The “Gospel” is the theme of the Bible. It all comes down to one thing: obedience. That is the Good News. Those who obey get their eternal life. Those who rebel get their eternal death. It isn’t a mystery. The examples are from Genesis to Revelation. The reason there is so much confusion in the world today is simple, the churches, the denominations, the religions are all in rebellion against God. They have sided with Lucifer in rebellion against the Ten Commandments and the government of Heaven. Fake news is the norm in today’s religious world.
God does not want to reject the world. God did not want to reject the world before the flood. He didn’t want to reject Sodom and Gomorrah. He did not want to reject the nation of Israel. He does not want to reject the churches of today. But unless we turn from our sinful ways and come back to Him, living obediently to the Law of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Ten Commandments, we will never see eternal life. Solomon thought that his outward glory would bring glory to God. “Engrossed in an overmastering desire to surpass other nations in outward display, the king overlooked the need of acquiring beauty and perfection of character.” PK 55.
Romans 11: 1 to Romans 11:36
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.
In actuality, God rejects no one. All who have been destroyed, or will be destroyed, is on them. Each has freewill to decide who they will live in obedience to. Eternal life or eternal death has nothing to do with God. It is the nature of love to give eternal life to the obedient and eternal death to the rebellious. God can’t change the nature of love. Love must have boundaries, rules and laws for the good of all the universe. Without boundaries, laws and rules, there would be chaos and destruction. The law of love cannot allow that. The world is beginning to understand that today.
Therefore, when the early Christians speculated if the people of Israel were rejected by God, Paul had to set them straight. Even though the nation of Israel had rejected God, Paul is a confirmation to the grace and kindness of God in accepting individuals from the nation of Israel who surrendered their lives to live obediently to Him.
God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?
Again, Paul goes back to the Old Testament to clear up any misunderstanding in God’s justice. Paul never did away with the Old Testament, he lived by it, taught from it and received his theology from it. Here we have an example of Elijah thinking that God had rejected His people and that he alone was left. Elijah looked around at the fallen state of Israel and could not imagine that there were any left who loved and served God. He was thinking that God would do to Israel the same as He did to Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.”
I sometimes feel the same way. I look around at those who call themselves “Christian” and wonder if there are any who are truly serving God as He commands. I see the law of God rejected, diminished, set aside, covered over and abandoned by the churches, denominations and religious institutions who claim to love God. But then I go to the Post Office and receive letters from inmates that show me there are still a few who desire to change their lives and live as Jesus commands.
But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
As at the time of the flood, when only eight out of a possibility of two billion people on the face of the earth were saved, so with the Israelites of Elijah’s day. As Jesus was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of only ten righteous people, God spared the Israelites at the time of Elijah for the sake of seven thousand. Today, the gap between the righteous and the wicked is getting larger and larger. Eventually, when there are only 144,000 righteous left on the face of the earth probation will close at Passover and seven months later Christ will come to take us home.
So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
Yes there are. God didn’t have to spare Noah and his family. He didn’t have to spare Lot. He didn’t have to spare Israel and the seven thousand at that time, but He did. Why? His grace. So “at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” in today’s world. None of us deserve eternal life, but because our hearts and minds are dedicated to living the sinless, perfect and Commandment keeping life, God, in His grace, will give us eternal life.
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
Again, we must always keep in mind the context Paul is talking about. We can never confuse apples for nuts. Grace can never be attained by our works. We all deserve death for our past sins. Grace is the “probation” that we all are given in order to learn how to live the sanctified life that will get us into Heaven. Grace is given to everyone, therefore, there is nothing you can do to “get” it. However, it won’t give you eternal life. Therefore, there are four processes taking place on the path of achieving righteousness and eternal life.
1) Grace saves us from immediate death. It does not save us eternally. Since all have sinned, all deserve death. God didn’t have to give us grace. He could have left us all to died in our sins. That would have solved the sin problem.
2) However, because God loves us, He gave us grace. We now have a probationary time to find faith in God. When we develope faith in God, we comprehend the sacrifice Jesus made for our justification.
3) Now we accept the justification offered by Jesus for our past sins. We have faith that His death cleanses us of our past sins and He now sees us as perfect, righteous and holy. We have faith that He has prepared a place in Heaven and eternal life for His obedient children.
4) Therefore, it is our desire never again to “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh”. That is why we must enter sanctification by “working out our salvation” through obedience to the Ten Commandments. We don’t want to sin any more since “there is no longer any sacrifice that will take away sins if we purposely go on sinning after the truth has been made known to us”. Hebrews 6:6, Ephesians 2:12, Hebrews 10:26.
What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, . . .
Quite simply, Yes! The “nation” of Israel failed to obtain what it thought it was seeking for: eternal life and salvation. But the individual people of Israel, the “elect” could obtain it by living in obedience to the commands of God. Keep in mind, the “elect” are those who love God and live in obedience to Him. “If you love Me, you will obey My Commandments.” John 14:15. Obedience is elected for eternal life. Disobedience is elected for eternal death. You chose the election you want.
. . . as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”
At first, it sounds like God is doing the manipulating. But again, going back to the Old Testament we have the examples and the answers. An example is Job. God was talking to Lucifer and bragging about Job when Lucifer decided to test God’s trust in Job. God allowed it. That is what Paul is talking about when he states that “God gave”. Even though God allowed it, it was Lucifer’s choice to put it into action. God gave the choice.
Because Israel refused to listen to God, God allowed them to have a “spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear”. An example of this is in 1st Kings when the kings of Israel and Judah were preparing to go to war against the king of Syria. Because they refused to listen to God, a “spirit came forward and stood before the Lord saying, ‘I will entice him’”. God allowed it. So yes, God sent the spirit, but only because the kings refused to listen to the Spirit of God and live in obedience to Him. There are only two “spirits” in the world. One “spirit” is a spirit of obedience and the other “spirit” is a spirit of rebellion. You have either one or the other. By rejecting the one, you accept the other. God does not make you do either. They are choices.
And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.”
“Let”. That is not a command by God. We do the same. Let’s say that you find a beggar who is holding a sign that reads, “Will work for food.” You tell him you have work for him, but he tells you to “take a hike” because he only wants money. So, you turn around and say, “Let him stay hungry”. You didn’t command it. You didn’t make him not want to come and work for food. He chose to be stupid. Same with sinners towards God. God offers eternal life to all who will accept the requirements for it. Only the stupid, ignorant and unstable refuse to accept that marvelous gift of God. 2 Peter 3:16. So, “let” them remain in that condition.
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.
We all stumble, says John. But we don’t need to “fall”. When people “fall” or even “stumble”, their example can be useful for the rest of us. We can look at their “fall” or “stumble” and be warned. That is what the Bible is all about. It shows examples of those who did right and those who stumbled and fell. We are to learn from their examples so we do not suffer their consequences. We do that in our every day lives. We look at other people and make either conscious or subconscious conclusions based on their actions. Then we decide if we want to follow their actions or not.
Salvation didn’t come to the Gentiles “because” Israel fell, but because Israel had locked up the truth God wanted them to take to the Gentiles. Therefore, Israel rejected God’s plan to be His missionaries to the world. God turned that responsibility over to the “Christians”. They were now doing what the nation of Israel was supposed to be doing, but didn’t. If the Israelites had done their job, and had taken the gospel to the world, they would have recognized Jesus and He would have used them to continue the mission He gave them at Mount Sinai. But they failed. You will find the prediction of this in the “Song of Moses”, Deuteronomy 31:30-32:47. God knew, but He didn’t command it. Their choice!
Today, Christians are failing to take the truth of salvation to the world. They have done what the Jews of Christ’s day did, rejected their true missionary calling. The truth that leads to salvation is no longer taught or accepted by the churches, denominations and religious organizations of the world today.
Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
Let’s say you belong to a family of five children. Eventually one falls away and doesn’t want to belong to the family anymore. So the family adopts another child to take his place. But eventually he comes back home. Now he has a “fuller” family to include him and life is better. There is even greater joy in his return. God always has room for one more. We just have to be willing to live by the rules and laws of His home.
Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.
For most, Paul’s declaration that “I am an apostle to the Gentiles” means that the “gospel” he taught Gentiles was different from the one taught to the Jews. For some reason, churches, denominations and religions think that Jesus gave Paul a “different” gospel and then sent him to the Gentiles. However, upon closer examination of the Bible, and the time-line involved in Paul’s apostleship “to the Gentiles”, shows that he didn’t go to the Gentiles until some years after he began his ministry. And why did he go to the Gentiles? “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you (Jews). Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.” Acts 13:46. In other words, Paul taught the same gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. But when he saw that the Jews refused to accept it, he turned to the Gentiles. The message he taught was the “word of God”. What was the Word of God? Jesus taught it: Stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life. Therefore, Paul was simply hoping that the Jews would become “jealous”. It was his hope that the gospel being taught to the Gentiles would provoke the Jews to surrender their lives to the Gospel of Jesus, repent and return back to the family of God.
For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?
There is only one gospel. God is not a God with a split personality. He is not schizophrenic. God does not change His everlasting requirements. That would be unjust. God is a just God who does not sin. Paul was simply stating a fact that the Gentiles did not need to become Jews to be saved. And that Jews did not have to belong to the nation of Israel to be saved. All could be saved by living as God had commanded in the Old Testament and as Jesus confirmed in the New Testament: stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life. Nothing about belonging to any church, organization or religion for your eternal life.
If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
The “root” is Jesus Christ. He embodies the Ten Commandments. The nation of Israel had the requirements for Heaven when Jesus gave the Ten Commandments to them on Mount Sinai. But that holy root was rejected by the nation of Israel. However, the root was still holy. Therefore, whether you were Jew or Gentile, if you connected yourself to the root, the Ten Commandments, you became a holy branch.
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.
The nation of Israel broke itself off from the root. The Gentiles were a “wild olive shoot” that were grafted into the nourishing root of the Ten Commandments which gives eternal life. Therefore, none of us can be “arrogant toward the branches” of the Jews. All of us can be broken off. There is no “once saved always saved”. We are all grafted in by justification. Grace opened the door, justification is the grafting into the Ten Commandments.
Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.
How true. We can never become proud of our “standing” in Jesus. Only the blood of Jesus can justify us. Nothing else can. Without the justification of Jesus, none of us would have eternal life. Through faith in the blood of Jesus we are justified and “grafted in”. But to stay “grafted in”, we must now suck from the “nourishing root” by living the sinless, perfect life of the Ten Commandments. Nothing to be proud of. Once you are “grafted in” you must now “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. Philippians 2:12.
For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.
And yet, today, all churches, denominations, religions and independent ministries are proud and even boast that they are no longer required to suck from the nourishing root. They trample on the root and reject the gospel Jesus taught to stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments in order to get your eternal life. God will not “spare you”. Like the nation of Israel, God will not accept any who claim to be “Christian” but refuse to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments.
Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
Churches, denominations, religions and independent ministries run around claiming “God is love”, “saved by grace” and the “unconditional love of God”. They just aren’t listening to Jesus. We are only in “God’s kindness”, “provided you continue in His kindness”. How do we “continue in His kindness”? By living in obedience to the teachings of Jesus to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life. “Otherwise you too will be cut off”. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:10.
And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.
So, back to the beginning, Paul is the example that those who “do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in”. From Adam no one was ever saved by association with anyone else or any organization. We are only saved by our association and obedience with Jesus and His Ten Commandments. (John 15:5). Get out of your churches, organizations, denominations, independent ministries and religions and go to Jesus.
For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.
Of course, since those raised in the nation of Israel knew of the Ten Commandments, it would be much easier for them to be “grafted back into their own olive tree”. Unlike the pagans who would have to learn a whole new way of living.
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
Same with “Christians” today. They have a “partial hardening” of their hearts. Just like the Jews of Christ’s day, they think they are worshipping God with all their rites, ceremonies, traditions, rituals and services. But they have not accepted Jesus. They have turned away from Him and His law just as the Jews did.
And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
We must be careful when we read the word “all”. How many of us have said “all” in general terms, not at all meaning every single one. One could say, “All airplanes fly”. Well, no, that is not correct. Some airplanes don’t have their wings on and can’t fly. They have the possibility of flying, but unless they have the proper equipment, no, they won’t.
Paul is not talking about “all” Israel. He is hopeful. God loves all the world and wants all the world to be saved, but as Paul has been stating above, only those “all” who accept Jesus and live in obedience to Him will be “saved”. Jesus, the “Deliverer”, did come from Zion and Zion did reject Him. When He died on the cross He did remove, or “banish”, ungodliness from Jacob, but only from those who accepted the death of Christ. God is willing to take away their sins, but only if they are willing to live in obedience to the will of God. Individually, each could be saved. “All” of those Israelites who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and lived in obedience to His commands to stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life, would be saved. We can never take a word, or a text, out of context and build a theology around it when it is isolated from the body of truth. We must never make the body of truth a lie.
As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.
Again, Paul is hopeful. It is true, all can be saved. Individual Israelites could still be loved by God, but only if they lived in obedience as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were obedient.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
All Paul is trying to get across is, “No, the Jews and all Israel were not forever rejected by God!” God’s gifts and calling for every human on the face of the Earth are irrevocable. All we have to do is live in obedience to His calling.
For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.
Here Paul is clarifying what he has been saying. Just because we may have been disobedient at one time, that doesn’t mean we are forever forsaken. The Prodigal Son is the example. For those who have repented, turned away from their sins and desire to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments, “may now receive mercy”.
For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
Yes He has. Since all have disobeyed, we have all be “consigned” to disobedience. But we don’t have to stay in that condition. We can accept the wonderful grace, mercy and love of God by returning to Him and living as He commands. Then He will justify us, cleans us and see us as if we had never sinned. However, we must walk in that justified state (sanctification), by working out our salvation through obedience to the Ten Commandments each and every day of our lives.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
Considering how many options God had, it is amazing He chose this method for our eternal salvation. Every sinner must understand that through the disobedience of Adam all have been consigned to disobedience. Through our human nature of disobedience we recognize our need of a divine nature outside of our human nature of disobedience. When we come to that recognition we humble ourselves and never again want to break the trust and mercy God has imputed unto us to live His righteous, holy and commandment keeping life. That is the only way we can get to Heaven.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
Churches, denominations and religious organizations all claim to be God’s counselors. They are constantly telling God what He can and cannot do and how He must save them. But not one is listening to the “mind of the Lord” to learn what He commands: Stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life.
“Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
Churches, denominations and religious organizations imply that if you belong to them, then God must “repay” you with eternal life. That by giving to them and doing their good works, you “might be repaid” by God. How sick. We keep the Ten Commandments because that is our obligation to a God who loved us so much He gave His life for us. We don’t belong to a church because God never asked us to. We don’t belong to any denomination or religious organization because God never asked us to. None of that will get you “repaid”. Our duty and obligation is to live in obedience because of His great love and gifts so graciously given to us.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Yes! I am learning this more and more each day. I wish there was some way to share all that I have learned. I guess that is why the Lord is having me write these newsletters. Years ago I had asked Jesus how it would be possible to write down all that He had, and is, sharing with me. Then one day I woke up and discovered that He was doing just that. “To Him be glory forever”. God works in the most quiet and unpretentious ways. You would completely miss His workings if you didn’t sit down, be quiet and spend time looking over your past life to see His workings. The devil has us way too busy, noisy and up tight to hear the voice of God.
No religion, no church, no denomination, no independent ministry, no pastor and nothing of this world can get you into Heaven. Why? “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” Go to Jesus and listen to Him only.
Prison Mission Report
Dear Ron,I want to thank you for the wonderful material and insight. I am new and confused as to God’s plan for me. I asked Him to show me a sign and your pamphlet came in the mail. Could this be? I don’t know yet, but I am willing to try. Prison church service is not for me as I am offended by some of the “fake” followers. I even get disappointed in some of my own actions in daily life here in prison. All I do know is, I need something different, something better than the life I have been living. I appreciate all your dedication to lost souls like myself. Your words are encouraging. I can’t say I’ve ever had the Holy Spirit instruct me in my daily life, or I may have been too blind to see. Maybe to deaf to hear. I just wanted to thank you for providing such a wonderful service. Steve, WV
To Whom It May Concern,Would you please send me the book, “Change Your Life Biblically”? I am a believer in Jesus Christ and want to learn all I can about my Lord and Savior. David, TN
JCPM,Please change my life! Another inmate gave me your address. Greg, PA
JCPM,I have received a little piece of paper from a friend and it talked about the “Change Your Life Biblically” workbook. I would like to come closer to Jesus. I like the structure of it being a workbook. I feel like I’ll do good with it. Corey, ID
Hello,I saw a fellow peer with a book from your ministry that really interested me. I was curious if you would possibly be able to send me a copy of it. “Change Your Life Biblically”. Thank you in advance. Treanna, IN
Dear Friends,I would really like to study and read the books you have called, “Change Your Life Biblically”. Please send me these books if you still have any.John, TN
Dearest Brother in Christ,I love the picture of “home and Office”. Very humble and modest. In addition, I’ve been studying some of your material and I am literally blown away. Honestly, I am blown away by much of your doctrine and I’m asking if it’s possible that you send me whatever you may have available. I am looking to implement stricter legalism within my walk with Christ. Also, your historical teachings of the Old Testament are rock solid. A lot of modern Christianity gets too tied up with theology when in truth, we should seek a practical understanding of the history that empowers us to be obedient to “Every word” of God. I thank you again brother for all your efforts and your material. Daryl, CA
Greetings,Please send me your workbook as per your pamphlet. I discovered your literature a few weeks back. I am already a believer, but I am most interested in further studies of the Scriptures. Robert, AZ
JCPM,A friend and brother shared the “Change Your Life Biblically” book with me that he received from you. I love it. It is a life-changer and I am writing you for one of my own. Thank you.Bobby, TN
Ron,I just received your introductory literature. I am boggled. Can’t figure out how your ministry found me. I never applied for no literature of your ministry. On top of that, you all knew my full name and state number. How is that? I can tell you this, earlier that night, He showed me His presence through your ministry. Thank you for introducing me to your ministry. I read how you were led by the Spirit to write a book for God and His children. Please send me your book, “Change Your Life Biblically”.LaShant, VA
Dear Ron,Thank you for the pamphlet. I must admit, you have my attention. I need more. So what must I do to get started? I’m hungry, so please send me something to eat. I need this in my life. Keep up the good work.Augustus, TX
JCPM,I received something in the mail the other day from you about the prison story and the transformation made in the life. It was very inspiring for me. I am interested in the “Change Your Life Biblically” book. Thank you.Ricky, OR
Dear Publisher,I recently was loaned a book about Theology, Prophecy and Christian Living. This book’s name is “Change Your Life Biblically”. I would like to get the book and enroll in the studies. I am seeking the truth of my Creator and my Creation. What true plan that my Lord has set out for me. Felix, TX
Dear JCPM,I am in a pod with an inmate that has been teaching me about the Word of God. He was teaching me from this book. He didn’t have any more forms left so that I can fill out to send you. So, I’m writing you this letter. I would like for you to send me with my name on it, “Change Your Life Biblically”. I must say, that book really changing my life. Christopher, VA
Dear JCPM,I received an introduction issue of your ministry. I will love to read “Change Your Life Biblically”. Joe, IL
Dear JCPM,My friend showed me the “Change Your Life Biblically”. Can you please send me one? Thank you.Floyd, PA
To Whom It May Concern,I’m writing because a fellow inmate shared that he wrote to you for a copy of “Change Your Life Biblically”. I like you to send me copy to help me with my Scripture reading and studies.Eric, PA
Hello,I was blessed to be able to read some parts of the book that was presented to Adam. I truly found this book to be very beautifully written. Also, very informative. I would really appreciate if would please send me a copy of “Change Your Life Biblically”.Odis, CA
Testimony for God's Children
Sharing the gospel with the world is simple. But so many who claim to be Christians want to politicize it, make money off of it or build a wall around it with their church, denomination or religious organizations. There are those who love to use the gospel to show how smart they are. They fight and argue their points. They have their “zingers” and can’t wait to use them. Pride, arrogance, selfishness and ego are not for Christians. The truth doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to Jesus Christ. Since it belongs to Him, we cannot take possession of it. It is to posses us. We are to learn from Jesus how to present the gospel. Jesus was humble. Our churches are full of pride, arrogance, selfishness and ego. Let us get out of our churches, denominations, religious organizations and go to Jesus and learn from Him how to present the gospel to those around us.
Effect of Discussions
December 10, 1871, I was shown the dangers of Brother (church member). His influence upon the cause of God is not what it should be or what it might be. He seems to be in blindness as to the result of his course; he does not discern what kind of wake he leaves behind him. He does not labor in a manner that God can accept. I saw that he was in as great peril as was (church member) before he left the truth. He trusted in himself. He thought he was of so great value to the cause of truth that the cause could not spare him. Brother (church member) has felt very much the same. He relies too much on his own strength and wisdom. If he could see his weakness as God sees it he would never flatter himself or feel in the least to triumph. And unless he makes God his dependence and strength he will make shipwreck of faith as surely as did (church member).
There are whole denominations and churches who flatter themselves and feel so triumphant over the “truth” they have. They eat the right food, dress the right way, do church the right way, boast of their baptisms and numbers and are very prideful that they attend church on the Sabbath. They have truly made shipwreck of their faith and the “truth” of God.
He does not in his labors draw strength from God. He depends upon an excitement to arouse his ambition. In laboring with a few, where there is no special excitement to stimulate, he loses his courage. When the labor goes hard and he is not borne up by this special excitement, he does not then cling the firmer to God and become more earnest to press through the darkness and gain the victory. Brother (church member), you frequently become childish, weak, and inefficient at the very time when you should be strongest. This should evidence to you that your zeal and animation are not always from the right source.
There are those who think they are doing God’s work by supporting this and that ministry, those independents and other “good” works. But their zeal and animation “are not always from the right source”. They have not turned their lives over to God and have not asked Him what He wants them to do with the money and time He has given them. Or, with the talents He has given them. I understand. Years ago, before God called me to this ministry, I thought I was doing it God’s way. I was sincere, but sincerity has nothing to do with doing it God’s way. The wicked will be sincerely destroyed because they were sincere in what they did. We must lay our lives before God and make sure we are living in obedience to Him.
I was shown that here is the danger of young ministers who engage in discussion. They turn their minds to the study of the word to gather the sharp things, and they become sarcastic and, in their efforts to meet an opponent, too frequently leave God out of the question. The excitement of debate lessens their interest in meetings where this special excitement does not exist. Those who engage in debates are not the most successful laborers and the best adapted to build up the cause. By some, discussion is coveted, and they prefer this kind of labor above any other. They do not study the Bible with humility of mind, that they may know how to attain the love of God; as Paul says: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
There are those who have sent me material they have put together from the Bible trying to prove this or that of their special pet peeve. They didn’t take the time to understand, or humble themselves to learn that this ministry isn’t mine. The material sent out from this ministry comes from the Spirit of God, not me. I’m too dumb to write on my own. But people are not interested in what the Spirit of God says. They want excitement and debate (discussions).
Young preachers should avoid discussions, for they do not increase spirituality or humbleness of mind. In some cases it may be necessary to meet a proud boaster against the truth of God in open debate; but generally these discussions, either oral or written, result in more harm than good. After a discussion the greater responsibility rests upon the minister to keep up the interest. He should beware of the reaction which is liable to take place after a religious excitement, and not yield to discouragement himself.
Men who will not admit the claims of God’s law, which are so very plain, will generally take a lawless course; for they have so long taken sides with the great rebel in warring against the law of God, which is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth, that they are trained in this labor. In their warfare they will not open their eyes or consciences to light. They close their eyes, lest they shall become enlightened. Their case is as hopeless as was that of the Jews who would not see the light which Christ brought to them. The wonderful evidences which He gave them of His Messiahship in the miracles that He performed, in healing the sick, raising the dead, and doing the works which no other man had done or could do, instead of melting and subduing their hearts, and overcoming their wicked prejudices, inspired them with satanic hatred and fury such as Satan possessed when he was thrust out of heaven. The greater light and evidence they had, the greater was their hatred. They were determined to extinguish the light by putting Christ to death.
Most do not understand the work of this ministry. It isn’t just a “Prison Ministry”. That is only the “cover” that God is working under. As “God” was clothed under the cover of humanity, the Spirit of God is working through this ministry trying to soften hearts, open eyes and unstop ears. Most are not listening. They are not interested in what the Spirit of God has to say.
The haters of God’s law, which is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth, occupy the same ground as did the unbelieving Jews. Their defiant power will follow those who keep the commandments of God, and any amount of light will be rejected by them. Their consciences have so long been violated, and their hearts have grown so hard by their choosing darkness rather than light, that they feel that it is a virtue in them, in order to gain their object, to bear false witness or stoop to almost any course of equivocation or deception, as did the Jews in their rejection of Christ. They reason that the end justifies the means. They virtually crucify the law of the Father, as the Jews crucified Christ.
All of our churches, denominations, religions and ministries fall under that paragraph. They are all bearing “false witness or stoop to almost any course of equivocation or deception” to get money and keep you firmly planted in church. They “virtually crucify the law of the Father” in all they do.
Our work should be to embrace every opportunity to present the truth in its purity and simplicity where there is any desire or interest to hear the reasons of our faith. Those who have dwelt mostly upon the prophecies and the theoretical points of our faith should without delay become Bible students upon practical subjects. They should take a deeper draft at the fountain of divine truth. They should carefully study the life of Christ and His lessons of practical godliness, given for the benefit of all and to be the rule of right living for all who should believe on His name. They should be imbued with the spirit of their great Exemplar and have a high sense of the sacred life of a follower of Christ.
That is the message of this ministry. Even though we do reveal the prophecies and theoretical points of the Bible, God raised up this ministry to reveal the “practical subjects” of how to live the perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping life. Most are satisfied knowing the prophecies and the theoretical points while they sit in church breaking all the Commandments. It would be better to know nothing of the prophecies and theoretical points of the Bible than to neglect obedience to the Ten Commandments.
Christ met the case of every class in the subjects and manner of His teaching. He dined and lodged with the rich and the poor, and made Himself familiar with the interests and occupations of men, that He might gain access to their hearts. The learned and the most intellectual were gratified and charmed with His discourses, and yet they were so plain and simple as to be comprehended by the humblest minds. Christ availed Himself of every opportunity to give instruction to the people upon those heavenly doctrines and precepts which should be incorporated into their lives and which would distinguish them from all other religionists because of their holy, elevated character. These lessons of divine instruction are not brought to bear upon men’s consciences as they should be. These sermons of Christ furnish ministers believing present truth with discourses which will be appropriate on almost any occasion. Here is a field of study for the Bible student, in which he cannot be interested without having the spirit of the heavenly Teacher in his own heart. Here are subjects which Christ presented to all classes. Thousands of people of every stamp of character and every grade of society were attracted and charmed with the matter brought before them.
It is interesting how the Christian world has become so inundated with the parables and sermons of Christ, few even care to understand them. But inmates, those who have not had much exposure to the Bible, are “attracted and charmed” when I bring before them the teachings of Jesus.
Some ministers who have been long in the work of preaching present truth have made great failures in their labors. They have educated themselves as combatants. They have studied out argumentative subjects for the object of discussion, and these subjects which they have prepared they love to use. The truth of God is plain, clear, and conclusive. It is harmonious and, in contrast with error, shines with clearness and beauty. Its consistency commends it to the judgment of every heart that is not filled with prejudice. Our preachers present the arguments upon the truth, which have been made ready for them, and, if there are no hindrances, the truth bears away the victory. But I was shown that in many cases the poor instrument takes the credit of the victory gained, and the people, who are more earthly than spiritual, praise and honor the instrument, while the truth of God is not exalted by the victory it gained.
Churches, denominations, religions, ministries and all the others are constantly taking “credit of the victory gained, and the people, who are more earthly than spiritual, praise and honor the instrument”. How we love to honor this religion, that denomination, that church, our pastor, this independent ministry and the “good” work of that one.
Those who love to engage in discussion generally lose their spirituality. They do not trust in God as they should. They have the theory of the truth prepared to whip an opponent. The feelings of their own unsanctified hearts have prepared many sharp, close things to use as a snap to their whip to irritate and provoke their opponent. The spirit of Christ has no part in this. While furnished with conclusive arguments, the debater soon thinks that he is strong enough to triumph over his opponent, and God is left out of the matter. Some of our ministers have made discussion their principal business. When in the midst of the excitement raised by discussion, they seem nerved up and feel strong and talk strong; and in the excitement many things pass with the people as all right, which in themselves are decidedly wrong and a shame to him who was guilty of uttering words so unbecoming a Christian minister.
Humans love to feel superior. We love our pastors, denominations and media departments when they can “triumph over his opponent”. God never triumphed over His opponent. Why? If He “triumphed”, His opponent would lose his eternal life. Jesus came to give His life for that person, therefore, He did not want to “triumph” over him, but entice him to come that He may have life. We are not here to win “points”, but souls.
These things have a bad influence on ministers who are handling sacred, elevated truths, truths which are to prove as a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death, to those who hear them. Generally the influence of discussions upon our ministers is to make them self-sufficient and exalted in their own estimation. This is not all. Those who love to debate are unfitted for being pastors to the flock. They have trained their minds to meet opponents and to say sarcastic things, and they cannot come down to meet hearts that are sorrowing and need comforting. They have also dwelt so much upon the argumentative that they have neglected the practical subjects that the flock of God need. They have but little knowledge of the sermons of Christ, which enter into the everyday life of the Christian, and they have but little disposition to study them. They have risen above the simplicity of the work. When they were little in their own eyes, God helped them; angels of God ministered unto them and made their labors highly successful in convincing men and women of the truth. But in the training of their minds for discussion they frequently become coarse and rough. They lose the interest and tender sympathy which should ever attend the efforts of a shepherd of Christ.
I’m working on that. I never had anyone show me tender sympathy or show me love until I was hit by a bacteria in my spinal column. Therefore, I am putting forth every effort to learn how to reveal God’s love in my life. My father was the “debating” type. He always had to “win”. He had no love, only ego, pride and arrogance. You either let him win or he told you to shut up. I have no idea what a loving family is. But God is teaching me and showing me by not only being a loving Father to me, but bringing people into my life who are showing me love.
Debating ministers are generally disqualified to help the flock where they most need help. Having neglected practical religion in their own hearts and lives, they cannot teach it to the flock. Unless there is an excitement, they do not know how to labor; they seem shorn of their strength. If they try to speak, they do not seem to know how to present a subject that is proper for the occasion. When they should present a subject which will feed the flock of God, and which will reach and melt hearts, they go back to some of the old stereotyped matter and go through the arranged arguments, which are dry and uninteresting. Thus, instead of light and life, they bring darkness to the flock and also to their own souls.
Some of our ministers fail to cultivate spirituality, but encourage a show of zeal and a certain activity which rests upon an uncertain foundation. Ministers of calm contemplation, of thought and devotion, of conscience and faith, combined with activity and zeal, are wanted in this age. The two qualities, thought and devotion, activity and zeal, should go together.
Debating ministers are the most unreliable among us, because they cannot be depended upon when the work goes hard. Bring them into a place where there is but little interest, and they manifest a want of courage, zeal, and real interest. They depend as much upon being enlivened and invigorated by the excitement created by debate or opposition as does the inebriate upon his dram. These ministers need to be converted anew. They need to drink deep of the unceasing streams which proceed from the eternal Rock.
The eternal welfare of sinners regulated the conduct of Jesus. He went about doing good. Benevolence was the life of His soul. He not only did good to all who came to Him soliciting His mercy, but He perseveringly sought them out. He was never elated with applause or dejected by censure or disappointment. When He met with the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment He was of good courage. The most important discourse that Inspiration has given us, Christ preached to only one listener. As He sat upon the well to rest, for He was weary, a Samaritan woman came to draw water; He saw an opportunity to reach her mind, and through her to reach the minds of the Samaritans, who were in great darkness and error. Although weary, He presented the truths of His spiritual kingdom, which charmed the heathen woman and filled her with admiration for Christ. She went forth publishing the news: “Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” This woman’s testimony converted many to a belief in Christ. Through her report many came to hear Him for themselves and believed because of His own word.
I would assume that for most of us, we would never broadcast about “a man which told me all things that ever I did”. We would run from that person since very few of us are proud of what we have done in our lives. But obviously Jesus was able to tell her “all things” about herself without adding any condemnation or scorn to it. I am learning that. Like Jesus, I want people to understand the importance of obedience, but at the same time, I’m trying to learn how to apply the soft, loving touch of Jesus.
I suppose that is why Jesus called me to work mainly with prisoners. I view each prisoner as if he had never done anything wrong. I do not care what he was convicted of. I only care that he stops the sin in his life and begins living in obedience to the Ten Commandments. Who they were is not as important as what God wants them to become.
However small may be the number of interested listeners, if the heart is reached and the understanding convinced, they can, like the Samaritan woman, carry a report which will raise the interest of hundreds to investigate for themselves. While laboring in places to create an interest, there will be many discouragements; but if at first there seems to be but little interest, it is no evidence that you have mistaken your duty and place of labor. If the interest steadily increases, and the people move understandingly, not from impulse, but from principle, the interest is much more healthy and durable than it is where a great excitement and interest are created suddenly, and the feelings are excited by listening to a debate, a sharp contest on both sides of the question, for and against the truth. Fierce opposition is thus created, positions are taken, and rapid decisions made. A feverish state of things is the result. Calm consideration and judgment are wanting. Let this excitement subside, or let reaction take place by indiscreet management, and the interest can never be raised again. The feelings and sympathies of the people were stirred; but their consciences were not convicted, their hearts were not broken and humbled before God.
In the presentation of unpopular truth, which involves a heavy cross, preachers should be careful that every word is as God would have it. Their words should never cut. They should present the truth in humility, with the deepest love for souls and an earnest desire for their salvation, and let the truth cut. They should not defy ministers of other denominations and seek to provoke a debate. They should not stand in a position like that of Goliath when he defied the armies of Israel. Israel did not defy Goliath, but Goliath made his proud boasts against God and His people. The defying, the boasting, and the railing must come from the opposers of truth, who act the Goliath. But none of this spirit should be seen in those whom God has sent forth to proclaim the last message of warning to a doomed world.
Goliath trusted in his armor. He terrified the armies of Israel by his defiant, savage boastings, while he made a most imposing display of his armor, which was his strength. David, in his humility and zeal for God and his people, proposed to meet this boaster. Saul consented and had his own kingly armor placed upon David. But he would not consent to wear it. He laid off the king’s armor, for he had not proved it. He had proved God and, in trusting in Him, had gained special victories. To put on Saul’s armor would give the impression that he was a warrior, when he was only little David who tended the sheep. He did not mean that any credit be given to the armor of Saul, for his trust was in the Lord God of Israel. He selected a few pebbles from the brook, and with his sling and staff, his only weapons, he went forth in the name of the God of Israel to meet the armed warrior.
Goliath disdained David, for his appearance was that of a mere youth untaught in the tactics of warfare. Goliath railed upon David and cursed him by his gods. He felt that it was an insult upon his dignity to have a mere stripling, without so much as an armor, come to meet him. He made his boast of what he would do to him. David did not become irritated because he was looked upon as so inferior, neither did he tremble at his terrible threats, but replied: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” David tells Goliath that in the name of the Lord he will do to him the very things that Goliath had threatened to do to David. “And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
Our ministers should not defy and provoke discussion. Let the defying be on the side of the opposers of God’s truth. I was shown that Brother (church member) and other ministers have acted too much the part of Goliath. And then after they have dared and provoked discussion they have trusted in their prepared arguments, as Saul wanted David to trust in his armor. They have not, like humble David, trusted in the God of Israel, and made Him their strength. They have gone forth confident and boastful, like Goliath, magnifying themselves and not hiding behind Jesus. They knew the truth was strong, and therefore have not humbled their hearts and in faith trusted in God to give the truth the victory. They have become elated and lost their balance, and frequently the discussions have not been successful, and the result has been an injury to their own souls and to the souls of others.
I was shown that some of our young ministers are getting a passion for debating, and that, unless they see their danger, this will prove a snare to them. I was shown that Brother (church member) is in great danger. He is training his mind in the wrong direction. He is in danger of getting above the simplicity of the work. When he gets on Saul’s armor, if, like David, he has wisdom to lay it off because he has not proved it, he may recover himself before he goes too far. These young preachers should study the practical teachings of Christ as well as the theoretical, and learn of Jesus, that they may have His grace, His meekness, His humility and lowliness of mind. If they, like David, are brought into a position where God’s cause really calls for them to meet a defier of Israel, and if they go forth in the strength of God, relying wholly upon Him, He will carry them through and cause His truth to triumph gloriously. Christ has given us an example. “Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil He disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
As soon as a preacher comes down from the position a minister should ever occupy, and descends to the comical to create a laugh over his opponent, or when he is sarcastic and sharp, and rails upon him, he does that which the Saviour of the world did not dare to do; for he places himself upon the enemy’s ground. Ministers who contend with opposers of the truth of God do not have to meet men merely, but Satan and his host of evil angels. Satan watches for a chance to get the advantage of ministers who are advocating the truth, and when they cease to put their entire trust in God, and their words are not in the spirit and love of Christ, the angels of God cannot strengthen and enlighten them. They leave them to their own strength, and evil angels press in their darkness; for this reason the opponents of the truth sometimes seem to have the advantage, and the discussion does more harm than real good.
God’s servants should come nearer to Him. Brethren (church member) and (church member) should be seeking to cultivate personal piety, rather than to encourage a love of debate. They should be seeking to become shepherds to the flock, rather than to be fitting themselves to create an excitement by swaying the feelings of the people. These brethren are in danger of depending more upon their popularity and their success with the people as smart debaters than upon being humble, faithful laborers and meek, devoted followers of Christ, co-workers with Him. 3T 217-221.
Our churches, religions, denominations and ministries produce way too much debate, excitement, feelings, “depending more upon their popularity” and sharp wit. None of that will save a soul. Let us lay all of our churches, denominations, ministries and pastors aside and become “devoted followers of Christ”.