THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR ACTIONS! by Earl Sutton

 

In 1996 a grain ship, “Bright Field,” was heading down the Mississippi River near New Orleans, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. The impact demolished parts of the wharf and injured 116 people. According to the Coast Guard investigation, the ship’s owner and crew had failed to repair long-standing engine problems. This is a clear example of not doing what you should do and receiving the consequences of bad decisions.

            The Devil deceived Eve into thinking that there would be no consequences for eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-7). God said, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat of it lest ye die” (v.3) The Devil said, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) Eve dilly-dallied with the temptation and contemplated the possibilities that the Devil had suggested and threw away all restrain and ate the fruit!  Why?  The Devil deceived her into thinking that there would be no consequences for sin.

            The Devil continues to lie to us today and tells our society that a little sin won’t hurt, a little indulgence is not a problem, a little transgression will never hurt anybody! The Devil tells us that we are only human and go ahead and enjoy sin. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” ( Prov. 13:15)

            Our society believes that it can live in disobedience to God’s will by practicing homosexuality and never suffer the consequences. The scriptures teach that there will be consequences for our actions. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth unto the spirit shall of the spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8) This basic principle applies to the physical world and spiritual realm as well. The word, “mocked” is a Greek word (mukterizete:) which means to turn one’s nose up at God. The point is that if a person sows to the flesh (homosexuality and sinful living) and turns up his nose at God, he shall go the way of all flesh, -- die and face the judgment of God where there will be consequences. (reap destruction – Gal. 6:8)

The scriptures emphasize the consequences of sin in other verses. Ezekiel said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ez. 18:4) Paul said, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23)  Over and over, again and again, the Bible under all circumstances, emphasizes that we reap what we sow and that sin is always followed by consequences.

            There is rebellion in the hearts and in the behavior of many people in our society today. In view of the fact that sin will always have consequences, what can we predict for the future? According to the basic law of sowing and reaping, the answer can best be given in the words of the prophet Hosea, “They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hos. 8:7) There is one time of sowing (while alive), and there will be two times of reaping. We reap in this life and also reap beyond this life in the hereafter. Sin brings forth its consequences both here and hereafter.

            People may do things without realizing the consequences of their actions, but one day there is going to be an accounting! (Rev. 21:8)                                                                                                                                                                                           

WHY DO WALLS AND BORDERS MATTER? by Earl Sutton

 

Only walled cities could be defended successfully against attacks by enemies of God’s people wanting to enter into Jerusalem during the time of Nehemiah. Enemies of the wall tried to stop the building of walls realizing it would give security and protection to the Israelites living in Judea.  Living in Jerusalem prior to the rebuilding of the wall was regarded as to be so dangerous that very few people lived in the city itself. “Now the city was large and great, but the people were few there in, and the houses were not built” (Neh. 7:14).

          During the time from the return of 50,000, who returned along with Zerubbabel in 536 B.C., and about 1,750 with Ezra in 458 B.C., the Jews had lived in the surrounding cities and villages. Any concentration of Jewish homes in the ruins of Jerusalem during this time would have met with the same type of resistance which Nehemiah had to contend with in 445 B.C. when he led the last group of exiles home and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.

          After the city walls had been erected and brought to completion in less than two months (52 days), an effort was begun to move people from the country into the city. Lots were cast and every tenth person was required to move (Neh. 11:1).

          Why do walls and borders matter? Borders are a physical representation of when good ideas begin (security) and when bad ideas start (illegal voting). If you don’t believe this, just ask East and West Germany or North and South Koreans. If you believe in open borders, you do not believe in the physical delineation of where good ideas start and where bad ideas start. The wall is also important because of a fairness and sovereignty issue.

          We are not Mexico. We have a unique culture, and the globalists pushing the one world government concept have the goal of destroying our sense of nationality, that we are no longer Americans but citizens of the world. To push the open borders issue by globalists and push the idea that we should have some kind of transferable citizenship, cheapens the idea of the American identity and culture.

          To the people who have waited in line legally and the millions of immigrants who have flown or sailed halfway across the world to come into this country legally, we need to build the wall!

          What is the difference between a looking glass and a fool? The looking glass reflects without speaking, and the foolish speaks without reflecting on facts. The bottom line is that those on the left speak without reflecting on facts and have an aversion to facts, especially when it doesn’t fit their narrative. We need to deal with facts in regard to building a southern border wall.

          An illegal alien in the state of Arizona is twice as likely to commit a crime versus a natural-born citizen, Fact!  Ninety % (90%) of all heroin and fentanyl comes across the southern border without a wall, Fact! Over 10,000 kids are illegally sex trafficked across the southern border every single year, Fact! We have 56,000 illegal immigrants in our Federal prison system, Fact! One hundred thirty-five billion dollars ($135 billion) a year is the financial burden on the U.S. taxpayer that illegal immigrants drain from our system, Fact! When you put these facts all together, it is a very compelling argument that we have some serious problems with our southern border.

          We need to build a wall high and wide with a big door so everyone can come in legally.

                                                         

OPPOSITION TO THE WALL by Earl Sutton

 

In Babylon at the end of March 444 B.C., an opportunity presented itself for Nehemiah to go the Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. Opposition to rebuilding the walls started immediately. San ballet and Tobiah, two enemies of this good work, were greatly disturbed when they found out that Nehemiah had come to do this work. They would go on to create much trouble and try to stop this project which would give security and protection to the Israelites living in Judea.

The opposition by San ballet, Geshem and Tobiah developed in several stages: (1) laughter and scorn (Neh. 2:19) (2) mockery (4:1) (3) conspiracy and threats (4:8) (4) request for a conference (6:2) (5) attempts to frame and smear Nehemiah (6:10). The same techniques have been used by the enemies of the United States to oppose a wall to keep drug smugglers, human traffickers, and illegals from entering.

The Democratic Party, deep state players and Rinos goal is to allow these illegals to vote and sway the election to their advantage. Another goal of these traitors is to destroy our sense of nationality – that we are no longer Americans but citizens of the world. Another goal is to overwhelm our welfare system to move the United States to third world status. Another goal of these people is to bring in young men who see nothing wrong with rape, bestiality, homosexuality, pedophilia, assault and even murder. In time these deviances will be accepted as normal, and laws will be abolished that make these deviances illegal.

As is most always the case when a good work begins, opposition arises, and enemies appear. The enemies realize the wall would make it difficult or impossible for them to take advantage of the citizens of Jerusalem any more.

When San ballet, a Moabite chief, and Tobiah, a chief of a trans-Jordan tribe of Ammonites, and the Arabians, Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being built, they were very wroth, became exceedingly angry; and they conspired together. They simply did all they could do to hinder, and if possible, stop the work.

When the enemies of Jerusalem observed that the work proceeded and was being carried forward to completion, they admitted that it would succeed if they didn’t take more drastic steps of scorn and ridicule. They decided to combine their forces and stop the work on the walls by force. San ballet and Tobiah entered into an agreement with their heathen neighbors to march against the wall and put an end to efforts to build it.

 Why were these people so determined to keep the leaders of the people in Jerusalem from building the wall? They did not wish to see them erect a wall which would make them strong with security and keep undesirables out of their country.

 Why is the left so opposed to President Trump’s wall? For the same reason. A wall would keep illegals out which the left is registering to vote for them to keep them in office/power. Also, the drug trafficking, human trafficking, and human organ trafficking would be hindered for those making billions of dollars in these illegal enterprises. These illegals are costing billions a year to feed, house, clothe, provide medical care, education and prison space. Many illegals are criminals, have serious mental health issues  and are immoral characters.

Nehemiah’s response to this effort on the part of those who opposed to the wall involved two things: (1) prayer to God for protection and with God’s help the enemy was helpless. (2) A watch maintained day and night. Prayer, work and watchfulness made his efforts invincible. “So build we the wall” (Nah. 4:6).

 In spite of all opposition, the wall was built! Why? The people had a mind to work. The will was there, and the scorn and ridicule only served to make them more determined  --  not less.

The bottom line is if we follow the pattern of Nehemiah when opposition arises, we will be successful. Prayer, faith and determination are requisites to success.                      

WORSHIPPING UNDER PATRIARCHAL by Earl Sutton

 

In Acts 10, the doors of the kingdom were opened to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. God used Peter to make this breakthrough. The Patriarchal Dispensation lasted for approximately 2,500 years, beginning with Adam and ending with the giving of the Mosaic Law on Mt. Sinai. During this period, there was no church, no temple, and no written system of laws. God spoke directly to the head of the family in visions and dreams and through angels.

          In the early history of the Bible, we find the patriarchal form of government, the founder of the tribe possessing authority over his children and his children’s children so long as he lived. When the father died, the power descended to his eldest son. He was honored as the central point of connection and as the representative of the whole kindred. The patriarchs were the head of the religious faith, as well as the leader in civil affairs and represented God.

          Under what law was Cornelius worshipping before Peter’s visit to him? It was not Christianity, because he had not been offered the gospel plan of salvation.. It was not Judaism, because he was not a Jew nor a proselyte to the Jewish religion. There was only one other law under which God accepted worship, and that was the patriarchal arrangement.

          It was God’s divine purpose to make Jews and Gentiles as “one new man” (Eph. 2:14-18). But the attitude of the Jews toward the Gentiles had delayed that plan until the events of Acts 10. Here began a series of events that resulted in the union of all people submitting themselves to the will of God in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:79).

          God ended the Mosaic Dispensation, a period that lasted for approximately 1,500 years, beginning with Moses and ending when Christ died on the cross and the church began. God also ended the patriarchal system of worship which would have terminated at the cross but was EXTENDED to the house of Cornelius because of shortsightedness and prejudice of the Jews toward the Gentiles concerning the inclusion of the Gentiles into Christ’s redemptive plan. Though the Law had been nailed to the cross, the gospel had not yet gone to the Gentiles. In this transition period, those under patriarchal would be judged by the existing law until they had the opportunity to hear and to obey the gospel.

          No one today lives in that category. How was God going to overcome and break down the walls and barriers of prejudice that had been built up through the centuries between Jews and Gentiles? How was He going to get His church, His people to break away from their Jewish roots and reach out to the whole world? That is the bottom line in Acts 10.

          God’s salvation was about to be swung open to the people of the world. Every person would soon have the wonderful privilege of hearing the marvelous message proclaimed: God is love and has sent His dear son into the world that the world might be saved and not perish. God had to break through the prejudicial customs of His servant Peter and led him to swing open the door to a Gentile soldier who was desperately crying out to God. There was salvation for the countless multitudes of people who lived and died under the patriarchal system.

          Cornelius was worshipping under this system, but when he heard and obeyed the gospel, he became accountable to God under the Christian dispensation. It began with Christ’s death and the beginning of the church in Acts 2. It will continue in effect until Christ returns to announce the end of time and the judgment.

EVERYTHING IS NOT WHAT IT APPEARS TO BE! by Earl Sutton

EVERYTHING  IS  NOT  WHAT  IT  APPEARS  TO  BE!

 

In Genesis 27, we see the principle that everything is not what it appears to be. Isaac began to explain to his son, Esau, that he was reaching old age and might very well die soon. Esau was the older son and could receive a double portion of his inheritance. He could be given the responsibility for leadership of the family when Isaac passed on.

Esau had been in the habit of going hunting and bringing venison home to be eaten by his father. Now Isaac revealed why he had called Esau to him, because he desired some deer meat and then he would pronounce the blessing upon him.

Rebecca overheard the conversation. As soon as Esau had left on his hunting trip, she began to make a plan to deceive Isaac. She told Jacob, her favorite son, to go and select two kid goats. She would cook them and make a delicious meal for her husband. Rebecca spelled it out for Jacob in order that he may receive the blessing, they had to deceive Isaac.

Jacob realized that his father was old and his eyes were clouded. Esau was very hairy and Jacob, by contrast, had smooth skin. Jacob dressed up in clothes that Esau wore in order to smell like him. He put on goat skins to have the feel and appearance of Esau. Jacob carried the meal to his father and stated he was Esau. He encouraged his father to eat the meal and then pronounce the blessing on him, thinking it was Esau. Isaac wished to verify that he was conferring the blessing on the right person. He felt of Jacob’s skin which was hairy from wearing the goat skin. He appeared to be hairy like Esau. Everything was not as it appeared to be, and Isaac was deceived!

The truth behind the real political power in America is not what it appears to be. Most Americans believe that their vote could sway the tide of a nation-wide election so that their chosen candidate could win. Every four years, America comes together to vote for and select its next president. Every two years, members of the House of Representatives are selected. Every six years, we select our senators. Generally speaking, the person with the most votes should win.

But the entire democratic system is not what it appears to be. The person that we vote for is powerless to do anything to affect any significant change. It doesn’t matter whether you vote Republican or Democrat, your candidate will not be able to change but very few things. WHY? The Deep State won’t let them. This shadow government holds all the power and makes all the decisions, especially the decisions that count. There is so much corruption in our government today, including judges, many members of Congress, past presidents and their cabinets.

The American Constitution and system of government is an elegant system designed by honorable men who truly believed in what they wrote and tried their best to guard against corruption.

Where did all this go wrong? The founders never imagined that the government would ever get to be so massive. The government is now a tumor that’s threatening to destroy America. The Deep State within it is this tumor.

 How can the average voter stop the Deep State’s takeover of our American liberties? It is high time that all American citizens have the knowledge and power to stand up against the cancer that is eating at our great country. As a single person, we are weak. But as a population of over 350 million strong, there is nothing that can stop us.

The illegal voting must stop. We need term limits in Congress. We must realize that the goal of the Deep State is to remove God out of our society and replace it with a one world government that has Satan as its god. Before we can manage to stop the Deep State, we must ask for God’s help. With God on our side, we will prevail against this evil force (Prov. 12:5).                                          

IGNORANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY by Earl Sutton

 

Does God hold people accountable for their conduct, even when they are unaware of the fact that they are violating His law?  Some feel that He does not, and until they learn the truth, ignorance is bliss.  The scripture does not support this notion.

          The Bible says, “And if any one sin, and do any of the things which Jehovah has commanded not to be done; though he know it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquities” (Lev. 5:17).

          A sacrifice had to be offered so that atonement could be made for the matter wherein he erred unwittingly and knew it not (Lev. 5:18). This clearly shows that ignorance does not change guilt into innocence.

          Paul found certain disciples at Ephesus and asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed. They replied that they did not know the Holy Spirit was given (Acts 19:1-2). Paul then realized that they had not been baptized with the baptism of the great commission which Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:18-20. Thus, he asked them into what they were baptized. They replied, “Into John’s baptism.” At this time John’s baptism was invalid, because it only lasted till the death of Christ. When they realized the nature of John’s baptism, that it was no longer valid, that they needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and be added to the Lord’s church, they were immediately baptized into Christ.

          These 12 disciples were unaware of the fact that they were violating the law of Christ. The co-existence of John’s outdated baptism alongside Christian baptism muddled the issue in Paul’s day. These disciples believed that they had been baptized. Paul did not hesitate to tell them that something was wrong with their baptism.

          Does ignorance change guilt into innocence? In I Kings 13, we have a conclusive answer to this question. God instructed a prophet out of Judah to go to Bethel and destroy the altar of King Jeroboam. God instructed this young prophet to not go home with anyone, neither eat bread or drink water and not return the same way that he went to Bethel.

There was an older prophet who lived in Bethel, and his sons came home and told their father about this young prophet. The old prophet then went out to find the younger prophet. He found him and invited the young prophet to go home with him and eat bread. The young prophet declined, saying God had forbidden him to eat or drink with anyone there. The old prophet said an angel spoke unto me saying, brink him back to thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water  (I Kings 13:18).

          The young prophet believed the older prophet was telling him the truth, but the Bible says he lied unto him. The young prophet started back home, and a lion killed him because of disobedience to God.

          The bottom line is that sincere and honorable motives will not atone for disobedience to God’s commands. The belief of a proposition, though honest and sincere one might be, does not make it right! The Bible says in Luke 12:47-48, “The servant who knows his master’s will, yet does it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. The servant who knows not the master’s will, yet does those things worthy of stripes shall be beaten with few stripes.”

          The stripes represent punishment and applies to the lost. The righteous will receive no stripes. The punishment to those lost relates to their knowledge and opportunity. At judgment God will require all who appear before Him to answer not only for knowledge and opportunity they possessed, but what they might properly have acquired and did not!

                                                         

THE APOSTLES' CREED by Earl Sutton

 

Why is President Trump being criticized for not saying the Apostles’ Creed?  The mainstream media, owned by the globalists, are making a big deal out of the fact that President Trump didn’t recite the so-called profession of faith in the Apostles’ Creed at the funeral for former President George H. W. Bush. Footage from that event shows much of the church, including the former presidents seated with Trump, standing to recite the Apostles’ Creed. Trump and the First Lady stood but did not recite the Creed which was written in the program.

          He opted not to participate in the saying of the Apostles’ Creed. Why?  It may be that he realized that he was not a Roman Catholic. The Creed implies that Jesus was created which he wasn’t. The Apostles’ Creed was written by the Catholic Church and called the “Symbolum Apostolicum” (symbol of creed of apostles) and appeared for the first time in a letter written by Ambrose, from a council in Milan to Pope Siricius in about A.D. 390. This creed had absolutely nothing to do with the apostles, not produced by them, not found in the Bible but was written by man.

          When one questions the place of human creeds, the answer most often heard is, statement of Christian belief, shared beliefs of a religious community in the form of a fixed formula summarizing core tenets.

          What does God say about the presumption of adding creeds to help clarify heaven’s message to man?  Can man do a better job than God Himself? The Bible says, “For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11) Just as the Spirit knows what man thinks, so the Spirit of God knows what God thinks; therefore, the Spirit of God reveals God’s wisdom to man through truth contained in the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, and not in some creed of the apostles!

          God has said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord” (Isa. 55:8). How presumptuous to attempt to improve on God’s revelation by writing a so-called Apostles’ Creed! The Bible says, “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  that the  man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17).

          Wherein is there any room for what man says in the Apostles’ Creed?  What can this Creed do to improve on God’s revelation? Also in the Bible, we find, “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3). Therefore, nothing that the creeds of men can offer pertain to life and godliness, and not even related to good works! The brilliances of men’s efforts in councils and synods have only confused and caused bewilderment (Matt. 11:25).

          My friends, we only need faith and obedience to accept what God has said and not an Apostles’ Creed! The Bible plainly says, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name” (John 20:31). There is just no allowance made for humanly devised creeds in the Word of God!

 

                                                         

FALLING AWAY FROM THE FAITH by Earl Sutton

 

The Holy Spirit revealed to the Apostle Paul that there would be a falling away from the truth by an apostacy. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrine of devils” (I Tim. 4:1). The phrase, “latter times,” in Greek (husteros Kairos) means later times or a little later on, not far out in the future. That is, false teachers were to arise within the church. The point being made here is that the church and the faithful believer will have to be constantly on guard against false teaching.

          This falling away or Greek word, aphistemi, means apostatize from the faith (pistis) conviction of a religious truth, will forsake or turn away from the truth as revealed by the apostles and by inspired men.

          The cause of this falling away will be by the deceitful (planois – leading astray) working of Satan, and they will claim these lies as the truth. This passage is not dealing with the philosophies taught by unbelievers in the world but is talking about false teachers within the church itself.

          The Spirit has spoken clearly (rhetos), that is, in specific terms, in plain words, distinctly, so that there can be no question about what is being said. God is warning the church that some preachers, elders, teachers will turn away from the truth!

          Who could have imagined that churches of Christ would be fighting some of the battles that we are forced to fight today concerning the truth of God’s word. Many preachers, elders, teachers in the Lord’s church are turning away from the truth. This includes accepting the sinner’s prayer, accepting women deacons and preachers, joint worship services with denominational bodies, preaching doctrine of grace alone, defending instrumental music in worship, denying that the Bible provides a pattern for worship.

          I write an article each week to challenge these false beliefs and to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). The faith here refers to things that we believe, refers to the body of truth which was given to Christians through the apostles and inspired writers, which “was once for all delivered” means God’s truth has been completely revealed. In other words, we must not add to the truth or take away from the truth. The truth in God’s word has been fully delivered, and it will not change.

          The false beliefs have been fully refuted in articles by me on our church’s website (www.churchofchristatelkins.org  -  under Blogs and articles, Wise Words from the Elders). There are more than 200 articles dealing with such subjects as: Contempt for the Truth (11-20-16); Transgenderism (5-28--17); What Has Happened to Preaching (10-25-15); Gender Inclusive Movement (1-17-16); Does Truth Matter (9-25-16); Worship However You Feel (4-26-15); Day to Observe the Lord’s Supper (8-31-14); Challenging the New Hermeneutic (1-11-15); Kind of Music Authorized in Worship (9-7-14);

A Manmade Trojan Horse (Hermeneutics) (11-18-18); Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (10-14-18); Hands that Shed Innocent Blood (Abortion) (10-28-18); Evil Agenda of the Globalists (11-19-17); Where is Heaven Going to Be? (some teach earth) (9-28-18); Homosexual Agenda (10-18-15).

          As the church faces the threat from within, it is important to keep in mind that in every generation some sort of assaults have been made on the faith, and the attacks will continue to be made. The bottom line is Christ’s everlasting kingdom will continue to stand until the end of time. We must continue to fight the good fight of faith lest we and many others in our generation have their faith overthrown. There is simply no saving knowledge of truth apart from the practice of truth (I John 2:3-4).

                                                         

GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT by Earl Sutton

 

Paul admonished the Ephesians: “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). Since the Holy Spirit is a divine person, it is clear that He can be displeased. “Grieving” Greek word, Lupeo, means to distress, to pain, to offend, to sadden the Holy Spirit.

          When a child acts contrary to the counsel of his parents, he hurts and grieves them. So when a Christian acts contrary to the counsel of the Holy Spirit, he hurts and grieves Him. When Christians do not live up to the standard of Christ in word or speech, they grieve the Holy Spirit.

          In the Old Testament, The Israelites grieved the Holy Spirit when they rebelled against the commandments of God (Isaiah 63:10). This same principle is true today. One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to lead those who would receive Heaven’s approval. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). Those who put to death the deeds of the body are led by the Spirit. The Spirit leads Christians as they obey the Word of God, which was given by the Holy Spirit. The only way that the Holy Spirit speaks to Christians today is through the Word of God. When we obey the Word of God given by the Spirit, we are sons of God (Rom. 8:16).

          How does one grieve the Holy Spirit, and what are the consequences connected with such a course of action? First, the Holy Spirit is grieved when believers allow impure things to penetrate their life or thoughts. Paul said in Romans 8:5-7, that those who are after the flesh are those who are living in harmony with fleshly desires and sin. The bottom line is they are interested in sinful things. In contrast, those that are after the Spirit are those who are interested in spiritual things and follow the Word of God.

          Second, the Holy Spirit is grieved when believers behave immorally. Paul went on to say in Romans 8:12-13 that Christians are debtors to live the good, righteous life which God commanded. They are not obligated to live after the flesh, that is, after sin. If one lives a life of sin and disobedience to God’s will after the flesh, the just payment for such a life is eternal death. This passage emphasizes that the Holy Spirit helps Christians live above sin and put it out of our lives.  The Holy Spirit is grieved when we do not put sin out of our lives!

          Third, the Holy Spirit is grieved when Christians act unjustly. Peter said, “Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land. While it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” (Acts 5:3-4). Peter’s insight was given to him by the Holy Spirit, and he knew exactly what Ananias was doing. No one had commanded Ananias to sell his property, but the thing that he conceived in his heart was to give a part and claim credit for giving all. This lie grieved the Holy Spirit. Christians are to be what they claim to be.

          It is very clear; therefore, that one pleases the Holy Spirit when he pursues the biblically oriented life. Conversely, when one turns away from God, the divine Spirit, in a manner of speaking, is grieved. The consequences of grieving the Holy Spirit is depicted by the prophet Isaiah who showed the benevolence of God in sustaining His children when they were faithful to Him, but when they rebelled, God became their enemy. It is a sad day in one’s life when God becomes his/her enemy, which grieves the Holy Spirit.

                                                         

 

A MANMADE TROJAN HORSE by Earl Sutton

 

The manmade trojan horse in the Lord’s church today is a revolt to throw off biblical authority and follow a so-called new Hermeneutic (refers to science of understanding and interpreting scriptures). Hermeneutic is written using human opinion.

          This teaching is based upon the false belief that the New Testament was not complete until the fourth century. The so-called scholars claim that there is no pattern for the church. They deny that we are to follow commands, examples and inference in the New Testament. They attack the Bible as being an imperfect book and foolishly argue that the scriptures must be approached in a new way.

          This new hermeneutics assumes that the method of interpretation used by brethren in previous years was inadequate and inaccurate. This new hermeneutics is seriously flawed and is an argument based upon ignorance of God’s word. It is crystal clear that the early saints did have a pattern for the church as revealed in         Acts 2:42-47.  “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” This shows that the church was one body of believers united together and remaining faithful in four basic items.

          First, Apostles’ doctrine --  They accepted the apostles’ teaching as authority and so must Christians today. When the church was established, it was not immediately handed a manual of instructions. The last book of the New Testament was not completed until about 60 years later. God initially instructed the apostles to teach members of the church personally being guided by the Holy Spirit on what to believe and what to do. The Apostles received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus charged them that after people were baptized that they were to teach them to observe all He had commanded (Matt. 28:19-20).

          Second, New Christians continually devoted themselves to fellowship. The Greek word, Koinonia, root meaning is to have in common. This fellowship was the joint participation of study and worship.

          Third, Those new Christians devoted themselves to breaking of bread. This refers to the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week  (Acts 20:7). Jesus commanded we partake of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine (I Cor. 11:23-26).

          Fourth, The final item mentioned is prayer. This was a daily part of their lives and as a group when they met together. It is completely ridiculous to claim that one using commands, examples, and inferences ignore the culture, context, history and grammar of the New Testament.

          In determining what the scripture authorize, there are three avenues: (1) There are direct commands such as Acts 2:38 which exemplify this. There are many other commands which give us clear-cut, unequivocal evidence of what God expects us to do. (2) There are approved apostolic examples. The missionary journeys which were made by the Apostle Paul clearly shows no establishment of a missionary society to carry out mission programs of the early church. (3) Now let’s look at necessary inference. Eating of the Lord’s Supper was on each first day of the week, not semi-annually (Acts 20:7). The false teaching of new hermeneutics is that it must be historical, contextually, grammatically are all met with understanding of Biblical Greek.

          The nail in the coffin of this manmade Trojan horse is that the Holy Spirit guided the church before they possessed the entire New Testament in the age of miracles. This effort to throw off Biblical authority is fashioned after a human desire and presumptuous sins (II John 2:9-11).                                                                                 

HOW LONG HALT YE BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS? by Earl Sutton

 

Elijah addressed those words to the people of Israel, who had allowed themselves to be influenced by the false prophets of Baal. “How long halt ye between two opinions?” (I Kings 18:21)  Apparently, many of them still retained some faith in God; but they evidently believed in Baal also. The prophet represented them as limping back and forth between the two views  --  good and evil. Sometimes the people were strongly inclined toward God, and at other times disposed to follow the leading of the prophets of Baal.

          The question forced the issue of whether to yield to the popular influences of the day or to return to the religion of their fathers. This was the question the people had to settle. To help them do so, the prophet arranged for a contest on Mount Carmel to settle this matter once and for all  -  if Baal was the true god or whether it was Jehovah.

          Leaders in the church today limp between two sides  --  good and evil – relevant issues and controversial topics, especially those they consider political issues. They forget that in today’s society, religious issues have been made political issues by government leaders. This includes the war declared on the home, family and the church.

          Sadly, this challenge of forcing the issue between scriptural marriage between a man and woman versus gay marriage has gone unanswered. The result has allowed a vocal minority of liberal activists to radically change our culture in America while church leaders have become accommodating to the sins of homosexuality, pornography, abortion, Allah and political corruption.

          The biggest issue facing the church and Christianity is the push by globalists to establish a one world government which would abolish our religious freedoms (and all our freedoms). Again, our leaders in the church go limping along doing whatever it takes to keep the members happy so they don’t become uncomfortable or dissatisfied and leave. The Bible is very plain on this topic and says if we don’t call out evil, God will  hold us responsible (Ezak. 3:18-19). The Bible also says, “And be not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2).

          I believe God has answered our prayers and chosen President Trump to force the question of the issue between good and evil in our country. He has ripped the mask off of a game that both the Democrats and Republicans have played in Washington for many years concerning waste, pay-for-play, fraud and incompetence. The President has laid out his convictions  --  Make America Great Again. He has exposed his opponents true colors, and his supporters have rallied behind him.

          President Trump says what everyone is thinking but is afraid to say. Church leaders are afraid to tackle the hot-button issues which many members want them to speak out on. A recent poll by the Barna Group asked the question --   what should the church stand against? Ninety-one ((91%) percent wanted to take a public stand on abortion, 86% wanted to address the persecution of Christians, 83% wanted to speak out about restoring morals, 82% wanted a clearer position on traditional marriage.

          President Trump is truly crushing a corrupt system and giving our church leaders a great example of forcing the issue between good and evil. The mainstream media (owned by the globalists), the radical left, and professional politicians are so desperate that they have been forced to take extreme measures.  Many members of Congress are nervously worried.

          The bottom line is the majority of church leaders are limping between two side  --  one to keep silent and the other to speak out. We need the total mobilization of all Christians in our nation to raise up and speak out against abortion, homosexuality, persecution of Christians, gay marriage and restore Christian values in America.                         

RIGHT OR WRONG TO MAKE A CHIMERA? by Earl Sutton

 

Scientists have revealed that they have managed to make a hybrid of a human and animal in the lab. These creatures are called chimera. Scientists said that the success of this project proves that the cell of a human being can be introduced into an organism that is non-human. This creature can survive and go on to grow in a host animal, which in this instance is a pig.

          Researchers from the Salk Institute said that they have made a chimera, an organism that is able to contain cells that came from two separate species. In the past, this is something that has been out of the reach of scientists.

          Basically, there are two different ways to make a hybrid. The first way relies on introducing organs from one animal to another, but the immune system of the host usually rejects the organ. The other way starts at the embryonic level when one of the cells of one animal is introduced to the embryo of the other, and they then fuse and grow into the hybrid.

          What are the benefits and risks associated with genetic engineering? There are many beneficial applications associated with genetic engineering. It could help find a solution to the shortage of donor organs, which is now at a critical level. Every 10 minutes someone is put on the national waiting list to have an organ transplant. Everyday 22 people, who are waiting on the list, pass away; because they cannot get the organ they need. This poses the question of what if people did not have to rely on the death of another as organs could be grown inside a host animal.

          The technology of genetic engineering has also many frightening possibilities. This technology involves tinkering with and redesigning a new gene which could have a harmful effect on humans. This brings into focus a much more frightening aspect of this research. Would it pave the way for the notion of designer genes wherein people start to order specific versions of genes in order to design an ideal child? This research should not be left solely in the hands of the scientific community and politicians; because through evil motives, this technology could lead to creating sub-humans.

          To help guide our decision on whether genetic engineering is right or wrong, we should ask which new genes are being created and for what purpose. This new technology is neither evil nor good in and of itself. The bottom line is how is it going to be used.

          The Bible says that God made man to be stewards of His creation and to have dominion over it. “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:22). This command to be stewards of His creation does not allow us to pick and choose which parts of creation we have dominion over, and thus includes the obligations involved in being good stewards of genetic engineering.

          If you liken genetic engineering to fire, both would have many useful purposes. Also, both could have evil purposes in the hands of a careless or evil individual. Therefore, we cannot argue that fire or genetic engineering is intrinsically evil, because both are neither evil nor good in and of themselves. God did not, in this verse, give man the right to wreck havoc by making a new gene, but the responsibility of ruling over it and using it for good purposes and not evil ones. 

 

HANDS THAT SHED INNOCENT BLOOD by Earl Sutton

 

In Proverbs 6:16-19, is a brief catalog of traits which God abhors, hates and are odious to Him. One of these is “hands that shed innocent blood.” There is perhaps no practice today that illustrates the shedding of innocent blood more than the bloody phenomenon of abortion.

          Since 1973 abortion clinics have aborted approximately 57,000,000 unborn babies. Planned Parenthood has come under intense scrutiny by lawmakers and the public for selling aborted baby parts. They have made as much as $23 million annually. The American people can now clearly see this organization for the evil that it is.

          This abortion giant, supported by our tax dollars, has given millions of our dollars to the political left to keep the Democratic party in power. The political left is the big supporter that keeps abortion legal.

          The unborn child is not merely a mass of tissue but is a living, innocent human being. The Bible clearly shows that the unborn is a real person. God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you: I appoint you a prophet to nations” (Jer. 1:5)

          King David understood that God Himself intricately formed him in the womb and numbered his days (Psa 139:13-16). The apostle Paul said that God set him apart even before he was born (Gal. 1:5). God has always spoken against the taking of the life of an innocent person (Prov. 6:17). God will hold accountable those who engage in, assist, or endorse this vile practice.

          Underline the expression, “hands that shed innocent blood,” and in your margin write, abortion pure and simple! God has declared that those who shed innocent blood are to pay with their own blood. The lax laws of our society today allow such persons to get away with their crimes, but God will not. Hands that shed innocent blood are those of a murderer who will pay for his crimes at the day of judgment. Cruelty and bloodthirstiness are of the Devil and are hateful to God, because they have in it the Devil’s image.

          What do the scriptures say about a baby before it is born? The Bible refers to the life that is in the womb by the same Greek word that describes a child who has been born. “And it came to pass that when Elisabeth heard the salvation of Mary, the baby (brephos) leaped in her womb for joy” (Luke 1:41). After the child is born, the Bible uses the same Greek word to describe the baby. “And they came with haste and found Mary, Joseph and the babe (brephos) lying in a manger” (Luke 2:13). The point here is that life that is in the womb is the same as a life outside the womb. Life begins at conception, and a new life develops from that point on and is a human life.

          Life beginning at conception is not just theory; it is also scientific. The point is very clear, the unborn is a person which can be proven by God’s word. Also, it is a biological and scientific fact that human life begins at fertilization when the chromosomes from the mother’s egg and the chromosomes from the father’s sperm unite. The growing embryo begins to actively metabolize.

          Most arguments concerning abortion deal with a woman’s right to choose. That is, the person carrying the baby has the right to decide what to do with her baby. What is missing in this argument is the rights of the child within her. Simply put, abortion takes a life that God has created, a living human being, and casts it away , because it is inconvenient for the birth mother.

          For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness  ,. . . (Rom. 1:18). Verse 29 looks at murder (which is the willful and malicious taking of human life – abortion).  In verse 32 they that practice such things are worthy of death (eternal death in hell) (Matthew 25:26).                                 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH by Earl Sutton

 

The Bible tells us that the people of God were convinced that there was no hope of relief from their foolish government official who had abandoned common sense. The people said unto Rehoboam, “What portion have we in David? To your tents, O Israel” (I Kings 12:16). They were saying enough is enough, and were, in effect, proclaiming a declaration of war with instructions to the people to return home and prepare for a war which they now felt was inevitable.

          The people of America are convinced that the globalists, with their deep state operatives, have abandoned common sense, and is trying to destroy our country -- enough is enough. President Trump, also, feels that enough is enough and is planning to carry out mass arrests of deep state traitors. Many of these people are carryovers from past administrations and members of Congress. (My claim is documented in the U.S. Federal Register.)

          The confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court was the key to getting these arrests and trials done in a timely manner. As a result of the confirmation, the deranged, liberal, left has gone to such outrageous extremes to fabricate false allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. There have been state coordinated, well-funded protests using Soros money to try and bock the U.S. Senate from confirming him. Now that Judge Kavanaugh is on the high court, it will add the necessary support for Constitutional emergency powers. This will concentrate power in the Executive Branch of government and will be headed by President Trump during this time of national emergency.

          The United States has been operating under a state of declared war since September 2001, following the 9/11 attacks. In fact, the United States has been under a declared national emergency since December 20, 2017, signed by President Trump. The President plans to issue mass arrests of deep state traitors, then try them for treason under military tribunals.

          This measure is completely justified and lawful, because the acts committed against the U.S. by deep state traitors amounts to acts of treason during a time of declared war. President Trump wants to go to bat for America and utterly destroy the anti-American, deep state crime ring that has been working for years to destroy this nation and end its national sovereignty.

          In order to accomplish this, President Trump may need to declare temporary martial law in parts of the country or over the entire country. He will need our support during this time to maintain order and civility as these arrests and trails are underway. We should all expect mass violence and chaos from the left.

          Also, Executive Order #13618, signed July 6, 2012 by President Obama grants the President now absolute control over all U.S. media, including internet tech giants (social media), news networks and news websites. Executive Order #13825, signed March 1, 2018, establishes the preservation of the government’s right to prosecute crimes of treason and deep state collusion against America. All of these crimes may be prosecuted via military tribunals under existing U.S. laws.

          Deep state traitors may be arrested by military police and subject to military trials run by the Pentagon, completely bypassing the corrupt court system which has been deliberately stacked with complicit deep state traitors and resistance judges. During this time, the entire FBI will be disbanded and rebuilt from scratch. Make no mistake, America is a nation under siege right now. Our President will invoke extraordinary powers to defeat the deep state and deliver America back to the people.

          It is time for the church and all Americans to stand up and support our President and say enough is enough (Psalms 36:4).

INDWELLING OF HOLY SPIRIT by Earl Sutton

 

That the Holy Spirit dwells in Christians is an undeniable fact. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Paul is saying that the Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit and when one becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit is given to dwell in him (Acts 5:32; I John 3:24). The Holy Spirit to dwell in Christians is a proof of being a Christian.

          The fact of the Holy Spirit is proven beyond a doubt, but the method of indwelling is two different things entirely. The Spirit either dwells in Christians directly, or else He does so indirectly. There is no middle ground. It cannot be both ways at the same time.

          It is my firm conviction that the method is indirect. He indwells through the truth and the means is the Word of God. When the Holy Spirit works directly, the results must be considered a miracle. This would have far-reaching consequences, some of which very few would be willing to accept. For if the Holy Spirit dwells in us miraculously, the period of miracles has not passed; and this conflicts with other scriptures which teach that miracles have passed.

          If the Spirit works directly on the human mind to influence, direct, guide, impress, nudge, then a miracle is performed. If we concede that the scriptures teach that miracles were wrought only to establish the Christian system, then ceased, then we must also concede that the Holy Spirit dwells in Christians now indirectly.

          Many good brethren believe that the Spirit indwells personally, but that He works in them only through the means of the written word. This is an impossible position to defend and is a compromise between error and truth. This compromise opens the door to all kind of Pentecostal practices. The bottom line is we cannot choose the direct method and expect to reap the consequences of the indirect, because the consequences of each method goes with the method.

          The Christian’s awareness of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not based on his/her “feelings” or by any physical manifestations. A child of God knows that the Holy Spirit dwells in him/her just as we know that Christ dwells in us by faith! Paul said, “that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14). The same apostle declared that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). In Ephesians 5:18, Paul exhorts, “Be filled with the Spirit” and tells us how in Colossians 3:16. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” To be filled with the Spirit; therefore, is to have the Word of Christ richly dwelling in a Christian!

          One of the great difficulties in understanding the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person who dwells in the child of God, is the fact that so many people don’t recognize Him as an influence, a power, or an ideology. Any theory of the direct operation of the Holy Spirit, through miraculous intervention, separate and apart from the Word of God, would nullify the scheme of redemption that is taught in the New Testament. Paul said, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5).

          When the Holy Spirit, as God’s gift, reigns on the throne of a Christian’s heart, the deeds of the body will be none other than the fruits of the Spirit which are good, because the Spirit does not dwell where sin dwells! The Bible says Christ dwells in our hearts by faith (Eph. 3:17). God dwells in our hearts by faith (II Cor. 6:16).

          The indwelling of God and Christ is not literal or direct but by the medium of the Word --  the same way that the Holy Spirit indwells!

                                                 

DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER by Earl Sutton

 

What does the Bible say about defamation of character?  The prophet Jeremiah said, “For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side” (Jeremiah 20:10). The action in this chapter was precipitated by the words which Jeremiah had spoken about the leadership of Israel and his support of God’s constitution. The leadership became inflamed with anger and did not take favorably to severe criticism. They felt they were above the law and no one who believed in the Constitution of God should be that bold.

          Jeremiah was given the ritual defamation of character course  --  put in stocks, tongue lashings, and defamation of character. An attempt was made to involve Jeremiah’s friends, who turned against him. Pressure and humiliation were brought upon him. They punished him for things he had said. His foes did not prevail, because they set themselves up in opposition to God.

          Haven’t we just seen this same thing being played out by the radical left with the Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh? The radical left will not prevail. Now those guilty should be brought to justice and have to give account for their evil deeds.

          As we know from the lives of Christian saints in the Bible in ancient Rome, those who refused to worship the gods of pagans were executed publicly. In the Middle Ages, those who refused to bow to the dictates of the elite were drawn and quartered publicly. That was the sentence passed upon St. Thomas by King Henry VIII. The point of this ritualized torture was to cow the observers into obeisance and fear with the intent to dehumanize the victim and make their beliefs less likely to appeal to others.

          Today’s radical left has a similar and even more painful method of public torture; it is called ritual defamation of character. In her essay for the FEDERALIST, Stella Marabito wrote, “Why the Senate’s Ritual Defamation of Brett Kavanaugh Threatens Every American,” she points out how the radical left has followed a ritual defamation of character course.

          Step #1 – In a ritual defamation of character, the victim must have violated a particular taboo. Step #2 – The method of attack in a ritual defamation of character is to assail the character of the victims using vague challenges.  Step #3 – Avoid engaging in any kind of debate over the truthfulness of what has been expressed - only condemn it. Step #4 – The victim is someone in the public eye, because visibility enhances vulnerability for ritual defamation of character. Step #5 – An attempt is made to involve others in the defamation of character. Step #6 – The victim must be dehumanized. Step #7 – Must bring pressure and humiliation on the victim from every quarter, including victim’s children. Step #8 – Any explanation the victim offers, including the claim of being innocent, is considered irrelevant.

          The radical left has used all these elements of ritual defamation of character in smearing Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. The bottom line is that by dehumanizing Judge Kavanaugh, they will intimidate others so that his beliefs are less attractive and will not spread. The radical left is trying to make sure that no one who shares Judge Kavanaugh’s Christian and Constitutional values will ever run for this office again.

          In this goal, they are exactly the same as the ancient Romans and Middle Ages tyrants who used public torture and execution as a means of dehumanizing leaders against false gods in order to maintain their grip on political power.   

 

AT CROSSROADS OF OUR CIVILIZATION by Earl Sutton

 

The Bible tells us to pray “for kings and all that are in high places; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity” (I Tim. 2:1-2). To pray for kings and all that are in high places means to pray for the rulers of our land. We, as Christians, are to pray for them with the purpose in mind that these prayers will ask our Father to guide their rule in such a way that we may worship and serve our true God.

          There is a good reason why we are to pray for our rulers. We pray for them so that we can lead peaceful and quiet lives. The only way the citizens of America can live quiet and peaceful lives is for our president to be filled with courage and boldness to resist the tyranny of the one world government. We must pray for our president to win this battle to protect our right to worship and continue to have freedoms.

          We need to speak out against the corrupt ruling elites, because the greatest issue facing the Lord’s church and Christianity is the push by these ruling elite globalists to establish a one word government which would abolish our religious freedom in America.

          The next election in November 2018 is about replacing a corrupt and failed political establishment in Washington, DC, with a new government controlled by the American people, and not a rogue group supported by the FBI, CIA, DOJ, NSA, big banks, big corporations, some long-term members of Congress and high-level judges who are supporting the globalist movement to bring in a one world government. The Washington establishment, financial and media corporations that fund it exist for only one reason  -- to protect and enrich themselves.

          The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in our next election. For those who control the levers of power in Washington, DC, and those corporations with global interests, they partner with these groups who don’t have our good interest at heart.  Our next election presents a real threat to the ruling elite, because this is truly a crossroads in the history of our civilization that will determine whether or not, we the people, can reclaim control over our government!

          The political establishment (deep state) who is trying to stop us, is the same group responsible for our disastrous economy, failed foreign policies, massive illegal immigration which is literally bleeding our nation dry. The political establishment (deep state) has brought about the destruction of our factories and jobs which have fled to foreign countries around the globe. It is a global power structure that is responsible for economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political parties, both Democrat and Republican. We have been tricked into thinking the USA is a democracy, not knowing it is a corporation exercising control for corrupt and selfish purposes for its elite members.

          My friends, this is a struggle for the very survival of our nation and religious freedom. This is our last chance to save it in the upcoming election in November 2018. This election will determine if we are a free nation or whether we only have an illusion of democracy controlled by a handful of ruling elite raping our system. These people control the mainstream media, and they push the Muslim, Socialist, and LGBT agendas down the collective throats of Americans. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and give in to the sin of tolerance which accepts anything and everything that society is doing.

          Let us ask God’s help to support our president and get us out from under this corruption and restore Christian values in America. “There is conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof; they have devoured souls” (Ezek. 22:25).      

WHERE IS HEAVEN GOING TO BE? by Earl Sutton

 

The Apostle said, “I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I know not, or whether out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up even to the third heaven” (II Cor. 12:2). Strangely, the man of whom he speaks in this verse is identified as himself in verse 7. This vision happened to Paul fourteen years previously. This epistle was written near the close of the year 57 AD, and fourteen years ago would place this vision about the time he and Barnabas were sent fourth from Antioch on the first tour among the Gentiles, AD 40-41 (Acts 13-14).

          When Paul went to Lystra and Derbe, some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and stirred up the people. The same group who had wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas as gods now agreed to their being stoned. “They stoned Paul, and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead” (Acts 14:19).

          Was Paul really dead, and did the Lord bring him back to life? The very next day, Paul who had been at death’s door, started a 60-mile trip. This may have been the time when Paul was “caught up to the third heaven.” Paul does not know if he literally went to the third heaven or went in the spirit. He does know that it was the third heaven.

          The Bible speaks of three different heavens. The first heaven is where the birds fly and where the clouds are (Gen. 1:6-8). The second heaven is where the sun, moon and stars are (Gen. 1:14-18; Matt. 24:29). The third heaven is the habitation of God --  Matthew 5:16, 45, “Your Father which is in heaven.”

          Some in the church are teaching a theory that God will leave His throne in heaven and come down to live with the redeemed on a refurbished earth. The false premillennialists doctrine teaches that they will live and reign on the earth for a thousand years. The false Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that eternal life will be on earth where the saved will live on a refurbished earth for eternity. There is absolutely no scripture that teaches the idea that eternal life for the redeemed will be on this earth! To the contrary, Peter wrote that this world, including everything in it, will be burned up with fervent heat (II Peter 3:10).

          Paul went on to say that the third heaven where God is, is called paradise. “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter (II Cor. 12:4). This means that Paul saw and heard things which he was not allowed to reveal; in other words, he saw the future glory for Christians, and it was not on this earth!

          The meaning of the word “paradise” is not a common word in the New Testament, found only here and in Luke 23:43 and Revelation 2:7. The Greek word is “paradeisos” meaning a park and place of future happiness. It originally meant a pleasure park and used in Genesis 2:8 for the Garden of Eden. Later, it was applied to the abode of the righteous after death. In II Corinthians 12:2, it is regarded as the same as the third heaven.

          The Apostle Paul relates his experience of being caught up into the third heaven, paradise, the abode of the righteous after death which was certainly not on this earth. He did not know whether or not he was in the body, transfigured, or in the spirit without the transfigured body.

          Paul says he was caught up into paradise, the same place the thief on the cross when to (Luke 23:43), the same place that Lazarus went to (Luke 16:23), same place where the Tree of Life is said to be (Rev. 2:7). Paul saw the future glory for Christians, and it was not on this earth!                                         

 

GENERAL PRINCIPLE NOT IRON-CLAD RULE by Earl Sutton

GENERAL  PRINCIPLE  NOT  IRON-CLAD  RULE

 

One of the well-known sayings of the book of Proverbs is “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). Many a parent has read this verse and reproached themselves bitterly due to the fact that their children have departed from the Lord’s way. I have known parents who have brought up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord who later suffered the greatest of grief when those children used their freedom of choice to depart from the way and will of God.

          Paul is teaching in Ephesians 6:4 that as fathers rear their children, they are to do it in such a way that children are eager to obey rather than becoming resentful. This verse tells what the father is to do. The father is to nurture, which means to rear them tenderly. He is to chasten them which means to discipline. It includes punishment which is not pleasant, but it is fair and just. The father is to also bring up his children in the admonition of the Lord which means the spoken word (Titus 3:10).

          If disobedient children are always rebellious, because they have been poorly brought up, then God Himself has been lacking in the guidance of His own children who have gone astray. When the freedom of choice is factored into the statement in Proverbs 22:6, it is absolutely true. It is far more probable that the properly trained child will continue in righteous living until death than will the child who has been lacking in discipline.

          There are three factors that must be taken into consideration in Proverbs 22:6. First, it is true that many parents do a very poor job in training their children in the knowledge of God’s word. When the pressures of the world assault these young people, they evidence very little interest in serving the Lord and going to church. The fact is, parents contribute significantly to the direction their children will take.

          Second, it is very clear that this passage contains a general principle and is not an iron-clad rule. This can be demonstrated by what God said to the parents of Israel, “I nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me” (Isa. 1:2). Surely, no one would claim that God was remiss in His parental responsibility. The bottom line is, even though a child might receive the best of training in God’s word, he/she is still a free moral agent and can choose to do right or wrong in spite of what they have been taught, and many times this is the case. Sometimes a child can receive no religious training at all, and then in adulthood, choose to accept the gospel and live a faithful Christian life. The bottom line is choice.

          Third, we are dealing with a general principle and not an iron-clad rule. This can be demonstrated also by what Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  This certainly does not mean that every enemy of the true Christian will turn and become a close friend. This statement is not always the case, but is only a general principle. It certainly was not so with reference to Christ.

          God’s enemies even placed His son upon the cross. This verse, Proverbs 16:7, is simply telling us a good Christian has the power to make the world a more peaceful place. This verse, Proverb 22:6, is saying it is more probable that a properly trained child will continue in righteous living than will the child that is lacking in discipline.

                                                          --- Earl Sutton

ONLY IN THE LORD by Earl Sutton

 

The Apostle Paul writes concerning some of the questions the Corinthian church had asked him in their letter. Paul states that being unmarried is all right; however, due to the fact many people cannot live a celibate life, it is good to marry.

          Husbands and wives are to give their bodies to each other. Paul also recommends to the unmarried and widows that it is good to remain single; however, it he/she cannot live without sexual relations, it is better to marry than to lust.

          Paul’s advice was due to the circumstances at that time, and he was not in any way trying to put marriage down. Paul went on to say, “A wife is bound for so long time as her husband liveth: but if the husband be dead, she is free to be married to whom she will: ONLY IN THE LORD. (I Cor. 7:39) A woman is to remain married to her husband as long as they both live; this applies to the man as well. God’s law rules over both as long as they live. However, if while both live and one become joined to another, it is adultery. But if one dies, the other can be joined to another, and it is not adultery. (Rom. 7:1-3)

          Jesus gives only one exception in Matthew 19:9, “And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication (porneia  -- sexual immorality) and shall marry another, commiteth adultery: and he that marrieth her who is put away commiteth adultery.” Jesus clarifies the marriage law and gives only reason for a divorce. The only reason is fornication. The innocent party can divorce and remarry. If a divorce takes place which is not for adultery and the parties remarry, they are guilty of adultery in God’s sight, because the marriage is still binding. Whoever marries one who has divorced for any reason except adultery commits adultery.

          When a husband dies, his widow is free to marry, because the marriage bond between them ceases to exist as the result of his death. The scripture states the widow is free to marry whomever she wishes, but ONLY IN THE LORD. Does this phrase mean one who is a Christian and the widow must marry only a Christian? The phrase, “ONLY IN THE LORD,” in Greek, “monon en kyrio,” has reference to the fact that the marriage must be in accordance with God’s will. In other words, the marriage must be in accordance with the Lord’s teaching. Who can marry scripturally? (1) Those who have never been married previously (I Cor. 7:8-9) (2) Those who have been married previously, but whose former companion was guilty of fornication (Matt. 19:9) (3) Those who have been previously married but whose spouse is dead (Rom. 7:2) (4) Those who do not fall under the class of prohibitions set forth in Matthew 19:10-12.

          There are other scriptures that use the phrase, ONLY IN THE LORD. In Ephesians: 6:1, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Can anyone argue that children can disobey parents if they are non-Christians! Children are instructed to obey their parents, because it is pleasing unto God and is in accordance to His will (Col. 3:20-21). Also, in Colossians 3:18, “Wives, be subject to your husband, as it is fitting in the Lord.” Can anyone argue that wives cannot be subject to non-Christian husbands! As is fitting in the Lord means, in accordance with God’s will. The phrase, ONLY IN THE LORD, does not have reference to the person that the widow marries. It has reference to the marriage itself. The marriage must be between those who are eligible for marriage.                                                                                          -- Earl Sutton

WHEN IS BAPTISM NOT BAPTISM? by Earl Sutton

 

I have been writing about relevant issues and controversial topics in the news each week and giving a scriptural application about the Bible view. Some feel that church leaders should never talk about these issues and consider them to be political. They completely forget that, in today’s society, religious issues have been made political issues by our government sticking its nose into religious matters and declaring war on the home, family and church.

          The bottom line is that many church leaders do not want to deal with intimidation tactics and name-calling that come with standing up for the truth. I strongly feel that it is time for the church to stand up for the truth and help take our country back. It is time for Christians to re-engage in our civil responsibilities, and like the Apostle Paul, be bold in asserting our Constitutional rights against the anti-Christian left.

          We cannot afford to take a, “live and let live,” approach to sin and corruption in our society. Facebook has started blocking conservative views with the goal of supporting the left. YouTube is removing conservative voices from their platform. I plan to continue writing articles on relevant issues but also will examine many issues that keep coming up in the church concerning what is scriptural.

          This week’s article deals with the story of the twelve men in Acts 19:1-7 who needed to be re-immersed, because their baptism was not a scriptural baptism.

          After Apollos left Ephesus and went to Corinth, Paul returned to Ephesus as he promised to do on the second missionary journey when he had visited there briefly (Acts 18:21). He found certain disciples and asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit when they believed. They replied that they did not know the Holy Spirit was given (Acts 19:1-2). Paul realized that they had not been baptized with the baptism of the great commission which Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:18-20. Thus he asked them into what they were baptized. They replied, “Into John’s baptism.” At this time John’s baptism was invalid, because it only lasted till the death of Christ. When they realized the nature of John’s baptism, that it was no longer valid and they needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus, they were immediately baptized into Christ.

           It should be clearly noted that these men had been baptized, but not according to the baptism commanded by Jesus; they needed to be baptized in accordance with God’s word. These men could have become angry at the apostles for implying that their baptism was not pleasing unto God. If they had been like some today, they would have said, “But baptism is merely symbolic, and one baptism is as good as another.”

          Sometimes baptism is not baptism, and individuals who have undergone a rite called baptism still need to be immersed. What is necessary to make a baptism scriptural? (1) It must have the right action. (2) Right person. (3) The right purpose. The right action is immersion. The right subject is a mature person who believes in Christ, has repented of his sins and is willing to confess his faith.

          Where the issue becomes complicated is in the area of purpose. Every man and woman should consider their baptism in light of scripture and make sure they have been baptized for the right purpose. Some may have been baptized because everyone else was, or to join a church, or because it was expected. If so, you need to be re-immersed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the remission of sins.