WE ARE DEALING WITH THIS MESSAGE ON THE BODY OF CHRIST, AND WE WANT TO COVER EVERY ASPECT OF IT, THEREFORE I WILL USE A NUMBER OF PRACTICAL ILLUSTRATIONS JUST TO MAKE CERTAIN POINTS. OF COURSE WE REALIZE THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST IS A UNIVERSAL BODY, AND IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD THINGS ARE SEEN AND UNDERSTOOD IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN WHAT WE SEE THEM, BUT NEVERTHELESS I BELIEVE THE MESSAGE WILL BE UNDERSTOOD BY THOSE WHO ARE DESTINED TO RECEIVE IT. FURTHERMORE I AM PERSUADED THAT GOD HAS HIS SERVANTS SO POSITIONED AROUND THIS WORLD, THAT EVERY BRIDE PERSON WILL BE ABLE TO RECEIVE THAT WHICH IS NECESSARY FOR THEIR SPIRITUAL GROWTH IN THIS LATE HOUR OF TIME, FOR GOD’S PLAN OF PERFECTION WILL NOT FAIL. WITH THAT IN MIND, LET US KEEP OUR CONFIDENCE IN HIM, BELIEVE HIS WORD, AND LEARN TO FOLLOW HIS LEADING. I want to make a few statements, to call our attention to how uniquely the Bible is arranged. The three chapters we have been discussing, chapter 12, 13 and 14, of 1 Corinthians, were written by the st apostle Paul, to lay a foundation upon which the believer might be able to find his or her place in the body of Christ. All of this is built around the functioning of nine gifts of the Spirit of God. In the latter verses of chapter 12, he speaks of how God set in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, and so on, speaking also of some of the gifts. He just speaks in general terms, of what the body of Christ is made up of. But his main emphasis seems to be upon the gifts, their distribution, their operation, and the correct motive behind all of that. Then right on over in Ephesians 4, just to point out the uniqueness of the Bible, you find Paul writing of the body of Christ to them. “There is one body, (Eph. 4:4) 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, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” What he says there, leads up to another breakdown of what the body of Christ is composed of, and instead of dealing with the gifts, he deals with the gifted ministry that God has set in the church. Through this ministry, God purposed to administer His divine word, which would be the foundation upon which the whole church is built. The book of Acts gives a brief history of the early years of the church, and shows how the gospel went from the Jews to the Gentiles on the same level of revelation and spiritual manifestations that it started out with. But then, by the time that first century is closing out, the church is already starting to make its descent into what eventually turned out to be apostasy. The church lost that great relationship wherein the fruits of the Spirit were really manifested. It did not happen suddenly, but little by little, as the old soldiers of the faith died off. History lets us see that the church in that Dark Age period, was not the body of Christ in operation at all. God only moved by His Spirit, to keep what was then called, “The Church,” in existence for the purpose of salvation. But at no time was the body of Christ functioning as that mystical body was meant to function. Every manifestation of His power during those years, was strictly for the purpose of calling attention to Himself, and allow some poor soul to be brought to the realization that he needed salvation. Christendom in that hour was far from its apostolic beginning. The gifts of the Spirit had long since been turned into a ritual, just a form of Godliness, and it remained like that for hundreds of years.
LET GOD LEAD YOU
We know from various accounts, that in the ministry of John Wesley, many times, there were manifestations of people speaking in tongues, but in that hour, there was no preeminence given to such a thing. All emphasis was placed upon the convicting power of God, to bring men to the plan of salvation. Yet John Wesley wrote somewhere in his writings, Where is the nine manifestations of the Spirit, that was once in the apostolic church? He could see that they ought to be there, but an occasional outbreak of speaking in tongues, was all there was. Naturally he saw all of that in the Bible, so why would he not wonder where those gifts were? Right there in chapter 12, verse 31, Paul said, “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way,” or as we said earlier, The proper way to go about it. In other words, pursue all things with an attitude of love. Love stands head and shoulders above everything else that Paul could mention. Therefore love is the avenue that every true believer will travel. Regardless of what kind of test you are faced with, or how much you are persecuted, love should always rule your life. It will not make you compromise, but it will keep you from getting all heated up, and taking a club to someone, to try to change the situation. Therefore in an attitude of love, the believer is to seek after spiritual gifts, and desire to prophesy. Saints I believe we are living in an hour, when true children of God ought to begin to feel something inside of them, that would cause them to cry out, God just help me to be able to fulfill my little part of whatever you have ordained for my life. Too many times, people take the attitude, I am saved, filled with the Holy Ghost, and on my way to heaven, and they fail to realize that they have some responsibility along the way. Satan will sidetrack you if he can. It is our responsibility, to make sure that does not happen. Jesus prayed for us, and God will enable us to keep ourselves free from the things of the world, if we will only look to Him for that help. It is so easy to allow your mind to be conquered by the things of this world, a true child of God really has to keep on his toes, lest it happen. We need to realize that we are not our own; we are purchased with a great price; therefore He who purchased us, or redeemed us, should have the privilege of leading our lives down the avenue He chooses. I am not saying that we should all be prophesying, nor that we should all be speaking in tongues, but we need to be in a place where God can exercise those gifts through us when He sees fit to do so. It is just like it says here, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” Whatever God is allowed to lead you to do, will not be done in vain, it will be of benefit to someone. In other words, Every member of a healthy body is always ready to do what the mind directs it to do, and the body of Christ should be the same way. Paul is presenting a picture of what a healthy body of Christ is to be like. Everyone should be doing their part, and not have 60 percent running the streets, and the other 40 percent doing all the fasting and praying, and seeking to be more like Jesus. Brothers and Sisters: I am not saying these things to sound ridiculous, but when Paul said, Pray without ceasing, he meant exactly that. You can have your mind on God, and still do everything you are supposed to do. You can meditate upon the Lord, and still drive nails, chop wood, or drive an old farm tractor, just the same, if it is your spirit that God communicates with. When we keep everything in the right perspective, God will not interfere with you being able to do your regular work. God has been very merciful to people from all walks of religious life. He has given them access to His goodness, and many of them have grabbed everything that can gratify the flesh, but have failed to yield themselves to the will of God. It seems that some people just simply cannot seem to help living as a selfish individual, but I truly believe the time is at hand, for people who do truly love God, to begin to live as though they do. The rest of those Jews were brought out of Sudan, and Spain and Portugal are going into the European Common Market, so that tells me something. To a lot of people those things are just so much news, but brother, that is prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes. It just brings us a little closer to the time when the Lord will come to take His bride Church away with Him. It is no time for anyone to feel like they have time just to play around with religion. If you are in a denominational system of religion, and the Lord sees fit to fill you with His Spirit, that same Spirit will lead you out of that system somewhere in the future. It is true, every system of religion in the realm of what is called Christianity, has some scriptural truth that they stand upon, but they will turn right around and deny dozens of other truths, that others believe. Saints you cannot make me believe that the Church of the living God is made up of people like that. A man like Jimmy Swaggart will get on television, and ridicule predestination, and teach against a one God revelation, and what does he offer in place of it? The Catholic trinity, an Antichrist doctrine, is what he teaches, instead of one God in three offices. Well I will not touch the man himself, he will have to answer to God for what he does, but I will challenge his teachings, that cannot be found in the Bible. What he teaches about those things, were not taught in the apostolic church. A man may speak in tongues, prophesy, and preach his heart out, but if he is not preaching apostolic doctrine, he is not building anything for God. Naturally some will say, Why did you ever choose to believe like you do, and how do you know it is right? Well first of all, it was not by my choosing, it was by the mercy and grace of God that I came to know this truth, for I had already taken my stand in the Methodist Church. Then secondly, I know it is right, because everything I teach, can be proved by the Bible, to anyone who will accept the Bible as the authority for preaching. I could still be locked up in that old Methodist system, if it were not for the mercy and grace of God, and still be just as blind as a bat. That is why I am so thankful to my heavenly Father: He saw the hunger deep down I my soul, and gave me His Spirit, to teach me truth, and lead me to the light. He can lead you no further than what you will allow Him to, thought. If you set your eyes on denominational systems and materialism, God will just let you sit right where you are. But if you ever dare to say, God I want to walk with you, and you really mean it, He will start to cut you loose from a lot of people, and a lot of things that have been very important to you in the past. God has a very unique way of teaching people to follow Him. He may, at times, allow some financial problem, or some other problem to come upon you, to get your attention turned toward Him. He knows our nature, and He knows what it takes to move us, so that is right where He goes to work on us. JESUS SEEN – IN A DREAM When I was still in the Methodist church, before I ever knew that God was doing anything outside the confines of that system, I just prayed to be able to fulfill whatever I had been called to do in the Methodist Church, and to be able to live a good Christian life. I had no idea whatsoever, that God was again working by His mighty power, like He did in that apostolic hour. I somehow had just settled for the idea that those things were just for that first age of Christendom. That is what traditional teaching will do for you, unless God brings about conditions to shake you loose from your traditions. Many of you have heard me tell what happened in that Methodist Church, that began to change my life and my thoughts about that system, but I will tell it again. The Asbury student pastor that had been pastoring our church, was going to be moved, and leave us without a pastor, so some of the folks had already asked me if I would be willing to take charge as pastor, and I said, Yes, if they will accept me. Saints I will never forget that particular Sunday when the District Superintendent came down, and after the regular business had been completed, they asked me to step outside. Then they asked him if I could be placed there as pastor, and his answer was: The Indiana Conference has passed a rule that requires so much education, and so much Bible School training, before one can be placed over a congregation as pastor. Brother when they came outside and told me that, it was just like a slap in the face. Just as if to say, Your experience with God means nothing, unless you have met certain ecclesiastical educative standards set up by the Methodist Church. I just thought to myself, Where is the Peter of our day? Where is the Paul of our day, that could be dealt with by God, and set in the ministry without all of that? I went back home and said, I will never preach again. I said, Lord I will live for you, I will honor you, I will do everything I can otherwise, but I am never going to preach again. It was that very night that God began to deal with me in a new way. I went to bed disturbed, after having said, I will never preach again. But I had been reading some of those old Voice of Healing magazines, those testimonies of how people were healed, and how the Spirit of God had dealt with some of them out there in those big meetings, and that was on my mind when I finally went to sleep. That night I saw myself in a dream, and it seemed like I was walking on a highway, approaching a large city, just walking along observing the countryside, when I noticed a large ball field, with a huge tent set up in it. I thought to myself. That must be one of those divine healing tents, for I had seen pictures of them in the magazines I had been reading. So with that in mind, I thought, I will just go over and take a look. I saw myself cross the fence, walk across the ball park, and right under the flaps of that tent. (It was daylight, and they were rolled up.) I walked in there and was looking around, and all of a sudden, at the far end of the tent, I could hear something that sounded like a typewriter. Then I saw a man standing behind a desk, and the thought came to me, He must be typing up what they call, prayer cards, to give out in the service. While I stood there looking around, the man looked up and said, May I help you? I said, No. I am just looking around. He went ahead typing, and I continued looking around, but suddenly he stopped, came from behind the desk, and said, Sir, you have a need. I said, I do? Yes. May I pray for you. Sure, I said, and as he reached his hand out to touch me, the whole scene changed. Everything faded away, and right out of the clear blue, here came the lord Jesus right at me, just like a flash, with his hands outstretched, and He took me in His arms, and I began to weep. Then as He held me like that, I wept, and wept, and had a feeling that I had never experienced before in my whole life, and I thought, Oh if I could just die like this, it would be wonderful. Though I was weeping, and trembling, I still felt a feeling of great joy, and was thinking of the look in those eyes, as He came toward me. Then I awakened, shaking like a leaf, with my pillow in my hand, just ready to go over the foot of the bed. At that time, I thought it was a nightmare, and it almost scared me, but then I thought of how those eyes had looked at me with such a penetrating look. No human on earth can look at you like that. It was a look that let you know, He knew everything you had need of. So I just laid my pillow back down, laid my head back on it, and thought, What was that all about? That was the first time I had ever experienced anything in a supernatural way, but it was the beginning of God’s leading me out of that Methodist system, and to the light of truth. Just a few weeks later, I had an opportunity to go to the Branham Tabernacle, and in those days you could talk to Bro. Branham right inside the building. So after the service, Bro. Branham stayed around and talked to some of the people, and finally I got a chance to say something to him. I said, Bro. Branham, Could I talk with you for just a minute? We moved to the back of the church, and sat down in a pew, and I told him the dream. He simply said, Bro. Junie, God bless you, He is getting ready to lead you off into deep water. That was all he said, but just a few short weeks later, God led me right into receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and from that moment on, everything in my life began to take on a change. My whole outlook toward Christianity began to change. I could then see that the Church of the living God had to be more than just the Methodist Church, and more than the Baptists, or any other brand. I began to get such a hunger in my soul, just to know God as that great omnipresent Spirit, for this caused me to realize, God is not dead. He is still doing everything He ever did. His word is still the same; it is just man that has changed. Man in general, lives so far beneath his potential, there is only a very small fragment of people that God can ever lift up above their carnality, to get them into a place where He can deal with them in a supernatural way. Saints, we need the Spirit of God to lead us in 1986, just as much as those apostolic Christians of the first century needed Him to lead them. You will not always find the answer to every question in life, just simply by opening your Bible, and reading. Sometimes God has to deal with you in a supernatural way. He does not intend to give you the Holy Ghost, let you speak in tongues, and then never go one step farther with Him. He wants to lead you.
TONGUES AND INTERPRETATION
Needless to say, I had reached a place where I knew our Christian lives had to take on a different meaning, so I spent many long hours on my knees in the oats bin of the old barn on the place where we lived at that time. I would pray way up into the night, asking God to take control of my life, and lead me. I was so hungry for God, I even took my cap off, throwed it on the ground, and looked right up into a drizzly rain, kneeling on the ground, out where I was fixing a fence, and said to God, Whatever there is for me in life, Lord, you lead me, and help me, for I want to walk with you. Brothers and Sisters: I do not say these things to be boasting, nor to sound more spiritual than anyone else. That I just the way I felt led to seek after God, and I do not regret one moment of it. I am thankful for everything He has ever brought me to. Furthermore I realize that there are souls in various parts of the world that were ordained to hear the truth of God’s word through the ministry that He has given to me, so that makes every effort that I have ever put forth, worthwhile. I thank God that I was permitted to sit under the ministry of Bro. Branham, and that He allowed me to catch the right revelation of what I heard, for I have seen what many of those educated preachers that sat under his teaching, have done with what they heard. They have gone in every direction, teaching every kind of doctrine imaginable, and very little of what they teach, even resembles apostolic teaching. Nevertheless God just schooled me, from one experience to another, as I sought to follow His leading, and He began to manifest some of the gifts through me, from time to time. I will never forget what happened one Saturday night, while Bro. Branham was still alive. After supper, I went out to the car to pray, and as I prayed, all of a sudden, God began to speak to me in a language, and the moment the anointing changed, it went right into another language with the interpretation. The Spirit spake directly to me and said, “My Son, prepare thyself; for in a moment when though art not aware, thou shalt be required to give an account of that which I have placed within thy heart, and thou shalt be compelled to speak forth those things that I have made known unto you.” When those words were over, I thought to myself, What was that all about? It was the first time that had ever happened to me. We went to the Tabernacle the next morning, expecting to hear Bro. Branham preach, for he was supposed to be there that morning. The song service ended, and Bro. Branham still was not there. They had prayer, and then another song, and he was still not there. Then the office door opened and Bro. Doc Branham motioned for Bro. Neville, to tell him something. Bro. Neville came back to the platform and said, Let us all stand, and have prayer. Bro. Doc just told me that Bro. Branham is very sick, and will not be here today. He said the doctor told them he was suffering from fatigue and over exhaustion, so after prayer, when we were again seated, then came my surprise. I do not remember his exact words, but Bro. Neville said something like, We know that God is among us, and at this time, I feel definitely led of the Lord to have Bro. Junie Jackson come, and bring us the word of the Lord this morning. I felt like my legs had been cut from under me. The Tabernacle was full of people, all sitting there expecting to hear Bro. Branham. But deep within, I knew that this was what those words I received the night before, pertained to. Now, was when I was going to have to give an account of that which God had put within my heart. I could not go to the platform doubting that, for I knew God had spoken those words to me. Well once I got there, even though I was shaking like a leaf, I already knew my text, for God had given me a message to preach. The only thing was, I thought I was going to preach it in my own little church, and here I am, ready to preach it to this large congregation of people. That is just the way the Spirit of God works, you can never put Him in a ritualistic form, and expect Him to perform for you. Where do you suppose the apostle Paul got what he preached? He had no sermon books he could go to, and choose a little message to suit the occasion; he had to depend upon the Spirit of God to give him utterance to suit the occasion. These are just things we need to be aware of, in the hour of time we are living in.
ALL MUST BE TESTED
Another time when the Spirit spoke to me, was after Bro. Branham had cut short his meetings in Canada, and came home to deal with a situation that he had learned of. He found out that some of the people were worshiping him as the Messiah, and they were making little medallions and passing them around, and he came home so discouraged. We received a telephone call saying that everyone should come to the Tabernacle, for Bro. Branham had a message to preach there that next morning. That is when he preached on the “Bruised Serpent.” That was the title of his message, and I remember, he could hardly talk, for wanting to cry. He just slowly went into the things he wanted to say. He told of a dream where he saw men gathered around this serpent, and how they were playing with it, and he told them to stop playing with the thing, and had shouted, or something, and it was wounded, and crawled off into the swamps, and how he thought it would die. Well it did not die, it was only wounded temporarily, but it stayed in hiding while he was still alive. It made us feel so bad that morning as we sat there listening to what he had to say, and seeing what a terrible ordeal he was being put through, all because of a bunch of carnal minded men. We kneeled by our bed in prayer that night, like we always do, and when we had finished praying, again I found myself speaking in another language, and at the end of it, there came this interpretation, “My children, I have caused you to hear things, and see things this day, and know that I have preserved thee, and kept thee from all these things. As you go forth in the days that lie ahead, if thou shalt earnestly purpose to walk with me, I will keep thee, and protect thee, for as thou has observed and heard these things this day, thou shalt see the day when worse things than these shall appear.” Bro. Branham was still alive then, but I ask you, Have those words not been fulfilled since God took him from among us? As soon as he left the scene, some of those men just simply went wild. That spirit did not die, it just waited for its chance to revive and multiply. In Africa, India, Norway, and just about everywhere else, that spirit has multiplied, and there is no way to control it today, except to make truth available to those who want to hear truth. But my point is, Our God is not just some historical God of the ancient past, He is still alive today, and still desiring to lead His people. As a matter of fact, we have various testimonies right here in this assembly of how God has led and directed the individuals to come here. He does not work the same way with everyone, but He has His ways of making us know His will and purpose for our lives. Take the time when Bro. Branham instituted church order, for instance. Some went one way, and some went another, so we just had to let time prove what the outcome would be. As for myself, I just had to say, He had to make that for certain reasons, here in the Tabernacle, but I cannot see it in my assembly. That is what brought me so much ridiculement and persecution, but I just simply could not see church order for any place except there at the Tabernacle. I could have folded up under the pressure of ridiculement, and put it in my church also, but in my spirit I knew that God was not leading me in any such direction as that. We did not have conditions out of control in our church, that required any such measures. But on the other hand, I could see why Bro. Branham had to do something to keep things from getting completely out of control there. Therefore we just had to take our stand the way we felt God was leading us, and let all the others do likewise, and that made us very unpopular. But as I look back, I have no regrets, for I believe we have proved by the Bible, that the gifts of the Spirit belong in the Church, as an active part of the worship services. Hallelujah! It is worth it all, just to be a child of God. Just to know that He is the one that can lead you right through all kinds of pressure is a great revelation in itself. Furthermore if God is ever going to use you, He has to somehow or other bring you through some sort of trial. That is what determines whether you will fold up under pressure, or whether you will face it, and overcome. God tries and tests every servant, before He ever uses him in any serious way. God has to first mold in us an inner character that will stand for truth in the face of all opposition, and sometimes that is hard on the old flesh, but the individuals are what makes it all worthwhile. Praise His great name! I love Him. There are a lot more illustrations I could use, but I do not wish to make this sound too personal. I want to give credit to the Spirit of God in whatever I say, for He is the one that all credit belongs to, and He desires to be worshiped and praised, and the devil tries to keep us from doing that.
NO PLACE FOR COMPROMISE
Israel went into Lebanon in 1982 to try to get rid of a potential enemy, and after being there for so long a time, when they try to get out, they have another one following them, stalking them every step of the way. Well it is exactly the same way in our spiritual lives. We try to take an inch of spiritual land that God’s word provides for us, and the devil is always right there to meet you head on. He is just like that bunch of terrorists, that will set any kind of an old bomb in your pathway trying to get rid of you. He will never let up on you; he will stalk you every inch of the way, so you have to be just as determined as Israel, to have what you know is yours. Israel says she is going to meet those Shiite Moslems with an iron fist, and the rest of the world says, Oh no, don’t do that! Too many innocent people will get hurt. Do you think those terrorists care how many innocent people get hurt? No they do not, and the devil is the same way. He will try to get you to compromise with the church world, saying through them, Come on and join us, we all need to be one. But you cannot do that, for the minute they get you to compromise, they will bring you down to their level, and the devil will have you right where he wants you, and you will be like an old worn out battery. That is why we have got to believe in God in a way that seems to the world like we are fanatics. So let us open our Bibles back to the 14 chapter of 1 th st Corinthians, and look at a few things there. This chapter deals with order in the Church; not church order, just simple order in the church. In this very simple way, Paul illustrates and explains the order in which these gifts of the Spirit are to be manifested in a regular service. There are two things I want to deal with, and one is, many people say, How do we go about desiring spiritual gifts? What should we do? Well there are two verses here, that seem so insignificant, but they are important. The first verse of the 14 chapter, which at the time of writing, was not another chapter at all, it was just the beginning th of another thought, as he began to deal with order in the Church, says, “Follow after love, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” Love is the primary motive, and prophecy is respected as the greater of the vocal gifts. Of course when tongues are interpreted, they fall into the same realm as prophecy, but Paul’s emphasis seems to be on prophecy. After he gets through dealing with the order of these gifts in the Church, he closes the thought in verse 39, by saying, “Wherefore, brethren, Covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” He keeps his thought consistent all the way through, so there is no way that anyone can read all of this, and truthfully say that Paul was putting the gifts in a closet. He is showing that they belong in the Church, and that they should be sought after with the right motive, and that they should be kept in a proper order. We will want to go back into the 4 chapter of Ephesians a little later, but now let me remind you of a verse back over here th in the 12 chapter, verse 12. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the th members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” Of course we realize that when Paul talks about the Church being a body, he is using the human body to show the many functions of that body, and the part that various members have in that body, for he says, “So also is Christ.” Then in verse 13 he tells how that body is brought about. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” That is why I keep saying, We have not yet seen the body of Christ in operation. Oh, some will say, But Bro. Jackson, look what God did at such and such a time in certain areas, and I just have to say, Yes. But look what He did in the first century of Christianity; that was the body of Christ in operation. When the Holy Ghost fell upon various groups at the beginning of the century, there were some wonderful testimonies that came out of it. You would have to say, God did a wonderful thing in that hour. But when you analyze it in the light of the overall picture of what the scriptures show Christianity to be, you still have to realize that what took place then, was only a fragment of what took place in the first century of Christianity. What the Spirit did in the early years of this century was not only to draw lost sinners to Christ, but to lead others out of their denominational bondage. He has been in a restoring process, leading the Church back to what she lost when those first century Christians died off, and younger generations tried to carry on.
REVELATION BRINGS OBEDIENCE
When the Holy Ghost fell, back at the turn of the century, it did not work to correct the error of the people’s doctrines; they were still holding to a trinity belief. In other words, when the Spirit would anoint someone to speak in tongues and interpret, or to prophesy, it was always primarily within the realm of the light of truth that God was showing on their pathway at that time. Their light then was the baptism of the Holy Ghost. In other words, the necessity for a true spiritual experience of the supernatural. God’s restoring process has been a progressive thing. Naturally He could have spoken supernaturally and said, You are all in error, believing in a trinity. But He did not do it like that. When it came time to move them from trinity to a oneness revelation, it was not done through the gifts at all. God led the ministry into the scriptures, and began giving them a revelation of His oneness. What good would it have been, for someone to stand up and prophesy, My people, knowest thou not that I am one, and that you need to be baptized in my name, if they did not have a revelation from the scriptures to guide them into it? The Holy Ghost always works through the gifts, that which is in harmony with the light of the word that is being shined in any certain hour of time. That is why, by the grace of God, I want to take this message into the book of Ephesians, for in the first Church that ministry of Ephesians 4, was the only kind of ministry they had. The people who sat under them, whether Jews, Greeks, Romans or whatever, their revelation of the word of God was consistent. Therefore when the gifts operated, it was for the edifying of the people in a spiritual sense, and it always created a healthy atmosphere. If there was an adverse or negative spirit, then sooner or later the Holy Spirit would do something to reveal the presence of it. That is how the early Church was kept clean. It was only after the Church began to be bombarded with false teaching, after the first generation of saints died off, that the tares got their foothold in the structure of the whole thing. The carnal mind is always ready to accept flesh, and that is all a tare has to offer, but they have their sly ways of making everything look so spiritual. Satan is a master counterfeiter; you can see that when you look at this world of religion today. Everything is designed to appear so high and holy, yet most of the time, there is not one ounce of true Christianity in any of it. Nevertheless God is bonding together some people, a few from all parts of the world, that do truly know their God, and they know how to be led by His Spirit, and as I have already said, There is something coming upon this old world, that is going to prove just exactly who the true people of God are. We cannot hurry it, and neither can we delay it, but we must learn to be sensitive to the Spirit, and allow ourselves to be pliable. God must be allowed to change our attitudes and opinions whenever the need is present. I doubt seriously that the human mind could even begin to imagine what world conditions are going to bring upon this old world in the not too distant future; and it is only those people that have truly made up their mind to walk with God regardless of conditions, that are going to shine in that hour. God will supply grace and anointing to make His true people shine in that hour. That in itself, is what will cause a few people to stop and realize that they have been drifting too far from the word of God. Religion in general is selling out to the devil, and materialism is replacing true spirituality, so much so, that only a few people have any depth of the word of God in their hearts. They are entertained by religious programs, “Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof,” (2 Timothy 3:5) If what they are hearing sounds good nd to the flesh, they will gobble it right down and praise the preacher for the wonderful way he so eloquently delivered it to them. They no longer heed the admonition in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself nd approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The word of truth has to be rightly divided in order for it to produce something that will glorify God. Brother, that early Church was very sensitive to what their ears picked up; they made sure it was coming from the Spirit of God before they gobbled it down. That is why the Lord could say to the Church at Ephesus, (Rev. 2:2) “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast TRIED THEM which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” He went on to mention how they had labored for His names sake, and that they had exercised patience, and had not fainted. But verse 4 lets us know that even that model Church got themselves so busy doing right things, they allowed that true motive, which is a God-like love, to slip away from them. The Lord found no fault with what they were doing; it was just their motive that was in question. That takes you right back to 1 Corinthians 13:1, where Paul said, “Thou I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”
LEARNING – ONE STEP AT A TIME
Brothers and Sisters: I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit is very sensitive and very much concerned about what we believe, and why we believe it, and how we conduct ourselves with it. A tare can believe anything he wants to, but in order for God to be justified in judging him, he has to be given an opportunity to hear truth rightly divided. That is why God gave Cain the choice He did, Cain had to be judged because of the choice he made. He had no one to blame but himself. The spiritual is just like the natural: a person will never amount to anything, unless they take hold of their life, and begin to find out what their abilities are, and work toward developing them. A young man growing up, if he does not know what he wants to be in life, he will spend more time at the gas station, just yakking, than anything else, and he will usually be found borrowing something, or just plain free-loading at someone’s expense, most of the time. On the other hand, a young man that reaches a point where he feels that he knows what he wants to be in life, will set about with an aggressive attitude, and begin to make plans in that direction. If he wants to be a farmer, he has to be the kind of fellow that would not mind getting his feet and hands dirty, and he has to be able to stand the smell of fertilizer, and have much patience. It takes a lot of dedication to whatever you choose, in order for you to be a success at what you choose to do. Sure, in starting out, you can make a lot of mistakes, and wish you had done things some other way; that is part of learning, and the next time, you do it differently. But in seeking God in spiritual things, you cannot constantly look backwards at faults and defeats. Growth comes by pressing forward. If you fall flat on your face, do not lay there, looking back, get up, and allow your faith to trust God to lead you straight toward your goal. I have received three letters from a poor fellow in Pakistan, and in the third one, he says, I have written you twice before, and so on. Well I do not know why he never did get my letters, but the poor fellow just goes through such a pitiful way of explaining how defeated his life is, you can read between the lines of what he says, and know that he is the type of person that has to figure everything out in his mind before he will accept it. Brothers and Sisters: You will never be able to figure it all out in your mind; there are some things you just have to throw your soul into, and trust God to work it out for you. The fellow said, Sometimes I think I understand the Godhead, but there always seems to be two voices, one saying this, and the other saying something else. I wrote him this last time and said, Dear Friend: You are going to have to stop wrestling with yourself, and stop trying to figure it all out in your mind. You are going to have to be just like a little child learning to walk. For months and months the little fellow has been crawling all over the floor. He has been under the bed, under tables and chairs, and just about everywhere in the house, but then, all of a sudden, one day he pulls himself up and stands upon his feet. Wonder why he pulls himself up? Because there is an instinct in him to do so. He gets tired of crawling, and he sees the adults walking around on their feet, so that makes him want to do the same thing. Well the first time he does it, he stands there wobbling like a newborn colt. But let a few days go by, and he will show you what those little legs can do for him. Does he holler, Help? No. He just starts working his way around that old couch, or whatever he is holding on to. He does not understand it all, but there is an instinct in him, that causes him to do it that way. That is exactly how God deals with some people in their spiritual life; He just lets them learn, one step at a time.
WE MUST BELIEVE GOD
A lot of people think that just because they are exceptionally smart, they should be able to figure out every step, before they ever do anything, and that is the kind of mind the devil can really work on. God gives us a mind, and He expects us to use it, but there are some things that He will not allow us to figure out ahead of time. We just have to take Him at His word. When you come in repentance, and confess your sins to Him, you just have to believe that He will do what He says He will do, and save your soul, and make you a part of His family. You do not have to figure out how He is going to do it. Whether you feel any different is not what counts; it is whether you believe God will keep His word or not. God is not obligated to give us any certain feelings, but He is obligated to keep His word. We do what we know to do, and leave the rest to God, and if our hearts are right, and we are truly sincere with Him, He will take it from there. He will make sure you have room to take the next step. That is the way Mommy and Daddy do the little fellow that is learning to walk; they will move things out of his way, and give him plenty of room. Does he ever fall? Sure he does. Will he lay there thinking, I will never try that again? No. He gets right up, and tries again. No one expects the little fellow to walk perfectly the first time he tries. Well the point is, Do not try to figure out every phase of your salvation experience, and your walk with God, before you ever take the first step. Furthermore do not think that you can have your mind on a ball game, or some worldly thing all the time, and still be spiritual minded. Everything has its place of course, but to be spiritual minded requires dedication to the things that makes one spiritual. Let me use a natural illustration. A successful ballplayer has to spend a lot of time practicing. He has to practice hitting, running, throwing, catching, as well as various exercises to keep his muscles toned up. In other words, his mind is on ball playing just about every moment of the day. As a matter of fact, you almost have to play ball in your sleep. Well to be spiritually minded requires the same dedication. You have to think of God at times other than when you are in church, or when you kneel by your bed to pray, before going to sleep. The Holy Spirit does not dump spiritual gifts upon the person who is always thinking about some material thing he is going to do, or that he is interested in. The gifts are given to those whose minds dwell upon the things of God. That does not mean that we cannot think about other things, it just means that we cannot allow other things to crowd God out of the picture.
LET GOD HAVE YOUR MIND
Life today is full of material attractions, and worldly achievements, and people get themselves too busy to pray and seek God. From the time you leave your house until you get back there again, your eyes are constantly filled with some kind of worldly achievements, some material thing to captivate your mind. This is an hour of the greatest battles a Christian has ever had to fight: the battles of the mind, fighting with the powers of the devil. He will get you to thinking, I need this, I need that, and the first thing you know, you have an indebtedness against you, that causes you to spend most of your time wondering how you are going to pay your bills, and with that kind of thoughts constantly running through your mind, you have very little time to pray and fellowship with the Lord. That is why it is so necessary for people to reach a point where they are contented with what they have in material goods, and at the same time, not satisfied just to sit still spiritually. Let us never get to the place where we are completely satisfied and contented spiritually, for God’s storehouse is still full, just waiting for some hungry soul to cry out for more than what they already have. We need to get to the place where every day, we spend a little more time thinking of the goodness of the Lord. Of course some people will say, Now Bro. Jackson, you can do that because you are a preacher. But I just want to remind you once again, that I have plowed corn with my mind so lost in deep thoughts concerning what I desired my life to be for the Lord, I would have to look later, to see how many rounds I made, while like that. Your mind can be literally caught away in the lord, and He will not let you run off the road, or fall off the ladder. That is what He desires from us. When the Bible says, “Pray without ceasing,” it does not mean that we have to spend 24 hours a day on our knees. You can be 40 feet up in the air on a ladder, with your mind caught away with the Lord, and He will not let you fall. If He has your mind, He has control. People prove every day that they do not always keep their mind on what they are doing. They will be doing their regular job, and their mind will be way off somewhere else, thinking on something they are planning to do, or something they would like to do. Is that not true? How many of you can remember how it was when you first gave your heart to God? This may not be true in every case, but for most of us, it seemed like we were as free as a little bird, without a care in the world, for days, weeks, and even months in some cases, but there always comes the time when it seems like the devil has been turned loose on you again; you are no longer walking on a cloud. That is because, after that time of walking on the clouds, God wants you to also realize that until you leave this world, you are still physically in it, and you are going to be affected by the pressures of all the other environments of Satan, that exist all around you. That is when your growth really starts, as you learn to trust God to deliver you out of Satan’s traps. Maybe I should say, That is when we have our chance to start growing in stature, because some people come to a standstill right there, or some even find the pressures too great, and lose ground for a while. That is the time when your faith is tested, maybe for the first time. But listen to me, If you do make a mistake, all God asks you to do is acknowledge it, and realize that He is a merciful God, and that He will not keep nagging you about it, like other humans are prone to do. A lot of people like to point their finger at you, and say, Look what you did; and you call yourself a Christian. On the other hand, all God says is, Confess it, and leave it behind you. He will forgive, where a lot of humans never will. The devil will keep nagging you, because he wants you to think that condemning feeling you have, is coming from God. But the Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” and it means exactly that. Your faith can rest on that promise.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED
Brothers and Sisters: What I am trying to say to you, is that spiritual growth is no accident; you have to work at it. Use the things of the world, but do not allow them to rob you of your fellowship with your heavenly Father. In 1 John 2:15-17, we read these words, “Love not the world, neither the things st that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” Does that mean that we should not desire a house to live in, or a car to drive, or tools to work with? Not if you need them. It is that uncontrolled lust after things of the world, that is wrong. Whatever you need, ask God to help you get it, and then allow yourself to start formulating plans whereby you may obtain it, but do not run ahead of the Lord. Give Him a chance to lead you to make the right choices. God is just a concerned about have having the necessary things of life, as you are. Some people have the idea that God is only interested in the spiritual side of our lives, and that everything of the natural is left for us to figure out the best we can, but that is not right. He cares about everything that affects us in any way. I will never forget the year 1958, how God worked in a situation for us. I had been feeling for quite some time, that I was going to have to cut myself loose from some of the farming I was doing, if I was ever going to be able to fulfill the calling I felt God had on my life; but I just simply did not know how to go about it. We had lived on the old place right next to my Father-in-law for 9 years, and I farmed for the owner, but I somehow felt that I was going to have to get loose from some of that farming, if what I felt, was ever going to come to pass. So one spring morning, my wife and I was just lying there in the bed talking about it, and I was telling her my feelings. I said, If this call to the ministry is ever going to materialize into anything, I feel that I must get loose from some of this farming, and I told her of a little plan I had, and said, If it is the will of God; it will work out. Then I asked her if she thought her Daddy would let us have a little spot of land, to build a house on, and she said, I am sure he would. That morning, I walked down there. He was out in the barn lot, and that is where I asked him about it. Sure, he said. Where do you want it? Right up there on that rocky knoll on the end of the farm. He said, That spot is no good, you could never even have a yard there. Put it over here on this good ground, he said,. But I told him, no, that is farm land; I want it right up there, and that is where we live today. We walked up there to that spot, and there had been corn planted there just two years before that, so some of the old stalks were still scattered around in the hay stubble. I picked up one of them, and stuck it in the ground, and said, Somewhere about right here, is where I would like to have a water well. We agreed on the spot, and I felt good about it, but that was all we could do right then. Now I just needed to look to God to work it all out. I had a cousin living at Pekin, Indiana, who was in the well drilling business, and I was scheduled to preach at the little church up on Daisy Hill that Memorial Day weekend, so I knew I would get the chance to see him. (Saints, I am just telling this, to show that God really is concerned about the natural things of our lives.) After I preached, I walked up to my cousin and asked, Kenneth: Are you still in the well drilling business? He replied, Yes. I asked him if he was covered up with work, and he said he had been pretty busy. Then I asked him if he thought he could drill a well for me, and he said, Sure. When do you want it done? I told him it was still just in the planning stages, but when we decided, we would let him know, and he said, I will keep a spot open for you, and we left it at that. I went to bed that night, and had a dream: I saw my cousin coming up the road with his well drilling rig, right to where we were living then, and he said, I am here to drill that well. I saw myself walk over there to the spot where our house is now, and in that dream, I saw myself pull up that corn stalk that I had stuck in the ground, and say, Right there, is where I want it. Then I saw him back his drilling rig to that very spot, and throw a grubbing hoe and a pick, off, onto the ground. Then in the dream, I looked and saw my father-in-law driving up the road in his pickup truck, coming to watch the operation. Then I saw my cousin raise the boom, and start to work. Needless to say, the day he did come, it was exactly like I had seen it in the dream. Every detail was the same, even to the point where my father-in-law came driving up the road in his pickup truck, to watch the operation get started. I knew then that everything was right on schedule according to the will of God. He does not have to do it that way, but I am very thankful for the times in my life that He has. There will be times when He will leave things strictly up to you, without showing you anything ahead of time, but if you have purposed in your heart to seek that favor, He will let you see that favor in the way He directs you. This is what makes living for God so wonderful to me. We have all these characters running the roads, preaching prophet, prophet, quote, quote, and saying, We don’t need the gifts anymore, But I say, we do need the gifts; you could never convince me that we no longer need them. If I had quit believing in the gifts after Bro. Branham’s death, you just as well have buried me. I have been happy though, while they were running the roads yakking their heads off. Let them do without the gifts if they want to, but I still want everything God has for me.
I have a message, I am going to preach one of these days, titled, “Spoiled Manna.” You read in Exodus, how they were to go out every day and gather fresh manna, and if any of them tried to keep it over for another day, it got worms in it and stank. Only the day before their Sabbath, could they gather up a two day supply without it spoiling. That lets me know, God wants His people to live on fresh manna. If we are truly following God in all that He shows us to do, we will not have to eat spiritual food that was served more than twenty years ago, as our only diet. I appreciate every truth Bro. Branham ever served up on his spiritual table, but I also appreciate what has been served by men of God since Bro. Branham was taken from us. Why should God go out of business just because one of His faithful servants got killed in an automobile accident? He is still alive, and He is still revealing His word to His people, regardless of what some people say, and He will still help you through trials and tests. Furthermore a congregation of people that is sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and wants to be guided by Him, will not be ripped to pieces, and scattered like little birds. We sit here at the end of Potters Lane, within 5 miles of the Tabernacle, simply because those people over there still want to live on manna that is more than 20 years old, and will accept nothing else. They say Jackson’s manna is no good, but I say, It comes from the same place Bro. Branham’s came from. It is the same ingredients, but God likes to give it out fresh, just like He did to the children of Israel in the wilderness. The children of Israel were on a journey, and God supplied everything they had need of. Well we are on a journey also, and God wants to supply everything we have need of, if we will just let him. Bro. Jackson: Does that mean that we will never have any more problems? No. James wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Patience is something a lot of people need in this hour, and God will surely give us an opportunity to acquire it, but it is the trying of your faith that worketh patience. In the 5 chapter of Romans, verse 3, Paul wrote, “But we glory in th tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” Then through patience we gain experience, and the experience enlarges our hope. All of these things are profitable for the body of Christ. The man of the world could not care less what the scriptures have to say, but the body of Christ lives by them, and must rightly divide them in order to prevent going to seed on just certain verses. Let us open back to the 14 chapter of 1 Corinthians now, and to verse 23, where we will begin th st reading. This had to do with body ministry. “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?” That would be just like going to a foreign country, where you could not understand a word the people said. “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” This is showing the contrast between prophecy that can be understood by everyone, and just speaking in tongues without interpretation. A person that does not know God, has to hear something that will bring conviction upon him, and cause him to realize that he stands naked before God. “How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” Paul is not laying out a church order; he is simply showing that even though all these things do belong in a worship service, they should be kept under the leadership and unction of the Holy Spirit, lest it be nothing more than a mass of confusion. Whatever the Holy Spirit is allowed to do, will bring edification and strength to believers, and conviction to the unbelievers that may come in. “If any man (or person) speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.” In other words, Let there be no more than three people speak in tongues, before there is an interpretation given, and let that be one at a time. “But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.” Every person, sooner or later, learns to recognize their particular anointing, but they must also learn to hold that anointing until the proper time to speak. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” Some of these preachers really take that verse to the extreme measures. They will not allow a woman to open her mouth in a service. Then in some of these denominational churches, their women practically run the whole thing. That gives you two extreme sets of circumstances, and neither one of them are right. Women should be allowed to testify, prophesy, speak in tongues and praise the Lord, but in Paul’s admonition, even though he did not clarify it, they are just not supposed to have a ruling voice in the affairs of church business, nor in doctrine, nor are they supposed to preach, nor have authority over the men. Phillip the evangelist, had daughters that were prophetesses, and I am absolutely sure they did not have to go to the woods to prophesy. What would be the use? Who would their prophecy be for? Women are part of the body of Christ, and they are permitted to take an active part in the worship service, regardless of what some of these preachers say. “And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” It sounds like Paul really had it in for women, and I have heard people say that, but if you will take what he says, read between the lines, and compare it with other scriptures, you will see that he was only teaching proper conduct. If you do not understand something the preacher says, ask your husband later, do not interrupt the service with questions. Now notice verse 39, “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.”
I have been asked many times, Bro. Jackson: Do you believe in body ministry? Yes I do, but most people then want you to go into great detail explaining what body ministry is. Body ministry is what Paul was speaking of in general terms, here in this 14 chapter of 1 Corinthians. This is his own way of th st describing order in the church, without putting a church order into effect. After Bro. Branham made this thing called church order, a lot of so called, message preachers, took the thing and started trying to cover the globe, setting the church in order. Brothers and sisters: It has only brought division, confusion, and unbelief to people who should be believing in the power of the Holy Ghost for their respective lives. There is no way possible for the Spirit of God to work in the lives of people who are kept under such bondage. Some people have the idea, Well those scriptures were alright for Paul’s day, but Bro. Branham said, Thus and so forth, for our day. Bro. Branham never taught one thing, with the idea of canceling out anything Paul ever said. Paul just gave a general outline, here in these chapters of 1st Corinthians, to show saints that learning obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leadership, was to learn to respect certain things in the proper order and operation, so the whole service could function around divine order. We have to realize that Paul was writing to a church that very well could have been a large body of people by then. But you cannot take a situation that covers a large body of people, and apply it exactly the same as you would in a little assembly of 10 or 15 people, and expect it to come out the same. You know good and well that if you had a congregation of 250 or 300 people, and you expect everything that Paul mentions here in chapter 14, to be going on in one service, you will have to come early, and expect to stay late, and that is one thing a lot of people are not willing to do in this day and hour. What is body ministry then? It is none other than what we see right here in the scriptures, how the Holy Spirit wants to work in and through the true Church for it’s growth. The same man that wrote 1 Corinthians 12, 13, st 14, also wrote Ephesians 4 and Romans 12. So when you take all of what he wrote, and put them all together, you come out with a general picture of what the body of Christ is, and what it is to be like. But when you try to take these scriptures, and place them over here in the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, or the United Brethren, you are not dealing with the body of Christ. When these scriptures were written, the tares had not yet gotten into the Church. The Church at Corinth had not yet gotten into error, as far as doctrines, and the things that make up the framework of the Christian faith. It is true, there were certain things from the carnal standpoint, that were fast going amiss, and we can see how Paul corrected that, but doctrinally they were still sound. Those staunch guards of the faith, like Paul, is what kept them doctrinally sound. But like every church, they had some problems because of certain peoples flesh, and because of the carnal ideas of a few, so we just have to realize that every assembly has this kind of thing to deal with, and it has nothing at all to do with the sound doctrine taught by the ministry. Therefore when we talk about body ministry, nowhere does the gifts of the Spirit ever work contradictory to the revelatory, doctrinal side of the ministry that God has committed to men. If there is a true body ministry, it has got to work harmoniously in agreement with every truth the body of Christ stands for. Furthermore no true man of God will ever preach contrary to the gifts of the Spirit, for they both must work hand in hand. We have to realize also, as we live this side of the Dark Ages, and see how the Holy Spirit has led people through various centuries of time, and through the Reformation, that we need to thank God for everything He has done to show individuals what He can do, and how He can do it, and how He likes to be respected in these particular manifestations. People are so prone to just dwell upon one particular thing that the Spirit can do, and miss all the other things that God desires to have them partake of. Take for instance, 1 Corinthians 14. It speaks of the operation of tongues, and then the interpretation of st tongues, and then goes right from that, to those that prophesy. Therefore if those things are not interpreted with a true understanding and picture of what Paul was bringing out, it is no wonder some people say the service should be built completely around the gifts of the Spirit. I will say this though, There are times within the function of the local church, if the Holy Spirit is respected and given place, He can stop the general order of the way things are normally conducted and can build a service around the gifts. A lot of people would disagree with me on that, but it is a fact nevertheless. There comes a time in the lives of individuals, that the doctrine I preach will not meet your particular problem’s need. It is not some kind of a message that I preach from the scriptures, that is necessarily going to take care of your particular situation in life. But if the Holy Spirit, knowing our minds, and our needs, is allowed to work in our midst, and we are all walking with God, and are wanting Him to have His way, then He can move upon the scene, and manifest a particular gift, that will reach out and minister to someone’s need, and there should be within us, a respect for that. Whenever you have a lot of see-sawing back and forth, as to what place the gifts have in the Church, and people’s lives are tossed back and forth by the teaching of different men, you really create a void, or vacuum, and leave no place for the Holy Spirit to move. Therefore in order for there to be a true body ministry like we see in the Bible, everything has to be accessible, and people have to learn by divine revelation, that they are a part of the body, what the body is, and the proper season, for God to work for the body’s sake. When something is out of season, you just simply cannot make it materialize. Everything has to work in its season, in order to bring anything to perfection, and the Holy Spirit knows what season to bring various things forth in. Many of the precious truths we see so clearly today, would not have been accepted in the 6 church age; they would th have been out of season.
EPHESIANS 4, IS STILL AHEAD
When we think of body ministry in the line of the gifts, we must realize that God can speak in many ways through individuals, to cause something to be said, that would touch the need of someone else. That is why Paul could say, “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.” What did he mean, that ye may be comforted? Well if someone comes to church, and they have really been going through a hard trial, or have a difficult decision to make, and maybe they have been walking for days like that, then the Holy Spirit can move upon someone to speak something that will be exactly what that person needed to hear. What could bring more comfort, than for something to lift that heavy burden? The Spirit of God is interested in the general well being and healthy environment of the overall body of Christ. Through the years, both in trinity as well as oneness Pentecost, God has done some outstanding things, but nothing that He ever did, was to be taken as the ultimate goal, and treated as though there was nothing else left. That was just God’s way of saying, Come on and walk with me. It was not the season for Him to set things in order. What God did in those denominational churches was for the sake of certain individuals; He was not yet working with the body of Christ. He was working with individuals, because the Church was in dispersion. But even some of those individuals that God dealt with in special ways, were people that He already knew, would never walk with Him all the way. That is why I said, even in this age of Laodicea, when God sent His servant to the age with an outstanding gift, all of those who later criticized his doctrine, really enjoyed having that gift operating in their meetings. Those denominational preachers would sit there with big tears streaming down their cheeks, and praise God for all they were worth, but when he finally began to direct his ministry toward some deeper teaching, they would have no part of that. Even huge numbers of those that seemed to accept his teaching back then, have later departed from the ranks, and gone back to the systems they came out of, and a lot of them have even been convinced that he was a false prophet. Denominations could never accept Malachi 4, because it was not a revelation to them. Therefore God could never begin to really minister to His true body, until He got them out of those systems, and got their attention turned back to the revelation the early apostles taught to the first Church. Only then, can the ministry of Ephesians 4 do what they are called to do: lead the Church into perfection. Now a lot of people will say, How do we know for sure, that Ephesians 4 is still ahead of us? Because it was in that Ephesian epistle that Paul wrote about how God would sanctify and cleanse the Church with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. There is only one kind of ministry that can ever function according to Ephesians 4, and that is men that have a true vision of what the Church is and what she is to be made into. In other words, into the very image of the Son of God. No, they will not learn that in a Bible School; God will put that vision in them, by a divine revelation. Of course there are all kinds of ideas in the ranks of these five offices, and I am not going to try to show you who outranks who, except by the word of God itself, for the main thing is that we see the reality of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the end time Church. When that five fold ministry is among the true body of Christ in its full strength, it will be just as much a mystery to a lot of people, as Malachi 4 has been to the denominational realm in past years. You step into the pulpit of an Assemblies of God Church, and try to preach the truth about the Elijah of Malachi 4, for our day, and you will have an argument on your hands, maybe even a fight. Well it is the same way with a lot of people who claim to be following the message of Bro. Branham: you try to tell them anything about Ephesians 4, and they will tell you real quick, that all of that was fulfilled in Bro. Branham. They have wrapped up Ephesians 4, and laid it in the ground, and they say, All we need is those Spoken Word books, for they are the word of God for our day. They want you to read those books, as though they are the anointed word of God, and a lot of them have completely laid aside the Bible, which we know for sure, is the anointed word of God. Why do they think Paul’s writings are no longer anointed, when the very man they worship preached from what Paul wrote? Brothers and Sisters: a sheet of printed paper is just so many words; it takes the Spirit of God to give the anointing. But the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, That all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and so forth, so that being true, let us never be so blind as to believe the Bible is no longer for our day. The reason we had to have a Malachi 4 was because men had lost the revelation of what Paul wrote in those epistles. That is why I said, The anointing is not resting on those pages of printed paper for men have read the Bible right on through the years, and still lost the revelation of what was written there. The revelation written there was anointed; it was Paul’s, but the anointing will not just simply rest on a sheet of paper. God’s anointing is for living men who have the desire to see the same picture as the one who first said, or wrote the words. Therefore twenty years after Bro. Branham’s death, a lot of people are reading words he spoke while under the anointing, but as far as they themselves are concerned, there is no anointing there. All they have is the printed words. That is why the Bible itself says, The letter killeth, but the Spirit maketh alive.
HUMAN NATURE MUST BE CHANGED
I have been accused of telling people not to read the Spoken Word books, but to read the Contender, and the Bible. As a matter of fact, I just received a letter from India, stating that I made such a statement when I was in Madras. But I assure you, I never made such a statement. Do you think we would have those Spoken Word books lying back there where anyone who chooses can pick one up and read it, if I felt like that? I never have denied people the right to read the books, but I do believe they should be read with the anointing of the Holy Spirit in order to catch the revelation of the messages, and I do not believe they should replace anyone’s Bible. Needless to say, I appreciate the fact that the Holy Spirit can anoint any person, anywhere, and at any time, to receive a revelation, but I also appreciate the fact that God has set in the Church a five fold ministry, for the perfecting of the saints. Brother you will not find them teaching doctrines contrary to what the others are teaching, for they will all have the same revelation. No matter what part of the world they come from, nor what color their skin is, they will all have the same picture in their hearts, because the anointing has put it there. When one of those men comes your way, he may not even know the one that was there three weeks ago, but I assure you, if they were both called of God to fulfill Ephesians 4, they will both have the same revelation. No. They will not have to tell you what office they hold. Just let them open up, and share the word of God out of the abundance of their hearts, and you will soon know whether they fit the mold for the Ephesians 4 ministry, or not. Naturally I am talking from the standpoint of the body of Christ recognizing the ministry that God has set over them, for these men will not be preaching in the big denominational churches. They will preach to those who have been called out of those systems, and the Spirit of God will confirm their ministry through the very gifts that He has set among them. You could never put together a body of people, as long as some of them were Lutheran’s some U.P.C., some Assemblies of God, and some Methodists, and so forth, for as long as they hold to those systems, they would not even accept a true apostolic ministry. That is why the cry had to go forth, Come out of her my people. The body of Christ is a called out people. Does that mean they will all have the same physical and emotional characteristics? No. Not even the apostles Paul and Peter were of the same human nature, but their doctrines were the same. Fleshly attitudes will sometimes differ, but the Holy Spirit can correct that. When Peter went up on the housetop there at Joppa, to pray, God showed him a vision that was actually saying to him, Peter: I am going to lead you to do something that is contrary to your human attitude. God was not going to change Peter’s revelation of the scriptures, but He was going to have him do something that was contrary to his human attitude about something. Peter was all wrapped up in his own race of people at that time, and had not yet caught the revelation of what God would do for Gentiles. He still considered Gentiles to be just like a bunch of dogs, and his human nature was not to have anything at all to do with them, but God had other plans for him. He was getting ready to send him to the house of a Gentile man, to preach the gospel to them there. Paul was actually the apostle to the Gentiles, but Peter was given the first opportunity to preach to a bunch of them. When he was pinned down, and realized that God had sent him there for a purpose, the only thing he knew to do, was preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to them. So in Acts 10:34, we find these words, “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.” Peter obeyed the leading of the Spirit of God, but that did not completely change his human nature, for in Galatians 2:11, Paul tells how he had to withstand Peter to the face, because he allowed himself to be influenced by a bunch of other Jews, and he separated himself from the Gentiles he had been eating with, simply because he feared what those other Jews might think of him. So we just have to realize that it takes more than just a right revelation to change this old human nature. That is something that has to be worked on. It would be wonderful if our whole human nature was completely changed the moment we get saved, but, Saints, it does not work like that. Those old traditions and ways of thinking about things, has to be changed as God gives us revelation from His word that shows them to be wrong. You first have to have an ear to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to his people. Tares do not have an ear to hear, so they just run the road, and jump on any old idea they choose to, and God just lets them go. It is a tare spirit that has formulated all these denominational doctrines and rituals. A true child of God is not interested in building a denominational fence around the truth imparted to them by the Spirit of God. Nothing that is a true doctrine, is to be separated from any other true doctrine of the scriptures: they all belong in the body of Christ. No man that is of the five fold ministry, will ever try to build an empire for himself no more than those first age apostles, prophets, and so forth did. There is no thought about trying to build a larger church than some other brother has, for they will realize that we are all of the same body, one faith, one Lord, and one baptism, and that we all must grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ together. The head cannot go in the rapture before the foot goes; therefore knowing that, we should all have the same love and concern for each other. When one member of the body of Christ has an occasion to rejoice, let us all rejoice. Likewise when one member suffers some hardship or sickness, let us all feel the pain of that also. Only in this way will the true body of Christ ever become a healthy body.
ABUSE OF BIBLE DOCTRINES
A lot of what is being called the body of Christ today, chews Bible doctrines all to pieces, and actually comes close to blasphemy. I do not mean to just pick on any certain ones; but just for an example, look at Jimmy Swaggart. A lot of fundamental people listen to him, that never before, knew one thing about divine healing, because the systems they have been in, did not teach like that. But all of a sudden they get sick, and they feel the urge to turn to this man for prayer, and God in His mercy, reaches out and touches their need. That gets their attention upon the man, instead of the God that actually ministered to their need. Every time you get around them, they are talking about what a great man of God Jimmy Swaggart is. But what does Jimmy Swaggart do? He speaks of some of these precious Bible doctrines as though they came out of the pit of hell itself. Now that is not ministering to the body of Christ. A true minister, ministering to the body of Christ, will never speak against any doctrine taught by those early apostles. Every doctrine, and every gift of the Spirit will be upheld, and the body will each member contribute that which the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon them, and the body will edify itself in love, as the scripture says. Each member contributing, does not mean that they will be coming up with new doctrines, and new revelations, it just means that the Holy Spirit will be manifesting the gifts in a way that will create a healthy environment. Now a lot of people who have been shut up in an old cold religious system, think they are hearing a new doctrine when their ears first begin to pick up certain things they have never heard before, but if it is God dealing with them, usually it is just some Bible doctrine their particular organization did not believe in. First God begins to put a hunger in the heart of such a person, and when they begin to seek Him in an effort to satisfy that hunger, they begin to listen to various ones they have never heard before. God does not always tell such a person where to go, nor how to find what they are hungering for, but when He puts the hunger there, He will not leave them without any source whatsoever to find what they are hungering for. Therefore you will find that person venturing to attend other church services, and talking to people about how they feel, and the first thing you know, God allows them to hear things from certain Bible doctrines, that they can see in the scriptures, and from there, they find that they must go forward; there is nothing back there, that will ever satisfy them again. I will never forget talking to that Asbury student that was pastoring the Methodist Church we were in, about tongues, interpretation, and the other gifts of the Spirit. He said, Well, Bro. Jackson: I believe God can do those things, and I would never want to go against anything that the Spirit of God would do, but He has just never dealt with me in that way. Then he said, I would do it, (speak in tongues) if God put it upon me, thought. Well the sad part is, with that kind of motivation, God is not going to put something upon you. He will not put a precious gift on you, knowing that your mind is actually rejecting it, and will fight against it. I had already began seeing these things in the Bible, and I was more or less just checking him to see if there was any kind of agreement on his part. But those few words let me know, that if I went this route, there would be conflict between the two of us. After seeing it in the scriptures though, I began to secretly pray that God would let my life experience some of these things, and when He did, I then realized that there was no way this was going to be accepted in the Methodist Church. If I stayed there, I would just sit there and dry up. (Those people live on the merits of the has-beens of by gone days.) This was about the same time God began to deal with me on predestination, and one Sunday morning, there at the Elizabeth Methodist Church, just a short time before we left, I was asked to take over the church, while the student pastor went on spring vacation. Well, you know what I did; I stood right there in that Methodist Church, and preached on predestination. Well a few days later, I was out in the field plowing, and saw the Sunday School superintendent come driving up the road. He stopped his car, got out, and came over to where I was, and we talked for a little while. Then he said, Bro. Jackson: You know we appreciate your testimony, your experience, and your ministry. But I believe if I were you, I would just leave those things alone that the church does not believe in. There is no sense in causing trouble. That really made me feel bad. Being young in the Lord, I felt like a little kid that had been showing off, and I felt like that for several days. I would accuse myself of just trying to show off, and then I would tell myself, But it is in the scriptures, so that condition kept me feeling very badly for several days. But then I got the chance to hear Bro. Branham preach, and that turned the whole situation around for me. He came to the platform, took a text from Genesis on the call of Abraham, and went right on through the Bible. He preached on justification, sanctification, baptism of the Holy Ghost, water baptism, predestination, eternal security, and a lot more, and I just sat there drinking it all in. I said, Hallelujah, now I know that is right. He put all of that together, and it made sense. I thought to myself, I don’t feel so bad now; I can go home satisfied. When we finally did leave the Methodist Church, I just prayed: Lord, guide me and help me. Let your Spirit teach me and guide me, and I will teach those gifts of the Spirit. Therefore no matter how many times people have stood up in church and prophesied: Yea I say unto thee such and such, and it turned out to be false, Those gifts of the Spirit are still real, and I welcome them in this church. For everything that is real, there is always a counterfeit somewhere, and the counterfeit is all some people ever see. One thing is sure though, Jesus is not coming until everything in the scriptures is fulfilled and working as it is supposed to. A lot of us may be lying in the ground first, but I am fully persuaded by the scriptures, that there is going to be a body of people on this earth that will fit the picture of what we see in the book of Acts, and in the epistles. This element of people that are supposed to be following Bro. Branham’s ministry yet denying the fact that the gifts belong in the Church, are not going to change the plan of God one bit. When Bro. Branham preached the Church Age series, he built the whole thing around the fact that the gifts of the Spirit were to be in every church. But the very minute he finished preaching on the seven seals, that whole bunch closed the book on the gifts, and completely turned the other way. Well you just simply do not do the Holy Ghost like that. God does not change His mind from day to day, like men do. Whatever He says yes to today, He will say yes to, tomorrow, and if He says no today, He will say no tomorrow. That is why I say, We have a formula in the scriptures, that shows what the Church is supposed to be like, and when God does get it all together, it will be exactly according to that formula. God has given a lot of people an opportunity to see the true light of His word, and they have played around with it, hoping to benefit the flesh, but what God gives in this way, is for the benefit of the soul. He is not concerned with just making our flesh feel good; He is putting together a body of people that will fit Ephesians 4.
MOVING TOWARD UNITY OF THE FAITH
We have talked about the five fold ministry that God has set in the Church for the perfecting of the saints, and we have read some of those verses in Ephesians 4, but I want us to look at the uniqueness of how Paul compares the body of Christ with the human body, so let us start in verse 14 and read three verses. Remember now, that body is to come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Why? Verse 14, “That we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, wherebythey lie in wait to deceive; 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.” Brothers and Sisters: It is important that every member of the body of Christ function in their proper place, just like it is for the members of the physical body. That which every joint supplies is necessary for a healthy body. In the natural, when the life flow is cut off from some part of the body: paralysis takes over. A complete cut off of blood flow will bring a gangrene condition, and there is nothing left to do but amputate. So it is very important that this mystical body have that Spirit of life flowing freely to every member, no matter how insignificant or unimportant some of the members may feel. I believe that is what Paul was establishing, by using this comparison of the body of Christ and the human body in such a unique way. What we are seeing out here in the world of religion, is what has accumulated 1900 years after the spreading of the gospel. But it is not all the body of Christ. Naturally I realize that a lot of people will say, Now Bro. Jackson, we ought not be narrow minded about this, for we just do not know how God looks upon the hearts of these people. No, we do not know how God looks upon every individual, but the important thing for us to realize, and understand, is what God will do in these last days, to get His people ready to take them away. We have to stop looking at the masses of people that seem to function within the framework of Christianity, and begin to see how God will, out of all that, prepare an element that will fit the Bible. He is not going to take a few from every denomination when it comes time for the rapture; that is what He has been doing here in this age, before time comes for the rapture. As I have said already, God has been merciful through the years, and has done everything necessary in order for the Church to survive, but the scriptures point to an end, to a time when everything offensive, and all which do iniquity will be separated from His kingdom, and the righteous shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their God. TRUTH WILL COST YOU SOMETHING Alright now, as we look at this body of Christ, let me talk a little about the ministry of this body, or the ministry that is set in the body for its perfection. There is every kind of preacher, and every kind of message under the sun, on the scene today. Therefore if you have it in your heart and in your spiritual mind a desire to be in the true body of Christ, then somewhere you must begin to look for an element of preachers that are all speaking the same thing, and that are not trying to build something for themselves. There is no way that a body of people can be perfected, as long as the ministry is divided on scriptural doctrines. God does not work in confusion. Oh He can save your soul from the sin of unbelief under almost any condition, but for you to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, you must get free of all that confusion, and get where you can feed your soul on revealed truth from God’s word. Truth will cost you something though, for it will separate you from a lot of people, and from a lot of traditions that you have dearly loved. Truth will not compromise, to please someone’s flesh. It will separate you from those that would play with your soul, and use you to help build their own kingdom. Now when I talk like this, some will say, Bro. Jackson: Don’t you believe an Assembly of God preacher, or a Baptist preacher can be anointed to preach the gospel? I just have to answer like this, God will watch over His word. Preachers like that, can preach an hour and a half on a triune God, and God will not honor one bit of it. But if they preach on John 3:16, God will honor it, for that is truth from His word. In other words, He will honor any part of His word that is preached in truth, no matter who preaches it. Most of us did not start out in an atmosphere of revealed truth; we came through those systems of religion. That in itself, proves that God honored some of what those preachers preached. But there is one thing sure, Once God has truly called you out, you can never go back into those systems of religion. When a congregation sets up against farther truth, the Spirit of God will just move on, and leave them sitting with what they have already, until they completely dry up. If the gifts have been functioning, those people with the gifts will either move on with God, or they will sit there and dry up with the rest, for the true anointing of God will not continue in such an atmosphere. I will use an illustration of something involving myself. Years ago, we took my father-in-law and mother-in-law to Florida on a little vacation, and while we were there, I had the opportunity to be invited over to an apostolic assembly to preach. I thought, Well at least they believe in one God, and I do too, and I knew that some of the people in there had sat under Bro. Branham’s ministry, for I had seen them in the meetings at various times. I thought, Maybe I can say something that will help encourage them a little, so I accepted the invitation. My message on the first night seemed to go over pretty good, and was seemingly accepted. But on Sunday morning, at the end of my message, I just felt like announcing what my subject would be that night. I said, Tonight I will preach on the second coming of Christ. I had no way of knowing that the pastor was one of those actual Jesus only men that does not believe in the second coming of Jesus the Christ in bodily form. Therefore as soon as I finished, he got up right behind me, took one verse of scripture, and the way he explained it, just cut the whole thing completely off. That night, when we came back, the man said something in an interpretation, that let me know, no matter what I say tonight, my message on the second coming of Christ will never be accepted by that man, so I would just be wasting my time; therefore I changed my message and preached a completely different type of message. But the point is, That assembly of people, though they had every opportunity to move on with God, chose rather to cut themselves off from even hearing certain truths from God’s word. God has given people many opportunities, by many kinds of experiences and manifestations by His Spirit, even among the people that have sat under Bro. Branham’s ministry, and they somehow or other, would rather hang on to the flesh of man than to move on with truth. Bro. Branham’s ministry, the things he taught, was really giving the people an opportunity to come out of those systems, and once again begin to be led by the Spirit in divine revelation, but only a few really took the opportunity to go all the way. Most of those who came out of their systems got sidetracked along the way, and are no better off than before. They are in an even worse shape, because they have heard the truth, and then let is slip away from them, or else they went to seed on a particular thing, like the Lutherans did.
WHAT FAITH DOES
As we came up the road, I could not help but notice the sign, Faith Lutheran Church. Saints: There is no such thing in the Bible. There is no such thing as a faith Church, if you can catch my thought. Bro. Jackson: Does the Bible not say that the just shall live by faith? Yes, but there is not supposed to be a church that just lives on faith alone. That faith has to be channeled into something. Just believing in God without something to go with it, will get you nowhere, and make you nothing. When Luther came on the scene the Church was locked up in Romanism, and Romanism taught everything but the Bible truths the Church was founded upon. They had traditions, rituals, ceremonies, creeds, catechisms, hail Mary’s, and all such like, but they had very little truth. Therefore when people had only that to believe on, it was time to be turned away from that. So God moved in on one simple realm of people, cut them loose, and gave them something to believe in. It was faith. You had to have faith to get out of the Catholic Church, because they ruled you with fear. But God meant for that faith to be anchored to something else other than just faith in God. There was Bible truth for that faith to lay hold upon. It was time for faith to be restored, but can God take faith alone, and perfect a body of people? You know He cannot. Faith is one of the essentials, by how He starts dealing with you. But He intends to add to that faith, things from His word, that will increase you in the wisdom and knowledge of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The just do live by faith, and from faith to faith, but that day by day faith has to be laying hold on promises and provisions in the word of God. That is why the apostle Paul said, (Heb. 11:1-3) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Noah’s faith caused him to build an ark, when God told him that He was going to bring a flood upon the earth for the destruction of all flesh. His faith caused him to build that ark just exactly like God told him to build it. That is how he gained a good report; he obeyed the word of God. Hebrews 1:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” As we said, God imparts that measure of faith to every person, but then, it is up to that individual to invest his measure of faith in something that God has said. Abraham left his home, and went on a journey to a strange land, simply because God said to him, “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.” The same faith that caused him to obey God there, also caused him to obey God, when He told him to take Isaac and offer him upon an altar for a sacrifice. In other words, He took that faith that caused him to believe in God, and allowed it to lead him to do what God told him to do, regardless of what the circumstances looked like. That is why I say, Faith has to be something more than just faith in the existence of God.
ANOTHER STEP IN RESTORATION
John Knox saw something in the word of God, that took him one step beyond Martin Luther: He saw predestination, and taught that what is to be, will be. There is where the Presbyterian Church stood, and that, in the hour that Knox taught it, in that old dark hour of Romanism, was enough to cause another element of people to break away from that old system of religion. But did the Lutherans follow, or move with that? No. They are still sitting on the sidelines, believing in faith. Predestination really played an important part in helping those people in their understanding, build faith toward God, but that alone is not sufficient to stand alone on. It was just another step in God’s restoration process, whereby He would restore to the Church, that which she had lost. It came in its season, just like eternal security of the believer, and all the other great truths of the Bible, that had been lost during the dark ages. God does not get in a hurry though, for I believe we can plainly see that even though the Reformation has been going on for almost 500 years, the Church is still not fully restored to its original apostolic faith. People are being given a lot of opportunity to investigate, and to play around with some things, and as I said, Tares will never come in and be a part of the body of Christ: they cannot be perfected. But God is separating an element of people from among them, that can be perfected, and they will be, when the season is right. As long as the Church lay within the realm of those denominations, it looked like God was not moving in any other realm other than that, but their day has passed, and I assure you, God is not going to perfect anything in any of that; He only allowed individuals to pass through those places, and He dealt with each one according to the light they could see. But when He brought a messenger to this age, the call went out, to come out of those systems, and return to the word of God. Bro. Branham was the only man this side of the Dark Ages, that ever took all of those Bible truths that the various reformers saw, and presented them to the Church in one package, showing how they all belonged to the same body. He presented them in such a way that the true child of God could not help but see that they were the same things the apostles taught to the first Church. I remember when he taught on the Church Ages, how he put emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit, and the affect it had on certain individuals, yet as time went on, they changed completely. One such person sat beside me one night during that series, and when the service was over, he said to me, (almost crying) Oh, Bro. Jackson, just pray for me; I can hardly wait until God will bestow some kind of gift upon me, and begin to use me. You could really see that something was stirring in his soul. Yet three years later, when Bro. Branham preached on the seven seals, and put “Church Order” into effect, that same individual did a complete about face, stopped praying for the gifts, and even went so far as to say, we no longer need the gifts in the Church. So, Brothers and Sisters: I believe with all my heart that many times God let that little man say things in such a way that it would send the child of God to the Bible, and give the tares something they could hit the road with. Now as I said, I am not against the Spoken Word books, but do not read them and then come and tell me you got some kind of revelation out of them. Whatever revelation there is in them: is the revelation God gave Bro. Branham, and he expressed it the best way he knew how, and it is there for all to read, but do not try to tell me you got a different revelation from any of them. If that were a fact, then why could not a person read books by John Wesley and Calvin, and get a different revelation than what they had? Whatever revelation any of those men had; they got it from the Bible. The books that have been written, were their expressions of what the Lord had shown them, but none of those books are worthy to be treated as inspired writings to take the place of the Bible. Therefore once those men preached a revelation that they had gotten from the scriptures, no one has any right to go back to their sermons and claim to get another revelation from them.
SINGING IN THE SPIRIT
I want to go back now, and take some time to look at the charismatic realm of religion. They sit there in those charismatic meetings, supposed to be enjoying the moving of the Spirit of God, speaking in tongues and prophesying, but not a one of them has been moved to go any further in the scriptures. Somehow they have been made to believe that this sort of thing is what will make them ready for the rapture. A lot of these services are built around singing in the Spirit, and singing in the Spirit is a beautiful thing when true children of God know how to sing in the Spirit. But all the singing in the Spirit that you could ever do, will avail you nothing, if there is never any inspiration to go any further in the word of God. Brother, the Spirit of God will just move on and leave you sitting there singing in the flesh. When that anointing leaves, that is all there is, just singing in the flesh. I know a lot of people think I know nothing at all about singing in the Spirit. But, yes, there is a time when singing in the Spirit, you literally feel that you are almost lifted up and carried away. But one thing is sure, when God lets loose of you, and you come back down to earth, back down to your natural feelings, God’s motive in doing that, is that you might always be pointed to His word. He never does a thing like that just for the sake of you feeling a sensation in your flesh. It is always for the benefit of the spiritual man inside of that flesh. I will never forget a series of meetings we attended, in the early years of God’s dealing with my life in giving me the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I did not go there for the sake of the man’s doctrinal teachings, for I knew he was a trinitarian. But I knew in my heart that there was a certain moving of the Spirit of God around his meetings, and I just felt like if I could be in those services, God would do something for me, and He truly did. At the end of one of his afternoon meetings, the preacher gave a call for all the Christians to gather around for a season of prayer, and we all gathered in a big huddle. Naturally they way he did this, it was obvious he was trying to manipulate something, but when God finds a hungry heart, he can do things that far supercede anything man can ever do. For as we stood there praying, all of a sudden the organist hit the notes of something, and that whole mass of people began to sing, and immediately I began to follow the tune of that song in another tongue. That was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me, and I am not saying that it has to happen to everyone, but it is a wonderful experience. It was brought about by the sovereignty of God, and I give Him all the thanks and praise for it, but it did not change my attitude about His word in the least. For I realized that if we stood there singing in the Spirit until the mountains fall, and still have no desire to learn the will and purpose of God, it is all vain. But as I stood there, I could not resist what was happening, for something was singing through me. It felt so good I thought, “Oh this is wonderful: I sure am thankful that God brought me out of the Methodist Church before this happened.” If this had happened in the Methodist Church, I believe some of them would have had heart attacks. But as it was, I knew I was among people that could accept something like that, so I was just enjoying it and rejoicing in it. It really made me appreciate God. Let me say this though, I believe if God should do something like that, among some of these so called followers of Bro. Branham, some of them would have heart attacks, because they believe there is not supposed to be anything like that today. Oh yes, brothers and sisters, no matter what your thinking may be, God is still God, and He can still do anything He has ever done. He likes to do a lot of things for people, that apostles, prophets, nor anyone else is able to do for you. He still has a few things He wants to do in a sovereign way. I tell you, I just stood there singing and crying, and enjoying myself, but all the time I was thinking, What am I singing? Nevertheless I could not stop until the organist stopped, but when the organ stopped, I stopped. Then she hit the notes again and I started singing in English, Have thine own way Lord, have thine own way. That is what I had been singing all the time, and did not know it. I just thought to myself, Oh hallelujah, this is wonderful when God can have His own way like this. Brothers and Sisters: That is a wonderful experience, and it is right to desire it, but do not ever let that sort of thing sidetrack you, and cause you to think a whole service should be built around this sort of thing, or that your whole life should be centered around something like that. If you do, you are like a man in quicksand: instead of climbing higher, you will begin to sink. It can also work the same way on the word side: when God begins to deal with someone in a revelatory way. A lot of people get a glimpse of something, and they get so carried away with it, they actually run away from God with it, instead of moving with God.
MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD
Several years ago, certain areas of Pentecost began to read those verse in the 8 chapter of Romans, th and feel that the Spirit of God was giving them a revelation on the manifestation of the sons of god. It is those verses that speak of how the whole creation groaneth and travaileth waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. The essence of their revelation was, Oh, the day is coming when the Church is going to be so anointed, that the manifested sons of God, as they are led by the Spirit, are literally going to turn cities upside down for god. I remember reading a little excerpt one time, and I thought to myself, “It would be nice if it could happen like that, but when we see in the Bible how iniquity will abound in these last days, and how men will be lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, how can we even dream of such a thing?” Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, that just before nd the end, just before our gathering together unto Him, (Jesus Christ) there will come a falling away, and that man of sin will be revealed, so how in the name of common sense can anyone get such a revelation, and actually believe that multitudes will be turned to God in these last days? When we speak of what God is doing with the true body of Christ in these last days, we are not speaking of a church turning the world upside down for God, we are looking at and talking about a people that knows how to live for God, and be led by a revelation that makes them a witness and a true light in the unbelieving world round about them. God will protect that people, and preserve it, and perfect it, but they will not win any multitudes to Christ. Well needless to say, the old manifested sons of God teaching has just about faded from the picture, like every other so called revelation that cannot be found taught in the scriptures. In other words, they were out of season with it, for what Paul was speaking of there in Romans 8, is what believers will be in the Millennium. The whole creation is groaning and travailing, waiting for that time. That is when this true adoption will take place, when these old mortal bodies have been changed to immortality. Satan will be bound, and even the animal kingdom will be changed. When Paul wrote this, he was already a son of God, and there were times when his preaching truly did turn cities upside down, but he usually ended up in jail, so this is not the sort of thing he had in mind, when he wrote this letter to the Romans. God has always had sons. The Bible says, Now are we the sons of God. We are already sons of God, we are just not yet in our perfected state. But my point is, just do not allow yourselves to get carried away with any one particular element of teaching, for it if is a true teaching of the scriptures, it belongs with all the other true teaching of the Bible. That is why I have said, regardless of how scriptural something may look, we are living in an hour when it must be lined up with all other scriptures. That is why God sent a messenger to this seventh age, it was time for all of these true Bible truths to be pulled together and presented to the true body of Christ, and it will be the five fold ministry of Ephesians 4, that will take those Bible truths and administer them to the rest of the body, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Continued next issue.