Archive for September 2014

Wickedness in the Heavenly Places

September 28, 2014

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For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).

Wickedness in the heavenlies? “That can not be,” some will say. Some translators [like in the KJV above] hardly dare to translate this thus, and so they changed it [“heavenlies”] to read “high places,” thinking maybe it could mean like Moscow or New York, etc., but this is the same “heavenly places” which they have translated in other places. They could hardly get themselves to believe that there is wickedness among the celestials in the heavenlies, because in their minds the heavenlies should be pure, no sin – everything perfect.

No, there is sin in the “heavenly places” – the heavenlies, the celestials. In fact, “the heavens are not clean in His sight” (Job 15:15). They are going to be someday, but now they are not. In the heavenlies there are spiritual forces of wickedness. We are someday going to get into their territory. We are someday going to be literally in the celestials. God’s universe is vast. GOD is always busy. We are going to be working in the celestials, and as the celestials are what it says here, there is a lot of work to be done there; but it all is going to be done in, through and with Christ (Ephesians 3:21).

Ray Van Dyke
Faith Fellowship (Vol. 57, No. 2)
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Nero’s Persecutions

September 26, 2014

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Rome had several tyrannical and corrupt emperors but Nero was the worst. He was immoral, vicious, selfish and despotically cruel. He came to the throne in A.D. 54 and ruled for fourteen years. He will go down in history as one of the most despicable men ever to rule over a people. He was “a man who in a bad world had attained the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it – a man stained with every crime, the murder of his own mother, of his wives and of his best benefactors” (James Stalker, Life of St. Paul, pages 142-143).

Historians are generally agreed that it was Nero who burned the city of Rome. He labored under the delusion that he was a genius in music and that his compositions would become immortal if only he had sufficient inspiration. Feeling that a great conflagration would provide the inspiration he had the city set on fire. It is said that he sat on an elevated porch overlooking the city and attempted to play the violin as he watched the city burn. This fire broke out on July 19th in the year 64 and raged for six days. Much to the surprise of Nero there was a violent reaction among the people and he hastened to attach the blame for this on the Christians. Immediately thereafter serious persecution broke out against these Christian people. It took real courage to be a Christian now as they were granted no protection by the law. These Neronian persecutions were unspeakably horrible. Christian men and women were burned, were cast to wild beasts in the amphitheater to entertain the populace. “Nero lent his gardens for the purpose of exhibiting the tortures of the wretched victims, and at night he illuminated his grounds by the flames of burning Christians” (Foakes-Jackson, Rise of Gentile Christianity, page 50).

H.I. Hester
The Heart of the New Testament (1949, 1964), page 330
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Aliens

September 25, 2014

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The saints of God are aliens here on earth. Let that sink in. No believer, as such, can be a Republican, for in his heart he believes in and is related to a kingdom. Republicanism is merely political Arminianism. It believes in human ability in some form. How can a rejected king became a member of a rebellious republic? And if Christ be the King, forget not that we are His Body. Individually we may be ambassadors entreating the world to be conciliated to God, but does England’s ambassador to the United States vote? Can any ambassador legislate in the country to which he is sent? Of course not.

Alan Burns (1884 -1929)
Politician? or Paulician?
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His Body, His Fullness

September 23, 2014

Which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all (Ephesians 1:23).

God has just as definitely chosen and appointed the ecclesia for the realization of His purpose as He has chosen and appointed His Son. He has just as positively bound Himself and His fullness to the one as to the other. While one is subject to the other, and the medium and vessel of the other, they are one in the matter of purpose.

T Austin SparksT. Austin-Sparks
A Witness and a Testimony, January, 1944
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Unity, Not Uniformity

September 10, 2014

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The believer’s life is not a stereotyped life composed of rules and regulations. It should also be remembered that the minds of different believers are not to be pressed into a single mold of thinking – this is not what is meant by being “likeminded” (Philippians 2:2). Rather, God imparts to us the matchless mastermind of Christ, so each believer will be a distinct person in himself.

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another (Romans 14:19).

Theodore EppTheodore Epp (1907-1985)
Strength for the Journey
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Pioneering Is Costly

September 10, 2014

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The whole history of the “Church” is one long story of this tendency to find acceptance and popularity here and to eliminate the element of conflict and of pilgrimage. That is the trend and tendency of everything. Therefore outwardly, as well as inwardly, pioneering is a costly thing.

The trend is backward and downward to an earthly religious system, with all of its externalities, its forms, is rites, its rituals, its vestments – something here to be seen and to answer to the senses. It is a great pull.

It is a costly and a suffering thing to come up against the religious system that has “settled down” here. It is, I sometimes feel, far more costly than coming up against the world itself. The religious system can be more ruthless and bitter; it can be actuated by all of those mean things, contemptible things, prejudices and suspicions, that you will not even find in decent people in the world. It is costly to go on to the heavenlies; it is painful; but it is the way of the pioneer, and it has to be settled that, that is how it is.

T Austin SparksT. Austin-Sparks (1888-1971)
Royal Pilgrimage

Houses for God

September 10, 2014

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Stephen, before going down under a hail of stones said, “The Most High dwelleth not in Temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48). Of course, the world hasn’t heeded this at all – the Christian world. They still go on making temples and houses for God!

Why? Well, I think it’s a little bit more convenient if they can put God somewhere off in a house where He can stay alone and people can come to Him, oh once a year at Easter, or maybe more often at Christmas – but He’s not wanted in the home, that’s the whole thing. The social life, He isn’t wanted there, or in business, He has no place there. So a building is made for Him, and it is called “The House of God,” and they just hope He stays there.

Oscar BakerOscar M. Baker (1898-1987)
The Habitation of God (1983)
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