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Call the Solemn Assembly (10th in Church Series)

August 27, 2010

Joel 1:1-4: The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel.  2: Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land.  Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers?  3: Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. 4: That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.

(I liken this to the post-modern church of today. The churches could take up this lament: Isa: 26:18: We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.

I am not trying to ridicule or put down the church. My intent is to convince her that it is time to call the solemn assembly. In chapter two I will show just what needs done. I believe that the churches’ crops have been destroyed as described above.

When God sent Jesus and called us to repentance he had in mind what is written in Jer: 24:7: And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.

But instead it seems to me to be as in Jer: 51:51: We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the LORD’s house.

Below is what God says must be done to get back on tract. A little dab will not do you. We need to do this God’s way. We cannot make a few adjustment. We cannot try new ways. We must do this God’s way.)

5-8: Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth. 6: For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion. 7: He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white. 8: Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.

(Why does he call us drunkards? It is because we have drunk fermented wine in abundance, but we have not feasted on God’s new wine–Eph: 5:18: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

A nation has attacked God’s church. Who is it? Babylon. All the post-modern beliefs and teachings that take away from the written Word of God or from the truth that Christ has come in the flesh are Babylonian and anti-Christ. The world should not influence the church. In the church, the church should be living and acting like the church. Strangers to the gospel should not feel at home there. They may be made to feel like welcomed strangers, but they should not fit in until they receive Jesus–the Jesus in the Bible. The one who says: You cannot serve God and mammon. The one who says: Why do you call me Lord and do not the things that I say? The one who says: You must forsake all to be my disciple.)

9-13: The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD’s ministers, mourn. 10: The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. 11: Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.

12-13: The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men. 13: Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.

14-15: Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD, 15: Alas for the day!  for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

(That’s what we are going to talk about in chapter two. The things described above and below sound to me like the baroness of the church. Some may look at the works of some churches and say: “See how much they do. At least they are trying.” But there is more to this than getting people to come to church. They must be given the Spirit and the Word of the Lord. They must be brought into a condition of holiness–set apart for the Lord–and they must be taught how to live.)

16-20: Is not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy and gladness from the house of our God? 17: The seed is rotten under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down; for the corn is withered. 18: How do the beasts groan!  the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. 19: O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. 20: The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

Joel 2:1-11: Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;  2: A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. 3: A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.  4: The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.  5: Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6: Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. 7: They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: 8: Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. 9: They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. 10: The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: 11: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

(Everyone thinks this mighty army is the church, but it is not. It says in verse eleven that it is God’s army, but it is His army to execute His wrath. Look at verse 20.  It is Babylon–New Age–Gnosticism–Post-modern thinking. It has crept into every venue of life on planet earth.)

12-14: Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14: Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?

15-17: Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17: Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

(What God wants us to do–what has to be done to gain the restoration we need is to call all those who love God–all those who care about the church–all those who want God to manifest Himself in a mighty way–to the house of prayer. They are to drop everything. Don’t worry about meals. Don’t worry about duties. Get to the house of God and fall on your face and cry out for God to restore all that has been taken away. Below, God tells us what He will do for us when we do this.)

18-20: Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 19: Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen: 20: But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.

21-27: Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. 22: Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. 23: Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. 24: And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.  25: And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26: And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.  27: And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.

(He will send His teachers and preachers and they will teach all–the full council of God. Afterwards He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.)

28-32: And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:29: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.30: And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.31: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

(As the song says: These are the days of Elijah…  This is the end of the age. The war is between Christ and the anti-Christ spirit in the world. God wants to pour out His Spirit. God wants people to call on His name and be saved. Let’s do it! Call the solemn assembly.)

© Sylvia Huffnagle

Strangers in the Sanctuary (9th in Church Series)

August 27, 2010

Ezek: 44:1-3: Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. 2: Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. 3: It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same.

4-6: Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face. 5: And the LORD said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the house, with every going forth of the sanctuary. 6: And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations,

7-8: In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations. 8: And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves.

(I think this scripture can be applied to the church today, because all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Tim: 3:16  How has the church brought the uncircumcised into the sanctuary? Jesus established the church as a place for believers to meet and worship their God together. It was to be a place where they gathered together in His Name.

Then in Acts 5: 12-14 we read: And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 13: And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 14: And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

And in Eph: 4:1-16: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2: With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3: Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5: One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6: One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7: But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8: Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9: (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10: He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Eph: 5:19: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (I picture a place where believers can share and grow without fear of offending the heathen.)

Col: 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Heb: 10:24-26: And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26: For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

(These verses are not conclusive, but I do believe that God provided a sanctuary for believers where they can come together in unity of faith and purpose to build one another up in the faith.

A sanctuary is: 1  a holy place, as a building set aside for worship of the divinity or of one or more deities; 2 a place of refuge or protection; asylum: orig., fugitives from justice were immune from arrest in churches or other sacred places b) immunity from punishment or the law, as by taking refuge in a church, etc. 

Notice it started out as a holy place. To me that means a place where everyone is conscientious about doing things God’s way. The church is the pillar of truth–a place where Christians are strengthened and encouraged by being among those who believe as they do.

Pertaining to sanctuary–it is a place where believers can rest from dealing with the pressures of the world and enjoy the kingdom of God together. There is no place in church for ungodly behavior, speech, or dress. I’m not talking about rules here, I’m talking about one body and one Spirit.

Today church has a dual purpose–to do the above and to be used as an evangelistic center. To have the church be an evangelistic center is to take away the sanctuary part. There may be a little strength in knowing that others in the building believe as you do, but because of the way things are handled today, the true believer must be very careful what he or she says for fear of offending the disobedient and unbelieving. The result of this dual purpose is a mixed multitude which causes confusion of doctrine.

God doesn’t want heathens in the sanctuary, for the above reason. He does not want pollution. Not only are Christians now taught to wear blinders as far as offenses go, they are also taught not to discern between the righteous and the wicked. The teachers thought they were teaching the Word, but the Word was talking about true believers overlooking one another’s faults. God wants us to discern between the righteous and the wicked.)

Mal: 3:13: Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD.  Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? 14: Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? 15: And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. 16: Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. 17: And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 18: Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

God has instruction for how to handle those who come in among us:

Num: 15:14-16 it says: And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, so he shall do. 15: One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. 16: One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.

Ezek: 44:9-14: Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. 10: And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity. 11: Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them. 12: Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity. 13: And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed. 14: But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein.

(God wants there to be a clear distinction between the circumcised in heart and the uncircumcised in heart. God only wants those who have entered into the crucifixion and resurrection to take communion and or to call themselves Christians.  If this were so, then the leaders could insist upon certain things such as everyone dressing modestly, and everyone living a sanctified life, and everyone doing all for the glory of God, etc. Meddling comes in when the leaders dictate precisely how these things must be done.)

Notice how God feels toward those who a zealous for His precepts:

15-22: But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD:  16: They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge. 17: And it shall come to pass, that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, whiles they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within.  18: They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat.  19: And when they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments. 20: Neither shall they shave their heads, nor suffer their locks to grow long; they shall only poll their heads. 21: Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court. 22: Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away: but they shall take maidens of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that had a priest before.

(God condones those who are zealous for the truth. He has called some in the church to be prophets. They are to show where the church is going to the left or the right off of the written Word of God. Read the last two verses.)

23-24: And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24: And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

If They Had Stood in My Council (8th in Church Series)

August 20, 2010

Jer: 23:16-17: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. 17: They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.

(This article is not meant to criticize or condemn, but I need to address the issue that God had Jeremiah address in Jeremiah 23 and 24. I believe the church needs to hear and heed this message.

How has the church told those that despise God that they shall have peace and that no evil that is harm will befall them? Well, first let us establish who this group is that despises God. They are church-goers who walk after the imaginations of their own heart. This is done by handling situations the way they feel like doing or the way they think they should handle them instead of heeding the written word on how to handle things.

Another way this group of people tell God they despise Him is to go on living as they did before or as the world does when the Bible clearly tells Christians to come out of the world and it also tell them how they should be different from the world.

Another way they walk after their own stubborn hearts or imaginations is to deliberately be ignorant of biblical instructions such as protecting their hearts and/or putting on the full armor of God so that they can withstand the wiles of the devil. Do they have their loins girt about with the Truth–what the Bible teaches? Do they use the sword of the Spirit against the enemy of their souls when he attacks their thought life? Do the use the shield of faith to combat temptation to believe what they see instead of what God has promised? I think these questions should be enough for you to get the point. This group that God says despise Him are the majority of church-goers. Let’s go on and see why the leaders are to blame.)

18-22: For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word?  who hath marked his word, and heard it? 19: Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. 20: The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. 21: I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. 22: But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

(God says here that any preacher or teacher whose teaching makes the general congregation feel safe and secure when they are not following His instructions is preaching or teaching falsely. He goes on to say that if they had stood in His council, they would have taught and preached His message and the people would repent and do right.

What is the difference between the false teaching and the true teaching? The things that I am pointing out in this article are God’s council. Thus, God’s preachers are teaching and admonishing and cautioning people to follow the instruction in the Bible and are warning them of the consequences of not being a doer of the word. They elaborate on how to put on the full armor of God. They are not afraid of man. They do not worry about losing parishioners they are too busy worrying about losing souls to the enemy due to their neglect.)

23-28: Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? 24: Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?  saith the LORD.  Do not I fill heaven and earth?  saith the LORD. 25: I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. 26: How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies?  yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; 27: Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. 28: The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully.  What is the chaff to the wheat?  saith the LORD.

(This segment talks about the prophet or teacher or preacher sharing his own take on things–his own perception of how the church is doing and what God is putting up with because of the blood, etc. I pray that these leaders will soon learn that God has already said in His word what he wants and how He feels about things. The passage I am elaborating on here is one of many passages that God intended to use to instruct the leaders and the people.)

29-30: Is not my word like as a fire?  saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? 30: Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.

(Yes, God’s words are like a fire, like a hammer, like a two-edged sword. God’s words are full of power to do whatever the passage is meant to do, whether that be to comfort, to encourage, to assure, or to rebuke. God’s words will do the job. Man’s words produce very little good fruit. God says here that He is against the leaders who speak out of their own understanding rather that to declare God’s word.

Earlier in Jer: 23, God describes what the true shepherds do:

Jer: 23: 1-4: Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!  saith the LORD.2: Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.3: And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.4: And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

(What do true shepherds do? They feed and nurture his people. They feed them rich green grass, they root out the thistles and poisonous plants, the keep the wild animals away from the flock, they minister the oil of the Holy Spirit to the sheep’s wounds, they pull them back from the edge of the cliff or pit, they gaurd the sheep. This is all done with God’s equipment, not theirs.)

Jer: 24:1-5: The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. 2: One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. 3: Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah?  And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. 4: Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5: Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.

6-7: For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7: And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.

(This is part of what God was doing when He gave us Jesus. The call to salvation includes a call to repent and be reconciled to God. When one responds to that call he or she is given a heart to please God. The new believers must be taught to follow their new heart rather than their old man or carnal nature. THIS IS A GIFT FROM GOD that He says right here will help the people walk in righteousness.)

8-10: And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt: 9: And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them. 10: And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.

( These verse 8-10 tell us what happens to people who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. That group that despises God by continuing to do their own thing after they have promised to be His children)

© Sylvia Huffnagle

A Message for the Church (7th in Church Series)

August 20, 2010

Deut: 32:1-4: Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2: My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: 3: Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4: He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

(We start with what God had Moses proclaim: that God is the church’s Rock. The church, in order to become the church, was supposed to repent of her ways and turn to God’s ways, because His ways are perfect. All of God’s ways are true judgment. In other words, He and He alone,  knows how to deal with people and situations in order to bring out righteous judgments–righteous results. The doctrines in the Bible that some make light of, work as rain and dew, causing the tender plants to grow–causing the Word planted in a Christian heart to grow and causing the Christian to grow more like Jesus. For some, these days, it may be news, but the Christian’s goal is to grow to be like Jesus.)

5-8: They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. 6: Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise?  is not he thy father that hath bought thee?  hath he not made thee, and established thee? 7: Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. 8: When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. 

(This admonishment is to be applied to the church because she fits the description of waywardness that Moses ascribes to Jacob. The church doesn’t look like His children anymore. Is not God the one who begat you, both physically and spiritually? Remember the days of old. For the church this means, remember the New Testament teachings. It is Jesus who separates the sons of Adam from the sons of God–when you choose to follow Jesus, you give up following Adam. God set boundaries, they are established in the Holy Bible.)

9-14: For the LORD’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 10: He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11: As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: 12: So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. 13: He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; 14: Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape. 

(The church needs to apply this spiritually. The church is the Lord’s portion. We are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price. God is the one who brought us out of our spiritual desert. He is the one who carried us upon His wings while He was teaching us how to fly.  He made the church ride on the high places and fed them with the finest of wheat, etc. Ps 81 The high places are describes in the book of Acts. It’s a church endued with power from on high.) 

15-18: But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. 16: They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17: They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.  18: Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

(The church waxed fat and got lazy and distracted. She began to go after other gods such as, money, things, and pleasure. Unintentionally, she forsook God’s ways and has lightly esteemed her Rock. God is provoked to jealousy. Now with God that is not a weakness. It means that He is grieved because He knows we will get hurt and we will hurt others when we stray from Him–He is the rock.)

19-21: And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.  20: And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.  21: They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

(God says when His people come into such a condition, He cannot correct them–they are too far gone. They are involved in their own interpretation of Christianity–they are cut off from His help. They become prey to the enemy. In this case, the world’s system.)

Deut 32: 22-26: For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. 23: I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them. 24: They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. 25: The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs. 26: I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:

(The passage above describes the inevitable result of straying too far from God. In the case of today’s church, it is the Babylonians who will destroy a wayward Christian’s life. The world is into Babylonian thinking and that is what she is spewing out. All who do not love the Truth will fall prey to her beguiling ways. 2Thess: 3-17 Those who listen to the whore will go through some of the above catastrophes–mostly, they should be applied spiritually. The beasts devour. The fire is false theology. The enemy’s sword inflicts and severs, etc.)

27-31: Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the LORD hath not done all this. 28: For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. 29: O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! 30: How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? 31: For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.

(God says that He is going to show His hand lest the enemy convince the world that he is more powerful than God. For the sake of the ignorant, God will manifest His glory. The early church was empowered so that one could chase a thousand, but today because of a  void of proper counsel and a lack of understanding, most of the time she is the one running and hiding. Consider the latter end–if God is your Rock and you are not safely cleaving to it, you will be swept downstream in the mighty torrent.

The next set of instructions will be for those who take this message seriously and want to get back to God and move on with God–into the Promise Land. That will be the land where God’s promises are greatly manifested and the church will be glorious–she will have the answers for those who come to her.)

Deut: 31: 6-9: Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 7: And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. 8: And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

9-13: And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel. 10: And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11: When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12: Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.

(The church must get back to basics. She must apply all of God’s teaching. She must live by every Word of God. So the way to be in a safe place and the way to be part of God’s glorious church is to assemble together, repent of your idolatries, feed on the Word, and cry out in earnest for God’s visitation.)

14-16: And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge.  And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. 15: And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle. 16: And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.

(Jesus ascended into heaven and He gave . . . :)

Eph: 4:11-24: He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 17: This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20: But ye have not so learned Christ; 21: If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

The Spotless Bride (6th in Church Series)

August 14, 2010

Eph: 5:1-5: Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3: But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4: Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5: For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

6-10: Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7: Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8: For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10: Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11-16: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12: For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13: But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14: Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15: See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16: Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17-21: Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20: Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

22-24: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23: For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24: Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25-33: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29: For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31: For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32: This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33: Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

(I included the whole chapter because it pretty much sums up the spotless bride, but it is verse 27 that I am writing this article about: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. I will give you a few other passages to establish the kind of bride Christ will marry and then I’ll show you the meticulous preparation involved in getting ready for the groom.)

2Cor: 11:2: For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Jn: 13:8: Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Jn: 17:19: And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (Sanctified means set apart–you are set apart from the world and betrothed unto Christ.)

1Tim: 6:14: That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2Pt: 3:14: Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

This is how the bride is made ready for the king:

Esther: 2:12: Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;

(The first thing the bride of the king goes through to be sanctified for him is six months of intensive and expensive conditioning. Then she goes through another six months of perfume treatments and other purifying treatments.

We can compare this to intensive conditioning to what the Holy spirit and the written word of God do for Christ’s bride. Then the true bride of Christ goes through a period of intensive training that she might offer up to God a sweet smelling fragrance. That would be her testimony or lifestyle and her prayers.)

13-14: Then thus came every maiden unto the king; whatsoever she desired was given her to go with her out of the house of the women unto the king’s house. 14: In the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name.

(After all that you are ready to please the king. Have you gone through God’s beauty treatments? Is your spirit beautiful?)

15-17: Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed.  And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her. 16: So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17: And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.

(Esther was examined and found completely ready to be presented to the king. The king loved her. In Prov: 4:6, 8:17, Jn: 10:17, and 14:21, we see that Wisdom and Jesus said they would love those that pleased them–those who listen to them–so to say the king loved the bride relating to Christ and the church it means He is able to bestow His love upon her.)

18: Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.

(It is God’s desire and plan for the redeemed to gather together and go through the beauty treatments and get ready to be Christ’s bride. The spotless bride will enjoy the wedding supper with her groom while the world is experiencing the wrath.

Have oil in your lamps and keep them burning. The Holy Spirit is the oil. He is your teacher and He is the one who leads you in daily life decisions. He is the one who anoints you to witness and minister to others. He is the one who empowers you to walk the walk and talk the talk.)

Mt: 25:1-13: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2: And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3: They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5: While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6: And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7: Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8: And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9: But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10: And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11: Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12: But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13: Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

Washing One Another’s Feet (5th in Church Series)

August 14, 2010

Jn: 13:6-15: Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7: Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8: Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9: Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10: Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11: For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. 12: So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13: Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14: If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15: For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Notice that Jesus said if He doesn’t wash us we have no part with Him. So this article is for and about all those whom Jesus has washed. This is the group we should fellowship with. We are not required to fellowship with someone just because they say they are Christians. There is no benefit in fellowshipping with unwashed people in fact it could be a foolish act.

Notice what Jesus said in verses 15 and 16. Those who are washed and have a part with Him ought to wash one another’s feet. How? Was He just talking about our physical feet? No. How could He have been when He said Peter was washed and only needed his feet washed. And physical washing does not make you a part of Him.

He was really talking about those in fellowship washing each other’s spiritual feet. Getting around out there in the world gets our feet dirty and we are to look out for one another and use the water of the Word to wash the traveler’s feet.

I found this important because it goes along with sharing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with one another, praying for one another, and urging one another on to love and good works.

Col: 3:16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Heb: 10:25: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

My point is that we are to do more than pray for one another. We are to speak the truth to one another in love as needed.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

It’s Time to Be the Church (4th in Church Series)

August 7, 2010

Eph: 4:1-3: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2: With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3: Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4-6: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5: One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6: One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

7-11: But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8: Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9: (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10: He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12-16: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

(Paul says there is one body, one faith, one hope of our calling, and one baptism. One thing I see about how churches are run is that they have given place to individuals. That’s right. Everyone does their own thing. I do not want to put down or criticize any ministries. That would be a wrong thing to do and besides, I have never been in their shoes. I’m just trying to magnify what the Bible says because I think the Bible is the place to find out how the church should be and what it should do.

So first, I see that the church does not appear to be one body. It looks to me like the leaders have been trying to keep unity and a bond of peace by shutting up those who desire the church to be as describe in this chapter and they have appeased those who are out of line. How can this be remedied? By adhering to the Bible in all of church functions. The Spirit of the church–I mean all those who confess that Jesus is their Lord–is supposed to be a holy spirit. This means all the members are endeavoring to walk by the spirit and not by the flesh. The New Testament reveals the mind and spirit of Christ which is to be the church’s spirit. But before I share the root cause of the missed mark let’s see what else Paul has said about the church.

Next, Paul admonishes us to walk worthy of our calling. What calling? The call to be His witnesses. How are we to walk worthy? With all meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another in love.

So it’s the five-fold ministry’s job to perfect the saints. It’s been over 2000 years–where the fruit? What went wrong? For too long churches have claimed to be the place to go in order to grow spiritually, yet the facts are in and they declare that most Christians don’t know very much about the Bible or how to be a Christian. That makes a statement. Something is wrong with the way things are being handled. Let’s read on and see if we can discover what could be done better.)

17-19: This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20-24: But ye have not so learned Christ; 21: If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

(Notice that Paul does not say try not to walk as the Gentiles do. He did not say a mature Christian does not walk in the vanity of his mind. He says henceforth do not walk that way. To sum it up in my words–you have confessed that Jesus is Lord, now live like it.

How did he say one accomplishes this task? By learning Christ and putting off your carnal man and putting on your spiritual man. YOU have to put off your old clothes and YOU have to put on your new clothes. The FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY is responsible for making sure you know what belongs to the old man and what belongs to the new man.)

25-29: Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27: Neither give place to the devil. 28: Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30-31: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

(So Paul lists the things we need to do to interact on a godly level, but there’s more to the Christian life than what goes on at church. The Bible teaches us how to conduct our affairs so that we will be able to live godly and holy lives–thus be effective witnesses.

That includes who you hang out with, what you listen to, what you watch, and so on. These important exercises are not addressed on the level that they need to be and that is why a lot of people who chose to be Christians have not gotten rid of their carnal ways.

I am going to address it. You cannot partake of carnal music, movies, magazines, friends, etc and still have the power to exercise godliness and holiness in every area and relation. [Check out 1Jn: 2:16, Ps: 1, Prov: 4:23, Rom: 13:14, to name a few.] Since many Christians are not exercising this very important teaching, they are still living and thinking carnal and they, along with those who come to church and haven’t made a commitment to Christ, have brought this worldly junk into the church.

It was supposed to be saints gathering at church to learn how to live godly and holy lives so they could be effective witnesses and so that they would become a part of the answer instead of being a part of the problem.

So I hope I have made my point that the church was expected to be the center of Christians’ spiritual life for the purpose of living as one body–the body of Christ–and growing into His fullness in order to carry on His ministry in this earth.

Today’s church is little more than a nursery for baby quote unquote Christians. I said I wanted to share the root cause of this dilemma. It is that the gospel itself has mutated. It started out to be a way to be reconciled to God–be His child again–Adam and Eve were His children created in His image and then they hearkened unto the liar and died spiritually. Satan became their spiritual leader and they were lost. Jesus came and did all that needed to be done in order for man to be born again of the Spirit of God and be His children. It’s the gospel of the kingdom of God, not the good news of a way for sinners to go to heaven.

The good news mutated into a plan God came up with to have a relationship with man even though they do miss the mark so often. This is why Christians have a form of godliness buy deny [cannot access or display] the power of it.)

© Sylvia Huffnagle

In “Christ” the Church is Built Together (3rd in Church Series)

August 7, 2010

The church has given place to or magnified our human side in order to explain our misbehavior and even excuse it. The church used to have a much higher calling. The standard was lowered to accommodate all the new people they had won into the church.  They didn’t come to learn how to live holy, they came to hear that they could believe in Jesus and make a few adjustments and be assure of a pleasant hereafter.  Once the standard was lowered in order to keep the newcomers, they could no longer teach and preach the holiness message with any vigor and therefore the true converts were deprives of the holy influence and were surrounded with those living in unholy influences.  Soon even the leaders were caught up in worldly living and the consequences of it.  That’s when the leaders decided that something had to be done. People were expecting too much of the clergy and other Christian witnesses, so they began to preach “the allow for our human side” message. 

Yes, people used to have a high opinion of what a Christian should be, until the emphasis was taken off of the written word of God and put on human weaknesses.  The intention was to relieve Christians of some of the pressure they were chaffing under.  But something else happened too.  Christians lost the power to live the higher life. The power lies in what one focuses on.  When the focus was on looking into the mirror of the word of God and then remembering what we were to look like, Christians had to stretch. (Jas: 1:22-24)  They had to reach higher.  But now that the focus is on excusing everyone because of their human weakness, nobody believes they can live up to the Word.  The result: no pressure, no force, no break through, and no power.

The Bible teaches that Christians are not to look at their limitations.  They are to look to Christ’s sufficiency.  The Bible clearly calls us to a much higher level and I would like to go over some scripture that do this.

Does this sound like the church message?

Matt: 5:27-30: Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29: And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30: And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matt: 10:37-39: He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38: And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39: He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Matt: 7:15-21: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matt: 16:24-26: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

What about those going forth to witness and minister, what should their qualifications be?

Lk: 14:26: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Lk: 14:27: And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Lk: 14:33: So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Have you heard anything like this lately?

Rom: 6:3-8: Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4: Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5: For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7: For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8: Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

Rom: 8:1-9: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3: For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5: For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6: For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7: Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8: So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9: But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Rom: 12:1-2: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1Cor: 6:9-11: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10: Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11: And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

2Cor: 3:5: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

2Cor: 5:15: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

2Cor: 6:14-18: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15: And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16: And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17: Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18: And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Gal: 2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Gal: 3:27: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Gal: 5:16-24: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18: But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20: Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21: Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23: Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24: And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Here’s how it works:

Eph: 1:1-6: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Eph: 1:7-11: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8: Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence ; 9: Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Eph: 1:12-16: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14: Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. 15: Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16: Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Eph:1:17-23: 17: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19: And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20: Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21: Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23: Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Eph: 2:1-3: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Eph: 2:4-7: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5: Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6: And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Eph: 2:8-13: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9: Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. 11: Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12: That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Eph: 2:14-22: For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15: Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16: And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18: For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Eph: 4:10-24: He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 17: This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20: But ye have not so learned Christ; 21: If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Phil: 3:14-20: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15: Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16: Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17: Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18: (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20: For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Phil: 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Col: 1:9-11: For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11: Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Col: 2:6-13: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9: For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10: And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13: And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

1Pet: 2:9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

1Pet: 4:1-2: Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2: That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

2Pet: 1:3-4: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

1Jn: 2:6: He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1Jn: 3:9: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

1Jn: 3:24: And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1Jn: 4:13: Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

Rev: 2:17: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Rev: 2:26: And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

In order to mature as the body of Christ, the church, in unison, must focus on becoming what the word of God says it is.

© Sylvia Huffnagle


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