Monthly Archives: October 2015
but I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him (II Cor. 11:3–4).
The Gospel of Christ, i.e., “the Message of the Cross,” is very simple and easy to understand. In fact, a little child can understand it. It is “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified,” and our Faith in that Finished Work. But Satan seeks to pervert the Gospel by introducing his wares, which he always does through the Church. In other words, religious men come up with all types of attractive schemes, which seem right to the carnal mind, but which, in fact, are very wrong. They are wrong because they do not make Christ and the Cross the central theme of their belief system.
The problem in Paul’s day, i.e., the method Satan was using, concerned Jewish Preachers from Jerusalem or Judaea who claimed Christ as the Messiah, but who also claimed that the Gentiles had to also keep the Law of Moses, that is, if they were to be saved (Acts 15:1).
Their gospel would not win souls, as no false gospel will win souls, so they had to parasite off the Churches which Paul had planted. They tried to turn these converts, whether in the Church at Corinth, Ephesus, or Galatia, etc. They wanted to turn them from Grace to Law.
So Paul’s statement is according to the following:
Unless the Message is “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified,” then whatever is being preached is, pure and simple, “another Jesus.” It is produced by “another spirit”; the end result is “another gospel,” which will help no one. In fact, it will greatly hurt and hinder, as should be obvious.
Tragically and sadly, most of that which is presently being preached in the Churches in America, in fact, all over the world, is “another Jesus.” I say that simply because I also know that the Cross is little preached. It is alluded to at times regarding Salvation, and there are certainly some who strongly uphold the great Salvation Message that “Jesus died for us.” But most know absolutely nothing about the Cross of Christ as it regards Sanctification. In other words, to tell someone how to live for God, they will propose things which aren’t Scriptural, and which fall out to “another Jesus.”
That’s the reason the Apostle said that we must “examine ourselves, whether we be in the Faith” (II Cor. 13:5).
~J. Swaggart Ministries
One Religious Leader said to another Preacher of my acquaintance, “You obey what I say because you are accountable to me; if it is wrong, then I will be responsible and not you.”
This is fallacy and totally unscriptural. There is no such circumstance in the Bible of one person doing something wrong and someone else being responsible for it. Almost the entire Catholic Church is made up of this falsehood, while many Protestants fall into the same category. However, everyone is ultimately going to answer to God for their own actions; at that time, they will not be able to point a finger at anyone else, but they will have to take responsibility themselves. The Scripture says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). Likewise, they must take responsibility now!
The Scripture also says, “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith …” (Heb. 12:2).
This doesn’t say to look to a Religious Denomination or to an earthly Priest or even a Preacher, but “unto Jesus.”
While it is certainly true that the Lord has set in the Church “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers” (Eph. 4:11), these leaders have no authority over people, even their followers, only over evil spirits (Mk. 16:17–18). Actually, no Christian, of any capacity, has any authority over another; submission as taught in the Bible is on a horizontal plane, not on a vertical plane. The Scripture says, “Submitting yourselves one to another …” (Eph. 5:21).
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the various Churches (most of which he had planted), he never one time ordered anyone to do anything, but always politely made his request: “I beseech you, brethren” (Rom. 12:1; 15:30; 16:17; I Cor. 1:10; 4:16).
If anyone were to have the right to claim spiritual authority or require that people be accountable to him, Paul certainly would have been one who did. However, Paul followed the Lord, and such authority was not given to him or to any other man. The Lord reserves that exclusively unto Himself as the “Head of … the Church” (Col. 1:18).
Actually, the highest and only spiritual authority on earth is the local Church, made up of “called out Believers.”
When Jesus addressed Himself to the Work of God on earth and to its individual members, He addressed Himself to local Churches, and more specifically to the Pastors of those Churches, such as “the Angel of the Church at Ephesus,” and so forth (Rev. 2:1).
He did not address Himself to the headquarters Church in Jerusalem or to a denominational headquarters because, in Truth, such did not exist. While there was certainly a Church in Jerusalem, and even though it was a very strong Church, it did not serve as an imperial religious headquarters.
Correspondingly, the Bible teaches that the local Church carries the highest spiritual authority there is. As a result, accountability should be confined to the leadership and people of the local assembly. Nothing from the outside should take authority over that particular assembly or its people (II Cor. 2:10; Rev. Chpts. 2–3).
Accordingly, younger Ministers in the local Church should submit themselves to the leadership of that Church (Heb. 13:17). Peter said, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder …” (I Pet. 5:5).
However, both Hebrews 13:17 and I Peter 5:5 are speaking of the local Church, not some outside, unscriptural denominational religious office.
There is every evidence in Scripture that accountability should be to a local Church: both to its apostolic leadership and to its people (Acts 13:1–5).
When there was a problem in the Church in Corinth, and it seems to have been with one of its leaders, Paul dealt directly with the Church relative to what should be done, because he had been asked to do so (I Cor. 5:1; II Cor. 2:3–11).
There is no incident in the New Testament Church in which problems were handled other than through the local Church, other than the one meeting recorded in Acts 15 which had to do with Doctrine, and which involved all the Apostles.
It should be understood that when we speak of the Church, it is not an all-inclusive term covering all Churches of a particular Religious Denomination, for example, but, instead, refers to a local, indigenous assembly which might well have branches, but which answers to that one particular Church and not to a Denomination or group of Churches.
As we have previously stated, when Christ addressed the seven Churches of Asia, He addressed each Church individually and did not link them together in the slightest, except that they were all a part of His Body.
Even though particular Churches may have a common bond of Doctrine and a like sense of purpose, spiritual authority and accountability begin and end with each assembly, and even more specifically with the Pastor of that Church. He answers directly to the Word of God and to Christ through the agency of the Person of the Holy Spirit.
HOW ACCOUNTABLE SHOULD A PERSON BE TO HIS LOCAL CHURCH?
Of course, the answer to that question is simple inasmuch as all accountability begins and ends with the Word of God. While the Scripture commands that younger or Associate Ministers in the local Church submit to its leadership, such submission can only be given as long as the Word of God is fully adhered to. This would hold true for the lay membership as well as for the Ministerial Leadership.
To give an example, since the 1960’s, quite a number of people have been Baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues in Churches which do not believe this Biblical Doctrine.
As a consequence, if the leadership of those particular Churches demands that all such actions cease and desist, then submission comes to an end simply because its leadership is unscriptural.
However, such individuals should not cause problems in that particular Church, neither should they attempt to usurp authority over its leadership. To be Scripturally accountable, they should quietly leave and associate themselves with a different Church that adheres to sound Biblical Doctrine.
Man-made accountability has no validity with God, and most of what is labeled accountability in modern circles will find no counterpart whatsoever in the New Testament Church.
True accountability is demanded by God and is far more stringent than that demanded by man, because the accountability required by the Lord covers every aspect of one’s life and service, not just a part.
~J. Swaggart Ministries
(36) “AND A MAN’S FOES SHALL BE THEY OF HIS OWN HOUSEHOLD.”
This “household” not only speaks of the immediate family, but, as well, of one’s Church family. Millions have died eternally lost because they allowed their family to come in between them and God, and, the greatest number lost has come about because individuals allowed their “Church household” to take pre-eminence over Christ. This is probably the greatest culprit of all, and because of its heavy religious connotations. If the Church comes before Christ, then the Church has become an idol, as surely as the heathen idols of old. Tragically, this is not an isolated case, but is rather, and sadly so, the rule!
I wrote a short article some time ago for our publication, “THE EVANGELIST,” on the subject of “Accountability,” and feel that it would be worthwhile to reprint. It is as follows:
The question was, “To whom are you accountable?”
The answer is as follows:
Having heard that question asked scores of times in the last few years, virtually every time it has been asked it has been from an unscriptural perspective.
I am assuming that the one posing this question desires a Scriptural answer, since any other answer is of no value whatsoever.
Some time back, a friend of mine was going to a place to conduct a series of meetings. She was called by a particular Preacher and asked the very question of my subject, “To whom are you accountable?”
I don’t know her answer to him, but had she asked him the same question, more than likely he would have given the name of one or more Preachers.
WHAT IS ACCOUNTABILITY?
Webster’s Dictionary says that the words, “accountable,” or “accountability” simply mean “to furnish a justifying analysis or its explanation.”
However, the word, “accountability,” is really not the correct word for this subject, even though it is used constantly. The real word is “accountant,” which means “one who gives an account or is accountable.” This definition has nothing to do with the system of recording and summarizing business and financial transactions.
To boil away all the froth from the top, and despite all the noble and lofty statements, it simply means that some man or group of men, desire to serve as a “hierarchy” above a person in order to tell him what he should and should not do. In the field of religion, probably more blood has been spilled over this than anything else, and, as well, more people, as stated, have died lost because of it.
While accountability to a hierarchy in the civil, political, and business world is acceptable and necessary, such practices have no place or part in the Work of God. Religious men, attempting to bring the ways of the world into the Ways of God have been the bane of the Church from the time of Adam and Eve.
This concept of accountability, as used by the Modern Church, is the way of the world and not of God. To bring the system of the world into the Church is sure death because it always necessitates a departure from the Word of God. God’s Ways are not man’s ways and never will be!
Therefore, if the reader desires man’s ways, then to read further will be a waste of time. However, if the reader desires God’s Ways, perhaps the balance of this statement will be of some benefit.
A MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN?
Modern religious accountability (and religious it is) in the truest sense of the word, demands that there be a mediator between the individual and God, with a man or men serving in that position. However, the Scripture says, “For there is One God, and One Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).
Actually, the entire Catholic Church is built on this premise, claiming the Priest as a “mediator” between God and men. In fact, such a circumstance was correct under the old economy of God with the Law of Moses. In that time, Priests after the Aaronic Priesthood actually did serve as mediators between God and men. However, upon the First Advent of Christ and His finished work at Calvary and the Resurrection, He Alone serves as our Great High Priest (Heb. 3:1; 4:14; 5:6; 8:1–6). Consequently, those who would desire to serve as modern “mediators,” or “Priests,” are somewhat late. They will need to go back about 3,000 years, become a Jew, belong to the Tribe of Levi, and be after the lineage of Aaron.
NOT ONLY CATHOLICS
Regrettably, Catholics are not the only ones who claim a mediatorship between God and men: the Protestant world is not far behind, although not nearly as practiced at it.
One Evangelist of my acquaintance was heralded far and wide as being the example of “accountability,” because he had submitted himself to a group of Preachers, and, consequently, was accountable to them.
In my presence, a man stood to his feet and related with glowing reports this outstanding (as he thought) position. When he had finished, I quietly asked him how this “accountability” could really be considered as such, especially considering that this Evangelist would see these particular Preachers only once or twice a year?
Especially among the Charismatics, this foolishness is rife as men love to lord it over other men, and, surprisingly enough, some men love being lorded over.
Religious Denominations practice this same type of “accountability.” It is thought that if one is associated with a Religious Denomination, this spells “accountability,” while, at the same time, pointing to a lack of “accountability” in all those who do not belong to such Denominations.
However, a little common sense should inform one that the accountability that God demands could hardly be carried out under the scrutinizing eye of Denominational Heads who may see a Preacher only once a year, if that!
No! Associating oneself with a Religious Denomination affords no type of accountability of the type that the Lord will accept. The same must be said for all man-made groups.
Men love to say that they are accountable to certain groups, which in their eyes or in the eyes of others give them status and credibility. Conversely, men love to say that certain others are accountable to them, which makes them feel important.
Those who will not join or associate with this type of thinking are labeled “lone rangers,” and, therefore, as the thinking goes, they must have something to hide. If not, they would certainly desire to be “accountable” to some individual or group, wouldn’t they!
The Truth is, it is very easy to be accountable to men, that is, if one does not desire to obey God. It is easy because men can easily lie to other men, which they constantly do. However, one cannot lie to God. It’s not what men think that matters anyway; it is what God knows.
The Apostle Paul said, “But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (II Cor. 10:12).
What is Scriptural accountability?
Throughout the entire Word of God, man is importuned, even commanded, to look to God and not to other men. This entire scenario began in the Garden of Eden with Adam listening to his wife instead of the Lord. Then it followed with Cain listening to himself or others, rather than the Word of the Lord, offering up his own man-made sacrifice instead of what God commanded (Gen. 4:3–8).
Israel’s problem was listening to other nations instead of Jehovah. The Early Church was faced with this at its very beginning. The Apostles were commanded “not to speak at all nor teach in the Name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4:18–19).
While all Believers should appreciate fellow Believers and, when appropriate, actively seek their counsel and advice, the only thing owed one another is love.
In Romans 13:1–7, Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, laid down the criteria for obedience with respect to human governments and civil rulers. He said that, “every soul” must be “subject” to these higher powers.
However, that applies only to civil government; it has nothing to do with the Work of God.
When he came to the Work of God, he said that no Christian owed any other Christian anything except to “love one another.” He went on to say, “He that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law.” He was speaking of the Law of Moses (Rom. 13:8–10).
In other words, no Christian owes Religious Leaders or any other Christians obedience and subjection the way he does civil authorities. The Scriptures, as we have quoted, are plain regarding that.
Some men enjoy being accountable to others, at least as the world describes accountability, because they do not want to shoulder responsibility themselves.
~J. Swaggart Ministry
What is Truth?
~Understanding God’s Ministry
John 14:6 — Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The above scripture and many more, shows us that “Truth” is simply Jesus Christ and His atoning work at the Cross. The story of the Bible is the story of Christ, who was the Word before coming down in flesh wrapped in Glory. Christ is fully God and fully Man. He came not to express Himself as God but as a Man, never losing possession of His Deity. Why? Because the first representative man, Adam, lost this right in the Garden of Eden when he handed the dominion of this world system to Satan. A man lost it and a Man had to regain it, Christ, the Last Adam. This is where we are redeemed and brought back to God. When Adam and Eve sinned, it cause everyone born of the woman to possess a nature or bent towards wrong doing, called the sinful nature. Upon acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior, this nature is rendered inactive or helpless. It remains within the believer but not working, in essence, to produce the fruit of unrighteousness. As long as the believer continues to put their trust in the Cross of Christ on a daily basis, the Holy Spirit within the believer promises to produce the fruit of righteousness.
The job of the third Person of the God-Head, the Holy Spirit, works in our lives based upon this simple Truth, the way to God the Father is through faith and reliance and confidence in God’s Redemption plan for humanity, the Cross of Christ. His job, the Holy Spirit, is to lead us into Truth, why? Because there is no other way for the Power of the Spirit to be expressed in the life of the Believer. Romans 8:1-4, John 16:13
“Truth” can be found in a ministry which preaches the message of the Cross for justification and sanctification but is not a ministry nor is it a denomination. It is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Today many of us are after the furtherance of a ministry or church organization and not after Christ who is “Truth.” Outside of faith in Christ and Him Crucified or “Truth”, there can be no true victory only a form or semblance of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh (refers to the Incarnation, “God becoming man”), and dwelt among us (refers to Jesus, although Perfect, not holding Himself aloft from all others, but rather lived as all men, even a peasant), (and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) (speaks of His Deity, although hidden from the eyes of the merely curious; while Christ laid aside the expression of His Deity, He never lost the possession of His Deity) full of Grace and Truth (as “flesh,” proclaimed His Humanity, “Grace and Truth” His Deity).
The Blood and Body of Christ
for I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is My Body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in My Blood: this do ye, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of Me (I Cor. 11:23–25).
In brief, this which Paul here gives us is a description of the New Covenant. It is what we refer to as “The Lord’s Supper.”
Within itself, it has no Salvation, as should be obvious; however, that which it represents, the Atoning Work of Christ carried out on the Cross, when coupled with Faith properly registered in Christ, definitely does bring Salvation (Rom. 10:8–9, 13).
There are many who claim that Salvation is in the Resurrection, etc. That is decidedly incorrect. Of course, the Resurrection is of immense significance, but the emphasis must always be placed on the Cross. Every part of the Lord’s Supper directs one to the Cross, and the Cross alone!
The “Body” of Christ, which was prepared especially for Him, was done so for one purpose. The Scripture says, “Wherefore when He (the Lord Jesus Christ) comes into the world (presents Christ coming as the Saviour, Who undertakes in Grace to meet every claim the Throne of God has against penitent sinners), He said (Ps. 40:6), Sacrifice and Offering You would not (refers to the fact that He would pay for sin, but not with animal sacrifices), but a Body have You prepared Me” (God became Man with the full intention that His Perfect Physical Body was to be offered up in Sacrifice on the Cross, which it was; the Cross was ever His destination) (Heb. 10:5).
The “cup” represented His shed Blood, testifying to the fact that the “New Testament” (New Covenant) is in the giving of His Life, which spoke of His shed Blood. His Blood was pure, untainted, unsullied, unspoiled by sin in any way, for He never sinned. Satan had no claim on Him whatsoever; therefore, when He went to the Cross, He did so with a Perfect Body, and He gave that Perfect Body in Sacrifice, and did so by the pouring out of His Blood, which poured out His Life.
Both cases, the broken bread, which symbolized His broken Body, and the shed Blood, which symbolized His poured out Life, are ever to be held in remembrance. That’s the reason that Paul said, “We preach Christ Crucified” (I Cor. 1:23). The Lord’s Supper is a symbolism of the New Covenant, meant to represent that Finished Work, which means that every time we partake of the “Supper,” it is once again to make afresh the great price paid by the Lord Jesus for our Salvation.
The Lord’s Supper, in other words, proclaims the fact that the Cross is the centerpiece, the very foundation, of Salvation.
Swaggart, J. (2005).