The Church Ever Shall Prevail

Paul in listing the persecutions and trials of his mission concluded, “Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily the care of all the churches.”—2 Cor 11:28. These included churches which he had founded. Yet, even to those churches, he had to constantly defend his apostleship.

If there was anyone who had a right to reject the churches, it was Paul. However, he demonstrated a steadfast love for these assemblies. Even reminding the Corinthians, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you: though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”—2 Cor 12:15.

In our times, Christians tend to think of the early church as being a power house and the example or pattern for contemporary churches. Yet, Paul had to address the sin issue with virtually all the churches, including sexual sins and even perversions. The church at Corinth was especially weak and Paul was concerned that when he visited, he would find “envyings, wrath, strife, backbitings, whisperings, swellings and tumults.”—2 Cor 12:20.

It would have been easy for Paul just to have written them off. Instead, he was extremely patient with their failings.

Among the seven churches which the Apostle John founded in Asia Minor, there was also much sin and bad doctrine and false teachers. John wrote calling them to repentance but not without complementing them when he could. He concluded his letter to each church with an appeal “to hold fast and to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” Each church is promised that everyone who overcomes will be rewarded by Christ.

A case could be made that the church is stronger than it was in the time of the Apostles. Yet, it is constantly being criticized by those who have essentially withdrawn from weekly gatherings of God’s people because the church is not living up to the perfection to which God called her.

Let us all encourage the church (ourselves) all the more as we see the Day approaching. It is easy to be critical from without but it is difficult to challenge and build from within. Let us root for the church that the truth would win out in her. We are to be bringing God’s people together, not tearing them apart or withdrawing from them, because they are not living up to our standards.

 

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Gideon’s 300

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As the 300 listened to the Bible Study at Lakewood Church on financial freedom, I was reminded of Gideon’s 300.

The Midianites had been terrorizing Israel for seven years with an army of 135,000. Gideon only had 32,000 men but that was way too many for God. God continually had Gideon cut his army until he only had 300 warriors who lapped, putting their hand to the mouth when drinking from the river. The ones who lapped were always battle ready as opposed to those who stuck their faces in the water.

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I observe Joel closely; he runs a tight ship and watches with an eagle’s eye over his congregation of 52,000 thousand. Those who came to the Bible study were drinking of the water of life from the Bible but they are also people who pray and watch. We must have both to defeat the Midianites of our time.

Gideon’s 300 advanced against the enemy with merely trumpets, pitchers and lamps. But they advanced in faith, not in numbers, but faith in their LORD and their captain, Gideon. When they shouted, “The sword of the Lord and Gideon,” the Midianites fled in fear and started fighting one another.

In the case of the Lakewood’s 300 the cry is, “The Word of the Lord and Joel.” Watch the church possess “new ground” in 2019 with this battle cry.

My thoughts were confirmed by the prostitute giving me the note about another Judge and Deliverer, Ehud.

Joel is God’s man in Texas to MAGA. Joel’s not sitting around waiting to be raptured, nor is he a keyboard warrior criticizing others who do the work of the Lord differently. Daily he faces the enemy appearing to be as harmless as a dove to his detractors, but in reality, he is as wise as a serpent. Men who look upon the outward appearance see only the dove, but God and men who look at the heart see Joel as wise warrior.

A Joel detractor on one of my threads asked me what am I trying to prove in my writings on Joel. I am attempting to get men to see Joel as God sees him, a man whom God is using to revive his generation by giving them a vision to accomplish great exploits for God. Those lapping the water understand. The critics who bow down their knees as they drink fail to recognize Joel as a comrade at arms, who is doing the Lord’s work.

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Did Jesus Ever Fail in His Ministry?

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What did this look like? Did Jesus actually pray for people in Nazareth and nothing happen? Did he make an attempt to do a mighty work and fail, because of the peoples’ unbelief? Or does it mean he knew their hearts and did not even attempt a great miracles except for healing a few sick folks?

The Pulpit Commentary seems to imply the former, “This is a remarkable expression. He could do no mighty work there. The words imply want of power – that in some sense or other he was unable to do it.”

I believe gifts of healing should be active in the church today and elders ought to lay hands on the sick and anoint with oil and pray the prayer of faith. When I pray for miracles or attempt to heal a few sick folks, I don’t get any better results than Jesus had in his hometown. But I don’t get discouraged out of obedience to God I press on and try again in the next town or situation.

A big part of the New Testament records the many miracles and healings which Jesus and the Apostles did. But isn’t it interesting that there is this record when even Jesus did not perform as well as he would have liked?

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Eleazar’s Hand Clave to the Sword

January 4th, on my 76th birthday, I am meditating on David’s mighty men, his army of rebels.

2 Samuel 23:9-10: “Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: 10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.”

The men of Israel were so dismayed by the forces of the Philistines that they retreated. But Eleazar of old heard the call, the same call which I answered 47 years ago, “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?”—Psalm 94:16.

Eleazar stood his ground that notable day with David and the other two men of renowned against the intimidating advancing army of Philistines.

Eleazar cut down the Philistines one by one until there was none left to fight him. Afterward, the other Israelites came back, but only for the plunder. When they found Eleazar, his arm was so exhausted from the battle; the blood on his hand had congealed to his sword and it had to be pried loose. His hand was also likely cramped from holding so tightly to his weapon for so long. Through the heat of the battle, as tired as he was, he was not about to drop his sword.

Since I took up the Sword of the Spirit in 1972, I have never put it down in the midst of the battle. It has become stuck to my hand and I wield it against the multitudes of students daily. I meditate about its truth and teach and proclaim it daily.

Bro. Jed & Co. are going forth to fight the Philistines with the Sword of Truth, knowing that we are not simply battling against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers and the rulers of darkness, which captured our universities generations ago. Victory is ours! Defeat is unthinkable.

Christian warfare is a fight to the finish. David said that the righteous “shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing”–Psalm 92:12–14

With the passing of the years, I am asked ever more frequently, “How much longer are you going to preach? When are you going to retire?”

I reply, “Retirement is not in my plans; I intend on continuing as long as I am able. I want to die standing, wielding my sword.”

We encourage others to join us and we are thankful for those who have partnered with us to keep us supplied on the front-lines of our battle between good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error, God and the devil. We are determined to be successful or die trying. Should we succeed in saving the multitudes, we will probably have hordes of Christians, who will then want to join us to make disciples for their organizations. Our purpose is to raise an army, who will love righteousness and hate iniquity.

Later, Eleazar, as part of the Three, broke through Philistine lines to Bethlehem to get a drink for David from a well near the gate while they were encamped in the Cave of Adullam, but David poured the water out as a drink offering saying, “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?”—2 Samuel 23:17

We don’t need hordes to retake the campuses for Christ; we require a dedicated few, like the Three, who go forth with the water of life in jeopardy of their lives. Join us in prayer, financial support or even actually on the battlefield–if you dare. Join the Church Militant!

Please consider sending a special gift of $76 to The CMUSA in celebration of my 76th birthday.

 

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Lion Hearted Men of God

In my unqualified support of President Trump many unbelievers and even many Christians have claimed I am hypocritical and inconsistent in holding him up as a brother in the Lord, while I daily condemn sin on campus. They just don’t see how Trump can possibly be regarded as a Christian.

I fear that if they were actually well read in evaluating David’s reign as King, they might well question whether David was a true believer. Most Christians are familiar with the Acts 13:22, where God says, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”

However, God’s judgment of David’s character seems inconsistent at times. A less known evaluation of David says, “But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, You have shed blood abundantly, and have made great wars: you shall not build a house unto my name, because you have shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.”—1 Chronicles 22:8

God considered that David had unnecessarily resorted to war, death and destruction in upholding his Kingdom.

In Gary Greenberg’s book, “The Sins of King David,” the author claims, “David was a corrupt and ambitious mercenary who committed treason against Israel by working with its enemies to seize the throne from King Saul; an ambitious and ruthless politician who initiated, sanctioned, or condoned murder and assassination as a way to eliminate political rivals, royal or otherwise; a Philistine vassal who used an army of malcontents to terrorize and conquer the Kingdom of Judah while Saul was still on the throne; a usurper who went to war against Israel after Saul’s death and imposed himself as king over the nation of Israel by military force; a cruel and unjust tyrant who used foreign mercenaries to centralize power under his direct control and who oppressed the people of Israel with high taxes and forced labor; a military imperialist who waged wars of conquest against his neighbors and exposed the peaceful Israelites to military counter-attacks that left many dead, wounded, or widowed.”

David’s many enemies would have agreed with Greenberg. On the other hand, most serious Biblical students would not be as critical of David as Greenberg is. But for those who judge according to outward appearance and do not judge righteously (John 7:24) upon learning more of King David’s monarchy would likely think he is a candidate for Hell. Many contemporary Christians would not accept King David as a man having the Spirit of Christ, if they really knew all the facts. He did not seem to exercise the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount.

On several occasions David turned the other cheek towards Saul, but with other enemies he could be quite vindictive. His many imprecatory prayers in Psalms do not measure up in the judgment of many Christians to loving your enemies or the principles of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Of course, we all know of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah, by sending him to the front lines of the battle to be killed.

Some may be familiar with David pride, which led him to do a census of Israel, which resulted in God bringing terrible judgments on the people of Israel. The Chronicler considers this sin to have been so bad that the devil himself was behind the census.

David was a weak father, who failed to discipline his children, which resulted in the rebellion of his son, Absalom. David had multiple wives, which resulted in much conflict within his family. Yet, even those who are aware of the faults and failures of David and his sins still regard him as a heroic example of the faith as does the N.T. Book of Hebrews.

What are we to make of the evaluation of 1 Kings 15:5? The scripture says, “David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”

Notice there is no mention of David’s adultery nor of him numbering Israel. Could it be said that God had forgotten David’s failures and transgressions because of David’s deep repentance? However, his sin against Uriah was so grievous it was still on God’s mind.

After Jesus had forgiven the woman caught in adultery, he said to the Pharisees, “You judge after the flesh, I judge no man.”—John 8:15. There is too much pharisaical judgment against Trump. The pharisees judged by human standards, they did not look beneath the surface and learn to judge righteously.

David’s transgressions in his personal life, some of which carried over into his public life as is virtually inevitable with Christian rulers such as David and Constantine the Great, may not measure up to what men generally expect out of a Christian in our time, nor does President Trump’s life seem to be on the level of the Sermon on the Mount.

President Trump should be judged by a righteous judgment not by hypocrites with a self-righteous censorial spirit, whose overall lives often do not reach the standard by which they are judging others.

 

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Building the Church

Our host this week is a retired prison administrator, who now teaches a Bible study in prison. His favorite question to his students is, “How many of you were regularly going to church, when you were arrested?” The answer is always the same, without fail, none of them were attending church, when they got into trouble with the law.

Jesus said, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”—Matt 16:18.

Before I founded a church in the late 80’s, I was more of a critic of the church than I am today. Since then, I see myself as a church builder. Not that I am pioneering churches but I want to build the church in the sense of being an encourager instead of a critic. There is an abundance of church critics; criticism tends to develop into censorious spirit, often resulting in becoming a downright opponent of the church.

Jesus came not just to save individuals but to call out a body of believers, the church, which constitutes his Kingdom.

Alas, there are relatively few church builders. Most of the critics don’t seem to have a church home or else they frequently hop from church to church. Some are convinced that the answer is a home church. Home churches soon have the same problems the body of believers which they left had, who were meeting in the building.

The most frequent criticisms of the churches and pastors is that they excuse or overlook sin. Unfortunately, this is often the case. On the other hand, the preachers who teach holiness from the pulpit, still may have sin abounding in their pews. When I was a pastor, I addressed the subject of holiness virtually weekly. Yet, there was still sin in my small congregation, some of which I did not know about until after I closed the church doors.

For 15 years our church muddled through under my leadership; yet, our church was a blessing to my family and me, and I hope to my congregants and to the community in which we ministered.

Shortcomings of the church are easy to see. But despite the faults, I think the churches on the corner remain a great blessing to communities and still have the potential to revive America. The churches remain the strongest barrier against lawlessness.

Often times critics are not really in a position to judge the churches. There is a lot more to a church than the message preached from the pulpit. Churches have discipleship programs and small groups where the sin problem is addressed with perhaps more zeal than in the pulpit. Or perhaps the iniquity is being dealt with in counseling sessions.

Paul in his epistles and John in the Revelation criticized the churches; however, these were churches which they founded. So many of the critics have never pastored nor have they ever pioneered a church, which may be one of the most difficult ministries there is.

Most of the churches in which I have spoken over the years are the store front variety or at least that is where they got their start. Usually, a beginning church or a small church has the same problems as a large church or even a mega-church.

My general rule not to be a critic of the churches but a booster is just that, a general rule. Sometimes criticism is appropriate. Let’s strive to make in constructive and balanced.

 

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Mark Of The Beast

Have you ever heard this? “I don’t interpret the Bible; I just take it for what it says.”

If there is any book in the Bible that needs to be interpreted, it is the Revelation.

The Revelation is a vision. The difference between a dream and a vision is that with a vision one is awake. What if we were to say we don’t interpret dreams? Joseph told his brothers about a dream he had about sheaves; his brothers rightly interpreted the upright sheaf as representing Joseph and the round about sheaves symbolized the brothers doing obeisance to Joseph. They did not argue about whether the sheaves were of wheat or rye or some other grain. Their focus was not on the symbols but what figures meant.

In another dream about the sun, moon and eleven stars, which Joseph told to his family. His father immediately understood that the sun was Jacob, the moon was Joseph’s mother and the stars his brothers, all of whom were bowing to Joseph. Jacob and the brothers did not speak of the brightness of the sun compared to the moon or starts. They did not speculate as to solar-centered universe as opposed to an earth-centered one.

So, should it be with the signs and symbols, which dominate John’s vision in the Revelation. We should not concentrate on the figures of speech more than on the meaning of the figures. For instance, our love is not so much for the American flag but for the independence and liberty for which the flag stands and flies.

In the Revelation, our interest is primarily on the number 666 as it is the degenerate character the mark of the beast represents. We should not spend much time on whether the mark is a microchip in the hand, or whatever other possibility, but the fact that manifesting the character of Satan dooms us to perdition.

Two wise men, Joseph and Daniel, came into prominence by their ability to interpret dreams. We need to be skilled in interpreting the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John, the Apostle, from preterist, historical, futuristic and most of all spiritual perspective. We ought to understand and apply the principles of this mysterious vision into the churches of our generation and to our individual Christian lives, that we might be prepared for the Final Judgment and Reconciliation.

Revelation is a contrast of the vision of the ideal heavenly realm (the New Jerusalem) with the worldly perspective and apparent reality of Babylon.

To learn more tune into my FB live broadcast each Tuesday at 7 AM, E.T. or watch it later via FB or YouTube.

 

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Revelation chapters 16 & 17, “It Is Done!”

In Chapter 16 of Revelation, the great voice out of the temple pronounces, “It is done.” What is done?

For the answer join us for our weekly study on Revelation at 7 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday, July 31, in the Smock living room either in person or via FaceBook live stream. To enjoy Sister Myrna’s famous cinnamon rolls, you will have to be here in person.

How do we reconcile the vials of God’s wrath with his love?
Please consider the main characters in these chapters, The Lamb, the Seven Angels, the Great Whore, the Beast, the Kings and the Faithful.

Keep in mind that numbers in the Bible are keys to understanding the spiritual interpretation of Revelation. The important numbers in this lesson are one (unity), seven (perfection), eight (new beginnings) 10 (completeness). How are these numbers relevant to our understanding of events in these chapters? Who is unified? Who and in what sense is perfected and complete? Who experiences a new beginning?

We are reaching the climax of our study on Revelation. I hope that you all are learning nearly as much as I am gaining from teaching on this mysterious, wondrous historical and prophetic book.

Our study needs to be promoted. I have been buying a $30 weekly ad on FB to promote this study. Two weeks ago, Sam attended in response to the FB ad.

One thing you can do is forward this to family or friends inviting them to attend with perhaps a brief word on how these studies are helpful to you.

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The War Between Good and Evil

Notes on Revelation 12&13:

The essential theme of Revelation is the war of the ages between good and evil. We learn through John’s vision that events of heaven correspond to actions on earth. In Chapters 12 & 13 we receive through terrible images a distinct conception of the powerful foes with whom the Christian has to contend.

Who are the three great enemies of the soul, which we encounter in these two chapters? Answer: the world, the flesh and the devil.

Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (the devil), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh (mark of the beast on right hand representing selfish action) and of the mind (mark on forehead representing thought life); and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

1 John 2:15: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 


1 John 3:8:He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Or the first beast could be the secular world (Babylon, the state) and the second beast the religious world (the Old Jerusalem), which does not keep the commandments of God, and does not have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The second beast may denote the religious world in submission to the godless or idolatrous state.

Who is that woman? Answer: Israel/the Church; Mary/the Church.

What is the mark of the beast? Answer: It is not a literal number on the right hand and forehead of unbelievers and “Christian” compromisers with the world. The mark is the selfish character of fallen man. Men without God are brute beasts, virtual animals having lost the image of God. The number 6 is the number of man, who was created on the Sixth Day. So, 666 signifies fallen man.

There is a war from without (the world and the devil) and there is a battle from within (the flesh, our physical and natural appetites).

These interpretations are according to my humble opinion.

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The Throne Room of God

Popular images reveal Heaven to be a final destination of tranquility and peace, almost a boring place, to where we go when we die, a glorious retirement home far, far away.

John the Revelator had a much different vision of Heaven; he “looked, and, behold, a door was open in Heaven.”—Rev 4:1
John walks us through Heaven’s door by writing of fantastic images, which are far from serene and placid.

The Throne Room of God is a war room, from where the Lamb that was Slain strategizes against the Dragon (the Devil). The City of God, the New Jerusalem, is engaged in a great struggle with the City of Man, Babylon. Angels are battling with demons. Twenty-four elders of the faith are teaming with strange beasts and mighty angels.

The ages old struggle between good and evil is vividly portrayed by John as he reveals from a heavenly perspective the warfare between the Church and the World. Sometimes the Church has the upper hand and other times the World is reigning. John describes the grand struggle from Jesus Death and Resurrection to his glorious and triumphant return–and beyond.

Three times in The Revelation we hear this phrase applied to the Almighty – “Who was, and is, and is to come.” As God is the God of the past, the present and the future, so John describes with vivid symbols mysterious and frightening events that have happened, that are happening and that will happen in Heaven and on Earth over a span of millenniums.

Join us in our study from the Smock living room at 7 AM, June 19, for an unveiling of Heaven. Why wait until death, when John offers us a tour de force of the heavenly kingdom now!

The spiritual realm is all around us. We are encompassed by a great cloud of witness; they are not afar off. This study is an opportunity to have the eyes of your understanding opened.

Paul gives us the key to entering into this open door in Heaven, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”—Col 3:1-2.

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