Outline For Building-up And Equipping The Body Of Christ

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This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.

Site Navigation:This left-column outline contains links to website pages and sources pertaining to helping the Body of Christ gain the potential for which God designed it. The menu below pages down to the individual sections of this outline from which you can navigate to other web pages. There is a fourth level to some of the third level or decimal elements of this outline that is hidden, to view this level click on the symbol in the outline; to hide the fourth level, double-click upon it (I found out, the last time I checked, that Mozilla's Firefox browser doesn't support this fourth level expansion feature, sorry).

  • First Section
  1. Basic Spiritual Instruction for God's People
  1. Introduction to our Spiritual Growth series
  1. Spiritual growth is very important, not only to us but also to our Lord Jesus Christ. He has made adequate provisions in our behalf by giving special gifts and abilities to individual members of His body to accomplish this much needed task. Click to see, Introduction To Building Up And Equipping The Body Of Christ.
  2. Click to see, Explaining The Use And Expansion Of The Growth Outline.
  3. Click to see, The Importance God Places upon Spiritual Growth.
  1. The Godhead
  1. In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).
  2. Jesus is right now seated at the right hand of God the Father, reigning and ruling with Him. Click to see website page, Jesus Exalted At The Right Hand Of The Father.
  1. The Holy Spirit was sent to the church to continue the education of the Body of Christ that Jesus had begun, and to empower them for the work that God’s people are to do. "But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you" (John 14:26).
  2. With all of man’s supposed wisdom and acquired knowledge, he has never been able to know or understand what life is, but God does, because He created it and has revealed what we need to know about it in His Word. This is what we will be exploring in this section concerning spiritual growth. Click to see Growth page, What Life Is All About, And God's Original Plans
  3. True Unity: "Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace. [There is] one body and one Spirit--just as there is also one hope [that belongs] to the calling you received--[there is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all" (Eph 4:3-6).
  4. The old hymn Living For Jesus, exemplifies our required commitment, and the article to see to acquire it is, Our Top Priority In Life.
  1. Living for Jesus a life that is true; striving to please Him in all that I do. Giving allegiance glad hearted and true; this is the pathway of blessing for me. Oh Jesus Lord and Savior; I give myself to Thee. For Thou in thine atonement; did give Thyself for me. I owe no other master; my heart shall be Thy throne. My life I give; henceforth to live. My God for Thee alone.
  2. This is a life-style of Trust and Obey; for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus; than to Trust and Obey!
  1. Dwelling in Christ by faith for victorious living
  1. Chapters fourteen thru seventeen of the Gospel of John contain some of the most intimate and informative teachings of Christ, and are a good starting point for learning about spiritual life.
  1. It is not an easy task to change the way that people have been accustom to think, reason and believe, nor can it be accomplished in a short time; but this was one of the main reasons of Jesus' earthly ministry. The transition from the old covenant to the new, or the Law to Grace, or the physical to the spiritual all speak of or refer to the same thing. This transition is still in process and must be understood from a Biblical perspective or it becomes very confusing and difficult. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 1.
  2. It is interesting to recognize, not only in others, but in our personal lives just how long it takes for the facts we know to become a living reality to us, the time it takes is determined by the quickness and the quality of our spiritual growth. This is illustrated by the fact that those closest to Jesus during His earthly ministry failed to grasp the spiritual meaning of much of what He lived and taught. Therefore, about two years after His resurrection Jesus personally revealed Himself to Paul and then took him into Arabia (Gal 1:17) where Paul apparently spent about the same amount of time as the other disciples being instructed of the Lord regarding our further spiritual development. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 2.
  1. Chapters five thru eight of the book of Romans explains in greater detail what Jesus introduced in chapters fourteen thru seventeen of the Gospel of John.
  1. It will help us to understand spiritual progression if we keep in mind these three points. (1) It was Jesus that first introduced new spiritual life and how it should develop in the normal Christian; (2) It was the apostle John that faithfully recorded the words of Jesus, about sixty years after the resurrection of Christ, in the book that we call the Gospel of John; (3) it was to the Apostle Paul that Jesus, about 2 years after His resurrection, personally revealed more details of how further spiritual development should take place in the Body of Christ (Gal. 1:11-18). No other writer of the New Testament speaks of the Church as the Body of Christ, and the many other details concerning spiritual life as does Paul. Therefore, the logical places for us to look for information about spiritual life is the books of the Apostles John and Paul, and the person we should appeal to, to guide us, is the Holy Spirit. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 3.
  2. ROMANS 8:1-4.... THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.] For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], [Lev 7:37.] So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 4.
  1. Parts 1 thru 4 of Dwelling In Christ took us from the physical ordinances of the Old Testament that God first began to use to reveal His salvation plan for mankind, to the spiritual dimension that replaced the old physical ordinances. In part 5 we will consider another transition from how Christians are to live now, before the rapture, to how we might live during the Millennium and on into eternity. This gives a brief description of what we can expect and look forward to now and throughout eternity, don’t miss it.
  1. Most of us have wondered, probably on many occasions, what living with God in heaven is going to be like. Not so surprisingly, there is a great deal of information regarding this subject, but the following short article only makes use of a few, but very important and interesting portions of Scriptures available. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 5.
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. The essential teaching that is neglected in most Christian churches is that of dwelling in Christ Jesus by faith. For victorious Christian living this is not an elective, but an absolute requirement. It is very likely that most truly born-again Christians spend the majority of their time living by their own ability rather than the power and ability that the Holy Spirit makes available to God's people. This is the reason for failure and discouragement, and the reason that we are making this a priority study. Click to see website page, New Life In Christ And How To Live It.
  2. If Jesus has become our everything as described in 1 Cor. 1:30, why does it sometimes not seem true of us? Click to see website page, Perfect Righteousness Is Ours Only By Dwelling In Christ.
  3. What provisions has God made available to us to make freedom from sinful living a reality in this life? Click to see website page, Freedom From Sinful Living.
  1. Having learned how to Dwell In Christ, let's make sure that we stay there!
  1. There are three main books to study with regards to persevering in our faith in Christ: The books of Romans and Galatians, both written by Paul the apostle, and the book of Hebrews, possibly written by him also.
  1. There has been a long-standing disagreement among Christians of all ages, as to whether a true believer in Christ can fall away or lose their salvation; the Scriptures that we will present, seems to indicate that this is a real possibility. Click to see Growth page, Persevering In Our Faith In Christ.
  1. What provision has God made to prevent Christians from continuing to indulge in sin?
  1. Has God made it possible, through Christ Jesus our Lord, for us to live as Jesus lived when He was here in a human body that is, filled with the Holy Spirit and sinless? Click to see Growth page, How Can We Who Died To Sin Live In It Any Longer?
  1. A vital element of retaining our relationship to God is communicating with Him. God has provided the way for this communion to take place, and as usual Satan has his counterfeit substitutes; we will briefly examine these two opposing ways and means in this article. Click to see Growth page, Communion With God.
  • Second Section
  1. Practical Christianity from the book of First Corinthians
  1. 1 Cor. 1:1-4:21 <> In section one we learned about basic spirituality, in this section we will concentrate upon how we are to walk and conduct ourselves with this new spiritual life that God has given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!" (2 Cor 5:17).
  1. The blending of our new life in Christ (spiritual) with our every-day walk (practical) presents us with some new issues to consider. The Bible teaches that Christianity is a relationship, not necessarily a religion, religion expresses itself by what we believe and the way we outwardly respond in our relationship with Christ Jesus and one another. Our religion can sometimes get in the way and hinder our spiritual progress.
  1. Click to see Growth page, Our Religion Can Hinder Our Spiritual Progress.
  1. 1 Cor. 1:1-9 <> The spiritual, but not necessarily the practical, condition or state of the Corinthian believers
  1. To affirm what we have already learned about our spiritual condition when we are dwelling in Christ, Paul states in 1 Cor 1:2a; "To the church (assembly) of God which is in Corinth, to those consecrated and purified and made holy in Christ Jesus, [who are] selected and called to be saints (God's people)."
  2. Evidence of God’s Devine grace 1 Cor 1:5; "[So] that in Him in every respect you were enriched, in full power and readiness of speech [to speak of your faith] and complete knowledge and illumination."
  3. 1 Cor 1:7a.... That you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace
  4. 1 Cor 1:8.... And He will establish you to the end [keep you steadfast, give you strength, and guarantee your vindication; He will be your warrant against all accusation or indictment so that you will be] guiltless and irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
  5. 1 Cor 1:9.... God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
  1. 1 Cor. 1:10-4:21 <> In this section Paul instructs the people about the problem they were having with dissensions, factions and divisions among themselves; in the process he uses and touches upon several important issues or subjects that help to illustrate how the many details interrelate to give a better understanding of the overall picture.
  1. 1 Cor. 1:10-18 <> The preaching of the Gospel is proclaiming the message of the Cross of Christ, not about the group we belong to.
  2. 1 Cor. 1:19-31 <> The wisdom of God in contrast to the wisdom of men which is foolishness with God. The revealed Word of God that we will look at in the article below declares that the wisdom of this world is foolishness, but what does this world’s wisdom consist of? Basically it can be described as any wisdom or knowledge that is not based upon, or departs from, or is contrary to the revealed Word of God! Another words, any wisdom or knowledge that is based upon, and remains true to, and is according to the revealed Word of God is actually God’s truth and not something of our own making. Therefore, in order to distinguish between truth and error we simply check to see what God, in His Word, has to say about the subject in question. Click to see Growth page, This World’s Wisdom Is Foolishness.
  3. 1 Cor. 2:1-5 <> Paul uses himself as an example of how the Gospel should be presented and what it contains. "As for myself, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony and evidence or mystery and secret of God [concerning what He has done through Christ for the salvation of men] in lofty words of eloquence or human philosophy and wisdom; for I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified. And I was in ( passed into a state of) weakness and fear (dread) and great trembling [after I had come] among you. And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God."
  4. 1 Cor. 2:6-13 <> The Wisdom of God and how it is received and communicated
  5. 1 Cor. 2:14-3:4 <> The carnal or unspiritual Christian: Click to see website page, What Makes A Person Spiritual?, or Click to see website page, The Difference Between Spirituality And Human Effort.
  6. 1 Cor. 3:5-15 <> The way a faithful minister of the Gospel should be understood, and how he should function.
  7. 1 Cor. 3:16-23 <> Christians are God’s temple, and it should not be corrupted with the foolish wisdom of men.
  8. 1 Cor. 4:1-5 <> Paul gets back to the subject on the divisions that they had allowed to develop among them, and defends himself against those who improperly judge him.
  9. 1 Cor. 4:6-21 <> Paul shows that the real, basic problem is that the Corinthians think too highly of themselves, and secondly, that they are thinking of men contrary to the teachings of Scripture.
  1. 1 Cor. 5:1-6:20 <> Sexual immorality and lawsuits among Christians
  1. 1 Cor. 5:1-13 <> From what Paul says in this chapter the Corinthians were tolerant of sinful practices and those that committed them and were proud of it, instead of being ashamed and doing what was needful. They may have been this way because of ignorance, but now we know better because we have God’s Word to go by.
  1. We know what Jesus expects of us, but do we really want to live this way, and, do we understand how we can? Have you ever read what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7 of Matthew), or a similar account that may have been given at a different time (chapter six of Luke), and thought to yourself that it was impossible to live that way? Check out the following web pages to summarize the ground we have already covered concerning how to live for Christ. Click to see Growth page, Jesus Made It Possible For Us To Live As He Did, But, Do You Really Want To?, or Click to see website page, Human Authority And Christian Responsibility.
  1. 1 Cor. 6:1-20 <> This is an interesting chapter dealing with the subject of judgement, and is related to chapter five where they failed to practice proper judgement in regard to the person who was living with his stepmother. In this chapter they are reminded six times, "Do you not know or see," of things that they ought to know or be aware of; the last three are –
  1. 1 Cor 6:15-20.... Do you not see and know that your bodies are members (bodily parts) of Christ (the Messiah)? Am I therefore to take the parts of Christ and make [them] parts of a prostitute? Never! Never! Or do you not know and realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, shall become one flesh. [Gen 2:24.] But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, you were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.
  1. 1 Cor. 7:1-40 <> Marriage relationships
  1. The departure from the Biblical fundamentals of family life opened up the way for many of the destructive forces that have followed.
  1. The areas that we are going to touch upon in this article are highly contested in society today. We cannot expect those who have been indoctrinated into the present world mind-set and accustomed to this life style to quickly agree with what we are about to present, but if correction and restoration are to come, the truth of God’s Word must be faithfully and accurately proclaimed in order that new converts may learn the right way, and hopefully the older ones will come to their senses and gradually make the change back to a Biblical world-view. Click to see website page, Marriage, Sexuality And Authority.
  1. 1 Cor. 8:1-10:33 <> Food offered to idols, and the precautions required
  1. 1 Cor. 9:1-27 <> Paul defends himself against accusations
  1. 1 Cor 9:1-3.... Am I not an apostle (a special messenger)? Am I not free (unrestrained and exempt from any obligation)? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you [yourselves] not [the product and proof of] my workmanship in the Lord? Even if I am not considered an apostle (a special messenger) by others, at least I am one to you; for you are the seal (the certificate, the living evidence) of my apostleship in the Lord [confirming and authenticating it]. This is my [real ground of] defense (my vindication of myself) to those who would put me on trial and cross-examine me.
  1. 1 Cor.10:1-33 <> Paul warns the people further about idols by reminding them of what happened to the Israelites when they indulged in idolatry.
  1. 1 Cor. 11:1-34 <> Church order and the Lord’s Supper
  1. 1 Cor 11:1-3.... Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah). I appreciate and commend you because you always remember me in everything and keep firm possession of the traditions (the substance of my instructions), just as I have [verbally] passed them on to you. But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God.
  1. 1 Cor 11:20-21.... "So when you gather for your meetings, it is not the supper instituted by the Lord that you eat, for in eating each one [hurries] to get his own supper first [not waiting for the poor], and one goes hungry while another gets drunk." So what is the proper way to celebrate the Lord’s Supper? Click the red C to see.
  1. 1 Cor 11:23-29.... For I received from the Lord Himself that which I passed on to you [it was given to me personally], that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was treacherously delivered up and while His betrayal was in progress took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke [it] and said, Take, eat. This is My body, which is broken for you. Do this to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. Similarly when supper was ended, He took the cup also, saying, This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink [it], to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord's death until He comes [again]. So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is unworthy [of Him] will be guilty of [profaning and sinning against] the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that [it is Christ's] body, eats and drinks a sentence (a verdict of judgment) upon himself.
  1. 1 Cor. 12:1-14:40 <> Spiritual gifts and administration
  1. 1 Cor 12:1.... Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed.
  1. 1 Cor 12:7-11.... But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit. To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit; to another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit; to another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues. All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.
  2. 1 Cor 12:27-31.... Now you [collectively] are Christ's body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function]. So God has appointed some in the church [for His own use]: first apostles (special messengers); second prophets (inspired preachers and expounders); third teachers; then wonder-workers; then those with ability to heal the sick; helpers; administrators; [speakers in] different (unknown) tongues. Are all apostles (special messengers)? Are all prophets (inspired interpreters of the will and purposes of God)? Are all teachers? Do all have the power of performing miracles? Do all possess extraordinary powers of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all--love].
  1. 1 Cor. 13:1-13 <> The spiritual gifts of God only function properly when they are administered in love!
  1. 1 Cor 13:1-8.... If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God's love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
  1. 1 Cor. 14:1-40 <> The proper use of God’s gifts, and how our church services should be conducted
  1. 1 Cor 14:1.... Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy ( interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching).
  2. 1 Cor 14:26-35.... What then, brethren, is [the right course]? When you meet together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a disclosure of special knowledge or information, an utterance in a [strange] tongue, or an interpretation of it. [But] let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all. If some speak in a [strange] tongue, let the number be limited to two or at the most three, and each one [taking his] turn, and let one interpret and explain [what is said]. But if there is no one to do the interpreting, let each of them keep still in church and talk to himself and to God. So let two or three prophets speak [those inspired to preach or teach], while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said. But if an inspired revelation comes to another who is sitting by, then let the first one be silent. For in this way you can give testimony [prophesying and thus interpreting the divine will and purpose] one by one, so that all may be instructed and all may be stimulated and encouraged; for the spirits of the prophets (the speakers in tongues) are under the speaker's control [and subject to being silenced as may be necessary], for He [Who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order. As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God's people), the women should keep quiet in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but should take a secondary and subordinate place, just as the Law also says. [Gen 3:16.] But if there is anything they want to learn, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to talk in church [for her to usurp and exercise authority over men in the church].
  3. For a more detailed study of this chapter, see our website page, Action Required To Achieve Spiritual Maturity.
  1. 1 Cor. 15:1-58 <> A reminder concerning the Gospel and the resurrection
  1. 1 Cor 15:1-8.... And now let me remind you [since it seems to have escaped you], brethren, of the Gospel (the glad tidings of salvation) which I proclaimed to you, which you welcomed and accepted and upon which your faith rests, and by which you are saved, if you hold fast and keep firmly what I preached to you, unless you believed at first without effect and all for nothing. For I passed on to you first of all what I also had received, that Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one) died for our sins in accordance with [what] the Scriptures [foretold], [Isa 53:5-12.] that He was buried, that He arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold, [Ps 16:9,10.] and [also] that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve. Then later He showed Himself to more than five hundred brethren at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep [in death]. Afterward He was seen by James, then by all the apostles (the special messengers), and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one prematurely and born dead [no better than an unperfected fetus among living men].
  1. 1 Cor 15:12-15.... But now if Christ (the Messiah) is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen; and if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded). We are even discovered to be misrepresenting God, for we testified of Him that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise in case it is true that the dead are not raised.
  1. 1 Cor 15:21-24.... For since [it was] through a man that death [came into the world, it is] also through a Man that the resurrection of the dead [has come]. For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive. But each in his own rank and turn: Christ (the Messiah) [is] the firstfruits, then those who are Christ's [own will be resurrected] at His coming. After that comes the end (the completion), when He delivers over the kingdom to God the Father after rendering inoperative and abolishing every [other] rule and every authority and power.
  2. 1 Cor 15:34-36.... Awake [from your drunken stupor and return] to sober sense and your right minds, and sin no more. For some of you have not the knowledge of God [you are utterly and willfully and disgracefully ignorant, and continue to be so, lacking the sense of God's presence and all true knowledge of Him]. I say this to your shame. But someone will say, How can the dead be raised? With what [kind of] body will they come forth? You foolish man! Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life [germinating, springing up, and growing] unless it dies first.
  3. 1 Cor 15:51-55.... Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the [sound of the] last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed). For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death). And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory. [Isa 25:8.] O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? [Hos 13:14.]
  1. 1 Cor. 16:1-24 <> Closing comments
  1. 1 Cor 16:21-24.... I, Paul, [add this final] greeting with my own hand. If anyone does not love the Lord [does not have a friendly affection for Him and is not kindly disposed toward Him], he shall be accursed! Our Lord will come! (Maranatha!) The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love (that true love growing out of sincere devotion to God) be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen (so be it).
  1. 1 Cor 16:1-2.... Now concerning the money contributed for [the relief of] the saints (God's people): you are to do the same as I directed the churches of Galatia to do. On the first [day] of each week, let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up as he has prospered [in proportion to what he is given], so that no collections will need to be taken after I come.
  2. 1 Cor 16:13-14.... Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith ( your conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength! [Ps 31:24.] Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us).
  • Third Section
  1. Church administration
  1. God has shown us in His Word how He intends to rule over His creation. If we have surrendered to His sovereignty, then we should examine His Word to see how we are to conduct ourselves in this world and as heavenly citizens. The word theocracy originates from Greek words meaning "the rule of God". This in turn derives from (theós, from an Indo-European root occurring in religious concepts), meaning "god," and (krátein), meaning "to rule."
  1. Policies that God has established in His Word that we are to adhere to:
  1. The way that God rules, and what He expects of us. Click to see our Growth page, Church Policy - Theocracy.
  2. There has been so much religious froth and foam added to modern-day church policy and practice that many have become totally unacceptable to Christ; God’s policy regarding the format of our church gathering, and how it should be conducted is one of them. Click to see our Growth page, Church Policy - Service Format.
  3. Many Christian groups and organizations have chosen the incorrect pathway of pleasing the people in contradiction to God’s Word, and have substituted the humanistic social gospel to try to correct the problem they helped create when they chose to please the people in the beginning; it’s a vicious cycle that goes round and round and never solves anything. Click to see our Growth page, Church Policy - Discipleship Versus Human Affection.
  4. How did various Christian groups and denominations get started? Let’s examine a few passages of Scripture for a clue as to how this happened, and, if it should have happened. Click to see our Growth page, The Origin Of Christian Denominations.
  5. This is a sequel to the above article explaining the cause and the cure for this present world of darkness and confusion. Click to see our Growth page, Our Only Hope In This Darkened World.
  1. Other Website pages to refer to:
  1. Contending For The Faith Or Gospel is required by church leaders. Click to see website page, Basic Instruction For The Local Church
  2. Our prayer is for the local shepherds, that God would give them wisdom and discernment in their charge over and feeding of their flocks, and the strength to resist what does not line up with His Word. Click to see website page, The Debilitating Effect Of Tradition.
  1. See the books of First and second Timothy and Titus
  • Fourth Section
  1. Keep the church informed about the dangers Christians face
  1. One-World Government, or New World Order, or Global Governance; they all mean and promote the same thing, the attempt by Satan to gain full control over the whole world.
  1. Do not neglect to familiarize yourself with the deception that is engulfing the whole world. Click to see Growth page, Only Jesus Can Dispel The Darkness That Is Engulfing The World.
  2. Sources to refer to:
  1. There are three sources of information or knowledge available to us: (1) That which God has revealed unto us in the Bible or His Word; (2) the lies which Satan tries to deceived us with; and (3) that which is derived from human investigation either from God's Word and God's creation, or from human investigation into the forbidden demonic spiritual realm. Obviously, to believe or put confidence in anything connected with Satan is the height of foolishness since Jesus has exposed his true character, "He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false" (John 8:44b). So anyone who believes what God has said should naturally dismiss Satan as a true source of information. Click to see Growth page, Global Governance Exposed.
  2. "The only global government authorized by God and His Word will be when Jesus Christ returns to planet earth at the second advent and rules the world with a rod of iron from Jerusalem. All other global government, no matter how "benevolent" its intention, is frowned upon by Scripture. Yet, the Bible teaches that God will allow evil to form a global government for three and one-half years during the second half of the tribulation for the purpose of our Lord's global judgment just prior to the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His global rule for 1,000 years upon earth. Thus, current moves toward globalism are preparation for antichrist, not for Jesus Christ, and should be opposed by Bible-believing Christians." The Emerging Global Community, by Dr. Thomas Ice. . . . UPDATE: The above was written in 2005 by Dr. Ice, so he might have a slightly different opinion at the present (Oct. 23, 2010) regarding when this World Government will commence because some information indicates that this system has already been formed, it has just not been fully implemented.
  3. Gary Kah?s book, En Route To Global Occupation, by Huntington House Publishers - 1992
  1. Rival religions, cults, movements, false teachings and practices
  1. 2 Cor. 10:3-6.... For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one), being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.
  1. Whenever God starts something, Satan immediately attempts to infiltrate, corrupt, weaken, and eventually destroy (ICWD) it. Shortly after God created all that is, the enemy began his ICWD plan; you can read about it in the third chapter of Genesis. As soon as Jesus began His earthly ministry, the enemy unsuccessfully tried his ICWD plan on Him (Lk. 4:1-13); and as soon and since Jesus established The Church, Satan has been aggressively using his ICWD plan to infiltrate, corrupt, and weaken, with an intense desire to destroy it. Click to see our Growth page entitled, How The Present-day Church Has Been Deceived By Satan.
  1. The previous page to be added to our website was entitled, How The Present-day Church Has Been Deceived By Satan. This page attempts to explain how Satanic deception can be avoided by being of the same mind, and how that can be accomplished. Click to see our Growth page entitled, A Christian’s Proper Manner Of Life.
  1. Gal. 1:1-14; Rev. 2:6, 15, 20-23
  1. Evolution, psychotherapy, (New Age, Purpose Driven and Emerging Church movements), the Positive Confession or Faith movement
  2. Eastern religions, Islam, the Roman Catholic Church, the cults and the occult
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. It is hoped that this article will be a convenient help to enable God's people to recognize and avoid the deception and bondage that Satan intends to bring upon the unwary. Click to see website page, Satan's Vast Network Of Deception & Opposition
  2. When we turn from trusting God to equip us to live, and rely instead on the schemes of men, no matter how educated and well meaning, we have rejected the path to true wholeness. Click to see website page, The Christian's Battle Against Gnosticism
  3. Basically, we could say that Biblical Christianity believes, trusts and relies upon what God has revealed to us in His Word; while Secular Christianity puts more confidence in human ability and understanding, and feels free to disregard or explain away the Word of God. Click to see website page, What Is Biblical Christianity?
  4. "In the 1930s, the reality of influence in the schoolroom spurred John Dewey, the father of American progressive education, to write My Pedagogic Creed. In it, Dewey depicts public education as a massive behavior-shaping tool. Dewey knew that you could sway the beliefs of a whole generation in the classroom and thereby alter the course of a nation." Click to see website page, The Battle For Truth Is Almost Lost
  5. Satan's attacks upon our minds come to us from all directions, but modern twentieth-century psychological counseling/therapy with its roots in occultism has been one of Satan's most potent schemes to lead people away from the truths and help of God's Word. Click to see website page, Spirit, Soul And Body Under Siege
  6. Never before, in the history of mankind, have there been so many and varied themes and schemes for distracting and conforming or shaping the minds of men, that mold or shape our character, or the person that we become. Click to see website page, Who Or What Are You Being Shaped By?
  7. The revealed Word of God that we will look at in this article declares that the wisdom of this world is foolishness, but what does this world's wisdom consist of? Basically it can be described as any wisdom or knowledge that is not based upon, or departs from, or is contrary to the revealed Word of God! Another words, any wisdom or knowledge that is based upon, and remains true to, and is according to the revealed Word of God is actually God's truth and not something of our own making. Therefore, in order to distinguish between truth and error we simply check to see what God, in His Word, has to say about the subject in question. Click to see Growth page, This World's Wisdom Is Foolishness.
  8. See the website series on "Developing A Biblical Worldview"
  1. Individuals
  1. It is hardly ever pleasant to contend, not even for the faith delivered to us by the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is absolutely necessary and here are some Scriptures that verify the practice. 1 Tim. 1:18-20; 2 Tim 2:15-18, 4:14-15; Titus 1:10-14; Rev. 2:2, 20-23; 3 Jn. 1:9-10
  1. By T.A. McMahon: "The history of the social gospel is, in nearly every case, a sincere attempt by Christians to do those things that they believe will honor God and benefit humanity. In every case, however, the practical working out of "benefitting humanity" has compromised biblical faith and dishonored God. Why is that? God's Word gives no commission to the church to fix the problems of the world. Those who attempt to do so are starting out under a false premise, "...a way which seemeth right unto a man," not God's way. So where can it go from there? "The end thereof are the ways of death," i.e., destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Furthermore, the problems of the world are all symptoms. The root cause is sin." Click to see the internet page from The Berean Call, The Shameful Social Gospel.
  2. By T.A. McMahon: "Why am I making an issue of this? Because the world and, sadly, much of the church are caught up in a temporal delusion: clinging to this earth rather than hoping for heaven. It's part of Satan's strategy to deceive the world into building his kingdom. For thousands of years, he has seduced both professing and true Christians into joining his labor force, with the goal of establishing his own religion, which will be headed by his puppet ruler, the Antichrist. As the intensity of his program increases in these last days, particularly in Christendom, the leaven of this apostasy has been deposited in all theological camps: charismatics, Calvinists, conservatives, liberals, Pentecostals, Baptists, left-leaning Christians, supporters of the Emerging Church Movement, promoters of the "social gospel," et al." Click to see the internet page from The Berean Call, The Temporal Delusion.
  3. The choices we make direct our path and our life toward a particular destination for either good or evil. God’s Word tells us the right choices to make, but unfortunately, some people and organizations, who are recognize or believed to be Christian, have compromised God’s Word and have brought confusion and deception into the Church. Click to see Growth page, Our Choices Can Tremendously Effect Our Life.
  4. How can we possibly hope to have confidence and be committed to Jesus unless we are convinced that we can completely rely upon Him and what He has declared. To find out, click to see Growth page, We Need To Know Him, In Order To Trust Him.
  5. The apostle Peter’s second letter gives us some good advise about what to be aware of and watch for when we attend church. Click to see Growth page, Peter’s Warnings And Encouragement.
  1. Retain Biblical Basics
  1. Spiritual rebirth, God’s salvation plan
  1. What Spiritual rebirth is; why it is needed; what it accomplishes; and how is it gained.
  2. There is nothing surer in all heaven than the salvation of every person who believes what God has declared in His Word, and trusts and relies upon Christ Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior; thus having the death penalty that he deserved payed for and cancelled by Jesus on the cross of Calvary (1 Cor. 1:30), and justified, declared righteous and put into a right relationship with God by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Rom. 4:25). We can forsake and forfeit this salvation (Heb. 6:4-8; 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:20-22), but God never will (Rom. 8:28-39). I’m a born-again child of God only through faith in the salvation provided by Jesus when He shed His blood on the cross to pay for my redemption and rose from the dead for my justification (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Rom. 3:24).
  3. Click to see, Spiritual Rebirth.
  1. Stand firm and true to God's Word, Jesus and the Gospel
  1. To prepare God’s people to stand up to this kind of last-days deception that we presently face, our churches and or personal lives need to be patterned after the model that Jesus and Paul established. Click to see our Growth page entitled, Stand Up For Jesus.
  • Fifth Section
  1. Church History, present condition, and Future destiny
  1. The Church that Jesus is building, and its offshoots. In an endeavor to dispel some of the confusion that has caused much concern among God’s people, we will in this series of articles examine God’s Word for some understanding and answers to such questions as: (1) the pattern Jesus gave us to follow when gathering together as His Church; (2) why there are so many offshoots of the original pattern; and (3) what is the basic cause for all the deception and conflicting opinions?
  1. Examine from Scripture how God designed the Church and meant it to be and function. Consider how a church is formed; also who God entrusted with the most information about the Church, and how he received it. Click to see website page, Jesus Said, I Will Build My Church
  2. Learn about the spiritual basics of Biblical Christianity and the invisible Church; how we can learn to live this way; how this enables us to rule and reign with Jesus now; and church structure and functions. Click to see website page, Biblical Christianity And The Invisible Church
  3. Consider some of the many branches or offshoots we have of the originally designed invisible Church that now constitutes the visible churches, and some of the problems this has created. Click to see website page, Offshoots Of Biblical Christianity Or The Visible Churches
  4. Examine a modern controversy, and how and why it developed. Click to see website page, The Basic Cause For Deception In The Churches
  5. See how God will respond to the choices we make, and also the example Paul gave us to live by. Click to see website page, God Makes His Appeal To Us Through The Apostle Paul
  1. Church History
  1. Most church history merely reports the facts known about that segment of Christianity that attached itself to the Roman Empire and then became apostate, and the Reformation that followed. But we need to be aware that there were groups of Christians that refused to go along with the false teachings and practices of the Roman church and remained true to Christ, and then, not only to know but learn to interpret the history of all these groups in light of the Word of God.
  2. The book of Acts
  3. Sources to refer to:
  1. Today there are numerous religions, cults, protestant denominations, movements and written agreements that are moving us back into the failed policies of the dark ages, once again world leaders, secular and religious, are attempting to bring the Church into an allegiance with world government. Click to see Growth page, A Brief Survey of Church History
  2. This is a much longer article, briefly mentioning the whole of history from the very beginning. Click to see website page, The Bible, History And Western Development
  1. Present Condition
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. By reading what Jesus had to say to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, we can better understand what He expects from us. Click to see website page, Evaluating The Churches
  2. We are very reluctant to consider or attempt to do anything about the truth that many Christians no longer believe in true Biblical Christianity or have walked away from it all together. Click to see Growth page, Why People Are Leaving The Churches
  3. Jesus came to make us law-abiding citizens of His heavenly Kingdom, but most Christians today are trying to apply our spiritual heritage to this earthly realm. Click to see Growth page, What Is The Composition Of American Christianity?
  1. Future destiny
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. Have you ever wondered what this life is all about and what living with God in heaven is going to be like; this is what we will briefly consider in this article. Click to see Growth page, The Reason For Our Present Earthly Existence
  • Sixth Section
  1. Eschatology or end-time events
  1. Daniel chapters 2, 7-12
  2. Matt. chapter 24
  3. 2 Peter chapter 3
  4. Revelation
  1. One world government, economy and religion under the antichrist
  1. Rev. chapters 13-14, 17-18
  1. The thousand-year Millennial reign of Christ
  1. Rev. chapters 19-20
  1. The Eternal state
  1. Rev. chapters 21-22
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. In the following article we will try to establish where we are in this plan of God's, and some of the details of it. Click to see website page, How Far Along Are We In God's Plan?
  2. The very first thing that Jesus mentioned that will be characteristic of this period leading up to and including the end is deception. Click to see website page, The Beginning Of The End
  3. The events leading up to the Antichrist's end-time exploits. Click to see website page, The Role Of Antichrist
  4. Prophecy is a very difficult and imprecise discipline, but since about one-quarter of the Bible is prophecy and we have every reason to believe that God gave it to us to understand and be encouraged by, we should spend a corresponding amount of time in an attempt to discover the true meaning of it. Click to see website page, A Brief Look At The Book Of Revelation
  • Seventh Section
  1. Obedience to God can bring trouble and persecution
  1. Matt. 10:21-39, 24:9-13; Mark 13:9-13; Jn. 7:7, 15:18-25
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. The Roman Empire persecuted the early Christians mainly because they refused to participate in their religious activities and worship the gods of the empire; the global system being formed today will do the same thing for the same reasons. Click to see website page, The Reasons Christians Have And Continue To Be Persecuted
  2. As people increasingly become as Jesus described in Matthew 24:9-14, it will become extremely difficult to live as the Lord would have us to. It is easy to love kind and generous people, but when they begin to malign, deceive, cheat and mistreat you it is much more difficult. Click to see website page, Prepare Yourself For Difficulties
  1. Comfort and encouragement in difficult times
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. The way that we learn to trust and be comforted is to read and meditate upon what He has promised us until it becomes a firmly held conviction in our heart that dispels all fear because we know that God is in complete control and nothing escapes His notice, and that He does indeed care about us affectionately. Click to see Growth page, Comfort In The Midst Of Difficulties


The Debilitating Effect Of Tradition

Everyone has traditions that they believe in and not all traditions are necessarily bad, even Paul had traditions that he advised his converts to remember and practice (1 Cor. 4:17; 11:1-2; 2 Thess. 2:15). But too often we find ourselves relying upon and practicing passed forms of conduct instead of making study progress in our knowledge of and walk with God. Let us see if we can begin to grasp how traditions are formed and how debilitating (enfeebling or weakening) they can become.

A Full Gospel Church that I attended in the past had a black man from Kenya, South Africa as guest speaker. This is the first time that I had ever been present where the speaker tried to stir up a Charismatic-Toronto-laughing type revival. The music at this church was lively, and he used that as an opening to invite the young people up front as he gently urged the singers and the young people into more energetic and repetitious singing as they marched around the church.

When he went into the preaching part of his presentation, he began to speak of a worldwide revival and times of refreshing, and the need for seekers to become actively involved. He said that God was wanting to bring us into confusion of the type in Acts chapter two where people thought those filled with the Holy Spirit were drunk – he suggested that there had been people laughing, crying, falling down and causing all kinds of commotion. But the Bible states that God is not the author of confusion and disorder (1 Cor. 14:33), and describes the events on the day of Pentecost as a sound from heaven like a rushing wind, tongues resembling fire that settled on each of them, and that they spoke in many languages foreign to them telling of the mighty works of God (Acts 2:1-13).

Then he began to call people out of the audience and ask them what was happening to them. Although I could not see them before he called them, I’m sure that he called upon the ones he could see, by the countenance of their faces, had been prepared by his presentation to respond in the manner he was trying to bring about, because most became emotional when he began to speak with them and had nothing really significant to say. One young lady began to laugh for a time, but when she finally went back to her seat the speaker called her back up; probably trying to produce the same reaction in others, but it didn’t work.

After about two hours of this he finally turned the meeting back to the pastor, and the pastor immediately dismissed the congregation. There is no way to know the speaker’s heart; whether he sincerely thought he was doing what the Lord wanted or if he knowingly tried to deceive the people, but I’m sure it was not the Lord’s doing. My opinion is that he used the people’s good intentions and desires to put them in a position where they would be susceptible to his suggestions, because they did not want to hinder a supposed revival from God.

During the next week the thought occurred to me several times that in one respect what had taken place last Sunday was not all that unusual for a Pentecostal church; most Pentecostal churches try to excite and stir up people to respond exuberantly to what is being presented. It wasn’t so much the way or method that this speaker had used that was different, but the content or words that he used that signaled his familiarity with and desire to produce a laughing type revival. Therefore people who were unfamiliar with the rhetoric – worldwide revival, times of refreshing, confusion, misapplication of Acts chapter two, and the acceptance and promotion of laughing could just pass it off as something just a little bit different. While singing, shouting and praising God are in themselves acceptable; misusing Scripture and using human technics to manipulate the people by the power of suggestion into unbiblical behavior is not.

All this leaves me with the question, how much of what takes place in our churches is really acceptable to God? The only pattern God has given us regarding how our services should be conducted is found in 1 Corinthians chapters 11-14, where the whole emphasis is on presenting information that is understandable and useful, not confusion that leads to disorder. It seems to me that many are committed more to a form than they are to the teachings of the Bible. While they proclaim the Bible as the inspired Word of God, they live more by their proclamations than they do by the instructions contained in the Bible. There is very little searching of the Scriptures and only a small portion of Scripture is read as an illustration for a long presentation of Pentecostal beliefs and practices.

I’m of the opinion that most people are just not aware that many of the technics and practices used by past and present revivalists are only man’s efforts to manipulate the people by suggestion, and are sometimes aided by evil spirits. There are probably many who realize that something is wrong, but just don’t know what it is or what can be done to correct it and bring about the changes God desires.

To adhere to a form instead of the Word of God limits what God is able to accomplish in and with His people. Most, if not all, Christian churches hold and practice a form for church meetings different from the one God has presented in 1 Cor. 14:26-40. There are many advantages to God’s way, and many disadvantages to any other way:

  • God’s model allows anyone in the congregation to be used of God at anytime throughout the meeting.
  • More than one speaker is expected, and he can be interrupted if someone else receives something from the Lord that needs to be injected.
  • more than one speaker relieves the pastor from the total responsibility for presenting the whole council of God, and more workers are trained.
  • All the rest of the congregation is expected to ascertain that what is being presented is accurate according to the rest of Scripture, and this suggests that corrections are to be made as needed.
  • There are times when our presentations become too intense and we need a break from the tension; at such times singing and worship can bring refreshing and relief. These breaks need not be planned and can take place at any time.
  • It is expected by God that we will follow His instructions and make certain that there is no confusion, disorder or error allowed, and that "everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all."
  • Using God’s model gives God more of an opportunity to lead, teach, protect, and correct His people.

EPHESIANS 5:10-20.... And try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him]. Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead [let your lives be so in contrast as to] expose and reprove and convict them. For it is a shame even to speak of or mention the things that [such people] practice in secret. But when anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light. Therefore He says, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine (make day dawn) upon you and give you light. [Isa. 26:19; 60:1,2.]

15Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit. [Prov. 23:20.] Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, at all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Eph 6:10-18.... In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

13Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, and having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. [Isa. 52:7.] Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God. Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people).

Conclusions:

The contacts that I have had with Pentecostal churches in the past leads me to believe that almost anything that claims to be Pentecostal is accepted as appropriate and valid, there is a great reluctance to expose, or even examine, false teaching. The primary reason seems to be that though they claim to rely upon the Bible, they rely more upon their tradition, and some of their tradition is contrary to God’s Word.

This morning as I was reading in Galatians I realized the similarity between what I was reading and the conclusions I had come to. Paul had to reprimand Peter because he allowed himself to be motivated by tradition instead of his true convictions regarding Jews associating with gentiles (Gal. 2:11-21). As a result Paul says that even Barnabas was carried away by Peter’s hypocrisy. This is the danger of neglecting correction, unless false teaching or practice is stopped immediately, it snowballs and gets worse. As Paul stated in verse 18 of the same chapter, when we do this we find ourselves building with one hand and at the same time tearing down with the other – a very confusing and disastrous way to live. I believe that God used this passage of Scripture to confirm that the conclusion that I had come to, was the right one.

Another way that tradition can be described would be to call it a Biblical Philosophy; by this I mean that portions of Scripture are grouped together to form the basic beliefs and practices of the congregation. What usually happens is that other Scriptures that would modify their philosophy go unnoticed, and therefore their expectations, based upon their incomplete understanding of Scripture, do not materialize. The main reason is that we are not adequately teaching our people the whole counsel of God, and therefore they are unprepared to face the deception that they run into. This deception was deliberately planned back in the 1930s by the Globalists and Humanists, and is not only in our public schools, but in most other American institutions as well. See our web page entitled, The Battle For Truth Is Almost Lost.

The traditional way for most Pentecostal churches to attempt to solve the above problem is to pray for God’s miraculous intervention, and to become politically and socially involved against the ungodly practices. To attempt to change society through worldly methods is not Biblical, and to pray for God’s intervention when we have neglected to obey his Word to teach the whole counsel of God is doubtful to bring the desired result until we recognize our failure, repent and obey.

The majority of Pentecostal sermons are taken from or end up in the Gospels, and they rely heavily upon receiving whatever they ask for, even though there is very little or no evidence that they do. But still the tradition of miraculous events is upheld, which is another reason that they are reluctant to doubt or question anything said from the pulpit. The tendency is to jump to the conclusion that God has or is going to miraculously intervene in our behalf, only to find out that He has not. I have had this happen to me several times, but you never hear anyone confess this kind of an experience. I remember hearing an evangelist say one time that if he prayed for someone and they dropped dead, he would just step over him and pray for the next one in line – this seems to be the prevailing attitude and practice among Pentecostals.

Jesus prayed for and successfully healed and delivered many needy people, but He never had any die on Him. He once touched a blind man and then asked him if he could see. The blind man said he could see men, but they looked like trees walking. Jesus touched him again, and then he could see perfectly (Mk. 8:22-25). Jesus never failed at what He set out to do, but there were occasions when the disciples did. John 5:30 tells us that Jesus never did anything without having received the Fathers’ instructions beforehand, and this has to be the primary reason that we fail; we take for granted that the desires of our heart and mind are the Father’s instructions and when we act upon them, we fail. I believe that we ought to live with the assurance that God is watching over and keeping us, but we should not be trying to tell God or others how He should or is going to do it. The promise is "that if we ask anything according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us" (1 Jn. 5:14b). Another-words, just like Jesus, we have to have His consent.

The Pentecostal churches are certainly not the only ones who have been lead astray by some of their traditions. The majority of churches in the world today, of every description, have some traditional false beliefs. Many have neglected God’s Word and turned to worldly promotional gimmicks. I believe that most churches are unaware that they have been deceived by Satanic substitutes for God’s Word, and this is what makes it so pathetic. When it’s done knowingly and deliberately the anguish can be bearable, but when people are tricked into believing a lie it is almost too much to bear. If the truth were known, we would probably be surprised how few really believe and take God’s Word literally. The lack of faith that Jesus suggested would characterize His return has come to pass, "However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8b), and, "We must work the works of Him Who sent Me and be busy with His business while it is daylight; night is coming on, when no man can work (John 9:4)."

GALATIANS 3:1-4.... O YOU poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom--right before your very eyes--Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?] Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh? Have you suffered so many things and experienced so much all for nothing (to no purpose)--if it really is to no purpose and in vain?

The Church of our Lord Jesus Christ was not directed to feed the people a Smorgasbord cafeteria style message or program, but rather the Gospel is to be preached so that the people realize they need to change to meet God's standard, instead of looking for something else. When the Church offers something else, compromise, watering-down and diminishing of the Bible have begun. Humanistic philosophy, psychological theories and promotional pep-talks are some of the current tactics being used by churches to gain the interest and cooperation of the people.

Many of the tactics being used by churches today to attract and hold the people can and many times do actually mislead the people. Instead of being shown from Scripture that Jesus is the answer to every situation that we can face in life, they are shuffled off to help and support groups that use humanistic reasoning, with a little Bible thrown in, to try to find solutions to the questions and difficulties the people are inquiring about or experiencing. This is a terrible tragedy that goes unrecognized because, the people are being taught to trust in the efforts of men instead of in Jesus. When we fail to find our answer in Christ, we have failed to find the right answer. "We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men" (1 Cor. 1:23-25).

God gave us the Bible so that we could know Him and how we should live. Whenever we turn to some other source we dishonor and reject Him and injure ourselves in the process. We dare not water-down the Gospel message by adding some man-made solution, "For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God. For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing" (1 Cor. 1:18-19).

How Tradition Is Substituted For God’s Word:

As more and more people, or an individual, rejects the idea or belief that the Bible is God’s Word, and that it is the ultimate authority that we should look to in all matters concerning life, they have placed themselves in a position where they can feel justified in choosing an alternative to God’s instructions. There are those who call themselves atheists who don’t believe that there is a God, and therefore reject the Bible. There are those who believe in a different God, and therefore reject the Bible. There are those who believe that God is real, but still reject Him and the Bible. Then, there are those who believe in God and want to live according to His Word, but don’t have sufficient Biblical knowledge to do it, and then there are those who have, through some process, been deceived into accepting and believing something contrary to the instructions that God has revealed to us in His Word. No matter how they arrived at this point, they all are in danger of substituting what they hold to be more important than God’s Word as being alright or acceptable.

Jesus often chided the religious leaders for their errors, the following remarks from Jesus kind of lumps them all together into one category. "But He said to them, Excellently and truly [so that there will be no room for blame] did Isaiah prophesy of you, the pretenders and hypocrites, as it stands written: These people [constantly] honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far distant from Me. In vain (fruitlessly and without profit) do they worship Me, ordering and teaching [to be obeyed] as doctrines the commandments and precepts of men. [Isa. 29:13.] You disregard and give up and ask to depart from you the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men [keeping it carefully and faithfully]. And He said to them, You have a fine way of rejecting [thus thwarting and nullifying and doing away with] the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition (your own human regulations)! For Moses said, . . . Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing" (Mark 7:6-13).

Let’s take a well-known teaching of Jesus to illustrate how something Jesus said can become the basis of a false tradition.

JOHN 13:1-17.... [NOW] BEFORE the Passover Feast began, Jesus knew (was fully aware) that the time had come for Him to leave this world and return to the Father. And as He had loved those who were His own in the world, He loved them to the last and to the highest degree. So [it was] during supper, Satan having already put the thought of betraying Jesus in the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, [that] Jesus, knowing (fully aware) that the Father had put everything into His hands, and that He had come from God and was [now] returning to God, got up from supper, took off His garments, and taking a [servant's] towel, He fastened it around His waist. Then He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the [servant's] towel with which He was girded.

6When He came to Simon Peter, [Peter] said to Him, Lord, are my feet to be washed by You? [Is it for You to wash my feet?] Jesus said to him, You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later on. Peter said to Him, You shall never wash my feet! Jesus answered him, Unless I wash you, you have no part with ( in) Me [you have no share in companionship with Me]. Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, [wash] not only my feet, but my hands and my head too! Jesus said to him, Anyone who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is clean all over. And you [My disciples] are clean, but not all of you. For He knew who was going to betray Him; that was the reason He said, Not all of you are clean.

12So when He had finished washing their feet and had put on His garments and had sat down again, He said to them, Do you understand what I have done to you? You call Me the Teacher (Master) and the Lord, and you are right in doing so, for that is what I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher (Master), have washed your feet, you ought [it is your duty, you are under obligation, you owe it] to wash one another's feet. For I have given you this as an example, so that you should do [in your turn] what I have done to you. I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, A servant is not greater than his master, and no one who is sent is superior to the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed and happy and to be envied are you if you practice them [if you act accordingly and really do them].

Some churches have taken this example at literal face value and occasionally wash one another’s feet, but a close examination of this passage along with other Scriptures indicates that Jesus had something else in mind; this very passage suggests as much. First of all, Jesus would not state that "you do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later on" if He had physical foot washing in mind -- surely the disciples were able to recognize that Jesus was washing their feet. Neither would He have said to Peter that "unless I wash you, you have no part with ( in) Me" – Jesus will never wash our feet and yet we are already one with Him.

So what was the Lord telling them to do? The answer is found in the book of John where Jesus says, "I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you]. Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me" (John 15:1-4).

We are to do as Jesus did throughout His ministry, He used the Word of God to daily or continually keep clean the lives of the disciples. We as well as they have been cleansed once and for all by the precious blood of Jesus, but we need to daily use the Word of God to wash our feet, and our brother’s feet after traveling this world’s dirty pathways.

So, if we merely wash ones physical feet and neglect to instruct and admonish one another with the Word of God, we have replaced or set aside the Word of God by practicing a tradition!

Here are some more passages of Scripture that I think have been traditionalized in the same way that foot washing has been. The passages we will be looking at are: Matt. 17:14-20, 21:18-22; Mark 11:20-24; and Luke 17:5-10.

MATTHEW 17:14-20.... And when they approached the multitude, a man came up to Him, kneeling before Him and saying, Lord, do pity and have mercy on my son, for he has epilepsy (is moonstruck) and he suffers terribly; for frequently he falls into the fire and many times into the water. And I brought him to Your disciples, and they were not able to cure him. And Jesus answered, O you unbelieving ( warped, wayward, rebellious) and thoroughly perverse generation! How long am I to remain with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to Me. And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked privately, Why could we not drive it out? He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

MATTHEW 21:18-22.... In the early dawn the next morning, as He was coming back to the city, He was hungry. And as He saw one single leafy fig tree above the roadside, He went to it but He found nothing but leaves on it [seeing that in the fig tree the fruit appears at the same time as the leaves]. And He said to it, Never again shall fruit grow on you! And the fig tree withered up at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled greatly and asked, How is it that the fig tree has withered away all at once? And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done. And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.

MARK 11:20-24.... In the morning, when they were passing along, they noticed that the fig tree was withered [completely] away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to Him, Master, look! The fig tree which You doomed has withered away! And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly]. Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

The closest instruction in the epistles of the New Testament to what Jesus is teaching in these passages is, "If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [for being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]" (James 1:5-8). But these comments of James do not approach the weight and force of the words of Christ that we are considering, nor does that of any other NT writer; Jesus’ above words are recorded only by Matthew, Mark and Luke and they are not restated or taught by any other New Testament writer or disciple, why? "The attendants replied, Never has a man talked as this Man talks! [No mere man has ever spoken as He speaks!]" (John 7:46)

It must be because Jesus never meant for us to take His words literally to the point that we attempt and expect to move literal mountains, but figuratively by appropriate requests to accomplish God’s will in service – as with the foot-washing episode, for He spoke these words only to the twelve disciples; He never pulled up a tree and planted it in the sea; neither did He ever move a literal mountain. He obviously meant for us to understand that true faith can accomplish great things for the kingdom of God, and the following passage helps us understand how that kind of faith can be received.

LUKE 17:5-10.... The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith (that trust and confidence that spring from our belief in God). And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.

7Will any man of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, Come at once and take your place at the table? Will he not instead tell him, Get my supper ready and gird yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; then afterward you yourself shall eat and drink? Is he grateful and does he praise the servant because he did what he was ordered to do? Even so on your part, when you have done everything that was assigned and commanded you, say, We are unworthy servants [possessing no merit, for we have not gone beyond our obligation]; we have [merely] done what was our duty to do.

When we have become the kind of servant listed above, the kind that Jesus exemplified in Jn. 5:30, we will be given the kind of faith that Jesus is talking about. Only a faithful servant can be trusted with this kind of faith; "He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [case of] unrighteous mammon ( deceitful riches, money, possessions), who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not proved faithful in that which belongs to another [whether God or man], who will give you that which is your own [that is, the true riches]? No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or anything in which you trust and on which you rely)" (Luke 16:10-13). "If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7). "I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord--but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me" (John 5:30).

1 JOHN 5:13-15.... I write this to you who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) the name of the Son of God [in the peculiar services and blessings conferred by Him on men], so that you may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have life, yes, eternal life. And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.

Therefore, the disciples did not spend time claiming or talking about great faith, they just went in pursuit of it by their faithfulness in serving. As they proved faithful, the faith was given to accomplish the task at hand. To speak of it and not pursue and demonstrate it is to make and practice a tradition!

The traditions of men have many forms; we are increasingly seeing them used by the church in substitution for the clear teachings of the Bible. Sometimes without knowing it, we are deceived by the tactics of the enemy and become partners with him as we practice some of the technics suggested to us by this world system.

PHILIPPIANS 3:17-21.... Brethren, together follow my example and observe those who live after the pattern we have set for you. For there are many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, who walk (live) as enemies of the cross of Christ. They are doomed and their fate is eternal misery (perdition); their god is their stomach (their appetites, their sensuality) and they glory in their shame, siding with earthly things and being of their party. But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ [as] Savior, Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself.

Peter tells us "For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence" (2 Peter 1:3 ). Therefore, when we take sides with or join with the rest of the world and rely upon the man-made techniques, methods and traditions of men instead of the provisions that are ours in Christ, we have effectively become an enemy of the cross of Christ.

All churches must be on guard against the intrusion of false concepts from the numerous elements in the Christian community that have mishandled or misinterpreted God’s Word. If we fail to do this we will find ourselves in a weakened condition as we attempt to live by these false concepts or traditions of men instead of the instructions of God – God cannot bless human effort! To see and examine some of these corrupting influences see the web page entitled, Satan’s Vast Network Of Deception And Opposition.

COLOSSIANS 2:6-10.... As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving. See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men's ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah). For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]. And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].

2 TIMOTHY 4:1-5.... I CHARGE [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom: Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching. For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, and will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions. As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry.

2 PETER 2:1-3.... BUT ALSO [in those days] there arose false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among yourselves, who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical doctrines (destructive heresies), even denying and disowning the Master Who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their immoral ways and lascivious doings; because of them the true Way will be maligned and defamed. And in their covetousness (lust, greed) they will exploit you with false (cunning) arguments. From of old the sentence [of condemnation] for them has not been idle; their destruction (eternal misery) has not been asleep.