• Churchwork

    by Published on 06-19-2015 09:50 PM     Number of Views: 592 
    1. Categories:
    2. 2022 to 2029

    "The number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand" (Rev. 9.16). That's 200 million.

    In WW II there were 24 million alone in the military that died not taking into account civilians. 60 million civilians died on the allies side alone.

    16 million allies soldiers and 8 million axis soldiers died. So the size of the army had to be much larger than this.


    Russia fielded 20 million soldiers.
    Germany 18 million soldiers.
    USA had 12 million soldiers.
    Combined allies had 42 million at wars end.


    So as a rough estimate, the size of the total armies were 42 million for allies and and 25 million for axis powers. Total 67 million amassed in WW II.

    The population in the 1940s was about 2.3 billion. The population will be close to 9 billion by 2029 when Jesus steps down on the mount of olives (before accounting for 1/3 of the population of the earth die during the Great Trib.)

    "To slay the third part of men" (Rev. 9.15)


    67,000,000 / 2.3 billion = 3% of the world's population. The total armies were 3% of the world's population in the early 40s.

    3% of 9 billion is 270,000,000
    . 270 million is easily more than the Biblical amount of 200 million.
    by Published on 02-13-2015 09:40 PM     Number of Views: 525 
    1. Categories:
    2. Consecration and Breaking

    Authority and Submission

    God’s Throne Established on Authority

    The acts of God issue from His throne, and His throne is established on His authority. All things are created through God’s authority and all physical laws of the universe are maintained by His authority. Hence the Bible expresses it as “upholding all things by the word of His power, which means upholding all things by the word of the power of His authority. For God’s authority represents God himself whereas His power stands only for His act. Sin against power is more easily forgiven than sin against authority, because the latter is a sin against God himself. God alone is authority in all things; all the authorities of the earth are instituted by God. Authority is a tremendous thing in the universe—nothing overshadows it. It is therefore imperative for us who desire to serve God to know the authority of God. . . .

    Authority, the Controversy of the Universe

    The controversy of the universe is centered on who shall have the authority, and our conflict with Satan is the direct result of our attributing authority to God. To maintain God’s authority we must be subject to it with all our hearts. It is absolutely necessary for us to meet God’s authority and to possess a basic knowledge of what it is.

    Before he knew authority Paul tried to wipe out the church; after he had met the Lord on the Damascus road he saw that it was hard for the feet (human power) to kick against the goads (God’s authority). He immediately fell to the ground and acknowledged Jesus as Lord. After that, he was able to submit to the directions given him by Ananias in the city of Damascus, for Paul had met God’s authority. At the moment he was saved he knew God’s authority as well as God’s salvation.

    How could Paul, being a clever and capable person, listen to the words of Ananias—an unknown little brother mentioned only once in the Bible—if he had not met the authority of God? Had he not encountered authority on the road to Damascus he could never have been subject to that obscure little brother in the city. This shows us that whoever has met authority deals purely with authority and not with man. Let us not see the man but only the authority vested in him. We do not obey man but God’s authority in that man. Otherwise, how can we ever learn what authority is? We are on the wrong road if we meet man first before we obey authority. The opposite is the right way. Then we will not mind who the man is.

    God has purposed to manifest His authority to the world through the church. God’s authority can be seen in the coordination of the various members of the body of Christ.

    God uses His utmost power to maintain His authority; therefore His authority is the hardest thing to come up against. We who are so self-righteous and yet so blind need once in our life to encounter God’s authority so that we may be broken unto submission and so begin to learn obedience to the authority of God. Before a man can subject himself to God’s delegated authority he must first meet God’s inherent authority.

    Obedience to God’s Will—the Greatest Demand of the Bible

    The greatest of God’s demands on man is not for him to bear the cross, to serve, make offerings, or deny himself. The greatest demand is for him to obey. God ordered Saul to attack the Amalekites and destroy them utterly (1 Sam. 15). Yet after his victory Saul spared Agag, king of the Amalekites, along with the best of the sheep and oxen and the fatted beasts and lambs and all that was good. Saulwould not devote them to destruction; he argued that these were spared to sacrifice to God. But Samuel said to him: “Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, attention than the fat of rams” (verse 15.22 Darby). The sacrifices mentioned here were sweet-savor offerings—having nothing to do with sin, for sin-offering was never called an offering of sweet-savor. They were offered for God’s acceptance and satisfaction. Why did Samuel say that “obedience is better than sacrifice”? Because even in sacrifice there can be the element of self-will. Obedience alone is absolutely honoring to God, for it alone takes God’s will as its center.

    For authority to be expressed there must be subjection. If there is to be subjection, self needs to be excluded; but according to one’s self-life, subjection is not possible. This is only possible when one lives in the Spirit. It is the highest expression of God’s will. . . .

    As God’s servants, the first thing we should meet is authority. To touch authority is as practical as touching salvation, but it is a deeper lesson. Before we can work for God we must be overturned by His authority. Our entire relationship with God is regulated by whether or not we have met authority. If we have, then we shall encounter authority everywhere, and being thus restrained by God we can begin to be used by Him. . . .

    Christians Should Obey Authority

    There is no authority except from God; all authorities have been instituted by Him. By tracing all authorities back to their source we invariably end up with God. God is above all authorities, and all authorities are under Him. In touching God’s authority we touch God himself. God’s work basically is done not by power but by authority. He upholds all things by the powerful word of His authority, even as He created them by the same word. His word of command is authority. We cannot say how God’s authority works; nevertheless,we know that He accomplishes everything by it.

    A beloved servant of a centurion was sick. The centurion knew he was both under authority and in authority over others. So he asked the Lord to but say a word, believing the work of healing would thus be done—for are not all authorities in the Lord’s hand? He believed in the Lord’s authority. No wonder our Lord commended him for his great faith: “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matt. 8.10). Touching God’s authority is the same as meeting God. Today the universe is full of authorities set up by God. All the laws of the universe are established by God. Everything is under His authority. Whenever a person sins against God’s authority he sins against God. All Christians must therefore learn to obey authority. . . .

    No Unity of Body Without Authority of Head

    God is working towards recovering the oneness of the body. But for this to be accomplished there must first be the life of the Head, followed next by the authority of the Head. Without the life of the Head there can be no body. Without the authority of the Head there can be no unity of the body. To maintain the oneness of the body we must let the life of the Head rule.

    God wishes us to obey His delegated authorities as well as himself. All the members of the body should be subject to one another. When this is so, the body is one with itself and with the Head. As the authority of the Head prevails, the will of God is done. Thus does the church become the kingdom of God. . . .

    Philippians 2.5-7 forms one section and verses 8-11, another. In these two sections our Lord is seen as having humbled himself twice: first He emptied himself in His divinity, and then He humbled himself in His humanity. By the time He came to this world, the Lordhad so emptied himself of the glory, power, status, and form of His divinity that no one then living, other than by revelation, knew Him nor acknowledged Him as God. They treated Him as a man, as an ordinary person of this world. As the Son He willingly submits to the Father’s authority and declares that “the Father is greater than I” (John 14.28). Thus there is perfect harmony in the Godhead. Gladly the Father takes the place of the Head, and the Son responds with obedience. God becomes the emblem of authority, while Christ assumes the symbol of obedience.

    For we men to be obedient it should be simple, because all we need is but a little humility. For Christ to be obedient, however, is not so simple a matter. It is much harder for Him to be obedient than for Him to create the heavens and the earth. Why? Because He has to empty himself of all the glory and power of His divinity and take the form of a slave before He is even qualified to obey. Hence obedience is initiated by the Son of God.

    The Son originally shared the same glory and authority with the Father. But when He came to the world He on the one hand forsook authority and on the other hand took up obedience. He willingly took the place of a slave, accepting the human limitation of time and space. He humbled himself further and became obedient unto death. Obedience within the Godhead is the most wonderful sight in the whole universe. Since Christ was obedient unto death—suffering a most painful and shameful death on the cross—God has highly exalted Him. God exalts whoever humbles himself. This is a divine principle.

    To Be Filled with Christ Is to Be Filled with Obedience

    Since the Lord has initiated obedience, the Father has become the Head of Christ. Now because both authority and obedience have been instituted by God, it is natural for those who know God andChrist to obey. But those who know not God and Christ know neither authority nor obedience. Christ is the principle of obedience. He who accepts Christ accepts the principle of obedience. Hence a person who is filled with Christ must be one who is also filled with obedience. . . .

    Learning Obedience through Suffering

    It is told in Hebrews 5.8 that Christ “learned obedience through what He suffered.” Suffering called forth obedience from the Lord. Please note here that He did not bring obedience to this earth; He learned it—and He did so through suffering.

    When we meet suffering we then learn obedience. Such obedience is real. Our usefulness is not determined by whether or not we have suffered, but by how much obedience we have learned through that suffering. The obedient ones alone are useful to God. As long as our heart is not softened, suffering will not leave us. Our way lies in many sufferings; the easy-goers and pleasure-lovers are useless before God. Let us therefore learn to obey in suffering. . . .

    Those who are set up by God are to exercise authority for Him. Since all governing authorities are ordained and instituted by God, they are meant to be obeyed. If we would indeed learn how to obey God, we would then have no trouble recognizing on whom God’s authority rests. But if we know only God’s direct authority, we may possibly violate more than half of His authority. Upon how many lives can we identify the authority of God? Is there any room for us to choose between God’s direct authority and His delegated authority? No, we must be subject to delegated authority as well as to God’s direct authority, for “there is no authority except from God.”

    As to earthly authorities, Paul not only exhorts positively towards subjection but also warns negatively against resistance. He whoresists the authorities resists God’s own command; he who rejects God’s delegated authorities rejects God’s own authority. Authority, according to the Bible, is characterized by a unique nature: there is no authority except from God. He who resists authority resists God, and those who resist will incur judgment. There is no possibility of rebellion without judgment. The consequence of resisting authority is death. Man has no choice in the matter of authority. . .

    Be Fearlessly Subject to Delegated Authority

    What a risk God has taken in instituting authorities! What a loss God will incur if the delegated authorities He institutes misrepresent Him! Yet, undaunted, God has set up these authorities. It is much easier for us to fearlessly obey authorities than for God to institute them. Can we not then obey them without apprehension since God himself has not been afraid to entrust authority to men? Even as God has boldly established authorities, so let us courageously obey them. If anything should be amiss, the fault does not lie with us but with the authorities, for the Lord declares: “Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers” (Rom. 13.1). . . .

    Authority Finds Its Fullest Expression in the Body

    The fullest expression of God’s authority is found in the body of Christ, His church. Though God has established the procedure of authority in this world, none of those relationships (rulers and people, parents and children, husbands and wives, masters and servants) can give authority its fullest expression. Because the many governing authorities on earth are all institutional, there is always the possibility of the appearance of subordination without there being the real subjection of heart. There is no way to detect whether the people are following an order of the ruler from their hearts or merely rendering lip-service. It is equally difficult to tell whether the children are hearkening to their parents whole-heartedly or not. Hence subjectionto authority cannot be typified by the way children are subject to their parents, servants to their masters, or people to their rulers. Though God’s authority cannot be established without subjection, neither can it be if the subjection is not from the heart. Then again, all these instances of subjection lie within the scope of human relationships; consequently they are temporal and are subject to separation. So it is clear that absolute and perfect subjection cannot be found in them.

    Only the relationship between Christ and the church can fully express both authority and obedience. For God has not called the church to be an institution; He has ordained her to be the body of Christ. We often think of the church as a gathering of believers with the same faith or as a meeting of loving hearts, but God looks at her differently. She stands not only for the same faith and united love but even more so as one body.

    The church is the body of Christ, while Christ is the Head of the church. The relationships of parents and children, masters and servants, and even husbands and wives may all be severed, but the physical head and its body are inseparable; they are forever one. In like manner, Christ and the church too can never be sundered apart. The authority and obedience found in Christ and the church are of such a perfect nature that they surpass all other expressions of authority and obedience. . . .

    For the Body to Obey the Head Is Most Natural and Agreeable

    God has provided that the head and the body should share one life and one nature. It is therefore most natural for the body to obey the head. Indeed, in such a relationship disobedience would be strange. For example, it is normal for the hand to be raised at the instruction of the head; should the hand fail to respond, something would be wrong! In like manner, the Spirit of life which God has given us isone and the same as that which the Lord has; so is the nature of our life the same as His. Thus, there is no possibility of discord and disobedience. . . .

    Yet right here lies the common fault of God’s children. We need to recognize in other members the authority of the Head. The function of each member is limited; the eye is to see, the hand is to work, and the foot is to walk; we must therefore learn to accept the functions of the other members. We ought not refuse the function of any member. If the foot should reject the hand, it is the same as rejecting the Head. But if we accept the authority of a member, it is the same as accepting the authority of the Head. By way of fellowship all other members can be my authority. Although the function of the hand of the physical body is tremendous, it has to accept the function of the feet when it comes to walking. The hand cannot feel color, so it needs to accept the authority of the eye. The function of each member constitutes its authority.

    The Riches of Christ Is Authority

    It is impossible to make each member a whole body; we must each learn to stand in the position of being a member and of accepting the workings of the other members. What others see and hear is reckoned as my seeing and hearing. To accept the workings of other members is to accept the riches of the Head. No member can afford to be independent, since each is but a member in the body; whatever the other members do is taken as the doing of all the members and hence the doing of the body. . . .

    We often misunderstand authority as something which oppresses us, hurts us, and troubles us. God does not have such a concept. He uses authority to replenish our lack. His motive in instituting authority is to bestow His riches on us and to supply the need of the weak. He would not have you wait for decades and pass throughmany dark and painful days before you are able to see by yourself. By that time you might have led many into darkness. Indeed, you would become the blind leading the blind. What damage would God suffer through you! No, He first works in the life of another, and works thoroughly, so that He may give that person to you as an authority above you for you to learn obedience and to possess what you have never possessed before. This man’s wealth becomes your wealth. Should you overlook this divine procedure, though you may live for fifty years, you may still lag far behind the attainment of that person.

    The way God grants His grace to us is twofold: sometimes, though rarely, He grants grace to us directly; mostly He gives His riches to us indirectly—that is, God puts above you the brothers and sisters in the church who are more advanced spiritually so that you may accept their judgment as your judgment. This will then enable you to possess their wealth without you yourself having to go through their painful experiences. God has deposited much grace in the church; but He dispenses to each member some grace in particular, just as each star has its own particular glory. Hence authority brings in the riches of the church. The wealth of each member is the wealth of all. To rebel is to choose the way of poverty. To resist authority is to reject the means to grace and richness. . . .

    In the past both authority and obedience were objective, that is, an outward subjection to an outside power. Today authority has become a living thing, something inward. Authority and obedience meet each other in the body of Christ. Instantly both turn subjective and the two are merged into one. Herein is the highest expression of God’s authority. Authority and obedience reach their consummation in the body. Let us be built up here; otherwise, there is no way. The place where we meet authority is in the body. The Head (the source of authority) and the members (each with its function, ministering to each other as delegated authority as well as being obedient toauthority) are all in the church. If we fail to acknowledge authority here, there is no way. . . .

    Difficulties in the Church Often Derive from Slanderous Words

    Speaking inadvertently is largely responsible for the breaking of the unity of the church and the losing of power. Probably most difficulties in the church today are due primarily to slanderous words; only a minor part of the difficulties are real problems. In fact, most of the troubles in this world have been created through lies. If in the church we can stop slandering we will have eliminated the major part of our difficulties. How we need to confess our sins before God and ask for His forgiveness. All our words of reviling must be carefully and thoroughly terminated before God. “Doth the fountain send forth from the same opening sweet water and bitter?” (James 3.11) There ought not come from the same lips loving words and slanderous words. May God set a watch over our lips, and not only over our lips but also over our heart, that we be delivered from rebellious thoughts and reviling words. May reviling words forevermore depart from us. . . .

    “I Am the Lord Your God”—This Is the Reason

    In Leviticus 18-22, each time God orders the people of Israel to do certain things, He interpolates a phrase: “I am the Lord your God.” This is not even prefixed with the preposition “for.” It means “I so speak because I am the Lord your God. I do not need to give any reason. I, the Lord, am the reason.” If you see this you will never be able to live by reason any more. You will say to God: “Whereas in the past I lived by thought and reason, now I bow and worship You; whatever You have done, because it is You who have done it, is sufficient for me.” After Paul fell on the road to Damascus his reasonings were all cast aside. The question he asked was, “What shall I do, Lord?” He instantly put himself in subjection to the Lord.No one who knows God will argue, for reason is judged and set aside by the light.

    To argue with God implies that God needs to get our consent for all He does. This is utmost folly. When God acts He is under no obligation to tell us the reason, because His ways are higher than our ways. If we bring God down to reasonings we will lose Him because we make Him one of us. In reasonings we shall not have worship. As soon as obedience is absent, worship is lost. By judging God with our reason we set ourselves up as gods. Where, then, is the difference between the potter and the clay? Does the potter need to ask the consent of the clay in his work? May the glorious appearing of the Lord put an end to all our reasoning’s. . . .

    We may perceive whether or not one has met authority by observing whether his words, reasonings, and thoughts have been duly dealt with. Once one encounters God’s authority his tongue dare not freely wiggle, his reasonings and, deeper still, his thoughts can no longer be loosely expressed. Ordinarily man has numerous thoughts, all fortified with many reasonings. But there must come a day when God’s authority overthrows all the strongholds of reasoning which Satan has erected and recaptures all a man’s thoughts so as to make him a willing slave of God. Whereupon he no longer thinks independently of Christ; he is wholly obedient to Him. This is full deliverance.
    One who has not met authority often aspires to be God’s counselor. Such a person does not have his thoughts recaptured by God. Wherever he goes, his first thought is how to improve the situation there. His thoughts have never been disciplined, hence his reasonings are so many and so unceasing. We must allow the Lord to do a cutting work in us, to cut to the very depth of our thoughts until they are all taken captive by God. Thereafter we will recognize God’s authority and will not dare to freely reason or counsel. . . .

    Testimony of the Kingdom Brought In through Obedience

    God does not look at how fervently we preach the gospel or how willingly we suffer for Him; He looks to see how obedient we are. God’s kingdom begins when there is an absolute obedience to God—no voicing of opinion, no presenting of reasonings, no murmuring, no reviling. For this glorious day God has waited since the creation of the world. Although God has His firstborn Son who is the first-fruit of obedience, He is waiting for His many sons to be like the Firstborn. Wherever there is a church on this earth which truly obeys God’s authority, there is the testimony of the kingdom and there Satan is defeated. Satan is not afraid of our work so long as we act on the principle of rebellion. He only laughs in secret when we do things according to our own thoughts. . . .

    Submission Is Absolute, but Obedience Is Relative

    Submission is a matter of attitude, while obedience is a matter of conduct. Peter and John answered the Jewish religious council: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye” (Acts 4.19). Their spirit was not rebellious, since they still submitted to those who were in authority. Obedience, however, cannot be absolute. Some authorities must be obeyed; while others should not be, especially in matters which touch upon Christian fundamentals—such as believing the Lord, preaching the gospel, and so forth. Children may make suggestions to their parents, yet they must not show an insubmissive attitude. Submission ought to be absolute. Sometimes obedience is submission, whereas at other times an inability to obey may still be submission. Even when making a suggestion, we should maintain an attitude of submission. . . .

    When delegated authority (men who represent God’s authority) and direct authority (God himself) are in conflict, one can rendersubmission but not obedience to the delegated authority. Let us summarize this under three points:

    1. Obedience is related to conduct: it is relative. Submission is related to heart attitude: it is absolute.
    2. God alone receives unqualified obedience without measure; any person lower than God can only receive qualified obedience.
    3. Should the delegated authority issue an order clearly contradicting God’s command, he will be given submission but not obedience. We should submit to the person who has received delegated authority from God, but we should disobey the order which offends God. . . .

    Indispensable Signs Accompanying the Obedient

    How can we judge whether a person is obedient to authority? By the following signs:

    1. A person who has known authority will naturally try to find authority wherever he goes. The church is the place where obedience can be learned, since there is not really such a thing as obedience in this world. Only Christians can obey, and they too must learn to obey—not outwardly, but from the heart. Yet once this lesson of obedience has been learned, the Christian will look for and find authority everywhere.

    2. A person who has met God’s authority is soft and tender. He has been melted and is not able to be hard. He is afraid of being wrong and thus he is soft.

    3. A person who has truly met authority never likes to be in authority. He has neither the thought nor the interest to become one in authority. He does not take delight in giving counsel, nor does hetake pleasure in controlling others. The truly obedient is always in fear of making an error. But alas, how many there are who still aspire to be God’s counselors. Only those who do not know authority are those who wish to be authorities.

    4. A person who has contacted authority keeps his mouth closed. He is under restraint. He dare not speak carelessly because there is in him a sense of authority.

    5. A person who has touched authority is sensitive to each act of lawlessness and rebellion around him. He sees how the principle of lawlessness has filled the earth and even the church. Only those who have experienced authority can lead others into obedience. Brothers and sisters must learn to obey authority; otherwise the church will not have any testimony on earth. . . .

    There is no one who is fit to be God’s delegated authority unless he himself first knows how to be under authority. No one can know how to exercise authority until his own rebellion has been dealt with. God’s children are not a heap of yarn or a mixed multitude. If there is no testimony of authority, there is no church nor work. This poses a serious problem. It is essential that we learn to be subject to one another and subject to delegated authorities.

    Three Requirements for a Delegated Authority

    Beyond a personal knowledge of authority and a life lived under authority, God’s delegated authority needs to fulfill the three following principal requirements:

    1. He must know that all authority comes from God. Every person who is called to be a delegated authority should remember that “there is no authority except from God; and those that exist are set up by God” (Rom. 13.1 Darby). He himself is not the authority, nor can anyone make of himself an authority. His opinions, ideas and thoughts are no better than those of others. They are utterly worthless. Only what comes from God constitutes authority and commands man’s obedience. A delegated authority is to represent God’s authority, never to assume that he too has authority. . . .

    For one to be in authority does not depend on his having ideas and thoughts; rather does it hinge on knowing the will of God. The measure of one’s knowledge of God’s will is the measure of his delegated authority. God establishes a person to be His delegated authority entirely on the basis of that person’s knowledge of God’s will. It has nothing at all to do with having many ideas, strong opinions, or noble thoughts. Indeed, such persons who are strong in themselves are greatly to be feared in the church. . . .

    2. He must deny himself. Until one knows the will of God he should keep his mouth shut. He should not exercise authority carelessly. He who is to represent God must learn on the positive side what God’s authority is and on the negative side how to deny himself. Neither God nor the brothers and sisters will treasure your thoughts. Probably you yourself are the only one in the whole world who considers your opinion as the best. Persons with many opinions, ideas, and subjective thoughts are to be feared. They like to be counselors to all. They seize upon every opportunity to press their ideas on others. God can never use a person so full of opinions, ideas, and thoughts as the one to represent His authority. For example, who would ever employ a spendthrift to keep his accounts? To do so would be to invite acute suffering. Nor will God engage a man of many opinions to be His delegated authority lest He too should suffer damage.

    Unless we are completely broken by the Lord we are not qualified to be God’s delegated authority. God calls us to represent His authority, not to substitute His authority. God is sovereign in Hispersonality and position. His will is His. He never consults with man nor does He allow anyone to be His counselor. Consequently, one who represents authority must not be a subjective person. . . .

    3. He must constantly keep in fellowship with the Lord. Those who are God’s delegated authority need to maintain close fellowship with God. There must be not only communication but also communion.

    Anyone who offers opinions freely and speaks in the name of the Lord carelessly is far away from God. He who mentions God’s name casually only proves his remoteness from God. Those who are near to God have a godly fear; they know how defiling it is to carelessly express their own opinions.
    Communion, therefore, is another principal requirement for one in authority. The nearer one is to the Lord, the clearer he sees his own faults. Having been brought face to face with God, he dare not thereafter speak with such firmness. He has no confidence in his flesh; he begins to be afraid lest he err. On the other hand, those who speak casually expose themselves as being far from God. . . .

    Authority is representative in nature, not inherent. It means that one must live before God, learning, and being wounded so as not to project oneself into it. One should never be so mistaken to consider oneself the authority. God alone has authority; no one else possesses it. When God’s authority flows to me, it can then flow through me to others. What makes me different from others is God, not myself.

    Hence we must learn to fear God and refrain from doing anything carelessly. We should confess that we are no different from other brothers and sisters. Since God has so arranged that today I should learn to be His delegated authority, I must live in His presence, commune with Him continuously, and seek to know His mind. Unless I have seen something there with God, I have nothing to sayhere to men. . . .

    Never Try to Establish One’s Own Authority

    Authority is established by God; therefore no delegated authority need try to secure his authority. Do not insist that others listen to you. If they err, let them err; if they do not submit, let them be insubordinate; if they insist on going their own way, let them go. A delegated authority ought not strive with men. Why should I demand a hearing if I am not God’s established authority? On the other hand, if I am set up by God, need I fear lest men not submit? Whoever refuses to hear me, disobeys God. It is not needful for me to force people to listen. God is my support, why then should I fear? We should never say so much as one word on behalf of our authority; rather, let us give people their liberty. The more God entrusts to us, the more liberty we grant to people. Those who are thirsty after the Lord will come to us. It is most defiling to speak on behalf of our own authority or to try to establish authority ourselves. . . .

    This is life out of death. Only those who have passed through death and come out in resurrection are recognized by God as His servants. The touchstone of ministry is resurrection. No one may point to his position; it must be of God’s choice. After God made Aaron’s rod sprout, bud, and bear fruit, and the other leaders had all seen it, they had nothing more to say.

    Authority, then, does not come by striving. It is set up by God. It depends not on a position of leadership but on the experience of death and resurrection. Men are chosen to exercise spiritual authority not because they are different from the rest but on the basis of grace, election, and resurrection. It requires great darkness and blindness to be proud! As far as we are concerned, though we might deposit our rods for a lifetime they would still not sprout. The difficulty in this present day is that so few fall on their faces acknowledging that theyare no different from the others. . . .

    Authority is of God, not of us. We are merely stewards of His authority. Such an insight makes us fit to be delegated authorities. Whenever we attempt to exercise authority as if it were our own, we are immediately dispossessed of any authority whatsoever. The dried rod can only dispense death. Where resurrection is, there is authority, because authority rests in resurrection and not in the natural. Since all we have is what is natural, we have no authority except in the Lord. . . .

    Nothing is more serious nor regarded more severely than for a delegated authority to do wrongly. Every time we execute authority we must ask to be united with God. If a mistake is made let us swiftly separate it from God lest we incur His judgment. Before we decide anything, let us seek to know His mind. Only after ascertaining His mind may we do it in His name. Moses could not claim that what he had done at the waters of Meribah was done in the Lord’s name. Let us not be foolish, but let us learn to fear and tremble before God. Do not render judgment carelessly; rather, control your spirit and your mouth, especially at the time of provocation. The more one knows God, the less he is careless. There are some times when one may receive forgiveness after having fallen into God’s governmental hand, but this does not always happen. The government of God ought not be offended. Let us be clear about it. . . .

    Authority Comes from Ministry, Ministry from Resurrection

    A person’s authority is based on his ministry, and his ministry is in turn based on resurrection. If there is no resurrection there can be no ministry; and if there is no ministry, there is no authority. Aaron’s ministry came from resurrection; without that, he could not serve at all. God has never set up as an authority anyone who is withoutministry.

    Today authority is not a matter of position. Where spiritual ministry is lacking, there can be no positional authority. Whoever has spiritual service before God has authority before men. This means that one’s spiritual ministry gives him authority among God’s children. Who, then, can fight for this authority, for there is no way to strive for ministry. Just as ministry is distributed by the Lord, so authority is also decided by Him.

    All authority is based on ministry. Aaron possessed authority because he had service before God. His censer could atone for the people and cause the plague to cease, whereas the censers of the two hundred fifty leaders were cursed by God. The rebellion in Numbers 16 was directed not only against authority but also against ministry. Aaron was in authority for he possessed ministry. No one’s authority can exceed his ministry.

    We should not attempt to outdo the authority of our ministry. Our attitude must always be that we dare not occupy ourselves with things too great and too marvelous for us (see Ps. 131.1). Let us learn instead to be faithful before God according to our portion. Many brothers mistakenly imagine that they can take up authority at random, not knowing that the authority which comes from ministry never lords it over God’s children. One’s authority before men is equal to one’s ministry before God. The measure of ministry determines the proportion of authority. If authority exceeds ministry it becomes positional, and is therefore no longer spiritual.

    If a delegated authority errs, God will come to judge. The highest principle in God’s government is His own vindication. Since God is willing to give His name to us and allows us to use it—just as someone trusts his seal to us for us to use—then He must exonerate himself if we misrepresent Him. He will tell the people that the fault is not His but ours. . . .

    All who are used by God to be in authority must have the spirit of David. Let no one defend himself nor speak for himself. Learn to wait and to be humble before God. He who knows how to obey best is he who is best qualified to be in authority. The lower one prostrates himself before God the quicker the Lord will vindicate him. . . .

    Authority Is Not Lording Over but Humbly Serving

    The Lord continued His teaching on the matter of authority. He called His disciples together and instructed them about future things in glory. He said that, among the Gentiles, men seek for authority in order that they may rule over others. It is good for us to seek for the future glory, but we ought not have the thought of ruling or lording it over God’s children. To do so would cause us to fall into the state of the Gentiles. To exercise authority and to rule are the desires of the Gentiles. Such a spirit must be driven from the church. Those whom the Lord uses are the ones who know the Lord’s cup and the Lord’s baptism. As we drink the cup and receive the baptism we will naturally have authority. It is a most ugly thing if we seek to rule over men externally. We must drive this spirit of the Gentiles out from us. Else we are unfit to lead others. . . .

    To Be Great, One Must Be a Servant

    The authority whom God appoints must have a spiritual background—he must drink the cup, that is, absolutely obey God’s will; and he must receive the baptism, that is, accept death in order to release life. He must also not have any intention of exercising authority; on the contrary, he must be prepared to serve as the servant and slave of all. In other words, he possesses spiritual ground on the one hand and the spirit of humility on the other. Because he does not seek to be authority God can use him as one. It is irrelevant to talk about authority if the cup is not drunk and the baptism notreceived. To one who is truly humble and considers himself unfit for anything except to be servant of all, to that one the Lord announces that he may be great.

    The condition for authority is consequently a sense of incompetency and unworthiness. From the Bible we can conclude that God has never used a proud soul. The moment a person becomes proud, at that moment he is laid aside by God. His hidden pride sooner or later will be revealed through his words, for words do not cease to leak out. At the future judgment seat of God even the humble will be greatly surprised. And if that be true, how much more shall be the horror of the proud on that day! We must sense our incompetency, because God only uses the useless. Polite diplomacy is not the thing here; rather is it having a sincere sense that we are but unprofitable servants. Though we have tended the flock and tilled the field, yet in coming back we still acknowledge ourselves as unprofitable servants. We do not forget to stand on the ground of a servant. God never entrusts His authority to the self-righteous and the self-competent. Let us reject pride, learn to be humble and gentle, and never speak for ourselves. Let us learn to know ourselves in the light of God. . . .

    Authority Is Based on Sanctification

    Authority has its foundation in sanctification. Without sanctification there can be no authority. If you wish to live with the crowd you cannot be an authority. You cannot represent God if you maintain a very liberal and loose communication with the people. The higher the authority the greater the separation. God is the highest authority; consequently He is above all. Let us learn to be sanctified from things unclean or common. The Lord Jesus may do whatsoever He likes, but for the sake of His disciples He sanctifies himself. He steps aside and stands on the side of holiness.

    May we heartily desire to please God too and thus seek after deeper sanctification. It means we will be distinguished from the common, although not separated from God’s children as though we were holier than they. The more we are sanctified and are subject to the authority of God the more we may be delegated authorities. If those in authority in the church fail, how can obedience be maintained? Unless this matter of authority is solved the church will always be chaotic.

    He who is in authority does not grasp authority; he serves God, is willing to pay the price, and seeks not excitement. To be in authority requires one to climb high, to not fear loneliness, and to be sanctified. May we be those who lay our all on the altar so that God’s authority may be restored. This is the way of the Lord in His church.

    —SA 10, 12-15, 24, 50, 69-70, 76-8, 80-3, 91, 97-8, 101-2, 105, 107-10, 118, 142, 145, 151-3, 167, 174-6, 185
    by Published on 01-05-2015 10:11 PM     Number of Views: 1205 
    1. Categories:
    2. Atheist, Agnostic, Agtheist

    Dan Barker (dbarker@ffrf.org),

    For me it is simple. We observe trillions of cause and effects in nature, and no hard evidence of something from nothing. So this overwhelming preponderance of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt tells us nature can't start up from nothing. Nor can it always have existed, because if there was an infinite regress of cause and effects, you would have happened already, having had an eternity to do so. So nature needs a cause outside of itself, outside of time and space, being uncreated. This uncreated Creator is whom we call God. Thus, atheism is false.

    Knowing God exists, ask which one is true since only one can be true for God does not contradict Himself, and there can only be one uncreated Creator otherwise you have to ask where these others came from. God is accessible and personal because He can't be less than us with these qualities we are endowed with. The greater can never be less than the lesser. Since God is personal and accessible, we need only consider the accessible faiths that make up the vast majority of faiths: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism.

    Islam is false because you can't come along six centuries later with no evidence to claim Jesus didn't die on the cross. That's an assumed religion. Hinduism fails because its god Brahma is said to be amoral, but again, how can the Creator have a morality below that of His creation? Moreover, reincarnation doesn't effectively address our fallen nature as you get endless chances to come back as a frog then become a human being again if you were a good frog. How can you place the burden of man's destiny on the brain of a frog? Very neatly we see that salvation is not by works lest any man should boast. No amount of self-strength, self-reflection or frog work can bridge the gap between you and God. Therefore, we know God intervenes and even enters His creation as Jesus did. Truly unique among the world's faiths. Without knowing anything else then we know God of the Bible is the correct one.

    Very simply, there are no known naturalistic explanations to account for the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles in various group settings. The Minimal Facts Approach (coined by Gary R. Habermas - the leading scholar on the planet today for the resurrection) is where most scholars agree that the Apostles truly believed Jesus rose from the dead and consider 1 Cor. 15, Gal. 1 & 2 Paul's true testimony and authorship. He said he spent 15 days with Peter, and time with John and James (brother of Jesus) as well. They agreed on their eyewitness testimony. People don't willingly die for what they know is a lie. Group hallucinations are impossible. The swoon theory fails because Jesus all tattered and torn would not convince anyone He is God. And even second generation Apostles like Polycarp and Clement of Rome, and others, said they personally knew Peter, John, Paul, and other Apostles. This multiple corroboration is the best evidence you could ask for. In your own mind try to come up with a better proof. God's proof evidentially will always outshine what you can concoct.

    Dan, no matter how much you thought you were a Christian you never were one, because the Bible defines a Christian as once-saved-always-saved (John 10.28). So according to the Bible you are going to Hell. I think even you would concede you are going to Hell if Jesus and the Apostles did not lie. Since Jesus was not a liar or a lunatic, He must be God!

    Dan Barker, you lose not just debate, but life itself. Instead of receiving eternal life, you will receive eternal damnation and go to the Lake of Fire. That's the type of person you want to be with your free will. So be it! However, I would not wish up my worse enemy where you prefer to go to be eternally separated from your Creator. You're a bad guy! No doubt about it as you want no relationship with God's only begotten Son Christ Jesus, nor His forgiveness by dying on the cross for the sins of the world that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Who needs God right? when you make yourself the center of all things with your talents and strengths. But really how does your life match up to an infinitely great God? Not so good in that light.

    [Jhn 3:15-21 KJV] 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 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. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
    by Published on 09-14-2014 04:32 PM     Number of Views: 654 
    1. Categories:
    2. Hell

    The First Way to Hell: Suicide

    Suicide is a shortcut to hell. There is no way which leads to hell more quickly than this. Note this brief Bible passage: “He [Judas] might go to his own place” (Acts 1.25). Judas had never believed in Jesus Christ. Though outwardly he pretended to be one of His disciples, he was “a son of perdition” (John 17.12) who had never experienced salvation. After he died, he went “to his own place.” What was his own place? It was destruction or perdition. After he died, he went to hell. How did he go to hell? He killed himself by hanging.

    If anyone wants to go to hell, suicide is the most convenient method of doing so. A razor, a rope, or a cup of poison will quickly send the soul to the place of eternal suffering. Hell may be quite distant from you in this life; it might, in fact, take many years for you to end up there. But if you commit suicide, you shorten the days of your life on earth and speed yourself to the place of eternal perdition.

    Once an unbelieving master asked his believing chauffeur what the shortest road to hell was. At that time his car was speeding along the highway. The chauffeur opened the car door and said to his master: “If you jump out of the car, you will immediately arrive at that place. Since you do not believe in the Lord, you will go to hell as soon as you fall to your death.”

    The easiest and quickest way to hell is indeed suicide. If you want to arrive at hell in a few hours, swallow a large dosage of raw opium and you will be at your destination. If you wish to arrive in hell in a few minutes, take some cyanide and you will surely be there. And if you consider these ways far too slow, and you want to descend to hell in less than a minute, blow your brains out with gunshot and you will certainly be there. There are many other ways to commit suicide. For example, you may starve yourself to death or you may leap into the sea. Or you may lie on the railroad track and let the train break you in two.

    By committing suicide, a person deprives himself of the hope of salvation. But if he continues to live on earth, he may hear the gospel of the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus and believe for salvation. But if he kills himself he destroys forever the opportunity to hear the gospel. Please take note of this observation: whether one is saved or perishes is a matter decided in this life. If you refuse and do not believe in the Lord Jesus in this life, you will have no further opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved after death. In killing yourself you end your life and forfeit any chance of salvation. Hence the suicide victim will go straight to hell. His very blood is the stamp on his ticket to hell.

    Once I was conducting a meeting in Chuanchow. I spoke on the same subject. That evening there were more than fourteen hundred people assembled together. Among those in the audience was a large number of high school boys and girls. As I was speaking, I thought to myself: What is the use of saying these things to them; surely they would not harbor any idea of committing suicide. But the Spirit of the Lord was working in me so that I had to say what I was led to say. And thus, I spoke to them frankly that if they truly wanted to go to hell they would no doubt end there by committing suicide.

    After I finished speaking that evening, a teacher came to see me. He was a college graduate and was very clever and learned. He told me how life had become so tasteless and monotonous and how he had thought of killing himself many times but had dared not because of the darkness ahead of him. Now he knew that if he killed himself he would have no more hope of being saved. Hence he had decided not to take his life thereafter. A few days later a high school student came to see me and told how pessimistic he was about life and how he had thought of killing himself many times but had no opportunity to do so. Upon hearing the preaching of God’s word a few evenings before, he had given up the thought of taking his life.

    Several months ago I was preaching in Amoy and spoke again on this subject. If anyone would kill himself, I repeated, he would surely go to hell. Later, a medical doctor told me she had a nurse who had frequently tried to kill herself but had been hindered by her from doing so. That night after she heard what I had said from God’s word, that nurse dared not entertain such a thought again.

    Now these people whom I have mentioned have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only did they dare not kill themselves, they also did not need to kill themselves; for they now have Christ—they are saved! Christ has so comforted their hearts and transformed their lives that they no longer nurse the thought of taking their lives. I have no idea how many people meditate such a thought. But I do know this, that Christ can satisfy every heart. So why any longer contemplate suicide and head for hell?

    Once I was preaching the gospel for a few days in a college in Nanking. In the after-meeting on the last night, a townsman of mine who was a college student there came to talk with me personally. He had no difficulty in paying the tuition and his family financial situation was adequate. Moreover, he was not in any danger of failing in his studies. Yet he took a very pessimistic view towards life. He wondered where men came from and where they would go afterwards.

    He had been in this frame of mind since his high school days. He felt life was so uninteresting and extremely cruel, and he thus sensed a need and a longing—a lack within him which nothing in this world could satisfy or fulfill. So he began to take a passive attitude towards all things. Life to him was meaningless and a heavy burden. The longer he lived, the more vexations he experienced. Except for the monotony and the pain, life for him had no other flavor. He often kept to himself and passed his lonely life in musing. However, the more he contemplated his situation, the more abstract everything became. He searched in darkness and could not find a ray of light. For him such a burdensome life should now be quickly ended. He had no desire to continue on in vexation. So he decided to leap into the sea and end his miserable existence at the time when he would be returning home by boat during the winter vacation.

    Now, though, he had been hearing the gospel during the few days of meetings just concluded. And he today knew that the Lord Jesus Christ had died for all and lives to be a Friend of many. So why, he thought, should he die? During our conversation, he accepted the Lord Jesus to be his Savior. After he had decided to accept the Lord, I told him to tell God about his thought of suicide. He did so as we prayed together. After prayer, he asked me what he should do when he got up the next morning. I told him he should find an opportunity to read the Bible prayerfully and to meditate on God’s word so as to nourish his spiritual life. We then parted.

    A few days later I asked his friend about him. His friend told me he was today very different from before, he now being a happy man. A few days after that, I met his friend once more and again I asked about him. I received the same answer. Praise God, now that he has the Lord Jesus he has no need to take his life.

    Why do you seek for death? I know you are dissatisfied with life. I know you often feel lonely and miserable. I know your life is monotonous. I know you frequently sigh. You sense the vexation of life. And you are no stranger to tears. Though you possess many things of this world, these cannot satisfy your heart. In the depth of your being you sense a need, a longing for something which you do not know but which you hope will fill that void.

    It is true that besides sorrow and vexation, life has no other taste. And hence you sometimes think of suicide. But why should you take that route? Jesus Christ has come to save suffering people. He has comforted many hearts, satisfied many souls, transformed many lives, and wiped away many tears. He is willing to help you turn your vexatious life into a joyful one. He can be the sun in your cloudy days, and He can be the song in your dark nights. With Him your soul can be comforted and made joyous. Why then must you die? Why commit suicide and end in hell? Today you must heed the gospel. The Lord is able and He cares for you. Accept Him as your Savior and Lord, and your life’s problems will be solved.
    by Published on 09-05-2014 06:35 PM     Number of Views: 468 
    1. Categories:
    2. Spiritual Christian Life


    For that which I do I know not; for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do. But if what I would not, that I do, I consent unto the law that it is good. So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not. For the good which I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I practise. But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 7:15-8:2

    The Desire for Deliverance from Sin

    A person who believes in the Lord may immediately be delivered from sin. This experience, however, is not necessarily shared by all new believers. Many are not delivered from sin after they first trust in the Lord. Instead, they often find themselves falling into sin. There is no question at all that they have been saved, that they belong to the Lord and have eternal life. Yet the great difficulty remains that they are frequently disturbed by sin. Because of this, they are unable to serve the Lord as they would like.

    It is most painful for a saved person to be disturbed by his continuing sins. Since he is enlightened by God, his conscience is sensitive. In him is the life which condemns sins; so he has the consciousness of sin. He deeply feels his corruption and he abhors himself. This is really an exceedingly painful experience.

    Out of this experience comes a problem: many believers do not really know what sin is. Some believers say that sin can be avoided by resisting it. Thus they exert all their strength to resist the temptation to sin. Others contend that sin needs to be overcome. Hence they fight with sin all the time, hoping that they may overcome it. Still others declare that since sin has bound us and robbed us of our freedom, we may be delivered from its enticement if we really struggle hard. Therefore, they do their best to struggle. But these three ideas are only men’s thoughts; they are neither God’s Word nor God’s teaching. None of them can succeed in bringing people to victory.

    I hope you will take special note of this matter. I personally believe that as soon as people believe in the Lord they should be shown the way of deliverance. I do not agree that they must turn many corners before they can be delivered. They should walk this way of freedom from the beginning of their Christian life.

    The Word of God does not tell us that we should overcome sin; it does tell us, instead, that we must be delivered from sin, freed from sin. These are the words of the Bible. Sin is a power which holds people. We are to be delivered from its grip, not to destroy its power. We cannot put it to death, but the Lord has removed us from it.

    The Law of Sin

    For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do. . . . for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not. For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise. But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it . . . I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is present. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members ... So then I of myself with the mind, indeed, serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Rom. 7:15-25

    You need to find the key to Romans 7. In verses 15 through 20, such words as these are used: “I would,” “I would not,” “I hate,” “to will is present with me,” “the good which I would,” “the evil which I would not,” and so forth. The thoughts constantly repeated are “would,” “would not,” or “will.” But verses 21 through 25 show us another point. The emphasis is no longer “would” or “would not,” but is repeatedly seen in words like “the law,” “a different law in my members,” “into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members,” “I of myself with the mind serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” If you keep these two points of emphasis before you, you will be able to solve the problem.

    In this section of Romans 7, Paul is thinking of overcoming. He thinks it would be best if he could sin no more and please God by doing that which God can accept. He does not want to sin nor does he like to be defeated. Yet he acknowledges that to will is present with him but to do that which is good is beyond him. He wills to do good, but he cannot do it. Though he tries not to sin, he still does sin. He delights in the law of God, yet he is unable to practice it. In other words, he cannot do what he would do.

    In verses 15 through 20, though Paul wills to overcome, yet he suffers total defeat. This shows that the way of victory does not lie in “would” or “would not.” Victory is not to be found through man’s will. Paul wills and wills, but he ends up in defeat. Therefore, do not think that everything will be all right if only you have the will to do good. To will is with you, but to do is not. All you can do is to will; there is not much use in it.

    However, after verse 21 Paul himself finds out why his will to do good is unsuccessful. The reason is that sin is a law. Since sin is a law, it is futile to will. Paul shows us the reason for his defeat. He explains that though he would do good, evil is present with him. He delights in the law of God after the inward man, but with the flesh he serves the law of sin. Whenever he decides to delight in God’s law, a different law in his members—the law of sin—brings him into captivity. Any time he wills to do good, evil is present. This is a law.

    Many who have been Christians for years still do not see that sin is a power which seems to be quite authoritative. They do not see sin as a law. I hope newly saved brothers and sisters will see this: sin in human experience, as well as in the Bible, is a law. It is not only an influence, a power, but it is also a law. Paul discovered how useless it was for his will to battle against a law.

    The Inability of the Will to Overcome the Law

    Will is the inner power of man, while law is a natural power. Both are powers. I like to use an illustration to help people understand this matter of law. We know that the earth exerts a gravitational force. This force of gravity is a law. Why do we call it a law? Because it is always so. That which is not incidental is a law. That which is occasional is an historical accident, not a law.

    Why is earth’s gravitation a law? If I drop my handkerchief, it goes downward. It happens in Shanghai as well as in Foochow. Wherever the handkerchief is dropped, the same thing happens. Gravity pulls it down, so this is called the law of gravitation. Not only is gravity a force; it also is a law. If the handkerchief is only occasionally pulled to the earth, then this force could not be reckoned as a law. A law is something which always acts in the same way. If I throw my Bible upward, it will fall down. If I throw a chair up, it too will fall down. If I jump upward, I will also come down. No matter where or what, what goes up will come down. Then I realize that not only is there a gravitational force exerted by the earth, but there is also a law of gravity.

    A law simply means it is always so. It permits no exception. If something happens once one way and another time a different way, it is a matter of history. But if something always happens the same way, it is a law. If a person commits a crime on the street, he will be taken into custody by the police. Should he commit this crime at home, he still will be taken into custody. Whoever murders, regardless of whom or where he murders, he will be taken by the police. This we call a law. A law applies to every person; there are no exceptions. If a man kills someone today, he is taken into custody by the police. But if he kills someone tomorrow and is not taken, kills again the day after tomorrow and is taken, then the matter of taking people into custody cannot be considered a law. A law needs to be consistent. It must be the same yesterday, today, and even tomorrow. The term “law” implies that it continues unchanged.

    Every law has its natural power—something not manufactured by human effort. We may use the earth’s gravitation as an example. Wherever I drop something, that thing gravitates downward. I do not need to press it down for there is a natural force which causes it to go down. Behind the law is the natural power.

    What, then, is the will? Will is man’s determination, man’s decision. It speaks of what man decides or desires or wills. The exercise of the will is not without its power. If I decide to do a certain thing, I start out to do it. If I decide to walk, I walk; if I decide to eat, I eat. As a person I have a will, and my will produces a power.

    However, the power of the will and the power of a law are different. While the power of the law is natural power, the power of the will is human. Gravitational force does not need the installation of some electrical appliance behind it in order to attract things downward; it acts naturally. If you light a lamp, the heat will naturally rush upward; this too is a law. When air is heated, it rises and expands; this is a law. In rising and expanding, it demonstrates a power, but this power is natural power. The power of the will, however, is something of man. Only that which is living has a will. Neither a chair nor a table has a will of its own. God has a will; man has a will. Only a living being has will. Though man’s will does possess some power, it is nonetheless a human power. It is in direct contrast to the power of a law which is a natural power.

    The question before us is: when the will and the law are in conflict, which will emerge as conqueror? Usually the will overcomes in the beginning, but the law conquers in the end. Man first overcomes, but the law eventually emerges as victor. For example: I am now holding up a Bible which weighs about half a pound. The force of earth’s gravity is operating on this book and is trying its best to pull the Bible to the ground. So the law is working. But I as a person have a will. My hand is lifting the Bible and I will not allow it to fall. I succeed in holding it up; I have overcome. My will is stronger than the law.

    Right now, at 8:17 in the evening, I have overcome. But wait till 9:17, and I will start to sigh that my hand will not listen to me. By tomorrow morning at 8:17, I will have to get a doctor to treat me! A law never tires, but my hand does. Man’s power cannot overcome natural law. The law of gravitation continues to pull; it pulls without will or thought. I will not let the Bible fall; I forcibly hold onto it. Still the time will come when I can no longer hold on. When I cease to lift up the Bible, it will drop to the ground. The law works twenty-four hours a day, but I cannot.

    Eventually the will of men will be defeated and the law will overcome. All of men’s wills cannot conquer natural law. Human will may strenuously resist natural law and may at the beginning seem to overcome, but finally it will have to give in to the law. Do not despise the law of earth’s gravitation. You are battling with it daily. All who are now in their graves, if able to speak, would have to concede that they are not as strong as the law. For decades you appear to be daily in ascendancy over gravity. You almost forget the great power of earth’s gravity; you live as if there were no death. You are active from morning till night. But there will come a day when you too will be pulled down by the law of sin and death. At that moment, your activity will come to an end. There is nothing you can do; the law has conquered. Can you imagine a person who by force of will could hold onto a Bible so that it never falls? It is impossible. Sooner or later he has to yield; the law will come forth as conqueror.

    In Romans 7 the subject is the contrast between law and will. Its theme is very simple, for it deals only with the conflict between will and law. At an earlier time, Paul was not conscious that sin is a law. Paul is the first one in the Bible to discover this truth. He is also first to use the term “law.” People know that gravitation is a law, that heat expansion is also a law, but they do not know that sin is a law. At first even Paul did not know this; only after repeatedly sinning did he discover that there was a power in his body which gravitated him to sin. He did not sin purposely, but the power in his body pulled him to sin. Sinning is more than historical; it is a law. When temptation comes, we try to resist, but before long we fail; this is our history of defeat. Again temptation comes and again we resist and fail. This happens the tenth time, the hundredth time, the millionth time. It is the same story: temptation comes, we resist; and before we realize it, we are defeated. As this occurs time after time, we begin to see that this is not just an historical fact. It has become a law. Sinning is a law. If one were to sin only once, he might consider it an historical event; however, we cannot say sinning is historical for it is not limited to once. It has become a law.

    Temptation comes and I am defeated. I have no way to overcome. Each time it comes, I fail; thus I come to realize that my defeat is more than just defeat; it is the law of defeat in me. Defeat has become a law to me. Brethren, have you seen this? Paul saw it. In verse 21 he tells us his great revelation—a revelation about himself. He says, “I find then the law.” This is the first time he realizes it that way. He senses a law. What is it? “That to me who would do good, evil is present.” Whenever he wants to do good, he finds evil is present in him. This is the law. When I would do good, sin is present. Sin follows closely after good. Not just once, not just a thousand times, but it is always this way. I now understand it to be a law.


    It is not that I sin accidentally or occasionally; it is not that I sometimes sin and sometimes do not; sinning is a law to me, for I constantly sin. Because this occurs all the time, I know it is a law. Whenever I would do good, evil is present. When Paul’s eyes were opened to this, he realized that all his own efforts were futile. What had he tried? He had tried to do good. He had thought his will could overcome sin, not knowing that no will can ever overcome sin. But as soon as he saw sin as a law, not just a conduct, he immediately conceded that to will was useless. The will could never conquer the law. This, indeed, was a great discovery, a very great revelation.

    When through God’s mercy anyone is brought to see that sin is a law, he instantly knows how ineffective any method of overcoming sin with the will must be. Before he sees this, he is always making resolutions. When tempted, he bites his teeth and determines to overcome, but eventually he fails. The second time he is tempted he surmises that his first resolution was not strong enough, so this time he makes a firmer resolution to not sin again for any reason. But let me tell you, however strong his resolution is, he still fails again. He may yet conclude that something is wanting in his resolution, so when again tempted, he once more resolves before God and asks the Lord to help him. Since he is not sure of his resolution, he prays, “O Lord, please have mercy on me. Help me that I may not sin this time.” After he gets up from his knees, he once again fails. He wonders why he cannot overcome sin by making resolutions. The answer is that it is because no amount of will effort can ever conquer a law.

    This hand of mine may be quite strong; it may be able to lift fifty pounds. I have a watch here which weighs only five ounces. It should not be difficult for a hand that can lift fifty pounds to hold up this five-ounce watch. However, there is also a law here exerting its gravitational force on my hand. It pulls every second, every minute, and every hour. It keeps on pulling till I cannot hold this five-ounce watch. The hardship in bearing a load is that the longer you bear it, the heavier the object seems to become—not that the load itself has been increased, but that the law begins to overcome the bearer. The law overcomes the man. Nature overcomes man. This power operates so constantly that it incapacitates you.

    Another illustration is losing the temper. This is a common and easily recognized sin. Everyone has committed this sin several times. When you hear some unpleasant words, you feel uncomfortable, as if churning inside. If the same person says more unpleasant words, you may answer in kind. But should he continue to say such unkind words, you may be so stirred that you scold him and beat the table. You have lost your temper. You feel badly afterward because as a Christian you should not lose your temper. So you resolve that next time you will not. You are quite sure you will not. After prayer, you believe you are forgiven. Your heart is full of joy, for you say you will not lose your temper again. But later on, you again hear people say distasteful words. How uncomfortable you feel. You hear further words a second time, and your insides churn like a machine. The third time, you burst. You are, of course, conscious of your fault. How can a Christian lose his temper? You ask the Lord to forgive your sin, and you promise that hereafter you will not lose your temper. But after some time, the experience is repeated all over again. What, then, do you call this? It is not just sinning; it is the law of sin.

    Sinning is not accidental; it is a law. If a person kills another person, this is sin. But if he kills every day, this is the law of killing. If a man loses his temper daily, his bad temper has become a law to him. It is not by chance that people sin, nor do they sin only once. People sin countless times throughout their lives. The liars in the world keep on lying; the unclean keep on being unclean; the adulterers keep on committing adultery; the stealers keep on stealing; the ill-tempered keep on losing their temper. It is a law within men which cannot be conquered.

    It is a great discovery when the Lord has mercy on you and opens your eyes to see that sin is, indeed, a law. If you see this, victory is not far away. Should you consider sin merely a matter of conduct, you will no doubt try to pray more and to resist more in order to overcome the next time. But it is futile. As the power of sin is strong and constant, so our strength is weak and untrustworthy. As the power of sin is always triumphant, so our power is always yielding. Sin’s power is victorious and our power is defeated. The victory of sin is a law, even as our defeat is a law. When I would do good, evil is present. Paul says he has found this to be a law, an unconquerable law.

    I do hope that you will be clear on the nature of sin. If you see this law, you will be delivered from many hardships and sorrows. If you are willing to accept God’s Word, you will know that sin is a law and that you cannot overcome it with your will. Then you will be able to see the real way to victory. It is a great blessing to find this law. It may take many defeats, possibly hundreds or thousands of defeats, to discover for yourself this law of defeat. You have to be so utterly defeated that one day you realize you can never overcome sin by your will. Sooner or later, sin will rise up and declare that it is a law, so what can you do? Let me tell you, all who trust in their own willpower will have to acknowledge that they can do nothing about it. Since sin is a law, what can you do? You cannot resist it; the power of your will can never overcome the power of a law.

    The Way of Victory

    We know man is not delivered by exercising his will. When he is using his willpower, he is unable to trust God’s way of deliverance. He has to wait for the day when he submits himself to God and confesses that he is utterly undone. Then he will pray, “Lord, I am not going to try again.” Whenever one has no way but still thinks of finding a way, he will draw upon his will to help. It is only when he acknowledges he has no way and is not going to find a way that he forsakes calling upon his will for help. Then he will begin to see how to get real deliverance. Then he will read Romans 8.

    Brothers and sisters, do not despise Romans 7. Many believers are unable to get out of that chapter. Romans 7 captures more Christians than any other passage in the Bible. Many Christians keep their address in Romans 7. That is where they may be found, for they dwell there. It is useless to preach Romans 8 alone. The question is not whether you know the teaching of Romans 8, but whether you have come out of Romans 7. Many preach on Romans 8 but are still buried in Romans 7. They are yet trying to deal with the law by the power of their will. They are still being defeated. Because they fail to see that sin is a law and that the will cannot overcome the law, they are imprisoned in Romans 7 and cannot enter Romans 8.

    New believers should accept what the Word of God says. If you have to wait to find out for yourself, you may have to commit many sins. Even after sinning repeatedly, your eyes still may not be opened. You will have to come to the point where you see that all your battles are futile. Paul said in Romans 7 that it is useless to battle, for who can overcome a law? Thus, at the start of Romans 8 he says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death” (vv. l-2). You have seen that sin is a law. You have also seen that it is not possible for man’s will to overcome that law. Where, then, is the way of victory, the way of deliverance?

    The way of victory is here: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” The word “condemnation” in the original Greek has two different usages, one legal and the other civil. If the word is used legally, it means “condemnation” as found in the English translation. But in its civil usage, the word means “disabling” or “handicap.” According to the context of this passage of Scripture, probably the civil usage is clearer.

    We are no longer disabled. Why? Because the Lord Jesus Christ has given us deliverance. It is something the Lord has done. But how does He do it? It is very simple, for it is explained by the second verse: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.” This is the way of victory. Can you alter Romans 8:2 and read it this way: “The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from sin and death”? I suppose ten Christians out of ten would read the verse this way. But what does it say? It says that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.” Many have seen only the Spirit of life setting them free from sin and death, but have failed to see that it is the law of the Spirit of life which sets them free from the law of sin and of death.

    To learn the lesson that sin and death is a law may take years. But even as it may take a great deal of time and resolution and failure to realize that sin is a law, so it may take years for many believers to discover that the Spirit of life is also a law. Sin has followed us for years and we have had a close association with it; yet we still do not know that it is a law. Likewise, we may have believed in the Lord for many, many years and have known the Holy Spirit in our lives, yet not known Him as a law.

    It is a day of great discovery when our eyes are opened by the Lord to see that sin is a law. It is a day of even greater discovery when we are given the revelation that the Holy Spirit is also a law. Only a law can overcome another law. The will cannot overcome the law, but a higher law can overcome a lower law. We can never overcome the law of sin by our human will, but the law of the Spirit of life can set us free from the law of sin and of death.

    We know that earth’s gravity is a law which holds us. We know too that there is a thing called density. If the density of a thing is exceedingly low, such as in the case of hydrogen, then earth’s gravitational force cannot hold it down. By pumping hydrogen into a balloon, we can make the balloon rise. The law of earth’s gravitational force is a fixed law, but it only operates within a certain range or degree of density. If the density is too low, the law of gravity does not apply. Then another law takes over, even the law of buoyancy, which sends things upward. This upward surge needs no hand to push, no fan to stir. You just let go, and up it ascends. This law overcomes the other law. It is equally effortless. In a similar manner, the law of the Holy Spirit overcomes the law of sin.

    Let us say it another way. To see sin as a law is a big thing, for it makes you decide against battling sin with your willpower. Likewise, seeing the law of the Holy Spirit in your life is another big crisis. Many seem to understand how the Spirit of life gives them life, but have yet to learn that the Holy Spirit in them, that is, the life which God has given them through Jesus Christ, is also a law. If you let this law operate, it will naturally deliver you from the law of sin and of death. When this law delivers you from the other law, it does not require an ounce of your strength. You need not make one resolution, spend any time, nor even lay hold of the Holy Spirit.

    May I ask, does anybody need to hold onto the earth’s gravitational force? Does someone need to pray that this force will quickly pull things down? No, there is no need to pray, for the earth most spontaneously attracts things downward. It is a law. All one needs to do is to remove his hand, to not purposely hold onto things. When the will is not working, then the law is manifested. When the will is not interfering, the law operates. In a similar way, the Spirit of the Lord in us does not need our help. If you are afraid that the Spirit of the Lord in you may not be responsible and so you rush to help when temptation comes, it shows that you have not seen that the Spirit of the Lord in you is a law.

    May new believers see that the Holy Spirit in them is a spontaneous law. If anyone is to be delivered from sin, he has to come to that deliverance naturally. Should he try to get deliverance by exercising his willpower, he will again be defeated. But now those who are in Christ Jesus are no longer handicapped, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made them free from the law of sin and of death. It is all so simple and so natural. We have been given another law which naturally delivers us from the law of sin and of death.

    Someone may ask how this comes about. I do not know, but have you not had some such experience? For example: someone comes to you; he scolds you, quarrels with you, and even beats you. He is utterly unreasonable in all that he does. You should be very angry with him, but somehow you let everything go without knowing why. Afterward you begin to wonder why it was that when you were scolded you forgot to get angry. After that person did so much, you ought to have lost your temper. If you keep on remembering all that he did to you, you will no doubt be very angry. Yet, to your own amazement, you just unconsciously let everything pass. Let me tell you, victories are all won unawares.

    Why is it that you overcome without being conscious of it? It is because a law is working. If it were a matter of your will, you would have to think and hold on. But what the Lord does is to give the victory without your awareness. Such victories are real victories. If you have experienced this even once, then you will understand the revelation that the indwelling Holy Spirit is able to keep you from sin. He is able to make you victorious without the help of your resolves. You do not need to make resolutions, for the law in you will deliver you from sin. If you really see before God that since you are in Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life is also in you, then you will find that the Lord puts His Spirit in you in order to carry you through to victory quite naturally. You do not need to will or to grasp; you will just surprisingly be brought into victory.

    To overcome sin does not require an ounce of strength, for it is the work of the law. There is one law which makes me sin without my effort, and there is another law which sets me free from sin—also without my labor. Only that which requires no exertion is true victory. I have nothing to do. Let me tell you, we now have nothing to do but to raise our heads and tell the Lord, “Nothing of me.” What happened before was due to law; what is now happening is also due to law. The former law did a thorough work, for it made me sin continuously; this new law does an even better work because I am no longer handicapped by sin. The law of the Spirit of life has manifested itself; it is far superior to the law of sin and death.

    If new believers can be brought to see this from the first day of their Christian life, they will then walk the road of deliverance. The Bible never uses the term “overcome sin”; it only uses the phrase “made free” or “delivered from sin.” It is said here in Romans, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.” The law of the Spirit of life has pulled me out of the realm of the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death is still present, but I am no longer there for it to work upon. The earth’s gravitational force is present, but if things have been removed to heaven, there is no object for it to act upon.

    The law of the Spirit of life is in Christ Jesus and I am also now in Christ Jesus; therefore by this law I am made free from the law of sin and of death. “There is therefore now no disabling to them that are in Christ Jesus.” The man in Romans 7 is labeled, “disabled.” But this disabled person who is so weak and always sins is now, Paul says, no more disabled in Christ Jesus. How? By the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which has set him free from the law of sin and of death. Therefore, there is no more disabling. Do you see now how this problem of deliverance is completely solved?

    The Way of Deliverance and Freedom

    The earlier a new believer knows the way of deliverance, the better it is for him. There is no need for a delay of several years before he can know deliverance and freedom. Within a few months he can have many experiences of learning. It is not necessary for him to suffer many wounds before learning. It is possible for a Christian not to be defeated. So, when you are faced with a difficulty, do not strive, using your willpower. If you are defeated, do not turn back. Learn the way of deliverance step by step. The first step is to see that sin is a law to you; the second, to see that the will cannot overcome the law; and the third, to see that there is another law which does overcome the law of sin. Upon experiencing these three steps, the problem is wholly solved.

    May all Christians be able to sing the victory song of praise. How many miles are walked unnecessarily; how many tears are shed because of defeat. If believers see this way of deliverance and freedom from the beginning of their Christian lives, they will be saved many sorrows and tears. What is the way of deliverance? It is that the law of the Spirit of life has set me free. It is a law, perfect and powerful. That law is able to deliver me to the end. It does not require my help. As the law of sin in the world causes everybody to sin, so now the law of the Spirit of life in us naturally leads us into complete victory over sin. It naturally makes us holy, full of life, and full of its power.

    You have already received life. Never think that the Holy Spirit sometimes manifests life and sometimes not. If this is your case, you do not know the Holy Spirit as a law. Since He is a law, He is always the same. He is the same wherever, whatever, and whenever it may be. He is the same, not because you make Him so, but because He is so. Do you believe He is a law? I have no way to persuade you to believe. If you have not seen this, you will not believe what we have said. May God open your eyes that you may see this. We have in us not only the Holy Spirit, not only life, but also a law. Thus we shall be delivered.

    Having seen this law, our problem is resolved. It is not enough to see the indwelling Holy Spirit; we must see Him as a law in us. Then we shall begin to praise. Hereafter, we shall live a transcendent life. How wonderful it is.
    by Published on 05-04-2014 07:10 PM     Number of Views: 642 
    1. Categories:
    2. 2022 to 2029

    Before the Tribulation - the great and terrible day of the Lord (Joel 2.31) - Revelation 6.12 reads, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a (1) great earthquake; and (2) the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and (3) the moon became as blood."

    (1) 320,000 people died in the great earthquake in Haiti in 2010 - the 2nd most deaths of any earthquake on planet earth in human record. Then in 2011 Japan experienced a 9.0 magnitude earthquake - the 4th greatest ever produced anywhere on earth in human record. Combined these two earthquakes of such intensity back to back - year over year - have never happened before, nor will happen ever again!

    (2) There are 4 kinds of solar eclipses. The 4th type a Hybrid is the rarest occurring 5% of the time according to NASA. Of that 5% there are 3 kinds of Hybrids. The rarest is the H3 and is even more rare when it is the long version lasting more than 1 min 30 sec. The 4th one since Christ was Nov. 3, 2013 and won't happen again till 2172.

    (3) The Total Lunar Tetrad on Passover and Tabernacles over 2 years in 2014/15 is the 8th time this has occurred since Christ. It won't happen again till 2582/83. Incidentally, there is no unique solar eclipse attached to the 9th feast Tetrad, and it's impossible a great earthquake as well.

    There you have it: like concentric circles smaller and smaller around a bull's eye. The 6th Tetrad brought about Israel a nation again after 2500 years, the 7th Tetrad the recapture of Jerusalem, and the 8th Tetrad tells us of when the 3rd Temple construction begins. Once the construction begins we know when the Tribulation takes place, because there will be 2300 days left (Dan. 8.14) for the cleansing of the Temple from Passover to Tisha B'Av. Then Jesus steps down on the mount of olives (Zech. 14.4, Acts 1.11, Rev. 1.7).

    Daniel's final seven is 2,520 days like all the other sevens in Dan. 9.24-27. 2,520 is the smallest number divisible by numbers 2 to 10. In addition to the 1260 days of the second half of the Tribulation there is 30 days more to the Day of Atonement to the 1290th day (Dan. 12.11) for Jesus to judge the nations.

    There are exactly 2,550 days from feast of Trumpets Sept. 26, 2022 to Day of Atonement Sept. 19, 2029. Incidentally the sign of the Son of Man (Matt. 24.30) is Apophis Apr. 13, 2029.

    What is vitally important about all this is that if you though saved having received Christ into your life do not keep the word of His patience, are not prayerful and watchful (Rev. 3.10, Luke 21.36, Matt. 24.40-42) you will not escape the hour of trial that is to come upon the whole world to be raptured at the start of the Tribulation on Sept. 26, 2022 Feast of Trumpets. Therefore, you will enter the Tribulation and if still do not overcometh by the end of the Tribulation then you will not receive the reward of returning with Christ (Jude 14,15; Rev. 2.26,27, 20.4-6) to reign over the nations with a rod of iron.

    You can see how God is giving you not only the choice to accept Christ but to be a carnal or spiritual Christian.

    Praise the Lord for this discernment! Amen.
    by Published on 02-22-2014 08:03 PM     Number of Views: 780 
    1. Categories:
    2. Primary Verses

    The Resurrection
    1 Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3 On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
    5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, 6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
    8 The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened.
    [Shorter Ending of Mark]
    Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.
    [Longer Ending of Mark]
    9 After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. 11 But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.
    12 Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. 13 They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.
    14 Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.
    16:14 Some early manuscripts add: And they excused themselves, saying, “This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not permit God’s truth and power to conquer the evil [unclean] spirits. Therefore, reveal your justice now.” This is what they said to Christ. And Christ replied to them, “The period of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other dreadful things will happen soon. And I was handed over to death for those who have sinned, so that they may return to the truth and sin no more, and so they may inherit the spiritual, incorruptible, and righteous glory in heaven.”
    15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. 18 They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
    19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
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