THE TITLE OF THIS MESSAGE COULD CAUSE ONE TO WONDER: DOES IT MEAN FAITH AGAINST FAITH? BUT LET ME ASSURE YOU THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE BIBLE FAITH, AND WHAT WE ARE GOING TO CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO IS ALL THESE OTHER SO CALLED FAITHS IN THE WORLD OF RELIGION TODAY, THAT ACTUALLY ARE AGAINST THE TRUE REVELATION FAITH OF THE TRUE CHILDREN OF GOD. THE GENTILE WORLD HAS REALLY LEFT A TRAIL BEHIND THEM THROUGH ALMOST TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF CHRISTIANITY, CONTINUALLY COMING UP WITH SOMETHING NEW, THAT EVENTUALLY BECAME AN ACCEPTED FAITH, NO MATTER HOW FAR THEY HAD TO STRETCH THE WORD OF GOD TO MAKE ROOM FOR IT. THAT IS WHY THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONAL BELIEFS AMONG WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE CHILDREN OF GOD. FURTHERMORE YOU HAVE MOSLEMS, BUDDHISTS, CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS ALL TRYING TO FELLOWSHIP TOGETHER, USING THE SCRIPTURES THAT SPEAK OF US ALL BEING ONE, SCRIPTURES THAT WERE WRITTEN TO THOSE WHO HAD BEEN BAPTIZED INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD ACCORDING TO APOSTOLIC TEACHINGS. BROTHER! GOD HAS TO DRAW THE LINE SOMEWHERE ON WHAT HE WILL ACCEPT; AND I AM FULLY PERSUADED THAT WE ARE LIVING IN AN HOUR WHEN HE IS REJECTING MOST OF WHAT IS BEING CALLED CHRISTIANITY. THEREFORE I WANT TO START OUT WITH THE 3RD VERSE OF JUDE; AND PRESENT TO YOU SCRIPTURES THAT WILL TRULY CONTEND FOR THE ONE TRUE FAITH OF THE BIBLE; AND THEN TRY TO SHOW YOU WHY GOD CANNOT ACCEPT ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF THAT.
CONTENDING FOR THIS COMMON SALVATION
Let me read our text scripture first and then read Ephesians 4:14 to go along with it. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the COMMON SALVATION, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR T-H-E FAITH which was once delivered unto the saints.” The faith that this common salvation is based upon is a revelated faith that lays hold upon the true promises and provisions made available to us through what Jesus accomplished at Calvary. He was first beaten and humiliated; and then crucified. Not for Himself; but for lost mankind, living under the curse of imputed sin because of Adam’s transgression. Therefore the apostle Paul in his epistle to the saints at Ephesus, speaks of how we are to come into the unity of THE FAITH, and grow up into the full stature of Christ, and in verse 14, he writes this, “That we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” God never intended that His true children should ever be divided into denominational beliefs like you see all over the world today. That is what natural man, by the inspiration of the devil, has done. Some people have the idea that Satan wants everyone to be ungodly, cantankerous, and an all around menace to society; but let me tell you, even he receives no worship in a mess like that. No. He would rather you be very religious; but ignorant of the true revelation of God’s word, so he can get you into one of his churches, where he can rule your life, and keep you in spiritual poverty, if not in literal poverty every way. Brothers and Sisters, there is not an organized system of religion on the face of the earth today, that God will put His name to. Yes, I know those big, educated theologians of those systems out there would say, “That man is a nut,” if they heard me say such a thing; for they all think we are a bunch of fanatics anyhow; but they said the same thing about Jesus in His days of walking among mankind; so that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the fact that so many people are so taken up in what is going on out there in a lot of those systems of religion. Oh, Bro. Jackson, they may not have a true revelation on everything; but they mean well. That same thing could have been said about various sects of the Jews in the days when Jesus was on earth; but He never did commend any group that had split themselves off from the true revelatory route of the law and the prophets. Why do you suppose the apostle Paul took the time to write, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, and through all, and in you all?” Simply because God never made any alternate route for a lost soul to come into this common salvation Jude wrote about. There is only one way; and only one faith involved; and it’s a revelated faith, the kind that caused Peter to answer back, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (Matt. 16:16) when Jesus asked, “But whom say ye that I am?” Being a common salvation does not mean that it is cheap; it just simply speaks of the fact that it does not take a college education, and a lot of political influence to enter into it. Neither can a person work their way into it; but a revelation will certainly unlock the whole thing for you. Therefore Jude said, “It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” You will have to engage in conflict now and then; but the revelation you have will not let you do otherwise. Jesus said in Matthew 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Meaning of course, that those who have a revelation of what they are after, are not going to let anything stand in their way.
SOMETHING YOU CAN DEPEND UPON
Once a person has this real Bible faith, it becomes more important to them than family, friends, worldly riches, and even fame. They are willing to lose everything if necessary, for it. Why? The writer of Hebrews tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen; so those who have this faith, have something in them that will hold on, no matter how rough things get; and it will not compromise on truth, just for the sake of trying to get along with someone. There is absolutely no way that a trinity belief can ever fit into a revelated faith. I may alarm some of you by what I am going to say now, but listen to me, and think about it. There is no eternal life in just faith alone. Faith that gives one eternal life has to be coupled with a revelation; or else everyone who belongs to a religious cult could have eternal life, for they all have faith of some kind. Let me say also, that Bible schools and seminaries have done more harm than good to the Church of the living God. Of course some will say, But what about the wonderful testimony of Bro. So and So? Brothers and Sisters, do not be deceived by what you read and hear. People who have these great testimonies, if they are honest in their heart, they will tell you that it was strictly the grace of God that dealt with their personal life; and it was not because they were a graduate of one of these institutions. The early church, of the book of Acts, is our blueprint, regardless of what God may have allowed through the Dark Ages, and on into the Reformation years, because of His mercy and grace; therefore the Church that Jesus is coming back for, will be a Church that matches the blueprint. Where so many people get in trouble, is reading the Bible with the attitude, This is food for thought, instead of asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the true meaning to them. When you read like that, it is easy to grab some verse and put your own interpretation to it, just because it sounds right to your natural reasoning, and the apostle Peter tells us plainly that this is wrong. In 2nd Peter 1:20-21, he wrote these words, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” That means that the scripture was written by the Holy ghost, and therefore must be revealed to the reader by Him also. Now of course anyone can get over in the New Testament, and learn proper conduct for those professing to be children of God; for those instructions are written very plainly and to the point, for all to understand. But prophecies of the scriptures, and things that people tend to build doctrines off of must be revealed to us by the one that knows exactly what they mean, and why they were written; for your education will let you down in this case. Just look at the apostle Paul before he was converted, what his great education had done for him. He was called Saul in those days; and the Bible tells us he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, a Pharisee who was a doctor of the law, and of great reputation among the people. Yet with all of those theories about the law and prophets crammed in his mind, Saul was out persecuting those who followed the one the law and the prophets pointed to. He was missing it by a million miles; until God dealt with him there that day, on the road to Damascus to arrest more Christians. Do you believe that man had faith, that what he was doing was right? Of course he did. He was very zealous toward God, and the keeping of the law; but his was a faith without a true revelation to build upon, like the multitudes out here in religion today. They are zealously doing what they consider to be the work of God; but in reality, they are enemies of the cross of Christ, and their doctrine is antichrist. In other words, good people can do what looks like good things, and still miss God completely. These are the things we must look at; if we really are interested in knowing the truth. Let me ask you, Why are you here today? Did you come just to have your ears tickled with a lot of theories: or do you want your soul fed something that will cause you to grow up in the stature of Jesus Christ? You can be religious either way; but there is only one way for the true child of God; for mere human flesh cannot feed them. If you come here just because you like my flesh, you are wasting your time. If time stands long enough, this flesh of mine will be put in a box and buried six feet below the ground; then where will you go? Saints, I am just trying to say something that will cause you to take stock of what you believe, and why you believe it; for your faith must be anchored in something that will remain the same, after everything else has failed or run its course.
BIBLE FAITH PLEASES GOD
Now I want us to go back into the Old Testament, and take a look at faith; for that is where you can really see faith standing as a substance, and see how God honored those who had faith. You have heard people say, Oh I have all the faith in the world; but, so and so, and so forth. Those people do not have faith the way God wants His people to have faith. The faith God honors is the kind that caused Abraham to wait 25 years for a son God promised him; never doubting that God would keep His word. That is why Paul wrote in Romans 4:3, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Do you think the results would have been the same, if Abraham had said in his heart, I know God can give me a son by Sarah, but I will just have to wait and see what He does? No. Faith that moves God, is the kind that causes a person to say, God said He will do it, so I know He will; and they live their life accordingly. That is the kind of men who wrote the Old Testament scriptures, and the kind of men the writers wrote about. These scriptures were not written by a bunch of book writers who thought they had a story to tell; they were written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. That is why the message is consistent all the way through. The same Spirit that dwells inside believers in this dispensation, giving them eternal life, is the Spirit that moved upon those prophets and patriarchs of the Old Testament, causing them to write and live like they did. In Hebrews, it tells that, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” He wasn’t just sitting around reading books, and suddenly got the idea that he would not die; there was more to it than that. He was the seventh generation from Adam, and his life was being affected by all the perversion and ungodliness he saw in the world around him. He knew a condition like that could not be allowed to go on forever; but he, like we today, did not know what he as an individual person could do about it. He might have went for months, wondering what could be done about it, but I am sure of one thing: it caused him to pray and seek the will of God for his own life, to know how to live and conduct himself in a wicked and perverted society like that. If he had been sitting back with an I don’t care attitude: I doubt seriously that you would be reading in the Bible today, that he had a testimony that he pleased God. Well you can look at the rapture of the church the same way; those who will go in the rapture, are not going to be people who have been so caught up in the world, and the things of the world, that they failed to cry out to God against the wickedness and filth of their society. I believe the true people of God will be completely fed up with the world, and with all of its involvements, and will be anxiously awaiting the moment when they can get out of here, when it comes time for the rapture to take place. The injustice, the evil, the wickedness in high places, and the all around suffering of the people of the world, will have an element of people on their knees crying out to God for his will for their own lives, and Jesus will just come and take them out of here. Your legislators passing new laws will never change the conditions of evil and corruption in the world. Only the coming of Jesus Christ can accomplish that; for the word of God declares that all these conditions have to be here before the end will come, and God Himself will see that every word of prophecy is fulfilled.
WHAT IS JESUS CHRIST COMING BACK FOR?
As for Enoch, he didn’t just suddenly become aware of the evil in the world and then heard from God the very next day. I am sure he was tested for a good long while, and I believe each one of us will be, also. Then as time passed, and God observed Enoch’s attitude, and his desire to stay clean himself, and how he loved God’s ways, I believe the Spirit of God came down to him, and spoke to him in such a way as to say, Enoch, you will not see death; I am going to take you. The faith that translated him was a revelation faith; and I am fully persuaded he did not get it from a Bible school. It is a pitiful thing, but the devil has been allowed to play with the word of God, pervert it, and take the simplicity right out of the truth of it. Nevertheless the faith that is portrayed in the Bible is an informative faith, which means that it is revelatory as well as stimulating. It does not drag you down; it builds you up, because it gives your soul hope, something it can hold on to. Over in Jude, where he wrote of the wickedness and evil of ungodly mankind, he said, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgement upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” What book did Enoch read that out of? Brother, he got that directly from the Lord; and you can be sure he was not out in the world running with them, when God spoke those things to him; he was somewhere praying. A man like that did not have to fight the battle of whether God is one Spirit or three person; he knew God was, is, and always will be a sovereign Spirit. He was completely convinced that God had everything under control; and that He would judge it all when the time came. He did not have to presume anything. ON the other hand, these people who believe that God is three person, never really know which one to pray to, nor do they know for sure what God will do. They just stumble along with a presumptuous faith, and a lot of ideas, which many times make it seem like God is helpless to do anything about the condition of the world, and about one’s personal circumstances. Their faith is like a sack with the bottom cut out; it will not hold anything. They talk of the rapture of the Church; believing somehow that they will be included in that blessed event; but saints, if I read the scriptures correctly, that is not what Jesus is coming back for. His parables in Matthew, chapter 13, liken the word of God unto seed that is sown in the earth, and also the seed unto the children of the kingdom, and the very law of God requires that every seed sown should bring forth of its own kind with increase; therefore it is just plain foolishness to believe that God would start His Church out almost two thousand years ago, with a one God revelation, and then come back for the increase at harvest time, and reap a crop of tares instead of the increase from His own seed. Bro. Jackson: Are you saying that every person who believes in a trinity is a tare. Brothers and Sisters, that is not for me to know who is, and who is not a tare. I do know this though, This trinity doctrine was sown by the spirit of the wicked one, (the devil) and even though many of us have belonged to those trinity organizations in the past, there will not be one trinity believing person go up in the rapture. The rapture is reserved for those, however few there may be, that have a true revelation of the godhead, and that walk uprightly before the Lord according to the Spirit of holiness. I do not limit what God is able to do, as far as getting predestinated children of His, out of these systems, and giving them a true revelation; and I set no dates for it; but if we are as close to the end as it looks like we are, there has to be a cutoff point somewhere in the near future; for the bride Church has to have time to get dressed up in a robe of revelation of God’s word. That is what Revelation 19:7 points to, when it says, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the LAMB (JESUS) is come, and HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY.” Verse 8 tells us that she will be dressed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. That robe of righteousness can only be clean and white when it is put on by a true revelation of the word of God. What Satan has perverted, is no longer clean and white, and that is exactly what he did to the revelation the Church was founded upon, after he was able to get his children (the tares) planted among the true believers, after those first century Christians passed on in death. As I have said so many times before, Satan did not pervert the entire gospel message in a few days of time; it took many centuries for him to get it to the point of darkness it got to in the darkest of the Dark Ages; and the mercy and grace of God dealt with hungry souls during all of that time, on the level of whatever light they had. But now we are living in the hour of time when that which was hid in that darkness, has again been restored to the true children of light. Therefore Jesus is only coming back for those who are walking in that light.
CONDITIONS THAT WILL PRECEDE THE RAPTURE
Now I always endeavor to remind you when we get on a subject like this, that there will be others that will have eternal life, other than the raptured bride of Christ in this last age; but they will have to seal their testimony in martyrdom, at the hands of the antichrist forces upon the earth in that time of the great tribulation, after the bride has gone to be with Jesus at the marriage supper. Now naturally, I cannot go into the scriptures to prove everything I might mention in a message like this; it would take hours and hours of time: so I just have to assume that you know some things already, and that when they are mentioned, you can relate to them, for we want to try to stick with our announced subject, which is in reality Bible faith verses everything else that is called faith by someone, somewhere. It is our intention to show you from the scriptures themselves, the kind of faith that moves the hand of God and that gets believers dressed up, ready to meet their Creator, when that appointed time does come. We can see from the record in the Bible that the rapture of Enoch did not change the attitude and general outlook of the worldly bunch living in his day; but it did set a type of something the true children of God have to look forward to, as they live for God in this hour of time when world conditions are comparable to what they were in his day and hour. After Enoch was gone, immorality and ungodliness continued to get worse and worse until God finally said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” I read that from Genesis 6:7, but let me back up and read verse 5 also. “And God saw that the wickedness fo man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Is that not an accurate description of the very day we are living in? In Matthew 2, and Luke 17, Jesus said these same conditions of ungodliness that prevailed upon the earth in the days before His coming again; and I say, We have them already. It is just a matter of God allowing their cup to get full, before His judgment strikes; just like He did in that day, so now let us look at Noah for a few minutes.
WHAT GOD CALLS PERFECT AND UPRIGHT
Centuries passed after Enoch was translated, before God finally judged the ungodliness that vexed his very soul; and when God was getting ready to wipe the slate clean, of all that He had created, He took note of one certain man whose life stood out above all the rest, and that of course was Noah. When God said, I will destroy the whole mess; even the animals, and the fowl likewise, verse 8 says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” No, he was not like Enoch. I am persuaded he had to tolerate a lot, that Enoch would not touch; but verse 9 says, “Noah was a just man and perfect (upright) in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Noah would probably not have been looked upon as upright in the light of what we have had revealed to us in this hour; but in his day, his life stood out above all the others, and he had the same testimony Enoch had, that is, that he walked with God. In verse 14, we see where God told him to build an ark, and told him exactly how to build it. Then He told him He was going to bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, that is of course, everything except what Noah would take into the ark with him, and God told him exactly who and what he should take with him. That lets us know that Noah did not just suddenly get an idea to build a boat; like a lot of people in the religion do in this hour. They will get an idea for something new, and they just simply set about trying to get God to put His approval upon it; and the devil always willing to accommodate, deceives them into believing God has fully sanctioned their endeavor, and away they go, headed for destruction. The kingdom of God is built upon revelation truth; therefore the children of that kingdom do not thrive upon the same things the children of this other kingdom do. Truth is not always as excitable to the natural flesh (our carnal nature) as a lot of these other programs are; but the eternal reward makes up the difference, and then some. It is just like Jesus said about glory seekers in that day; they have their reward already. Those who glory in man’s devises in this life, may really have a good time doing what they are doing; but when the Lord looks them in the eye and says, Depart from me, ye that work iniquity, I never knew you, they will know for sure that they have no eternal reward for what they have done supposedly in the name of the Lord. What Noah moved by though, was a revelation faith; for God had told him what He was going to do; and what he (Noah) was to do to escape this judgment; and he believed God, and went to work on the ark. Well Bro. Jackson, how can a person know for sure what God would have them to do? The first step is to obey the scriptures in what you know already; and give God first place in your life; and then He will be able to communicate with you on whatever else He has for you to do. People who have a burning desire to do something great for God, before they obey the foundational truths of His word, ought to stop and examine their lives, and their motives; for most of the time they will find a wrong motive behind it all, just flesh desiring recognition. We have to first love walking with God without being recognized before He will lead us into a great work like some desire. Noah wasn’t looking ahead to a time when he would be commended for his faith; he just simply believed God and had a desire in his heart to walk with Him; and saints, that is where God wants every one of us to be. When we reach that place, He can trust us to be faithful in a ministry to other souls who need God. Let me read for you, two more verses from the 11th chapter of Hebrews. This chapter is commonly referred to as the faith chapter of the Bible; because it calls attention to various ones of old time, that just simply believed god, and walked by faith, believing that what God had promised, He would surely bring to pass, so let us read verses 6 & 7 at this time. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: (God) for he that cometh to God must believe (what?) That He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” This puts first things first. You probably heard people say, If I could see so and so, then I could believe that there really is a God. I do not limit God; but to me the Bible says, First you believe that there is a God who rules sovereignly over His own creation. Then you believe that He will keep His word without fail, and then you are in a place for Him to accept you. Now verse 7. “By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, (We all know what a flood of waters will do; but the people of Noah’s day had never seen such a thing; Yet Noah, because God said so, did exactly what he was told to do.) Prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” There is no way we can check up on the kind of fellowship Noah had with the Lord in the centuries before God communicated with him concerning impending judgment of all wicked mankind upon the face of the earth. All we know is what we see here, that Noah walked with God. He did not know if there were another continent somewhere, that God would take him to, nor did he worry about how he would control the boat; he just simply obeyed the word of the Lord, and trusted Him to work out all the other details. Well the point is, the faith that Noah was recognized by, was anchored upon something God had spoken; and not just something he had desired to do. You cannot build a boat just any time you want to, and force God to bless you efforts. Some have built them, saying, God told me to build it; and the thing just sits there as a memorial of their fleshly zeal; more of an embarrassment to God (if God could be embarrassed) than a means of building up the kingdom of God. Oral Roberts, (I will call him by name; but there are many more that I could call if it were necessary.) Is a good example of man building some great something, saying that God told him to build it, and then allowing his own words to commit their eternal destiny into the hands of a god that is unable to pay his bills? They subscribe to television time, claiming that God has put them on the air to preach the gospel to the world; and then they spend most of the time begging for donations to pay for it; and try their level best to make unrevelated souls feel that the whole world is going to hell, unless they sacrifice to support them. What a way to present a sovereign God, who owns everything. You just have to realize that God has never called any man, nor woman, to carry on the work of His kingdom, by any such means as that. Now that does not mean that everything they do is worthless, for any sincere soul that from the heart reaches out to God through these great programs, will of the Lord reap the benefit from whatever they do receive of His word. No matter who preaches it, God will not let His word return unto Him void. But the man doing the preaching may very well miss the will of God completely. Predestined souls who are drawn to God through various means, no matter how carnal the means may be, will sooner or later find their way to reality, you can rest assured of that.
WHY ABRAHAM IS CALLED THE FATHER OF THE FAITHFUL
Now we want to take a look at another man who walked by faith; a man whom the apostle Paul referred to as the father of all them that believe. We have already mentioned him; but there are some other points to be made, concerning his faith walk with the Creator. Paul used these different Old Testament characters, to illustrate to New Testament believers, just exactly what the Bible is talking about, when it speaks of faith. In Hebrews 11:3, he wrote, “Through faith we understand that the worlds (planets) were framed (came into being) by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” What that really says, is that God made something out of nothing more than His own word. By faith we believe that; not because we thought of it ourselves; but because the Bible declares it to be so. Now Abraham lived this side of the flood, in a time when mankind was already journeying on a downward trend, seeking ways to bring the great Creator down to their own level. Somewhere in the process of time God had spoken to him though, and told him to separate himself from his family and friends, and from his country, and go into a land that He (god) would show him; and that HE would make of him a great nation; so let us start reading in Hebrews 11:8, and notice the remarks Paul made concerning him, and the faith he had in the word of God. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” God, observing the trend of mankind after the flood, and knowing that if He did not establish some kind of an example of what He desired out of this creature created in His own image, natural instincts would eventually lead the world again to destruction. Therefore He spoke to Abraham, giving him a command, and making him a promise; for He saw in him a quality He could use. He was already seventy five years of age, and his wife Sarai was sixty five, and barren; yet God said to him, I will make of thee a great nation; so Abraham left his country, and headed toward Canaan with his wife and his nephew. Paul says in verse 8, “by faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, (Paul covers a long period of time in this one verse) the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” That is the city all of Abrahm’s faith children are looking for. Hallelujah! Abraham did not take this great step just because of an urge, or because of a strong impression; he was obeying the voice of God. Now please do not misunderstand me; I am not saying that we should never follow an impression; for there are times when we should; but any impression God puts upon us, will always be consistent with His written word. God can never be treated like a vending machine, just because someone has a strong impression to do a certain thing; for once Satan learns that you are subject to follow impressions, he will also give you impressions. Neither was Abraham looking for a better place to retire; because he was getting old. He had a lot of good work years left in him, when he was seventy five years of age; as you will plainly see, if you want to go back to Genesis chapter 12, and pick up the whole story of God’s dealing with him. Just to dramatize it a little, let me show you how it could have been. Abraham sits down with his wife Sarah (They were called Abram and Sarai in those days, before God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah.) And says to her, Honey, the Lord God has spoken to me, and told me to get ready to leave here. Well, where are we going? He said He would show me later. Which direction are we going from here? I don’t know yet; but He will show us hen we start out. The point is, he believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. No, his life did not measure up to what God expects out of His faith seed in this hour of time; but in his day and hour, he was a righteous man, having the kind of faith in the word of God that God requires all of His true children to have. God actually set this one man apart, as an example of the kind of obedience through faith, He requires of all He calls to be His sons and daughters in this dispensation of grace. Paul goes ahead to mention Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab the harlot, and many more whose faith in God was worthy of mention; but Abraham is known of all, to be the father of all them that believe. Through these examples though, if we follow them through, we will see what true Bible faith is, how to identify it, how it works, and what the end results are to be. Knowing these things will enable us to avoid many of Satan’s traps and snares in this life; for he loves to get hold of religious people, who are void of true revelation, and use them to further his own programs in the earth, a program designed with the thought of defeating the redemption work of the Spirit of God.
HOW AND WHY GOD TESTS OUR FAITH
From the loins of Abraham, God set apart a genetic seed line through whom He would reveal His plan and purpose for lost mankind; but that was many centuries down the road, from the time He first spoke to him, there in Ur of the Chaldees, telling him that He would make of him a great nation, and that in him, all the families of the earth would be blessed. In the 15th chapter of Genesis, we see where God told him that his seed would be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, (Egypt) “and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward they shall come out with great substance.” When God worked circumstances to get Abraham’s seed down in Egypt, He left them there until they multiplied into a great nation of people. Before that time, they were just a clan, we might say; but when God brought them out, back into the land of Canaan, they were a great nation of twelve tribes of people. It was then time for God to start dealing with them according to His foreordained plan; but getting them out of Egyptian bondage, brought another faith example into the picture, a man named Moses. Little children have been told stories of how Moses led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, in their Sunday School classes down through the years; but those Sunday School stories never did get down to where revelation faith had any part in them. They just dwell upon the excitable miracles of the deliverance, and of the journey into the promised land. We want to take a closer look at Moses; and how God led him to accomplish His purpose. Moses did not know when God said to him, “I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt,” What the plan of God was; but after God got through dealing with his personal life, he knew exactly what God was after, and why. He could never have learned from an Arab school, how to deliver the children of Israel out of the hand of Pharaoh; but by taking the word of God that He would be with him and doing exactly what God told him to do, He led them out of there, and sanctified the Lord in their eyes doing it. What about Moses though? Was the burning bush all he needed to give him faith sufficient for the job he was called to do? No. Even after God had shown him the signs he would demonstrate before Pharaoh, Moses still had an excuse not to go. “I am slow of speech,” he said; but the Lord would not turn him loose; He simply gave him Aaron his brother, to do the talking for him. God wanted Moses to know for sure that he had no special power just because he had seen miraculous things done. A lot of people thrive on that, you know. Let me see a miracle performed by the sovereign hand of God, and they will immediately hit the road professing to be some great authority on the power of God. Well God made sure Moses would not be taking any credit for what was done to get his brethren out of there; for He allowed him to be tested every inch of the way; and only by His own miraculous power were they finally brought to the other side of the Red Sea. By a revelation of faith, Moses believed God Himself that delivered them to freedom. God has many ways of dealing with those whom He has His hand upon. He lets some of them see something out of the ordinary, and others just simply have to take His word by faith alone; but in every case, what the apostle Paul wrote still stands true, without faith it is impossible to please God. You can be on top of the world one day, because of something God allows you to be a part of; and the very next day you can be as low as it is possible for a Christian to get, simply because Satan is allowed to hit you with some trial to test your faith. Does that mean you do not have the true scriptural faith? No. That is just God’s way of letting you find out for sure that you do have it. If you do not have the genuine article when trials hit, you are very likely to run right back to the world saying, Living a Christian life is too hard for me. It has happened to multitudes, in the last four hundred years or so. That is what the first parable of Matthew 13 points to, the different vessels that are affected at one time or the other by the world of God, and how only a few actually receive what it takes to withstand every attack of Satan. Brothers and Sisters, the truth is, until something actually becomes a genuine revelation to you, and gets down into your spirit, you are very likely to give it up, when Satan puts the pressure on. A lot of people have thought they had faith until Satan was allowed to put them to the test; then they found out they had been running on excitement all along. Look what happened to Jesus’ disciples, when He was crucified. They had seen miracle after miracle for 3 ½ years, and the twelve apostles had been casting out demons and healing the sick; but when Jesus was crucified, they scattered every which way. They had seen Him stand up to the Scribes and Pharisees, and call them whited sepulchers, hypocrites, children of the devil, and all such like; but when He was arrested and stood there, not even trying to defend Himself, those disciples began to get a little shaky. Jesus had actually foretold that this would happen; but of course they did not know at that time, what He meant. After they had partook of the last supper together, Jesus said to them, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” What it actually amounted to, was that they were scattered in their spiritual outlook as to who He was, and why such a terrible thing had happened to Him. Their faith was shook, because they did not yet have a revelation of how God was working out His great plan, of which they would play a major role in later. When He arose from the dead, and sent word to Peter like He did, their former confidence was restored unto them; and they began to understand a few things. Then they had something to build upon.
SEEING MIRACLES WILL NOT ALWAYS PUT REVELATION FAITH IN US
Let us go back to Moses and the children of Israel, and observe them on their journey. They had seen the power of God demonstrated in the plagues, and the death angel strike the first born of every Egyptian household, and then the waters of the Red Sea stand up like a solid wall, while all of them went across to the other side, them and all their animals. Then they saw those waters come together again, and they Egyptian army drowned there in; but did that give them the kind of faith God requires His people to have? They were every one floating on cloud nine, as the saying goes; for they had a God leading them, that could do everything they needed done. Is that how they felt? Certainly they had every reason to feel that way; after what they had experienced, since Moses returned and began to set the plan of their deliverance in motion; but their faith was soon put to the test. After only three days journey into the wilderness, they came to a waterhole expecting to drink; and found the water to be bitter, unfit to drink; so what did they do? They began to murmur and complain against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? Instead of having faith in God, who had wrought miracle after miracle already, to bring them this far on their journey, they began to complain and despair, like a people who had no hope, and no faith in a supernatural God whatsoever. Nothing they had seen to this point meant one thing to them. Well you know what happened, Moses took the situation before the Lord, and the Lord showed him what to do, and when he did it, the water was made sweet, and they were all able to drink. The Bible says, “There He proved them.” That should have done the trick; but the very next time they had a problem, it was the same old story; they wished they were back in Egypt. This just goes to show that miracles alone do not produce a faith that will stand the test which is sure to come. It is easy to follow the Lord, when everything is going your way; but God want to build a faith in us that will still cause us to follow Him, even when everything seems to be going against us. You may say, Well, there is just so much that can be said about faith; so how does one go about obtaining such a faith? That, my brother, my sister, is what we are working toward; as we allow the truth of God’s word to permeate our very being. What did the apostle Paul say in Romans 10:17? “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It has to be more than just simply hearing the letter of the written word read to you. There has to be something in you that desires to know what those written words mean; so you can walk in the revelation of it. When that kind of hunger is there, God gives you exactly what you hunger for, and as you begin to get understanding, you are having built within you a revelation faith, which becomes as much a part of you as the very members of your physical body are a part of it.
THE MINISTRY OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS
Let us move on a little and look at the ways God dealt with the children of Israel after He gave them a law of commandments to live by. The law was given to them through Moses; but God was always referred to, not as the God of Moses, but the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Why? Because those men had a living faith in, and an experience with God, that stood out for all mankind afterward to look back to. Each of them had a testimony of how their own revelation of faith laid hold on the promises and provisions God made to them, and for them. When God told Abraham to offer up Isaac for a sacrifice, Abraham knew how he got that son in the first place; so even though it hurt him deeply to think of such a thing, obeying the word of the Lord took priority over everything else in his life. Even after telling Isaac, “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering,” God still let him get the knife to Isaac’s throat, before He called to him, and showed him a ram caught in the bushes, that he could offer up instead of his son Isaac. That is not to say Moses did not have such a testimony also; but Abraham being the genetic father of that nation of people, everything just naturally pointed back to him. Well God gave them the law and brought them into the land of promise, and then in process of time, He began to deal with them through the ministry of prophets. One by one they would come upon the scene with Thus saith the Lord God. They were just ordinary men, farmers, sheep herders, and so forth, men from all walks of the Jewish society. Not necessarily educated, but by no means illiterate either. There were three basic things God would deal with, through the voice of His prophets, the past, the present, and the future, and all the time, these prophetic utterances were pointing the children of Israel toward the one who would fulfill all prophecies. This of course was the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest prophet that ever walked on earth. These prophets would usually come upon the scene at a time when the children of Israel were drifting toward an apostate spiritual condition, with a reprimand. Then while rebuking, exhorting, and informing them of the will of God, many times that foretelling anointing would move upon them, and they would prophesy of something that would not come to pass for many centuries. Take Isaiah for instance, his prophecies concerning Jesus were given about 750 years before they came to pass. Ezekiel prophesied 600 years B.C., of things that are yet in the future, and also Daniel likewise. In other words, the law and the prophets all pointed to the Messiah, either in His first advent, or in His second. Their utterances were eventually written in scroll form, and through the centuries of time, they would be studied by the religious leaders, and also read to the whole body of people; and naturally, through the span of time, various schools of thought were developed as to what they meant. It is man’s nature to do that; and it gets him into trouble, but he does it anyhow; and traditional schools of thought are established, that others must abide by. That is how the house of Israel was being ruled, when their prophesied Messiah did finally come to them; and they failed to recognize Him; because they had failed to make a true interpretation of what the prophets had said. It will be that way again; when Jesus comes the second time; except to the little bride Church, that has learned to look to the Holy Ghost for true revelation, instead of just simply trying to interpret God’s word with natural wisdom. Let me say this now, Never was there a true prophet of God, that ever spoke anything contrary to what the prophets before him had spoken; and neither will there be any such thing going on among God’s end time ministry to the grace age church; but I believe you will all have to agree, that there are a lot of strange voices out here in the world today; claiming to be ministers of the word of God. Therefore my point is, What are we going to believe, in these last days, and why are we believing it? Are you believing something today, just because you have heard me say it? If you are, the day will come when God will shake your wagon. He will let it hit a chug hole and bounce you out of the seat; and then give you a chance to land on revelation truth; but if you do not, He will shake you again and again, assuming of course, that you are one of His. He will not let his true children go through life just simply following the crowd, nor the flesh of some certain man, regardless of whether that man is a true minister of His word or not. I am not talking like this, just to be mean; it is because truth is too precious to play around with; like children sitting on the sidewalk playing with pennies and nickels. Truth is something that builds faith; and this is what I want us to see, as we deal with the various aspects of this message. If any of you look at this congregation as one built on just any kind of religious conglomeration, God is going to set your fields on fire, in order to shake you loose from such a thought, and get your eyes open, so you can see what is really taking place.
WHAT CHRISTIANITY WAS TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO
Brothers and Sisters: The Bible would not say, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him,” (God) if he could be pleased without it; and do not say to me, Bro. Jackson, I believe in God; unless you are willing to live like you do; for the Bible says, that even the devils believe, and tremble; and we all know they are going to end up in hell. Yes, there is a right way to believe; and there is a wrong way; and it looks like most of what is called Christianity is believing the wrong way. That may sound like a pious attitude; but please try to understand me, for I do not mean to be abusive to anyone. It is just that Satan has deceived the multitudes; because they went for the easy way, instead of hungering for the truth of God’s word, and being willing to pay the price for following truth. If God calls me home before this day is over, I have no fear; because I know I have walked with Him in truth. Hallelujah! I am not trying to sell you some new theory about religion; I am trying to get you to see that the apostles of Jesus Christ preached the only gospel that God has ever authorized any man to preach; and the only people on the earth today, that are going to be raptured when Jesus comes again, are the ones that believe on Him according to their words. That is what Jesus was referring to in John 17:14-20, when He was praying to the Father concerning those that had walked with Him in His earthly ministry. WE will read a few verses there, just to refresh your memory on this truth. Praying to the Father, He said, “I have given them thy word; (Those men heard the word of God first hand) and the world hath hated them, (Why? Because it set them apart from all the rest) because they are not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (That lets us know that God expects His people to live in an evil society, without being caught up in the evil ways of those they walk in the midst of.) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (They should not need to be explained to anyone.) Sanctify them through (What?) Thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. (With a true revelation) And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the TRUTH. (Notice now.) Neither pray I for these alone, but for (who?) Them also which shall believe on me through their word.” Brothers and Sisters: Even when those apostles preached: it was only those who caught a spiritual revelation of what they preached, that truly received eternal life. They did not have an organized program, where people could shake the preacher’s hand, and get their name placed on a church membership roll. The very fact that they stepped out from among their kinfolks and friends, and became identified with the Christians of that hour, proved that they had a revelation in their spirit, of something worth suffering the reproach of their former acquaintances for. No one professed to be a Christian in those days, simply because it was a popular thing to do; for it was just the opposite of that. Becoming a Christian in those days, was almost equal with volunteering to be martyred. If not that: it still got them disowned by family and friends; but the revelation of who Jesus Christ was, set their soul on fire, and they could no longer run in the same old rut, even if they had wanted to. He was not some fictitious character to them; they saw Him as the living fulfillment of all that their prophets of old had spoken of. Their patriarchs had longed to see His day: and died in the faith, having only the promise; but to them, what God had promised, He would certainly deliver. In other words, revelation faith is something you can put confidence in. Ten million people can disagree with you: but your revelation remains the same, because God’s word remains the same.
WORDS OF A PERSONAL WITNESS
Let us go now to the 1st chapter of 2nd Peter, and pick up some words he wrote to believers who had obtained like precious faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There in verse 13, we pick up what we want to read. Peter said, “Yea, I think it meet, (or fitting) as long as I am in this tabernacle, (his body of flesh) to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Peter was reiterating a personal testimony he had given many times before, reminding those believers that what he preached was not some handed down tradition from some Bible school; so notice as we go on.) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him (Jesus) in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; (or prophecy made more sure to us) whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (those prophecies furnished light to those who received them, until the true light they pointed to, came) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (They mean the same thing to all, if they are received in the right way.) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but homy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Saints, it just literally boils down to one thing, It took the Holy Ghost to write the scriptures, with a consistent flow of revelation from beginning to end; therefore those who receive a true revelation of the meaning of them, will have to receive it by the leadership of that same Spirit. Otherwise they will fall into the category of those Peter spoke of, as he continued on. Peter did not say, Now this is chapter 2, he just continued right on with his thought. Translators broke it up into chapters and verses, for our convenience; so notice his next words here in chapter 2. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (Now notice this next verse; and tell me whether it applies to our day.) And through covetousness shall they with feigned words MAKE MERCHANDISE of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” You could say, This prophecy has been made more sure to us, by the things we have seen taking place in religious circles just in the last little while. Preachers are making merchandise of what they call, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and also fo the people who follow their pernicious (wicked or destructive) ways. Bro. Jackson: Are you saying we should not believe what preachers preach? No. That is not what I am saying; for every last one of us will have to listen to someone else; but if you do not have that Spirit within you, to either verify or reject what you hear, you are in for a lot of disillusionment in this life. If you have the Holy Ghost in you: He will help you sort out what you hear from others; therefore you will not be taken in, and used, by men who are just out to make a name for themselves, and to get every dime you have from you.
THOSE WHO HAD THE ELIJAH ANOINTING
Those preachers in that first century of Christendom, would take the Old Testament prophecies that spoke of the Messiah that was to come, and show exactly how Jesus the Christ fulfilled every last one of them. That is what Peter was doing here in the verses we have been looking at. In other words, he was saying, We have seen with our very own eyes, and have heard with our ears, so that we can say to you for sure, that this Jesus whom we preach most certainly is the one the old prophets prophesied about, as they through the eyes of the Spirit of God, looked way out into the future. We have eternal life through Him. Let us listen to Peter in another place, as he speaks with great boldness concerning the name of Jesus Christ. I am talking about his answer to the Judaistic religious leaders who questioned him and John, after the lame man was healed, and another 5000 souls believed their testimony and were added to the number of believers. The questions was, “By what power, or by what name have ye done this?” In Acts 4:10, we pick up Peter’s answer. “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. (Healed) This is the stone which was set at naught (rejected) of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Brother, when you know what you are talking about, you do not have to fear who may hear what you are saying. In verse 20, he said, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Those old hardened religious leaders probably did not get much out of their testimony; but more than five thousand other souls did; so God is not necessarily after the ones He is dealing with, every time. Some are judged by the very words others receive faith to be saved by. It is just like God told the house of Israel, over in the Old Testament, “Behold, I set before you a blessing, and a curse.” It always depends upon what you do with the word of God; whether you are blessed, or cursed. God has set truth before many people here in our very generation, and they have rejected it, choosing rather to hold to their old dead traditions; so even though faith cometh by the hearing of the word of God: the hearers have to have an ear to hear the revelation of it, in order for faith to enter into the picture. You could say, God is the storehouse, His written word is the doorway to it; and faith in God with the right motive is the key that unlocks the door. John 3:16 is the starting point; but you will never attain any statural growth as long as you refuse to go past that point. Neither will you attain any statural growth by going just any old way from there. That is what this message is all about; to stress the fact that true Bible faith runs only in one stream; it does not operate in the devil’s spiritual junkyard. None of us are ever going to slide through this life without God testing our faith though; no matter who we are, nor how spiritual we may be. According to the 12th chapter of Hebrews: only that which cannot be shaken will remain, when God gets through with a shaking that will test every last one of us. You may say, But I feel like Dr. So and So’s interpretation of the scriptures is just as good as yours; so why do you feel so sure that your version is what God will approve? Simply because I teach the same revelation those first apostles of Jesus taught. But how can you say for sure that Malachi 4:5-6 has an application for our day? Did not the prophets come only to Israel? The writing prophets came only to Israel; but what did Jesus tell those men John sent to ask Him, “Are you the one that should come, or look we for another?” Jesus just simply answered, “Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” He then went on to say to them, “Verily (Matt. 11:11) I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Now here is what I want you to see, verses 12 & 13. “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John, and if you will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.” Then in Luke 16:16, we find this, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” When Jesus said these things, the dispensation of the writing prophets, and the keeping of the law of Moses for righteousness, was closing out. John was not a writing prophet; and his ministry marked a turning point in the way God would deal with mankind; but the last half of Malachi 4:5-6 was not fulfilled by John; he only fulfilled the part about turning the hearts of the fathers to the children. It took the ministry of a Gentile prophet, with that same Elijah anointing, to fulfill the last half of those two verses. John came on the scene prior to the GREAT day of the Lord; and turned the hearts of a lot of those fathers of his day to the children; and Bro. Branham came on the scene here in the twentieth century, before the dreadful day of the Lord comes, and turned the hearts of a lot of children, to that of their apostolic father. No, neither one of these men learned what they preached in a Pentecostal theological seminary. Naturally that caused a lot of people to reject their message, without even being affected by it; because they have the idea that only those who have been to the right schools have anything to preach. Therefore instead of having their lives straightened out, and their hearts put in tune with it until they tear it all to pieces. They approach the word of God from the standpoint that it is food for thought, too much of the time, because their thoughts run in a traditional rut, that cannot contain a true revelation.
THE LORD WILL DEAL WITH THE TARES
After Malachi, Israel went for almost 400 years without God giving them another scroll of prophecy. Then came John the Baptist, a preaching prophet, a voice to prepare the way for their long awaited Messiah to come to them; but their traditions kept the religious people from receiving his message. Oh a lot of those Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by him; but do you know what he said them.. Look in the 3rd chapter of Matthew, verse 1, and we will notice a few verses down through here. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Now verse 5) Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. (Notice this now) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, (Brother, that is pretty strong language for him to be using, unless the Spirit of God had shown him something about them. You just do not carelessly refer to people responding to an invitation you have given, as vipers; so pay attention to the rest of what he said to them.) Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: (or evidence that you have repented) and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: (In other words, Do not think that just because you are natural seed of Abraham, God is obligated to bless you with every spiritual blessing.) For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (John cut down a lot of those great big religious trees, when he came preparing the way of the Lord before Him) I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Do you know what that means, literally speaking? Anyone can come to an altar; and anyone can come to church every time the doors are opened; but only those who have been baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire, will be able to pass the word test and actually enter into the kingdom of God. That is why Jesus told His disciples, concerning the tares, when they wanted to root them up immediately, “Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” That was the parable of the good seed and the tares, that Jesus used to illustrate the fact that there will always be a lot of the devil’s junk hanging on to the children of God in this life; but in the end, only those that are a genuine product of the revealed word of God, will pass into eternity to live with Him throughout the eternal ages, so to speak. It will not really be ages, for there will be no more reckoning of time; but our ultimate goal is to spend eternity with our Creator, after the earth has been cleansed of everything else except what God has accepted.
THE HOLY GHOST WILL VINDICATE TRUTH
Whether you realize it or not, tares are already being bundled together, and being prepared for the time when they shall all be burned. How is that being done, you may say? Those who reject the true revelation of God’s word are being gathered together in their camps; and they will not know until the very end, that they have been rejected by God; and what they have continually referred to as heretics and members of a cult, will be with Jesus. Hallelujah! Brother that is something to shout about. Not the fact that others will be destroyed by fire, but that we have been accepted of Him, strictly because of the way we treated His word, when the revelation of it was presented to us. From the standpoint of the letter of it, we have the same word of God all these denominational people have; the difference is the revelation we have to if, and the faith we exercise toward it. Just like the apostle Peter said, “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” He could stand up and say, I know what I am talking about, concerning this Jesus of Nazareth; for I was one of those who walked with Him for 3 ½ years and witnessed with my own eyes how the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Him. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: (Those men did not just decide one day, I am going to prophesy. If they had, then you could rightly say, That was just his idea.) But holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Therefore they all prophesied in harmony with each other; no matter how many centuries separated their prophecies from those who had prophesied before. Only the Spirit of God could control a thing like that to the point where there would never be a contradiction; and only those who are led by the Spirit of God can deal with the revelation contained in those prophecies without there being a contradiction between what one teaches, and what the next one teaches. Therefore you do not believe a thing just because someone you may have a lot of respect for said it; by the leadership of the Spirit of God in him, he has to make the scriptures line up and then the Spirit of God in you will bear witness with your spirit, that truth has been spoken. If you went to one of these big organizational gatherings out here someplace, and some great Dr. So and So stood up and said, The blessed, holy trinity is revealed throughout the Bible, would the Spirit in you bear witness with your spirit, that this man had spoken the truth? You know it would not. If you heard anything at all from the Holy Ghost, it would likely be, What are you doing in this place? Not only does He bear witness to the truth, He also places conviction upon us when we fail to walk in the truth we already have. With a true revelation in your heart, you cannot go to a lot of places you may have enjoyed going before. Brothers and Sisters, I have got to say these things in order to establish the thought we are dealing with. I am not trying to get anyone to look to me; I want you to look in the Bible. God forbid that any of us would ever think we can feed just any old teaching into our ears, and all come out believing the same thing. It just doesn’t work that way.
BELIEVERS SHOULD LIVE A SEPARATED LIFE
Now, If those witnesses who walked with Jesus for 3 ½ years had gone through the rest of their lives proclaiming only that God raised up a prophet from among them, just like Moses said He would do, would we have a gospel message to preach today? We have a gospel of hope to preach to lost mankind, because those who walked with Jesus had a revelation of who He was, what He was, and what He accomplished at Calvary for all who believe, and trust in that finished work. Written right there in the New Testament is a full account of the revelation all of those apostles of Jesus Christ carried in their bosom; but those who believe that God is three persons, cannot possibly put the whole picture together; for their triune godhead teaching leaves too many unanswered questions. Their lack of revelation keeps them from knowing what the tree of life is, what the tree of knowledge of good and evil is, and what the origin sin was, there in the Garden of Eden. Without a revelation of that original sin, and the two seed lines that repopulated the earth as a result of it, they picture a snake hanging from a tree, offering Eve a beautiful, shiny red apple from a natural plant life tree. Well, it has been said before, but it is worth saying again, If eating apples could cause Adam and Eve to suddenly realize they were naked, then we need to pass out apples to this naked and perverted twentieth century society of people, who walk so brazenly without shame, demanding equal rights with people who believe the word of God, and desire to please Him. Oh, Bro. Jackson, you are just prejudiced. No I am not; I am just not deceived into believing that God will accept everything that professes to be a Christian in this hour of time. God judged the old world in Noah’s day, because of perversion and immorality in genera; and He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for the same reason; yet we have a deceived society of church people in the world today that believe homosexuals and all such like should be accepted into the church, and even into the ministry. What a mockery! What a delusion. What a perverted concept of the way of holiness. I know the Bible says it will be like this when Jesus comes again; but revelated children of God will certainly not want to put a stamp of approval on any of this sickening mess, no matter how outnumbered they are. I am like what the apostle Paul said in his Epistle to the Romans, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” You will not find any place in the scriptures, where any of the apostles of Jesus ever even indicated that God would make any special provisions for those who want to be associated with the Church, and still live for the world. It is just the opposite. IN the 6th chapter of 2nd Corinthians, the apostle Paul wrote, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness. And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, (all who would try to drag you down, and get you to compromise on what you have from God by revelation.) And be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you.” You do not need any faith just to drift along with the world and do what they do. You need faith to take a stand against what the popular multitudes are doing, and live a holy separated life for God. People who know where their true inheritance is, do not play around with the scriptures, looking for ways to do wrong things, and get by with it. They go into the Bible looking for the will of God in their lives, and desiring to be fed with what they have need of. You do not just gouge around in the Bible, treating God like a vending machine, expecting to read only a few select verses that will make you feel good, and avoid those that might convict you of some failure, or call you to a deeper walk with Him. Now of course there are times when God will allow you to approach His word from the standpoint, Oh God, I need something from your word, and you can just open it up, and right there is what you need; but when God in His mercy deals with you like that, you should not run out and open up a school to teach others how to do that. A lot of true experiences given to people by the Lord, have been turned into doctrines; and many times denominational churches built around them. Whenever God for some reason deals with you in a special way, it is an individual thing between you and Him, and certainly not for you to build a church off of. The only church God is concerned about, is the one built on that rock of revelation, as proved by Matthew 16:16-18, where Jesus said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” A true revelation is the only thing that can stand unshaken, when Satan is allowed to put it to the test. Carnal flesh and carnal ideas will crumble when the going gets rough; but a true revelation will stand, every test. If you wonder why the church world in general is in such a mess today, it is because they have built upon traditions of man instead of the rock of revelation.
ELECTION AND PREDESTINATION IS A TRUE DOCTRINE
I am so thankful that we can put our complete trust in all of the scriptures, both the Old Testament and the New Testament. I would hate to be one of those who profess to be a Christian and yet known to find fault and cast doubt upon the accuracy of many of the scriptures. If we cannot put our confidence in the accuracy of the Bible, then someone please tell me what we can trust in. I myself have mentioned various scriptures that could have had a better translation, as far as our twentieth century language goes; but certainly never to detract from the infallibility of the whole body of revelation contained therein. The Old Testament being written in types and shadows of that which was to come, was obscure, or in other words, hidden, except for what the Spirit of God would reveal to certain ones, until the New Testament, which explained what was concealed in the Old, was written. Not only does the New Testament shed light on the concealed truth of the Old, it also contains additional information to make the plan and purpose of God even more plain to those who love God and love the truth of His word. Nowhere in the entire Bible can you find anything that even remotely suggests that we have the privilege of going to the church of our choice, as is so commonly fostered in this hour. People who believe like that are just modern day pagans, for the Bible only has one faith mentioned in it. The church has only one foundation; and only one process by which we can build upon that foundation. It was never the plan of God for people to be confused and misled. However by foreknowledge He knew the route mankind would go, when Satan got into the picture, so He covered all of that in His overall plan of redemption. When you read the 1st chapter of Ephesians, you can learn real quick that God did not leave anything to chance, just hoping it would turn out the way He wanted it. Notice verse 3 and the following 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 HATH chosen us in Him (Christ Jesus) before the foundation of the world, 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 to Himself, according to the good pleasure of HIS WILL.” Does that offend you? Does that make you feel like you had no choice but to serve God? Not if you have a revelation of His foreknowledge. It should cause you to rejoice to know that your salvation rests in the hands of a sovereign God who has left nothing to chance. Look at verse 11. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of Him (God) who worketh all things after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.” Before the foundation of the world, God had already purposed that those who would come to Him, through His only begotten Son Jesus, that perfect Son whom He would have, would be conformed to the very image of His only begotten Son. Let us read a few verses; starting with verse 29 in the 8th chapter of Romans. This comes from the revelation of the apostle Paul also, and we will go back to Ephesians, chapter 3, in a few minutes, and see what Paul himself said about that revelation. “For whom He (God) did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brethren. (That is what we will be to Jesus, (His Brethren), in the eternal age; after redemption is completed, and the Son has delivered the kingdom up to the Father, according to 1st Cor. 15:24, and Hebrews 2:12) Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be fore us, who can be against us?” Or you could say, If God be for us, what good would it do anyone to be against us? That is the reason Paul said what He did in verse 28, which we will go back and read. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, (who are they?) To them who are CALLED according to HIS PURPOSE.” Hallelujah! That ought to make every one of us shout all over this place. That is not a maybe so salvation we have; it was all worked out in the mind of the Father, before He ever created the first thing. No matter what the devil does to you, the word of God declares that all things work together for God to them that love God, and of course those who really love God are those who have been called to this great plan of salvation according to His purpose. It does not apply to those who have been arm wrestled to an altar someplace, and their names placed on some denominational church roll. Some of us may have gotten our start in an atmosphere like that; but god had to do a further work in our lives, in order for us to be true partakers of this great plan of salvation.
OBEDIENCE BRINGS REWARD
Let us go back to Ephesians now, chapter 3, verses 1 through 3, and be aware of the fact that Paul wrote this Epistle while he was a prisoner in Rome. “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; as I wrote afore in few words, (we have to keep reading here to finish the thought) Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now REVEALED unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.” Paul’s imprisonment never stopped him from being faithful to his calling; and neither did it shut off the flow of revelation by which he wrote these beautiful truths. This proves that you cannot fence God in; and neither can you build a fence that will keep Him out, if He wants in. He can reach out, and touch a soul, no matter where that soul is. The way He reached out to Paul when he was still called Saul, and was persecuting Christians for all he was wroth, proves that. In the 3rd chapter of Philippians, Paul speaks to the kind of person he was, before his experience on the road to Damascus, and then says, “But what things were gain to me, (under the law) those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” If smartness were all one needed, or zeal, or complete dedication to what we have been taught is the work of God, Paul had all of that, under the law. You could not have put a finger on his life in any way. He was a perfect example of a dedicated Pharisee; but when God did get his attention, and gave him a revelation of His true plan and purpose, Paul himself said none of that was important to him any longer, for the only important thing is to have the righteousness of God which one receives by faith in Jesus Christ. There was no place for compromise in his life after he received this wonderful revelation; and when we receive the same revelation, there will be no place for compromise in our lives either. I am thankful to God for what He has put in my heart to share with people. I am not ashamed of it; and I am not afraid to stand in judgment for the way I have handled what He gave me. I have not compromised on any truth He ever revealed to me, trying to keep friends out here in the world of religion. A friend you have to compromise on the truth of God’s word for, is not worth having; for unless we sell out to Him lock, stock and barrel, as the old saying goes, we are going to be in trouble with Him when we come to the end of this road of life. These men who wrote these New Testament scriptures, were just simple men like anyone else; but they had something inside of them that made the difference; something God had put there for them to share with others. The first century Church was not built upon the flesh of Peter, Paul, James and John; it was built upon the revelation they carried. Every last one of those first Christians had been brought up in life, under the teaching of Judaism, where there were as many ideas about the law of Moses as there is out here in these systems of religion about the gospel of Jesus Christ today, but that 120 disciples that waited up there in that upper room were not sitting up there arguing about their different ideas. The Bible says they were all with one accord in one place. Why? Because the one they believed was the Christ, had told them to wait; and that is exactly what they were doing. They could do that much without the Holy Ghost. They did not understand all that they had heard Him teach, when they walked with Him before His crucifixion; but they did not throw it out, for they believed that somehow it would all come together eventually. What they were in one accord on, was the things they did understand; and on the day of Pentecost, when they received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, He did exactly what Jesus had promised He would do. He began to open up their understanding of the law and the prophets, and to lead them into all truth. That is why their preaching was consistent and projected a true revelation; they preached only what He revealed to them. That is why a fisherman like Peter did not need a degree in theology to preach a true revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as set forth in types and shadows in the law and the prophets; the Holy Ghost in him was telling him what to say. Well the Holy Ghost that was in him is the very same Spirit that is in the Church today; so why should they true ministers of the gospel of Christ, not preach the same revelation? The fact is, they will all preach the same revelation when He gets through dealing with them. Not because they are mimicking each other, but because they are hearing from the same source, no matter what part of the world they are in. What was the first thing that apostolic ministry had to know for sure? They had to know for sure who Jesus called the Christ, was. If they had believed He was the 2nd person of a triune God, could they have preached what they did? If they had believed Jesus was with the Father as a person in creation, How could they possibly have believed He was born of a virgin named Mary, in their very own generation? Only a mixed up Gentile mind could believe anything as ridiculous as that. No Jew ever believed God to be a three person God. From childhood they had heard read from the scrolls, “Here, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” No, brothers and sisters, the godhead was never a problem among the original Church in the book of Acts. They knew exactly how it was that Jesus could speak as a man one minute, and speak like God the next. The understood why He could look out over Jerusalem and weep, and how He could weep there in the company of the sisters of Lazarus, when he lay dead, and a few minutes later cry out with such authority, Lazarus, Come forth! Literally, He was both God and man; because the Great Creator which was Spirit, and not a person, was in Him in the fullness of all His sovereign attributes; and those apostles all understood that. God put a revelation in those common people, fisherman, tax collectors, and just plain, mostly uneducated people, that the theological students and professors of all ages have never been able to receive. Do you know why? Because they are depending upon their education and station in life, to give them some special favor with god; and God could not care less about that kind of thing. Let us look into the 18th chapter of Matthew, and see what Jesus said about that very thing, when a question arose between His disciples. “At that same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanging about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” For quite a number of years now, it has been very popular in some social circles to say, I am a born again Christian; because Christianity to a lot of people is little more than club membership, like the Elks, the Lions, and so forth; but those who take Christianity so lightly, are void of the revelation that it is a way of life, and not as easy to enter into as they have been led to believe.
CONVICTION AND REPENTANCE ARE NECESSARY
If the Spirit of God is convicting and drawing a person, becoming a Christian is just as easy as surrendering your life to Him, in that child-like faith Jesus was talking about; but if the Spirit of God is not drawing you, there is no way for you to enter in. You can get some preacher to dip you in water, and you can put your name on their church roll; attend every service, pay tithes, and do what Christians do; but that will not make you a child of God. Bro. Jackson: It seems like God would honor the faith of such a person. No. That is a misplaced faith. It has no foundation because such a person has not been led to humble their self, and to repent. Peter made it very plain in Acts 2:38, when those who had been convicted by his sermon asked, “What shall we do?” His 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. There was to be that element of repentance; and a person has to humble their self to do that; so you can see why Jesus said what He did, about becoming as little children. He was simply pointing to a child-like faith; but that faith still has to follow God’s pattern, in order for the picture to be completed. That is why we are dealing with this message on faith in the way we are, going into the scriptures for examples of the kind of faith that moved the hand of God in times past. We are living in an age when faith is encouraged in many walks of life; and it is a known fact that to have a strong faith in something gives one that positive attitude that gets out there and gets things done. However, the faith that God requires in those foreordained to eternal life, has to be a revelated faith, that not only looks at the provision, but that looks at the conditions, and meets them first. You hear a lot of people say, We have power over the devil! We are going to do thus and so; and run him off, and all such; but let me tell you something: If you do not do it God’s way, you are not going to run the devil anywhere. You will just end up in one of his snares someplace. In James 4:6-7, you can find these words, “Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit (Here is a condition that precedes resisting the devil, submit) yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”Verse 8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw night to you.” Up above that, James said this, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” But he went right ahead and said, “Ye ask, and receive not, (why?) Because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
EVERYONE HAS FAITH – BUT NOT THE FAITH
I tell you saints, This thing of faith is not to be taken lightly; for the world is full of demon possessed people, who have faith of some kind; therefore do not think it strange that we would title this message “Faith versus Faith; for it is our purpose to show you the difference between the faith that moves the hand of God, and that which is so common in the world today. Looking back to what we were saying earlier, about the man from Tarsus named Saul: He had faith in what he was doing when he was out persecuting Christians; because to him, those people were making a mockery of God by not following the traditions of the Judaistic fathers, who taught strict adherence to the law of Moses. The Spirit of God met him on the road to Damascus, blinded him, knocked him to the ground and said to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” He was so busy doing what he believed was a work for God, God had to knock him down, strike him blind, and actually put him in a helpless condition, so that others had to take him by the hand and lead him, before He (God) could put a revelation in him that would channel his faith in the right direction. Before that, he was doing to the true people of God just what denominationalism is doing today. The only difference is the laws of the land will not allow them to put what they call heretics, to literal death, (at least not yet) but in every other way they try to slay us. Saul was out to show the world just how much zeal he had for God; just like a lot of these big Doctors of Divinity are today; but God had other plans for that man’s life; and He took the necessary steps to get him going in the right direction with that zeal. God taught that man more in three years out there in the Arabian Desert, away from all his friends and family, than these modern day Bible scholars learn in a life time. Do you know what made the difference? These seminary students are taught theories; and God had Saul out there with his Old Testament scrolls, giving him a revelation of what they meant; not just theories of what those various prophecies and precepts of the law could mean. Have you ever noticed in the 1st chapter of Galatians what Paul said about the gospel he preached? First notice verse 8 and then verses 11 & 12. The occasion for these words was because someone had been through there preaching a contrary version of the gospel of Christ to them, or as he termed it, perverting the gospel of Christ. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Brother, he was sure he had preached a true revelation to them, and this was his way of telling them so. Of course you have probably heard some of these denominational preachers speak with that kind of boldness; but they did not have the credentials Paul had. No trinitarian has any right whatsoever to talk like them, for there is no possible way he could preach a true revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Notice verses 11 & 12 now, though. “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. (Not man’s theories) for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He goes ahead and tells them how he persecuted the Church, and how his conversion came about, or rather reminds them that they have already heard all about it. Then he tells them how he did not communicate with flesh and blood (any man) while God was revealing His Son (Jesus) in him, but that he went into Arabia and three years later, he went back to Jerusalem, where he spent 15 days with the apostle Peter. Now the same man who spoke like that to the Galatians, also wrote these words to the Corinthian Church, in his first epistle to them. Speaking of the things of God, there in chapter 2 he writes, in verse 10, “But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” In verse 11 he speaks of how it is the spirit in a man that causes him to know what he knows, and says, “So the things of God knoweth no man, but (or except by) the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, (not in theological terms) but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (Notice verse 14 now) But the natural man (or natural mind) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: NEITHER CAN HE KNOW THEM, because they are spiritually discerned.” That lets you know that just because a young man’s mother may send him off to a Bible school some place, God is under no obligation to reveal His word to him. He only does that for the ones He calls into the ministry, and when He gets through with those He calls, they have faith, and they have a revelation of where to invest that faith. Praise His name!