A Prophetic Witness to the Church Today
* * *
Late in the first
century AD, drastic changes were occurring in the Christian Church. Jude warned of false
teachers eroding their pure faith (Jude 4), destroying true Christian precepts and
substituting false ones in their place (Jude 3).
Returning to the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints
Paul had previously given similar prophetic warnings (Acts 20:29,30; 2 Cor 11:13-15).
Peter, too. He lamented the inevitability of the secretive seduction which was happening
right under their noses! (2 Pet 2:1.) And the apostle John was actually cast out of one or
more of the church assemblies by an impostor who had gained the ascendancy! (3 John 9,10.)
In almost every New Testament book there is a warning about apostasy, either directly or
indirectly. The caveats are not to be taken lightly!
Ironically, in today's churches, even among those who repeat these warnings of deception
and falling away, there are countless believers who are themselves only 'half there'.
Moreover, it seems that the ones who are most vociferous about this malaise to the
point of arrogance are among the most deeply deluded, but are obviously blind to
it. Consider also that the majority have been taken captive to false teachings, spurious
concepts and practices, and we have a Church very much in need of fulfilling Jude's
I... URGE YOU TO CONTEND FOR THE FAITH THAT WAS ONCE ENTRUSTED TO THE
SAINTS (Jude 3).
Are you contending for that faith? Do you even know what it is, or was? God does
explain in His Word. In a moment, we will examine some aspects of what He says about it.
Before we do, however, I'd like to draw your attention to what the prophets predicted
about this loss of the true faith. Almost 3,000 years ago. Isaiah wrote:
Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion [symbol of the Church]; Put on
your beautiful garments [symbol of righteousness], O Jerusalem, the holy city! (Is 52:1a,
Isaiah would not be urging an awakening if the Church pictured in symbol by
Jerusalem or Zion had not fallen asleep! The parable of the ten virgins reveals
that the whole Church sleeps at this late time. (See article 2.) To what must the Church
now awake? We must consider carefully.
Furthermore, Isaiah is moved by the Spirit to say that she needs to put on her strength.
How has the Church's strength been stolen away? The strength of the Church stems from her
closeness to her Maker, and is reflected in the mirror of God's holiness. Relatively few,
though, look at God's mirror in the way He intends. So the Church slumbers. She has
forfeited her potency.
God adjures her to regain what she has lost to put on her garments of righteousness
and to regain her vigour.
God is Restoring What Was Stolen
God is urging a return today through His prophets. He is sending 'Elijah' to restore
what was lost through apostasy and neglect. Malachi foretold of this:
See, I will send My messenger who will prepare the way before Me. Then
suddenly, the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple [the Church] (Mal 3:1). See, I
will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes...
One of the things this 'Elijah' will do is speak out against the corruption that
affects God's people. That is the major purpose of prophets. God uses human instruments to
'cry aloud' about immorality, injustice and inequity (Is 58:1), principally in the Church.
The Midnight Cry Jesus referred to in Matthew 25:6 is a final end-time cry to the Bride of
Christ to come out of error and put on all the garments of righteousness
Jesus gives her (Rev 19:8). It is a prophetic call to awake.
Just as Elijah championed the dual cause of truth and righteousness against widespread
apostasy and idolatry, so today the end-time Elijah is restoring the true way among those
who are receptive. Elijah, however, is not a man. 'He' came in the form of John the
Baptist the first time because Jesus' witness was localised to Israel at that time. Today,
however, prior to His universal return, a universal Elijah is at work. [See endnotes.]
He is restoring the many aspects of true faith which the Church has lost.
Contending For The Faith
The faith to which Jude refers is not faith in the sense of belief. Certainly it
involves belief, and belief in certain aspects of truth, but it is more than that. Much
The NKJV renders Jude 3 as:
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common
salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the
faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
The belief aspect of our faith is a quality in which we continually grow. It never was
given once for all. We go from faith to faith (Rom 1:17). We prophesy according to the
level of our faith (Rom 12:6). We all have different measures of faith (Rom 12:3),
depending upon various factors. We should be continually increasing in faith (2 Thes 1:3).
It is not a static or fixed 'commodity'.
Jude is referring to something more; something which embodies our whole salvation. It is,
in other words, the entire belief system which Jesus presented to us in His original
gospel. It is the truth that we can be saved from death, and how to receive that
salvation, with all its attendant details.
In this time of restoration, we are to earnestly contend for this faith which was once
delivered! You cannot casually assume that you have got it, for the parables Jesus gave
prior to His departure indicate the opposite! He bluntly described the whole Church
depicted by ten virgins as ALL ASLEEP just before His return! (Matt 25:5.)
That means you do not have the full picture. You are oblivious to some
aspects of the faith which was once given. Let's take a preview of major aspects the
Church has relinquished over the centuries.
1. Faith in Jesus Alone
It might seem a bit trite to say that this faith once delivered centred around the
person of Jesus. After all, He was the Bringer of salvation. How could any Christian
But the Church today HAS, in many ways, lost sight of that! I do not mean in the obvious
intellectual sense. Not one Christian would intellectually deny that
Jesus Christ is the author and centre-piece of the salvation they hope for.
Satan's skill is much more astute than to try to delude us about that. Denial of Christ
takes far more discreet forms than intellectual denial. Millions of Christians accept
Christ in that obvious way, but deny Him in other respects.
Peter warned of false teachers who would deny Christ by their teaching and who would
...there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce
destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them... many will
follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their
greed these teachers will exploit you (2 Pet 2:2,3).
One obvious way believers are exploited is financially. There are many rip-off
merchants in the Church whose oratory is so captivating that they can talk the back end
off a horse! They fool their audiences with their fluent rhetoric and draw great acclaim
for themselves. Their offering baskets are full but the spirituality of the people is not.
Exploitation which is less noticed is the fact that these men have drawn away the
attention and loyalty of their listeners to THEM, so they become the big names instead of
Christ. Oh, Christ gets preached one way or another. These merchants of guile are using
His name alright, but they use it for their own ends. They gain a following for
themselves, and the majority don't perceive the trap they are falling into. This was the
crux of Paul's warning in Ephesus (Acts 20:29,30).
The "drawing away after them" is not in the physical sense, although that
naturally occurs to a great extent. It is in the spiritual sense. The man up front gets as
much, if not more, acclaim than Christ who died for them! It is a blasphemy. It was not
part of the original 'package'. Christ was up front. He was centre stage. He is God and is
deserving of all worship and acclaim. But how often 'His' ministers get
more than Him because they are the ones people see!
The Church in this situation is spiritually exploited.
When, late in life, Smith Wigglesworth heard the comment that after his death people would
really miss him, he mourned. He considered his whole ministry a failure if all they had
come to see was him! The preacher's role is to feed people so they can
come to see Christ. When they are mature enough to be led directly by
Him, then the preacher can disappear and go where he can help others into the same
But too many 'ministers' are content to have flocks follow them so they bring in a steady
income. Instead of feeding their flocks, false ministers fleece their flocks, and the
flocks end up supporting them! Roles are reversed, and Christ is
upstaged. A man has put himself centre stage, where only Christ ought to be. As long as he
stands there, he blocks some of the light from Jesus reaching you.
The subtlety of this is lost on most. Yet, it is spiritually crippling.
All churches have departed from the faith once delivered to the saints in this respect. If
you can name a church where the lead is not spiritually regulated and
controlled by men but wholly by the Holy Spirit, you are a rare individual indeed!
Even the so-called Spirit-led church organisations are headed by boards, humanly appointed
and humanly governed. Men, put in office by the organisation, effectively determine church
doctrine. If any of that teaching is in error, complete truth cannot enter. If you receive
from God something contrary to the established doctrines accepted by that church, you are
either regarded as anathema or looked upon with pity. Do church boards seriously question
established doctrine? Would they accommodate 'new' truth if you, a mere layman, presented
it? Would they recognise a prophet sent by God, if he brought 'new' truth?
No! Man always stands in the way of what God does.
We have been directed by the Lord to take aspects of truth to a number of church
organisations and 'leaders'. Not one has taken an objective look at what God had us
present to them! That is a pitiful reflection upon the state of the Church today. She
slumbers. And when a prophetic 'cry' rings out, most pull their ear-muffs over their ears.
B. Hierarchic Blasphemy!
Then there is the blasphemy of hierarchy in the Church. The faith which was once delivered
to the saints contained no hierarchy other than the Father, Christ the Son, and the agency
of His holy Spirit working with every true believer.
There was no élitist pecking order as we see in so many church
organisations. Christ was
the Head, and He gave directives to each person who listened to His Spirit. The Spirit led
each person into truth (Jn 16:13; Rom 8:14), not the human so-called Church 'leadership'.
Church 'leaders' are not called to lead. They are appointed to serve, to feed. A large
part of the Church has lost sight of this today.
In most churches we see a replica of what is ultimately a human system of élitist
hierarchy borrowed from the Catholic Church, a system which originated in Babylon. She is
called the Mother of Harlots in Revelation 17:5. Not a complimentary term by any
Her daughters may have come through the Protestant Reformation and thrown off some of
the shackles of false teaching, but some huge blinkers still remain to be removed.
Hierarchic human leadership in church organisations is one of them.
In an administrative sense, organisation is fine. It is when it encroaches into the
spiritual arena that it becomes blasphemous. Ministry is to feed. The Holy Spirit is there
to lead. And that can only occur when there is a proper environment where all are regarded
as equal brethren, not a system where some men rule over others.
Where such perversion still exists and that is what it is, perversion
élitist domination in the Church is nothing more than an image of that in the
civil government (Rev 13:14). Jesus revealed to John in symbol the final end-time 'Roman'
I saw a Beast coming out of the sea [figure for masses of people]. He had 10
horns and 7 heads, with 10 crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name (Rev
The same blasphemy of ruling over people occurs in the Church. Men dictate to others,
spiritually. They may be called ministers, but they can easily hinder the path of progress
if they fail to perceive their proper role. It is a role not rule.
It is blasphemy for one man to be appointed as (effectively) a god over another, even more
so in the Church where Jesus wants us to all be brothers!
Where does the head of the body ever use an intermediary as a decision-maker on line to
another part? It doesn't. It sends its signals direct to that part. So it is in the
Church. The Head is Christ (Eph 1:22). He directs each part without governmental
interference. All such intermediaries are human intermediaries and are
not of God.
That is not to say that ministry cannot involve correction, admonition, giving direction,
etc. It can and it often does. But there should only ever be one source for all that
the Holy Spirit. Jesus guides and leads. We should all follow His lead, both
minister and member alike. There is no distinction in God's eyes. We are all His sons and
Jesus said to His disciples:
You are not to be called 'Rabbi', for you have only one Master and you are all
brothers... (Matt 23:8).
Élitism is Babylonian. We are to come out of the élitist religious system of this
world (Rev 18:4). It is a system that has its roots in paganism, and originates with
Nimrod the first human conqueror. Not only did he conquer people physically. He forced
them to be subservient to him, and that involved spiritual domination, too. There is much
underlying the Hebrew of Genesis 10:9!
He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, "Like
Nimrod, a mighty hunter before [in place of] the Lord" (Gen 10:9).
He usurped prerogatives that belong only to God! Nimrod set himself up as a god. The
end-time man of sin will do the same (2 Thes 2:4).
No true minister of God deliberately usurps Jesus' office as Mediator. But it happens all
the time, inadvertently, subtly. The system perpetuates the error.
C. The Mark of the Beast
Where men rule other people who congregate for spiritual worship, the rulers impose in
some way upon their subjects. Just as Rome imposed its mark upon its subjects through
required emperor worship, a spiritual parallel occurs in churches. They require
subservience from their members a more subtle form of course, but subservience
nonetheless. It is subservience or submission to church 'leaders'.
Allusions to this requirement are heard all the time in ecclesiastical corridors. They
range from muted references like "being under authority" or "under the
covering of the ministry" to outright blasphemies about the need to "submit to
God's government in the Church" meaning yielding to the men who rule in place
of God, who claim their human authority is from Him. The authority being wielded is that
of a beast, spiritually speaking.
It may look to some like a lamb, but it 'speaks' like a dragon (Rev 13:11). The dragon,
Satan, will confer his authority upon the civil government (the 'Beast') which is soon to
emerge in Europe (Rev 13:4). And an ecclesiastical replica will emerge, too, with equally
great powers. Portrayed as an image of the Roman Beast (Rev 13:14) in structure and
forcefulness, its authority will be supreme in the religious sphere. It will command a
mark upon all its subjects (Rev 13:16), and that mark will carry the number 666 (Rev
13:18). Those who refuse to be part of this system will have to bear the consequences of
their 'rebellion', which will be loss of human rights (Rev 13:17) and even death (Rev
Such will be the fate of 'the remnant church' who refuse to bow the knee to Baal in the
guise of Catholicism.
I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those
who bore testimony to Jesus (Rev 17:6).
How will they bear testimony to Him at that time? By refusing to comply with the
Beast's physically expedient command to give homage to a human structure masquerading as
Christian, but which flouts the faith once delivered to the saints.
What many fail to recognise today is that the same system is in force in most of
Christendom right now. It only differs from what is to come from Rome during the austere
times ahead in that punishments for non-compliance are not so overt or physical at
present. Instead, in many quarters, spiritual 'incentives' of ex-communication and
persecution are employed with psychological coercion, emotional manipulation, ostracism,
character-assassination and blackmail. In less dictatorial churches, leaders (usually paid
by the organisation) still insist on retaining control. Thus, man rules in the structure
which was originally meant to be ruled only by God.
The only spiritual government in the true Church is unseen. It is via the Spirit, which
can direct you as a lay person, just as much as (if not more so, sometimes, than) a church
leader. Any who suggest that spiritual government in the Church is administered by men who
are on a board of trustees, directors, or similar, are biblically out of order!
The Church is not a human
organisation. Nor is it several incorporated structures. The
true Church is not humanly organised. It is a spiritual organism!
It is created by God, guided by God, and governed by God not by men.
I defy anyone to prove from God's Word that a minister has a right to spiritually
rule another person in the Church, even if that man claims a spiritual office
such as apostle or prophet. Those offices are offices of service, not of lordship (Matt
20:25-28). Any authority is conferred by the Spirit, and the Spirit is there to do God's
bidding, not man's.
There is a tendency for men who claim 'leadership' positions to steal 'the thunder'. The
'rank and file' look up to church leaders as if they were on a higher spiritual level
and therefore more important than the 'laity'. 'Leaders' are not. Sometimes
they may be more spiritual, but that does not make them more important.
However, the converse may be true. They may be less spiritual! And if
that is the case, they should defer to those of greater spirituality, which can include
anyone in the Church through whom God speaks.
The matter of government in the Church is a thorny and greatly misunderstood issue. Abuse
in this area has wreaked spiritual havoc in the lives of countless numbers of believers.
Some have even thrown away the faith because of it! A few overbearing and dominant church
leaders have pushed some little ones too far. Jesus said:
Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin. Such things
must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! (Matt 18:7.)
When a church 'leader' comes between you and God, he is doing the devil's work. There
should only be one Man between you and God the man Jesus (1 Tim 2:5).
The mark of the Beast is a mark of human domination. It is a symbol of the totality of
evil enmeshed in human systems of worship, where true worship is subtly replaced by
worship of man. You don't have to worship the final false prophet to be guilty of this
sin. Whenever a man comes between you and Christ in your worship, you are marked by this
number. It is the number of man (Rev 13:18).
I will cover more about this matter of the identity of 666 in the Church in a later
D. Ritualism or Legalism
Another trap, not often recognised because of its subtlety, is ritualism. This takes
many forms, not just the most obvious one of idolatrous Catholic worship.
Once again it is a form of human worship self achievement. Ritualism is a
corruption of the faith which was once delivered to the saints. Paul addressed the
principles behind this problem in his letters to the Galatian and Colossian churches. It
has many forms.
People devise all sorts of human modes of worship. When they supplant true worship
which can only take place in the spirit (Jn 4:23) with a humanly contrived
substitute, that substitute becomes an idol.
This problem is so prevalent that when John wrote his deep letters exhorting us to walk
in the love of God, he concluded his first one with the seemingly incongruous statement:
Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 Jn 5:21).
Because idolatry is more widespread than most
recognise. Satan can get you to erect an
idol in your mind by persuading you that you have to perform some physical ritual to be
saved. Thus, he has reduced your worship from worship in spirit to 'worship' in the flesh.
It is not true worship at all. It is a substitute bondage! You become enslaved by
your ritualistic philosophy. You have lost sight of the One who does not seek to condemn,
but who seeks to save.
People with a religious spirit display all sorts of ritualistic aberrations. There are
many religious spirits! There are some very religious people who are extremely
ritualistic! They can be some of the worst idolaters!
Some insist they cannot drink alcohol, even though the Bible says no such thing (except
for those who took a Nazarite vow under the Old Covenant). Others cling to food fads,
fanatical about what they can eat, fearful they will corrupt themselves if they eat
anything which 'contaminates'.
There are vegetarians, vegans, and
'vege-nutters'. Some are 'so dotty' about their food
fetishes that they have lost sight of what Jesus came to save them from demonic
They fail to see that food and drink are such minor matters concerning the Kingdom of
God. Paul said:
For the Kingdom
of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the
Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17).
People trapped by ritualistic bondages have such little joy! And their 'righteousness'
is like that of Job, a matter of self-achievement. It makes them feel good. It appeases
their conscience in some way. It appeals to their inner religious pride. But all these
unscriptural variants are not pleasing to God. They bring the adherent into bondage to an
unbalanced lifestyle that causes unnecessary social conflict and division.
Paul wrote to the Hebrews about having a right balance in life:
be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be
strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat
them (Heb 13:9).
And to Timothy, he warned about the many doctrines of demons which would become
extremely prevalent in the end times:
will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons... They
forbid... them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with
thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is
good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is
consecrated by the Word and God and prayer (1 Tim 4:1-5).
If you think you cannot eat something that the Word of God does not specifically
forbid, you are being brought into bondage by irrational fears. These are implanted by
There are food faddists who won't eat any white flour, white sugar, or processed foods.
While processed foods may not be ideal, they are certainly not the satanic poison some
regard them as being. You won't defile the temple of the Holy Spirit by eating a mouthful
of impure food. But you can defile it through eccentric fears!
Don't destroy your faith by fears of this ilk. What is more important? The body which
houses your spirit, or that spirit which God is re-forming within you in His likeness?
Let's get things in proper perspective.
My wife and I had someone stay with us who was obsessed with their diet. This person
would not eat any white flour, white sugar or other processed
foods! They forgot that the priests in the Temple ate fine flour, sifted so finely that it
would have had most of the bran removed! This person even declined to eat prepared potato
chips, because they didn't know what oil they might have been fried in. Do you think Paul
would have been so pernickety? He said:
make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. Do not destroy the
work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean [all, that is, which the Bible says is
clean], but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble (Rom
Ironically, the converse can be true, too. Some destroy the work of God by NOT eating
various things! Their food fads cause division. If you invited a person as a guest to your
home and they declined to eat almost everything you put before them which is 'clean'
according to Leviticus 11, would you be offended? Would their actions constitute
"mutual edification"? No. They are being socially divisive. They are actually
destroying the work of God with respect to the harmony that should exist.
While this person stayed with us God gave me a dream which provided more insight about
ritualism in this instance to do with eating habits. In this dream I saw
scaffolding which needed stabilising. It was a simple matter of just adding a cross member
as a brace. I was able to do that on one set of scaffolding that had been erected. But
when I came to another structure, it was impossible to stabilise it. The standard or
upright pole to which the brace should have been attached was not just the thickness of
normal scaffold tube. It was about six inches thick! I couldn't get any hold on it at all.
It was an impossible task.
And that is the problem with those who have added so much girth to the faith once
delivered, with their own additional do's and don'ts that are entirely unnecessary. They
are man-made taboos. Such rules don't add to righteousness. They detract from it. Their
'scaffolding' is rickety and unstable. They don't have the stability of faith in Christ
that comes through simplicity. They have added to His standard far more than they should
have done. They have weakened in faith.
Ritualism is virtually limitless. There are other believers who go to an almost ascetic
extreme. They feel guilty about any form of physical enjoyment, even though God encourages
us to rejoice, and commands it at appropriate times (e.g. Lev
23:40). Such people often equate enjoyment with sin, which it is not.
Sin is defined and condemned in God's Word, but enjoyment and living life to the full
is not. Jesus wants you to have abundant life (Jn 10:10), but if you are trapped by any
form of ritualism, you will be depriving yourself and those who have to live with
you of sharing some of God's joys for mankind.
Instead of looking to Him and relying upon Him, you are looking to yourself, and
relying upon yourself. Your religion becomes a sham, based on self- righteousness, pride,
and human works. This shuts out the Spirit. Demonic spirits are welcomed instead.
All these wrong approaches stem from the presence of dominating deceiving spirits,
which want to keep you in bondage so you don't have the liberty of enjoying His grace as
Hebrews 13:9 mentions. That enjoyment is not an immoral sensual pleasure, but an inner
peace that comes from His indwelling presence.
Ritualists are unknowingly trapped. They are trapped by thinking that they must
do what they do in order to be saved. Their human dogma, whatever it may be, is to them a
salvation-earner. They may not see it like that, but that is what subconsciously underlies
They forget that whatever deeds we do as mere humans are dead works
works humanly performed to gain 'favour' with God. (Not that those works do any
good! God is not impressed.)
A ritualist doesn't really see his need for God. Rather, his focus is upon himself, as
he "goes through the motions".
Instead of seeing the immense price Christ paid in His love for you by His death on the
cross, as a ritualist all you really have is a superficial intellectual acceptance of His
death, not a highly personal one. Jesus died for me and for you
making available the indwelling of His Spirit. He wants to live in us.
As long as you rely upon yourself, in whatever manner, you are reverting into
ritualism. You deny the Lord who bought you with His blood and who will save you by His
Spirit. You are quenching His Spirit.
You choose bondage instead of life. Satan has you bent over, only seeing earthly
things, not looking up and seeing heavenly things.
A few years ago a man came to us, having found in us the love, acceptance and
friendship he could not find in his former church. We offered him a room in our home for a
few days while he recovered from the hurt and rejection of his recent past. Suddenly, out
of the blue, he began to comment about my failure to do certain rituals which he
considered essential for a true believer. He couldn't understand why I did not see their
importance. To him they were essential. They were small physical things, not major aspects
of our spiritual lives such as prayer or keeping the commandments.
I tried to explain. I queried what he based his salvation upon. "How are you
saved?" I asked. He responded immediately, "By keeping the law." (By 'the
law', he meant all of the rules and regulations found in the Old Testament.)
I said I could not agree with him at all. Paul wrote to the Galatians that we are not
saved by keeping the law, but by faith in Christ (Gal 2:16). I opened to that text and
read it. I wanted to explain further, but he had already heard too much! When he realised
that there was no way I would ever agree with him on this point, he stormed out and never
This man had no faith in Christ. His faith was in what he could do himself. That is
ritualism in the raw. It is evil and a denial of the sacrifice and life of Christ.
Through this subtle transfer of trust, Jesus gets shut outside. Reliance upon self
takes over. And that self-reliance eclipses the love of Christ.
If you are just now seeing that you have been hooked by this subtle bait of the devil,
you can be freed. First, humbly recognise you have fallen. Admit your need for Jesus. Ask
Him to come into you fully by His Spirit and give you HIS new life. And stop trusting in
yourself. Just rely upon Him in faith.
The spiritual sickness of ritualism grips untold multitudes of believers. God has
spoken to me more than once about the ubiquitous malady of ritualism. It is vast in its
Besides the 'denialists', there are the 'doers' those whose ritualism takes the
form of doing something mentioned in scripture, but which is additional to the faith once
delivered to the saints. Wearing a prayer shawl when praying; insisting on using Hebrew
names for God or Jesus; wearing beards for men, head coverings for women... the list is
Satan does not usually suggest a ritual from the world. Christians would not buy that.
More often, he deludes them by re-imposing some scriptural rite from the past, but which
has been superseded by a spiritual aspect under the New Covenant.
You do not need dead rituals. You need the living Christ in you. However, EVERY
believer, in one way or another, to some degree or other, is infected by ritualism.
How come? Because we are all human and none of us submits 100%, to the indwelling
direction of the holy Spirit.
the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who
with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness
with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:17).
E. Worship Meetings
Peter referred to the universality of the priesthood now that Christ lives in us. We
are all part of His body. Jesus is our High Priest and we are part of His priesthood.
are a chosen people, a royal priesthood a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful
light (1 Pet 2:9).
Under the Old Covenant there was a priesthood appointed by God within the Levitical
tribe. However, that was superseded by Christ and the priesthood was officially
discontinued at Jesus' death, although priests continued to officiate in the temple until
it was destroyed in AD 70. Jesus reassumed the priestly rights which were once His under
the order of Melchisedec before the Covenant at Sinai. All this is explained in more
detail by Paul in his letter to the Hebrews.
As our High Priest, Christ has now appointed each of us as priests with Him, to be
purveyors of the truth and goodness of God.
The Old Covenant priesthood had the responsibility of educating the people about God,
and about His law. Malachi wrote:
the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek
instruction because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty (Mal 2:7).
They also officiated in the temple, offering sacrifices and praise to God on behalf of
the people. Now, under the New Covenant, all believers have that duty.
Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise the
fruit of lips that confess His name (Heb 13:15).
Notice, that this praise is through Jesus. True praise and
worship can only emanate from us if His Spirit is in us. Then we can truly worship in
spirit and sincerity (Jn 4:23).
spirit, and His worshippers MUST worship Him in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:24).
Worship meetings, then, are to bring us closer to His throne in praise and worship.
fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Jn 1:3).
This is the only acceptable 'formula' for believers' meetings fellowship with
the Father and Son through the Spirit. When that fellowship exists, then
we can have meaningful fellowship with one another, if we are of like faith.
For many today, however, 'worship' is not worship at all! It is a perfunctory
repetition of human procedure a few songs, a reading from the Bible, a sermon from
a church 'leader' and superficial prayer. Ritual of litany and liturgy has replaced true
worship in spirit. The holy Spirit guides far too few meetings today.
One major reason is that the human leaders have stolen the prerogatives of God. THEY
assume control. Their command is what is followed. Usually, they
It was never like this in the early Church. Everyone could take part, so long as it was
orderly and everyone respected the prompting of the Spirit. (See 1 Cor 14).
However, what most people experience in churches today is not orderly
worship, it is organised. And organisation kills the flow of
the Spirit. There is a vast difference between being orderly and organised! The former can
be of the Spirit, the latter merely of men. Leaders who want control can create very
orderly meetings by having everything organised. But that quenches the lead of the Spirit,
so nothing much happens by direct intervention of God.
Spiritual gifts are not exercised and developed by all. And few people are truly
edified. All because men have tried to organise what God wants to do in worship meetings.
You can't organise God. You cannot set an agenda for Him, or dictate His movement. We
have to be open to His leading, and that means when we come together to worship, we must
be prepared for God to show up. There should be a minimal pre-arranged agenda, and even
then, we should be ready to shelve that when God decides something different is better for
us. When meetings operate that freely, all can be edified, and all will be able to take a
direct part as they are moved by the Spirit.
A perfect example of a Spirit-led meeting is in Acts 4. The early Church did not pray
according to a pre-arranged agenda. They prayed when the Spirit called them to prayer, and
prayed what the Spirit gave them to pray. Luke records one wonderful example:
raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said,
"you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by
the Holy Spirit.... Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders
through the name of your holy servant Jesus." After they prayed, the place where they
were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word
of God boldly (Acts 4:24, 25, 30, 31).
This was true worship in the Spirit because the presence of the Lord was among them.
Where has He gone? Why is He not in many meetings today? Who pushed Him out? In many
cases, the blame falls at the door of church leadership.
O My people, your guides lead you astray;
they turn you from the path (Is 3:12).
enters into judgement against the elders and leaders of His people. It is
you who have ruined My vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses
We must be very careful that we follow the lead of the Spirit in worship meetings,
otherwise they will degenerate into mere social gatherings devoid of God's presence and
empty of encouragement.
The faith once delivered to the saints was a faith that embodied a demonstration of
supernatural power! God was present: and He showed it! In far too many churches, what we
see now is more human domination and less supernatural power.
Today we have a church mostly managed by élitist hierarchic 'priests' and 'prophets',
who effectively spiritually lord it over their subjects, whom they refer to as 'laity'.
horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land. The prophets prophesy lies, the
priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way (Jer 5:31a).
It begs the question:
will you do in the end? (Jer 5:31b).
The end is an apostate church which loses its spiritual bearings and is led astray by
false apostles and bogus prophets. The Spirit of God is expelled and replaced by human
substitutes. Like Sardis, the church dies.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, they were troubled by the opposite tendency
outrageous flamboyance! There was an over-abundance of enthusiasm by most to take part,
but with one member trying to 'outdo' another. Worship was rapidly degenerating into a
spectacle of vanity and exhibitionism.
Paul exhorted them to curtail their carnal enthusiasm, and make sure everything that
occurred was done with a motive of edification primarily for others present. But he did say also:
can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged (1 Cor 14:31).
Prophesying, speaking in tongues, interpreting those tongues, receiving revelation,
giving encouragement and instruction all these are essential features of true
Spirit-led meetings (1 Cor 14:26). "All of these MUST BE DONE for the strengthening
of church" (ibid.).
Paul is talking about worship meetings where the Church comes together to fellowship
and meet with God. There may be other occasions especially arranged as teaching seminars
or group discussions. Those are not specifically worship meetings and may therefore
operate on a different format. Even so, the lead of the Spirit of God should be welcomed.
But group worship in worship meetings MUST be in spirit and truth, as Jesus commanded,
otherwise it will become devoid of spiritual value. God will remain distant. He does not
Let us learn from these reminders in scripture and return to the faith once delivered
to the saints!
2. Faith in the Law
One other major aspect in which the true faith once delivered has been compromised is
to do with the approach to 'the law'. This term has been grossly misunderstood, with the
result that many perverse teachings have arisen.
Perhaps the most damnable is that 'the law' is done away, and Christians are no longer
under any obligations to keep 'the law', whatever that was. So few really know what 'the
law' was and which they are informed is no longer binding upon them.
I will come to what 'the law' means in a moment. But first, notice what Paul said about
our obligations to God and to 'the law' under the New Covenant.
there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ
Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:1).
If you think that Paul is providing you with a moral license to disobey the law which
God gave Israel, look more closely! He continues a few sentences later:
Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation –
but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it... (Rom 8:12)...
because the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to
God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot
please God (Rom 8:7,8).
Do you see that Paul was condemning those who refuse to submit to God's law? Why?
...the law is spiritual (7:14a)... is holy, and
the commandment is holy, righteous and good (Rom 7:12).
This teaching is no different from that of king David who extolled the virtues of God's
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the
Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are
right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving
light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring for ever. The
ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more
precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than
honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there
is great reward
Yet, many Christians have been fobbed off with a pack of lies about the law God gave
Israel that it was unreasonable, and was a law of bondage. Not so!
It was the breaking of that law which is sin (1 Jn 3:4)
which led to bondage. Israel was in bondage in Egypt a nation totally cut
off from God. Israel had to be released by a deliverer, Moses who was a type of
Christ, so she could be led into freedom. Egypt is referred to in the Bible as a metaphor
for sin and bondage. The law was never bondage. It was the foundation for the preservation
of their spiritual freedom.
God promised Israel every blessing would come to them if they continued in unwavering
obedience to the law He gave them at Sinai. The list of blessings for obedience are found
in the Old Covenant writings of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. But in the same place,
the list of curses for disobedience was four times longer!
That was the curse of the law to which Paul referred in Galatians 3:13. The curse was
law-breaking with its inevitable penalties of suffering and death. Jesus came to redeem us
from those horrendous results of our own sinfulness. Christ nailed the curse of the law to
the cross. He paid that penalty for us by dying on the cross,
that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit (Gal 3:14).
The Spirit imbues us with a law-abiding nature, so we can submit to God, obey His law
in its spirit or intent, and reap the blessings He wants us to enjoy.
When Jude wrote his letter lamenting on the gross heresy which was sweeping large
segments of the Church into deception, liberalism was at the heart of the false teachers'
are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a licence for immorality and deny
Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (Jude 4).
I have already mentioned how ritualism or legalism denies the Lordship of Christ. The
other extreme liberalism likewise denies Him, but at the opposite end of the
spectrum. Liberalism denies our need to be obedient to God.
Abraham became known as the father of the faithful because of his unwavering obedience
and trust in God. James explained that you cannot separate obedience and faith. They go
hand in hand. And yet, there are many devious expositors of "New Testament
Grace" who peddle the view that grace and faith dispenses with law.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
While obedience will never earn you salvation, you can earn
death by an unwillingness to obey God. Hence, Paul talked of the wages
of sin (Rom 6:23).
Grace does not negate law. It is because of law that we need grace. Our human inability
to submit to the perfect standard of God's law (Rom 8:7) is the reason for God's provision
of grace. By faith we accept Jesus' sacrifice in place of ours to pay the death penalty we
have earned by our sins, and through the faith He imparts to us, we are imbued with the
power and virtue of His Spirit that we may become holy. This is the essence of the
spiritual rebirth which must take place in us if we are to inherit eternal life
None of this is by human effort. But it is with human co-operation and consent. And
that must be 100%. We have to die to self, and desire the fulness of God to live in us.
Such indwelling comes through the agency of the Holy Spirit not another God-being,
as so many theologians wrongly portray Him but as another form of Christ, the
Saviour in us.
Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor 3:17).
You want freedom? Christ offers it to you. But that freedom is not in freedom from
restraints imposed by law. The law was provided as a guide to outline moral
tells us what is wrong and what is right, in basic terms. The spirit of that law is love
for God and love for fellow man, which is what Paul meant when he said,
loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law... love is the fulfilling of the law (Rom
He did not mean that so long as you 'love' your fellow man you can do anything outside
the stipulation of the commandments, for he went on to say that such love was defined by
those very commands (v 9).
Yet, I have heard the subtle heresy that so long as we love others, we are absolved
from a responsibility to obey the Old Testament law. Rubbish! You have no right to murder
in 'love', commit adultery in 'love', break the Sabbath in 'love' or rationalise around
any other commandment of God.
The law of God is immutable. That's why it was engraved in stone by the finger of God.
Man has no right to change it, annul it or teach against it, however subtly. Any who do
are submitting to a lie of the devil in doing so, despite all their other seeming virtues.
What 'the law' is.
By the first century AD, the term 'the law' (Greek, nomos) had
gained expanded meanings, which is why Paul's letters about the law are rarely understood
The law is firstly the Decalogue
Secondly, it is the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch), in which that law
of God is first found.
Thirdly, it is the complete teaching of the Old Testament (the
expounding and relating Israel's conduct to those commandments. It became known as the Law
and the Prophets.
Fourthly, the law became a colloquial term for the Old Covenant system of rule under
which Israel was covenanted as a theocracy.
And fifth, Paul sometimes uses the term to refer to the Judaistic legalism that had
become a product of human interpretation of that law.
It is important when reading any
N. T. writings, to ensure that the meaning of 'the law'
is gleaned accurately according to the context. Many false teachings have arisen due to a
failure to understand these contextual differences.
Never forget Jesus' immutable words:
think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them
but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the
smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law
until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven, but
whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the Kingdom of heaven
Let's return to that faith once delivered!
The faith Christians possess is more than just belief in God, and in Jesus as the
Christ. It is also a system embodying definite aspects as a result
of that belief. The faith once delivered to the saints contained a definite creed.
However, that has been muddied by the waters of time. Many of today's versions of
"the faith" have ill-defined creeds so they can expediently accommodate those of
differing doctrinal belief.
However, that belies the fact that there is really only one faith which was delivered
to the saints, and only one creed. While the original faith certainly allowed for minor
differences of view within its parameters, it did not sanction all the differences we see
today under the deceptive banner of "the faith".
Widely divergent views, within what we broadly call "the Church", represent
the effects of apostasy since the first century. The Church needs to get back to the faith
once delivered, because anything less than that is imperfect, and is a departure from what
Aspects of the Faith
As I said, the faith once delivered encapsulated a creed a set of principles
containing a philosophy of life. But that creed was often an unspoken one.
The early Church developed as an outgrowth of the religion of the Jews first
century Judaism. It deviated from this, of course, because of what Jesus brought as truth,
which differed from what Judaism at that time upheld.
There were some aspects of conduct and belief which remained emphatically the same. For
this reason, the first Christians were regarded as a sect of Judaism (Acts 28:22). You
would not call the large Christian churches today anything like an outgrowth of the
religion of the Jews!
While that may be regarded by some as
favourable, the truth is, it is not!
The Jews who worshipped according to the truth which God had made available at that
time were adamant that God required very definite obedience to moral principles. Breaking
them was (and still is) sin (1 Jn 3:4).
The books of Moses and the other Old Testament prophets confirmed their need to be
vigilant in remaining faithful to the decrees God had given the nation. The law which God
gave Moses was given to fashion Israel in God's image.
But what happened in the first century? Did Jesus come to change all that? No.
Emphatically, He did not! He said without equivocation: "Don't think I have come to
do away with God's law, or even to water it down. I have come to do nothing of the sort! I
now tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the hypocritical scribes and
Pharisees, you won't enter the Kingdom of heaven!" (Matt 5:17-20, paraphrased.)
What righteousness did Jesus want to see in us, then? A greater righteousness than was
ever attainable under the Old Covenant in Israel. That righteousness was defined in terms
of obedience to the commands God had given them (Ps 119:172). Simply speaking, it was
complete obedience to those 10 commandments for which they would have been richly blessed
by God (Deut 6).
If that was the standard of righteousness which God anticipated from His chosen then,
do you think a standard any less will be fitting for followers of Jesus under the New
Covenant? No way! The demands are even greater upon us (Rom 8:12; Matt 5-7), for our
infractions of that holy righteous moral code (Rom 7:12) crucified our Lord (Rom 3:23;
6:23; 2 Cor 5:21,15). We are to leave sin behind and no longer live in sin.
So, here are some of the aspects of the faith which was passed on to the saints of the
first century Christian Church.
Prepare for some surprises!
1. The Ten Commandments
Jesus answered a questioner who wanted to inherit eternal life. His reply was simple:
want to enter life, keep the commandments (Matt 19:17).
There was no question in this man's mind which commandments Jesus was referring to.
They were the bedrock teaching upon which Judaism was founded. Obedience to the ten
commandments was fundament- ally central to the new faith, too. Paul summed it up:
God's commandments is what counts (2 Cor 7:19).
2. The Sabbaths
What is much more strange to many Christians today, however, is to hear that the
Sabbath command is still relevant in its original form. Many have been inoculated with the
concept that the Sabbaths were a Jewish invention, or part of only Jewish heritage. Supported by anti-Semitism in the early centuries AD, this belief has gained
dominance. But it is wrong.
Jesus was a Jew, but He was more. He was also the Son of Man, and therefore lived His
life as an example for all races. He obeyed His Father's commandments (Jn 15:10). He
observed the Sabbath day (Luke 4:16) by keeping it holy, although He vehemently objected
to the ridiculous legality of Judaistic sabbatical scrupulousness. They had reduced the
liberty and joy of the Sabbath to legality and duty.
We are enjoined to follow Jesus' example with regard to Sabbath observance, since He is
still Lord of the Sabbath, not of Sunday, (Mark 2:28). That fact should be clear to any
who know pure biblical teaching, and is confirmed by His words in Matthew 24:20. If the
time comes when Christians need to relocate due to persecution, He said to pray that such
flight should never have to take place on the Sabbath. It is so holy, that such an event
would be far from ideal.
The Sabbath is holy time, set aside each week for seeking and worshipping God. It is
not time to do as we please (Is 58:13).
While every seventh day is weekly holy time, God has established
annual holy days also. These events are convocations times for God's people to come
together in fellowship, for edification, praise and worship.
First given to Israel (Ex 12; Lev 23; Deut 16) and intertwined with their sacrificial
system (Num 28 & 29), they remain in tact under the New Covenant (Matt 5:17, 18).
However, their physical sacrifices have been replaced by the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus
(Heb 7:27; Heb 9), and the spiritual sacrifices of God's people (Rom 12:1).
Jesus met with His disciples to eat the Passover before His death (Matt 26:18-20). This
event is part of the New Covenant, which Matthew 26:28 shows. Thirty years later, the
Festival (with the Days of Unleavened Bread) was still being observed not just by
Jews, but by Gentile Christians as well (1 Cor 5:7,8).
The New Testament Church was gathered in Jerusalem for the auspicious event of the
coming of God's Spirit in power. The occasion was Pentecost (Acts 2), the festival
sometimes called Feast of Weeks or Feast of Firstfruits (Lev 23:15,21; Num 28:26; Ex
23:16). Many years later, Paul is found still keeping Pentecost (Acts 20:16; 1 Cor 16:8).
It is clear that the early Church was still observing these times appointed by God as
annual days of rest and worship. Other festivals in the God-ordained calendar are the
Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement (also called the Fast, referred to in passing in Acts
27:9), Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day.
All these festivals are an integral part of the 'unspoken creed' of the faith which was
once delivered to the saints.
3. New Moons
A classic NT text misused to justify
wilful neglect of these
commands of God is Colossians 2:16. It reads:
not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival,
a new moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
Ironically, the very text which Paul originally wrote to protect these
correct commemorations from abuse, is turned upside down and applied by wrong exegesis to
attack the very things Paul was protecting!
From Colossians 2:16 it is clear that the Church was keeping Sabbath days and the other
festivals God had first given Israel Gentiles, too. And no wonder, for the Gentiles
were grafted into the same olive tree and inherited the same roots (Rom 11:17,18,24). They
may seem Hebrew roots to us, but they are true roots nonetheless.
Here, Paul just says in passing that new moon celebrations are an aspect of the faith they
4. Clean and Unclean Meats
Leviticus 11 contains a 'shopping' list of animal meats. Here,
God outlines which meat is fit to eat and which is unfit for human consumption. He doesn't
say why it is unfit, just that it is. To explain all the reasons in physiological terms
would have been too involved and lengthy, and Israel at that time could not have
understood. It ought to be sufficient for us to believe what God says. It is not for us
always to understand why.
The prophets confirmed this revelation. Isaiah prophesied of a future time when God's
people would blatantly disregard His laws in this regard (Is 65:4; 66:17).
Ezekiel was given a vision of Israel's idolatrous practices. God likened them to
'unclean' animals (Ezek 8:10). He wants us to regard these meats as detestable for food.
Such a law is still in force. It is not outdated, otherwise Peter would not have
protested about the apparent suggestion that he should eat such things (Acts 10:14).
Peter's vision contained a symbolic meaning which is explained in Acts 10:28. It did not
mean that these unclean animals were now fit to eat. Nothing was to pass away from the law
The Word of God consecrates food (1 Tim 4:5). It declares what is fit to eat and what
isn't. Appropriate foods (meats) should be:
with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth (1 Tim 4:3).
Likewise strangled animals, and blood and fat, which God outlawed as
unfit to eat, are still unsuitable, (Gen 9:4; Lev 3:17; Deut 12:16; 1 Sam 14:33; Acts
5. The Holy Spirit
When Paul wrote all his letters to various churches, he never
once referred to the Holy Spirit as a person, on a par with God the Father or with Jesus
His human representation. The Trinity concept has become the most widely held doctrinal
belief to explain the Godhead. But from Paul's writings, you cannot objectively deduce
this concept. Paul's opening formal remarks always make reference to God the Father and
Jesus Christ, but never to the Holy Spirit in the same way (e.g. 1 Cor
1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1 Thes 1:1; 2 Thes 1:1; 1 Tim 1:1,2;
2 Tim 1:1,2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3).
The other apostles also failed to give approbation to the Holy Spirit as if 'He' were a
distinct personage of a Trinitarian Godhead. James, for instance, introduces his letter by
mentioning God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Jas 1:1). John says:
proclaim to you what we have seen and heard... And our fellowship is with the Father and
with His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Jn 1:3,4).
There's no mention of the Holy Spirit in the same light.
Peter, in his second letter writes in a similar vein, giving honour to Father and Son
from whom we have received this previous faith. Only in his first letter, does Peter
include an opening remark which some may misconstrue as an excuse to regard the Holy
Spirit as a third entity of a Trinity (1 Pet 1:2). But if you consider his words
carefully, all he is saying is that our salvation is the culmination of a three-fold
process. We are called by God the Father, sanctified through the Spirit, to
be obedient to Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:2).
What are we to make of all this? That Paul and the other apostles blasphemed God by
removing the Holy Spirit from His standing as a co-equal representative of the Godhead?
Did he impugn Him by default? Hardly! All those letters were inspired by that very Spirit
of grace! (2 Pet 3:17.)
What we should realise is that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct Being in His own right
like we consider God the Father, but that it is the outworking of Himself, the agency by
which God works with mankind to create holiness in us.
The Trinity doctrine was not promoted by the early Church because they never believed
God to be Three Gods in One. (They believed Him to be One God.) This subtly false teaching
was introduced by an apostate Church council centuries later!
6. Spiritual Gifts
Understanding that the Holy Spirit is an outflow from God makes
more sense of the gifts of the Spirit, too. These are spiritual proclivities given to
people through this supernatural agency.
The advent of the Spirit in power on that first NT Pentecost bequeathed gifts to men
(Eph 4:8). These are outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and are being covered in the
article series An Introduction To The Spiritual Gifts, so I will
not repeat that here. Suffice it to say that the receipt and expression of these
supernatural gifts was a vital aspect of the original faith.
7. Witnessing in Power
The gifts of the Spirit are manifestations of divine power. This
power is given to those who have faith to receive and utilise it (Mark 16:17,18). It is
not given to those who don't exercise that belief and expression.
Through divine power demons are cast out; sicknesses are cured; and many other miracles
testify to God's supremacy in every circumstance.
Because they had received this power:
disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed
His word by the signs that accompanied it (Mark 16:20).
Only miraculous power gives undeniable witness to the fact of God's
inspiration. God birthed the Church in that power as we read in Acts, He projected the
apostles' preaching with power (Acts 8:6; 15:12), and He continues to do so today. Too
many have lost sight of this, as they have the other aspects of the faith.
The capstone of the faith given to the saints is love not
human love, but divine love. It is the culmination of spiritual growth (2 Pet 1:5-8). We
are given the chance to participate in the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4).
There is nothing greater to achieve or attain than what God's love achieves and attains
(1 Cor 13). It is the pinnacle of His design for man.
claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did (1 Jn 2:6).
Every follower of Jesus needs to return to THAT faith which was given to
the saints! The Bride must put on her garments of righteousness to be ready.
Malcolm B. Heap, December 1997
* * *
(This article first appeared in Awake! Awake! of
Nov/Dec 1997 (Part 1), and Jan/Feb 1998 (Part 2).)
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* * *