In Matthew 16:13 Jesus asks his disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, 'Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets." Then Jesus asks again, "But whom say ye that I am?" Now here comes the great confesson of Peter when he says, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Now this does not mean that Jesus was going to build his church on the man Peter. Peter in the Greek is Petros and it means, " a fragment of a rock", the word Peter in the Aramaic is Kephas and again it means the same thing. When Jesus says "upon this "rock" I will build my church he does not use the word Petros but rather "Petra" which means "an immovable stone" Christ himself, the only foundation of the Church. ( I Cor. 3:11; Isa. 28:16; Ps. 118:22)
Then Jesus tells Peter he will give him the "keys of the kingdom of heaven..." I have wondered for a long time what these Keys would be. Keys are a symbol of authority and here it make sense that the keys represent authority and power to do the works of Christ. (Matt. 18: 18-20) You have heard the phrase "knowledge is power" well I am going to take the word KINGDOM and use it to describe seven keys of the kingdom of heaven. There may be more, there may be less; but let this message be the beginning as we consider just what the keys of the kingdom of heaven really are.
I. The Knowledge of God
II. The Incarnation of Christ
III, The New Nature
IV, The Grace of God
V. The Discernment of the Holy Spirit
VI. The Overcomer comes from Obedience
VII. The Miracles are important in Scripture and why.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
First of all we would know nothing about God unless God took the initiative to reveal himself to the human race. The Bible with it's Old and New Testaments is the record of God's revelation to mankind. Consider what we learn about the Nature of God from verses such as these which follow:
God is a Spirit John 4:24
There is only One God Duet. 6:4; Isa.43:3; 43:11; 43:15; 44:6; 44:24; 45:5;
Isa. 45:12; 45:22; 46:9 I Tim. 2:5-6.
God is Personal in Relationship John 17: 1-3
The Reality of the Triune God 2 Cor. 13:14; Gen. 1:26
God is Infinite I Kings 8:27
God is Eternal Isa. 57:15
God is All Powerful Jer. 32:17-27; Col. 1:12-19; Heb.1:2; Eph. 1:17-23; Rev.1:8;
God is Ever Present Ps. 139:7-12
God is All Knowing I John 3:20
God has Foreknowledge Isa. 48: 3-5; Rom. 8:29
God is Wise Acts 15:18
God is our Savior Matt. 1:21-23; John 3:16; Acts 4:12
THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST:
This must be one of the keys of the Kingdom because all of Christianity centers around Christ Jesus our Lord. Even the Old Testament centers around Christ with over 300 prophecies foretelling his birth, his life, his death on the cross, and his resurrection. Matthew 1:21- 23 reads: "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." ( Quoting Isaiah 7:14) Centuries before Christ Isaiah wrote, " For unto us a child is born, unto us a son in given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isa.9:6 The prophet went on to write of the coming Messiah, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Isa. 53:5
The Atonement was not only foreseen by God at Jehovah-jireh (Gen.22) and at the Garden of Eden (Gen.3:15) but in the mind of God when He first thought of the human race. Ps. 139:13-14 God saw each one of us. God's love toward the human race is perfect. So it stands to reason that Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friend." John 5:12
It goes along with what Jesus said to his disciples at the Last Supper. "Take eat; this is my body"....and after giving them the cup and telling them to drink all of it he said, "For this is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matt. 26:26-28
When a person reads John 3 or Romans 5 we come to realize the love of God for the human race started when he had the first thought concerning us. ( I know if God has the power of foreknowledge when did he have that first thought about us? You will have to ask him that question when you meet him.)
If sin and disobedience would be our choice, God would match it with his Grace. "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Rom. 5:20
We are to hold and keep these keys sharing the knowledge with the next generation by loving as Jesus loved. Only Christ can make atonement, however Jesus said in John 15:12 "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." Consider these verses and see the love of God in these teachings, that we are to love others as Jesus loved and as He loves us even now. ( Matt. 10:39; Matt. 5:11-12; 40-48; Luke 6:27-38; John 3:16
THE NEW NATURE
I believe the best way to explain this new nature we can have in Jesus Christ is simple to allow God's word to speak to our hearts, " But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:8-12
This "one man " spoken of is Adam himself and when Adam sinned by disobeying God's word, sin entered into the world and upon the whole of the human race. However, just as that happened the gift of righteousness can pass upon those who receive God's grace through one man, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul goes on to write in Romans 5:17, " For if by on man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
So this sinful nature we have received from Adam can be replace by a new nature received from Jesus Christ. Where one nature brought us into sin and death the new nature through Jesus Christ brings us into righteousness and eternal life. "That sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:21
Read chapter six of Romans and you will see that where once we served sin habitually we can now by God's help and grace develop new habits that will make us slaves to righteousness. We can experience a whole new nature available to us through the atoning work that Jesus Christ did when he died on the cross.
But this brings us to the next Key of the Kingdom which is the Grace of God.
THE GRACE OF GOD
We learn from the time we are knee high the words of Eph. 2:8-9 "For by grace we are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works lest any man should boast." Many people interpret this to mean that there is nothing we do ourselves, salvation is complete up to God and we have absolutely no part in it. Even to say, we have not choice in the matter. The phrase, "Salvation by grace and grace alone." must be examined closer in order to align with the Bible. John 3:16 another verse we learn when we are knee high says very clearly, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The words "whosoever believeth" make it clear that the whosoever makes a choice to accept him and believe in Jesus Christ to make atonement for our sins. The Apostle Paul writes: " But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." Gal. 2:20
Again listen to the words of the Apostle John in the first chapter of his Gospel: " But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." To receive something implies a choice, to believe on or in someone again strongly implies we have a choice in the matter of our salvation. Conversely, if we did not believe, or did not receive we would not experience the benefits of have done so. John 3:19 makes this clear, " He that believeth on him is not condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
There are some that believe that at the Fall of Man, back when Adam and Eve sinned, the human race was totally deprived and could not in any way respond to God. To these people the word "grace" means that God must choose who is saved and who is not.
I believe as many others do, that at the Fall of Man, the human race sinned and fell into disobedience, however, we still had the power to choose to disobey or to obey the will and word of God. God in and by his Grace gave us the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and our Redeemer. Just like Cain and Abel had a choice to obey or disobey God, they each decided for themselves to place the blood of an innocent lamb on the altar of their sacrifice. Abel obeyed God and Cain as we know did not. (Gen. 4:1-16)
We just like Cain and Abel have that same ability to obey or disobey the will of God. To choose or reject Jesus as our Savior.
I am going to take the word FREEDOM and use it to make seven points. Seven thoughts that we should always remember. 1. The Father's of Freedom
2. The Roots of Freedom
3. The Evident Truth of Freedom
4. The Esteem of Freedom
5. The Dream of Freedom
6. The Opponents of Freedom
7. The Maintenance of Freedom
THE FATHER'S OF FREEDOM
The ideas that people were "created equal" and that we were born with "certain unalienable rights" and that government should exist "by the consent of the governed." were very old ideas. With the influence of two Presbyterian ministers, Samuel Rutherford and John Witherspoon along with John Locke, the Bible became the basis for American Law and Government. Rutherford wrote, "The Law and the Prince" in 1644 teaching that the foundation of the concept of Law must be the Word of God, rather than the word of any man. Thus, government should be based on the Word of God also.
These men challenged the 17th century political foundation known as the Divine Right of Kings. No man had the right to own another human being, and that "Law" as a concept came from God himself. William Blackstone another influence on our American freedoms, taught that it was "self-evident" that God is the source of all Law, be it found in Scripture or observed in Nature. Blackstone's influence is clearly expressed in our Declaration of Independence as the Colonists argued that it is, "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" that gave us the right to independence.
Jefferson's words call us to consider those values we must never compromise, those values we must never allow to be taken from our children or our children's children. Jefferson called us to values worth living for, so much so that many have considered those values worth dying for. And so we honor those who loved freedom enough to give their lives for it. Jefferson said, "My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy." John Quincy Adams said, "Posterity, You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."
THE ROOTS OF FREEDOM
So the Roots of freedom reach down into the thoughts and ideas of the Reformation. The roots of Freedom pull the life giving substance of truth from the Bible, God's word. Like great trees on the banks of a river draw the water in order to live; so the roots of freedom had to reach down until they found the "truth". The roots of freedom found the truth to be the person of Jesus Christ the Lord. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father but by me." John 14:6
THE EVIDENT TRUTH OF FREEDOM
Samuel Rutherford taught in "The Law and the Prince" that "all men are created equal." That God's purpose was to create us as free people. God created us with a free moral choice, a basic right to choose. These rights which we believe are given by our creator are unalienable rights. I like the word because I can understand it when I break it down. Un- a- lien- able rights. Rights which no one can place a lien against. No king, no landlord, no government, no church, no one can place a lien against what God has created and given us as basic rights. Rights such as the freedom of thought, the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, the freedom of religion, the freedom of self defense and the list goes on. These ideas come from our creator and His word, the Bible.
THE ESTEEM OF FREEDOM
The esteem or value we should place on freedom is reflected in the words of Thomas Payne in 1776.
"What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything it's value. Heaven knows how to put a price upon it's goods, and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."
These ideas of freedom challenged so much in society that it required a new design for government that would not only allow freedom, but this new design for government would have to promote it and protect it. And so we come to keeping this...
THE DREAM OF FREEDOM ...Alive!
The dream must never be cut off from the roots which draw from the truth. We pray "God bless America" and we sing the song. We must recognize that God has blessed America. He is still trying to bless America everyday. He is doing his part, but are we doing our part? Freedom has never been "doing what I want to do!" Freedom has always been doing what I should, what I ought to do. God wrote the definitions for those words and all that comes out of those words. So it is time, if we want success, if we want God's blessings, then we need to shape our dreams into what God can bless. We need to turn the phrase around, and say, "Bless God; America!" Make Him proud, and His blessing will once again be obvious to the world. Find a Godly Dream.
In his book, " Never Let Anyone Steal your Dream", Dexter Yager wrote, "Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal." Tie that Dream to your unalienable rights which are tied to the truth (which is more than a concept. TRUTH is a title for the person of Jesus Christ himself.) and God will help you, God will be able to pour out his blessings upon you.
THE OPPONENTS OF FREEDOM
To recognize that which stands against freedom you must first understand your "unalienable" rights. Those things given to you by God no one has the right to take away. But when the "State" or government gives us a "right" or permission to do something they demand a tax or require a license, and rightly so, they gave the privilege and they can take it away. These are called "civil rights" and the government wants you to think that is all you have. God has given us the important thing, He has given us freedom. If we loose it, it is because we have surrendered it.
"Render unto Ceaser what is Ceaser's, render unto God what is God's" (Matt. 22:21) We should never get these two mixed up! We as Christians in this nation have allowed the State into the Church House, and we wonder how come the Government has so much control. Jesus Christ in the Head of the Church and when we render unto the State what belongs only to God we will be held accountable.
"The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it. When we resist therefore the concentration of power, we are resisting the powers of death, because concentration of power is what always precedes the destruction of human liberties." Woodrow Wilson
THE MAINTENANCE OF FREEDOM
The maintenance of freedom implies that we must take responsibility for "we the people". Freedom is our responsibility not someone else's. The sins of this nation are our sins and we must turn away from them if we are to "Bless God". When we developed this nation we needed a system that would promote freedom, protect freedom, and maintain it. We came up with a Constitutional Republic supported by a free enterprise system. Because personal freedom and economic freedom can not be separated, they work together. We the people must find a way to support and participate in the system that promotes, protects and maintains our freedoms.
One of the things that has made America great is that it allows us ownership of property, ownership of business, and ownership of land. The government we designed is, " a government of the people, for the people, and by the people". However, when we the people cease to govern, when we forget the Dream, when we loose touch with the TRUTH we lose it all.
If we want to celebrate freedom and maintain it for our future generations, then I encourage all of us to investigate and cultivate a personal relationship with the TRUTH. The TRUTH being a title for Jesus Christ himself. (John 14:6) This relationship we have with Jesus Christ the LORD, personally and collectively as a nation is the only thing that will maintain freedom for future generations.
"Know the truth and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:36)
Sincerely, Keeping the Faith,
Rev. Wm. Thomas Howie
This month of October 2009 begins the distribution of the Swine Flu Shot in many places in America (which I believe is very dangerous to our health and we no more need it, than we need another hole in our head.) But America does need a "shot", we need a shot from heaven because we in America have been infected. We have gotten sick by believing in a "word" or diagnosis which is other than the "Word" of God.
America needs a good "Shot" of Stewardship or should I say a Shot of "Good Stewardship". Read Matthew 10:29-39 where Matthew tells us that God knows when even a sparrow falls to the ground, God knows the number of hairs on your head. God then tells us that we are more valuable than that fallen sparrow.
The very concept of stewardship establishes a value on everything in our lives. Stewardship is not just about money, finances or economics. Stewardship establishes some kind of value:
* on what we have
* on what we don't have
* on what we don't have that we think we should
* on what we need
* on what we think we need
* on what we can do without
* on what we think we can not do without
* on what we can give up
* on what we can give away
* on what we can create
* on what we protect and save
* on what we throw away, discard or delete
Imagine Jesus saying you are valuable and then using the word more along with valuable. God in Christ says You are valuable to Him.es It is the concept of our value in the mind of God that should help all of us establish where we place a "valuable" on the scale from 0 to infinity. whatever that valuable may be. (I found the thoughts on the concept of Stewardship in a notebook of mine, however I did not write down whose thoughts they were, so I can not properly give them the credit. If these were my thoughts then it was for sure a Holy Spirit downloaded moment.)
If God's opinion doesn't matter to you then you will find it difficult to place things in there proper place.
I see people all through-out this country from grass roots to Corperate levels, from local government to Washington D.C. finding it difficult to place things in there proper place of value. God himself establishes the value of everything in his creation. Again, what this country needs right now during this flu season is a good shot of Stewardship by God's definition.
When you vote this November and in November 2010 ask yourself if the person you are voting for understands Stewardship at all? What value would they place on "FREEDOM". Consider the words of Thomas Payne (1776) "What we obtain too cheaply we esteem to lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."
If you are going to allow someone else to tell you what to think, let that some One be God, for God alone has your best interests in mind. ( And find what he thinks only in God's Word, the Bible).
Sincerely, Keeping the Faith
Rev. Wm. Thomas Howie
This message goes out to all those who want to "finish strong". "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8
If you are longing for the Lord's return as I am, there are no doubt many things you want to accomplish for the kingdom of God before that day arrives. I want to "finish strong". They say there is only one thing you can take to heaven with you, and that is other people. I find myself doubting my abilities and confidence concerning the dreams and goals I believe God has given me.
The other day I opened an old journal that took me back several years. Reading my notes I came across the phrase. "Your Confidence will never rise above your Confession," Mike Woods. I was reminded that I must speak only what I want to happen (positive thoughts) and learn not to speak what I do not want to happen. I was reminded of the POWER OF THE SPOKEN WORD. be it good or bad.
Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he..." Thoughts are like seeds. What seeds are in the soil, thoughts are in the mind. They grow, they bear fruit and go to seed. When thoughts are cultivated they become words. When words are repeated long enough they become actions. Actions practiced long enough become circumstances in our lives. You could say the circumstances in our lives, for the most part, are from our own making.
So if there are things in our lives we would like to change or improve we must start with our thoughts. Then we must begin to speak where we want to go and where we want to be in life. For the most part, this is how our lives work, how they unfold from year to year, decade to decade. I have worked many years with the Department of Corrections in several states and I have found young people who are the reflection of their own thoughts, words and actions. And yet they wonder why their lives were in such a mess. Well, the same goes for all of us, our outward experience reflects the inward thoughtful origins of most all our circumstances.
We read of the power words have in Prov. 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof..." We are told in Matthew 12:36 that we will give an account for every idle word we have spoken. When God speaks he does not waste his words, he says in Matthew 24:35. "my words shall not pass way..." Again we read of the power of God's spoken word in Hebrews 1:1-3, "God upholds all things by the word of his power..." Even science can not explain what holds the smallest known particles together, but the theologian reminds us that it is held together by the power of the spoken word of God.
When you read the creation story in Genesis 1:3 for example it says, "And God said, let there be light and there was light." God spoke all things into existence. The Bible says we are created in the image of God, Gen.1:26. He gave us the power to choose, to think, to speak and to act. You could say God gave us the power to create.
But the devil was present in those early moments of our existence to whisper his words in our ears, words contrary to the word of God. He does the same to us today, and we need to decide whose word we are going to listen to, believe in, and repeat. Are we going to speak the devil's word or God's word, one will produce death and one will produce life.
Galatians 6:7-8 tells us, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." I must realize that my thoughts turned into words turned into actions have great power and influence in my life. My thoughts, words and actions have even more power when I come to know and accept (by my words) Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Jesus said, "And whatsoever ye ask in my name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." John14:13. Jesus goes on to say, "If ye ask anything in my name I will do it." John 14:14
We continue to read statements like, "...That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you." John 15:16 or as it reads in Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it shall be given you..." As I read these words I must decide whose word I am going to listen to, believe in, and repeat. Part of me wants to believe and speak what I read in God's word and yet there is a quiet whisper that says it is not true, it will not happen, just give up, you will not amount to anything for the kingdom of God. It is the devil speaking to me just as he did to Eve back in the Garden of Eden.
Remember my Confidence will never rise above my Confession, so I must choose wisely whose word I will listen to, believe in and eventually repeat from my own lips. Because what I speak becomes what I will act on. So I have decided to think on, speak out loud, and act on God's Word and no other. If my mouth speaks I want only to repeat God's Word into my life. Only then will I build my Confidence in the Lord. Only then will I be able to accomplish what I believe God has called me to before his return. Only then will I be able to truly finish strong.
My Confidence will never rise above my Confession
Therefore I confess; "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phil. 4:13
Therefore I confess; "God hath not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of sound mind. 2 Tim. 1:7
Therefore I confess; "My God shall supply all my need according to his riches in glory..." Phil.4:19
Therefore I confess; "God hath given to every man the measure of faith." Rom. 12:3
Therefore I confess; "Greater is he that is within me than he that is in the world." I John 4:4
Therefore I confess; "The Lord is the strength of my life." Ps. 27:1
Therefore I confess; "With his stripes I am healed." Isa.53:5
Therefore I confess; "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty ." 2 Cor. 3:17
Therefore I confess; "Casting all my cares upon him who careth for me." I Peter 5:7
Therefore I confess; "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."
Rom.8:1 " I am in Christ therefore I am free from condemnation."
If we want to receive the results promised in the Word of God, we must learn to listen to, believe in and speak out what the Word of God says.
Sincerely, Keeping the Faith
Rev. Wm. Thomas Howie
P.S. Great books to read on this subject are, The Tongue a Creative Force and What you say is what you get.
Recently I have been teaching a Bible Study on Prophecy. Specifically on the ministry of the two witnesses mentioned in the eleventh chapter of the Revelation. One question that came up was where the Bible indicates that Enoch was translated into heaven and therefore could be one of the two witnesses, the other of course being Elijah.
In Genesis 5:24 we read, "And Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him. Turning also to Hebrews 11:5 we read even more about Enoch. Many people refer to Hebrews 11 as the Bible's "Hall of Faith" because each one mentioned in this chapter is commended for their "faith". "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a re-warder of them that diligently seek him. "
What does it mean or what does it take to WALK WITH GOD?
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3
So, to walk with God first of all we must agree with God. Galatians 5:25 reads, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." One can not do so if your always arguing with and in disagreement with the Word of God. It should be easy to be in agreement with God's will once we understand that God would only move to protect us, love us, guard and keep us. God would never harm us or do something against our best interest. God wants only the best for us. "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good." Numbers 23:19
Being in agreement with God means that we must accept the way God views us. God looks at us through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Not only are we created in the image of God, we are "new creatures" having accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. (2 Cor. 5:17) We are "more that conquerors" through Christ.(Rom.8:37) We are delivered from the power of darkness. (Col.1:13) Romans 8:17 tells us that, "we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." But agreeing with what God says about us is only half of it. We must also disagree with the devil.
If we agree with God and what he says then we have much more than we think. We have the power and authority of the NAME of JESUS CHRIST available to us. We have a new nature available to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. We have the Love of God available to us and the Word of God as well.
I say available because we must take possession of these things. And we do so by the POWER OF THE SPOKEN WORD.
Joshua and Caleb believed God but the other 10 spies and the people of Israel believed not. (Num.13:1-33,14:6) So they did not receive the blessing of the Promised Land for another 40 years. (Instead they wandered in the wilderness until an unbelieving generation died off.) The people of Israel did not agree with God thus they were not allowed to walk with him, they wandered or walked alone.
If God says we have the ability to do something we should agree with Him. Phil.4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengths me."
When Jesus was tempted by the devil he used the written word of God (the Old Testament) to reply to the devil. "Jesus said unto him, It is written, 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." (Matt.4:7) Again in vs. 10 we read, "...for it is written,'Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." We need to use the same method to resist the devil if we truely want to WALK WITH GOD.
Romans 10:17 tells us that,"...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." We must also realize that the flip side of this principal is also true. Fear cometh by hearing, and hearing and believing the word of the devil. To develop faith we must agree with God's word. To get rid of fear we must disagree with what the devil would whisper in our ear.
A great book to read on this subject is: What you say is what you get! by Don Cossett. In the words of Don Cossett:
"We are who God says we are...
"We have what God says we have...and We can do what God says we can."
Sincerely, Keeping the Faith,
Rev. Wm. Thomas Howie
On the Sabbath:
Over the last three years we have spent more time understanding, "the Feasts of the Lord." Lev. 23:2-3 "...but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest..." seems to be the beginning of our CORE of the Feasts.
We are all in agreement that; "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" II Tim. 3:16
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. II Peter 1:20
We would all agree: That the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament. That the New Testament is founded on and grounded in the Old Testament.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Mt.5:17
The more I study the "Feasts of the Lord" (Note: they are called the Feasts of the Lord not the Jewish Feasts.) I am drawn to what seems to be a rythum, or a tunning if you can describe it that way. Like fine tuning an instrument.
It starts with Gen. 1:1-14 the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest. vs. 14 reads, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years."
When we started looking at and paying attention to the Blood Moons it was because they were taking place on the Feasts of the Lord. They were "SIGNS" set to happen since the beginning. "Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure."
Could it be? that God gave us a hint to how the end would be - or at least how long it would take? "My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." Gen. 6:3
I always thought this meant a man would only live 120 years however, men lived much longer for generations until Moses finally lives 120 years. And then there were others after Moses who lived even longer than he did.
Some believe that this scripture speaks to the whole race. That the days of Mankind would be numbered 120, or possibly a counting of 120 Jubilee Years (50). 120 x 50 + = 6000 years.
Peter quotes David in PS. 90:1-5 when he writes, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day." II Peter 3:8
Many believe this reflects the Creation week model. Six days of creation with 1 day of rest. 120 x 50 = 6000 years (or days) plus a 7th millennium of rest. ( or the Sabbath Day rest)
The first three feasts of the Lord were fulfilled at our Lord's first coming. The final four feasts of the Lord will be fulfilled at His Second Coming. Again all these things seem to be happening on or in the rythum of the sevens. Consider this, It has been 2000 years since Jesus Christ was crucified. He was in the tomb 2 days and upon the 3rd day he rose from the dead.
Two days or 2000 years and on the 3rd day or the 3rd millennium would be the Millinial Rest. "The Day of the Lord" is referred to as that 7th millennium when Christ will rule here on earth. It is also referred to as the Sabbath Day rest.
Read Hebrews 3:7-11 and again in Heb.4:3 "As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: (referring to God's wrath in the wilderness and many did not enter into the promised land.) Heb. 4:4-5 make the same connection that we read in II Peter 3:8 taking us back to the creation week model.
1000 years equals a day in the mind of God.
Could it be that somehow the one day the Lord named would also be part of His prophetic message or SIGNS?
What did Jesus teach concerning the Sabbath?
"Jesus said unto them, the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of man is LORD of the sabbath." (Mark 2:28) Later in Matthew 24:16-20 Jesus says,
"...but pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath..." If Jesus speaking here prophetically knows the future - is He saying He intends for the sabbath to still be observed?
Did Jesus ever institute a new day of worship like He did the bread and the fruit of the vine of Passover?
How important to God is the Sabbath? Consider Isa. 66:22-23
This word from the Lord through Isaiah implys that the
sabbath will continue to be holy before God forever.
So I thought we must find some biblical background for the day of worship being changed. I know I have always assumed that Acts 20: 6-7 was an example of the first century church making such a change. "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached
unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; ..." So I looked a bit closer at this verse. In the Greek "...mia ton sabbaton..." Mia means "one" and Protos means "first" but "protos" does not appear in this passage. Then I find out the word "day" does not even exist in the Greek. So clearly this verse has been mistranslated, it should read; "And upon one of the Sabbaths...." The people were simply gathering on the Sabbaths counting them down between the
Passover to Pentecost which is God's instruction. So Paul was actually keeping the sabbath not starting a new tradition.
Col. 2:16 has also been misunderstood! "...or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths..." many use this vs. as license to worship on whatever day they choose. However, Paul was simply
defending the feasts of the Lord and the worship on the sabbath against the teaching of the Gnostics. The Gnostics believed the material world to be evil, so they taught, "not to touch, not to taste, not to handle" certain things. Paul was actually encouraging the church to keep the sabbath and the feasts of the Lord in-spite of being ridiculed.
I can see that I have read to much into the phrase, "Upon the first day of the week..." Luke 24:1 and "...as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week..." Matt. 28:1 or when you read,
"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week..."
Mark 16:9. Or what John says in chapter 20:19, "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early - when it was still dark".
What happens when we read to much into something making it more than we should? A good idea can turn into a tradition that Jesus Christ did not approve of. Look what happened in Matt. 17:4
Peter, James and John witness the transfiguration - in vs. 4 Peter says, "...Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make three tabernacles one for thee and one for Moses and one for Elijah."
Seems like a good idea but it was not approved by Jesus himself.
Did we take the "first day of the week" and do something with it "according to the traditions of man"? That God did not approve of? Was it truly ordained as a new day of worship and was the Sabbath abolished by God? If so where in scripture do we fine it? I can't; I find only my assumption and the Catholic Church!
This really makes me angry, when I was baptized into Jesus Christ, I "renounced the Devil and all his ways." And on my assumption of the "first day of the week..." and my excuses for my habit of worship
I have sinned and lead people in the same for 37 years. Well as for me I repent. James 4:17 says, " To him that knoweth to do right and doeth it not to him it is sin."
So as your Pastor I am moving back under to protection of the Word of God, His Commandments, His Blessings, His Mercy, Forgiveness and
Promises. I hope you will join me here on the Sabbath next week.
May 2nd, here at 5:00 p.m.
Keeping the Faith
Rev. Wm.Thomas Howie
Read the next entry and find out what the Catholic Church teaches on this matter!
Quotations from their own theologians:
“Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did, happened in the First Century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. ‘The day of the Lord’ was chosen, not from any direction noted in the Scriptures, but from the (Catholic) Church’s sense of its own power ... People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become 7th Day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy.” St. Catherine Church Sentinel, Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995. “It was the Catholic church which...has transferred this rest to Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord. Therefore the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the (Catholic) church.” Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk About The Protestantism of Today, p. 213.
“It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church.” Priest Brady, in an address reported in The News, Elizabeth, New Jersey, March 18, 1903. “Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claim to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles ... From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.” Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August 1900. “For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible.” Catholic Virginian, October 3, 1947, p. 9, article “To Tell You the Truth.”
“Most Christians assume that Sunday is the biblically approved day of worship. The Catholic Church protests that it transferred Christian worship from the biblical Sabbath (Saturday) to Sunday, and that to try to argue that the change was made in the Bible is both dishonest and a denial of Catholic authority. If Protestantism wants to base its teachings only on the Bible, it should worship on Saturday.” Rome’s Challenge www.immaculateheart.com/maryonline Dec 2003
“Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the sabbatical observance of Sunday is known to have been ordained, is the sabbatical edict of Constantine, A.D. 321.” Chambers Encyclopedia, Article: “Sunday.” The following is what Constantine’s law required of the people... “Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines; lest the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by Heaven.” Translated from the original edict in Latin, now in Harvard College U.S.A. - Also in Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in Phillip Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380.
Not long after Constantine’s first Sunday Law of A.D. 321, the Roman church made it official church doctrine by declaring it was a ‘Jewish day’. This church doctrine demanded all Christians to break Commandment #4 by working on Sabbath. “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [in the original: sabbato, shall not be idle on the Sabbath], but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honor, and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out [anathema — excommunicated] from Christ.” Council of Laodicea, c. A.D. 337, Canon 29, quoted in C.J. Hefele’s A History of the Councils of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 316. - Also in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1899 Edition, Vol. XXIII, page 654
About now my blood was boiling and yours might be also, read these scriptures and here again what the WORD of the LORD has to say:
Mark 7:6-9 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.’” 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” 9 And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! And verse 13... Mark 7:13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
Exodus 31:13 “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. “...This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come,”
Ezekiel 20:20 Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.”
"So let it be said, So let it be done."
After reading the platforms for both the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party I have come to a conclusion:
I registered recently as a Republican so I could support the campaign of Ron Paul who was running for the Republican nomination for President. We now know the powers that be would not allow his message to be heard by major media and yet there he was at the RNC in spite of all the media's attempts to take him out of the race.
His final goal was to infiltrate and influence the Republican Party once again to the degree that the Grand Ol' Party would regain some resemblance of it's former glory. I think he accomplished that goal. He may stick with that goal through to the end of this election. For myself I can not.
After doing my research on Romney's voting record and watching him flip flop on his ideas and opinions through the years it became obvious to me that he will say what he thinks will get him elected at the time and then just change his mind afterwards. I can not nor will I vote for a man whose character is so lacking.
The race between Obama and Romney is like watching two campaign buses in a photo-finish headed over the same cliff. Two buses both beautifully designed with artistic campaign slogans speeding for the edge of the cliff and the only way to tell who goes over the edge first is to watch the "instant replay" to see Obama's bus inches ahead of the Romney bus.
So here I am writting my thoughts trying to gain some clarity on who I should vote for in November. I have prayed earnestly for guidance. I have studied the platforms of the parties except for the Democratic Party which made it clear at the DNC they wanted no part of God.
The Libertarian Party is careful to not mention God so as not to force their morals on anyone. So the use of words like inherent rights rather than unalienable or God given rights, or phrases like natural law were used. On the other hand the Constitution Party mentions God or Unalienable Rights in almost every plank and it is a long read for sure.
And then it came to me, that is why I was so comfortable reading the CP's platform, I found God there in the thoughts and words of this Party, not a freedom from religion but a freedom for religion. I found the words of John Adams our second President and signer of the Declaration of Independence: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
Some do not like the CP because it mentions God and has so many Biblical references such as on the subjects of marriage and abortion. Those critics would say the CP imposes their morality on others and we are supposed to be a 'free" society.
So how then or why then did our founding fathers find themselves comfortable with the language they used because it was intentional. Were they unwise, were the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution flawed because they mentioned the Creator and certain unalienable rights?
On the contrary, I believe they were guided by God's hand as they carefully chose their wording and recognized the Creator and appealed to him for help. John Adams was right, our founding fathers were convinced that man could not be the author of "law" because they believed mankind is in a fallen state and therefore could not be his own lawgiver and judge.
Ultimately it is God who is the author of the concepts of law, ought and should. Our founding fathers knew the law could not be simply what a judge or a leader says it is. It is what God says it is!
Freedom is not doing what we want! freedom is doing what we ought or should and the definitions of those words must originate in the mind of the only true Law-giver God himself. So while our founding father's refrained from mentioning Christianity in the Constitution they did not refrain from discussing God, our Creator and Biblical principles in forming their conclusions. That is why I was so comfortable reading the wording in the CP's platform and by the same token so uncomfortable reading the Libertarian Party platform.
So the critics accuse the CP for impossing their morals on the rest of "We the people". But consider how accepting a broader definition of marriage for example is not imposing a morality or lack of morality on the rest of the nation? Again hear John Adams, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." R.J. Rushdoony in his book The Nature of the American System wrote; "The Constitution was designed to perpetuate a Christian order."
So while the Libitarian Party in the name of Liberty basicly says, man can do what is right in their own eys and invites those people of faith (whatever religion that may be) to join them, expect us to believe they can govern without God or the recognition of him as the true and only law giver, and not impose their morality or lack of it on the rest of us. I guess I'm smarter than I look.
I am comfortable recognizing God as the law giver, accepting the 1st Amendment was freedom for religion not freedom from religion, and invite people of other faiths or no faith at all to join the CP's platform than the other way around.
Secular humanists would like us to believe that they are broad-minded and neutral in moral matters. The media has been successful in convincing the American public to believe that it is the so-called right winged religious fanatics who are impossing our morality on society. I challenge you to consider that all laws are an imposition of someone's morality which makes the statement "You can not legislate morality" an absurd concept.
The CP is not changing the words of the Constitution by understanding the minds of and the intent of the authors. Discussing the Creator and the Word of God or even Jesus Christ in the platform is no different than the founders discussing the same before they wrote the Constitution. But to take all discussion of the Creator,the law-giver out of the wording of the platform is, in my opinion, to write God out from under the foundation of the Constitution - imposing a lack of morality all the way because of a "phobia" toward God.
With this logic comes, "Whatever is legal is moral" (And every man did what was right in their own eyes) Law can not be allowed to become what the majority wants, or what the judges say it is. Thats how Roe vs. Wade came into being and over 50 million babies have now been murdered and we are told that this is acceptable? This is why I became increasingly uncomfortable reading the libitarian Party's platform.
No law is neutral. Every law imposes some form of morality on the people. Abortionists impose their morality on the unborn. Homosexuals insist their views be taught in public schools. Atheists want religious influence excluded from society.
Some say we should not impose our values on others in a free society. OK, how long will that work? Try this on for size...
" I personally would never gas a Jew, but I have no right to impose my moral judgment on the Nazis...I don't think the courts have the right to reach into someone's private gas chamber and legislate morality." (The Rebirth of America, pg. 84)
Here is my question between voting as a CP or a LP. The question is not whether the public will allow religion to "impose" it's morality on America. Morality will be imposed. The real question is: Whose morality will be legislated? (The Rebirth of America, pg. 84)
I as a Christian am more comfortable with the CP's platform than the LP's platform. John Adams was right - I do not believe the constitution can be maintained by a people who define Liberty as doing whatever I want in my own eyes. Without recognizing God as the author of the concepts of LAW - OUGHT- and SHOULD.
I will vote as if God is watching me, because he is and I want him to know that I am looking for him, and that I recognize the blessings, provisions, protections and freedoms we have come from him.
Hear the echo of a voice from our distant past: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever." Thomas Jefferson
Sincerely Keeping the Faith
Rev. Wm. Thomas Howie
Eventually, as the actions of a government become more and more evil, the cause of resistance toward that government become more and more righteous.
Question: To whom is Romans 13 written to? "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers..."
So this is a universal command to all humanity. Regardless of ones status in life - regardless of faith, a believer or non-believer. "EVERY SOUL" is subject.
Is it the strength of the higher power that demands our submission? No! Consider why we submit to God's POWER which is the HIGHEST POWER because God himself is the MOST HIGH. Do we submit to God because He is so powerful? No! Read II Cor.7:3 "The people of Israel bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever." So it is God's power combined with his Goodness, Wisdom, Mercy and basically all of the qualities of his nature and character that calls us to submit to Him.
And then God does not force us to submit - He gives us the freedom of choice. Likewise we should not submit to a government just because it is powerful. If a power is ordained by God and continues to have God's characteristics then we are safe to submit to it. But if it has lost the characteristics of God then we are not obligated to submit.
Sometimes to see something more clearly we have to contrast it. So we place diamonds on a black background to see their clarity or light. OK, Lets do the same thing here: Romans 13:1 "...for there is no power but of God" So all power is/was created by God - we would all agree, at least if you believe in a creator God. This would include the power of the animal kingdom, the power of the angels, the power of the plants, trees, etc., the power of the sun, the wind, the waves, all power. Just because God is the source of all power doesn't mean that God ordains all the actions which use those powers.
Take fire for example: A very powerful thing created by God. But when a person uses the power to burn down his neighbors house he does not have God's approval just because God created fire.
In the same way, just because God created law and governments does not mean that we must submit to all governments when they mis-use the power for evil purposes. No, we are called to Resist and not Submit.
Another contrast: God created the Angels very powerful beings. He created Lucifer. So in the beginning Lucifer's power was ordained by God. Romans 13:1 "...the powers that be are ordained by God." However, just because God created Lucifer does not mean that we should submit to him after iniquity was found in him. Even Jesus did not submit to Lucifer who fell and became Satan. Jesus resisted Satan's authority and he calls us to do the same. Matt.4:1-11 "Get thee hence Satan: for it is written..."
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you..." James 4:7-8
Romans 13:2 "Whosoever resists the power resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Just because God created Satan's power does not mean that we are to submit to the mis-use of that power after Satan fell. (Isa.14:12-14)
No, we are to resist the mis-use of God's ordained power. We are to use the powers that God created and gave to us for His honor, His glory, and for our good which He intended. If submission should be given to the most powerful magistrate just because he is the strongest. Then Satan who is referred to as a magistrate in Eph.2:2 would be owed all honor, tribute, custom, and submission as "a power that be" on earth.
When the power that God created is corrupted we are not longer obligated to follow that power and are called to Resist it - just as we are called to Resist the devil's authority even as Jesus did.
Governments are also given by God for the good of mankind. But governments are in a "fallen state" as all of us are. So when a government corrupts God's power to the point that we can not follow it or practice God's laws that He gave us then we must resist that government's mis-use of power! God the Most High creates and establishes power - or delegates that power, but these powers are not the highest of the Most High.
Judges 6:1 Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord... God allowed Midian to conquer Israel. vs. 6 "and the children of Israel cried unto the Lord."
vs.11 "An angel appears to Gideon and leads him to conquer Midian and their Kings. And you know the rest of the story. He conquers with only 300 men so the glory would go to God.
The principle of limited government is the foundation of Western political philosophy. "Human laws are only valid and good in so far as they conform to His (God's) law. explaining and applying it: they are bad whenever they contradict or disregard it" (Romans 13; The True Meaning of Submission, by Timothy Baldwin and Chuck Baldwin.)
I love the story of Gideon but watch what happens after he wins the battle against Midean. The people of Israel call on him to rule them and they want his son to rule after him, even to the next generation. Gideon says no! neither does he allow his son to rule over them. He says,"The Lord shall rule over you."
Gideon understood this limited government by remaining a servant of the people while recognizing God's authority over him and all of Israel. Submitting to God and serving the people. The Bible says Israel was quiet for 40 years under his leadership. Now there's a clue.
Keeping the Faith,
Rev. Wm. Thomas Howie
Timothy Baldwin in his book ROMANS 13; THE TRUE MEANING OF SUBMISSION co-authored by his father Chuck Baldwin writes, "Scripture reveals, government must protect the innocent, protect freedom and rights, provide justice, give fair trials to all accused, provide expeditious due process of law and fair judgement, punish evil and protect state borders, because God is the Judge of all and only His standards are ordained." (page 31) Timothy Baldwin lists in his book 27 scripture verses which he uses to back up his statement. I encourage people to purchase his book as one of the best resources a person can have on Romans chapter 13.
We read about the story of King Saul in I Sam.15:22-23. "...for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
Law or the standard of justice is defined by praising good and punishing evil. When applied in a society it results in peace, security and happiness.
Romans 13 is a description of what a good; God ordained government would look like and how one would relate to such an administration. Romans 13:3-7 describes the function or purpose of the higher powers which is to impart justice. In I Kings 10:9 we read an example of why God would set up a King. "Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel forever, therefore made he thee, King, to do judgment and justice."
If a higher power fails to administer this purpose of justice it undermines God's ordination and steps out from under God's authority. Authority in line with God's ordained purpose will be a "terror...to the evil." works Rom. 13:3 But to terrorize "good works" is to be in rebellion against God's ordained purpose for that power.
If Romans 13 requires every soul to be in absolute submission to higher powers that are evil and out of alignment with God's justice then God would have to forsake his own standards of righteousness. If God were to ordain actions which He condemns other places in His word, God would violate His covenant, sanctioning on one hand what He has condemned on the other.
To say that Romans 13 calls us to submit to evil governments would require one to accept two views of justice or righteousness that are at war with each other. Such an idea is unacceptable to a true christian who has one master, Jesus Christ. If God is ordaining evil governments how can we be called by Paul to pray for our leaders as he instructs Timothy to do in I Timothy 2:1-3? It would be absurd and make God double minded.
Jesus tells us to "beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Matt. 7:15-20
To be a true prophet of God means that prophet or minister has works that honor and glorify God - good fruit. In other words a true prophet of God or true servant of God is identified as such by his/her works or fruit, not just by the title. A minister of government is only a servant of God by the same qualifications - to be known by their fruits or works, do they honor and glorify the LORD. A minister of government who is a true servant of God will be in line with God's will, in line with God's justice and righteousness. So we know a good governor the same way we know or identify a false prophet, by their fruits. Should we follow a false prophet? of course not - thus we have the warning from Jesus Christ himself.
Jesus calls those who would follow him to follow his example: "...whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Mark 10:43-45
Those who would follow Jesus Christ from what ever walk of life they come from will reflect his servant's heart. If they are in government they will truly serve the people. If they are leadership in buisness they will truly serve the people who work for them and their customers. If they are leadership in the body of Christ they will truly serve the church.
So here is a question: Why did God tell Joseph to take Mary and the Christ child and flee to Egypt? If we are to unconditionally submit to the higher powers? (Matt. 2:19-20) Was Moses' mother wrong when she disobeyed Pharaoh and saved her son's life? (Ex.1) This interpretation of Romans 13 which calls for unconditional submission, can not have it both ways.
Being a lawyer as Timothy Baldwin is he recognized some things that other would not. He came to realize when God says, "be subject unto" there are limitations on that submission, and there are limits on the authority. Consider "be subject..."
"...one to another " Eph. 5:21
"...man to God" James 4:7
"...wives to husbands" Eph. 5:22-24
"...church members to pastors" I Cor.16:16
"...servants to masters" I Peter 2:18
"...younger to older" I Peter 5:5
"...children to parents Luke 2:51
These are all examples of 'higher powers" but what should one do when the higher power steps outside of what God has ordained? What about the wife who is beaten by her husband? The Pastor who mis-uses the respect of his/her position and takes advantage of those who "follow"? What about the employer who basically steals from the employees or the one who runs the "sweat shop". What about the parent who molests the child? This teaching that we should always and unconditionally submit to the "higher powers" comes from that same "Spirit" driving the parent to abuse, the pastor to adultery, the husband to beat and mistreat his wife, and one man to take another man's property or even his life. The idea that we should submit to a government no matter how evil and contrary to God's laws is a false teaching right straight from Hell.
So how do we know when to resist? "Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God" Thomas Jefferson.
Turn it around: Obedience to God will always resist tyranny. So when your obedience to God requires you resist the higher power you are doing God's will.
Keeping the Faith,
Rev. Wm. Thomas Howie
I’m going to return to Romans 13 for this entry. We need to look at a few more very important scriptures.
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12
Solomon wrote; “Let us hear the conclusion to the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
The first half of the Ten Commandments is about our relationship with God the last half of the Ten Commandments concern our relationship with each other.
“Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”. Matt. 22:39
So we are to love our neighbor as we would ourselves, If we are to protect our family and defend ourselves we are to do the same for our neighbor. Jesus tells a parable in Luke 12:39 which implies that the Goodman of the house would defend himself and family from the harm of a thief. That same love would do the same to defend ones neighbor.
Jesus applies this parable both physically and spiritually. The spiritual application would not work if the physical application was not true.
We need to look behind the Ten Commandments, for example; there would be no stealing if there were no right to private property. “Thou shalt not murder” implies a right to life. “Thou shalt not covet implies we have the right to be secure in our person and our property. But it is not enough that a person not kill his neighbor, steal from someone, covet his neighbor’s possessions or lie or bear false witness against someone. To confirm to God’s laws of love towards one’s neighbor more is required, more than refraining from doing bad, we need to do good to our neighbor.
Jesus summarized the law: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matt 7:12
So to submit to a government that would harm me or my neighbor is to go against God’s commandments. How can we give tribute to a government that would harm the innocent – that very neighbor that God has commanded me to love as I would myself?
But what about those who are out to harm us intentionally? What about our enemies? Matt. 5:39-41 “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if a man takes thy coat let him take thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two.” Note: Matthew did not write if a man takes your coat you should give him your house, your family, your property or your very life. If we believe in the inspiration of scripture than we must accept the words that Matthew was inspired to write, and their were limitations in those words.
Our duty to provide for one’s family and one’s Christian brethren is both found in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.
If it is God’s will that innocent people be like a door mate, why then did Jesus protect the disciples when he sent them out? (Luke 10:19) Some people use Matt. 5:43 to suggest that the teachings of Jesus are different than the Old Testament Read 5:43-48 and compare with Proverbs 25:21-11; Lam. 3:30.
You will realize that when Jesus said, “you have heard it said…” he was helping people realize what they heard was a misquote of the law. What Jesus taught and what the law taught were in agreement. In Matthew 5:43-48 we have a person who loves God and respects the law, not desiring anyone’s rights to be deprived without due process, be them a friend or an enemy.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament express the limitations of every jurisdiction while teaching the proper submission to any earthly authority.
But we must recognize a clear distinction between showing kindness to an individual enemy on a personal matter; and complying with the unlawful force of an enemy’s attack against one’s life, property, family or neighbor.
To turn the other cheek is to personally voluntarily make a sacrifice. But when a government determines who is to make sacrifices for others it is wrong. Tim Baldwin writes, “Giving out of love is charity. Forcing one to give is robbery.”
He goes on to say, “The point of our willingness to suffer at the hands of those who have no just cause against us. – is limited to the extent our sacrifice does not interfere with our duty to ourselves, our families, our neighbors (be them friends or enemies) and God.
Sincerely, Keeping the Faith,
Rev. Wm. Thomas Howie
These thoughts and ideas are taken from ROMANS 13 THE
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