21 October 2009
“And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” Jesus asked this of the pharisees and teachers of the law as they came complaining, “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” and He went on to call them, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ “
A man of truth is not one who honours God with his lips… so let us get that very clear right now. Indeed, the hallmark of the false ‘christs’, as Jesus warned, is this: “For many will come in My Name, claiming, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near,’ “ and Jesus said, “Do not follow them,” and that they will also say, “I am the Christ.” These warnings are aimed at two types of people: Those who come in the Name of Jesus and say that Jesus is the Christ, and those who come in His Name claiming that they themselves are the Christ. Now the second group is mostly locked away in psychiatric institutes, except for a few who raise up cults who been deceived into believing they are the Christ. And until the antichrist comes with the false prophet to deceive with their very real miracles, signs and wonders, by and large there is little to worry about. Indeed, for all who know the words of Jesus and the power of God, who through constant fellowship with the Holy Spirit and practice of the word, have nothing to fear about these self-proclaimed ‘christs’, for you know the real Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, arrives on clouds of glory with all the holy angels and His elect… a feat that none of these self-proclaimed ‘christs’ can imitate.
You see, knowledge of the Scriptures will allow you to test the message of a so-called ‘christ’, and if you know the Scriptures, you know there is only one way for Jesus to return – on clouds of glory – and there is only one place He will touch down on – the Mount of Olives – on a day only known to the Father. As for those who say, “The time is near,” that has been happening since He left. However, what makes them false is that though they say the time is near, they have no knowledge of the power of God nor are they working to prepare the Earth for His arrival. You see, the finishing of the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom is so that the end will come. However, the preparation of the Earth for His arrival requires more than the finishing of the preaching of the Gospel. It is one thing to say that the time is near, and it is another to live as one who thinks the time is near and lastly, to live as one who is bringing the time near.
What do I mean that Noah is our example as always? Noah did not go around saying, “The time is near,” nor did he live as one who thinks the time is near by moving to higher ground, but rather, he lived as one who was bringing the time near by building the ark and finishing it exactly the way he was told by God.
Those who know the Scriptures and the power of God live to bring the day near and not live waiting for the day. That is the difference. When you are saying that the time is near, you may not be living as though the time is near. Many live as though the time is near, but do nothing to bring it near. Moving into caves and deserts and stocking up food is not the way a person who is living to bring the time near lives. Practising the words of Jesus until all the Scriptures are witnessed and testified to begins to bring the day near… not that we can dictate the day, no, God decides on that day… but the sooner we finish what we are supposed to be doing, the sooner then can God decide on the day and even change the day if He so wishes.
And if you have sat down and counted the cost in the time that it would take for you to complete the work, then you would realise that anyone who hopes to live a long, quiet Christian life and then to die in peace to go to Heaven really has not in mind that which is needed to complete the work. Anyone who has been seriously practising the words of Jesus, getting to know them and the power of God, knows that it can take decades… so what is the point of dying just when you have learned to begin to master the knowledge of the Scriptures and the power of God? There is no need of the power of God to cause the blind to see, the lame to walk, to multiply food and so on in Heaven. The need is here and if you have even begun to wrestle with the knowledge of the Scriptures and the power of God, you would know it takes many years if not decades to master… so then, should you not prepare yourself to live longer than you anticipate? Should not the words of John 11.26 be of the most paramount importance to you so that at least you have prepared yourself so as not to waste your efforts? So you may say, “The time is near,” but how are you preparing for it? Running away before the days of distress so that Jesus returns to an empty house? No wonder He asked, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the Earth?”
However, the knowledge of the Scriptures alone is insufficient to overcome those who would dishonour God for the sake of their traditions. The Lutherans with their stand on ‘solo Scriptura’ have spent 500 years proving that though they hold onto the knowledge of the Scriptures, they have not valued the knowledge of the power of God… so that though they reformed the church, they were unable to resurrect the church that should have been with the fullness of power because they had men and women of truth in their midst. Men and women who had found out for themselves that Jesus’ teachings are from God and who would resist all who tried to add or subtract or detract from His teachings. A church where men like James the Younger would never have his recommendations adopted and practised alongside the teachings of Jesus.
For anyone who wants to truly honour Jesus must work as Jesus works, for Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me or 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.” So then, without an earnest devotion to the acquisition of the knowledge of the power of God so that we may begin to do some of the things that Jesus has been doing, how can we even think we are honouring Him? We can say it with our lips, but our inability to multiply the food, raise the dead and heal the sick betrays our hearts. And if we are not even prepared to practise doing these things until God deems it fit to entrust us with the power to do so, then any mention of ‘honouring’ Jesus is superfluous and downright hypocritical. How can anyone who is more zealous for the recommendations of James and the practice of the Mosaic Law be one who honours Jesus when Jesus’ teachings go against James and Jesus has fulfilled the Mosaic Law?
And if you have not practised the power of God, then where can you acquire the knowledge of that power? Remember, elect, Jesus said to the sadducees, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” So ignorance of either leads to error and error allows for deception, and so those who are deceived and who can be deceived fall into such a fate because of their own ignorance.
Where does ignorance come from? It comes not from the lack of opportunity to receive knowledge, for even if the disciples failed to preach, the Holy Spirit has been poured on all flesh and He can make known to all what belongs to Jesus and the Father. Ignorance comes when we do not learn to see, watch and listen. And if those who use the Name of Jesus or come in the Name of Jesus are ignorant of the Scriptures or the power of God, then their ignorance allows God to be merciful and gracious to those who cannot believe in Jesus because of the messages preached by these users of Jesus’ Name that were not confirmed with signs and wonders. If they did not believe, then all the more grace is given them. However, having believed, then each one is personally responsible to do his best to acquire the knowledge of the Scriptures and/or the power of God.
For if the knowledge of the Scriptures can help you recognise the voice of the deceivers so that you know not only their error, but their error shows their motives, then the knowledge of the power of God removes all fear of them from you.
You see, many are those who watch out for the deceivers out of fear of being deceived. Now when you do that you dishonour Jesus, for He said, “When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed.” Now if Jesus said that even wars should not alarm you, why should you be alarmed or be in fear of the false men? It is however the powerless who fear what they know, not the powerful. The lack of knowledge of the power of God is what generates fear in those who believe in His Name concerning what is yet to come.
You see, intimate knowledge of the power of God, that is, a well practised mastery of the power so that you know what you have available for your own self sustenance, allows you to overcome even wars… and if you yourself can do what Jesus has been doing, then you will have no need of those who come in His Name, saying, “I am He,” who offer you their miracles, signs and wonders, unless you are unsaved.
The justice of God is such that the deceivers will suffer much more than the deceived… that is the righteousness of God. That is why all the kings of the Earth who are deceived by the false prophet and the beast will be killed on Jesus’ arrival to await their judgment on the last day when God will purify their lips so that they may call on the Name of the Lord still. The false prophet and the beast are both thrown alive into the lake of sulphur. You do suffer if you are deceived, that is true, but nowhere near as much as the one who deceived you… such is God’s justice to the weak and gullible, the needy and the ignorant, even the ungrateful.
However, all the practice of the word and all the desire to have the power of God will never avail you of the power of the Man of Truth without limit unless you are one who truly works for the honour of the One who sent Him. Herein lays the genius of God that keeps those who make themselves unclean by their hearts away from the holy and the saved.
For in the first instance, it should be clear to all by now that it is not those who honour God with their lips who are men of truth. And those who work to honour themselves are not men of truth either. And those who practise the words of Jesus so that they might be seen as ‘holy’ are not men of truth either. Neither are those who work for Jesus so that they may be rewarded. Sure, by God’s grace they will receive some reward… but the experience of the life of a man of truth? Not unless they repent and realise you practise the words of Jesus to show Him holy, you work for Jesus so that Jesus might be rewarded, and you care not that the practice of the words of Jesus exposes you to be the sinner whom He saved… and for all your ‘hard’ work, you expect no reward, for the reward itself is the privilege to have heard what He said, to be allowed to practise what He said, and to be a servant on whom His feet rests.
So then, even though we also say, “He is the Christ and the time is near,” it is not what we say as much as how we work that reveals whether there is enough truth in us that we might be called ‘men of truth’.
A man of truth works for the honour of the one who sent him. And honouring a person by your work depends not only on what you do, but how you do it and when you do it. That is why Paul wrote: My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power…
To be continued…