Keeping a Good Spirit

Keeping a Good Spirit
Robert Wurtz II

I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 MKJV)

As we look around we see this present evil world growing darker by the day. Not that darkness has not always been here because it has. But over time the measures that God has put in place to slow the progress of evil have been circumvented and it seems we are on a fast track to Genesis 6. Jesus has told us plainly; In the world you shall have tribulation. When we think of this passage it is easy to think that He is referring to beatings, stonings, imprisonment, etc., but have you ever stopped to consider that any situation that has the potential of challenging our Christian witness is a tribulation. The Greek word simply means ‘pressure’ and comes from a root meaning ‘to crowd’. 

Challenges to Our Witness 

I have said in the past that no matter how deep the nails went into our Lord’s hands or how deep the tears from the lashings, there was never a point when the probing did not find love. When He was challenged with the silly hypocrisies of men, He responded in a measured way. Even under the most intense challenges, you could still find an undercurrent of love. This is what Jesus meant in part when He said, “I have overcome the world.” Our word here for overcome is the perfect active indicative of nikaō, meaning to be victorious, to conquer. It is always used of spiritual victory in the New Testament. This is what God’s Son does and it is what His ‘sons’ do as well. This is what we are told in 1 John 5:4, For everything that has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. We are not overcome of evil, but we overcome evil with good. e are not brawlers, but gentle. We do not render evil for evil or railing for railing, but contrarywise blessing. In other words, we keep a good spirit in all things.

Keep Smiling
I must say that we all go through difficult and trying circumstances, but we must maintain our love in those times. Paul was thrown into prison but yet could write to the people to rejoice! How? He always burned for God and never allowed circumstances to put down that flame. People are watching us. They want to see our reaction in circumstances. If we act like any other person that has not the Spirit, what does it profit? What is our witness. When things go wrong or we don’t get our way, how do we respond. What does our disposition, tone of voice and facial expression reveal? People won’t always remember why we got upset and acted ugly, but they we generally remember the ugly part. We must always remember this. The enemy wants to prod us into these type of memorable events. We have to be careful.
 Peace in Christ

I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 MKJV)

Our Lord wants us to have His peace. He wants us and has called and equipped us to overcome the world, just as He overcame. This is a daily thing. If we wait around for some great tribulation to come we risk missing the daily victories that God has designed for us. How will we ever stand before a Nero or a Pilate if we can’t keep the victory in the workplace or on the internet? What about when we are driving the highways and roads? Do we somehow feel an exemption then? There is never a time for ‘ugly’. The election is coming up as well. How will we act? Can we take a stand for righteousness in the person of Christ or will we make excuses for our so-called righteous indignations? The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God. (James 1) We have to keep a good spirit. It is our witness and the light we shed on this ever increasingly evil world that makes the difference.  

The Devil’s Device of Discouragement

The Devil’s Device of Discouragement
Robert Wurtz II

Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. (2 Cor. 2:8)

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Cor. 2:11)

I wish in this short entry to draw attention to this passage in order to demonstrate how the enemy of our soul will use discouragement to destroy a person if he is given the opportunity. It is one of his ‘devices’ or ‘strategies’. The church at Corinth was dealing with a young man that committed a terrible sin, worse than was even found among the Gentiles. He took his fathers wife to himself. Paul gives direction to them that they are to put away from themselves this wicked person. He has as a first line of priority the protection of the congregation. Fornication is a leaven that will leaven an entire church if it be not dealt with. So Paul deals strongly with it. However, it was not to destroy the person, but was always with a design of seeing the person come to repentance. 

 Restoring the Person

Paul never forgot about this young man. In fact, a close reading of the text reveals that he was very concerned about his time having been put out of the church. His desire was to see a godly sorrow bring about a repentance where the mind and behavior changed and did not change back. But there is a point in which leaving the person in the hands of Satan and this world could actually destroy them and their faith- rather than securing repentance. This is important to consider. Satan desires to destroy our faith. He wants people to feel unloved and bitter towards the church. Paul said we are not ignorant of the Devil’s devices. We know he will try to do this. The solution? Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. (2 Cor. 2:8) This is it. We must confirm our love. 

There are times when things go on in the churches of God that need to be dealt with, but we must ever be mindful that the enemy will try to jump right in the middle of what we are doing to bring confusion and destruction. He uses discouragement as a powerful weapon. Paul said if we are not careful Satan will gain an advantage over us. Literally the passage reads, “in order that we be not made gain of, or overreached, by Satan.” The Revised version renders it, “that no advantage may be gained over us.” Satan is opportunistic and when we let our guard down he will strike. Discouraged people are a primary target of Satan. It is during these times that he will move in with temptation and lies seeking to turn your heart away from God. 

Common Sense

Satan wants people mad at the church or mad at God. He wants circumstances to develop that may or may not be of our own doing that he can use to discourage us. It could be a misunderstanding or what C.S. Lewis spoke of in Screw Tape Letters when he described how Satan works on peoples minds. The devil talks to people in their mind and heart and he will work a situation with slander and lies until he has made a mountain out of a molehill. He will put the worst possible construction on an event and speak that into your mind. Where there are uncertainties he will fill the blanks in with all kinds of lies and exaggerations. Before we know what has happened Satan has brought the whole church low. Understand that the word discourage means to cause a person to lose confidence or enthusiasm. Both parties in a conflict could be right from their particular point of view and yet both end up discouraged because of the conflict of disagreement. This is Satan’s common sense strategy. Sow strife and confusion. 

Discouraged and Tempted

Don’t be surprised when Satan comes to tempt you during times of discouragement. It is his strategy. Thanks be to God we are not ignorant of it. He is liable to tell you to go back to the very sins that God set you free from. Stress and pressure can weaken our defenses and if we are not careful we can fail in the grace of God. Satan don’t discriminate, he wants to destroy the fornicator and the minister. He wants to destroy everyone he possibly can. So we have to be on guard. How? Recognize when Satan is bringing discouragement and try to deal with situations such as sin and disagreements without allowing him to prevail. Some situations are complicated and hard to deal with. Paul’s answer, again, Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. (2 Cor. 2:8) The answer is love. Why? because love counteracts the lies of Satan by compelling us to put the best construction on events. Satan will work our minds to put the worst construction on. We must not succumb to his slanderous ways. 

What about just overall discouragement? Satan will move in those times as well and we must be alert to his plan. If we get discouraged he will start talking into our ears and before we know it we are thinking carnally and reverting back to old patterns of dealing with things. Recognize these times and submit yourself unto God. We are told that if we will do this and resist the Devil- He will flee from us. (James 4:7)

Pyrophobic Christianity

Pyrophobic Christianity
Robert Wurtz II
It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God (2 Chronicles 5:13).
Here Solomon is dedicating the Temple after it had been newly built and the Ark had been recovered and placed in the Holy of Holies. You will notice that their first response to God was to give thanks for His mercy in returning to the people with His authority and presence. They didn’t deserve God- they deserved abandonment. Eli the High Priest had failed to keep his sons in order and between his apathy and their whoredoms and wickedness they led the children of Israel into a path of destruction. The sons took the Ark into battle and lost it. This is the backdrop of these events. At Pentecost Jesus Christ became our Great High and it will be His objective to ‘keep His sons in order’ so that the authority of God is never lost from the churches.  

In another place it is stated that they spoke as one as the Ark of the Covenant came in. They sang and shouted with lifted up voices in such a way that God saw fit to fill the house with His glory. This was the initial step. The people utterly recognized God’s mercy and desire for reconciliation and they responded to Him in tremendous excitement and thanksgiving. The LORD, then being well pleased, FILLED the house with His glory. So great was the glory of God that the priests were not able to stand to minister. God believed the people as they praised and offered thanksgiving and He responded by filling the house with His glory. This is a foretaste of Pentecost as we read about in Acts chapter 2. 
Holy and Acceptable
…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,
Romans 12:1ff is a turning point in Paul’s explaination of salvation. We are brought fase to face with another priestly aspect of our experience. We are to present our bodies unto our Great High Priest. Here we have ‘holy, acceptable…’ This again, is the language of priesthood. Understand that we cannot offer our bodies as an offering for sin. God the Father in offering His Son Jesus Christ has already paid that price. Our holy offering is an act of worship and service. You will know that we are called to be temples of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is holy and we must be holy. We have in Paul’s theology a figure of our bodies being both the temple of the Holy Spirit and a living sacrifice.
Under the Old Covenant sacrificial system, it was the responsibility of the High Priest to examine the sacrifice for blemishes, etc. God is perfect and is looking for perfection. This is what Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest does under the New Covenant. He examines our individual lives for things that offend God. This is what the old-timers called, ‘controversies’ with God. These controversies are made known to us by the Holy Spirit as He puts His hand on areas of our lives that need repentance. You will recall the rich young ruler coming to Jesus and how Jesus told him that he lacked one thing, to go and sell all that he had. God put His hand on the controversy between Him and the rich young ruler. It was his possessions. They were his god. Jesus continues in this same role in our lives from the moment we come to Him for salvation until we leave this earth. We are continually subject to His priestly inspection for blemishes or spots that need addressing in order that we might be holy and without blame before Him in love. He prepares us to offer ourselves unto God holy and acceptable.
Details in the Service of God
A cursory read of the Old Covenant reveals tremendous numbers of laws and directives that govern the service of God. There was no room for man’s innovations and novel ideas. God is utterly holy and utterly sovereign. Everything associated with the service of God has to be dealt with on God’s terms. This is a very important thing to grasp, as the concept is foreign to us in the 21st century. Today there is an almost ‘make it up on the fly and offer it to God’ type of attitude. People want to mix all kinds of worldly things into the service of God not knowing that God spent the entire Old Testament warning Israel not to do such things. Many do not read their Bible or even consider it authoritative. In many ways we have lost the sense of holy and sacred. Yet, the Old Testament is replete with examples of how not to treat the holy temple of God and the artifacts within it. The service of God was serious business. If a person were to touch the Ark of the Covenant they could be smitten dead, for example. Offering strange fire could result in being burned to death by the Fire of God. Has God changed His mind about these things? We should ask, were these things written for Israel’s sake alone or where they not all together a figurative lesson for us that would experience the habitation of God by the Spirit? All those things were merely a figure of the truth. We that are baptized in the Holy Spirit have the reality of what they longed for. We are holy and are serving a holy God. The world has never appreciated this nor has the mixed-multitude type that always had one foot in Israel and the other in Egypt or Babylon. Yet, what can we learn about Belshazzar’s treatment of the holy vessels that we read about in Daniel’s writings? How did God react to the way he defiled the artifacts of the Temple? He told him that he was weighed in the balance and found wanting.  The whole story is exemplary. It reveals God’s estimation of abusing our bodies in sordid sin. Is there any wonder Paul spoke so strongly about fornication? From the Nadab and Abihu types to the profaners like unto Babylon, this generation needs a crash course in the holiness of God. He will not dwell with people that don’t reverence Him and are not willing to serve Him in ways He has prescribed.
Reasonable Sacrifice
Solomon built and dedicated the Temple to God. It had one primary purpose in Israel; to be a place where the people could encounter God and offer up sacrifices to Him (temple cultus). Here the Old Covenant was serviced to keep the agreement in play when it had been broken. When Solomon originally dedicated it there were over 120,000 burnt sacrifices inspected for purity and acceptability and then offered. Solomon understood that until the altar was full with a holy and acceptable sacrifice, the Fire of God would not fall and the dedication would be incomplete. When the Fire finally fell the people knew that God had come. When the glory filled the Temple they knew he had manifest Himself. Was this important? It was to the ones that truly loved God. Moses already told of how empty it would be to exist as God’s people without God being present. To some it may have seemed very reckless for Solomon to order the people and the priests to bring a river of blood upon such a beautiful place; but to Solomon it was only reasonable to make such an offering to God in light of the mercy He had shown the people. This is a picture of how we should bring ourselves to God. When your friends and family complain that your sacrifice is too great, keep bringing yourself to Christ, holy and acceptable. It is your reasonable service.

Full = Fire!
When the altar was full and Solomon prayed- the Fire of God fell. This dedication was a ‘picture’ of New Testament life. Jesus came to send Fire on the earth and He would do so by baptizing His people with the Holy Ghost and with Fire. This is what John the Baptist told the people. For the first disciples at Ephesus, as today, it is the often neglected aspect of John the Baptist’s message. God’s will all along since before the foundation of the world was that men and women’s bodies would be temples of the Holy Spirit. He didn’t just want to dwell with man He wanted to dwell in man and He spent over 1000 years teaching man about Himself that we would be prepared for His ultimate will.
A Living Burnt Offering
Men and women that are on Fire for God are the ones most qualified to be sent into the world to win the lost. The prophet Jeremiah, that also prophesied the New Covenant, had a foretaste of this when he wrote, Then I said, I will not mention Him, nor speak in His name any more. But His Word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with holding in, and I could not stop. (Jeremiah 20:9 MKJV) Therefore, Romans 12:1 is the beginning of all evangelistic efforts. Paul having explained the reality of what God has done in bringing salvation and reconciliation to man, says, “I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God…” Thinking of all that God has done; ‘therefore’ present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto God which is your logical (the consequence of his well reasoned arguments) worship. This presenting of ourselves to our Great High Priest for inspection and acceptance that He might baptize us in the Fire of the Spirit is our reasonable worship. It’s the only response that makes sense in light of all that God has done. It is what God wants first and foremost. Without this process little else matters. It all begins here with a recognition of what God has done in Christ, and our responding reasonably to what we realize. Our lives are to be a perpetual living burnt offering for Him. It is the only thing that makes sense. 
The Fire of God
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire (Matthew 3:11).
It is unfortunate that so many today in the churches of God believe that we can lower the standard and get by on some lesser thing than the Fire of God. In fact, this is no new situation; for Jesus said, “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49) The context reveals that this Fire was going to cause great division in the earth; between those that want the Fire and those that do not (Luke 12:50-52). This is of the greatest importance. To speak of Christianity without speaking of Fire is like speaking of swimming without water. Nevertheless, the Fire of God continues to be a most unpopular subject. Speak on grace and a multitude will amen. Speak on hell and peradventure some in the crowd will amen. Speak on the Fire of God and the voices fall almost silent. Why? Because when the Fire comes, it will burn up everything in a person that is not of God and I dare say many wish to retain yet a measure of themselves even making excuses for their lack of godliness. They want to keep their options open. Many are caught up in sin and compromise, but refuse to come to God for help. As the old timers have said, the answer to our spiritual problems is almost always the Fire of God. A person on fire for God is not having trouble loving their neighbor or going to the sin dens. A person on Fire for God is not needing a phone call or an email to make sure they are assembling with the saints and walking with God. It’s because we have no Fire that we need a phone call in the first place. Folks want to offer God a spotted and lame living sacrifice of themselves and God is not accepting it. This is why there is no Fire in their life. For others there is a sort of holy pyro-phobia. They know when the true Fire comes, that the nonsense will have to go! God’s holy love burns all unholy loves for worldly things and sinful pleasures until we are utterly consumed with Him. But if there is something in us that refuses to let go of ungodly desires and controversies with Him, we will never know the Fire of God. We can’t fool God. And if we take that route we will need some plastic substitute such as emotionalism or soulishness with which to counterfeit the true Fire. The question we have to ask in these things is the question of Jesus, “Wilt thou be made whole?” If so, you will need the Fire of God. 

Burning for God
We are told in Hebrews 12:29 that God is a consuming Fire. He created creatures that are burning fires such as the Seraphim. We as human beings are consuming fires as well. This is why we burn at 98.6 degrees. Where does this energy come from? It originates with the burning fire of the Sun. Plants turn sunlight, nutrients and water into carbohydrates. We eat the carbohydrates. There is a furnace characteristic in man where the carbohydrates are burned in us as a source of energy. In summary, the energy you are using to read this text originated with the Sun. But there is also a spiritual side of man that serves as the driving force behind all that he/she does. God is a Fire and Satan is a fallen Burning One (Seraphim or Cherubim)[1]. Although by comparison he is almost nothing before the Lord, He used to walk up and down in the midst of the stones of Fire. Though merely a fallen angel, Satan is still a formidable energy source. His is the spirit that is not working in the children of disobedience.
So we know that God’s intelligent creations are all burning in some sense. The questions are, what are we burning with and what are we burning for? We are all living sacrifices for something or someone. If we are living for sin and Satan we are no different than the pagans of old that offered sacrifice to false gods or caused their children to walk through the fire to Molech.
Feeding the Fire
What is the energy source of the things we feed ourselves? Do they originate in God? If there were two fields yielding fruit with one having Christ as the light source and the other with Satan as the light source (darkness), which field should we partake of? Would we want to feed ourselves and the people we minister to something that did not have its source in God? The fields of Egypt were not like unto the fields of provision in the Promised Land. God wanted to be Israel’s source of provision and He wants to be the sole source of our provision. If we as ministers of the Gospel glean in the Egyptian fields as it were, we will edify men and women in carnality. If we get our crops from Heaven we will edify ourselves and others in true spirituality. This is the key to what fire burns in our lives. Adam Clarke comments on Matthew 3:11; “This was the province of the Spirit of God, and of it alone; therefore he is represented here under the similitude of fire, because he was to illuminate and invigorate (to give strength or energy) to the soul, penetrate every part, and assimilate the whole to the image of the God of glory.” 
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:5, 6).
The believers at Ephesus were baptized in the Holy Spirit and with Fire. This event made them into living stones in the Temple of the Living God as an assembly and as individuals (1 Corinthians 3:16). On that day the believers were made priests unto God. This is a staggering truth. It was God’s design from the beginning. The Old Testament priests used the Fire of God, not ‘strange’ or ‘common’ fire to do the service of God. We as a kingdom of priests unto God must also be burning with the Fire of God that we might rightly serve as a living link between god and this lost world. God had been working to this end all along. This is the jest of the message of Stephen in Acts 7:1ff. God does not desire to dwell in temples made with hands or church buildings; He desires to live in man. It is impossible to understand the Bible unless you realize this great truth. God wants to live in you. He wants to be who He is; a consuming Fire inside of you and me. He wants it to be said of us as it was of Christ, “For God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.” God wants to be in us reconciling the world unto Himself.  

[1] See Ezekiel 28:14. Root Hebrew word is seraph meaning to burn.

Mutual Concession After Mutual Hostility

Mutual Concession After Mutual Hostility
Robert Wurtz II

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. (Matthew 5:23-26)

I have chosen to quote this entire passage as I wish to take an unusual angle on these teachings. In the first verse we read, but I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. Some translations omit, ‘without a cause’, but I believe it belongs there. The truth is, there is never a cause to be angry with our brother or sister in a protracted sense as we see playing out in this passage. We ought to forgive and that is true enough. However, a careful reading of the text reveals an element in the process that is all too often perilously overlooked. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Notice how being angry in our first verse leads to name-calling in the next. They start out with the word raca (scoundrel) and end up calling the person a fool (dull and stupid). I submit that why this is happening is that the person offended needs to be reconciled with and to prolong that process only fuels the offended person’s anger and disqualifies the offender from being a worshipper. What says the passage? First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 

Both Parties in Distress

Here we have the offended and the offender. The offended is getting angrier to the point that they have become an adversary. Notice, Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. This is never more true than on our relationship with God. As a sinner, we are told not to neglect so great of salvation lest we have to pay for every transgression and disobedience we have ever committed. (Hebrews 2) Yet this plays out in all kinds of ways in life. An offender may run from the law, but this only heightens the offense. Once they are caught they typically have even more problems. The solution? Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. This means that we need to seek for mercy and not take mercy for granted. Because the truth is, not every one is going to show you mercy. Why? Because no one deserves mercy. Mercy is shown as an act of benovelence. A judge can give you what you deserve and so can people, even at the peril of their own soul. How? We have it here again, And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. The person that is angry and acting out is in danger of God’s judgment. But when a person is severly offended they often don’t care about that at the moment. This is why we are told to be angry and sin not, not to allow the sun to go down on our wrath and give place to the Devil. But before Paul ever spoke those words, Jesus spoke these, Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. The offender always has first responsibility to be reconciled. 

Wrong Attitudes

Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness. (Proverbs 30:20)

One of the prerequisites for forgiveness is acknowledgement. 1 John 1:9 says that if we ‘acknowledge’ our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. This is shown most clearly in the life of David when he wrote Psalm 51:4 saying, Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. This is also modeled in the confession of the Prodigal Son, And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (Luke 15:21) Obviously these men thought about what they had done and what they deserved. And coming to repentance there was this understanding and acknowledgement of what had happened. This is what elders should look for when a person has fallen in the faith. Do they show signs of really acknowledging what they have done was before the Lord? Moreover, if the adulterous woman in Proverbs 30:20 had reacted as did the Prodigal Son she would repented before God and said to her husband, “I am no longer worthy to be called thy wife.” But instead she obstinately refuses to rightly acknowledge. It would be like the Prodigal Son coming home wiping his mouth as if he deserved to be back in the house because he had offended no one. This wrong attitude is what gives rise to a Matthew 5:23-26. The father longed for the son to come home and watched daily to see him. The only reason the story works is because the son humbled himself and acknowledged his sin. 

Meditational Thoughts

The first teachings of Jesus dealt with everyday issues in life. We have the beatitudes and then a series of teachings as we find in Matthew 5. We focus real good on the importance of not lusting at women, but what do we do in a scenerio when a person is offended and needs reconciliation? God is very concerned about our relationships to one another and expects us to be sensitive to them. No other time is quite like our quiet time before the Lord. When we come to bring our gift, if we remember that our brother or sister has ought against us we need to humble ourselves and acknowledge what we have done with a view to ending the bitterness and anger. It is the loving thing to do, besides. Sadly the attitude today is, “they just need to get over it.” But that’s not what the Book says. It is merely the mouth wiping of Proverbs 30:20. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 

Mega Ego Infusion

Mega Ego Infusion
Robert Wurtz II

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:16, 17) 

The Century of the Self

In the early 1900’s Edward Bernay’s, nephew of Sigmund Freud, worked with banks, manufacturing companies, Hollywood, the Federal Government, and a host of other groups to exploit discoveries Freud had made about human psychology while performing psychoanalysis. All he really discovered is that human beings have unconscious desires that dictate their decision making. Basically, he discovered clinically that people are subject to the three things mentioned in 1 John 2:16, 17. Edward Bernays knew he could manipulate people in various ways by appealing to their unconscious desires because he said people were ‘stupid’. He was master of propaganda and invented the term, ‘public relations’ or ‘P.R.’. By appealing to men and womens ego (desire for self-exaltation), he could manipulate them into working hard and buying products designed to express themselves. It was at this time that products began to be marketed and sold for the sole purpose of feeding men and womens ego. Once we understand this fact, a lot of things about the world we live in today and why people behave as they do makes perfect sense. 

Possessions, Pleasure and Popularity

1 John 2:16, 17 is summarized as possessions, pleasure and popularity. This is critical to understand because a person that is moving in these things is of the world and is at enmity with God. That is a very very sobering thing to consider. If your life is about your possessions, living for pleasure and exalting in popularity you are a friend of the world and the enemy of God. Edward Bernays was the key figure in exploiting these things in modern times. He basically invented pop-culture. Think about it. We are taught in the world that we should build ourselves up so as to be envied. If people want to be like us then we have achieved the goal. This is the epitome of pride. This is the personality of Satan reflected in his present evil world. What? Should we think the world is in the image of Jesus? No! It is in the image of the Devil. Jesus was in the form of God, but did not think equality with God a thing to be grasped. He walked in utter humility. Satan uses every means he possibly can to exalt himself above others, including God. Jesus told the people that they were of their father the Devil and the lusts of their father they will do. This is why the rat-race of popular culture, that lives for possessions, pleasure and popularity is so effective. Forsaking this mentality would mean a complete change of personality and nature. God’s children have the mind and nature of Christ, not the mind and nature of Satan. If we pretend to be of God when we live for possessions, pleasure and popularity we add to all of our crimes the fact that we are misrepresenting God and are in line for a greater damnation.    

Critical Problem

There is a tremendous danger I want to explore in this entry that plays out on multiple levels. The danger is that we would turn the churches of God into a microcosm of the pop-culturalism we see in this present evil world, that we ought to be not only be immune to, but being salt and light to offset the moral degeneracy that accompanies it. Many believe that the only way to reach the world is to become like them, but this is obviously not Christianity. It is diabolical. Rather than being lights in the world, we become lights for the world. John gives us a snap shot of the primary motivators; the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Again, this is pleasure, possessions and popularity. They have been called the only three tools in the Devil’s tool kit with which he damns the race of men. To be given over to these three things is to be at enmity with God. To teach people that this is the path of Christianity is to play the Devil at the highest level. 

The ‘Rock Star’ Generation

We see the fruits of Edward Bernays strategy on every hand. The world makes zeros into hero’s and we call them, ‘rock stars’, ‘teen idols’, or ‘celebrities.’ Once these people are exalted, they are then used to promote (peddle) products that when purchased will give the buyer the sense that they are just as ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ as the celebrity that dons them. The working of these things is so subtle that one may think that this is happening through a natural course of events, while in reality powerful forces are at work utilizing television, radio, magazines, Internet social media, etc. to make people into stars that become similar to what are known in business as cash cows. In business, a cash cow is a product or a business unit that generates profit margins so high that it is responsible for a large amount of a company’s operating profit. People are made up and built up to become icons that ‘sell’. They become powerful influences upon the everyday behaviors of the people that follow them. They influence how they act, how they carry themselves and most importantly to them, where they spend their money. When this process begins they are watched to see if they have what it takes to draw a crowd and sell goods. They get promoted until their popularity no longer has legs and they are eventually discarded as washed up. When the crowds start coming the money starts flowing. For example, when a rock star can no longer draw a huge crowd as before they drop their venue from the large football stadium, to the local basketball arena, to the large old theatre, to the county fair, and then finally they’re back to the bar or club scene they started out in. Then comes the mockery stage. Not long after the crowds stop coming the person is usually strung out on drugs and alcohol, dead, or mocked by the next generation that loathes their accomplishments almost as much as their admirers loved them. Very few fully escape this fate. All the while they that bought products to identify with the star such as clothing, etc., go into their closets and throw it all away and replace it with the latest stars clothing. When looking at old pictures they are horrified to think they used to dress that way or wear their hair that way, while at the same time not realizing that in 20 years they will be horrified by how they are dressing right now. It is folly to the uttermost. But it goes to show that what the Devil is doing in the world is working and working well! 

Moving to the Limelight

What happens? The world makes a person popular and a multitude of trappings ensue. They constantly have to be coming out with a new hit song or a new ‘cool’ outfit ad infinitum. The popularity of the movies, songs and clothing lines are designed to be so fleeting, that a steady stream of them have to be being put forward continually. They operate on the old saying, “a fool and his money are soon parted.” These people set the trends for youth and even adults that seek to be culturally ‘relevant’ in order to capitalize on them. This is one of the reasons why we have plunged into moral degeneracy in Western society. The television, radio, magazines, etc. of the 1950’s-1990’s changed the face of Western Nations by exploiting the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. This opened the door for the social media influences of the 2000’s and beyond. Suddenly, everyone on the planet was enabled to market themselves like a rock star, pro athlete, or Hollywood celebrity. This is what Myspace, Facebook, and other popular media outlets enabled. There was even a popular song written about it that suggested, “I’m soooo much cooler online!” If you will stop and think about it, this whole system has cultivated in the mind and heart of the average person a tremendous desire to be popular and idolized. Coupled with this was a new brand of reality shows that created a means of young people expressing the very desire the world was cultivating and that desire was to be an idol like the idols that were created before them. I don’t think its a stretch to say that it opened a desire in the hearts of young men and women to be worshipped and adored. Suddenly the young guy wants to be the object of a thousand young girls gushing and weeping holding their mouths in awe at a concert as when the Beatles came to America or as Elvis went on stage at the local concert. Talk about a mega ego infusion. But what happens when this shows up in the churches of God?

Self Exalted

We all have talents and abilities, but what are we using them for? Do we use them to exalt ourselves? What about our possessions. Do we use those to boast against others? Edward Bernays taught men that if they bought a cool car they could pick up girls. He advertised women with their arm around the man looking all starry-eyed. The sad thing is, many of man have bought a Corvette, Mustang or Camaro to pick up the girls and it worked. Too bad they didn’t know how Bernays thought they did these things because they were stupid. All he seemed to care about was getting paid to present these concepts and exploit fallen man’s unconscious sinful desires. What about athletes? They use their athleticism to exalt themselves. There is no new thing under the sun. I recall as a child watching Andy Griffith sitting on the porch under the moonlight playing his guitar to his girlfriend. Why? The same reason why girls in the 80’s wanted to marry a drummer like the ones in the hair bands. I watched it go on all through high school. It was like guys and girls sat around trying to figure out what they were going to do to get themselves exalted and marketable. These are all worldly mindsets and contrary to the Kingdom of God.

The Greatest Idol

For all that is in the world we ought not to find it in the churches of God. Yet, it is amazing how many Christians will preface their self-exaltation with statements like, “hide me behind the Cross, Lord.” This is foolishness. God has told us to humble ourselves. It is our job, not His. If He has to get involved it’s going to be a bad day. Jesus made Himself of no reputation. He didn’t seek to be popular and envied. No one was ever jealous of Jesus’ worldliness. He was not a rock star. Nor does He want His children acting like rock stars no matter what pop-Christianity displays. We are called to have the mind of Christ.       

Love Gone Cold

Love Gone Cold
Robert Wurtz II

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 
(Matthew 24:12-14)

If we are indeed living in the last of the last days then it stands to reason that this passage applies in our times more so than at any other time. We are told that as iniquity (lawlessness) shall abound the love of many will wax cold. Our word for aboundmeans to be multiplied. Our words for ‘wax cold’ means “to breathe cool by blowing, to grow cold, ‘spiritual energy blighted or chilled by a malign or poisonous wind’” (Vincent). The love of many, that is, the love of the brotherhood gives way to mutual hatred and suspicion.” (A.T. Robertson) I’m reminded how as a child my mother would blow on the food that was too warm for the small children before she fed it to them to prevent it burning their mouths. Jesus prophesies that iniquity is like the blowing of a poisonous wind having a chilling effect upon a people that once had love. This is a staggering thought. As the love that exists in this present evil world ‘chills’ the people of this world become less and less like our loving God. As the love in the Saints chills they become less and less like God. The same goes for the churches of God as an assembly. 

Some have suggested that the reason Ephesus had left its first love was because of the constant dealings with sin, false apostles and doctrines. This gave rise to the warning in Revelation 2:5 that they must repent and return to their first love. If that is true it would not be the first time. Jonah is an example of a man that did not rightly love because he apparently allowed the sin of Nineveh to cool his love and compassion for them as a people. He got a bad spirit when he took their sins personally. I think also of the Prodigal Son’s brother, that never left home. He had allowed his brothers sin to cool his love for him. What a horrendous thought! We have this said of the Ephesian condition, I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars. (Revelation 2:2) There is a thin line between hating iniquity as Jesus did and allowing iniquity to cause you to hate the person. Once that line is crossed then we that are called by the name of Christ are of no use to God. Jesus said that many will cross that line in the last days. It stands then to reason that in our times we are exceedingly at risk of leaving our first love as the Saints and churches of God. Iniquity abounds in our times. False prophets abound. How are we reacting to this? When our spiritual energy is  blighted and chilled by a malign (mean) and poisonous wind, what will we do? Will we return to the Lord for a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit that we might endure the contradiction of sinners against us or will we faint in our minds? (Hebrews 12:3) Will we adopt an attitude of returning evil for evil and railing for railing or will we be spiritual enough to continue blessing? This is the great question of our times. 

No matter how deep those that beat and crucified our Lord probed into His flesh and soul with their hate and violence, they still hit love. Jesus Christ could look at a sinner caught up in iniquity and still have compassion for them and love them. We need to ask ourselves, do we take a sinners sin personally and if we do, why? God is the primary offended party in any sin and He has chosen to forgive if the person is willing to acknowledge and repent. What about us? Do we forgive and forget or do we forget that we have been forgiven? Sin hardens the sinner and seeing sin can harden a saint. We must guard our hearts and go on loving in the grace and power of God.

Lampstand in Jeopardy

I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

This is not an idle threat. Jesus said, “I will remove your lampstand if you do not repent” of your having departed from the love you had at first for both God and man. If you do not turn back and be what you were in the beginning, men and women of God that were full of the love of Christ as living examples of His person- I will remove your lampstand. Why? What good is a lampstand with no Fire (love)? A dead lampstand is nothing more than a stumbling block in the darkness. Our Lord simply cannot condone with His presence the spiritual condition that the church at Ephesus had fallen into. Jesus is effectively saying, I will leave you to your own devices. 

How did they get here?

They had already left off consciously listening for the Word of His grace and as a result had missed many opportunities to remedy their condition long before it reached this crisis level. Is there any wonder we have the follow up commandment repeated over and over again, He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 3:22) They had chosen not to listen and were going through the motions because they had learned how to have a meeting without Jesus. If they had listened in the first place they would not be in this fix. What an insightful thing to consider! When you stop listening, it’s over for your lampstand. It is only a matter of time unless there is repentance and a return to the things that were done at first. There must be a return to first love. 

Life without the lampstand
Only God knows how many churches have lost their lampstand over the last 2000 years or so. All that is left to do is to bring in programs and religious exercise to prop up a dead carcass. The masses are good at ‘having church.’ Some are even very pious and holiness driven, but Christ is not in the midst in the book of Revelation sense. He is not the Head. Many have no concept of the Word of His grace. They act as if Jesus is a careless absentee landlord and on a far journey rather than the active Head of His Body the Church. Others just turn up the music and create a soulish atmosphere to fool the unsuspecting and corrupt the spiritual concepts of the young and ignorant. The consequence of a dead church is that they end up treating people exactly like the world treats them. They offend people by treating them in unChristlike ways at critical times and scar them to the true knowledge of Christ. Far too often the love that people have is no more than the world has; if they like you they will love you, but if they don’t like you (don’t like your looks) or if you cross them then you are shunned or put out. This is not how Christ loves. He loves all. This is what we must do. We are told to love our neighbor as ourselves and that is a tall order. Understand that we know how to love real good, so long as it is someone we like. What good is that love among people in desperate need of love and compassion? A lampstand with no Fire is but a stumbling block in this darkened world.

In our times a generation has changed the face of Christianity in such a way that only God can bring this thing back around. Like Ephesus of old, false apostles in the name of organized religion militate all too often against the local church and its lampstand with Christ in the midst. Self-serving pastors and leaders far too often power grab and act more like popes and cardinals than loving, compassionate servants such as Jesus, Paul and Stephen. They love their congregation like a hireling; so long as the money is flowing they love, but what about when jobs are lost? What happens when people fail to meet our expectations? What if they fall into sin? Do we act like the Prodigal’s brother? God forbid! A ‘church’ without a lampstand and its accompanying Fire is spreading death. We end up with a wholesale corruption of the concept of Christianity in our times. It is staggering how many things are being put forward as ‘Christian’ or ‘Evangelical’. We ought to weep when we reflect upon such deplorable acts and blasphemies of the name of Christ. These and a host of other iniquities seek to cool the love of even the very Elect. God forbid that as the love for Christ waxes cold along with our love for our neighbor we simply do not feel compassion anymore. We are at risk of being spiritually frostbitten by the cold winds of lawlessness on every hand in our times. The risk is that we would be no longer sensitive, void of compassion and love; we risk hating the sin and the sinner. 

Repent and do the First Works
The good news is that it does not have to be this way. For some they will grow cold, but it does not have to be so among you and I. We can get alone with God and get in our Bibles with a willingness to return to our first love and to the prescribed measures that God put in place and has not changed. We need to return to preaching genuine repentance and faith. We need to preach water baptism and Spirit baptism. If we will do what the church at Ephesus started out doing we will be met with the same success. When Ephesus got away from that it was all down hill from there. Historians tell us that Ephesus existed for a few centuries after the writing of the Revelation as an indicator that they did repent and return to Christ. But today it is a heap of ruins. There came a point when the conditions were such that Christ removed the lampstand and Ephesus was no more. Like Nineveh of old that repented for a while but then many years later was destroyed by God anyway, the reprieve will last as long as the repentance lasts. Christ does not give us instruction for a temporary change of behavior and practice, but that we would walk it out for the rest of our days. The key to a lasting, vibrant Christian life and spiritual church is to repent and do the first works and keep on walking in that way. If we refuse Him that speaks we will find ourselves upon the ash heap of history as bywords and solemn examples of those that failed to hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.   

Paul’s Gospel in Biblical Terms

Paul’s Gospel in Biblical Terms
Robert Wurtz II

“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” (Acts 26:19, 20.)

Strong churches are comprised of strong Christians. Spiritual churches are made up of spiritual believers. To gain strong, spiritual Christians we need a genuine Gospel defined in Biblical terms. We don’t have to look far. If we read the scriptures carefully we can develop working definitions of all the terms associated with the Gospel such as repentance, faith, baptism in water, baptism in the Holy Spirit (receiving the Holy Spirit), etc. Bible words have histories and these histories existed in the consciousness of the people that John the Baptist, Jesus and the Apostles preached to. When preaching to the Jews they could refer to an event or a person and suddenly an entire context would come to mind. When the Gospel went to the Gentiles more explaining was required, but the message remained the same and the terms carried the same meaning. If we define Gospel terms Biblically and refuse to succumb to some lesser thing we are enabled to have Christians and churches that are strong and spiritual. If we pour other meanings into these words and settle for lesser standards we will fill the churches of God with goats, tares and chaff. 

What Exactly Did Paul Preach?

What did Paul preach? We have the record in his own words. About twelve years (or two-thirds) into his ministry, Paul went before King Agrippa to give an account of himself. He had been persecuted by Jew and Gentile alike and now has been taken before the authorities. What Paul tells the king is a summary of his ministry up until this time. Paul testified, “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” (Acts 26:19, 20. emphasis added) This is an amazing revelation. No more need to wonder what he was preaching in the beginning at Corinth, Demascus, or any other place. Understand that Paul preached essentially the same message to everyone. Therefore, if he says it to Corinth it is likely he has said the same things everywhere. It was a universal message. Some hearers may have been at varying levels of understanding to begin with, but in time they would all be taught the full revelation of all of the issues involved that we piece together in Paul’s writings. Did you notice that what Paul preached everywhere according to Acts 26:19, 20 is essentially the message of John the Baptist? For all that is said about Paul’s preaching, few ever make note of this one fact. Paul preached repentance everywhere he went in the John the Baptist sense of the word. 

Repentance not in vogue

In modern times repentance is marginalized to the extent that if one never read their Bible and only listened to TV and radio preaching, you may get the idea that Paul and the other Apostles only preached a so-called ‘easy-believism’. That is to say, if a person agrees to certain facts about the Gospel (‘believes’) they are said to be ‘justified by faith’. Some say repentance is somehow an outdated concept that only applied to the Jews of the 1st Century and not to Gentiles, or they suggest some other dismissive theology that widens the narrow gate. I have personally been told that repentance is not necessary for the Gentiles. Promoters of such ideas are contrary to Christ and the Gospel. A.T. Robertson commented on Acts 26:19, 20 saying, “Paul, the greatest of theologians, was an interesting practical preacher.” That is a way of saying that Paul, the greatest theologian, preached that all men should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. If thou wilt be as Paul, do likewise!

Genuine Faith  

When Jesus got ready to give an example of repentance He spoke of Nineveh, that repented at the preaching of Jonah. (Matthew 12:41) Though these people knew very little about God, they believed the message of impending doom (Jonah 3:4) and responded rightly by humbling themselves and mending their ways. Likewise when God got ready to give an example of genuine faith he gave us a long list of names in Hebrews 11. When Paul addresses justification by faith he uses one of those names, Abraham, a man like the people of Nineveh, that knew very little about God. God called Abraham out of the pagan city of Ur of the Chaldees and he obeyed. That is to say, he responded rightly to what God had said. This is genuine faith. Not ‘saying’ he believed and then his actions didn’t match. Each new revelation was met with a new step of faith. Then we come to these words, And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6) This passage is quoted some three times in the New Testament and all in relation to justifying faith (Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23). If we want to understand justifying faith we have to look at Abraham. He is archetype of genuine faith. It was not a one off assent of the mind or will: faith for Abraham was a lifestyle. He made a life of responding rightly to the things God revealed to him. Repentance and Faith are essential to the universal message of the Gospel. Two thousand years have not changed that fact. 

Building Upon Obedience

If a person refuses to believe how can they go on with God? Without faith it is impossible to please God, for they that come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. If a person refuses to repent how can they go on with God? God used to overlook ignorance, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. Remember that we defined repentance as what the people of Nineveh did. Some may ask, who needs to repent? Why should men repent? Because Peter tells us that the Holy Spirit is given to those that obey God (Acts 5:32). This is a sobering truth. Going on with God is like walking through a series of doors, each of which requires that we exercise faith in obedience. If we do not believe the message of repentance we will not obey. This means the process is stopped. Sadly, some people want to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and have no desire or intention of repenting. What happens? They seek being ‘filled’ while resisting the Holy Spirit. This is a dangerous thing to do. I’m reminded of Paul, For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Cor. 11:4) The true Jesus demanded repentance and faith, what does the Jesus you preach or have heard preached demand? And if we are moving in a Gospel that does not require repentance and faith, what spirit can we expect to have received as a result? Apparently there is the possibility that, “…if ye receive another spirit.” At the risk of shocking you even more, I submit that when a person seeks to be filled with the Spirit and are still in flagrant rebellion they open themselves up to all kinds of wierd stuff. You can’t receive and resist the Holy Spirit at the same time, but apparently, accoring to Paul, we can resist the Holy Spirit and receive ‘another spirit’ that would not have been received by Paul. Going on with God means obedience. 

Filled But Rebellious?

When a person is truly repentant in the John the Baptist/Nineveh sense of the word and they are moving in the steps of the faith of Abraham (Romans 4:12), being baptized in water will not be a fuss. A person that is converted in this way is eager to obey God. This is the mindset necessary to receive the Holy Spirit. It can happen instantly or it can take a little time, but the ingredients have to be there. Some want to go on living worldly and like the sons of Sceva think they can receive the Spirit and move in the supernatural. There is no new thing under the sun. If a person is seeking the Spirit for a manifestation of power only they are in the same category with Simon in Acts 8 that thought the power of laying on of hands could be bought with money. Peter’s answer? Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (Acts 8:22, 23 NKJV) This is an insightful and instructive passage. 

Water Baptism 

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)

This is the key to right response to God and going on with God, “…gladly receiving the word.” 

Take Phillip for example. He is ministering to the Ethiopian eunuch apparently along these lines. After a time of sharing the Gospel we read, And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:36, 38). This man wanted to follow through immediately with his faith. He truly believed, and as a result, water baptism was not a fuss; in fact, the man seemed to nearly run to the water. This is proof that he was legit. No begging. No arguing. No looking up proof texts for excuses. He joyfully obeyed. What’s stopping me right now?! This is how the disciples reacted to Paul at Ephesus, when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Again, this is a sign of true conversion. Jesus told Satan that man was to live by every word that is proceeding from the mouth of God. It was His desire and it will be the desire of those that truly are changed. When we are moving in truth we receive with gladness the word of God.  

Another Gospel or Paul’s Gospel

Recently a former US district prosecutor and his wife were building a home in an upscale neighborhood on Long Island, NY near the beach. They set the plans out and wanted the thing exactly as the plans read. When they discovered it would not fit on the property, they tore it down wood framing, foundation and all and started over. It was a $150,000 loss. The botched home construction reminds me of our times. We think that somehow God will allow us to alter the plans or flub the measurements and details and then He comes along and has to tear the thing down and start over again. We cannot improve upon God design for the churches of God. We have to employ the same things as did the Apostles, 1. repentance 2. faith 3. baptism in water 4. baptism in the Holy Spirit and all of them in the genuine article. If we remove any of these things we have no sure foundation. If we don’t have a sure foundation there is no reason to continue to build. There is no telling how many problems that we deal with every day in the churches of God could be greatly reduced if we would simply get back to this most basic message and stick with it. 

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