Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Lord's Will

We recently had a question sent to us regarding the Lord's will for a person's life. Therefore, our next video in the online Bible study deals with just that...the Lord's will. The actual title is 'Getting in Position' and we hope it will answer a few questions about the Lord's will for your personal life. 

We each strive for God's perfect will to be accomplished in our lives but in actuality, I think many of us operate in God's permissive will. After listening to the message, we hope you will surrender your life to God's perfect will for you and enjoy the unspeakable joy that will flood your soul. As I like to say to my wife, there is nothing better or sweeter than being in the dead center of God's will! 

It is our desire that these messages are a blessing to each of our listeners as well as a help and encouragement. Moreover, if you have any thoughts, suggestions, questions, or topics you'd like discussed and find answers from God's word, why not drop us a line. My direct email is We’d love to hear from you today.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Something New

Many of us have questions for which we search Biblical answers and what better place to turn than to God's Holy Word. We are always trying to think of new ways to share the gospel with others and offer avenues of discipleship to our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  Therefore, today we're venturing into the world of video and are thrilled to post the first of what we hope will be many videos to help you in your everyday walk with the Lord.

We trust that you will bear with us as we work out the bugs and perfect the media. As you will see, "Liar in the Midst" was a difficult project; the devil fought us every step of the way but as always, the Lord remained victorious. Regardless of a few unavoidable pauses, the message is clear and one that we hope you will find a blessing and encouragement.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Suffering Beyond Belief

As I sit in my study this Holy Sabbath Day I cannot help but reflect on this past week and the many people that crossed my path affected by pain and suffering. I have read about and watched the news clips showing those most unfortunate folks in the Midwest tornados with homes, personal belongings, and loved ones snatched from their grasps of life. I can say I have never experienced anything like that and I hope and pray that I never will. But who knows what the future holds? I have heard the many prayer requests from my family and loved ones close by and from the many dear Brothers and Sisters here and from around the world this week who desire that I help pray for them and their situation. Some have suffered this week from loss of family members and or some have suffered from hospital stays in which they underwent some scary and disconcerting operations. Some no doubt, have suffered in auto accidents with blunt force trauma, and some from laceration caused by falling or flying debris from extreme weather. In addition, there are those who have requested prayer this week that have no other recourse than to sit in their chair and cry, suffering in pain with no relief in sight. Those bewildered souls begging God for a small miracle and crying for help to endure this physical suffering. If it is any consolation at all, I know there is one thing that I know and count on for sure; prayer changes the circumstances and our very lives, or does it?

If we really think about it, some of us could have made better decisions in our lives that would have had better outcomes. Nevertheless, there are those who definitely had no say in the matter at all except praying to God for some kind of miracle to take place to relieve them from the anxiety and suffering. I have always said of my life and I admit sometimes it just doesn’t help to say, it can always get worse than it is, even when the daily activities of our lives gets extreme. So many times, we tend to forget we have in our presence an extreme God and HE is always in control even when it seems things are out of control. It can be said that God allows things to get out of control so He can prove to us who is in control. We can see this evidence of this statement unfolding in the form of miracles that have presented themselves in the most precarious of ways.

The Holy Spirit of God impressed it upon me to write this morning as an encouragement to those who are still looking for answers to their plight in this life. God encouraged me to help these dear loved ones to look to Jehovah God’s son, JESUS. There are many things I do not know and have probably never experienced as some of you have, but God knows about your suffering and pain. In some way or form, I feel that the LORD JESUS (YESHUA) has experienced more than we can ever believe He has. Yes, I can find that very easy to say because I have no experience in the matters of pain and suffering as some of you have experienced. My heart is touched and wrenched as I watch the suffering in your eyes; I am encouraged to lead you to the very one who has been through it all and probably in just one day or maybe two. You say that is not possible. I say to that, don’t be quite so sure.

As I remember the Scriptural accounts of the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Christ in Matthew chapters 26 and 27, I can see many things that some of you are going through in this life. I want to encourage you to try to find the suffering in Christ’s experience that compares to what you are going through. You might be thinking, but Jesus doesn’t know what I am feeling and He just doesn’t know what I have suffered every day of my miserable life. I plead with you, please, do not discount the LORD JESUS that easy without searching for the answer to your life’s pain and suffering.

First, I would like to point out that JESUS experienced abandonment just as you have and people that you knew won’t even show up to check on you and see what is going on in your life.

“But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” Matthew 26:56.

Having feelings of being all alone? Jesus knows exactly how you feel and shares your thoughts on this experience.

Secondly, I imagine that you are thinking to yourself, but no one understands me and does not believe a word I say about what is happening to me. If I only had one person that would believe me, I would be so relieved, and this would be easier to bare.

But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.  (59)  Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;  (60)  But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, (61) And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.  (62)  And the high priest arose, and said unto him, ‘answerest thou nothing?’ What is it which these witness against thee?  (63)  But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” Matthew 26:58-63

You might be thinking that what you are going through is a little shameful and have a load of guilt to bare all by yourself. How many times have you been slapped in the face because someone did not believe you? You are thinking that JESUS just doesn’t have a clue.

“Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.  (66)  What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.  (67) Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, (68) Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?” Matthew 26:65-68

On the other hand, you might be thinking that your so-called friends won’t come around anymore because they just don’t want to get involved in your life of suffering. Just how many times have people flat out denied even knowing you? JESUS just doesn’t have a clue does He?

“Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.  (70)  But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.  (71)  And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.  (72)  And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.  (73)  And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.  (74)  Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.” Matthew 26:69-74

How many times have you been questioned by doctors, nurses, specialists, and or Social Services trying to understand but always miss the important parts that you have tried to explain over and over. It seems that they are deaf to all your explanations. Yet JESUS just doesn’t have a clue doses He.

“And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.  (12)  And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.  (13)  Then said Pilate unto him, ‘Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?’  (14) And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.”
Matthew 27:11-14

How many times have you witnessed the doctors and nurses, or Social Services believe someone else that you know told lies just to get the treatment they believed they deserved?

“Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.  (16)  And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.  (17)  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?  (18)  For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.  (19)  When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.  (20)  But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.  (21)  The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.  (22)  Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.  (23)  And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.  (24)  When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” Matthew 27:15-24

By now, I feel sure you can see with me that no matter where we are or what we are going through, the LORD JESUS has been there and done that, so to speak. It is human nature that we have a tendency to feel isolated when we hurt and are suffering but when we get in that spot, JESUS moves in closer to us because He wants us to feel His presence and His love for us. I have found through suffering, JESUS always is motivated to us the more when we feel somewhat the suffering and anxiety that HE also experienced. Most of us desire a closer relationship with Christ JESUS but the truth is we can experience this only by suffering a little while in this life. It seems that you and JESUS have more than you thought in common after all.

Peter says; “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” I Peter 2:19 Or in other words and paraphrased, if we know in our minds and hearts that we did the right thing at the right time, but suffered for it anyway, God still gives us credit for trying even when we see it as failure.

You might say, but this Scripture does not apply to what I am experiencing. Oh, but it does. God allows you to go through many things in this life that seems there is no explanation for it. However, if you are daily at the mercy of doctors, lawyers, health specialists and Social Services authorities, you will experience quite a bit of what JESUS went through in His last days on this earth. You will see with me, He suffered greatly from His peers and acquaintances, not to mention His closest friends. Because you are a child of the MOST HIGH GOD JEHOVAH, you are accredited for doing what is right in His eyes so long as you have faith in the living Son of God, JESUS. If not, then we will face the Judgment Seat of Christ to try to explain why we failed, if we dare say so in the light of truth.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

St. John’s Apocalypse – Revelation Chapter Two (cont)

The Church of Ephesus - Conclusion

Before we can move on to the next church of Smyrna I am constrained to look closer into the reason John stated in his writing the form of terminology put forth from LORD Yeshua. If I may once again mention the verse that so intrigues me.
“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” Revelation 2:2 KJV

There are two evil entities at work here for us to take serious notice. First Christ says, “How thou canst not bear them which are evil”. Does anyone have a clue where this statement comes from? Is this evil in the church congregation or outside the church congregation? Sadly, the evil has infiltrated the church congregation. From all the efforts of Bible study, I found the reason for this statement. The reason is found in the Bible because in the Apostles’ time there had arisen a ‘counterfeit Christianity’ that so few Christians are aware of to this day. Simply because Christians are a part of it unconsciously the fact is that there is a ‘counterfeit Christianity’ alive and well with us today. The Apostle Paul mentioned this evil contamination in his letter to the Corinthians because this counterfeit had already exposed itself.

“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” II Corinthians 11:1-4

Whom in this world is Paul talking about? I believe he is talking about the magician encountered by John and Peter, a man named Simon Magus and his followers.

Paul continues in his letter:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”  II Corinthians 11:13-15

Wow! Is Paul saying there could be evil men in the synagogue pulpit? If not in the pulpit, these scoundrels were definitely in the congregation working as subtly as Satan does. That is exactly what he is saying and with very good reason. In succession, we have the second point shown to us through Scripture, “thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars”.

As we can see, all of the Apostles had some dealing with those who were steeped in mystery and mysticism, brought into the country through the switcheroo that transpired in the Scripture according to II Kings chapter 17. In my last writing, I touched on the subject of the Gnostics, false apostles, and general troublemakers that pestered the church. In this extension of Ephesus, it is my intention to focus on the beginning source of these problems. Problems that once were a molehill have now become the mountainous plague of the church that so few even recognize, much less aware of. However, to that end, we will have to go back to the Old Testament to the recordings in II Kings.

I am mentioning a man known as Simon Magus[1] and there is a good reason for this. In this man lies the history of the problems the Disciples and Apostles encountered at one time or another. By now you might be asking, just who is this Simon Magus and where did he originate? We will get to that later but have you ever heard the cliché cause and effect? With everything that happens, there are repercussions to follow. I like to call this governing dynamics, dynamics either through the forces of good or through the forces of evil. Nevertheless, the Bible describes it by another law that is in effect[2] and is known as the law of sowing and reaping. The evidence against Simon Magus and his kind begins here. If you have never read this Scripture before it would pay great dividends to do so now as to acquire a better understanding of this dilemma in the congregation of God.  REQUIRED READING 2 Kings 17:1-41 KJV

This single chapter in the Bible contains more explanation than we can ever imagine. Therefore, it is very important that we read it carefully to ascertain the evidence needed to complete the accusations against Simon Magus.

After the death of King Solomon and 40 years of peace, the nation of Israel divided into two kingdoms because of disputes that arose from jealously and mistrust. The Northern Kingdom was known and named after Jacob, or better known by his new name Israel. The Southern Kingdom was known as Judah. Israel included ten tribes and Judah included two tribes. In this account of II Kings chapter 17, we can see that it was Israel, not Judah, which was captured and carried off into captivity by the Assyrian king. That left the two tribes of Judah to be dealt with another day. What we need to focus on here are the Ten Northern Tribes of Israel. These ten tribes are known today as the ‘Ten Lost Tribes of Israel’ because they never returned to Samaria and if they did, it was not in sufficient numbers to make any difference after being assimilated by Babylon. It is presumed that throughout history the lost tribes were assimilated into the world and as a result have lost all rights to the inheritance of national Israel.

Let it be known for the sake of Bible eschatology that at the Second Coming of Christ, the lost tribes of Israel will be re-gathered from the four corners of the Earth only to recognize Christ as their Messiah. With the purpose of being grafted again onto the spiritual olive tree to be established along side of the Church to commence the Millennial Kingdom on Earth with Christ as our Saviour and King. Amen, to God be the glory, Amen.

The problem we are going to deal with concerning Simon Magus stems from the fact of verse 24 of II Kings chapter 17.

“And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.”

In the Old Testament, the concept of the ‘church’ did not exist. However, through governing dynamics the root of the entire problem of the early 1st century church had already manifested itself in the nation of Israel. What happened here is that when the five tribes of national Babylon came into the Samarian territory, the original home of Israel, they brought with them their false gods. These pagan people had never heard of Jehovah God but that was about to be remedied or so it was intended.

(28)  “Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.  (29) Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans[3] had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.” II Kings 17: 28, 29

This Scripture explains many things for us. First, the priest of Israel that the King of Assyria sent back to Samaria was as corrupt as the Babylonians were and more than likely the very reason for their demise. As the Scripture attests, God always blames the corruption of His people on the pastors, priests and evangelists, which are in charge of leading God’s Holy People in the paths of righteousness and holiness. The pastors, prophets, priests and evangelists, of whom I am accounted of are supposed to know right from wrong, evil from good. Therefore, we are all the more responsible for the welfare of the congregation of God. We are to remind the people of God of God’s Word; it is not to be taken lightly and applied into our daily lives. As it was then and as it is now, most pastors, prophets, and evangelists are ‘on the take’ of the worldly congregation and have gone by the way of Balaam.

Secondly, the truth of the matter was the men and women and their families, which occupied Samaria, were Babylonian nationalists and Gentiles by birth; they were not Jews. Therefore, they had no knowledge of the God of Israel, Yahweh. These people of Babylonia/Samaria were looking to this corrupt Israelite priest to guide them in the ways of the Mosaic Law. The next thing that transpired over the following years was a blending and fabricating of false worship of pagan gods into Judaism worship of Jehovah God. Does this ring a bell now? This is the origin where the Samarian Synagogues sprang up by imitating the Jewish Synagogues. All over the country, these Samarian Synagogues became better known by the name of ‘Synagogues of Satan’ by our LORD Yeshua, which will be covered in the next church of Smyrna. The stage is now set for Simon Magus to appear.

Simon the Sorcerer, Simon the Magician or simply Simon Magus in Latin allegedly became a convert to Christianity and baptized by the Evangelist Phillip recorded in the Book of Acts penned down by the Apostle Luke.

But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:  (10)  To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.  (11)  And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.  (12)  But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  (13)  Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.  (14)  Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:  (15)  Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:  (16)  (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)  (17)  Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.  (18)  And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,  (19)  Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.  (20)  But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.  (21)  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.  (22)  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  (23)  For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.  (24)  Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.  (25)  And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.” Acts 8:9-25 

As we read here, Simon made a profession of faith but failed to receive the Holy Spirit because of the condition of his heart. The Holy Spirit of God is nobody’s fool and very capable of knowing who is serious and sincere with a repentant heart and who is just going through the motions, insincere, and mimicking Christianity, usually because of peer pressure. Simon, rejected by the Holy Spirit, went on to claim his new powers and became so enamored with his new ideas, it became common knowledge amongst the Samarians that Simon was now presenting himself as an Apostle of Christ and later on in his escapades, as Christ himself. Simon the Magician is recorded in church history as spreading heresies and establishing so-called ‘Christian Synagogues’ everywhere he went. This scourge of the church spread like wildfire throughout the entire Christian realm.

Surviving traditions about Simon appear in anti-heretical texts, such as those of the early church fathers Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius, where Simon Magus is often regarded as the source of all heresies. Early church father Justin wrote that nearly all the Samaritans in his time were adherents of a certain Simon of Gitta, a village not far from Flavia Neapolis. Irenaeus held him as being one of the founders of Gnostic philosophy and the sect of the Simonians[4].

By the end of John’s life, the letters to the ‘Seven Churches of Revelation’ was being penned down; this philosophy of the Gnostic sect had already infiltrated the church of Ephesus. This is the very battle that John and his next in line Polycarp had encountered and were trying their best to eradicate on a permanent basis, but to no avail. It is recorded in second century church history that Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, went as far as to take a pilgrimage to Rome to seek out the heretics and Gnostic teachers that had infiltrated the Christian synagogues[5] already established in Rome. Roman Christian Synagogues and the ‘Seven Churches of Revelation’ had been compromised and they have never recovered to this day. The damage had been done, thus the commendations and reprimands of LORD Yeshua in the letters to the churches. If we would be honest with ourselves and you know what to look for, we will admit that there is a known fact that in every assembly, parish and congregation of every denomination, the spirit and teaching counterfeit Christianity of Simon Magus can be found. If we refuse this truth, and are adamant to deny this accusation, then the letters to the ‘Seven Churches of Revelation’ can and will be nothing more than a fairy tale to everyone who reads it. The evidence of this is found in most every congregation on the earth in the form of preachers, teachers, and evangelists not willing to tell the truth about sin in the Christian’s personal life. They now invoke poetry, anecdotes, and niceties, and pass down philosophy into their sermons with underlying moral ideas that will not upset the listener as to ensure their gain. For the sake of truth, another name for these so-called men of God is simply “disciples of Balaam.”

More specifically, Christ and all of His Disciples were attacked in their day by the doctrine and philosophy of the sects of the religious groups described in the New Testament accounts of the Gospels. Below is a list of warnings starting from Christ all the way through the New Testament Disciples, and throughout the Seven Churches of Revelation. Warnings that were so serious that it threatened the very existence of the fledgling church. Satan was determined to stop what Christ had started and used every means available.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”  Matthew 7:15.  Notice that Christ calls these Gnostic philosophers ‘false prophets’, curious isn’t it? Their true intensions were to cloud the minds of the followers of Christ. Did it work? You had better believe it did. The evidence of this success is the evolution of many hundreds of denominations that surround us in church congregations today. Everyone with their own brand of philosophy claiming that theirs is the only way that is right. The truth of the matter is every one of them is off the path of the Bible and Christ’s original teachings to his Disciples. None of them, I say again, absolutely none of them is 100 percent accurate. More realistically, it is like 50 percent or less and in all denominations that adhere according to Bible doctrine. This was the spiritual battle that was raging in Jerusalem before its fall in A.D.70.The spiritual battle continued right through all the churches of Asia, including John’s church at Ephesus. For the record, we are still in the battle against evil forces, the false prophets of Satan.

“But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;” Matthew 10:17. This future prophesy from Christ happened very early to Paul, Peter, and Stephen, and too many others that confronted the religious and pious Pharisees and Sadducees in Jerusalem. Let us remember it was Stephen who was killed by these false teachers and philosophers because he was out to expose them in public. This cost Stephen his life. It will also happen to any of us who take a serious stand for Christ.

“Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:6. The leaven Christ is talking about is the blending of manmade philosophy and Christian doctrine together, in which will in its upholding lead captive people, God’s people, in a state of dismal spiritual growth that is stunted if adhered too. For this reason alone, Christians today are such spiritual babies and in a state of stupor that it seems they cannot be weaned from the milk of the Bible. Christ is warning us that philosophy and Christian doctrine has no ground to walk together. Thereby, any spiritual growth is nil.

“How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?” Matthew 16:11. CODE RED: Christ is trying to get His Disciples to understand His meaning of unwanted philosophy by using the simplest of examples of kneading bread with leaven or yeast added to it.  

“Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:12 It is my prayer for the church to wake up before it is too late and see the false doctrines being taught throughout Christendom.

“And he charged them, saying, ‘take heed; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.” Mark 8:15  

“And he said unto them in his doctrine, ‘Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,” Mark 12:38. The warning here is to let the church know that it was these scribes, probably on someone’s payroll, or in today’s language, stenographers had access to the writings, scrolls, and valuable information from scholars of Gnostics sects and could contaminate the Christian writings that were forthcoming of Christ’s Disciples. These scribes would present themselves in public as someone who was ‘in the know’ and possibly share secrets that made them appear as highly educated. This is the very reason the letters of Paul and all the others of the church were kept so closely guarded, and most all the time hand delivered to avert any mix-ups through the wrong hands. The very writings of the Apostles were in imminent danger in these perilous times. Unfortunately for the church, this happened when the ‘Synagogues of Satan’ got a foothold in Christianity starting in Jerusalem, then in Rome, and is still with us today through the publishing of the many different bibles that come down the pike right through the so called ‘Christian Book Stores’ of America. It is no wonder Christians are so confused about their beliefs for they do not know which version of God’s Holy Word to take for the truth.

As difficult as some claim it is, I have chosen to stay with the King James Version of the Bible. I have read all versions against one another and yes, you might be able to find fault with the KJV for one reason of another. Nevertheless, over many years of study, I have found the KJV to be the most reliable, useful, and ever-faithful, version of the Bible in the ministry God has placed me in.

“In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, ‘Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:1. Once a Christian sister talked to me about the reasons their family no longer attend the congregation of the church denomination. Many others have done the same since this encounter. The sister in front of me explained that there was so much hypocrisy in the church it was sickening to the stomach. That might sound like a lame excuse to a lot of people but when you look at how worldly people live and how the church accommodates them, one can start to realize that something is amiss here if we are to adhere to the New Testament teachings for the church.  The problem with this explanation was that this person was telling the absolute truth. I feel that people like my wife and others as well as me, have and are being led to dismiss ourselves from this hypocrisy of the church and separate ourselves so that we are not accounted as one that upholds the philosophy of the unsaved that have taken hold of the congregation of God. Where does this authority come from? Surprisingly, the Scripture commands us when we are in this position to come out from among those who uphold sin and compromise within the church.

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:4-5

Did we ever believe we would see the day in which we who hold the truth are commanded by our God to come out of the wicked church? The Apostle Paul saw this also and upon this wisdom wrote two letters to the church of Corinth with this warning and admonition.

Hypocrisy does abound in the church and the reason is that anywhere you witness hypocrisy there most assuredly is the blending of philosophy and Bible doctrine. I point out the formula and the equation of the mixture of one full measure of wheat (born-again Christians) plus and one full measure of tares (unbelievers/lost) equals philosophy (religion) plus Christianity equals counterfeit Christianity, or better known as Christian dualism. This is the final product of today’s church. The people who are faithful to this counterfeit Christianity will attempt to make you feel guilty about being on the outside and claim it is you that is out of the will of God. Through much prayer and Bible study, I have found this to be quite the opposite. According to the Bible, it is they, which are out of the will of God and on the path of destruction. All I did was to adhere to the warning of the Bible and followed the leadership of the Holy Spirit, God’s volition, as to save myself and my family from being judged along with the wicked and unbelieving in the church.

The age-old adage has been asked repeatedly, ‘am I my brother’s keeper?” The answer to that question is most assuredly yes, I am my brother’s keeper according to the Bible.

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 1:21-23

“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, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  II Corinthians 6:14-18. This admonition was written to the Church of Corinth from the Apostle Paul. The Church of Corinth was already a corrupt assembly in Paul’s day.

These worldly atmospheres within the church accommodates the breeding ground of compromise, double standards, and then open to sin. I have made this statement many times and will say it again, it is impossible for born-again Christians to worship in truth and spirit along side of a lost and unbelieving people. The lost have no place in the congregation of God and God says so in the preceding verse of Scripture. This is why the LORD instructed His Disciples to go out into the highways and hedges and witness to the lost in the world, THEN, bring them back with them after they had accepted Christ as their Saviour into the congregation of God, and to make a testimony of their conversion in public. This practice of bringing the unbelieving lost into the congregation of God is against Bible doctrine and is a hindrance to the Body of Christ. Satan will see to this.

Another example of hypocrisy is because the Gnostics philosophy teaches us to be religious and pious on the Holy Sabbath days but allow loose living like the devil in social drinking of alcoholic beverages with banqueting and reveling. Just like it was when Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity as its religion for the state. This merger of Church and State came with a great price for it married paganism with all its holidays and festivals into Christianity to appease everyone in the state. This merger of Church and State forced the wheat (Christians) to rub shoulders with the tares (unsaved) and accept them as their own. We have carried the brunt of this compromise and betrayal ever since. Nothing much has changed. For every denomination compromises somewhere in adhering to manmade philosophy and is the messenger of error according to Bible doctrine. Any true believing Christian will know to stay clear of open sin as to protect their testimony of Saviour Christ in control of their lives. A sincere Christian that loves the LORD Jesus will not perform an act that has the potential of harming the name of Christ and His Kingdom.

Another point to mention is for the life of us, I cannot understand the church for allowing rampant divorce and abortions amongst so-called Christians only to mention men marrying men, women marrying women, and pedophiles protected by the church. Again, signs of the how the sin of world philosophy views has crept into the church. No doubt, we are in the last days according to the Bible. This is done and with the stamp of approval of the church in order to appease the state no matter where you live. This is the evidence of pagan philosophy carrying its weight throughout the church realm in every denomination. What is with this that the church allows and is proud to take a stand with these evil at heart? These people lead a double standard life in their homes, on the job, and bring it all into the church, the place of worship in the face of a Holy God. These religious philosophers most assuredly have a death grip on the congregation of God. The religious love their Marti Gras and circuses right on the church grounds and proudly put all their might into it right out in plain sight for everyone to be a witness to their degradation and use every excuse to up-hold their sins of the flesh. I have seen with my own eyes the numerous trashcans filled with empty beer and wine bottles the day after such events at the church. The Apostle Jude[6] called these people clouds without water, wells that are dry, vain men, evil men at heart, and men that will lead the flock to disaster. Evil men making merchandise of the flock of God all along the journey of life.

By now, you might be asking yourself the question, Brother Albert, if you and your wife no longer attend a church of the denominations, where do you worship the LORD? The answer to this is simple, right here in our home. But not only in our home, but everywhere I go in life for Christ says my body is the temple of the LORD and have the ability to worship at will, anywhere, anytime. For many years, our home has also served as our place of worship as to avoid any chance of philosophy integrated with the Bible doctrine. Our home is our refuge from the world, and open to all who are looking for a place to assemble in the name of the LORD JESUS without the influence of the world. The example of this exercise in worship comes from the example of the First Church of Jerusalem in the Book of Acts, in which the born-again met in the homes of Christians to foster love and admiration to the LORD Jesus. To be free to worship Christ Jesus in spirit and in truth.

For the record, I want it known that I do not teach religious philosophy but every precept of the Word of God straight from the King James Version of the Bible. This is why I post all my works and writings on the web as to let people see for themselves just what it is that I do in the name of Christ Jesus (the Saviour) and His Church. If you and your family are looking for a place to worship God without the influence of the world, then I want to extend an invitation to join us here at our home where you will be loved and nourished in the admonition of the Holy Spirit of God.

“Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;” Luke 20:46. These people like to show off their wealth and prosperity amongst the church. Does any of this look and sound familiar? The LORD warns us to stay away from these people. It is the old classic division of social classes in which the wealthy scorn the poor and needy, which might be some of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. The poor are and have always been blight in the eye of the wealthy and well to do, the do-gooders in the world. I call them do-gooders because their works are in vain and count for nothing. The Bible plainly tells us these things. They have the spiritual cart before the horse, so to speak in defense of the Apostle Paul in his writings to the Christians of Rome. As Paul has stated, the truth of the matter is and according to the Bible, good works done before one’s salvation give credit to the individual as to say, look at me, look what I have accomplished, I am a good person and deserve to go to heaven. The truth is that no one can earn his or her merit with God. On the other hand, good works performed as a born-again child of God, as described in the Book of James, gives all the credit and glory to the one who empowers us to perform good works, God the Father, God the Son, and God’s volition, the Holy Ghost of God.

“Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;” Acts 13:40.  This Scripture is referencing the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk in which he states: “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” Habakkuk 1:5.

In short, do we really believe the Word of God?  This was and still is a warning to those who know God and how He can bring judgment upon a disobedient people. Nevertheless, still are determined to commit compromise and sin, knowing all along judgment is coming for us in the end and so it is with this warning to the ‘Seven Churches of Revelation.’

“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” Philippians 3:2.

Code RED: Stay away from philosophy!

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8.  The Apostle Paul laid the warning out on the table plainly to the Churches of Philippi and Colossae so there will be no misunderstanding. Paul is trying to get the church to see that if they are willing to compromise their form of doctrine handed to them from the Apostles, their judgment will be just and swift from the LORD as to purge the church from all evil. This is judgment is coming to the world according to the Bible; events that will unfold when the Great Tribulation commences in which the entire church will be a witness just before the Rapture takes place. As I have stated before, this is how God will separate the wheat from the chaff.

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.” II Peter 3:17.

It would be in our best interest to adhere to this warning and stop with the compromising of vain religious philosophy. As it was in their day, so it is today when pastors, teachers, and evangelists have compromised themselves right into harm’s way and have brought the church with them. This warning is addressed to the churches of all ages and all times using Ephesus as the example. It would pay us to consider ourselves warned and to avoid being judged with the evil and wicked that turn a deft ear and close their eyes in the wake of destruction. The true believers in Christ are not called the ‘Elect and Ecclesia’ (called out) for naught.

Just what has become of the Church of Ephesus? For the most part, it lies in ruins due to a series of massive earthquakes. It is ironic I suppose because the church has never recovered from the onslaught of manmade philosophy that is still propagated today. I feel that Ephesus is still with us today in spirit and is still in its struggle for truth, but still surviving because of the efforts of the Apostles. This event of church history was the Apostle John’s finest hour. Our Lord and Saviour Emmanuel of the church will see to it that none of these events are forgotten and left behind in the dusty annuls of history.

[1] Book of Acts 8: 9-25 John, Phillip, and Peter’s encounter with Simon Magus
[2] Galatians 6: 7, 8
[3] The original Ten Lost Tribes of Israel
[5] Meeting places to assembly were called Synagogues, because the church building as we know it was not a concept of this time.
[6] Jude 1: 12, 13

Sunday, March 3, 2013

St. John’s Apocalypse – Revelation Chapter Two

The Church of Ephesus

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; ‘These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:1-7 KJV

John focused on what Christ is saying to him as he is writing these things down, intolerance to false doctrine and evil. In the following inquiries of the seven churches, it will be John’s home church of Ephesus that Christ deals with in the very beginning. It is noted in church history that John and Christ’s mother Mary came to Ephesus and to the established assembly around 48 A.D. It is notable to say that at this time in the first century church, the concept of denominations had not materialized. Therefore, we are dealing with a body of believers that have not been influenced by doctrines of churches other than the First Church of Jerusalem where it all began. Technically speaking for the church, the mother church for all born-again Christians is the First Church of Jerusalem. This is the reason that when Christ returns, it is Jerusalem He comes to and not the Vatican as some has this wishful thinking. Not to dishearten anyone, but according to the eschatology of Revelation all organized religion will be destroyed including the Vatican, Islam, and all harlot denominations of the world. This will give the returning Christ a clean slate as to establish His Kingdom as He wishes for us to behave in. This was one of the purposes for the Apostle Paul’s visits to these churches to make sure they stay on target in their doctrine of Christ. Even in Paul and John’s time, they all were awaiting the returning Christ with anticipation. It was in their heart and minds to be ready for Him and to make sure they were doing all that Christ expected of them. I feel this is the reason Christ had a hands on effect of the churches to prepare them for the Bema Seat of Christ where they will receive their just rewards.

In verse two, Christ is telling John that his actions towards evil are commendable. There arose inquisitions of some people, which came into the congregation and tried to stir up trouble by asking questions that came to arguments and disagreements. As in our day, there appears the self-proclaimed apostle to try out his theory of doctrine on the unsuspecting church. The only problem with this was that John was an original apostle and had contact with all the others including the Apostle Paul, which was the last of the original apostles. From this knowledge forward anyone who stepped up to the plate was only an imposter and usually driven from the congregation as a troublemaker and a liar. The proof of the apostle credentials was the fact that the man was chosen by Christ as He walked the earth among men. Christ handpicked His apostles and wrote the confirmation of each one in the foundation walls of the City of New Jerusalem. There are only twelve foundations and there won’t be any more added to accommodate the imposters that arrive too late such as in John’s day and ours.

“And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Rev 21:14

On this thought John wrote; “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 1 John 4:1-3 KJV

Even before the Revelation visions were given to John, I feel he was well aware of the trouble that the church was in at the time. The Elders of Ephesus were simply ‘trying the spirits’ to discern if they were true or false. On many occasions, they found them to be false and thus ensued the cold and callous handling of the infiltrators. The real problem arose when they started suspecting everyone in the congregation probably because of the many differing opinions arising due to the influx of doubtful doctrinal ideas. John had the same problem we all have; we are human with all that ensues with feelings of doubts, and fears. It is a known fact that when the warrior is in the heat of the battle it is easy to get far-sided in our vision and feelings for humanity grow dim by the hour. I feel that this is the reason Christ stopped John and set him aside on Patmos to remind him that he and his followers had left their first love of men’s souls and that the ministry is inhibited by malice. I don’t believe it was John’s intention to do any of these things but when we struggle in the flesh as all men do, anything can happen unawares. Sometimes a period of time out is warranted for us all so we can be refocused on the job at hand. It has been said that we cannot see what we are doing because we are too close to the work. John and his congregation had changed warfare tactics from being on the defensive to going on the offence and this was an offence to the Saviour of the church. As Christ points out in His letter to Ephesus, there is a danger of total intolerance where any compassion is left outside the door of hope. Satan will never cease to stop from attacking and will use every person approachable to achieve his agenda of total destruction of the church. It would pay us to remember the words of Christ spoken to Peter.

“And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

Christ was not telling Peter that the church would be built on [1]Peter’s ministry alone, but with Christ as the chief corner stone, we all will have an opportunity to build the church according to God’s plans for His Kingdom. Christ is telling the church that Satan and his cronies will not prevail nor win their war on the church. Yes, we will face opposition from the enemy and sometimes persecution as it was in John’s time. There will be times we will begin to think that the enemy is winning, but in the master plans of the ages, the church will be victorious with Christ Yehoshua sitting on the Throne of David. This is the promise of Matthew 16: 18.

The next problem mentioned in Ephesus was the infiltration of the [2]Gnostics. We have to remember where it is that the church is located. This area was of Grecian culture and home to over 300 false Grecian gods. These Gnostic sects, and there are many, embraced many of these false doctrines along with their secret handshakes and underground closed meetings claiming they possessed inside higher knowledge of supernatural proportions aspired from the supernatural gods of their imagination. It had a way of capturing men and women’s minds and conjured up curiosity nothing short of mystery. The more secretive, more the better for the congregation to be swayed away from truth. In our day, many professing Christians also congregate with another the Gnostic sect known as Free Masons; still in use are their secret handshakes and rituals as it was in John’s time. More than ever, the church is unfortunately inundated with Gnostics. Moreover, as it was in the Garden of Eden, Satan continues to blend truth with error and many follow the voice of cunningness with tingling ears. They have a nasty little habit of using secular indoctrination to explain the meaning of the Scripture texts instead of the Holy Spirit revealing the truth of the whole matter. Among the wheat, enter the tares. Most Gnostics are secularist in their view of the Bible and their main purpose is to conjure up obscure ideas that decimates one’s faith and introduces a plethora of doubts. Many have come up with some most amazing analogies that do not even come close to the intended truth of the Scripture. You can find many of these things in libraries around the world. A very good example of this secular doctrine and one of my favorites to attack would be the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, in which the Saviour and Mary are viewed as lovers and have a child in secret. There are many more untruths told by Gnostics and perpetrated by the movie industry. One such untruth on the movie screen was the “The Di Vinci Code” from the novel by Dan Brown.

In addition, another form of Gnostic belief with us today is an atheist movement, which is declared as another form of religion. Once again, employing the higher form of head knowledge but without the system of faith except in one’s self, this aspires into humanism where man has replaced the true and living God with himself above all.

Make note: if a born-again Christian is not grounded in the truth of the Gospel these untruths circulating will surely be the litmus test of their salvation. It is the same scenario played out in different places on many fronts. Satan will never give up on his attacks on the church and Christ will always be there to defend it.

“But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Revelation 2:6
According to verse six, there was a germ of Gnostics known as [3]Nicolaitans. This new Gnostic sect caused horrific problems in the church of Ephesus in which John was contending. The Nicolaitans were a kindred antinomian sect who abused the doctrine emphasized by the Apostle Paul of Gentile liberty from the Mosaic Law. In defiance of that apostle's [4]warnings as well as of the decree of the [5]Council of Jerusalem, they permitted participation in heathen feasts connected with idolatry as well as the fornication that frequently accompanied such feasts. The Nicolaitans represent a more advanced and aggressive state of antinomianism than that which was found in the Corinthian Church. They are organized into a sect with a 'doctrine,' and stand in a nearer relationship to the 'false teachers' referred to in Jude 4,11,12 & 2 Peter 2:1,2,14,15, who 'turned the Grace of God into lasciviousness, 'denied even the Master' probably through countenancing idolatry, and 'followed the way of Balaam' 'running riotously in his error[6].
My view of the conclusion of Ephesus to me is the heartbreak of the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Did the Church of Ephesus heed Christ’s warning? Well, it is evident it did not. What would have been the outcome of the church in relation to today’s congregations if it had? I am sure there are a lot of ‘what ifs’ that comes to mind. I feel on the return of John when he was released from prison in about A.D.98 that he tried everything in his power to sway and convince the congregation to return to the first works or else. I believe John died in peace with the LORD knowing he had tried everything possible to him even though it might have been too late, although it is never too late for the new influx of knowledge to grasp the reigns. John voiced his efforts, wishes, and heartbreaks through the writings of the Gospel of John, first, second, and third John, and finally the Apocalypse of Revelation, some say after he had returned to Ephesus.
The opportunity still awaits us who are in the land of the living. I believe Christ expects us all to adhere to this unwavering letter to the church. That is what I adore about my LORD and Saviour, there is always hope for change in the right direction. Whether or not this change takes place will be the burden you and I will bear. With the overwhelming evidence that the Church of Ephesus has crumbled to the ground by the cruelty of time, unfortunately, the church of Ephesus is with us today wholly in spirit and truth. I wonder if the candle of Ephesus has been extinguished or is the flicker of it lingering on throughout the denominations of our time. I am not the Christ nor do I possess the wisdom of God fully but if it had been my decision to make, I would have probably written off Ephesus and extinguished the candle long ago. I am glad that I do not hold the judgment seat of the ages. It seems from the very outset Satan unloaded every ounce of literal hell he could and can muster at the church. In fact, not much has changed but rather intensified through the ages. Therefore, as Satan is well aware, his days grow shorter and shorter as the time draws nearer for the return of our LORD and Saviour who will set all things in order. Amen

[1] Peter = Petro’s or ‘little rock’
[2] Gnostics = Higher knowledge outside of the Word of God. A form of Secularists who possessed  head knowledge and rejected the works of faith. Gnosis or science falsely so-called as the Apostle made mention to Timothy in his letter of 1 Timothy 6: 20.
[3] Nicolaos--'he overcomes the people’. An un-translated Greek word meaning, 'rulers over the people.' Nicolaitanism is really clerisy or clerics -- the subjugation of those who were contemptuously styled 'the laity' by a hierarchical order who lorded it over them as their own possessions, forgetting that it is written, 'One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.' H.A. Ironside
[4] 1 Corinthian’s 6:13-20, 8:9&10, 10:28
[5] Acts 15:29
[6] H.A. Ironside