Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Democracy and the Church

A democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Thus the power of change rests with the majority of the people. Therefore, the government reflects the will of the people. Their moral values, work habits, code of ethics and etc. are mirrored by the one’s they elect to hold government office. If the majority’s standards are high in these things then the one they elect to office will be of high standards. If the majority’s values are corrupt then the government is corrupt. The nature or character of the majority of a nation of people is directly reflected in the nature or character of the government of that democracy---for the people are the government.

Many of the congregations that gather in our Lord’s name govern themselves as though they are a democracy. The majority of the people elect the officials from among themselves or from the schools that they have established to train their leaders. The pastor, deacon, bishop, priest, pope, convention or association president, clerk, denominational head, or what ever they may call them, are all elected, directly or indirectly, by the people. If the people have high values then the one they elect from among themselves will also have high values. Of course, if the people have lowered their standards then they can expect their leaders to have the same lower standards.

But contrary to today’s modern “church” our Lord’s kingdom, His church, is not a democracy; it is a theocracy governed by the rule of His law; and the power to change the lives of men rests in His law (Romans 1:16). Thus the law of a never changing God working in the lives of His people reflects His will. The very nature of God is manifested in those who believe and obey Him from a heart of love. It is from among these that He calls and seats in the offices of His kingdom (Ephesians 4:11). Thus the nature of God’s kingdom is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23 NAS). These are the works of the Spirit of God, not MAN.

If we are to ever see democracy work again in this country, God and His theocracy must be restored in the American church; rather, it must repent and be united to His church. A nation that is a democracy such as ours can only function to a proper success when the heart of its people is governed by God’s theocracy. A democracy of an immoral self-centered people is distained to failure---this is God’s judgment.

No politician can bring about the needed change in this nation or in this world. Only Jesus Christ seated on the throne of the lives of the majority of the people of this nation, ruling their spirits, can bring about the needed change.

About the Kingdom of God

The kingdom of heaven and its blessings is here now—it is not all “pie in the sky in the sweet by and by.” But we must learn how to reap its benefits. Please read this entire message and study it carefully---you will be spiritually blessed.

Note: This is not a doctrine of financial prosperity.

At His trial, in response to Pilate:

“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

(John 18:36 NASU)

The origin of our Lord’s kingdom is of the spirit realm and comes down from heaven to earth in His person. The power of His kingdom is not in mighty armies and weapons as the nations of the world, but is in His word ministered in love. The message of His love conquers the hearts of the wicked and rescues them from a burning hell and transfers them into His kingdom of love, joy, peace and eternal life. Therefore, as the King of His kingdom He rules over the spirits of converted men.

The kingdom of God in the earth began humbly in a manger in Bethlehem two thousand years ago with the birth of a baby named Jesus (Yeshua), God’s unique Son (Luke 2:7; John 1:14). Thus the kingdom of God on earth began with the loving gift of His Son that through Him men might enter His kingdom and the realm of eternal life. About thirty-three and one half years into His incarnate life He was crucified and became the “chief corner stone” that the builders rejected at Mt. Calvary (Isaiah 8:14 NAS; Matthew 21:42 NAS).

Three days after His crucifixion our Lord and King was resurrected from the dead by the Holy Spirit of God with demonstration of great power and authority. Thus Jesus became the “first born from the dead,” or rather He was the first to be “born again;” He was the “first of many brethren (Hebrews 2:10-13),” or the first of many to be born again; that He might have first place in everything (Colossians 1:18). He, The Living Word of God (John 1:1-2 & 14; Revelation 19:13) that the nation Israel rejected, became the “corner stone” and foundation of the church, the kingdom of God in the earth (Psalms 118:19-23; 1st Peter 2:7 NAS).

His kingdom is likened unto the leaven that was hidden in the lump of dough (Matthew 13:33 NAS). The beginning of His kingdom is as the precious pearl of great value, yet so small it can be hidden in ones pocket (Matthew 13:46 NAS). And His kingdom is also likened unto the grain of mustard seed that is the smallest seed in the earth, yet it grows so large it becomes the resting place for the foul of the air (Luke 13:19 NAS; Mark 4:31-32 NAS).

As to the foundation of His kingdom---kings, kingdoms, heaven and earth will all pass away but God’s word will never pass away (Matthew 24:35 NAS; Mark 13:31 NAS; Luke 21:33 NAS). His is the kingdom that is built upon a “rock” and the “gates of hell” cannot, has not and will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18 NAS).

When Jesus was resurrected many others were resurrected after Him (Matthew 27:51-53 NAS); they were among the “born again” along with all of the faithful disciples who were the first of the citizens of this new and exciting kingdom (John 20:22 NAS).

Before our Lord ascended unto the Father He gave His disciples instructions not to leave, but to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit of Promise and they would receive power (Acts 1:4-8 NAS). On the day of Pentecost the promise of the Spirit was fulfilled with another great demonstration of power over evil and three thousand souls were snatched from the grasp of Satan and were added to the church that day (Acts 2:1-41 NAS). The giving of the Holy Spirit was the completion of the divine order for the church and the kingdom had begun its powerful quest to fill all the earth with the glory of God.

The “golden thread” that runs through the kingdom of God is “faith working through love (Galatians 5:6 NAS).” The Spirit of the Father through His Son first established this great principle through His relationship with all of His disciples. As they grew in revelation knowledge (Matthew 16:13-19 NAS) of Him their hearts became knit together with His in love and they grew in holy faith. This was the beginning of His writing His law upon the hearts of men (Jeremiah 31:33).

After our Lord’s death the disciples became “messengers of God” or apostles bearing the good news of the mighty works of God and of salvation through Jesus Christ. They continued in the law of faith working through love and other teachings that had been written upon their hearts. The Holy Spirit, through these men of God, brought into effect all the doctrines necessary for governing God’s kingdom (John 16:13-15 NAS). Therefore the foundation of God’s kingdom was not and is not laid by carnal man and does not rest upon the wisdom of mere men, but upon the wisdom and power of God (1st Corinthians 2:1-5).

To understand the wonderful nature of the kingdom of love, joy and peace one must know and accept the fact that Jesus Christ is the personification or the embodiment of the law of His kingdom; He is the Word of God (John 1:1-2 & 14 NAS). This being so, The Word of God, is also Lord and King or ruler of the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit of God is the teacher of the kingdom and He speaks of and glorifies the Son (John 16:14).

While speaking to Nicodemus Jesus said,

‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’.”

(John 3:3 NASU)

Our Lord’s kingdom, His congregation called His church, is not a religion but an entity, a nation of people born of the Spirit who are one with their King. To see the church that Jesus established is the kingdom of God in the earth and that He is the King of this kingdom one must be “born again” of the Spirit. Furthermore, to understand the government and know the blessings of living within the boarders of our Lord’s kingdom one must be “born again” of water and the Spirit (John 3:5). He must be cleansed by the washing of the water with the word (Ephesians 5:26). For this reason he is baptized into Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, by the Holy Spirit. Through this process he is set apart (sanctified) from the world and set into the kingdom of God and made one with his Lord; he is a “new creature” of the spirit realm, old things have pasted away and new things have come (Colossians 5:17).

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

(Galatians 5:24 NASU)

Without a vision of the blessing of living in the kingdom of our Lord one’s soul perishes under the influence of the sinful flesh. That which opposes the power of love is lust---the overwhelming desires of the flesh nature. Therefore the new convert must die to the desires of the flesh. The nails of repentance are the way to the cross with Jesus; and faith in Him is the way to resurrection life. Repentance is the empting of one’s soul of sinful lust and preparing the heart with a love for the word of God. This is accomplished only through convictions brought about by the Holy Spirit; resulting in a deep sorrow and remorsefulness for crimes committed against God. The only voice the Savior hears from outside His kingdom is one pleading to be granted repentance.

The word of God requires a heart that is empty. A heart filled with earthly projects, carnal interests, ambition, thoughts of becoming rich in worldly goods, and with the love of the luxuries and pleasures of life is not fit to enter the kingdom of our Lord.

Take heed to the words of Jesus:

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

(Matthew 6:24 NASU)

Man cannot serve the riches of the world and the kingdom of heaven. One must be dedicated to and live within the boundaries of the kingdom of heaven to receive the blessings of it. God’s word defines the boarders of the kingdom; to live within these boarders and receive the blessings of the King one must be obedient to the commandments of God from a heart of thanksgiving and love (John 14:15).

Jesus continues, referring to verse 24 above:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing’?”

(Matthew 6:25-31)

When God, by the hand of Moses, led the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt they entered a wilderness. There God fed them for forty years with food from the heavens, gave them water from a rock and their cloths and sandals never wore out. If God so loved and took care of a people whom He had delivered because of faith in the shedding of the blood of an animal how much more will He take care of a people He has delivered from the bondage of sin and death by their faith in the shedding of the blood of His own Son?

“For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

(Matthew 6:25-33 NASU)

The heathen seek the things of the world; the sons of God seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

Our heavenly Father knows our every need but when His subjects, His children obey His commandments His ear is always attentive to their prayers. Our Lord and Savior desires that His children not be anxious about their daily needs in order that they not be distracted from the work of the kingdom. Therefore we should focus upon His kingdom and His righteousness; when He went to the cross to die in our stead His focus was upon serving us; now our focus should be upon serving Him from a heart of love.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

(Romans 8:1-2 NASU)
“So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God .”

(Romans 8:12-14 NASU)

Not all who claim the kingdom are truly sons of God.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter .”

(Matthew 7:21 NASU)


“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

(Galatians 5:25 NASU)

A Closing Thought

The sons of God are the true church, the kingdom of heaven, the salt in the world to purify, give flavor and preserve. In these United States of America it is a theocracy within a democracy. Without its strong influence in the hearts of the majority of the people and men in our government, like the heathen democracies before us, we will surely fall. A nation of people who put their trust in God and obey His commandments is a blessed nation. Selah.

James C Sanford

Friday, August 29, 2008

Classic Podcast: Purple Pope Hats

Are you pursuing a daily personal and intimate walk with God... or do you hide behind the symbols of your religious tradition?

Download or listen to this classic podcast:

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Need a God Who Can

Do you find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Sometimes I find it hard to comprehend. But that is ok, I am not alone. The disciples had spent three years with Jesus, and still they did not understand when they found the tomb empty. The scriptures tell us in Luke that when the women returned from the tomb and told the disciples that Jesus had risen, they didn't believe them. "But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense." Luke 24;11 NIV It is hard to believe in something that is not a normal part of life. It seems like nonsense to us too.

People die all the time. The papers carry an obituary sectionevery day, but I have yet to see a paper that carries a resurrection section. People die...but they just don't rise from the dead. The story of Jesus rising from the dead is hard to believe. It is just not a natural part of every day life. Have you ever known someone to go to the cemetary looking for living people? The women in the gospels didn't! They went expecting to find a corpse. Not just someone who was in cardiac arrest and in need of CPR. They expected to find a body dead for three days.A body with rigor mortis, a body already starting to decay. Yet, what they expected...they didn't find. Instead of a body, they found and empty tomb and a risen Lord!

I need a God like this. I need a God that does things beyond what I can comprehend. I can't comprehend bodies raising from the dead. That just does not make sense to me. I need a God that can do things that I can't figure out. I want a God that is bigger than anything I can figure out and understand.

I want a God that does supernatural things! I don't want a God that is limited by the natural. I need a God who does things that can't be explained on the History and Discovery Channels.

If I am able to comprehend all that God does, then God is no bigger than my mind. If God is only able to function within the realm of my comprehension, then God is no bigger than the human mind. I need a God that is not confined by my understanding. I want a God bigger than anything I can possible think of. A God which nothing can confine.

We attempt to confine God all the time. We try to keep him contained where we can control him. They attempted to contain Jesus by using his mortality. They thought, "If we kill him, that will contain him." Surely death will hold him. But to be sure,they attempted to contain him with rock and stones, sealed within a tomb. And if that is not enough,they placed a gaurd upon the tomb.

The Roman gaurd placed on the tomb was nothing to be trifled with. In today's world, it would be like being gaurded by team of Navy seals. Yet, death could not contain him, the tomb could not hold him, and the Roman Gaurd fled in fear. I want a God like that. One that nothing I can think of can contain him.

Paul writes in Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." I want a God that is immeasurably more than anything I can think of, greater than my wildest imagination.

A God like that is able to accomplish things, that if it were up to me would remain unsolved and unresolved. Situations that seem hopeless, now find hope in a resurrected Lord. Broken people and broken lives can be restored by the power of a resurrected Lord. Addictions and issues that seem more than I can cope with, Jesus is able to overcome. I know this, because even death can not hold him.

I need a God that great! I need a God that is so big, everything else I face in lifebecomes small in comparison. With him, all things are possible. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

A resurrected Lord...difficult to comprehend. Itmakes no earthly sense. So I turn to faith. I chose to believe something I can't see. I chose to believe in something that is greater than me. Jesus once said if we have faith the size of a grain of a mustard seed we can move mountains. I believe. I need a God like Jesus I can believe in. I need a Lord that although he once was dead, now HE LIVES!!

Author John Phipps, Pastor of the First United Methodist Church, Wayensburg, PA

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Call for Repentance (revised)

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

(Matthew 5:13 NIV)

Salt has literally hundreds of uses, but here Jesus is speaking of the positive qualities it has in purifying, seasoning and preserving.

Those who are taught and trained in the word of God are likened unto salt; they serve as a purifying agent in their community, spreading as seasoning, the word of God and preserving the principals of godliness. But when the truth of God is exchanged for myths, fables, lies and the tradition of men the “salt” has become tasteless or has lost it’s “saltiness” and “it is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

“Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God??”

(Romans 2:1-3 NASU)

The design of this scripture is to show that the Jews were no less guilty of breaking His Law than the Gentiles, and that they needed the benefit of the same salvation. The same is true of the church today. The church has greater light than the people of the world, and yet they do the same things that the heathen do. Still they are in the habit of accusing and condemning the heathen as wicked and having need of salvation; while they excuse themselves on the ground that they possessed the word of truth, and are His chosen people. The scripture here affirms that the church is inexcusable in her sins, and is condemned in the sight of God on the same ground on which they condemn the world; to wit, that they have truth and yet commit wickedness.

Our churches of today have welcomed and accepted the traditions of the world and the practice of paganism into the church and are teaching myths, fables and lies rather than the truths of God’s Holy Scriptures. They have tickled the ears of the masses for the sake of numbers in the pews and dollars in the offering plate. They have become rich and think they have need of nothing.

Yes, the church has fallen away from the faith of our forefathers and have become as the heathen. Immorality in the pulpits has led to immorality being accepted in the congregations and it seems no one in the churches is speaking out against it. Thus the church is no longer held is high esteem by the community it is serving, but is looked upon as being a house of hypocrites, whoremongers and thieves.

We look at our leaders in government in awe of their total disrespect for the laws that they are sworn to uphold, we presently see congressmen and senators with morals less than that of an alley cat. In the past we have seen, and was even approved by the masses, immorality in the White House. We have become a nation of shameless fornicators, adulteresses and murders!! Homosexuality and same sex marriages are now accepted as a normal way of life.

The responsibility of these moral failures lies on the shoulders of the church; the church is to be the moral fiber of the nation. Why do we see crime of all sorts in our communities on the rise? Do we wonder how these things can be? Could it be that the “salt” has become “tasteless” and has lost its ability to purify, season and preserve? Has the church become the apostate church? Has this apostate church led this nation down the path of destruction?

Where is the fear of God? Have we as a church and a nation become so haughty that we don’t any longer fear Him? Have we become so unpleasantly or disdainfully self-important we feel that we are self-sufficient and have no need to reverence God? Have we become so proud of our military that we lean upon our own might rather that the power of God?

We must take heed lest we fall,

“Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.”

(Proverbs 18:12 NIV)
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

(Proverbs 11:2 NIV)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”

(Psalms 111:10 NIV)

We must return to teaching the precepts of our Lord to see the salvation of a declining nation destined to fall. Yes, our nation is in a downward spiral into the pit of immorality, but if we will listen to the words that God speaks to His people and take heed there is still hope.

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”

(Romans 2:4 NASU)

God has shown us His love through His tolerance and patience with our sin; let us not think lightly of the riches of His kindness for it is though these that He leads us to repentance.

“---- If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

(2nd Chronicles 7:14 NASU)

When He says, “if my people who are called by My name” He is speaking to the church today just as He spoke in the days of King Solomon. He is calling for His people of today to come humbly before Him and to pray. God hears the prayers of the humble but resist the proud.

How can the salt become salty again? Repent and call upon the name of the Lord that our sins might be forgiven. The church must repent; turn its back on sin and seek God’s face in humbleness with broken and contrite hearts. God promises that He will hear the prayers of the broken and contrite.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you — even Jesus.”

(Acts 3:19-20 NASU)

We as a church and nation must turn from the course of wickedness in which we have been so long walking. Sin cannot be pardoned before man repents of it. In the order of the work of grace, repentance must always precede pardon. Of course, no peoples can have evidence that their sin is pardoned until they repent.

The enemy is at work he never sleeps. He has penetrated our boarders and sits in our pews, he has filled our pulpits and governmental offices, and he seeks whom he might destroy. The faithful and true church is the “salt” that preserves and it must be this church that brings this nation back to God; the church must lead this nation in repentance before it is too late. We must call upon our Lord and Savior to give us wisdom and strength; we must lean upon His power to save us. Selah.

James C Sanford

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Clay Vessels (Revisited)

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.

They didn’t look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone! Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It’s like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It isn’t always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it. We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world as God sees them. I am so blessed by the gems of friendship I have with each of you. Thank you for looking beyond my clay vessel.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Kingdom of Truth and Love

“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘what is truth?’”

(John 18:37-38)

In a sense Pilate was asking Jesus, do you admit the charge in any way that the Jews have brought against you, or do you lay claim to a kingdom of any kind?

Jesus answered in a form of expression denoting affirmation. It is equivalent to yes.

This does not mean simply that Pilate affirmed that he was a king; it does not appear that he had done this; but it means, “You affirm the truth; you declare what is correct, for I am a king.” I am a king and do not deny it.

Jesus continues to state that He was born into the world that He might set up and maintain a kingdom “not of this world” but a spiritual government. By this He showed what was the nature of His kingdom; this government is established in and by love and truth. It was not to assert power; not to collect armies and not to subdue nations in battle. It was simply to present truth to men; and He would close the establishing of His kingdom of truth with the greatest expression of love ever made toward man. Thus He writes His laws upon the hearts of men and exercises dominion only by the power of love and truth. Hence, the only power put forth in the kingdom of our Lord to restrain the wicked is in convicting the sinner, in converting the heart, in guiding and leading those who come to Him, cleansing and sanctifying them, by applying truth to the heart and mind through love. All that love truth, hears His voice and attends to the spiritual doctrines He teaches.

Therefore it is by truth and love that our Lord influences the minds and governs the people of His kingdom. Men are not forced to enter His kingdom. Through the hearing of truth they are made to see that they are sinners; and that God is loving and merciful, that they need a Redeemer, and that He is the One who loved them enough to pay the price for their redemption, and yield wholly to be governed by Him---the Living Word of God.

During the time our Lord walked the earth there were many opinions concerning truth; and some had even supposed that it was a thing utterly out of the reach of men. Pilate perhaps might have asked the question, “what is truth” in a mocking way; and in not staying to get an answer he indicated that he either despaired of getting a satisfactory one, or that he was indifferent about it. Nevertheless all truth in heaven and on earth was standing before him and he did not know Him.

To know Christ, the living Word of God, is to know truth, for Christ is the embodiment of all truth (John 1:14). Like Pilate, most of mankind had lost sight of truth and Jesus came that He might restore truth and righteousness in the earth. Apart from truth man cannot be in right standing with God, therefore man must seek to know God’s truth.

The word truth is defined as a statement or an act that conforms to fact or actuality. Fact is exact and cannot be altered; thus fact has no variation; and truth conforms to fact, and it too, to remain truth, cannot be in part, vary or be altered. Fact and/or truth are the standard by which all else is measured. To make a statement or to do an act that adds to, takes from or omits the facts is a distortion, a variation and a misstatement that does not represent and uphold the facts; thus it is not truth.

Truth establishes trust. Trust is defined as confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability and justice of a person or institution. If a person or institution is to be trusted they must be known for speaking and abiding in the truth. It is the element of trust in truth that has the power to transform the lives of men.

The Apostle Paul writes,

“I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”

(1st Timothy 3:15ff)

God’s word---His truth, is His expressed power and authority; therefore the power and authority of the Church is God’s truth. His truth has the power to deliver the souls of men from the prison of darkness---the dungeon of death, and to bring them into the kingdom of light and eternal life. I fear that in the these modern times ungodly men have crept in preaching a different “Jesus” than the One who suffered and died to redeem the souls of men---a different One than the Apostle Paul preached; and as the serpent deceived Eve they have led God’s children astray (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). Myths, fantasy, fiction, fables, lies, the practice of observing pagan holidays, rituals, idolatry, immorality, traditions of men and things like these---these have NO saving power---they are the opposite---they are of the kingdom of darkness. These have no place in the church of the living God; for the true Church is Christ body in the earth today, the embodiment of truth.

“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you, but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

(1st John 2:26-27 NASU)

If indeed you have come to know the Son of the Living God stir up the gift of the Spirit that is within you. You are without excuse for you have the power within you to know, understand and walk in love and truth. To be a member of the body of Christ, the Church, one must be faithful to seek to know and be obedient to---and faithfully speak the truth. Keeping God’s truth is a key element of divine love. One who knows God’s love has and is obedient to His truth.

“And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him; the one who says he abides in Him ought himself walk in the same manner as He walked.”

(1st John 2:3-6)

When trials or tribulations come to the true believers, they stand because their foundation is laid by the word of their Lord. They know the truth and do not profane or pollute the name of their Lord with the lies of paganism.

“‘As for you, O house of Israel’ thus says the Lord God, 'Go serve everyone his idols, but later, you will surely listen to Me, and My holy name you will profane (pollute) no longer with your gifts and with your idols’.”

(Ezekiel 20:39 NASU)

God’s people of faith are members of the true Church that will endure (James 1:2-4).

  • They refuse to bow to heathen gods even though they may go to the fiery furnace (Daniel chapter 3) or to the lions den (Daniel chapter 6).

  • They will not take the “mark of the beast” (Revelation 13:14-18; 14:9-12) because they love not their life “even unto death” (Revelation 12:11).

  • They bear the fruit of righteousness (Philippians 3:8-9) and present their bodies a living and holy sacrifice (1st Peter 1:13-21) acceptable to the service of God, not being conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2), but being transformed to the image of their Lord (Galatians 2:20; 5:22-23)

  • When the “tares” (the children of lies) are removed, the “wheat” (the children of truth) will be gathered into the barn” (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43).

“O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill, and to Your dwelling places. Selah.”

(Psalm 43:3)

James C Sanford

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Christian Conduct

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there are many in the world that is lost and dying because they do not know our Lord and Savior. We as children of God should always lift up our Lord’s name and present to the world His great plan of salvation. Older and more mature believers should always endeavor to teach the younger Christians as well, and set an example before them of proper Christian conduct; but I have observed that many who call themselves Christians act just like the unbelievers; they do not set themselves apart from the worldly.

As a pastor and teacher of the word of God I am held responsible and accountable for the things I teach and the manner in which I conduct myself. Our Creator holds you, as a believer, responsible for how you hear the word of God and how you conduct yourself as well. It is our privilege and responsibility to rightly represent our Lord and Savior---for we are His ambassadors.

In the Epistle to the Galatians we find these words.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
(Galatians 5:22-23 NASU)

If indeed we have believed, repented and been baptized in the name of our Lord we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). And if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us then we also have the fruit of the Spirit. These fruits are then manifested in our daily lives unless we quince the Spirit by unholy conduct. These fruits of the Spirit are evidence of God in our lives and present us in His image.

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
(Galatians 5:24 NASU)

According to the above Scripture we should not be able to walk in unholy conduct because these deeds of the flesh have been crucified with Christ. And if we have been crucified with Christ we are also buried with Him. And if we are buried with Him then we are also raised up with Him a new creature “the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2nd Corinthians 5:13 NASU);” we have been “born again” to live and walk by the leadership and power of the Spirit dwelling within us.


“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”
(Galatians 5:25-26 NASU)

When one has been born again he has been raised from the dead and he no longer wears the cloths of the dead. He receives unto himself the robe of righteousness from his Lord Jesus; this is the robe of the living. He undergoes an inward change that is manifested outwardly by the love for His Savior that has been given to him by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). His conduct is that of a saint. He walks as a disciple in reverent awe of His Lord

Concerning conduct the Apostle Peter writes,

“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.”
(1st Peter 1:17 NASU)

If you have been reconciled to the Father through His Son “then conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;” for the One you address as Father is also “the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work.” Conduct yourselves in respect and reverent awe of our all-powerful Creator, the one who is able to save your soul or destroy it in hell (Matthew 10:28).

The Apostle Paul speaks of conduct in this manner,

“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”
(Ephesians 4:17-19 NASU)

You are called to holiness; the unbelievers have no such calling; do not live according to their chosen lifestyle. You are to be set apart from the ungodly and live according to the righteousness you have been called into by grace through faith.

The children of the world, because of their unbelief, have been darkened in their understanding and often mock the things you should cherish as a believer. They have been “excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them.” But you are not excluded if you hold fast the things you have learned of the Lord, if indeed you have been taught of Him. But they hold fast to the sin that is in the world “because of the hardness of their heart.”

Like hands that have become callous from hard labor and no longer have a sense of feeling so are the hearts of the sinners. Their souls have labored in sin so long that they have become callous and have lost all sense of tenderness, love and mercy. But beware; if you walk as the unbelievers walk your heart can become callous also!!

“But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
(Ephesians 4:20-24 NASU)

If we have become Disciples of Christ it means that we are being trained in the ways of righteousness and because of practice are able to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). We no longer walk the paths of the sinners. We cease to indulge in sexual immorality (fornication), divorce, adultery, thief, murder and etc.

The Spirit renews the true disciples mind and the new self is put on in the likeness of Christ who is in the image of God the Father.

“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
(Ephesians 4:25-29 NASU)

It is the work of the Spirit in the believers life bringing about the change, it is not just a reformation brought about by self. Such work of ones self would be the work of the flesh and would not endure, it would soon fail and pass away.

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
(Ephesians 4:30 NASU)

Disregarding the guidance of the Holy Spirit grieves Him; we should listen and take heed to His teachings for that is our guidance into the will of the Father.

“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)

Love is not offended; if we have love, then bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander cannot abide in us, neither can malice. Kindness, tender-heartedness and forgiveness is the nature of love.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children”
(Ephesians 5:1 NASU).”

Let our conduct be like that of our Lord; by knowledge acquired of the Holy Spirit (1st Corinthians 2:10-13) and observing Him through the eyes of the same Spirit we must imitate Him in all our actions, words, spirit, and inclinations; imitate Him as children do their parents, and remember that we stand in the relation of beloved children to Him. It is natural for children to imitate their parents; it is their constant aim to learn of them, and to copy them in all things; whatever they see the parent do, whatever they hear them speak, that they endeavor to copy and imitate. If therefore we be children of God, we must, by the power of the Holy Spirit, show this love to our heavenly Father, and imitate all His moral perfections, and through the same Spirit “put on the mind” of our Lord and Savior.

“and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
(Ephesians 5:2 NASU)

A true disciple of Christ should let every act of life be dictated by love to God and man; laying down his/her lives for their fellow man if necessary; counting nothing too difficult to be done in order to gain their eternal salvation; this is not a suggestion or an option but a command from our Lord (John 13:34-35).

“But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
(Ephesians 5:4-5 NASU)

Let it be understood: Heaven will be pure!!! Thus NO impure person will dwell there.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
(Ephesians 5:6 NASU)

Let no one by eloquent speech and artful pleas (ear tickling) persuade you that; there will be no danger from practicing worldliness. We may suppose that one would be under strong temptations to mingle in the “happy” and “festive” scenes where acts of the “sinful human nature” are not frowned upon, or where they are practiced; or that a person might be tempted to commit these acts of sin by some of the plausible arguments such as “we are only human” which are now used for their own indulgence. Many of our friends may walk in these circles; and they would endeavor to convince others that such were the customs that had been long practiced, and that there could be no harm still in their indulgence “since everybody is doing it.”

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
(Galatians 6:7-8 NASU)
“Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.”

For this reason it says,
‘Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you’.”

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

(Ephesians 5:7-17 NASU)

James C Sanford