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

JSM Devotionals

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F. Swaggart

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” –II Corinthians 7:10

SOMETIMES, WHEN A famous person dies, we learn from the family bits of their final conversations. A son says of his father, “He had no regrets,” and the world is a little less sad and somewhat relieved to know that nothing would have been changed in the course of that life.

But to say that you lived with no regret also means that you were never sorry about anything—never mourned a loss, suffered a disappointment, or missed an opportunity. How many in the human race can honestly say that? The answer is none. Experts say all of us have things we regret from our decisions around education and career choices to romance, parenting, and finances—usually in that order.

If we allow it, regret can touch every area of our lives. And, if we allow Satan, he will point his accusatory finger toward something behind us until we find ourselves saying, “I should have.” I should have been there when my parent died. I should have had the courage to speak up when I was being abused. I should have stayed in school and applied myself more. I should have risked rejection and told that person how much I loved him. I should have been braver and unafraid of failure.

Notice all of the I’s in that list? That’s because regret is about blaming self, which affects our emotions. We feel sorry for the ways we hurt people. When it’s clear we’ve made a bad decision, we get sad. When it’s realized that the opportunity we just missed will not come our way again, there is disappointment. The Bible calls these sorrows of the world, and they work death.

The bad thing about regret is that it takes us a while to realize it’s been sown. Years pass between the time the seed of regret—the doing or not doing—and its bitter fruit blooms in the heart of the saved and the unsaved.

Every day that we live in this world, we buy and sell with decisions we make, and, in the process, our hearts are revealed.

Esau made a bad decision when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a meal. The Bible says Esau “did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright” (Gen. 25:34).

Bible commentator Matthew Henry said, “Esau ate and drank, pleased his palate, satisfied his appetite, and then carelessly rose up and went his way, without any serious thought, or any regret, about the bad bargain he had made.”

But years later, when Isaac was old and ready to bless, Esau realized the high cost of his mistake: “And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father” (Gen. 27:34).

Esau did receive a blessing, but it was common. Henry notes, “There is nothing in Esau’s blessing which points at Christ, and without that, the fatness of the earth and the plunder of the field will stand in little stead.”

Out of regret, Esau lifted up his voice and wept, but he did not repent. Let’s look at Judas. In the end, he betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ with 30 pieces of silver and a kiss. But in the beginning of the Lord’s ministry, Judas was there, one of the Twelve. He saw the miracles—all manner of sickness and disease healed, demoniacs delivered, the dead raised, and multitudes miraculously fed. Judas, however, valued none of it, demonstrated so clearly in John 12, when Mary anoints the feet of Jesus. As soon as Judas saw the expensive ointment spent on Jesus, he demanded to know why it hadn’t been sold to benefit the poor. “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein” (Jn. 12:6).

Likewise, Judas went about caring nothing for the Lord—from the anointing of His feet to the kiss of betrayal on His face.

And then, realization. When Judas saw what the religious leaders had done to Jesus, he confessed—to them—that he had sinned, and he threw down their silver on the temple floor. The Bible says Judas “repented himself,” but the Greek word for this phrase, according to Ellicott’s commentary, is “not that commonly used for ‘repentance,’ as involving a change of mind and heart, but is rather ‘regret,’ a simple change of feeling.”

After leaving the Sanhedrin, theologian John Gill points out that Judas went out of the temple, “not to God, nor to the throne of His grace, nor to his Master to ask pardon of Him, but to some secret solitary place, to cherish his grief and black despair.”

Judas sided with the sorrows of the world, and they worked death in him until he hanged himself—some say he strangled himself—but either way, Judas died violently. Luke tells us,“falling headlong, he burst asunder the midst, and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:18). Out of regret, Judas confessed his sin to sinful men, but he did not repent. So what is the difference between regret and repentance?

If we gave them voice, regret would repeat itself again and again: “If only I had it to do over, I would have done it differently. I would have done it right.”

Regret, energized by guilt, is a replay of what was done, or not done, and the pain associated with that decision. As with Esau and Judas, regret may cause us to shed some bitter tears, and maybe even confess to others what we did, but that’s as far as it goes. Regret stops short of repentance.

Repentance, on the other hand, acknowledges from the heart, “I see what I have done and I am so sorry. I realize that I have no way to help myself. I need God and His forgiveness. Only God can help me.”

Repentance is to understand the root cause of our sadness, fear, or disappointment—sin. It’s a spiritual reaction to Holy Spirit conviction and revelation—a reaction that helps turn the human heart toward God and ask Him for His mercy and forgiveness.

It’s been said that few have sinned as David sinned, but fewer still have repented as he repented. David, the boy shepherd and psalmist. Slayer of the lion, the bear, and Goliath. David, the man after God’s own heart. Yet at the time when kings went to battle, David stayed behind. He sinned with Bathsheba, and when he learned that she was carrying his child, David ordered her husband Uriah to be “in the forefront of the hottest battle” ensuring his death and hiding David’s sin. But God saw, and “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD” (II Sam. 11:27).

The prophet Nathan was sent by God to let David know that what he had attempted to hide, the Lord would openly and fully reveal.

Unlike regret, where only the mind and emotions are affected, repentance involves the heart—the spirit of man—which is susceptible to the conviction and revelation of the Holy Spirit.

“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD.” My husband notes, “David had a true knowledge of God and, therefore, when charged with his sin, his first thought was not the punishment that would surely follow, but the injury done to God.”

All sins boil down to one. The displeasing thing that King David did was to despise the commandment of the Lord to do evil in His sight. David knew this, which is why he would later write Psalm 51, the truest prayer of repentance ever prayed. It begins:
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”

Regret is behind us, but repentance is before us. “Mock penitents confess their sins and straightway forget them,” Pulpit says. “Real genuine ones find it impossible to forget.”

Out of repentance, David confessed his sin and need for God’s mercy, and he received forgiveness. And then there’s Peter, who denied even knowing the Lord. Before any of us get too judgmental of the great fisherman, we should examine our own hearts and remember that Peter loved the Lord. Peter believed Him. It was Peter who walked on the water to Jesus:

“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus” (Matthew 14:28-29).

At the close of the Lord’s earthly ministry, in the hours between the Last Supper and the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told His disciples what was about to happen to Him and how His disciples would be scattered.

“But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all” (Mk. 14:29-31).

The Lord listened, but He knew how Peter would react that night, the same way He knew how Peter, while walking on the water, would suddenly see the wind boisterous, become afraid, and begin to sink.

Just as the Lord had said, when confronted that night, Peter denied Him three times, with oaths and cursings: “I know not the man!” Then, the painful realization: “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Mat. 26:75).

Like Judas and Esau, Peter also went out and wept bitterly. The difference with Peter was the trigger of emotion. Like David, Peter remembered the word of the Lord. He remembered some of the first words he heard Him say, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” There was the revelation he received from God about who Jesus was. Surely Peter heard the echo of his own words, “Thou art the Christ.” He remembered that day on the water, when he cried out, “Lord, save me,” and Jesus immediately stretched forth His hand, caught him, and asked, “Why did you doubt?” And the most painful memory of all, after that third denial, “the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.”

Pulpit says Peter “rushed from that evil company into the night, a brokenhearted man, that no human eye might witness his anguish, that alone with his conscience and God he might wrestle out repentance. Tradition asserts that all his life long Peter hereafter never could hear a cock crow without falling on his knees and weeping.”

Out of repentance, Peter realized that he was helpless without Christ, and he allowed godly sorrow to work repentance to salvation. And this work takes time.

When Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, went to the sepulcher to anoint the body of Jesus, they found the stone rolled away, and an angel who said, “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you” (Mark 16:6-7).

Henry points out, “Peter is particularly named. Tell Peter—it will be most welcome to him, for he is in sorrow for sin. A sight of Christ will be very welcome to a true penitent, and a true penitent is very welcome to a sight of Christ.”

In the book of John, we read of the reunion:
“Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea”(Jn. 21:5-7).

Upon hearing that it was Jesus, Peter jumped without pride or hesitation. He wanted to be the first one to reach the Lord, who was waiting to restore him. Later, Jesus would ask Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” and, in new humility, he answered, “You know that I love you.” Then, in a show of complete confidence in Peter, the Lord tells him, “Feed my sheep.”

Whether you’ve filled your life with regrets or separated yourself from God through sin, the Lord of Glory has one word for you today: Come. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).

Come if you’re thirsty or weary. Come if you’re heavy-laden. Look ahead to the shore, like Peter did, and see the risen Lord. He’s waiting for you—the fish are laid on the fire of coals with bread, and He’s saying to you, “Come and dine.”

By John Rosenstern

JSM

When establishing the Illuminati, Adam Weshaupt revealed the long-term goals of his secret society. He wrote: “The true purpose of the Order was to rule the world. To achieve this it was necessary for the Order to destroy all religions, overthrow all governments and abolish private property.”

GOALS

History supplies us the necessary evidence that Weishaupt’s goals were in operation after his death by his faithful followers. In the late 19th century, Henry Edward Manning, archbishop of Westminster, England, wrote that the Communist International was, “The work of secret, political societies, which from 1789 to this day (1886) have been perfecting their formation … is now a power in the midst of the Christian and civilized world, pledged to the destruction of Christianity and the old civilization of Europe.” 

In order to rule the world, one of the long-term goals of the Illuminati was to eliminate Christianity. Weshaupt knew he could not discredit Christianity, so he set out to dismantle the effects of the Christian lifestyle in society by gradually removing its moral constraints. The attack on the economy, family, personal property, nationalism, and education became possible through the strategies of gradualism and revolution. As a philosophy, gradualism is defined as a theory maintaining that two seemingly conflicting notions are not radically opposed, but are related by others partaking in varying degrees of the character of both. Gradualism is the doctrine that social change should be brought about within the framework of existing law. In other words, long-term goals can best be achieved by pursuing incremental steps rather than triggering instability that accompanies abrupt change. Karl Marx argued against gradualism, but called for the working class to violently overthrow the existing social structure. Marx did not believe that the road to socialism would be accessible by following existing laws. Lenin embraced Marx’s ideas and became the winner in the Russian Revolution as the head of the new Russian Communist government.

PROCESS

Weishaupt knew that in order to rule the world: “It is necessary to establish a universal regime and empire over the whole world.” 

How could a New World Order arise? What would be necessary for mankind to adopt and then adapt to the necessary changes Weshaupt and his secret society desired? Judeo Christianity and Islam have shaped a large population of the world he intended to dominate. To reach the mass population of people and address their struggles Weishaupt would initially imbed his mysteries into Freemasonry. The objective was to portray the “old theology” as insufficient and hopeless. Manly P. Hall, a well-known 33rd Degree Mason, wrote in his book, “Lectures on Ancient Philosophy”: “A new day is dawning for Freemasonry, from the insufficiency of theology and the hopelessness of materialism, men are turning to seek the god of philosophy.”

Hall would encourage the faithful followers where and when a new day was coming: “A new light is breaking in the east; a more glorious day is at hand. The rule of the philosophic elect-the dream of the ages-will yet be realized and is not too far distant.”

Has the time that Hall spoke of begun? Modern New Age teacher and author Benjamin Creme wrote this in his book, “The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom”: “The new religion will manifest, for instance, through organizations like Masonry. In Freemasonry is imbedded the core of the secret of the occult mysteries.”

NEW AGE RE-VEILED

The means of communication by Illuminati devotees is through secret codes and symbolism. They are hidden throughout society in plain sight. In the book, “The Spirit of Freemasonry,” it says, “A symbol veils or hides a secret, and is that which veils certain mysterious forces. These energies when released can have a potent effect.”

Satanist Alice Bailey said: “The hour of mysteries has arrived … These ancient mysteries were hidden in numbers, in ritual, in words, and in symbology; these veil the secret.”

In Freemasonry, the extensive symbolism, rituals and secrets are not fully comprehended by initiates and outsiders. The explanations given to appease any curiosity are feigned by the architects to conceal their hidden meanings. The concealed language of Freemasons was once given by a former Sovereign Commander: “The word reveal means to ‘re-veil,’ that is, to give one explanation and yet continue to maintain the mystery of the symbol by not explaining it in full and complete manner.” There are many interconnected organizations that cooperate together to address the ills of mankind. At their meetings they discuss various good works and ways to improve human life on earth. Although they appear as champions of social justice and human rights, they are the ones who control and cause much of the suffering in the world. We are distracted by their talk and isolated outward good works, but blinded to their long-term objective. Their objective is to foster the dawn of a New Age with a New World Order.

COOPERATION 

From its beginning, a variety of people and organizations saw the value of having a One World Order. The Illuminati story begins with an agreement between Amschel Mayor James Rothschild and Adam Weishaupt. Rothschild was said to have gathered 12 influential friends to pool their resources together so they could rule the world. Weishaupt was selected by Rothschild to lead the project. Soon after the plan was set in place, John Robison, a professor at Edinburgh University in Scotland, published a book entitled “Proofs of a Conspiracy” in which he reveals that Weishaupt had attempted to recruit him. Approximately 20 years later, George W. F. Hegel formulates his Hegelian Dialectic. Advocates to the Illuminati storyline believe the Hegelian Dialectic is the process by which Illuminati objectives are met. The process of thesis plus antithesis equals synthesis. In other words, first you incite a crisis. The public outcry to resolve the problem is followed by a predetermined solution that the public would not have initially accepted without the crisis. For example, for Americans to give up their Second Amendment rights, a tragic shooting occurs and the public outcry is the need for more gun control. The goal from the beginning was to have gun control. Justifying the goal first requires public acceptance to occur. Another recent example may be 9/11 and Islam? The list is long and wide of examples that could be used.

MONEY

Although the various players, and their organizations, cooperated on policy and process, they still lacked the mechanism that could affect people in every area of life on a practical basis. What was the missing ingredient that had to be included to guarantee their success? Money! Rothschild, who sought to control the International banking system, said: “Allow me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who writes the laws.” The central banking system would present the most ambitious means to control the money of the world. Europe, especially England, was already using a centralized banking system. In the U.S., the young nation debated this idea. The debate ended with a split decision. The split decision created the two-party system we now have today. In the United States under President Washington, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton wanted to establish a national bank fashioned after the Bank of England. Acting secretary of state under Washington was Thomas Jefferson. He opposed Hamilton’s idea of a centralized bank for a strong federal government. Jefferson’s group called themselves Democratic Republicans. Hamilton and his group called themselves the Federalists. The Federalists sought to protect the country’s infant industries. The Democratic Republican party drew its followers from planters and small farmers. The Federalists of old are known to us today as Republicans, and the Democratic Republicans as Democrats.

Satan is known as the god of the world system. His workers of iniquity are not easily identified because they appear as angels of light. Only the light of the Gospel can correctly examine their works to see if they are of God. The Illuminati and Secret Societies use a name that speaks of light but is nothing less than darkness. We can expose their evil works with the light of the Gospel:
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21) Paul gives us instruction to avoid and not partake of those who operate in darkness and secrecy:
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for what doth make manifest is light.” (Ephesians 5:11-13)

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

WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?

THE PLAN OF SALVATION

A long time ago, a Roman Jailer asked of the Apostle Paul the most important question that could ever be asked, “What must I do to be saved?”

Paul’s answer was immediate, to the point, clear, and concise. He said:

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30–31.)

That’s how simple that it actually is.

A man named Nicodemus pretty much asked Jesus the same question. Jesus answered him by saying, “You must be born again” (Jn. 3:1–8).

ALL ARE SINNERS

The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that “All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”

That means that all are sinners, actually born that way, in desperate need of the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, there are no exceptions to this. That means you and me, and all others for that matter.

Paul also said in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death!”

So, that means that unless something is done about this terrible situation, that all will be eternally lost. However, God did not leave things there. He loves us, every one of us. It is His Desire that “Not any should perish, but that all should come unto repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

WHAT DID GOD DO ABOUT THIS SITUATION?

The Scripture plainly says, “And God so loved the world (so loved sinners, and that means you) that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).

What does that mean?

Man as a sinner could not save himself. In other words, such was and is impossible; consequently, God literally became man, came into this world born of the Virgin Mary, and then died on Calvary to pay the price for man’s Redemption. As should be obvious, the price was high. But thank God, it was everlastingly paid by Jesus Christ, that “WHOSOEVER WILL, MAY COME AND TAKE THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY” (Rev. 22:17).

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?

Going back to the Scripture which we quoted in the Foreword of this booklet, Paul says:

“If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto Righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto Salvation” (Rom. 10:9–10).

To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is more than just giving mental assent that He is the Son of God. Millions do that and aren’t saved.

When the Scripture speaks of one believing, it simply means that one accepts Who Jesus is, which is the Son of God, and what He has done, which refers to Him dying on Calvary, in effect taking our place, in order that we might be saved.

It means to accept Him, and Him Alone as your Saviour, resolving to make Him the Lord of your life, and to follow Him with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength as long as you live.

SUBSTITUTION AND IDENTIFICATION

As we have already stated, man being eternally lost and helpless to save himself, God had to provide a means of Salvation whereby sinful man could be made righteous. He did that by providing His Own Son, Who gave His Life on Calvary, thereby paying the terrible price which we could not pay. That price was His Own Precious Shed Blood.

He became our Substitute.

What does that mean?

It means He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. There was a terrible sin debt owing due to man’s fallen condition. As stated, that refers to every single human being, none excepted. With no way to save ourselves, God had to provide a Saviour, which He did. It was done simply because He loves us so much (Jn. 3:16).

Jesus being the Substitute, if we identify with Him, which means to accept what He did at Calvary’s Cross on our behalf, we will be saved. It is that simple!

He became our Substitute, and upon our identification with Him, we are rewarded with Eternal Life (Rom. 6:23).

SUBSTITUTION AND IDENTIFICATION

As we have already stated, man being eternally lost and helpless to save himself, God had to provide a means of Salvation whereby sinful man could be made righteous. He did that by providing His Own Son, Who gave His Life on Calvary, thereby paying the terrible price which we could not pay. That price was His Own Precious Shed Blood.

He became our Substitute.

What does that mean?

It means He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. There was a terrible sin debt owing due to man’s fallen condition. As stated, that refers to every single human being, none excepted. With no way to save ourselves, God had to provide a Saviour, which He did. It was done simply because He loves us so much (Jn. 3:16).

Jesus being the Substitute, if we identify with Him, which means to accept what He did at Calvary’s Cross on our behalf, we will be saved. It is that simple!

He became our Substitute, and upon our identification with Him, we are rewarded with Eternal Life (Rom. 6:23).

FAITH AND NOT WORKS

The only thing required to obtain this glorious and wonderful Salvation is to simply believe on Christ, exactly as Paul said, which means to have Faith in Him.

What does that mean?

It is actually very simple. The Lord made it this way in order that all may have equal opportunity.

It simply means that you believe or have faith in what He did, and accept it for yourself on a personal basis. That’s all that God requires. But of course, to believe and have faith, even as we have already said, means to accept the Lord as your Saviour and, as well, to make Him the Lord of your life.

First of all, man must understand that he is a sinner. That includes all (Rom. 3:23). As such, he needs a Saviour. There is only one Saviour, only One Who has paid the price for man’s Redemption, and that Saviour is the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, if one does not accept Christ, one cannot be saved.

Millions attempt to earn their Salvation in many and varied ways other than accepting Christ. Or else they attempt to become saved by accepting Christ as well as adding other things to Christ.

The Scripture says: “FOR BY GRACE ARE YOU SAVED THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST” (Eph. 2:8–9).

That means the Church cannot save you, and neither can Water Baptism save you, or anything else for that matter, as important as those things may be in their own way. I have said this because millions think that they are saved by being baptized in water, or joining a Church, or performing good works, etc.

While those things may be important in their own right, they have absolutely nothing to do with one being saved. One is saved simply by trusting Jesus Christ, even as we have already said.

That means that one can be saved anywhere: in Church, on the street corner, watching a Christian Telecast, listening to a Christian Radio Program, or even reading this Booklet.

Where one is doesn’t matter. It is what one believes that really counts.

The moment that one confesses the Lord with one’s mouth, and believes in one’s heart, and does so truly, at that moment, and wherever you may be, you are saved. As we have stated several times, it is just that simple.

Incidently, when the Jailer asked Paul the question, “What must I do to be saved?”, he was actually at that time in the jail with Paul and Silas. Every evidence is that he at that moment, in that jail, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and was instantly saved (Acts 16:27–34).

IT IS TIME NOW!

In fact, if you have not already given your heart and life to Jesus Christ, it is time that you do so, and actually it can be done this very moment.

I am going to ask you to read these words below, and actually say them out loud. As well, I am going to ask you to believe them with all of your heart, and if you will do so, you will be instantly saved. Please say them with me as you read:

“DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, I COME TO YOU TODAY AS A LOST SINNER.”

“I AM ASKING YOU THAT YOU SAVE MY SOUL AND CLEANSE ME FROM ALL SIN.”

“I REALIZE IN MY HEART MY NEED OF SALVATION, WHICH CAN ONLY COME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.”

“I AM ACCEPTING CHRIST INTO MY HEART AND WHAT HE DID ON THE CROSS IN ORDER TO PURCHASE MY REDEMPTION.”

“IN OBEDIENCE TO YOUR WORD, I CONFESS WITH MY MOUTH THE LORD JESUS, AND BELIEVE IN MY HEART THAT GOD HAS RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD.”

“YOU HAVE SAID IN YOUR WORD WHICH CANNOT LIE, ‘FOR WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED’ (ROM. 10:13).”

“I HAVE CALLED UPON YOUR NAME EXACTLY AS YOU HAVE SAID, AND I BELIEVE THAT RIGHT NOW, I AM SAVED.”

If you have sincerely prayed these words, which I have written out for you, and believed in your heart upon the Lord Jesus Christ, you are at this moment saved, and your name is written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Congratulations!

~JSM

The Bible tells us that man’s purpose is to fear God and keep His Commandments! In fact, Scripture calls this the whole duty of man. Reading from the THE EXPOSITOR’S STUDY BIBLE: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His Commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Having heard all that can be said in favor of trying to secure happiness in this life by the use of material agents, the conclusion is: It is impossible; the only happy life is one in fellowship with God and the Bible; such fellowship produces the ideal man; any other life is madness, because there is a day coming when every action, however hidden, will be brought into the unsparing light of the Throne of God and judged, unless cleansed and covered by the Blood [I Jn 1:7])” (Eccl. 12:13). God, having revealed Himself to man through His Commandments, explains that the Commandments, if kept, produce perfect moral character. “That the man of God may be perfect (refers to maturity), throughly furnished unto all good works (properly understands the Word, which then produces ‘good works,’ i.e., ‘Godly lives’) (II Tim. 3:17).

HOLINESS

You see, it is not an action, duty, or function that the Lord wants from a Believer. It is Holiness! This is the “good work”He desires from man! If we seek this state, which is pleasing to God and brings Him glory, we are automatically fulfilling our purpose as Believers. Holiness testifies of a Holy God! Holiness is Godliness! If we are not living holy lives, we are not fulfilling God’s Purpose no matter how many religious functions we fulfill. You see, servanthood may be performed with or without the Lord. Therefore, servanthood in and of itself is not a definitive witness to the world. Holiness, on the other hand, demonstrates a miraculous change! It shows that a fallen sinner has been made a Saint. It shows that the curse has been reversed! Hallelujah! And this will inevitably point people to Calvary because they will ask themselves how this new and miraculous Life has come into a once sinful man!

RELATIONSHIP

We must grasp this concept as Believers that Scripture encourages us to “seek first the Kingdom of God” and His Righteousness (Lk. 12:31). The Believer is to pursue a relationship with God rather than function. A Believer’s function will occur naturally out of correct relationship with God, but correct relationship must come first! Notice, this immediately discounts any non-believer from fulfilling any true purpose of God since he is not yet in relationship with God. A call from God is revealed to an individual by the Holy Spirit at the Lord’s Will. If a person does not know the Spirit of God, he cannot know the Spirit’s desire for his life. Also no one, whether Saved or unsaved, can cause God to reveal anything through a program, method, or “forty days of purpose”! God does not answer man-made agendas, nor will He answer to man’s clock! God is sovereign over all. He speaks at His Own Will and in His Own Time.

THE HEART OF MAN

One does not find that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob emphasized “pursuit of purpose” to these Fathers of Faith, but, if we look closely, we can see that this pursuit is actually a very basic instinct within the natural heart of man. This is why we must never forget the warnings in Scripture regarding the heart. The Bible says the heart of man is evil and deceitfully wicked, so we must be cautious of anything that originates there! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (God knows the hopeless corruption of the natural heart, and so He said to Nicodemus that no one, however cultured and moral, can either see or enter into the Kingdom of God. There must be a new birth)” (Jer. 17:9). Our own hearts will deceive us! It is their very nature to deceive us! Believer, you must trust the Truth of the Word before you trust yourself! You must use the “Sword of the Spirit” to guard against your own devious heart. We are also told in the Book of Romans the true state of man’s heart, even religious man: “As it is written (Ps.14:1-3), There is none righteous, no, not one (addresses the complaint of the Jews and clinches the argument with the Scriptures, which the Jews could not deny): There is none who understands (proclaims total depravity), there is none who seek after God (man left on his own will not seek God and, in fact, cannot seek God; he is spiritually dead). They are all gone out of the Way (speaks of the lost condition of all men; the ‘Way’ is God’s Way), they are together become unprofitable (refers to the terrible loss in every capacity of wayward man); there is none who does good, no, not one (the Greek Text says, ‘useless!’)” (Rom. 3:10-12). This is one reason why pursuing “purpose” is dangerous! It appeals to a prideful heart, it is self-focused.

RELIGIOUS PRIDE

Also, “purpose” can quickly become an obsession, which automatically becomes an idol, a false god in your life. Purpose can become more important than Christ, and this is precisely what we are seeing in the Church world today! People are bent toward finding purposes for their life rather than finding God’s Will for their life. Some feel that if they are serving a “good” purpose in the world, they are automatically serving God. This is not true. God’s Will and a “good” will are not the same thing! A person’s desire for purpose can even control him, sometimes to the point of forsaking loved ones or even his own health. See, someone searching for purpose inevitably discovers something that drives, hence, the idea of the “purpose-driven life.” It must be noted here that the True God of the Bible never forces anyone to obey Him. God gave man free will! “Purpose,” however, can be turned into a type of religious pride (somewhat like asceticism) where the person believes they are “dying to self” in order to fulfill a higher calling or mission from God. But, any function or purpose that is truly from the Lord will only begin within an individual who loves God enough to want to follow Him. No truly God-given Purpose will make you feel that your “sacrifice” is earning favor with God.

TROJAN HORSE

“Self-actualization,” which is the process of reaching one’s highest potential and purpose, has always been at the heart of paganism. It has actually been part of the very core of New Age theology and occult practices for thousands of years. This spirituality/god is said to unite the world while true “Christianity, doctrine, and theology” is said to divide us. The pagan community strives to develop the idea of “wholeness,” which is, in essence, the teaching that a person, both individually and corporately can be regenerated or “saved” through a more thorough and complete understanding of “self.” Alice Bailey (practicing occultist) says that this is “the process for gods and for men . . . it is the hidden mystery of mind and of its place in evolution.” In other words, this is specifically the false salvation process of the occult! Let’s see how the Apostle Paul addressed the people he met at Mars Hill in Athens: “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ Hill, and said, You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious (in this one sentence, he debunks all of their philosophies; they are guided by superstition, which is no way to live). For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions (has reference to their objects of worship), I found an Altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD (by addressing the situation in this way, he could not be accused of preaching a foreign god to them). Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you (refers to them acknowledging that maybe they did not have the last word on gods! actually, they did not have any word at all). God Who made the world and all things therein (presents God as the Creator), seeing that He is Lord of Heaven and Earth (proclaims Him not only as Creator, but the constant Manager of all that He has created as well), dwells not in Temples made with hands (He is bigger than that!); Neither is worshipped with men’s hands (the Second Commandment forbids the making of any graven image of God, or the worship of any type of statue, etc.), as though He needed anything (God needs nothing!), seeing He gives to all life, and breath, and all things (presents His Creation needing what He provides, which is provided by no other source); And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the Earth (proclaims all having their origin in Adam), and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation (pertains to particular parts of the world, and those who occupy these areas; however, the statement, ‘one blood all nations of men,’ eliminates any type of racial superiority); That they should seek the Lord (presents the chief end of all God’s dealings with men [I Pet. 2:24; II Pet. 3:9; Jn. 3:15-20; Rev. 22:17]), if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him (Paul is appealing to the action of logic and common sense in trying to address these Pagans), though He be not far from every one of us: (speaks of the Creator being very close to His Creation)” (Acts 17:22-27). Indeed, ancient Gnosticism has infiltrated the Church,“purpose” being its “Trojan horse!” It has now permeated the modern church and masquerades as true Christianity.

SIN!

And through this infiltration, Christianity has been reduced to merely curing the world’s social problems. New Age proponents are able to teach believable distortions of the Bible to back up their philosophy as they give Biblical words and names (such as Jesus, spirit, Heaven, creation, Adam and Eve, etc.) radical new meanings. Because key words sound familiar, myths and mysticisms seem normal as well as exciting to Believers. Besides, who doesn’t want to help mankind? Who doesn’t want to cure the world of sickness and disease, to end poverty and war? Who doesn’t want to tackle the giants of this world and see them defeated? But this social gospel of “purpose” purports that man can do it without addressing the real problem, which is sin! So instead of focusing on the real problem, the Church has been deceived and led astray to work on its symptoms. We are actually completely avoiding the root cause! How can we solve any problems when the real reason for the problems is overlooked? Instead of preaching Jesus Christ and Him Crucified as the only Way this world can be healed, we are told to partner and work with all kinds of people. But, if these so-called “people of faith” are not believers in the Biblical Faith, how will there ever be any unity? The Cross is the only foundation that proper unity can be built upon, but our modern leaders are telling the Church, which was established by Jesus Christ, to partner with other religions of this world and their unchristian beliefs. We are told to partner with homosexuals, Allah, Joseph Smith, Buddha, Madeline O’Hara, atheists, Hindus, Roman Catholics, and other non-Christians. We are told to care more about our own teachings, writings, and reading, than about preaching Jesus Christ and Him Crucified! We are taught to care more about man’s temporal needs than his eternal soul which will live either forever in Heaven or forever in Hell! Church, our priorities are being completely scrambled right before our eyes!

MATERIAL HELP?

This modern false gospel is not demonstrating the Love of a shepherd whatsoever! Man will choose where he spends his eternity, and our mandate from God is to go into all the world and preach the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the only way mankind will realize they have such a crucial choice to make! Of course, this does not mean that we ignore human suffering. The Word of the Lord does say, “But whoso has this world’s goods (refers to the necessities of life), and sees his brother have need (it is seeing a Christian in need of the necessities of life over a long period), and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him (presents the individual who has the means to truly help, but refuses to do so), how dwells the Love of God in him? (His actions proclaim the fact that despite his profession, there is actually no love of God in him.)” (I Jn. 3:17). Jesus does lead us at times to provide material help to those in need, but this is not to be our focus. Did Jesus enter into Jerusalem or any other place to work with either the Roman government or the Jewish religious establishment to eradicate the city’s poverty, disease, and illiteracy? Did he go to Pilate and say, “Let’s work together to eliminate poverty?” No! Did He say to the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Let’s join hands although we don’t agree on everything to defeat illiteracy?” Again, no! Although Jesus cared deeply for those who were suffering, He did not join hands with unbelievers. He said in Matthew 26:11: “For you have the poor always with you; but Me ye have not always.” What about the Apostles, did they enter into cities to work with pagans and unbelievers to care for the sick and educate the next generation? Of course not! They went, instead, to bring the greatest “help” afforded to any man, “the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”

“After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia (represented an area east of the Ephesus area): but the Spirit suffered them not (proclaims the door being closed to this area as well!).

“And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas (this area would be closed for the time being also).

“And a Vision appeared to Paul in the night (proclaims the Holy Spirit now telling the Apostle exactly where He wanted him to go); there stood a man of Macedonia (the northern part of modern Greece, from the Adriatic to the Hebrus River), and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us (thus, was ushered in the most momentous event in the history of the world, the going forth of Paul to take the Gospel to the nations of the West).

“And after he had seen the Vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia (by the use of the pronoun ‘we,’ we know that Luke, the writer of this Book of Acts, now joins Paul here at Troas), assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the Gospel unto them (they knew they now had the Mind of the Lord).

“Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis (this would be the very first presentation of the Gospel on European soil, which would have such a bearing on what is presently referred to as ‘Western Civilization’)” (Acts 16:7-11).

This was their message, and the spreading of their Message was God’s Purpose for their lives! The Message was their Good Work!

By Frances Swaggart

Romans 1:18-19

(18) “FOR THE WRATH OF GOD IS REVEALED FROM HEAVEN AGAINST ALL UNGODLINESS AND UNRIGHTEOUSNESS OF MEN, WHO HOLD THE TRUTH IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.”

The phrase, “For the Wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” tells us several things:

1. As the Righteousness of God is revealed to those who have Faith in Christ, likewise, “The Wrath of God” is revealed against those who reject that Righteousness.

2. The “Wrath” or anger of God is here revealed, along with the purpose of the Revelation.

It is absolutely imperative that God hate evil, because if He did not do so, He could not love good. If there is to be one (to love good) of necessity, there must be two (to also hate evil). In other words, God must do both or neither.

The Greek word for “Wrath” is Orge.” It is used of Jesus when, after healing the man with the withered hand, He observed the hardness of heart of the Pharisees, and looked upon them with anger (Mk. 3:5). Orge is an anger “Which Righteous men not merely may, but as they are Righteous, must feel; nor can there be a surer and sadder token of an utterly prostrate moral condition than the not being able to be angry with sin—and sinners.”

Vincent describes Orge as God’s personal emotion with regard to sin. It represents God’s abhorrence and hatred of sin.

3. These Passages tell us that inasmuch as God has revealed His Righteousness from Heaven to sinful men, if that Light is rejected, as it mostly is, the Wrath of God automatically follows. In fact, Paul said, “And the times of this ignorance (the world before Jesus came) God winked at; but now Commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).

This tells us that the Judgment of God is even more severe now than it was in Old Testament times, which is the opposite of what most people believe. However, it should not be difficult to understand.

To where little Light of the Gospel was given, the Lord did not step in until there was absolutely no other choice. I speak of the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the proposed extermination of certain Tribes, the threat and ultimate destruction of Nineveh, plus others. As should be obvious, there was some Light before Christ, but it was ensconced almost altogether in Israel, who at times hindered its illumination.

Since Jesus came and died on Calvary, thereby paying the sin debt, and rose from the dead, the Holy Spirit now has much more access to the world and to men in general, thereby, providing much greater opportunity for acceptance of the Lord. In other words, considering the proliferation of the Gospel, ignorance is no longer an excuse.

I think the record will show, that inclement weather, wars, famines, disease, and pestilence is the judgment of God against “ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.”

A man asked me once if I believed that AIDS was a judgment from God?

My answer is an unequivocal “Yes!”

I realize that many would say, and rightly so, that all sickness and disease originate with Satan. However, even though that is correct, the Lord is still in control of everything. In other words, Satan can only do what the Lord allows him to do (Job Chpt. 1). To not understand that, is to deny the Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence of God!

The phrase, “Who hold the Truth in unrighteousness,” does not represent here the Gospel, but the fact of a Supreme Being with Divine Attributes to Whom worship and obedience are due.

This “Truth” being seen by all men through their observation of the created Universe, thus demands a Creator to answer for its existence.

The human race, possessing this Truth which is overly obvious, yet holds it down in the sense of refusing to acknowledge its moral implications, continues on in its sin, despite the proliferation of “Light.”

The primary thrust of this particular Passage deals with evolution, which without a doubt has to be the biggest farce ever perpetrated upon gullible humanity. The promoters of this drivel, and drivel it is, claim to be scientific, which has no place for Faith, etc. The Truth is, it takes much more Faith to believe in evolution than it does the Biblical account of Creation.

The purveyors of this lie claim that all the evidence is available, with the exception of the “missing link.” The Truth is, the whole chain is missing.

It is amazing that educators will teach this fabrication, especially considering that there is not one single specimen of evolution in the world. The simple fact is, were the teaching of evolution correct, there would be hundreds of millions of beings who are half ape and half man, or any such combinations. The answer that it takes billions of years to produce such, is no answer at all.

Once again, the simple fact is, if through these millions or billions of years evolution has produced the human family from apes, if we now have the finished product, or even a stage toward the finished product, there would also be other stages in between. Of necessity, that is a must, that is if there is any truth to evolution!

However, in this of which the Holy Spirit says through Paul, the “Holding of the Truth in unrighteousness,” not only applies to evolution, but as well to psychology. It too is an insult to God.

As evolution denies the Creator, psychology denies the Saviour. It claims it holds the answer for the sin and aberrations of humanity. In other words, man can save or rehabilitate himself.

As I have stated many times, and will continue to do so, if man is able to do that, then Jesus wasted His time coming down to this sinful world. He should have read a few of the books written by modern Psychologists and saved Himself the trouble.

No! As evolution is a lie pure and simple, psychology (psychoanalysis) falls into the same category.

It is ironical that two of the standards of atheistic Communism are “evolution and psychology.”

And yet the modern Church, even the Pentecostal variety, has accepted and bought into this lie pretty much totally. 

(19) “BECAUSE THAT WHICH MAY BE KNOWN OF GOD IS MANIFEST IN THEM; FOR GOD HATH SHEWED IT UNTO THEM.”

The phrase, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them,” simply means it can be known if so desired. It speaks of the universal objective knowledge of God as the Creator, which is, more or less, in all men.

The phrase, “For God hath shewed it unto them,” means that in Creation is His Signature.

As we have stated, the Gospel reveals a Righteousness from God on the principle of Faith, as opposed to merit. Those who reject this Righteousness are justly exposed to the Wrath of God not only because they are without Righteousness, but because they are wholly unrighteous and corrupt and desire to remain that way. As well, all humanity is declared here to be sunken in this corruption.

The heathen world then as now, debased the gift of reason, degraded God to “a creeping thing,” and conduct being determined by creed, they gave themselves to vile affections.

Twenty-four of these are particularized, to which we will address ourselves momentarily, all of them together proving fallen human nature to be sunken into an appalling abyss of moral putridity.

This true picture of sinful man is fiercely denied by modern thinkers, as energized by the evil author of ancient and modern thought.

The Greeks and Romans who were the Disciples of Philosophy, condemned the heathen. One of the greatest of the Greek Philosophers was Socrates, and one of the most celebrated of the Romans was the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. But these cultured Nations disobeyed, degraded, and corrupted the wisdom which they had, for while applauding virtue they practiced vice, and taught that man being impotent to do what was right was not to be condemned if he practiced what was wrong.

To the Hebrew people was granted by Divine Election the most precious of all gifts—Revelation. Since man is a creature it was reasonable that his Creator should have made a Revelation of Himself to him. But just as the Rationalists and the Philosophers degraded the Light given to them, so Israel corrupted the Law, and became proud and self-righteous.

Thus, all men are by voluntary action subject to the Wrath of God; and the Holy Spirit places this terrible Truth in the forefront of the Gospel in order that the Doctrine of Justification by Faith might be based upon the fact of universal guilt and condemnation, and so open wide the door of boundless Salvation.

For the Gospel can only be truly preached, or embraced, as being the Good News of Life and Pardon to all who are lost beyond recovery and know it.

So the first Foundation Doctrine of the Gospel which the Apostle preached (vs. 15) announced the Wrath of God (vs. 18). This dogma angers self-righteous man (Williams).

~JSM

Romans 1:24-28

(24) “WHEREFORE GOD ALSO GAVE THEM UP TO UNCLEANNESS THROUGH THE LUSTS OF THEIR OWN HEARTS, TO DISHONOR THEIR OWN BODIES BETWEEN THEMSELVES:”

The phrase, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts,” presents mankind not merely drifting toward depravity, but actually in a sense being shoved by God in that direction.

Since men chose to give up God and worship the creature, God could do nothing but give men into the control of the sinful things they preferred. In other words, God would not violate man’s will and force him to do something he did not want to do. When men persisted in following their totally depraved natures, God allowed them free reign. The natural result was immorality of the vilest kind (Wuest).

Alford says of God’s act of delivering mankind over into the control of utter human depravity, “Not merely permissive, but judicially, God delivered them over. As sin begets sin, and darkness of mind, deeper darkness, Grace gives place to judgment, and the Divine Wrath hardens men, and hurries them on to more fearful degrees of depravity.” God delivered man to uncleanness.

The word “lusts” is epithumia in the Greek Text, and means, “a passionate craving, longing, desire,” and in this sense, an inordinately sinful one.

Alford again says, “Not by or through the lusts; the lusts of their heart were the field of action, the department of their being in which the dishonor took place.” In other words, this was what their hearts wanted.

The phrase, “To dishonour their own bodies between themselves,” carries with it more than the mere profligacy in the satisfaction of natural lust, but rather bestiality, which refers to impurity in the physical, and not only in the social and religious sense. In other words, man is grossly immoral.

It speaks of adultery, fornication, pedophilia (sex with children), bestiality (sex with animals), lesbianism and homosexuality.

(25) “WHO CHANGED THE TRUTH OF GOD INTO A LIE, AND WORSHIPPED AND SERVED THE CREATURE MORE THAN THE CREATOR, WHO IS BLESSED FOR EVER. AMEN.”

The phrase, “Who changed the Truth of God into a lie,” refers back to verse 23, which speaks of spiritual and sexual uncleanness.

In the realm of idolatry, this refers to anything that is placed before Christ.

Most people presently are not inclined to make idols out of pieces of wood as they did many centuries ago; however, if we allow anything to come between Christ and us, whether we realize it or not, such becomes an idol. That’s why John the Beloved said, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I Jn. 5:21).

However, this condition of men’s hearts in purposely refusing the Truth of God, led to the Lord using no restraining force over man whatsoever, allowing him without restraint to push headlong into this lie of darkness, which in effect is the same as God giving man a push. Considering man’s already depraved condition, the slide even further downward was terrible, to say the least!

As we see here, the words, “God also gave them up,” as given in verse 24, is a restraining force exercised by God even on unregenerate mankind, unless refused, which it was and continues to be.

As well, there is a far greater restraining force on Believers as should be obvious (Job 1:10; Ps. 91; Rom. 8:28).

However, this restraining force even on Believers can be removed as well through disobedience and rebellion.

The phrase, “And worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator,” presents that of which Paul spoke in his Message to the Athenians (Acts 17:29–30).

For man to worship and serve the creature, means that he is doing such to something he has made with his hands, and is, therefore, less than him.

Regarding the “creature,” even if man worships himself or other men and women, which most of the world does, still, what good does such do him?

The phrase, “Who is blessed for ever,” should have been translated, “bless-ed,” because it refers to God.

The word “blessed” refers to one receiving a Blessing, in which as should be obvious, God needs nothing.

The word “bless-ed,” in effect, two syllables, refers to the One doing the Blessing, in this case, the Lord.

The idea is, all True Blessings come exclusively from the Lord, with idols or anything else for that matter, able to produce none at all.

The word “Amen” means that this is anchored in the Word of God, and as such, will not change.

(28) “AND EVEN AS THEY DID NOT LIKE TO RETAIN GOD IN THEIR KNOWLEDGE, GOD GAVE THEM OVER TO A REPROBATE MIND, TO DO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT CONVENIENT;”

The phrase, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,” carries the idea of the human race putting God to the test for the purpose of approving or disapproving Him.

They wanted a God to their liking, and finding that He did not meet those specifications, the world refused to approve Him as the God to be worshiped, or have Him in its knowledge.

The “knowledge” spoken here, in the Greek is epignosis,” and means “full and precise knowledge.” In other words, their knowledge of God, due to their rebellion against Him and, therefore, going into deep sin, was only a dim memory, and that perverted!

If one wants to know what is wrong with the modern School System in America, despite the fact of hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown at this ever-worsening situation, it is because Educators “did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” So, and speaking of the Public School System, we have Godless schools, which means that the schools are filled with Satan. We have Godless education, which means that what knowledge the students do have is largely warped and twisted, ill preparing them for life. We have Godless direction, consequently we have erroneous ways.

The phrase, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind,” presents the third time such a statement is used (vss. 24, 26). Once again, humanity wanted that which was licentious and evil and the Lord took away the restraining forces, allowing them to have what they desired.

The words “Reprobate mind” in the Greek Text is adokimon noun.” It carries the idea of the human race putting God on trial, and because it rejected Him after trial, God gives it a “trialess” mind, in other words, one incapable of discharging the functions of a mind with respect to the things of Salvation (Wuest).

As they did not think it fit to keep God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a mind which has no way to comprehend God. In other words, Light rejected is Light withdrawn. The one thing answers to the other.

Virtually, they pronounced the True God disapproved, and would have none of Him, and He in turn gave them up to a disapproved mind, a mind which is no mind and cannot discharge the functions of one, a mind in which the Divine distinctions of right and wrong are confused and lost, so that God’s condemnation cannot but fall on it at last.

This speaks of people who are completely perverted, and as the Canaanites of old, who did their abominations unto their gods, then the last deep of evil has been reached.

The phrase, “To do those things which are not convenient,” concerns wrong direction which will affect the person in every capacity, and in a very negative way.

The Greek word for “convenient” is katheko,” and means “It is becoming, it is fitting.” So, the human race does things which are not fitting.

It is like an old abandoned building, the home of bats, spiders and snakes, not a very pleasant place to be (Robertson).

~J. Swaggart Ministries

Ephesians 4:4

(4) “THERE IS ONE BODY, AND ONE SPIRIT, EVEN AS YE ARE CALLED IN ONE HOPE OF YOUR CALLING;”

The “Unity of the Spirit” of which Paul has spoken, brings into realization the unity of the Son and thence to the Source of unity in the Father, as we will see in succeeding Verses.
“One Body” depicts the Church as a single visible community. It is not simply a mystical concept. Its unity is recognizable in that Jews and Gentiles are now seen to be reconciled in Christ. In the Pagan world there were many religious cults, but as it regards Christianity, all are members of one Body. However, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle had much more in mind than merely the amalgamation of Jews and Gentiles into one Body, i.e., “one Church.” He is speaking of the entirety of the Plan of God as it regards not only the Church, but each individual. It is the manner in which all things are received from the Lord, and as well, in which all things are given to us.
“One Spirit” indwells the Body of Christ. By Him the Body lives and moves (I Cor. 12:13). The Holy Spirit is its soul; apart from Him it cannot exist. Consequently, the same Spirit fell on the Jews at Pentecost and on the Gentiles in the House of Cornelius. Peter made it clear that it was the same Spirit (Acts 10:47; 11:12, 15–17).
The “one Spirit” Who has already spanned this gulf will bring together all who Name the Name of Christ, and for the obvious reasons.
The Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14) and so He is the Guarantor of the “one hope” to which we are called (Eph. 1:18; 2:12). This is not the hope that stems from the calling but the hope that belongs to the call (Eph. 4:1). It is, of course, the hope of sharing Christ’s Glory at the end of the age (I Jn. 3:2).

ONE BODY

The phrase, “There is one Body,” pertains to the Church, the Body of called-out Believers. Admittance to this Body is the “Born-Again” experience (Jn. 3:3).
This “Body” is the invisible Church, and yet at the same time visible, the Mystical Body of Christ, which is composed of all Believers before the Cross and after the Cross. All are included in this Body, for this was actually the purpose of God in forming the nation of Israel to begin with. It was done in order to give the world the Word of God, and bring the Redeemer into the world, so that all, both Jews and Gentiles would have the opportunity of Salvation, all in Christ. That Israel refused her share, in no way negated the Plan of God, even though it did alter its direction (Rom. Chpt. 11).
This “One Body” will have its culmination at the Rapture, or perhaps a better word would be “The Resurrection.” That’s the reason that the Holy Spirit said through John, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be Priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
The phrase, “One Body” means as should be obvious, that there aren’t 20 Churches or five, or even two. There is just one, and as stated, admittance into this Church or Body is the acceptance of Christ, Who Alone is the Redeemer (Jn. 3:16).
Man cannot bring an individual into this “Body,” and man cannot take an individual out of this “Body.” To be sure, some have been attempting to do that, and I speak of so-called religious leaders, almost since the beginning of time. In other words, the claim by some, that if you do not belong to their Church you are not saved, etc. Such is foolishness, as should be obvious!
While it’s imperative that the Believer find a good Church, faithfully attend that Church, and faithfully support that Church, it must always be understood, that membership or participation in an earthly organization, constitutes no Salvation at all. However, the assembling of ourselves together in order to worship God is absolutely necessary, and for all the obvious reasons. We are saved not only to ourselves, but as a part of the Body, and as such, we desire to be with the Body.

THE NECESSITY OF A GOOD CHURCH

As we’ve already explained, when we say “Church” we are not necessarily speaking of a building beside the road with the name “Church” painted on it. Church is made up of Believers, and when Believers meet together in order to worship God, wherever that may be, that is “Church.”
It is absolutely necessary that one be led by the Spirit as it regards the Pastor under whom one sits. The Believer will always be a product of what they are taught. God has set various callings in the Church for this purpose, which we will deal with in the 11th Verse. However, if the Believer chooses to sit under an “Angel of Light,” who in fact, is one of “Satan’s ministers,” the end results will be dire (II Cor. 11:12–15).
To which we have already alluded these “ministers” will look like God, act like God, talk like God, and say many right things; however, all of that is done, in order to snare the individual for their own devious purposes. False teachers came into the Church in the time of Paul, which caused him to address this subject over and over again, and to be sure, false teachers are still abundant presently. In fact, for every “true Teacher of the Word,” there are probably several false teachers of the Word.
Unfortunately, there are many Believers, perhaps the majority, who are truly in this “one Body,” meaning they have been truly Born-Again, but are sitting under false teachers. It happened at Corinth and Galatia, with attempts no doubt being made in all the Churches planted by Paul, necessitating several of his Epistles.
So, Satan will do all within his power to keep the person out of this “Body of Christ,” but if he cannot do that, he will attempt to push them into erroneous teaching, which will greatly hinder their spiritual growth, and could even cause them to ultimately be lost.

THE EFFORTS OF SATAN

Satan was strongly attempting in the time of Paul to split the Church, in effect, making it two bodies of Christ, one composed of the Jews and another composed of the Gentiles. Through the power of the Cross, reconciliation with God had been effected for both Jew and Gentile, thus creating the possibility not only of the vertical relationship of peace with God but also the horizontal relationship of peace with all men. Thus, one Body of Believers has been brought into being (Eph. 2:16).
As we have stated, Satan’s effort in this capacity did not die with the early Church but continues unto this moment. He attempts to make several bodies, which of course, can never be sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. So, any Believer who even remotely hints in his thinking, of admittance into this Body, as by any other way than Faith in Christ, that individual is on dangerous ground. In other words, if he thinks that one has to belong to his Church to be saved, he has just created a second body, which the Lord cannot accept and in which the Holy Spirit cannot work. In other words, the very thing they are claiming—their Church as the only Church—has the very opposite effect. By their own actions, they are taking themselves out of the true Body of Christ, placing themselves into this man-devised body. Millions have lost their souls in this fashion.
The “one Body” means that this is not a Western Gospel, or an Eastern Gospel, or any other type of localized Gospel. It is one Gospel for this one Body, for the entirety of the world, for all of mankind, all in Christ.

ONE SPIRIT

The phrase, “And One Spirit,” refers, of course, to the Holy Spirit. Even though this phrase is short, it contains a wealth of meaning, as should be obvious.
Paul is stressing here the unity of the Godhead, which unity should rest in the hearts of Believers as well. Inasmuch as there is only One Holy Spirit, there can be no diversity of doctrine or contradiction in any capacity. So, in essence, Paul is saying that both he and the Judaizers cannot be correct, inasmuch as the teaching of each contradicts the others. It is the same presently!
There are hundreds and possibly even thousands of different types of Churches and belief systems as it regards the Word of God, much, often contradictory. Knowing that the Holy Spirit is not the Author of such contradiction, then we must come to the conclusion that some are wrong in their Doctrine. For those who sit under such wrong doctrine, and untold millions do, what they are hearing is not given by the Holy Spirit, not inspired by the Holy Spirit, which means irrespective of the claims, that it is not the Word of God. Consequently, deception and spiritual wreckage are the result, which regrettably, characterizes most of that which goes under the name of “Church.”

THE TRUE CHURCH

The true Church does not go under a denominational name. Whatever name it goes under, it is where the One and the Selfsame Spirit dwells.
Regarding all who are truly Born-Again, it was the same Holy Spirit Who awakened all; enlightened all; convicted all; and, converted all. Wherever they may be, and whoever, there has been substantially the same work of the Spirit in the heart of every Christian. There are circumstantial differences arising from diversities of temperament, disposition, and education; there may be a difference in the depth and power of His operations on the soul; there may be a difference in the degree of conviction for sin and in the evidence of conversion, but still there are the same operations on the heart essentially, produced by the same Spirit.
All the Gifts which come from God, are in essence, products of the Spirit. All the zeal, the ardor, the love, the self-denial in the Church, are produced by the same Spirit. Consequently, there should be, therefore, “unity.”
There is one Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God Who was outpoured on Believers with such marvelous manifestations on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4), who were altogether Jewish. As well, this same Spirit was given to the Gentile Believers at Caesarea under the ministry of Peter (Acts 10:44–46; 15:7–9), and in fact, to all Believers from then unto now.

Swaggart, J.

and he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he built an Altar unto the LORD, and called upon the Name of the LORD (Gen. 12:8).

Beth-el” means “House of God.” “Hai” means “garbage dump.”

The Altar alone, typifying the Cross, can keep the Believer away from the garbage dump.

It is virtually impossible for the Believer to know the difference between the “House of God” and the “garbage dump” other than by the Cross. That’s the reason we have so much false doctrine presently and so many Christians following false doctrine. For the last several decades, the Church has drifted so far from the Cross that it hardly knows any more where it has been, where it is, or where it is going. Because it no longer plants its doctrines on the foundation of the Cross, it has lost completely its moorings.

Without an understanding of the Cross, there is absolutely no discernment regarding false doctrine.

That’s the reason that Paul said:

Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times (the times in which we now live) some shall depart from the Faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4:1).

A “departure from the Faith,” i.e., “Christ and Him Crucified,” is the reason!

Never forget:

Satan dresses up his “garbage dumps” to look like something else altogether. In other words, they look like anything but garbage dumps; and, without an understanding of the Cross, invariably that’s the way the Believer will go (Gal. 6:14).

~J. Swaggart

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