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I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

The eleven began with that which was told them from Jesus only, for by and large, they were not learned and wise men of the ways of the Law of Moses as Paul was. They may have been Jews by birth, but from their lifestyles, fishermen and tax collectors, zealots, they were not your average synagogue going Jews. As such, they were the closest God had of new wineskins into which would be poured the new wine of Jesus. They began their Christian walk hearing from the Master Himself before going off to listening to others who were not masters, like James the Younger. Whereas Paul, like one unnaturally born, was a vessel filled with the old wine for he was a Pharisee, schooled by one of the best teachers of the Pharisees. He was one who was used to listening to other men, who then came into a life where he would listen only to Jesus. So when Paul wrote about the teaching you have learned, he was not talking about traditional church doctrine as a Baptist or Lutheran or Catholic or Pentecostal or any of the denominations would have received it. For the teachings that Paul spoke of were the teachings that were given before men came into the church to draw disciples after themselves and disciples who then forgot what the Lord told them. For the Lord never said that we were to listen to anyone else except He who is the beloved Son, and the Lord, who is the beloved Son, never said that we were to follow anyone else except Himself. And through the last of the eleven, He never instructed the churches to listen to anyone else except the Lord, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will never remind us of what anyone else said except what Jesus said, for that is all Jesus said He would do.

Thus, all those whom Paul wrote of as those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way, are anyone beginning with James the Younger and Nicolas from Antioch. So dangerous are the teachings of James that men from James, as Paul wrote in the letter to the Galatians, led two apostles into hypocrisy and caused a major fracas with a third. Paul wrote: For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. Everyone has been trained to believe and live a holy life so that at their death, they would enter Heaven to await the resurrection for their own sakes. No one has ever deliberately taught or started a movement where people are trained to live and believe that they should stay alive preparing the Earth for the Lord’s arrival, regardless of how many centuries it may be, for the Lord did say, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. …whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” Neither has there been a movement where the members are encouraged to believe and achieve what Jesus promised to anyone who believed in Him. “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Certainly none are recorded in history. Perhaps all previous attempts had been so severely crushed that our predecessors were literally wiped out, for Jesus did promise, Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.” We do not know, God knows.

But for us, if Paul were to write: Everyone has heard about your obedience, then that obedience must be a dogged adherence to the only command that was given to the disciples of Jesus Christ, “Listen to Him.” So, we must confess humbly and submit to our critics, present and future, that we are found so wanting by God that He did not entrust us with more than one decree and one command, which is “This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.”

As to whether Jesus is a fitting choice, we do not presume as others do and seek to replace Him. As to whether there is someone wiser to listen to than Jesus, we do not know. But for us, we are given one decree and one command. We are indeed not so trusted by God to be blessed with wisdom and learning, to be entrusted with decrees upon decrees, rules upon rules, traditions upon traditions or revelations upon revelations as some are, having been visited by angelic beings and men of such holiness in their own standing that they would propose better ways to Heaven. We have but one decree and one command. So, does God trust us more? In truth, we must say, no, for we are not servants who have been given the five talents or even the two talents, but only the one talent. Indeed, we must be the lazy and wicked group if one were to judge what we are according to the talents given us by God, only one command to obey and one decree to uphold. So, of what have we to boast? In truth, nothing. Save that God in His mercy entrusted us with just one decree and one command, and His one Son entrusted us with only one Spirit to listen to, the Holy Spirit.

One decree, one command and one Spirit. So, we pray forgiveness now from those whose multitude of talents allow them to uphold a plethora of decrees and swear obedience to a treasury of commands, guided by such a multitude of spirits that truly, we must say, we are too simple for such sophisticated ways. The One to whom we are to listen, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, must also have found us and our forefathers, the disciples given to Him by His Father, wanting, for He, Jesus, did not leave us much in words either as to write any down Himself. Indeed, the only place He wrote was in the sand, as if His disciples would not be able to read. Of the words that our forefathers can recall, they can barely fill fifty pages of any hand written book. Fifty pages… whilst the disciples of other saviours, other christs, other men of self proclaimed holiness and messengers of God have libraries and volumes that fill buildings.

It is not that the disciples of our Lord were not productive in their writings. Indeed, the writings of those who purport to be followers and believers of Jesus Christ do indeed fill buildings with their books, but alas, our Lord has considered us such poor readers of words written that His command to His churches is, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Nowhere does our Lord, in His seven letters to His seven churches, instructs them to read what the prophets and apostles have said or written. No, it is “let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Therefore, it is good and correct to take a true look at ourselves from God’s perspective. We are indeed the least of all possible disciples of any religion, for we can only be entrusted with one decree, one command and one Spirit to guide us. We cannot boast, but are truly confirmed concerning our weaknesses and our inadequacies as men and women of religiosity that we can be entrusted with no more than one – one decree, one command and one Spirit.

Indeed, we are such poor servants of such inadequate quality that we have nothing to add to our Lord’s words except through slavish labour, practise it unceasingly, buffeted with constant failure, proving yet again the truth of the Lord’s judgment on us that even with one decree and one command, we cannot achieve resounding success with minimal practice, but require large and laborious practice daily and yet have hardly anything to show for it on Earth. But this we know and thus we do, being unable to practise more than one command and unable to uphold more than one decree and without an abundance of spirits to guide us except one, we work with what we have. We know only One whom God is well pleased with – His Son Jesus Christ. If He was pleased with another, we do not know it for He has not told us, thus showing to all our critics, and we pray to their satisfaction, that indeed, we have not been entrusted with much. We have no one else to listen to except Him the Son who we are given. Perhaps we are so slow as learners that listening to more than one person could hinder us irreparably. We have no other spirit to guide us except the one Holy Spirit. We are perhaps of such stubbornness and obstinateness that no other spirits can be found to guide us or to enlighten us.

Having soberly judged ourselves and found ourselves to be grossly inadequate, being ones who can only be trusted to uphold one decree and obey one command and for whom only one Spirit has been found to guide us, we dare not add one word to that which has been passed on to us by our forefathers to whom at least the Holy Spirit found trustworthy enough to dictate the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the letters of the eleven and Paul, and the letters from the half brothers of Jesus, Jude and James, as well as the Revelation to John the Beloved. To them at least the Holy Spirit found them trustworthy enough not only to listen but to write. So we have no prophecy of our own to declare, but to witness the prophetic words they declared and wrote as they enfold in our time. Our writings, our ramblings, being mere testimonies of the effect the words of the Lord Jesus have had on our lives as we look at all else through the one Light we are given with which to see, Jesus Christ.

Since we can do no more because we are not of sufficient quality to be trusted with more than one decree, one command and one Spirit, we can only labour with the one we are given. Therefore, we beg forgiveness for the narrowness of our way, the narrowness of our view and the narrowness of the door. Indeed, the narrowness of our efforts and some would also add the narrowness of our mind and hearts. We are narrow, yes, but not because we have been judged to be wiser or more capable of being more learned than others by God who called us and chose us, but because we are in truth incapable of upholding, obeying or being given more than one decree, one command and one Spirit.

If any generous soul more capable than us, more learned and wiser than us, and able to fathom more mysteries finds us offensive, they should spare themselves the trouble of being offended by fools such as us. Indeed, I think their precious time is better spent debating and converting those who are far more capable than us, ones who are entrusted to uphold many decrees and commands, and meet and listen to a plethora of spiritual guides, ones so truly gifted that they are able to compose even more decrees, draw up more commands and appoint even more spirits to be their guides than we poor bunch who have been entrusted with only one decree, one command and one Spirit. We are totally inadequate when it comes to proclaiming more than one decree and have not learned enough to issue more than one command and are entirely not wise enough to appoint any other spiritual guide except to hold on to the one we have been given.

Indeed, our writings and speech are of such poor quality that we cannot imagine anyone wanting to copy them or quote them in any form, in part or in whole, with complimentary or with defamatory remarks. As such, we do not consider what we have said or written or will say or write, worth anything, as those who are more learned have done to their words and writings. Certainly what we have has no marketable or commercial value to those who value the ways of Mammon and as such, we would not consider that it is plausible that anyone would be foolish enough to part with their hard earned monies to purchase our writings or words. As such, what we have, we will not sell so as not to insult the quality and excellence of the works of those who have produce works and words that are worth selling.

There we have it… What good are we that we can only be entrusted to uphold one decree, obey one command and have only one Spirit who is prepared to put up with us? Good for nothing and no more, except for God who is One, who has only one begotten Son and one Holy Spirit. That is what we are good for and that is how you know what you are good for. Those who are more learned and wiser, able to uphold, obey and follow more than one, with words worth protecting by copyright and saleable are too good for the Rule of One.

It is therefore fitting that we should be placed at the end of the parade and be made a spectacle of… placed at the end of the parade because by the time we appear on stage, the audience has left, and be made a spectacle of, for indeed, we are not worth watching. Truly, our inadequacies, weaknesses and failings weigh heavy upon us and we walk like those who are condemned to die in the arena, not fit to join the multitudes that are cheering in the stands.

But then, what is good about you and I to whom cannot be entrusted more than one decree to uphold, more than one command to obey and one Spirit to follow? For what good are such who are capable only of walking the narrow way, unable to swerve to the left or right? Ones who are incapable to adopt the decrees, commands and guides of wiser and more learned humans. What are you good for? I leave you with these words of the Son to the Father and allow you to consider what you are good for.

“I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure.”

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