THE LORD HAS BEEN DEALING WITH ME ON SOMETHING THAT I HAD NEVER EVEN THOUGHT OF AS A SUBJECT IN THIS WAY. IT CONCERNS THE BOOK OF LIFE, AND WHETHER GOD EVER REMOVES NAMES FROM IT. PEOPLE ASK THESE QUESTIONS WHEN THEY READ THE LAST VERSES OF THE 22 CHAPTER OF REVELATION: DOES GOD REMOVE NAMES FROM THE BOOK OF LIFE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN, ADD TO, AND TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORDS OF THIS PROPHECY? YOU CAN SEE WHY THEY MIGHT ASK THAT: KNOWING THAT WE TEACH PREDESTINATION AND ETERNAL SECURITY, ACCORDING TO THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD. THEREFORE I WANT TO GO INTO THE BIBLE, AND JUST LET THE SCRIPTURES THEMSELVES ANSWER ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS, AS WE GO ALONG. I DO NOT KNOW HOW LONG WE WILL BE ON THIS MESSAGE: I AM JUST GOING TO START AND LET THE LORD TELL ME WHEN TO STOP, AND THAT WILL BE WHEN ALL YOUR QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED FROM
THE BIBLE, AND YOU NO LONGER HAVE TO BELIEVE SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE BRO. SO AND SO SAID IT. WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO CATCH A REVELATION FROM THE WORD OF GOD, THAT IS WORTH MORE THAN HEARING IT TEN THOUSAND TIMES WITHOUT A REVELATION. SOME QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK
Open your Bibles to the 22 Chapter of Revelation, and to verse 17, and we will get our starting nd scriptures for this subject. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. (That is an open invitation.) And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, (That means, the prophecy of the book of Revelation. This is God’s last warning to mankind, but it is a total prophecy, so notice as we go on.) If any man shall add unto these things, (meaning, the things contained in the book of Revelation.) God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: (The plagues found in the book of Revelation) And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” You would not believe how many times I have been asked the question, Bro. Jackson: If predestination is a fact, then what does that mean? Or they will say, Is it possible that someone’s name could be removed from the book of life? Let me just say this, and then we will read some more scripture. Yes predestination is a solid doctrine, taught by the apostles of Christ, regardless of what may seem to contradict it. One thing to remember, is that the scriptures do not contradict themselves; we just have to get them lined up together; in the light of what the writer was dealing with. Furthermore this scripture we have just read, did not become a known scripture until 96 A.D., so keep that in mind, for there was a reason for it to be like that. In other words, In 40 A.D., this scripture was not even known. But it is the last words written in the New Testament, and we intend to show why it is written then.
TRUE DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE
Go with me now to the gospel of St. John, which was written by the same man that wrote the book of Revelation, but under different circumstances. We will begin reading in verse 37 of chapter 6, and read some words of Jesus, that definitely establish a foundation for the doctrine of predestination. Pay attention to the words of this verse, and you will see that He was not presenting a maybe-so situation; He was making a definite statement. “ALL that the Father giveth me shall come to me; (That word SHALL makes this a positive declaration, and it pertains to ALL that the Father, the great eternal spirit, gives to Him.) And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” I hope you caught every detail of that verse, for it actually has predestination and eternal security, both, in it. Your modern day religionists will say, Sure Jesus said that; but you have to hang in there. Listen to me, saints: A person who makes a statement like that, is void of understanding, as to what the new birth is. God never makes a mistake. He does not need a pencil with an eraser on it. Furthermore do not picture this sovereign God, as trying to get something done; for He gets done exactly what He has foreordained to get done, and it always meets His conditions, He does not compromise. Man can wrestle with thoughts, and words, and meanings, until his hair turns gray and falls out; but that does not change the mind of God one bit whatsoever. Alright now, verse 38 holds a beautiful truth; but an awful lot of people dwell on what they think the first six words mean, and they never even catch the point that Jesus was making. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” Jesus definitely is NOT stating that He came down from heaven as an already existing person. This is merely terminology that speaks of the origin of His life. His conception in the womb of that young virgin, was a supernatural conception brought about by the spirit of God; while every other man on earth came the normal route, by the union of a man and woman, according to God’s law of reproduction. Therefore when you read verse 38, be aware of the fact that the point Jesus is making, comes after those first six words. Why did He (Jesus) come to earth? Not to do His own will, (speaking from the standpoint of His human make up) but the will of Him that sent Him, which simply means that HE was on earth to do the perfect will of the great eternal Spirit. His human mind was completely subject to the mind of the Creator, at all times. What was the Father’s will for Him? Verse 39 tells us. “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of ALL which He hath given me I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up again at the last day.” That speaks of the resurrection of course. But do you realize what we have here? Jesus was standing there speaking what was exactly the foreknowledge of the Father, known by Him (the Father) from before the foundation of the world. Verse 40, “And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, (meaning every one that has a revelation of what He is to their redemption) and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” You have heard people say, Why should I have to repent and be saved? I have never done anything bad. That proves that such a person has no revelation at all: that he is a sinner by nature; and therefore needs the Savior. Well those Jews got to murmuring against Jesus, because He had said He was the bread of life, so let us go to verse 44 and see how Jesus answered them. “No man can come to me, except the Father (the great eternal Spirit) which hath sent me to draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” He knew He was to be the actual resurrection. In another place He said, I am the resurrection and the life. Notice now, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” As you analyze all of this, you will find that every statement Jesus made: was a positive statement; that shows predestination. He did not use that word, nor did He go into lengthy details, but He definitely did speak things from the mind of the Father; that the Father knew before the foundation of the world. THEY WILL COME TO ME; in their respective order, and in their generation of time, as the Spirit of the Father draws them. In other words, that sovereign Spirit must first convict the lost man or woman of their lost condition, and cause them to realize that provision has been made for them, and then they call upon the name of the Lord Jesus and find their salvation. That of course, brings Romans 10 to mind, where Paul said, verse 13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him, in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” They have to hear something, and God has ordained that they hear it from the mouth’s of other mortal men; but God, by His great foreknowledge, directs it all from beginning to end; and what Jesus said to those people that day, lets us know that predestination according to foreknowledge, and eternal security, are both true doctrines, when they are applied properly. Therefore with that in mind, let us go to the 17 chapter of John, where Jesus prayed before going to the garden. This prayer was th prayed in the presence of His disciples, and it is the 12 verse that we want to lay emphasis on; but in th order to get the setting, maybe we should start with verse 6. Jesus (the man) is praying to the great eternal Spirit, the Father of all creation, concerning those that the Father has given Him, and there is much to be learned from the words he spoke.
THE FATHER’S NAME MANIFESTED TO SOME
The one who said, I came not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me, is in prayer to the one that sent Him, and in verse 6 says, “I have manifested thy name (publicly displayed thy name) unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: (There were multitudes that followed Him at one time or the other, but we know that all of them had not been given to Him. Most of them found fault with Him, and walked away; but of those special ones He says this.) Thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.” When you go back and study all of the gospels, you find that Jesus said a lot of things along the way, that His disciples pondered, and wondered about, but all of those that were truly foreknown of the father, even though they did not understand everything, they have kept and respected what they did understand. Therefore he said to them one day, (John 14:26) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” At least they did believe that He was the Christ, the anointed one that was to come, and that the words He spoke to them, were the words of life; and that caused them to faithfully follow on, even though they did not understand. Verse 8, “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; (So the words He had been speaking were not His own; they were the words the father had given Him to speak.) And they have received them and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” Brothers and Sisters: When you are looking at the subject of predestination: you do not look just at the word itself. That is only an explanation of the terminology found in the words of Jesus and His apostles throughout the New Testament. No human mind will ever overrule the sovereign mind of the Creator. All we can ever do, is either cooperate with Him, or rebel against Him. That is what determines the degree of fellowship we have with Him. But I hope you all realize that if you are children of God, you were foreknown of Him before the foundation of the world. He has never been persuaded by anyone: to increase the size of His family; beyond that which He knew it would be, before he ever created the first man. He knew, before you were ever born what your choice would be: concerning His word; therefore your name was not placed in the book of life the day you got saved; it was placed there before God ever started to create. This is predestination, but it is according to God’s foreknowledge, Him knowing way back then, what our choice would be. The reason a lot of people fight against predestination so hard, is because of the misconception they have in their mind, of it. They actually think we are saying, that God went down through the list of names of all the people that would ever be born, and just merely picked out some to be saved, and doomed all the rest to hell. No. Let me say it again, and listen to how I say it, Predestination is based upon God’s foreknowledge of what your choice will be, when you are confronted with the gospel of Jesus Christ, or with whatever determined each person’s attitude toward God, as in the Old Testament times.
TWO MINDS – BUT ONLY ONE PERSON
As we go into verse 10, we find Jesus saying, “And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee.” This is a beautiful thing we are reading here, for it shows the complete unity and harmony between the Father (SPIRIT) and the Son (which was human.) All that the Father ever gave Him; is given right back to the Father in the end. “Holy Father, keep through thine own name (That means, Keep them in the revelation and understanding of what that name implies and what it consists of.) Those whom thou hast (past tense) given me, that they may be one, as we are.” In the mind of the Father, this whole plan of redemption was a completed picture, before there was ever anything to be redeemed. Let me say also, when Jesus used the word WE, He was not speaking of another person; for the other mind involved here, is the mind of that sovereign Spirit which is our Creator, but not a person. Some people have such a hard time comprehending the fact that there was always two minds, the mind of the Father, and the mind of the Son, but the son was the only person. Well, as we have said, That is a revelation in itself, but if you do not have that revelation, there is a lot of scripture that you cannot possibly understand. The Father was in the Son, yet the Father remains to be an omnipresent Spirit, and from within that one human body of flesh, both minds operated. Verse 13, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, (There, again, we see predestination) and none of them is lost, (Notice now) but the son of perdition; (That was Judas) that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (Psalms 109:8) He was one of the original twelve, but he was not a foreknown son of God. He had every chance given to him that the others had, but Satan anointed him to betray Christ, long before any of them ever had an upper room experience; where they received their seal. It takes the baptism of the Holy Ghost to complete the new birth experience; therefore any time before that, a person can drop out of the picture, and there is no reason to wonder if their name was taken from the book of life; for it was never in it. As I said, God does not make any mistakes. Some will say, Then why was Judas chosen as a disciple, if he was not foreknown of God? The scripture had to be fulfilled. God saw Judas doing that, before the foundation of the world, but God did not force him to do what he did. He was given every opportunity, just like Cain, but he chose to yield himself to the devil, just like Cain did, and in so doing, he set the type of the Antichrist. Jesus chose him in the spirit, strictly that the mind of the Father might be fulfilled; and up unto the time Satan anointed him, you could not accuse him of being a man that was always differing with Jesus and the other apostles. When Jesus sent the twelve to preach the message of the kingdom, He commanded them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils, and Judas was one of that twelve that obeyed that command. In other words, He truly had an equal opportunity to follow Jesus all the way. It was his own choice, to yield himself to the devil and betray the Lord, but it was already foretold in the prophetic scriptures, that one would do that. It was no surprise to God, but God did not force him to do what he did. When those disciples returned from their missionary journey and reported to Jesus, He made no distinction between them, yet in His heart He knew that the day would come when one of them would betray Him, to fulfill what was written in the Psalms. He knew the day would come when that certain disciple would yield completely to the spirit that ruled his life; but in the meantime, He did not force it to manifest itself. Only at the Passover supper, after Judas had already had tremors of doubt flooding his mind, did Jesus openly remark, that one of those that had eaten bread with Him, would betray Him. This was also recorded in Psalms 41:9, and Jesus knew those prophecies were there all the time, yet He waited for the exact moment of time to reveal what He knew; only after Judas had begun to entertain wrong thoughts and motives. All of this was characteristic of what was manifested in Cain, when he slew Abel, but it also characterized the Antichrist spirit that would come on the scene later on: to try to destroy the effectiveness of the true Church; and bring it to naught. But the term, son of perdition, speaks of one ordained to lead something to destruction, which in this case, it was to lead the Son of God to Calvary, where the devil thought He would be destroyed. The final agent, called the Son of perdition, will be the literal Antichrist; that will break the peace covenant with Israel and declare war on anyone left on earth; that believes in God. But between Judas and this man, there has been centuries of time that this spirit of Satan (Antichrist spirit) has tried to destroy the effectiveness of God’s purpose in the Church; which is the body of Christ, the bride. So in His prayer, Jesus said, I have kept those that thou gavest me, and none of them is lost, except the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.
WAS JUDAS A SON OF GOD?
Now just to look at this betrayal of Jesus a little closer, look on over in chapter 13. After Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet He said, “Verily, verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” Naturally they all began to look at each other and wonder which one it would be. Finally John asked, “Lord who is it?” Then Jesus said, It is the one to whom I will give a sop, when I have dipped it; and Judas was the man, but the others still did not know which one it would be; for they did not understand what Jesus meant. Nevertheless Jesus said to Judas, “That thou doest, do quickly,” and he went directly to the high priest to plan how he would do it, for Satan took him over when Jesus handed him the sop. Judas had already lost all the feelings he ever had for Jesus, and he was ready to manifest that tare spirit that was in him. That is why Jesus took the occasion to speak to him as He did. Nevertheless the scripture had to be fulfilled, and it was not the drunks in the neighborhood tavern that would betray Him; it had to be someone that had walked in fellowship with Him. In other words, Judas was a tare all along; he never was a son of God. He was given every opportunity that those sons of God were given, but the spirit in him would not allow him to go all the way to the upper room. All through the ages, every tare has been given every opportunity that the elected children of God have been given; but God, because of His foreknowledge, knew that every one of them would find some reason never to yield their lives completely to Him. I do not mean to dwell on this, but I do feel the necessity to lay stepping stones in the strategic places, as we go along. Now some will still ask, But was Judas’ name in the book of life? Only from the standpoint that he was given every potential that the other eleven apostles were given. Certainly his name was never recorded as an elected son of God. The scriptures do not contradict themselves, and we know that the scriptures show that the book of life was completed from before the foundation of the world, (Rev. 17:8) and that the Holy Ghost is our seal; that seals us as sons of God until the day of redemption, (Eph. 4:30) and all whose names are written in the book of life, will receive that seal; for Jesus said, (John 6:37) “All that the Father giveth me SHALL COME TO ME.” He said also that it is the will of the Father, that He should lose none that were given to Him, except the son of perdition, which was known of the Father from before the foundation of the world, and He is to raise up again, in the last day, all the rest. Well even though Judas was taken over by the devil and led to betray the Lord, the scripture declares that he later came to his senses and realized what he had done, and tried to return the 30 pieces of silver that was paid to him by the Jewish religious leaders. He said, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. But they had what they wanted, and simply told him that that was not their problem, so he threw down the money, and went and hanged himself. Some people look at the word repented, in Matthew 27:3, and wonder about it, but let me tell you, This was another case like Esau. The Bible says that Esau sought repentance with all his heart, and could not find it, and Jesus even called Judas the son of perdition, and the Bible nowhere teaches that a man can cease to be a son of Satan, and become a son of God. No. What the Bible declares is that we are servants of the devil before our salvation experience; not children of his. Anyhow the same devil that led Judas to betray the Lord, also led him to despondency, and ultimately to destruction.
GOD’S TRUE WAY HAS NEVER BEEN POPULAR
For too long, Christians have been influenced by the Armenian version of the free moral agency of man, and emphasis has been laid upon the scripture that says, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Peter simply used that terminology in describing the longsuffering grace and mercy of God, and He gives everyone ample opportunity to partake of all His benefits, even though His foreknowledge allows Him to know what every person’s eternal destination is. The way God spoke to Cain back there in the very beginning of man’s history, proves that God gives every person a chance. What did He say to him? If you do good, you will be accepted. In other words: bring a proper sacrifice. Multitudes of people in the world of religion today, are guilty of the same thing Cain was. They have a self-willed form of worship, whereby they offer to God their education, their beautiful buildings, their money and political and social influence; but they fail to yield their heart and soul to Him, to be led into what He calls righteousness. The Bible says, Man’s righteousness is as filthy rags, and that is true; no matter how good it might look to the flesh. Brothers and Sisters: Do not be disturbed, when religion in general looks upon people like us, as a cult; for God’s true way of righteousness has never been the popular way. Furthermore we must realize that not everyone who walks with us is a predestined seed of God, for in the case of Judas, he served the Lord faithfully almost to the very last. But he did not make it to Pentecost, and there receive the promise of the Father, which, as we have already said, is the gift of eternal life, the seal that gives us eternal security, guaranteeing that we can never be lost. That is what a seal is; it is a guarantee, and God only gives it to those whom he foreknew to be sons and daughters. I do not believe there is anyone in Faith Assembly that would argue the point of election and predestination through the foreknowledge of God; but for the sake of anyone who would want more evidence, let us go to the Ephesian letter. This was written by the apostle Paul, a man sent by God to the Gentiles, with such a beautiful revelation of the redemption plan of their Creator. He had preached there in Ephesus for three years, and this church was founded on the revelation of truth that he taught them, and this church sets a spiritual type of the true body of Christ because of it’s pureness and dedication in those years before the tares got in. This epistle leaves no doubt about Paul’s revelation on the subject of predestination, so let us read a few verses there.
PREDESTINATED ACCORDING TO GOD’S PURPOSE
We are in Ephesians, chapter 1, verse 3, and we will read at least 8 verses. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; According as He (the Father) hath CHOSEN US in Him (Jesus the son, who was the Christ) BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, (Why?) That we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: (Notice now) Having PREDESTINATED US unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ (or through Jesus Christ) to Himself, ACCORDING to the good pleasure of HIS WILL, (and Romans 8:29 tells us that this predestination was according to his foreknowledge) To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; HAVING MADE KNOWN UNTO US the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He (God, the eternal Spirit) hath purposed in Himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, (pay attention now.) BEING PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of Him (God) who worketh all things after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL.” We will just go ahead and read a few verses from the first epistle of Peter, that carry this same terminology. In verse 2 of chapter 1, we learn that he is writing to the ELECT, who became such, according to the FOREKNOWLEDGE of God the Father. Then in verse 18-20, he brings out specific details about their redemption. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you.” That just gives us an opportunity to see that Paul and Peter both had the same revelation about this subject of predestination. Now Jesus did not use these particular words in John 6 and John 17, but those apostles took the things He said and enlarged upon them, and we find them using the terms elected, foreknown, predestinated, and sealed, and they are proper terms, because that is exactly what Jesus was teaching, and in the end, God’s redeemed family will stand before Him holy, blameless, and spotless, just like He saw them all, even before He ever created that first thing. Not one of them will be there because they were forced to be; because they every one, will have made the choice to serve God when they heard the gospel of their salvation. But, saints, be sure you understand that a person does not have that seal until they receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost, the seal that gives them eternal security. Another thing we need to be aware of, is that there are multitudes of tares claiming to have the Holy Ghost, and sometimes only God knows who has what. Out here in the Charismatic realm, they have everyone receiving the Holy Ghost, simply because they speak in tongues. But there is something wrong, because the spirit they receive never seems to lead them into all truth, like Jesus said the Holy Ghost would do. All they ever seem to care about is outward manifestations, something the flesh can enjoy. They teach evidence, and interpret the Bible to mean exactly what they want it to mean. The elected child of God does not do that. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” That means until the day you are resurrected, or you are changed, and caught up to be with the Lord. That is the final stage of our redemption. Your redemption was not complete the day you knelt at an altar and accepted your salvation. But every elected child of God is baptized by the Holy Ghost, and that is the seal that keeps them secure until the day their redemption is complete. It matters not whether we go by way of the grave, or remain alive until the rapture takes place: that seal is still good either way. That is why Paul wrote to the Romans, chapter 8, verse 11, “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
FALSE CHRISTS – AND FALSE PROPHETS
Let us go to the 24 chapter of Matthew at this time, and notice how Jesus prepared His disciples for th what would come later. In verse 4 He said to them, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Now why would He make such a statement as that? Because He knew that after His departure: somewhere in the course of time, the devil would be allowed to turn loose a spirit that would run parallel to the ministry of those disciples: and that they would have all kinds of satanic powers: designed to deceive people, and turn them from following a true revelation. It did not start on the day of Pentecost, and it did not start the next year; but over a period of time it gradually projected itself into the body of believers with a little adverse idea here and there. Not only did Jesus say to them, take heed that no man deceive you: He also said, (verse 24) “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” He knew full well, that those false christs and false prophets that would come on the scene, would not be sons of God, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, but in order to be in a place where they could get a foothold in the church, and have that opportunity to deceive others, they had to have certain potentials, as old Cain did. Those first age Christians from the day of Pentecost, and so forth, could not be deceived, because they were what Paul referred to as the pillar and ground of truth, but their children that were raised in the environment of the body of true believers, were not necessarily true revelated believers themselves, so that gave the devil the leverage he needed, in order to inject a little different idea here and there, as time went on. Then as those old guards of the faith passed from the scene, the next generation that stood in their place did not have a pure revelation of the apostolic doctrines that were taught in the early years of Christianity. Therefore as centuries passed, and the devil remained faithful to his purpose of deception; it eventually led the Church into what we call, The Dark Ages. Why would God allow the devil to do that? For the same reason He allowed him to use the old serpent in the garden of Eden. It is God’s way of testing His people. The first Christians passed the test because they were already the called out ones of their generation, but just as it was in the case of Jacob and Esau, not all of the children of those true Christians were foreknown of God. Some of them were predestinated seed of God, and some were not, even though they had all been given the same opportunities to serve God; as they were raised in a Christian environment. In other words, this was the devil’s golden opportunity to move make believers into places of leadership in the local assemblies, as time moved on. A tare knows all about the function of the church, even though they themselves do not have the Holy Ghost seal. Judas did everything those other apostles did, because he had been instructed right along with them, and the Spirit of God worked with him when he went out, just like He did with the other eleven, because they were doing what they had been instructed to do. But in the case of old Judas, he never did make it to Pentecost and receive the seal. You say, Could he have? The answer is the same as it was to Cain; “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted.” God said that to Cain, and He meant what He said; but at the same time, because of His foreknowledge, God knew what Cain would do. Well it was the same with Judas; he was given the same opportunity to walk faithfully right along with the others; all the way to Pentecost. But because of His foreknowledge; God know what he would do; therefore it could be recorded ahead of time that he would betray the Lord, and that is why Jesus did not hesitate to refer to him as the son of perdition. Regardless of what some may want to believe, the parable of the good seed and the tares, spoken by Jesus in Matthew 13:24-30, 37-42, plainly shows us that there are two sets of children in the world, children of God, and children of the wicked one, and God is allowing them all to grow together until the end of the age; and in the meanwhile the natural eye cannot tell them apart. The tares look and act just like the true Christians. Therefore it is not the old drunk staggering down the street, that is deceiving people today; it is the same old tare spirit that led the church astray in the second age; that is still out there deceiving people, and leading them to destruction. Some of them can preach up a storm, and pray the most beautiful prayers you have ever heard, but somewhere along the line, they deviate from the original truth; established by the apostles of Jesus Christ.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUE CHILDREN – AND TARES
When the apostle Paul was dealing with the subject of false apostles, (tares) and such like, in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, he made some very strong statements about them. I think it would be good for us to turn to the 11 chapter of 2 Corinthians and read a few verses. He is forewarning them of th nd something that is coming down the road, something that would one day cause the church to pass through a long, dark period. He did not say that; but we can say it, because we can look back through a church history, and see what happened. We will just pick it up in verse 13, for I am only interested, at this time, in showing you the terminology he used. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing IF HIS MINISTERS also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” You may question as to why Paul was talking like that, at that time; but standing here, looking back, we can see that he hit the nail right on the head. The devil can make people get drunk; he can make people kill other people, and he can make them do all sorts of perverted things; but he also makes a lot of people religious. They are not children of God; they are just religious. They will never have eternal life dwelling in them; but they will confuse the religious picture right to the very end, for according to the parable, it is only at the end of time, (or the end of the age) that they are gathered together for burning. With a spiritual eye, we can see that they are already being gathered together; but the true church is yet far from being completely free from them. That is what makes it hard for a lot of people who truly are predestined to receive a revelation of truth; they are still hearing a lot of this antichrist gospel, that these self appointed angels of light are preaching. Oh, God will get His crop; we do not have to worry about that; but we do need to be aware of what is going on, out here in this world of religion. For according to the words of Jesus, there in Matthew 24, it is here at the end time that these two spirits will be so close, that even the very elect would be deceived, if it were possible. Brother these tares are putting on a good show. Who do you think Jesus was referring to in the 7 chapter of Matthew, if it was not tares? Who th else could He have been talking about? In verse 21, He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: (In other words, they were not foreknown as children of God; they have been make believers all the time, and have no place in the true kingdom, with God’s foreknown children, so that is why the response will be, I never knew you) depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Saints: when you study this thing all the way back through time, from the time that spirit was first allowed to get into the church, you can see that it has always been that tare element, that could believe one thing one day, and something else the next, never really able to settle down, and stand for a true revelation. Now that does not mean that they will never be loyal to anything. I believe Judas, when he was first chosen, was just as loyal and faithful to Jesus, as Peter and the rest. You have to look further on out, to see the difference between Peter and Judas. The night Jesus was arrested, Judas was the instrument that betrayed Him to the Jewish religious leaders. But that same night, Peter denied even knowing the Lord, and even cursed to put emphasis on his denial. Well if we have been in a position to judge those two men that night, we would have said, Peter is just as bad as Judas. At that time, we would not have remembered a former time when Jesus asked His disciples, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? Then when He asked them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter was the one that spoke up saying, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, and Jesus said to him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed into unto thee; but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Sure he was a hot head, he was stubborn, quick tempered, and even fearful, the night Jesus was arrested: but Peter had a revelation, and it had been said to him, by Jesus, “When thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren.” So as we take these things into consideration, we have to realize that Jesus knew what was in Peter, and how the Holy Ghost could change his old nature and make him a powerful instrument in the kingdom of God. Can any of us truthfully say that we have never been weak in the flesh, like Peter was before he received the Holy Ghost? God looks beyond that human weakness, knowing that the Holy Ghost will put a back bone in us, that will cause us to stand for the revelation we have in our heart when the time is right. What did Peter do, on the day of Pentecost? Was he still scared? Did he deny knowing Jesus that day? No! When that bunch of Jews started mocking those disciples, saying that they were drunk of new wine, Peter stood right up in the midst of them and said, Now wait just a minute: (That is my words) “These are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” Brother, this time he grabbed the sword of the Spirit, and began to preach. He was not ashamed of Jesus, and he was not afraid of any of that mocking crowd. He would never deny his Master again. From that day on, he would defend Him. So actually the point is this, The elected, predestinated child of God can make mistakes, and falter along the way, but the end result is, God will always deal with them as children, just like Paul talks about in Hebrews. “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Heb. 12:6-8) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” We ought to be thankful that scriptures like that are in the Bible, for they help us understand a lot of things that take place. A lot of the reason the church world has existed as it has through the centuries, is because of that very thing. If you have wondered why the disciplinary means that God used to keep believers straight in that first age, has not been used in the churches of the world today, it is because that tare element in them cannot be chastened as sons. The Spirit of God cannot work among them in a disciplinary way, because they are not His children; therefore a lot of the disciplinary means that might have been used in the body, has just sort of faded into the background, and God deals with His true children in ways that only they, are able to recognize the chastening hand of the Lord in those things. God does not put the chastening of His children on display, for all of the tares to see and enjoy but you can be sure, He does still chasten all that are truly His children. So Paul said, “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, (All who? All children of God) then are ye bastards (meaning illegitimate children, and that is exactly what tares are) and not sons.” Tares are not even sensitive enough to be ashamed of their attitude toward the word of God. They will speak evil of truth, and say that it is out of the pit of hell, because they have no spiritual revelation. Peter wrote that this kind speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption. The man or woman that is truly born of God, loves truth. Truth is as important to them as breathing. That is why, in the first age, everything was dealt with from the standpoint of total truth, because there were no tares among them. But then, as time passed and the tares got into the Church, God dealt with each age according to the measure of truth they had, and His true children always remained secure in Him, those whose names were written in the book of life from before the foundation of the world. I want, at this time, to go to the 4 chapter of Philippians, and read th three verses, where the apostle Paul spoke of certain ones, and referred to them as having their names in the book of life. Verse 1, “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.” What is that telling us? Those devout, dedicated Christians stood out, in an age where they were no tares, so Paul knew they were in the body of Christ, and that their names were written in the Lamb’s book of life. Paul also knew that there was a spirit coming down the road, that would one day defile that pure environment that the first age body of believers enjoyed. Oh yes, there were those that did wrong, here and there, but they were dealt with as children of God, and the church itself was kept clean.
SOME PREACH A WAVERING GOD
The way some preachers preach: they make God to be a god of confusion. They will have a person to be saved one day, lost the next, and saved again in the next revival. Their converts never have anything they can really trust in, except their own goodness. They are scared to death of the word predestination, and will avoid it as long as they can, and then when they have to deal with it, many times they will claim it ought not even be in the Bible. I thank God that it is in the Bible, and I see no reason whatsoever, for a true child of God to be afraid of it. I feel good about having my soul secured, and in knowing that it was all worked out, before the world began to take shape, by the word of a sovereign God. One reason I feel led to deal with this message, is to show the true children of God that they ought not allow the devil to play with their mind. Sometimes when people get sick and discouraged, they allow Satan to tamper with their mind, and actually cause them to doubt their salvation; that they have according to the word of God. Saints! That is when we really need to rely upon the promises of God; instead of doubting Him. Furthermore do not look at everything that befalls you, as some kind of chastening, for God allows some things just strictly for our growth. I always like to remind people that Jesus prayed for them, just before He went to the cross to complete the work for our redemption. In the 17 chapter of John, is recorded the last public prayer Jesus prayed, before He went to the garden of Gethsemane where He agonized in prayer; and in that prayer He was praying for His disciples that were with Him, and then prayed, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” Brothers and Sisters: You were included in that prayer. When doubts come, just remember this, your name was written in the Lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world, and He does not erase names, like we might be prone to do. Jesus told His disciples one day, Do not rejoice just because the devils are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Now that is something to rejoice about. As I said earlier, Our names were not written in the book of life the day we knelt at an altar, and surrendered our heart to God. If it is there at all, it was placed there by the sovereignty of God before the foundation of the world. Revelated children of God ought not even waste their time listening to those tare preachers who have no respect for a true revelation of the word of God. You know whether you are a believer or not, and those preachers breed and cultivate doubt, by the very way they preach and teach from the Bible. Their preaching annuls every positive promise of the bible, because of their lack of revelation. But let me say to you, Trials that come your way are not for your destruction; they are for your perfection. Not only are they for your perfection; but God is glorified as He brings you out on the victory side of them. Nothing we suffer should ever bring us to a loss; for the scriptures declare that we grow in the stature of the Lord, as we come through these various trials. One thing we should always remember, when the load gets heavy and circumstances seem to be stacked against us, God has a purpose in our lives, and He will not allow Satan to destroy any of us and defeat that purpose. I want you to remember also, that God did not make any mistakes, when He recorded our names in the book of life. The devil is always behind everything that causes a person to wonder or doubt, or to question God. Paul and Peter both wrote epistles, and even though their approach to these various doctrines of the Bible might differ somewhat; they both had the same revelation, and what they taught, eventually produces the same results. Neither one of them leave any doubt in your mind about what they believed about election according to the foreknowledge of God, and about God’s eternal purpose concerning those whom He foreknew. Yet there are preachers all over the world today that take these epistles, and present a God that is always changing His mind. That is why I said their preaching annuls every positive statement in the Bible. Preachers that preach just to get a following to support their particular programs, could not care less about election and predestination according to the foreknowledge of God before the foundation of the world. They would rather have people feeling lost and condemned, when they fail to respond to the demands that are placed upon them. That is how they keep their followers under their control. There never was any problem like that until after the tares got into the church structure. Even in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, there was no doubt about whether they were children of God or not. God would not bother to kill a tare for being deceptive; if He did: there never would have been any accumulation of tares, for that is their makeup. Ananias and Sapphira did not do half of what some of those tares did later, as they got their foot in the door. We do not know how long this man and his wife had been in the fellowship, but it is obvious that they had been accepted, and that they were supposedly following the pattern of that hour, as the believers who had extra holdings sold them, and gave the money into a community fund, designed to care for everyone who had a need.
LOOK FOR GOD’S PURPOSE IN ALL THINGS
In the 4 chapter of Acts, it tells us that the multitude of those that believed, were of one heart and one th mind, and that they had all things common, and those that had extra possessions, sold them and brought the price of that which was sold, and laid it at the apostles feet, and distribution was made to each believer according to their need. This was not a doctrine taught by the apostles; it was a voluntary thing instituted to cope with the economic pressures of that hour. Ananias and Sapphira had no doubt pledged to do as the others were doing, but there was a weakness in their flesh. Instead of having complete confidence in what was being done at that time, they no doubt thought, Maybe we ought to hold back a little of this, just to be sure we have enough ourselves. Well God had already shown Peter what was going on, and God was not going to allow that kind of thing to get started, for it would have allowed that kind of a spirit to work among the others as they learned about it. Therefore when Ananias came in ahead of his wife, Peter confronted him with what they had conspired to do, and reminded him that they had not been forced to sell their certain possession and give the price of it into the common fund. But since they had pledged to do so, (give it all) and then kept back part of it, it was the same as lying to the Holy Ghost. Well God just took the breath of life right out of him, as Peter confronted him with what the Holy Ghost had shown him, and the same thing happened to the man’s wife, when she came in three hours later. This is the only case like this, that we have any record of, and it was probably the only time it happened, for the Bible says, Great fear came upon all the church, and upon all that even heard about it. The key there, is that great fear came upon all the church. Why? Because Ananias and Sapphira were both part of the church, and they saw what happened to them, for not being sincere. Let us read a few verses, starting with verse 11, of chapter 5. “And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. And of the rest durst no man (or woman) join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” In other words, the Holy Ghost was adding to the church daily, but unless the Holy Ghost dealt with their lives in this way, no one dared to join themselves to that element of society. Remember, these were all Jews, and not one of them would have dared go against that old Judiastic spirit, without the Holy Ghost first giving them something to make them willing to face the consequences. The very cause of that economic pressure the church faced, was because of an open boycott by Judaism. You would have to be a Jew, to really know what it was like to be disinherited because of something like this. Gentiles never had any such problem. Nevertheless my point is, These unrevelated preachers say, Ananias and Sapphira were lost. They were not lost! That was God’s way of keeping the church pure, and His way of taking them through the weakness of their flesh. It brought fear and respect among the believers, and kept the make believers out of the camp of the believers until the second age, when a new generation was on the scene. Brother it took total surrender, to get into the church in those days. Everything was preached positive; for there was no one around to present any negative side. It takes that antichrist spirit to do the negative preaching. That is what causes people to say, God must not love me; or He would not allow me to suffer so, and a lot of preachers encourage that kind of talk; but I want to remind you, that God’s love should not be questioned, in the things that happen to you. In the 8 chapter of Romans, verse th 28, the apostle Paul says, “And we know that all things (ALL THINGS) work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” It is wonderful to sing about it, and to testify about how all things work together for good to those that love God, and are called according to His purpose, but how do we react when persecutions, trials, heartache, humiliation, and ridiculement are allowed to be thrown at us? Can we look through all of that and see a purpose of God being worked out in our lives? We may not be able to see clearly at the time, how God could work in our circumstances, to cause them to work for good; but we should at least believe His word, that declares it to be so. God does not pile these things upon us Himself, but the devil is always standing ready to do the worst that god will allow him to do, to every person who believes and trusts in God; therefore it is our responsibility to look for the purpose of God in the things that happen to us, instead of just feeling sorry for ourselves. Notice the next verse; it puts your thinking right back on foreknowledge and predestination, and lets you know why God allows adverse circumstances in our lives. “For whom He (God) did foreknow, (foreknow to be a believer) He (God) also did predestinate to be conformed to (made like unto) the image of His Son, (Jesus) that he (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Like I have already said: if people can just get their mind off of that idea that God chose a few out of a great multitude, to be saved, predestination can be a beautiful revelation to them. Furthermore be assured that God knew about every person that would ever walk upon the face of this old planet. By that foreknowledge, He knew how every one of us would respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ, when we heard it, and only those whom He saw accepting that work at Calvary as the atonement price for their sin debt, were ever referred to as the elect, or as the predestinated children of God. These are those that He determined before the foundation of the world to perfect, and make into the image of His only begotten Son; and I might add also, that He already knew what that image would be. He knew what Jesus would have to suffer in life to mold that certain image in Him, and He knows exactly what it will take to mold that image in us. Of course the image this refers to, has nothing at all to do with our physical appearance; it refers to that spiritual image and character of the inner self. Tell me now, How many of you know what the Bible says about the sufferings of Jesus? Look at Hebrews 2:10, for a moment. “For it became Him, for whom are all things, (that is God) in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Now if it took sufferings to perfect the only begotten Son of God: who was already sinless, do you even imagine that we could ever be perfected, and made like unto His image, without some sufferings to mold that certain character in us? Jesus was never physically sick, but He did suffer everything that other men could throw at Him, and in spite of it all, He willingly submitted Himself to the cruel punishment at Calvary, and death upon the cross, to pay our sin debt, and set us free from the bondage of sin and eternal damnation. He set us free from the bondage Adam’s disobedience placed us under, by His perfect obedience in suffering all things at the hands of evil men. Who is set free? Those that believe the gospel and submit to its provisions. Who do all things work together for good, to? Those that believe the gospel and submit to its provisions. These are the ones that are the called according to God’s purpose, and are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His son. But saints, please remember that even though the word predestinate does pertain to determining a destiny beforehand, it was only through his foreknowledge that He did it, and that was because He saw the choice we would make in life, concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus was a perfect example of the kind of sons God will eventually end up with in the eternal age. That is why He will be known to us as our elder brother, because He was the first one of the family God will end up with.
OUR ASSURANCE IS IN GOD’S WORD
Alright let us look a little more at these verses here in Romans 8. They really bring out the beauty of God’s working with us to bring us to the reality of this great salvation. Verse 30, “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” That verse is packed with the beautiful handiwork of God. Whom He did predestinate, them He also called. That means, Him knowing already what the all important choice will be, once a little baby is born, God waits for the proper time in his or her life, and then he extends His call to them. He begins to woo them by His Spirit, to cause conviction and God consciousness to take hold of their lives. Now knowing that every little baby is born with a nature to sin and rebel against God, our thought is that it would be better for Him to call them while they are still young and tender. But remember, we cannot question the wisdom of God. If He waits until a person is in their 30’s, 40’s, or even until they are of an old age, before He calls them, we have to know that he had a reason for doing it that way. Denominational churches are filled with people who have been coaxed, pressured, and some even tricked, to get their names placed on the church roll. They did not have the drawing of God to do what they were persuaded by man to do, so they just had to play along with the program, and all too many times, go through life, never having had a genuine salvation experience. That is why the preacher, or someone has to follow them through life, and pamper them like a little baby. They cannot grow up in the Lord, because they are not in the Lord, so it is just a make-believer situation all the way. There are ever so many ways that carnal men have taken it upon themselves to play God, and get people saved, and get them active in the church, and we could never mention all of those ways, so just let it be sufficient to say, There are many ways that seem right to men, but they are not necessarily God’s ways. One thing is sure; those who are ordained to eternal life, God knows exactly when and how to strike them, in order to get their attention, and bring them to His plan of salvation. Brother, those that come because of a genuine call by the Spirit of God; oh what a change you see in their lives. Another thing I might mention, when man goes out looking for prospects for the church, he goes more or less, looking for those whom he considers would make good church members, people that look like they would fit well into the church program. On the other hand, a lot of those that God calls, are people who have lived such messed up lives, it is hard for man to see how God could ever make anything worthwhile of them, or why He would even try. But I am so thankful to know that the grace and mercy of God is not allotted to us on the basis of whether we deserve it or not, or whether we have done enough to merit it. Hallelujah! It is given freely to all who will receive it, no matter what kind of tangled up life we have lived in the past. It is not what we have been, but what God can make out of us, that counts. Therefore because He foreknew us, He predetermined that we should be changed into the spiritual image of His only begotten Son, and because we were predestinated, He called us, and when we responded to that call according to the scriptural provisions made for us, we were justified, (made to be as though we had never sinned) and after our justification comes the glorification. He gives us the Holy Ghost, which is actually the life of the new birth. It is the seal of God, and guarantees that we can never be lost eternally. Now of course we all know that this does not just automatically apply to everyone who claims to have the Holy Ghost. If it did, then we would have to say that Jesus spoke something in the 13 chapter of Matthew, that was not right, for He said, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow th is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” You could not look at the great multitude claiming to have the Holy Ghost in our day, and call them few. But there are a few that truly have found that straight and narrow way that leads to life, and they do not fight against true scriptural doctrines, for they know that God is in control, and that their soul is secure in Him, regardless of the trials, tests, and pressures of life. Therefore as Paul spoke of these various truths, he said, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Oh sure, the devil is against you, but according to the word of God, he is already defeated. He can only do what God allows him to do, and that is for the perfecting of those who are heirs of salvation, according to election. I like this next verse. Surely to goodness none of you think Jesus was a man that could take all of that hatred, criticism, and abuse from those who were against Him, and not even be affected by it. He was human and had feelings, just like the rest of us. The only thing is, He kept everything in the right perspective. He had a mission in life, and allowed nothing to hinder Him in completing it, and Paul being completely aware of all that Jesus suffered, and how the Father allowed it, said this, verse 32, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up FOR US ALL, how shall HE not with Him also freely give us all things?” To the multitude that witnessed the crucifixion of our Lord that day, it looked like He was completely forsaken, as He hung there on that old cross, with the life’s blood gushing from His pierced side. It even appeared to them that God had forsaken Him, because they did not know what His death was accomplishing in the redemption plan of God. Even His disciples said, “We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel.” So to those that witnessed that cruel act, it looked like the man that had said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger,” was completely forsaken, as He hung there on that old cross, with the life’s blood gushing from His pierced side. It even appeared to them that God had forsaken Him, because they did not know what His death was accomplishing in the redemption plan of God. Even His disciples said, “We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel.” So to those that witnessed that cruel act, it looked like the man that had said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger,” was completely forsaken, as He hung there on that old cross, between two criminals. But, Hallelujah! He was not forsaken. This was all according to the plan and purpose of the Father, and He had submitted Himself to it voluntarily, knowing what He would have to suffer. Why would He do it, some might say? Love motivated Him, and that kind of death was necessary, in order for Him to be the propitiation for our sins. Furthermore He knew what the outcome would be. To Him, death was not the end; it was only the beginning. Think of what He became heir to, through that obedience. Not only did He become the great high priest, that would intercede for all lost mankind, He became the sole heir to the beautiful riches of God’s eternal wealth, and King of the world to come. But do you realize that he suffered all of that, in order that he might share His inheritance with us? In Romans 8:16-17, Paul wrote, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” Yes, as ugly as the actual occurrence was; it was a beautiful thing that was accomplished there at Calvary that day. So listen, as Paul continues. We are in verse 33. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” Maybe you were an old drunk. Maybe you were a bank robber, or a filthy talking loud mouth. It does not matter what you once were; if God has done a work in your life, He has put those things as far as the east is from the west, from you, never to be remembered against you any more. So do not let the devil sit on your shoulder, reminding you of your past, and questioning your salvation. But, Bro. Jackson: How can I be sure? First let me call your attention back to Romans 8:16, one of the verses we just read, “The Spirit itself (the Holy Ghost) beareth witness with our Spirit, that we are the children of God.” I will say this, You cannot be born again by the Spirit of God, and not know it. If your salvation experience is only a hope so thing, then you have not fully believed the Bible to be the infallible word of God, and that is where it all has to start. If you only have some preachers religion, even though you may have great respect for him as a man of God: that is not good enough. When those Jews, on the day of Pentecost, cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter’s answer was, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST. (Acts 2:38-39) For the promise is unto you, (to those Jews of that hour) and to your children, and to all that are afar off, EVEN AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL.” That last part is what included us Gentiles, so knowing that the provision is there, a little self examination will settle the question. Has the Lord called you? Have you experienced that convicting, wooing, drawing power of God’s Spirit? Have you been made to realize your need for a Savior? If so, Have you yielded to Him, and submitted to the scriptural requirements that we have just read? God does not want you walking down the road of life full of doubt and fear, but the only way to avoid that, is to fully believe His word, knowing that he stands behind every word of it. That is what faith is. Even before Christ paid man’s sin debt at Calvary, those who believed God, and looked forward to that day, were justified by faith. Romans 4:3 says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” But I’m not worthy to be saved; some will say. That has nothing at all to do with it, for the Bible says, (Eph. 2:8-9) “For by grace (that is unmerited favor) are ye saved (How?) through faith; (That means believing God’s word) and that not of yourselves; (No, we cannot earn it) it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Brother! Sister! God wants us to be thankful that we ARE children of His. He does not mean for one of His elect to go through life just merely hoping that he or she will make it. Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Knowing that there is no condemnation to those who are truly children of God, caused Paul to write as he did in these verses we have been reading. “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Go on devil: bring your accusations, it is God that justifies. Hallelujah!
GOD IS MOLDING US INTO ACCEPTABLE VESSELS
Now listen to this man who knows he is elected, as he really drives his point home. Verse 35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Brothers and Sisters: The true children of God are not very well liked, out here in the world today. There is a Spirit in us that is recognized by the spirit that is in the world, and it causes people that do not even know you, to have an automatic dislike for you. If you were a tare, they would like you, for a tare spirit does not make them feel convicted of their sinful ways. Nevertheless the Bible tells us to “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers (various) temptations.” You are not to go looking for trouble, but the fact is, if we will just live for God, and stand up for our convictions when we need to, trouble will find us soon enough. But as the Bible says, We are not ignorant of the devil’s devices. He is shrewd, and ever so clever, as he tries to maneuver the children of God into compromising situations. But the one who said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, is always there to set the limits on what the devil is allowed to do to us. In the hand of God, we are just like a piece of metal, heat it to exactly the right temperature, and beat it into whatever shape he chooses to. You need not try it though, for he knows exactly how hot to get it, and how long to keep it in the water and oil, to build up the consistency of temper that it requires. If you do not get enough temper in it, it will bend, under certain conditions, and if you get too much, it will shatter, so it has to be exactly right, and the experienced blacksmith knows when and how much. Well God is the same way with us: if we are never allowed to be put in the fires of persecution, we are likely to bend a little, under certain stressful conditions. But on the other hand, He has to make sure we are never tested beyond that which we are able to stand, lest we become over burdened and just simply blow up. That is why we cherish 1 st Corinthians 10:13, so much; it gives us the assurance that God is always on the job, on our behalf. Notice, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted (or tested) above that ye are able; but will with the temptation (or trial) also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” You see, God is the faithful one, and He knows exactly how much it takes, of Satan’s buffeting, to mold us into a vessel that will be acceptable to Him (God.) He knows exactly what He is making out of us, and I assure you, He is not putting us in the fires of persecution to destroy us, so have faith in the fact that He is working on behalf of all His children, and know that all things do truly work together for good to them that love God, because we are the called out ones, according to His purpose. There is no need for any one to think God saved us from our sins, just to put us in a warehouse as stock material to use later. No sir: He is busy molding us into the image of His only begotten Son. That is why Paul said, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now that was a long list of things he mentioned there, but he wanted us to know that once we are in the family of God, by the new birth, nothing can ever change that relationship, and nothing will keep God from perfecting His purpose in us. Too many people out here in the religious circles today, believe that this perfection is all hinged upon, or subject to our good works, and how much money we give to (what they call) the work of God. No. Those things affect our fellowship with God, depending upon our attitude and motives, of course, but they do not determine God’s purpose in us, nor affect our relationship to Him. Brother! We are in the hands of a God that knows what he is doing: so do not resist His work of perfection in your life. Your resistance is what determines many times, how much of the fires of persecution it takes, to put the proper temperament in you. So when Paul said he was persuaded that these thing shall never be able to separate us from the love of God, the US, is not the religious multitude; it is the elected, predestined child of God, that was foreknown of Him before the foundation of the world. That is who Paul was writing to.
A TYPE OF ELECTION AND PREDESTINATION
As Paul continued on in chapter 9, we find him going into a type, the elect, and yet whosoever will, which Jacob and Esau portrayed. This is another scripture that beautifully portrays election and predestination according to the foreknowledge of God. We will just pick it up in verse 11. “For the children (Jacob and Esau) being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God ACCORDING TO ELECTION might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth; it was said to her, (Rebekah) The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” No one could have known why God would look upon these two unborn babies like that, until many years after they were born. By foreknowledge, God knew what they would both be like, and what they would do; therefore He could say to their mother, before they were ever born, “The elder shall serve the younger,” and centuries later, through the mouth of His prophet Malachi, God said, “I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau,” Now carnal mankind has his own opinion of this, and some of them have even had the nerve to speak against God, concerning these instances with Esau and Cain, but the true, revelated seed of God will see it clearly, That is why Paul continued on like this; “what shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He (God) saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Brothers and Sisters: As you read on through these verses, you are bound to see that Jacob was a type of the elected child of God, and Esau was a type of the tare, that, in the end is ruled by his flesh. Esau was the first to come out of his mother’s womb; and therefore stood in line to inherit his father’s blessing, but God knew what Esau would do, therefore his destiny was determined before he was ever born, and so was Jacob’s; for the same reason. If you go back to the book of Genesis, and follow this story, you will see that Esau was a man of the field, a hunter, and Jacob more or less, stayed pretty close to his mother, and in his heart, Jacob really desired his father’s blessing, and his mother knew it. Remember, God had said to her, “The elder shall serve the younger.” Therefore she was ready to play her part in Jacob’s deception, to get the blessing of his father, that by birth, rightly belonged to Esau. But notice what led up to that act of deception. Esau had been out hunting, maybe even several days, without finding anything, and when he came home exhausted, feeling like he was going to die, he was willing to do anything necessary to get some of the nice hot soup Jacob was boiling. At that moment, to live, meant more to him than anything else in the world. He said to Jacob, Feed me, with some of the good soup: I am starved to the point of death, (This is just my way of paraphrasing their conversation.) And Jacob said, Only if you give me (or sell me) your birthright. Well old Esau feeling that he was about to die, said, I am about to die, so what profit shall this birthright be to me? So for one little bowl of soup, Esau sold his inheritance. The Bible says, he despised his birthright, and after that, their mother helped Jacob deceive Isaac their father, in order for him to receive the blessing that Isaac would have bestowed upon Esau as the firstborn. Now some will say, Did God tell them to do that? No. But He knew they would. That is what we mean when we talk about God’s foreknowledge. Why else would He predetermine a person’s eternal destiny, if He did not already know what that person’s choice would be, concerning their eternal destiny? You must always remember, The invitation is extended to whosoever will, and it remains so today, even though God already knows who will accept the gift of eternal life. No tare can ever say he has not had the invitation extended to him, for that is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is; an announcement of an eternal inheritance, for all who will believe the report, and meet the conditions of acceptance, from the motivation of a heart that has been mellowed by the drawing power of the Holy Ghost. The spirit in a tare will not allow them to go all the way with God, but can they truly say they have not had the same opportunities everyone else has had? That is why Paul could say, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.” Not even Cain, who was a direct blood descendant of the old serpent, could accuse God of being unfair, for God gave him his chance, saying to him, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” People have various opinions about all of this, but there is only one sensible conclusion that you can come to, and still be able to include all the scriptures that apply to what we are talking about. You just have to realize that because of His foreknowledge, knowing what every person’s choice in life would be, God could write the record ahead of time, without being unjust in doing it, and we, therefore, refer to it as predestination. Old Esau’s destination could be recorded before he was ever born, because God, before the foundation of the world, had seen him selling his birthright, to satisfy the craving of his flesh. Therefore Paul uses these two brothers, Jacob and Esau, to illustrate, in setting a type of what he is teaching. Jacob was a type of the elect of Christ, that will stop at nothing, until he or she has received that birthright, and Esau was a type of the tares in the world, self willed people who do what they want to do, regardless of the eventual outcome. They will always run a program, parallel to the true plan and purpose of God, and many times, what they do, looks real good to the unrevelated person who is just sort of investigating what certain ones teach and stand for, but the truth is, a tare can never build anything for God, spiritually speaking, because they do not have the Spirit in them, that it requires to work on God’s building.
THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
Go with me to the 3 chapter of 1 Corinthians, and let us look some more, at the positive way this rd st great teacher presents a truth. Paul wrote this epistle in 59 A.D., and we need to keep in mind the fact that there were no tares in the framework of the church at that time, so whatever he says, he is saying it to the people who are born again of the Spirit of God. In other words, they are children of God. We will start in verse 9. “For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. (This gets into attitude, motive, conduct, and all of that.) For otherfoundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Realizing that we are not our own, and that we are bought with a great price, our testimony, our ministry, our every act and deed of life should be centered around the one who paid the great price for our redemption, Jesus Christ. He is the foundation upon which everything that is built for God must be laid. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (Remember now, tares are not yet in the picture, and none of us could ever start building anything until after we were children of God, in that new birth relationship.) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” That of course, is speaking of the judgment seat of Christ. That is where every believer’s works will be tested. Furthermore the judgment seat of Christ is not on earth; it is in heaven, after the bride has been taken up. Yes it will only be bride saints, that will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. No man of the world, nor any tare, will have any part in that judgment. This will be when our works will be examined, and rewards will be given out, to those who have served the Lord with the right attitude and motive, and when this judgment is completed, the bride will know what place she will have in the Millennium. Each member of the bride will stand before Him, to be judged as an individual, and that is the only judgment the bride will ever be subjected to. Her eternal destiny will have been settled already, or she would not be at this judgment. Notice verse 14, “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” Remember, the reward is not eternal life; he has that already. The new birth is eternal life. You do not have it one day, and lose it the next. You are either a child of God, or you never were a child of God. There is just simply no such thing as having been a child of God at one time, and then the day coming, when you no longer are a child of His. You Methodists who may read this message in the Contender, can cough and splutter as much as you need to, but eternal security of the born again believer, is as real as God Himself. When we become one with Him, in that relationship, there is never a separation ever again. The reward mentioned, is some kind of ruling position delegated to those whose lives have merited it, to be effective when Jesus comes back to earth to rule for a thousand years. His bride will sit upon thrones also, and rule with Him. But some, because of a weakness in the flesh here in this life, will not be permitted to receive the same reward as others. We pick that up in verse 15, and also in chapter 5, which we will read after this, Notice now, “If any man’s WORK shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself SHALL BE SAVED: yet so as by fire.” I think you can see for yourself, that this is not talking about the man himself being destroyed by fire. It is just a matter of a weakness in his flesh, where he has allowed the devil to keep him from ever being able to get control over it, that causes him to lose any potential position of authority that he might have otherwise had, in the Millennium, but the soul of the person is saved. Those judgment fires will purge out that weakness in order to keep it from passing on over into the eternal age, because those who stand in that judgment, will already have a body that is eternal. I know there are a lot of religious people in the world today, that would disagree with what I have just said, but that is where we just have to let the word of God speak, even if it makes every man a liar. That is why we are going right on over to chapter 5: Paul enlarges there, on what we have just read here, by speaking of a certain situation he knows of, right in that Corinthian assembly.
CHURCH DISCIPLINE IN OPERATION
You will see from the way Paul writes, that he is not just assuming something; he knows what he is dealing with. We are in the 1 verse of chapter 5, and I want you to remember, that this is children of st God he is writing to, and writing about, for there were no tares among them, in 59 A.D. “It is REPORTED COMMONLY that there is fornication among you, (He just brings out one case, so do not jump to the conclusion that the whole assembly is involved in any such thing) and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” Why are you reading this, Bro. Jackson? What are you trying to bring out? Brothers and Sisters: I am trying to show you how the Spirit of God dealt with particular issues in the body of Christ, before the tares got in among them. Our revelation has to be based on how God worked with the body, when it was in the first years of its existence, to keep it pure, before the tares got in to cloud the picture. No matter how religious they appear to be, a tare is a child of the devil, so after they got in among the saints, and were able to have a voice in what was done, the church as a whole, never again had the harmony of the Spirit, to deal with situations like this man, and like Ananias and Sapphira. God does not kill a tare for doing wrong, but in that first church age, He would take the breath of life out of His children, rather than allow them to defile the whole body by a weakness of their flesh. So here is what Paul instructed the rest of the church body to do with the man that had allowed the devil to lead him into this situation. Verse 3, “For I verily, as absent in the body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Now here is where Paul is going to tell them how to handle this situation. No. He did not tell them to take the man’s name off of the church roll. They did not even have such a thing then. But the solution was simple.) To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, THAT THE SPIRIT MAY BE SAVED IN THE DAY OF THE LORD JESUS.” That corresponds exactly with what we read in chapter 3, and shows beyond any shadow of doubt, that these were elected children of God. Brother if we had lived back there in that apostolic hour, and had done something to necessitate being dealt with by that body of believers, you could have expected to hear something like this, “Look brother, you have brought reproach upon the body of Christ, as well as your own life and testimony. Therefore you are forbidden to come among us from now on, and may God let the devil do with you whatever is necessary, in order that you be delivered from the error of your ways.” If such a person did not repent, and get their life cleaned up, they were destined to get sick and die. That is what he meant by deliver such an one to the devil, for the destruction of the flesh. God Himself could have just simply taken the breath of life out of him, like He did Ananias and Sapphira, but in this case, the man was to reap from that which he had sown. Nevertheless his name remained in the book of life, along with every other name that has ever been recorded there. Now you will never get any of these denominational churches to see this, because their revelation on other essential truths is all messed up. But the true saint of God should have no problem with it, because it fits right in with a proper revelation of the word of God in other important areas. There are some though, that have trouble reconciling this, with what the apostle John wrote in his first little epistle, so let us go there and read a few verses.
THE OVERCOMING LIFE OF THE BELIEVER
We are in the 3 chapter of 1 John, and the place we want to read is verse 9. This was written by the rd st same man that wrote the gospel of St. John, a man that walked with Jesus, and heard every positive statement Jesus made, that is recorded in the 6 and 17 chapters of that gospel, about the chosen th th ones in the Lord. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Now that sounds very contradictive to what we have been reading from Paul’s epistles, if you only look at the actual words that are written there, but you do not throw away a revelation that you already have, just because you read a verse somewhere that seems to contradict it. Remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of nd God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (Why?) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works,” and trust your teacher (the Holy Ghost) to help you fit it into your revelation. God did not have these scriptures written to confuse His children. If anyone is to be confused by them, it is the tares. Remember now: the only unpardonable sin, is unbelief toward God, and remember also, that once you are born of the Spirit of God, His Spirit that dwells in you makes it impossible for you to commit that unpardonable sin of unbelief. Now you who have the Scofield Bible, may notice that there is a letter there, and the notation by it, is that this means practice sin. That of course, is true; the person who is born again, does not premeditate to practice sinful things. It is always a weakness in the person’s flesh, that causes them to do wrong, and that is why there has to be chastening. If the born again believer never did anything wrong, then those scriptures that talk about God chastening every son whom He receiveth, were written in vain. That is why I say, Do not ever try to build a revelation off of one little portion of scripture without first laying it alongside every other scripture that has to be taken into account. Therefore when you read this 9 verse, remember that it has to pertain to something that goes a lot deeper than just merely doing th or saying something that falls into the category of sinful acts and deeds of the flesh, or you will have to throw away a lot of other scriptures that are in the same Bible. John was talking about something that a born again believer CANNOT DO. Why? Because he is born of God. Well what is the only thing that a true child of God cannot do? You would have to say that it would be, to disbelieve the One whose very life is in him. So that life of God that is in His true children, is what causes them to bear a proper testimony in their every day life. Human nature is against God; therefore it has to be kept under subjection to the inner man which is born of the Spirit of God, and that thought goes along with verse 10, which says, “In this the children of God are manifest, (or made known) and the children of the devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” In that first church age, before the tares got in, there was a genuine love of the brethren, in the church; but later, as those tares began to infiltrate their ranks, the whole atmosphere changed. That genuineness was no longer the predominant thing, and the body more and more became legalistic. Turn right on over to the 5 chapter, and notice verse 4 and 5. It was 90 A.D., but John was still talking in th that positive way, to the body of believers. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” That is still the truth; but as you look around you, at what professes to be the church of the living God, you have to say, Where is the reality of that verse of scripture? Most of these modern day churches will not agree with you that it is wrong for Christians to smoke, drink socially and dress like some of them dress. They would never enjoy coming to Faith Assembly; they think it is too strict here. People who think like that, will always look for a church somewhere, that will let them do what they want to do, and never say anything to make them feel bad. They want their religion to be easy on their flesh, and yet be spiritual enough to pacify their religious feelings. If they want to wear slacks, shorts or bikinis in a public place, they do not want to hear anything about it. That is why they do not like to come to Faith Assembly. Those who are born of God overcome the world, because they lost their taste for the things of the world. Even though a child of God may at times get involved in something that is of a worldly nature, that spirit of conviction will eventually cause him, or her to realize that what they are doing is wrong, and they will take steps to get free from it. Living a Christian life is not just buckling down and keeping a set of rules laid down by the preacher, and all the time looking for the day when that preacher will get out of the way, so you can do as you please again. No. That is not the Christian life. That is how a tare might feel about it, but the true child of God has a heartthrob to be like Jesus. They are not looking for opportunities to sin and get by with it.
REVELATED FAITH CHANGES LIVES
I used to go to Sunday School in the Methodist Church because Daddy and Mommy made me go. I did not like getting dressed up in a suit; I would rather be in my overalls, out around the barn, with a hammer and saw. Church did not mean anything to me, so I would just sit there disgusted; waiting for the moment when I could get home and out of that suit, and back into my overalls. But when God got hold of my life and I became born again, my appetite changed, my outlook changed, the things I wanted to do changed, I loved going to church. The faith that caused that change in attitude and motive, is what overcomes the world. It is not a Methodist faith, nor a Catholic faith, but the faith that gives you a revelation of what Jesus has done for you, and what the purpose of God is for your life. In other words, we do not have anything in us that can overcome the world, until God puts His very own Spirit in us, and that measure of His Spirit that is in us, is all we need to overcome the world. That is why I have said, God will never require us to do something, without first enabling us to do it. He never places us in an impossible situation; there is always a way for us to do what He requires us to do. So verse 5 says, “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” Now that is not talking about a theological belief. You have to have Him in you by a revelation, in order for that scripture to fit your life. You could go out here in these night clubs and bars, and take a poll among those that patronize those places, Do you believe Jesus was the Son of God? Probably two thirds of them would say, Yes. But are they overcoming the world? No. They are a part of it. Whatever they believe about Jesus, (or at least most of them) is only in their mind, and the devil is in control of that, or they would not be where they are. The beautiful thing about all of this is that God can take any one of those, at any time, and work His work of grace in their lives, and deliver them from that bondage of Satan that is wrecking their lives. There is more hope for some of those people than there is for a lot of people who go to church every time the door is open, for they have sold out to the particular system of religion that they are involved with, and there is not one thing in them, that even cares whether what they believe is what the apostles of Christ believed and taught. All they care about is being faithful to their church program, and seeing how many people they can persuade to accept their form of religion. If everyone who has a genuine revelation of the plan and purpose of God, was as dedicated to that purpose, as a lot of these people are to their church systems, it is hard to imagine what we might see take place. One thing we can take comfort in though, is the fact that God has already purposed to mold us into the image of His only begotten Son. We are not just hoping that everything will turn out all right; we already know what the end of the story is, and what we will be privileged to be, and do, and in the meantime, we know that all things work together for good to us, because we love God, and are called according to His purpose, Hallelujah! We are still in the world, but thank God, we are not of the world. Our ultimate goal is to be free of everything that does not honor God, and to be conformed into the image of His only begotten Son; but for now, we have to live our lives in the midst of a crooked and perverse society of carnal people, whose lives are almost completely taken up with thoughts of what they can do next, to gratify their flesh.
PARTAKING OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
We are skipping around a lot, but we are endeavoring to bring out scriptures that can give us a good insight of how God dealt with His church to keep them pure, before the tares got in among them, so let us go to the 11 chapter of 1 Corinthians, where Paul dealt with the partaking of the Lord’s supper. th st He has told them about how Jesus, the same night He was betrayed, had taken of the bread and wine, and instituted something that would stand throughout the era of the church, to remind believers of what the Lord has done for them, to set them free from the bondage of Satan, and restore them to fellowship with their Creator. In verse 26, Paul says this, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.” Some churches partake of the form of this ordinance every week, and some others, once a month, and so forth, and how ever they have it set up, in their bylaws, to partake of it, they believe that is exactly how it ought to be done. But the Bible only says, As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come; it does not speak of any certain time to partake of it. So as Paul instructs this Corinthian assembly in the matter, he writes, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” That person would be presenting a false testimony if he partook of this ordinance having unconfessed sin in his life. “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” To partake of this in a worthy manner, is to actually say to the Lord, Lord I thank you for bearing my sins to Calvary, and I look to you day by day for strength to live a life that is conformed to your purpose, Notice verse 29 now. “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, (meaning that through a weakness of the flesh, they have done things that are contrary to the known will of God, and have not repented, to get their life straightened out) eateth and drinketh damnation (judgment) to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” The tares were not even in the picture when Paul wrote this epistle; therefore every word of it has to apply to born again believers. As I said earlier, This is God’s way of keeping the church clean, until the pattern of what Jesus is coming back for, is clearly established. Every sinful thing that any believer did, was revealed and dealt with. Nothing that defiled that pure body was allowed to continue unattended to, and those who did not repent and clean their lives up had a sentence of death hanging over them. “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” That means they were dead. In other words, if a precious soul through neglect, failed to yield fully to the Lord in a dedicated manner, sooner or later that person was destined to take sick and die, for God would not allow them to continually burden the Church with a reproachful situation. An untimely death was eminent, and the rest of the body knew why it happened. It has never been like that, since the tares got in, for God does not chasten tares. They are children of the devil, so God lets him do his own chastening, so to speak. But I must keep impressing upon you, that we are not reading about tares; we are reading about spiritual weaklings in the body of Christ, that the spirit of God had to deal with, in order to keep the body clean, and keep them moving forward, to fulfill his purpose for them, and in them. The purpose of God cannot be changed; so everything else has to be made comfortable to that. The Church that Jesus Christ is coming back for, is to be a body completely purged of all sinful attributes, and that first age church had to exemplify that, for God sowed good seed in the beginning, just like the parable of Jesus, in Matthew 13, portrays. When He was asked to explain that parable He said, “He that sowed the good seed is the Son of man; (speaking of Himself) The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; (children of God) but the tares are the CHILDREN OF THE WICKED ONE: (the devil) The enemy that sowed them (the tares) is the devil; (He sowed his children among the children of God while men slept; meaning, after those guardians of the faith passed from the scene in death.) The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” The tares were not a surprise to God. He knew they would appear on the scene; but He purposed to have a pure body of redeemed saints walking on earth, before they got there. Therefore he that is born of God, does not willingly practice sin (sinful acts and deeds) and he that is born of God cannot sin the sin of unbelief, for his seed (the Holy Ghost, the life of God) remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. You do not have to be afraid of these scriptures, unless you are a tare, for God has purposed to perfect His true body of believers; not destroy them. The Holy Ghost, that we have abiding in us, is that germ of life that cannot be denied by those who have it. To everyone else though, the written word of God is just a dead letter. That is why Paul said in his Corinthian epistle, “The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.” You could read these scriptures to a tare, and they would not mean a thing to him. “Do you mean to tell me that God would kill a man for doing wrong? (They will say) I just simply cannot believe that a God of love would kill anyone, just because they did wrong, for after all, who can live above sin?” Well that just goes to show that it was a tare spirit that projected this idea that we all have to sin a little every day. It sure did not come from what the apostles of Jesus taught, in that first age. Of course I realize that there are those who would say that I am too hard on you; but please remember that I am only pointing you to what is written in the word of God, and trying my best to get you to see that this was not written to tares, but to those who were truly born of the Spirit of God. The fact that God does not use the strict discipline measures among His body of believers now, like He did in that first age, does not in any way indicate that His purpose has changed, and it does not mean that He no longer chastens His children. He just simply does it in a way that is sometimes known only to the one who is being chastened. Since He does not chasten tares, there is no such thing as having a body of people, exemplifying the love and purity that was exemplified in that first age, as long as there are tares among the true children of God; so He just merely deals with the individual believers, over a period of time, to bring them to the kind of dedication He desires to see in them. I will say this, When God gets his true body of people out of Babylonian confusion, we are going to see Him work once again in ways that we have not heretofore envisioned for these last days. He has not exhausted His resources, you know.
APPLICATION OF SCRIPTURAL TRUTHS
We have two more verses in this Corinthian letter that I want to read, for they establish an important truth that we need to be very conscious of; as we endeavor to live for God in this evil age. Verses 31 and 32 of this 11 chapter is where I want to read. “For if we should judge ourselves, we should not be th judged. (We always have an opportunity to examine our own lives, and correct the error of our ways, before the chastening rod of God falls on us, but if we do not, He is faithful to do His part.) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, (Why?) That we should not be condemned with the world.” The world is going to hell. That is a condemnation that rests upon them, because they are not of God; but the born again believer will never be subjected to that condemnation, because our Father will chasten us, and deal with us as sons, and His Spirit that is in us will cause us to submit to Him. Therefore regardless of the conflict between the flesh which is weak, and the Spirit which is born of the Spirit of God, we have passed from that state of being condemned with the world. That is why Paul, after speaking of that great conflict between the natural and the spiritual portions of our total being, said in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation TO THEM WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Now of course some will look at the last part of that verse and say, But what about the believer who continues to walk after the flesh instead of after the Spirit? That is not an option given there; that merely states what the walk of the born again believer is. The walk of the truly born again believer is always after the spirit, regardless of how many mistakes that person makes in life because of a weakness of the flesh. I marvel at the grace and mercy of God, and my soul rests in Him, because I believe it is as our brother from Montreal Canada, is always saying, “The best is yet to come.” God is saving the best until last, and that will be only for the elected bride of Jesus Christ. The tares will have no part in that. Alright now, let us go back to the little epistle of 1 st John, where we will see some more of the discipline that was in effect, in the first age of Christianity. In chapter 5 verse 16, we pick up this part. “If any man see his brother (when he said brother: he was not talking about a church member; he was talking about a true born again brother in the Lord Jesus Christ) sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” What does that say to us? It lets us know that in the beginning, the Church knew what categories certain sins fell into. They knew that there were certain things God would just simply not tolerate, and that if a believer allowed the devil to trick him, and get him into a situation that fell into that category, an untimely death would take him out of the picture. They knew that they were not even to pray for that situation. On the other hand though, there were other things that believers did, through a weakness of the flesh, that in the eyes of God were classified as sin, but when handled properly, those who were guilty of these things would be spared alive, and restored to fellowship among the other believers. In other words, there can be a healing of a sickness that is upon a person, to chasten that person for being out of the will of God. This is what they were admonished to pray for. “All unrighteousness is sin: (We all understand that.) And there is a sin not unto death.” It is important, as we look at these various scriptures, to distinguish the difference between spiritual death and natural death. The born again believer is subject to natural death, just like everyone else, unless he is privileged to live in the generation that will be alive when Jesus returns again, and he is one of them. But the born again believer can never die a spiritual death, for he has already passed from that death, unto life eternal. Therefore when you are reading scriptures such as these, which were written to believers, the death mentioned could only apply to physical death. So as John deals with these sins of the flesh, and how the Spirit of God looks upon them, he then comes right back to that positive statement concerning those who are born again. Verse 18, “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; (In other words, Unbelief does not rule his life. He gets up every morning, very conscious of the fact that he is a child of God, and desiring that the Lord will help him conduct himself in a proper way through the day.) But he that is begotten of God keepeth Himself, and that wicked one toucheth Him not.” We can learn from these scriptures, but we cannot apply them to the body in this hour of time, when there are yet so many tares mingling with the body of believers. Those Jews of that apostolic hour, knew exactly what God would tolerate in the things that were classified as sin in the lives of believers, but can you picture the churches of our day trying to use these scriptures to correct their church members? Denominational church leaders have tried to use some of these disciplinary scriptures against certain ones that would not adhere to their church rules, but God could not have cared less, whether their members kept their rules or not, for He did not establish their rules. These correctional provisions were not placed in the holy scriptures to give anyone the authority to enforce a set of rules; they are there to show how the Holy Ghost dealt with unrighteous deeds in the lives of children of God, before there ever were any bylaws and church doctrines, for anyone to be concerned about. The true child of God does not need a set of rules to follow; the Spirit in him, or her, is what ought to be directing their lives. Because of the image tares have presented, and the fact that God does not chasten them, theologians have been able to brainwash the world, and make it appear that God just leaves it up to every individual to believe whatever he or she wants to believe, and in the end everything will be all right, if they were sincere. They fight the very thought that anyone could have been foreknown and predestinated before the foundation of the world, because without revelation, they cannot fit that in with, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” They have to try to keep it open, so that anyone can be in that element called, the bride. Well as I have already stated, The call is still there, but God, by foreknowledge, knew who would accept the invitation, and who would not, before He ever set about to create anything, so regardless of what your great theologians teach, the book of life stands as is. It was written before the foundation of the world, and there has never been any new names added to it. There is a song that some sing, about a new name written down in glory, but it is only a song; it is not the word of God. This is not a hit and miss situation; God knows exactly how many places to set, at the marriage supper of the Lamb. There will not be one extra place set, and there will not be anyone there without a place prepared for them. Brother I am glad to have the keeping of my eternal soul in the capable hands of a God like that. When I lay my head down at night, I do not have to worry about where I will be, if I never live to see another day dawn. As I said earlier, We are either children of God, or we are not children of God, but if we are, we have eternal security. Nothing can go wrong; to change our eternal destiny. Praise His name! I love him.
HOW TARES GOT IN
Now the fact that there were no tares in that apostolic church, does not mean that they were without concern in that matter, for we know by the scriptures that the tare spirit was knocking on the church house door, trying to get in, even as early as 54 A.D., when Paul wrote the Thessalonian epistles, and referred to the mystery of iniquity, which was already at work, but was being withheld by the Holy Ghost, until its time. That just lets us know that those apostles were aware of what Satan wanted to do, and they recognized that he was already at work trying to gain an entrance. We also find John mentioning that spirit of antichrist, which he said was already in the world in 90 A.D., when he wrote the little epistles. Now some will say, Just exactly how did that tare spirit ever get into the church? Brothers and Sisters: It was not a sudden thing; it took many years. After the gospel was preached unto the Gentiles, and various assemblies were established, just little by little, Satan was able to inject a thought that someone would grab hold of. Of course we have to realize that it was not in the minds of those who received the original gospel, preached by the apostles, that these thoughts were injected. But as time passed, and certain ones were converted right in the local assemblies, under the teaching of local people, not every one of them received the real thing. It was not really obvious that they did not receive the Holy Ghost; but in the process, something captured their minds and kept them from receiving the true baptism of the Holy Ghost, which is the seal of God. Therefore, there in the local assemblies, were people assuming roles in the leadership of the body, (over a long drawn out period of time, of course) that did not have a genuine born again experience. That gave Satan an opportunity to plant a little thought here and there, now and then, until the day finally came that their revelation of the Godhead, was turned into a trinity. Now it ought to go without saying, that Satan could not work a trick like that, in one or two generations. It took many generations with just a slight deviation here and there, for him to work a work like that. But history shows that by 325 A.D., Satan’s people had control of church politics, and God was declared to be a trinity of persons, instead of one God in three offices, as the original apostles had taught. You say, How could such a thing happen? Well that just proves what Paul said, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. In 2 Corinthians 11:13, we find Paul heading off something that Satan has tried to sow in that nd assembly, and this was written in 60 A.D., long before that first age ran its course. I am reading this again to make this point concerning that tare spirit, and how it gained its entrance into the church. It had come to Paul’s ears, that certain men who were not ordained of God had tried to project certain ideas forth in that assembly, so he wrote saying, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” Paul knew, from what he had heard, that these men were not ordained of God; but he also knew they were not just some fellows from the neighborhood saloon, that had decided to go tell the Church a few things. They had to be men with certain acceptable credentials, or they never would have been allowed the opportunity to project their thoughts to the Church. He goes ahead to say in verses 14 and 15, “And no marvel; (In other words, This should not be hard to understand, how deceivers could do such a thing.) For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” In this case, Paul could not say, Turn them over to the devil for the destruction of their flesh. But he did know that sooner or later, their end would be destruction anyhow.
SHUN VAIN BABBLINGS
Let us go back to 2 Timothy and see what Paul wrote to that young preacher in 66 A.D., while he was nd in Rome. First he says to him, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” There has got to be a way that the word of God forms a consistent pattern, or picture, as it is presented, in order to lift us up out of confusion and misunderstanding, and give our faith a solid foundation to stand upon, and that is only possible when the word of God is rightly divided. You know that is the truth; for people take certain verses from the Bible, to support some of the strangest ideas you have ever heard. This comes under the heading of vain babblings, which we see in this next verse. “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” A lot of people seem to just live for the opportunity to take a certain point, and go unto all the technicalities of it, but they never really get a revelation of truth. That is why I have said, What is the use of me trying to explain every detail of something, to someone who just wants to argue or debate about it? If a person is really looking for truth, and they have that Spirit of truth in them, which Jesus said would be our teacher, they do not have to have every little detail explained to them. The Holy ghost will put their mind in the stream of thought that is being projected, and they will get the rest of it from Him. Jesus did not try to explain every little detail of what He taught. He spoke a lot of things in general, totally dependent upon the Holy Ghost to take it, and break it down to the believers, later on. In John 14:26 and 16:13, He said the Holy Ghost would do that, when He came. Therefore the same admonition that Paul gave Timothy, still holds true today. Shun these endless discussions and debates, that lead you into worthless babblings, for that is how Satan leads us into his traps. He will get you to thinking you can help someone, and all the time, he is just pulling you apart.