Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Holy Spirit and the New Birth

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. He exercises the power of the Father and the Son in creation and redemption. He is the power by which believers come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. He is the teacher of all truth in all heavenly and earthly languages (Acts 2:3-11). Through the teaching of truth He is the unifier of all the kindred in the body of Christ, the Church. He is the water that washes by the word; and He is the fire that purifies the soul. He is the eye of the believer through which the Father and the Son are seen in all their glory. To know the Holy Spirit is to know the Father and the Son.

Like the eyes of the body through which we see physical things, the Holy Spirit is seldom in focus to be seen directly because He is the one through who all else is seen. Through the eyes of the Lord Jesus He is brought into focus that we might know of His presence and His work.

“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5 NASU).

When the Holy Spirit convicts a person of sin, through repentance, he becomes a candidate for baptism by water (Acts 2:38); but the water that is used on the occasion is only symbolic of the work of the Holy Spirit in teaching and guiding the candidate in the ways of righteousness; as “by the washing of water with the word (Ephesians 5:26 NASU);” without the baptism in the word the “washing of water” means nothing. Although a person is cleansed of sin through the sacrificial work of Christ the soul is considered as in a state of defilement, because of past sin: now, by the Holy Spirit teaching the word, the soul is to be purified from its defilement, and strengthened to walk in the way of holiness. Our Lord, the Living Word of God, washing the feet of His disciples cleansing them of where they had been walking, typifies this (John 13:1-17).

When John the Baptist came baptizing with water, he gave the Jews the plainest indication that this would not suffice; that it was only typical of that baptism of the Holy Spirit, under the likeness of being purified by fire, which they must all receive from Jesus Christ (Matt 3:11). Therefore, our Lord asserts that a man must be born of water and the Spirit; as “by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:6 NASU),” which cleanses, refreshes, and purifies the soul.

[Unless one is born of water and the Spirit]

Our Lord is using the word “water” symbolically as being baptized into the word of God by the Holy Spirit. This is also typified by water baptism; signifying the believer being baptized into Christ, the Word of God, being buried with Him and also being raised up with Him in the newness of life (Romans 6:3-11). This is all the work of the Holy Spirit performing the word of God in the work of regeneration (new birth) of the believer.

We also see the use of the word “water” symbolically as the “word;” as in: one must be born of the word and the Spirit. This can best be illustrated by the event of the angel Gabriel bringing the word of God to Mary (Luke 1:26-38). As Gabriel spoke the word of God, Mary heard and believed and submitted to the will of God, and the Holy Spirit brought into being the Christ Child in Mary’s womb. In the same manner when a person hears the anointed word of God and is convicted of sin (believes), repents and summits to the will of God, by faith he has received the seed (word) of God and a new life is conceived in the womb of his/her soul by the power of the Holy Spirit; thus he/she is brought into a new life of love and fellowship with God by the word and the Spirit; as in “born again.” This new life in the womb of the soul is likened unto leaven hidden in a lump of dough; by the work of the Holy Spirit the new life soon leavens the whole lump.

 James C Sanford

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Keith Green’s Unreleased Song “Born Again”

This is a beautiful song that hopefully will accompany the other unreleased music that is promised to become available soon!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Power of the Gospel

The word “gospel” is used quite frequently in the New Testament therefore we thought it to be beneficial to explore its meaning. First we begin with a paragraph from Nelson’s Bible Dictionary.

“In the second century, the word gospel came to be used for certain writings in which the "good news" or story of Jesus Christ was told. These writings were written in the first century, but they became known as ‘gospels’ much later. Mark was the first to write such a story (Mark 1:1), and in so doing he invented a literary form that we call a ‘gospel.’ The New Testament has four versions of the one gospel: the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary) (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Nelson’s Bible Dictionary also tells us that the Greek word translated “gospel” means “good news.” This is the definition of the word “gospel” upon which we will base our brief study.

The “good news” is not news of a “new plan of salvation,” nor does it announce Jesus as “new Savior,” but the good news is about the fulfillment of God’s plan of redemption for mankind. Jesus came as an evangelist or messenger bearing the good news; but He is much more than a messenger of the gospel, He is the gospel!!! The good news of God was present in His life, in His teaching, and His atoning death. God had his plan in place before the fall of man, but it had been kept a mystery (Romans 16:25-27) until it was fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah and announced by Him.

“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel {good news} to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’.” (Luke 4:16-21 NAS)

In announcing the gospel Jesus proclaimed, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me.” This anointing of the Spirit of the Father was His credentials, and by the Spirit of the Father He would speak with authority and power. His words and deeds would loose the captives, cause the blind to see, and set free the oppressed. And He would declare, “Today is the day of salvation (Hebrews 3:7),” now is “the favorable year of the Lord.”

As we examine our Lord’s words we think, maybe Jesus was speaking of the financially poor, but He was likely speaking of the spiritually poor as well. The good news was further proclaimed and explained by Jesus when speaking with the financially wealthy Nicodemus (John 3:1). When Nicodemus came to Jesus he was spiritually bankrupt. Even though he was a teacher of the Law and the Prophets (John 3:10) he did not have access to the wealth of the kingdom of God. The mystery of God’s plan was first revealed while Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus. This mystery was the concept of a new birth for man.

And Jesus said to him,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

And then He explained the “Law of the Spirit of life (John 3:5-8; Romans 8:1-2);” and He also spoke of His Father’s love for mankind and of His sacrificial death (John 3:14-17). Through the preaching of the good news of the possibility of a new birth to Nicodemus, He provided him with the enlightenment to enter the kingdom of heaven and to the wealth therein, if he would believe (John 1:4). Thus we see that the gospel is for the financially wealthy as well as the poor. Although He tells us it is more difficult for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23-24), His word also teaches us that He is no respecter of persons {Galatians 3:28-29}; salvation is for all who believe (John 3:16).

When He spoke of the captives His gospel was a proclamation of liberty, like that to Israel in Egypt and in Babylon. When Israel went into Egypt they were a small company of peoples, about seventy-five souls (Acts 7:14). They were there four hundred and thirty years. During that time they became a large nation of people enslaved to the Egyptians, but all of them were born into that enslavement and did not know any other life. They were blind, miserable, poor and downtrodden and in darkness (ignorance), without a way of escape. In this we see a likeness of the people of today, born into and guilty of sin, born enslaved, bound by the chains of darkness (ignorance); for these there is the gospel {the enlightenment}, the good news concerning Jesus. By the merit of Christ, the Living Word of God, these captives may be loosed from the bonds of darkness and of guilt, and by his Spirit and grace from the bondage of corruption. It is a deliverance from the worst of servitude or slavery, which all those shall have the benefit of that are willing to believe and submit to Christ as their Head (Ephesians 1:18-23), and are willing to be ruled by Him.

And so the gospel, or good news, is of the saving work of God in His Son Jesus Christ and it is also a call to faith in Him.

The Apostle Paul exclaims,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16 NAS)

[For I am not ashamed of the gospel,]

Isaiah 28:16 & 49:23 best illustrates this text, quoted by the apostle: “For the Scripture says, ‘whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed (ashamed)’.” (Romans10:11 NASU)

Having turned his back on his own method of salvation by the works of the law and turning to Christ, seeking God’s method of salvation, which is by faith, states he has no fear of shame--that is--he has no fear of embarrassment, disgrace or disappointment for his confidence and trust for salvation is in the good news of the accomplishments of Christ in His work on the cross of Calvary and His subsequent resurrection from the dead. The Apostle boldly declares the power of God’s word; for he himself has experienced salvation and a personal relationship with his Savior (Acts 9:3-6). Thus he proclaims with certainty that the anointed preaching of the gospel has the power to cause the ear of the dead souls in sin to hear, and the power to bring faith to the hearer (Romans 10:17).

And of this faith he says,

“For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16 NAS)

The gospel not only reveals the trustworthiness, integrity, faithfulness, the holiness and the righteousness of God but also His method of salvation. And it is those who are of faith in Jesus, the Word of God, that are by grace “reckoned” as righteous before God (Ephesians 2:4-10). This faith we speak of is NOT an intellectual agreement to a theoretical truth; it is a gift from God. Thus faith is hearing Him, believing Him and obeying Him from a pure heart of love. Faith by any other definition is not faith at all; any other faith is a speculative faith based upon a theoretical and false gospel, or rather it is no gospel at all (2nd Corinthians 11:4), and has no saving power.

And so we conclude our brief look at the word “gospel” with these thoughts. The gospel is NOT a biography intended to provide information about a historical character. It is the evangelical proclamation of the life of Jesus and His saving power through faith; God’s only method of salvation for mankind. Thus the gospel is both “good news” and a call to faith. It is a message of God’s gift of His Son in the atonement for sin. The good news is the anointed message of our Father’s love, mercy and grace brought to us by His beloved Son. The gospel--the power of God unto salvation.

James C Sanford

Thursday, November 22, 2007

False Prophets

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep

(2nd Peter 2:1-3)

[But false prophets also arose among the people,]

False is defined as:

  1. Contrary to fact or truth.
  2. Unfaithful or disloyal.
  3. Not real or artificial.

Therefore we see false prophets and teachers as being not real in the sense that they are speaking contrary to truth and are unfaithful and disloyal to the cause of Christ.

The apostle tells us that there were not only holy men of God among the members of the early Church, who prophesied by divine inspiration, but there were also false prophets, whose prophecies were from their own imagination, and they perverted many. We see in today’s congregations there are those who prophesy by divine inspiration, but there are those who prophesy contrary to biblical truths and they also are leading many astray.

Now some of these people did not choose to be false prophets and teachers; just as Satan used the serpent to deceived Eve through the lust of her eyes, lust of the flesh and boastful pride of life, others that Satan had prepared long before hand to do his bidding deceived them through lust. And then there are those who, like Adam, are not deceive but are driven by their worldliness and greed.

[Just as there will also be false teachers among you,]

At a very early period of the Christian Church many heresies sprung up; but the chief were those heresies of the Ebionites, Cerinthians, Nicolaitans, Menandrians, and Gnostics. And in today’s gatherings there are false teachers, by many different names, among the people who secretly introduce destructive heresies; destructive as in, if followed, would destroy the soul in hell.

[Even denying the Master who bought them,]

Here we find something very interesting. The Apostle Peter seems to state that these teachers were bought by the blood of Jesus but had turned away teaching false doctrine “bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” Could it be that the riches and pleasures of the world aroused these teacher’s sensual appetites and they turned to a Jesus conjured up in their minds, thus deserting and denying their true Savior, and they are to be destroyed? If the answer is yes to this question it would go against the popular teaching of “once saved always saved;” but there seems to be no other suitable answer.

[Many will follow their sensuality,]

The word “sensual” relates to the gratification of the physical appetites, or affecting the senses. One might describe a sensual person as being fleshly or worldly. This would be in opposition to spiritual or spirituality. Such people follow the false teacher because of their sensuality; they come together, as in a social event, to be entertained with stories and jokes and a whisper sweet “gospel” containing little or no truth, designed to appeal to their fleshly ears, that their sinful conscience not be disturbed. Their fleshly religious appetite being satisfied they continue their sinful ways because the word they have heard has no saving power.

[And because of them the way of the truth will be maligned,]

These false teachers and their followers make up a false Church and “because of them “The way of the truth,” the true Church, is being spoken evil of.

The Apostle Paul says this of the false Church, yes, the false Church. Pay close attention to the first line of verse five.

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power;.” (2nd Timothy 3:1-6 NASU)

[Difficult times will come.]

The true Church is within the hearts of the true believer and difficult times will come upon these children of the Spirit because of persecutions from the fleshly people within the congregations and from opposing religions. We see a type of this in the Holy Scripture: Ishmael, the son born unto Abraham through an act of the flesh, persecuted his son Isaac born unto him according to the word of God. The children of the flesh will persecute the children of the Spirit as Ishmael persecuted Isaac (Genesis 21:8-10).

[Holding to a form of godliness,]

The people of the world do not hold to “a form of godliness,” or “deny its power” because they know nothing of it; thus the people the apostle is speaking of must be of the “Church.”

Now we return to 2nd Peter, chapter 2, verse 3.

[And in their greed they will exploit you with false words;]

Exploit means to make use of selfishly or unethically. With itchy ears and shallow hearts as their fertile ground these false teachers selfishly and unethically sow their seed of corruptness, feeding their greed and enlarging their bank accounts.

[Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep]

From the beginning God has condemned sin, and inflicted suitable punishments on transgressors; and has promised in His word from the earliest ages, to pour out His indignation on the wicked. The punishment, therefore, so long ago predicted, shall fall on these impure sinners who are incapable of being corrected; and the condemnation which is denounced against them does not sleep, it is alert and on its way; God’s judgment will soon overtake them and their destruction is imminent.

James C Sanford

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Have you ever wondered why there are so many different religions in the world today?  Have you ever thought about why there are so many different groups, classes or so called denominations in Christian religion?  Would not this be the same kind of schisms or differences that existed among the Pharisees, Sadducees and others that divided God’s nation Israel during the age that Jesus walked the earth?  If our Lord was not pleased with them, would He be any more pleased with the divisions that exist in His church today?   If there is only one God, and certainly there is only one, then why is there so much deep division among us?  Brothers and sisters these things ought not to be!!

In the beginning God created man in His image and breathed into Him His life giving Spirit and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). God’s Spirit was in man and God was one with man whom He had created. Man in God’s image was like God; he had all the attributes of God and man had free access to the mind of God through the Spirit of God within him (see 1st Corinthians 2:12); God and man were like-minded. God and man would fellowship and man would be a manifestation of all the glory of the invisible God.

Then God took from the side of man a rib and fashioned it into a woman and gave her back to man and she would be one with the man just as man was one with God. Man’s offspring would be one with their parents just as the woman was one with the man and the man was one with God: love would be the perfect bond of unity. Oneness through love and faith is the great principle of God from the beginning.

Then came God’s adversary on the scene; Satan, the destroyer, the one called the devil. Satan, using the serpent, approached man and overcame him through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life (see 1st John 2:16 and Genesis 3). Man sinned against God and a schism or division occurred; man was separated from his Creator. Man’s fellowship with God was broken; he no longer was in the image of God; he had lost access to the mind of God. His soul became one with his flesh. Thus he was now dependent upon his five fleshly senses for guidance; he became earthy, fleshly or sin in the flesh. He complained about his wife; blamed God and the woman rather than accepting responsibility for his sin; therefore he neglected repentance; the spirit of enmity had overcame him. Man was a degenerate man of the soil or human; it was evident he now had a carnal, self-centered or fleshly mind.

The apostle Paul writes, “------- the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7 KJV).

The word “enmity” translated here by the KJV means, to have a warring or active hatred toward someone. The same verse in the New American Standard bible reads, “------- the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God;” To complete the verse we read, for it {the carnal mind} is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7 KJV).

A carnal intellect or mind is dependent upon its own ability, or the ability of another to interpret, translate or otherwise understand the things of God---independent of the Spirit of God. Those who are depending upon the intellect of man understand all things from a human level and cannot properly discern the things of the Spirit. Therefore they have many differing understandings bringing about disagreements that lead to broken fellowships and divisions, which are hostile, enmity, or satanic warfare against the oneness of God and His people. A divided people are not one with each other and they certainly are not one with God.

The Apostle Paul was known by his Hebrew name Saul before he was called and converted by Jesus to be His apostle. The man Saul was very intelligent, highly educated and very zealous for the law of God. All of his intellectual knowledge he gained from other intellectual, carnal minded teachers of the law and the prophets. Because of his human level of intellectual understanding of the law and the writings of the prophets he was deceived into thinking he was doing God a favor when he went about persecuting the body of Christ. He thought he was doing good works for God when in fact he had a spirit of enmity against God. Saul understood the law and the prophets from a human level of understanding and not from the higher Spirit level because the carnal mind cannot properly appraise the things of the Spirit (see 1st Corinthians 2:14).

Paul, the now converted Saul, well understood the work of the deceptive spirit of enmity at work in the Corinthians.

“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ. ” Has Christ been divided?   Paul was not crucified for you, was he?   Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1st Corinthians 1:10-13 NAS)

Like the former man named Saul, the Corinthians were depending upon their own intellect to understand the things of God; therefore they were not hearing and understanding the things of the Spirit; through carnality the spirit of enmity was working in them; thus a division was occurring. The signs of their carnality were disagreements, divisions, jealousy and strife; they were conducting themselves as mere men.

Is it not the same sin in the form of the deceptive spirit of enmity that divides us today?  Those of us who say, I am of the Methodist faith, I am of the Baptist faith, I am of the Catholic faith or any other of the many different denominations of today, should not we ask ourselves these questions?  Are there that many different true faiths in the world today?  Who in any of the denominational faiths was crucified for me?  Is Christ body divided?  Do we not need the same exhortation that Paul wrote to the Corinthians?   What does the Spirit through the Holy Scriptures teach us concerning these things? 

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6 NAS)

In the following Scripture the apostle tells us he has set his mind on the things of the Spirit in proclaiming the simplicity of the gospel. He has determined to speak nothing from a carnal mind.

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 2:1-5 NAS)

A faith whose corner stone and foundation is the wisdom and knowledge of the intellect of man is enmity against God. Such faith is a deceptive faith and is, in fact, not faith at all. Such so called faith is actually the enmity, or the active warring spirit of hatred from Satan that brings about divisions among us; which is, in fact, working against or persecuting the body of Christ. Such was the deceptive spirit of persecution that was on Saul before he was converted; and such is the deceptive spirit of persecution that is upon many of the church membership of today.

When man is first born of the Spirit of God he is a “babe in Christ.”His mind is still carnal and the Spirit of God must teach him in the things of God. He cannot continue in conformity to carnal mindedness; but he must be transformed through the renewing of the mind into the likeness of God and restored in fellowship with God (see Romans 12:2; 2nd Corinthians 3:18). When Jesus called his disciples the anointing of the Spirit upon Him taught the disciples (see Matthew16:17). After they were fully trained they themselves were anointed with the Spirit that they too might teach (see Acts 2). Such was the anointing upon the apostle Paul.

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1st Corinthians 3:1-3)

Paul was teaching them from the wisdom of God through the Spirit, that the spirit of enmity might be broken and the unity of faith remains with them. It is evident that there is a great need today for men like the apostle Paul to teach according to the wisdom of God rather than the wisdom of man; that God’s people may be reunited in one love and one faith. For man to have faith he must hear the word of God from the Spirit of God (see Romans 10:17); we must all drink from the same “spiritual Rock;” for this is the “Rock” upon which the church must be built (see Matthew 16:13-19); and this is the “Rock” from which flows the water of life (see 1st Corinthians 10:4); for the Rock is Christ Jesus, The Living Word of God from which all the benefits of God are derived.

Only those who have received the life giving Spirit through regeneration in Christ Jesus, and who have determined (set their mind) to be dependent upon the Spirit, are being taught and led by the Spirit, and their understanding is from God. Being led of the Spirit leads to a oneness of faith among God’s people and a oneness with God.

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14 NAS)

James C Sanford

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Golden Compass

There is a motion picture starring Nicole Kidman called “The Golden Compass.”

This film is being marketed as a movie for Children. Well, that is only true if you want your children to be lead away from a relationship with God.

If you want your children to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, do not let them see this movie!

Read this article at Snopes provides additional information and links.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Children Raping Children

Have you heard the case out of Atlanta Georgia about three boys under the age of ten who are in jail for raping an 11 year old girl?

This is a reminder that the enemy is actively seeking those whom he may devour. Pray over your children!

For details on this case, see the WLTX TV web site or Fox News.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Faith and Free Will

Free will is defined as having the authority and power to do as one pleases (ISBE).

The above definition being true, there is no such thing as a man with a free will; or man as a “free agent.” A free agent, or one with a free will, would be a person who is able to choose neither serving righteousness nor unrighteousness; but there is no neutral ground, man serves one or the other (2 Pet. 2:19).

When a person is first born he is born into the flesh of Adam and therefore into the sin of Adam; being found in sinful flesh he is under the law of sin and death; he is bound under the law and he hopelessly serves unrighteousness (Rom. 7:14-23). A slave does not have a free will; as a slave a man’s authority and power is limited, thus his will is not “free.”

Man cannot be set free from his enslavement by his own will for he is helpless to do so (Rom. 7:24-25), he is set free only through the will of God, the only agent with free will (John 3:16; Eph. 2:4-5).

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9NASU).”

If a man, through the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, desires in his heart to be set free from his enslavement to sin he must first choose by his limited will to seek repentance (Acts 2:38). Once God is satisfied with the nature of mans repentance, God wills his repentance granted (Rom. 2:4), he is forgiven and released from the law of sin and death through faith in Jesus (Rom. 8:1-4); but then he becomes a slave of righteousness; he is not his own he has been purchased, redeemed or bought with a price, that of the life of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).

So in essence, mans will is limited to choose which nature he will be conformed to and whether he will be a slave to Christ or to sin. Those who love Christ only love Him “because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).” Salvation takes a definite choice on the part of the sinner: to confess with the mouth and believe with the heart (Rom. 10:8-10), without the confession of and continuing in faith (Rom. 8:4-14), God’s grace cannot save that person from their slavery to the enemy (Eph. 2:8).

We conclude, because of the warnings in Scripture concerning using his power of choice to become apostate in the faith (Gal. 5:4; 1 Cor. 10:12; Heb. 3:12, 6:4-8, 10:26-27; James 5:19-20; 1 Tim. 6:21; Phil. 2:12), it is also true that men have the power to choose to no longer be a slave to Christ. One of the things the Holy Spirit teaches through Scripture is making the right choices---in obedience---and the only way to do such things is to have a will to either do them or not, otherwise man would not be instructed in the use of his will.

Now concerning faith: Perfect faith is hearing God, believing and obeying Him from a heart of love. Therefore the sum of perfect faith is total surrender of mans will to the will of God (Luke 22:42); such a faith neutralizes the will of man and God’s grace is abundantly poured out upon him. Now, under the law of faith (Rom. 3:27), all that he does is in the authority and power (will) of God.

James C Sanford

Thursday, November 15, 2007

For the Time Has Come

3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4 NASU)

[For the time will come]
The Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, prophesies of a day to come: is this that day? Today most congregations that gather in our Lord’s name refuse to hear the practical truths of the gospel, they prefer speculative opinions, which either do no good to the soul, or corrupt and destroy it. They have turned their ears away from the wholesome doctrine of “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me,” which Jesus our Lord gave to His church. And following after their own lusts they strongly oppose and loathe preachers of the true doctrine.

[But wanting to have their ears tickled]
The ears of the modern day congregations itch for the soothing words of the “prosperity doctrine of health and wealth for everyone,” “once saved, always saved,” “God loves you no matter what,” and a rescuing “secret rapture” and on and on. These same people have an endless curiosity and an un-satisfiable appetite for variety desiring to be amused and entertained; and they get their ears tickled with the language and accent of the ones holding the pulpits captive, while abandoning the good and faithful preacher of the true gospel for the eloquent speaker with his fine cloths, jet airplanes, TV shows, movies and books.

[They will accumulate for themselves]
Through their special schools they add one misguided and deceived teacher to another and run about seeking those men who do not insist on the necessity of bearing the cross, of being crucified to the world, abstaining from sin and of having the mind of Christ. They run after men interested in only fattening their wallets and building their own boastful ego, carefully soothing the passions and flattering the vices of a trifling, superficial people. These false prophets they have gathered unto themselves gladly widen the path and strew it with flowers, leading them straight into the pits of hell.

[And they shall turn away their ears from the truth]
The truth exposes their vices, destroys their idols, cuts away at their easily besetting sins, and absolutely requires conformity Christ; therefore they turn their ears away from it. Turning aside to myths, fables and lies, and traditions of men, believing any kind of distorted and twisted doctrine and nonsense. Someone once said, “Those who reject the truth are abandoned by the just judgment of God to credit the most degrading nonsense.”

James C Sanford

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rat Poison

Rat poison contains about 97% good food that looks, smells and taste good; it is so designed by the manufacture for the enticing of the rat. But it also contains about 3% poison, not enough to taint the smell and taste but just enough to kill the rat. When placed in the area of the unsuspecting rat, seeking to satisfy his appetite, it will entice him to consume it. If the rat is wise, and values his life, he will sniff out the food carefully and detect the poison and not eat it, thus avoiding consuming the poison.

False prophet and teachers look and act like true prophets or teachers and teach some truth; but they are blinded, deceived and so designed by Satan to entice the immature unsuspecting people blindly seeking to satisfy the appetite of there fleshly senses. False teachings can only be discerned by the spiritual, those who practice righteousness (Hebrews 5:14), and if they detect false doctrine they no longer listen, turning away from such teachings.

The message is: if you value your life, learn to discern false doctrine and do not follow after and listen to false teachers just because they seem to have some truth, thus you will avoid consuming the poison.

James C Sanford

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Mark of the Beast?

I remember years ago when they were saying that the UPC Code was the mark of the beast because three sixes are embedded in the code.

Well, I think the UPC is basically a gag on the part of the programmers who designed the system. However, this Verichip business is a horse of a different wheelbase!

For more on Verichip and the controversy surrounding it (religious and otherwise), see the following links:


Monday, November 12, 2007

Sen. Charles Grassley Asks Ministries To Turn Over Financial Records Within One Month

(CBS) This story was written and reported by Laura Strickler of the CBS News Investigative Unit.

CBS News has learned Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, is investigating six prominent televangelist ministries for possible financial misconduct.

Letters were sent Monday to the ministries demanding that financial statements and records be turned over to the committee by December 6th.

According to Grassley's office, the Iowa Republican is trying to determine whether or not these ministries are improperly using their tax-exempt status as churches to shield lavish lifestyles.

The six ministries identified as being under investigation by the committee are led by: Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. Three of the six - Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar - also sit on the Board of Regents for the Oral Roberts University.

A spokesperson for Joyce Meyer Ministries provided CBS News with an IRS letter to the ministry dated October 10, 2007, that stated: "We determined that you continue to qualify as an organization exempt from Federal income tax." The letter could not be independently verified in time for this story. The ministry also pointed to audited financial statements for the last three years that are posted on the organization's Web site.

In a statement, Benny Hinn's spokesperson, Ronn Torossian, said the ministry is in the process of determining the best course of action in response to the Senate investigation. "World Healing Center Church complies with the laws that govern church and non-profit organizations and will continue to do so," Torossian wrote.

Eddie Long's New Birth Ministries says he has received the request for information from the U.S. Senate and plans to "fully comply. New Birth Ministries has several safeguards put in place to ensure all transactions are in compliance with laws applicable to churches."

In a statement to CBS News, Creflo Dollar called his ministry an "open book" and said he would comply with any "valid request" from Grassley. But he noted that the inquiry raised questions that could "affect the privacy of every community church in America."

Paula White is also expressing concern about precedents that could be set by turning over the requested information.

"We take our financial responsibilities to our partners very seriously and to the best of our knowledge we comply with all tax laws. Our audited financial statements appear on our website," said White, in a statement. "However, we are concerned about the possible precedent and ramifications of this request. We will be reviewing the request and its implications in detail over the coming weeks as we prepare our response."

Because they have tax status as churches, the ministries do not have to file IRS 990 forms like other non-profit organizations - leaving much financial information largely behind closed doors.

The letters sent Monday were the culmination of a long investigation fueled in part by complaints from Ole Anthony, a crusader against religious fraud who operates the Dallas-based Trinity Foundation, which describes itself as a watchdog monitoring religious media, fraud and abuse. "We've been working with them for two years," Anthony told CBS News. "We have furnished them with enough information to fill a small Volkswagen."

Anthony said after twenty years of working with media organizations to expose televangelists, he saw little reform. He says that's why he turned to another tactic, going straight to Grassley. He is confident that Grassley's inquiry will be different, "What we hope is that this will lead to reform in religious nonprofits."

The structure of many televangelist organizations - in which the leadership is often concentrated in one person or one family - has itself been the target of criticism. "Churches like these are ruled as a dictatorship," says Rod Pitzer, who directs research at Ministry Watch in North Carolina, which provides advice for donors to Christian organizations.

Pitzer welcomes the Senate committee investigation. Ministries lacking accountability, he says, "give a black eye to churches and Christians who are trying to do things in the right manner."

By Laura Strickler © MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Seven Minutes of Wisdom: Eying Eternity

I have been contemplating many prophetic voices proclaiming that we are near the end of this world age and that Jesus is soon to return. I am of the school of thought to be ready for His return, but to also prepare in case the time for His return will be extended.

That preparation is two-fold:

  1. To prepare ourselves to be ready to stand before the Living God
  2. To share the good news with others so that they too may be ready.

Does that mean we just live any way we please -- mistreating others and breaking the law as if there were no repercussions? As Pastor Mickey Stonier said today at Horizon Christian Fellowship (in San Diego), man may not be watching when you break the law, but God is always watching.

Our latest seven minutes of wisdom gives you something to think about in that regard. We hope that this is a blessing to you, and to those whom you deal with every day...

Click Here to Listen, or, Right-click to download

Along the lines of what we have been hearing and receiving and cogitating on today, we received the following via e-mail from Wayne Freeman (thanks to Pastor Jake). We will share it with you as additional food for thought:

Open Doors & Divine Appointments

I want you to begin to pray with me & for me for open doors & divine appointments in all of our lives; opportunities to do something to advance the plans of God for His kingdom in the last days. Time is winding down really fast; & if we ever plan to do something to advance the work of the kingdom, now is the time to do it. I’m amazed by people who say they believe Jesus will return within the next 10 or 15 years, & yet they are hoarding money & things & making plans for 30 or 40 years down the road. Either we believe Jesus is coming back soon, or we don’t. If you knew this was going to be your last day on Earth how would your priorities change. I was trained by an old minister years ago to live my life like every day might be my last day on Earth; & trust me it makes a big difference in your priorities to do so. Things that once seemed so important no longer hold the same significance in that light. We are on the verge of the revelation of the army of the beast & Satan’s kingdom ruling the Earth; & this year could mark the beginning of the end folks.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Coming of the Lord

“Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or, “There it is!” For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst’ (Luke 17:20-21 NASU).”

The question asked by the Pharisees is, when is the kingdom of God coming? The answer to them was, the kingdom is in your midst. Christ is the corner stone of the kingdom of God and those who stood in their mist and heard and believed are the foundation stones that were laid in the kingdom God; thus is the presence of the kingdom of God.

“And He said to the disciples, ‘The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it’.” (Luke 17:22 NASU)

Christ addresses those who heard and believed; “the days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the son of Man.”While walking the earth in the flesh our Lord performed many signs, and in the beginning of His Church there were many of the same signs performed by His apostles. But there came a time when these miracles became rare because of unbelief. Today His children long to see the days of the Son of Man restored, the days of Christ like miracles, such as the healing of the sick, the blind made to see and the lame walking; but He says, “you will not see it.”

“They will say to you, “Look there! Look here!” Do not go away, and do not run after them.” (Luke 17:23 NASU)

“They” are the religious who do not have an ear to hear. They are looking at things that are of the flesh, saying, there are big crowds gathering here and much is happening in the name of Jesus, surly He must be here. Or let us go over there for it seems there are being many miracles performed in His name; Christ warns, “do not run after them.”

“For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day.” (Luke 17:24 NASU)

Judgment of the wicked will come suddenly, just as the eagle swoops down on his prey and devours it, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.

“But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” (Luke 17:25 NASU)

But first Christ is persecuted, rejected and crucified by His generation. But also afterwards, His body, the Church must suffer many things; persecution, rejection and martyrdom. Many of the true Church are persecuted and slain for His names sake.

“And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:26-27 NASU)

In the “days of Noah,” Noah preached the coming judgment but the people ignored Him and continued to fulfill the lust of their sinful flesh. When judgment of the world came in the form of a flood only Noah and His family was spared.

“It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:28-30 NASU)

And so shall it be in the days of the “body of Christ,” the true Church will preach the coming of judgment of the world but they will not listen and on the “the day of the Lord” He will come swiftly as “lightning comes from the east to west” and as “a thief in the night” to execute righteous judgment.

“On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:31-32 NASU)

Here our Lord issues a stern warning for those who believe; “Remember Lot’s wife” who looked back with lust in her heart and a longing for the cities, she brought upon herself the judgment spoken to them by the Lord and she turned to a pillar of salt.

“Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33 NASU)

Whoever seeks to save his temporal life in the flesh (refuses martyrdom for Christ name sake) will lose his eternal life in the spirit.

“I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. [Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left].” (Luke 17:34-36 NASU)

Those who are taken, who are they and where will they go? God’s children are not “destined for wrath.” Noah and his family crossed over from the world of judgment into the new world safely in the ark prepared according to the word of God. Lot and his family were spared as they left the cities of judgment in obedience to the word of God. The children of Israel, God’s chosen people, were spared the judgment of Egypt because they obeyed the word of God. The Hebrew children were spared the kings wrath of the furnace because they were obedient to the word of God. Daniel was spare from the lions because he was obedient to the word of God. When judgment of Jerusalem came in 70AD those chosen of God were spared because they were obedient to the word of God.

Who are the ones taken? They are the ones who obey the word of God. Where will they go? Christ Jesus is the ark of safety for all who believe; we will be in Christ and wherever He is there we will be also.

“And answering they said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’ And He said to them, ‘Where the body is, there also the vultures (eagles) will be gathered’.” (Luke 17:37 NASU)

In answering His disciples He speaks a mystery that only those who believe may understand. An eagle is a bird that kills and devours its prey. When the Spirit of the Lord is removed from a nation or an individual that nation or individual is spiritually dead. At that time God had removed His Spirit from the Nation Israel because of their sins and the Roman army, as an instrument of God, would come down on the nation as an eagle and execute God’s judgment up them. Thus we have the type of “where the body is, there also the vultures (eagles) will be gathered.” When this world has had its fill of sin God will remove His Spirit and judgment will come as an eagle killing and devouring its prey.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” (Rev. 2:29 NASU)

James C. Sanford

Thursday, November 8, 2007


There was an error in the link we posted to the seven minutes of wisdom. It has been fixed. You can listen to it or download it by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Seven Minutes of Wisdom: Are We Gathering or Scattering?

This Seven Minutes of Wisdom came to me after learning that one of my favorite guitarists has denounced Christ and is becoming a secular artist. Take a listen to my 7-minute message:

Click Here to Listen or Download the MP3

This should be our new course or direction in life... to walk the love walk. We need to gather souls into the kingdom, not chase them away!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Controlling Anger

“Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 NASU)

[Do not be eager in your heart to be angry,]

A modern idiom of this would be “do not go about with a chip on your shoulder daring someone to knock it off.” Or, “do not be quickly or easily offended.”

[for anger resides in the bosom of fools]

A biblical idiom for anger is “fire.” A fool harbors anger until it, like a wild fire, burns out of control. But a wise man, caught with his guard down, may feel offence for a moment, but it cannot burn in him; it is a fire kindled which he immediately extinguishes.

“Scorners set a city aflame, but wise men turn away anger.” (Proverbs 29:8 NASU)
“A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back (controls his anger).” (Proverbs 29:11 NASU)

Like laughter and sadness, human anger is a product of the emotion. In the same manner as laughter and sadness is a result of the emotion being stimulated by something being interpreted as being funny or sad, anger is a result of an interpretation of a statement, deed or circumstance as being negative or an offence. If left unattended human anger is a bitter root that fosters strife, malice and revenge and produces an attitude of hate; and hate, like a fire, destroys the soul.

”For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” (Proverbs 30:33 NASU)

The Apostle Paul saw outburst of anger as a basic element of the sin nature of man (Galatians 5:20); thus he writes:

BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger. (Ephesians 4:26 NASU)

He seems to indicate here that anger can be present but when controlled does not lead to sin. Yet he shortly admonishes believers to avoid anger, among other vices.

“But now you also, put them all aside ANGER, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” — (Ephesians 3:8-10 NASU).

And he emphasizes again in the very next chapter,

“Let all bitterness and wrath and ANGER and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NASU)

And in another letter he writes,

“But now you also, put them all aside: ANGER, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” (Colossians 3:8 NASU)

Then he writes Timothy saying,

“Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath (anger) and dissension.” (1st Timothy 2:8 NASU)

Other writers also acknowledge the presence of anger in a believer’s life. But the common counsel is, anger, like a fire that is kindled, must be quickly extinguished or it will soon burn out of control.

The Apostle James writes concerning anger,

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to ANGER; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:19-20 NASU)
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up ANGER.” (Proverbs 15:1 NASU)

Now since it is clear from the Holy Scriptures that human anger does not achieve the righteous life that our God desires and requires of us, how must we control anger?

Love, like hate, is an attitude; and they are opposites. Hate is of the flesh or the natural man. The attitude of hate is a result of anger stimulated by something believed to be an offence, inspired by the destroyer of the soul, Satan. Love is of the spirit, or the supernatural.

The attitude of love in the heart of man is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Rom. 5:5) granting the revelation of the true knowledge of Christ defending the soul from death at Calvary; inspired by a by a Holy Father who desires from His heart of love that all who believe should inherit eternal life (John 3:16).

This our Lord taught,

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:27-31 NASU).

This our Lord did,

When He became angry at the officials of the temple He performed acts of healing (Mark 3:2-6). Also, knowing that Peter would deny him, served him by washing his feet. And then there was Judas who would betray Him, He washed his feet also. When Jesus was unjustifiable carried before mock courts, mistreated, spat upon, cursed, beaten and crowned with a crown of thorns, he could have become very angry---but instead He uttered no threats against them. While hanging on the cross He could have became very angry and called down the armies of heaven to destroy His persecutors, but instead, from a heart of love, He prayed to His Holy Father to “forgive them for they know not what they do.” Love controlled His emotions and He was not provoked.


“Love-----is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.” (1st Corinthians 13:5 NASU)

Thus love is the key to controlling anger.

True believers must overcome anger and not sin—therefore we must put on Christ that we might have His attitude of love within us.


“Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself.” (Proverbs 22:24-25 NASU)

And further, by the power of the Spirit that indwells you “---- prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does (James 1:22-25 NASU). Selah.

James C Sanford