EVER SINCE WE PRESENTED THE MESSAGE TITLED, “THE BODY OF CHRIST,” ONE PARTICULAR VERSE OF SCRIPTURE IN THE 5TH CHAPTER OF EPHESIANS, HAS STOOD OUT TO ME, AND IT IS CONNECTED TO TWO OTHER VERSES WHICH WE WILL USE ALONG WITH IT, AS A TEXT FOR THIS MESSAGE. VERSE 26, IS THE ONE I AM REFERRING TO; SO I JUST PRAY THAT THE LORD WILL HELP ME PRESENT THIS TO YOU IN A WAY THAT WILL BE SPIRITUALLY PROFITABLE TO EVERY TRUE CHILD OF GOD THAT HEARS IT OR READS IT IN THE CONTENDER. I HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN THAT IT WAS APPLICABLE TO SOMETHING GOD HAD DETERMINED TO DO FOR THE CHURCH, WHICH IS ALSO REFERRED TO AS THE BODY OF CHRIST, TO MAKE IT ACCEPTABLE TO HIM; SO AS I BEGAN TO MEDITATE UPON THIS, AND STUDY THE RELATED SCRIPTURES, A PICTURE BEGAN TO FORM IN MY MIND. WHEN WE WASH OUR BODIES WITH WATER, IT IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF CLEANSING OUR OUTER FLESH; IT IS SPOKEN TO THE SPIRIT MAN THAT ABIDES IN THIS FLESHLY SHELL; AND THESE INDIVIDUALS: BONDED TOGETHER BY A COMMON FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, ARE WHAT MAKES UP THAT ONE GREAT BODY PAUL REFERRED TO AS THE CHURCH; AND HE SAYS THIS BODY IS TO BE SANCTIFIED AND CLEANSED WITH THE WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD; SO WE WANT TO EXAMINE THE WAY THAT IS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED.
I AM TITLING THIS MESSAGE, “GOD IS FILLING THE TUB,” BECAUSE FIRST OF ALL I WANT US TO GET OUR MINDS ON WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH, AND I BELIEVE THIS TITLE WILL ACCOMPLISH THAT PURPOSE. THEN I WANT US TO BE AWARE OF THE FACT THAT THERE IS A LOT MORE INVOLVED IN BEING ACCEPTABLE TO GOD AS A BRIDE FOR HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAN JUST SIMPLY KNOWING JOHN 3:16 AND ROMANS 10:13. IT IS A FACT, THAT WITHOUT KNOWING VERY MUCH SCRIPTURE, A PERSON CAN BE SAVED FROM THE SIN OF UNBELIEF, AND BE SEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST; BUT THEN WHAT? DO YOU THINK GOD REDEEMED YOUR LIFE FROM DESTRUCTION AND ACCEPTED YOU INTO HIS GREAT FAMILY OF REDEEMED CHILDREN, JUST MERELY TO KEEP YOU FROM GOING TO HELL? SOME PEOPLE TALK AS THOUGH THAT IS WHAT THEY BELIEVE: BUT IF I KNOW ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT THE PLAN AND PURPOSE OF GOD: IT IS THAT EVERY TRUE CHILD OF HIS, IS CALLED TO WALK BY HIS WORD, AND ALLOW HIM TO MOLD IN THEM THE VERY IMAGE (SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING) OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON JESUS, THE CHRIST. NATURALLY AS WE JUST LOOK AT THE LETTER OF THE WORD WRITTEN HERE IN THE BIBLE: IT IS HARD TO THINK OF IT AS A CLEANSING AGENT, LIKE WATER, THAT WILL SERVE THE SAME PURPOSE TOWARD THE INNER MAN, THAT WATER DOES ON THIS OUTER SHELL. BUT I BELIEVE WE CAN SEE SOME WHO HAVE NEVER THOUGHT TOO MUCH ABOUT WHAT PAUL WAS ACTUALLY DEALING WITH HERE. A LOT OF THE TIME, WHEN WE READ THE BIBLE, WE SEE ONLY WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR AT THE TIME, AND JUST READ RIGHT PAST THE REAL POINT THAT WAS BEING PRESENTED, SO LET US YIELD OUR MINDS TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD, AND ALLOW HIM TO REVEAL TO US EXACTLY WHAT THE FATHER HAS PREDETERMINED TO DO, IN ORDER TO MAKE US ACCEPTABLE AS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST.
ESSENTIAL CLEANSING AGENT
Open your Bibles to Ephesians 5:24, and we will read three verses, to get the setting. “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, EVEN AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH, and gave Himself for it; THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY and CLEANSE IT (How?) WITH THE WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD.” I have used the tub in my title; knowing that some people refer to a shower stall, rather than a tub; so please understand that we are referring to whatever the water is channeled through, in order to accomplish the cleansing of our bodies. In other words, in order for us to take a bath, the water has to be channeled through something; we do not just merely pour water on the ground, and expect to come out clean because of it. Well neither is the Lord going to come along and do something like that in order to make our inner self clean. If the word is to become a cleansing agent to us: then there has to be an instrument designated (like a tub or shower stall) where we can submit ourselves to that vital cleansing agent. Now please keep in mind, that if the word of God says He will cleanse the Church with the washing of water by the word: then one way or the other, (in His time) He will see that it is done. He will cause certain portions of His word to stand out, to those who are ordained to be cleansed in that way. Therefore think of this for a moment; you do not set a bath tub right out in the middle of your living room floor; you have a certain place designated for that purpose. In the living room we get acquainted with each other, relax and talk, and so forth; but when it comes time for washing ourselves, we must step into a place designated for that purpose. Therefore let me liken this to something that will begin to speak to us. There never could have been a cleansing of the church, as long as we, the individual members of that Church (the BODY of Christ) were scattered throughout denominational religion. Why? We were in the wrong place; the cleansing agent was not present. In the hour when these scriptures were written, the Church of that hour was washed by the application of this word. All of these New Testament scriptures were written in the first century of Christendom; and those to whom they were written, had their lives and attitudes shaped by the application of them. Nevertheless God knew that ever last one of them would go beneath the sod, and that another generation would be faced with the responsibility of upholding the revelation. But on that great resurrection day, saints from every age since then will come out of the ground and stand before the Lord, and they will be looked upon according to the way they handled the revealed word of God in their hour. We are all familiar with the fact that tares got in among the saints and sowed their perverted version of the gospel of Jesus Christ after these first age saints left the scene; so as the Church passed through the Dark Ages, true saints of God lived out their lives upon earth, having very little of the revelation that first age Church had; but God accepted each of them that upheld what He did reveal to them, and when that resurrection trumpet sounds; we will all go up together, to meet the Lord in the air. Hallelujah! God knows how to run His great plan of redemption; and I assure you, He will not measure any Christian of any age against any Christian of any other age. Now some will say, But I thought we were supposed to be restored to the same revelation the first age Christians had. That is true of course, but bride saints of this last age are going to be held accountable for revealed truth that even they, did not have. We have had things revealed to us in these last days; that were not even thought of in Paul’s day. But we are still affected too much, by traditional teachings of the denominational systems we came out of, so we need to be washed by the word of God until we are free from every bit of that; before we can be presented to the Lord Jesus for the marriage supper. There are multitudes of religious people out here in the world today; claiming to be the bride of Christ. But they are unacceptable to God, because they are out of His word. Their religion is founded upon carnal interpretations of the scriptures in the Bible, rather than upon a true revelation of those scriptures. Therefore no matter how many good works they may do: they are still unacceptable to God, because they are rejecting the truth that has been revealed in this age. Some of the people in that category, are people that sat under the ministry of Bro. William Branham, the prophet to this age. They followed him from place to place and talked as though they were receiving everything he taught. But when you look at them today: you have to ask, What good did it do them? They say, We are in the message. But I say, They are in a mess. They know no more about what God is getting ready to do for His Church, than a stray pup out here in the alley eating out of garbage cans. They have taken the word of God that was revealed through the ministry of Bro. William Branham, and turned it into something true saints could not possible feed upon; and yet they accuse people like us of being out of the message. Well I just have to say this. If what they are in today is what they call, “The Message,” then I am thankful to God, to be out of it. God let them push their way in, and He has allowed them to boast of what they saw and heard, and how they rode with the prophet, and all such like; but the end result is all determined by His great mind. We can force ourselves to do a lot of things in this life; and we can claim to be doing them in the name of the Lord; but that does not guarantee that He will accept what we have done. Jesus spoke of this sort of thing in the 7th chapter of Matthew. You can read it if you like; but I will only read the 23rd verse at this time. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” That is what Jesus will say to a lot of people, that to the natural eye, seem to have done so much for the Lord. I cannot help but think of people like this Jim Bakker, you have been hearing so much about on television lately. I do not condemn the poor man; but oh what an image he portrays today. It just shows how Satan will get hold of, and use for his own purposes, every person that is willing to compromise the word of God, in his efforts to become well known. These fellows are all in a race; each one trying to outdo the others, doing something for God, anything that will cause them to be well known to the general public. But the sad thing is, when they fall the whole world knows about it; and it reflects upon all of Christianity. Well God has a little bride, that is being washed by the water of His word in this hour; and by her own decision, she does not even care to be known to the world. Not that she deliberately hide herself, but recognizing that Jesus never sought to make for Himself any reputation: she desires to be like Him; being led of the Spirit to do what she does, and accepting the limitations God puts on her.
When God had a prophet messenger on the scene in this Laodicean Age: he truly followed the example set by Jesus; in that he sought not to make for himself any particular reputation. But for some, he was the very means by how they would ever see Jesus; and I was one of them. I saw and heard the same things a lot of those other people saw and heard, sitting under his ministry; but the results were not the same. What I witnessed, caused me to see the Jesus of the Bible; and it put me back into the word of God. But because their heart’s were not right, others saw Bro. William Branham as God; and they took his words to use as their Bible, and laid their Bible’s aside. Those are of the sort that forced themselves into key positions, thinking that whatever God would do: they could share in the glory. I hope you realize, that there are always a lot of glory seekers present in the ranks of religion. They are always looking for recognition; and you can spot them a mile away. As a matter of fact, a lot of them have come through here; but when they failed to get what they were looking for, they went on their way. They want to come in the door, announce who they are, and have the pulpit turned over to them; but somehow I have never liked hearing anyone blow their own whistle like that. Oh I admit, that in my early years as a pastor, I was subject to give them liberty; but there came a time in my ministry, that I realized this was not the way God wanted me to pastor my church. You have to spend too much time building back up, what men like that can tear down in one sermon. God has His ways of putting a man up; if he is called to be anything to the bride of Christ; but sometimes He requires them just to sit for a while, and learn some patience, before He puts them up. God’s true ministry of this hour, has a vision; not just for a local assembly somewhere; but for the Church universal as a total body. Faith Assembly is not going anywhere until the entire body of Christ is ready to go. Then we will all go together. But before that takes place; and it is up to every individual member of this great body of Christ, to submit themselves to this cleansing process; when they become aware of it. You may think the coming of the Lord for the rapture is a long way off yet; but let me remind you: He may come for you at any moment; and take you by the way of the grave; so do not put off until tomorrow, what you know you should do today. Paul had something in mind when he said the Church would be sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the word; so do not take it lightly; it is applicable for the very hour. Even unregenerate mankind recognizes that present world trends have gone just about as far as they can go without something happening to change the whole thing, or man will destroy himself. Well the children of God know what lies ahead; both for them, and for the world as a whole; and their true desire is to prepare themselves for it, and the only way to do that, is to totally submit to this washing process Paul spoke of here in Ephesians.
GOD’S PREPARED TUB
As we think of being washed, or bathed: we think of a certain place where this is accomplished, naturally speaking. Therefore as we give it a spiritual application, we also must recognize that this washing is not something that is done just any old place. God has a place prepared for every one of us; where this scripture can be fulfilled on our part; to make us ready for the coming of the Lord. Every denomination has a few verses of scripture upon which their doctrine of faith is built; but anything else in the Bible is treated as though it does not exist. As a matter of fact, some of them even become hostile at the very mention of a Bible doctrine they do not embrace. Therefore I ask you, Do you think God can put a tub in a place like that? Absolutely not! It takes the application of every Bible doctrine and every precept to accomplish in us what God is after. Bro. Jackson: Are you saying that Faith Assembly is the only place where a true child of God can be washed by the water of the word of God? No. The word of God itself is the place; and God has many instruments delegated to get his children into it. We can never overlook the fact, that first he sent a prophet messenger to this age; to get us pointed in the right direction. He dealt with every doctrine of the Bible, and showed how every one of them belonged to the true Church. Repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, sanctification: All of these were set in their proper place and order. Then, it was the Holy Spirit speaking to individuals, directing them to the particular place where the water of the word was to be applied for this final preparation, just before the coming of the Lord. Oh yes, there are some who still say, Well I believe we can fellowship with all denominations if we know the truth. But I say, Not if you are interested in being washed by the water of the word of God. This is a process that is being administered over a period of time; and running back out there to fellowship with the denominations, is just like getting out of the tub in the middle of your bath and splashing around in the mud hole: You have to start all over in order to be completely cleansed. I will say this though, There are a lot of people outside of denominations today, simply because they heard a prophet cry out, Come out of those systems; and come back to the word of God! But they are still not all being washed with the water by the word. Instead of coming back to the word of God; they have come to what they call, the message of the prophet. I grant you, there had to be a message in order to get us out of denominations; but just merely coming out of denominations did not accomplish the cleansing Paul spoke of, for we all brought an awful lot of the denominational junk out with us; and that has to be washed away by this water. Bro. Jackson: Are there still some bride saints out there in those denominational systems? I will just say this. Only God knows for sure, who is where; but Jesus is still on the mercy seat; so there has to be someone somewhere; that still needs that intercessory work performed for them, or Revelation 10:1-6, would be fulfilled already; or would be in the process of being fulfilled. God Himself is the one who regulates the various phases of His great redemption program; and you can be sure that He will not overlook anything, or anyone that was foreknown of Him; to be included in what He is doing in the earth. Some of these preachers who have circled the globe with the message of the prophet, have served a twofold purpose. First, they have caused multitudes of people to come to the realization that God is no longer dealing with denominational churches; but only with those individuals in them, who were hungering for something more than they were getting. Then secondly, many of them have presented that prophet in such a way, that it has caused the denominations as a whole to look upon him as a fanatic that established a cult; and they want nothing at all to do with it. That keeps them where they are. They cannot see us as a people going anywhere with God; because even they know, that there was no deity about Bro. William Branham, and they have been led to believe that we all worship him as God. Well as I said, All of that has served it’s purpose; for God never intended for tares to be washed clean by the water of His word; and those true seed of God that were scattered among them, heard enough truth to get them on the road searching for more of the same.
WHY WE NEED CLEANSING
It is very unique, the way the Spirit of God works; to get His true children in the place where they need to be, at the time they need to be there. Also the way a certain portion of His word is constructed and applied to make up the instruments He will use for the washing of the entire body. Now saints I hope all of you realize, that this washing we are talking about, has nothing at all to do with water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. That can separate you from the system of religion you are in, but it is not the final cleansing process; for it does not get the spots, wrinkles and blemishes of that system out of you. This bath we are talking about is for the inner man; that must be cleaned up in order to reflect a true image of Jesus Christ. That is the real you. That inner man is the only thing about any of you, that can ever prove to anyone else that the Spirit of Jesus Christ is in you. The way you comb your hair and dress your physical flesh does not prove that His Spirit abides in you. There are times when a person’s outer appearance testifies to the fact that He is not in them; but it does not prove that He is in them when they present themselves in a proper manner; for that is how Satan deceives people who are not spiritually alert. I intend, by the help of God, to show you why this thing called holiness by the multitudes, is not holiness at all. We will establish that by the very scriptures we intend to use in this message. External holiness is vain, unless it is radiating to the outside from a pure heart within. In other words, true holiness comes from a revelation within; a revelation that has eternal values attached to it. You could not find a greater display of outward holiness than that of the Moslem people; but they will stick a knife in your back at the snap of your fingers, and see nothing wrong with it. That is not the holiness the scriptures speak of. True holiness, (without which no man shall see the Lord. Heb. 12:14) comes forth from the inner man; that is washed clean by the word of God. From the same scriptures that dealt with our hearts concerning our personal experience of salvation, God reveals other things to us that the average “religious person” never sees. These are things He does not want the world playing around with. A son of God can see serpent seed in the scriptures as plain as the nose on his face; but the average religious person of the world will make all manner of fun out of the very mention of such a thing. Why? To them, many of the truths of the word of God present a threat. They have been taught that God loves everyone; and that He is not willing for any to perish. So without a revelation of those scriptures, they just simply take them at face value, and apply them to everyone, regardless of all other related factors. We are not cleansed by knowing all about serpent seed; but a true revelation of it sure lets us see why every one of us needed cleansing. Jesus Himself, was the only person ever born into this world that needed no cleansing. He came forth from the womb of woman just like the rest of us, making Him the seed of the woman according to the scriptures. But His conception in that womb was not accomplished through a sex act between His mother and a man; God created that cell of life in her, and then allowed it to follow the regular course of taking on humanity through the elements supplied by Mary’s own body. That is why he was called the only begotten Son of God; for we know that Adam was a created son, and we are sons and daughters of God by a provision made possible when that sinless, begotten son took our sins upon his own self; and offered His life as an offering to God for them. That gave us the privilege of being born of the Spirit into the family of God; and explains why the Spirit in us is completely contrary to the spirit in these serpent seed out here. Because of that, we can accept truth from God’s word, that just simply puts them in a spin. That antichrist spirit in them fights truth all the way.
THE ONENESS REVELATION
One of the great truths of the Bible that tares fight so hard against, is the true understanding of the Godhead. We have pointed out, in other messages, how certain individuals in what we call Oneness Pentecost, did truly see a picture of God in His oneness, in their day; but for the sake of this message, I want to restate something. The primary purpose of the message of God’s oneness, in the early years of the 20th century: was not really to bring out the oneness of God, but the importance of the name of Jesus Christ in water baptism; as God restored that revelation back to the Church. In order to accomplish that, God gave them a profile of the whole thing. But many of them separated themselves and went astray, because they did not have a complete picture of the Godhead; and because they got their mind on the wrong thing. Ultimately that oneness Pentecostal movement produced some of the most arrogant, hypocritical attitudes that you have ever seen among people professing to be children of God. By the time World War II broke out, oneness Pentecost was filled with divisions, and some of their preachers were guilty of the most crooked political maneuverings you have ever heard of. They became so angry, and so hard in judgment, they could not even like themselves. That is why you have heard me say, When the messenger to the Age came on the scene, he came with a revelation of the Godhead; and the same water baptism they had; but he did not have their spirit. He saw the need to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world; through the same kind of love Jesus had for us, when He willingly went to that old rugged cross, and gave His life for us. I want you to know also that it was not oneness people that first accepted him into their churches; it was trinity Pentecost. At a meeting in Texas, with both trinity and oneness preachers sitting on the platform, Bro. William Branham was asked, Why do you associate with trinity Pentecost? His reply was, The oneness have a revelation that stands out; and they are more spiritual than the trinity; but the trinity people still have more of the love of God in knowing how to look at the world of lost sinners. Why was that so, at that time? Simply because the time had not yet come, for God to start cleansing the Church in the way Paul was speaking of here. The Spirit then, was dealing more with getting the Church separated from denominational systems, and getting Bible doctrines restored to her. Everything God does, has an order to it; He does not jump back and forth from one thing to the other; like men following their own ideas are prone to do. He is getting His Church ready to be raptured out of here; and He will not be a week late, nor one day too early, everything will be right on time.
Regardless of what the Holy Spirit reveals to you: and no matter how beautiful the picture may be, you are not going to convince people of the world, that you are right and they are wrong; so do not argue and debate with them. I received a letter from a man down in Alabama, a few weeks back. He asked that we would send him certain literature, on the Godhead; and he wanted to know if I had ever seen a certain debate on TV between Trinitarian and oneness people? He said he had been watching it; and that he himself leaned more toward the Trinitarian side of the issues discussed. Then he wanted to know why I never refer to Greek and Hebrew, in my teaching? Well I just thought to myself, I do not have time, nor any reason to play around with Greek and Hebrew words. These great theologians do that, because they are experts on words of the Greek and Hebrew languages, and void of a revelation of what they are talking about. You will never make yourself anything in the eyes of God, by being able to quote a lot of Greek and Hebrew words. I do not discredit a man’s ability to compare translations with words that could have been used instead, words that might have been a little easier for people of this hour to understand. All of that, has its place, but you cannot use it as a rule, or a yardstick to determine what truth is. There is no amount of education that can give you a revelation of the word of God. Yet the Holy Ghost can give a true revelation to a child of God who can barely read the Bible at all. Hallelujah! I am so thankful that God does not require us to have a great education; and a lot of titles in front of our name, in order to understand His word. Of the millions who are in traditional error and full of deception themselves, many are experts in the use of Greek and Hebrew words. They can literally sit down, and take the Bible apart word by word, and tell you what each word means in Greek and Hebrew, and so forth; but their lives are as void of the Spirit of God as any unregenerate man walking the streets today. Well I wrote the man and told him that I had not seen the program he mentioned; and the material he requested was sent to him, but I did not feel led to say very much of anything else. A few weeks passed, and there came a little box with a video cassette tape in it. He had sent me a copy of that TV debate. He had also forwarded the material he received from us, on the oneness of God, to the TV station; for this debating preacher to examine; and He said to me, Bro. Jackson: If what you have is truth: the world needs to hear it. He said also, We will just wait for this man to read the material and then see what happens. I just thought to myself, God forbid, that I should ever get on TV, and try to convince anyone with fancy words, when the Spirit of God can impart a true revelation to anyone who will receive it; without all of that. I will not go so far as to say God could never use a thing like that; but I will say this, If He does, it will amount to more than just a carnal debate. There will be some hearts pricked, like it says in Acts 2:37; and there will be some people asking, What can we do? I have never been one, to go out of my way looking for an argument; because in the scriptures, we are warned against such behavior as that. Yet I do realize that there are some people in the world who seem to live for nothing else but to argue and debate; and there are a lot of others, who feel that it is all right to do that. I just leave all of that in the hands of God; knowing that He is well able to deal with every true child of His; when the time is right. Let me say this though, Even though I will run from a planned debate: if those debaters come in here, they will have to listen to me; for I am not without anything to say. But that debating spirit is one that we do not need in us.
A TRUE REVELATION
We have a revelation of the seventieth week of Daniel, and know that it pertains to a full week of years that are yet to be fulfilled; and we know, by the Spirit of revelation, where that prophetic week of years fits into the book of Revelation. But there are multitudes of religious people in the world today, that have no revelation whatsoever of where that week fits into the overall prophetic picture for the last days. Some teach that it is half fulfilled already; with only 3 ½ years left to be fulfilled; and others teach that the full 7 years are taken up, in the time of the great tribulation; so we ought to be very thankful to God; that He has allowed us to see the truth of it. The rapture of the Church is treated the same way. Some are saying, that to believe in a literal rapture of the Church, is to believe false doctrine. Some others, who believe there will be rapture, do not know whether it will be before the great tribulation, or afterwards; simply because they see a white robed multitude in Revelation Chapter 7, and it was said to John, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” I just want to be thankful in my heart, that God has allowed us to understand, that the resurrection of the righteous is in three phases; and that the bride of Jesus Christ comes up in the 2nd phase, which takes place before the great tribulation; and that this multitude seen in Chapter 7, are the Gentile foolish virgins of Matthew 25, and a spiritual element of Jewish people; which are all slaughtered during the time of the great tribulation; because they refuse to renounce their faith in God, and refuse to worship the beast, and would not take his mark. Revelation, Chapter 20, verse 4, confirms who they are, if you care to read it. Those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus Christ, are the Gentile foolish virgins; and those beheaded for the word of God, are the Jewish people that have to face the forces of the antichrist in that hour.
CONFUSION OVER PROPHECY
The Millennium, is another topic of debate in a lot of religious circles today. But we know exactly where it falls into this great lineup of future events; and we know that Jesus Christ Himself will literally sit upon the throne of King David, ruling the nations for one thousand years; and Revelation, Chapter 20, lets us know that resurrected saints from all ages will rule and reign with Him during that time. Oh what a beautiful picture, if you have eyes to see it, and oh how confusing these things are, if all you have is an educated mind. Naturally, not being able to correctly place these other events, the four horsemen of Revelation 6:1-8, are a great mystery to them also. Billy Graham published a book, showing all four of them riding during the time of the great tribulation. But the truth is, They have all ridden already; and the gray horse rider is still riding today. That was a very unique way of showing the spirit of antichrist running parallel to the Spirit of Christ. Jesus is seen in the 19th Chapter of Revelation, riding a white horse; so when this spirit of antichrist first came on the scene as a spirit of deception: what better way could he have been pictured, than on a white horse? Then as that same spirit forced the saints of the living God into martyrdom: it is portrayed as riding a red horse, speaking of the bloodshed because of Satan trying to destroy true Christianity. The black horse rider pictures the spirit of antichrist in the Dark Ages; and the gray horse (pale horse rider) portrays this spirit of deception that is in the world today; fostering this great ecumenical gathering together of denominational religious systems here in the end time. The Bible calls it a pale horse; but actually there is no such thing as a pale horse. This description refers to a horse that is neither white nor black; it is a mixture of both. Making it a gray horse. Why is the antichrist spirit pictured riding a horse that is neither white nor black? It is very simple. Satan has succeeded in taking old Roman Catholicism, with all of her man made creeds and dogmas, and apostate Protestantism, and blending them all together, which in the final analysis will add up to one universal church system; which will blind the entire religious world, and lead them to destruction. No, not the true saints of God; but all the rest. But what I want you to see for sure, is that there are not four different riders, all riding at the same time; but rather, the same rider (the spirit of antichrist) changing horses from time to time, coming through the Church Ages. He will not change again though; he will ride his gray horse right on out to the end; and these great theologians will never know the difference. When I first heard the announcement that Jim Bakker was resigning from the PTL Club, and that Jerry Falwell, a Baptist preacher, was taking his place I said, That lets me know, this ecumenical spirit has grabbed them. Forty years ago, you never would have heard of an Assemblies of God, Pentecostal preacher, turning his church over to a Baptist preacher. Did you ever hear of anything so out of reason, as a fundamental Baptist man being set up in a leadership position over a group of tongue speaking Pentecostals? It is a vain effort of trying to restore an image of leadership to the whole program, that is on the brink of completely falling apart. I could not help but think of what Jesus said about the blind leading the blind, as I listened to Jim Bakker being interviewed the other night, on television. I do not mean to be picking on Jim Bakker; it is just that his name has been so much in the news lately; that it is only natural to use his situation as an example of what Satan is doing in this twentieth century. He is still trying to destroy Christianity; and even though these television ministries are not a true representation of Christianity: what happens to them still reflects back on everything that goes under a Christian name; for those who are so quick to pass judgment, do not know the difference.
BEING WISE AS SERPENTS
What I really want to get across to you, is that having the Holy Ghost, does not give you immunity to the devil’s tricks. It is only when the Holy Ghost is allowed to keep building truth in us; that we are spiritually equipped to recognize the devil’s traps, and avoid them. When Jesus said, Be wise, as serpents, and harmless as doves, He was actually telling His disciples how to avoid being caught in Satan’s traps; and He in no wise meant for us to go around hissing and rattling. The point is, you do not slip up on a snake; they always know when you are around. Therefore if we look at the words of Jesus right, Christians should be wise, like serpents, and never allow the devil to slip up on them. He will always stalk your trail; and the Holy Ghost in you is your enablement to avoid being caught off guard; but not an immunity. You have to allow Him to lead you one hundred percent of the time, in order to enjoy that immunity from Satan’s devises. I am a Christian; and desire more than anything else to please God with my life; and if I even give him half a chance, he will be trying to pull me away from the true revelation of God’s word; or try to get me to compromise a little here and there, to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. Saints, he has so many traps; a person must keep their spiritual guard up every minute. If he cannot get you to do some outright wrong deed, he will then start working on you, trying to get you to feel too proud of yourself, which is something God also hates.
A LOOK AT JESUS’ DISCIPLES
We have to get this tub established, (and we will) but there are a lot of things I feel we should refresh our minds upon, in order to recognize the difference between this washing and the washing that we have already experienced; as the Holy Ghost placed us in the body of Christ. I would like for us to look back through time; back to the time Jesus Christ walked on earth, and take a look at the twelve disciples that followed Him. Of that twelve, one was a devil; but the other eleven were instrumental in changing the course of the world; so I want us to take a look at them; especially the difference in their human makeup. Simon Peter, was a bold impulsive man, quick tempered and ready for a fight; and it seemed like John (the one who later wrote the book of Revelation) was just the opposite, and the others fell in somewhere between; but they everyone went forth, after the day of Pentecost, with the same purpose. Their human nature’s were different from each other; but when it came to fulfilling their part in the redemption plan of God, they were all just alike. I made mention a while back, how that James and John, in seeking a place of recognition, did not even have the nerve to approach Jesus themselves; they sent their mother. Master: When you come into your kingdom, will you grant that one of my boys may sit upon your right, and the other one on your left? Just think for a moment, how carnal that was, and then realize, that from the standpoint of human nature, we are no different. When that mob stood there in the streets of Jerusalem looking up at Pilot, and crying, crucify Him! We were represented among them. When you stop to examine your attitudes and motives in life, surely it is plain to see, that we have all been affected by that same spirit that was in Judas. Where else could some of our human attitudes and deeds have originated? We may not like to admit it; but it is true just the same. That nature was inherited; and that is what the word of God has to work on, in order to mold us into the image of the only begotten Son of God. Well as we look at those disciples, there was John, whom the scripture says, leaned upon the breast of Jesus. When we see something like that today we say, Those guys are gay. But evidently, in those days at least, that was a custom that did not carry such an identity. I have seen similar expressions in Cairo, Egypt; not too many years ago, and I suppose that is what caused me to realize, This is just a social custom in some nations of the world, and it does not mean that those men are gay, like it would if you saw the same thing in America. But the point is John was a quiet, easy going type of person, and Peter was quick tempered and impulsive, and many times said things he shouldn’t have said. Then you have Thomas, a man who would not believe the report of others, until he had seen something himself. We still have Thomas’s today; but I do not unchristianize them, for that merely brings out the weakness of their faith and confidence at that moment. Do not forget that the Lord did a special thing for Thomas’ sake; instead of condemning him; so that alone should prove, that we certainly should not take it upon ourselves to judge everything according to the way it looks to us at a certain moment of time. History tells us that Thomas was martyred for the faith; in the nation of India, so once he became convinced, there was no turning back. But look at Simon Peter: in Matthew 16:16, we see where he had a great revelation of who Jesus was; for when Jesus asked, Whom do you say that I am, Peter replied. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Yet when Jesus was arrested, he denied even knowing Him. Did the Lord remove him from his office, because of that? No. It was to Peter, He said, (after His resurrection) Feed my sheep. In spite of His human weaknesses, Jesus saw something in him that was going to be of benefit later. Who was it, on the day of Pentecost, that preached a sermon and three thousand souls were saved? God created conditions within that mass of people, that made it necessary for someone to explain what was going on; and Peter was the man that did it. When that 120 disciples of Jesus, came out of the upper room speaking in tongues, it caused a lot of commotion in the streets of Jerusalem; and certain of the local Jews began mocking them, and said, These men are full of new wine. It was at that very moment, that Peter started reaching his hand into that bucket of grain and feeding the sheep; which is what Jesus had told him to do.
PUTTING FIRST THINGS FIRST
As we look back at the 21st chapter of John, where Jesus had met his disciples on the seashore, after they had fished all night, He already had a meal prepared for them; and said to them, “Come and dine.” Then when they finished eating Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” Peter did not quite know what to expect; but he answered right back, “Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee,” Jesus said this time, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus asked him again and when he answered, “Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee,” Jesus said this time, “Feed my sheep,” and then repeated the question a third time, until Peter really became grieved with it all and answered back, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee,” and Jesus repeated once again, “Feed my sheep.” Now in Peter’s mind, he no doubt felt that Jesus was giving him a hard job, and he looked over at John and said, “What shall this man do?” Saints: are you seeing anything in this? Forget Peter and John for a minute, and think about Faith Assembly. When you are asked to do something: what difference does it make, what others are doing? When the Lord speaks to your heart about something: do not check around to see what other people are doing; obey Him. Peter might not have liked the answer Jesus gave him; but He said to him, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.” You may not like the way the Lord answers you at times; but He desires to have you put first things first. WE need to follow Him; before we start looking around to see who else is following. I hope I can say this right; so it will not be misunderstood. But Faith Assembly has a responsibility that goes beyond just drifting along through life. We have been raised up, here in the area where this message started, and people look at us, to see how we are exemplifying the truth that was delivered to this age. Do not say within your heart, Let the others see the example; for it is up to every individual; to conduct themselves in a way that would not cause someone else to stumble.
A SOVEREIGN ACT
Some of you may be like a lot of people that are actually our critics. They have the idea, that what we preach here, is not all that important. But I believe God raised up this little church to stand for something; while others who should have been standing for the same thing, were running the roads criticizing us. I have never desired to be the big chief; nor do I expect to receive any special recognition beyond that which the Lord Himself brings about. I do not need it. All I really desire, is to have the perfect will of God in my life; and to see things, and people, as God sees them. I want to help God’s people whenever I can; and I certainly do not want to miss the will and purpose of God; trying to build something for myself. Neither do I want to interfere with what others are doing, if they themselves can do what they are doing, and keep me out of it. But just to show you how things really are, and let you see how God Himself can change them; I want to relate something to you. Over a year and a half ago, I received a letter from a young man in Africa. I did not know him, I had never heard his name. But in the letter, he spoke of how the other element over there had criticized what we publish in the Contender and warned people against reading it. Then he told of one young man which seemed to be very aggressive spiritually, and desired to do something for God: how he got hold of the Contender, and became very much enlightened, and excited about it, until that other element went to work on him. They put so much unbelief in him, that he felt like it was wrong to even read the Contender. This one, who wrote the letter to me, tried at various times, to explain to him what was happening; but the persecution he was getting from the other element kept him from being able to receive what the brother was trying to get him to see. Then one night, God in His mercy, gave the young man a dream. In the dream, he saw himself go to the Post Office: and was given a package, sent from me; and he knew he had not even asked me for anything. (At that time, he had not even communicated with me.) But when he opened the package, it was a new suit of clothes. (In that part of Africa, a new suit of clothes, is like a bank account of a considerable amount.) Naturally when he awakened, and realized that he had received something from me in the dream, that he had not asked for, he was puzzled by the whole thing. Then, he told the other brother about the dream, and he immediately said to him, Don’t you realize what it is? It is God’s way, through Bro. Jackson, of giving you a revelation that will robe your soul. Well that sovereign act on the part of God Himself, caused the young man to start reading the Contender again; and as he studied the messages, he began to understand what those other characters had been doing. So with great joy and excitement, he sat down and wrote to me, relating the whole matter. Now I do not know how something like this will affect you who sit here all the time and accept this truth that is preached here; but this thrills my soul; just to know that God has a way of dealing with every predestined soul, to get them in the truth of His word, and free from denominational bondage. Hallelujah! Do not ever allow yourself to think that God’s hands are tied. Not one predestined soul will perish. Therefore whether you believe this church is of any importance or not, God is using it to get His message of truth into various parts of the world where souls are hungry; and there is no other source where they can receive truth. The denominational churches have missionaries in all parts of the world, and they know the scriptures; so that they can quote much of the Bible from memory; but they have no revelation of what it means. They have John 3:16; and certainly that comes first; but for a predestined son and daughter of God, that is just the starting place; for God is not saving us, just to keep us from going to hell. There is a life of exampleship to be lived, a message of truth to uphold, and a communion with the Father, that one can only have, after they receive a true revelation of the Godhead; and of His plan and purpose in redemption. Denominational people realize of course, that there is to be some kind of perfection; for they can read that, right in the Bible; but most of them are expecting it to come through some great celebrity; bishop So and So, or cardinal So and So, who has received the Holy Ghost and now speaks in tongues. They have been taught that way; and they will believe like that all their lives, except for certain one’s here and there, who were foreknown of the Father: these will receive a revelation and separate themselves from those systems. These are the ones that will be getting into God’s tub to be cleansed, just like all the rest of us who have been called out of that mess of religious confusion.
DIFFERENT STAGES OF CLEANSING
Once you understand what God is after; you begin to look at things differently. You will no longer come to church just merely out of habit. You will start looking at it from the standpoint: I am here to take a bath. This tub, in reality, gives us a further revelation, and deeper depths in our total commitment to God. We do not come together to pin achievement stars on each other; nor to wave flags and boast of what we have, nor to shove one another aside, and try to take their place; we are here by the grace and mercy of God, to yield ourselves to His total plan and purpose for our lives. There are a lot of people running the roads today; claiming to be in this message of truth; but conducting themselves more like these presidential candidates that are out here trying to get people to line up with them. These kind, are always looking for someone who will agree with them, instead of people who will agree with the word of God. Well it is sad to say; but this kind will never be washed by the word. Saints: I hope you all understand, I am not preaching this to hurt anyone; nor to try to win any special favor for myself. But if I ever saw in my heart anything that every true child of God must do, it is this, and I put myself at the top of the list; knowing that every last one of us require the same kind of cleansing. Therefore having this call of God upon my life; no matter how small or insignificant you may feel yourself to be, if you consider yourself to be a Christian, I am going to do everything God shows me to do, to help you get in this tub. God will supply all the necessary elements to accomplish this cleansing; but it is up to every individual member of the body of Christ, to submit themselves to it. You must come to the designated place, and get in the water. This type of illustration is more of an open situation; like a public bath house. I will use an illustration, that many of you can identify with personally; and that all the rest of you can easily understand. When I was drafted into the Army, during the World War 2 period, my bath procedures changed drastically. Instead of taking a bath privately, in an old number 3 galvanized wash tub, I had to walk into a great big shower room, where there were many shower heads lined up down the wall, strip off naked and take a shower, right in front of a lot of other men. I’ll tell you brothers and sisters, it is a very humiliating experience; but you have to do it, or some others will be designated to strip you down, and scrub you; and when they do it like that, it is never a pleasant experience. Not only are you scrubbed hard, but everyone else knows about it. IN other words, you either take a shower every day, or someone will make you wish you had; for that was a requirement for everyone; and that is exactly how God looks upon this bath, by the washing of His word. If you are a true child of His, and you will not submit yourself willingly when the tub is full: He will use whatever means necessary, to get you into His tub. As I said earlier, This washing is for your inner man, that has not yet learned how to submit totally to him. In the Army, they would scrub you with steel wool, a corn cob, sand paper, or whatever they could get hold of; but I sincerely hope none of us will force the Lord to use such drastic means on us. You may say, why do I need to be washed, I haven’t done anything? But you cannot be in this old world, without getting a little dirt on you once in a while, spiritually speaking. It is all characterized in what the Lord Jesus did at the Passover supper, when he washed His disciples’ feet. Remember how Peter reacted to the idea of his Lord washing his feet? “Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Thou shalt never wash my feet.” That was his way of saying, I am not worthy to have you wash my feet. But what did Jesus say to him? “If I wash thee not, thou has no part with me.” Then Peter’s response was altogether different. In essence, he said, Lord, I just didn’t realize that it was all that necessary. Then he said, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” When he realized that what Jesus was doing really did have significance, he wanted the full benefit; but Jesus said to him, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet but is clean every whit: and ye are clean.” That is clarified in John 15:3, where Jesus said to them, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” We are clean, as far as our faith in the Lord is concerned; and clean because we have received a revelation of the true doctrines of the word of God; but there are still things in our inner make up, that the word of God has not fully penetrated up to this point; and that is what He is after, in this final cleansing process. In other words, We are either going to make it according to the will of the Lord; or He is going to boot us out; for He cannot allow us to choose our own way, when it comes to obeying His word. That brings me to re-state this, There will not be any tares getting into this water; it is strictly for the true children of God. Even they, will not all jump in at first; but their time will come. Just for a little illustration in the natural, I will relate a condition in our own home. You know how some children are, when it comes time for a bath, and head washing; they act like they are scared to death of the water. When our children were small, we had one daughter that would run and hide, when it came time to take a bath. I don’t know exactly why; but a lot of the children of God act the same way, at times. But there came the day with our daughter that this thing was all over. She came walking up to my wife and said, Mommy, I am not going to be like that any more; and she never was. God will bring each of us to such a place concerning His word, before we get out of here in the rapture. Some will be anxious to jump in the tub while others are reluctant; but one thing is sure: there will be no exceptions; we will all be cleansed the same way.
WORLDLY FAME – THEN DISASTER
The tub is being filled, to accomplish in the purpose of God what Paul spoke of, in Ephesians 5:24-26. We have looked at the various conditions that make this bath necessary; and we understand, that in order to take such a bath, there has to be certain instruments in the picture, the tub, the water, the place, and so forth, and we see from the very life of Jesus Himself, the necessity of being tested and proved. Afer He was baptized in water, and the great eternal Spirit took up His abode in Him: the scripture says, He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness; to be tempted of the devil. That is where His great consecration to the will of the Father was finalized; for the devil offered Him everything the world has to offer anyone, if He would just simply agree to his terms. But reminding the devil of what is written in the scriptures, Jesus rejected every temptation, and proved once and for all, that He wanted nothing this world has to offer; but only the perfect will of the Father at all times. Big evangelists of our day, have been offered the same things Jesus was offered; and they fell for it, and are on their road to disaster. As a matter of fact, disaster is already overtaking them; because they chose fame and fortune, instead of the perfect will of God. I am not saying that their great programs never accomplished anything for God; I am only pointing to the fact that the men themselves have missed God; and what little has been accomplished through their great programs, could have been accomplished by a lot smaller means. Jesus had no special agent to set up meetings for him; and no million dollar buildings to preach in; yet what He had to say, has touched lives around this old world ever since; because what He said, and what He did, was all by the leadership of the great eternal Spirit, the Creator of heaven and earth and all things therein. Whatever God directs, will always accomplish His purpose; so when He directs us, by His Spirit, to get into the tub, for our final cleansing; we will be washed clean, and made ready for the coming of the Lord, when we willingly do so.
Now before we actually deal with what the water consists of in this illustration, let us take a look at the hand that will do the scrubbing. The hand in this case, speaks of the fivefold ministry in the Church of the living God. We do not find the word fivefold, in the Bible itself; that is terminology used to describe the five offices set forth in the scriptures, for the perfecting of the body. These are God called men from over the face of this entire globe, that God directs by His Spirit, to minister to His Church; which is called the body of Christ. I can assure you also, that Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson and these other great men with such world recognition, are not among that fivefold ministry. They speak as though they are; but they refuse to adhere to the doctrines and principles set forth in the scriptures; and run their programs according to what their supporters expect, instead. Brothers and Sisters: This washing and dressing that gets us ready to meet the Lord, will be done in such a simple way, the world church will not even know it is taking place. While they are looking for some great thing to take place: the true people of God will be moving right into place, according to the perfect plan of the Father. But for a thorough washing of the body, a hand is needed; and we need to take a look at that hand. Some hands are not very pretty to look at; but no matter how rough, and crude looking they are: to the body they belong to, they do the job. It is the fingers and thumb on that hand, that really fill in the details for this comparison though, for each one of them has a certain function that they perform for the body. The thumb sort of sticks out there by itself; but actually it works in harmony with each of the four fingers. It is the thumb, that actually locks everything in the grip of the fingers. It is also the thumb, that controls the object of whatever the hand lifts up. Once that thumb locks an object in, you can do just about anything you desire to do with it; but the thumb alone, without the fingers, is not nearly so useful to the body. It takes the five working together, for the most effective benefit to the body. Your index finger is a pointing finger. If someone asks you for directions: that index finger is the one that automatically points the way. But the middle finger, the one that sticks out the farthest, has a nerve in it, that runs right to the brain, and is uniquely called the balance finger. It is very sensitive to the equalizing of things. Close your eyes and walk toward a wall, and see which finger gives you the first warning of what is ahead. Then we look at the last two together, the ring finger and the little finger. These two fingers work together, have the touch of tenderness, as you take hold of a little baby, it will immediately start crying, simply because they do not realize the importance of that tender touch. Little children, and especially babies, are very sensitive to the touch of your hand; and it is those last two fingers on your hand, that really make the difference. But having said this much, I will say no more. For if I tried to tell you which one is an apostle, which is a prophet, which is an evangelist, and so forth: some would take it and go the wrong way with it. People are so technical about these things; and yet so careless, when it comes to the overall picture. They will lay hold on a man, and make him anything that suits their purpose; but the very moment he goes a little contrary to something they are expecting: they will run him out of town on a rail. People like that will never know for sure who is God sent, and who is not; but the little bride of Christ will, because there is something in her to bear witness to the true ministry sent of God. But remember, It takes the full hand, to properly bathe the body; so from the spiritual standpoint, just be sure you do not get your eyes upon any one man; and refuse to take anything from anyone else, or you will never be washed clean. For instance, your thumb will not go in your ear; but neither can you grip a wash cloth very well without the use of the thumb.
THE WATER TEMPERATURE
Let us begin now, to look at the water of this illustration. This water will not affect your physical body; it is strictly for the cleansing of your inner self. Oh there are certain things that will no doubt be reflected by the outer shell; but the cleansing is for the inner man; that is to be molded into the very image of Jesus Christ. Well before you get into a tub of natural water, you test the temperature. Some people like the water a little hotter than others; so they do not get into the tub until the temperature is right. But remember, God is not going to force you to get into the water. That is something we do willingly because we desire to be clean. If God has to use persuasion, or force in any way, it will be for the purpose of waking us up to our need of this cleansing, instead of actually forcing us into the tub. I hope you c an see the difference. There is a definite difference between forcing someone to do something against their will, and actually creating conditions in their lives that turns their thinking around and makes them willing to do it. But do not be mislead by those who are just putting on a show of righteousness; for Jesus Himself said, Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father. We have slept, in our walk with the Lord; and our garments have become wrinkled and blemished; so whatever this washing process is to do for us, it is to the inner man, that it will be done; for that is where our robe of righteousness is worn, and that robe must be acceptable to Him; for us to be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. In Revelation 19:7, we find these words, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath MADE HERSELF ready.” To the natural mind, all of this may sound very confusing, talking about washing the body, getting spots, wrinkles and blemishes out of our robes of righteousness, and dressing ourselves properly. But the person with a spiritual mind, knows every bit of this terminology applies to the application of the revealed word of God to our lives. In its various phases, it picks us up out of the filth of this world, cleanses us from unbelief, fills us with the Holy Spirit, reveals the overall plan and purpose of God to us, cleans up our attitudes and motives, and robes us with a garment of righteousness, that makes us just like Jesus. But this is not done in a day’s time; it is accomplished over a period of time; and our progress depends upon many factors. Some have more opportunities than others; and some yield themselves to the leadership of the Spirit more readily than others, but by the time Jesus appears for the rapture, all of God’s true living bride saints, will be ready to arise and meet Him in the air. Therefore no matter what examples are used, and no matter what the terminology may be: the word of God is designated to accomplish every needed thing, and the more we yield to Him, the faster we grow. It is just that simple. God furnishes the means, and we furnish ourselves, and in the end, He gets what He is after.
ALL SHOULD SPEAK THE SAME THING
Let us go to 1st Corinthians now, to see how this water is going to affect us. We will begin in verse 10, of Chapter 1. This is where we begin to check the temperature of the water. Now you may say, Bro. Jackson: How can you get that, out of this scripture? Well let us just begin reading, and see. Remember, Paul was dealing with that generation of what we call, the Apostolic Church. They had no tares, nor foolish virgins in the picture at that time; so from the time they surrendered their hearts to God, they were brought into a relationship where the word of God began to accomplish in their lives, His purpose of purification and true cleansing. Naturally the end results were not in the picture at that time, because it had to be applied to the Church, over centuries of time. But Paul said this, “Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” There are a number of points to be brought out; from just that one verse. First, he knows they are brethren; for there were no tares in the picture at that time. Then we not that he is not just giving his own opinion; for he said he was speaking by the authority of Jesus Christ who is the head of the body. Then they were admonished to all speak the same thing. Well there is only one way to do that. In order for all to speak the same thing: everyone has to be getting what they speak, from the same source; and that source would have to be the head. Some will always say, or at least think, Is that possible? Well brothers and sisters, the hour is coming, when we will all speak the same thing; or we will not all go to the same place. I say that, with love and respect for every true child of God, regardless of what your stage of statural growth may be. If Jesus loved you enough to purchase you with His own blood: it behooves me to look upon you as one redeemed by the same blood that redeemed me. Think of Jesus Himself, as he hung there on that old cross, with that angry mob ridiculing Him. He said, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. The kind of love He displayed there, is what the Father has purposed to perfect in every true child of His that is still alive, waiting for the rapture to take place. Well when Paul wrote this, there was no such thing as a denomination, so it had to be because of some condition that had arisen in the Church, among the Christian people. In other words, among those whom Paul looked upon as children of God. It was not denominational differences, like we have all be subjected to; it was just a difference in the way they looked upon the ministry of that hour, and what they meant to them personally. Any time we are left to make decisions, based upon our natural eyesight, and our natural hearing, we will not see and hear as God sees and hears. Therefore if we are admonished in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to all speak the same thing: that means God has obligated Himself to make the truth available to each one of us. In other words, it is possible for each one of us to receive from the head. Yes, legally we all have the same head; but in reality you would never know it, because we are so busy with our thoughts; His thoughts do not flow down to us. The communication line is cut off. In order to have the mind of Christ, we have to be emptied of self. That applies to every area of life.
PROBLEMS AT CORINTH
Now saints, we might look upon this problem in the Corinthian Church, and consider it a simple one; but remember this, That was the beginning of what eventually became the spirit of denominationalism. It all started in personal feelings as to who meant the most to who; but look what that spirit has produced during the 1900 years since Paul dealt with this problem. Let us read a little more; and you will see what I mean. Verse 11, “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.” That does not mean that the family of Chloe were a bunch of tattlers. They just simply recognized a condition in the Church, that they did not know how to handle; so they wrote to Paul about it. What was the problem? Let us see what Paul had to say about it. “Now this I say, that everyone of you saith, I am of Paul; (In other words, I believe like Paul) and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” Any time a congregation of people, no matter how large, or how small it may be, begin to have personal feelings as to the importance of men in the ministry; there will sooner or later, be divisions as a result of it. Some have personal feelings as to the importance of men in the ministry: there will sooner or later, be divisions as a result of it. Some have personal friends in the ministry, and they feel that this should make a difference. Others feel that because they were saved under the ministry of a certain man, that should make a difference, and all such as this; when actually every true minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, has the same purpose at heart; which is to give Jesus the preeminence in all things. It is so easy to take sides in this sort of thing, if we do not talk to the head about the situation, as soon as we hear about it. I do not mean to belittle anyone that has ever been guilty of conduct such as this; for at one time or other, we all have. But the way is made, for every true child of God to be led by the Spirit; and those who have learned to follow His leading, are free from this sort of problem. Coming out of the Dark Ages though, the Church became scattered around among many different denominations so that God could only deal with individuals on the basis of their own personal walk with Him. Perfection of the Church, was not even in the picture during those years. Many of those old saints lived lives so dedicated to Christ, that they saw themselves in those scriptures, and would not get involved in situations that would arise. These would live their lives, die and go into the grave with that kind of dedication; while others who would not take their advice, would fight and fuss, and verbally whip each other all over the place; and finally, some would leave, and go build another church. There was no law against that; but the point is, That kind of spirit can never perfect the Church.
DIFFERENCES OVER BAPTISM
As Paul responded to the information that had been presented to him by the house of Chloe, he did not hesitate to mention the name of the family that had cared enough about what was going on, to write to him about it. He said, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; (Peter) and I of Christ. (They had their eyes upon the one that God had used to lead them to Christ, rather than upon Christ Himself; so Paul said this.) Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (It is not a matter of how baptized you; for we are all ministers of Jesus Christ, and whatever we do, should point you to Him.) I think God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; (says Paul) Lest any (of you) should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides (them) I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” Of course, people who try to prove that baptism is not important, always jump on that; not really caring what Paul was actually dealing with. He knew the virtue did not lay in who did the baptizing; so I am sure he let his co-workers in the gospel of Christ do most of that, as they went from place to place. But do not ever try to prove that Paul did not care whether new converts were baptized or not; or you will have to skip over Acts 19:1-5, where He questioned some men about their baptism; and they were re-baptized. If I did not have anything else to look at. I would still have to say, Baptism is important, when I read the 19th chapter of Acts; and if you are honest, you will too. If Paul had been like some of these modern preachers of our day: he would have said, Oh well, it doesn’t matter whether you are baptized or not, just as long as you believe in Jesus. But to me, what he did there emphasizes the importance of being baptized; and of being baptized correctly; but does not put any importance upon who does the baptizing. He knew, when he wrote to that Corinthian Assembly, that as long as they were placing importance upon whose ministry they came in under: they would never gain any favor with God. A congregation will never move on with God; as long as they have that kind of bickering in their midst. But for them to all speak the same thing, like he admonished them to do, they all had to start talking to the head; (Jesus Christ) and then let the head talk to them. As children of God, if we have not heard from the head, we ought to just keep our mouth’s shut. For you can be sure, that when we start speaking things that do not come from the head, the devil will find a way to use it; to stir up trouble. What people say many times, is just their own natural ideas about certain things, and not really meant to cause any trouble; but it turns out that if they are too stubborn to admit it, when they are wrong, the devil is always there to take over. He enlarges on it; and sees to it, that others get in on it. But just as Paul asked that Corinthian Church, Is Christ divided? Sometimes people conduct themselves as though they think there are all different kinds of Christians. (I am talking about people who are supposed to know the truth.) But if you had lived in that apostolic hour of time, you would have known for sure, that to be a Christian, was to believe the gospel as it was preached by those who had walked with Jesus: for there were no private interpretations for select groups. What was preached mean the same thing to all who believed it; or they had to be straightened out, just like these did. That is the very reason why I seldom ever baptize anyone; because the virtue does not lay in the man who baptizes; but rather in the obedience on the part of the one being baptized. When a believer presents himself, or herself for scriptural baptism, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; then the benefit Peter spoke of, in Acts 2:38, is received, no matter who does the baptizing. Naturally that rests within the scope of the true believers. You would not go to a trinity preacher, to get baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; for they believe baptism is just for a testimony to the world, of the faith you have in Jesus Christ. I have never yet figured out, who they think the old Ethiopian eunuch Phillip baptized, was testifying to. Nevertheless when Phillip preached the gospel to him, he was ready to get baptized, just as soon as they came upon a hole of water. That one event in itself, ought to tell people something, if they had eyes to see truth. In the case of these Corinthian believers: it seems that they had just let themselves drift into carnal arguments, conducting themselves like little children who argue among themselves. Anytime you find people placing special emphasis on who baptized them, or on the place WHERE they were baptized (like maybe the Jordan river) you can know for sure, that they are people who need to grow up. You could know all about serpent seed, the godhead, eternal security, and all of those doctrinal points; but if you allow the devil to play with your mind and fill it with little personality traits, you are not going to grow another inch; spiritually speaking, until you get straightened out. I will not take away your experience of justification; but I will tell you this; God did not save your soul, to have you act like that. If you are guilty: go to your brother or sister whichever the case may be, and say, I am sorry I argued with you about whatever it was, and ask each other’s forgiveness. That is the only way you are going to get back on the right track with the Lord, and start growing again. Furthermore if you are truly a child of God, He is only going to let you get by with those little carnal disagreements, just so long, and then He will let the devil shoot an arrow through you, that will create such a hurt in you that you will never get over it. Naturally this is just my way of trying to impress upon you, the fact that it is possible to allow yourself to drift to a place, that even though God forgives you when you repent, you never fully recover from the hurt that you have experienced. Many times Christian people are guilty of conduct and attitudes that create a sickening affect within the body of people they assemble with, rather than helping that body to cast a greater light, and reflect a greater image of the one who died for us on Calvary. Denominational people have always fussed and argued among themselves; but the true body of Christ has no place for that kind of carnality. That is why we need to get into this tub we have been talking about.
A FRESH VISION
I hope all of you remember what I said, before I started reminding you of these various carnal actions and attitudes of some Christian people. I said, We will test the water, to see if the temperature is right, and see if we are ready to get into the tub. Some of you may say, What is he talking about? But if the Spirit of God ever deals with you, like He did with me, a week ago Thursday night: you would not have to ask such a question. All week long I had thought, Lord what am I going to preach on, this weekend? I had these other brethren preach Sunday night, and Thursday night, and I went to bed Thursday night, with my mind in a normal trend of thinking. But when I awakened Friday morning: it was just like my mind had been dealt with all night long. It was as though my thoughts were being pulled out of a memory bank, and projecting a picture before me, using these scriptures that I am dealing with. They just came to me one right after the other, a constant flow. I could begin to see an altogether different way of looking at people, and of dealing with them. But let me say this also, My words may sound stern, and some of you may think I am mad at you, and that I am picking on you. I am not picking on anyone, and I am not trying to be hurtful; but at the same time I know that I cannot take back what I say; it is to accomplish a purpose of God. If you think none of this applies to you: then just be patient; your time will come; for you are not out of here yet. God still has some work to do on you, before the rapture takes place; if you are a child of His. I have had a week to think this over, and the picture has stayed right there before me; so I have no doubt that God wants it dealt with. Therefore I will ask you to go with me into the 3rd chapter of 1st Peter, at this time. By the help of God: we are going to see, that without using the same words, Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude, all dealt with the same thing, in the lives of the Christians of their day. But even though they did not use the same words, (In other words, they did not quote each other) what they wrote, was to accomplish the same purpose. Our very human makeup constantly rebels against God; so we have to be taught to bring this old human nature under subjection to the Spirit we now have within us, in order to be molded into a vessel that can fulfill the purpose of God. Peter has been talking about husbands and wives, building up to a spiritual picture that is to be applied, so let us begin reading in verse 8, and realize that he is definitely writing to believers who have all been redeemed by the same shed blood of Jesus Christ; and all baptized into one body by the same Spirit, according to what Paul said, in 1st Corinthians 12:13. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, (He is not saying one thing different than what Paul said; he is just using his own words.) Love as brethren, be pitiful, (The word pitiful, means compassion in this sense. In other words, be full of compassion, one for another.) Be courteous.” To be courteous in the sense of this usage, is to have a generous expression of greeting and respect for each other, no matter what the circumstances may be. That cannot be applied to tares of course; but people who are all true children of God will eventually have to come to such a place. Naturally God Himself is the only one that knows for sure who is a tare, and who is a son or daughter of His; therefore as we apply these scriptures to our own lives, we will be treating tares as though they are true children of God, as long as they are able to sit among us. But when these true Christian virtues are really being applied in an assembly, tares do not feel the liberty to attend and participate, like they do when the real children of God conduct themselves more like they do. IN other words, we are going to have to yield ourselves more to the Spirit of God; and allow Him to cultivate in us, His attributes; before we can see tares as God Himself sees them. Paul, Peter, and those leaders in the Church of the 1st century, recognized that tare spirit, as it came down the road trying to get into the Church; and that caused them to write to the various assemblies; warning them of such. You can read 2nd Thessalonians, Chapter 2, and see what Paul wrote to them; and in the 2nd Chapter of 2nd Peter, You see what Peter had to say about false teachers, and so forth. Then in the 1st Epistle of John Chapter 2, he speaks of the same thing, and then says. “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” He said, “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is OF THE TRUTH.” He has quite a bit to say about antichrists, but you can read it later, if you wish. James likewise admonished those who are sanctified by the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, to earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints; because there are certain men ordained to condemnation themselves, who will take the truth and pervert it, and so forth. So the point is, God is not trying to force us to agree with tares: but rather to conduct ourselves like children of God ought to, rather than act like the tares that sit among us, even if they do reap some benefit from it all. God is not even trying to change the tares; it is you and me, that He is after. He will never get any of them in this tub we are looking at here; but a lot of them have followed the saints to the place where the tub is. God will deal specifically with each child of His, until the inner man is completely dedicated and consecrated to the point where we can see as Jesus saw. NO ROOM FOR SELFISHNESS
As we continue on with what Peter wrote, I will say this, We can never be of the same mind; as long as we have selfish, personal feelings about how the body of Christ is to function. Nor if we have selfish ambitions, or jealous motives. Your hand is not jealous of your head. If you bump the thing on something and a big knot raises up on it: what is the first thing that happens? Your hand automatically rubs it; in an effort to comfort it; and that is the way we should be, as members of this body of Christ. We rub each other many times, but I am afraid it is for the wrong reason too much of the time; rubbing each other the wrong way, as the saying goes. When we all begin to be of the same mind, like the scripture tells us we should be, we will all flow with the Spirit in the same direction. If you want a good look at just the opposite of that, look at Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jerry Falwell. They all read the same Bible we read. They all claim to be Christians; called of God to lead His people. Yet when you look at them, you see five different heads, going five different ways. They are not of the same mind; and never can be; so do not look at them for what you need; look to Jesus, the true author of all these scriptures we are looking at. As I said earlier, none of us are immune to the devil’s tricks so unless we hide ourselves in Jesus Christ, and let Him robe us with His righteousness: we are headed for trouble. Time is too short, for God to allow us to keep putting off, what we know we should do. He will just simply turn hell loose against us, until we surrender up, and give Him what He is after. He will not allow us to hide behind the name of Jesus forever, while we run the road of life greedily seeking popularity and recognition for selfish, personal gain. If I am supposed to be anything: I do not try to outsmart someone else. God Himself puts up those who are supposed to be up; and He will eventually put down all the rest, but He will first let them manifest what they truly have in them; so that those who are spiritual, may know what is happening.
BE A BLESSING
Verse 9, here in 1st Peter, chapter 3, is what really begins to speak to us. It is sometimes hard for us to see ourselves as we really are; unless someone actually forces us to look into a mirror. Well that is what this is; a mirror that lets us take a good look at ourselves in the light of reality. Continuing on from verse 8, Peter says, “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” The word railing, speaks of accusing and condemning statements made when people are disagreeing with each other. Peter says it should be just the opposite (contrariwise) of that; we should be looking for ways to be a blessing to each other, knowing that we are all called of God, to inherit a blessing. How many times have we just read right over those verses, without even realizing that they were written for the purpose of helping us in our spiritual walk with the Lord, and with each other? Our old flesh is capable of doing things at times, when under pressure, that we as children of God would not do. That is another reason why we need washing with the water of God’s word. Whatever there is a need for: God makes it available to us. We speak of divine healing; and we realize that it is an act of God’s mercy; but it can only be recognized in situations where it is needed. If there is no need for healing: healing is not on our minds. (I am just using this to make a point.) But if we have a loved one lying at the point of death, and medical science has exhausted their resources, and said that there is nothing more that they can do: then everything rests completely in the hands of God. If there is a change, and the person recovers, we understand that they have been touched by the invisible hand of the Almighty Creator Himself. Some of the old time doctors of years past, would say to you, His condition is beyond my ability to deal with; it is now up to a higher power. But the point I am making, is that there was a need for that healing touch; and God was glorified in it. Well in some ways, the way we look at it, we would have to say, the body of Christ is sick. Some of it’s problems seem to be beyond our human comprehension. We see no way that God could ever be glorified through it. But the truth is, Jesus Christ hung there on an old cross almost two thousand years ago, suffering shame and agony His precious blood spilled upon the ground, to redeem us back to God. Therefore we need to look upon each other as children of God; and regardless of how hopeless it looks: know that God is able to heal whatever is sick, and wash whatever is dirty, and in the end, have a glorious Church, without spot, wrinkle, or blemish; that Jesus Christ can present to Himself, to sit with Him, and rule with Him for a thousand years. Only when we humble ourselves and yield to the leadership of the Spirit, can we see each other as God sees us. We see all the faults and failures of one another, and many times, instead of trying to help one another, we push each other down. Brothers and Sisters: Paul compared these individual members of the body of Christ, to the individual members of our own human bodies, to show how we need to help each other, in order for the body to function properly. I cannot put any of you into heaven; and I cannot take any of you out of heaven; so if I cannot help you along the way: I at least, ought not hinder you. But the truth is, If I just stand back, and fail to get into this tub where God can wash me: I will hinder you; because I will not be able to deal with problems of life in a spiritual way. Our thoughts are not God’s thoughts; unless we are led of the Spirit. That is why the world is full of preachers today who can quote the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and still not be true mouth pieces for God. They look at everything through their natural understanding, instead of letting the head (Jesus Christ) do their thinking. When God takes the truth recorded on those pages, and puts it in your heart: you d o not have to memorize the verses word for word; it is a picture stamped upon your heart, that Satan cannot take away from you. Thousands can rise against it; but the truth you hold by revelation cannot be shaken. That is what God is after; a people that will not let every little carnal thing that comes along, shake them, and cause them to abuse each other.
DEAD AT LAST
When I woke up Friday morning: I just had to go pray. These scriptures were all running through my mind one right after the other, in a constant flow. But as I went before the Lord in prayer, a picture began to form: and I could see what this washing really does. It washes your old nature away completely; so that the old man of the flesh is finally crucified, and the Spirit of God is in complete control. We do not die easily. One day we will think we are dead; and the next day realize that we are just as much alive as ever. The Holy Ghost is in us; but He is not leading us; we have made Him a prisoner, so to speak. Nevertheless as we walk this road of life, and many times do and say things that are not right, it is His presence in us, that lets us know we are not going to get by with it. WE know the chastening hand of God will go to work on us in some way. That is a promise from His word; that every son whom He receiveth will be chastened. What we do, or say, may seem to us like a very small, insignificant thing; but in the eyes of God, be looked upon as an evil act, or evil expression. That is because we do not see what the devil is able to do; as he lurks in the shadows looking for an opportunity to push us the wrong way in our inner feelings. Bro. Jackson: do you really believe Holy Ghost filled Christians are guilty of the things you have been talking about? I certainly do. Who do you think these Holy men of God were writing to? Not one admonition in any of these epistles was written to tares. If you think Christian people never do anything wrong: you are terribly misguided. The scripture says, Be ye perfect. It does not say, you are already perfect. Some people are looking for something that is perfect; that they can join up with. I have actually heard people say. I am looking for the perfect church. Well you may be looking for it; but you are not going to find it. The best you can do, is find a body of people who desire to be made perfect, and get with them; and one day, you will see the perfect Church. As long as the Church has a need to be washed: God is going to keep gathering her together in places where she can be washed; and the individuals that make up the true Church, will recognize their need for this washing. How will they recognize that? By seeing themselves as they are; and realizing that they are not yet like Jesus Christ, whom they are to be made into the image of. Foolish pride keeps a lot of people from admitting just how needy they really are. But one thing is sure: Their condition is not hid from God; and if they are His children, they will have to get into the same tub all the rest of us are being washed in. He will not make any special provisions; to cater to their feelings of pride. When we first receive the Holy Ghost we are so tender toward God, that we are willing to do anything just to please Him. But as time passes and He begins to pull back that hedge He had around us, and allow us to be subjected to the vicious attacks of our adversary and devil, our old self has an opportunity to respond, and many times we do not act like Christians at all. Political affiliations and individual feelings get us into some very embarrassing situations at times. It does not mean that we have not experienced the grace of God in our soul; it just proves that there is still too much of the old nature present, and lets us realize that God has much work yet, before we are molded into the image He is looking for. Some people look for an argument, like ducks look for a whole of water. They think arguing brings out virtue; but what it really brings out is carnality. God lets them see a little something in His word, and they immediately grab hold of someone who does not see it, and argue with them about it. What good does that do? Only the Spirit of God can give a person a revelation. Arguing will not do it. It takes some people longer than others, to realize that you cannot accomplish the purpose of God by sticking your foot in every open door where there is a chance to argue with someone. There are times when everything you say may be 100 percent correct, and you may be 100 percent wrong in saying it, because your motive is wrong, or because you have run ahead of the Lord. These are just things I am using to cause us to examine ourselves, and see if we are ready to get into the tub and be washed. How many times have you heard people leave church and say, Who does he think he is, talking like that? He is just a human being like me. They feel that by cutting someone else down, it elevates them. It ought not be like that; but it is. That old carnal nature is there; until God’s word washes it away. As the word of God deals with our old nature, we will come to the place where a brother, or a sister can say a little something wrong about us, without our blood pressure hitting the ceiling. None of these attributes of Christ are imputed to us immediately, just because we are born of the Spirit. They have to be cultivated in us over a period of time. But as this word begins to have an affect upon you: when you say something wrong, or react wrong at something someone else says, you are going to have a bad taste in your mouth, until you come back to the water. You know how it is when you have a bad taste in your mouth; your own saliva will not change it; but if you can get to some good fresh water, a few mouthfuls will soon make a difference. You can rinse out that bad taste. Well this water of the word will accomplish the same thing spiritually speaking. As it begins to have that cleansing effect on us though: it will require something from us. We will be required to undo a lot of things we have done; and we will have to do a lot of things we have neglected to do. That is the reason I have said so many times. We have not yet seen the true Church of the living God in action. It will be a beautiful thing to behold; when we all see the same picture, and all speak the same thing, and all have the same care and concern for each other. That does not mean you will all have to like cherry pie; like I do, nor season your beans like I do; but when it comes to spiritual things, we will all be alike. Right now though: the objective of God is to show us our individual need to be washed. Some have one need and others another; but we all have need of taking on more of the mind of Christ. Of course I realize that a message like this can cause some people to think that I am saying all Christians are bad people. It is not meant to do that; but certainly it should cause every one of us to realize that the Church has not yet had her final washing by the word of God. We may look back to 30 years ago, when we first received the baptism of the Holy ghost and say, I know what God did for me that night, and my life has never been the same since. Well hindsight is a wonderful thing; we can learn a lot from it; but what we need for the future is foresight. We must become pliable in the hands of God, so that we can be shaped like He wants us; and ask him to help us look down the road of life and recognize Satan’s underhanded devices in time to avoid them. No longer, should we allow ourselves to render evil for evil, (do something to get even when someone wrongs us) but contrariwise. (Just the opposite) We need to learn how to apply the words of Jesus over in the 5th chapter of Matthew, where He dealt with proper attitudes and reactions. In verses 38 and 39, He said this, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” You may say, Bro. Jackson: He was not talking to Holy Ghost filled Christians. No, but the reactions, attitudes and motives He was describing, are the same as what he intends to mold in us. When we really begin to mature as Christians: our spiritual mentality reaches a place where it is not easy to provoke it to react in the wrong way. Someone could say to your face, Brother, there has always been something about you, that I just do not like; and instead of flying off into a rage and trying to say something hurtful back to the person: You stick out your hand and say, Brother that is all right; may the Lord bless you; God’s still working on me. We just have to realize that this old flesh we live in is forever being prodded by the devil, trying to get it to react contrary to the righteous ways set forth in the word of God; and only as we mature spiritually, are we able to recognize what is happening, and respond to it in a Christlike way.
REACHING OUR FULL POTENTIAL
I have used the parable in Matthew 13, many times over the years; where Jesus spoke of the seed that fell into the good ground and brought forth fruit, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold; because we need to understand that even though we are children of God by the new birth process: we do not all have the same potential, or ability. A thirtyfold Christian will never attain any more than a thirtyfold output; even at full stature; and the sixtyfold likewise, no matter how dedicated they are. Furthermore do not think anyone comes bearing their full fruit potential the very day they are saved. You begin at birth, (the new birth) and the thirty, sixty, and hundredfold potentials are what lies before us. That is what we have the ability of maturing to, and we do not graduate from one to the other. But God Himself is the only one that knows who is in which category; we do not. We all have the same scriptures to live by; no matter what our fruit producing abilities are. But as Peter says here, knowing that we are called to inherit a blessing: we should endeavor to be a blessing also. I believe I can safely say, there is not one person among you, that would not like to inherit a blessing. Yet the greatest blessing many times, just to be able to see others as God sees them; and desire that God use us to help some of them. When we come to that place, we lose our own individual attitude about how everything must be done; and learn to cooperate with the leadership of the Spirit. Verse 10, “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” I am sure every one of us wants to love life; but what Peter is referring to, is the peaceful atmosphere we enjoy as we journey along the pathway of life with other brothers and sisters of the faith, sheltered by the grace of God. In order for it to be like that, we have to allow this word of God to work in us, and cause us to do our part. Oh yes, Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Then I believe it was Paul that said, All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. But regardless of the tribulation and persecution you suffer: you will never suffer anything worse than what Jesus suffered for you; and He did it willingly, knowing that He could have called the angels at any moment, to set Him free. One thing some of you need to get straightened out on though, is that persecution does not come from a brother or a sister of the faith; that is only aggravations of the flesh. Persecution, is when people who do not believe like you do, go to work on you. We have been sheltered from a lot of persecution; but it may not always be like that. We never know what may hit our nation, that could throw some of us right out here in a refugee camp, before we get out of here in the rapture. If that happens, you had better hope you have learned enough, and got your feet planted solid enough on the Rock of salvation, that you can stand; for you will then, find out what real persecution is. What we have had a tendency to think of as persecution in the past, we will suddenly learn, were just aggravations God allowed in our lives, for us to grow on. In other words, We have to learn how to look up to Jesus, (who has already overcome the world and stands ready to help us) instead of running the roads of life screaming and crying all the time. Do you not see the necessity of our being tested in every area of life? Adam was tested, Noah was tested, Abraham was tested, and so was Jesus. The family God will have when redemption and restoration are completed: will be a family that has been through the fire, so to speak, and yet had something in them, that kept them from giving up to the devil and returning to the world. Therefore let me say again, Just as there never would have been a need for divine healing, if there had never been any sickness, neither would there be a need for washing by the word, if there were no chance of our being contaminated in this old world.
TROUBLE WITH OUR TONGUES
Some of you had a hard time getting free from the clutches of denominational systems. There were people in there that you loved, and felt tied to; and even though you knew you had to go, you hated to leave them. But when the truth you had received, and the hunger of your soul demanded that you get out of there: did they say nice things to you? Did they have a special dinner for you, and give you gifts? No. It was just the opposite of that. But there was something in you that made you willing to go; regardless of the cost to your flesh. There was no way to avoid the persecution you received from them; but the grace of God was sufficient; and now you would not go back into that bondage for anything in the world. Oh yes, some came out, and have gone back; but what brought them out in the first place? That is what makes the difference. Thrills and excitement will cause a person to make a lot of sacrifices to be where it is; but it takes a true revelation, and a genuine experience with the Lord to enable you to produce fruit and grow toward your full potential. These are the ones that will be led by the Holy Ghost into the tub, to be washed by the water of God’s word as this age closes out. While Jimmy Swaggart and Oral Roberts are having their problems, trying to fulfill what they say God has called them to do: we can look to Jesus, with the full assurance that we will not be called to do anything for God, that He will not furnish the means for us to do it. Hallelujah! What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arm of the Lord. We may appear silly; to the world, when we give up our own mind and take on the mind of Christ, but that is what every true child of God is destined to do. Sure, my flesh will keep trying to get in my way; but the word of God holds the solution; and the sooner I allow it to start having it’s affect, the sooner I will be able to start enjoying the benefits Peter spoke of. We see no good days, as long as we are constantly picking at each other, and being offended at each other; therefore the first thing we have to do is get our tongue under control. James had quite a bit to say about the tongue; in his little epistle, so let us just open our Bibles to the 3rd chapter, and read it. This will help us see where most of our trouble in life comes from. Verse 2, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn around their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature: and it is set on fire of hell.” We will not read it all; but I find it very interesting, that this apostle would devote so many verses of his short epistle, to the tongue, in Verse 10, he said, “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be.” When you read scripture such as this you think, Why should Christians need to be talked to like that? But if we are honest, a little self examination will let us understand; that we are not made perfect the very day we receive the Holy Ghost. If there was no need for Christians to be admonished in ways of righteousness, these anointed men of God never would have wasted time writing these epistles in the first place. “Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.” Craftiness, subtlety, and deceitfulness, have no place in the lives of Christians; but these are all things of our old nature; and it takes a cleansing by the word of God, to get it all out of us. Let us notice what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church along these lines. In 1st Corinthians 15:33, he wrote, “Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners.” Too much vain and idle talking will eventually corrupt the good qualities of our Christian faith. I do not want to be looked upon as a fellow who has no Christian manners; do you? The world can never see the Jesus of the Bible through most of what is referred to as Christianity today; but certainly there should come a time in our Christian walk that HE can be seen through our lives. In order for that to be so: there has to be a complete reversal in us. Instead of the inner man being controlled by the flesh, the flesh has to be subject unto the inner man. Just look at the spectacle Oral Roberts put on, for the world to view and make their remarks about. People who yield themselves to the spirit that caused him to do such a thing as that, really make a mockery out of being led by the Spirit of God. Why should a God who owns everything, need to threaten a man’s life, if he fails to raise so much money in a certain length of time? That was bad enough in itself, to make the great Creator of all things a beggar. But to stoop so low as to allow a gambler to bail him out of his financial difficulties is really pressing the grace of God to an extremity. If God would tell a man something like that, “If you do not raise so much money by a certain time, I am going to take your life,” then people like the Apostle Paul, Peter, James and John, wrote a lot of things contrary to the mind of God. Well we all know in our hearts God did not tell the man that; it would be contrary to the consistent principles of His word. If Paul were alive today he would say, Oral Roberts needs to be content with such things as he has; and learn to live within his means. In his epistle to Timothy, Paul said, (1st Tim. 6:6) “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (Notice verse 9 now) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a SNARE, (a snare grabs you unexpectedly; and leaves you dangling in the air.) And into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, THEY HAVE ERRED FROM THE FAITH, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Men like that, have presented God as a beggar, to the world, simply because a spirit got hold of them, that made them desire to be the biggest. Every one of them, tries his level best to outdo what all the others are doing. But I tell you saints: This is an hour when God is going to bring a lot of this bigness down; and the little Church of Jesus Christ will walk down the road of life in simplicity; just like she started out, almost two thousand years ago; not even desiring to be put on display to the world. When God gets ready for something to be put on display: He knows how to get it done. People out here in the world are always looking for something of interest, to write a story about; so all God has to do, is just let one of them get curious about all those cars that are parked out here in view of the Interstate every Thursday and Sunday. They will come driving slowly down Potter’s Lane; and work their way into the building. They may not even ask questions at first; but inside their heart, they will be looking for something to write a story about; therefore they will eventually start asking questions, What do you believe? Who do you follow? How many people belong to your organization, and how much money do you collect each year? What are you going to tell them? Will you tell them what they want to hear? Or will you tell them we all love the Lord, and are just trying to mind our own business, as we worship Him together? We are not out here to run a race with the world; nor do we really care what the world thinks about us; it is the favor of God we desire. We have no organized programs; and we have no creed but Christ. We have no book, but the Bible; and the only law we have is the law of the love of God in our hearts. We have nothing to hide from anyone; and yet we have no desire nor reason to broadcast what we have to the world. If there is someone out there, whom God wants to hear the truth of His word; He will make sure truth is presented to that person when the time is right. Knowing that, keeps us from running our legs off in vain, as many of the denominational organizations have their people doing. They think, if they can just get people to come to church, they have fulfilled the purpose of God. But there are people sitting in churches every Sunday; and even in charge of their organized programs; that have never had a personal experience of salvation. They are there, because someone has gone out and persuaded them to come in; and then they have been put up as leaders, and you have the blind leading the blind. If we are anything at all: it is only by the grace and mercy of God. For before we can come to Him, He first has to come to us, and convict us of our need. He does that in various ways, of course; but the instruments He uses are led and directed by His Spirit; and seek no glory and honor for themselves. People who seek recognition and personal gain from serving God, are not serving God at all; they are serving their own lusts, and will lose out completely; when God starts narrowing this thing down. Jesus did not say in vain, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: (Matt. 7:13-15) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, (eternal life) and few there be that find it.” Why is that so? Because, like Cain, great multitudes just simply want to be religious, and have no love whatsoever for the truth. Therefore they will accept anything that sounds good to their flesh. But to the chosen of God, Jesus said. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing (saying, God tole me this, and God told me that) but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” That may sound harsh; but Jesus Himself, is the one that said it; and He said it for a reason, knowing the rat race that would prevail in religious circles through the ages. It is those who take heed to the word of God, that avoid much heartache and suffering in life; for as we have said over and over again, and again, None of this was written with the intent of making children of God out of tares. Once a tare, always a tare. But those who are ordained unto eternal life, still have many choices to make in life; and when they make the wrong choice, their flesh has to pay a price. We were born into this old world, with a nature to rebel against God. That is why we have to be washed with the water of His word. All of that carnal nature has to be washed out of us. God saves us wherever we are; and however we are; but He will not take us to glory until He has first cleaned us up. But like I have said, This washing is for the inner man. The outward man will always be subject to the traps of the devil; if the inward man is not strong enough to resist his temptations.
There is a case in the 5th chapter of 1st Corinthians, that a lot of Christians do not understand. But it really portrays a man who, even though he is a child of God, is weak in the flesh, and stands in need of being washed by the word. We will read the first 5 verses of that chapter; and you can see what the determination of the man of God (Paul) was. He starts out saying, “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you (This was written to the Church:) and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. (A Christian man, sleeping with his stepmother) And ye are puffed up, (speaking to the rest of the church) and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, (Paul did not have to be there himself, to know how to handle a situation like that) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Notice now) to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, (In other words, put him out of the church until he repents and makes thing right with God) that the spirit (the inner man) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” You cannot put people out of the kingdom of God, but when someone in the fellowship falls victim to one of Satan’s traps, and makes no particular effort themselves to make things right with God: it is up to the saints, to break fellowship with such a person, and just let them get so miserable they have to make things right. God will not cast off one of His true children because of a fleshly weakness; but He will sure let the devil destroy your flesh, if necessary, to awaken you, and get you to come to your senses. Now some people will always say, Bro. Jackson: When you talk like that, you are just giving people a license to sin. No I am not. God’s true children are not going around looking for ways to sin; and they need to know that God will not cast them into hell; if Satan overtakes them; and they yield to a weakness. But at the same time, they need to know, that if they will not serve God, and walk uprightly, He will let some sickness or disease, or something, come upon them, and their flesh will have to pay for the carelessness. Listen to me though, saints: Do not go around looking at everyone who becomes ill, and accuse them of being guilty of sin in their lives. There are many things that enter into why people become sick and diseased and so forth, and we have no scriptural right to be suspicious of our brothers and sisters of the faith; for God is well able to reveal anything He wants known. As for our own selves, God has designated a place for us to come, to be washed by the water of His word; and He need not take a poll, to see who needs to be washed; He already knows we all need it; and we know we need it; so it behooves us to run to the tub, and jump in the water. May the Lord bless you all.