Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28

Monthly Archives: October 2016

WHILE JESUS WALKED ON the earth in preparation for His death and resurrection to redeem mankind, he brought a reformation. His teachings brought Israel back to the Word of God. He exposed errors taught by the religious leaders of Israel.

From Genesis to Malachi, the scarlet cord of redemption pointed toward our Lord’s vicarious death for the penalty of our sin. During Jesus’ time in Israel, religious tradition had plagued the covenant people, causing them to move their faith from the promise of redemption given by God toward burdensome works fashioned by tradition. The interpretation of the law by religious leaders through tradition left the laymen without spiritual freedom or liberty. The yoke of man’s laws gained supremacy over God’s righteous laws.

CONDITIONS FOR REFORMATION

The reformation that took place in the 15th century beheld similar conditions as was evidenced at the time of Christ with Israel. The seeds of dissatisfaction held by reformers, who initially sought to change the religious system from within the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), were later met by protestors who chose to leave the RCC and declare their spiritual independence from the pope. The questions of the hour ranged from, “How is a person saved?” to “Where does religious authority lie?” Martin Luther’s reply to these questions defined his opposition to the institutionalized Roman Catholic system of works. He would herald, “Not by works but by faith alone.” He declared that spiritual authority is not in the Roman Catholic institution but in the Word of God found in the Bible. Luther’s predecessors, John Wycliffe, John Huss, and Girolarmo Savonarola, to name a few, saw the behavioral corruption within the Roman Catholic Church leadership. The reformers began to question the authority and dominion of the Roman Catholic Church. These men were raised up in the teachings of the RCC and served as monks and priests. In fact, some of John Wycliffe’s inspiration came from one of his college professors at Oxford, one Richard FitzRalph, who argued, “Why should the state of grace be required only of temporal rulers? Do churchmen have the right to rule when they live in moral sin?”

During the Reformation era, the immoral complacency of popes and religious leaders became intolerable to reformers. They desired to see a demonstration of righteous living instead of the hypocrisy displayed by popes who had adulterous affairs and sought earthly wealth and personal aggrandizement. The heightened malcontentedness of the reformers culminated in Martin Luther nailing his 95 thesis to the door of the Castle church in Wittneberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517. Indulgences had been sold by the Roman Catholic Church for over 200 years preceding Luther’s denouncement of Tetzel’s sale of indulgences. However, now in Luther’s time, indulgences were for the sake of raising funds for the rebuilding of St. Peters church in Rome. In order to get these funds, the people were promised remission for sins they had not yet committed, and their relatives were assured release from purgatory. Tetzel summed up his doctrine in this fashion: “The moment the money rattles into the box, the soul for whom it was given escapes from purgatory.” The idea that the Church could assume the authority to sell salvation became unacceptable to Luther and the reformers.

TODAY

The Message of the Cross is the reformation message to the modern church fraught with error. It is the balm that soothes the pain from the damages caused by the abuses of false teachers. The hopes of many believers have crashed into the rocks of despair near the shores of desperation. The modern day indulgences are the promissory notes of so-called preachers who promise prosperity and wealth in this world – but only if one gives to their ministry. Failure to give to these false prophets leaves the unfaithful believers with the fear of temporal punishment – they will live in material and spiritual poverty in this world. Guilt is used by these purveyors of unrighteousness as the means to deceive and imprison its followers. If they can only have more faith, they will be rewarded. Meanwhile, the object of their faith leaves little desire for spiritual things – for they seek after worldly wealth.

Along with the Word of Faith’s misplaced definition of faith comes the Purpose Driven Life model. Its indulgence is the promise of global peace by transforming the modern church into becoming the lowest denominator in finding common ground with anyone who desires to work toward social justice. The crown of compromise is given for the tolerant – the tolerant who champion those who are intolerant! Love is defined by a feeling of well-doing, but in the end, the blind are leading the blind, and they all will fall in the ditch.

The Cross is the light that exposes error but is also the beacon that illuminates the way back to God. The Cross is the only meeting place where man can meet God. Likewise, it is the only place that man can meet man. The Message of the Cross is the reformation message for today. It shows us how we are justified, but it also tells the believer how to live. The stalwart scripture of the early reformation was, “The just shall live by faith” (Heb. 10:38). Today, we can also say, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith” (Col. 2:6).

~John Rosenstern

i beseech you therefore, Brethren, by the Mercies of God, that you present your bodies a Living Sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, Will of God (Rom. 12:1–2).

The first evidence of real Christian life is consecration to God and transformation from the world. This is not an outside mechanical action, but an inward perpetual renewing of the mind, a seeking for, the doing of, the Will of God.

In this consecration, the Holy Spirit through Paul demands of the Believer that we “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” Then he tells us that this is our “reasonable service.”

How is this to be done?

Whenever the word “sacrifice” is mentioned in the Bible, as it refers to the Lord, always, and without exception, it goes back to the Cross. The only way that one can present one’s physical body as a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,” which, incidentally, is the only thing acceptable to God, is, as we have repeatedly stated, by the Believer placing his Faith exclusively in Christ and His Finished Work. The Holy Spirit will then do that which is necessary in the heart and life of such a Believer, which will make the Believer what he ought to be.

If anything else is presented to God, and I speak of any manner or way other than the Cross, it is totally unacceptable to God.

So then they who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8).

When the Believer attempts to function outside of the Cross, the situation becomes impossible. Sin and failure are the constant results, no matter how hard one may try otherwise. However, when the Believer places his Faith exclusively in Christ and His Finished Work, i.e., “the Cross,” the Holy Spirit then does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, and the situation then becomes easy. In other words, that which the Lord requires becomes a “reasonable service.”

That’s what Jesus was talking about when He said, “Come unto Me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take My yoke upon you (the “yoke” of the “Cross” [Lk. 9:23]), and learn of Me (learn of His Sacrifice [Rom. 6:3–5]); for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls (the soul can find rest only in the Cross).

For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (what He requires of us is very little, just to have Faith in Him, and His Sacrificial Atoning Work [Mat. 11:28–30]).

Then, and only then, can such a Believer present his physical body as “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” He will then find that what God demands is a “reasonable service.”

~JSM

By F. Swaggart

On Thursday, January 10, 1963, Florida Congressman A. S. Herlong, Jr., stood on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and read a list of 45 “Current Communist Goals”—an excerpt, he said, from the book The Naked Communist.1

All of these goals are listed on page 17-18, but I would like to comment on just a few of them:

Number 3: “Develop the illusion that total disarmament by the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.” A simple comparison of the size and strength of our armed forces now to what they were just 30 years ago will show how the U.S. military has been cut down again and again.

Number 26: “Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as ‘normal, natural, healthy.’” The president of the United States just appointed the first openly transgender man who dresses as a woman to be a recruitment director in the White House.

Number 32: “Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the grounds that it violates the principle of ‘separation of church and state.’” This goal was met more than 50 years ago. In 1962 and 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court banned state-sponsored prayer in schools.

I could go down the entire list of these communistic goals and show how each one has been accomplished—completely or in part—inside of one generation.

This infiltration of communistic ideals did not happen overnight. The change happened gradually—accelerating over the past 50 years as America shifted from her capitalist foundation to reach out for socialism and communitarianism, only to find herself completely conditioned for communism.

WHAT IS CAPITALISM, ANYWAY?

Webster’s dictionary defines capitalism as a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products—land, oil, factories, ships—are owned by individual people and companies rather than by the government.

We see capitalism taught throughout the Bible, beginning with the book of Genesis:

“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15).

God planted the garden, but He gave man the innovation, strength, and wisdom to work it. For Christians, this is capitalism in its truest form—believing in God’s provision while doing the work at hand.

A WORD ABOUT WORK

In Proverbs, Chapter 14, Verse 23, we read, “In all labor there is profit.” I believe that God expects all those who are able-bodied to work.

Having said that, I completely understand that some people—due to circumstances beyond their control or because of sickness or disability—simply cannot work. We sympathize with these precious people; they are the very ones our government absolutely should help and assist.

But there are millions of Americans out there who are capable of taking a job yet refuse to work.

Statistics show that of the 316 million people who live in the United States, 46 million receive food stamps. Think of that.

One news report claimed that the U.S. has more people dependent on food stamps than the total populations of Argentina, Columbia, Kenya, or Ukraine. The same report said, “Households on food stamps got an average benefit of $261.44 during the month, and total benefits for the month cost taxpayers $5,978,320,593.”2

So, basically, those who are working support those who either choose not to work or those who cannot work.

This dependency on government lines up with the communist agenda credited to Karl Marx.

His Manifesto of the Communist Party includes Frederick Engels’ “Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith,” which is written in a question-and-answer format. One question reads, “What will be your first measure once you have established democracy?”

The Marxist answer: “Guaranteeing the subsistence (amount of food, money needed to stay alive) of the proletariat (lowest social or economic class of a community).”3

WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT WORK?

When the Lord established the nation of Israel, He showed them how the nation was to be governed. He set their economy in motion with instruction on bartering, commerce, free enterprise, and trade. Provisions were also made for the poor:

“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 19:9-10).

Notice that the landowner did not gather the food and hand it over to the poor. No, his part was to leave some of the harvest—some of the work—for the poor to do.

We see this “law of gleanings” carried out in the Bible story of Boaz and Ruth:

“And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: and let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not. So she gleaned in the field until evening, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley” (Ruth 2:15).

Gleaning barley is hard, physical work, yet we see Ruth out there from morning until night doing what she needed to do to feed herself and her mother-in-law.

Nowhere in the Word of God will you find laziness rewarded in any shape, form, or fashion. Instead, you will find Scripture after Scripture condemning slack hands and slothful living:

“He becomes poor that deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Prov. 10:4).

“The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute” (Prov. 12:24).

“He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster” (Prov. 18:9).

“The desire of the slothful kills him; for his hands refuse to labor” (Prov. 21:25).

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (I Tim. 5:8).

In America, we are guilty of rewarding laziness with our welfare programs. People who won’t work (but laugh) go out and buy their alcohol and drugs with money for which we have worked very hard and paid in taxes to the federal government. Then the federal government doles it out to people with no accountability for the money they receive. That’s a sin.

God had no welfare program for Israel. He made no provision for people who were lazy. In Bible times, people who refused to work were looked down upon; they were outcasts of society, and they didn’t exist for long.

God gives us the ability to work and expects us to work to provide, not only to help meet the needs of ourselves and our families, but also to have some left over to give to others.

In Ephesians 4:28 we read: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs.”

Christians are instructed to give to the Lord. The Bible shows Israel giving to build the tabernacle so the presence of God could dwell among them. Then we see the temple constructed, again so that the people could experience the presence of the Lord. Today we have the tithe, which helps support the place we worship the Lord and finances the propagation of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

America is a blessed nation because it has always been a Christian nation, a nation built on a strong work ethic – a capitalist nation. And it’s the capitalist countries, not the communist ones, that are producing and have overflow.

I’ve been on the docks in foreign countries where goods are shipped in – food, water, and medical supplies – in response to something like a natural disaster, and all the food that’s being brought in is coming from the United States of America. It’s a patriotic feeling to see that huge ship and know it’s from the United States of America. However, as patriotic as that may look or feel, goods and services are not this country’s greatest export.

As you’ve probably heard my husband say many times, “As long as the gospel of Jesus Christ is America’s greatest export, the jackbooted heels of foreign invaders will never walk on American soil.”

Karl Marx may be the founder of communism, but God the Father is the founder of capitalism, and we must hold fast to God’s way as outlined in His Word.

As Christians, we must continue to seek the face of the Lord and pray—especially heading into this most important election year – that America returns to her roots as a capitalist and a Christian nation.

Sidebar of 45 Communistic Goals

Extension of Remarks of HON. A. S. HERLONG, JR., of Florida in the House of Representatives on Thursday, January 10, 1963.

Mr. HERLONG: Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Nordman of De Land, Florida, is an ardent and articulate opponent of communism, and until recently published the De Land Courier, which she dedicated to the purpose of alerting the public to the dangers of communism in America. At Mrs. Nordman’s request, I include in the RECORD, under unanimous consent, the following “Current Communist Goals,” which she identifies as an excerpt from The Naked Communist, by Cleon Skousen.

CURRENT COMMUNIST GOALS

1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament by the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.
6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.
7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev’s promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.
9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.
11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up ‘as a one-world government’ with its own Independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)
12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.
14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
18. Gain control of all student newspapers.
19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward, and meaningless forms.”
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”
24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity, as “normal, natural, healthy.”
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a “religious crutch.”
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
29. Discredit the America Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the grounds that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.” Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.
32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture-education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.
34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric, which no one but psychiatrists can understand or treat.
39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks, and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use united force to solve economic, political, or social problems.
43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.
44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.
45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction over nations and Individuals alike.