speaking of the Antichrist, the great tribulation, and the judgment of God upon wicked mankind in the previous verses, He comes down to verse 36, and says, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father ONLY.” At that time, Jesus did not need to know when these events would take place. Because He had the assurance that whatever He needed to know, it would be there when He needed it, for the Father which did know everything, was in Him. You just have to bear in mind the fact that even though they were one Spirit, there were two separate minds in the picture; the mind of the eternal Spirit, and the mind of the Son. Therefore the Father in Jesus the son, would never let Him be backed into a corner and suffer humiliation; because He did not know something He needed to know. At the right moment, what He needed to know, would be there. Jesus, answering His disciples like that, no doubt threw them for a loop; at least momentarily, but He came right back with the main point of what He was dealing with, and said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” It says, witnesses UNTO me; but it really means, You shall be witnesses OF me, or for me, eventually even to the uttermost part of the earth. Verse 9 continues on with the report. “And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up: and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Where did He go? He went to fulfill a prophecy of David, in the Psalms, (110:1) “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Realizing that the Father is not a person, that one could see seated on a throne: you have to realize that this speaks of the fact that Jesus is seated on the right hand of Majesty, or, we will say, on the right hand of authority. The right hand speaks of a favored position. You will recall, that when the apostle John was caught up in the Spirit, and allowed to view that heavenly scene, the only form he saw sitting on a throne, was unmistakably, the man Jesus, known as the Christ; for the great eternal Spirit does not have a physical body Himself; other than that of the Son in which He dwelt. When you read the 4th and 5th chapters of the book of Revelation, you can become very confused if you do not first have a true revelation of the godhead, and know in your heart that John could not possibly be literally seeing two human forms, one the Father, and the other the Son. We have all of that scene explained in other messages, so I will not go into it at this time, except to point out a couple of things that are written. In chapter 3, where Jesus appeared to John, and instructed him to write to the seven churches of Asia; you find Him saying, in chapter 3, where Jesus appeared to John and instructed him to write to the seven churches of Asia; you find Him saying, in chapter 3, verse 21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to SIT WITH ME in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.” These were the very words John was instructed to write.

 

JESUS IS BOTH INTERCESSOR AND JUDGE

 

Now when you read the 7th chapter of Acts, where it tells of Stephen’s testimony to the Jews; right before they stoned him to death, he said, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” But there is no contradiction between these scriptures, because they each portray something of the position He holds throughout the entire grace age. In His seated position, He portrays the ancient authority of the great Creator, the judge of all things, with His hair white like wool and like snow. Then in His standing position, He stands as a lawyer, before a judge, interceding for the heirs of salvation. In each, is seen something of the investment of authority He now holds, and will hold, until He has fulfilled all that has been allotted to Him to fulfill. Remember though, the fact that He has sat down with His Father in His throne, does not mean that there are two persons sitting side by side on a huge chair, or throne. It simply means that He has been endowed with that which pertains to the Father, and the one who is our intercessor, also holds the authority to judge all ungodliness. Paul, speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Timothy, said, “Who only hath immorality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, nor can see.” In other words, He now dwells in the midst of that glory and majesty of the Father. Brothers and Sisters: I have to put all of this in the message; because I want you to see that it was a revelation held in the hearts of those early apostles and disciples, which were all Jews. As I have said many times, This is a Jewish book. Not one word of the Bible was written by a Gentile. Therefore this revelation tore their theology all to pieces; for what they had come to expect because of Old Testament prophecies, was not fulfilled anything like they expected. Not all of those who followed Jesus received the promise of the Father that he spoke of, either. Actually, out of all those who had seen His miracles and heard Him teach, only about 120 obeyed His last words, and waited at Jerusalem for that promise; which was fulfilled to them on the day of Pentecost, there in that upper room.

IN THE UPPER ROOM

 

Let us move time back 1900 and some years, and go to that upper room where those disciples waited. It was a building on the summit of Mt. Zion; the very place where the Lord had eaten the Passover supper with them. That seemed like the most logical place for them to wait because of the sentimental attachment. It was a public building, but to those close disciples, it had a special attraction; for He not only ate with them there just before His crucifixion, He had also humbled Himself and washed their feet. They would not forget those things, nor those things He said to them there that night. From the 13th chapter of John, on through the rest of the chapters, until he went out into the garden to pray, Jesus is speaking to His disciples there in that upper room. Then you find Him still speaking to them, as they walked together to the garden of Gethsemane, where He was later arrested. This is when He told them they would be offended because of Him, that very night. He quoted a scripture from Zechariah 13:7, “I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” Then He said, “But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” You can read the gospel of John, beginning in chapter 13, right on through chapter 19, and then go back to the 26th chapter of Matthew, and you will have a pretty good picture of what led right up to His crucifixion. But let us go back to the upper room, where those faithful disciples assembled together, after Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives, after telling them to tarry in Jerusalem, and wait for the promise of the Father. We are in the upper room now, in the 2nd chapter of Acts. There is not one Catholic present, nor Lutheran, nor any other brand that people have on them today. It was a small group of Jews, some men, and some women. The mother of Jesus was among them, She had a testimony that none of those other women had; for she had given birth to a little baby, which was conceived in an outstanding way; and then stood in the crowd 33 ½ years later, and watched that angry mob crucify Him. It would not be hard ti imagine the feelings that must have gripped her heart as she stood there. But then He had risen from the dead three days later; and she remembered the prophecies given concerning Him, no doubt. That gave her hope; even though she did not understand many of the things He had taught, she knew that somehow, all of this was working to fulfill a plan and purpose of God. She, with all the others, have gathered back here in the upper room; and they are waiting for something that has been promised. But not a one of them knew exactly what to expect. They had been told a lot of things; but they did not know what to look for, or listen for. It seems strange that He never even gave them a hint, on how to identify what they were waiting for; but of course He knew the affect it would have on them, once they received this promise, so He just simply told them to wait for it. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, (Acts 2:1) they were all in one accord in one place.” They were in a better shape at that point in their lives; than many of the followers of Bro. Branham, who had walked with him for years, hunted with him, fished with him, and listened to him preach and teach; for they were all in one accord; and it is hard to find any agreement between these of our day. The only reason I am using such a comparison, is because of the hopes and beliefs that these people had, concerning what they thought Bro. Branham was supposed to do; just like those disciples two thousand years ago had in their minds about Jesus. One group settled down in perfect unity, and waited for the word of God to be fulfilled; and the other group has covered most of the world, teaching their individual ideas, and in their hearts, they are waiting for the words of Bro. Branham to be fulfilled according to their interpretation of what he meant. Now the fact that those disciples were in one accord, does not mean that they understand everything Jesus had said; but at the same time, they were willing to wait, instead of hitting the road, trying to make something happen. They had no radios, no televisions, no tape recorders, typewriters, printing presses, nor copy machines. Brother! They had to have the Holy Ghost. They did not have any man made devices, to recall for them, the things Jesus had said, in His ministry among them. Without the Holy Ghost, they would have soon been just a confused, disillusioned little group of people who had heard too much to return to their former traditions, yet without any definite direction in life. That is what we are seeing today. Nevertheless they were in one pace, in one accord, when the day of Pentecost (another of the Jewish festivity days) arrived. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” Now the day of Pentecost followed 50 days beyond the Passover. It was a feast whereby the first fruits of the harvest were offered unto the Lord for an offering. From the first fruits of the grain harvest they would make two leavened cakes, or loves of bread, to be offered to the Lord, along with the meat offerings, and so forth. We will not take time to go into all of the requirements of the feast, except to say one other thing; they numbered 50 days from the Passover; or as it says in Leviticus, on the morrow after the seventh Sabbath. There is some debate about the terminology using the Sabbaths; but it was a Jewish festivity, and they knew when to observe it; so we will just be concerned with this event that took place on the day of this certain feast of Pentecost, when 120 disciples of Jesus Christ received the promised Comforter, that was to guide them into all truth, and bring all things to their remembrance, which Jesus had spoken unto them. While the crowd down in the streets of Jerusalem were going about the necessary preparations for this feast of Pentecost, this 120 disciples of Jesus, had something else on their mind. They had probably almost forgotten about the actual day that it was; for their minds and their talk, was without a doubt on that which they were waiting to receive. Now the Bible does not say they had been in that upper room 10 days. But calculating from the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the fact that the Bible says He was seen of them for 40 days after His resurrection, we would fix the day of Pentecost 10 days beyond that, or 50 days from the morrow after the Sabbath, which works out, to fulfill the types and shadows. Therefore while the rest of the Jewish people were involved with keeping up the traditional practices, handed down from generation to generation, this 120 Jewish disciples were experiencing the reality of what these feast days pointed to.

 

FIRST RECIPIENTS OF HOLY GHOST

 

The Jewish people were not exactly ignorant of what the Spirit of God could do to a human body; for they had read and heard, how their prophets of old had been slain in the Spirit and remained speechless for periods of time. Nevertheless they had no real reason to expect the manifestation to do anything like that for them; so when the winds began to blow, I am sure they stopped all their talk, and waited in complete silence, to see just exactly what would happen. They knew this was not a natural wind blowing; and that it had to be something supernatural, so they no doubt got real still, and listened, and about that time, they began to see something also. Notice verse 3. “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” This could have been in the form of little streaks of lightning, or it could have been just like the blaze of a candle burning; but the point is, They heard something with their ears, and saw something with their eyes, that got their immediate attention and reminded them once again of the words of Jesus, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you.” With open minds, and open hearts, they were no doubt thinking, Lord, have your own way with us.  “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE.” I have a reason for wanting you to pay close attention to the words, “as the Spirit gave them utterance,” for there are multitudes of Charismatic people in the world today, who believe it is all right to help the Spirit, so they endeavor to teach people to speak in tongues, (most just jabbering) and when they begin to make a little sound of some kind, the verdict is, That’s it! You’ve got it! Meaning the Holy Ghost, of course. But in that upper room, they needed no one to instruct them. The Holy Ghost was able to do all that needed to be done. They spake with other tongues. They did not have to learn to speak in tongues, in order to receive it. Nothing like this had ever been witnessed before, since time began. God was doing a new thing. Daniel, Ezekiel, and other prophets of the Old Testament, spoke of how they became as dead men, and such like, as the Spirit would come upon them; but they never experienced anything like this. Another thing we want to notice here, is that these disciples were not just jabbering; they were actually speaking in languages that someone, from someplace in the world could understand. These next verses tell us that. These were all Galilean Jews. Just ordinary Jews, who had never learned foreign languages; yet according to the record, there were at least 16 different languages being spoken by the group of 120, who had just received the Holy Ghost. Some speaking one language, some others another, and so on. Let us read the next verses, and notice exactly what was said. “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, (There for the feast days) devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, (Why?) Because that every man heard them (these 120 disciples) speak IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE.” And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in OUR OWN TONGUE, WHEREIN WE WERE BORN?” That lets you know they were not speaking in the Hebrew tongue, which is the mother tongue of all Jews everywhere. They pinned it right down to the native tongue, spoken in the area of the world they each came from. These next verses list at least 16 different places these Jews had come from; and each one of them was able to hear one or more of these disciples speaking in their particular home town language. What were they saying? Verse 11 tells us they were testifying of the wonderful works of God. Verse 12 says, “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?” This was the visiting Jews asking this. The local skeptics had their own ideas, as we will see when we read verse 13. Some have tried to discount what actually took place there in Jerusalem that day, saying that it was just a case where God anointed the ears of those other Jews, so that they heard and understood in their native language. They want to promote the idea that all these disciples were speaking in their mother tongue, and God only caused the others to hear as they did. But you have to remember, This was recorded at a later time, and the record shows that they were speaking in other tongues, up in the upper room, before they came down into the streets where these others heard them. You can call it other dialects, other tongues, or other languages; but if you know anything at all, you will not deny the fact that what they were speaking, was something other than their learned languages. Furthermore it was not unknown tongues, as some are prone to say, for they were clearly understood by some of those Jews present. Let me rephrase that. Not a one of them was speaking in a tongue that no one understood. In other words, God was in complete control of the whole thing; and nothing was done in vain. The tongues being spoken, were unknown tongues to those doing the speaking, but someone understood them. Oh yes, they were unknown to those local Jews who were always ready for an argument. That is what opened the door for Peter, ad gave him the opportunity to preach like he did, beginning in verse 14. Let us read verse 13 now. “Others (That was the local Jews) mocking said, These men are full of new wine.” In other words, They were accusing them of being drunk on manmade wine. I will not go so far as to say they were not drunk; but I am fully persuaded that they had not been sitting up there, tipping the wine bottle. They were filled with excitement and enthusiasm, and a love for Jesus. They could not see Him with their natural eyes, but they now knew that they had the same Spirit in them that Jesus had in Him. When those local Jews made that remark, the same Peter that had denied Jesus at the trial, now filled with the Holy Ghost, spoke right up, saying exactly what the Spirit in him, was giving him revelation on. Verse 14, “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall dream dreams.” and so forth. You can read the rest of it, if you wish; but the point is made. Those old Judaistic Jews could not understand anything that was being spoken; because they had their opportunity to hear what these were hearing, for the last 3 ½ years, from the very mouth fo Jesus Himself, and they had rejected it; so why should God let them in on this wonderful thing He was doing here? This was for those devout Jews that had traveled so far from home, to do all that they knew to do, to worship the God of their Fathers. The Jews from Rome heard some of these disciples speaking in Latin. That was their language, that they spoke at home, and here they heard these disciples speaking prophetic utterance directly to them, and testifying of the things God had revealed to them. Those from Egypt, and from Greece, and all the other places represented there, heard likewise, in their own native language, and they were all thrilled and excited about what they were hearing; but they could not understand why it was happening like that. Are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man, or every one of us, in our own tongue wherein we were born?

 

PETER USES HIS KEYS TO THE KINGDOM

 

Peter had been speaking in other tongues along with all the rest of the 12 disciples; but when those critics began to make those remarks, God lifted that anointing from him, and he preached to them in the mother tongue, that every Jew understood. You will remember the account in the gospel of St. Matthew, where Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” After various answers from them, He directed the same question to them saying, “But whom say ye that I am?” It was Peter, that spoke right up saying, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Now that was a revelation Peter received even without the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, because hew knew the Old Testament scriptures, and it all added up right, to him, and Jesus told him so, saying, “Blessed art thou Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood (meaning no human person) hath revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (this rock of revelation) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” This is Peter’s first opportunity to use those keys to the kingdom of heaven; for the keys to the kingdom of heaven, in reality, was the authority to open up this dispensation, and that could not be done until after this outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Peter did not walk around with a huge log chain around his neck, carrying a set of natural keys. This was a spiritual door, he was unlocking; and he started right out with a prophecy of Joel, which as far as we know, Jesus never did even bring up to them. It just shows what the Holy Ghost can do, once He is inside of a person who already knows the letter of the law and the prophets. He can just put the picture right in place, and give His vessel the necessary utterance to express it to others. That is how Paul got his revelation, while out there in the Arabian desert for 3 years; after his conversion, on the road to Damascus Syria, to arrest Christians there. Anyhow, Peter went right to a prophecy found in the 2nd chapter of Joel. Beginning in verse 21, Joel begins to speak of the regathering and restoration of the nation of Israel. Then in verse 28, he began to write the prophetic words Peter was referring to saying, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophecy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.” That was a prophecy to the nation of Israel; but it did not literally mean that every Jew was going to receive the Holy Ghost, as we all know. But in this Holy Ghost dispensation, that the spiritual Jews were first partakers of, it is the Holy Ghost that first begins to deal with a lost person; to place conviction upon him, or her, and cause them to realize their need to be reconciled to their Creator. This prophecy of Joel, was given 800 years before Christ, and it lay right there in their scrolls, just waiting for the hour that the Holy Ghost would move upon Peter to give it a present day application. A lot of people have quoted the words, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,” in the last twenty-five, or thirty years, without really knowing themselves, exactly how to apply it. But you have to realize that no matter how much they are exposed to the outpouring of the Spirit of God, no tare is ever going to make it into the kingdom of God. Some people take 2nd Peter, 3:9, which says something to the effect that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, and they put it with this scripture here in Joel, and in Acts 2, and act as though a little arm twisting can get just anyone saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. But in reality, neither one of these scriptures give anyone any right or privilege to drag someone else into the kingdom of God. Denominational churches are full of people today, or at least their membership rolls are full of names of people who have had this type of persuasion used on them, and there is not one ounce of spiritual benefit to it; simply because the Holy Ghost has never drawn them to repentance. Some use one verse, others use another, to justify what they are doing; but without the Holy Ghost, it is all vain. That is why the Church of Christ has no spiritual life in it. They say, We believe we receive the Spirit of God when we believe; and do not believe this experience in Acts 2, was for anyone except the original apostles of Christ. If that were true, how in the world would that 120 disciples ever have convinced all those other Jews they had something the rest of them did not have? If this dispensation had not come in with a supernatural demonstration of the Spirit of God; those Jews would have gone right on as Pharisees, Sadducees, and so forth, still saying, We have Abraham to our father, and all such as that. But through this supernatural demonstration, God got their attention, and through these disciples, prophesied to them, and called prophecies to their mind that they already knew, and gave them an application. The part about servants and handmaidens in Joel, speaks of the fact that no race of people, nor class of people will be excluded, under this new covenant. Male, female, rich, poor, slave and free, would all be included in the overall application of their new covenant. The law was just for the nation of Israel, and it was only given to them after God had delivered them from Egyptian bondage, and made them free, so they could obey it. Keeping the law could never accomplish what Jesus accomplished there at Calvary; but those who kept it, with the right attitude and motive, were kept secure until the perfect sacrifice for man’s sins was made. Paul said it was a schoolmaster. Yes. In Galatians 3:23, we pick up his statement. “But before faith came, we (the Jews) were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith is come, we are not longer under a schoolmaster. For we are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Of course we realize that was not written to the people of the world; it was written to people who had already believed and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The righteousness of the law had been fulfilled, and all men everywhere were commanded to repent, and accept this new way. No longer would anyone, no matter how serious they might be, be justified by keeping the law of Moses; for what that law pointed to, was already a fulfilled reality.

IS TONGUES AN EVIDENCE?

 

Now let us look at this: Peter was not preaching an evidence of the Holy Ghost message, like you hear out here in the Charismatics today. He was simply pointing to a prophecy of Joel, that was being fulfilled that very day, and as it turned out, speaking in other tongues came with it; but as I have said so many times before, you cannot use the speaking in tongues as the initial evidence of the Holy Ghost, without inserting something more than can be found in the Bible. People who have the Holy Ghost, are enabled to speak in tongues, just like they did in the scriptures. But there are a lot of people speaking in tongues today, who have not received the Holy Ghost; and they prove that they do not have the Holy Ghost, by the way they deny and profane many precious truths in the word of God. You will not find any place in the scriptures, where the apostles ever preached that speaking in tongues is the evidence of the presence of the Holy Ghost. They did not hesitate to present the necessity of one receiving the Holy Ghost when they believed, but it was preached by revelation, and not by an evidence. God used those tongues as a vindication, in the onset of this new dispensation. But the purpose was not to convince the individual doing the speaking, that they had the Holy Ghost. It was more for the benefit of the others, for those who received the Spirit, knew they received it, because it did for them what Jesus told His disciples it would do. It taught them, called things to their remembrance, and guided their lives into the very will and purpose of God. But you never would have heard a believer deny a scriptural truth. For that matter, no true believer even in this hour of time, would ever deny, nor speak against any truth of the scriptures. But you can sure find a lot of people who profess to be saved and filled with the Holy Ghost, denying an awful lot of God’s word, and accusing people who do believe it, of being off on false doctrine. Nevertheless, no matter what others may do, those who are true children of God, delight in the revelation of His word; and that stimulation of revelation, sometimes causes us to act a little like those who received the promise of the Father, on the day of Pentecost. Some people might say we are drunk at times, if they could see us. I would never want anyone to think I am against anyone speaking in tongues. My main objective in saying what I do about it, is to call attention to the fact that the Holy Ghost is given to believers, for something other than just to enable them to speak in tongues. The main emphasis should be on His leadership in the believers life. Not only in matters pertaining to revelation of the doctrine of Christ; but also in Christian conduct and a proper respect for all that God is doing, and all that He has done already.

 

THE CROP FOR HARVEST

 

Brothers and Sisters: I do not mean to be boresome to you; but there are a lot of people in the world today, who have never been privileged to hear what most of you here have heard; so we do not want to be guilty of shutting off the truth from them; when we are given the opportunity to say something that could help them find what they are hungering for. If somehow we can see how clear this gospel light was, in the dawning of this day of salvation; and see the affect the truth had on the lives of those disciples of that day, we will have a much clearer vision of what the effect of this evening light should be, in the lives of believers of this hour. Will God settle for less than what He started with, in this harvest time? Any farmer who sows seed, expects to reap a crop of the very same thing he sowed, increased many fold in number. That is a law of God, and He has purposed that it should work the same way, pertaining to the crop of believers sown in the earth, in the seed time of this dispensation. You can find Jesus using this terminology in the first two parables of the 13th chapter of Matthew; particularly the 2nd, where He said, “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; (or age) and the reapers are the angels.” When were the tares sown? While men slept. Satan could not sow them among the true believers, as long as those early apostles were alive; but when they fell asleep,  (died) he managed to start slipping them in, and they have been among the true believers ever since. This evening light is revealing a lot of them; but the final separation is not to be until the end of the age. It looks, in the natural, like the world is full of Christians. But the real truth is, The world is overrun with people who have a lot of ideas about religion, especially in America, but very few that are really hungry for the word of God. That is why everything has to be measured by the revelation taught by the early apostles; for we know God has not changed his mind about the kind of Church He wants. Those who go with Jesus in the rapture, will be cut by the same pattern given in the New Testament, with no exceptions.

God Is Filling the Tub, Part 2

The title of this message may sound strange, but if you followed along with us this far, I believe you can see that what we are dealing with really points to the necessity of us getting ourselves cleaned up, spiritually speaking. Your flesh can be perfectly clean, and your inner man be in bad need of cleansing. Now I do not mean to insinuate that you are not children of God; but I do mean for every one of us to realize that God expects more out of us than just going to church regularly. Of course, there are always some that are lazy about putting forth the necessary effort it takes to be in church regularly, but what we are dealing with in this message, goes much beyond what is looked upon as being a good Christian. We must somehow catch a vision of what God is really after, and then be willing to yield ourselves to the leading of His Spirit, so He can obtain what He is after. When His plan of redemption is finally completed, He will have a great family of redeemed children that will be exactly like Jesus. No, our facial features will not have to be like His; but our inner being will be like Him; and it will be because we have been washed by the water of the word of God. A lot of people have the idea that since God made man, they are just what He made them to be. But I would like to remind you that God did not put all of those attributes in you. From the cradle to our present day, we have accumulated attributes that God is not pleased for us to have. Our way of looking at things and our ways of doing things is completely contrary to the way God wants us to be; therefore His word is designed in a way that it will change all of that before we get out of here. The first thing it did for us was cancel out the sin of unbelief, when we became a believer. That is justification. The change is to the inner man. Your hair, teeth, eyes, and all such like are not affected one bit. Our physical change will take place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, whether we are in the grave or still alive, it will make no difference. But that day you become a child of God, He goes to work on your old nature; and you need never feel that you are too old to make any other changes. You would just be cheating yourself. People who feel that they already have everything God has to offer, have stopped moving with God. That is how denominational churches were formed. God would give a revelation on certain Bible truths, and for a while, a certain element of people would really grow with it. But the time would come that God would move on to something else, and they would stand flatfooted, holding on to what they had, but refusing to accept anything else. A condition like that can only last so long before the life of God leaves it completely, for God always has something else that he wants to add to every person’s experience.


THE CHRISTIAN WAY


In the first century of Christianity, when the Spirit of God reached down into the pagan world and began lifting those pagan sinners up out of their former ways of life, and giving them the same experience those Jewish disciples had received, He immediately went to work on them, to give them a full revelation of truth, and get their lives cleaned up. There was no such thing as Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, nor anything else; they were all Christians. Paul summed it up in a few short words in his epistle to the church at Ephesus, saying, verse 4, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, and in you all.” Therefore this denominational confusion over religion was not even in the picture. No matter where you found Christians, they were all believing the same thing. Why was that so? Simply because the ministry of that hour all had the same revelation and objective. They sought nothing but the perfect will of God in the life of every believer. Remember now, I am speaking in general terms; still remembering that there were little differences like those in the Corinthian Assembly, (which we looked at earlier) but a few words from the man of God, got all of that straightened out. As we have said many times, as long as that first century ministry was alive, the Church moved with the Spirit of God, and shined a great light to the world, and the purpose of these various epistles was to help the individuals see their place in the body of fellowship, and to know how to avoid the devil’s traps, as they sought to glorify God in their lives. In other words, they were Christians before they had any of these epistles to read. But look at what is called Christianity today; They all have the complete Bible, both the Old and the New, and still do not have the revelation those early Christians had. Do you know why? Because most of what is called “The Church” today, is not the Church. They are following everything else but revelation truth. Brothers and Sisters: the world is in a mess today. It is a miserable place to live; and it is not going to get any better; but the true children of God do not have to drift with worldly trends, they have something in them that should cause them to want to be separated from what the world is doing. Denominational church members read these epistles and argue and fuss about them. But when the true child of God reads them it creates a desire within his, or her heart; to want to get in the tub and get cleaned up. Every last one of us are well aware of the fact that our flesh is still too much in control; and the only way to remedy that, is to allow this word of God to do its work in us. Only then will we be able to love life, and see good days, like Peter was saying in Chapter 3, verse 10, because loving life in that sense, can only be realized in its fullness as we walk obedient to our heavenly Father in this life. We will learn to be wise, and avoid creating problems, as we learn to control our tongue. Naturally no true child of God enjoys creating a problem and stirring up strife among the brethren; but we have to agree with James; a run-away tongue will do it every time. It is our responsibility to cultivate a peaceful atmosphere, no matter where we are, if we want our fellowship with our heavenly father to be sweet; for HE will not dwell in the midst of an uproar. Peter, speaking of the man who would love life, and see good days, said in verse 11, “Let him eschew evil, (that means shun it) and do good; but let him seek peace, and ensue it.” That word ensue, means strive to obtain. Our world leaders talk of peace every opportunity they have; and some of them are willing to go to great lengths to work out a peace plan; but the world will never have peace until the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ, sits on His throne in Jerusalem ruling the world. However every true child of God has the ability within them to enjoy a peace that the world can never know; and they can create an atmosphere of peace, even in the midst of great turmoil. Modern day philosophy promotes the idea of telling people off, every time they cross your path and rub you the wrong way; but the word of God teaches us that God expects just exactly the opposite out of His children. Did not Jesus say, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven? You can search the Bible from front to back, and you will not find God putting His approval on anyone’s untamed emotions. Whenever a person yields to emotions, they are temporarily out of control; and usually do things, or say things that they end up sorry for. It just simply does not pay to explode over every little thing that comes up; and certainly a Christian person should have better control over their emotions.


WHAT REALLY MAKES US BETTER PEOPLE


One thing we need to remember, as we read these epistles, is that they were every one written to Christians. If it seems that I overemphasize this, it is because people have such a tendency to read certain verses, and feel that they were written to the man of the world, to show him how to be a better person. There is only one thing that can make the man of the world a better person, and that is to obey Acts 2:38, “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.” When you obey the first half of that verse, and then receive the gift of the second half of it, you then have something inside of you, that will make you a better person. Therefore God does not say to the sinner man, Speak no evil; for in the sight of God, all his ways are evil. But to the Christian, who still needs to grow in these areas, He says, “For he that will love life, and see good days, LET HIM REFRAIN HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL, and his lips THAT THEY SPEAK NO GUILE.” Evil in this sense would have to pertain to worthless or hurtful words that we blurt out at times. I am sure the translators could have used a better word to express what Peter was getting at; for the word evil, as used here, does not carry the same meaning as it would if it were speaking of the evil that is in the world. You also have the word guile, used in that same verse; and it simply means, Do not speak deceitfully. Guile, deceit, cunning, and subtlety, all come from the from the same root word; and we all know what these other words mean; so what Peter is saying, is, Do not allow your feelings to cause you to speak in an un-Christ-like manner. We are not immune to the devil’s devices; so we have to watch our step; and refrain our tongue from speaking in the wrong way; if we have any desire to fulfill the purpose of God in our lives. Uncontrolled emotions cause hard feelings and bitterness, when there ought to be sweetness. All of this comes under the word guile, so be assured, Peter was talking to you and me, when he said that. We are living in a day when people have such a tendency to overreact to almost everything; it really behooves the child of God to exert every effort to keep his, or her emotions under control. This is not presented to us as an option; it is an obligation we have. We all know the pressures of life are greater than they have ever been before; but that does not relieve us of our responsibilities as Christians. Somewhere there has to be a noticeable difference between the Christian man and woman, and the man and woman of the world.


CHILDREN WITHOUT CORRECTION


Let me say a word to you Christian parents, while we are talking about overreactions. It is one thing to speak a word of correction to your children; but the way some of you overreact is another thing altogether. In other words, Christian parents are obligated by God’s word to bring up a child in the way he should go. Now that does not mean that you force him to be a Christian, it means that you are to instill in his mentality, certain principles of life that will save him from a lot of pitfalls, if he will take heed to them. As Christian parents, that should be uppermost in our minds, to teach our children godly principles, even though we cannot make Christians out of them. We hear something about child abuse on the news almost every day now; but that all comes from a condition that has been cultivated (at least in its present day proportions) by women giving up their role as a mother, and turning their little children over to babysitters, while they seek a career in the business world. You just simply cannot go against a law of God without it having some serious side affects. PLEASE! I am not talking about women who have to work. God knows all about that. It is just that we are living in a period of time when too many women have gone to work, that did not have to go to work. Their very wrong motive in doing so has brought on a condition that Satan works in for all that he is worth. Children are growing into adulthood, never having had the benefit of a mother’s advice. (They just simply do not get that from a baby sitter.) Therefore they are now bringing little children into the world, and without the slightest knowledge of what is right and wrong themselves, there is no way they could teach their children properly. Fifty years ago, people who did not even profess to be Christians, taught their children according to Bible principles; and now, Christian parents are neglecting to do that: so it is no wonder we hear of child abuse, more and more all the time. People are bringing little children into the world; but they do not know how to correct them. They do not know how to control their own emotions; therefore when a child gets to jumping up and down, screaming, they let it go so long and then they lose all control and abuse the child. Let me give you an example. A young child, standing on a chair, making a noise that is pestering daddy: he lets it go until he can no longer stand it, and then loses all control. He turns, slaps the child, knocks her off of the chair, and breaks her arm. In the eyes of the law, that is child abuse, and the man is in trouble. Parents ought to be able to correct their children, even if it requires slapping their cheeks; without the law getting in on it. But when you wait until you are out of control yourself, before you start correcting them; it can very well end up like this. Another man slapped his little girl, and his fingernail punctured her eye and blinded her. Is that correction? No. That is overreacting because of being out of control. God will never honor that kind of correction.


CHRISTIANS OUGHT NOT NEED PSYCHIATRISTS


Some of you may think I am spending too much time on this; but if there ever was a time when people need to learn how to correct and how to be corrected, it is now. As Christians, we are obligated by the word of God to learn from our heavenly Father how to conduct ourselves, lest we find ourselves reacting the wrong way within the Christian family. A thing like that can cause an injury that many times is very hard to heal up; and we have to go down life’s pathway haunted by the feelings of what we have done. In other words, we could compare our tongue to a little paper match. As long as the match is in that little book it is harmless. But you tear it out and rub it the wrong way, (so to speak) and you have a blaze that could burn a house down. That is why James spoke as he did about the tongue; there is just no limit to the amount of trouble an unbridled tongue can cause. Sure, we all know Christians ought not have that kind of trouble; but do not forget, we are still just mortal beings whose pathway the devil stalks constantly. Being saved and born again some 30 years ago, does not make you immune to his devices. He stalks my pathway, trying to catch me off guard; and I know this, if he will do me that way, he will you too. Brothers and Sisters: These warnings and admonitions are not written in the scriptures, to make us go through life afraid: they are there to make us alert. We do not have to be afraid of the devil: we just have to be on guard against him. God will not stand screaming at us though, like a lot of earthly parents do their children, never letting them have a minute’s peace. Constantly screaming at your children can turn them into nervous and unstable little beings, and cause their minds to be so confused they do not know which way to go. Eventually they see daddy and mommy as just something to be afraid of. If you do your children like that, do not come crying to me when they run away from home to get away from all of that. I firmly believe in parents correcting their children; but I do not believe you have to beat them half to death, nor scream at them constantly. Dad can say, Son, don’t do that; in a calm voice, and if he keeps on doing it, and you know he heard you, then it is time for a little persuasion. I will give you a little illustration of what I mean. My dad never gave me any whippings in my life; but he had his own way of correction. He would say, Junior, don’t do that; and if I did not listen to him, he might say, Junior, what did I tell you? Then if I did not listen, he would get me by the ear, and turn me around. He knew just exactly how much pressure to put on it, to get my attention without injuring me. More than anything else, it hurt my feelings, but it let me know for sure that he meant what he said. Then he would say, now go and behave yourself. But if an hour later, he saw me doing the same thing: this time he did not use the ear twisting method, he would thump me on the head with one finger, and it felt like I had been hit with a ballpen hammer; and it would hurt for an hour. Saints: you do not need psychology, you just need some common sense; and a controlled consistency. When you tell your children something, they ought to know you mean what you say, and yet they should not have to be afraid you will lose all control, and conduct yourself like a crazy person. We live in a sick society; where even the psychiatrists need a psychiatrist; but the true people of God have something in them that is greater than anything the psychiatrists have to offer. That is the reason the apostle Paul could say (Phil. 4:13) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” As I said earlier, God does not require you to do something that is impossible. Anything He tells us to do, he will enable us to do it, when we get our own thinking in line with His.

SOME YIELD TO CARNALITY


Through the years we have all enjoyed the many things that God has revealed to us by his Spirit. Things like serpent seed, the godhead, proper water baptism, the seventy weeks of Daniel, the great tribulation, the Antichrist, and even the Millennium; but in order to be ready to meet the Lord when He comes, we are going to have to apply these simple, basic principles, that are laid out so clearly in the New Testament Epistles. When I see people who have been Christians for years, still falling into the devil’s traps every time they turn around, I always think of what the apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrew Christians. Starting in verse 12, of chapter 5, he said, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, (IN other words, you have been Christians long enough by now, that you ought to be able both by word, and by example, to teach others.) Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; (basic truths and doctrines) and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat (these revelatory truths of the Bible, that we know so well) belongeth to them that are of full age, (mature Christians) even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” If we want to refrain from speaking guile and evil; it means we are going to have to take charge of ourselves; and make sure we are following the examples Jesus set for us, instead of looking at our brothers and sisters, and demanding that they obey the word of God. What right do we have, to point the finger at someone else, if we are not obeying the word of God ourselves? Are you listening to me? You may think what I am saying is not for Faith Assembly, but I assure you, it is. The word of God does not have one standard for Faith Assembly, and another for everyone else. We all have the same standard of righteousness set before us; and God is not going to accept anything less from any of us. The only thing is, Faith Assembly should be setting an example for those who are new in the faith; for we have had every opportunity given to us to follow God in the full truth of His word. People in denominational churches jump from one church to the other, every time something is preached that they are not prepared to accept. But you who have been led by the Spirit of God to come here, should realize by now that we are not here just to play church. We are here to be washed by the water of God’s word; and dressed in a robe of righteousness by a revelation of that word. God’s word requires something out of us, as we sit under the revelated teaching of it. We cannot just ignore the first principles of the word of God, and yet expect to be looked upon as spiritual people. Well, you may fool a few people for a while; but God knows the truth about you, and spiritual people who have an opportunity to observe your everyday life will know also; so really, you are fooling no one but yourself. This evangelist told of a condition that existed in the little country Pentecostal church close by. There were two certain sisters in the church that had allowed some condition to get them to the point where they could no longer look at each other, nor speak to each other. As they continuously yielded to carnal feelings, they got to the place where one sat on one side of the church and the other one on the other side. Then one particular night when the Spirit was really moving in the service, one sister was sitting over on her side praying, and the other one, feeling that she was under the anointing, thought she had really received a revelation from God; and she determined to show the whole church what a fool the other one was. (Saints, I am telling this just to show you how Satan will set a trap for you, and you will fall right into it, if you fail to apply the word of God to your life.) They both had long hair, as was to be expected, so this one got up, acting like she was in the Spirit, and came around the front of the pews, and as she did, she blurted out for everyone to hear, The Holy Ghost tells me that the hair you have on your head is not your own hair. It was all fixed up in a nice neat bun, and she thought it was a wig she was wearing; and that underneath she had short hair. The other sister looked up and replied, if that is what the Holy Ghost has told you, then you are free to examine for yourself. At that she went over to the sister and started scratching and pulling, with hairpins flying everywhere, trying to pull off a wig, but it wouldn’t come loose. Finally in humiliation, she stopped, and the other sister sitting there with her hair hanging down her back said, Your holy ghost lied to you. What a shame! Yet that very spirit that caused such a carnal display, is still around today, looking for other Christians that will yield to their carnal feeling, and bring embarrassment to the rest of the assembly. I have never been against people doing anything the Holy Ghost tells them to do, for I know He will not tell anyone to do anything wrong. What troubles me is to see people doing carnal things, claiming the Holy Ghost led them to do whatever they are doing. Bro. Jackson: Don’t you believe it is possible for a person to make an honest mistake? I will just say this, If you are spiritual enough to expect to be led by the Holy Ghost in some particular manifestation, you should be spiritual enough to discern plain carnality, and you should be able to examine your own attitudes and motives, and see if your heart is clear in the matter. After you make those simple checks, if you still believe the Holy Ghost is leading you to do something, or to say something, then obey Him.


THAT SPECIAL KIND OF LOVE


I just want to read this verse 11 again, and then we will move on. “Let him (the one who desires to be found in the will of God) eschew evil, (shun it) and do good; (If we see a problem situation, and we are unable to do anything to get it corrected, then shun it. Do not get involved, just for the sake of having something to say in the matter.) Let him seek peace, and ensue it.” When we grow to the place where our uppermost thoughts are upon what will most please God in our lives, then many of these things that have seemed like problems in the past, will suddenly disappear. Naturally we cannot expect to enjoy peace, without the presence of the true love of God in our hearts; therefore our first concern should be to cultivate that love. Let us just go to the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians, where Paul deals with the true love that only the children of God can possess, and see just exactly what he says about it; and about the absence of it. In verse 1, he starts right out saying, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not (The King James is translated charity, but I am going to insert the word love, as we read this; for that is what the word charity means, in the Bible.) Love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” In other words, a lot of people are able to say all the right things, and sing like a lark, but their heart is still void of that love of God that would cause them to be just as concerned for the welfare of others, as they are of their own. “And 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 love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Love it profiteth me nothing. (I particularly want you to pay attention to these next two verses.) LOVE SUFFERETH LONG, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, IS NOT EASILY PROVOKED, THINKETH NO EVIL: Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” I will stop reading there; because verses 4 & 5 actually contain what I wanted to emphasize. Love suffereth long, and is not easily provoked. Brothers and Sisters: If every child of God would just cultivate this love in their lives, most of the problems in our midst would soon cease to be. For first of all it would take a lot more to get us upset, and then if we did get upset, we would not stay that way for the rest of our life. Children of God should not have to be on pins and needles every moment they are together, afraid someone will get offended. “Seek peace, and ensue (pursue) it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” In the broader sense, every true child of God is called righteous, or a righteous one; but in its stricter usage, the word or term applies to those who are willing to allow the Spirit of God to lead them to do everything right, and it is expressed as righteousness. It applies especially to those who will do good out of a pure heart, even when they feel that they have been wronged. As I said earlier, just having your doctrines straight is not your final state of perfection. Doctrines will separate you from world religious systems; and get you into a place where you can be taught properly; but you can have right doctrines, and still have an awful bad attitude and outlook concerning the total plan and purpose of God. Furthermore a lot of people who seem to harp on doctrines most of the time, only have the understanding of them in their head; they do not have them by revelation. That is why from time to time you get to looking around and miss someone that has been coming regular for a long time; their belief has changed, so they have to go where it is accepted. People like that can be so full of love for you today, and the next time you see them, they may completely ignore you; and all because they are believing something they know you will not accept. Saints: That is not the kind of love Paul wrote about in the Corinthian epistle. This love that is longsuffering, and not easily provoked, is not in every person who carries a Bible and claims to have a revelation. They talk about it, and they want it coming their way; but they themselves do not have it, and it will do no good for you to hold these scriptures up to them and say, You have got to love your brother. If they had that kind of love, they would not have to be told to love their brother. Let me say another word about doctrines also. There is a modern philosophy in the world today, whereby people say, We do not need doctrines; they separate. Doctrines are supposed to separate. In the days of the apostles, it was doctrines that separated the belief in Jesus Christ from Judaism; because it was Jews that first received the gospel. Then when Gentiles believed the gospel, the doctrines they believed by revelation were the same as what the Jewish disciples believed; and those doctrines separated them from paganism. Furthermore those who were true believers, never were found back out there fellowshipping with those pagans, in their pagan temples. Did not Paul write, Light cannot fellowship with darkness? He said, “What concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” The old saying, Birds of a feather flock together, is still true today, even in the midst of this great ecumenical religious gathering in the world today; for that ecumenical spirit on them, has made them all into the same kind of birds. Some of you may not like to hear me talk like I do about these systems of religion out here in the world today; because you have friends and loved ones that are in them, and it may seem good to you that they no longer fight each other. But what you need to realize is that their gathering together in this ecumenical move, is simply forming an image of the old Roman beast, to fulfill the 13th chapter of Revelation. Thank God for the knowledge that the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and that His ears are open to their prayers; for in this evil age we have much to pray about. Remember though, the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, no matter who they are. He will not condone wrong doing, just because a person seems to be able to justify what they are doing. When we miss the mark, He expects repentance; not excuses. When we offend a brother, or a sister, He expects us to apologize and ask their forgiveness. It may be hard to do; but every true believer is going to learn to do those necessary things before they get out of this life. Would you earthly parents not demand the same thing of your children? Shame on you, if you wouldn’t. We all want our children to be civilized, and conduct themselves in a proper way, so how much more does our heavenly father expect us to conduct ourselves in a proper manner. He does not stand over us with a whip in His hand, but He does stand in His word waiting for it to be quickened to us. When it is; it is just like a finger pointing right at us.


DO NOT BECOME A JUDGE


Some people feel that the pastor of an assembly should stand at the door and screen everyone who comes in. Are they dressed properly? Is the women’s hair too short, or the men’s hair too long? Have they had a bad attitude about something, and all such like. But I say this, if they are true children of God, and they have been sitting here for a while, they know what they should do and if they choose to do otherwise, I leave them in the hands of God. He knows how to deal with His children. If your heart is not right, me forcing you to meet certain standards is not going to accomplish anything for the glory of God. Remember: His ears are open to the prayers of the righteous, but His face is against them that do evil. When you do wrong, and refuse to do anything about it, God is forced to whip you. The sad part is, a lot of people are getting whipped, and they are so wrapped up in fulfilling their own will, they do not even recognize the fact that their heavenly Father is whipping them. They go around blaming the devil for the things that are happening to them. We are going into the 12th chapter of the book of Hebrews for a few verses, just to refresh our minds on what Paul wrote to those Christians about the chastening hand of the Lord. But before we do, let me say this, I have heard people say, Well, not everyone is going to make it. Naturally we all know that; but in reality, when you start playing around with that kind of philosophy, you are walking on very thin ice yourself. Do you know why? You will start judging all who do not measure up to your standards, instead of trying to help them get straightened out by then. Brothers and Sisters: we are not in this plan of God because we saved ourselves. His grace reached down to us; and lifted us up to the place where we are now. Therefore if any of us make it in, it will be because he has enabled us to do so; and not because we have been so good ourselves. The great commission is, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” When you have done that, you leave the results of it in the hands of God. He is the only one that can see far enough down the road to know who is going to make it, and who isn’t. No matter how far people may be missing the mark today, if correction is administered properly, they can straighten up. Therefore God requires us to do whatever we can to help them get straightened out, rather than give them a fast ticket to hell. Anything else on your part is just plain selfishness. It may very well be that you will have to separate yourself from certain ones from time to time, when you have tried to help them, and they continue going the wrong way; but you still have no right to judge their final standing with God. Whenever you take it upon yourself to become a judge, you have lost your vision of how you are to be a light to the world. I do not mean to dwell on the conditions that are prevailing in the realm of religion; but since they are on the news every time you turn on the television, I cannot help but use these preachers to illustrate something to you. Even in the light of what some of them have done, there is no possible way for me to know for sure what their eternal destiny will be; for Jesus is still on the mercy seat, and all things are possible with God. I know for sure that they are not apostles of Jesus Christ; and I know that they are not ministering to revelated saints of God; but beyond that, I am going to leave them alone, and pass no judgment upon them.


SPEAKING A FEW WORDS OF WISDOM


I will direct your attention to an incident recorded in the scriptures, where one apostle of Jesus Christ rebuked another one because he was misbehaving himself. I am referring to the incident recorded in the 2nd chapter of the Galatian epistle, where Paul rebuked Peter. A lot of people read that, and say those apostles did not believe alike. But that is not the case at all; for doctrinally they believed exactly alike. This incident was not because of a difference in doctrine, but because of Peter’s attitude about eating with Gentiles there in Antioch, when certain Jews from the Jerusalem church came down one day. Before that, Peter had been with Paul, Barnabas, and other brethren, eating with the Gentile Christians, and talking about the good things of God. But when certain brethren from Jerusalem, that somehow still had a question in their minds about whether these Gentiles were clean or not, came to Antioch: Peter, knowing how they felt, began to withdraw himself. He did not want to take a chance on them returning to Jerusalem, and telling the others that Peter was down at Antioch eating and drinking with Gentiles; so he began to draw back and separate himself from them, and all the time Paul was watching what was happening. He says he rebuked him to the face, right in front of them all; but I do not believe he did it as soon as he noticed it happening. I believe he watched the situation for a while, until he knew for sure that it was getting out of hand. Then when he felt it was time to speak, he said to Peter, (Gal. 2:14) right in front of all of them, “If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” That was Paul’s way of saying, Peter, you have been eating and drinking with these Gentile believers and living just like them, so why will you suddenly jump over and take sides with these Jewish disciples, who believe the Gentiles should be forced to live like the Jews? Well, Peter was a true son of God; so he took the rebuke as correction for his error and continued serving God in his apostolic calling. But tell me, Who can correct Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell, and men like that? In the eyes of the world, they are at the top of the ladder, and there are none to correct them. Nevertheless God has been talking to them, and they did not know His voice; so He is tearing their platforms to pieces. You may say, Not all of them. But I say, Just wait a while. For that which is not built on a solid foundation cannot possibly stand forever. No matter how holy they may seem to be, when they divide the great god of all creation into three separate persons, and maneuver His word to make it say what they want it to say, their doom is pending. God is ONE sovereign Spirit; and Jesus, who is the Christ, is the Son of that ONE Spirit, and He (Jesus) is the only person in the Godhead, and if you do not yet know that, in this late hour of time, you do not know God; you only know some things about Him. You can read the many stories in the Bible, and learn a lot about how God has dealt with mankind through time; but if the Spirit never opens your understanding and gives you a revelation of the Godhead, you do not really know Him. On the other hand, if you do know Him, and you do wrong, chastening is a sure promise of His word. The tragic thing about Christians doing wrong, is that they usually cause someone else to do wrong also. Barnabas was the one that actually first brought Paul to Antioch after the Gentiles received the gospel, and Peter’s influence over him even caused him to start withdrawing from the Gentile believers. No it didn’t affect their salvation. They were still sons of God; but God could not use them while they were like that. Thank God for men who will obey Him, and be instruments in His hands, to help others get straightened out. It says in Proverbs, A wise rebuke is more valuable than jewels; and Peter knew that rebuke was from the Lord, and not just from Paul. Saints: A few words of wisdom spoken at the right time, can save others a lot of heartache and grief. We just have to be sensitive to the leading of the Lord, to know when to speak and what to say.


GOD’S CHASTENING ROD


Let us look at these scriptures in Hebrews now; where Paul has quite a bit to say about the chastening of the Lord. In chapter 12, the last half of verse 5, we find this, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: (In other words, Do not give up, be thankful He loves you enough to correct you.) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (You may find a lot of children in this modern age that are completely without correction. But they do not fit into the image Paul was portraying here.) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, (all of God’s children) then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of Spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. (Whatever HE does in the way of chastening, will always work for our spiritual profit; for He does not chasten us just for the pure pleasure of whipping us.) Now no chastening for the present (at the time we receive it) seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peacable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Back there sits my little mother, listening to this. I will never forget the way she dealt with me for playing hooky from school one day. We walked 3 miles to a little country school house. But I had a cousin that lived close to the school, and he had a bunch of rabbit snares set. So this one day, when school let out for morning recess he said, Do you want to go with me to look at my snares? I thought we would just be gone a few minutes, so I said I would go. We went around the edge of the woods, looking at the snares and ended up back at his house. He went on into the house and while he was in there, the bell rang at school. I thought to myself, I am not going back to school unless he does, and he didn’t go, so there we were. We played around there the rest of the day, and I just went back to the school grounds long enough to get my coat. I walked all the way home thinking no one had paid any attention to what I had done. When I got home, mother never said anything about it; so I thought everything was all right. But I found out later my sister had told her about it. The next morning she fixed my lunch, I got dressed and ate my breakfast and was getting ready to go out the door, (she had already sent my sister on out) and she met me there, grabbed me by the arm, and reached behind the door and got a sassafras switch and started in on me. I didn’t have to ask what it was all about, I knew why I was getting it. Finally she said, You are not going to do that any more, are you? I put my hand back there, but one swat across my hand hurt worse than what I was getting, so I just had to let her go ahead and strike my legs until she felt like the job was done. Did it raise welts? Of course it did. Parents get into trouble with the law for doing that today, but back then the law enforcers believed in that kind of correction also. Well it hurt my pride; it hurt my feelings, and it hurt my legs; but I got the message: I wasn’t supposed to skip school, I want you to know, I never did skip school again. Do I hate my mother for it? No. I am thankful she did it. No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous. I couldn’t laugh about it; it hurt too much for that. Did I cry? Of course I cried. I walked a long way before I started to get over the feeling of that whipping, but by the time I arrived at school, I had already begun to realize, Mother did right. There was no reason for me to expect that I would ever get another whipping for that; for that one was enough. It was grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peacable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. I just told you of that little personal experience, really to point out the truth of what Paul is saying here. Some will accept chastening and learn from the experience, both naturally and spiritually, while others seem to require constant correction, to keep them in line. Nevertheless God does not whip every person who goes to church somewhere; that is saved only for His true children who at times need correction. That is why a lot of people can go to their denominational churches, and everything always seems to be just fine with them, they do not have a Father’s correction. The true believer has times when he, or she feels like they are being spanked; but at the same time, they realize that the Father is working on them; to make them what they ought to be. Hallelujah! I’m glad He does not give up on us. When you have that feeling of correction though, Paul says in verse 12, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” In other words, Do not go around pouting, and feeling sorry for yourself. In the natural, we can go around snubbing, trying to find some justification for our actions, and that very attitude keeps us from being alert, and many times causes us to stumble over something and hurt ourselves even more; so do not let that happen when your heavenly father whips you. When a person is cast down in spirits, many times they portray that dejected feeling by the way their hands hang down and the way they walk; so Paul says, Lift up those hands which hang down, straighten up, and watch where you are going. Brothers and Sisters: No matter what happened, nor how severe the chastisement may have been, if we will just straighten up, take on a right attitude and do right, time itself will bring healing where there has been hurt.


HOW TO FOLLOW THE WAYS OF PEACE


We now come to verse 14, which says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, WITHOUT WHICH NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD.” We are to have an attitude of peace at all times, with unbelievers as well as with believers. Some people who are supposed to be Christians, cultivate an attitude that is completely contrary to the new nature they are supposed to have. They seem to say by their very attitude, Bless God, I am a Christian; I don’t have to take anything off of anyone. If I don’t like what I see or hear, I will just tell them about it. Some of the attitudes you see out of people who are supposed to be Christians, in grocery stores and restaurants, is pathetic. They have a hard, disgusted look on their face, and their impatience is expressed in various ways, none of which fit into this verse of scripture. Do people actually think these admonitions are written only for those Christians who choose to obey them? No. They are written that every true child of God may know what their heavenly Father expects out of them. Even if you are treated badly, or even ignored, when you go into a restaurant or a store of some kind, you, as a Christian, still have an image to uphold. Do you feel that Jesus would make a scene, under the same set of circumstances? You are the one who chooses to go to these places, so if for some reason you feel that you are not treated properly; it is better just to go some place else, rather than to express your feelings about them. Following the ways of peace requires some cultivation on our part; for natural circumstances will certainly go the other way every time. Out here in the world, people will spout off at you sometimes just simply because they do not like your looks. Are you supposed to spout back? Not if you desire your life to please your heavenly Father. If He does not give you words of wisdom, that could help the situation, then just keep quiet, and go on your way. None of us enjoy being verbally abused; but when you stop to consider the fact that their words cannot harm you, but your words can harm you, the true child of God will want to keep his words in control. What if you could cut such a person down to size with words spoken back to him? What have you actually accomplished when it is all over with? What image have you exemplified? Satan enjoys having Christians display his attributes, just as much as Jesus enjoys having them display His; so which one do you want to please? The choice is always yours.


WHAT ABOUT THOSE ROOTS OF BITTERNESS


The last half of verse 14 speaks of holiness. How many of you remember what I always stress about this thing of holiness? Is it something you put on when you want to impress someone? Or is it something you have within, that expresses itself openly for all to see? True holiness is only from within. It starts with a right type of attitude. You do not wear it; you live it. When you see people who look holy from their outward appearance, but will bite your head off at the snap of your fingers; their holiness does not radiate from a holy spirit within; it comes from their self will. What they express depends completely upon how they feel. But what does that verse say? Without the kind of holiness Paul was speaking of, a person will never see the Lord. That is just another way of saying, A lot of people who look so holy at times, have never been born again by the Spirit of God, and without that new birth, you will certainly not see the Lord. Oh you will see Him one day, when he comes in wrath, taking vengeance on all ungodliness; but you will never see Him in the way Paul was meaning. What you need to understand is that a make-believer (a tare) can put on a holy front; but they cannot be holy; and a truly holy person, (one who is truly born again) can still act unholy at times, if they fail to cultivate right attitudes and motives in their lives. That is why in verse 15, Paul says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” It is our own individual responsibility to examine our thinking, and our attitude about things and people. The devil will confront you in some of the most unexpected places right in a place of business, or even in church, and really put your true nature to the test. It is at times like this, that what we have rooted deep down within us shows. We either exercise self control, or we over react. Therefore if we do truly desire to walk in the wise ways of the Lord, we will be sure to cultivate those virtues of God in our every day lives. If we fail to do so, look what can happen, “Lest any ROOT of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Remember, he is talking to believers; not the man of the world. Christians are defiled by a root of bitterness. Do you know what that terminology really points to? Let me direct your attention to the very soil of the earth that roots grow beneath. You do not see the roots that are lying there beneath the soil; but when conditions are right, they will put forth something that will let you know what kind of life is in them. Brothers and Sisters: Bitter feelings and bad attitudes do not grow on your forehead; they lie within your spirit, just like natural roots lie beneath the soil. But any root that has life in it, when the time is right, will sprout, and shoot forth something that will express the kind of life it has. If it is saw briar roots, then eventually you are going to see saw briars growing; and oh what a nuisance they are. The only thing you can do, if they get started in your yard is to dig them up by the roots, for as long as that root is there, you are going to be troubled by them. Well that is exactly the point Paul is making here, if you have a root of bitterness in your soul and fail to do anything to uproot the thing, it is there to defile any time opportunity presents itself. It is up to me, if I know there is something like that in me; to let the Holy Ghost dig it out. If you have a root of bitterness, and instead of allowing the Spirit of God to dig it out, you nurse it, go to bed thinking wrong thoughts, and get up still thinking like that, you are watering the thing; rather than trying to kill it. The thing that defiles is not that you have these thoughts about the wrong people; but the fact that you have them at all, and do not take the necessary steps to get rid of them. Furthermore as I keep stressing, Do not ever get to feeling like you are immune to Satan’s traps; for that is when you have a good chance of falling into one of them. A good soldier is always alert, knowing that his enemy is likely to pull a sneak attack.


VENGEANCE BELONGS TO THE LORD


We have had things happen right here in the assembly in past years, that God allowed just for the purpose of working on me; for we all have to be tested, just like Jesus was. One such incident, many of you will remember; even though it took place 11 years ago. A young man in the church at that time, had a dream, in which I was supposed to get killed. One Thursday night right back there in the back of the church, he told me the dream, and said, Bro. Jackson: I believe something is going to happen, and I may not be seeing you any more. I knew what He meant by that statement, he thought I was really going to get killed. I just simply shook his hand and said, no doubt there is. They (he and his family) left here after that, and they have been all over this area for miles around, believing that something was going to happen to me. I have seen him three times since then, and after almost eleven years, I am still alive. But just to show you how things work out, a few weeks back, he was involved in a terrible accident down in Kentucky some place, and almost got his back broken. With no insurance, and his car torn all to pieces, they are left in a very bad condition. It just simply reminds me of something in the Bible, Romans 12:19. I will read verses 17 and 18 also, to get the setting for such a statement. “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peacable with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” You would have to know the whole story to understand completely why I make this application here; but the point is, When people allow themselves to be used of the devil against you, if you will conduct yourself properly in the sight of God, he will fight your battle for you. We do not have to avenge, nor vindicate ourselves, he will do it in due time. People play with feelings, and sometimes these feelings get anointed and produce a wrong kind of life. Well Bro. Jackson: Would you help the young man if he were close by? I would certainly not do anything against him; but we need to be led of the Lord on what we do in every situation. Many times we can actually interfere with something God is doing; while we feel that what we are doing is a good thing. This whole incident came about over something from the word of God; therefore I just simply leave it in the hands of God. I do not owe the young man any kind of apology; and neither do I take any delight in seeing calamity befall him; but I do believe that it is a dangerous thing to take an open stand against the truth of God’s word. Bro. Jackson: Don’t you believe people are entitled to their own ideas and opinions? In politics, yes. But when it comes to the word of God, if two people disagree on the revelation of it, at least one of them has to be wrong. It is possible for both of them to be wrong; but if they are disagreeing on it, they cannot both be right; for God does not speak with a forked tongue; (as the Indians used to say) so that what He says can mean one thing to one Christian, and something else to another. Naturally I am talking about doctrinal teachings of the Bible; for personal convictions many times are influenced by the particular culture of the various nations of people.


WE MUST HEAR FROM THE HEAD


Look back at verse 16 and tell me if that verse leaves any room for brethren to disagree on the scriptures. “Be of the same mind one toward another. (That is the same thing Peter wrote in his first epistle.) Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” That one little verse has a tremendous lesson in it. First of all, true brethren of the family of God should be of the same mind. But as I said earlier, that is not something that happens instantly as soon as we get saved. We have to be getting something from the head (Jesus Christ) in order to be of the same mind. Nevertheless a man who is not getting it from the head, has no business trying to teach the word of God. Anyone can read the Bible, and even learn to quote a lot of it from memory; but unless they are in close communion with the head, they are not likely to get the same picture from what they read. That is why there are so many different religious beliefs in the world today. People read the Bible and they know that what they have read is the word of God; but to a great majority of them, it is only the written word; and it takes the quickened word in order to have the thoughts of the head. It is amazing how many different ideas can come out of the same verse of scripture when people are just interpreting it according to their own ideas. Then you have a lot of people who will go to a Bible school and study theology, but when they come out of the school, all they have is some other man’s theory as to what it means, and that is not from the head either. Bible school is not the answer for a soul that is truly hungry for the word of God. We have to get to the place where we are willing to empty ourselves of theories and say, Lord I am depending completely upon you, I can read the letter but I need you to interpret it for me, so that it can become a part of me. Saints: When we really get to the place where we can see each other as Jesus sees us, then we can be of the same mind. Just think for a minute how worthless we really were, before the grace of God reached down and brought us into His love. We were stubborn, self willed, rebellious, independent, and conceited, and hard to get along with. We had our own ideas about religion; but knew nothing about true Christianity, and the plan and purpose of God. I said earlier that every one of us were represented in the crowd that stood there that day, watching Jesus die on that old cross. Some of them were taunting Him, you saved others, save yourself. Some stood in bewilderment, asking in their hearts, What harm did He really do? Everything I ever heard about Him was good. Is that really necessary? Nevertheless none of them dared to let the rest of that crowd know their true feeling, for fear of their own lives. Jesus knew it would be like that though. That is why He told His disciples, The hour will come that you will all be scattered, and you will leave me alone: yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. He saw the weakness of every human being, and in that time of suffering found it in His heart to look down upon the crowd and say, Father, forgive them; they know not what they do. As far as the literal act of condemning Him to death: Yes, they did know what they were doing. But when you consider the real purpose of it, and the motives of the main instigators, their reasons would have been varied. The crowd was motivated by the spirit of the devil, but in reality, they were fulfilling the very plan of God. Jesus therefore, knowing that the will of the Father was being accomplished, did not resist them; but went willingly to the cross. Paul’s revelation of the total plan of God caused him to write in his letter to the Hebrew Christians, “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking to Jesus (12:2) the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” He (Jesus) was not happy, hanging there in shame and agony; so that happiness couldn’t be expressed on His face. He was in too much pain for that. But deep down within, He was looking beyond all of that, to a time when some of those very people standing around there, would reign with Him in the Millennium. Instead of looking at the present circumstances, and thinking about the fear and cowardice of His disciples, He was looking on out ahead at how this very event would be the means of many of those lives being changed. He knew the scriptures, and knew what must be accomplished before the Father could put a new covenant into effect. Therefore in the midst of all the pain and suffering, was a joy deep down within his soul, because of knowing the outcome of it all. You may look at one another even today and say, we are in a mess. But if you will ever allow the Spirit of God to cause you to see, as He sees us, you will see a different picture altogether. For He sees us in the finished product. He knows what each one of us are to look like; and He knows just exactly how to apply the scriptures, to make our lives conformable to that image. That is why the little song “He’s still working on me,” is so appropriate; we have the assurance from His word that He is not finished with us yet. We are not satisfied with ourselves; we want to learn more, and be more like Jesus. But we can only learn, as the Spirit of God opens the scriptures up to us. We can read them and we should be faithful to do that, but we have to wait for Him to show us how to apply them to our lives, lest we be out of season, as so many are today. Therefore no matter how unprofitable we may look in our own eyes, if we are true children of God, He sees us in our finished state, and works everything toward that end. Even in our worst times, He still loves us. He cannot be pleased with everything we do and say, but He loves us just the same; and that very love He has for us, is what causes Him to chasten us, when we get too far out of line. We must try to see the whole picture as a faithful Father dealing with His children, and teaching them family responsibilities.


SOME CHOICES PEOPLE MAKE


When the Lord dealt with Saul on the road to Damascus to arrest Christians: He not only turned his life around and called Him to be the apostle to the Gentiles; He took him out into the Arabian desert, away from everything that could distract, and revealed to him what those scrolls he was so well versed in, really pointed to. When he came out of that school, he knew for certain what the true plan and purpose of the heavenly Father was; and he knew he could never return to any part of his former way of life. IN the 3rd chapter of Philippians, he tells something of his life as a Pharisee, and then says this, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Therefore in Romans 12:16, where he says, “Be of the same mind one toward another,” it is not just an idea he had, he knew that is what the Father was leading us toward, a time of perfect unity. We do not see everything in the scriptures alike and come into perfect unity, just at the snap of our fingers; but as we yield ourselves to the Spirit of God, and allow Him to teach us, that will be the end result. A true revelation of His word will not only cause us to be of the same mind; but it will also cause us to realize that our heavenly Father is no respecter of persons. He does not put the dignitary ahead of the factory worker, in the kingdom of God. Therefore Paul says, “Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.” How many times do we humans get completely carried away, when some celebrity type person comes around? You hear people say things like, Oh if we could just get Doctor So and So, or some other great person to come to our church, what a blessing it would be; and all sorts of statements like that. Denominational church systems thrive on such things as that. But that kind of spirit has no place in the true church of the living God. Doctors, lawyers, judges and movie stars, may read better than a lot of us; but no matter how well you are able to read the Bible, if you do not have the Spirit of God to quicken it (make it alive)in you, all you can do is place a carnal interpretation on it. Important people such as this, like to be seen in church now and then; but they do not bother to locate a Bible believing church where people are led to repent of their carnal ways, and follow revealed truth from God’s word. What most of them are looking for, is a large congregation; well stocked with other professional type people. They are looking for social fellowship, (so to speak) rather than spiritual fellowship, that could enrich their soul. That carnal spirit on them is no respecter of persons either; it will grab a preacher, just as quick as it will a businessman. Why do you think Oral Roberts joined that big Methodist Church some years ago, after being raised in a Pentecostal Holiness church in Oklahoma? That spirit got hold of him and started him on the road to shame. As a child growing up, he had tuberculosis. I have heard his testimony, how he would have those coughing spells and spit up blood, and how God healed him of it, and also of stuttering, and how his own mother said to him, Oral: Don’t ever become big. Stay humble. Well there was a time when he had the anointing of God on him, and he truly was a blessing to a lot of people. But when he came face to face with a Bible truth, and knew if he preached it, he would cut himself off from a certain class of people whom he depended upon for much of his financial support, he chose the broad way, where many go in, rather than the straight and narrow, that only a few find. When he met Bro. Branham, he recognized that there was something about him that was different, and it greatly influenced him, but somehow he could not bring himself to take the route of that little man, so he began to seek out those places where he could mix with high professional type people instead. It is sad to say; but he does not condescend to men of low estate. Instead of the janitor, and the factory worker, he sees the lawyers, the bankers, and people who can afford to support his great programs.


BEING RESPECTERS OF PERSONS


Faith Assembly: Let me say to you right now, No matter who comes through those doors back there, even if it is someone with twenty million dollars: treat him like a Christian should treat people, but do not be guilty of taking him by the hand, giving him special recognition, and seating him in the best seat. In the eyes of God, his bank account is not worth two cents spiritually. In here, we will look at each other through truth, and anyone who cannot stand that, cannot stay here very long. I do not want it any other way, because in the end we are going to be robed with the same type of garment, or we will not be acceptable to God; and that robe of righteousness cannot be purchased with money. It is made up of humbleness, meekness, and a proper attitude toward God and man. On the other hand though, when Paul said, “Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate;” he did not mean that we should get out here in the alleys and crawl with the drunks, and ride the rails with the bums. It simply points to the fact that Christians cannot be respecters of persons, because of their station in life. We must make a place for anyone who will follow Jesus in truth, regardless of their wealth or lack of it. The last part of that same verse says, “Be not wise in your own conceits.” Our own human wisdom is not worth two cents in the kingdom of God. Everything that is built upon man’s wisdom, will come to its end. We are living in an age of materialism; when the wisdom of natural man has almost reached a summit. Yet when it comes to spiritual things, these smart men are like little children; for it is impossible to know God through that kind of wisdom. When Jesus walked on earth in human form, He sought out fishermen, tax collectors, and such like, and said to them, Follow me. He wasn’t looking for men of great wisdom; nor of great wealth; He was seeking out some men of that day who would believe the word of God; and that is what we should be doing also, here in the twentieth century, if we expect to be used of God. He will let men build great kingdoms, through that of their own wisdom; and He will let them do it in the name of the Lord; but the day always comes when those kingdoms are cast down, and these who have all their faith and trust in them, are cast down with them. Those who trust in their own wisdom, always have to have some kind of a gimmick, to keep support for their programs coming in. But that which is built by the leadership of the Spirit of God, never has to be dependent upon man’s devices for support. I have always said, God will support His work, (that which He authorizes) and will pay His bills, so his true ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ do not have to become beggars.


THE MOST EFFECTIVE PREACHING ONE CAN DO


Coming back to verse 17 again, let me say this, We use examples to emphasize certain points where men who claim to be servants of God have proved by their own deeds and attitudes, that they are servants of their own selfish desires and lusts; therefore I must keep reminding you, that these Epistles were written to true children of God. None of these instructions and admonitions are for makebelievers. When Paul said, “Recompense to no man evil for evil,” he was speaking, or writing to true believers. Before we came to know the Lord, someone could do us wrong, and we might lie awake at night for weeks, thinking up some way to pay them back. So Paul is saying, You are now children of God, and he has said that He will fight your battles for you; so don’t do that anymore. “Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Naturally the first application of that is among the brotherhood; but it should reach beyond that, to all that you come into contact with. I have lived in the Elizabeth area all of my married life. I know a lot of the older people around the area; and they know me, and as far as actual persecution, I have never been persecuted by any of them. I have been persecuted more by the people of this Bro. Branham following, than I ever have anyone else, anywhere. When it is necessary for me to go among them, I talk to all of them and treat them as I like to be treated. I do not try to preach the Bible to every man I meet, I just try to preach to them by the way I live; and by the way I conduct myself in their presence. I have mentioned this at other times, when we would be on this subject; but I am going to tell it again, because it illustrates what I am endeavoring to get across to you. One day when I went into the store to buy something, there was a certain man in there, and we talked to each other for a little bit. Then when I went out to my car, he was standing out there talking to another man, and as I came around my car, I heard him say to this other man, if there is any such thing as a Christian in the world today, that man is one of them. I do not tell that, trying to prove what a good fellow I am, but to show you that it is better to let people see something in your everyday life, than it is to preach to them every chance you get, and then have them see something out of you that speaks contrary to what you preach. People check your attitude, your facial expressions, and all sorts of things when you do not even realize they are paying any attention to you. Therefore if you present yourself before people according to these instructions Paul is giving here, sooner or later God will cause them to acknowledge that there is something different about you, than just the average person of the world they see out there. If we determine in our hearts to live peaceably with all men, and do not try to avenge ourselves every time something goes a little wrong, God will be on our side. He will pay back those who deliberately do us wrong, in due time. But if we try, through some underhanded way, to make someone’s life miserable, because maybe they have done us wrong, then do not expect God to take your part. He will probably let the situation get even worse, until we learn to be guided by His word. Now I realize some of you may feel that I am picking on you, because of some situation in your lives; but let me assure you, I have no personal pick on any of you. The Holy Ghost has been dealing with me concerning these scriptures; and when He deals with me like that, I know it is for some reason. There is a need somewhere out there that He wants to minister to. Time is too short for any of us to ignore what the Spirit of God is doing on our behalf. If anyone who is a true child of God should take the attitude, What I am doing is my business; and you have no right to meddle in it; Let me remind you, that if what I am presenting to you is truth for every one of us, God is going to put a thorn in your bed, rocks in your shoes, and a very bad taste in your mouth, until your attitude changes.


DOING GOOD TO OUR ENEMIES


Verse 20 says, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” That has a certain application; but it does not apply to every situation. A lot of Christians in the world have enemies, for one reason or another, and this scripture is applicable, to keep us from becoming hard hearted, and enjoying seeing them suffer hardship. But according to what John wrote in his 2nd little epistle, verse 10, you should not try to apply what Paul says here, to the person who comes to your door preaching and teaching contrary to what you know to be revealed truth. Such a person is your enemy all right, because their doctrine is antichrist, whether they consider themselves to be your enemy or not. So let me read to you what John wrote there. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, (the doctrine taught by all those apostles of Christ) receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: (God bless you) For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” Some think so; but that in no way contradicts what Paul taught. Paul would be the first to tell you not to give any place to antichrist teaching. He even went so far as to say, in his Galatian Epistle, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received from us, let him be accursed. He is certainly not telling anyone to feed such a man as that. Neither should we stand in the doorway and call him a dog, nor hate him. Just simply say, Sir: I do not believe that; and I am not going to argue with you, so it will be better if you leave right now. You do not have to be hateful about it, nor get angry; just be firm. There is no reason to get mad, and scream, and act ugly. Oh yes, you could do that, and that would not mean that you were not a child of God, just because you act in an un-Christ-like way; but if you are a child of God and act like that, He will not let you get by with it forever. He will lay the chastening rod on you, before you go too far. As for the part about heaping coals of fire on the head of your enemies, by giving them what they are in need of: That was Paul’s way of saying, Be compassionate at all times, and God Himself will see that the bills are paid. If someone is your enemy for some reason that is beyond your control; you still obey the word of God, with a Christ-like attitude and a pure motive, and let God Himself heap the coals of fire on their head. Be sure you take no delight in what befalls them though, or God may just let a little of what He has for them, be reversed, in order to teach you a lesson. The way you really defeat the devil in situations such as this, is just simply obey the word of God, do good, and say nothing. The devil causes people to do things against God’s children, trying to get them to act ugly and make fools of themselves; so if we will conduct ourselves in a proper way, God will put coals of fire upon them, somewhere down the line.


BEING OF SAME MIND


I am going to relate a little incident to you, for whatever it may be worth. Several years ago, I was asked to come up to a little Methodist Church in the community where I was raised, and speak, in a little Memorial Day service, in the afternoon. A certain woman of that congregation considered me to be a renegade, because I had left the Methodist Church; and when she heard that they had asked me to preach in that service, her very words were, Indeed he will not stand in that pulpit. She was a woman of great influence wherever she was, and no doubt would have caused trouble; but God heard what she said, and knew exactly what was in her that caused her to be like that, so here is what happened. She had some Hereford cows out in the pasture field, and looking out the window, she noticed that one of them had just given birth to a little calf. She rushed out there to get a better look at the calf; and it’s mother turned on her, knocked her down, and gored her into the ground. Before anyone could get to her, she had crushed ribs, a punctured lung, and was bleeding at the mouth. They rushed her to the hospital, where she was placed in the intensive care unit; and no one delivered the message to me that I should not come, so I went on an preached. She recovered from the ordeal; and I never did feel hard at her for saying that, when I heard about it; but it did let me know one thing: If we open our big mouth and say something in the wrong way, God hears every word of it, and He will put you right where you are supposed to be. We had better take heed to these warnings, and save ourselves a lot of trouble and heartache. Before we exercise such dogmatic authority, we had better check up a little on our motive. If we fail to, God will do it for us, and we may not be very well pleased with the results. I just used this little example, hoping to show from it, that when God is forced to pay a bill, He pays it in full; He does not need our help. On the other hand, if people will just live right, and let Him run the business, the picture is beautiful. There are, of course, certain wrongs that we are commanded to do something about. But we are obligated by the same scriptures, to all be of the same judgment. You cannot have a congregation of 300 people, giving out 300 different ideas about how to handle the situation. The mere fact that you are a Christian, does not mean that your every word is God inspired. If that were true, there certainly would never have been a need for the scriptures we have been looking at. It is possible to have the mind of God on matters that have to be dealt with; and God expects us to have; but the only way, is to earnestly pray, and determine not to do anything until we are all of the same mind. There have been a lot of churches split up, simply because decisions were made without first seeking the mind of God in earnest prayer.


OVERCOMING EVIL WITH GOOD


It is fitting, that the words in verse 21 should follow all that has been said before that; because they bring our thinking right back to the reality of what can happen to us, if we fail to take heed to the other. Notice, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” What does that mean? Simply this, If you feel that someone has done you wrong, don’t let it get you down; and don’t let it keep you from conducting yourself in a Christian manner toward that person. We are all human; therefore it is normal, and natural, that some things can make us feel terribly bad. But if we think on it day and night, cry about it to everyone who will listen, and never take steps toward getting over it, you are doing just the opposite of what this verse tells you to do. Some people can get hurt over something someone else does, or says: and every time they meet you, they will tell you what a hard time they are having, because So and So, did such and such. Brothers and Sisters: You will never move on with God like that. Don’t you think God knows all about your situation? Sure He does. But as long as you live with it, walk with it, sleep with it, and do not try scripturally, to get it resolved, He will not do one thing about it. Some people seem to feel that there is virtue in calling attention to the wrong someone has done them; and they will play it for all they feel it is worth. But the real truth is, they are cultivating an attitude that is completely contrary to the scriptures; and they leave no place for God to work in their situation. Then, instead of gaining spiritual virtue overcoming by the word of God, they end up completely sapped; feeling like even God has forsaken them. Are you listening to me saints? I am not preaching this message to the drunks down on skid-row; I am preaching to children of God, (the bride of Christ) the very things Paul preached to those of his day. Our spiritual growth is not determined by the way we hold on to things, as much as it is by the way we find a place to lay them down scripturally, and forget about them. Only when we know in our hearts that we are doing our best to live by the scriptures, can we have complete peace in our hearts toward God. Just like Peter wrote, in the 3rd chapter of his 1st epistle, it’s the answer of a good conscience before God, that makes the difference. You cannot have true peace, and true fellowship with the Father, as long as you knowingly neglect to do those things His word tells you to do. Just reading these verses here in Romans, causes me to remember the many times I have heard people literally wish for the return of the days of Ananias and Sapphira, there in the 5th chapter of Acts. Bride saints have no business wishing that the Holy Ghost would kill everyone in the Church who does wrong. That is completely opposite of the nature we are supposed to be cultivating in our spirits. Ananias and his wife Sapphira, went to the grave, simply because they agreed together, to lie about something they had done. What they had done was not sinful in itself. They sold a piece of property, and instead of bringing the full amount and giving it to the apostles, for distribution among those that had a need, they kept back part of the money and brought the rest, giving it as though that was all they received from the sale. There was no law requiring them to give it all, but the fact that they lied about it, desiring recognition for doing something they had not done, displeased God; and He struck them dead in their tracks. He just simply did not want a spirit like that, being cultivated in that early church that was so pure and clean. Neither does He want it in the church today, but if He started killing everyone who does something wrong, there would be no such thing as perfecting the saints. You would either be perfect already, or you would be dead. I hope you can see the difference between then and now. The church started out pure; and it was the purpose of God to keep it that way, as they went forth taking the gospel into all the world. But here in the end time, when the Church is being restored to that Apostolic image, it is a matter of cleaning up the lives of individuals who make up the body of believers called, “The Church,” rather than killing them because they are not already pure. Lying to the Holy Ghost is always a serious matter; but no matter what we know about certain situations, and about things that people who are supposed to be Christians, are doing, if our hearts are right, we will not desire to see God strike them down dead. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” No matter what someone may do, when God gives you a chance to do good toward them, that the opportunity is given; it may be just to test you, to see if you will obey the scriptures. Be spiritual minded about this though; you know God does not want you to uphold, nor try to bless someone who is in moral error, or anything like that. These scriptures are pointing to things people do that offend each other, and make life miserable for each other, and the party that does the offending, may not be a Christian; so he, or she, cannot be expected to obey the scriptures. But you, the child of God, are obligated to obey the words of your Father, if you want to have the kind of fellowship with him, that being His child entitles you to.


THE LAW OF LOVE


What we have been made partakers of as children of God, is that same kind of love he had for us, that reached down into the gutters of sin and degradation and redeemed us. The very fact that we have the Spirit of God in us, gives us the potential of being molded into the very image of His only begotten Son. Therefore what we are supposed to be cultivating, is those attributes that reflect Him, rather than those carnal attributes of our old nature, that are still present. Look in chapter 13, verse 8, and following, as Paul continues on. “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Now some will say, Bro. Jackson: Does that mean we should not buy things on credit? No. That is not what Paul is talking about. Being able to buy on credit has helped most of us get started housekeeping, or helped us attain something else, long before we could ever have saved enough to pay cash for it. There are some things that could be said about people who go to extremes buying on credit, and end up losing everything, or else end up taking bankruptcy, but that is not what Paul is dealing with here. What he is saying is, do not refuse to pay that which is due. You can pick that up by reading the preceding verses. I did not read them, because we are looking at what Paul said about love. He goes on in verse 9, and says, “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Do you see the point here? All of these acts are against one’s fellow man; therefore he who loves and respects his fellow man, will not commit such deeds against him. He will treat others as he expects to be treated, or as he desires to be treated. Brothers and Sisters: I hope you can see that these things we are talking about are things that will change our nature; not our doctrine. We should have our doctrines straightened out by now; and be ready for our final washing. People who are still in confusion over doctrines will not submit themselves, to be washed by the water of God’s word; they are too busy arguing and fussing with each other. The real, refined fruit of the Spirit, can only be produced in our lives, as we submit ourselves more and more to these principles in the scriptures, that work on our nature. All of our decisions in life are based upon what is inside of us, motivating us. Therefore the more we yield to the Spirit, to be led of Him, the more we will make decisions that are compatible with the scriptures. Verse 10 says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Bro. Jackson: Why is there so much said about the law? We are not under the law; we are under grace. No, we are not under the law of Moses; as you see recorded in the 20th chapter of Exodus; that was for Israel. But do you think God changed his mind about how he wanted His people to live, just because He made a new covenant with man, called grace? He expects all who are true partakers of this marvelous grace, to fulfill the righteousness of the law, without being forced to keep the letter of it. Name one of the ten commandments in the 20th chapter of Exodus, with the exception of Sabbath keeping, that a true Christian can ignore, and go contrary to. This law of love that Paul is speaking of, will encompass all that God is after when it is properly applied; so it is the fulfilling of the law. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” If Paul could say that, then, how much more should we be saying it today, knowing that the coming of the Lord is so close at hand? The world is full of people today who will say, Oh, you Christians have been saying that for years, and He hasn’t come yet; so what makes you think His coming is so close at hand now? Looking for the return of the Lord has always been the true Christian’s heartbeat. Believing that He could come at any time has caused them to want to be ready to meet Him. Therefore they went to their graves, in a state of readiness, and when the rapture does take place, they will have their part in it, for they will precede those saints who are still alive at that time. But you scoffers who would say such a thing, were also mentioned in the scriptures. I will just read the first 4 verses of the 3rd chapter of 2nd Peter, and let you see yourself in prophecy. “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior: Knowing this first, that there SHALL COME IN THE LAST DAYS SCOFFERS, walking after their own lusts, And saying, WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” Though all true Christians have looked for, and desired to see the coming of the Lord, there has never been a time in the history of the New Testament Church, when the prophecies of the scriptures were fulfilled to a point where He could come, until now. There are a few things left to be fulfilled yet; but they could all be wrapped up in a very short order; and people who do not know their scriptures, will not even know what is happening.


WORLDLY STYLES AND HABITS


We can truly say now, as we return to Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. (Why? Because we are children of light.) Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” These are the things we see going on in the world today; strife, rioting, and demonstrations of every sort. They have to shoot them down with water cannons, to break it up; and at times, with real bullets. All because we live in a world of untamed people; who conduct themselves more like animals, than they do something created in the image of God. But to the child of God, Paul said this, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Our human nature is always concerned about making provision for the flesh; and all of that has its place. But the sad thing is, Too many people get so wrapped up in doing that, they forget all about God, until they end up in some kind of trouble. Then they will cry, Preacher! Pray for me! The devil is trying to destroy me! The devil is always trying to destroy the true people of God; but he gets blamed for a lot of things we bring upon ourselves, through our lack of dedication to the things of God. That is why, as the Lord began to deal with me on this message, I started feeling such an urgency to warn our young people about some of the trends they are drifting into; wearing all that makeup, and worldly styles of clothing, and all such like. Please! Young people of Faith Assembly: I am not picking on you. But if you keep it up, the day will come when you will remember the things you have heard; and you will be so sorry you failed to take heed, but it will be too late then, to avoid the heartache and misery you are experiencing. You will wish a thousand times you had never started out on such a road of life, trying to keep up with the world. But do you know what happens? Once you compromise, and lose your testimony, you are on a road of ruin. People you are associated with, stop thinking of you as a Christian, and expect you to do anything anyone else does. Is that what you really want? The choice is yours. If you intend to live for God, it is not something you can put off until a more convenient time, without getting into more trouble than you can handle. There is only one picture God will ever look at you through, He does not have a dozen different standards for us to follow or pattern after. If you think you can dress like the world, and do the things the world does, and still please God, you are absolutely wrong; and you will pay for every bit of it. That is why some people’s flesh is always paying some kind of bill, they have neglected God in times that would have made a difference. If you pattern your life according to what you see on television, that call themselves Christians, you are still following the trend of the world; for that is what most of them are following. You simply cannot see a true example of a Bible believing Christian, out there where the blind are leading the blind. Bro. Jackson: You ought not say that. Brothers and Sisters: There are some things that I have got to say; to give our young people a chance to make right decisions in the days ahead. This world is full of deceivers, parading themselves around in a cloak of religion, while their hearts are far from God. Do you want your children to follow Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, or Jim Bakker, just because I failed to tell them the truth? But Bro. Jackson, they are men of God. Can you prove that to me by the Bible? They are going against just about everything I ever learned from the Bible; and even if their motives were right, their doctrine is still antichrist. They have no revelation of the godhead, their water baptism is not scriptural, their concept of the rapture and of the great tribulation is about as far from the revealed scriptures, as it could possibly be, and their concept of Christianity, seems to be that they can do almost anything anyone else does, just as long as they believe in Jesus and support their programs. If what they promote and stand for is Christianity, they had to get it somewhere other than from the Bible. The Bible teaches that believers in Jesus Christ are to separate themselves from the world; and be a holy people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (1st Cor. 6:17 & 18) Then in 1st Peter 1:14-15, Peter said, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” That means all ways of life, not just the way you talk. If you want to support those TV preachers with your contributions, and sit home on Sunday and watch them perform, help yourself. But do not stop me on the street and tell me what a wonderful work they are doing; for I already know what they are anointed for. God uses many vessels in His separating process; so just because a man seems to have an anointing, do not think he is necessarily called to minister to the true bride of Christ.


IS IT WRONG TO SWIM?


Every last one of these great TV evangelists refer to themselves and those who follow them, as “The Church,” but I am going to say something plain enough for you all to understand it: They are NOT “The Church.” They never were the church, and they never will be. The 17th chapter of the book of Revelation tells us where all these religious systems came from. If Catholicism is the great Whore John wrote about, (and we know beyond a shadow of doubt that she is) she has some harlot daughters out here somewhere, so who do you think those harlot daughters are? The Reformation brought many of them out from that old system the Bible calls a whore; but when they came out, they brought her main doctrines out with them. Therefore they are no more holy than she is, and they are not going to be converted. Instead, they are all returning home, and going to bed with mama, and they think it is wonderful that Catholics and Protestants can all pray together, and sing together. It doesn’t matter whether you are in Heritage USA, stripped off almost naked, or in a Catholic convent wearing a long robe, if what you pay your allegiance to is antichrist, your soul is naked before God, and you are none of His. No Holy Ghost Christian woman is going to put on a bathing suit, and get out here in a mixed crowd swimming. It’s not the swimming that is wrong in the sight of God; it is exposing your nakedness. You may laugh at me for being so old fashioned; but one thing is sure, my old fashioned ideas come from the Bible, and I do not feel that I owe any of you an apology when I tell you that God will not accept your loose ways of life. You do not have to listen to me, but the day will come when you will wish that you had. Only then, it will be too late; your life will already be wrecked, and what you have invested your faith in, will not be there to help you. If you have to swim, then go find you a place to swim. But if you are going to strip down half naked, do not take a crowd with you. Are you listening to me? I know what I am talking about. The time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God; just like the Bible says, people who are true children of God, have a right to be warned about those that would lead them astray and cause them to miss God. But, if after they have been sufficiently warned, and the right way shown to them, they choose to follow worldly trends, you just have to leave them in the hands of the one who knows what it will take to jar them to their senses. Sometimes people have to get out here and wrap themselves around a telephone people, or half drown, or lose something or someone that is precious to them, before they will ever humble themselves before God, and do right.


EARTHLY KINGDOMS CRUMBLING


I am going to tell something now, as we near the end of the message, that I have been holding back until last. I might have thought it was because of what had come out in the news, if I had heard all of the news, but I had not. (This message was preached in April, 1987) Two weeks ago on Wednesday, it came out in the news that Jim Bakker had resigned the PTL, because of his scandal. I thought, How shocking that is to his followers and supporters. I came to church on Thursday night, and just made some little reference to it. I had not heard the Thursday’s news, so I did not have that on my mind. I went to bed Thursday night, and it wasn’t a dream, but when I awakened Friday morning, I knew God had been working on my mind. It was just like a picture had been stamped there. All day long, these scriptures just turned over and over in my mind. All I had to do was just pick up the Bible and re-read them. I could see people in a different way, a way I had never seen them before. It gave me a feeling in my heart that I had to preach this message, no matter what you may think. All I asked of God was that he would give me the grace to preach it in a way that you would know I love you, when it is all over with. I never want any of you to feel that I am picking on you; nor do I want anyone to get the idea that I am trying to drive you away, for I am trying to help you. All day Friday, I was like that, and just simply prayed, God give me wisdom to know how to present this to the people. I went to bed Friday night, and way in the night, I went into a dream. I could see myself standing out in the night; and looking off into the distance, I could see city lights. Then I became aware of voices. Some sounded like people making merry; and others sounded like they were crying. Some were not too far away; but others were in the far distance. All of a sudden, out in front of me, but off at some distance, a huge ladder appeared, reaching from the ground, all the way into the heavens. The whole scene was at night; but down that ladder shined a beam of brilliant white light, and it only shined right around the base of the ladder. Up and down that ladder, beings were ascending and descending, and I could hear conversations being carried on; but I only understood three phrases of what was being said. I understood this, “The time has come, all things shall be shaken, and none shall escape.” Now look what has happened in the last two weeks. Oral Roberts announced that the dog track man gave him a check, that put him over the top; but now he is being sued. Listen to this. “TV evangelist Oral Roberts has been hit with a law suit accusing him of raising eight million, seven hundred thousand dollars, by portraying God as a black-mailer. The suit filed in the U.S. District Court on Friday, by Aerospace engineer Douglas Cogshall, and Russell Richardson of Garret, seeks to force Roberts to return donations to everyone who wants their money back. In January, the evangelist announced that he had received the eight million dollars.” People have sent me newspaper clippings from many parts of the country, showing how the different editorial columnists have portrayed this incident. I also have a copy of Newsweek magazine with Jim and Tammy Bakker on the front cover. Pardon my expression, but she looks like a witch. I am not calling her a witch, but when I see her, I am reminded of how a witch is always portrayed. It is sad, brothers and sisters, when people who are supposed to be Christians, present to the world an image like that. As I opened the magazine and started reading, one after another of these big evangelists are after each other, for one reason or another. Jimmy Swaggart is facing a ninety million dollar lawsuit, and as you read through the pages, and see what is going on among those big religions celebrities, you would have to be a fool to close your eyes to all of it and still look at them as God called, and anointed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Their platforms are being shaken to pieces, and thousands are having their hopes dashed to the ground. Yet in spite of all that some of these men seem to be guilty of, they have an element of people that completely overlook their unscriptural ways, and still support them. Nevertheless I do feel that there are yet a few people left out there in all of that mess of religion, that God has purposed to do something for; therefore he has to let the image of whoever they have been following, be marred to the point where these will begin to seek God for the true way. As I said earlier, Who can correct Oral Roberts? Who can correct Jimmy Swaggart? Jerry Falwell may be able to sit at the head of the PTL ministries, but he has no authority to correct any of these other preachers; even if his own life and ministry is above reproach. Furthermore, this being the end time, when the apostolic gospel has already been restored back to the Church, God is not going to send a Trinitarian preacher out to try to correct any thing. What could he turn anyone back to? Jerry Falwell is of the Fundamental Baptist belief, and some consider that to be a special brand sanctioned by the Lord to stand above all the rest. But regardless of how holy they may appear to be, their doctrine is still trinity, so they are not “The Church,” either. If there are any souls left in those systems, that are to be in “The Church,” God will do something to get them out of there, before the end of the age. They cannot be made ready for the rapture, while sitting under that antichrist teaching. Do not get offended, because I call their doctrine antichrist. What else could it be, if it is different than what the apostles of Christ taught? None of those apostles ever believed that Jesus was the second person of the godhead. Every last one of them knew He was the ONLY PERSON of the godhead. They did not have to argue back and forth about eternal security of the believer, nor about predestination, nor sanctification, nor the baptism of the Holy Ghost; they knew perfectly well where every scriptural doctrine belonged. Well, what about these preachers who have not been involved in any type of scandal, and seem so sincere in what they are doing? Brothers and Sisters: I have been accused of preaching against preachers; and I grant you, there are times when it seems like I am doing that. But what I am really doing is revealing the error of their teaching, or something about them, that innocent souls have a right to know. I don’t just go around meddling with their affairs, just for lack of something to do. Furthermore I never say anything about any of them, that I cannot stand on the scriptures, and say to their face. I have been called of God to stand for truth, and help people who are hungering for truth, to find it, and sometimes that requires revealing that which is not according to present day truth.


HOW SOME PREACH AGAINST SIN


Many of these preachers who seem to be so anointed of God, are actually fulfilling the words of Jesus in the 7th chapter of Matthew. I may have mentioned it earlier; I meant to. But in the 21st verse, He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven, (Notice now.) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, (or say unto them) I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Now why do you suppose He will call their seemingly good works, works of iniquity? Because they were self motivated, doing what they were doing, though good it may have been, for their own selfish interests, building their great empires, and making a name for themselves, instead of being called of God, and led by his Spirit. It is not a case of Him knowing nothing at all about them; but simply that they never had that intimate relationship with Him, that true servants of God have. They are performing a service for God; separating make-believers from the true Bible believing Christians; but their reward is going to be something much different than what their deceived minds have imagined. That is why I always pray, God help me to preach only what you want preached, and help me preach it in a way that the saints will know I am not deliberately trying to hurt them. Correction must always be administered in a way that those who need correcting, will take it seriously, without feeling that the preacher dislikes them, and am just picking on them. I have heard preachers say, Bless God, I believe in preaching hard against sin. Well, I believe we should preach the whole gospel; and that includes preaching against sin; but I have never felt led, just to dwell on one or two certain sins all the time, like some do. When people are bound by sin: truth is the only thing that will ever set them free. Scolding alone will never do it. People need to be motivated to yield themselves to the wooing of the Spirit of God that can give them a higher purpose in life. I read a tract one time, how a certain evangelist went into a certain city, to hold a revival. The first night he really preached hard, covering the whole category of sinful things people do. In his heart he felt, Boy I really scolded them tonight. He went back to the motel and knelt down to pray, feeling in his heart that he had really put sin in its place, in that very first service, and he prayed like that, Lord, I really skinned them tonight, didn’t I? Then in his sleep, he had a dream in which he heard himself saying that, and do you know what happened? He heard a voice from above say, But who will heal their wounds? That awakened him, and he had to get on his knees again, and repent to God for preaching with the wrong motive and attitude. There is nothing wrong with preaching against sin, unless we are doing it with the wrong motive; just wanting to see someone squirm. God does not honor that kind of preaching. But on the other hand, if the same sermon is preached, by the leading of the Holy Ghost, for the purpose of trying to help people get their lives straightened out, God is going to cause it to have an effect. It will accomplish some purpose of His.


MOCKERS IN THE LAST DAYS


Let us go to the little epistle of Jude now, before we end the message. This little epistle is only one short chapter; but you have to recognize that it says a lot in its few words. The first verse lets us know that it is written to those that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called. It was from this little book of the Bible that we came to call our paper, “The Contender,” for in verse 3, Jude says, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly CONTEND FOR THE FAITH, which was once delivered unto the saints.” That is what we are doing; contending for the faith which was delivered, (by who? The very apostles of Jesus Christ) to the saints, in that first age of Christianity. Verse 17 is where I want to direct your attention to, for these last few comments. “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers (when?) In the last time, (That is now; in our day.) Who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.” This word, mockers, does not point to someone deliberately mocking and making fun of God, and of Christian people. It is speaking of imitators, who would be on the scene at the end time, pretending to live a Christian life, but secretly living like the world. Millions are sitting at home, watching these men on TV, really believing in their hearts; I am a child of God because I have done everything Bro. So and So said to do. Surely, they have repeated a little prayer, and they send their money to the man, or men they are following, and that is as far as their vision goes. They will sit right there, until the man they are following, goes off, and then they will put on their big old ear rings, paint up their faces until they look like a circus clown, put on their lib suits, or their bikini bathing suits, and away they go. Don’t talk to me preacher, I’m as good as you are. But the question is, Are you prepared to meet God, if your number comes up today? The rapture of the Church may be another ten years away; or even longer, but the death angel will overtake a lot of people before the dawning of another day, and any of us could be among that number. That is why the Bible says, Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day we need to make everything right with God; then whatever number of days He gives us, from now on, will be days of inner joy and peace, as we have the answer of a good conscience before God.


SCRIPTURE IS BEING FULFILLED


I know this message will fall on a lot of deaf ears; but I also know it is going to help some people get their lives in line with the word of God; because God gave me the message to preach. This is not my normal kind of message; you all know that. I have to be pushed, to preach like this; because some always take things the wrong way, and I can’t stand to hurt anyone, if I can help it. But first and foremost, I am a servant of God; and if he deals with me to preach a message, I have to preach it, believing that he will use it to help my brothers and sisters of the faith. It hurts to see a worldly spirit tugging at you young people, but just fussing at them all the time is not the answer. We cannot put them into the kingdom of God, and neither can we take them out. God has to deal with their hearts just like He did with ours, lest they turn out to be make-believers also. They turn on the television and see Tammy Bakker painted up like a clown, they see Richard Roberts, and his dancers, swinging and swaying with their little gospel rock songs. Then, one night last week, it showed a large auditorium in Texas, where a group of young people, hundreds of them, were caught up in a crazy, Jesus in rock music. Some of those playing the music, looked more like animals, than they did human beings, and their music was out of the pit of hell; yet because they were throwing Bibles to the crowd, that was supposed to make it a religious, God sanctioned affair. It seems that some people take great delight in being deceived. Deep down in their hearts, they know they shouldn’t follow some of the things they do. But Satan is very cunning; and he gives them just enough Bible, to make them feel religious, and not enough to cause them to see the error of their ways. Everything that is taking place, is in some way fulfilling the scriptures. The world is full of mockers, (imitators) that put on a religious mask, and appear to many, as though they have put on the Lord Jesus Christ. But when you and I put on the Lord Jesus Christ, it changed our lives completely; so that we no longer walk after, nor desire to walk after our former ways of life. These who walk after their own ungodly lusts, have not experienced that change, so notice verse 19 now. “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” The word sensual, lets us know that their separation is of the natural mind, and not because they have been led of the Spirit of God; therefore they are makebelievers. They have a spirit motivating them; but it is not the Spirit of God. “But ye, beloved, (This is for Faith Assembly. We need it as much as anyone, anywhere.) Building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, KEEP YOURSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” That simply says, Do not take the attitude, I am saved and filled with the Holy Ghost, so I will just sit down and wait for the Lord to come. No. Pray in the Spirit, and be just as fervent in prayer as you were the first time you ever really got serious about praying, knowing that eternal life is our reward.


BE LED BY THE SPIRIT


These next verses require us to be wise. “And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” When you see some people being carried away by certain wrongs, that scripturally you know Holy Ghost filled saints should not be involved in, you become deeply concerned. You do not jump on them, and drive them farther away from where they ought to be; you do everything possible, to exercise Christian influence over them. Try to help them see where their present trend will lead them to. They may not listen to you; but if you say it right, out of an honest heart and pure compassion, you will not have to answer to God for it yourself. Not all, but some will be snatched from the clutches of the devil, when we ourselves obey the scriptures, out of a pure heart. How are we to know which ones we should speak to? That is why we need to get alone and pray. Those who just go around looking for trouble, always ready to hand out advice, make a big mess, more times than they ever pluck someone from the clutches of the devil. In some situations, you are only required to pray, for God has another vessel whom He will use, to do the talking, to that person. A lot of Christians are out here trying to pull tares out of the fire. That’s not what this scripture means. This only applies to true children of God, who have been snared by the devil, and drawn off course. The fire is not a literal fire, and it is not suggesting that a true child of God could end up in hell. It symbolically speaks of a Christian who has been caught up in a trap of the devil, through some fleshly weakness, and being a Christian, is tormented because of it. Some people who get caught in a trap of the devil, are just waiting for someone to come along, and give them the help they need; and others, who for some reason have become rebellious also, will have to be whipped real good, before they will ever get straightened out. But regardless of what it takes; God knows how to get us into the place where we belong, and in his time, He will do whatever is necessary. That is where our faith lies, knowing that He is faithful. Hallelujah! I love Him.


THE TUB IS FULL


Brothers and Sisters: I am a human being, just like the rest of you. God gives me these messages; but he does not tell me exactly what words to use; therefore these are my own words of expression, as I deliver to you what He has laid upon me. Theological scholars would find all kinds of mistakes in my grammar, and they would certainly disagree with what I teach; but this message is not for them; it is for all who cherish truth, and desire to meet Jesus in the air, when He comes for His bride. Therefore in closing, let me say this, we are living in a world that is fast plunging toward a terribly dark hour of time, so may we, the children of light, get in the tub and receive whatever washing by the water of God’s word, is necessary, to make us presentable to Him. The tub is full, the temperature is just right, so may we take a good bath in his word, let me say once again, before I close, God has a five fold ministry in the world today; and there is no reason for anyone to think they should look to only one man for the word of God. The thing to be concerned about is whether all of them have the same revelation of the scriptures or not. Do not ever allow yourselves to be so foolish as to believe God would call five men to minister to the bride, and give them five different revelations of His word. No. God’s true ministry in this end time will all be preaching the same revelation. Not quoting each other, but in their own words, painting the same picture. May God bless you. Amen.

God Is Filling the Tub, Part 1

EVER SINCE WE PRESENTED THE MESSAGE TITLED, “THE BODY OF CHRIST,” ONE PARTICULAR VERSE OF SCRIPTURE IN THE 5TH CHAPTER OF EPHESIANS, HAS STOOD OUT TO ME, AND IT IS CONNECTED TO TWO OTHER VERSES WHICH WE WILL USE ALONG WITH IT, AS A TEXT FOR THIS MESSAGE. VERSE 26, IS THE ONE I AM REFERRING TO; SO I JUST PRAY THAT THE LORD WILL HELP ME PRESENT THIS TO YOU IN A WAY THAT WILL BE SPIRITUALLY PROFITABLE TO EVERY TRUE CHILD OF GOD THAT HEARS IT OR READS IT IN THE CONTENDER. I HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN THAT IT WAS APPLICABLE TO SOMETHING GOD HAD DETERMINED TO DO FOR THE CHURCH, WHICH IS ALSO REFERRED TO AS THE BODY OF CHRIST, TO MAKE IT ACCEPTABLE TO HIM; SO AS I BEGAN TO MEDITATE UPON THIS, AND STUDY THE RELATED SCRIPTURES, A PICTURE BEGAN TO FORM IN MY MIND. WHEN WE WASH OUR BODIES WITH WATER, IT IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF CLEANSING OUR OUTER FLESH; IT IS SPOKEN TO THE SPIRIT MAN THAT ABIDES IN THIS FLESHLY SHELL; AND THESE INDIVIDUALS: BONDED TOGETHER BY A COMMON FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, ARE WHAT MAKES UP THAT ONE GREAT BODY PAUL REFERRED TO AS THE CHURCH; AND HE SAYS THIS BODY IS TO BE SANCTIFIED AND CLEANSED WITH THE WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD; SO WE WANT TO EXAMINE THE WAY THAT IS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED.


I AM TITLING THIS MESSAGE, “GOD IS FILLING THE TUB,” BECAUSE FIRST OF ALL I WANT US TO GET OUR MINDS ON WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH, AND I BELIEVE THIS TITLE WILL ACCOMPLISH THAT PURPOSE. THEN I WANT US TO BE AWARE OF THE FACT THAT THERE IS A LOT MORE INVOLVED IN BEING ACCEPTABLE TO GOD AS A BRIDE FOR HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAN JUST SIMPLY KNOWING JOHN 3:16 AND ROMANS 10:13. IT IS A FACT, THAT WITHOUT KNOWING VERY MUCH SCRIPTURE, A PERSON CAN BE SAVED FROM THE SIN OF UNBELIEF, AND BE SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST; BUT THEN WHAT? DO YOU THINK GOD REDEEMED YOUR LIFE FROM DESTRUCTION AND ACCEPTED YOU INTO HIS GREAT FAMILY OF REDEEMED CHILDREN, JUST MERELY TO KEEP YOU FROM GOING TO HELL? SOME PEOPLE TALK AS THOUGH THAT IS WHAT THEY BELIEVE: BUT IF I KNOW ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT THE PLAN AND PURPOSE OF GOD: IT IS THAT EVERY TRUE CHILD OF HIS, IS CALLED TO WALK BY HIS WORD, AND ALLOW HIM TO MOLD IN THEM THE VERY IMAGE (SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING) OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON JESUS, THE CHRIST. NATURALLY AS WE JUST LOOK AT THE LETTER OF THE WORD WRITTEN HERE IN THE BIBLE: IT IS HARD TO THINK OF IT AS A CLEANSING AGENT, LIKE WATER, THAT WILL SERVE THE SAME PURPOSE TOWARD THE INNER MAN, THAT WATER DOES ON THIS OUTER SHELL. BUT I BELIEVE WE CAN SEE SOME WHO HAVE NEVER THOUGHT TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT PAUL WAS ACTUALLY DEALING WITH HERE. A LOT OF THE TIME, WHEN WE READ THE BIBLE, WE SEE ONLY WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR AT THE TIME, AND JUST READ RIGHT PAST THE REAL POINT THAT WAS BEING PRESENTED, SO LET US YIELD OUR MINDS TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD, AND ALLOW HIM TO REVEAL TO US EXACTLY WHAT THE FATHER HAS PREDETERMINED TO DO, IN ORDER TO MAKE US ACCEPTABLE AS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST.

ESSENTIAL CLEANSING AGENT


Open your Bibles to Ephesians 5:24, and we will read three verses, to get the setting. “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, EVEN AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH, and gave Himself for it; THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY and CLEANSE IT (How?) WITH THE WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD.” I have used the tub in my title; knowing that some people refer to a shower stall, rather than a tub; so please understand that we are referring to whatever the water is channeled through, in order to accomplish the cleansing of our bodies. In other words, in order for us to take a bath, the water has to be channeled through something; we do not just merely pour water on the ground, and expect to come out clean because of it. Well neither is the Lord going to come along and do something like that in order to make our inner self clean. If the word is to become a cleansing agent to us: then there has to be an instrument designated (like a tub or shower stall) where we can submit ourselves to that vital cleansing agent. Now please keep in mind, that if the word of God says He will cleanse the Church with the washing of water by the word: then one way or the other, (in His time) He will see that it is done. He will cause certain portions of His word to stand out, to those who are ordained to be cleansed in that way. Therefore think of this for a moment; you do not set a bath tub right out in the middle of your living room floor; you have a certain place designated for that purpose. In the living room we get acquainted with each other, relax and talk, and so forth; but when it comes time for washing ourselves, we must step into a place designated for that purpose. Therefore let me liken this to something that will begin to speak to us. There never could have been a cleansing of the church, as long as we, the individual members of that Church (the BODY of Christ) were scattered throughout denominational religion. Why? We were in the wrong place; the cleansing agent was not present. In the hour when these scriptures were written, the Church of that hour was washed by the application of this word. All of these New Testament scriptures were written in the first century of Christendom; and those to whom they were written, had their lives and attitudes shaped by the application of them. Nevertheless God knew that ever last one of them would go beneath the sod, and that another generation would be faced with the responsibility of upholding the revelation. But on that great resurrection day, saints from every age since then will come out of the ground and stand before the Lord, and they will be looked upon according to the way they handled the revealed word of God in their hour. We are all familiar with the fact that tares got in among the saints and sowed their perverted version of the gospel of Jesus Christ after these first age saints left the scene; so as the Church passed through the Dark Ages, true saints of God lived out their lives upon earth, having very little of the revelation that first age Church had; but God accepted each of them that upheld what He did reveal to them, and when that resurrection trumpet sounds; we will all go up together, to meet the Lord in the air. Hallelujah! God knows how to run His great plan of redemption; and I assure you, He will not measure any Christian of any age against any Christian of any other age. Now some will say, But I thought we were supposed to be restored to the same revelation the first age Christians had. That is true of course, but bride saints of this last age are going to be held accountable for revealed truth that even they, did not have. We have had things revealed to us in these last days; that were not even thought of in Paul’s day. But we are still affected too much, by traditional teachings of the denominational systems we came out of, so we need to be washed by the word of God until we are free from every bit of that; before we can be presented to the Lord Jesus for the marriage supper. There are multitudes of religious people out here in the world today; claiming to be the bride of Christ. But they are unacceptable to God, because they are out of His word. Their religion is founded upon carnal interpretations of the scriptures in the Bible, rather than upon a true revelation of those scriptures. Therefore no matter how many good works they may do: they are still unacceptable to God, because they are rejecting the truth that has been revealed in this age. Some of the people in that category, are people that sat under the ministry of Bro. Branham, the prophet to this age. They followed him from place to place and talked as though they were receiving everything he taught. But when you look at them today: you have to ask, What good did it do them? They say, We are in the message. But I say, They are in a mess. They know no more about what God is getting ready to do for His Church, than a stray pup out here in the alley eating out of garbage cans. They have taken the word of God that was revealed through the ministry of Bro. Branham, and turned it into something true saints could not possible feed upon; and yet they accuse people like us of being out of the message. Well I just have to say this. If what they are in today is what they call, “The Message,” then I am thankful to God, to be out of it. God let them push their way in, and He has allowed them to boast of what they saw and heard, and how they rode with the prophet, and all such like; but the end result is all determined by His great mind. We can force ourselves to do a lot of things in this life; and we can claim to be doing them in the name of the Lord; but that does not guarantee that He will accept what we have done. Jesus spoke of this sort of thing in the 7th chapter of Matthew. You can read it if you like; but I will only read the 23rd verse at this time. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” That is what Jesus will say to a lot of people, that to the natural eye, seem to have done so much for the Lord. I cannot help but think of people like this Jim Bakker, you have been hearing so much about on television lately. I do not condemn the poor man; but oh what an image he portrays today. It just shows how Satan will get hold of, and use for his own purposes, every person that is willing to compromise the word of God, in his efforts to become well known. These fellows are all in a race; each one trying to outdo the others, doing something for God, anything that will cause them to be well known to the general public. But the sad thing is, when they fall the whole world knows about it; and it reflects upon all of Christianity. Well God has a little bride, that is being washed by the water of His word in this hour; and by her own decision, she does not even care to be known to the world. Not that she deliberately hide herself, but recognizing that Jesus never sought to make for Himself any reputation: she desires to be like Him; being led of the Spirit to do what she does, and accepting the limitations God puts on her.


When God had a prophet messenger on the scene in this Laodicean Age: he truly followed the example set by Jesus; in that he sought not to make for himself any particular reputation. But for some, he was the very means by how they would ever see Jesus; and I was one of them. I saw and heard the same things a lot of those other people saw and heard, sitting under his ministry; but the results were not the same. What I witnessed, caused me to see the Jesus of the Bible; and it put me back into the word of God. But because their heart’s were not right, others saw Bro. Branham as God; and they took his words to use as their Bible, and laid their Bible’s aside. Those are of the sort that forced themselves into key positions, thinking that whatever God would do: they could share in the glory. I hope you realize, that there are always a lot of glory seekers present in the ranks of religion. They are always looking for recognition; and you can spot them a mile away. As a matter of fact, a lot of them have come through here; but when they failed to get what they were looking for, they went on their way. They want to come in the door, announce who they are, and have the pulpit turned over to them; but somehow I have never liked hearing anyone blow their own whistle like that. Oh I admit, that in my early years as a pastor, I was subject to give them liberty; but there came a time in my ministry, that I realized this was not the way God wanted me to pastor my church. You have to spend too much time building back up, what men like that can tear down in one sermon. God has His ways of putting a man up; if he is called to be anything to the bride of Christ; but sometimes He requires them just to sit for a while, and learn some patience, before He puts them up. God’s true ministry of this hour, has a vision; not just for a local assembly somewhere; but for the Church universal as a total body. Faith Assembly is not going anywhere until the entire body of Christ is ready to go. Then we will all go together. But before that takes place; and it is up to every individual member of this great body of Christ, to submit themselves to this cleansing process; when they become aware of it. You may think the coming of the Lord for the rapture is a long way off yet; but let me remind you: He may come for you at any moment; and take you by the way of the grave; so do not put off until tomorrow, what you know you should do today. Paul had something in mind when he said the Church would be sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the word; so do not take it lightly; it is applicable for the very hour. Even unregenerate mankind recognizes that present world trends have gone just about as far as they can go without something happening to change the whole thing, or man will destroy himself. Well the children of God know what lies ahead; both for them, and for the world as a whole; and their true desire is to prepare themselves for it, and the only way to do that, is to totally submit to this washing process Paul spoke of here in Ephesians.


GOD’S PREPARED TUB


As we think of being washed, or bathed: we think of a certain place where this is accomplished, naturally speaking. Therefore as we give it a spiritual application, we also must recognize that this washing is not something that is done just any old place. God has a place prepared for every one of us; where this scripture can be fulfilled on our part; to make us ready for the coming of the Lord. Every denomination has a few verses of scripture upon which their doctrine of faith is built; but anything else in the Bible is treated as though it does not exist. As a matter of fact, some of them even become hostile at the very mention of a Bible doctrine they do not embrace. Therefore I ask you, Do you think God can put a tub in a place like that? Absolutely not! It takes the application of every Bible doctrine and every precept to accomplish in us what God is after. Bro. Jackson: Are you saying that Faith Assembly is the only place where a true child of God can be washed by the water of the word of God? No. The word of God itself is the place; and God has many instruments delegated to get his children into it. We can never overlook the fact, that first he sent a prophet messenger to this age; to get us pointed in the right direction. He dealt with every doctrine of the Bible, and showed how every one of them belonged to the true Church. Repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, sanctification: All of these were set in their proper place and order. Then, it was the Holy Spirit speaking to individuals, directing them to the particular place where the water of the word was to be applied for this final preparation, just before the coming of the Lord. Oh yes, there are some who still say, Well I believe we can fellowship with all denominations if we know the truth. But I say, Not if you are interested in being washed by the water of the word of God. This is a process that is being administered over a period of time; and running back out there to fellowship with the denominations, is just like getting out of the tub in the middle of your bath and splashing around in the mud hole: You have to start all over in order to be completely cleansed. I will say this though, There are a lot of people outside of denominations today, simply because they heard a prophet cry out, Come out of those systems; and come back to the word of God! But they are still not all being washed with the water by the word. Instead of coming back to the word of God; they have come to what they call, the message of the prophet. I grant you, there had to be a message in order to get us out of denominations; but just merely coming out of denominations did not accomplish the cleansing Paul spoke of, for we all brought an awful lot of the denominational junk out with us; and that has to be washed away by this water. Bro. Jackson: Are there still some bride saints out there in those denominational systems? I will just say this. Only God knows for sure, who is where; but Jesus is still on the mercy seat; so there has to be someone somewhere; that still needs that intercessory work performed for them, or Revelation 10:1-6, would be fulfilled already; or would be in the process of being fulfilled. God Himself is the one who regulates the various phases of His great redemption program; and you can be sure that He will not overlook anything, or anyone that was foreknown of Him; to be included in what He is doing in the earth. Some of these preachers who have circled the globe with the message of the prophet, have served a twofold purpose. First, they have caused multitudes of people to come to the realization that God is no longer dealing with denominational churches; but only with those individuals in them, who were hungering for something more than they were getting. Then secondly, many of them have presented that prophet in such a way, that it has caused the denominations as a whole to look upon him as a fanatic that established a cult; and they want nothing at all to do with it. That keeps them where they are. They cannot see us as a people going anywhere with God; because even they know, that there was no deity about Bro. Branham, and they have been led to believe that we all worship him as God. Well as I said, All of that has served it’s purpose; for God never intended for tares to be washed clean by the water of His word; and those true seed of God that were scattered among them, heard enough truth to get them on the road searching for more of the same.


WHY WE NEED CLEANSING


It is very unique, the way the Spirit of God works; to get His true children in the place where they need to be, at the time they need to be there. Also the way a certain portion of His word is constructed and applied to make up the instruments He will use for the washing of the entire body. Now saints I hope all of you realize, that this washing we are talking about, has nothing at all to do with water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. That can separate you from the system of religion you are in, but it is not the final cleansing process; for it does not get the spots, wrinkles and blemishes of that system out of you. This bath we are talking about is for the inner man; that must be cleaned up in order to reflect a true image of Jesus Christ. That is the real you. That inner man is the only thing about any of you, that can ever prove to anyone else that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is in you. The way you comb your hair and dress your physical flesh does not prove that His Spirit abides in you. There are times when a person’s outer appearance testifies to the fact that He is not in them; but it does not prove that He is in them when they present themselves in a proper manner; for that is how Satan deceives people who are not spiritually alert. I intend, by the help of God, to show you why this thing called holiness by the multitudes, is not holiness at all. We will establish that by the very scriptures we intend to use in this message. External holiness is vain, unless it is radiating to the outside from a pure heart within. In other words, true holiness comes from a revelation within; a revelation that has eternal values attached to it. You could not find a greater display of outward holiness than that of the Moslem people; but they will stick a knife in your back at the snap of your fingers, and see nothing wrong with it. That is not the holiness the scriptures speak of. True holiness, (without which no man shall see the Lord. Heb. 12:14) comes forth from the inner man; that is washed clean by the word of God. From the same scriptures that dealt with our hearts concerning our personal experience of salvation, God reveals other things to us that the average “religious person” never sees. These are things He does not want the world playing around with. A son of God can see serpent seed in the scriptures as plain as the nose on his face; but the average religious person of the world will make all manner of fun out of the very mention of such a thing. Why? To them, many of the truths of the word of God present a threat. They have been taught that God loves everyone; and that He is not willing for any to perish. So without a revelation of those scriptures, they just simply take them at face value, and apply them to everyone, regardless of all other related factors. We are not cleansed by knowing all about serpent seed; but a true revelation of it sure lets us see why every one of us needed cleansing. Jesus Himself, was the only person ever born into this world that needed no cleansing. He came forth from the womb of woman just like the rest of us, making Him the seed of the woman according to the scriptures. But His conception in that womb was not accomplished through a sex act between His mother and a man; God created that cell of life in her, and then allowed it to follow the regular course of taking on humanity through the elements supplied by Mary’s own body. That is why he was called the only begotten Son of God; for we know that Adam was a created son, and we are sons and daughters of God by a provision made possible when that sinless, begotten son took our sins upon his own self; and offered His life as an offering to God for them. That gave us the privilege of being born of the Spirit into the family of God; and explains why the Spirit in us is completely contrary to the spirit in these serpent seed out here. Because of that, we can accept truth from God’s word, that just simply puts them in a spin. That antichrist spirit in them fights truth all the way.

THE ONENESS REVELATION


One of the great truths of the Bible that tares fight so hard against, is the true understanding of the Godhead. We have pointed out, in other messages, how certain individuals in what we call Oneness Pentecost, did truly see a picture of God in His oneness, in their day; but for the sake of this message, I want to restate something. The primary purpose of the message of God’s oneness, in the early years of the 20th century: was not really to bring out the oneness of God, but the importance of the name of Jesus Christ in water baptism; as God restored that revelation back to the Church. In order to accomplish that, God gave them a profile of the whole thing. But many of them separated themselves and went astray, because they did not have a complete picture of the Godhead; and because they got their mind on the wrong thing. Ultimately that oneness Pentecostal movement produced some of the most arrogant, hypocritical attitudes that you have ever seen among people professing to be children of God. By the time World War II broke out, oneness Pentecost was filled with divisions, and some of their preachers were guilty of the most crooked political maneuverings you have ever heard of. They became so angry, and so hard in judgment, they could not even like themselves. That is why you have heard me say, When the messenger to the Age came on the scene, he came with a revelation of the Godhead; and the same water baptism they had; but he did not have their spirit. He saw the need to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world; through the same kind of love Jesus had for us, when He willingly went to that old rugged cross, and gave His life for us. I want you to know also that it was not oneness people that first accepted him into their churches; it was trinity Pentecost. At a meeting in Texas, with both trinity and oneness preachers sitting on the platform, Bro. Branham was asked, Why do you associate with trinity Pentecost? His reply was, The oneness have a revelation that stands out; and they are more spiritual than the trinity; but the trinity people still have more of the love of God in knowing how to look at the world of lost sinners. Why was that so, at that time? Simply because the time had not yet come, for God to start cleansing the Church in the way Paul was speaking of here. The Spirit then, was dealing more with getting the Church separated from denominational systems, and getting Bible doctrines restored to her. Everything God does, has an order to it; He does not jump back and forth from one thing to the other; like men following their own ideas are prone to do. He is getting His Church ready to be raptured out of here; and He will not be a week late, nor one day too early, everything will be right on time.


DEBATING PREACHERS


Regardless of what the Holy Spirit reveals to you: and no matter how beautiful the picture may be, you are not going to convince people of the world, that you are right and they are wrong; so do not argue and debate with them. I received a letter from a man down in Alabama, a few weeks back. He asked that we would send him certain literature, on the Godhead; and he wanted to know if I had ever seen a certain debate on TV between Trinitarian and oneness people? He said he had been watching it; and that he himself leaned more toward the Trinitarian side of the issues discussed. Then he wanted to know why I never refer to Greek and Hebrew, in my teaching? Well I just thought to myself, I do not have time, nor any reason to play around with Greek and Hebrew words. These great theologians do that, because they are experts on words of the Greek and Hebrew languages, and void of a revelation of what they are talking about. You will never make yourself anything in the eyes of God, by being able to quote a lot of Greek and Hebrew words. I do not discredit a man’s ability to compare translations with words that could have been used instead, words that might have been a little easier for people of this hour to understand. All of that, has its place, but you cannot use it as a rule, or a yardstick to determine what truth is. There is no amount of education that can give you a revelation of the word of God. Yet the Holy Ghost can give a true revelation to a child of God who can barely read the Bible at all. Hallelujah! I am so thankful that God does not require us to have a great education; and a lot of titles in front of our name, in order to understand His word. Of the millions who are in traditional error and full of deception themselves, many are experts in the use of Greek and Hebrew words. They can literally sit down, and take the Bible apart word by word, and tell you what each word means in Greek and Hebrew, and so forth; but their lives are as void of the Spirit of God as any unregenerate man walking the streets today. Well I wrote the man and told him that I had not seen the program he mentioned; and the material he requested was sent to him, but I did not feel led to say very much of anything else. A few weeks passed, and there came a little box with a video cassette tape in it. He had sent me a copy of that TV debate. He had also forwarded the material he received from us, on the oneness of God, to the TV station; for this debating preacher to examine; and He said to me, Bro. Jackson: If what you have is truth: the world needs to hear it. He said also, We will just wait for this man to read the material and then see what happens. I just thought to myself, God forbid, that I should ever get on TV, and try to convince anyone with fancy words, when the Spirit of God can impart a true revelation to anyone who will receive it; without all of that. I will not go so far as to say God could never use a thing like that; but I will say this, If He does, it will amount to more than just a carnal debate. There will be some hearts pricked, like it says in Acts 2:37; and there will be some people asking, What can we do? I have never been one, to go out of my way looking for an argument; because in the scriptures, we are warned against such behavior as that. Yet I do realize that there are some people in the world who seem to live for nothing else but to argue and debate; and there are a lot of others, who feel that it is all right to do that. I just leave all of that in the hands of God; knowing that He is well able to deal with every true child of His; when the time is right. Let me say this though, Even though I will run from a planned debate: if those debaters come in here, they will have to listen to me; for I am not without anything to say. But that debating spirit is one that we do not need in us.


A TRUE REVELATION


We have a revelation of the seventieth week of Daniel, and know that it pertains to a full week of years that are yet to be fulfilled; and we know, by the Spirit of revelation, where that prophetic week of years fits into the book of Revelation. But there are multitudes of religious people in the world today, that have no revelation whatsoever of where that week fits into the overall prophetic picture for the last days. Some teach that it is half fulfilled already; with only 3 ½ years left to be fulfilled; and others teach that the full 7 years are taken up, in the time of the great tribulation; so we ought to be very thankful to God; that He has allowed us to see the truth of it. The rapture of the Church is treated the same way. Some are saying, that to believe in a literal rapture of the Church, is to believe false doctrine. Some others, who believe there will be rapture, do not know whether it will be before the great tribulation, or afterwards; simply because they see a white robed multitude in Revelation Chapter 7, and it was said to John, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” I just want to be thankful in my heart, that God has allowed us to understand, that the resurrection of the righteous is in three phases; and that the bride of Jesus Christ comes up in the 2nd phase, which takes place before the great tribulation; and that this multitude seen in Chapter 7, are the Gentile foolish virgins of Matthew 25, and a spiritual element of Jewish people; which are all slaughtered during the time of the great tribulation; because they refuse to renounce their faith in God, and refuse to worship the beast, and would not take his mark. Revelation, Chapter 20, verse 4, confirms who they are, if you care to read it. Those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus Christ, are the Gentile foolish virgins; and those beheaded for the word of God, are the Jewish people that have to face the forces of the antichrist in that hour.


CONFUSION OVER PROPHECY


The Millennium, is another topic of debate in a lot of religious circles today. But we know exactly where it falls into this great lineup of future events; and we know that Jesus Christ Himself will literally sit upon the throne of King David, ruling the nations for one thousand years; and Revelation, Chapter 20, lets us know that resurrected saints from all ages will rule and reign with Him during that time. Oh what a beautiful picture, if you have eyes to see it, and oh how confusing these things are, if all you have is an educated mind. Naturally, not being able to correctly place these other events, the four horsemen of Revelation 6:1-8, are a great mystery to them also. Billy Graham published a book, showing all four of them riding during the time of the great tribulation. But the truth is, They have all ridden already; and the gray horse rider is still riding today. That was a very unique way of showing the spirit of antichrist running parallel to the Spirit of Christ. Jesus is seen in the 19th Chapter of Revelation, riding a white horse; so when this spirit of antichrist first came on the scene as a spirit of deception: what better way could he have been pictured, than on a white horse? Then as that same spirit forced the saints of the living God into martyrdom: it is portrayed as riding a red horse, speaking of the bloodshed because of Satan trying to destroy true Christianity. The black horse rider pictures the spirit of antichrist in the Dark Ages; and the gray horse (pale horse rider) portrays this spirit of deception that is in the world today; fostering this great ecumenical gathering together of denominational religious systems here in the end time. The Bible calls it a pale horse; but actually there is no such thing as a pale horse. This description refers to a horse that is neither white nor black; it is a mixture of both. Making it a gray horse. Why is the antichrist spirit pictured riding a horse that is neither white nor black? It is very simple. Satan has succeeded in taking old Roman Catholicism, with all of her man made creeds and dogmas, and apostate Protestantism, and blending them all together, which in the final analysis will add up to one universal church system; which will blind the entire religious world, and lead them to destruction. No, not the true saints of God; but all the rest. But what I want you to see for sure, is that there are not four different riders, all riding at the same time; but rather, the same rider (the spirit of antichrist) changing horses from time to time, coming through the Church Ages. He will not change again though; he will ride his gray horse right on out to the end; and these great theologians will never know the difference. When I first heard the announcement that Jim Bakker was resigning from the PTL Club, and that Jerry Falwell, a Baptist preacher, was taking his place I said, That lets me know, this ecumenical spirit has grabbed them. Forty years ago, you never would have heard of an Assemblies of God, Pentecostal preacher, turning his church over to a Baptist preacher. Did you ever hear of anything so out of reason, as a fundamental Baptist man being set up in a leadership position over a group of tongue speaking Pentecostals? It is a vain effort of trying to restore an image of leadership to the whole program, that is on the brink of completely falling apart. I could not help but think of what Jesus said about the blind leading the blind, as I listened to Jim Bakker being interviewed the other night, on television. I do not mean to be picking on Jim Bakker; it is just that his name has been so much in the news lately; that it is only natural to use his situation as an example of what Satan is doing in this twentieth century. He is still trying to destroy Christianity; and even though these television ministries are not a true representation of Christianity: what happens to them still reflects back on everything that goes under a Christian name; for those who are so quick to pass judgment, do not know the difference.


BEING WISE AS SERPENTS


What I really want to get across to you, is that having the Holy Ghost, does not give you immunity to the devil’s tricks. It is only when the Holy Ghost is allowed to keep building truth in us; that we are spiritually equipped to recognize the devil’s traps, and avoid them. When Jesus said, Be wise, as serpents, and harmless as doves, He was actually telling His disciples how to avoid being caught in Satan’s traps; and He in no wise meant for us to go around hissing and rattling. The point is, you do not slip up on a snake; they always know when you are around. Therefore if we look at the words of Jesus right, Christians should be wise, like serpents, and never allow the devil to slip up on them. He will always stalk your trail; and the Holy Ghost in you is your enablement to avoid being caught off guard; but not an immunity. You have to allow Him to lead you one hundred percent of the time, in order to enjoy that immunity from Satan’s devises. I am a Christian; and desire more than anything else to please God with my life; and if I even give him half a chance, he will be trying to pull me away from the true revelation of God’s word; or try to get me to compromise a little here and there, to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Saints, he has so many traps; a person must keep their spiritual guard up every minute. If he cannot get you to do some outright wrong deed, he will then start working on you, trying to get you to feel too proud of yourself, which is something God also hates.


A LOOK AT JESUS’ DISCIPLES


We have to get this tub established, (and we will) but there are a lot of things I feel we should refresh our minds upon, in order to recognize the difference between this washing and the washing that we have already experienced; as the Holy Ghost placed us in the body of Christ. I would like for us to look back through time; back to the time Jesus Christ walked on earth, and take a look at the twelve disciples that followed Him. Of that twelve, one was a devil; but the other eleven were instrumental in changing the course of the world; so I want us to take a look at them; especially the difference in their human makeup. Simon Peter, was a bold impulsive man, quick tempered and ready for a fight; and it seemed like John (the one who later wrote the book of Revelation) was just the opposite, and the others fell in somewhere between; but they everyone went forth, after the day of Pentecost, with the same purpose. Their human nature’s were different from each other; but when it came to fulfilling their part in the redemption plan of God, they were all just alike. I made mention a while back, how that James and John, in seeking a place of recognition, did not even have the nerve to approach Jesus themselves; they sent their mother. Master: When you come into your kingdom, will you grant that one of my boys may sit upon your right, and the other one on your left? Just think for a moment, how carnal that was, and then realize, that from the standpoint of human nature, we are no different. When that mob stood there in the streets of Jerusalem looking up at Pilot, and crying, crucify Him! We were represented among them. When you stop to examine your attitudes and motives in life, surely it is plain to see, that we have all been affected by that same spirit that was in Judas. Where else could some of our human attitudes and deeds have originated? We may not like to admit it; but it is true just the same. That nature was inherited; and that is what the word of God has to work on, in order to mold us into the image of the only begotten Son of God. Well as we look at those disciples, there was John, whom the scripture says, leaned upon the breast of Jesus. When we see something like that today we say, Those guys are gay. But evidently, in those days at least, that was a custom that did not carry such an identity. I have seen similar expressions in Cairo, Egypt; not too many years ago, and I suppose that is what caused me to realize, This is just a social custom in some nations of the world, and it does not mean that those men are gay, like it would if you saw the same thing in America. But the point is John was a quiet, easy going type of person, and Peter was quick tempered and impulsive, and many times said things he shouldn’t have said. Then you have Thomas, a man who would not believe the report of others, until he had seen something himself. We still have Thomas’s today; but I do not unchristianize them, for that merely brings out the weakness of their faith and confidence at that moment. Do not forget that the Lord did a special thing for Thomas’ sake; instead of condemning him; so that alone should prove, that we certainly should not take it upon ourselves to judge everything according to the way it looks to us at a certain moment of time. History tells us that Thomas was martyred for the faith; in the nation of India, so once he became convinced, there was no turning back. But look at Simon Peter: in Matthew 16:16, we see where he had a great revelation of who Jesus was; for when Jesus asked, Whom do you say that I am, Peter replied. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Yet when Jesus was arrested, he denied even knowing Him. Did the Lord remove him from his office, because of that? No. It was to Peter, He said, (after His resurrection) Feed my sheep. In spite of His human weaknesses, Jesus saw something in him that was going to be of benefit later. Who was it, on the day of Pentecost, that preached a sermon and three thousand souls were saved? God created conditions within that mass of people, that made it necessary for someone to explain what was going on; and Peter was the man that did it. When that 120 disciples of Jesus, came out of the upper room speaking in tongues, it caused a lot of commotion in the streets of Jerusalem; and certain of the local Jews began mocking them, and said, These men are full of new wine. It was at that very moment, that Peter started reaching his hand into that bucket of grain and feeding the sheep; which is what Jesus had told him to do.


PUTTING FIRST THINGS FIRST


As we look back at the 21st chapter of John, where Jesus had met his disciples on the seashore, after they had fished all night, He already had a meal prepared for them; and said to them, “Come and dine.” Then when they finished eating Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” Peter did not quite know what to expect; but he answered right back, “Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee,” Jesus said this time, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus asked him again and when he answered, “Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee,” Jesus said this time, “Feed my sheep,” and then repeated the question a third time, until Peter really became grieved with it all and answered back, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee,” and Jesus repeated once again, “Feed my sheep.” Now in Peter’s mind, he no doubt felt that Jesus was giving him a hard job, and he looked over at John and said, “What shall this man do?” Saints: are you seeing anything in this? Forget Peter and John for a minute, and think about Faith Assembly. When you are asked to do something: what difference does it make, what others are doing? When the Lord speaks to your heart about something: do not check around to see what other people are doing; obey Him. Peter might not have liked the answer Jesus gave him; but He said to him, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.” You may not like the way the Lord answers you at times; but He desires to have you put first things first. WE need to follow Him; before we start looking around to see who else is following. I hope I can say this right; so it will not be misunderstood. But Faith Assembly has a responsibility that goes beyond just drifting along through life. We have been raised up, here in the area where this message started, and people look at us, to see how we are exemplifying the truth that was delivered to this age. Do not say within your heart, Let the others see the example; for it is up to every individual; to conduct themselves in a way that would not cause someone else to stumble.


A SOVEREIGN ACT


Some of you may be like a lot of people that are actually our critics. They have the idea, that what we preach here, is not all that important. But I believe God raised up this little church to stand for something; while others who should have been standing for the same thing, were running the roads criticizing us. I have never desired to be the big chief; nor do I expect to receive any special recognition beyond that which the Lord Himself brings about. I do not need it. All I really desire, is to have the perfect will of God in my life; and to see things, and people, as God sees them. I want to help God’s people whenever I can; and I certainly do not want to miss the will and purpose of God; trying to build something for myself. Neither do I want to interfere with what others are doing, if they themselves can do what they are doing, and keep me out of it. But just to show you how things really are, and let you see how God Himself can change them; I want to relate something to you. Over a year and a half ago, I received a letter from a young man in Africa. I did not know him, I had never heard his name. But in the letter, he spoke of how the other element over there had criticized what we publish in the Contender and warned people against reading it. Then he told of one young man which seemed to be very aggressive spiritually, and desired to do something for God: how he got hold of the Contender, and became very much enlightened, and excited about it, until that other element went to work on him. They put so much unbelief in him, that he felt like it was wrong to even read the Contender. This one, who wrote the letter to me, tried at various times, to explain to him what was happening; but the persecution he was getting from the other element kept him from being able to receive what the brother was trying to get him to see. Then one night, God in His mercy, gave the young man a dream. In the dream, he saw himself go to the Post Office: and was given a package, sent from me; and he knew he had not even asked me for anything. (At that time, he had not even communicated with me.) But when he opened the package, it was a new suit of clothes. (In that part of Africa, a new suit of clothes, is like a bank account of a considerable amount.) Naturally when he awakened, and realized that he had received something from me in the dream, that he had not asked for, he was puzzled by the whole thing. Then, he told the other brother about the dream, and he immediately said to him, Don’t you realize what it is? It is God’s way, through Bro. Jackson, of giving you a revelation that will robe your soul. Well that sovereign act on the part of God Himself, caused the young man to start reading the Contender again; and as he studied the messages, he began to understand what those other characters had been doing. So with great joy and excitement, he sat down and wrote to me, relating the whole matter. Now I do not know how something like this will affect you who sit here all the time and accept this truth that is preached here; but this thrills my soul; just to know that God has a way of dealing with every predestined soul, to get them in the truth of His word, and free from denominational bondage. Hallelujah! Do not ever allow yourself to think that God’s hands are tied. Not one predestined soul will perish. Therefore whether you believe this church is of any importance or not, God is using it to get His message of truth into various parts of the world where souls are hungry; and there is no other source where they can receive truth. The denominational churches have missionaries in all parts of the world, and they know the scriptures; so that they can quote much of the Bible from memory; but they have no revelation of what it means. They have John 3:16; and certainly that comes first; but for a predestined son and daughter of God, that is just the starting place; for God is not saving us, just to keep us from going to hell. There is a life of exampleship to be lived, a message of truth to uphold, and a communion with the Father, that one can only have, after they receive a true revelation of the Godhead; and of His plan and purpose in redemption. Denominational people realize of course, that there is to be some kind of perfection; for they can read that, right in the Bible; but most of them are expecting it to come through some great celebrity; bishop So and So, or cardinal So and So, who has received the Holy Ghost and now speaks in tongues. They have been taught that way; and they will believe like that all their lives, except for certain one’s here and there, who were foreknown of the Father: these will receive a revelation and separate themselves from those systems. These are the ones that will be getting into God’s tub to be cleansed, just like all the rest of us who have been called out of that mess of religious confusion.


DIFFERENT STAGES OF CLEANSING


Once you understand what God is after; you begin to look at things differently. You will no longer come to church just merely out of habit. You will start looking at it from the standpoint: I am here to take a bath. This tub, in reality, gives us a further revelation, and deeper depths in our total commitment to God. We do not come together to pin achievement stars on each other; nor to wave flags and boast of what we have, nor to shove one another aside, and try to take their place; we are here by the grace and mercy of God, to yield ourselves to His total plan and purpose for our lives. There are a lot of people running the roads today; claiming to be in this message of truth; but conducting themselves more like these presidential candidates that are out here trying to get people to line up with them. These kind, are always looking for someone who will agree with them, instead of people who will agree with the word of God. Well it is sad to say; but this kind will never be washed by the word. Saints: I hope you all understand, I am not preaching this to hurt anyone; nor to try to win any special favor for myself. But if I ever saw in my heart anything that every true child of God must do, it is this, and I put myself at the top of the list; knowing that every last one of us require the same kind of cleansing. Therefore having this call of God upon my life; no matter how small or insignificant you may feel yourself to be, if you consider yourself to be a Christian, I am going to do everything God shows me to do, to help you get in this tub. God will supply all the necessary elements to accomplish this cleansing; but it is up to every individual member of the body of Christ, to submit themselves to it. You must come to the designated place, and get in the water. This type of illustration is more of an open situation; like a public bath house. I will use an illustration, that many of you can identify with personally; and that all the rest of you can easily understand. When I was drafted into the Army, during the World War 2 period, my bath procedures changed drastically. Instead of taking a bath privately, in an old number 3 galvanized wash tub, I had to walk into a great big shower room, where there were many shower heads lined up down the wall, strip off naked and take a shower, right in front of a lot of other men. I’ll tell you brothers and sisters, it is a very humiliating experience; but you have to do it, or some others will be designated to strip you down, and scrub you; and when they do it like that, it is never a pleasant experience. Not only are you scrubbed hard, but everyone else knows about it. IN other words, you either take a shower every day, or someone will make you wish you had; for that was a requirement for everyone; and that is exactly how God looks upon this bath, by the washing of His word. If you are a true child of His, and you will not submit yourself willingly when the tub is full: He will use whatever means necessary, to get you into His tub. As I said earlier, This washing is for your inner man, that has not yet learned how to submit totally to him. In the Army, they would scrub you with steel wool, a corn cob, sand paper, or whatever they could get hold of; but I sincerely hope none of us will force the Lord to use such drastic means on us. You may say, why do I need to be washed, I haven’t done anything? But you cannot be in this old world, without getting a little dirt on you once in a while, spiritually speaking. It is all characterized in what the Lord Jesus did at the Passover supper, when he washed His disciples’ feet. Remember how Peter reacted to the idea of his Lord washing his feet? “Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Thou shalt never wash my feet.” That was his way of saying, I am not worthy to have you wash my feet. But what did Jesus say to him? “If I wash thee not, thou has no part with me.” Then Peter’s response was altogether different. In essence, he said, Lord, I just didn’t realize that it was all that necessary. Then he said, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” When he realized that what Jesus was doing really did have significance, he wanted the full benefit; but Jesus said to him, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet but is clean every whit: and ye are clean.” That is clarified in John 15:3, where Jesus said to them, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” We are clean, as far as our faith in the Lord is concerned; and clean because we have received a revelation of the true doctrines of the word of God; but there are still things in our inner make up, that the word of God has not fully penetrated up to this point; and that is what He is after, in this final cleansing process. In other words, We are either going to make it according to the will of the Lord; or He is going to boot us out; for He cannot allow us to choose our own way, when it comes to obeying His word. That brings me to re-state this, There will not be any tares getting into this water; it is strictly for the true children of God. Even they, will not all jump in at first; but their time will come. Just for a little illustration in the natural, I will relate a condition in our own home. You know how some children are, when it comes time for a bath, and head washing; they act like they are scared to death of the water. When our children were small, we had one daughter that would run and hide, when it came time to take a bath. I don’t know exactly why; but a lot of the children of God act the same way, at times. But there came the day with our daughter that this thing was all over. She came walking up to my wife and said, Mommy, I am not going to be like that any more; and she never was. God will bring each of us to such a place concerning His word, before we get out of here in the rapture. Some will be anxious to jump in the tub while others are reluctant; but one thing is sure: there will be no exceptions; we will all be cleansed the same way.


WORLDLY FAME – THEN DISASTER


The tub is being filled, to accomplish in the purpose of God what Paul spoke of, in Ephesians 5:24-26. We have looked at the various conditions that make this bath necessary; and we understand, that in order to take such a bath, there has to be certain instruments in the picture, the tub, the water, the place, and so forth, and we see from the very life of Jesus Himself, the necessity of being tested and proved. Afer He was baptized in water, and the great eternal Spirit took up His abode in Him: the scripture says, He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness; to be tempted of the devil. That is where His great consecration to the will of the Father was finalized; for the devil offered Him everything the world has to offer anyone, if He would just simply agree to his terms. But reminding the devil of what is written in the scriptures, Jesus rejected every temptation, and proved once and for all, that He wanted nothing this world has to offer; but only the perfect will of the Father at all times. Big evangelists of our day, have been offered the same things Jesus was offered; and they fell for it, and are on their road to disaster. As a matter of fact, disaster is already overtaking them; because they chose fame and fortune, instead of the perfect will of God. I am not saying that their great programs never accomplished anything for God; I am only pointing to the fact that the men themselves have missed God; and what little has been accomplished through their great programs, could have been accomplished by a lot smaller means. Jesus had no special agent to set up meetings for him; and no million dollar buildings to preach in; yet what He had to say, has touched lives around this old world ever since; because what He said, and what He did, was all by the leadership of the great eternal Spirit, the Creator of heaven and earth and all things therein. Whatever God directs, will always accomplish His purpose; so when He directs us, by His Spirit, to get into the tub, for our final cleansing; we will be washed clean, and made ready for the coming of the Lord, when we willingly do so.


FIVEFOLD MINISTRY


Now before we actually deal with what the water consists of in this illustration, let us take a look at the hand that will do the scrubbing. The hand in this case, speaks of the fivefold ministry in the Church of the living God. We do not find the word fivefold, in the Bible itself; that is terminology used to describe the five offices set forth in the scriptures, for the perfecting of the body. These are God called men from over the face of this entire globe, that God directs by His Spirit, to minister to His Church; which is called the body of Christ. I can assure you also, that Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson and these other great men with such world recognition, are not among that fivefold ministry. They speak as though they are; but they refuse to adhere to the doctrines and principles set forth in the scriptures; and run their programs according to what their supporters expect, instead. Brothers and Sisters: This washing and dressing that gets us ready to meet the Lord, will be done in such a simple way, the world church will not even know it is taking place. While they are looking for some great thing to take place: the true people of God will be moving right into place, according to the perfect plan of the Father. But for a thorough washing of the body, a hand is needed; and we need to take a look at that hand. Some hands are not very pretty to look at; but no matter how rough, and crude looking they are: to the body they belong to, they do the job. It is the fingers and thumb on that hand, that really fill in the details for this comparison though, for each one of them has a certain function that they perform for the body. The thumb sort of sticks out there by itself; but actually it works in harmony with each of the four fingers. It is the thumb, that actually locks everything in the grip of the fingers. It is also the thumb, that controls the object of whatever the hand lifts up. Once that thumb locks an object in, you can do just about anything you desire to do with it; but the thumb alone, without the fingers, is not nearly so useful to the body. It takes the five working together, for the most effective benefit to the body. Your index finger is a pointing finger. If someone asks you for directions: that index finger is the one that automatically points the way. But the middle finger, the one that sticks out the farthest, has a nerve in it, that runs right to the brain, and is uniquely called the balance finger. It is very sensitive to the equalizing of things. Close your eyes and walk toward a wall, and see which finger gives you the first warning of what is ahead. Then we look at the last two together, the ring finger and the little finger. These two fingers work together, have the touch of tenderness, as you take hold of a little baby, it will immediately start crying, simply because they do not realize the importance of that tender touch. Little children, and especially babies, are very sensitive to the touch of your hand; and it is those last two fingers on your hand, that really make the difference. But having said this much, I will say no more. For if I tried to tell you which one is an apostle, which is a prophet, which is an evangelist, and so forth: some would take it and go the wrong way with it. People are so technical about these things; and yet so careless, when it comes to the overall picture. They will lay hold on a man, and make him anything that suits their purpose; but the very moment he goes a little contrary to something they are expecting: they will run him out of town on a rail. People like that will never know for sure who is God sent, and who is not; but the little bride of Christ will, because there is something in her to bear witness to the true ministry sent of God. But remember, It takes the full hand, to properly bathe the body; so from the spiritual standpoint, just be sure you do not get your eyes upon any one man; and refuse to take anything from anyone else, or you will never be washed clean. For instance, your thumb will not go in your ear; but neither can you grip a wash cloth very well without the use of the thumb.


THE WATER TEMPERATURE


Let us begin now, to look at the water of this illustration. This water will not affect your physical body; it is strictly for the cleansing of your inner self. Oh there are certain things that will no doubt be reflected by the outer shell; but the cleansing is for the inner man; that is to be molded into the very image of Jesus Christ. Well before you get into a tub of natural water, you test the temperature. Some people like the water a little hotter than others; so they do not get into the tub until the temperature is right. But remember, God is not going to force you to get into the water. That is something we do willingly because we desire to be clean. If God has to use persuasion, or force in any way, it will be for the purpose of waking us up to our need of this cleansing, instead of actually forcing us into the tub. I hope you c an see the difference. There is a definite difference between forcing someone to do something against their will, and actually creating conditions in their lives that turns their thinking around and makes them willing to do it. But do not be mislead by those who are just putting on a show of righteousness; for Jesus Himself said, Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father. We have slept, in our walk with the Lord; and our garments have become wrinkled and blemished; so whatever this washing process is to do for us, it is to the inner man, that it will be done; for that is where our robe of righteousness is worn, and that robe must be acceptable to Him; for us to be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. In Revelation 19:7, we find these words, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath MADE HERSELF ready.” To the natural mind, all of this may sound very confusing, talking about washing the body, getting spots, wrinkles and blemishes out of our robes of righteousness, and dressing ourselves properly. But the person with a spiritual mind, knows every bit of this terminology applies to the application of the revealed word of God to our lives. In its various phases, it picks us up out of the filth of this world, cleanses us from unbelief, fills us with the Holy Spirit, reveals the overall plan and purpose of God to us, cleans up our attitudes and motives, and robes us with a garment of righteousness, that makes us just like Jesus. But this is not done in a day’s time; it is accomplished over a period of time; and our progress depends upon many factors. Some have more opportunities than others; and some yield themselves to the leadership of the Spirit more readily than others, but by the time Jesus appears for the rapture, all of God’s true living bride saints, will be ready to arise and meet Him in the air. Therefore no matter what examples are used, and no matter what the terminology may be: the word of God is designated to accomplish every needed thing, and the more we yield to Him, the faster we grow. It is just that simple. God furnishes the means, and we furnish ourselves, and in the end, He gets what He is after.


ALL SHOULD SPEAK THE SAME THING


Let us go to 1st Corinthians now, to see how this water is going to affect us. We will begin in verse 10, of Chapter 1. This is where we begin to check the temperature of the water. Now you may say, Bro. Jackson: How can you get that, out of this scripture? Well let us just begin reading, and see. Remember, Paul was dealing with that generation of what we call, the Apostolic Church. They had no tares, nor foolish virgins in the picture at that time; so from the time they surrendered their hearts to God, they were brought into a relationship where the word of God began to accomplish in their lives, His purpose of purification and true cleansing. Naturally the end results were not in the picture at that time, because it had to be applied to the Church, over centuries of time. But Paul said this, “Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” There are a number of points to be brought out; from just that one verse. First, he knows they are brethren; for there were no tares in the picture at that time. Then we not that he is not just giving his own opinion; for he said he was speaking by the authority of Jesus Christ who is the head of the body. Then they were admonished to all speak the same thing. Well there is only one way to do that. In order for all to speak the same thing: everyone has to be getting what they speak, from the same source; and that source would have to be the head. Some will always say, or at least think, Is that possible? Well brothers and sisters, the hour is coming, when we will all speak the same thing; or we will not all go to the same place. I say that, with love and respect for every true child of God, regardless of what your stage of statural growth may be. If Jesus loved you enough to purchase you with His own blood: it behooves me to look upon you as one redeemed by the same blood that redeemed me. Think of Jesus Himself, as he hung there on that old cross, with that angry mob ridiculing Him. He said, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. The kind of love He displayed there, is what the Father has purposed to perfect in every true child of His that is still alive, waiting for the rapture to take place. Well when Paul wrote this, there was no such thing as a denomination, so it had to be because of some condition that had arisen in the Church, among the Christian people. In other words, among those whom Paul looked upon as children of God. It was not denominational differences, like we have all be subjected to; it was just a difference in the way they looked upon the ministry of that hour, and what they meant to them personally. Any time we are left to make decisions, based upon our natural eyesight, and our natural hearing, we will not see and hear as God sees and hears. Therefore if we are admonished in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to all speak the same thing: that means God has obligated Himself to make the truth available to each one of us. In other words, it is possible for each one of us to receive from the head. Yes, legally we all have the same head; but in reality you would never know it, because we are so busy with our thoughts; His thoughts do not flow down to us. The communication line is cut off. In order to have the mind of Christ, we have to be emptied of self. That applies to every area of life.

PROBLEMS AT CORINTH


Now saints, we might look upon this problem in the Corinthian Church, and consider it a simple one; but remember this, That was the beginning of what eventually became the spirit of denominationalism. It all started in personal feelings as to who meant the most to who; but look what that spirit has produced during the 1900 years since Paul dealt with this problem. Let us read a little more; and you will see what I mean. Verse 11, “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.” That does not mean that the family of Chloe were a bunch of tattlers. They just simply recognized a condition in the Church, that they did not know how to handle; so they wrote to Paul about it. What was the problem? Let us see what Paul had to say about it. “Now this I say, that everyone of you saith, I am of Paul; (In other words, I believe like Paul) and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” Any time a congregation of people, no matter how large, or how small it may be, begin to have personal feelings as to the importance of men in the ministry; there will sooner or later, be divisions as a result of it. Some have personal feelings as to the importance of men in the ministry: there will sooner or later, be divisions as a result of it. Some have personal friends in the ministry, and they feel that this should make a difference. Others feel that because they were saved under the ministry of a certain man, that should make a difference, and all such as this; when actually every true minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, has the same purpose at heart; which is to give Jesus the preeminence in all things. It is so easy to take sides in this sort of thing, if we do not talk to the head about the situation, as soon as we hear about it. I do not mean to belittle anyone that has ever been guilty of conduct such as this; for at one time or other, we all have. But the way is made, for every true child of God to be led by the Spirit; and those who have learned to follow His leading, are free from this sort of problem. Coming out of the Dark Ages though, the Church became scattered around among many different denominations so that God could only deal with individuals on the basis of their own personal walk with Him. Perfection of the Church, was not even in the picture during those years. Many of those old saints lived lives so dedicated to Christ, that they saw themselves in those scriptures, and would not get involved in situations that would arise. These would live their lives, die and go into the grave with that kind of dedication; while others who would not take their advice, would fight and fuss, and verbally whip each other all over the place; and finally, some would leave, and go build another church. There was no law against that; but the point is, That kind of spirit can never perfect the Church.


DIFFERENCES OVER BAPTISM


As Paul responded to the information that had been presented to him by the house of Chloe, he did not hesitate to mention the name of the family that had cared enough about what was going on, to write to him about it. He said, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; (Peter) and I of Christ. (They had their eyes upon the one that God had used to lead them to Christ, rather than upon Christ Himself; so Paul said this.) Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (It is not a matter of how baptized you; for we are all ministers of Jesus Christ, and whatever we do, should point you to Him.) I think God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; (says Paul) Lest any (of you) should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides (them) I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” Of course, people who try to prove that baptism is not important, always jump on that; not really caring what Paul was actually dealing with. He knew the virtue did not lay in who did the baptizing; so I am sure he let his co-workers in the gospel of Christ do most of that, as they went from place to place. But do not ever try to prove that Paul did not care whether new converts were baptized or not; or you will have to skip over Acts 19:1-5, where He questioned some men about their baptism; and they were re-baptized. If I did not have anything else to look at. I would still have to say, Baptism is important, when I read the 19th chapter of Acts; and if you are honest, you will too. If Paul had been like some of these modern preachers of our day: he would have said, Oh well, it doesn’t matter whether you are baptized or not, just as long as you believe in Jesus. But to me, what he did there emphasizes the importance of being baptized; and of being baptized correctly; but does not put any importance upon who does the baptizing. He knew, when he wrote to that Corinthian Assembly, that as long as they were placing importance upon whose ministry they came in under: they would never gain any favor with God. A congregation will never move on with God; as long as they have that kind of bickering in their midst. But for them to all speak the same thing, like he admonished them to do, they all had to start talking to the head; (Jesus Christ) and then let the head talk to them. As children of God, if we have not heard from the head, we ought to just keep our mouth’s shut. For you can be sure, that when we start speaking things that do not come from the head, the devil will find a way to use it; to stir up trouble. What people say many times, is just their own natural ideas about certain things, and not really meant to cause any trouble; but it turns out that if they are too stubborn to admit it, when they are wrong, the devil is always there to take over. He enlarges on it; and sees to it, that others get in on it. But just as Paul asked that Corinthian Church, Is Christ divided? Sometimes people conduct themselves as though they think there are all different kinds of Christians. (I am talking about people who are supposed to know the truth.) But if you had lived in that apostolic hour of time, you would have known for sure, that to be a Christian, was to believe the gospel as it was preached by those who had walked with Jesus: for there were no private interpretations for select groups. What was preached mean the same thing to all who believed it; or they had to be straightened out, just like these did. That is the very reason why I seldom ever baptize anyone; because the virtue does not lay in the man who baptizes; but rather in the obedience on the part of the one being baptized. When a believer presents himself, or herself for scriptural baptism, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; then the benefit Peter spoke of, in Acts 2:38, is received, no matter who does the baptizing. Naturally that rests within the scope of the true believers. You would not go to a trinity preacher, to get baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; for they believe baptism is just for a testimony to the world, of the faith you have in Jesus Christ. I have never yet figured out, who they think the old Ethiopian eunuch Phillip baptized, was testifying to. Nevertheless when Phillip preached the gospel to him, he was ready to get baptized, just as soon as they came upon a hole of water. That one event in itself, ought to tell people something, if they had eyes to see truth. In the case of these Corinthian believers: it seems that they had just let themselves drift into carnal arguments, conducting themselves like little children who argue among themselves. Anytime you find people placing special emphasis on who baptized them, or on the place WHERE they were baptized (like maybe the Jordan river) you can know for sure, that they are people who need to grow up. You could know all about serpent seed, the godhead, eternal security, and all of those doctrinal points; but if you allow the devil to play with your mind and fill it with little personality traits, you are not going to grow another inch; spiritually speaking, until you get straightened out. I will not take away your experience of justification; but I will tell you this; God did not save your soul, to have you act like that. If you are guilty: go to your brother or sister whichever the case may be, and say, I am sorry I argued with you about whatever it was, and ask each other’s forgiveness. That is the only way you are going to get back on the right track with the Lord, and start growing again. Furthermore if you are truly a child of God, He is only going to let you get by with those little carnal disagreements, just so long, and then He will let the devil shoot an arrow through you, that will create such a hurt in you that you will never get over it. Naturally this is just my way of trying to impress upon you, the fact that it is possible to allow yourself to drift to a place, that even though God forgives you when you repent, you never fully recover from the hurt that you have experienced. Many times Christian people are guilty of conduct and attitudes that create a sickening affect within the body of people they assemble with, rather than helping that body to cast a greater light, and reflect a greater image of the one who died for us on Calvary. Denominational people have always fussed and argued among themselves; but the true body of Christ has no place for that kind of carnality. That is why we need to get into this tub we have been talking about.


A FRESH VISION


I hope all of you remember what I said, before I started reminding you of these various carnal actions and attitudes of some Christian people. I said, We will test the water, to see if the temperature is right, and see if we are ready to get into the tub. Some of you may say, What is he talking about? But if the Spirit of God ever deals with you, like He did with me, a week ago Thursday night: you would not have to ask such a question. All week long I had thought, Lord what am I going to preach on, this weekend? I had these other brethren preach Sunday night, and Thursday night, and I went to bed Thursday night, with my mind in a normal trend of thinking. But when I awakened Friday morning: it was just like my mind had been dealt with all night long. It was as though my thoughts were being pulled out of a memory bank, and projecting a picture before me, using these scriptures that I am dealing with. They just came to me one right after the other, a constant flow. I could begin to see an altogether different way of looking at people, and of dealing with them. But let me say this also, My words may sound stern, and some of you may think I am mad at you, and that I am picking on you. I am not picking on anyone, and I am not trying to be hurtful; but at the same time I know that I cannot take back what I say; it is to accomplish a purpose of God. If you think none of this applies to you: then just be patient; your time will come; for you are not out of here yet. God still has some work to do on you, before the rapture takes place; if you are a child of His. I have had a week to think this over, and the picture has stayed right there before me; so I have no doubt that God wants it dealt with. Therefore I will ask you to go with me into the 3rd chapter of 1st Peter, at this time. By the help of God: we are going to see, that without using the same words, Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude, all dealt with the same thing, in the lives of the Christians of their day. But even though they did not use the same words, (In other words, they did not quote each other) what they wrote, was to accomplish the same purpose. Our very human makeup constantly rebels against God; so we have to be taught to bring this old human nature under subjection to the Spirit we now have within us, in order to be molded into a vessel that can fulfill the purpose of God. Peter has been talking about husbands and wives, building up to a spiritual picture that is to be applied, so let us begin reading in verse 8, and realize that he is definitely writing to believers who have all been redeemed by the same shed blood of Jesus Christ; and all baptized into one body by the same Spirit, according to what Paul said, in 1st Corinthians 12:13. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, (He is not saying one thing different than what Paul said; he is just using his own words.) Love as brethren, be pitiful, (The word pitiful, means compassion in this sense. In other words, be full of compassion, one for another.) Be courteous.” To be courteous in the sense of this usage, is to have a generous expression of greeting and respect for each other, no matter what the circumstances may be. That cannot be applied to tares of course; but people who are all true children of God will eventually have to come to such a place. Naturally God Himself is the only one that knows for sure who is a tare, and who is a son or daughter of His; therefore as we apply these scriptures to our own lives, we will be treating tares as though they are true children of God, as long as they are able to sit among us. But when these true Christian virtues are really being applied in an assembly, tares do not feel the liberty to attend and participate, like they do when the real children of God conduct themselves more like they do. IN other words, we are going to have to yield ourselves more to the Spirit of God; and allow Him to cultivate in us, His attributes; before we can see tares as God Himself sees them. Paul, Peter, and those leaders in the Church of the 1st century, recognized that tare spirit, as it came down the road trying to get into the Church; and that caused them to write to the various assemblies; warning them of such. You can read 2nd Thessalonians, Chapter 2, and see what Paul wrote to them; and in the 2nd Chapter of 2nd Peter, You see what Peter had to say about false teachers, and so forth. Then in the 1st Epistle of John Chapter 2, he speaks of the same thing, and then says. “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” He said, “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is OF THE TRUTH.” He has quite a bit to say about antichrists, but you can read it later, if you wish. James likewise admonished those who are sanctified by the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, to earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints; because there are certain men ordained to condemnation themselves, who will take the truth and pervert it, and so forth. So the point is, God is not trying to force us to agree with tares: but rather to conduct ourselves like children of God ought to, rather than act like the tares that sit among us, even if they do reap some benefit from it all. God is not even trying to change the tares; it is you and me, that He is after. He will never get any of them in this tub we are looking at here; but a lot of them have followed the saints to the place where the tub is. God will deal specifically with each child of His, until the inner man is completely dedicated and consecrated to the point where we can see as Jesus saw. NO ROOM FOR SELFISHNESS


As we continue on with what Peter wrote, I will say this, We can never be of the same mind; as long as we have selfish, personal feelings about how the body of Christ is to function. Nor if we have selfish ambitions, or jealous motives. Your hand is not jealous of your head. If you bump the thing on something and a big knot raises up on it: what is the first thing that happens? Your hand automatically rubs it; in an effort to comfort it; and that is the way we should be, as members of this body of Christ. We rub each other many times, but I am afraid it is for the wrong reason too much of the time; rubbing each other the wrong way, as the saying goes. When we all begin to be of the same mind, like the scripture tells us we should be, we will all flow with the Spirit in the same direction. If you want a good look at just the opposite of that, look at Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jerry Falwell. They all read the same Bible we read. They all claim to be Christians; called of God to lead His people. Yet when you look at them, you see five different heads, going five different ways. They are not of the same mind; and never can be; so do not look at them for what you need; look to Jesus, the true author of all these scriptures we are looking at. As I said earlier, none of us are immune to the devil’s tricks so unless we hide ourselves in Jesus Christ, and let Him robe us with His righteousness: we are headed for trouble. Time is too short, for God to allow us to keep putting off, what we know we should do. He will just simply turn hell loose against us, until we surrender up, and give Him what He is after. He will not allow us to hide behind the name of Jesus forever, while we run the road of life greedily seeking popularity and recognition for selfish, personal gain. If I am supposed to be anything: I do not try to outsmart someone else. God Himself puts up those who are supposed to be up; and He will eventually put down all the rest, but He will first let them manifest what they truly have in them; so that those who are spiritual, may know what is happening.


BE A BLESSING


Verse 9, here in 1st Peter, chapter 3, is what really begins to speak to us. It is sometimes hard for us to see ourselves as we really are; unless someone actually forces us to look into a mirror. Well that is what this is; a mirror that lets us take a good look at ourselves in the light of reality. Continuing on from verse 8, Peter says, “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” The word railing, speaks of accusing and condemning statements made when people are disagreeing with each other. Peter says it should be just the opposite (contrariwise) of that; we should be looking for ways to be a blessing to each other, knowing that we are all called of God, to inherit a blessing. How many times have we just read right over those verses, without even realizing that they were written for the purpose of helping us in our spiritual walk with the Lord, and with each other? Our old flesh is capable of doing things at times, when under pressure, that we as children of God would not do. That is another reason why we need washing with the water of God’s word. Whatever there is a need for: God makes it available to us. We speak of divine healing; and we realize that it is an act of God’s mercy; but it can only be recognized in situations where it is needed. If there is no need for healing: healing is not on our minds. (I am just using this to make a point.) But if we have a loved one lying at the point of death, and medical science has exhausted their resources, and said that there is nothing more that they can do: then everything rests completely in the hands of God. If there is a change, and the person recovers, we understand that they have been touched by the invisible hand of the Almighty Creator Himself. Some of the old time doctors of years past, would say to you, His condition is beyond my ability to deal with; it is now up to a higher power. But the point I am making, is that there was a need for that healing touch; and God was glorified in it. Well in some ways, the way we look at it, we would have to say, the body of Christ is sick. Some of it’s problems seem to be beyond our human comprehension. We see no way that God could ever be glorified through it. But the truth is, Jesus Christ hung there on an old cross almost two thousand years ago, suffering shame and agony His precious blood spilled upon the ground, to redeem us back to God. Therefore we need to look upon each other as children of God; and regardless of how hopeless it looks: know that God is able to heal whatever is sick, and wash whatever is dirty, and in the end, have a glorious Church, without spot, wrinkle, or blemish; that Jesus Christ can present to Himself, to sit with Him, and rule with Him for a thousand years. Only when we humble ourselves and yield to the leadership of the Spirit, can we see each other as God sees us. We see all the faults and failures of one another, and many times, instead of trying to help one another, we push each other down. Brothers and Sisters: Paul compared these individual members of the body of Christ, to the individual members of our own human bodies, to show how we need to help each other, in order for the body to function properly. I cannot put any of you into heaven; and I cannot take any of you out of heaven; so if I cannot help you along the way: I at least, ought not hinder you. But the truth is, If I just stand back, and fail to get into this tub where God can wash me: I will hinder you; because I will not be able to deal with problems of life in a spiritual way. Our thoughts are not God’s thoughts; unless we are led of the Spirit. That is why the world is full of preachers today who can quote the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and still not be true mouth pieces for God. They look at everything through their natural understanding, instead of letting the head (Jesus Christ) do their thinking. When God takes the truth recorded on those pages, and puts it in your heart: you d o not have to memorize the verses word for word; it is a picture stamped upon your heart, that Satan cannot take away from you. Thousands can rise against it; but the truth you hold by revelation cannot be shaken. That is what God is after; a people that will not let every little carnal thing that comes along, shake them, and cause them to abuse each other.


DEAD AT LAST


When I woke up Friday morning: I just had to go pray. These scriptures were all running through my mind one right after the other, in a constant flow. But as I went before the Lord in prayer, a picture began to form: and I could see what this washing really does. It washes your old nature away completely; so that the old man of the flesh is finally crucified, and the Spirit of God is in complete control. We do not die easily. One day we will think we are dead; and the next day realize that we are just as much alive as ever. The Holy Ghost is in us; but He is not leading us; we have made Him a prisoner, so to speak. Nevertheless as we walk this road of life, and many times do and say things that are not right, it is His presence in us, that lets us know we are not going to get by with it. WE know the chastening hand of God will go to work on us in some way. That is a promise from His word; that every son whom He receiveth will be chastened. What we do, or say, may seem to us like a very small, insignificant thing; but in the eyes of God, be looked upon as an evil act, or evil expression. That is because we do not see what the devil is able to do; as he lurks in the shadows looking for an opportunity to push us the wrong way in our inner feelings. Bro. Jackson: do you really believe Holy Ghost filled Christians are guilty of the things you have been talking about? I certainly do. Who do you think these Holy men of God were writing to? Not one admonition in any of these epistles was written to tares. If you think Christian people never do anything wrong: you are terribly misguided. The scripture says, Be ye perfect. It does not say, you are already perfect. Some people are looking for something that is perfect; that they can join up with. I have actually heard people say. I am looking for the perfect church. Well you may be looking for it; but you are not going to find it. The best you can do, is find a body of people who desire to be made perfect, and get with them; and one day, you will see the perfect Church. As long as the Church has a need to be washed: God is going to keep gathering her together in places where she can be washed; and the individuals that make up the true Church, will recognize their need for this washing. How will they recognize that? By seeing themselves as they are; and realizing that they are not yet like Jesus Christ, whom they are to be made into the image of. Foolish pride keeps a lot of people from admitting just how needy they really are. But one thing is sure: Their condition is not hid from God; and if they are His children, they will have to get into the same tub all the rest of us are being washed in. He will not make any special provisions; to cater to their feelings of pride. When we first receive the Holy Ghost we are so tender toward God, that we are willing to do anything just to please Him. But as time passes and He begins to pull back that hedge He had around us, and allow us to be subjected to the vicious attacks of our adversary and devil, our old self has an opportunity to respond, and many times we do not act like Christians at all. Political affiliations and individual feelings get us into some very embarrassing situations at times. It does not mean that we have not experienced the grace of God in our soul; it just proves that there is still too much of the old nature present, and lets us realize that God has much work yet, before we are molded into the image He is looking for. Some people look for an argument, like ducks look for a whole of water. They think arguing brings out virtue; but what it really brings out is carnality. God lets them see a little something in His word, and they immediately grab hold of someone who does not see it, and argue with them about it. What good does that do? Only the Spirit of God can give a person a revelation. Arguing will not do it. It takes some people longer than others, to realize that you cannot accomplish the purpose of God by sticking your foot in every open door where there is a chance to argue with someone. There are times when everything you say may be 100 percent correct, and you may be 100 percent wrong in saying it, because your motive is wrong, or because you have run ahead of the Lord. These are just things I am using to cause us to examine ourselves, and see if we are ready to get into the tub and be washed. How many times have you heard people leave church and say, Who does he think he is, talking like that? He is just a human being like me. They feel that by cutting someone else down, it elevates them. It ought not be like that; but it is. That old carnal nature is there; until God’s word washes it away. As the word of God deals with our old nature, we will come to the place where a brother, or a sister can say a little something wrong about us, without our blood pressure hitting the ceiling. None of these attributes of Christ are imputed to us immediately, just because we are born of the Spirit. They have to be cultivated in us over a period of time. But as this word begins to have an affect upon you: when you say something wrong, or react wrong at something someone else says, you are going to have a bad taste in your mouth, until you come back to the water. You know how it is when you have a bad taste in your mouth; your own saliva will not change it; but if you can get to some good fresh water, a few mouthfuls will soon make a difference. You can rinse out that bad taste. Well this water of the word will accomplish the same thing spiritually speaking. As it begins to have that cleansing effect on us though: it will require something from us. We will be required to undo a lot of things we have done; and we will have to do a lot of things we have neglected to do. That is the reason I have said so many times. We have not yet seen the true Church of the living God in action. It will be a beautiful thing to behold; when we all see the same picture, and all speak the same thing, and all have the same care and concern for each other. That does not mean you will all have to like cherry pie; like I do, nor season your beans like I do; but when it comes to spiritual things, we will all be alike. Right now though: the objective of God is to show us our individual need to be washed. Some have one need and others another; but we all have need of taking on more of the mind of Christ. Of course I realize that a message like this can cause some people to think that I am saying all Christians are bad people. It is not meant to do that; but certainly it should cause every one of us to realize that the Church has not yet had her final washing by the word of God. We may look back to 30 years ago, when we first received the baptism of the Holy ghost and say, I know what God did for me that night, and my life has never been the same since. Well hindsight is a wonderful thing; we can learn a lot from it; but what we need for the future is foresight. We must become pliable in the hands of God, so that we can be shaped like He wants us; and ask him to help us look down the road of life and recognize Satan’s underhanded devices in time to avoid them. No longer, should we allow ourselves to render evil for evil, (do something to get even when someone wrongs us) but contrariwise. (Just the opposite) We need to learn how to apply the words of Jesus over in the 5th chapter of Matthew, where He dealt with proper attitudes and reactions. In verses 38 and 39, He said this, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” You may say, Bro. Jackson: He was not talking to Holy Ghost filled Christians. No, but the reactions, attitudes and motives He was describing, are the same as what he intends to mold in us. When we really begin to mature as Christians: our spiritual mentality reaches a place where it is not easy to provoke it to react in the wrong way. Someone could say to your face, Brother, there has always been something about you, that I just do not like; and instead of flying off into a rage and trying to say something hurtful back to the person: You stick out your hand and say, Brother that is all right; may the Lord bless you; God’s still working on me. We just have to realize that this old flesh we live in is forever being prodded by the devil, trying to get it to react contrary to the righteous ways set forth in the word of God; and only as we mature spiritually, are we able to recognize what is happening, and respond to it in a Christlike way.


REACHING OUR FULL POTENTIAL


I have used the parable in Matthew 13, many times over the years; where Jesus spoke of the seed that fell into the good ground and brought forth fruit, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold; because we need to understand that even though we are children of God by the new birth process: we do not all have the same potential, or ability. A thirtyfold Christian will never attain any more than a thirtyfold output; even at full stature; and the sixtyfold likewise, no matter how dedicated they are. Furthermore do not think anyone comes bearing their full fruit potential the very day they are saved. You begin at birth, (the new birth) and the thirty, sixty, and hundredfold potentials are what lies before us. That is what we have the ability of maturing to, and we do not graduate from one to the other. But God Himself is the only one that knows who is in which category; we do not. We all have the same scriptures to live by; no matter what our fruit producing abilities are. But as Peter says here, knowing that we are called to inherit a blessing: we should endeavor to be a blessing also. I believe I can safely say, there is not one person among you, that would not like to inherit a blessing. Yet the greatest blessing many times, just to be able to see others as God sees them; and desire that God use us to help some of them. When we come to that place, we lose our own individual attitude about how everything must be done; and learn to cooperate with the leadership of the Spirit. Verse 10, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” I am sure every one of us wants to love life; but what Peter is referring to, is the peaceful atmosphere we enjoy as we journey along the pathway of life with other brothers and sisters of the faith, sheltered by the grace of God. In order for it to be like that, we have to allow this word of God to work in us, and cause us to do our part. Oh yes, Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Then I believe it was Paul that said, All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. But regardless of the tribulation and persecution you suffer: you will never suffer anything worse than what Jesus suffered for you; and He did it willingly, knowing that He could have called the angels at any moment, to set Him free. One thing some of you need to get straightened out on though, is that persecution does not come from a brother or a sister of the faith; that is only aggravations of the flesh. Persecution, is when people who do not believe like you do, go to work on you. We have been sheltered from a lot of persecution; but it may not always be like that. We never know what may hit our nation, that could throw some of us right out here in a refugee camp, before we get out of here in the rapture. If that happens, you had better hope you have learned enough, and got your feet planted solid enough on the Rock of salvation, that you can stand; for you will then, find out what real persecution is. What we have had a tendency to think of as persecution in the past, we will suddenly learn, were just aggravations God allowed in our lives, for us to grow on. In other words, We have to learn how to look up to Jesus, (who has already overcome the world and stands ready to help us) instead of running the roads of life screaming and crying all the time. Do you not see the necessity of our being tested in every area of life? Adam was tested, Noah was tested, Abraham was tested, and so was Jesus. The family God will have when redemption and restoration are completed: will be a family that has been through the fire, so to speak, and yet had something in them, that kept them from giving up to the devil and returning to the world. Therefore let me say again, Just as there never would have been a need for divine healing, if there had never been any sickness, neither would there be a need for washing by the word, if there were no chance of our being contaminated in this old world.


TROUBLE WITH OUR TONGUES


Some of you had a hard time getting free from the clutches of denominational systems. There were people in there that you loved, and felt tied to; and even though you knew you had to go, you hated to leave them. But when the truth you had received, and the hunger of your soul demanded that you get out of there: did they say nice things to you? Did they have a special dinner for you, and give you gifts? No. It was just the opposite of that. But there was something in you that made you willing to go; regardless of the cost to your flesh. There was no way to avoid the persecution you received from them; but the grace of God was sufficient; and now you would not go back into that bondage for anything in the world. Oh yes, some came out, and have gone back; but what brought them out in the first place? That is what makes the difference. Thrills and excitement will cause a person to make a lot of sacrifices to be where it is; but it takes a true revelation, and a genuine experience with the Lord to enable you to produce fruit and grow toward your full potential. These are the ones that will be led by the Holy Ghost into the tub, to be washed by the water of God’s word as this age closes out. While Jimmy Swaggart and Oral Roberts are having their problems, trying to fulfill what they say God has called them to do: we can look to Jesus, with the full assurance that we will not be called to do anything for God, that He will not furnish the means for us to do it. Hallelujah! What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arm of the Lord. We may appear silly; to the world, when we give up our own mind and take on the mind of Christ, but that is what every true child of God is destined to do. Sure, my flesh will keep trying to get in my way; but the word of God holds the solution; and the sooner I allow it to start having it’s affect, the sooner I will be able to start enjoying the benefits Peter spoke of. We see no good days, as long as we are constantly picking at each other, and being offended at each other; therefore the first thing we have to do is get our tongue under control. James had quite a bit to say about the tongue; in his little epistle, so let us just open our Bibles to the 3rd chapter, and read it. This will help us see where most of our trouble in life comes from. Verse 2, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn around their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature: and it is set on fire of hell.” We will not read it all; but I find it very interesting, that this apostle would devote so many verses of his short epistle, to the tongue, in Verse 10, he said, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be.” When you read scripture such as this you think, Why should Christians need to be talked to like that? But if we are honest, a little self examination will let us understand; that we are not made perfect the very day we receive the Holy Ghost. If there was no need for Christians to be admonished in ways of righteousness, these anointed men of God never would have wasted time writing these epistles in the first place. “Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” Craftiness, subtlety, and deceitfulness, have no place in the lives of Christians; but these are all things of our old nature; and it takes a cleansing by the word of God, to get it all out of us. Let us notice what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church along these lines. In 1st Corinthians 15:33, he wrote, “Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners.” Too much vain and idle talking will eventually corrupt the good qualities of our Christian faith. I do not want to be looked upon as a fellow who has no Christian manners; do you? The world can never see the Jesus of the Bible through most of what is referred to as Christianity today; but certainly there should come a time in our Christian walk that HE can be seen through our lives. In order for that to be so: there has to be a complete reversal in us. Instead of the inner man being controlled by the flesh, the flesh has to be subject unto the inner man. Just look at the spectacle Oral Roberts put on, for the world to view and make their remarks about. People who yield themselves to the spirit that caused him to do such a thing as that, really make a mockery out of being led by the Spirit of God. Why should a God who owns everything, need to threaten a man’s life, if he fails to raise so much money in a certain length of time? That was bad enough in itself, to make the great Creator of all things a beggar. But to stoop so low as to allow a gambler to bail him out of his financial difficulties is really pressing the grace of God to an extremity. If God would tell a man something like that, “If you do not raise so much money by a certain time, I am going to take your life,” then people like the Apostle Paul, Peter, James and John, wrote a lot of things contrary to the mind of God. Well we all know in our hearts God did not tell the man that; it would be contrary to the consistent principles of His word. If Paul were alive today he would say, Oral Roberts needs to be content with such things as he has; and learn to live within his means. In his epistle to Timothy, Paul said, (1st Tim. 6:6) “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (Notice verse 9 now) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a SNARE, (a snare grabs you unexpectedly; and leaves you dangling in the air.) And into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, THEY HAVE ERRED FROM THE FAITH, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Men like that, have presented God as a beggar, to the world, simply because a spirit got hold of them, that made them desire to be the biggest. Every one of them, tries his level best to outdo what all the others are doing. But I tell you saints: This is an hour when God is going to bring a lot of this bigness down; and the little Church of Jesus Christ will walk down the road of life in simplicity; just like she started out, almost two thousand years ago; not even desiring to be put on display to the world. When God gets ready for something to be put on display: He knows how to get it done. People out here in the world are always looking for something of interest, to write a story about; so all God has to do, is just let one of them get curious about all those cars that are parked out here in view of the Interstate every Thursday and Sunday. They will come driving slowly down Potter’s Lane; and work their way into the building. They may not even ask questions at first; but inside their heart, they will be looking for something to write a story about; therefore they will eventually start asking questions, What do you believe? Who do you follow? How many people belong to your organization, and how much money do you collect each year? What are you going to tell them? Will you tell them what they want to hear? Or will you tell them we all love the Lord, and are just trying to mind our own business, as we worship Him together? We are not out here to run a race with the world; nor do we really care what the world thinks about us; it is the favor of God we desire. We have no organized programs; and we have no creed but Christ. We have no book, but the Bible; and the only law we have is the law of the love of God in our hearts. We have nothing to hide from anyone; and yet we have no desire nor reason to broadcast what we have to the world. If there is someone out there, whom God wants to hear the truth of His word; He will make sure truth is presented to that person when the time is right. Knowing that, keeps us from running our legs off in vain, as many of the denominational organizations have their people doing. They think, if they can just get people to come to church, they have fulfilled the purpose of God. But there are people sitting in churches every Sunday; and even in charge of their organized programs; that have never had a personal experience of salvation. They are there, because someone has gone out and persuaded them to come in; and then they have been put up as leaders, and you have the blind leading the blind. If we are anything at all: it is only by the grace and mercy of God. For before we can come to Him, He first has to come to us, and convict us of our need. He does that in various ways, of course; but the instruments He uses are led and directed by His Spirit; and seek no glory and honor for themselves. People who seek recognition and personal gain from serving God, are not serving God at all; they are serving their own lusts, and will lose out completely; when God starts narrowing this thing down. Jesus did not say in vain, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: (Matt. 7:13-15) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, (eternal life) and few there be that find it.” Why is that so? Because, like Cain, great multitudes just simply want to be religious, and have no love whatsoever for the truth. Therefore they will accept anything that sounds good to their flesh. But to the chosen of God, Jesus said. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing (saying, God tole me this, and God told me that) but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” That may sound harsh; but Jesus Himself, is the one that said it; and He said it for a reason, knowing the rat race that would prevail in religious circles through the ages. It is those who take heed to the word of God, that avoid much heartache and suffering in life; for as we have said over and over again, and again, None of this was written with the intent of making children of God out of tares. Once a tare, always a tare. But those who are ordained unto eternal life, still have many choices to make in life; and when they make the wrong choice, their flesh has to pay a price. We were born into this old world, with a nature to rebel against God. That is why we have to be washed with the water of His word. All of that carnal nature has to be washed out of us. God saves us wherever we are; and however we are; but He will not take us to glory until He has first cleaned us up. But like I have said, This washing is for the inner man. The outward man will always be subject to the traps of the devil; if the inward man is not strong enough to resist his temptations.


FLESHLY WEAKNESS


There is a case in the 5th chapter of 1st Corinthians, that a lot of Christians do not understand. But it really portrays a man who, even though he is a child of God, is weak in the flesh, and stands in need of being washed by the word. We will read the first 5 verses of that chapter; and you can see what the determination of the man of God (Paul) was. He starts out saying, “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you (This was written to the Church:) and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. (A Christian man, sleeping with his stepmother) And ye are puffed up, (speaking to the rest of the church) and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, (Paul did not have to be there himself, to know how to handle a situation like that) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Notice now) to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, (In other words, put him out of the church until he repents and makes thing right with God) that the spirit (the inner man) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” You cannot put people out of the kingdom of God, but when someone in the fellowship falls victim to one of Satan’s traps, and makes no particular effort themselves to make things right with God: it is up to the saints, to break fellowship with such a person, and just let them get so miserable they have to make things right. God will not cast off one of His true children because of a fleshly weakness; but He will sure let the devil destroy your flesh, if necessary, to awaken you, and get you to come to your senses. Now some people will always say, Bro. Jackson: When you talk like that, you are just giving people a license to sin. No I am not. God’s true children are not going around looking for ways to sin; and they need to know that God will not cast them into hell; if Satan overtakes them; and they yield to a weakness. But at the same time, they need to know, that if they will not serve God, and walk uprightly, He will let some sickness or disease, or something, come upon them, and their flesh will have to pay for the carelessness. Listen to me though, saints: Do not go around looking at everyone who becomes ill, and accuse them of being guilty of sin in their lives. There are many things that enter into why people become sick and diseased and so forth, and we have no scriptural right to be suspicious of our brothers and sisters of the faith; for God is well able to reveal anything He wants known. As for our own selves, God has designated a place for us to come, to be washed by the water of His word; and He need not take a poll, to see who needs to be washed; He already knows we all need it; and we know we need it; so it behooves us to run to the tub, and jump in the water. May the Lord bless you all.

Every Joint Supplieth, Part 3

We ended part 2 speaking of how God called us out of denominational church systems, and how we have to get all of those traditional ideas out of us before we are really in a place to supply our part to the body of Christ. Why is that so? Simply because the bride of Christ is a word bride. She cannot feed on those manmade traditions, once she has tasted of pure revelation. She sees things in the Bible now that she could not see while out there in those systems. Brothers and Sisters: It is a miracle that we even survived in the darkness of those places. Looking back now, you can see that we were just like prisoners, held in captivity, and given a little bit of that stale food from time to time. No wonder we act like we do sometimes; we have something to shout about. Ignorance is no longer an excuse for not walking with God; for he has opened up the windows of heaven and showered us with the revelation of His blessed word. Therefore Ephesians 5:17 speaks directly to us, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” We do not have to wait for the Lord to anoint us to obey His word; once we have the revelation of it. For these epistles were written in order that true children of God might know how to live, how to walk, how to conduct ourselves, and how to look at each other, and see the grace of God at work. One thing is sure; It is not the will of God for Christians to bite and devour one another. The true love of God will cause us to love one another; even as he loves us, and we cannot walk in wisdom, redeeming the time, according to what Paul wrote to the Colossians, unless we have that love in us. Remember, you do not just automatically acquire these attributes of the Spirit of God because you attend church services regularly. As a matter of fact you can go to church all your life and still not have them unless you walk with God in the time between those services.


BE SOBER


Alright now, as we look at verse 18, I want to remind you that it has been used out of context more times than it has ever been used in the way Paul meant it. He was talking about being wise Christians and understanding what the will of the Lord is, for our lives. Then he said, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Paul is definitely not referring to your initial experience of being filled with the Holy Ghost. If we will look at the contrast properly, we will see that he is pointing to something every Christian should do, in order to stay full of the spirit of God. A person who becomes intoxicated by drinking too much natural wine does not get that way by just simply taking a big gulp of the stuff. Such a person spends some time somewhere consuming enough of it to make them drunk. One quick shot might cause me to go spinning down Main Street; but that is not the kind of illustration Paul is using. He is actually pointing to the fact that becoming drunk on natural wine requires one to spend some time building up to that point. Therefore when you look at the second part of verse 18, just apply the same principle to being filled with the spirit of God. Do you actually believe you can receive one initial filling of the Holy Ghost, and always be full of the spirit, without spending some time seeking God from day to day? God expects us to become just as addicted to the Holy Ghost, as the old alcoholic is to whatever he drinks. But let me say this, The fact that our initial filling of the Holy Ghost sometimes makes us act like we are drunk, does not mean that we have to come to church acting like we are drunk, in order for people to know we have something. I’ve known people that literally thought they had to stand on their head and spin around, so to speak if they had the Holy Ghost. Now there is nothing at all wrong with doing that; but it is not necessarily a sign that you are full of the Holy Ghost. The true sign of being full of the Holy Ghost is when there is less of you and more of Him. In other words, He has you, instead of you having Him. It is the same principle that applies to the person who spends that much time at the bar, consuming alcoholic beverages. He reaches a point where he not only has the alcohol in him; but the alcohol in him has control of him. He will do things then, that he would never do without that alcohol in him; and a lot of the time; he will not even know he did them. Well this brings me to a place where I need to remind you of something else. When you are paralleling a natural condition with a spiritual condition; do not try to make every little detail fit; that is where a lot of people get into trouble with the parables Jesus spoke. A parable, (a natural illustration) is for the purpose of presenting a profile; and does not necessarily turn out the same in every little detail. Why am I saying this at this time? I do not want you to think I am teaching that the Holy Ghost in you will cause you to go around doing things and not even know you have done them. We do not limit God; He can do whatever it takes to fulfill His purpose. But the mere state of being full of the Holy Ghost, does not mean that we do not know what we are doing, when the Spirit is leading us to do it.


HOW TO WORSHIP GOD


Paul goes on, in verse 19 and begins to mention some things that go hand in hand with being filled with the Spirit. After he says, “But be filled with the Spirit,” he continues saying, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” This is an atmosphere created by godly people who are walking with God; and trying to please Him in all things, and under all conditions. This is the kind of atmosphere that makes cranky people very uncomfortable. One such fellow made the remark: I did not come here to hear a lot of singing; I came here to hear the word of God. People who know nothing at all about yielding themselves to the spirit of God, do not want to be found in the midst of a group of people who enjoy worshiping God both in the Spirit and in His word. Singing stimulates your spirit and puts you in an attitude of worship, and even if you are not a singer that could sing by yourself, you should still enjoy being in an atmosphere of worship and praise, if your own heart is right. Well the truth is, people who make remarks like that fellow made, only hear what they want to hear, when the word of God is being preached. Therefore what they choose to hear does them very little good, for they somehow feel that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Brothers and Sisters: If that kind of attitude is right, then there should be at least one verse of scripture in the Bible to justify it, and I have never found one. But let me go on, for there are a lot of people who live off of these lively type of services, and that is all they want. They like to sing, shout and have a lot of commotion, but they care little for the preaching of the word of God. If this kind of people could not find what they are looking for, in a church somewhere, they would be out here in Rock and Roll; for their spirit requires that. Neither of these groups know how to submit themselves to the Spirit of God so He can help them find a balance between the two. Remember Jesus said in John 4:24, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” If we are going to worship God we MUST worship Him according to the scriptural formula given, in Spirit and in truth. God is pleased when His true children yield their hearts and their voices to Him in an atmosphere of worship; whether in church, or off somewhere alone. Just as the Bible declares that God inhabits the praises of Israel; He also inhabits, or dwells in the atmosphere created by His children singing and making melody in their own hearts. Worshiping in the spirit is more than just being entertained by someone else singing and playing music; it requires participation on our part; and it does not include fussing and complaining about too much music, the sermon being too long, and that sort of thing. That kind of attitude will turn the Holy Spirit away every time. He does not dwell in carnality. Verse 20 carries right on through with the same thought; as it says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, These verses deal with our reaction and responsiveness in expressing ourselves to our creator; both as individuals, and also collectively, as a body of believers. Because of his grace and mercy we have something to sing and shout about, something the world simply cannot understand. Hallelujah! Our message is different than theirs.


DEALING WITH WAYS OF GODLINESS


As we read on, we will see that verse 21 begins to deal with perfection. You may think this is not important; but I assure you, every bit of it is dealing with what the true bride of Christ will be measuring up to, before she ever gets out of here in the rapture; so notice verse 21. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” That means we should cultivate an attitude of surrender and cooperation with each other. Christians ought to always find an area of agreement, whereby they can work together toward a common goal. Saints: There is a reason for this kind of an admonition. Not necessarily because people just want to be hard to get along with; but because they see things in so many different ways. No we are not talking about doctrines of the scriptures; we are talking about jobs in this life that have to be done, and the many different ideas on how they should be done. You can take 10 people and point them to a certain job that needs to be done, and if someone is not authorized to take the lead and direct the thing, you could have 10 different opinions on how the job should be done; and before it is all over; one will be tearing down what another has built up. You know yourselves that there are some people (in the church) that will not do one thing unless they can be the director of the whole operation. Sure that is a carnal attitude, but there is still plenty of it around. That is why I like that little song, “God’s Still Working On Me,” because we realize that we are not perfect yet, and our flesh is always getting in the way of what the inner man desires to do. We are on a journey; just like the children of Israel were when they came through the wilderness. The only difference is, theirs was a geographical journey, and their trials were in their flesh; while ours is a spiritual journey, and our trials are in the spirit. Nevertheless our flesh is affected just the same, and that causes us much trouble at times: so the admonition is, Submit yourselves one to another in the fear of God. I have asked the Lord to help me say some things in a wise way; as we deal with these scriptures, because the setting is not exactly the same now, as it was then. The people Paul wrote to were Christians; but just about every one of them had been converted right out of paganism, and naturally there were some men that had more than one wife; and maybe some other men and women that just lived together, not even thinking of themselves as husband and wife. A merciful God saves people from all walks of life, and he then begins to work on them to clean up their lives; but it does not happen in one days time. It takes place over a period of time, as they have opportunity to sit under the preaching and teaching of an anointed ministry. Polygamy was a very predominant thing in those early years of Christianity; because they already had those wives when the grace of God reached down and got hold of them. IN other words, God would save a polygamist; but these were not the fellows he called into service; into leadership positions. Then let me say this. Men and women from those pagan backgrounds did not know one thing about morality, nor how to show proper respect for each other, so Paul wrote this to them, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” He was not writing that to the man and woman of the world: but to those whom God had called from the world, to mold into the image of his only begotten Son. In other words, The church universal, is to be a living image of Jesus Christ. It takes the whole body to fully portray all of His attributes; for no one person is endowed with the fullness of the spirit of the Father like He was. But the Church, as a body, with every member of that body supplying their part in its function, truly does exemplify Jesus Christ. That is how He is seen by others, for He is not here personally to appear to anyone. But looking at verse 22 we would have to say, That was Paul’s way of saying to those married women, Do not surrender yourselves to every man that comes along; but be true and submissive to your own husband. Their pagan background made it necessary that they be instructed in a lot of things that women of our day ought to know naturally, without being told. A lot of those women had been treated more like slaves than wives, and now that they were coming into a Christian environment where they would be shown some respect, Paul wanted them to know how to conduct themselves. Well does that mean that these scriptures are not for our day? Not at all. They are for anyone who needs to hear them in order to know how to conduct themselves. Our present society is awful close to returning to those pagan ways of our ancestors.


SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE


I often think of how the Bible pictures Abraham and Sarah, as they were journeying from their former land into Canaan and then on into Egypt. Even way back then, God had a man and woman on earth that presented an image of what he meant for husbands and wives to be like. The Bible tells us that Sarah was subject to Abraham, and even called him lord. But she was not his slave. She was also treated with proper respect. You know what happens a lot of the time when men get saved, and then read in the Bible that their wife is supposed to be subject unto them; they immediately jump on that and begin to treat their wives worse than when they were still out in the world of sin. Some of them never seem to read past that one verse, to find out how Paul said that submission was to be regulated. There are some key words down through here, that put an altogether different meaning on these verses than what some people get out of them. In verse 22, the key words are, “As unto the Lord.” That makes the submission a willing act on the part of the wife, and she is able to do that because of the proper respect shown her, by her husband. You will see all of that in the following verses. That is why I said, God help me to say something that will cause my brothers and sisters to grasp the reality of what these scriptures actually point to. These are not instructions we follow only on the days we feel good; that is what God expects every day, from those who are called to make up the bride of Jesus Christ. The way some people live, you cannot help but wonder if the grace of God has ever really touched their lives. They come to church as regular as anyone else; but they fuss and argue all the way home. You could never make me believe God is glorified in the lives of people who conduct themselves like that. It is all because of selfishness, self-centeredness, and a lack of proper respect for each other, and for the Lord. Then those same people wonder why their children turn out like they do. They come crying to the preacher: We have tried to raise them right; we kept them in church, and taught them to read their Bibles; so where did we fail? Brothers and Sisters: The way you live and conduct yourselves between church service, says more to your children than all the words you could ever utter. They are looking for examples to follow and pattern their lives after; more than they are words of instruction. Especially so, as they get older. That old saying, Don’t do as I do; do as I say, was not meant for Christians. Christian people are to live in such a way that it would be all right for others to do as they do. The apostle Paul said, Follow me, as I follow Christ. We will not be perfected by just simply copying someone else’s life; but as Christians, each one of us should live in such a way as not to set a bad example before those who might look to us for exampleship. In other words, Some of you parents are in for a lot of heartache when your children just simply think; This is the way Dad and Mom did this and that, so that is how I will do it. It is just like those who say, My parents were Baptists, and their parents were Baptists, and they were good people; so what is wrong with being a Baptist? Well the thing that is wrong, is that every individual person has to answer to God for their own selves, and God expects to be allowed to direct the lives of all whom he calls to be his sons and daughters. As I said, just simply copying someone else’s life will not take the place of a personal walk with your Creator. But on the other hand, it is a wonderful thing to be raised in a Christian home where love for God abounds. I am not telling you that there will not be moments of misunderstanding when feelings may be hurt, but I am saying this, if your hearts are right, and your spirits can be touched by God, sooner or later you begin to feel an inner gnawing, and it will not leave until you have apologized to each other. An honest apology will clean the air between you; and will also set a good example for your children. Whether you think so or not, your children know when things are not right between you; and much of the time others know it too.

A WORD ABOUT HEADSHIP


We are not meaning to pick on wives, nor are we picking on husbands; we are just endeavoring to take an honest look at the scriptures that deal with our conduct as Christians. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord,” is not just a suggestion; it is a necessity, if there is to be any maturity in your lives. But Paul did not end it right there; he presented the whole picture of headship, right back to the Creator Himself. Why should wives submit to their husbands? Let us look at verse 23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church: and He is the Savior of the body.” A Christian man has to be taught by the Spirit of God, how to be a proper head to the little wife that submits herself to him. Any man that assumes the attitude of a dictator, is out of the scriptures; and therefore out of the will of God. Let us just go ahead and read these next two verses so we can tie this all together as it should be. “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it.” All of that taken together, lets us see that this is not a one sided situation. Each person has a part to play. In order for a man to expect this kind of submission from his wife, he himself must first be subject unto Christ which is his head. When Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthian believers, he also dealt with this thing of headship, saying, “But I would have you know , (11:3) that the head of every man is Christ: and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” Even Christ Jesus, who said, (in Matt. 28:18) “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” still remained to be subject unto the great eternal Spirit, the Creator of heaven and earth and all things therein. He was subject unto His head, and willingly; without domineering force being used to make Him submissive. That is why He always confessed, I do nothing except what the Father shows me to do. He recognized His purpose; and knew that it was the will and purpose of the Father, that must be accomplished; therefore He willingly submitted His total being to the complete leadership and direction of the Father; knowing that He would never be led wrong. Well when you bring that down one notch, to the Christian man: you can be assured that the man who is totally submitted to Jesus Christ his head, will be a proper head to his own wife. Therefore a Christian woman with a Christian husband that is completely submitted to the leadership of his head, will not find it difficult to submit to her head; which is her husband. Now that does not rule out the fact that every Christian should be led by the Lord, whether man, woman or child. But it does establish an order of headship, whereby someone always has the responsibility of making decisions, and others are responsible to walk accordingly. That is what keeps out confusion and maintains order; but it only works when everyone recognizes their place; and willingly stays in that place. Any man who is domineering and abusive to his wife, and still tries to hide behind these scriptures, is not subject to his head; for the Spirit of Jesus Christ would never lead a man to conduct himself like that. I am not trying to unchristianize anyone; I will never touch your life in that way. But as a servant of God, I am obligated to tell you that God did not, and will not authorize you to rule over your wife, and treat her like a slave. But at the same time, a Christian woman is not to allow this worldly, women’s liberation spirit to get on her, and cause her to rebel against her husband’s headship. This was written to Christians, and Christians are the only ones it will work for one hundred percent; so let us take heed, and realize that this is not just an option; it is an absolute necessity for the people of the true Church of the living God. Our heavenly Father is not going to let us just drift through life unmolded, and unrefined; He is going to work on us from here on out to the end, to mold us into the very image of his only begotten Son. We ought to arise every morning and say, God help me walk this day, in a way that will be well pleasing in your sight. If we will do that, and mean it, our lives will glorify God wherever we go.


WHAT LEADS TO SUBMISSION?


We come to church and sit here together, knowing that we are just mortal people saved by the grace of God; and believing in our hearts that we will one day be the bride of Christ. Now we are only his bride to be; but in the Millennium we will be his wife, and rule and reign with Him. Therefore I ask you: Do you see Christ as being a domineering husband? Can you visualize Him ever speaking unkind words to His wife, or forcing her to do something against her will? You say, of course not. He is loving, understanding, always ready to comfort and console, and never demanding, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, according to the scriptures. So no matter how weak and unlike Him we are, that is the image God has determined to mold each one of us into. Brothers and Sisters: There is a lot in this picture, and it all goes together. When the woman is to be submissive to her husband it is to be in a way that God will be glorified in it. There is no fear involved in this kind of submission; it is a love relationship. It is true that women can be subject unto their husbands out of fear; but I assure you, God is not glorified in that. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it.” That is the key; a self sacrificing love like Christ had for us, when he willingly gave His life on that old cross. That kind of love merits respect and submission. Someone told me the other day, why Arab women always walk in front of their husbands, going down a trail. It was so if a wild animal jumped out to attack them, it would get the woman, and the man could escape. Well that made me think of how you always see the Indian man portrayed, riding his pony, and his squaw on foot, trying to keep up. Some asked, Hey Chief! Why does your wife always walk? His answer was, Me not have other pony. That is how a lot of people see life. They have no respect or consideration for others. I will just take a moment to relate an experience my uncle out in Colorado had one time. In the fall of the year he went out to the reservation and brought back some of the Indians to help with the harvest. He had a large cabin that he just turned over to them to use while they were there. Well the wife of one of them was expectant with child; so one night there was a knock on the door of my uncle’s cabin, and it was this particular Indian man. He said to my uncle, Wife having baby, you take to doctor? It was about 60 miles and all my uncle had was a two ton truck, but he told him he would take them. When they cane out, ready to go, the man was taking another man along to keep him company, and another woman to look after his wife. They started to put the women in the back, and the two men were going to sit up front with my uncle. But he put a stop to that and put them in the back and the two women in the cab, and then he just hoped he could get them there before the new arrival appeared on the scene. I just use this to show you how some women in the world are treated. Their husbands treat them just like something to be used rather than someone to love and care for; and that is not what God wants out of His redeemed family. A loving husband will always seek to comfort his wife, rather than mistreat her. I sure wouldn’t want my wife to have to sleep somewhere that I would not want to sleep, nor eat something that I wouldn’t eat. Neither would I want her to have less to wear for appearance’s sake than what I feel that I myself should have. Some men like to spend a lot of money on themselves, to look nice; while they are willing for their wives to wear just any old thing she can find to wear. Well let me say it again, God is not glorified in that. God is not the one that inspires men to be like that. The devil tricks people into yielding themselves to selfishness, and greediness, and eventually into wrecking their lives. We are not picking on anyone; but simply trying, by the help of God, to reveal some areas of trouble, and help God’s true children learn how to apply scriptural principles. When each of us learn how to be submissive to our heads, we will not have all the problems of life that so many people are faced with.


WHY WE NEED WASHING


Alright Paul is using this Christian husband and wife setting, actually to illustrate the relationship between Christ and the church, and to show that the church cannot have a proper relationship with Christ, until the individual members of that body learn how to treat each other. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; (Why?) That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Have you ever stopped to realize that if Adam and Eve had never sinned, none of this would be necessary? We would all be clean just like they were in the day God created them, if it were not for that fallen nature we inherited by birth. Well what we need to see here, is that God is cleaning up an element of mankind, preparing them for the day when they can stand in the place with Him, that Adam and Eve stood in. Some people have never been wicked and evil like others are, but the best people in the world still have that fallen nature, and must be redeemed and cleaned up, by the washing of the word of God, before they can ever be acceptable to Him as a suitable bride for His only begotten Son. I know this terminology sounds strange to the unregenerate mind; but nevertheless, this is the terminology of the Bible, written by holy men of old who walked with God; so if we have any desire to walk with God, we first must gain a proper respect for His written word. You just simply do not have within your natural mind, a true concept of what it takes to please God, until that mind has first been made new, through His recreating process. These scriptures have laid here for centuries without people having a clear revelation of the depths they must reach to in our innermost being, in order to produce in the end what God is after. Denominational people could not understand them fully, because God never had any intention of perfecting them. Perfection is something that many have talked about, but ideas and opinions about that perfection have been as numerous as the stars in the sky. I just have to thank God for allowing me to live here at the end time; for I truly believe that He has saved the best for last. Not that we are any more worthy than anyone else of any other age; for we are all just sinners saved by grace; but God is giving His best to us, that we in return may give our best back to Him; and the way we do that is by allowing Him to lead and direct our thoughts and actions constantly. Not just in church; but all the time. Do not ever allow the devil to deceive you into thinking your heavenly Father does not care how you look, act, and talk; for He does. He has given us of His Spirit, so that he can direct our lives from within, just like He did His only begotten Son Jesus; but we have to yield to Him like Jesus did, instead of yielding to the spirit of that nature we were born with. People of the world say cruel and abusive things to each other; but Christians should never do so. Instead of abusing each other, we need to be saying, Lord, wash me, clothe me, and help me portray Christlikeness everywhere I go. Verse 27 says, “That He (Jesus) might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” That verse lets us know why we are being washed in the waters of the word of God. But then Paul goes right back to dealing with our attitudes and actions saying, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church.” When you stop to think, that the man who had this beautiful revelation of the relationship between Christ and His Church, actually started out persecuting the Church, it should certainly let you know that there is nothing impossible with God. If He could take that staunch Pharisee that was out to destroy Christianity, and make him such an effective instrument in the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ; then we should not have any trouble believing that He can mold us into the very image of His only begotten Son, if we will just let Him have His way in our lives. We sing that little chorus, “To be like Jesus,” but do we really mean it? I only ask to be like Him. Is that really our desire? I know we would every one say, Yes I desire to be like Him; and mean it from the bottom of our hearts, but then we turn right around and do, or say something that He would never do or say. Does that mean it is a hopeless situation? No. It just means that we still have some growing and maturing ahead of us. As I said earlier, When the little children sing, God’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be, we can sing it right along with them; no matter how old we may be.

WE MUST WALK IN THE SPIRIT


Alright, many have said that the book of Joshua runs a parallel with the book of Ephesians; and others have said, How is that so? Well it is the objective in both, that makes it so. In the third chapter, the children of Israel are camped on the banks of the Jordan river, in sight of the promised land. All they have to do is cross over and take possession; for God has already given the land to them. This is just like every other promise in the Bible; there is a condition to meet, before actually receiving that which has been promised. The Jordan River symbolized death, in this case, for to cross over was death to the old life, and the beginning of a new life. Egypt and the wilderness journey would all be left behind. Therefore in chapter 3, verse 5, Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” There are many verses we could read; but the point is, the people were commanded to sanctify themselves in preparation for the battle that lay ahead of them. They needed to be sure they were ready to go over and fight for their inheritance. They had already gone through 40 years of being redeemed from bondage, where they faced many trials and tests. So it was time for them to put the old life behind them, and start life anew. This is why we must understand: It is one thing to remember 30 years ago when we first got saved; but we need to keep our salvation experience up to date and give respect to God for all the trials and tests He has led us through, to get us where we are today. We cannot live 30 years in the past and move on with God both at the same time. In other words, Perfection is not something you can lay hold on by dropping a coin in a slot machine somewhere, and have it pour out like coins from a slot machine. It is something God works in us through many trials and tests. We have to fight for it. The enemy of your soul will not just hang back and let you reach perfection without some serious battles along the way. It is true some people have the idea; I am saved and filled with the Holy Ghost; so I don’t need to do anything else; but brother let me tell you, That is only where you start. That is your starting point in this army of the Lord, and from that point on you have a lot to learn. Living in the spirit and walking in the Spirit can only be realized as we face issues and problems that cause us to resort to the leadership of the Holy Ghost, to guide us through them. In the 5th chapter of Galatians Paul wrote this, (verses 25-26) “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Certainly as children of God, we desire both to live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, but we do not accomplish that by just haphazardly drifting through life pampering our flesh. Before we can walk in the spirit, we have to get our flesh under subjection; or it will run ahead of God every time. Fleshly zeal will cause people to run 90 miles an hour, trying to do something for God, and all the time they are desirous of vain glory, for they spend the rest of their time bragging about what they have done for God; and making it appear that God’s whole plan of redemption would fail if it were not for what they have done, and still plan to do. On the other hand, the true body of Christ, that has learned to walk in the spirit, will work for God as a body of people, and no individual will seek personal glory, or credit, for what is accomplished. I have said many times, We have not yet seen the body of Christ in action; as it will be seen before the end. Remember, the body of Christ (not every individual) is to have in operation, every attribute Jesus Himself displayed, when He walked on earth. Therefore we realize that what we have seen so far, is just little fragmentary examples of what the body of Christ will one day be like, when the whole body is truly living and walking in the Spirit. Some have said, oh I walk in the Spirit every day. Well that is what we are growing toward; but I do not find Christians yielding to the leadership of the Holy Ghost one hundred percent of the time. There is still that tendency present, to work it out ourselves before we call upon the Lord to help us, too much of the time. Now brothers and sisters, I am not talking about driving nails, changing tires and things like that. These are natural abilities that we have, and God does not expect us to ask him how to do them. But we face other situations every day, where we need to depend upon the leadership of the Spirit of God, rather than just going at it in a fleshly way. In the natural, the children of Israel typed this completely. When they would take it upon themselves to go out and engage in battle with their enemies, without first getting a directive from the Lord, they would always return defeated. But when they realized how frail and weak they were, and yet trusted in God to lead them into battle and fight for them, they would gain the victory. The way God would do things, sometimes looked very foolish to the natural mind; but one thing is sure, when the battle was won, those Israelites could not boast about what they had done; they had to glorify the God that had fought for them. Their greatest victories looked impossible to them from the standpoint of natural reasoning; but when they fully trusted in God, and followed his battle plan, they could not lose; for God is not a loser. It is the same way with us; there are always two ways to look at every problem: the natural way, and the spiritual way. Now the apostle Paul said the carnal mind is always contrary to the mind of God; therefore to be led by the Spirit, that carnal mind has to be brought under subjection, and yield to the Spirit.


LET GOD DIRECT WHAT YOU DO FOR HIM


When the children of Israel stood there on the banks of the Jordan River that day, and Joshua said to them, “Sanctify yourselves,” he did not mean for them to go through some kind of a ritual; nor was he referring to pouring some kind of ointment over themselves; what he was really saying was, God has given you that land; but you have to go over and fight for it; so determine within yourselves whether you are ready to go over or not. When he said, “Tomorrow, the Lord will do wonders among you,” that really meant, This is the time to go; if you want the Lord to fight for you. In other words, Prepare yourselves for this journey, whereby the Lord has already promised to give you victory over your enemies. In chapter one, God had already told Joshua, “Every place (on the other side of the Jordan) that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses, “(meaning of course, to the children of Israel) so now it was time for them to go over and take possession. Do you think if they had said, We would rather wait until next week, until we rest up a little more, the results would have been the same? No. When the Lord says, Move, you have to move, if you want His help. After saying, Sanctify yourselves, Joshua said to them, “Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God. (Ch. 3, verses 9-10) And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.” That was the people who were in possession of the land God had promised to the children of Israel, and He was the one that was going to drive them out; but they every one had to follow His battle plan. Now that is what makes the difference in our situations of life. The outcome depends on whether we follow God’s plan or not. When they crossed over the Jordan, they were dead to everything on the other side. There was no turning back. They now had to go forth and take possession of what God had promised them, and if you will read the account of it, you will learn that it was not done in a day’s time. As the Lord directed, they took one city at a time, and they knew that without the help of God, the task would have been more than they could handle. It is the same way with us, as we little by little, found our place in the body of Christ. The body of Christ is not run like Washington, D.C., with a lot of people lobbying, trying to trade something for something else. No. God has designed the whole thing and there is a certain place for each one of us to fit into, and we have to allow the Holy Ghost to direct us, in order to find that certain place. What causes trouble is when we get over anxious and try to make our own place. If God has determined that you should be a toe in the body, you will never glorify Him trying to be some more recognized member of the body. In the denominational systems, you could do whatever you felt like doing, and no one stopped you. They liked people with a lot of get-up-and-go. But in the body of Christ, that get-up-and-go attitude can actually get in God’s way. It is not how much we do that God looks at, but whether he has directed us to do what we are doing. In other words, we just simply cannot go through life doing what looks right to the natural mind, and call that walking in the Spirit. Neither can we go around with our eyes closed, expecting God to keep us from falling over something and breaking our neck. That is not what Paul was talking about when he said, “Let us also walk in the Spirit.” I used to look at it about like that when I first received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I had the idea that if I was not staggering around like a drunk man, there was something wrong. But as time passed and I grew a little, I began to realize that this was childish, just like a 4 year old child, still pulling on a milk bottle. There is nothing wrong with being drunk on the Spirit of God; but that is for a time and a place; and that is not what constitutes walking in the Spirit. Furthermore when that anointing has accomplished in you what it is supposed to, you will begin to look at things differently; and seek to glorify God in the things you do and say, rather than just receive a blessing yourself.


TRUE UNITY DEPENDS ON MANY THINGS


Brothers and Sisters: I realize that I am covering a lot of different things in this message, and you may not agree with the way we are skipping around from place to place; but these are all things that affect us in our daily walk with God, and we need to get them all in the proper perspective, so we can supply our part to the body as it moves toward perfection. As for this assembly, there is probably not another congregation anywhere that Satan would enjoy tearing up, more than he would this one. Why? Because we have stood for what we believe to be the right doctrines of the word of God, while others that should been standing with us were running to and fro sowing discord. The devil hates people who are steadfast in what they believe, and especially so, when the Lord is using them to help get others out of confusion, and established in the word. As I have said, the first step toward perfection is to come out of denominational systems. But then comes the job of getting those systems out of you. All of those man-made doctrines have to be purged out by a true revelation of the word of God, before we can sit together without fussing and arguing over doctrines; but we still have enough flesh hanging on, for the devil to work with in other areas, so we need to keep our guard up. That is why I have devoted so much time calling your attention to the many other areas he works in, other than our doctrinal beliefs. It is God’s purpose to mold us into vessels that are completely surrendered to Him in every area of life, so that He can have a completely united family. Therefore if Satan cannot get you confused over Bible doctrines, he will try his best to get you to look at other things in a selfish way; and many times he succeeds. That is why tares are still able to sit among us. A tare will only go so far when it comes to yielding to God and walking in unity, and the first thing you know, they are gone. But the true child of God will say, Lord, I want to walk with you, regardless of the cost to my flesh. Instead of yielding to God, a tare will find fault and create a disturbance, trying to get someone else to agree with him, and if he cannot get anyone over on his side, he will soon be gone. Some of you have sat here year after year, convention after convention, and you have seen a lot of people come here and a lot of them have heard things preached here that they just simply could not accept, so they went away, never to darken our doors again. That does not necessarily mean that we never hear anything else from them; for some of them have gone away speaking evil of us, trying to turn others against what we teach here. Some of you have not always understood everything the first time it was presented to you; but you have always trusted me, and that has made me even more determined to hold a tight line on what comes across this pulpit.


GOD WILL VINDICATE TRUTH


I am not in the habit of calling names. I usually find that speaking against the wrong is all that is necessary; in order for the true children of God to keep on a straight course. But ever so often it becomes necessary to call names; just like the apostle Paul did, concerning certain ones that had gone contrary to the right way. Richard Gan, from Singapore, forced me to have to call his name; because of the way he conducted himself when he came here. I detected that he had a little bit different idea on some certain things; but wanting to give God a chance to teach him, I determined to respect him and say noting about what I felt. But as time went on, it became obvious that he was working behind the scene, trying to feel out certain individuals that he felt might listen to him. For one thing he had this, what he called a revelation, that Noah was a pure seed, and only his wife was the impure seed. Well as long as he did not have this in print I did not think too much about it; but once he put it in print and started sending it out to many of the same people who receive the Contender, I started to get letters, “Bro. Jackson: How do we look at this? Then when I made a tape and sent it to him, reminding him that he was teaching contrary to what we have published, his reply was, God gave me this revelation; so I have to preach it. Well knowing that a true revelation from God will always stand up when put to the test by the written scriptures, this made me very uneasy; because any person with a true revelation could easily shoot this thing full of holes. This is why, in our July 1986 article, “Exploring Eden,” part 1, starting in column 5, page 6, I made sure we included a little formula that could help any sincere person whose eyes were open. But for the benefit of anyone who did not read that, I want to re-state it at this time. If Noah was a pure seed, then his father and mother had to be pure seed also. (Are you listening?) Noah was Lamech’s oldest son. But after Noah was born, Lamech lived another 595 years, and begat SONS and DAUGHTERS. That means that all those brothers and sisters were pure seed also. (Are you following me?) That much ought to be as clear as a bell, so now we look at Genesis 6:8-9, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (When the whole age of mankind had given themselves over to wickedness and perversion) These are the generations of Noah: NOAH WAS A JUST MAN AND PERFECT in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Do not miss this point. Noah was a JUST man and PERFECT in his generations, and he walked with God. If Noah was a pure seed, and had that kind of relationship with his God, then he (knowing the will of God concerning these mixed marriages) would have taken one of his pure seed sister’s for a wife, just like Seth and those other sons of God did. In other words, They either took a sister, a niece, or someone other than Cain’s descendants. That is what kept the sons of God line pure, for the first so many generations, until the time chapter 6 speaks of, when Seth’s descendants started taking wives from Cain’s descendants. But the point is, If Noah was considered righteous because he was a pure seed, then he would have taken a wife of pure seed also. But we know he did not, for their three sons proved that. Furthermore if all of Lamech’s children were pure seed, why did they perish in the flood? The flood was to destroy the wicked; not the righteous. Well Noah never begat any daughters; so his sons had to look elsewhere for their wives. But after the flood, sons and daughters were born to Shem, Ham, and Japheth, or there never would have been anyone to fulfill the commission given to them. God said to them after the flood, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Well those three brothers all had the same father and mother, but when you look at the mixture of humanity the world over, that all came from them: you know for sure that there was a mixup somewhere back up the line. But what I want you to see is that even though Noah was of a mixed seed himself, he still had enough of that sons of God nature about him, to cause him to seek God; and we see also that God will respond to any soul that truly reaches out to Him. The fact that He offered Cain a chance ought to prove that; so where is the problem? The problem is that some people feel like they can just go around teaching anything that comes to their mind, whether it lines up with the scriptures or not. Therefore when Richard Gan left here, he went to Pennsylvania where he had been in contact with some men, and discussed these things with them. Well the very next week, one of them wrote to me saying, Bro. Jackson: We need prayer. There is a conflict over what you teach, and what Richard Gan from Singapore teaches. How can this be, if both of you are apostles? Well first let me remind all fo you that I have never said Richard Gan is an apostle. If he is saying that, then it is up to God Himself to prove it. However the man who wrote the letter said, I have examined this; and from what I see in the Bible, I am more prone to agree with what you teach. I still did not write back to him; I just sort of felt like I should not be too hasty. Then last week I received a letter from one of those men there in prison, and he told me he took both teachings before the Lord, along with the Bible, and God showed him that what we teach here, is right.


OUR TRIALS ARE COMMON TO MAN


Brothers and Sisters: You can know all about certain things that are taught, so that you can quote every word of it, and your spirit still not be in control of your flesh. People have different motives for what they say and do, and I may not always know for sure what a man’s motive is; but I am thankful to God that he has enabled me to recognize error when it is taught, and that he enables me to deal with it, without a free-for-all brawl, where a lot of people get hurt. We have had many situations through the years where some people have said, Jackson can be wrong; you know. Others have said, Just how long will he allow thus and so, to go on? But I have learned to wait long enough to give God a chance to work in every situation, before I jump in there, and try to get everything straightened out. If God has to allow a situation from time to time, to work on my flesh and cause me to lose sleep, then I trust Him enough to believe He knows what He is doing, and that He will allow nothing to get completely out of control. If you let any of these things get in your way, then you are the one that is not going to grow, nor go forward, for I am still learning, and I am still growing. If you think the Church is in a mess, take another look; it may be you that is in a mess. As for me, I have already made up my mind; I would not let a thousand trouble-makers stop me from going on with God. The main thing to remember, is that you are not going through anything that others have not gone through, at one time or the other. When I first started going to the tabernacle where Bro. Branham preached, I saw people come in there, and I thought How can they sit there, looking like they do? Some of them looked like they had been pulled out of a garbage can. Then I began to realize, Some of those poor souls were hearing the gospel for the very first time, and it was not my place to scrutinize them, and shoot at them, for except for the grace of God, I could be in a worse shape. I determined right then and there, That little man has something that is going to change the life of Raymond Jackson, and I am not going to allow anything to put daylight between me and him, not even 10,000 devils. I meant that. There were times I could have allowed pride to stand in my way; but my soul’s welfare was too important to allow pride to stand in the way of receiving what I needed. (I will have to use some illustrations in order for you to understand why I am saying some of these things.) As I said earlier, Do not ever allow pride to keep you from saying, Brother: I am sorry, when you realize you have done something wrong, or when you even think maybe you did wrong.


PERSONAL EXPERIENCES


Shortly after the Lord filled me with the Holy Ghost and anointed me a couple of times to speak in tongues: I felt that anointing one Sunday night; when Bro. Neville finished preaching. There was no doubt in my mind that the anointing was there; but when I spoke in tongues, there was no interpretation, and that made me feel really bad, because being young in the faith, I just simply could not understand why there was no interpretation. When the service was over, a certain brother came up behind me crying, and said, Bro. Junie: I had the interpretation when you spoke in tongues; but I was afraid to speak out. There were some deacons there, that could not have cared less whether there were gifts of the Spirit in operation or not, so I understood why the brother was afraid to speak. But I said to him, Let’s go talk to Bro. Neville, so we went together, and explained to him what had happened, and asked him if we were out of order. If he felt that we were out of order, I wanted to take responsibility for it. But Bro. Neville just let it ride like that. A few months went by, and Bro. Branham was preaching one Saturday night, when at the end of his message, I felt that anointing to speak in tongues again. I was in the back of the building, and there was a lot of rejoicing up front, so when I spoke it was never heard, and there was no interpretation. Naturally that made me feel bad, and I wondered about it: but I firmly believe that when you feel that your motive was right and that maybe you were just misunderstood, you owe it to yourself to get your spirit cleared of that feeling. Therefore the first opportunity I had, I took Bro. Branham and Bro. Neville into the prayer room, and told them exactly what had happened. Bro. Branham just said, Bro. Junie, I didn’t hear a thing. Then he said to Bro. Neville, See there, that is the way things happen many times when we have young babes coming along in the Spirit. It seems like the devil just creates blanket situations to hurt them. He then said, Bro. Junie: don’t worry about that, I understand. Then along came church order, and that brought more pressure and problems. I felt that church order as such, had no place in Faith Assembly, so I made it very clear, put it in writing, and also put it on tape and sent a copy to Bro. Branham’s home in Arizona. That first year after church order was put in, it just seemed like everything I did, somebody would jump on it and chew it to pieces. I could have taken offense, got all riled up and let out a verbal return, but I realized that was not God’s way to get things done. Bro. Branham was in Birmingham, Alabama, in a meeting, so I said, He has already received my tape, so I am going to Birmingham to see him, and let him tell me whether I am right, or wrong, in my feelings about church order. If he had said, Bro. Jackson: You had better go home and do thus and so, I would have done what he said. But when O got the chance to talk to him: I did not have to say very much before he said, Bro. Junie: I know what is going on; I didn’t mean for it to be used like they are using it. Even yesterday, Sis. Banks Woods came down here to see me, all torn up about something. While the deacons were taking every other mother and her baby to the nursery, if the baby cried, that was all right. But when they took her daughter-in-law to the nursery for the same reason, that was too much for her. She took off to find Bro. Branham and tell him all about it. Yes I am calling names, and some of you may not agree with that; but look where Banks Woods is today, back out there in a trinity church. Anyhow when they got there, Bro. Branham already knew all about what had happened, and why they were there. He said, I never intended for it to be used that way; but that is just how people are. But Bro. Junie: Don’t pay any attention to what people are saying about you: for you know why I did what I did. Just go on back and pastor your church the way you feel God is leading you. By the time I got home, the word was being circulated that he really chewed me out. If I had not known it already, I would have known then, you just simply cannot pay attention to what a lot of jealous people say about you, when in your spirit you feel that you are following the leading of the Lord. There are a lot of people out here, even professing to be in this message of truth, that do not have the slightest idea about how to live for God. All they know how to do is find fault and try to prevent someone else that truly is living for the Lord. A person who knows nothing about living in the Spirit, will live in trouble most of the time. Being full of envy and jealousy can lead to nothing more than trouble with God. But being full of the Spirit of God leads to joy and peace of mind, even in the midst of all the confusion others cause.


SPIRITUAL PRESCRIPTIONS


Some of you may think it is strange, but by the help of God, I intend to take some of these scriptures that I know is a true scriptural prescription, to help make a spiritually healthy Christian out of every one of us, and dwell on them, until they become a reality to us. They are here; but they have been hidden somehow, from our understanding. We seem not to realize that they apply to us. They are there to help us grow past where we are; therefore as long as we just jump over them, and do not realize that they fit our very situation, our growth is at a standstill, and when your spiritual growth comes to a standstill, some little old carnal statement can make us spiritually sick. Do not bother to say, But Bro. Jackson: You just do not know what I have been through, that has caused me to react as I have, or I will be quick to tell you this, No I do not know what you have been through; but I know what you are going to have to go through if you do not get hold of yourself. It is not me, planning something; but God’s word lets me know that He is going to pull us through a very small hole, and strip us of everything that does not exemplify Christlikeness. Romans 13:14 says, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof,” and a lot of you think that pertains only to smoking, drinking, cursing, and being unfaithful to your mate. But when I see some of the things that have irked some of you and turned you upside down, it lets me know that you are still jumping over a lot of scriptures that you need to take heed to. That is why I said earlier in this message, if you want your fellowship with your Creator to be healthy: you had better take heed to His word. And keep it healthy with your brothers and sisters of the faith. Otherwise you spread a spiritual disease. Some people boast of being set free in Jesus Christ, and that is true; we have. But in Galatians 5:13, the apostle Paul wrote, “For, brethren, ye have been called into liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” That does not mean that we have to accept the Catholics, the Baptists, and all of what is called Christianity, and try to have spiritual fellowship with them. No. God would not call you to come out of that mess of confusion, and then expect you to turn right around and try to work with it. But if you have accepted His call to come to this liberty in Christ Jesus: then He expects you to live and walk by the rules of that liberty. No it is not a list of do’s and do not’s which would put us back under law; it is a law of love that makes us more and more like our Creator all the time. Some of the things people blame the devil for are actually tests, designed by the Lord, to break down our self will and cause us to yield fully to the Spirit of God. Therefore if we just stubbornly press on through, blaming the devil without examining ourselves, I am afraid there are some things coming down the road that will literally crush us. Remember, It is more important to have the favor of God than it is to make a big impression on other people. Being humble is not a disgrace, it is an attribute of God and it applies to every phase of our Christian lives. As I said earlier, a lot of what I know, I learned the hard way. I have told this before; but I want to tell it again for the sake of illustration.


THINGS LEARNED BY EXPERIENCE


Shortly after we began going to the Branham Tabernacle regularly, we took our children and went up to Bro. Branham’s house for a visit with them one evening. When we arrived, he and Sis. Branham were just getting ready to go out to a restaurant to eat. We at first refused the invitation to go along with them, but they insisted that we go, and about that time, Banks Woods walked over and he was invited to go along also, so we all went. Now you know how sometimes young Christians like to try to make an impression on certain other Christians, and I was no different. It is a good thing when our lives do make a good impression on others; if it is done without a deliberate attempt to make it so; but God does not want us putting on a show for that purpose, like I am about to describe to you. When we arrived at the restaurant, Sis. Branham and my wife and children sat in one booth, and right over from it, Bro. Branham and Bro. Woods sat on one seat, and I sat opposite them. Naturally as I look back, I can see that I acted like a silly fool; but at the time I thought, I want this great man of God to know I love the Lord; and I want him to know that I have my children under subjection. So every time one of them moved, I was ready to say, Be still; and every time Bro. Branham would bring up a subject I was so eager to make an impression on him, I would say, Oh I believe that too. I didn’t have any manners at all; but I thought, I am really having a good time, and I am really getting an opportunity to let this great man of God see how much I love the Lord. Well the next day my father-in-law and I were hauling wood; and all morning long my chest was just simply swelled with excitement. I could not help but think, Boy I have really made an impression on that great man of God. Then about 2:30 in the afternoon when we pulled into the wood shed with a load of wood, my father-in-law went to the house to get a drink of water, and while I was standing there, feeling like everything was really going my way, I heard an audible voice say, Why don’t you just shut up? Look what you have done! Will you never learn! I first looked to see if my father-in-law had returned, but I didn’t really need to wonder where that voice came from. Brothers and Sisters: It is just like Solomon said, There is a time to talk; and a time to keep quiet and listen. You do not always have to run your mouth 90 miles and hour to let people know what kind of person you are; for spiritual people can know you better by just watching your life. It is like the old saying, Many times your actions speak so loud, people cannot hear a word you say. Saints: Do not be offended, this is good advice! I had to learn the hard way; but you have a chance to learn this lesson here and now; without God having to use extreme measures on you. The reason a lot of people have no wisdom is because it runs out as fast as God puts it in them; just like a water bucket with a hole in it. God gives all of us an opportunity to gain some wisdom as we go through life, if we will just shut off the spigot and not let it run out; and if we are ever going to grow spiritually, this is a necessity. Now some people do get offended when you talk like this to them, but remember, It is God that is working on this carnal flesh, not Raymond Jackson. He will keep working on us until the day Jesus comes for us; for no matter how old you are, there will still be a few things for you to learn, until that day comes. I tell you though, There is nothing sweeter than an assembly of people that have dedicated themselves to walking in the Spirit, and seeing one another for what the grace of God has wrought in their lives; instead of whether they are living by your list of convictions; for no matter where you go, you are likely to see some brother or sister doing something that you would not do. To that, I just have to say this, If what they are doing is wrong in the eyes of God, when you grow enough that it is no longer an annoyance to you, God will lay His hand of correction on them. It will not necessarily be handled your way; but you will have to praise God for taking care of it. Now naturally I am not talking about obvious sin and immorality, when I say these things. I am talking about things of the flesh, that may or may not be sin, depending on how God has dealt with each individual. We should always remember first of all, that there are 30 fold Christians, 60 fold Christians, and 100 fold Christians, and these will never change from one level to the other, neither up, nor down. Therefore that in itself would mean that some could do certain things that others could not do. Then you have to allow for what the devil will do, trying to create a disturbance. He may throw more rocks at the 100 fold Christian than he will at the 60 fold Christian. But if he does, it will serve a purpose of God. Do you know why? Because you cannot bear more than 100 fold, but God knows that even the 100 fold can always bear a better quality of fruit, as his perfection process does its work in them. Likewise with the 60 and the 30. They will not bear more fruit; but what they do bear will be of a better quality, as they take on spiritual growth.


DECIDING FOR TRUTH


Now I wonder if it is possible that any of you would think the 30 fold Christian is one denomination, the 60 fold another, and the 100 fold another? If any of you have ever had a thought like that, let me assure you, that all of these are the same belief and fellowship, but their total revelation, and their abilities are not the same. This is what the 30, 60, and 100 fold applies to. But, Saints: do not take it upon yourselves to try and label each other with one of these; for only God knows us well enough to do that. Our number one priority should be to walk in the Spirit with every fiber of our being; knowing that time is short and true children of God have no time to play around. Each one of you will have to decide for yourselves, whether you really desire to let the Lord have His will in your lives, and if you do desire that, then you have to stop demanding your rights in every situation and give God a chance to work. People have said, Bro. Jackson will give in to this; Bro. Jackson will give in to that; and so forth, so let me say this, I will listen to any story; and I will accept any reasonable story, until such time that the Lord shows me different. Furthermore if I watch a situation six months and do nothing about it; it does not necessarily mean that I do not want to. I try not to touch anything until I first give God a chance to put a picture in my mind and show me what He wants done. It is not my desire to hurt anyone; you are all my brothers and sisters, if the grace of God has redeemed you; so I want to help you if I can. Let me make one thing clear though, if you give me a brand new Cadillac today, and tomorrow you need to be corrected, that Cadillac is not going to make one bit of difference; for we are not playing politics around here. I never want anyone to even think a thing like that. Naturally I cannot help what some carnal minded person may think; but I can do my utmost not to give then any justifiable reason to look at me like that. One thing that is heavy upon my heart though, is how people see the assembly as a whole when they come here year after year for the convention. I know they have seen us as a body of people believing the apostolic doctrines of the scriptures, but I desire to have them see us as a totally unified body in every area of our fellowship; so that when the devil throws rocks, instead of scattering, we will all run together, and be even closer. When people are knit together like that, the devil cannot stop them. That is what it means, compacted together; and that is when every member supplies to the body that which they have the ability to supply. What is the purpose of that? For the edifying of itself in love; that there be a full flowing of the love of God in the body. If we can just stop looking at self, and begin to see the whole body of Christ instead, our goals and our motives will be completely different from what they are. When we cultivate within our lives a true desire to see the whole body benefitted, then we can truly yield ourselves to the Holy Ghost the way God desires to have it. Then we will be just as thrilled to see Him bless someone else, as we will be when he blesses us. Some Christians live as though the Holy ghost was given to them just to comfort and teach them for their own personal welfare; therefore let me remind you once again, that everything Jesus did was for the benefit of the entire foreknown family of God; which in this grace age is referred to as the Church. Maybe there has been too much emphasis placed on this thing of our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and not enough on the fact that as a true child of God, we are (as individuals) only members of a great body, and not complete in ourselves. It is our personal relationship with the Savior that places us in this wonderful body; but once we are sealed in the body, we should lose our individuality, and learn to function as a part (PART) of the great BODY of redeemed children of God. How do we do that? Only by the leadership of the Holy Ghost. Remember, we are in a warfare, just like the children of Israel were, when they crossed over Jordan and started to take possession of all that God had promised them, therefore we need to take heed to the type. As long as they followed the plan of God they were victorious, their enemies could not stand before them. But what happened to them after God gave them that great victory at Jericho? They got to feeling like they were somebody to be reckoned with, and tried to take the city of Ai according to their own judgment, without waiting for the Lord’s instructions, and they suffered defeat and disillusionment. That victory at Jericho made them feel so good, they thought, We will really let these Amorites know we are not to be fooled around with. Well you know what happened, if not, you can read it in the 7th chapter of Joshua. It just lets us know that we cannot run ahead of God and enjoy the benefit of His leadership both at the same time. We have a Comforter; but He will not comfort you very much when you are running the road of life contrary to the will of God, interested only in self. Spiritual babies do that, but if you are a true child of God, you are called to fulfill a certain function in the universal body of believers, and eventually those childish traits will have to go. That is why God has to allow situations to arise that will break down our resistance to His total leadership, and that is why also that the apostle Paul wrote, “And we know (Romans 8:28) that all things work together for good to them that love god, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Whatever He has to do to our flesh, to break our selfish will and cause us to grow up spiritually, will eventually work for good to all who are true children of His. That is why when things start going wrong and we seem to be cut off in every direction, we need to take time to examine ourselves and determine whether God Himself is after something in our lives. When you first receive the Holy Ghost, God will let you act like a small child with a new toy for a while; but there always comes the day when He expects you to get serious about living a life that really portrays what you have within you. He expects you to allow His Spirit within you, not only to be your guide and Comforter, but also your teacher; and when He is teaching you something, He expects you to listen, and then walk accordingly, ever aware that He is to have first place in your life.


WHO JESUS DIED FOR


Now let us go back to the 5th chapter of Ephesians for a closer look at the remaining verses there. IN these verses we have been looking at, it is obvious that Paul was laying out the framework of what the Christian life is really built around. He shows what the body of Christ is composed of, and how we as members in particular are expected to fulfill our part, in order that Jesus may be seen through His Church. Just as Jehovah was seen through Jesus His only begotten Son, Jesus is to be seen through the Church that He purchased with His own blood. He gave Himself for it: (Why?) “That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” That is what Paul wrote in verse 26, after saying, “Husbands, love your wives; and wives be in subjection to your own husbands,” and so forth. Who was he writing to? Well the letter was addressed to the saints in Ephesus, and to the FAITHFUL in Christ Jesus, so I would have to believe that what we read here, is for the universal body of Christ throughout every age, as it deals with conduct, attitude, exampleship and obedience. Jesus did not die for the Baptist church; not the Methodist church, nor any other denominational system. What He died for was all those predestinated sons and daughters of God, who, if they were in one of those systems here at the end of the age, would come out of it and follow His word. The Church did not start out as a denomination, and it will not be a denomination in the end; so do not think of any of those systems of religion, when we speak of the Church. Alright what is Jesus going to do with the living element of the Church one day soon, after every spot, wrinkle and blemish is removed from her? Paul tells us in 1st Thessalonians, that we will all be caught up together with the resurrected saints that have gone by way of the grace, to meet the Lord in the air. Then he said, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. We ought to be looking forward to that day with anticipation; but far too many Christians are living as though they have no such hope. Why do I say that? Because they still have their eyes focused on things of the world; more than upon the Lord. The end result in all of this washing process, is that “He (Jesus) may present the Church to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” It is to be holy, and without blemish. Paul takes that little space to speak of the kind of relationship Jesus has with the Church He gave himself on the cross to redeem. Then he drops right back to what he was on before that; saying, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” Now why should Paul say a thing like that? I do not wan tot say anything that would detract from the present day reality of how God expects us to heed these scriptures; but Paul’s original reason for saying this, was because the Ephesian assembly was made up partly of Gentiles fresh out of paganism, and a lot of those marriages were not based upon the kind of relationship we think of, when we think of marriage. Many of those marriages were made by an agreement with the parents of the young woman, and she never laid eyes on her husband to be, until he came to take her away, so the love element was missing. But when the gospel came to those families, do you not think it would have had some effect on their feelings for each other? You know it would; but the gospel that brought them into the kingdom of God did not just automatically teach them how to live together as a happy husband and wife. They had to be taught by those men of God, before they could really know how to please God in their marriage relationships. Marriages can be made with contracts; but contracts do not grow like a true love relationship will. True love will bond a husband and wife together. That is something a contract could never do. But regardless of the former lack of love in a marriage, when those husbands and wives come to God, there are certain guidelines laid out in the scriptures for them to follow, which if they ignore, they can never please God. Nevertheless when Paul said, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies,” he said a mouth full. You have never seen a man go around pinching his own body, nor beating it. If you did, you would say, that man is crazy. Well according to the Bible, your wife is part of you. God ordained that in the very beginning. That is one thing Jesus reminded the Pharisees, of, when they tempted Him concerning divorce. In Matthew 19:4-6, He said to them, Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” We are living in a day when you would hardly know that is in the Bible, for Gentiles are drifting right back to customs their pagan ancestors observed two thousand years ago, before they received the gospel. Many of those who got married this week, will be broken up before another week passes, simply because God has been left out of the picture.


THE IDEAL MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP


Brothers and Sisters: I realize that we are not going to say anything that will change world trends; for Satan is the God of the world in general; but surely the bride of Jesus Christ should want to take heed to the word of God in this hour of time. I am not picking on any certain ones, but if you are believing that you are a part of the Church Paul was writing to, and your life is more prone to be guided by worldly styles and worldly trends, you know it, and God knows it, and He is knocking on your door. Every deviation from the word of God has side affects; just like a lot of the medicines people take, and those side affects can sure cause us a lot of problems. But there is one thing sure, If we will take the prescription God’s word prescribes for us, there will be no side affects, no adverse side affects. Anyhow as Paul speaks of the relationship between Christ and His Church, and compares it to the kind of relationship between Christian married couples, he said, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: (Notice the connection now.) For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Almost two thousand years have come and gone, since the New Testament was written, and this gospel has made it’s way around the world; and changed the general trend of many people. But here in the end of the age we are witnessing a reverse effect; for unregenerate mankind seems to have lost all respect for anything Christianity has ever stood for, and the devil is running rampant once again. That faithful, loyal image, of a young man and a young woman getting married and journeying down the road of life together until death parts them, is almost a thing of the past. Many of those marriages do not last more than a few weeks. Some last a few months, and some a few years, but the point is, the whole image of married life has changed; and it is all because they have been raised in homes that had no Christian influence, taught in schools that have tried to eliminate every mention of God, and thrust out into a society of humanity that is ruled by selfishness and greed. There is very little left to even build a marriage relationship upon, for as Paul shows us here, marriage is something that should be based upon a genuine love for each other that would cause each partner to be as concerned about the other one as they are for their own selves. That is why Paul compared the ideal marriage relationship to that of Christ and His Church. He loved the Church enough to die for it, so He is certainly not going to abuse it and cast it aside. Instead, He nourishes and cherishes it, and makes sure it has everything it needs. Actually this kind of marriage relationship was even exemplified in the Old Testament, before the gospel of Jesus Christ ever came, by men and women who walked with God. Abraham and Sarah had such a marriage, according to the scriptures.


PEOPLE TRY TO HELP GOD


Let us just look at Abraham and Sarah for a few minutes. The Bible tells us that Abraham was a Syrian; but he was of a higher caliber than the average Chaldean of his day. Therefore I believe God saw something in him that could be transferred into fleshly generations to come, even when Abraham and Sarah were both well up in years. He was about 75 years old and his wife about 65 when God spoke to him saying, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee, and I will make of thee a great nation;” and at that time they had no children, and had little hope of ever having any. Nevertheless I do not see Abraham as the kind of man that would ride the camel and have his wife walking; like you have seen portrayed of that part of the world. Neither do I see him as a man that was constantly saying, Sarah, go do this, Sarah, go do that. There are a lot of men in the world that treat their wives like that, and they may think it is supposed to be that way; but I assure you, they did not get that kind of picture from the Lord. There may be times in life when this is necessary; but it is not to be a general way of everyday life. Well God showed Abraham the land of Canaan and said, “Unto thy seed will I give this land.” Years passed and Abraham still had no seed to inherit the land; so one day he said to the Lord, I am childless and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus. He was thinking from the standpoint of who his heirs would be, and that is when God spoke to him again and said, “This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.” It was at that time that He told him his seed would be as the stars of heaven for number; and in Genesis 15:6, it says, “And he believed in the Lord; and He counted It to him for righteousness.” Naturally Abraham had been telling his wife those things God had said to him, and she no doubt believed God would perform it even as He had said; but she knew she was barren and had no hopes of ever having any children of her own, so she got the idea that she could give Abraham children through her handmaid Hagar. That sort of thing was a custom back then; but please remember, it was Sarah’s idea; Abraham did not suggest it. However he did according to his wife’s suggestion; and Hagar became expectant with child; but notice how the story goes after that. When Hagar knew she was that way, she began to show off in front of Sarah. Instead of humbling herself and saying to Sarah, Madam, I will be glad when the child is born, so we can enjoy it together, she took a proud, selfish spirit; and Sarah could see that she was actually despised in Hagar’s eyes, so she confronted Abraham with the whole thing. He did nothing about it himself; but said to Sarah, She is your maid; deal with her as you see fit. Well when Sarah got after her, she fled into the wilderness to hide. She could not hide from the Lord though, so the angel of the Lord appeared to her and instructed her to return to her mistress and submit to her. Hagar did according to the word of the Lord, and when her time was full, she bare Abraham a son, and they named him Ishmael, as the Lord had instructed. Now Abraham had a seed of his own; and he thought for sure that this was the one through whom the promise of God would be consummated. But when he was about a hundred years old and his wife about ninety, God spoke to him again, and told him that he would give him a son by Sarah, and that he should be named Isaac, and that through Isaac, (not Ishmael) His covenant would be established, an everlasting covenant that would be in effect down through every generation.


WINNING YOUR MATE TO THE LORD WITHOUT PREACHING


Brothers and Sisters: It is not difficult to imagine the affect it had on their neighbors when this ninety-year-old woman became pregnant with child. Anyhow you are all familiar with the story. Isaac was born, named according to the word of the Lord; and now Abraham finally had the son through whom the promise of God would be effective. When time came for Isaac to be weaned; Abraham made a great feast to celebrate the occasion; and during that time, Sarah looked up and saw Ishmael mocking him. Again she approached Abraham; but this time she conducted herself in a way that has caused some to say, She got out of her place. She said to him, Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son Isaac. This was hard for Abraham to do; for he loved Ishmael, so while he was thinking it all over, wondering how he was going to handle it, the Lord spoke to him. This is the verse that lets us see whether Sarah was out of her place or not, Gen. 21:12. “And God said to Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; (notice now) in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, HEARKEN UNTO HER VOICE: for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” God told him at that time, that of Ishmael He would also make a nation, because he was his seed. But we have to see in this that even when two people are truly walking together in life, there may be times when the wife will have the great insight into a situation. The Bible in no way indicates that from then on Sarah was the boss. Other scriptures cause me to know that she was subject to her husband just like the apostle Paul taught that a woman should be. Now if some brother finds himself in a situation where the word of God does not prevail, because of the fact that he is married to a woman that is not a Christian, just remember this, The formula given by the apostle Peter works both ways. What I am referring to is 1st Peter 3:1-2, so let us read it. “Likewise ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.” That means that going to church and hearing a sermon, the unbelieving mate can be won to the Lord by the true Christian conduct and attitude of the believer, which ever it may be. Now when a young man, or a young woman that is already a Christian seeks a mate, it is important that you let God do the match-making; for He will not unequally yoke you up with something you can never walk together with for the rest of your life. That is why a lot of Christians are having trouble with their marriages, they themselves compromised in the very beginning, thinking it would all work out later. Sometimes it does; but usually it does not. I have heard young women say, No he is not a Christian; but I feel that once we are married he will go to church with me, and eventually give his heart to God. Do not count on that. There have been more times that it has gone the other way. The unbeliever would eventually get the believer out of church. But now let us look at the kind of situation that I believe Peter was dealing with here. Let’s just say, Here is a young couple out here in the world looking for joy and happiness, but knowing nothing at all about Jesus Christ. They have sought happiness in many ways, but never found anything that would last very long at a time. It was more like a see-saw, always up and down. That kind of life will eventually take a toll on you and you will get to the place where you feel that everything you try is vain, and that if something doesn’t change soon you will burst into pieces. A lot of people in the world have traveled that road, and a lot of them are still on it. But for the sake of illustration, let us say that somehow the grace of God reaches down to, we will say, the young woman, and she begins to experience the real joy and happiness that she has always longed for. All of a sudden, there is a future. There is something to live for in this life; and hope for the life beyond. In other words, a whole new world opens up to her, but yet there is her husband, still miserable, always fussing about something, never having any real joy, and no motivation for the future. What should she do? You know what a lot of women have done; they would start nagging and accusing: you need to go to church with me; all you ever do is fuss and argue. I can’t do anything to please you until you get right with God. That is just the opposite of what Peter says the Christian mate should do. In other words, Be subject unto your own husband, except in something you know is sinful. Instead of smarting off and telling him how bad he is, and what he needs, that woman who desires to walk by the word of God will say instead, Yes honey, that is all right, I forgive you. If he flares up, she stays calm. She sees him as God sees him, and realizes that he needs more than just a smart answer. Her attitude and her words are expressed with kindness, and concern for his wishes. She lives true to God, herself, knowing that she cannot force him to turn to God; and sooner or later, that genuine Christian conduct makes an impression on him. He knew you before, and knew how miserable you were, and now he sees that you have something that makes life meaningful to you, and little by little his rebellion subsides, and he begins to desire what you have. That is what Peter meant by winning him without the word. When his stubborn will is broken and true repentance strikes hi, he will still have to obey the word of God to obtain salvation, just like everyone else; but until then, do not try to force the word of God on him.


LIVING A CONSERVATIVE AND SIMPLE LIFE


Peter had some other things to say to the woman who truly desires to walk in the will of God, so let us read some more of this 3rd chapter. Speaking of winning a lost husband through proper conduct and a godly fear, Peter went on to say this, (verse 3) “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.” I get letter from all parts of the world asking, Is it wrong for a Christian woman to plait her hair? Some Pentecostal preachers harp on that kind of thing constantly. It is all in the way they read this scripture. They completely miss the point Peter is making. Peter is speaking of a consistent image, that is conservative enough you will not stand out like a sore thumb. You do not present an image of godliness and Christian contentment when you are always changing your appearance from one extreme to the other, so that people never know what to expect when they see you. Peter was not saying that it is wrong for a woman to plait her hair, and so forth, but rather, after having said, Win your husband by the godly life you live, he was merely pointing out that it is not this outward adorning of the flesh that presents a godly image, but that which comes forth from the heart. If you feel that plating is a convenient way for you to fix your hair, then choose a style that is becoming to you and stick with it. Do not change your image from day to day like these women of the world are always doing. If you will just stop and ask yourself, Why do women want to look different every time they go out? You cannot help but realize that a Christian woman ought not do that. Trying to be the center of attention is not a Christian attribute. You know how some women are, they will cut their hair off short, and maybe have a dozen different wigs to wear, red ones, blue ones, blonde ones, and you name it. That is a worldly attribute to try to get attention. Well in ancient times they did not have the wigs, so they fixed it one way one day, and some other way the next, always changing their looks and presenting a different image, and that is what Peter was talking about. No woman will ever win her lost husband to the Lord just simply by dressing up her flesh, it takes more than that. But that does not meant hat in it all, she should not choose a becoming way to fix her hair, and so forth. But whatever she chooses should be conservative and consistent, and make a good appearance, and if plaiting fits into that, there is nothing at all wrong with it. A lot of Pentecostal preachers would like to hang me up by my heels for saying that, but I could not care less what they think, for they are as blind as a bat anyway, or they would not interpret those scriptures like they do. They completely miss the whole point the scripture is dealing with. It is the same way with wearing anything made of gold. The Nazarene people would not wear anything made of gold for anything in the world, and do you know why? They say the Bible says not to. They see gold in that verse; and the Pentecostal see hair, and they each say, It is wrong. That is their interpretation of that one verse, simply because they fail to apply it with verses 1, 2 and 4. If you look at verse 3, and say, it is wrong for a woman to plait her hair, or, It is wrong to wear gold, do you know what you are going to force the last part of that same verse to say? It is wrong to put on apparel. Well if it is wrong to put on apparel, that means you have to go naked. Is that the way you want to read that verse? I think not. The world is not stripping off because they read what Peter wrote there. Even they would have enough common sense to know that was not what Peter was saying. Now let me say this, If you think my illustrations and ways of expressing things are silly, then you show me a better way. But if you do not have a better way, then leave me alone, for I believe those who want to know the truth, can find it, and understand it through these simple explanations. Most of the trouble people have in their Christian lives is a result of getting a wrong interpretation of the scriptures. That causes them to try to work everything out in the flesh, instead of from the inner man, which is what God is looking at. Outward adornment is important because it should be an expression of what that true person is, and desires to portray, but there is more involved than just the way we look to the natural eye of someone else, when we start talking about a godly appearance. But the picture Peter was portraying is of a godly woman that has learned how to dress herself, and how to present herself in attitude and speech; so that every time you see her, no matter where she is, you see a woman dressed neat but conservative, with a hair style that portrays a woman professing godliness, and an attitude that will not put you on edge, and make you wish you had not even seen her. I have actually met up with some people out in public, away from church, that I was embarrassed for; because of the way they looked. Brothers and Sisters: It ought not be that way. Furthermore the pastor should not have to go around checking up on you to see how you present yourself; the Spirit of Christ in you should be all you need to keep you presenting yourself in a godly way. Now we have used the woman in what we have tried to get you to see; but you be assured, God is just as concerned about the way Christian men present themselves. Following worldly styles and fads is what we do before becoming Christians; but the grace of God in our lives is supposed to deliver us from all of that. Do not travel around the world though, and try to push your American image off on people of other countries, it will not work, because conditions demand different lifestyles and different styles of outward attire. So Peter says in other words, Don’t be trying to make an impression on people with excessive outward attire. (Verse 4) “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” In other words, If that inner man of the heart is dressed properly it will reflect a godly image on the outside also. You do not put the Lord Jesus on your arm, on your finger, nor on your neck; you put Him in your heart, so to speak, and that in itself gives you what it takes to have a meek and quiet spirit, which he says is in the sight of God of great price. “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” Being in subjection to your husband means that you show proper respect for him, not only in public, but at all times. If you feel that you have to say something to him, do not make a fool of yourself and say it in public. You wait until you can say it to him in private. That goes for the men also. If you say things to each other in public that is humiliating, God will see to it that you are humiliated also; for that is how the unregenerate world lives, and we are to be a separated people, that portray a different image. But it is just like the scripture says in referring to the wife as a help mate. That is what a good wife is. You heard the brother testifying here tonight how his wife helped him when the medicine he was taking got him in a shape where he needed that kind of help. That is why I said what I did earlier; some of these prescription drugs have adverse affects that are worse than the condition you are being treated for. Anyhow the point is, God gave Eve to Adam to be his help mate; not his slave, but at the same time, the man is the head of the family, and every Christian woman needs to be conscious of that fact, lest she step out of the will of God. But you husbands take note of verse 7, for you are not left out of Peter’s admonition. “Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” Some people are always wondering why their prayers are never answered. Well, here is one reason; they never get their spirits in line with the will of God. They go to church, they read the Bible, they dress themselves properly, but they are always fussing and bickering, never able to come into a unity of purpose. God could not answer their prayers, without going contrary to what one of them wants. We are heirs together of this grace that God has bestowed upon our lives; therefore in order to see our prayers answered, we have to get our values in line with the will of God. When our attitudes and motives are right, and we come before the throne of grace in unity and oneness of purpose, there is nothing to hinder our prayers. God can answer prayer under those conditions, because the prayer will not be of a selfish nature. God will see that every child of His has what they need; but He has never said that He would give us everything we might want in life. Furthermore He sees our genuine needs different than the way we see them. We may feel that we need everything that anyone else has; but God knows that our spiritual condition is the most important thing, and many times He just sort of holds back material things from us until we get our values straightened out. Food, shelter, and something to cover our nakedness are the essentials of life and everything else we acquire can be looked upon as an extra benefit. Christians in one part of the world will have different needs than Christians of another part, and when we go beyond the basic needs of life, those things are regulated by how God sees our ability to handle them and still walk with Him. You can go out here and in one way or another, lay hold on everything your eye may lust for; but if that sort of thing has first place in your life, you are not walking with God. You are not walking in the Spirit.


REVIEWING THIS MESSAGE


As we look at this spiritual walk with God, we have to realize that as individuals we are all different. What is simple and easy for some, may very well be the hardest thing some others have ever been faced with, so we need to allow for that, when we have an urge to judge someone else; because they are not exactly like we would like for them to be. Remember, there will always be the 30, 60 and 100 fold Christians, and they will not graduate from one category to another, so God looks at every individual according to the ability they have, and He wants us to do likewise. No. We are not to go around assigning anyone to a certain category; God is the one that takes care of that. We are just to live our own lives according to the word of God found here in the Bible, and not try to measure ourselves by any other brother or sister. When you look for a pattern, or example to compare yourself to, look to Jesus. If your life has been redeemed from destruction, it is so you can pattern your life after His. We cannot force the world to, but that should be our goal; for the Bible declares that we are to be made into His image. Everything God does in our lives is to ultimately make us conformable to the image of His only begotten Son who was perfect in all His ways, and that sought nothing but to please the Father. We are coming to the close of this message, which I had no idea would be this lengthy when we started; so I would like to go back into the 4th chapter of Ephesians, the chapter we started in, and review those points there, that actually inspired this message in the first place. In verse 11 we see the type of ministry that God has set in the church for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body; and verse 13 tells us how long that will remain that way, so let us read it. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” That was not written to denominational church systems which are man made; it was written to true sons and daughters of God who have no higher purpose in life than to please Him. The ministry of verse 11 is the only ministry that will ever see the true body of Christ as God sees it. They will have a revelation of the plan and purpose of God, and their preaching and teaching will e by the leadership of the Spirit, to fulfill their part in that perfecting process. Denominational preachers will never see the church as a nucleus of people who all have the same revelation the world over, and that are knit together by the true unity of the Spirit of God and the bonds of a love relationship that supercedes all of their creeds and rituals. Through the World Council of Churches, they are working to bring about a unity of what they call, “THE CHURCH,” but theirs is a false unity. For in order to achieve unity, they have to set aside every Bible doctrine that has ever been an issue of difference between them, and just say, we don’t need doctrines; we just need to love one another; because doctrines divide. Brothers and Sisters: You will never find a statement like that in the Bible; that is just their false interpretation of the scriptures as a whole, that causes them to come to such a conclusion. The true body of Christ will believe and adhere to every doctrine of the scriptures, and still have a unity that the devil cannot destroy; because they will have a true revelation of those doctrines. They will know when they apply, and how to apply them, and they will rejoice and give praise to the God who has revealed them, instead of fussing and arguing over them. People who believe in a trinity can never come into the UNITY OF THE FAITH; because they do not have the faith Paul was referring to when he wrote that. The faith Paul was referring to was built upon a true revelation of who Jesus Christ was; (and still is) that He was the Son of God the great eternal Spirit that created all things, and that he (Jesus) was the ONLY PERSON of the Godhead. God has never been three persons, and He never will be. Those Trinitarians read right over John 4:23-24, where Jesus said, “But the hour cometh, AND NOW IS, when the TRUE worshipers shall worship the Father in SPIRIT and in TRUTH: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. (Notice now) GOD IS A SPIRIT: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” The Trinitarians are not the only ones that misinterpret the scriptures though; for oneness Pentecost does not have a true revelation of the oneness of God, therefore they have the same spirit on them, that motivates all of denominational religion, and that spirit causes them to fuss and argue; and it causes them to be against people like us who believe and preach a true revelation.


SOME PEOPLE RESIST A TRUE REVELATION


I received a tract from a man up here in the northern part of Indiana the other day, and also a letter. They used to be in fellowship with us, and were very aware of all the extremism associated with the following of Bro. Branham because of using quotes from his sermons without having a revelation of what was being set forth. But when we published the message dealing with the oneness of God, using revealed scriptures instead of traditional quotations that 20th century oneness preachers have put together, we evidently crossed over their line of tolerance. This tract contains a quotation that Bro. Branham used, which comes from oneness Pentecost; wherein he stated, Jehovah of the Old Testament was Jesus in the New Testament. True saints of God that have a revelation of how to apply that statement can say Amen to it of course; because there is a certain sense in which that is true. But the way oneness Pentecost uses it, comes short of a true revelation of the Godhead. That is the reason they are called “Jesus only,” they leave no room for the three offices of God. They refuse to use terminology that includes Father and Son, afraid it will destroy their concept of Colossians 2:9, which says, “For in Him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” We believe that verse; and it in no way destroys our revelation. He was a man, without even the ability to perform a miracle for the first 30 years of His life. It was only after that great eternal Spirit which is God, entered into Him there at the Jordan River, when John baptized Him, that He became both God and man. I grant you He was perfect before that; but He was not God. After the incarnation He was still not God from the technical standpoint, but God was in Him. Therefore God did truly walk among mankind in human flesh for 3 ½ years; but that human flesh was not God; it was still that of the Son of God. The way oneness Pentecost believe the Godhead, they cannot even use 1st Corinthians 15:24, where Paul speaks of how Jesus (the Son) will deliver up the kingdom to the Father, after redemption is completed, for the eternal age; for they believe Jesus is the Father. Well we have thoroughly explained this in other messages, so I will go no further with it at this time. The man asked us in a nice way not to bother sending the Contender to them any more; and certainly we do not intend to force it upon people who do not want it. We are publishing it to help those who are searching for truth; not just so people who want to hold to their old denominational traditions can have something to fuss about. Saints I am so thankful for truth. If God had not opened our eyes to truth, we would still be sitting out there in some religious system, just as blind as they are today. They do not know they are blind; but we know they are. There is no way God could perfect them; for it is not this human flesh that is being perfected; it is the inner man, the hidden man of the heart, as Peter referred to it; and he can only be perfected in a pure revelation. The reason we need all these admonitions from the various writers of the scriptures is because this flesh will never be perfected. The inner man which is being perfected must exercise dominion over the flesh, lest the flesh follow the trends of the world. That is what this message is all about; to make known the difference between godly trends and worldly trends, and make known the will and purpose of God in our lives according to the scriptures. True children of God cannot continue on in these traditional religious trends in this late hour of time. Just as Jesus had to grow physically into a certain statue before deity came into the picture, so must we reach a certain statural growth spiritually, before we can reflect a true image of Him. He grew up in life by the same process every other human has; because He was human. He took on a certain stature in wisdom, knowledge and attitude, and when He was about 30 years old deity met Him at the river because it was time for Him to step fully into what He was ordained to do. The Jehovah of the Old Testament entered into and took possession of His only begotten son, and only after that could Jesus say, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” That did not do away with the Father; nor did it make Jesus the Father; it just simply made the Father and the Son a perfect unity. That is why from that moment on an image of Jehovah was established through Him; and truly men saw God in Him; but in all of His deeds He distinguished between the Father and the Son saying, I only do what the father shows me to do. Martha the sister of Lazarus expressed it correctly as she spoke to Jesus about her dead brother. She said. “Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” If you have a proper revelation of the Godhead, you do not have to try to make Jesus the man, anything other than the Son of God. That is why every attribute of God that was manifested through Him, can also be manifested through God’s redeemed sons and daughters without making them anything more than they are. None of us, in this present state of life will ever possess the fullness of the Spirit of God that Jesus had in Him; but the church, the true body of redeemed believer, as a collective body, has that fullness in her, and from the standpoint of the body as a whole, she does the same works Jesus did.

UNBELIEF IS UNPARDONABLE


All right now, we are again looking at these verses in Ephesians 4, before we close the message, just to be sure we have not missed the whole point. Why is it necessary for us to come to this unity of faith and take on the knowledge of the Son of God, and take on that stature? Verse 1 says, “That we henceforth (from now on) be no more children, (as children) tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” The devil is a liar and a deceiver, and he has many ambassadors out here in religion, to do his dirty work for him. It’s not the drunks down in the neighborhood saloon that are deceiving people. Nor the prostitutes and perverts that roam the streets. It is preachers professing to be speaking in the name of the Lord, that are deceiving multitudes, taking their dollars, and sending them on down the road to destruction. Whenever you hear a preacher stand and say a certain doctrine of the Bible is out of the pit of hell, beware of that preacher. No matter how hard he may preach against sin, if he says a thing like that, he is committing a sin that is in the eyes of God greater than them all. God can deal with people who will believe His word, no matter how deep in sin they may be: but the man that looks at the word of God, and because he has no revelation of it says, That doctrine is out of the pit of hell, is making the word of God of no effect in his life. Unbelief concerning the word of God is the only unpardonable sin, so such a man stands on dangerous ground, and if you follow him, you also will be on dangerous ground. As you look back through church history, you see that the Baptist held to eternal security, and the Methodists would say, That doctrine is out of the pit. The Methodist taught sanctification, and the Baptists would say the same thing about that doctrine. The Presbyterians taught predestination, and the others said likewise about their doctrine; and the sad thing is, None of them actually had a clear revelation of the doctrine they taught; they just knew it was in the Bible. Well the true believer of this hour sees all of those doctrines in the Bible, has a revelation of their reality, and embraces every one of them, even though they may or may not be able themselves to explain them in detail. You do not have to be able to explain everything in order to have a revelation of its reality, and its place in the true body of Christ. The important thing is to have a right attitude, and not to be deceived by false teachers. The Spirit of God builds your revelation in you at whatever pace you are able to receive it, and through that revelation you are able to supply your part to the body, and more so, as your revelation increases. Verse 15 gives us the key to proper spiritual growth, so let us read it once more. “But speaking the truth in love, (SPEAKING THE T-R-U-T-H in L-O-V-E) May grow up into Him (Christ) in all things, which is the head, even Christ. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, (Remember, it is all from Him) according to the effectual working in the measure  (our individual measure) of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Isn’t that a beautiful picture? From Him, we receive that measure which we are able to contribute to the universal body; and as we contribute it we are blessed, and because of our contribution, others are blessed and edified, and statural growth is attained from every contribution that is made. It is a love relationship; and the whole body is edified, just like the whole body suffers when there is a problem. Let me say this now; and I will close, You can only supply to someone else as God enables you to do so, for everything must go according to God’s foreordained plan and purpose, therefore fleshly zeal and carnal efforts have no place in it. Let us yield ourselves to God, and be led by His Spirit, as He brings this whole redemption plan to a climax and prepares to come for those that are His. Do not worry about trying to get the tares out of the way; God has vessels appointed to accomplish that. Our total concern should be to supply our part to the total function of the body, and God Himself will see to all the rest. The Church is made up of individuals that must function as a unit, in order to exemplify Christ. So as we put on Christ, that is what it is all about. If chastening is necessary, welcome it, being thankful that God loves you enough to chasten you. If we are going to be compacted together; it means, God has to be allowed to work on the rough edges in the area of our flesh. God bless every one of you. Amen.

Every Joint Supplieth, Part 2

Up to this point in the message, we have not actually gotten past verse 16, here in the 4th chapter of Ephesians, so let us read verse 17 and see where Paul begins to narrow this thing down. Remember, he is writing to born again believers, and this was before there ever was such a thing as a tare sitting among them; so whatever we see here, was written to the true children of God. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth (From this point on) walk not as other Gentiles walk, (or live) in the vanity of their mind.” The word vanity has many definitions; so you have to consider the one that fits the setting, Therefore we would have to say, In this case, it pertains to useless or valueless thinking, vain, and empty of any worthwhile purpose. That is what we are seeing a lot of, out here in the world today; a trend toward humanism. There again, we have a word that can be looked at in different ways. But when I say humanism, I am thinking of a doctrine, or way of life completely centered on human interests, that promotes self-realization through reason, and usually rejects the supernatural power of God. Maybe there is a better word that we could use, but we are speaking of the natural man, in his natural makeup, apart from any work of redemption by God’s grace. In other words, just to be plain about it, it is unregenerate mankind, trying to make their own way, without God. You hear of a lot of the psychiatrists of our day, telling people, You have got to express yourself in whatever way it takes, to get certain feelings out of your system. They will even tell them, Go tell your boss off, if that makes you feel better. Brothers and Sisters: That is just plain foolishness. Will those who promote such a thing, pay your grocery bill and your rent, when the boss tells you to pick up your check, and look for a job somewhere else? No they will not; and neither will they see you any more; when you are unable to pay their fee. Well any way you look at it, man in his natural state is an enemy of the God that created him. That is why the Bible says in the 3rd chapter of Romans, “There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” You have probably heard people say, Ever since I was a little boy, or a little girl, I have always had a desire to learn about God. Well it is ignorance of truth, that keeps us apart from God, and many times, when truth does come walking down the road, we run the other way. Why? Because He comes at a time when we are totally unprepared to meet Him. He doesn’t come the way we thought He would; so we run from Him, instead of to Him. But to those born again believers, Paul wrote, From now on, be certain you do not live according to your former ways; like the other Gentiles still do, for that old way of life was vain, having no certain purpose.


BLINDNESS OF HEART


In verse 18, Paul elaborates on what he meant. Notice, “Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God (cut off from Him) through the ignorance t hat is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” It is strange that Paul would use a term like that: “blindness of their heart.” Was he actually saying that our heart has eyes? Well you have to realize that there is something about the heart of man that is very sensitive to wrong. If someone comes up to you and starts talking to you about doing something wrong: what is the first sensation you feel in your body? Is it that your eyes start quivering? No. Your heart gets nervous. That is the very seat of your soul. Your mind is the communicator; but your heart is the reactor, and that is why Paul spoke of it like that; for it is the heart that God wants to deal with. Therefore as he continues describing the former state of these Ephesian believers, Paul realizes that they have all been converted right out of raw paganism, and he wants to be sure they get completely free from all those pagan practices; that they observed in ignorance. Notice as he continues, “Who being past feeling have given themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” Now to be past feeling, is to be void of any kind of conviction. Nothing is wrong. Does that sound like our day? Paul wrote this almost two thousand years ago, describing unregenerate mankind of that hour; but as you read it, you feel more like it was written last week; to describe our present generation. Do you know why? The same devil that caused people to live like those Paul was describing, is still around today, pushing God out of the picture, and promoting all sorts of ungodliness. Can God be pushed out of the picture? Some will say. Well what do you think they re-write the school text books for? They want every mention of God removed from the minds of those young students; and they want to be able to teach them to do whatever makes them feel good. No wonder cocain and marijuana are such a real part of the lives of so many: they have no one to teach them about the true values of life. Never has there been a time in the history of humanity, when young minds were being invaded by the powers of the devil, any more than in our present time. Oh I do not mean to say that it is just young people, a lot of the older ones are just as bad; but except for the few that are Christians: it seems the youth of our day have just given themselves over completely to filth and corruption. Most of them are on dope of some kind; and it is destroying their minds, and they seem to think that taking dope is a normal part of this modern age. Of course there has always been a certain element of mankind that used dope; but most of them were wise enough not to let that kind of thing destroy them. I suppose what it all boils down to, is that people of this age are allowing what they call democracy; to become a sickness that will eventually destroy them. The only thing is, God will intervene in all of this somehow, in order to preserve an element of natural mortal mankind, with mind enough to pass into the millennium, to repopulate the earth after he once again cleanses it. Right now, you would have to wonder how that will even be possible, but remember, All things are possible with God. As you become aware of certain statistics, you wonder how there are even enough healthy people still working; to pay the bill for all the sickness of this modern generation. Yet to hear our political leaders talk, it sounds like they actually think this modern day lifestyle is making things better for us. That just lets us see how blindness has taken over this society, just like Paul wrote here in Ephesians. I take no great pleasure in looking at the dark side of all these controversial issues of our day; but someone has to. It certainly is not the will of God for Christians to just throw up their hands and turn everything over to the devil in an hour such as this. There is still a standard of righteousness that God’s true children must uphold, no matter what the world does.


BEING RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND


In a time such as we are now living in: When the world at large seems to be yielding almost completely to the devil, it causes Christians to become a little careless also and unless the Spirit of God moves upon someone to sound an alarm, lives can become pretty entangled in worldly trends. Therefore I hope this little message can serve, both to warn of Satan’s devises, and also to help children of God understand that every member of the body of Christ has some necessary function in that body. Whether you realize it or not, this whole thing is going to cycle around to the point where every true child of God in this age is going to stand out; just like the Christians of that first age stood out. That is not what Satan wants; he enjoys seeing Christians dabble in the things of the world. But the word of God says, (2nd Cor. 6:17) “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”  This was written to you who believe; not to those who are alienated (separated) from God because they have rejected His word, and as the apostle Paul said, these who are past feeling, who have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, (uncontrolled lust) to work all uncleanness with greediness. You try to talk to that kind, about the error of their ways, and you will hear, Shut up preacher! This is an evil age. The devil is driving people crazy, and they look at us as complete fanatics; but I have yet to see a Holy Ghost filled person who speaks out against this perverted lifestyle, go crazy. On the other hand, psychiatric wards in the hospitals around the world, are filled with people who try to climb the walls, see all kinds of demons, worms crawling, and all sorts of things, all because they have given themselves over to uncleanness with greediness, and refused to give God any place in their lives. In verse 20, though, Paul says, “But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” In other words, If you have heard the call of the spirit, to become a child of God: you cut loose from that old way of life, and allow the Spirit of God to completely renew your mind, so that you will think on things that are pure, rather than those unclean things of the world. In the nations of the world where the word of God was respected, many of these perverted evils were held to a minimum; as long as it remained so. But when a nation began to change its views, and make laws to uphold those changed views, the Sprit of God began to withdraw; and the devil moved in. The same thing is happening in America; that happened in some of those Middle East nations centuries ago. Various areas such as Greece, Turkey, Syria, and many others, where the gospel of Jesus Christ had such a tremendous impact in the first century, were later invaded by the teachings of Muhammad, in the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries, and their desire for something different led them in that direction. You hear very little about Christian influence in those nations now. God will always reserve a few for Himself, out of every nation, but when the nation as a whole, begins to desire something else, and lets them perish with it. That is why I have said, If time lasts long enough, America is headed for the same fate; because she is rapidly shutting God out of the picture. Even multitudes of those who do profess to be Christians, are following worldly trends; set by people who could not care less about what God wants. When Paul said, Put off the old man; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; he meant just exactly that; and the same applies to twentieth century Christians of our day. For just as Jesus also said, you cannot serve two masters at the same time; you cannot serve God and Satan, both at the same time. Our former way of living before becoming a believer in Jesus Christ and surrendering our lives to him was a way designed by the devil; the enemy of God, for all our interests were selfish. You may disagree at first, if you have not yet had that renewing in the spirit of your mind; for you do not yet clearly see the difference Jesus Christ makes in a life that is totally dedicated to serving God. Some of you think that all it takes to please God is just going to church once or twice a week; but when God puts His Spirit in you, He is after a lot more than that. I suppose a lot of people are like I used to be; I did not drink, nor smoke, nor did I have a lot of the other habits that many people have; so I thought of myself as a pretty good fellow. I did not fight against going to church; but neither did I like sitting in the services very long. I was always the first one that would begin to squirm and look at my watch, and when the services ended, I was the first one out the door. In other words, I really did not have an appetite for the things of God; I just merely tolerated them for the sake of being able to say that I went to church. Going to church is a term we use, and it only means that we go to the place where the church gathers to worship God. For if we do not have the Spirit of Jesus Christ in us; by the operation of the new Birth, according to the scriptures, we are not a part of the church; no matter how often we meet with them. It is usually this type of person, (one who just goes) that will tell you all about what is wrong with the church, for while they are there, they are taking mental notes on everything they do not agree with. But tell me, How in the name of common sense, can an unsaved person (a person without the Holy Ghost) judge accurately on spiritual matters, when the Bible clearly teaches us that it takes a spiritual mind to understand the things of the Spirit of God? Only a person with a spiritually renewed mind can accurately judge right from wrong; apart from the areas of outright sin. True Christianity is not a game we play; it is a life that can only be lived by those who have met all the scriptural requirements, and been made new by the Spirit of God.


DRESSING UP THE INNER MAN


A lot of people who truly were foreknown of God, have gone for years, without making a total commitment to God; and many times that has caused God to have to use some extreme measures to shake them loose from their dependence upon external good deeds that they do, and cause them to realize that being a Christian is more than just doing good deeds and such like. God has to wrap their old car around a tree, or let some bad sickness or tragedy take hold of their lives; in order for them to be made willing to come to Him His way. If I lived to be a hundred years old; I could still take you right to the spot where God knocked on my door; and said, Raymond Jackson: You have gone far enough, your way. He had to allow a bunch of drunks to hit my tractor and bring me to the very brink of death itself; in order to get my ear. But you can believe me saints: I did not need anyone to tell me why that accident happened. When I finally regained consciousness, lying there in the old St. Edwards Hospital in New Albany, deep down inside me there was something saying, This happened to bring you to me; and it haunted me until I surrendered my life to God. It is much better just to obey, when you hear it preached; but if it takes something like what happened to me, to bring you to your senses; then just be thankful to God that He knows how to do what needs to be done. Of course we are supposed to be talking about what the Holy Spirit does in the lives of Christian people, even in spite of what is going on in the world round about us; so let us finish our scriptures here in Ephesians. You may be 18; or even a lot younger than that, but when the Bible says, Put off the old man, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; it is talking about shedding your old inherited nature, and allowing the Holy Spirit to mold in you the very nature and characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Christ in you that gives you the hope of glory. Therefore your age has nothing at all to do with what you do about these scriptures. You may be gray headed, or bald headed, and as wrinkled as it is possible to be, or you may be very young in age; with most of your life still before you, (if time lasts) but regardless of which you are, the scriptures we are looking at have the same application. We are born into this old world with a fallen nature; because of Adam’s sin and the devil will harness that nature, and cause you to do and say things that you are sorry for later; therefore if God does not get hold of your life; and cause you to shed that inherited nature, by taking on the nature of His only begotten Son; you just continually get worse and worse; and eventually become hardened to the convicting presence of the Spirit of God, and you can end up just like those Paul describes in verses 18 and 19. But as we said already, These admonitions were written to those who are born again by the Spirit of God; so that we will be conformable to the very image of our perfect example, Jesus Christ. We are not just automatically like Him because we are born again. That nature has to be molded in us; as we walk obedient to His word. That is what we commonly refer to as maturing; and it only takes place as we yield ourselves to what we know to do; to bring our lives in line with the scriptures. That is why I said, Our mind is the communicator; that has the responsibility of sorting out what we hear, and either rejecting it, or passing it on to our spirit where it becomes a part of our makeup. It is through this very process that we do what Paul states here. He goes on in verse 24 saying, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” We can take off a dirty suit of clothing, wash up, and jump into a clean suit in just a few minutes, and the outer man is clean; but cleaning up the inner man is not such a quick process. It takes time for us to be renewed in the spirit of our mind; to the point where our very life continually glorifies God, instead of yielding to our old inherited nature. That old temper has to be taken away and our attitude and motives has to be changed, and that is not something that takes place instantly.


TWO MEN – WITH CONTRASTING ATTITUDES


To illustrate something of what we are looking at here, I am going to relate to you a little story I heard years ago; while still in the Methodist Church. As far as I know, it is a true story. It goes like this, Two farmers living on adjoining farms, out in the big corn country; each had much livestock, and were very prosperous; and at one time they were very good friends; and they both went to the same church. Well one farmer’s cattle was always getting out; and they would get over into the other man’s corn field. This man would drive the cattle back into the pasture field where they belonged; and then mend the fence where they got out. Not one time did he ever complain to his friend and neighbor; because in his heart he practiced Christian virtues; and would only say, Bro. So and So, your cattle were in my corn field against last night and did quite a bit of damage; but we got them all out and repaired the fence. The other man would say, Bro. I thank you, and appreciate that; and that would be the end of the matter. But then, one day, the picture reversed. The other man’s cattle got into that farmer’s corn field and did quite a bit of damage; so what do you think happened: He came driving into this farmer’s driveway; and up to the house and said, Your cattle are in my corn field; tearing it all to pieces, and I want them out. Well the man took his sons, drove the cattle back where they belonged and repaired the fence. But now this neighbor will no longer speak to him. They both still went to the same church; and the one man did everything he knew to do; trying to bring about a reconciliation, and the other man flatly refused to have anything to do with him; and kept that old antagonistic feeling burning in his heart. Then when he got older, he had a bad heart attack; and ended up in the hospital. Several days passed; and finally the doctor said to the man, If there is anything on your mind that you need to attend to; I advise you to get it done; for I am unable to offer you much hope of pulling out of this. Naturally the doctor was thinking about a will and things of that nature; but the man immediately told his wife, Get Bro. So and So (his neighbor that he had refused to be reconciled to for years) to come over here right away. Naturally when word reached the other man that his neighbor wanted to see him, it made him feel good; and he went right over to the hospital to see him. The old man looked up from his bed and said, Brother: I have been a fool, acting the way I have. Will you forgive me? The answer was, Sure I forgive you, and after that, they talked for a long time. Then the other man, in the bed, got to feeling pretty good; and when he did, his attitude changed again; and he said, Just in case I do pull through this, I want you to know, everything will remain as it was before today. Brothers and Sisters: There are people going to church every Sunday that have attitudes exactly like that. They read these same scriptures; but they never allow the Spirit of God to make any of it real to them. What a thin garb of religion for anyone to be wearing! That is just like making a mockery out of the word of God. A person like that may call themselves a Christian; but what does the Bible call them? If I read my Bible correctly, that kind of religion is vain. That is not what God is after. Going to church was just a form with him, for there was no Christlikeness in him.

Alright we still have a couple more verses to look at here; and I again remind you that Paul is writing to Christians; telling them what is necessary in order to grow to maturity. Verse 25, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. (Verse 26) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” That literally means this, A Christian person may have cause to become angry; but the Bible way, is to go right to the source of that anger; and get it straightened out, and not let it eat at your insides. If you get angry, and then just let that anger boil inside of you without trying to get it straightened out: it becomes a root of bitterness; like Paul spoke of in the 12th chapter of Hebrews. Well the point is, Jesus is coming back after an element of people that have been washed by the word of God; and that root of bitterness has no part in it. The world is being overrun with the powers of evil; but the Church of the living God is not supposed to be part of any of that. After Paul said, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (he also said) Neither give place to the devil.” Now saints: Do you know what he was referring to there? Simply this, when you have the Spirit of God in you, the only room the devil can have is what you give him. That is what John meant when he said, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” The Spirit of God in you is there to enable you to overcome all the forces of evil; no matter how severe they are. But God’s Spirit always works according to His word; so you have to do things His way in order to gain the victory when Satan attacks you.

GOD’S PURPOSE IN THE CHURCH


This seems like a good place to bring in Ephesians 5:26 & 27, before we continue on in chapter 4, for this is what gives purpose to all those other scriptures dealing with Christian behavior. “That He might sanctify and cleanse it (the Church) with the washing of water by the word.” The word of God is supposed to do the same thing for the spirit of a Christian person, that a bath does for our natural body. We take a bath to wash away dirt, and become clean; therefore the word of God cleanses us from all of the devil’s filth; and sanctifies us. Why? “That He (Christ Jesus) might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”That is the end result. That is what everything else works toward; so let us go back to chapter 4 now and look at the rest of the chapter. We read it in chapters and verses, but when Paul wrote this to the Ephesian Church; it was just a letter without these divisions. But as we go back here to verse 27, to look at the rest of the chapter, just try to imagine a pastor of an assembly of born again believers: speaking to them like this. A denominational pastor could not do it; without running the risk of being voted out of his job; but a man called of God to pastor a church, is obligated to preach and teach the entire word of God to his congregation; no matter who gets their feelings hurt. It is not always popular to preach the word of God in its fullness; but in order to accomplish the purpose of God, stated in the two verses we just read, it is necessary. I have been pastoring this congregation for 31 years now; and I have seen a lot of people come and go, for one reason or the other; in those 31 years. But as I look out over the congregation, I see quite a few that have been right here, during all those years. This brings to my mind something one brother in the church related to me the other day. Over where he works, some of them got into a discussion about the hiring and firing of preachers; and they asked him if we have board members here. When he told them that we do, they wanted to know what happens if the preacher teaches something they do not like. His reply was, If you do not like what is taught in Faith Assembly; you do not vote the preacher out; you move out yourself. Brothers and Sisters: That is the way it is supposed to be; unless the preacher somehow allows the devil to get his own life messed up. But even then, the Holy Ghost is the one that should direct whatever action needs to be taken. Out here in these denominational systems, where the congregations hire and fire preachers at will: you will not find the church being washed by the water of the word of God; for that is not where the Church is. The Church of the living God has already been called out of those systems; and what is left in them is void of the Spirit of God; or they would not still be there. Just as the Jews had to spend years in Babylonian captivity, so did the Church have to do likewise. AS long as the Church remained in those systems of religion, she was just as much in captivity and confusion spiritually, as the Jews were in the natural; when they were down in Babylon.


STANDING – WITHOUT COMPROMISE


I had no way of knowing 31 years ago, what this little church would have to go through with, in order to stand for the truth of God’s word; but I am ever so thankful that we have been able to face the trials, tests, persecutions, and so forth; without having to compromise with the truth; in order to please someone’s flesh. Furthermore we have not had to build huge buildings, nor amusement parks, nor beg for money; in order to fulfill what God has called us to do. These who do such things, claim to be having a great Holy Ghost revival, and they talk much about getting the people of God ready for the rapture. But let me tell you saints, You are not going out of here to meet the Lord in the air, on a water slide. The Holy Ghost gets no thrill over a spill. (This message was preached in August 1986.) It will take a revelation in your heart and a total surrender to the spirit of God, in order to get out of here in the rapture; and those who lack these essentials, will still be right here going through their religious rituals; when the great tribulation hits the earth. I think of all the people that moved into this area through the years past; just to be able to sit under the ministry of Bro. Branham; and then I look at where a lot of them are today; and it just proves that demonstrations of the Spirit, and miracles of various kinds, do not serve to perfect anyone. It is wonderful to be in such services; but the perfection God is looking for in you and me, is something that is molded in us day by day; as we follow the present revealed truth of His word. A lot of people that I have had utmost respect for, and felt that they would be loyal and true right to the end, have hit a snag in their walk with God; and do not even seem to care; and some of them flipped, just because of some little minor thing; that to most people would have meant nothing. But like we have said over and over, God knows those that are truly His; and He will correct them in whatever way it takes, to get them straightened out, and get them back on the right track; even if He has to allow Satan to work on their flesh, and maybe bring them right to death’s door. Believe me: He has His ways of doing things; and in the end, every true child of God will confess that all things do truly work together for good to those that love God, and are the called according to HIS purpose. We pray: Lord, lead us by your Spirit, and help us to know your will for our lives; and of course we mean it; but let me tell you: That is a big order. Oh the problem is not on God’s part; I can be in the Spirit today, and everything be lovely, and something can come down the road tomorrow; that, if I am not careful, will throw me for a loop. No. It will not take the truth away from me; but if I have never been able to get my feelings, my motivations, and my true desires in harmony with the word: that is the kind of shaky ground I stand on, and I still have a long way to go.


EXAMPLES OF GIVING PLACE TO THE DEVIL


Alright let us get back to verses 27, in the 4th chapter of Ephesians; where Paul said, “Neither give place to the devil.” Why did he say that? Simply because we never get so holy that the devil does not try to get us into some kind of a compromising situation. We have to be constantly on guard; lest he find an opportunity to get something between you and me, or someone else, to create a commotion, and maybe cast a stumbling stone in some weaker saint’s pathway. Remember: The world does not see Jesus in His own person; they have to see Him through the lives of the true children of God; and the devil tries to prevent that. He cannot do anything to change our relationship to God; for when we are sealed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit: that seal cannot be broken. But he can sure cause us to mess up our fellowship with our heavenly Father; if we are not constantly on guard, and keep him in his place. We will all agree that this is good advice; and that every child of God needs to hear it; but look at this next verse that was written to Christian people. “Let him that stole steal no more.” Brothers and Sisters: A person that has been a Christian for years should not need to hear this; for that is one of the first things the Holy Ghost goes to work on; when He comes into our lives, but as we think back to the time when this letter was written, and realize that Paul was writing to people that had been converted right out of raw paganism, we can better understand why they needed such instructions. Unregenerate mankind, that had lived strictly for the flesh, in a world of unbelief, and had gone about taking whatever they had opportunity to take, and doing whatever pleased their flesh at the moment, did not automatically give up all those habits the very moment they believe the gospel; and give their hearts to God. That old nature had to be replaced with a new nature; as God revealed to them what that new nature consisted of; and this is how He does it. Those Christians in the first age of Christianity did not have Bibles, like we do today; that they could study to learn godly principles. They had to depend upon the ministry of their day to reveal God’s will to them. Therefore these New Testament epistles that are so precious to us, were written to Christians of that hour; to let them know what this way of life was to accomplish in them. In other words, they revealed the mind of God to them; and showed them how to take on the very image and likeness of Jesus Christ. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” This lets us know that a true born again Christian can never be a lazy person. The very God that saves them, expects them to work with their own hands; and earn their own living. I have known a lot of characters over the years, who were nothing but bums; for as they went from place to place, claiming to be living by faith, and following the leading of the Lord, you soon come to realize that they were just simply too lazy to work. Well even though Paul says this here, and in another place says, if a man will not work he should not eat, That in no way changes the scripture that says, If you see your brother in need, and open not your bowels of compassion, how dwelleth the love of God in you; for each of these have their separation application. The devil is always hitting some Christian family with some terrible situation that works a hardship on them financially; and that is the time when others are to recognize that need, and allow the love of Christ in them to do whatever they can to help out. We cannot take the time to give specific examples of every situation that you may be faced with in life; but I do know this, if our own heart is right, we will not have any problem doing the right thing. Any Christian can at one time or another, face a situation in life where they may need some help from their brothers and sisters in Christ; but when people claim to be Christians, called to live by faith, and they are nothing more than free-loaders who live off of the generosity of others, there is something wrong. Somebody needs to go back and read the word of God some more; if their lives are like that, for that is not what living by faith is. Some people who live completely by faith work hard every day; for living by faith does not mean that we just have everything handed to us as we go through life. Two fellows who used to pass through here from time to time, (sort of like old circuit riders) and claimed to be ministers of this end time message, just lived from one Christian family to the other; claiming to be called to live lives of faith. They went to a certain brother’s house who lived out around Depauw, IN. one evening, and he lodged them over night; (Now this kind is always ready to sleep in your best bed, and eat your best food) and at breakfast the next morning he said to them, I have to go to work; digging fence post holes; would you like to come along and help me? Their reply was, We will have to pray about this. The brother said, Well you go ahead and pray about it, and I will see you at dinner time; but when he came in, they were gone, without a word. Now tell me saints: Do you see any Christian image displayed, when people conduct themselves like that? No. You do not; the true Spirit of Christ in a man who is called to minister to others, will cause him to set an example of Christianity wherever he goes; rather than that of a free-loading bum; because the Bible clearly teaches us how to conduct ourselves as Christians. Whether we are giving, or receiving, there is a right and a wrong way for us to conduct ourselves; and I truly believe the Spirit of God in His true children will cause them to exemplify the nature of Jesus Christ in either situation.


CORRUPT COMMUNICATION EXPLAINED


Alright, verse 29, gives us another reason to examine ourselves; for as we have been stressing, This letter was written to Christians. “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.” This word corrupt, has a number of definitions in the dictionary; but keeping in mind the fact that this was written to Christians, we would have to believe Paul was thinking in terms of people being careless about the things they say, and especially about repeating something they hear. One definition of the word CORRUPT, is, “To alter from the original or correct form or version;” which is what gossip usually does. He could not be talking about cursing, telling obscene jokes, and things like that, for these are the first things the Holy Ghost goes to work on, as we begin to take off the old man and put on the new one. Furthermore I believe the rest of that verse lets us know what Paul is dealing with; as he makes this statement. Plain old gossip, something we tell, just because we heard it, is corrupt communication; whether we deliberately alter it or not; for it does not serve to edify anyone who is a true Christian. We have all be guilty of it, as we would hear something and just simply take it at face value and tell it to someone else; but it is wrong for Christians to conduct themselves like that, and this is what Paul is dealing with. I believe with all my heart that the time has come when God will no longer tolerate the true body of Christ being caught up in gossip; the telling of something that has no possible constructive purpose; just for the sake of telling it. If we do not take heed to these things, as the Lord presents them to us, we are going to end up in hot water. God will make sure that we do. Jesus never had to apologize for anything He said or did; simply because He knew how a Son of God should conduct Himself; and it is His image that we are to be conformed to. It is true He said many things that offended people; and He did things that offended them; but who were those people that were offended, and why were they offended? They were ritualistic religious people who were void of understanding of what true holiness is; and when Jesus told them the truth, it hurt; and they were offended. They thought they were the only ones that knew how to serve God; when in reality, they were not serving God at all; for they had perverted every law of God that they so ritualistically kept; to the point where God’s true purpose was completely lost in it all. So when Jesus came revealing God’s true purpose in the law they were supposed to be keeping, and showed them how they were missing the mark: they were offended and tried to kill Him. Now why am I saying all of this? I want you to understand that there is a definite difference in the way we repeat what we hear, and in our motive for doing so. When you know something to be a fact and you are not telling it with a wrong motive, then it is not gossip. In 1st Corinthians 5:1, the apostle Paul wrote these words, “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you.” In a case like that, I am sure that someone needed to report the facts of what was going on; but at the same time I realize that a situation like that usually generates a lot of useless gossip. People tell that sort of thing just for the sake of talking about it; with no real thought about how the situation could be cleared up; and when people do that, the whole thing usually gets told according to the imaginations of those doing the gossiping; and the gossip itself becomes a disease that is harder to deal with than the fornication. Out in denominations: these things are hard to deal with; because their system of religion is not built upon a solid foundation in the first place. But I hope all of you here in Faith Assembly today, realize that we are not coming here just to play church. We are here to yield our lives to the Lord, and learn more about how to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; and if there is anyone here for any other purpose, you are in the wrong place; for by the help of the Lord, we are going to allow this Bible to speak to us. The only way we are ever going to grow to maturity, is to cultivate the habit of speaking things to each other that are edifying and helpful. You can get a lot of attention repeating gossip; but you will not edify a real child of God with such talk. But on the other side of this; you start talking about the good things of God, the promises of His word, and the different instances you know of where those promises have been fulfilled in someone’s life, and every true Christian that hears it will be edified and strengthened. That is what pleases God.


GRIEVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT


Now we come to verse 30, a verse of scripture that has been used out of context, probably more than it has ever been used to express what Paul had in mind when he wrote it. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” First let me say that I am completely convinced by the scriptures, that when we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit we are sealed in the redeemed family of God; never to be lost again. But saints: That in no way means that everything in our lives is going to be clear sailing from then on. Some of the greatest conflicts of your life will be after you become a Christian; and in many of those conflicts the Holy Spirit in us is grieved; because of our reaction. The fact that God saves us, and puts His seal of approval on us, does not exempt us from Satan’s attacks; nor guarantee that we will always react as a child of God should. The Holy Spirit dwelling in you, is your enablement to overcome in every situation you are faced with; if you will submit your will to God’s will, and let Him direct what you do and say. But even then, you are still going to be attacked from time to time; as you journey along life’s pathway. God has to allow this, in order for us to be proved. He already knows how we will react in every situation of life. But nevertheless, we still have to be tested; and we ought to respect the fact that God has it so designed; that we may have opportunity to prove ourselves. Remember, the seal is on your spirit; your flesh will never inherit the kingdom of God; and your flesh will never be perfect; it will always need to be kept under subjection. That is why walking in the Spirit is not something we do blindfolded; as some seem to believe. To truly walk in the Spirit requires us to be fully alert at all times; lest the devil cast a stumbling stone before us unawares. I have thought much about this; and about the type of our spiritual deliverance that was set by Israel in the natural; when God brought them out of Egyptian bondage. When God led them out of Egypt, they entered into a journey they had never taken before. They had never walked through the wilderness before; and they never had to depend on God before; as they had to then. Nevertheless when God led them out of there, He never intended for them ever to return to that land again. But in between their departing from Egypt and their entering into the land of their inheritance, there was much testing for them. Their trials were not all dumped upon them in one day’s time either; therefore when they came through one, there was always another one a little further on; so there was no such thing as getting to a place where they could just coast on in; and neither can we reach such a place in our spiritual walk. God has led us out of the world of sin and damnation; and he has delivered us out of denominational bondage; therefore we can look back with gratitude in our hearts; and say, Thank you Lord, for being so good to me. But remember this, Our journey through life is not yet complete; so we will still be faced with many trials and tests; not for our destruction, but that we may prove ourselves to be true children of God, and able to overcome in every situation of life. We have an example that we can look to; in order to know how to overcome Satan’s attacks and temptations by the word of God; and when we fail to conduct ourselves in the proper manner, many times the Holy Spirit is grieved; and we wonder why. We wonder why that precious anointing does not come at times; without even stopping to take account of our conduct prior to that time.


WALKING WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED


I want to go ahead and read verses 31 and 32, straight through, and then use an illustration, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, (if we have to put away these things, that in itself proves that they do not just automatically leave us, when we experience the new birth) with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” We have quite a few things in those two verses to look at, so let me just say this first, Any person who just assumes that because they are saved and filled with the Holy Ghost, they are free from Satan’s attacks: will not go very far before they come face to face with reality. Actually that is when he really goes to work on you. As long as we are out here in the unbelieving world, running with the crowd, with no particular thoughts about serving God, the devil does not have to worry about us; but the very moment we turn to God, he sets his sights upon us; with one purpose in mind, trying to get us to renounce God, and go back to our former ways. Have you heard people testify of how they never had any troubles until they became Christians? Well the point is, If we just go down the road of life with our eyes closed, and our ears deaf to what is taking place: we are very likely to walk right into something that will just literally tear us all to pieces; so to speak, and leave us badly wounded. Walking like that spiritually, is just like walking around your house with your eyes closed. You may do all right if your wife does not move any of the furniture. But if she moves a chair, or a table, you can just about tear a toe off. Of course when that happens, you can either do one of two things. You can blame your wife and get mad at her for moving the chair; or you can realize that if you had been watching where you were going, it would not have happened. I just use this little illustration to point to the fact that many times we are responsible for the condition we find ourselves in; and we need to be willing to face reality; and take the responsibility for whatever happens at times like that. We have already talked about how hurt feelings can turn into bitterness; and how even though we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, there is still enough of that old nature lingering, that we can become angry; and may I say this, When we allow ourselves to become angry, we can also display wrath. We do not like to admit it; but if we are honest with ourselves, we will. Furthermore when you do get hurt; do not just take it for granted that the hurt will automatically go away. Or maybe you blame the preacher, or some other saint in the church for the way you feel; and you allow a root of bitterness to take hold in you. That kind of thing will contaminate your spirit; and once that is allowed to happen, what do you think that does to the Holy Spirit in you? He is grieved, and when he is grieved, you will not feel His anointing presence like you would otherwise. Brothers and Sisters: I hope you realize I am not saying these things just to take up time. We have got to let this book (the Bible) start talking to us; and start conducting ourselves in a manner that proves it is talking to us. There are people who claim never to get angry; yet when someone crosses them in some way; they are ready to let them have a head full; and then they will boast about how they got So and So straightened out. Saints: This is not Christlikeness. What Jesus did when He was dealing with those Scribes and Pharisees, and what we do as Christians, is two completely different things. He knew He was dealing with a bunch of hypocrites that wanted to kill Him. But what Paul was talking about here; is how we as believers are to work one with another; in order to grow to maturity; rather than just drifting along in life, conducting ourselves like spiritual babes.


KEEPING QUIET – OR CLAMORING


Alright, a person can be angry deep down inside and hide it; but Paul speaks of another expression of anger that cannot be hidden; when he mentions clamor. This word speaks of the loud, noisy demonstration. We correct Junior for doing something wrong, and he takes offense for being corrected; and out of the house he goes. He slams the door shut, kicks the dog, and gets it to howling, picks up the cat and pinches it’s ear, and then starts throwing rocks at the chickens; and gets them fluttering around and cackling. What is he doing? He is clamoring. In other words, creating a lot of noise, and getting attention. It is sad to say; but a lot of Christians are just like that; always creating a lot of noise and confusion; trying to let everyone know how badly they have been hurt. That is a trait of the old nature we were born with; just like all these other things that are mentioned; and if we are ever going to grow up spiritually, we have to put away all those carnal things and allow the Spirit of God to give us motivation; rather than the devil. People that are not yet yielded, and willing to be led by the Spirit of God, are sure to allow the devil to whet up their old carnal nature now and then; and when they do; any of what Paul mentioned here, is possible. Do not try to tell me a born again Christian cannot act like that; unless you want to contradict the Bible. Furthermore I have been around long enough to know a few things from what I have seen and heard myself. I am going to tell you a true story, of something that happened in this very congregation years ago. We started this fellowship in 1955, in a little building on State Street, down in New Albany. At that time our regular congregation consisted of about a dozen adults; and our children. Some of the original ones are still with us today; and others of our present congregation, came in a little later on. Four years later in 1959, we had a meeting that really set the little group in motion; and in that process we realized that we were going to have to find a place where we had some parking space for cars. That is when we found the place in Clarksville, over behind the Roberts and Strack business, a veneer company. We rented that church building and moved there in the month of August 1959; and at that time we had a sister in the church; that from every outward appearance, you could not touch her life. She loved the Lord, and was very dedicated to serving Him; both in church, and wherever she was. I know that is true; I am not guessing about it. She had been in the congregation from the time it started; and every indication was that she would continue with us. But when we moved into the other building, certain changes were made in the areas of our fellowship; and before very long, I began to notice that this sister was starting to lose the expression of happiness and peace that had always before been evident on her face. Then I began to notice that there was something going on. Do you know what was happening? She was beginning to get the idea that Faith Assembly was being maneuvered into a place where it would no longer move in the Spirit. There was a young man in the congregation at that time; and many times they would get together and talk about how Faith Assembly could not go on with God; if it continued on its present course. She did not like the type of songs that some were singing; nor the type of music that some of them wanted; so she just begins to find fault with this one and that one that had come into the fellowship. Finally I felt like I should go have a talk with her; so I took some of the men of the fellowship and went to her house. She expressed to us her personal feelings; that Faith Assembly had reached a crucial point; and could not possibly continue on with god; unless some changes were made. Now Saints, I have had to learn a lot through the years I have been pastoring. I sat and listened to her, and when we left there that night, I thought, Maybe she is right. So in the days that followed, I thought it all over and decided to go talk to a certain family; and just tell the brother it would be better if he did not come back any more; due to the confusion that was being created. I will not mention names; because of the fact that this tape will go out of this area. But I will tell you this, I never did make it over to that brother’s house. I had a flat tire on the way, and while I was changing the flat, it just seemed like the Lord said, go home and keep your mouth shut. I got into my car and went home; and said, Lord, it is all in your hands. A few nights later, I saw the Holy Spirit touch some hearts unexpectedly; in our church service; and each of them stood up and testified that they had carried ill feelings against certain ones; and each of them asked the other’s forgiveness right before the whole congregation. That is when I truly began to realize that God was running this whole thing. He permits the devil to bring about a little stirring in the water hole; but if you are willing to walk with Him, and do things according to the way they are outlined in the scriptures, He will take care of the situation; and all who are committed to doing so, can walk on with Him. If your heart is right; that is exactly what you want to do more than anything else. A few nights later, I saw myself in a dream; talking to this first sister I mentioned; right in the church building we had moved into; at the alter railing. I said to her in this dream, I saw you playing the piano in the Branham Tabernacle; and later on, she did become their piano player; and it all turned out that way; simply because she failed to get her way. Now as I look back upon that, it was not because she was a mean person; nor a sinful person, that she acted like that; it was just that she had certain fixed ideas about how the spirit should move in a church service; and if it did not go that way, she just simply would not have any part of it. Well when Bro. Branham got killed and things went like they did after that; she wrote a letter expressing her feelings; but do you know where that soul is today? Sitting at home with her husband; not even going to church. Saints: Do not ever become so proud; that you cannot admit it when you make a mistake; or your life will end up void of what you had thought it would. Nevertheless I am persuaded that God allowed that condition to develop as it did; partly to test me. Do not ever think the preacher will not be tested. He will be tested; to see if he will compromise by giving in to someone’s flesh. The truth is, the preacher is probably tested more than anyone else in the congregation. But if he will walk with God and learn from those tests, he will never have to go through the same test twice; because the second time he will know how to handle it. In other words, you either do something that seems right to you to try to straighten out a problem; or you lay it in the hands of the Lord and wait for Him to work out the details according to what He desires to accomplish in the matter. You who have been coming here long enough, surely must have notice that I am not too quick to jump right in the middle of every little dispute that arises in the fellowship; for I have learned that God knows how to deal with his true children; when they get out of line; and as I have already stated, A tare will not usually submit to correction anyway; so it is better not to give them any room to express themselves openly. Therefore through the years since those early years when we were first starting, I have seen other families come in here; that from all outward appearances seemed to be growing in leaps and bounds; and all of a sudden their feelings would become hurt; because of a little snag in their pathway; and away they would go. I tell you though: I would not be where some of them are today; for anything in the world. They have not grown one ounce spiritually, since they left here with their feelings hurt. Are you wondering why I am saying all of this? I want you to understand, that if God leads you to come here, it is not just so you can hear truth; but also that truth can mold your life into a proper vessel to carry that truth. Not without testing though. He will also allow enough human flesh in the picture to keep you on your spiritual toes; and it will not necessarily be tares that will put you to the test either; as we have been pointing out all along. For true children of God are sometimes careless about things they say or do; and Satan always magnifies every little unwise incident. That is why I say, If you cannot see the grace of God in the lives of other people; and you rely upon your little sentimental feelings to move you; the time will come something will pick you up; and throw you far far away from Faith Assembly Church; and you will never want to set foot in this place again. I am convinced that God has raised up this fellowship for a certain work in His plan of redemption; therefore He intends for us to be a congregation of people that will not only say, Thank God for leading me here; but also, Thank God: He is still working on me.


GOD’S CHILDREN WILL BE WASHED


We are washed by the water of God’s word; but what for? To remove spots, wrinkles and blemishes. What are these spots, wrinkles and blemishes? Anything that is of a contrary nature to the true Spirit of God. God will always put in His true children, a revelation of how to conduct themselves when there is opposition; or a situation that only He can work out. Those who are led in that way, will always come through a trial thanking God for His Spirit that is able to direct their footsteps and enable them to overcome; while other are saying, That church is in a mess. No. The Church is not in a mess; for the Church is not the sum total of all those who may come here. The Church, (at least this element of the Church) is those who are willing to walk with God; regardless of opposition, and the rest are just tagging along; and will drop off somewhere down the line. When the Israelites came out of Egyptian bondage they were a great, mixed multitude; and a great percentage of them were always creating a commotion; and singing a sad story: “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” God did not like that kind of murmuring and complaining out of them; and neither does He like it out of you. If in your heart you say, I wish I had just stayed in the Methodist Church; or the Baptist, or wherever you came from: you may as well go on back there. This is not the place for you; if you feel that way; for all you will ever see is the negative side of everything. As for me, I thank God for His grace; that has allowed me to sit among some true saints through the years; that enjoyed the things of God; and had a true desire to walk with Him in truth. It makes me feel bad to see people run up against something they cannot handle; and then blame someone else and hit the road looking for another church. There used to be a woman sit right there on the second row; that would dance, speak in tongues, and say, Oh I believe Bro. Jackson is an apostle. But when a certain young man of the assembly rose up to do what he did, because this church was not run the way he thought it should be: she took his side; and away she went. Now tell me saints: Why do you suppose God allows things like that to go on? It gives the rest of us an opportunity to be tested; and then it rids the church of a number of pretenders; eventually. Do you think for one moment that those people are walking in the Spirit? Absolutely not! Just like Cain: God gave them an opportunity to do so; and they eventually chose to follow their own natural spirits. They called what they had, the Holy Ghost; but that is not what I call it; for if the Holy Ghost had truly been in them; they would not have gone the way they went. The Holy Ghost will not inspire anyone to go against the word of God and try to destroy something that God has raised up by his word. Even if it was my own blood relatives conducting themselves like that, I would have to look at it the same way. For I realize that as we get closer to the coming of Jesus, this water is going to get deeper and deeper; and God is going to see that each and every one of us are either washed by it; or driven out from among the fellowship of the saints. Remember, it takes a hand to wash the body. You never see anyone pick up a washcloth between their toes and wash their back. Your entire body can be washed by the hand. Is that nog right? Well God has a hand, to wash this body of Christ; and I assure you He knows how to use it; to obtain the desired results. All carnality of the fleshly nature will have to go. That is what the water of the word is for. Only that which is founded on the word will be able to withstand the washing process and come out clean. If you are here, and all you are interested in is to shout, dance, speak in tongues, and have a good time, let me tell you something. God’s bath tub is being filled; and all of that is going to be put to the test. I am not against any of that; but if we are true children of God, we will not be satisfied forever with just that; for there is no nourishment in that. The Spirit and the word are one; and they go on together; so the Spirit alone will not do all that must be done to perfect us.


THERE ARE MANY TRIALS IN LIFE


The woman I mentioned, that enjoyed the manifestations so much, wrote a very negative letter to a man out in Missouri who published a magazine, stating that the church had stopped moving in the Spirit. She wrote me a letter, telling me that she was going to do that, and then the man sent me a copy of the magazine with the letter published in it. Naturally that made me feel bad, but I just thought, time will tell who has left the spirit; for there is a lot more to this way of life; than just a good feeling. When the children of Israel were on that wilderness journey, some of their trials were very hard; but when it came time to cross over into the promised land; those who had the right spirit in them were ready to go across with Joshua and Caleb. Well I still have that old letter, and that old paper. The man who published the paper is dead now; the woman, as far as I know, still hast that same attitude and opinion; but Faith Assembly is still going on with the Lord. We are not endeavoring to run this church like any other church; except the one we will see in the book of Acts. It is our intention to have the Lord direct us in everything we do; and we realize that every so often, He is going to pick up an element of flesh and dump it in his tub, and even use some scouring powder; where it is necessary. Scouring powder is something you use when ordinary soap will not do the job. It is hard on the skin; but it will get down deep into the pores, and bring out that ground in dirt, or grease. We do whatever it takes to get our natural body clean for special occasions; and by the same token: God does whatever it takes, to get our inner self clean for this special occasion that is just ahead. Anything among us that does not please God, he is going to remove. That does not mean He is going to remove every person; but that substance of flesh that keeps his children from walking with Him, has got to go, regardless of what it takes. Different people have different ideas about this little church. Some think we are a cult. Others think we are just a little clique of people too dumb to be of any use to God or man; but we are really only interested in what God thinks about us; for our destiny is in His hands. We are not trying to make a name for ourselves. We have no desire to be like Pat Robertson, Jim Baker, or any of those big names out there; we only desire to be washed, and dressed properly; so that when Jesus comes for His little bride: we will be ready to go with Him. Through the years; many little elements of people have risen up with a revelation that burned ever so brightly at first; but after so long, the light burned out, and the people who were left had nothing to turn to. Therefore unless your revelation eventually puts you back in the Bible, and causes you to understand God’s word the way those early apostles taught it; you will end up the same way; for God will not settle for less than He started out with in the book of Acts. I look out over the congregation here; and I thank God for every one of you; but I want eery one of you to know, we are not here to glorify flesh. You will not find an easy ticket to glory in this place. Furthermore let me say to you young people, Don’t turn Faith Assembly into a love boat experience. Don’t make this just a little trip to find yourself a mate; and then depart, and live the rest of your lives in the world. If that is your motive in coming here: God has a surprise for you; your life will not be a bed of roses. Let me say something else to you young folks, Do not think that just because you were born into a family that comes here, and you have been raised up in this church; that you have any special favors coming from God; unless you also have been born again by the Spirit of God. I would not be surprised, if one of these days some young people from the charismatic move, come in here fed up with the merry-go-round they have been on, hungry for God, and ready to walk with Him in truth. When that happens you are going to see the Spirit of God work with them in a way that will cause some of you to say, Don’t you think they are just showing off? No. They will not be showing off. They will be allowing God to move them to enjoy the fullness of his benefits; both in the Spirit and in his word.

TENDERHEARTEDNESS IS AN ATTRIBUTE OF GOD


We have one more verse of scripture here in Ephesians 4, which really sums the whole thing up; for remember, this was written to Christian people who desired to walk with God. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” As children of God, that ought to be one of our greatest desires: to be kind to each other, and always ready to forgive one another, instead of holding grudges against each other, or even just little petty hurt feelings toward one another. Remember, What the world sees through the lives of God’s children is all they are ever going to see of Jesus Christ; for He is not here in physical flesh for them to see. He told His disciples, “Ye are the salt of the earth;” therefore he expects His disciples (those who follow Him) to be salty, in this old world we live in. How does salt figure into the picture? Well salt is a seasoning element, it is also a preserving element, and it makes one thirsty; so surely we ought to be salty wherever we are; so that we can be an instrument in the hands of God whenever he chooses. Remember, Every joint supplies something in the total working of this great spiritual body of believers; no matter how insignificant we may feel. You do not look around and try to determine what someone else is supplying; before you yield yourself to God to supply your part. The truth is, You may even be looking at a tare which will never supply anything to the body; because he is not of the body. God does not even bother to wash a tare; for there would be no purpose in it. But speaking of washing: Have you ever noticed how some children react when it comes bath time? Even little babies will sometimes go into a tantrum; when Mommy starts to put them in the bath water. Well that is the way a lot of God’s children act up, when he starts to put them in the tub for the spiritual washing; but if we are true children of His, we are going into that bath water one way or another. Naturally we are talking about being washed with the water of his word; and it is easy to see why a lot of people are afraid of it, because there is still too much of the world hanging on to their flesh. That is why it takes some washing, before we can even be kind one to another, as Paul meant here in this verse 32. This tenderheartedness is not an attribute of our human nature; it is an attribute of God. It takes the grace of God to make your heart tender like that. It means, Be sensitive to God, easy for the Holy Spirit to move you. In the natural, some people are more tenderhearted than others. A little something that will cut one person to the quick, will just be ignored by someone else. But spiritually, God wants to cultivate something in all His children; that will make them sensitive to His Spirit, and always ready to respond. Then we will be tenderhearted toward God, and also toward our brothers and sisters of the faith. Then if we have that kind of tenderheartedness: it will be easy for us to forgive one another; even as God has already forgiven us; because the ability to forgive is also an attribute of God. Brothers and Sisters: We are living in a terrible hour of time; for the devil is taking human beings, and involving them in every kind of situation and problem, and no one is being spared. Therefore it will only be by the grace and mercy of almighty God that we get out of here with anything that will really make us look like a Christian reflecting the Lord Jesus Christ. More and more we are being made aware of what Lot had to put up with; living down there in Sodom, with nothing but filth and perversion on every hand. As you walk or drive down the streets, you are constantly looking at a mass of humanity that has give themselves over to a reprobate mind. They do not care what they look like, smell like, talk like, nor do they seem to give any thought to what the8ir way of life is leading them to. According to the word of God: they are headed for destruction; and to try to testify to them of the love of Jesus Christ is just as useless as Lot trying to persuade some of his family member to flee Sodom before judgment struck. As a matter of fact: they will treat you like some kind of nut that needs to be locked up some place. But, Saints: even when someone like that offends you, it is the will of God for you to have in you the ability and willingness to forgive them. It is one thing to be hurt because of someone doing or saying something against you; but it is wrong for you, as a child of God; to carry those hurt feelings forever; when the very Spirit of Christ in you is a forgiving Spirit. As children of God, we simply cannot hold a club over the heads of those who hurt us, and expect them to eat dirt before we are willing to forgive them.


REWARDING EXPERIENCES


I have had people say, Bro. Jackson: Haven’t you been hurt by some of the things people have said about you, because of the things you stand for? Yes, I have. But I refuse to allow myself to cultivate those hurt feelings. For I know the devil is behind it all; and I do not expect him to repent and let up on me. However there have been times through the years that God would allow me to be refreshed by a good report coming out of all of that. I have had men call me up on the telephone and apologize to me for something I knew nothing about. It is usually someone that has been listening to that element of “Message men,” who are out to destroy my image and influence, and then somehow they would come into contact with someone, or get hold of a Contender or something that would cause them to get their eyes opened. That is when various ones would phone me and say, Bro. Jackson: You do not know me: I live in such and such a place, and I want to apologize to you and ask you to forgive me; for some of the things I have believed about you, or said about you. I just say to them, Well brother, I do not know what you have said, nor what you have believed; but I wand you to know, you do not have to talk for an hour; before you are forgiven. If you feel in your heart that you should ask me to forgive you, who am I that I should not forgive you? Then if I ever meet such an individual, I am able to shake their hand, and have fellowship with them; without any of that pressure between us. Now since we are back on hurt feelings, let me say this, if someone gets their feelings hurt toward you, because of a truth you stand for in the word of God: you do not need to apologize to them for it. That is strictly between that person and God Himself. The devil tries to get every true child of God to weaken, and give in to the demands of human flesh; but in those times, we need to set our heels firmly, and refuse to budge one inch from the truth. But like we said in the beginning, we often do or say things in an unwise way; even while standing for something God has called us to stand for; and for that, we need to be ready and willing to apologize when we become aware of it. God will enable you to know the difference; if your heart is right. It is sometimes very hard to walk up to a brother, or a sister, and say, Let’s sit down and have a good talk; if we are not tenderhearted in the way Paul speaks of here. Now I am sure some of you are wondering, why are we spending so much time on hurt feelings. But how many of you have actually stopped to really think about where the devil really does most of his dirty work among the children of God? Is it not in their minds, and is it not because of oversensitive fleshly feelings? You know it is. Well God has already prepared an ointment for those hurt feelings, but we have to be walking in the light of truth for it to be effective. If the scripture says, God do something about this or that, then go do what the scripture says; instead of telling some other brother or sister about it. We do not supply one thing to the body, unless we do what the Bible tells us to do in every situation we are faced with. Our example hung on an old rugged cross almost two thousand years ago. If we were on trial and our best friend denied that he even knew us, as Peter did Jesus that night, I wonder how we would react? Jesus set a perfect example of forgiveness; when He arose from the dead and said to Mary and the other women, Go tell my disciples and Peter (actually it was an angel conveying that message) that He had gone into Galilee, as He said He would: there they would see Him. They all soon found out that He did not hold one thing against any of them, and not one promise He ever made to them had changed. That is a perfect example for us to look to. We need to stop measuring ourselves by each other and look to Him to find out whether we are growing or not.


WHY WE OBEY THE SCRIPTURES


We find Paul continuing right on into chapter 5, with the same kind of admonition and instructions to believers that we have been looking at in chapter 4. Like I mentioned earlier, when Paul wrote this, it was just a letter, not divided into chapters and verses the way we now have it. Therefore after saying, Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another: he said, (chapter 5, verse 1) “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” As followers of God we have no business carrying grudges. Not even against people out here in the world, for that is not an attribute of God. That is an attribute of the old self; that we grew up with from childhood. God wants all of those old habits we have picked up in life to be crucified, (put to death) so that we can walk in love as Christ hath loved us. He truly is a sweet-smelling savor in the nostrils of God, if we can see it like that, for He never did one thing in life that would make Him otherwise. The incense burned by the priest, in the Old Testament times, did not smell like charcoal we use to cook steaks. They blended together certain spices from nature itself, and when they burned them: oh what a sweet aroma ascended up. That sweet-smelling aroma ascending up to God, typed prayer from a pure heart, ascending to the throne of God. Therefore Jesus was not only the sacrifice for our sins, he was also that sweet-smelling aroma being offered up to the Father on our behalf. We could not approach the throne of God in our fallen state; we needed an intercessor; and that is exactly what Jesus became; for all who believe and trust in Him. He Himself because everything God required, in order for His lost sons and daughters to be reconciled back to Him, and have sweet communion and fellowship with their heavenly Father, and Jesus the perfect Son of God offered Himself to the Father in place of every bit of that; on behalf of all who believe and obey the gospel. But those who reject the gospel are without hope of being reconciled to God, for this is His only provision. Now that the perfect sacrifice those others pointed to has been offered up, God will no longer accept any of that. The keeping of those ordinances under the law did not cancel out man’s sin debt; it only extended their credit with the heavenly Father until the debt was paid in full, and when that debt was paid there at Calvary, it was paid not only for the Jews that kept the law, but also for Gentiles from every nation under heaven; who would believe and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The debt was paid in full for every lost person in the world, of all ages, but it only becomes effective for us when we come to realize that it is paid and accept the pardon. But that knowledge itself, fills our heart with love and gratitude, and causes us to desire to please with our lives, the one who loved us enough to do this for us; and that brings us to these New Testament epistles; for without them, we would not know how to please God. We do not obey the word of God, trying to earn our salvation. We obey it because we have salvation already, and that salvation has placed us in a love relationship with the very God of heaven and earth; and when you are in love, you want to please the one you are in love with. We are often guilty of presenting the word of God as something we obey in order to obtain something for ourselves; which makes it more like keeping a law; than walking in complete liberty fulfilling a law of love. Therefore as we continue on here, just remember, Pau lis not saying, do this, and Do that, in order that you may obtain eternal life; but if that life of God is truly in you, this is how you will want to conduct yourselves.


AN AGE OF PERVERSION


In verse 3, we read, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, AS BECOMETH SAINTS.” Gentiles of that hour were hearing for the first time, that they could be sons and daughters of the living God also; and when they were converted to Christianity, they were fresh out of raw paganism; with no concept of what God wanted from their lives; so they had to be taught what God expected from them in order to fulfill their part. We have come through a time when people who were not even Christians, knew more or less what Christians were expected to live like; but we are fast returning to a heathenistic society; where only the true children of God seem to have any concept of moral decency. The world at large seems to feel like, anything man imagines to do is alright, just as long as he does not interfere with anyone else’s right to do whatever he desires to do. With one exception of course: you are not allowed to bring God into the picture; for to teach anything about God, is to violate someone else’s freedom of religion. Oh what a sick society we live in. I pray to God that Jesus Christ will soon come. If time is allowed to go on another 10 years, only God Himself knows the shape this old world will be in. It is already worse than a hog pen, and getting worse every day. Good is being called evil; and evil is being called good, just like the prophet Isaiah wrote. I want to turn to Isaiah 5:20, and read a few verses, and just see if those things he mentions sounds like anything that is going on in our day. People change; but God never changes. However He looked upon things people did back then, He still looks upon them the same today: so judgment is awaiting those who allow Satan to rule their lives. “Woe unto them that call evil good; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” That is a picture of perversions as sure as the world. If you do not agree, just write a letter expressing what you see concerning Aids, and a lot of this other mess that society at large is facing, and send it to one of these editorial outlets, and watch what they do with it. If you hold up any kind of godly principles that are being violated by their way of life; it will eventually be turned around and presented in such a way that you will appear as the bad guy. Your letter will be looked upon as though it came from the pit of hell, and will be presented as evil; when it is really good. Well that is how our modern day society is, and as long as God leaves us here, we are going to have to cope with it; for it is not going to get any better. “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight.” Brother, we are living in a day when just about everyone looks upon themselves as being able to counsel someone else; and tell them how to manage their affairs. “Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him. (Do you see any of that kind of thing going on in our day?) Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consummeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of Hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” I will stop there; I just wanted to read a few verses there because it sounds so much like what we are experiencing every day. But regardless of what the world does, this is the word of the Lord for those that are the children of God. These works of darkness have no place in the lives of Christians. “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: (That means fitting or proper) but rather giving of thanks.” A lot of people are guilty of foolish talking, but this thing of jesting really gets out of hand at times. It refers to joking, and also of taking a wrong of some kind and making a joke out of it, and even of using it to hurt someone. Gentile people are professionals at mastering these techniques. We see such things on TV all the time; but in the eyes of God, that is not a virtue that His children should pattern their lives after. Instead of so much of that, we need to spend more time giving thanks to God for delivering our sin cursed souls from that kingdom of darkness where such things are fitting of their way of life. Verse 5, “For this ye know, that no whoremonger nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Paul said in another place, talking about our lost state, before we were brought into the fold of God, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes (or at that time) were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”  We have been brought from a state of hopelessness, to a place where we have a full inheritance with Jesus Christ as heirs of God. That brings Paul to say, “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Thinking about those evil traits of unregenerate mankind, and how the grace and mercy of God has lifted us up out of them, so that they now have no place in our lives, Paul says this, “Let no man deceive you with vain words.” People will try to do that, you know. They will say, Oh come on, Surely you do not believe God would send you to hell for doing, this or that; for everybody is doing it. Furthermore none of us are perfect, you know. Saints, That is fast becoming a modern slogan, and if we as children of God are not careful, we will be deceived into walking right into one of Satan’s traps. The fact that almost everyone you know is doing some certain something, does not mean that it is pleasing to God; nor does it mean that you could do the same thing, and get by with it. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” so who are you going to obey? The person who is trying to get you to do something you know is wrong, or the one who gave His own life on that old cross, that you might have the privilege of being able to make that choice? It is true, our old flesh will never be perfect and if we yield to its demands, our spirit will never be perfect either. But if we will mortify (put to death) those fleshly traits of our old nature, and do what we know is right to do according to the scriptures: God looks upon us in that way, as perfect. Furthermore if you yield your members to these works of darkness, you have the wrath of your heavenly Father coming down upon you. “For because of these things (these things that Christians ought not do) cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” God is not just trying to keep us out of hell; His purpose is to make new creatures out of us, so that these unfruitful works of darkness have no place in our lives.


HOW GOD WORKS HIS WILL IN OUR LIVES


When Paul wrote the 2nd epistle to the Corinthian church, he spoke about how we ought not just live for ourselves, but live unto Him (Christ Jesus) who died for us and rose again, and in 5:17, he said this, “Therefore if any man (ANY PERSON) BE IN Christ, he is a new creature: Old things are passed away: behold all things are become new.” Of course we are not completely renewed instantly in our old flesh; but our spirit is made new, and these world traits have to go. So Paul said to them, verse 7, “Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes (at one time) darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: Walk as children of light.” When I look back over my past life, I never went to beer joints, I never gambled, and I never learned to curse; but nevertheless, unbelief ruled my life just as much as others who did all those things. Pride will keep you from God, and the Bible says, Pride goeth before destruction; so the kind of pride I am talking about, God hates, because it denies Him His rightful place. In the eyes of God, pride can be just as stinking and ornery as a drunk man staggering down the sidewalk. I still remember how I was, when God first began to speak to my heart. The first Sunday I went to the church after I got out of the army, it was just like the finger of God pointed straight at me, and he said, I want you. It was like that every time I stepped inside a church house; and I kept saying, No. Not now. Well I am convinced of one thing; God knows your address. He knows what country you live in, He knows what city you live in, what street you live on, and your house number, and He knows exactly when and how to make that most essential call. I think many times how the Spirit of God has moved upon drunks and people of ill fame, as they pursued their every day pattern of life, and how all of a sudden they would just kneel down somewhere and give their hearts to Him, and how his grace would clean their lives up, and give them new purpose in life; and then I think how He had to half kill me in order to get me to realize that my life belonged to Him. Brothers and Sisters: God is real! He is sovereign, and He knows how to get what He wants. Just like the little song says, He will not violate our will; He just makes us willing. How does he do that? By circumstances that He is able to work in our lives. It is not because of our goodness that He calls us to His great plan of salvation; it is altogether regulated by whether we were foreknown of Him or not, before the foundation of the world. You may wonder why your life was spared in situations where you could have been killed; and from all outward appearances, you should have been. Well that was the reason; you had not yet surrendered your heart to His call. You had not, at that time, been willing to say, Yes Lord, I realize I am a sinner, and need to be saved. I am talking about the times when you were still out in the world, a lost sinner, and you experienced a miracle, that kept you from being killed. You wondered why; but even that did not turn you to God. Nevertheless He did bring you to a time and a place, where you did acknowledge Him, after you heard the gospel of your salvation. In the epistle to the Romans, Paul said this, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that undestandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” We do not seek after God, before He somehow deals with our lives to make us conscious of Him. That happens when we are still living in a state of spiritual darkness. That is the first step of our being delivered from the world of darkness into His wonderful light. I lived in darkness; not knowing how great God is, until He made the first move toward getting me out of darkness, and into His light. It is only after that happens; that we really begin to recognize what life is. This light we are talking about is truth. The world is full of people who profess to be Christians, but are actually still walking in spiritual darkness. Why is that so? Simply because all they have is religion based upon the traditions of man. They have not received the truth of God’s word, that delivers one from the kingdom of darkness into that glorious kingdom of light. Strict adherence to those traditions of men can bring about a condition that appears to the natural to be Christianity, but the true children of God will recognize the difference by the fruit such a life bears. Not at first glance, but by close observation over a period of time. Verse 9. “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” Only as we surrender our lives to the Lord, to live according to His righteous principles, and allow His truth to work in us, will we be able to prove what is acceptable unto the Lord. Anything apart from a revelation of truth is only a guess. Your life may be as chaste as anyone you know; but without that revelation of truth, you cannot prove what is acceptable to the Lord.


REPROVING WRONG DOING


Alright in verse 11, Paul says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Saints: we must look at this very carefully; for it has a message for you and me. You do not go down town, and reprove the drunks in the saloons. Did you hear what I said: This does not authorize you to go out and reprove the people of the world! What would be the use? How would the kingdom of God be served in that? Furthermore they are likely to pick you up and throw you out on your ear; and they have every right to; because that is their territory. I will never forget an experience I had back in the 50’s. A preacher came through this area that had been out in California, and took a course in one of those “Soul Clinics,” if you please. He introduced himself, and then came down home. Now their method of soulwinning is to take a pocket full of tracts, and walk down the street screaming, Jesus is coming, and you are going to hell, if you don’t know Him! Well like I said earlier, I used to think I should give place to everything that carried a Bible and called himself a preacher; so like a little pup, I took off after him. He was going to show me how to be a soul winner. (I have learned a lot of what I know, the hard way.) He wanted me to bring him up to New Albany, so away we went, with a supply of tracts to pass out. We started out down here on the lower end of Market Street. It was in the evening, just about the time when men were getting off from work; and stopping for a beer on their way home. Into every saloon he walked and said to those men sitting at the bar. Jesus is coming soon! Don’t you know you are going to hell if you don’t give that up? I heard one of the managers say, Get that devil out of here! I did not grow up in life where that kind of tactics were used in an effort to get people saved; but there I was, following that character around, trying to learn how to serve God. I will have to say this, In my ignorance, God was gracious to me. I went into two or three places, said the same thing he did, passed out a few tracts, and got out, without getting my head cracked open; and that was enough for me. He wanted to go back the next day, so I took him to town and brought him back home, (he was staying with us,) but that method of witnessing was not for me. While he was staying there, he ran up a phone bill of quite a few dollars, and when he did leave, I said, Never again will I fall for anything like that. It came out in the newspapers that the man who started that soul clinic and was training those fellows was in trouble; because he had separated from his wife, and married his secretary, and the soul clinic had gone under. Well I am not telling you that God would never be in anything like that; but I do know that the apostle Paul did not use such tactics; as he traveled from place to place preaching the gospel. In order for God to be in something like that, there would have to be a definite leading by the Holy Ghost, and it will not be in vain. In other words, God can work in anything; but I do not believe He has called anyone to a continuous ministry of that nature, nor to set up a school to train men to do that. We cannot be dogmatic about what God will, or will not do with a lone individual here and there; but I can tell you for sure: That is not the way God has dealt with me; and I do not see it as a pattern anyone should endeavor to follow in this day and hour. But as we get back to the verse that caused me to tell you of this experience: I believe we can pin it down to exactly what Paul meant. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them, was spoken to Christians; telling them not to fellowship with people doing these things; and not to be guilty of trying to cover up for anyone else doing wrong within the fellowship of believers, but rather to reprove them for their un-Christlike deeds. We are talking about things that Christians can sometimes get caught up in, that can be detrimental to the body as a whole. Things that do not produce a true picture of how Christians should conduct themselves. I know you who have been around a while, having known of certain ones doing wrong, and immediately someone else would want to try to cover it over. They use a verse of scripture out of context, (1st Pet. 4:8) which says, “Love (or charity) covers a multitude of sins.” That is true of course; but it does not push peoples sins under a carpet, and hide them. Love will forgive, and love will help a person who is weak, but it will not cover over the unfruitful works that belong only out in the world of unbelief; and pretend that everything is all right. If I steal a hundred dollars from you: your love for me should not try to cover it up; it needs to be dealt with. The kingdom of God is not built upon anything like that. Do you understand what I am saying to you? Love does not cover up peoples wrong-doing. Human love might; but the kind of love God’s word speaks of, will not. Now the true thought is this, Instead of pronouncing me doomed for hell; true love will cause my brothers and sisters to deal with the problem, to get me delivered from it, and if I am truly a child of God, I will cooperate with them, and do my part.


JUDGING ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES


I never will forget something Bro. Branham told me on time. There was a church over in Louisville, a congregation of black people, that he would fellowship with from time to time; in his younger days. The church no longer exists, but according to what Bro. Branham told me, they really applied the scriptures, in dealing with wrongs committed by members of their congregation. In the vestibule, as you would come into the building, they had a blackboard; and if anyone said or did something against someone else, and it became a known fact, that persons name was placed on the board, with this notation, There will be no fellowship with this person whose name appears here, until that person has appeared before the church to answer for such and such. Brother! That would be enough to make you walk softly. Can you just imagine how you would feel, if you walked into the church building, and saw your name on that board? I guarantee you this, If you were a true child of God, and the fellowship of the rest of the assembly meant anything to you, you would want to get that things settled as soon as possible. No doubt the time will come that God will cause certain things to be handled in a similar manner. In the past a lot of things in the church have been handled about like political interests have been handled, in Washington, D.C. You know how they always have lobbyists around, working for special interest groups that would benefit if a bill was passed with certain amendments included, and so forth. Well a lot of Christian people get caught up in that same spirit; they play with issues for one advantage or anther; not seeming to realize that somewhere they are going to have to face God, and pay the bill for sowing to their flesh. But regardless of what some may think this verse 11, pertains to: I assure you, it is not telling us to reprove people of the world. The gospel fo the Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing that can help lost mankind; and that is not a threat. It is a message that tells that lost person what was accomplished at Calvary on his, or her behalf; if they will only believe and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Giving up drinking, smoking, cursing and whatever other bad habits they have, will not keep them out of hell, without that personal relationship with the Savior Himself, called the new birth, or the born again experience. Therefore the point is, If you are aware of someone in the congregation conducting themselves in a way that could be harmful to the body of Christ; it is your responsibility before God, to handle it according to the scriptures, and if you are told of some situation that is not right, ask the person who tells you, Where did you hear that? Or, how do you know this? Many times people will tell you something they have heard; not even knowing themselves whether the story has any foundation or not, and they will tell it to you as fact. Saints: This kind of thing has got to stop; if we are really serious about being molded into the image and likeness of God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ. The devil is a multiplier. He loves to get a story started, and passed from one to another, in such a way that it seems like everyone knows it; and many times, if it could actually be traced down to its origin, only one person said it; and a lot of times what that one person tells is only what they suspect. But by the time the devil gets through multiplying it, with all of the, They say’s, it appears in an altogether different light than what it really is. Therefore let me say this just as plain as I know how to say it. If a brother, or a sister starts telling you something about some other brother or sister: say, Do not tell me any more, but if you do know this to be a fact, why not go to the brother or sister, which ever the case may be, and tell them their wrong? That is what the Bible tells us to do; but most Christians do not have the nerve to do it God’s way. They choose rather to yield themselves as instruments of the devil; and just simply spread the news around, somehow hoping that God will overlook their own error in the matter. Brothers and Sisters: When we start doing things God’s way, we will not have to sleep with so many cockleburs in bed with us. Think about this, for just a moment. Just suppose you have eight children, and in comes on of them crying, Johnny hit me! What is going to be your first responsibility in the matter? Will you just run out and grab Johnny and give him a good whipping? Or will you first do everything you can to try to find out who started the trouble, and if Johnny really did deliberately hit him? Is that not the proper way for a good parent to handle such a situation? I believe you will all say so. Therefore I must ask you another question. Why will some of you, as children of God, justify, and take part in tactics that come so short of even being good natural sense practice? Then many times when people are forced to judge a situation, they will reach way back 40 years or so, and bring up things that no civil court would even allow to be used, because they are not relevant to the matter being dealt with. In the courts of our land, only issues and facts that are relative to the case being dealt with, will even be considered as evidence, so why should we, as instruments of righteousness, be so carnal? If we are compelled to deal with an issue involving un-Christlike conduct on the part of another believer, it is our obligation and responsibility before God, to investigate every aspect of the situation, and judge it according to the scriptures.


BE NOT UNWISE


Now notice verse 12, if you still need convincing on how God looks upon certain things we do. “For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” That is not talking about those things done out in the world of unbelief; it is talking about that which the man or woman in the body of Christ has done; that was not right. “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” That of course is talking about the light of truth, which God has ordained that all his children walk in. The light of truth exposes and reproves the unfruitful works of darkness that children of God sometimes get tangled up in. Therefore light in this sense, is how truth is applied. “Wherefore He saith, awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (You see? He is not talking to the world. We know how foolish they are because they are children of darkness, and cannot be wise. But we are children of light, and are expected to walk as wise people, instead of like fools.) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” If the days were evil back then, they are very, very evil in this hour. “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Why would Paul say to them, be ye not unwise? It is like we have already stated, That generation of Christians that he was writing to, had been pagans before receiving the gospel. Living out there in the world, apart from any concept of a true and living God, and what He desired, had their lives molded according to what their pagan mothers and fathers had passed down to them. Their moral values were very low, and their social image was nothing; therefore it would have been altogether unreasonable for anyone to think that they would just automatically know how to conduct themselves as children of God; the moment they got saved. There were a lot of things they were going to have to learn before they could present a true Christian image, and be looked upon as wise, and the devil was going to be stalking their pathway every moment, trying to get them back. So for them to be unwise, would have been that they were careless about receiving and guarding the truth of God’s word, that could enable them to know what the will of God for their lives was; in conduct and service. When we truly respect light, sincerely enough that we value it as eternal life, we will stop playing with things, and look at them the way God sees them, and the way he wants us to. What is all this actually pointing to? Some will say. It eventually comes down to Ephesians 5:27, “That he might present it (the Church) to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish..” The Church can only be made like that through the washing of water by the word of God. But I say to you today, you have already been in the water, if you have been receiving from what we have looked at up to this point. This word of God is the very substance that will clean us up, and make our robes of righteousness as white as snow, and without spot or wrinkle, or blemish, in the eyes of God Himself. I am a human being; saved by the grace and mercy of God, just like you are; but I have made up my mind; that whether I live another year, two years, or five years: the length of time matters not; I, by the help of God, am going to walk in the Spirit from here on out; regardless of what anyone else may do. In whatever time I have left I want to walk with the Lord in such a way when I do stand before Him, I will not be standing there with a lot of unpaid bills; spiritually speaking. As a member of the body of Christ, I want to be sure I supply my part in the overall function of that body, as it is washed, and made ready to meet the Lord in the air. Let us not forget the two verses we used when we started this message. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in ALL things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted (How?) By that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” This is a picture where each part is made to fit, without force or modification. When natural man puts an invention together, and under stress, a certain part breaks down, causing them to have to make some changes in it, the new model is referred to as the modified version. But when you are talking about this body of Christ that is being put together by the word of almighty God there will never be a modified version, because every part is made to fit perfectly the first time. That very truth itself proves predestination, for in order to design a body where every part, or member of that body fits perfectly in it’s place: God has to know ahead of time how many parts that body would have, and what their individual function would be. It is His purpose to perfect us as a body instead of just concentrating on individuals. We are accountable to God as individuals; for our soul’s salvation is an individual matter, but when we are placed in that great mystical body of believers, we are just a part of the total makeup of that body, and the whole body has to be perfected before it is taken to glory; therefore we have every reason to be just as concerned about the spiritual welfare of our brothers and sisters of the faith, as we are of our own selves. It is a beautiful picture, once you see it in its full scope, but as long as you are only concerned with your own trials and tests, and fail to recognize the grace of God in the lives of your brothers and sisters of the faith, you will not be able to see it like that. You never even got a little vision of that body, while you were still out there in denominations, for the main emphasis was placed on escaping hell, and going to heaven, as if that was all God was concerned about. Well you are now out of denominations, but many of you still have too much of that denomination in you; to be able to completely supply your part in the function of this great universal body of Christ. But do not despair; God knows what He wants, and praise His great name, he’s still working on me, and on you, to make us what we ought to be. We can rely on that.

Every Join Supplieth, Part 1

THE LORD HAS BEEN DEALING WITH ME FOR ABOUT 6 WEEKS NOW, CONCERNING THE FUNCTION OF THE MANY MEMBERED BODY OF CHRIST, WHICH THE BIBLE ALSO CALLS THE CHURCH. I HAVE LAID AWAKE AT NIGHT DURING MUCH OF THIS TIME, WITH ONE CERTAIN SCRIPTURE TURNING OVER AND OVER IN MY MIND, UNTIL FINALLY THAT SCRIPTURE BEGAN TO CAUSE A PICTURE TO FORM, AND THIS MESSAGE BEGAN TO COME TOGETHER. WE ARE GOING TO TITLE THE MESSAGE, “EVERY JOINT SUPPLIETH,” AND I BELIEVE YOU WILL AGREE WITH THE TITLE, AS THE LORD OPENS THE THOUGHT UP TO US. THIS SIDE OF THE DARK AGES, INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE THE DAY THEY ARE BORN AGAIN, THEY RECEIVE ALL THAT THEY NEED. WELL IT IS A FACT, THAT WHEN YOU RECEIVE THE HOLY GHOST, YOU HAVE THE POTENTIAL IN YOU, FOR ALL THAT GOD EVER EXPECTS TO MOLD IN YOU; BUT BIRTH IS ONLY THE BEGINNING. YOUR SPIRITUAL STATURE MUST BE MOLDED OVER A PROCESS OF TIME, JUST LIKE YOUR PHYSICAL STATURE IS. PHYSICALLY, WHEN A NEW BORN BABY LIES IN ITS MOTHER’S ARMS, IT HAS NO THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE WHEN IT REACHES ADULTHOOD, AND SPIRITUALLY, WE ARE JUST ABOUT THE SAME WAY. OUR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE SCRIPTURES, ON HOW TO OBTAIN SPIRITUAL GROWTH, MANY TIMES LEAVES US VICTIMS OF THE DEVIL BECAUSE OF THAT, AND WE FIND OURSELVES DRIFTING INTO A CERTAIN TREND, NOT KNOWING WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT. TRADITIONAL TEACHING HAS PUMPED CERTAIN IDEAS INTO OUR HEADS, AND MANY TIMES WHAT IS EXPECTED OF US AMOUNTS TO NOTHING MORE THAN REFORM, WHEN IN REALITY IT SHOULD BE A COMPLETE RENEWING, BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD WHICH WE RECEIVE. THE BIBLE TELLS US THAT WE ARE BORN SINNERS, EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE NEVER TOLD A LIE, NOR STOLE ANYTHING, NOR DONE ANYTHING ELSE THAT IS ASSOCIATED WITH SIN. WHY? BECAUSE SIN WAS IMPUTED TO ADAM, AS A RESULT OF HIS DISOBEDIENCE TO THE WORD OF GOD, AND WE INHERITED THAT FALLEN NATURE THROUGH OUR NATURAL BIRTH, BEING HIS DESCENDANTS. IN OTHER WORDS, WE HAVE THE POTENTIAL IN US BECAUSE OF OUR INHERITED NATURE, TO BE MEANER THAN THE DEVIL HIMSELF, BUT WE ALSO HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE JUST THE OPPOSITE, AND ONLY TIME ITSELF PROVES WHICH WAY WE WILL GO. THERE ARE COMMUNITIES THAT ARE COMPLETELY VOID OF ANY CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE, AND THE IDEA OF GOING TO CHURCH IS NEVER EVEN A CONSIDERATION. THEREFORE PEOPLE IN THOSE COMMUNITIES ARE MORE PRONE TO BE DRUNKS, BRAWLERS, AND WHATEVER ELSE YOU CAN THINK OF, BUT YOU SEE NONE OF THAT IN THE LITTLE NEWBORN BABIES OF THOSE PEOPLE. YOU WOULD NEVER LOOK AT A SWEET LITTLE BUNDLE OF LOVE, LYING THERE IN ITS MOTHER’S ARMS AND SAY, THERE LIES A LITTLE DEVIL THAT WOULD JUST AS SOON CUT YOUR THROAT AS TO LOOK AT YOU. YET 15 YEARS LATER, IT COULD VERY WELL BE LIKE THAT. WHY IS THAT SO? BECAUSE IT WAS BORN A SINNER, WITH A NATURE TO REBEL AGAINST THE WAYS OF GOD, AND UNLESS GOD GETS A HOLD OF THAT LIFE AND CHANGES IT, THOSE NATURAL TRAITS EXPRESS THEMSELVES. OH I AM NOT ATTRIBUTING THAT JUST MERELY TO AN ENVIRONMENT. THAT WAS JUST AN ILLUSTRATION, TO CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT WITHOUT CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE, THOSE NATURAL HUMAN TENDENCIES ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE EXPRESSED IN EXTREMITY. CHARACTER, ATTITUDE, AND PERSONALITY ARE BUILT INTO THE MAKEUP OF A CHILD BY THE EXAMPLES AND INFLUENCE OF THOSE AROUND IT. THAT IS WHY THE WORLD IS LIKE IT IS TODAY; CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE HAS STEADILY DIMINISHED RIGHT ON THROUGH THE YEARS: INSTEAD OF GROWING STRONGER, AND GENTILES ARE FAST RETURNING TO THE WAYS OF THEIR ANCESTORS WHICH WERE PAGANS BEFORE THEY RECEIVED THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.


SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE


There is a lot going through my mind as I start this message; but let us open our Bibles to Ephesians 4:15 and read a few verses. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Out of this world of sinners by nature, God has called unto himself individuals that have responded to the wooing of His Spirit, and obeyed the gospel message according to the measure of revelation that was presented to them; and these individuals, joined together by a common bond, and the Spirit of unity, are known as the body of Christ; for he lives, and is demonstrated through them, because of His spirit that dwells in them. The process of our entering into that body, is called the new birth, or our born again experience; and in that body, which is universal, every member has a particular function to fulfill; just like the individual members as our human body; and when any member lets down on his part, the body is weakened, and fails in some area. But the whole function is built around one thing, speaking the truth in love, the kind of love God has for us, not our human love which we so often exercise our Christian actions in. The love of God looks beyond our physical appearance, right into the depths of our hearts, and deals with us accordingly; to mold us into the very image of His only begotten son. The wart on our chin, nor the freckle on the tip of our nose, has nothing at all to do with our spiritual image. Our spiritual image is portrayed by the way we live our lives and present ourselves, in this wicked world of perversion and degradation. We have to live in the same society with Satan’s crowd; but thank God, we do not have to partake of their evil deeds. We may not have much of a voice in what goes around us, but we have the assurance of knowing that we are under the watch-care of a sovereign God that loves us, and that is able to preserve us until his purpose is accomplished in our lives. I know it appears to some that God is no longer in control; but I assure you, that Satan can only do what God allows him to do. This disease called Aids, which is striking fear in the hearts of so many people, is a curse of God; sent upon this perverted society that has locked Him out of their schools, and their governmental bodies; but they refuse to believe that it is. We never had Aids 50 years ago. Venereal disease of 50 years ago had been around for hundreds of years, and a decent lifestyle kept people free from it, but this Aids seems to reach beyond that, and touch the lives of people who have not indulged in those perverted practices. It just goes to show that when a generation of people reject Christian influence, and make laws to keep God out of the picture, he has his ways of dealing with them. He is the only one that knows what is in the heart of every individual upon the face of this earth today; therefore not one of us has the right to accuse Him of being unjust. In the 9th chapter of Ezekiel, God had His mark set on the foreheads of those that signed and cried because of the abominations that were done in their midst; and He is still the same today. What He hated then, He still hates; and He has His own way of dealing with it, when it reaches a certain state of corruption, and he is not obligated to explain it to anyone.


WE EACH HAVE SOMETHING TO DO


People try to excuse their ungodly ways by saying, I was born that way; I cannot help what I do. But I would like to say this, You were born a sinner; that is true, but time itself has made you what you are today. It takes time for the devil, the god of this world, to mold in us and manifest things through us, that God despises. Likewise when we become a child of God, we are not immediately what God wants us to be, but we immediately have every potential in us, and over a process of time, God molds us into the very image of his only begotten Son. Every advance in our spiritual stature moves us a little closer to that ultimate goal. I have been a Christian for thirty some years, and I am still learning some things from the word of God; so do not ever allow yourself to reach a place where you feel there is nothing left in God’s word to be revealed. Many have done that through the ages; that is why we have all these denominations out here. But the true child of God knows he must keep an open mind and move on with the revelation that is given him, and according to the apostle Paul, every member contributes something. We are joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth. In this great body of believers, we each have a job to do. There is a spiritual something that we each one contribute to the body as a whole, that serves to make that body a little more into the image of what Jesus is coming back after. This building is not the Church; it is only a place where this element of the Church meets to worship God, and to receive further instructions for our journey. Of course, these buildings where we meet should be treated with proper respect, because of what they are set apart for; but the only thing holy about them is the holy people that assemble within, to worship. Well, how can we know what we are supposed to do? Some will say. First let me say this, Our example in this Christian walk was the very Son of God himself. He left us an example not only of how to face temptation and overcome by the word of God, but also how to conduct ourselves in a social way. It is only after we learn how to follow His example in their areas, that we stand in a place where God can truly lead us into a place of service. Otherwise we many times, just simply try to do good works according to how things look to us. Brothers and Sisters: We have got to accept the fact that we are living at the end time. The leadings of the spirit of God are not exactly the same as what they were in the days of the early church. The Christian era is running out, and Christianity is losing its effectiveness in the world at large. Two thousand years ago when Jesus told his disciples, Ye are the light of the world: He was pointing to the fact that the Church (His mystical body) was to be the only means by how truth and the virtues of a divine life would be expressed to the world; to bring hope to those who ignorantly sat in spiritual darkness. But here in the end time, when the Spirit of conviction is fast leaving the Gentiles, and it is becoming more and more obvious that God has just about gleaned the last ones, it seems that the Spirit of God is leading more and more toward perfecting those who truly are born again believers. No that does not mean that we should stop witnessing of God’s saving grace; but we should be led of the spirit, instead of just getting out, trying to tell everything we know, as some have been guilty of doing. Nevertheless it is still important that this perverted society be able to see something in us, as they did in those first Christians, that caused them to say, They have been with Jesus. Why did they say that about them? Simply because they were looking at some people that wanted to live like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and be led of the father like Jesus was. That is what this Christian life is all about. God is seeking to mold within us those very virtues. Satan will always put up road blocks; hoping to sidetrack us, and defeat us, but the Spirit of God in us is our assurance that we can overcome, no matter what the old enemy throws at us.


WE SHOULD EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES


Alright, I am still on verse 15, here in Ephesians 4, that speaks of growing up in the stature of Christ. “But speaking the TRUTH in LOVE, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” To speak truth is one thing, but our motive for speaking is equally as important. We can speak truth either to help someone, or in an effort to cut someone down, or just simply to let someone hear how much we know; so I believe you should be able to see that our motive for doing what we are doing, should be right at all times. Why did you come to church this morning? Was it just because you felt like it was the proper thing to do? Or do you have a hunger for the word of God, and a desire to fellowship and worship God with other saints? Every time we come through those doors; we should have a desire to gain something that will add to our spiritual stature; and also to contribute something to the body as a whole, that will cause it to reflect more of the image of Christ Jesus. People are not necessarily children of God, just simply because they went to a church house somewhere this morning. A lot of preachers went to a building, stepped up into the pulpit, and fulfilled a religious ritual, this morning, that never benefitted anyone the least bit. Furthermore most of what came there to hear them, came only to fulfill a religious ritual, not expecting to gain anything spiritually. They went home just as spiritually ignorant, as when they came. If there really is a true child of God caught in a situation like that, sooner or later, they get so hungry they have to go looking for some spiritual food, and God eventually leads the hungry ones to a place where that food can be found. In other words, we are living in an age, when God is calling his people out of these religious systems, to be perfected; and the people who have sold out to the systems are perishing with them, for it is the blind leading the blind. All those systems are preaching an easy gospel that anyone can accept without having their normal way of life interrupted; but in spite of that fact, the letter of the word of God that they do use, sometimes falls upon the ears of a soul that is hungering for a new meaning in life, and God uses that to get such a person started His way. In other words, God can save us anywhere, but we will never gain much spiritual stature sitting in the assemblies of those religious systems. They do not even have a motive to try to be more like Jesus; they just want to excel in fulfilling their part of the particular religious ritual, and then be free to partake of whatever the world has to offer. Bro. Jackson: are there any exceptions? Yes, there are a few here and there, but remember, Satan himself is the founder of all those systems of organized religion, so no matter how sincere a person may be, if that person is tied to one of those systems, they will never reflect very much of the true image of Jesus Christ.


THE HEAD MUST CONTROL THE BODY


Saints: There are a lot of things to consider when we determine to take stock of our own general outlook and spiritual stature. For just the mere fact that you have come out of denominational religion does not necessarily mean that you are growing in the image and likeness of Christ. Some people never get serious enough for the lord to do very much for them. Being humorous is one thing, and there is nothing wrong with that, but just constantly teasing each other, and gouging one another is not a Christian virtue; that is the nature of an unregenerate person, and we should grow out of it somewhere along the way. God does not tease, and he certainly takes no pleasure in seeing His redeemed children always teasing, and many times hurting people who are more sensitive to that sort of thing. In other words, we can go too far with anything, and God expects us to grow to the place where we realize that; and allow Him to deliver us from it. By speaking the truth in love, we grow up into Him (Jesus) in all things. Not instantly, but over a period of time. We are not able to see Him with out natural eyes, because He is no longer here with us as a person; but from the scriptures, we still have Him as our example. The Holy Ghost in us is able to take our lives and lead us into the very image and likeness of Jesus Christ, if we will just become sensitive to His leading. I do not know how many of you have actually thought this thing all the way through, but the apostle Paul used the human body to illustrate this unique relationship between Christ and the Church; Christ being the head, and the Church the body. Therefore knowing this, we ought to think some very sobering thoughts. A healthy body is completely controlled by the head; so if the head is not in control, the body is in trouble. It takes the whole body of believers to make up the complete stature of Jesus Christ, for no one person possesses it all. But the Church functioning as God intended for it to, exemplifies all the qualities and virtues that Jesus Himself possessed; and that is the only hope for a lost and dying world. As we go about from day to day, we have no way of knowing whether we are rubbing elbows with predestinated children of God or not; therefore the Holy Ghost should be able at any time to lead us to speak a few words to people along the road of life. When we grow up into Him who is the head, we realize that it is the head that does the thinking, the seeing, and the directing of the body. The physical body functions like that; and the day will soon be that the mystical body of Christ will again function in that way. As long as tares and true believers sit together, the body of Christ will never function completely as God ordained it to; but the time is coming when it will; because that is the kind of church the Lord is coming back for. But in the meanwhile, true children of God should be growing, and learning how to be directed by the head. We do not just sit back and wait until God gets all the tares out of our way, before we start growing. Our lack of growth is what makes it possible for tares to sit among us, and feel right at home. When the Church started out it was pure. There were no tares in it, and the head was in complete control; and as long as that generation remained in positions of leadership, the tares could not get in. They only got in as a new generation came upon the scene; that did not have a complete revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and were not completely led by the head. Therefore to turn that condition around, and get the church back in its true function once again, the Lord first had to restore it to a true revelation of every doctrine and precept, and get it once again, looking to the head for its instructions. Then as the individual members of the body take on more and more of the image and likeness of Christ, tares will begin to get very uncomfortable sitting among them, for they will be recognized as being void of the genuine. God knows every true child of His, and he also knows the whereabouts of every tare, and at the proper time, all the tares will be separated, and the little bride will be dealt with to prepare her for her catching away.


WE ARE OVERCOMERS


Alright, there are many things to be said about what we are looking at here in Ephesians. It is Paul’s description of the unique way the Church of the living God is put together. Notice verse 16 as Paul moves on, speaking of our growing up into the head, (Christ.) “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted (how?) By that which every joint supplieth.” Every joint speaks of every member of that great spiritual body; and when each one of us fulfills our place in the body, what will be the result? We will be joined together and compacted just like a jigsaw puzzle that is interlocked. Being compacted does not mean that we will be pressed down. It simply means that we will be knit together in such a unique way, that nothing the devil does can tear us apart. The natural world about us says that such an idea is only a myth, but the true people of God know that we are moving toward a reality that the people of the world are not supposed to understand. People of the world have never seen the true church in action. All they have ever seen of the church, was a sick body; existing in an abnormal state, waiting to be healed. In its spiritual sickened state, with tares on every hand, it could not function in the way the original body was intended to function. God allowed the devil to get it in that state, but He does not intend to leave it like that. Here in the end of the grace age, God will have a body of people who have been tried and tested by the devil, and have overcame him by the very word of God he has tried so hard to destroy by perverting it. Naturally he (the devil) will have people pointing their finger at you, and accusing you of all sorts of things, just like the Pharisees did the disciples of Jesus, almost two thousand years ago; but we know from the scriptures that the true children of God are overcomers; no matter what the devil throws at them. We have to learn how to deal with the devil though, as we grow in grace, for we are not born into the family of God knowing all about dealing with him, in this spiritual warfare. It is only after we have been through many battles and overcome, that we begin to fit together as a body, and are compacted in such a way that the devil cannot get between us. It is the working of the Holy Ghost that puts everything together into such a beautiful picture; and it has to be apart from organized religion. The Catholic Church could never do it; for she is the furthest thing away from what the true body of Christ is to be like. Now when I say, Catholic Church, I am talking about the system itself; not the individuals in it, that are imprisoned by her teaching, for some of them will yet come out of her; into this wonderful light. Brothers and Sisters: do you ever take time just to realize how blessed we are, to be privileged to walk in this beautiful truth? Except for the grace of God, we could all still be in spiritual darkness, heading for the great tribulation. But because our eyes were opened, we are being fitly joined together in this great body; in an inseparable way, with every member fitting into place, just like a jigsaw puzzle. You know how a jigsaw puzzle is, before it is put together; it is just a bunch of individual parts, all mixed up together in a box; but somewhere, there is a picture that shows you what all of that is supposed to look like; once every part is in its proper place. Well, the Bible shows us what the Church is supposed to look like, when every individual member is finally in their proper place, with the head (Jesus Christ) in complete control. Only then, will we be that inseparable body of people that the devil cannot shake apart. If the devil has us locked up in jail, we will pray for each other, and we will not deny the faith, nor squeal on each other; trying to save ourselves. If you have never seen the picture of the kind of church we are talking about, open your Bible to the book of Acts and start reading, and before you go very far, you will begin to get a vision of the kind of church Jesus is coming back for. He is coming back for a body of people that have no selfish motives, and that are willing to die for their faith in God, if necessary. To the world, that sounds crazy; but to the true child of God that knows where the real value is, it makes good sense.


HOW SPIRITUALITY IS MEASURED


I want to make a statement right here now, while we are talking about what the true body of Christ looks like. Do not look at your brothers and sisters of the faith and try to measure their spirituality by their fleshly self that you see. For in the 13th chapter of Matthew, Jesus spoke of seed that fell upon good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold. All three categories pertain to the body of Christ; and the thirtyfold can be just as spiritual as the hundredfold; for their spirituality is measured by what they do with the abilities they have. The thirtyfold is what the apostle Paul spoke of in the 12th chapter of 1st Corinthians, as the feeble part of the body, and in verse 22 he said, “Nay, much more those members of the body which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor.” In other words, we have to have something in us that can see the qualities of Jesus Christ in another person, apart from their fleshly appearance. None of us will ever be anything more than what the grace of God gives us the ability to be. We may look at someone and say, That person is far from being like Christ; but if we will look at that same person and recognize the fact that he, or she is a member of the body of people that desire to be like Christ, we will cease to expect that one person to display every attribute of Christ. We do not all have the same abilities, and we do not all have the same opportunities; but He who knows our hearts, and our every thought and motive, is the only one that can make a true determination of our spirituality. Time alone will prove who is what; for God’s purpose is not all accomplished in one day. Furthermore the fact that we are all fitly joined together, and compacted, does not mean that we are all going to be spiritual giants. God never meant for every member of this great body to be a spiritual giant. When you look at the various members of your human body, which is what this body is compared to in its function: you see certain members that the human body could get along without. Every day, surgeons are cutting away members of human bodies, and many of them function without those particular members, but the procedure usually leaves a scar. Well, that is exactly what the body of Christ would be like, if certain members were eliminated by our choice: but God never intended for it to be that way. He will make absolutely sure that every member is in its predetermined place, and functioning properly. Yes, we are compacted by that which every joint supplieth; and there is no jealousy, nor inferiority, in that healthy body. Let me give you a little illustration of every joint supplying, by just using the ministering brethren sitting back here behind me. If I do not have the right attitude, I can allow a spirit of jealousy to take hold of me when one of these ministers preaches a message along the same lines as what I have preached, and I hear someone say to him, Oh, Brother: You just do not know what that message meant to me. I never saw it like that when Bro. Jackson preached on it. Saints: That is how it is supposed to be. No one preacher is supposed to have it all. God has purposed to perfect the Church by the ministry of a five fold ministry, so I am thankful in my heart, when I see this thing working; like the Bible says it is supposed to work. It lets me know that we are on the right track. I will never be guilty of holding any other brother back; just because of some jealous spirit. I have said all along that we would yet see the ministry of Ephesians 4:11 in the church, before the end. When Bro. Branham died and various ones were saying, it is all over; I said to Billy Paul, right in the presence of Bro. Neville, It is not all over; God will have a living ministry among the ranks of the church until the very end; whether you want it or not. Praise God! He has that ministry in the church, and I am not jealous. Jesus is not jealous of me; and I am not jealous of my brothers. It makes me happy when another ministering brother gets up here and takes a scripture that I may have preached on last week, and brings it out in such a way that I see smiles on your faces, and know that it is benefitting your soul. It lets me know that it is the spirit of God that is doing the preaching.


CAUSE FOR JEALOUSY


Now I am going to tell you when I will be jealous. If for some carnal reason some of you decide that this church is not moving the way it should: and you could succeed in getting one of these ministering brethren to play along with your plan, and you begin to undermine what we are doing here, and bring division among the people, then I assure you, I will be jealous. It would be just like the apostle Paul said to the Corinthian Church, I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. Why would he say such a thing? He was speaking of the possibility of false teachers beguiling them, like the serpent did Eve; and drawing them away from the truth he had preached to them. As long as truth was preached, he would rejoice with them, no matter who was doing the preaching, but he had no patience with anything else. A true man of God takes great pleasure in seeing the Church edified; and he enjoys being fed by someone else, just as much as he enjoys doing the feeding. That is how God means for us to look at these things. There is no place among the true body of Christ for selfishness and jealousy. It thrills my soul to know that when God gets through with us, we will not be like a bunch of puppets, being manipulated by some human instrument. No. Praise God! We will get our instructions from the head; and every member will function as a healthy body should. Right now, we are all still learning; and every last one of us should be willing to have God change our mind about certain things; if need be. Or our attitude, if we have been looking at something wrong. The point is, in order for God to mold us into the image of his only begotten Son, we have to be willing for Him to change us once in a while. We are being fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, only when those joints are allowing the head to call the signals. The thirtyfold Christian supplies something, the sixtyfold Christian supplies something; and the hundredfold Christian supplies a lot; but that is the way God ordained it to work. None of us can supply any more than what God has committed to us; and that, of course, is according to the measure of our faith. But like the scripture says, To whom much is given, much is required. I will say this though, With tares sitting among you, playing their little games, it is sometimes very hard for the true members of the body to contribute their part, for the tares will rip it all to pieces. A tare cannot be perfected, therefore they are always ready to take issue with anything that is of the leading of the spirit of God, unless they are somehow able to copy it. But just for a little comparison of the operation of the body of Christ in its healthy state, let us look at the physical body, that Paul used for an illustration. The physical body has many members, and every one of them take instructions from the head, when the body is in a healthy state. If my thumb is to move, a thought from the brain travels down through a never channel running down through my spinal cord, and out through my arm, right on down to the thumb. But just suppose there has been a serious injury somewhere between my head and my thumb, and the signal cannot get through, What will be the result? If there is no communication, the thumb will be numb, and there will be no reaction until something changes. When the injury heals properly, the feeling comes back into the thumb, and it will once again react to its signals from the brain. That is just a little illustration to get us thinking about why the body of Christ eventually ceased to function as it did in the first years after its birth. Before the tares got in, and the body was still healthy, the head (Jesus Christ) could move the body in any direction. But the time came that the body of Christ was almost dismembered. It existed in a very sickly state, and there was not much communication between the head and the members, and it remained so for hundreds of years, while the devil’s tares more or less called the shots in what was known as the church. I can never praise God enough, as I have occasion to look back, at what he has brought His church out of; out of a sickly, crippled condition, back to vibrant life and expectancy.


WHAT VARIOUS ONE’S SUPPLIED


Well, we want to get to some examples of how every joint of this great body of Christ supplies something; so pray for me, that I will be able to express it to you, as I see it. Through the years, we have had a tendency to look at certain Christian people and wonder why there seemed to be so little spiritual growth; while in their hearts you know they have the same desire toward the Lord, that others have. Thinking along those lines is what got my mind on the scripture we have been looking at; and eventually caused me to see that every individual person in the body of Christ has to contribute something to the well being of that body. Of course, there are some who will say, well, every true child of God will eventually have some kind of spiritual gift. That may be true; but that is not the only means by which they contribute something to the body. That which is done through a gift of the Spirit, is to be looked upon more as God ministering to the body; and what we want to see is what the individual contributes. Now first we can look to ourselves. Many of you, including myself, are sitting here today because we were supplied with something that brought us out of denominational religion. Someone passed something on to us at a time when our souls were receptive to it, and that something was a contribution to the body of Christ. There are many areas to consider as you begin to think along these lines; but just for an illustration, let us consider scriptural water baptism, and the godhead. When the body was scattered among various trinity religious systems, it was in a pitiful, sick and crippled condition. Yet the Holy Ghost knew exactly where every member of that body was; and what it would take to get every member separated from that, and joined together as it should be. First God began to speak to some trinity people from His written word; about the name of Jesus in water baptism, instead of the trinity titles of Matthew 28:19; and the more they studied along those lines the clearer it became. Then the Holy Ghost opened up opportunities for them to share with others, what the Lord had been dealing with them about; and here was a precious truth restored to the Church; that had been lost for centuries. Naturally that opened up an avenue for the godhead to be considered; Is God one, or is he three? As a person would begin to meditate and study on these things, a great hunger for truth developed within, and an excitement that could hardly wait to share what was being revealed, with someone else. One person’s testimony sheds light upon someone else’s pathway, and on an on it goes, as God eventually shines more and more light upon the pathway of every hungry soul. Now when you are talking about the body of Christ, (the church) you have to look beyond the realm of the little circle you are familiar with, and realize that this body has members in every nation under heaven; and whatever the spirit of God does on behalf of the body, must have time and opportunity to affect the universal picture; and that is accomplished as individual members contribute their part. You may not immediately see it; but every member of this great body supplies something, that benefits the body as a whole.


ALL MEMBERS ARE NECESSARY


I look back through the years at the great move of God that was stirring in the hearts of many people, coming through the 40’s, 50’s, and on into the 60’s; but in those early years, very few people had ever thought anything about a message to the age. Unless God somehow showed you that there was going to be an Elijah spirit come into the picture, (like you have heard me testify that He showed me) you would not have had your mind on anything like that. One February morning I sat down to read the Bible, and opened it up to the first chapter of Luke, and as I read that I said, if we are living in the days before the second coming of Christ, God will send that Elijah spirit again. I did not know when, where, nor how, but in my heart, I knew it would be. Well, my wife’s cousin was already sitting under the influence of that ministry, but I had not heard anything about it until he came down home to go squirrel hunting; and came by the house just as I was coming out from eating my lunch, one hot summer day. That is when he told me about Bro. Branham and what the Lord was doing through his ministry, and when I heard it I said, If these things be true, then this is that Elijah that is to come. I only had to hear the man one time; to be completely convinced that he was the man. Well, right there is another example of what we are talking about. This member of the body of Christ ministered something to me that I needed to hear, and most of you have had similar experiences, where someone that had already traveled farther down the road, witnessed to you something that the Lord had already made real to them. Anytime you share something that the Lord has put in your heart, you realize that the testimony can be either accepted, or rejected, but once you have obeyed the leading of the Lord, you are not obligated to worry about the end results of it. God has used the testimonies of some to bring about a total separation of you and I, from the systems of religion we were scattered about in. There has to be a total separation somewhere along the line; for it is not scripturally possible that the true body of Christ could remain locked up in those systems, until the rapture takes place. No. The Lord has worked in some very unique ways to get His true Church separated from those systems; and I am sure we can all say Amen to that. Regardless of what finally settled it for you, it was probably someone’s testimony that first got your attention; so I am just using these little illustrations to remind you that we do minister to each other as the Holy Spirit leads us to do so. In other words, the head directs all the other members of the body. In 1st Corinthians, chapter 12, Paul has a lot to say about this many membered body of Christ. We will not read all of it at this time, but notice as we read a few verses, how he states these truths; comparing the human body and the mystical body of Christ. Verse 12, “For as the body is one, (the physical body) and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; (the baptism of the Holy Ghost is the only thing that can put a person into the body of Christ, just like it says here. Therefore if you have never had that experience in your soul: you are not a member of Christ’s body, even if you have attended church all your life.) And have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.” He goes ahead with examples, showing how even the most feeble (lease esteemed) members are necessary, for a healthy body. Why? Because both in the physical and the spiritual bodies, each and every member supplies something that is beneficial to the body. The big difference is, doctors examine our physical bodies and determine that we can function better if certain members are surgically removed; but when we are talking about the mystical body of Christ: no true member of that body will ever be removed. Those members that are not functioning properly, will be dealt with by the head until they are. The foundation upon which our faith is built, has to be straightened up, and every true Bible doctrine has to be restored, before all the members can function in perfect harmony. The beauty of it is, if we are true children of God, we are all standing upon the same foundation; the only foundation that God would ever build His house upon; which is the foundation laid by the apostles of Jesus Christ. I like the apostle Peter’s terminology (1st Pet. 2:5) where he said, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Not only are we the house of God, (being lively stones knit together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth) but we are also looked upon as an holy priesthood; privileged to be able to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God. Hallelujah! Saints: we are a privileged people, and we have a great spiritual potential ahead of us; but do not let your guard down; for Satan is still very busy, trying to defeat the plan of God, and he has many ways in which he works.


WHERE SATAN WORKS


I believe we will all agree that God is not just in the process of perfecting individuals, but the whole body of genuine believers. Therefore we should be just as concerned about the spiritual state of our brothers and sisters of the faith, as we are of our own selves. We are not in this race alone; therefore there is no advantage in trying to get ahead of anyone else. The whole body must work together; every individual member supplying his or her part, so here is something we all need to be aware of. The devil cannot separate us over water baptism; we all have that straight. Our minds are settled, concerning scriptural water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Neither can he separate us over any controversy concerning the godhead; for we all know that God is one; and that He is Spirit, and not a person. That one revelation breaks down prison walls that have held precious souls captive, and made it impossible for them to grow very much spiritually. But thank God, we have that settled; and Satan has no room to work in that area. We also have the revelation of serpent seed; which lets us know why we need salvation, so he cannot get between us with any dispute about that. But does that mean that there is no place left where the devil can cause us trouble? I hope none of you feel that way; for I am here to tell you, he will give us trouble right to the very end; and we are charged with the responsibility of recognizing him; and overcoming his assaults by the word of God. Alright since we have our doctrine straight, where will the devil attack us? I think all of you know the answer; he will work on this old flesh. Our greatest enemy is ourselves; if we do not stay on guard, and keep submitted to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Just the fact that we have the Holy Ghost, is no guarantee that we will never again have any trouble with our human makeup. That is the very reason the apostle Paul spoke of having to die daily. Every day we live, Satan is busy trying to revive our old selfish, carnal nature; and if we are not constantly on guard against such a thing, situations can arise that will bring about broken relationships. Our old selfish, sensitive, human nature, can be revived to the point where our Christian fellowship is broken; and spiritual growth comes to a standstill. These things come, from time to time; and there is only one way to deal with them. We must face every situation honestly, and allow the spirit of God to deal with our hearts and submit ourselves to the word of God. We cannot seek special favor; for we are to live by every word that proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God. Jesus was faced with situations where flesh sought special recognition; therefore we will do well, if we apply his examples to our own situations. One such instance is found recorded in the 20th chapter of Matthew; where flesh sought special favors of the Lord, and had to be reminded that the father (the sovereign Spirit) grants these things according to His foreordained plan and purpose, and fleshly desires have no place in it.


PRAYING SELFISHLY


In Matthew chapter 20, starting in verse 20, we find an account of something that took place when Jesus was on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, just like we all are, spiritually speaking. Maybe some have overcome certain areas of this kind of human behavior, but it still remains to be a problem in the body of Christ as a whole. A lot of it depends upon what category certain ones are in; whether 30, 60 or 100 fold, but the thing we need to realize is, We do not graduate from one category to another. Whatever we are, that is what we will be in the body; but a 30 fold Christian that will submit to the leadership of the Holy Ghost, will still bear fruit to perfection. In other words, we are what we are, only by the grace of God; for we could do nothing to merit this great salvation we have. But notice now. Here is this great mob of people following Jesus. To some, he was just an outstanding man. But to many of them, He was the Messiah they had waited for; and they believed he was on his way to kick out the Romans, and set up His kingdom; so notice verse 20. “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, (James and John) worshiping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him.” It says she came worshiping Him; (adoring Him) but she was like a lot of people; she wanted a special favor from Him; something that was very important to her human nature. We have all been guilty of the very same thing at one time or another. Many times it is because we set certain goals of what we humanly want to attain in our Christian lives; and even though we are not talking with Jesus in the flesh, it amounts to the very same thing. Just as this woman did, we say, Lord: There is something that would mean a lot to me; Would you do so and so. Notice now. “And He said unto her, What wilt thou? (What is it you want?) 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.” This thing of striving for a position is a detrimental thing in the life of a Christian person; but a lot of people are guilty of it; just like this woman. In her heart she felt that it would be just wonderful if her two sons could be given these positions with the Lord; but Jesus knew that this was not the way it was going to work. From His own human mentality there would be no choosing done; for He was completely submissive to the sovereign mind of Jehovah; the mind that knew the outcome of everything, before He ever created anything. Therefore He said to her, “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? (He asked James and John this question.) They say unto Him, We are able. And He said unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: BUT TO SIT ON MY RIGHT HAND, AND ON MY LEFT, IS NOT MINE TO GIVE, BUT IT SHALL BE GIVEN TO THEM FOR WHOM IT IS PREPARED OF MY FATHER.” Regardless of what some of these preachers of our day may tell you, God is not running some kind of program just to cater to the whims of human flesh; therefore to ask of Him selfish things is not praying according to the will of Him who is working all things according to the counsel of his own will; as it says in Eph. 1:11. In other words, No matter what my human desires may be, if they do not please my heavenly Father, I need not ask Him to grant my request. Brothers and Sisters: We have to study our Bibles, to even know how to pray. You cannot really have faith to believe for something from God, without first knowing what is available from the great storehouse of His wealth. In other words, The Bible makes no provision for any of us to ask anything from God just for some selfish reason. This is why Jesus did not just send the mother of these two men on down the road, without first dealing with her selfish motive. He wanted all mankind to be aware of the fact that all things must work according to the mind of the Father. The flesh man Jesus, was an outlet through which the attributes of the Father were expressed; therefore we need to follow His example in our thoughts, words and our deeds, and desire only that which we know our heavenly Father would be pleased for us to have.


CORRECTION WAS NECESSARY


Now what we have been reading about, all took place before any of those disciples ever had the Holy Ghost; so notice what it says about the other ten, when they learned what the mother of these two had asked. Verse 24, “And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. (I can just hear them talking among themselves about James and John thinking they were better than the rest of them. Brothers and Sisters: You know that is the way this old flesh reacts; and that is exactly where the devil gets into the picture; so Jesus had a few words to say to them.) But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. (It is like that in politics, and religion. People in high places actually rule over the rest. But notice what Jesus said to those disciples.) But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief, among you, let him be your servant.” He was not telling those disciples that they would all have to sit on the same size chair, nor was he changing His mind about what He had already said to Peter; about giving him the keys to the kingdom of heaven. He was merely pointing out to them, that the greater you are, the more you have to be willing to do for other people. There has never been a greater man on this earth than Jesus Christ; and He became servant of all. The Bible points to Him as our example, so where do some of these preachers of our day get the idea that they should have for themselves, the very best of everything? Jesus never tried to call attention to Himself, nor did He make any effort whatsoever, to have better things than anyone else. Listen to me, saints: No preacher has any right or reason to feel that he should have more, nor have better, than the rest of the people who sit under his ministry. I mean that with all my heart. For some reason, people of our day seem to have the cart before the horse; when it comes to things like this. God does not call men into the ministry to place them upon a pedestal for everyone else to look up to, and admire; because of their greatness. No. A true man of God will walk with the people where they walk; and be a help to them in all of their trials and tests, instead of a burden upon them. A true leader will walk through the mudhole with you, if it is necessary for you to go through one. If a man of God will walk with his people, they in turn will walk with him. That is what this is all about. God never intended to set some up, to be looked upon as being so much more important than anyone else. The New Testament is full of examples, if a person really has a desire in his heart to walk with God. Furthermore, the apostle Paul left us a perfect example of how to have the victory in our soul; even under the most trying circumstances. Did he lose his joy, and give up, just because he ended up in jail, or found himself shipwrecked, or persecuted? Do you find anywhere that he ever projected himself as being any better than anyone else? The answer is no. He knew he was a servant of God, called to minister, instead of being ministered to, and so did all those other apostles, once they received the Holy Ghost, and began to submit themselves to His leadership. Nevertheless Jesus used Himself as the example of what He was talking about, when He was correcting those offended disciples, and showing them that to be a leader, required one to be even as a servant. Notice  verse 28. “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” What if Jesus had been afraid He would hurt their feelings, and he had just left those ten disciples with their indignant feelings toward James and John? They might have worked themselves up into such a state of resentment, that they could have just turned back from following Him. In other words, truth was on the scene, and truth got the dispute settled, and avoided a very bad situation; and because of it, all those men except Judas, continued on; to supply their part in the body of Christ, in later years.


EXAMPLES OF FORGIVENESS


Some of you may wonder why we are using all these seemingly unrelated instances to the message we are dealing with; so I will put your mind at ease by saying this, There is something in every one of these occurrences that we can learn from; as we seek to be able to supply our part to the body. The feelings between those disciples necessitated some forgiveness, in order for them to fulfill what they had been called to fulfill. In other words, In that one occurrence we saw selfish desires expressed, we saw human resentment activated, we saw truth correct the whole situation, and the plan of God move forward; which means that there was also forgiveness on the part of those who were offended. Let us look at another example of human weakness, and also at a perfect example of forgiveness. In the 16th chapter of Matthew, we find Jesus asking His disciples, “But whom say ye that I the Son of man am?” Peter was the impulsive one among them; and immediately replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” He was just as quick to express a revelation, as he was to grab a sword and cut off a man’s ear later on and because of this answer, Jesus committed to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven; knowing that it was a revelation Peter was expressing, and upon that rock of revelation the Church was built. But a little later when Jesus began talking to them about what He would suffer at the hands of the Jews that hated Him, (how they would kill Him) Peter jumped right out there again and said, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” In other words, Lord, we will never let them do a thing like that to you. He meant it; but he did not understand everything that was taking place, so Jesus had to deal with this human reaction, just as He had to deal with the ten, on that other occasion, a little later. No, He did not take Peter aside and talk to him, like we might have done; He looked him straight in the eye and said, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men,” In other words, This was an impulsive human reaction, and Jesus knew this kind of boisterous remark was not what it was going to take to please God in the end. It sounded good, but Jesus knew that when Peter was really put to the test, fear for his own life would cause him to react just the opposite of the way he felt at that moment. Now He was not calling Peter, Satan, but it was the spirit of Satan (the devil) that Jesus was actually addressing, because he always causes natural man to react contrary to the plan and purpose of God. Therefore after the Passover supper, when Jesus was saying to the disciples, “Ye shall all be offended because of me this night,” and Peter again responded in his usual way, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”Jesus said to him, “Verily I say unto thee, that this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Then Peter and all the others agreed that they would defend him to the very end, even if it meant their own death. That was just a short time before Jesus was actually arrested, and you all know what happened afterward, when different ones questioned Peter about being one of them that was with Jesus; he denied that he ever knew him, and began to curse and swear in his denial, and immediately the cock crowed, and he was reminded of what Jesus had said to him; and the Bible says he went out, and wept bitterly. We could not take the time to read all of these scriptures, but from these various occurrences, we are able to see some examples of how human nature reacts, and how truth deals with it to bring about the purpose of God. Peter’s real weakness was revealed, and he was forced to acknowledge it, and his heart was rent with remorse, because he had reacted exactly as the Master had said he would. Now I am sure many thoughts raced through his mind as Jesus went through that mock trial and was then put to death. No doubt he wondered, Was he really the Messiah? Will He rise from the dead, like He said? What will we do now, and what will He do if He arises? Though all this was no doubt running through his mind, he still remembered what Jesus had said to them before he went into the garden of Gethsemane where He was arrested, “But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” Jesus already knew all that was going to take place, and how Peter would deny Him, even before He said, I will meet you in Galilee, so right there, we see a perfect example of forgiveness. Brothers and Sisters: Somewhere we are going to have to reach a place where we can recognize some of these examples that are set before us, and learn to apply these same principles in our own lives. Through these examples, we should be able to get a picture of our own attitudes, misgivings, shortcomings and frustrations, and realize that we are continually yielding ourselves as vessels in the hands of the devil; unless we make a spiritual effort to yield ourselves to the Spirit of God. We fail to supply to the body of Christ, that measure that has been committed to us; when we allow self and personal feelings to cause us to ignore the examples of righteousness that are set before us in the scriptures. That is why I said, Satan cannot separate us on doctrinal things, so he works on our human nature, always trying to get us to look at every situation in a selfish way; I want to alert you to his devises. I believe we will all agree that God did not call us out of denominational religion and give to us this beautiful revelation of His word, His plan for the redemption of lost mankind, and of our eternal reward, just simply to allow us to go on day after day, and year after year, living for self, without any real concern about the welfare of the universal body of Christ that we are a part of. AS we said earlier, A healthy body is one where every member of that body supplies its part in the total function of the body; and the apostle Paul lets us know that the mystical body of Christ is no different; it also requires every member to supply something. We do not decide what we are to supply, we just yield ourselves to the leading of the Spirit of God, and allow the head (Jesus Christ) to direct us.

STUMBLING BLOCKS – INSTEAD OF EXAMPLES


Through the years, as I have stood in the pulpit and preached, there have been many times that I would find myself taking a certain angle to a subject, that I had not really planned ahead of time, to take, and almost without exception, whenever that happens, someone will say, Bro. Jackson: You answered a question for me when you said so and so, and then I realize, that was the part that I had not previously planned to include in the message. I just have to rejoice and be thankful to God every time He does something like that, for I have always believed that a true servant to God would stand in a place where God could use him to answer the questions that are on the minds of His people. I have said it before, and I do not mind saying it again and again, There is a lot more to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, than just leading people to a salvation experience, (as we are so prone to call it) for their salvation is not really complete, until they are taught to walk with God according to His word. Let me be quick to say though, The preacher is not the only vessel God uses, to supply what a new born child of His has need of: they look to older Christians for exampleship, and God means for us to set a proper example before them. Therefore if the older Christians are always bickering about some little personal feelings, they are really a stumbling block instead of an example that the younger ones can look up to. What do Christians bicker about? Some may say. Usually some petty little thing that is taken wrong, or something that their imagination comes up with. Just for an example, one of these other brethren could make some simple little statement about something, and I could take it wrong, and without finding out for sure what he meant, I could start to imagine that he is against me. Then if you allow yourself at a time like that, you will start to be suspicious of the other person and watch for other things that he may do or say, that could strengthen your suspicions. Now some will say, Bro. Jackson: Christians ought not be so sensitive; and you are absolutely right, but do not forget, the devil is still on the loose, trying to defeat the plan of God. That is why I said, We are entering a time when we have got to get control of ourselves. We must find out what is bugging us, and decide what we value as the most important thing, our feelings or the cause of Christ. We certainly cannot serve both at the same time. If we are going to walk with God in the light of His word, we have to get self out of the picture. I meant it, brothers and sisters, I am not just talking. If you have any kind of feelings against anyone, it is time to examine those feelings in the light of God’s word, and take the necessary steps to deal with them accordingly. When you get serious about walking with God, you will not have any problems determining what true Christian conduct is. That is why I said, I am glad for these brethren that sit with me up here. I am not envious of any of them. It thrills my soul to see men that God has truly dealt with, take the scriptures and bring out things that He has shown them. One man is not supposed to have it all; the body of Christ will be perfected by the five fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11, because they will all have the same revelation, and will minister for the same purpose, not trying to build anything for self. Preachers who seek the favor of the people they preach to, will not always tell them what they need to hear; and that can make it hard on those that do obey God and preach a true revelation. I have to tell you brothers and sisters, there have been many times through the years since Bro. Branham’s death, that it really seemed like we were standing here, in vain; because of the way so many people treated the truth. But we have not stood in vain; for God has vindicated this ministry, and is using it to help people get themselves settled, after being tossed to and fro and literally abused by men who are just trying to make a name for themselves.


CONDUCT OF SOME PREACHERS


We have stood here in the area where this message of truth was first preached; and men from all around the world have come here to look at the tomb of the man that preached it; and visit various places where God manifested something special through him. After touring the area, many of these men have taken an armload of books and tapes, and gone home, and pretty soon they would be on the road, ready to tell the world what this message is. That is when they jump on Jackson, and Faith Assembly, because they realize their version of the message does not match what we preach and teach here; and they feel that they have it right from the horse’s mouth; (so to speak) therefore Jackson is not in the message. Brothers and Sisters: Years ago I did not see what I see now; so a lot of that persecution really got next to me; for my human nature caused me to want to like and respect everyone. I somehow had the idea that every man that carried a Bible and called himself a preacher ought to be given a place to preach. Well I have learned a lesson; that is not what God called me for. I do not surrender my pulpit to every preacher that comes down the road with a Bible under his arm; mainly because I have learned that a true man of God is not out looking for a place to preach. He does not have the preacher’s itch. A true man of God knows that if he has something in his heart that is to benefit this assembly, sooner or later God will put him up. He will not come in here with his chest puffed out; I am Reverend So and So, Can I preach in your assembly this morning? If you surrender your pulpit to men like that, they can do more harm in one message, than you can straighten out in the next three months. I do not have to be that concerned about the people who have sat here long enough to be established in the truth; but there are always some that are still babes in Christ, and they do not need to be tossed up and kicked around by character’s that are just simply running the roads sowing discord. Like I said, I am accused of not being friendly, and of not being in the message, but God knows my heart, and he knows that I have learned what I know about the nature of people, the hard way, for I have tried to fellowship them all.


SETTLING DIFFERENCES GOD’S WAY


I will never forget how discouraged I was when I preached the message, “My Defense,” years ago. In my heart I thought, What good does it do to stand as I do, when there are so many against me? I look back now, after seeing what confusion there is in the ranks of those who are supposed to be following Bro. Branham’s message, and I am so thankful that God did keep me separated from all of that, even though it was extremely hard on my flesh at the time. I can also see now that while my flesh, my name, and my image was taking such a beating, I was really getting free advertisement for what God would later use this ministry for. Letters like the one we just received from the Philippines makes us realize just how thankful we ought to be; that we have been privileged to stand for this truth, regardless of what our flesh has had to suffer because of it. I can see clearly now, that in order to walk with God in truth, we have to be willing to have our flesh chewed on by those who do not understand. As I have already said, There are many ways that Christians get their feelings hurt, and a lot of them have nothing at all to do with our doctrinal beliefs, and that is especially so, when it takes place right here in this assembly. But if you go around always hurt about something, there is something lacking in your life. God lets the devil work on flesh, for the purpose of getting your life in line with His word, and His will; therefore if it never accomplished that, there is something wrong; we need to do some checking up. Now, lest some of you misunderstand what I have just said, Let me explain it, and use an example. There are two kinds of people that can hurt you, but it is up to you as a child of God to deal with it properly, and to learn something from it, that will add to your statural growth. A tare can say and do things to hurt you, and when they do, many times they are trying to destroy you. That has happened right here in Faith Assembly. We cannot make children of God out of tares, but neither are we to determine that certain ones among us are tares; and use that for an excuse not to conduct ourselves in a proper manner. That is what the devil wants. On the other hand a true child of God, out of plain ignorance, or weakness of the flesh, can say something in a very unwise way, that can be hurtful to you, and if you do not handle it properly, you can go for months with those hurt feelings. I will use these preacher brethren here on the platform, just to illustrate what we are talking about; they will not mind. Just suppose I heard that Bro. Salinas had said something about me, that hurt my feelings, and instead of taking it to the Lord, I go to Bro. Allen and say, Bro. Salinas said something about me the other day, that really hurt me. Then I go into great detail telling him all about it. Am I handling this in a way that will give God a chance to work in it? Then I go to Bro. Adams and say, Bro. Salinas said something about me that was not right, and I am terribly hurt about it; and then I tell him all about it. Now I have two others in on something that can eventually tear up a whole church if it is allowed to go on like that. It is wrong in the sight of God for me to do a thing like that, and it is just as wrong for you to do it. When you spread your hurt feelings like that, it is just like an infection in a natural body; you do not cure it by spreading it. I might be able to make that brother look like a dirty rat, but in so doing, instead of contributing something to the body that will edify and strengthen, I have sown discord, and caused some weaker ones to stumble, and besides that, just suppose the person that told me what they heard him say, had misunderstood his remark: that would make it even worse. But let us just say for the sake of illustration, that the brother really did make an unwise remark, I will make myself even more unwise if I do not do what the word of God tells us to do. Brothers and Sisters: Are you seeing what I am trying my best to get you to see? This is the kind of thing that has caused me to lose much sleep in the weeks and months that I have been aware of what Satan would like to do here. It is a wonderful thing to get our doctrine straightened out; but if our attitudes and motives are not straightened out also, the devil still hast just as much room to work, as he ever did. While we are fussing and fretting about our hurt feelings, we cannot possibly supply anything to the body of Christ. All we are doing is presenting a negative picture that causes outsiders to wonder, when they hear of it, what we have that they do not. If we have the Spirit of Christ in us, then let us handle these things that arise according to the way He told us to. The only way to reconcile such a condition as the one we have used in this illustration, is for me to go to Bro. Salinas and say, Brother: It was told to me that you said such and such, and I feel that if you did say that about me, I ought to find out why, and try to get it straightened out, before it affects the rest of the assembly. Many times, just confronting a person with the thing that you have heard, is all it takes for God to work in it. If that person’s own heart is right, and they have just said or done something, not really intending for it to go further, then God can cause them to realize how unwise or weak they were in doing it; and the whole matter can be reconciled right there. Now I am sure most of you know that there is a right and a wrong way to confront a person that you feel has wronged you. If I grab hold of the brother and say, Bro. Salinas: I heard what you said about me the other day, and I feel that you owe me an apology. I am not presenting myself according to the words and examples that we have in the scriptures, and I probably will not get the desired response. But on the other hand, If I, out of genuine love, and a genuine desire to see the love of Christ working in our midst, will go to the brother and say, Bro. Salinas: I love you; and I have believed that we are brothers in the family of God, so I wonder if you really did say what I heard you said about me, and if you did, then I wonder if you would tell me why, then God has an opportunity to work in the situation and get it straightened out. I do not care if you are a preacher, a deacon, a trustee, or what; the same goes for every last one of you, myself included. Many times it is hard for the old flesh to yield to these scriptural principles, but if Jesus was standing among us in the flesh, He would teach us a lesson along these lines. He would not call a committee meeting to consider the matter; He would just tell you face to face, if you were at fault. Saints: For goodness sakes, when there is some cause for you to be hurt please do your utmost to go and get it reconciled in a Christlike manner, without dragging innocent people in on it. Jesus never had to say, I am sorry, to anyone; nor did He ever have to ask anyone to forgive Him for anything, because He lived a perfect example at all times. He knew exactly when to speak, and how to look at every situation without sowing discord among the other disciples.


LET LOVE DIRECT YOU


It is not within my natural makeup to enjoy dealing with a message such as this, but when the Lord backs me into a corner with something, and keeps me awake at night thinking about it, until a picture begins to form in my mind: I have to know that He means for me to deal with it; whether I enjoy it or not. When God began to deal with me on this subject, I knew that Faith Assembly was going to be faced with the reality of setting aside petty feelings, and conducting ourselves as people professing godliness are supposed to. We will either walk with God by the leadership of the Holy Ghost, and conduct ourselves as mature Christians, or we will face the consequences of failing to do so, after sufficient warning. We cannot just drift along through life, treating our Christian experience like something that we only acknowledge when we feel good. If we are truly born again by the spirit of God, then we are Christians twenty four hours a day, every day, for the rest of our lives, and it is the will of our heavenly Father for every one of us to reach a place in our Christian growth, where we will conduct ourselves according to the examples set forth in His word, no matter where we are, nor what time of day or night it may be. Therefore if you think you can give in to carnal feelings, and create a better image of yourself by broadcasting your hurt feelings, you have another thought coming. You are certainly not walking in the spirit, as the Bible teaches that we should, unless you allow this word of God to work in you concerning these petty things also. How many times have you sat and listened to someone relating something about someone else, without making one single effort to try to get the thing straightened out? We have all been guilty of it; but the time is coming when God will not allow us to do that. The scriptural way to handle that, is, Brother: If what you are saying is true, then let us go to that brother, (or sister, whichever it is) and have a talk with him. We will handle it like that, rather than spreading what we hear to a dozen others. In other words, For the sake of the body, let us take these things right to the source of origin, and get them reconciled. If I have a headache, I do not rub ointment on my toe; I take a pill that will go right to the source of trouble. When we begin to think just how compacted God wants us to fit together as a body, then we understand that there is to be nothing between us. In order to stay healthy, the head has to be able to control every member of the body, so that our every thought, word, and deed has the interest of the whole body at the forefront. When Paul wrote that about the body being fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, he was not talking about our pocketbooks, nor anything else in the material sense. He was talking about something in the spiritual sense that each of us are privileged to contribute to the body of Christ. No matter how small or insignificant you may consider yourself to be, there is some function within the scope of the universal body of Christ for you to perform; as you yield your life to the leadership of the spirit of God. You may be the very one God will use, to get someone to turn loose of hurt feelings they have been holding on to. But remember this, Love is the motive that we should be guided by, instead of just a fleshly desire to see people get along with each other. God has many ways of getting rid of infection and of smoothing the rough edges of the many vessels in His house, so do not try to force Him to work according to your plans. You determine that you are going to work according to His plan, for the benefit of the whole body of Christ. He is not putting this great body together to fit the image of Raymond Jackson; it is going to be in the image of Jesus Christ; the one that willingly shed His own blood on Calvary’s cross, to free us from the bondage of sin and death, so that we could be joint heirs with Him of the Father’s treasure. Hallelujah! If we would spend more time meditating upon our inheritance as children of God, we would be less prone to carry our feelings in a place where they can be so easily hurt. I sometimes wonder if we do not just simply take too much for granted: as though there was no price paid for this wonderful liberty we enjoy. Most of us know very little of what some have had to suffer because of their faith in Jesus Christ, and their refusal to continue to participate in antichrist religious practices.


GROWING TO FULL STATURE


I do not mind telling you, brothers and sisters, that I am very concerned about the hour we are living in; as I observe the things that are going on in the world, and especially in the Middle East. The very fact that a leader of Israel stepped outside the line of what was normally routine, and went to one of the Arab heads of Morocco, to see if there was anything that could be done on his part: to bring about a workable peace process in the Middle East, is reason of itself for us to be concerned. For it is obvious that Syria is a power that must be reckoned with, in whatever is done; therefore the whole Middle East is just like a powder keg; that could explode any moment, and every time it does: it just brings us one step closer to the end of Gentile time, the time when the little bride of Christ is to be ready to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. Of course there are some that will say, Bro. Jackson: You have been saying that for years, and that is true, I have. But whether you believe it or not, one day there is going to be an event take place over there, that will set the stage for that final drama that must be played out before Jesus comes; and if you are one of those that is still playing around with truth when that takes place: I am afraid you will end up in the great tribulation, for it will be too late for you to start dressing yourself up, to go with the Lord in the rapture. Remember the little story where they cried, Wolf! At first everyone was very sensitive to the cry; and it brought about a reaction. But after so long, when they cried Wolf, the ones that were supposed to react, ceased to respond to the cry, and when the wolf really did come, and the cry was sounded, and they failed to react, the wolf got them. That is exactly how this is going to be one of these days. It is true we cannot allow ourselves to be carried away by imagination of what could happen; but neither should we become so calloused in our heart and in our thinking, that we become careless, and begin to think that we have another 30 to 40 years. You are likely to wake up some morning, (if you wake up at all) and find that you need God like you have never needed Him before, because the world you live in has suddenly become a shambles. A lot of people will attend church this morning, and go home knowing no more than they did when they left home; and they will argue and fuss going and coming, not even considering the fact that every trip they make could very well be their last one. Brothers and Sisters: we do not have time to let our lives dwindle away like that. We need to come face to face with the reality that regardless of when: there is surely coming a time when God will require us to give an account of the way we have treated this wonderful, bountiful opportunity that He has given us. We can never be any more in the body of Christ than what God has ordained for us to be; but if we truly are bride children of God, and we fail to allow Him to lead us, he will put the chastening rod to us, until we do. I have said this to you many times before; but let me say it again, When the apostle Paul referred to the Church, he spoke only of born again children of God, for tares were not yet in the picture, and foolish virgins come into the picture only at the end time; so there will be no tares nor foolish virgins compacted together in this great body of Christ. All of those whom the apostle Paul referred to as the Church, will be compacted though, so that there is nothing at all between them. Now I realize that there are verses before these, and I trust that all of you will read them, but I keep coming back to verses 15 & 16, here in Ephesians 4, and I hope you see in them what I see. Paul is talking about the Church being perfected, coming to full stature in Christ, so that we are not tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, and so forth; and then he says, “But speaking the truth (How?) In LOVE, may grow up into Him (Christ) in all things, (Notice now) which is (or who is) the head, even Christ: From whom (It is from Him that we receive our instructions on how and what to supply to the body) the whole body fitly joined together and compacted (How) by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, (including you and me) maketh increase of the body into the edifying of itself in love.” The word COMPACTED, as used here, does not mean mashed, and pressed together like something squeezed into a container; it just simply points to the fact that every member of the true body of Christ fits together perfectly, like a jigsaw puzzle, when the picture is completed. After those pieces are all interlocked, there are some that you can hold up by the edge, and the picture will not fall apart. That is because they are cut to be that way. Another thing about it is, There is no room for anything else in between the pieces. When every piece is in, the picture is complete, and so is it with the body of Christ, after the Holy Ghost gets through refining us. In other words, After he gets through trimming the raw edges off of our human nature, so we can fit together. I know most of you have heard this, and even said it yourselves, like I have in times past: What good am I? What can I do? Brothers and Sisters: That is just plain negative, human thinking, brought about by our failure to read the word of God properly. God does not accept that kind of an excuse either; for if we are born again, we are children of God, no matter how we feel about ourselves, and there is something for each of us to do, that will benefit the body of Christ. Conditions and abilities are regulated by the Holy Ghost; for the effectual working on the part of each individual member of the body, according to the way God has dealt with our lives. It is only when we are led by the spirit of God that we are able to contribute something to the body that will cause it to make increase toward the edifying of itself in love. In the natural human body, the members of the body only contribute that which is necessary for the benefit of the whole body; by the direction of the head. If your back itches, your head causes your hand to reach for some means to scratch it. Is that not right? What we need to see is that every member of the body has some function that adds to the total well being of the body, whether the physical body, or the mystical body of Christ; but each member functions only by the direction of the head, and does not try to outdo the other members.

A LIVING SACRIFICE


I would like for us to look at a verse or two in the 12th chapter of Romans, while we are on this thought, and look at some of the examples Paul used there. Let us just start in verse 1 and get the full picture. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is (What?) Your reasonable service. (That is no more than what every born again child of God is expected to do.) And be not conformed to this world: (Do not follow the styles and ways of the people of the world at large.) But be ye transformed (How?) By the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, WILL OF GOD. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself (notice this) more highly than he ought to think; (this is just the opposite of thinking that you are not worth anything) but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (That measure of faith is what God gives to each of us to start out with; and the increase of our faith is determined according to the investments we make with it, as we lay hold on the promises and provisions in His word.) For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: (Here is your natural and spiritual comparison again.) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (It takes all of us together, to make the body complete) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, (Now he mentions the different gifts that God has placed within this one body of believers.) Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Every bit of that has to be under the direction of the Holy Ghost in order for it to fulfill the purpose of God.)Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. (Notice verse 10 now.) Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another. (Let us read just two more verses here, 16 and 21, and then we will talk about how all of this works together to glorify God.) Be of the same mind one toward another. (This is an important key. Being of the same mind allows these other things to work as they should.) Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. (God knows whether we are respecters of persons, and whether we think Dr. So and So would be an asset to our assembly. Saints: The body of Christ is not built on any such special recognition as that.) Be not wise in your own conceits. 21, Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Some will say, Bro. Jackson: Can a true Christian really be overcome with evil? It happens all the time. That is why it is so important for every one of us to be made aware of Satan’s traps; it is the children of God he expends all his efforts on, trying to get them sidetracked from walking with their heavenly Father. Did not the apostle Paul say in Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh?” He was writing to Christians. These instructions on Christian conduct were not written to lost sinners; they were written, so all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus, can know what it takes to do so. Now being overcome of evil, does not mean that such a person has lost their salvation; it speaks of a weakness of the flesh causing a person to yield to something the devil has tempted him or her with. Therefore it is very important that we cultivate these Christian attributes in our daily lives; lest the adversary lay a stumbling block before us, and we stumble over it, and break our fellowship with our heavenly Father. We are certainly not going to contribute anything to the body of Christ while we are in a state of broken fellowship with the Father, and furthermore, there will be no peace until such a situation is reconciled. But let us get back to our main thought, “Every Joint Supplieth,” and keep this on the positive side; for no true child of God is looking for ways to do wrong; we are looking for the perfect will of God for our lives.

A TARE REFUSES CORRECTION


When it comes to gifts, or abilities: God does not give anyone more than they need, nor does He give us less than we need, so really, there is no sensible reason for anyone to be worried about not doing anything; if you are willing to do what God gives you to do. Some people never do anything, because they are always waiting for some outstanding opportunity; when it is the will of God for them to do something simple, without open recognition. That is how we grow to the place spiritually, where we can be recognized, without it having some detrimental affect on us. Therefore we need to be faithful, to contribute what God gives us to contribute, no matter how insignificant we may feel; for it will be spiritual substance in that effectual working, as the body of Christ makes increase, and edifies itself in love. When we each one learn to do the things that God gives us the opportunity to do, and do them with the right motive; the body of Christ will take on a completely different look, or image, in the world she lives in. The only acceptable motivation is love; so if we have any other motive, we need to re-read some of these epistles Paul wrote to the various assemblies in that 1st age. Now please understand, None of us are claiming to be perfect; we will readily confess that God is still working on us, (as the little song goes) to make us what we ought to be; so when we deal with a message such as this, I expect to gain something from it myself, and I pray that each of you have that same desire. Let me say this also, When I use these preacher brethren as I did, it is just for the sake of illustrating something to you, and certainly not that I am trying to foretell something that is going to happen later on; so do not allow the devil to do to you what he did to a lot of people that sat in Bro. Branham’s meetings. If he called someone’s name, or used a little illustration like I sometimes do: someone would always say, See there? That is a revelation. Jesus used parables to illustrate certain things; so why can we not do the same thing, without someone’s imagination running away with them? I say that, yet I realize as long as there are tares sitting among the saints of God, the devil will use them to pervert anything that is done or said for the benefit of the body of Christ. That is why I said earlier, Much of the word of God cannot be applied in our day, as it was in the apostolic age. There are still too many tares sitting present for it to have the same affect. A tare spirit refuses correction, and reacts in various ways. When you take the word of God to correct a situation, sometimes the tare will just simply run away, find him another church, and do everything he can to try to destroy you. Others will pretend to submit to correction, and start their campaign of destruction from within the assembly. We have been faced with both, right here in Faith Assembly, and there is no reason for us to feel that it will not happen again; for Satan is still on the loose. In an assembly like this, you have tares deliberately saying things to cause hurt feelings, and then you also have Christians who make unwise remarks, like we were saying earlier, and that causes someone’s feelings to be hurt, and if it is not handled properly, the whole assembly will be affected and spiritual growth will come to a standstill. What is the answer? Some will say. Well God has not authorized anyone to search out the tares, and kick them out of the church, so the obvious solution, if we are going to move on with God: is for every true Christian to determine in their hearts, that they are going to live for God, no matter what happens; and start applying these scriptural principles in every situation that comes up, even when our flesh is hurt. As we become more sensitive to the word of God: truth will work on our behalf, and the purpose of God will move forward. Surely, as we look at the present trend of political corruption, and the moral decay of unregenerate mankind, we will have to agree that the Spirit of God is lifting from the Gentiles; and realize that the little bride of Christ ought to be in the final stages of getting herself dressed up in the word of God. The days of running from church to church are over. We have had ample time to learn what truth is, and where it is being preached; and you can take my word for it, when I tell you that it is hard to find. The Bible tells us that there will come a time when there will be a famine for the hearing of the word of God; and I believe you will have to agree, that that time is upon us. Oh there are a lot of people quoting scriptures for one purpose or another, but most of it is without revelation of what those scriptures mean, and without revelation of the godhead, and of the plan and purpose of God; so when you take all of that into account, the famine is in the land today. One thing is sure though; wherever truth is being preached, that is where the true children of God will want to be; for the Bible so beautifully portrays the fact that the true body of Christ will be washed by the water of the word of God. Many will tell you that there is no more revelation to be given, but the true child of God knows that as long as we are still here, God is going to see it that there is a few little nuggets yet to be discovered in the pages of His written word.


AN AGE OF NAKEDNESS


We are living in the Laodicean age, the age of materialism, when the prevailing spirit on people is that they are increased with goods, and have need of nothing. But the eye of God that sees all, sees that those who feel that way are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. They are naked, both physically and spiritually, and too blind to realize it. If you do not believe this is the truth, just take a good look at most of what the world looks upon as Christianity, and you will see that it is exactly like the scriptures portray it. It takes a revelation to clothe your inner man, and when the inner man is properly clothed, the outer man, or woman will be properly clothed also. Now it is true, you could put on clothes and cover your flesh completely, and to the natural eye, you could look as much like a dedicated Christian as anyone else, but if you are without a revelation of the word of God, He sees your soul as being naked, and you as a person, as being wretched and miserable. Brothers and Sisters: I am not pointing an accusing finger at anyone. I do not have to; for the word of God has already done that. Any person sitting here whose life is not measuring up to God’s standards, knows it by now, and it is up to each individual to take the necessary steps to correct the situation. I could stand at the door, and refuse to let you in, unless you come dressed according to my interpretation of proper Christian dress, but I could never change the attitude of your hearts, nor dress you spiritually, without the spirit of God dealing with you first. Therefore I say to everyone of you, and I include myself; Let us look at ourselves in the light of the truth God has given to us, and make an honest appraisal of our attitudes, our motives, and our general outlook toward the things of God, and just see how we measure up. God is going to deal with us in some ways that we are not used to, but it will not be for our destruction, and it will not be just because He wants to hurt us; but it will be because He loves us, and wants us to recognize that we are still lacking in some areas of our Christian development. When He points the finger at me, I must be willing to say, Yes Lord, I see my fault; help me to correct it. If we have wronged a brother or a sister, the first order of business, is to go to them and make it right. If you feel that you have been wronged, and the person who wronged you makes no attempt to get the situation reconciled, it is still wrong for you to hold a grudge against that person, for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord. Saints I am talking to you about Christian conduct; not whether your flesh is justified in reacting as it is. You can be legally right in what you are doing, and still miss the will of God by a country mile. You will not supply anything to the body of Christ while you are holding out for your rights. We have to put this old flesh to death; in order for God to have first place in our lives; and we have to make sure it stays dead, for there are always situations that will bring it back to life, if we allow it. In other words, As long as we are in this mortal flesh, we have to make every effort to see each other as true children of God who desire to walk in the Spirit, lest we ourselves become judges, and our own carnal nature rule over our spiritual nature. Remember: things are not always what they appear to be, and neither do we always say everything exactly like we mean to say it; and even when we do, it can still be misunderstood by some who failed to hear as well as they should. This many times, causes remarks to be made unwisely, that can have an adverse affect on others who hear those remarks; so let us not think that we are immune to Satan’s traps and deceitful devices, just because we are not meaning to hurt or harm anyone.

HOW TO USE GOD’S WORD


I want to give you another illustration of how the devil will work, trying to bring division in an assembly such as this; and I am going to use another one of these brethren here on the platform with me. Remember though, this is just an illustration; and not meant to cast any reflection toward my brother. Just suppose, I do or say something in a careless way, that offends Bro. Allen. We can do that many times and not even be aware of it. But for the sake of the illustration, just say, others in the congregation become aware of it. Now there are two ways that this can go; one right, and one wrong. If those who know that Bro. Allen is offended, begin to take sides and talk about it, the whole congregation can become divided over something that could easily be reconciled; if someone would just step forward, and apply the word of God to the situation. If I am not aware of the fact that he is offended, it is obvious that I will not be doing anything to try to get the situation reconciled, so it is up to someone else, either Bro. Allen himself, or some other brother that knows the scriptures, and cares enough about the whole body as a whole, that he is willing to do something that some others may not agree with. I will say this, though. If you, personally, know that such a situation exists, you owe it to yourself and to me, to do something to try to get the thing reconciled. Oh, Bro. Jackson: I would be afraid someone would think I was meddling. That is the devil that makes you afraid; for the word of God teaches us how to handle these matters that arise in our midst. Here is what someone should do. Come to me and say, “Bro. Jackson: Do you know that you have offended Bro. Allen, by such and such? I believe you should go to him and apologize; before the word of this spreads any farther.” If I am a brother, a true child of God, I will immediately go to my brother and say, Bro. Allen: I have just found out that I offended you. Please forgive me, and be sure that I did not mean that, like that. When a situation like this is handled properly, the whole matter can be cleared up instantly. But sad to say, Too many times, they are not handled properly; and the devil has the time of his life, tearing up a fellowship of people. Let me just suppose for the sake of presenting another avenue of reconciliation, that no one will do their Christian duty and intercede in the situation. Will Bro. Allen, being a man of God just go on nursing his hurt feelings, and see the congregation torn to pieces? No. Instead of allowing the devil to divide the congregation, he prays about it, and determines within his heart that he will talk to me about it. That is exactly what Jesus said we should do, in such cases. In the 18th chapter of Matthew, in verse 15, we read these words, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” Before we do anything else, we should do this, and pray that this will be the end of the matter. Tares in the assemblies have kept these scriptures from being used effectively through the ages. Nevertheless if we approach these things the way God’s word tells us to, our heart is clean, even if the other part rejects the effort. I assure you: if Bro. Allen came to me, to talk about something on my part that had offended him, I would be anxious to hear what he had to say, and also, to do whatever I could to get the offense reconciled; for in such a case, I would not even be aware of the fact that he was offended. The offending party will not always be innocent in the matter; but the same scripture should be our authority on how to go about getting such a matter reconciled, regardless of the guilt or innocence. Let me mention something else that causes bad feelings in an assembly of people at times. It is business dealings among the church people, when one or more parties fail to live up to the agreements made. If you do something for a brother or sister in the church, it is better if you will just try to do a little extra for them, and not just enough to get by. The devil always finds some way to take the cover off and cause someone to say, I thought he was a Christian, and look what he did. In other words, he has trespassed against them because he has not done all that he was supposed to do, for the word trespass, speaks of a violation of moral or social ethics. Alright, in such cases, do we take the brother to court, and sue for damages? Not without first approaching him God’s way. If it turns out he is a tare, and not a brother, you may have to take him to court; if the situation warrants it; but in such a case, you have not take a brother to court. A true child of God will be sensitive toward the feelings of others, and will try to resolve any misunderstanding as soon as he is aware of it; for he does not want to do things contrary to God’s way, knowing that his heavenly Father will give him a whipping if he does not do right. Well how far should we go, in trying to get a situation resolved scripturally? Until we have exhausted the scriptural provisions. Verse 15 tells us that the offended person first goes to the other party alone, and talks to him about the problem; and when this is done, with the right attitude of course, many times it ends right there. But if it cannot be reconciled there, the next two verses give further instructions on how to handle it God’s way. Verse 16 says, “But if he will not hear thee, (If he fails, or refuses to cooperate) then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” Now saints, you do not take your brother-in-law and your cousin; you take two other Christians that would be just as interested in his welfare, as they would be of yours; and then if the matter cannot be resolved, it is time to use verse 17; tell it to the church. Notice, “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” That is how Jesus said we should handle these situations, and I tell you: any true child of God would be a fool to let something go that far, knowing that God will not let his true children do wrong and get by with it. The truth is, If a person so stubbornly resists all efforts that are scripturally made, it is a good indication that you are dealing with a tare, and not a true brother in the Lord, except of course, a complete baby Christian that still needs to be nurtured and taught in the ways of the Lord. To knowingly resist, when every effort is being made on the part of the other party, takes you right over to Hebrews 12, where we will pick up in verse 5. “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: (You will certainly be rebuked when you knowingly do wrong.) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, (pay attention to this now, I want you to catch every word of it.) And scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? BUT IF YE BE WITHOUT CHASTISEMENT, WHEREOF ALL ARE PARTAKERS (all God’s children) THEN ARE YE BASTARDS, (TARES) AND NOT SONS.” If we believe that God loves His children: then we should also believe that He will be faithful to chasten those who misconduct themselves, and fail to repent of it. How does God chasten: He has many ways; but mainly the devil is His whipping boy. God just simply pulls back His protecting shield and lets the devil work us over, until His purpose is accomplished. A child of God knows when he is being chastened no matter what form the chastisement comes in. But the main point in all that I have said here, is that we should always be aware of the devil’s devices, and knowing that he takes great pleasure in getting the children of God offended and upset, do our utmost to bring about a condition of healing wherever there is any kind of injury to the body of Christ, just like we do when the physical body is injured. Our first concern should be to make sure we do it God’s way, when we determine that something ought to be done. Regardless of everything else, love is the great healing force, and it always will be.


WHAT HEALS WOUNDS


Any time I think of how the apostle Paul used the physical body of mankind to illustrate his point about this great mystical body of Christ, I think about how our body is designed by the Creator to heal itself when it is injured; if we will just take the necessary steps to promote healing. You have red corpuscles that supply oxygen and carry life in the body; but you also have white corpuscles, that act as a defense system against infection, and so forth. Now naturally, when you cut yourself, you see red, simply because the red corpuscles are more in number, and are the carriers of the body’s energy; but the minute you do cut yourself those unseen white corpuscles, or cells, immediately begin to attach themselves to the structure of the flesh that has been injured. They fight infection by causing the blood to clot, close up the wound, and form a scab. By this means, other invading elements that might have a tendency to penetrate the wounded tissue, are kept out. In other words, a healthy person, no matter how serious the wound, if you can get the blood stopped and the wound closed up, the rest will take care of itself. You may have a scar if it was a bad injury, but you will heal up, because God has designed us in that way. Well the body of Christ is the same way. No matter how bad an injury may be, if those who are in a place to do something about it, will obey the word of God and meet the necessary conditions, the body will heal up. It is no wonder though, that James wrote what he did about the tongue, for most of the trouble we encounter is either because of our own tongue, or someone else’s, speaking words that are unwise. In chapter 1, verse 26, he wrote,  “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is in vain.” Then in chapter 3, verse 2, we read these words, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” He then speaks of bits in horses mouths, and of the small rudder of huge ships, and how these, though small they be, are able to set the course of travel. Then in verse 5 he says, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame: it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the father: and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” We will stop reading there, but it might be good, if you would finish the chapter later, for it gets right down where people live, and lets you know why it is necessary every day, to subject your fleshly nature to the leadership of the new man within, the part of you that seeks to follow the ways of God. That takes you back to Galatians 5:16 & 17, where Paul wrote to the Galatian Christians, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Any time you allow fleshly feelings to express themselves, you are very likely to find yourself in an un-Christ like situation, for your old nature will not stay dead, without some special effort on your part to see to it. Your flesh will not just automatically serve God. If it did, we would never need correction, for we all know right from wrong. Now when it comes to a tare, God just lets them go on their own way; until such time as He sees fit to separate them from the body. He will never attempt to perfect a tare, for their place is already prepared for them, and they are going to end up there, no matter what takes place while they are still playing church. We may spend a lot of time trying to correct a tare; but God will not, because He knows they are not His children. They can do anything they want to, any time they want to. But the true child of God, as time gets closer to the end, will become more sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God, and more concerned about his personal relationship with his heavenly Father. His prayer will be, Lord, help me overcome all these fleshly traits that keep me from being like you. Lord I desire to have my spirit under the control of the Holy Spirit all the time. As we become more and more concerned in this way, not too many of these little petty things of the flesh will bother us. We can leave the negative side, and become more positive, as we serve God together. What good does it do, to pray for God to move in our midst, and to pour out of His blessings upon us, if we do not know how to go about correcting these negative problems among us? It is when we can sit here in one accord, with the true love of God radiating from our lives, that the Holy Ghost will move upon us, bind up the wounds, and heal us, both physically and spiritually.


OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY


Saints: I hope some of this is speaking to you; for time is too short for us to be negligent about our spiritual lives, and about the testimony we bear to others. Some of you need to learn that your personal feelings are not the most important thing in this life, and that you should never allow personal feelings to stand in the way of something God is doing. If God has to be a little hard on someone’s flesh, in order to correct a situation in their lives, just be sure you do not allow your personal feelings for them to sympathize with their situation, lest you make things worse. Compassion is a godly trait, but sympathy is detrimental, for it never accomplishes anything worthwhile. There are some people that just seem to make a point of being sympathetic in every situation, but the question is, Do they supply anything to the body of Christ? Does their sympathy promote healing where there is hurt, or does it just make the situation worse? You cannot help anyone by making them feel sorry for themselves, even more than they do already; and that is exactly what sympathy usually does. ON the other hand, genuine compassion will cause you to want to do something to correct the situation, and many times you can. But whatever we do, let us be sure we are doing it according to the word of God. As we journey along life’s pathway, there is something for every true child of God to do, that will benefit the body, and if we will all assume our Christian responsibility, as God opens these various truths up to us, we will begin to see some of the same results in our day, that they saw in the days of the apostolic leadership in the first century. As long as we are divided in the way we look at certain things, the Holy Spirit is not allowed to bind up and heal wounds, and it is all because some of these scriptural provisions have been lost truths, not exercised in the church since the days of the apostles. I do not know about anyone else, but I am going to say something to Faith Assembly, and I want every one of you to listen to what I say. When you see a brother, or a sister, doing something, that you feel in your spirit, could be harmful to the body of Christ, it is your Christian responsibility to scripturally do something about it. Do not run to a friend and tell it, and say, pray about it. That is just an excuse to blab it. You get your Bible, and get on your knees before God until you know what to do, and then do it, without telling it everywhere you go. Of course there are some things that need to be told openly; and I am sure that every child of God knows the difference. But just for an example: If you see me downtown, staggering all over the place, and unable to find my car because I have been hanging around some place that I should not have been, you tell someone; and the sooner the better. If you see me running around with another woman, other than my own wife, you tell someone. That kind of thing needs to be told, and needs to be dealt with, and should not be covered over. God did not hold back in exposing that kind of thing in the scriptures, and he has not changed; but when it comes to little petty differences among the fellowship of the saints; you do not broadcast those to the world; you take the necessary steps to get them reconciled. Some of you may say, I could never do anything like that. You consider yourself a nobody, and feel that you are inferior to everyone else; all because you have allowed the devil to lie to you. If you are spiritual enough to know something is wrong, and you can slip around and tell someone else about it, then you are just as able to go right to the source of the problem, and deal with it in a way that will be beneficial to the body. No one except the parties directly involved, ever need to know about it; if it is handled according to the word of God.


HOLINESS IS AN INWARD ATTRIBUTE


Now brothers and sisters, I am not saying that we should get like some of the Nazarene people we have heard of; that is, so wise and holy, we just go around looking everyone else over, just waiting for them to make a wrong move; or go into other peoples houses and look their magazine rack over, to see if they have anything in there that you feel they should not have. That kind of thing will surely cause hard feelings, for God has not authorized anyone to police our houses and force us to put on an outward show of holiness. He has a better way. The Holy Ghost searches our hearts and places conviction on us about those things he finds in our lives, that He is not pleased with. If our holiness works it’s way out to our outer appearance, from within, then we do not have to run and hide a lot of things when someone knocks on our door unexpectedly. In other words, somewhere there has got to be some practical understanding, and some sensible application of scriptural principles in the body of believers, before we can ever reflect very much of the image of Jesus Christ. We must become so conscious of what the Bible says, that it will cause us to start being a little more cautious each day, instead of getting with someone and turning our tongues loose, just to say anything we feel like saying I have heard people say, Well I’m not a hypocrite; I believe in telling it just like it is. Do you know what an attitude like that compares to? A man who goes on through an intersection just because he has the right-of-way, even though there was a speeding vehicle coming the other way. You know what happened; lives were lost unnecessarily, just because someone insisted that he had the right-of-way. Is that the way you want your spiritual life to be? Do you want to have a cancerous infection in the body of Christ, just because you have the legal right of free speech, in the country you live in? If that is how you feel, you are subject to one of two things. Either you will be rejected by God, because you are a tare; or your heavenly Father will whip the socks off of you, to get your thinking straightened out, one of the two, for He cannot tolerate that kind of a spirit where He is in the process of perfecting the body of Christ as a whole. That kind of attitude has had its day; but we are too close to the end, for God to allow it to continue. You must remember, we are of that generation that is being restored to the faith of our apostolic fathers; therefore we must be restored to the same godly principles and precepts also. It is God Himself that predetermined that we should be conformed to the image of His (only begotten) Son, (Jesus) that He might be the firstborn among many brethren, according to Romans 8:29, so if He determined to do that, then I am persuaded that He knows how to get the job done.


ANOTHER WAY WE CAN SUPPLY SOMETHING


Alright we have said quite a bit along the lines of what I call, the negative side of this, so let me take just a moment to speak of what I call the positive side; where we, as children of God, will find ourselves faced with circumstances of a little different nature than what we have been talking about, but of equal importance to a healthy body of believers. There will be times when you will find your brother, or sister in Christ, or even whole families in dire circumstances. It can be some kind of social situation, or financial, or sickness that has hit them and put them in a very serious situation. I call this a positive situation, because it is something that Satan has hit them with, and you are not looking for a way to correct them, but to help them out of their problem. There are many things that can hit a family, that just simply takes them down to rock bottom. But do not ever think because you are not a spiritual giant, that you have no part. Whether God sees you as a 30, 60, or a 100 fold Christian, you are still His child, and have just as much at stake in obeying God’s will, as anyone else. God can deal with you in such a way that you will have perfect insight as to how to deal with the particular problem. He can give you a dream, He can give you a vision, or He can just simply deal with you in the realm of your intellect, by giving you a certain thought, so vividly that you cannot get away from it. Of course we all know the devil puts thoughts in our mind also, and that causes some to be a little leery about acting; therefore you must learn to examine the thing in the light of God’s written word. We check our motive to make sure it is of a godly origin, and make sure we are not expecting our flesh to receive any undue credit, and then weigh it against your natural thinking. Usually what God shows us to do, is the furthest thing from our natural reasoning. In other words, it is not how we see it, but how God sees it, that makes the difference. Therefore if your heart is right in the matter, you will know whether it is God, or the devil that puts certain things in your mind; and more so as time goes on, and you cultivate the presence of God in your thinking. There was a time I had planned to do a certain thing. In my mind, the thought was complete, as to how to go about it, but the time when I was going to do it was a little later on. Then as it got closer and closer to the time I was planning to do this certain thing, I went to bed one night and fell into a sound sleep, and sometime during the morning hours, I awakened with the thought going through my mind, Don’t do that now. Don’t do that now. In my mind, that was all I could think. It took sleep away from me for the rest of the night, as those four words lingered there. But when I finally got up, all the desire I had had for weeks to do that certain thing, was all gone. That just shows what God is able to do, and that is only one of the many ways that people of God are going to be dealt with from here on out to the end. But in order for God to be able to give us positive substance in such things, we are going to have to be willing to be used in these negative things we have talked about also. God wants the whole body to grow; not just one little area. The devil is always looking for the weak points, to make his assaults upon, so if the whole body is strong, he has less room to work.

Children of Light, Part 2

We ended part one looking at a few verses in John, chapter 17, where Jesus was praying to the Father, as the time drew near for Him to lay down His life for the sins of lost mankind. He knew what lay before Him, and He knew that His disciples would be shaken because of it, so His concern was for them, that they would be kept stable, secure, and that they be allowed to partake of the glory that He partook of. Verse 26, which is the last verse of John 17, says, “And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” Now to carnal minded persons of the world, it sounds ridiculous for Him to speak of being in His disciples; but the spiritual minded person knows that He is not in His disciples as a person, for He is just one person. But in every true believer that has received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, is that same Spirit substance of the father that was in Him. In other words, we are all of the same Spirit; so the light that was in Him, is in us also. When the time came for Him to be taken up to heaven, he said to His disciples, All things must be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me. He told them that it was necessary that He suffer death on the cross, and be raised the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name (which was the redemption name of the Father also,) among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Then in Luke 24:49 He said, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: (That was the Holy Ghost.)  BUT TARRY YE IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM, UNTIL YE BE ENDUED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH.” That lets us know why his faithful disciples were gathered together in that upper room when the Holy Ghost was poured out upon them; they were tarrying there, just like He told them to do. Why? Simply because without that same Spirit in them, that He had in Him, they had no power to preach, teach, nor testify of the things they had witnessed while following Jesus. It is that anointing that enables us to speak anything that will glorify God, or cause a lost sinner to repent of his sins and seek the Savior. But let me tell you brothers and sisters, when that same Spirit that was in Jesus was poured into the Church: the Church was then able to do the same works He did. That is what we see throughout the book of Acts; the Church carrying on the works that Jesus had started. Those children of light were reflecting the same light He reflected; the light of the Father. What kind of ministry did God raise up, to lead the Church in those days? The ministry Paul described in Ephesians 4:11, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. There were no Catholic priests, nor Baptist preachers in those days; the Church was in unity, all striving together to fulfill the purpose of God in their lives. Those first Christians had all lived under the law of Moses; but after receiving the Holy Ghost, they every one saw God in a different light. They knew they no longer needed priests ordained of man, to intercede for them before the throne of God; nor did they need those animal sacrifices any longer, for the perfect blood sacrifice had finally been offered up; and it was good for all men everywhere, and for all times. Now does that mean that we should do away with the Old Testament, as some have done? No. There were yet many scriptures in the Old Testament to be fulfilled; and besides that, it takes the Old Testament scriptures to round out our revelation. We are living under the New Covenant; but we are still learning from the old one. Those who cast away the Old Testament, cast away the keys to a lot of revelations God means for His true children to have; especially here in the end time. As we have already said, When Peter wrote: (1st Pet. 1:19) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy,” he simply meant, Because of what has transpired in our very midst, those prophecies of the Old Testament are made more sure, or more real to us; therefore ye do well that ye take heed. In other words, take courage; do not doubt, no matter how hard your trials may be, for those prophecies have been made more sure to us, or more real. What was to be the result? The day star would arise in the hearts of every individual that would yield completely to God’s wooing efforts, and it would be a completely new day to those individuals; but we are still within this one day of salvation. A person’s inner life can be no more than what the dispensation reflects to them; but to be in the stream of God’s perfect will; our revelation must be kept up to date. Those early Christians would not have been continuing the ministry of Jesus, if they had gone out into the streets of Jerusalem and preached the law of Moses to the people. For Jesus came to set them free from the keeping of that law; by placing in their hearts the law of righteousness that would cause them to follow God because of a love relationship. Regardless of what we do though, no human being will ever outshine Jesus Christ. His obedient life on earth is the example we are endeavoring to measure up to. The world has called Him a superstar, in their greedy efforts to put more dollars in their bank accounts; but as we look at this dispensational day; He is the Sun that gives light to the whole world. In other words, There is enough light for every human soul upon the face of the earth to walk in; but as the scriptures say, Some men love darkness rather than light. (In other words, Believe on Him to the extent of actually receiving the new birth.) A lot of people have believed with their intellect, until something else came along and drew their attention away from the Lord, but none of those ever received that new birth experience They fall into either the 2nd or 3rd example of the first parable of Jesus, in the 13th chapter of Matthew. In that parable, only the seed that fell into the good ground, represent those souls in this dispensation of grace that believe all the way through to the born again experience. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is what seals a soul into the family of God. But as I have already said, When we receive the Holy Ghost, that is only the starting point for our statural growth, we are only baby Christians, and only able to digest the milk of the word of God. It is the revelational light we receive from that point on, that causes us to grow up in spiritual stature (in the image of Jesus Christ.) As I said early in the message, the word day, (DAY) has many applications, but once again, let me use the dawning of one 24 hour day, and the light of that day, to illustrate what Peter was talking about, when he referred to the day star arising in the heart of a believer, for our statural growth is a progressive thing, just like the rising of the sun. The sun does not come fully over the horizon in a flash, but when it first begins to show, daylight starts, and the light of that day gets brighter and brighter, as the day goes on; until at high noon, all the dark shadows are at their shortest point. That is what represents full stature in the life of a born again child of God. When we first believe and accept the gospel message, and receive the Holy Ghost: that is comparable to the light of the sun coming upon the horizon; we have a little revelation. The DAY STAR (Jesus Christ) has begun to give light to your soul that was in the darkness of sin and unbelief, but you do not learn everything in one day. It sometimes takes many years for the full revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to become a living reality to us; but as we receive more revelation, that is comparable to the light of the natural sun moving toward its brightest glow at high noon. Each day with Jesus gets sweeter and sweeter; unless we hit a place of stagnation in our spiritual growth. That can happen you know, if we allow the devil to sidetrack us by one of his clever diversions. Nevertheless it certainly is not the will of God for His children to remain in ignorance. Therefore you could never convince me that the Day Star has arisen in your heart; if you still light candles, and throw coins into the water at the feet of some statue with the thought of it having some spiritual value. If you do that, you are still just as blind and staggering as you ever were; for there is no light in any of that kind of thing. Peter’s usage of the day star arising in our hearts, was pointing to that recreating, remolding process the word of God works in us; to mold us into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ; for that is God’s ultimate purpose in the life of every born again child of His. We are talking about the spiritual image of course; and not that God wants us to look like Jesus physically. I am sure you all realize that. Physically, it does not matter whether we are short, tall, fat, or thin; just as long as our spirit is in tune with the Spirit of God; so he can lead us, and reveal His word to us.

STAR MESSENGERS

 

We have spoken of it many times; but I wonder how many of you here, could actually explain to someone who knew nothing about it, just exactly what brought about the dark ages. Do any of you think the devil took the light away from any of those who already had it? No. That is not what happened. Those who carried the true light of God’s word in their bosom, died, and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th generations and on down the line, never really came into the full revelation; because the devil had preachers scattered around, preaching false doctrine, enough to keep the true revelation clouded over. Therefore by the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries, there was very little true revelation left in what was called, the church. Generation after generation lived and died; without ever hearing the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, You could say that God allowed the devil to have his Millennial reign, a thousand years of darkness. But God was obligated by His own word, to fulfill the prophecies pointing to this end time hour of time. Therefore those dark clouds of dogmas and creeds of man’s religion, had to be forced back, and the true light of the gospel allowed to shine in its full brilliance; before the day of salvation comes to an end. That is why he started giving men like Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, and all those various ones, little gems of apostolic truth. None of them ever preached the entire apostolic gospel; but what they did preach, lightened up those dark clouds, and allowed more light to be shed upon the earth. Many souls were delivered from that state of almost total spiritual darkness, that they were in, as those various ones began to preach what God had revealed to them. Dispensationally speaking, the day of salvation was on the declining side, and the sun was getting very low, coming into the twentieth century. But the hour came, that God raised up a little man; a sinner saved by grace, just like the rest of us, and anointed him for a special purpose. The anointing that was upon him, I have not seen on any man since. He preached the gospel with the same anointing and authority the apostles of Jesus had, in the first century. His name was William Marrion Branham, from right here in Jeffersonville, Ind., and we are fully persuaded that he was the Laodicean church age messenger. He was the seventh angel, of Revelation 10:7, and the seventh star of Revelation 1:16, and 1:20, and through his ministry, the light of that glorious gospel of Jesus Christ broke through those still very dark clouds of tradition and unbelief; and here in the evening time, the full glow of the sun (SON OF GOD) is seen once again. In the evening time it shall be light. Hallelujah! Brothers and Sisters: That is something to shout about! Just think: After all these hundreds of years of darkness, we are able to hear the gospel preached in its full revelation, just like it started out. We now have the revelation of all that those first age apostles preached about, and wrote about. We even have the revelation of the book of Revelation, that remained such a mystery for over 1900 years. I say, We are a privileged people; and we have much to give an account of. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” Jesus said that in Luke 12:48. God will not hold a man accountable for something he never knew anything about; but those of us who have been given a clear revelation of the will and purpose of God, are accountable to Him for the way we handle the revelation; and for the way we live our lives with that revelation inside of us. Now for you who would associate the word star, with night time, let me remind you that there is another usage of that word. There are a variety of definitions in the Webster dictionary; but we are interested in only this one, “a person who stands out among his fellows.” You have movie stars, baseball stars, football stars, tennis stars, and on and on; but the stars we are dealing with, are the church age stars, those outstanding men of God who were the star messengers to the seven church ages in this one dispensational day. The apostle Paul was the star of the first church age, and Bro. William Branham was the undisputable star of the seventh church age. Oh that does not mean that all church going people accept him as that, but those who dispute it, have never received a revelation of the apostolic gospel. They are still existing on the stale bread from the Reformation. What was good enough for Luther, and all of those, is not good enough for end time children of God to receive proper spiritual nourishment from, for much has been revealed since then, and God expects us to eat of all of it.


THE HOLY GHOST – IN BELIEVERS

 

I want to turn to 1st Thessalonians, chapter 4, and show you how that first age star messenger fulfilled his calling. Jesus knew before He left the earth, that He had delivered the word of God to those Jewish people. He delivered to them all that God required Him to. That is why he said, (in John 17:8) as He prayed for all believers, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them.” Yet the apostle Paul (who never walked with Jesus, when He was ministering on earth) explained things that Jesus never even spoke of; so how do we account for that? That is why Jesus said in John 16:7, 12-14, “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. (For our purpose, at this time, just drop down to verse 12.) 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 Spirit of the Father that was in Jesus, caused Him to say everything He said. Therefore when that same spirit filled all those disciples; they too began to speak the word of God; as that inspiration rose up within them. God moved upon them, to speak the things Jesus said they could not bear, while he was still with them. What was the difference? Simply that they all had that revelatory spirit inside of them; to enable them to receive deeper teaching. Now they could be told of things yet to come; and that is exactly what we are going to read; something the Holy Ghost revealed to them through the apostle Paul, that Jesus never did speak of. Now Peter was a spokesman for God, on the day of Pentecost, for the keys that opened up the kingdom of God to lost mankind had been given to him. Therefore he stood in the streets of Jerusalem and said, “Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken (or listen) to my words,” and then he preached Jesus Christ to them, and three thousand souls were saved. But in the eyes of God, Peter was not the star to the age. Paul was the one that stood out among all of them, as the gospel went over to the Gentile; and that brings us to the scripture I want to read. It is 1st Thess. 4:13-17, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, (dead) that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. (That is the picture we see in Revelation, chapter 19) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (This is the rapture of the true Church ; something Jesus never even spoke of: but something every true Christian believes in) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” We are told to comfort one another with these words; for herein lies the hope of every true believer that has ever exercised faith in Christ. How did we learn about the resurrection and rapture of the Church? Through the Holy Ghost that was in the apostle Paul, doing exactly what Jesus said He would do when He came, that is, show you things to come. This is what enabled the church to know what to look forward to. No Jesus is not jealous of Paul, nor of Peter, nor any of the rest that have spoken of things that He never taught on; for that is exactly what they were supposed to do. Just think of all that is being taught here in the end time, that Jesus nor any of his apostles ever taught on. What is it? It is the Holy Ghost, in the five fold ministry of this hour, revealing things that saints of other ages had no need to know. That is why Jesus said, (John 17:20) “Neither pray I for these alone (His immediate disciples) but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” It is through their word that every one of us have been brought into the faith. Where would we be, without those New Testament epistles written by those men of that first church age? We do not believe on Paul, nor Peter, nor any of them unto salvation; but on the word of the Lord Jesus Christ hat they every one wrote about. They all wrote about Jesus; but Paul is the one that stood out among them: he was the star messenger to that age.


THE DAY OF THE LORD

 

This 5th chapter of 1st Thessalonians is what I like, for Paul just goes right on talking about the day of the Lord; which is actually the time when Jesus comes back literally, with His saints, to rule and reign. To the unrevelated person, it all sounds like one coming; but the last verses of chapter 4 are dealing with the rapture of the Church; when the resurrection takes place, and Jesus does not come to earth at that time; the saints meet Him in the air. Let us read a few verses, and you will see the difference. “But of the times and the seasons, (years, months, and so forth) Brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” Does he mean to the Church? No. To those who still sit in the darkness of sin and unbelief. To them He will come as a thief in the night, unannounced. Actually Paul had a little twofold thought running here, for he had been speaking of the rapture of the church, and the sureness of that blessed event; but it was not needful for anyone to know when it would take place. Actually the true saints of God will know when the time is getting close, because of the signs of the times, and the scriptures that are being fulfilled, but the world will know nothing; neither of this coming, nor of His literal coming, because they do not believe the scriptures. They will not be ready for Him, but the little bride will. In fact, they will say, How do we know this is the truth? That could have just been Paul’s own idea about it all. Besides, people have been saying that for years, and He has not come yet. Well brothers and sisters, that is how unbelief works; it deludes the minds of all those who refuse to submit themselves to God in truth. But the little bride knows what to look forward to. Notice verse 3 now, as we go on. “For when they (the unbelievers) shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” No woman knows three days in advance when she is going to be delivered of her little baby. In such a case, she lives in expectancy; will it be today? Will it be tomorrow? But when the time actually arrives, she may be in her car, heading for the shopping mall; and just barely make it to the hospital in time. To the world, the coming of the Lord is going to be just that sudden, and it will be too late for them to turn to the Lord; but the believer will be secure in Him who works all things according to His word. Hallelujah! How blessed we are. “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (Praise God! I like this.) Ye are the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” Go on, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, write your books, and the time will come that you will all regret what you have done, but it will be too late. You can raise a lot of money with them; but they do not present a true revelation to the poor souls who read them. The reason we are not in darkness, is because the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ has lit the way for us. As I said already, God does not save us, for us to remain twenty years in the dawning of our Christian experience, saved, baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and not one inch beyond that. You are supposed to have a noon time in your experience also, and if the clouds do come, in your experience, I will have to say, that is your fault. God does not put them there, for Paul said, ye are the children of LIGHT, and the children of the day. There is no room for clouds of doubt and unbelief, in the lives of God’s revelated children. “We are not of the night, nor of darkness.” Hallelujah! Brother: we are living in the day time; both of our personal experience, and also of the dispensation. Do I say that just because we have heard God’s prophet messenger teach on the Church Ages and the seals? No You can know all about the Church Ages and the seals, but if you do not have a proper foundation (revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ) to lay all of that upon, it is as worthless as a week old newspaper. The revelation of Jesus Christ is not given to a lost sinner, so he can learn about the Church Ages and seals. All of that is for believers, as they progress in their salvation experience. When Bro. Branham first came upon the scene, it was to the multitudes. The Baptists, the Methodists, the Catholics, and all the rest, both trinity and oneness, could sit and listen to him, for he did not normally touch upon the things that made them nervous. He preached the gospel of Jesus Christ in such simplicity, that a lot of those trinitarian people ran to the water hole to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. A lot of oneness got their revelation of the godhead straightened out, and multitudes were healed; both trinity and oneness, as the Holy Ghost spake and ministered through that little vessel of clay.


REVELATION MOVES US FORWARD

 

I remember one particular Sunday morning there in the Branham Tabernacle, after Bro. Branham had preached and was ministering to people in the prayer line. I was sitting on the platform because of an overflow crowd; and there was a man and his wife from a trinity church over in Louisville; sitting just 3 seats back from the front. Brother Branham was anointed and began to discern various things, and tell people what was wrong with them and so forth. Then all of a sudden he looked right back there to those people in that third row and said, You, brother: you are suffering with such and such a condition! Isn’t that right? The man threw up his hands, and began to scream. Then Bro. Branham said, I see a dark shadow moving right over to your wife, and he told exactly what her condition was, and she threw up her hands and began to scream. They both then broke down, and began to weep, and Bro. Branham asked, Do you believe me to be God’s prophet? Then he said, May the Lord bless you, God has made you whole. That night, both of them came and were baptized according to the light of the gospel of Christ. Hallelujah! That is why God anointed him; that the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ might be confirmed. Brother, the way God used that little man’s ministry, tore down denominational barriers of tradition, and drove back those dark clouds of unbelief and doubt, and the minds of a lot of people were set free in Christ for the first time. That did not change the age, it only changed those individuals that were touched by it. They were able to see Jesus Christ in the same light the first Christians saw Him in. This was that light in the evening time, that Zechariah prophesied about. I must keep stressing the fact that the sun, dispensationally speaking, has not yet disappeared over the horizon. But thank God, we have been privileged to see the glory of the light of that sun in its evening descent, and it is going to take the total five fold ministry here in the evening time, in order for the bride of Christ to be brought to the fulness of the image that she is to project before she leaves here. Many men who profess to be a part of that ministry, are going about, preaching things that simply will not harmonize with the overall revelation of this hour of time; therefore let me say this, A man ought not be too quick about preaching something that comes to him. Each man of this true ministry will recognize that he is not the only one God is dealing with; and that will cause him to weigh anything that comes to him, against what the others are preaching and make sure it does not conflict with the truth that has already been established and confirmed by the word of God. Let me say this also, you who look at Malachi 4:2, and see the bride, there is something wrong, for that does not even apply to the bride. That applies to the Millennium when that certain element of mortal people are definitely going to benefit by the literal rule and reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Therefore there is no way that you can make this a part of the evening light message to the bride of Christ; except just to let her know what it pertains to. However the evening light message is still having its affect around this old world today, and will continue to do so until the little bride is ready to take her flight. I want to re-emphasize something I have already said though; just to be sure you understand it. Just as Jesus never brought forth every truth that pertained to the bride, but left much of it for His apostles to bring out later, so did Bro. Branham do likewise, when he delivered the evening light message. God used him to restore the original truth of the gospel of Christ, and to clarify the plan of salvation, but there were a number of things he never did actually teach on. God used him to say certain things about serpent seed, a subject that had never been taught before to my knowledge; but he never did actually explain how it really fit into the overall picture. However the same anointing that revealed to him what he did say, was still here after he was gone, to complete the picture. Paul never preached anything about serpent seed; but does that mean that no one else should? No. God saved certain things for the end time element of the bride of Christ, that no other age ever needed to know. I received something from someone the other day and the person who sent it would not even sign his, or her, name, but said, stop preaching this false doctrine; there is no salvation in serpent seed teaching. Well I grant you, there is no salvation in knowing about serpent seed; but it sure does let one know why they need salvation. In other words, it puts more light on the subject. It lets you know why Jesus had to be born of virgin birth. You know, there are a lot of people in the world today, that are ready to tell you what the first sin of mankind was not; but none of them are able to tell you what it really was; and they forbid anyone else to tell it. But this is like what the apostles said, when they were forbidden to preach any more in the name of Jesus, Should we obey God, or man? God meant for the end time church to have certain truths revealed to it, that the first age Church did not have, or He would never have given the revelation to His servants in the first place. Surely you can all see that. Well my point is this, Brother Branham’s ministry drove back the dark clouds of tradition and unbelief; and allowed the end time element of the bride of Christ to see the same glorious light that was seen by the first age saints. Bur when God removed that little man from the scene, He did not remove His anointing. That same anointing is continuing through the five fold ministry, what was started through the ministry of Bro. Branham, in order that the end time church may have a full revelation of the plan and purpose of God. These quoters that are running the roads quoting Bro. Branham, have the same spirit on them, that was on those tares that got in, as the first age was closing out. They are doing exactly what was done then. Those men were not trying to bring beer and whiskey into the Church; they were trying to change what those apostles of Christ meant, when they preached the gospel. By the same token, these who are always quoting what Bro. Branham said, heard his words, and saw his flesh, but never received one ounce of revelation on the things he taught. Therefore they quote him, and then put their own carnal interpretation on what he meant. Is it any wonder that there is confusion in the ranks of those who follow this message? People like that are like the blind man that Jesus prayed for: that saw a little profile of something, and they knew it was important, but they received no revelation on what was meant, so they just quote, quote, quote, and project their own ideas. That is why the true ministry of this hour must have a backbone in them that will fight against that spirit, in order that this glorious light be kept bright to the very end.


WE STAND FOR TRUTH

 

This little assembly has always been ridiculed and blackballed by various elements, simply because God protected me and kept me from falling into that trap of the devil that so many others fell into. I have said to my wife many times, honey, we sat right there with all those others and heard what Bro. Branham preached; so except for the grace of God that kept our heads on straight, we could be right where a lot of them are, just running the roads, causing confusion. Just like in the days of Christ, there had to be some personal witnesses that would hear what was said, and allow the Spirit of God to give them a revelation of it, for as soon as the man was gone, that spirit came in like a flood, with all kinds of carnal ideas. That is why those first few years after we built here, were such hard years. I had been preaching for quite a few years; but I was still very young in the areas of criticism and pressure, that were constantly comparing my life with Bro. Branham’s. I never compared myself to Bro. Branham; but I did hear what was said, and God allowed me to understand what was meant; therefore as the years passed, I came to the place where I could not care less what they say about me. The way I look at it: when they speak against me because of the truth I stand for, they are only digging their own graves; because God Himself is my defender. He is the one that has kept me from all of that confusion; simply because I had only one purpose in mind, I wanted to be put back in the Bible and know the truth of God’s word; instead of just being filled with a bunch of quotes. That is why I am able to look out there at you, and know that you are not sitting here just because of my flesh; for I have not cultivated fleshly attachments in my ministry of the word of God. Furthermore I have heard the testimony of many of you, how you were searching for the light when you first came in those doors back there. I tell you brothers and sisters: I have learned a lot through all of this pressure and criticism, that I would not trade for anything in the world. A million dollars could not buy it; it can only come the way I got it. Furthermore, if I depart this life before Jesus comes for his church, I will leave knowing that I have preached the truth. I have not had to change what I preached twenty years ago, I have just added to it. Therefore regardless of what my critics say, I believe God raised up this little assembly to be a place where the evening light would shine brightly, so instead of hurting me, those critics only give us free advertisement, for we are known around the world. I cannot be accused of robbing anything else, nor of building anything for myself, for I have made every effort to build only for God.


RECEIVING POWER FROM ON HIGH

 

Let us get back to our subject. We are children of light: not by our meriting it, but because of God’s grace. What did Paul write in his Ephesian letter, concerning we Gentiles? Let us read verses 11-13 of chapter 2, and you will see. “Wherefore remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; (That was the Jews) That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (That allows us to see clearly that Gentiles had no hope in God back then, in Old Testament times.) But now (after the Jews rejected their Messiah) in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh, by the blood of Christ.” Hallelujah! No wonder Peter could write about the day star dawning in our hearts. Brother that is what our personal experience with Jesus Christ is. It puts us in a brand new day. Where our soul used to be in total darkness; it now has total light. We can now look back and see why Jesus told his disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world, at a time when it seemed like the good news was only for the Jews. The commission was, “Go 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.” (Mark 16:15-16) However they were to tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until they were endued with power from on high, and of course that pertained to the Holy Ghost that fell upon the 120 disciples who obeyed His instructions, and waited in that upper room there in Jerusalem. Without first tarrying, like he told them to do, there never would have been any results from what they had to say, for without the Holy Ghost to unction them, God would not have honored their words with the necessary vindication. What did they receive? They received the very presence of the Spirit of God in each of their individual lives. God, who is light, was then dwelling inside each of them, and that enabled them to continue the very same works that Jesus Himself had begun to do on earth. What they received was that light that shineth in a dark place, and the dark place is our sin laden hearts, before we receive the gospel. Alright they were to take it to the whole world; but we know there had to be some leadership as to how each individual would respond to that command. It was one thing for Jesus to say, Go. But our going has to be directed, so that it is according to the plan and purpose of God. Therefore the light that shineth in a dark place ultimately turns out to be the gospel preached by the revelation and anointing of the Holy Ghost. That may sound like a tongue twister, but when you analyze it, you will find that it all adds up to the same thing, for by believing and obeying the gospel, we receive that Spirit of God which lights up our souls, and determines our eternal destiny. That is why I keep stressing the fact that as long as the dispensation of grace is in effect, we are still in that daylight, or daytime period of what Isaiah referred to as the day of salvation. Once that day started, it has been daytime ever since, even through the Dark Ages, when very little light was seen. That light is available for all to walk in, but the world prefers darkness rather than light. Why did Paul say, (2nd Corinthians 6:2) “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation?” Because under the law of Moses, it was the night season before the dawning of this glorious day. That is why Peter would write, ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place; for before the day of Pentecost when the spirit was given, that light was not available. Before the dawning of that dispensational day, there could never have been the dawning of such a day in the hearts of individuals. The progression of our own individual experience does not change the dispensational day at all. That day will dawn in an individual’s heart, rise to its peak, and then that person can pass on to their reward, and the dispensational day not be affected at all. In other words, This is just Peter’s way of speaking of the new birth experience that individuals have, during this one day of salvation that covers many centuries. God has allowed Himself this period of time in which he is redeeming a people that can be called by His name, and this one day will last until the last predestined soul has heard and accepted their call, and from this last day element of Christianity, He is perfecting a people that can be taken up alive, like Enoch of old, who walked with God.

 

PROPHECIES MADE MORE SURE

 

Let us look at some of the scriptures Peter was thinking about when he said, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy,” or prophecy made more sure to us. We have to go back into the Old Testament to get them. In Genesis 15:18 before Abraham even had any children, God said to him, “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” At this time, these two people were still known as Abram and Sarai. Bur shortly afterwards, God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah, because they were to be prince and princess of a great multitude of people. All of this was pointing to the great multitude that would cover the earth, from that one promised seed that Abraham was to have by his wife Sarah. In chapter 12, verse 3, when God had first spoken to Abraham, He said to him, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” That was a prophecy pointing to you and me, the spiritual seed of Abraham. Paul dealt with all of this in his epistle to the Romans, pointing out how Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, and how that Abraham is the father of all who believe and trust in God. In Romans 4:13, Paul says this, “For the promise, that he (Abraham) should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Then in verse 16, he wrote, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.” Then Paul speaks of Genesis 17:5, where God said to Abraham, I have made thee a father of many nations. Abraham did not realize the potential that was in that one promise, for his mind was on the fact that at that time his wife Sarah had not even been able to give him a seed. Nevertheless God reconfirmed the covenant and promise He had made to him saying, (Gen. 17:15) “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” It was through Isaac, not Ishmael, that all the families of the earth would be blessed; for through his seed Jesus Christ, that humanly is through the genealogy of Isaac, is where we Gentiles come into that promise. All families, means all races and all colors of all the families of the earth. Therefore through that one seed Isaac we are all included in the promise God made to Abraham. Isaac begat Esau and Jacob, and you all know the story there, how that even though Jacob was the youngest of the two, he received the birthright blessing from their father Isaac, and that promise of God to Abraham came on down through him. Jacob begat twelve sons, and brother, the promise of God was on its way to being fulfilled; that Abraham’s seed would be for number as the sand of the seashore, and as the stars in the sky. This was not altogether a beautiful picture though, when you look at it from the standpoint of the natural, for in Genesis 15:13-16, God told Abraham of the over 400 years of captivity that his seed would be subjected to, before they would come back into the land of promise. Let us read those 4 verses. “And He said unto Abraham, (or Abram) know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, (Egypt) whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” Well all of that was fulfilled just exactly as God had told Abraham; for 430 years after they entered that land, God brought them forth from it through the ministry of Moses, (so to speak) and they came forth as twelve tribes, a great multitude of people, to possess the land of promise. You all know the story of how their unbelief caused God to have to allow them to wander around in the wilderness until all of the older generation died off, and how Joshua and Caleb led the younger generation across the Jordan into the land of promise, and how they went about taking possession of that land.


DISPENSATION OF THE WRITING PROPHETS

 

After the children of Israel came into their land of promise, they are then dealt with in what we call the dispensation of the writing prophets. They would speak of past, present, and future, as the voice of God to this people of Israel, who were the natural seed of Abraham; to instruct, warn, and chasten them, as well as to promise them a Messiah. Each prophet, in his own generation of time, was a mouthpiece of God. There would be times when God would remind them of what He had done for them at the Red Sea, in bringing them out of Egyptian bondage, in order to encourage them, or to remind them of His great power and ability, and what He could do for them, if they would obey Him, or against them, if they refused to obey him. Elijah was not a writing prophet; but much of what he spoke was written by others, for he was a preaching prophet. Men such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, and all of them were the writing prophets, and it is those prophecies mainly, that Peter was referring to, as he spoke about the day star arising in our hearts, and a more sure word of prophecy. Those prophecies are made more sure to true believers, because of the revelation God has given us in this hour of time. Well I did not know when I started on this message, just how this thing was going to unfold; so this is where I really stick my neck out. If any of you leave here, not understanding why there is so much confusion following Bro. Branham’s message, there is something wrong with you, for I am going to speak very plainly. Even if I had ten natural brothers following this message, I would still have to say what I am about to say. Percentage-wise, there are as many tares following this message as there are out here in the denominational churches. It should not be that way, but I am afraid it is. Furthermore I am sure that most of you must have noticed that God does not chasten nor speak to them. Well, that is the reason: He only chastens His own children. That is why I do not hesitate to say, we are not all children of God. Oh I know a lot of you do not like to hear me talk like this, but I have to. You know what  Malachi 4:6 says: Whoever that spirit of Elijah would rest upon in these last days, was to bring a message to the age, that would turn the hearts of the children (children of God) back to the faith and revelation of the apostolic fathers. Therefore I say to you: If you have not been turned back to the revelation of Jesus Christ that those early apostles had, you are not my brother. Bro. Jackson! That sounds bad! I know it does, but conditions force it to be that way. Furthermore I am not the one that said it; the Bible declares it to be that way. The only ones that are going to benefit spiritually from Bro. Branham’s message, are the true children of God, all the rest will just use what they can, to benefit their flesh in some way. You just simply cannot change prophecy. Malachi 4:6 is not just stating what should be, it is a prophecy telling us exactly what the results of that man’s ministry will be. Of course the man himself is gone, but his message is still in the earth today, and it is still accomplishing what it was supposed to accomplish: turning the hearts of some back to the faith of those apostles of Jesus. Remember this: Man will fail; but the word of God will never fail; it will always accomplish what it was supposed to accomplish.


Alright Hosea was a prophet of God in the 8th century B.C., when Israel had committed great whoredoms against God. Therefore God instructed Hosea to take a wife of whoredoms, and when he did so, and children were born unto them, God had those children named certain names that spoke of how He was going to deal with that nation because of their adulterous ways. First with the ten northern tribes called Israel, and then with the two southern tribes called Judah. Hosea writes of how God, in a certain span of time, would say to those two southern tribes, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said to them (the Gentiles) Ye are the sons of the living God. When the ten northern tribes were driven from the land, they were never to be back again and be dealt with, until the last days, just before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. However the two southern tribes, even though they were taken into Babylonian captivity, were brought back into the land of their fathers. For what? To be there for the first advent of Christ. They were the representatives of the nation of Israel, when those Messianic prophecies were fulfilled to that people, at the first advent of Christ. Even though the people rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, the gospel message was still presented to them first. They were to be first partakers of the gospel, before the Gentiles were ever allowed to partake of it. But as a total nation of people, they rejected the gospel. That is why God allowed Titus and his Roman Army to cut them off, and scatter them to the four winds in 69 & 70 A.D., and that is why Paul became very bold one day and said to a bunch of them something like this, It was necessary that the gospel of Jesus Christ first be preached to you; but seeing that you reject it, and count yourselves unworthy of eternal life, Lo, we turn to the Gentiles. God will never deal with that nation again, as a nation of twelve tribes, until that last predestined Gentile soul has received the gospel. The Jews did not understand Hosea’s prophecy; but there it lay just the same, and God did exactly what He said He would do.


SETTLING A DISPUTE

 

When Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem to discuss with the other apostles, the great controversy that had arisen at Antioch, over circumcision, James took the occasion to refer to a prophecy in Amos 9:11 & 12, that was being fulfilled. No matter what God does, there is always a bunch of legalists on hand to find fault with it, and that was the case at Antioch. Certain men came down from Judaea, teaching that except those Gentiles which had believed, be circumcised according to the law of Moses, they cannot be saved. That is what caused Paul and Barnabas to go up to Jerusalem to see the other apostles, and get their mind on the matter. After explaining how God had blessed their ministry among the Gentiles, and how certain of the Pharisees had caused this trouble there at Antioch, Peter was the first one of them to give an answer. He said, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made a choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. (Not too many years after Pentecost, Peter had been led to one lone household in Caesarea, the house of a Roman centurion, where he preached to all that were assembled there, and they believed. But Peter himself had no ministry to the Gentiles.) And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; And put no differences between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. (We are reading from Acts, chapter 15, starting with verse 7, and we are now in verse 10, so listen to Peter’s conclusion.) Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our father nor we were able to bear? Peter had no revelation of what God was going to do for the Gentiles, when he went up to the house of Cornelius. He simply went because God had backed him into a corner, and there was nothing else that he could do. You all know the story, how Peter was upon the housetop praying, and the Lord gave him a vision in which he saw something like a great sheet, with the four corners tied together, let down from heaven before his face, full of all sorts of wild beasts and creeping things, and how a voice said to him, Rise Peter, kill and eat. That was done three times, and Peter would say, Not so Lord, for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth, and God said to him, What God has cleansed, call not thou common nor unclean. Peter was weighing all of this in his mind when the three Gentile men arrived at the gate below, and the Lord instructed him to go with them, doubting nothing. This was an altogether different situation than when Paul and Barnabas boldly declared that they were going to turn to the Gentiles with the gospel. Sure, Peter was the one to whom Jesus gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and Peter used those keys, both on the day of Pentecost, and at the house of Cornelius, but he did not stand out with any kind of calling to preach to the Gentiles. Are any of you wondering why I am going through all of this? Because I want to go back into the book of Revelation and talk about a star. We have already touched on it, but we want to look again at those seven stars in the hand of Jesus, in the first chapter of Revelation.


GOD MADE PAUL A STAR

 

Any time you mention stars, people have a tendency to think of night time, but in this particular setting, the stars do not pertain to night time. They are outstanding men of God, all within this one dispensation of time known as the grace age, and referred to in prophecy as the day of salvation. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost was give to the 120 disciples, there were twelve apostles in that upper room, but it was not the purpose of God for any one of them to be the star of that first age of Christendom. That was reserved for a man that was still a devout Pharisee for quite a while after the birth of the Church. When Saul of Tarsus was out persecuting Christians, God Himself was the only one that knew what was in store for him. After giving his voice in the stoning death of Stephen which was one of the seven deacons of the early Church, Saul went on a real crusade persecuting all that in any way called upon the name of Jesus Christ, and God had to knock him down in the middle of the road to Damascus, and blind him for three days, in order to get his attention, and get him going in the right direction. Saul thought he was doing God a service, killing those Christians. In his state of spiritual blindness, his zealousness toward religious traditions had kept him from even imagining that God would have anything to do with such an unorthodox gang as that. He thought they were a bunch of fanatics, and that the world would be better off without them. But after God got through working on him, his testimony was, after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers. After God finally got him turned around (Not that God was trying before that) he became as zealous for Christianity as he was for trying to rid the world of Christians before that. Did Paul (That is the new name God gave Saul) know that he was destined to be the star of the first church age? No. Those apostles did not even know there would be any such thing as church ages. They only knew from written prophecies, that there was another dispensation of time wherein God would do something for Israel, but they saw nothing beyond that. John the Baptist introduced that period of time as the kingdom of heaven, and we know that within that dispensation called the kingdom of heaven, there was to be another term used, the kingdom of God. One term applies to the dispensation itself, and the other term applies to something that is taking place within that dispensation of time, the Spirit of God making His abode in the hearts of His children. That is why it could be said, The kingdom of God is within you, because the Spirit of God rules and reigns in the hearts of His true children. Speaking of the apostles though, there were none with any more boldness and fearlessness than the apostle Peter, after he received the Holy Ghost. He stood right there in the streets of Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost, and rebuked that bunch of scribes and Pharisees that were making fun of those disciples speaking in tongues. He was also an outstanding figure in those early days of Christianity, in that the sick and diseased were laid in the streets in such a way that the shadow of him might pass over them, believing that there was healing virtue in it, and God honored it, but that still did not make him the star of that first church age. The night Jesus was arrested, Peter stood by the fire, scared half to death. But on the day of Pentecost, after he received the Holy Ghost, oh what boldness. This was the same man that had grabbed a sword, and cut a man’s ear off, when they came to arrest Jesus. Well I just mention these things to more or less cause you to consider his human reactions under certain circumstances, and then to see that same man moving under the leadership of the Holy Ghost. As we look at Peter in the scriptures, we see a man that seemed to have the potential to be a star, but remember, his ministry was mostly to the Jews, so we have to look at the whole age in order to get the true picture. Let me just mention one more prophecy pertaining to what God was going to do during this day of salvation, and then we will take a better look at Paul, who really was the star of that first church age. The scripture is Jeremiah 31:33, and says this, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; (This gospel was first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles.) After those days, (after that period of the law) saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” This was a new covenant that God was making with the house of Israel, and Paul picked it up in the 8th chapter of Hebrews and says, “In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” The law was the old covenant. It dealt with types and shadows of the new covenant, which is the covenant of grace. That is why we can say, The law was the moon age, because it was reflecting the sun (SON) that was to be seen in the day season. The moon has no light of its own; it is just a reflector of the sun, and that is exactly what the law age was, to the grace age. It foreshadowed what sin was, and what God was going to do, to deal with it. Now God never did tell anyone how long this dispensation would last; but according to all the signs of the scriptures, we are the children of the evening light of this day of salvation, and I believe with all my heart, that this generation will live to see this day close out. But what we want to do now is go back to the dawning of this day and watch how the spirit of God administers this new covenant, and watch how the apostle Paul is led by the Spirit to become the star of the first age.


PAUL – MATTHIAS – AND THE EARLY CHURCH

 

Paul was not in the upper room with the other twelve apostles. He said of himself in 1st Corinthians, concerning those that saw Jesus after His resurrection, “And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” There has been much debate through the years concerning Paul and Matthias. Paul has been called the 13th apostle, and a lot of people have felt that the eleven apostles that elected Matthias, jumped the gun and missed God. I used to feel that way myself. But in the Psalms, concerning Judas, it says, “Let his bishopric be taken and given to another.” It is also restated in the book of Acts, so those apostles were merely fulfilling prophecy when they elected him, and it did not mess up the plan of God in the least bit. As we have already stated, In those early years, after the birth of the Church, Saul of Tarsus was very bent on persecuting the church, for as a zealous Pharisee, he looked upon those Christians as a fanatical cult, and felt that he would be doing God a service by getting rid of them. God had other plans for him though. He was to be a light to the Gentiles, and a means of salvation unto the ends of the earth, or the end of the ages, therefore his theology had to be changed. So God just knocked him down in the middle of the road to Damascus, blinded his eyes, and sent him to a man that could help him find the true will of God for his life. The man was a disciple of Christ at Damascus, and God gave him and Saul both a vision to show each of them what was ahead. Ananias prayed for him to receive his sight, and when he received his sight he arose, and was baptized and immediately began to preach Christ in the synagogue, that He is the son of God. Before he entered into his true ministry though, he spent three years in the Arabian Desert, studying the Old Testament scrolls, and receiving revelation of what they truly pointed to. (He tells that in his Galatian epistle). After three years he went up to Jerusalem, but the elders there were afraid of him and would not receive his testimony. But Barnabas took him to them, and explained to them the experience Saul had on the road to Damascus, and how he had boldly preached Christ after his conversion. The church at Jerusalem had been scattered abroad because of persecution, but that was really according to God’s plan, for except for that, they would all have stayed right there at Jerusalem, instead of obeying the great commission, and preaching the gospel to every nation. Philip, one of the deacons, ended up down in Samaria where he had a great revival. He was preaching the gospel, casting out devils, and the Lord was adding souls to His kingdom. The thing about it was, none of them actually received the Holy Ghost though, until Peter and John went down there and prayed for them. That is what finalized their new birth experience. The Church was then on the move. As the months passed, some of the others went as far as Antioch, in Syria, first preaching to only Jews, but then the Gentiles began to believe and turn to the Lord. The brethren at Jerusalem began to hear reports of what was happening at Antioch and they sent Barnabas there to verify the report. Now when Saul had been forced to leave Jerusalem, because of the Jews trying to kill him, he went to Tarsus, right back to the city he was raised up in. Therefore when Barnabas came to Antioch, and saw what the Lord was doing there, he went on to Tarsus to find Saul, and when he found him, the two of them went back to Antioch together and ministered to the church there fore a whole year, teaching them. It is a wonderful thing to see precious souls added to the kingdom of God, but it is a tragic thing, when they are never taught anything that could help them grow in their new experience. That is one of the main failures of these great crusades; many of those precious souls that are touched by conviction, are simply sent back to their local church where everything is as dead as last year’s corn stalks, and they never have anyone to lead them on into a genuine experience of salvation, nor to teach them anything beyond John 3:16. Nevertheless Barnabas has brought Saul back into the picture, and Christianity is making its impact in various areas, and the Jewish disciples are finding out that they are not the only ones God is interested in, and at first it was quite a shock to them, but when they understood it better, they were glad and glorified God.


PAUL’S MINISTRY AMONG THE GENTILES

 

After Barnabas and Saul had spent a year there in Antioch teaching an exhorting the Christians, the Holy Ghost spoke to the church and said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. That is when Saul and Barnabas took John Mark, and started on their first missionary journey. Along about this time, Saul began to be called Paul, but still there is no mention, nor indication of a star messenger. On this missionary journey, is when Paul and Barnabas, because of Jewish opposition, announced that they were going to turn to the Gentiles with the gospel. Now naturally we cannot take the time to follow their missionary journeys, so for the purpose of the message, I want to go directly to an event that took place in Paul’s third missionary journey, somewhere in the middle 50’s, as he came into Ephesus. A man named Apollos had been there before Paul arrived, who had preached only the baptism of John. Therefore as Paul passed through, he found twelve disciples there in Ephesus, and said unto them, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost (Acts 12:2) since ye believed?” They said, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” Paul asked them about their baptism, and they told him they were baptized unto John’s baptism. Paul then explained to them how John had baptized unto repentance, looking forward to the one who was to come, and he gave them the true revelation of Jesus Christ, and re-baptized them, then they received the Holy Ghost and started to speak in tongues, and prophesy. Paul then went into the synagogue for the next three months and reasoned with the Jews. But when they hardened their hearts against the gospel message, he took the disciples with him, and rented a public meeting place and preached there for the next two years. Right there in that one place, was one of the greatest revivals there has ever been. The Bible says, “All they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” During that period of time, all of the seven churches of Asia found in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, were established. No, Paul did not run up and down the west coast of Turkey, preaching the gospel; that great Holy Ghost revival there at Ephesus drew people from all over Asia, during that two years of time. Just as Peter had his great revival in Jerusalem, so that people were healed merely by the shadow of Peter passing over them, Paul had his revival among the Gentiles, and people were healed and demons cast out, by taking handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul had touched, and laying them on the sick and troubled people who were not able to come to the meetings. Paul had been brought up in the midst of a Gentile society, so he knew how to communicate with them. He could speak their language. He was well equipped to take the revelation that was burning in his heart, and preach it to those Gentiles. It was not just Gentiles that responded though, for the Bible says it was both Jews and Greeks from all over Asia. From that one revival, there were churches established at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, in the middle to late 50’s, that God would use thirty some years later, to type the seven church ages in the book of Revelation. This was God’s way of saying to Paul, I am now among the Gentiles in the fullness of the light of my revelation. Brother you can be sure of this one thing, all seven of those churches were taught the same revelation. Some of them soon got off course; but nevertheless they all started out right, for they were founded off of Paul’s teaching, and he only had one gospel to preach. That is the reason he could say in his Galatian epistle, if any man, or angel, preach anything different to you, then what I have preached, let him be accursed. He knew he had the right revelation of the plan and purpose of God, and what it took to bring it about. In other words, God gave each one of those churches something that He was going to require of them later.


A STAR BEGINS TO SHINE

 

After Paul left Ephesus, he went back to Corinth, and from Corinth, he wrote to the Roman Assembly, telling them of his desire to come to them after he made a trip to Spain. But first, he felt like he must go back to Jerusalem again, and he wanted to be there for the day of Pentecost. Then as he went back through Ephesus, he called for the elders of the church to meet with him at a certain place; and that is when he told them, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Even then, Paul was aware of that antichrist spirit, that was trying to get in among the children of God. The church at Ephesus took heed, and stayed on guard a lot longer than some of those others. We learn that from the letters the Lord had John write to those seven churches in the book of Revelation. We all know the story how Paul went to Jerusalem, fell into the hands of his enemies, is falsely accused and put in jail. He ends up appealing to Rome, and was put on board a ship, for the voyage, never to be a free man again. But from Rome, he wrote some beautiful epistles that became a part of the New Testament, in which he shared those beautiful revelations he had stored up in his heart. He never called himself a star; but when you read those epistles he wrote, you recognize that it was a star speaking. He was so sure that what he preached was the truth, he was ready to die for it at any time. That is why he could talk like he did to the Galatians, and also to the Corinthians, when he referred to himself as a wise master builder, saying, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. He said, Every man’s work shall be made manifest, and shall be tried by fire, and so forth. Brothers and Sisters: if we build upon the foundation Paul laid, we have nothing to worry about; but I am afraid there are only a very few building upon that foundation in this hour. Paul could not possibly recognize what a lot of those preachers of our day are calling the gospel of Christ, if he were allowed to return to this life.

 

THE LORD SPEAKS TO JOHN

 

We are going to leave Paul for now and go to the 1st Chapter of Revelation. This was written 30 years after the death of Paul, the star of that first age. That is a long time, but just think, Bro. Branham has been dead 20 years. I pray that it is not another 10 years until Jesus comes for us, but whether it is or not, God is not done yet; there are still some things to be made known. Alright, beginning in verse 10, John says, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” In 96 A.D., there were other Gentile churches, Corinthian, Galatian, Thessalonian, Philippian, so what is the Lord doing here? We will see as we continue on. John was the last of the original apostles, still alive at this time; and instead of killing him, his enemies had just put him out there on a little island in exile; feeling that he would no longer be a threat to them, out there by himself. They only thought he was out there alone though, for he was having the time of his life. He was in the Spirit, so he did not care how many snakes and lizards were crawling around. Therefore as he worshiped the Lord, he heard this great voice speaking to him. It was Jesus, in His high priest authority, telling him to send letters to these seven churches. He was not the instrument that caused these seven churches to come into existence, but being the last of the original apostles, he has a job to do. Verse 12, “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the son of man, (That lets us know that there was a resemblance of the man John had walked with for three and a half years) clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: (SEVEN STARS) and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; (Now Jesus explains these things to John.) The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Alright what do these seven stars signify? Is it talking about stars that shine in the sky at night? No sir. The whole dispensation is daylight time. That is why Paul said, (Probably in Ephesians) Walk as children of light. Then in Thessalonians he said, We are not of the night, we are children of the day. Everything that was preached in daylight time. But what about this star business? Here is where we must realize, that star is figurative of something that is outstanding, and has nothing at all to do with night time. Well what about the candlesticks? To our natural thinking, candlesticks are something that you burn at night. But these have nothing to do with night time. The seven golden candlesticks called the Menorah, were burned in the temple at Jerusalem day and night, to signify that the presence of the Spirit of God was there. They speak of the seven spiritual attributes of the one God who is spirit, and he is light, both day and night. Each one of these churches was to be the means through which this one spirit which is God would reflect His light to reveal His plan and purpose for lost mankind both day and night. I believe this should be clear enough for all to see; so I want to dwell for a little while on just the star.


WHAT THE SEVEN STARS REFLECTED

 

The star to the first age was already dead when John wrote the book of revelation, in which we see letters being sent to the seven angels of the seven churches of Asia. But the Lord goes ahead and tells John that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; so what are we actually looking at here? Of course we know that behind every man of God there is that spirit being, called in Hebrews, ministering spirits. These are sent forth as guardian angels of the heirs of salvation, and they minister the anointing for whatever a man is called to do, but were the seven letters written to these angelic beings? No. Definitely not. God does not need to write letters to His angelic helpers. These seven letters to the seven churches had a twofold purpose and application. First they were to the spiritual leaders of the seven literal churches, but their long range application was to be to the star messengers of the seven church ages. Since the star messenger to the first age was already dead at that time, the responsibility to guide the first age on through whatever it was to accomplish in the purpose of God, fell upon the shoulders of the pastor of the church at Ephesus. He could never outshine Paul; but he could hold a line upon what Paul had taught them, as he stood in that position of leadership. Of course the other six churches got letters also, and those pastors were responsible to God for the leadership of their particular assemblies, which at that time had conditions in them that would project into the ages to come, but the church at Ephesus was the one that would project the spirit of the first church age. God did not tell John that these seven churches would type the seven different ages of time within that one dispensation of grace; but we can look back now and see it as plain as anything. When it came time for the spirit of those churches to be projected by God into an age, there was definitely a man in that age that would shine as the star in the midst of the ministry of that hour. That is why Polycarp was the first martyr of the church at Smyrna; it was to project that spirit of martyrdom which prevailed in the second church age. Now I realize I am going into a lot of things; but in a message like this, one thing just leads into something else, and we have to touch on it in order to project our thought. Paul was definitely the star messenger to that first age, but the responsibility to carry on what Paul had started, fell upon the shoulders of the pastor at Ephesus, until Ephesus had fulfilled its exampleship for the first age. The apostle John lived way beyond all the others of the twelve apostles, but was never looked upon as a star. He was lifted up in the Spirit and allowed to view the new Jerusalem, the spiritual city of God, and he was allowed to describe it from its foundation up, but that did not make him the star to the first age. He saw the names of the twelve apostles in the foundation of that city, and naturally his name was one of them, for he had helped lay the foundation upon which our salvation and our spiritual life is built, but he was not he star of that age. The city he saw, was the true church in its end time position, and I want you to know, That church is built upon the foundation of the apostles of Jesus Christ, the revelation they held and taught. Regardless of how the other stars to the other six ages may have shined in their hour, they never outshone those twelve apostles. The revelation of each star messenger had to go back to what those twelve apostles taught and laid down as foundation for our faith. That is why I said, Being a star does not in any way change the dispensation, for all seven of those stars have shined in this one day of salvation, and it is still daylight in that one day. Those apostles laid a foundation in that first age, that the devil has been trying to wreck for almost two thousand years. Gentiles in this hour are returning to the pagan ways of their ancestors, but thank God for the little blood washed church that will not return to those abominations. Even though the gospel was first to the Jews, the dispensation of grace is primarily the dispensation of the gentile church, for when God returns to the Jews, the grace age is over. Now I know there are a lot of people assembling around the message of Bro. Branham that will not like what I am going to say, but Bro. Branham, the star messenger to this Laodicean age, did not outshine those twelve apostles of Christ, nor is his name in the foundation of that new city. Those who attribute deity to him, take him right out of the scriptures, for there is no scripture that even remotely points to anything like that. If he was the Elijah of Malachi 4:6; like they say he was, and like I am completely convinced that he was, then his ministry was to turn the end time element of the bride of Christ (the true Church) back to the faith and revelation of our apostolic fathers. In other words, The star messenger in every age was to do just exactly that, point the people of God in this hour, back to the true Bible doctrines laid down by the twelve apostles. But just think, There are men in this hour that devote all their efforts to pointing people to the star messenger, rather than to the message he delivered to this age, a message which lifted up Jesus Christ and turned us back to apostolic teaching.


GOD’S PURPOSE PREVAILS

 

Brothers and Sisters: I know I do not have to tell you this; but our nation, and the world is in a bad shape. It behooves Christians to walk close to God, as wickedness abounds on every hand. Surely we must know that God expects His true children to read the signs of the times, and prepare themselves to meet Him shortly. Oh it is true, things will probably get a lot worse before the end, but they should not have to get any worse, for us to put our lives in order. It is plain that America is that lamb beast of Rev. 13, because she has literally rebuilt Europe, for her end time go around. We have been recognized for our two horned system, the world over, (political and ecclesiastical) and people have come here from all parts of the world because of it. The sad thing is, both our politics and our religion are filled with corruption, and every day it becomes a little worse. That is why I am so thankful to know for sure that God is still in control. Otherwise I would look at prevailing circumstances and say, There is no hope for us. Well I did not know when we started this message that we would be going into so much detail; but I just have to be thankful to God that His word is laid out so beautifully. Some say what we teach here is too deep to understand, but I just have to believe that people like that are too carnal minded to even care very much about spiritual things. Our minds have to be trained to think upon spiritual things, and too much of the time materialism takes the preeminence. There is nothing wrong with having material things; if we will control them, and not allow them to rob God of first place in our lives, to bring our little world to an abrupt end, you just have to know that it is only by the mercy and grace of God that we have anything or that we can be anything. Everything is moved by some spiritual force; either by the Spirit of God, or by that spirit of the devil which is the enemy of God, and is the spirit of destruction, therefore it pays to have the favor of God, lest we be without hope. Now as we look at the first chapters of Revelation, we have an opportunity to view the church some sixty years beyond Pentecost. We know it started out with only twelve apostles as the ministry; but by 96 A.D., when John was given this view of it, and instructed to write, it had apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, helps and governments, and all of that. God added to the ministry as the need arose, just like when it was necessary to select 7 men full of the Holy Ghost and faith, to be the first deacons in the church. As first, they were only table waiters, you might say; but as time passed, they were anointed of God to fulfill powerful ministries. Philip and Stephen were examples of that, there in the 7th and 8th chapter of Acts. There was nothing written back then, concerning a five fold ministry. Paul wrote about that in his epistles after it had already been manifested. That is why he could say, God hath set in the Church the various offices. Nevertheless the purpose of God was activated when that first 120 disciples received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. That is what put the grace age in effect, and started the church on its course through time. It is called by many terms, the body of Christ, the family of God, the sons of God, the new covenant people, all of which point to Christians of the age of grace. This gospel was first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles, and Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. He is the one who first received a revelation of how God had Gentiles included in His plan of grace. Nevertheless as time progressed God bestowed anointing upon various ones, for various ministries in this great body of redeemed people. They all believed the same revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they were not all anointed to fulfill the same ministries. In every situation though, it was the responsibility of the apostles to hold a line on the word of God and correct error. That is why the tares never could make any headway getting into the church as long as any of those apostles of Christ were alive. You can see from various epistles, how they discerned that antichrist spirit, and constantly warned the saints of its presence. It was a slow process, but the devil finally managed to get his false teachers mingled among the true saints, and little by little, false doctrine was brought in, and the church was eventually plunged into the Dark Ages, and it surely looked to some of those true saints like the gospel light would be snuffed out completely, but God was never without an instrument that He could speak to. We just have to appreciate the wisdom of God, that could bring the Church through those dark centuries, and then out into the full light of truth again. Hallelujah! I am glad John saw such a beautiful picture of the church, over in the last chapters of the book of Revelation. He saw a foursquare city of pure gold with walls of jasper, and a foundation garnished with all manner of precious stones, and gates of pearls. Praise God! That is a description of the Church in its final stage, after redemption and perfection is completed.


WHAT GENTILES FELL HEIR TO

 

As we look at this city John saw we wonder, What does the wall signify? It speaks of salvation to the individual believer. In the natural, a wall is for protection to the inhabitants. It keeps the enemy out. Therefore your salvation experience, spiritually, does the same thing. It puts you on the inside of that protecting arm of God’s grace, and gives you a safe habitation. It is built upon twelve foundations, or twelve layers, all of which speaks of the revelation of those twelve apostles, and the twelve gates speak of the twelve tribes of Israel through which this great plan of salvation was foreshadowed in their law. Before the gospel could ever be preached to Gentiles who would make up the major part of the body of that city, it first had to be preached to those through whom it was foreshadowed, the Jews. They were the first ones to enter into this spiritual relationship with God through His plan of salvation, and all the writers of the scriptures were Jewish men, but Gentiles fell heir to what the major part of the Jews rejected. Now some will say, How can it be said that the Jews had first chance at the gospel, when only the two Southern tribes were in the homeland at the time the gospel went forth? You have to look at it from the standpoint of what the apostle Paul said later, about the gospel being first to the Jew, and then to the Gentiles, and also from Paul’s own practice as he traveled from place to place. In every city where he preached, he always went to the Jewish synagogue first, and reasoned with the Jews out of their law, concerning Christ, and those ten Northern tribes were scattered throughout the world. When Thomas went to India in 53 A.D., who do you think he went to preach to? Those dispersed Jews of the 10 Northern tribes of course. Let me say this though, We use the word Jew, when speaking of Israelites of both tribes, but actually in the beginning of its usage, it applied only to the two Southern tribes, which were called by Judah. Maybe someone needed that clarification at this point. Nevertheless, even though Paul had a great burden for his Israelite brethren in the natural, he was still primarily as the apostle to the Gentiles. When the time came for the gospel to go to the Gentiles, God had His apostle to the Gentiles ready to take it to them, and by 96 A.D., Gentiles had been in the church for over fifty years, and Paul had been dead for thirty years, so the picture had changed quite a bit from the time the Holy Ghost was first given. John was exiled to the little island of Patmos, to get him out of the way, but God was not finished with him. Being in the Spirit of worship, and hearing behind him this great voice sounding out like a trumpet, he turned to see where the voice was coming from, and to his great surprise, there stood Jesus whom he had walked with sixty some years earlier. He was dressed in his high priest apparel, standing in the midst of seven golden candlesticks, with seven stars in His right hand. God had typed through the law, what those sevens represented, but the Jews never really knew why they were required to eat unleavened bread for seven days after eating the Passover lamb in the evening of the 14th day, going into the 15th day when the moon was full. Eating that unleavened bread and celebrating the killing of the Passover lamb for seven days after the moon was full, pointed to Jesus the son of God, born of woman, under the law, that would be the slain Passover Lamb, that would free them from the law, once the law was full. Now those Jews that were responsible for the slaying of this Passover Lamb, received not the benefit of its provision, for they rejected God’s plan of salvation, and the Gentiles have been feasting on the unleavened bread of the gospel of Christ for seven church ages, looking back to Calvary where it all took place. Now as we have said, Paul was dead in 96 A.D., when John saw all of this; but if there had never been a Paul, there would not have been an Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and all of those, for he was the instrument through which they all received the gospel light. Now Jesus told John what those candlesticks represented, and also the stars in His right hand, but of course John knew nothing about seven church ages, nor about the stars of those seven ages. He could only see those local churches, and the pastors of them. Nevertheless to Ephesus He said, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” What did He mean by removing the candlestick? Simply that if they did not return to the first love, their light would go out completely, and they would just be a dead formal church, going through the motions as before, but without the reality of the love of Christ burning in their souls. That is the condition of your denominational churches the world over; the light that once burned so brightly has gone out, and those who still carry on the programs of the church, do so because of a routine, and not because God is leading them by His Spirit. They have their priests, their bishops, cardinals and all such, but none of it resembles the ministry of that first age church that carried a pure revelation of the gospel of Christ. Where did all of that come from? Mostly from paganism, in their present forms.


PEOPLE WHO HAVE FOLLOWED TRUTH

 

Let us leave the apostolic age now, and come quickly to the Laodicean age, this present age, the seventh and last. Coming out of the Philadelphian age, to the age of Laodicea, there were nothing but denominational churches. Christianity did not start out like that, but time and conditions brought it to that, so that is what the spirit of God had to work with, around the turn of the century, as He once again began to poor out of His Spirit upon hungry souls that sought more of Him. Different dates have been used, but actually this outpouring of the Holy Spirit began to stand out specifically at Azusa Street in January 1900, so the age itself would more or less be gauged off of that. Azusa Street is where your Pentecostal movements of this age got their beginning. You can read various accounts of the movements leading up to that hour, and of the things that took place in the realms of religion between the Dark Ages, and the age of Laodicea, but no matter how pure they each started out, the devil always managed to sidetrack them, and cause them to end up as just another system of religion. When the Spirit of God starts something it is in its pure stage; but man always has a tendency to allow the devil to turn it into a carnal plaything. There were other movements that spoke in tongues, the Shakers, the Quakers, and the fire baptized Baptists, and even some of the Nazarenes, but none of them ever established that as an evidence of the Holy Ghost, like the Pentecostals of this Laodicean age has. They have dwelt so much on their evidence, they failed to move on with God, just like all those movements before them. Well does that mean nothing was accomplished in any of them? No. Every movement added something to the restoration of apostolic truth that had been lost in the Dark Ages. Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, and all of them embraced some apostolic truth that God was restoring to the body of Christ. That was God’s process by which He worked to bring us to this hour, and to the truth we have. The supernatural experiences God has given through the years, has always drawn persecution from all the previously established movements. Therefore as God began to give that Pentecostal experience here in the age of Laodicea, and it was accompanied by speaking in tongues, divine healing, and various other gifts, then here came the persecution from all those other systems. I have read some of the testimonies from that early hour, and a lot of those people were treated terribly, but none of that persecution kept those hungry souls from walking on with God. Now the supernatural was given, not to establish an evidence, but that the people of God might be able to walk in the Spirit. The church is not just the product of the written letter; it is a spiritual organism that can move with a revelation by the inspiration of the spirit of God. Alright the Pentecostal move in the first years of the age of Laodicea, was primarily speaking in tongues and divine healing. They were all Trinitarians, because they carried the same revelation of the godhead, that the Catholics had. But from Luther’s hour, right on through, little by little God restored apostolic truth to His people. Then in 1908, he began to deal with various ones on the usage of the name Jesus in water baptism. To them, He gave an understanding of His oneness. They did not see the complete truth of His oneness; but they did see a profile of it, and out of that, came the movement known as oneness Pentecostals. But like all the rest, there came an hour when they felt that their revelation should be organized, and when that took place, they shut the door on the Spirit of God. Denominational walls keep those inside them, from ever being led any further by the Spirit of God. That is why He has to pull us out of those systems, in order to lead us any further in truth. When God reveals something to a person that their denominational system does not believe in, there is only one decision for that person to make. They either have to leave that system and walk with God, or else stay in it and dry up spiritually. Most of you older ones have been faced with that decision, for you were not raised up in this, like your children have been. Your children still have to have their own personal salvation experience with the Lord Jesus Christ, but they do not have those denominational systems to contend with. You cannot follow the teaching of men like Pat Robinson, Jim Baker, and Jimmy Swaggart, and be perfected as the bride of Christ all at the same time.


THE LAODICEAN CHURCH – AND AGE

 

Alright now, there was an angelic being watching over that literal church at Laodicea, just like there was all the others, and that same angelic being has waited through time, until the age of time that corresponded to that local church would come. In other words, There had to be an age somewhere within the dispensation of grace, when the spirit of that age would correspond to the spirit of one of those seven local churches in Asia, and the spirit of that church at Laodicea, which was the 7th church mentioned corresponded to the spirit of this age, which is the seventh age since Acts 2:4. The Lord spoke through John to that Laodicean church saying, “Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,” and so forth. In other words, They had strayed from the simplicity Paul had ministered to them in. Laodicea was a commercial trade center, making the people of that area a little wealthier than people of other areas. Therefore their life style and standard of living had its affect in the local church there, and caused them to be more materialistic than spiritual. They trusted in materialism, more than in the Lord that saved them. Well the Church of that hour no longer exists, and neither does the city where it was located, but the spirit and image of it has lingered through time, and is now resting on this age. We are living in an age of materialism, when the general attitude of people is the same as it was in that Laodicean church. Therefore the spiritual angel that was back there, has hovered through time, through the ages, and waited to re-activate the purpose of God in the age that corresponds to that local church. The spirit of this age of time has been exactly like what God rebuked that local church for; but in this seventh age, God will perfect the bride saints, and take them to glory. No, the Lord is not coming to take His Church, just as a scattered representation from all these religious systems; He is coming for an element of people that have been pulled out of those systems, by the revelation of truth that He has given them, and that has allowed Him to lead them in a holy walk and way of life. This is human terminology of course, but we are living in a bride age. Like I have already said, we are not talking about an 8th age; we are just simply talking about a period of time within this 7th church age, when the Spirit of God will deal exclusively with the bride element, while the age goes on and closes out. This is the evening time of the day of salvation that started almost two thousand years ago, when according to Zechariah 14:7, there shall be light; and I believe we would have to say, That prophecy has been fulfilled. Those dark clouds that shut out the true spiritual light for so many centuries, has been driven back, and the church of this hour is privileged to walk in the same light of revelation that our apostolic forefathers walked in. The star messenger to this age walked under the influence of that same spiritual angelic being, that the pastor of the church at Laodicea was guided by. That angelic being was on hand in both instances to make certain that the purpose of God was accomplished, and as we have stated before, those angelic beings always work through human instruments, to accomplish the purpose of God. Christians down through the ages have carried this prophetic letter in their Bibles, without knowing how to read it, until the star messenger to this church age came on the scene, and delivered the revelation given to him. To those great theologians of your denominational systems, the book of revelation is still confusing. It is supposed to be; for it is God’s love letter to the little bride of Christ here at the end time, to enable her to recognize where she is, and to know what to expect. It goes hand in hand with the prophecy of Daniel, and fills out our revelation of the plan and purpose of God. God meant for the children of light here at the end time, to know some things other believers through the ages have not needed to know, for the crop He is going to reap cannot be inferior to the seed that was sown almost two thousand years ago. It is a law of God that everything should come forth of its own kind, with increase.


THE LAODICEAN STAR MESSENGER

 

Alright according to Malachi 4:6, the (Faith) children of this age were to be turned back to the faith of our apostolic fathers, before the wrath of God strikes; so we just want to be thankful to God for keeping His word. He sent that Elijah spirit that truly fulfilled the other half of the total prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6, on a little man by the name of William Marrion Branham, a man from this area right here. He did not come to establish anything new, as far as the covenant of grace is concerned. This covenant was to call out of the Gentiles, a people that would be called by the name of God, which literally is His redemption name, Jesus. Each individual was to have their own personal experience of salvation, and that is what Peter referred to, as the day star dawning in our hearts. Well all of these redeemed souls together, make up the total body of Christ that the apostle Paul spoke so much about, and it is the living element of this body, here in the end time, that is to be restored back to the fullness of the faith of our apostolic fathers. Why do we need to be restored? Because the devil managed to pervert the true revelation the early church carried, and got the whole thing off course. Therefore those coming into the kingdom of God through the centuries since, were not as revelated as those of the apostolic age, so God activated His plan to restore that true revelation, in order that we may be made into the image of His Son Jesus, who is referred to as the first born of many brethren. God’s children have always been the children of the day though, even in the darkest of the Dark Ages, for as we have been stressing, the day of salvation will not end until every Gentile whose name is in the book of life has been dealt with. As for the star messenger to this age, his calling was to take every revelation that had been restored throughout the Reformation, put them all together, and present them to the end time element of the true body of Christ. Those who had truth restored to them during those Reformation years, never allowed the truth they received to take them any further. They just fenced it in, and tried to hold on to it, and eventually the Spirit of God that gave them that truth just simply moved on, and gave some more truth to others that desired to walk with God. Sure the just shall live by faith; but there is a lot more to it than that. Nevertheless the Reformation gave birth to these various denominational systems, each one holding to some truth that belonged to the overall body of Christ, but how was it ever going to accomplish the end time purpose of God, all divided up like that? Well it could not. That is why God anointed Bro. Branham, and used him as he did. All of that truth belonged together, and God used Bro. Branham to put it together, and present it to an element of people that would take it, and walk with God in it. That special anointing is what made Bro. Branham a star. No it did not turn these denominational systems back to the faith of the apostolic fathers, but the ministry God gave him, allowed him to preach in places where hungry souls in those systems could be called out of them, to walk with God in the fullness of truth. That spirit of Elijah was a God identifying spirit, that always pointed people to the true and living God. Therefore when Bro. Branham preached those simple, down to earth sermons, you were pointed to one God, instead of a trinity. You were pointed to water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, instead of the titles of the office of this one God. Sanctification, baptism of the Holy Ghost, and the gifts of the Spirit, as well as divine healing, were all given their proper place in the overall picture as the gospel was preached. Now because of the unique calling upon Bro. Branham’s life, God put certain things on display, to get the attention of the people. That is why certain supernatural occurrences in his ministry were vindicated as they were. God just simply made sure that a bunch of people would sit up and take notice, as he anointed His prophet messenger to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ the way the early apostles preached it. Not only did he preach the same revelation they preached, but God also fed in some things that they did not preach. The apostles never did preach on serpent seed, but he did, and what he preached that they did not preach, never changed the plan of salvation one bit; it just merely shed more light upon why we needed redemption. He preached on the seven church ages; but that did not change the plan of salvation whatsoever. Through the preaching on the church ages, the end time children of God have been able to see from a historic standpoint, how Christianity came through the former ages of time, and how it was persecuted by that spirit of antichrist, and its doctrines perverted. Through the revelation of the church ages, the end time children of God are better equipped to discern false spirits. We are made more aware of the deceptive ways the devil works against the plan of God, and the people of God.


AN HONEST LOOK AT REALITY

 

I never will forget the anticipation and excitement that was generated as God anointed Bro. Branham to bring fourth the revelation fo the first six seals. No, Bro. Branham did not break those seals; Jesus Christ Himself is the one that broke them; but He used Bro. Branham, to make the revelation known to us. Billy Graham, Jimmy Swaggart, and a lot more, have their version of what these seven seals pertain to, but their versions have never been vindicated. What they teach about them does not make a bit of sense. They have all four of those horse riders, riding in the end time, and what a picture they paint. Sure it sounds exciting, but it is not the truth. Each of those horse riders are representative of that spirit of Antichrist as it rode out against the word, and the people of God. The fourth one is called a pale horse, which literally you would have to say is a gray horse, for there is no such thing as a pale horse. A gray horse is a combination of white hair and black hair mixed, and that white and black is representative of that antichrist spirit of deception that is riding in this very hour of time, and will continue right on out to the end of the age. This ecumenical spirit that has pulled all these denominations together, is so full of love, it will put a baby and a rattlesnake in the same crib, and then cry because the baby dies of snakebite. Of course that is just a figure of speech, pointing to the deceptiveness of this false unity that is being propagated. We received a clipping from a South Carolina newspaper, where the Catholics are asking people from all denominations to join them in this wonderful fellowship of prayer, praying the rosary together. Brothers and Sisters: There are Protestants everywhere, that know so little about the Bible, they will fall for that, and be swallowed up by it. Those early Christians died for the faith and revelation they held in their hearts; so do you think after two thousand years, the Lord is going to return for a conglomeration of people believing every perverted thing the devil has offered them, just because they all have love one for another? If He does, there sure has been a lot of words wasted in the Bible. Brother! That is a counterfeit spirit. It has always cost something to walk in truth, and it still does, but according to the scriptures, only those who do, are ever going to be with the Lord. Hell is awaiting all those that allow the devil to deceive them, and live as though God no longer has any standard of righteousness and holiness. If you think God does not care how you look, how you dress, how you talk, and where you go, you are deceived. The devil has you on his merry-go-round, and he will not easily turn you loose. Do you think God sent a prophet to this age, to tell Protestants to get in bed with Catholics, and pretend that everything anyone does in the name of religion is all right? Don’t fool yourself; the call has always been, “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues,” (Rev. 18:4) and that call is still the same. But on the other hand, do not think for one minute, that all who came out of those religious systems because of the preaching of Bro. Branham were all children of God. A lot of them were tares, and once a tare, always a tare. The devil’s children are not converted into children of God; but there are a lot of them hanging on to children of God in this hour, and they have a lot of people fooled; because with the mind they know how to put up a front. Then there is another element of tares following this message that actually feel that they have the edge on everyone else. They can quote everything Bro. Branham ever said, and tell you exactly where and when he said it, but no matter how much they are able to quote, they are still tares. They have no revelation of the word of God, and could not care less what the Bible says. As I have said, God does not even bother to correct them, because they are not His children. Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. Paul goes on to say, (Heb. 12:8) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” A child of God may believe something wrong for a while: but sooner or later God will tap him on the shoulder and say, That is a no-no. But do you think God will do the same thing for a tare? Why should He? He would still be a tare. Nevertheless the message delivered to this age by God’s prophet messenger is His plumb line. How people respond to that message is going to be a determining factor, for those who truly received the message have been pointed back to the Bible. They were not pointed to the messenger, nor to quote his verbal words, but to follow the truth of God’s word, that he held up before them. He was not sent to make another covenant, for until the last Gentile soul is in, God is still dealing with mankind on the basis of the covenant that became effective almost two thousand years ago. Through the ministry of Bro. Branham, God activated the prophecy of Zechariah 14:7, so that here in the evening time of this dispensational day of grace, we again have light. Hallelujah! What a beautiful light it is. We have light on things, that saints of other ages never had. Through Bro. Branham, God revealed things to end time believers that the apostles of Christ never even touched upon, and it is up to the five fold ministry to continue on in the message Bro. Branham delivered to the church, but not by just quoting him. They are to stand in a place with God, where He can speak to them and reveal things to them. In other words, The ministry that finishes up this grace age must be the same as the ministry that started it out, and the ministry that started it out was a continuation of the revelation and ministry of Jesus Christ. When Jesus left the earth, He knew that other men would fill in the gap, and by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, present revelations to the church that He never taught on. Jesus spoke of the resurrection: but it was the apostle Paul that was anointed to teach on it, and give the order of it. Then thirty years after the death of Paul, John, who was not a star, and had no thoughts of any such thing, was allowed to see the whole scope of the journey of the church through the ages, including the resurrection and the great white throne judgment. Here is my point. Do you believe Jesus would have been jealous because His disciples taught things He never taught? Do you believe Paul would have been jealous of Bro. Branham for teaching things that he never taught? Of course your obvious answer is, No. Well neither would Bro. Branham be jealous of anyone else, for teaching things beyond what he taught. These men were servants of God, simply passing on to the Church what the Spirit of God revealed to them in their hour, and their greatest delight was to see the Church move on with God. It is a terrible heart break to a servant of God, when he sees people take hold of a revelation and treat it as though it is the last thing God is ever going to be able to reveal to His Church. Listen to me, saints, we serve a living God in whom is all wisdom and knowledge, therefore, if time should stand another fifty years, He would reveal things to the church, that have not so much as crossed our minds. I do not believe this old world, in its present trend of moral decay and debauchery can hold together very much longer, but my point is, God does not reveal His total plan to a generation of people and then just sit back and allow them to play around with it for the next fifty years. The plan of salvation will not change from the way the early apostles preached it, but God is faithful to feed fresh manna to those who walk with Him in present truth. In other words, Only a tare would go around telling saints of God that there is no more revelation to be given, beyond that which was given to Bro. Branham. God will have an end time ministry of men that He has dealt with, and through their own experiences, they will have an understanding of what Bro. Branham’s message to this age really was, and what it was to do. Therefore they will be men that have been put right back into this blessed old book, (the Bible) that has stood the test through the ages, and they will have a unique way of ministering to the people of God to bring about that perfection and total unity, that the church must have before she leaves here. Furthermore there is still some more revelation to be given to the church before she leaves here, and it will not detract anything from the message brought by the star messenger, nor from the image of the star messenger, but that does not mean that God is out of business.


THE END TIME CHURCH – AND GOD’S PURPOSE

 

Let me take you to the 10th chapter of Revelation, the very chapter that mentions the 7th angel, and call your attention to the last verses in that chapter. John was lifted up in the Spirit and projected into the future, and allowed to see things as they transpired. Therefore when he saw the might angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow on His head and His face as the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire, he was standing here at the end of the age, seeing Jesus in angelic form, off of the mercy seat, with that little scroll which had been sealed with seven seals, now fully open. Brothers and Sisters: When that scene becomes a fulfilled reality, the Lord is ready to come for His church, the age is ready to close out. The sun will set on this day of salvation, and the Lord will return unto the Jews. But notice, That angel standing there with one foot on the sea, and the other on the earth, (which shows universal dominion) cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth, and when He had cried, seven thunders uttered THEIR voices. Those seven thunders spoke something that John was about to write, and a voice from heaven told him to seal up those things and write them not. Then the mighty angel lifted up His hand to heaven, and sware by the mighty Creator Himself, that there should be time no longer. Then that same voice said to John, Go and take the little book (scroll) which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. When he asked for the little book, the angel said to him, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. Now all of that was figurative language, but John ate it and it was exactly like that, sweet in his mouth and bitter in his stomach. Then it was said to him, “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” Now we all know John was an old man. How much longer he lived after that is not stated, but the fact that he was projected in the Spirit all the way to the end time, and given this experience; says to me that somewhere in front of us, when the Lord Jesus Christ is truly off the mercy seat, and the church is now made up, that same prophetic anointing is going to fall upon the church ministry, and the church is going to be dealt with through prophetic utterances. The fact that John, standing at the end of the age, heard those seven thunders utter things that are not even written, proves that to me. Those prophetic utterances will not be for the purpose of perfecting the bride; that is to be accomplished through that which is written. The Bible tells us how to live a holy life, and walk with God in a relationship of love and humbleness, but it does not tell us of everything that is coming down the road to tear the world to pieces, and things like that. Those prophecies will deal with things just ahead, that are not written in the scriptures, and they will enable the little bride of Christ to know how to conduct herself and maneuver herself through imminent conditions, to be ready to go with Jesus. God will not make these things known to the church world at large, but only to the little bride that is hungering for God, and desiring to get out of here. She will heed what those seven thunders utter; but the rest of the world will not. They could not care less, what this bunch they call fanatics, are saying. Well brothers and sisters: This old world is in a bad shape. Moral corruption and wickedness about on every hand, and will grow steadily worse and worse, all the way to the end; so let us praise God, that He has set us apart from all of that, and that even in the midst of such a mess, He can perfect us and make us into the spiritual image of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. The age will close out, and perfection will be wrought among the true children of God, all because we have been restored back to the word of God, by His prophet messenger to the age, which was that seventh angel of Revelation 10:7, and the Elijah of Malachi 4:6, in the second part. Notice Revelation 10:7, which says, “But in the days of the voice (which means the message) of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God (which is the grace age church Eph. 3:1-6) should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.” No saints, that does not mean the minute he started to preach his message, for that message had to make its way around the world and accomplish God’s purpose in His universal church. The mystery of God is definitely what Paul brought out in Ephesians 3, about how God had included Gentiles in His plan of grace, and it had not been revealed in times past, but was then revealed unto the apostles and prophets by the Spirit. When you start talking about the Church: you have to remember that the church is a universal body of people; therefore anything that is to the church, has to have time to make its rounds around the world, and have its affect. That is why these things have to be tied to the message Bro. Branham delivered to this age, instead of his personal ministry, for there are great numbers of people around the world, following his message today, that had never even heard of him, when he was still alive. These tares who run the roads with quotes, distort the whole picture, simply because the message has not done for them, what God ordained it to do for his true children, put them in the Bible, and teach them to be submissive to His Spirit. These quoters can never receive a true revelation because they do not have the revealer in them. All they can ever do is just memorize the words of Bro. Branham and put their own carnal interpretations to it. That is why they have to try to believe statements that are completely opposite to each other. God allowed Bro. Branham to say quite a few things two different ways. One way would line up with the Bible, and the other would not, and because they are unable to use their Bibles, they just simply say, Bro. Branham was a prophet, and he said it, so I believe it. That is their attitude about everything, so do not think it strange, if I do not bend over backward trying to fellowship with them. It is hard for me to fellowship anyone who has no respect for the Bible, no matter how much they claim to know about Bro. Branham. I am accused of having a bad attitude because I find no grounds for fellowship with a lot of these people. But I am absolutely sure that what I have preached is the truth, and they do not like it, and constantly criticize me, and accuse me of being out of the message, while even the scripture says, How can two walk together, except they agree? So what kind of fellowship could we have? Through the years, my congregation has been made up of people who came here in search of truth, so do not think for one minute that I am going to turn my pulpit over to these characters who would literally enjoy just getting in here, and trying to tear this assembly all to pieces. These who come here, are here because they want to be here. I have not twisted any arms, begged anyone, nor put on any kind of program, in an effort to get a following. But I do consider it my responsibility, to see that they are fed properly when they do come, so I do not put everything up to preach, that claims to be a preacher. Another thing I have learned through the years, if you just run around with everyone, they just look at you as one of them, and do not pay one bit of attention to what you have to say. I love to preach to people who are hungry for truth. I would rather go where there were only a half dozen hungry souls, than to preach to three thousand, if there is no hunger there. Crowds do not interest me. What thrills me most is to see a hungry soul reaching out for truth. I was privileged to sit under and also to have personal fellowship with the star messenger to this age, and he pointed me back to the Bible, back to the apostolic truth, and that is why I cannot help but do the same thing for others. I realize that is what my calling is, no matter what other people say about it. Bro. Branham made that Bible come alive in me; and he made the Jesus of that Bible stand head and shoulders above anything else I had ever heard.


HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR TARES

 

I hope none of you feel that I am being too hard on certain people; for that is not my purpose in saying the things I have said. I would be more than glad, just to preach the word of God, and never mention anything about these make believers again; but they will not let you ignore them. They are always gouging me in some way, or sending me literature, trying to prove that what I teach is wrong, or grabbing hold of someone in the congregation and feeding them poison, so they force me to say things that I take no particular pleasure in saying. If you really tried to see how the early church ministry felt about these tares that always pervert the word of truth, you might think my words are very mild. Jude called them brute beasts, and clouds without water. Peter called them wells without water, and clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever, and Paul called them dogs. So I feel that my speech concerning them has been on the light side. None of the apostles ever asked the saints to pray for a tare, but rather referred to them as evil workers, whose reward was already awaiting them. Each man had his own way of referring to them. Jude also referred to them as fruit trees twice dead, plucked up by the roots, and also as raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, and so on. But the fact remains, they are not atheists, nor town drunks. Somehow their lives have been touched by something they have heard preached, and in one sense of the word they believe in Jesus. But the spirit that motivated them is what caused those apostles to speak out as they did. Yet when it came to a true believer that allowed some fleshly weakness to cause him to do wrong, those same men knew exactly how to deal with that also. Take the case in 1st Cor. 5:1-5, where Paul had to deal with fornication in the church. He simply instructed the church to turn the man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. You might look at such a case and call the man a tare, but those apostles had keen discernment, and they knew the difference between a tare, and a true believer that had a fleshly weakness. No. They did not tolerate sinful practices in the church, but they did distinguish between believers with weaknesses, and tares, who were motivated by an antichrist spirit. In John’s first little epistle, in 90 A.D., he wrote, (chapter 4) “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Then in his second epistle, concerning those who preach false doctrine, John said this, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, (the doctrine of Christ, preached by the apostles) receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” Did you catch that saints? Does that sound like John had compassion for those tares in his day? He said, Don’t allow them in your house, and don’t be saying, God bless you, lest you be also a partaker of his evil deeds. It is high time a lot of people quit playing around, and get serious about what they believe. If you know what you believe is the truth, then stop allowing the devil to cram a lot of his junk down your throat, no matter who his instrument is. It is our God-given responsibility to stand up for the truth He has given us. That is how those apostle felt about it, and as long as they were alive, these tares did not make much headway. But those little epistles of John written in 90 A.D., were the last words of admonition and instruction that were ever included in the chronology of the scriptures. After that, the Church was for all practical purposes, subject to the leadership of another generation, and then the tares had a better opportunity to start making their influence count. The book of Revelation written in 96 A.D., is not an epistle; it is a prophecy, dealing with the past, present, and future. First it reveals what has been going on in the church and brings conditions up to date; then it spans time and shows what is going to take place in the end time. You will not find it dealing with the plan of salvation, but rather, dealing with what the Church has strayed from. That is why we always stress the fact that this book is not to be used to deal with sinners. If it had been for that purpose, the Lord would not have waited sixty some years to have it written. In other words, The book of Revelation does not alter in any way, the covenant of grace; it simply enlightens end time believers who will be alive to see the Lord wrap it all up, when the last predestined soul has heard the gospel call What is the gospel? Some may say. It is the good news that tells sinners Jesus Christ has paid their sin debt already, if they will only believe and accept that fact. That is why those early Christians did not need to go around quoting each other, nor quoting Jesus; there was a story to tell, and the Lord wanted each one of them to tell it in their own words. You know, saints, if you have a revelation of something, you do not need to quote someone else, you can just simply express that revelation in your own words. That is what Jesus was pointing to when he said, Father, I pray not for these alone; but also for all that shall believe on me through their word, We are believers, and partakers of these heavenly blessings, because of the word of those apostles and disciples who walked with Jesus, and told the story later, of what had been accomplished by Him on our behalf. Jesus knew what those disciples would do once they received the Holy Ghost, for once the Spirit of the Father got in them, their word would be just as loyal and true to God as His word had been. Therefore these people who go around threatening other people, because they do not say everything exactly like Bro. Branham said it, are void of revelation, and the spirit of God is not in them. I have said it to you; and I will say it to any of them who want to face me; If they have the spirit of God in them; they could tell what has happened in this generation, in their own words; they would not need to quote anyone else. When those early disciples went forth preaching the gospel, they had no sermon books written that they could carry with them to quote from; they had to tell it in their own words, and that is exactly what God wants each of us to do, if we have any call upon our lives to preach or teach. We read the words of the various writers of the scriptures, to lay the foundation, but we need to depend upon the anointing of the Spirit of God for words to express the revelation that he has given us. Once those early disciples received the Holy Ghost, then the Holy Ghost took their minds back to what Jesus had spoken to them, and then back to the Old Testament prophecies that spoke of what they were experiencing, and the picture was put together in their minds and hearts, and they were ready to tell it in their own words, and what a beautiful story they told.


GOD IS STILL REVEALING THINGS

 

I believe I should remind you once again that even though the star messenger to that first age had been dead for 30 years, God still had a vessel He could use to give a great prophecy to the church. That should let us know that God is not without a voice in the earth today, just because the star messenger to this age is dead. The five fold ministry is in the Church today, continuing on with the revelation delivered to us by that star messenger, and it will remain so as long as the bride of Christ is still here. Jesus is still on the mercy seat, and the 7th seal is still on the little scroll unbroken, and that will remain to be the picture, until the time appointed of the father, for the grace age to come to an end. When that time comes, Revelation 8:1, the breaking of the 7th seal, will be activated, and Revelation 10:1-11 will be in effect. The message of Elijah will have completed its work among the bride, and the seven thunders will begin to sound THEIR VOICES, to acquaint the bride with the coming of the Lord Jesus, for the rapture. AT the same time, the two Jewish prophets will appear upon the scene in Israel, to begin their 3 ½ years of prophesying to the people of that nation, and the seventieth week of Daniel’s seventy prophetic weeks will be in the process of fulfillment. But between now and then, just realize that we are living in that eagle age which portrays the Spirit of God in his servants of this hour, enabling them to soar so much higher and see so much more than the servants of God in other ages, while that gray (pale) horse rider is busy deceiving all those who have no love for the truth. The star messenger to this age is dead, but God is not dead, therefore it will be ridiculous for anyone to believe that God quit speaking to the church when the star messenger was taken from the scene. That is why I have endeavored to stress the fact that God gave the church the book of Revelation, (a book of prophecy) thirty years after Paul, the first age star messenger was taken from the scene. Tares are running to and fro, proclaiming that God fulfilled everything to the Church that needed to be fulfilled, when Bro. Branham was still alive, and they have a lot of people convinced that there is no more revelation to be given, and to them, that is no doubt the truth; but God still has a few things to say to the bride Church before she leaves here, and only the bride will have an ear to hear them. A few people here and there are still hearing the gospel call, but the primary emphasis in the preaching of this hour is on the perfection of the children of light. No true servant of God is adding to, nor taking from the words of the prophecy in the book of Revelation; but I am so thankful to God that he is revealing things to those who love truth, that the tares simply do not have eyes and ears to see and hear; therefore we can know what is coming upon the earth in these last days, and prepare ourselves for it. I believe the little bride will be left here long enough to see that seventieth week of Daniel start, and the two olive trees of Rev. 11:4, begin their ministry in Israel, and then she will hear that voice from heaven, saying, Come up hither; and up she will go. Those who have died in the faith will come forth from their graves, and all of us will be caught up together, to meet the Lord in the air, never to walk in this old mortal flesh ever again. Hallelujah! What a glorious expectation the children of light should have in their bosoms in this hour, as we see the end approaching. Let us walk with God, and be very sensitive to the leading of His Spirit; for there will be things take place here in the end time, that you will need to hear from God, to know how to handle them. May God bless you. Amen.

Children of Light, Part 1

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WE ARE LIVING IN AN HOUR OF ALMOST TOTAL CONFUSION CONCERNING THE WORD OF GOD. YET THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE PROFESSING TO BE CHRISTIANS IN THIS HOUR OF TIME, THAN EVER BEFORE: AND MOST OF THEM WHO ATTEND SOME KIND OF CHURCH FEEL LIKE THEY ARE ON THE ROAD TO HEAVEN, REGARDLESS OF THE KIND OF LIFE THEY LIVE. SELF APPOINTED PREACHERS ARE RUNNING EVERYWHERE; SO AGGRESSIVE AND SO AUTHORITATIVE, JUST INSTRUMENTS OF THE DEVIL, THAT HE IS USING TO MISINTERPRET AND TEAR THE BIBLE ALL TO PIECES. THEN YOU HAVE THAT GREAT MULTITUDE OF ATHEISTS WHO HAVE NO RESPECT AT ALL FOR THE BIBLE, AND GO TO ALMOST ANY EXTREMES TO DISCREDIT IT; SO HOW COULD THERE BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN CONFUSION, EXCEPT AMONG THE VERY FEW WHO DO HAVE A TRUE REVELATION OF THE WORD OF GOD? THE AGNOSTICS AND ATHEISTS SAY, HOW CAN YOU PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF GOD, AND HOW CAN YOU PROVE THAT THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD, AND ALL SUCH AS THIS. BUT I SAY, IT WILL NOT TAKE ANOTHER GENERATION OF PEOPLE TO SETTLE THESE ARGUMENTS, FOR I AM PERSUADED THAT THIS GENERATION WILL LIVE TO SEE THE WINDUP OF ALL THAT IS PROPHESIED IN THE SCRIPTURES. NO I AM NOT SAYING THAT I WILL LIVE TO SEE IT; I MAY, AND THEN AGAIN I MAY NOT; BUT THERE ARE PEOPLE LIVING TODAY THAT WILL SURELY LIVE TO SEE THE END OF IT ALL. THAT IS WHY I SAY, WE ARE LIVING IN A MOST CRUCIAL HOUR OF TIME: AND GOD’S TRUE CHILDREN NEED TO TAKE STOCK OF THEIR LIVES, AND GET IT SETTLED ONCE AND FOR ALL, WHAT THEY BELIEVE AND WHERE THEY STAND. THOSE WHO ARE CHILDREN OF LIGHT NEED TO WALK IN THAT LIGHT, AND STOP ALLOWING THE DEVIL TO KICK THEM AROUND. YOU NEED NOT BE SUBJECT TO EVERY MAN’S IDEAS ABOUT THE BIBLE, FOR YOU CAN KNOW THE TRUTH AND BE SUBJECT ONLY TO THAT. THIS IS THE REASON I HAVE CHOSEN TO TITLE THIS MESSAGE, “CHILDREN OF LIGHT,” FOR BY THE HELP OF THE LORD, I WANT TO SHOW YOU THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHILDREN OF LIGHT, AND ALL THE REST WHO CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIANS.


THE WORLD IS FULL OF PEOPLE WHO WILL SAY, SURE I BELIEVE IN GOD; BUT WHEN YOU OPEN THE BIBLE AND TRY TO PRESENT A TRUE REVELATION OF WHAT IS RECORDED THEREIN, THEY WILL DRAW A LINE, AND FORBID YOU TO CROSS IT. WHY? BECAUSE THEY THEMSELVES HAVE NO REVELATION OF WHAT TRUE SALVATION IS; BUT WITH THE MIND: THEY BELIEVE, ACCORDING TO WHATEVER TRADITIONAL THEORY ABOUT GOD THEY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE RESULTS OF SOME OF THESE RELIGIOUS POLLS THAT ARE TAKEN: IT LOOKS LIKE AMERICA REALLY IS A CHRISTIAN NATION AFTER ALL. BUT WHEN YOU KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT MUCH OF WHAT IS CALLED CHRISTIANITY; YOU KNOW THAT WE ARE A LONG WAY FROM BEING A CHRISTIAN NATION. MORAL AND SOCIAL CORRUPTION TIP THE SCALES HEAVILY TOWARD THE DEVIL’S SIDE IN THE OVERALL PICTURE OF THIS AGE; EVEN THOUGH IT IS THE AGE OF PERFECTION FOR THE LITTLE BRIDE OF CHRIST. THAT JUST GOES TO SHOW WHAT THE SPIRIT OF GOD CAN DO IN THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO ARE THE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS GREAT PURPOSE. HE CAN LEAD THEM RIGHT DOWN THE NARROW ROAD OF TRUTH; WHEN THERE IS NOTHING BUT HYPOCRISY AND OUTRIGHT UNGODLINESS ALL AROUND THEM. HE CAN GIVE THEM PEACE; WHEN IN THE WORLD THERE IS NO PEACE. PRAISE HIS NAME. BROTHERS AND SISTERS: YOU NEED NOT LOOK FOR PEACE ANYWHERE ELSE EXCEPT IN THE LORD. ISRAEL IS BACK AT HOME IN THE LAND OF HER HERITAGE, AND PRACTICALLY THE WHOLE WORLD IS AGAINST HER, BUT SOMEHOW THE LORD HAS CAUSED THIS NATION TO BE A TRUE FRIEND TO HER, AND BECAUSE OF THAT, MUCH OF THE WORLD IS AGAINST US, AND IT WILL REMAIN SO UNTIL THE END, SO DO NOT LOOK FOR WORLD PEACE, BEFORE JESUS SITS ON THE THRONE OF DAVID IN THE MILLENNIUM. HOWEVER AS I HAVE ALREADY STATED, I BELIEVE THIS IS THE GENERATION THAT WILL LIVE TO SEE GOD CLOSE OUT THIS DISPENSATION OF GRACE, AND USHER IN THE MILLENNIUM. SO THE TRUE CHRISTIAN OF THIS HOUR REALLY NEEDS TO HAVE A MIND THAT IS CLEAR, STABLE, AND STEADFAST, FOR I AM PERSUADED THAT THINGS WILL MOVE VERY FAST FROM HERE ON OUT TO THE END.


THE DAY OF SALVATION

 

Let us open our Bibles to 2nd Corinthians, chapter 6, where in verse 2 the apostle Paul refers to a prophecy spoken by Isaiah, (which is recorded in Isaiah 49:8) and gives us the revelation of it. “For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Paul uses DAY and TIME, in this verse, so let me say this, When we hear the word day: we immediately think of daylight, but in language structure, a word like that is used in various ways, and the children of light must know how to apply the scriptures, and actually see themselves in every scripture that pertains to salvation. If they do not, Satan will side track them somewhere along the way, and cause them much trouble. In his Thessalonian letter, Paul says, We are not children of the night; but children of the day. In other words, children of light. But this is another usage of the word day. Children of the night are the unbelievers of the world, and we who believe are the children of the day. In this sense, the word day does not pertain to a period of time, but to a condition inside of us, for we have the light of God’s word within us. On the other hand, the children of the night have nothing but darkness inside of them, yet all are living in the same period of time. When Paul said, This is the day of salvation, he was referring to the dispensation of time that Isaiah had prophesied about. In other words, The prophet was inspired to write of a time somewhere out in future time, when the Spirit of God would work with mankind, to bring this great plan of salvation to a present reality, and the whole dispensation when He would do that, is referred to as the day of salvation. Therefore the word day, as pertaining to a period of time, can be 24 hours, or the daylight period of 24 hours, or it can be a period of time that lasts for many years, as is the case here. We call it the grace age, because it is a dispensation of time, wherein the Spirit of God deals with individuals, and leads them to a place where they willingly accept the free gift of his grace, which is the free pardon of all their sins. It is God’s appointed time to deal with man on the basis of his own personal salvation. Therefore DAY points to what is inside of us, and also to the period of time in which it was imputed to us. I hope you understand my illustrations concerning the word day, for I have a reason for making these points at this time.


WHAT THE DAY OF SALVATION IS FOR

 

People the world over, are getting hold of the sermons of Bro. Branham. They are being published in various languages, and sent free of charge, just like the Contender is. But the fact remains that if a person does not have the Holy Ghost inside to do what Jesus said he would do, (guide you into all truth) that person is not going to read anything right. Educational degrees are not worth two cents when it comes to receiving a revelation of the word of God. This is how God keeps light separated from darkness: He only illuminates those who will humble themselves, and come His way. The world is full of all kinds of teachers, preachers, and instructors, and a lot of them have money to spend, to open the doors they want opened; but for the most part; they are just fulfilling the 2nd parable of Jesus, in Matthew 13:24. That is the one that speaks of a man which sowed good seed in his field, and while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat. Then later, when his servants discovered the tares growing among the wheat: and asked if they should go out and gather them up, the answer was, “Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Jesus said the kingdom of heaven was to be like this, and when the explanation was given: we find that the field is the world; the sower of the good seed was Jesus, and the good seed was those apostolic Christians of that first age. “But while men slept:” speaks of the time when that first generation of Christians were sleeping in death, and no longer on the scene to guard the pure revelation of the word of God. The devil was then able to sow his tare seed (make believers) among those of the second generation, because they did not guard the true revelation as close as their fathers did. Therefore the children of God, and the children of that wicked one, (the devil) have all been growing right along together ever since, and we are now living in the time of the end of that parable. The application of the end of it is a present day reality, so there is no need for us to close our eyes, and pretend that this confusion will go away. It will not go away; it will get worse, for God has already set in motion the separating process; whereby the tares are being gathered together, and of course the end of it all is that they will be burned in the lake of fire, after the great white throne judgment has been completed. The two spirits have both produced seed in each age of time, but you will not find one denominational preacher anywhere today, that can tell you the difference between the two seed lines. They know there are tares present, but if they even mention it at all, they will just say something like, We just have to leave all of that in the hands of God. Jesus said, that in the harvest time, he would send forth His angels to do the separating; and when we read that: we immediately think of spirit beings. Well spirit beings truly are in the picture, but not like we are prone to think. They set in motion the conditions that affect our lives, but God always uses men in the overall picture of what He is doing. As we look around us, and take note of what is being preached: I believe we will have to agree that there are a lot of men today, being used to gather tares together. God’s true servants are preaching a true revelation, and all the rest are preaching something else, and people are choosing what they will follow. That is how it is being done, but it could not be done until after the 7th church age messenger delivered his message to the age; for that message is the great separating factor. That is why I say, It is important how a true servant of God uses the scriptures. Therefore in the scriptures which speak of the day of salvation: though they speak of, or apply to the whole dispensation of grace which includes many centuries of days and nights, the revelation points to only daylight time; not night time. Even though over nineteen hundred years have passed, we are still living in that day of salvation; for the door of God’s grace has not yet been closed. Then we want to realize that in every generation which has lived in that day, the Spirit of God has gleaned from it the children of light, which were foreknown of Him from before the foundation of the world. All of this has been done in the daylight time of the day those prophets prophesied about, and when the night time of that day finally comes upon the world, this dispensation of grace will be ended. No more Gentiles will ever be saved by the preaching of the gospel, but the foolish virgins who are left here when the rapture takes place, will purge themselves through martyrdom, during the great tribulation time of the seventieth week of Daniel.


CONFUSION – AND SPIRITUAL DARKNESS

 

Go with me now into the book of Zechariah, where we will read another prophecy showing the consistency with which the word DAY moves through the scriptures. This prophecy of Zechariah followed Isaiah by more than two centuries, and shows us how consistent the Holy Ghost keeps these focal points flowing. We are looking at verses 6 & 7, in chapter 14, which says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, (Day is the focal point, and after it starts: there will come a time when this applies) that the light shall NOT be clear, nor dark.” That is speaking of the light of that day, which we know is the whole dispensation of grace, and speaks spiritually of the light of the gospel. In the natural, we have seen days that even though the sun rose and set right on time, we never saw one glimmer of its light throughout the whole day. But the point is, it was daytime just the same; for no matter how dark the clouds make it, there is enough light penetrating them, to associate that particular time as daylight. On a day like that; when the sun does set, and night time comes on, oh how dark it is. Well we are talking about a day that Isaiah and Zechariah both wrote about; a dispensation of time wherein God would deal with lost mankind on the basis of personal salvation. But Zechariah goes further, and speaks of a time within that day, (or dispensation) when the light of that day would pass through a stage when it would be neither clear, nor dark, and we need to fully understand what the prophecy was referring to; lest there be unnecessary confusion about it. Let us read verse 7 now. “But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, (Yes, it is His appointed day, and He is not going to let it come to a close, without Him intervening to allow for the fulfilling of all other prophecies.) Not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light.” Just think, brothers and sisters: Those Jewish prophets prophesied that, and after hundreds of years, the Jewish people still did not know what the prophecies were pointing to. We are living more than 1900 years beyond the dawning of that day: which began at the birth of the Church, recorded in Acts 2, and at that time, only Jews were privileged to see the light of it. But later, when the Jewish people as a whole rejected this light: God took it from them, and offered it to the Gentiles in the same beautiful structure in which it was presented to the Jews. It did not stay like that very long after the Gentiles got hold of it though; for the devil used those Gentile theologians to cloud it over, in an attempt to shut out all the light. They added creeds, dogmas, traditions, and ceremonies of every sort, a little more in every generation, until finally the Christian world moved off into what was known as “The Dark Ages.” The written word of God remained the same; but men’s understanding of it kept getting less and less, until it seemed like all that beautiful light was lost behind clouds of confusion and spiritual darkness. It seems that carnal minded mankind always tries to dress up everything God does, and by the time they get through dressing it up; it has lost its original purpose and God is out of it. Oh the structure remains the same, but the glow of it is gone. Nevertheless, let me assure you that we are still living in the day called the day of salvation, no matter what some may say. I thank God that Jesus is still on the mercy seat, and that human souls still have that door open to them. God Himself is the only one that knows when the last lost soul will come into the fold, but until that time; the day of salvation will not expire, and when that time comes, no man is going to prolong it. World conditions cause us to feel that time is running out, but even still, God is the only one that knows for sure when this day of salvation will come to a close. That is why, even today, we can still say, Now is the accepted time; even though it seems that there is little concern anymore.

 

AMERICA – NO LONGER A CHRISTIAN NATION

 

There was a time when America was considered to be a Christian nation. She maintained separation of church and state, yet the government officials and school officials recognized God’s place in the affairs of mankind, even though they did not all profess to be Christians themselves; therefore she was projected forth as a Christian nation. However those days are far behind us now. Demon inspired and demon possessed people have been able to inject their ideas and influences, and get all of that changed; so that America today is just like an old dead carcass full of maggots. The Bible, and prayer has been kicked out of the schools, and God is not to be considered in anything. Therefore lawlessness is abounding in every level of society, and it will all get worse, instead of better. You do not go away from home and leave your doors unlocked today, like people did fifty years ago. If you do, you may return home and find that everything you own has been taken. These drug addicts and alcoholics have to support their habits somehow, and this is one of their ways. Even small children are caught in these traps of the devil. Sometimes you wonder where God will ever find anyone fit to pass into the Millennium, for the purpose of repopulating the world, after He has cleansed it one more time. Well we do not have to worry about that, God has those souls reserved for that purpose. But you do find yourself thinking about those lines, as you look around about you, and observe the ungodliness that abounds on every hand, and realize how few people even care what God thinks about their ways. Yes, spiritually it is a dismal day, or dismal hour of the dispensation called the day of salvation, just like Zechariah prophesied that it would be. Spiritually speaking, it is neither clear nor dark, as you would think in terms of day and night, except to the little bride of Christ. She knows where she is, in this hour of time, but religion in general is caught behind a dark cloud of confusion and deception.


AT EVENING TIME – IT SHALL BE LIGHT

 

In the book of Acts, when the Church first started out: oh how beautiful the glow of the gospel of Jesus Christ was, as it touched the lives of people. As we have already pointed out, it was first offered to the Jews; and there was only one of two choices that they could make. When they heard the gospel preached, they either chose to remain in Judaism, or they forsook all, to follow Christ; and if they chose to follow Christ, there was only one way to believe. There was no such thing as going to the church of your choice in those days. There was only one Church, and those who were in it, all believed the same thing; the revelation taught by the apostles. The book of Revelation had not even been written, when that first age Church rose to the peak of its beauty. Furthermore the Christians of the first few years had none of the New Testament epistles that are so precious to us. They were all written later, after other assemblies were formed as a result of the missionary activities of those early Christians. Two thousand years ago, our Gentile ancestors were devil worshipers, and Gentiles in general are fast returning to the religious practices of their ancient ancestors. Lawlessness was a common thing then; and our present society is fast returning to the very same thing. We could dwell upon the social and spiritual state of mankind in this hour of time, but I feel that our most urgent need, is to try to clear up some of the misunderstanding that surrounds some of these key prophecies of the scriptures. Human life was very cheap, before the gospel of Jesus Christ came over to the Gentiles. But because God had purposed to take from among the Gentiles, a people for His name: the Holy Ghost moved back the tide of Satan, and began to clean up that society, and Gentiles received the gospel, with the same enthusiasm those first Jews received it with. It was when the first age died off, that Satan once again was able to put forth certain ideas that would eventually lead the Church into a very dark hour of time. In that Thyatira age, the fourth church age, there was very little of that original gospel light left. It was hard for men to actually see what the Christian object really was. Nevertheless that prophecy of Zechariah was still in the Bible, and must be fulfilled, so just before the light went completely out and night time set in: God did something to allow the light to begin to break through, for according to Zechariah, There would be light in the evening time. Brothers and Sisters: That is exactly what the Reformation was all about. Once it began to strike at the 15th century; just as it went the other way, slowly the darkness of the creeds and dogmas of Catholicism, and make room for the fulfillment of that prophecy, just before the sun sets, here in this twentieth century. “But it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.” Nowhere in the scriptures will you find any part of this dispensation of grace referred to as a period of night time. You may think so, as you read certain things in the book of Revelation, that are there to carry a type; but literally, when the night time does set in, the dispensation of grace is over with. That is why I feel so compelled to deal with these scriptures which are related to this dispensation; we need to know where we stand in relation to them. In other words, The dispensation of grace (the day of salvation) is not a period of day and night, you have to think of it in terms like, from sun rise to sun set, daylight time, not night time. Of course I realize that some of you will say, or at least think, Bro. Jackson: Why are you acting like this is so important? Well it is because it really is important; and I believe that the Spirit of God will cause you to realize how important it is; if you will just follow the message until we get through.


WHAT THE REFORMATION DID

 

As we look at this period in which there will be light at evening time, let me say this, I am convinced the Reformation, from the message of Luther, and on through Calvin, Knox, Wesley, and all the rest, was designed by the Creator, to move back the thick clouds of the religious systems of man, and allow the light of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, to once again begin to illuminate the minds and hearts of an element of people, that will make up the part of his bride, that will be alive on earth, when he comes for her. Just think, right here in the twentieth century, God has rolled back those dark clouds, and allowed us endtime Christians to see the glow of that apostolic gospel. We have been allowed to receive it with the same understanding the early church received it. Not because we deserved it; but because of the mercy of God, as he fulfilled that portion of His word. This is how we need to look at, and understand all prophecy. It is God’s word, that must be fulfilled, and it is by his mercy that any of us are privileged to have a part in it. This prophecy has no Jewish application whatsoever; it is altogether a Gentile setting. Do not try to take the book of Revelation and make it otherwise. The book of Revelation is a total prophecy of its own; and there is nothing in it that breaks the consistent flow of all other prophecies of the scriptures, even though some try to make it so. I have said many times, the book of Revelation is a love letter to the Bride of Christ. It is true that much of it is about the Jews, how God will deal with them after the grace age ends, and so forth, but the revelation therein is for the bride of Christ, as she makes herself ready to meet him in the air one day soon. So called Christianity does not even know where it is, in the Bible. It is completely ignorant of the word of God. They have a few pet scriptures they cling to, and the rest can be tossed in the garbage can, as far as anyone cares. They do not know how to walk with God in the light of the Bible. It is completely ignorant of the word of God. The reason I can make such a statement as this, is because of all the precious truths of the word of God, that they reject, and even go so far as to say, That doctrine is from the pit of hell. That is why I am so thankful today; I realize that except for the mercy of God, I could still be sitting right among them, (those that will not walk in present truth) just as blind as a bat. God saved my soul, and while I was still in that old Methodist Church, down here in Harrison County, showed me some things that the Methodist Church does not teach. One February morning as I sat at home, on the couch, I opened the Bible to the first chapter of Luke, not knowing anything about a Pentecostal experience, nor anything beyond what the Methodists and the Church of Christ believe, and the Lord showed me something that I found to be real as life itself. I was reading about Zacharias coming into the temple to burn incense, and how the angel of the Lord came to him, to tell him that his prayer for a son had been answered, and that his name should be called John, and in verse 17, where he said, “And he shall go before Him (the Lord) in the spirit and power of Elijah, or Elias, (which is Elijah) to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord,” I could not help but notice that the angel did not quote all of Malachi 4:5 & 6. He stopped right in the middle of verse 6; and when I read it that time, I said, If we are living in the days just before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; He will send that spirit of Elijah again, but I did not know how, when, where, or anything else about it. I will assure you of one thing though, It was God that put that in my heart that day. No man had done it. Furthermore that is something your educated theologians refuse to accept, which reminds me of something the apostle Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 1:26. “For ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.” Why? They know too much. That does not mean that Jesus did not die for them; it is just that they are too proud of their own achievements to accept what God has provided for lost mankind. For to come God’s way: Jesus said we must humble ourselves and become as little children, with that same child-like faith. That is why he also said, It is harder for a rich man to enter into the kingdom, than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Now most people think of a needle that women sew with; but that is not what Jesus had in mind at all. Right over there in the old walled city of Jerusalem, there was a hole in the rock wall, near the gate, and it was there for a very good reason. When the sun went down and the guards shut the gate to the city, there was no way for travelers to bring their camels into the city all loaded up. That was how they prevented gangsters from slipping in and doing them harm. The guards would say, Unload your camels, and come through the needle’s eye. That meant they had to crawl through; they could not come into the city with anything concealed. So when you know that, it helps you to better understand what Jesus meant.


THE ELIJAH FOR THE LAODICEAN AGE

 

Modern day religion, especially the charismatics, place a lot of emphasis on material wealth. Their preachers are always talking about how God wants to bless you with a million dollars, or something like that. Now please do not get me wrong; I am not against people having wealth. I would be a foolish person to take a stand like that without any scripture to back me up. On the other hand though, I do know that the apostle Paul instructed Timothy to withdraw himself from perverse and corrupt men who are destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness. Well he did say, Godliness with contentment is great gain; so I hope you can all see the difference, because religion as a whole, has the cart in front of the horse for sure, for money is about all they talk about any more. Why? Because they are blind and destitute of the truth of God’s word. I just have to be thankful for the fact that God gave me something more to preach about, than earthly riches, for I never would have been any good at that; I am just not made that way. As for the way God dealt with me about Bro. Branham: I want you all to know how much I appreciate that, for it enabled me to keep my feet on the ground and see exactly what God anointed him to do in this age. When a brother told me about Bro. Branham being in Africa, and what God had done through his ministry there, and what had happened up here on the Ohio River, when he was baptizing some believers, I never doubted it the least bit; but said, if those words be true: then this is that Elijah which is to come. A few nights later, I was privileged to hear him preach and to observe his ministry, and after that, I heard just as many of his sermons as any of those so called experts on his ministry, that are running the roads today. What I saw and heard convinced me that he was the man that would fulfill the 2nd half of Malachi 4:6, and I always respected him as that man. I have lived long enough since his death to see what some of his followers are trying to make out of him, and how others react to it. Preachers have come to Jeffersonville from all over the world to see the Tabernacle where he preached, the cemetery where he is buried, the old station wagon he was killed in, and various places where some of his experiences took place, and when they leave this area, they have a revelation that they cannot wait to give to the world. But most of the time their revelation is as inconsistent with the Bible as Roman Catholic traditions. They just simply cannot be satisfied to allow him the place God gave him, without trying to make a god out of him, or make him God. He was anointed with the power of God, as the Reformation was coming to its climaxing purpose: to take the gospel of Jesus Christ and preach it as the first age apostles preached it. True light once again began to break forth, and we were privileged to see the power of God demonstrated as the gospel was once again preached the way the early Church preached it. God did not do that to make the man himself God, but rather, that we might be privileged to hear the gospel preached and demonstrated in a way that would return us to the faith of those first age apostolic fathers. It behooves every believer to have an ear to hear what has truly happened in our day. For I believe with all my heart that we are living very close to the setting of the sun, in the day that Isaiah and Zechariah prophesied about. That day is still in effect, the sun has not set yet; but it is getting very late in the evening time. Just because there was to be light in the evening time, a lot of people have the idea that the minute Bro. Branham died, the sun slid over the horizon, and we are living in the night after. No. When it is night, the Church will be gone, and the great tribulation will be upon the earth. The darkest hour the world has ever known will come upon it, when the sun sets in the day we have been reading about, and talking about. I have a reason for taking this approach to this message, for there are certain scriptures that need to be set straight for some people, concerning what God has done in the earth, and what He will do yet.


ANTICHRIST DOCTRINES

 

More than anything else at this time, I want to make saints of God aware of how the enemy will try to blacken and darken this end time message, with all of this confusion that is being perpetrated by people who claim to be called of God to preach the gospel. There are as many tares running the roads, quoting Bro. Branham in this hour, as there are priests quoting the pope. I have to tell you, when I analyze some of the things they put together, out of Bro. Branham’s messages, I realize that they have the same spirit on them, that is behind the Roman Catholic religious structure. The Catholics claim to go back to the apostle Peter with what they teach; but they do not know a bit more about Peter, than a jack rabbit. They do not even know, that Peter was not the apostle to the Gentiles, nor that he was never in Rome. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, and true Christians know that; but just because of what they heard later, that Jesus said to Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,” they canonized Peter, and gave him a place that God never meant for him to have. They give him recognition as the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church; but they refuse to live like Peter lived. They will not preach what Peter preached, nor baptize the way Peter baptized, yet they hide behind his fleshly image, and cry, We are the Church, and look upon anyone who differs with them, as a heretic. They call their popes, the successors of Peter. Then they will bow down and worship them, something Peter would never allow anyone to do. Brother you talk about a lie out of the pit of hell: that whole system is a lie. Can anyone blame Peter for that? Absolutely not. I guarantee you: If Peter could stand in the streets of Rome today, you would hear some different sounds coming out from there. You would not find any foot kissing, bead counting, nor hail Mary’s. There would either be some genuine repentance, or there would be some people scrambling to get away from him. Well what causes people to do what those poor Catholic people do? It is a satanic spirit; God has nothing in them. Therefore when I speak of what men have done with the image of Bro. Branham: I am not saying one thing against Bro. Branham. He is not responsible for what these serpent seed types have done. They are motivated by the same satanic spirits that Catholicism is motivated by. It is what men under the inspiration of these false spirits have projected the flesh of Bro. Branham to be, that is causing so much trouble and confusion. They apply their revelations to what he said, and then try to rule people who will listen to them, by using fear tactics. But, Saints: Let us remember the words of Paul to Timothy, in 2nd Timothy 1:7 which says, “for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” When you find a man who is claiming to be a servant of God, using fear tactics in an effort to get people to believe what he is teaching: Mark that man and get away from him, for God does not call men to operate like that. Whatever is taught by the anointing of the Holy Ghost is only for those who have an ear to hear it anyhow, so fear has no place at all in it. Your only reason for fear, is when you know to do right and do otherwise.


A LOOK AT THIS DAY OF SALVATION

 

As we continue looking at Zechariah 14:6 & 7, let me say this: there is not a Methodist anywhere that knows what this pertains to, nor a Baptist, nor a Catholic, nor a denominational Pentecost. It is a prophecy pertaining to the dispensation, and to the age we are living in, but the full revelation of it, has to be opened up to you by the Holy Ghost. You can accept what I say about it, but if the Holy Ghost does not open it up to you, it will only be in your head, and the devil will cause you to wrestle with it from time to time. Therefore let us go back into Isaiah 49, and read verse 8, the prophecy that Paul’s revelation in 2nd Corinthians 6:2 was taken from. “Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day (not a day of 24 hours, but a period of time) of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.” That is a prophecy also: written in the 8th century B.C. But it is pertaining to this day of salvation we are now living in. It will not help those who hear the tapes; but for the benefit of you sitting here, we are using this chart back here to illustrate what we are saying about this day. It represents the whole period of time we are dealing with, right from the dawning of the day of salvation, on the day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts 2. Dawning is always associated with the rising of the sun in a solar day of 24 hours. You look to the east in the morning, and you can see the sun as it begins to appear over the horizon on a clear day, and what a beautiful light it gives to the earth as it sweeps toward the west, where it will disappear over the horizon on a clear day, and what a beautiful light it gives to the earth as it sweeps toward the west, where it will disappear over the horizon in the evening, and when it sets, it is night time upon that part of the earth, but all the hours in between the rising of the sun, and the setting of the sun, are daylight hours, no matter how cloudy and dismal it may become during that day. This is what I want you to keep in mind, as we deal with this period of time called the day of salvation, which covers the whole grace age, and runs through many centuries of time. Naturally the sun is always associated with what illuminates the earth in the daylight hours, as we think about daytime; therefore the natural sun of the solar day types the Son of God in this spiritual day of hundreds of years, and the light from that sun (SON) was first projected to the world through the ministries of His chosen apostles, and at the dawning of that (or this) day, that light first illuminated 120 true disciples which were assembled in an upper room, there in Jerusalem, and then a little later, another three thousand souls were illuminated by that same light, and then another five thousand and so on, and through all of the centuries since then, that same light has been shining, even though there have been times when it was very cloudy. As long as there are souls being saved, we are still in that day, no matter how few there may be, for when the sun finally does set on this day, it will mean that the last foreknown seed has heard and accepted the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This day started (we will say) in the year 33 A.D., and here we are in the year 1986 A.D., and the light of that certain day is still illuminating and leading the foreknown children of God.


A NEW DISPENSATION – A NEW COVENANT

 

The Jewish nation had passed through 1400 years of the law dispensation which consisted of types and shadows of the next dispensation that was to come. All of that was likened unto night time, but in that artificial light, there was life given to every soul that sought after God. The ministries of John the Baptist, and of Jesus Christ Himself, brought that old dispensation (night season) to a close, and opened up the way for the new dispensation (day time) to go into effect. John was NOT a writing prophet; he was a preaching prophet, reaching back into the law and bringing out scriptures that pointed to a new dispensation, which would be referred to as a day, another period of time wherein another covenant would be applied. The old had to come to an end, for the new to begin. There has been no life in the keeping of that covenant, since the grace age has been in effect. Jesus had to give his life, shed his blood, and be resurrected from the dead, in order for this new covenant to become effective, but from that time on, no one, absolutely no one has received eternal life, by the keeping of the law. Trying to obtain salvation by keeping the law, in this dispensation, would be just as vain as going out here, and trying to buy a new car with Confederate currency; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, except the name Jesus Christ. We know that we are living in the day of grace, that those prophets prophesied about, and we ought to know that we are living in the evening time of that day, just as we read of, in Zechariah 14:6-7. As I said, This is a prophecy that applies only to the dispensation of grace. When the age started, the sun, which was the revelation of Jesus Christ preached by the apostles, rose on this day, a day in which this gospel of Jesus Christ was to produce an experience in the lives of every predestinated seed of God, and that experience was explained by the apostle Peter, in 2nd Peter 1:19. There he says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” As I said earlier, We really need to get these verses of scripture lined out in our understanding. The prophecy of Zechariah, speaks of the day in which there is supposed to be light, but that light became so clouded over, that the light of the sun (SON) could not be seen in its full glow, so a lot of people would think that the light was no longer there. But the prophecy declares, That at evening time it shall be light, and that being the word of God, it could not fail. Therefore here in the evening time of that dispensation of grace, the sun has broken through all of that religious confusion and tradition, and once again the revelation of Jesus Christ can be seen and understood in the same light those original apostles preached it in. This in turn gives the end time children of God the same light and understanding the first Christians had, and the scripture in 2nd Pet. 1:19 therefore applies to the individual believer’s own experience.