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"Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons." Acts 10:34 ; "My brethren, have not The Faith of our LORD Jesus Christ, the LORD of Glory, with respect of persons." James 2:1 . Do not follow any man, or group of men, in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. Hear spiritual men of God and then search the Scriptures yourself. Do not let those of reputation scare you away from the high and holy truths contained in God’s Word.
There are several kinds of false teachers, whether they call themselves pastors, teachers, and preachers. There are false teachers who make false statements and give false interpretations of the Word of God. Then there are men, really saved men, who make false accusations against their Christian brethren, with whom they disagree as to the application of 2 Timothy 2:15 , “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” And, being unable to answer their brethren with the Word of God, they resort to exaggerations and false charges as to their teaching. They try to intimidate Children of God who are untaught and un-established, and keep them from obeying God’s Word as expressed in Ephesians 4:3 and Ephesians 3:9 , by maligning and misrepresenting servants of Christ, who would do the will of God and lead Children of God into the deeper truths of God.
“But What about Church Creeds”?
“Church creeds” may be both a help and a hindrance to the Child of God in Bible study. They may both aid and limit the honest searcher after Divine Truth. God’s Truth cannot be fully set forth in a set of “church rules” and a “written doctrinal statement”.
THE FEAR OF MAN and THE PRAISE OF MAN
No Child of God can be wholly true to his convictions and altogether honest in his study of God’s Word, if in any way he is numbered with those mentioned in Jude 16 , where it says, “having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”
Spiritual tact is always a virtue, but most religious diplomacy is equivalent to compromise and cowardice.
Humanly speaking, nothing is more beneficial than sweet spiritual fellowship with fellow members of the Body of Christ, but when that fellowship is maintained at the cost of compromise with God’s truth, with disobedience, or silence concerning some God-given conviction, it borders on fellowship with darkness.
Therefore, SHAME on any Child of God who turns from Divine light received by reading and hearing the Word of God in order to obtain some advantage, or as the result of the fear, or praise of men. In John 12:42-43 , we have the record of those miserable religious cowards at the time Christ, was here on earth, “many believed on Him but they did not confess Him. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
For this very same reason there are many Children of God, today, who cling to a program and message of Grace AND religion MIXED. Now, I can't say this strongly enough...such a mixture is an ABOMINATION in the sight of Christ. However, to religious or semireligious people it is an "inoffensive" message. The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, in writing to the Galatians, declared that religion would remove the offense from the cross. This is EXACTLY what Satan wants the Child of God to do. That is, to mix in with the Grace of God enough religion to frustrate that Grace. In that same Epistle, the Apostle Paul said, “if I please men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 .
For a good position, for more recommendations and less condemnation, for more and larger audiences, and more and larger offerings, it is a great temptation to preach sermons that will please the committee appointed to select the pastor or evangelist and to be careful not to offend the good givers.
In that same Epistle to the Galatians we find a splendid example of a servant of the Lord, one of the “big” leaders, trying a bit of religious diplomacy. Read Galatians 2:9-15 . Peter walked not uprightly according to God’s truth, “fearing them which were of the circumcision.”, and many Children of God are falling into this same trap today. Peter received a very severe, but a just, rebuke from the Apostle Paul for this compromise. Perhaps he was saying within himself, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But when the “circumcision”, or the “water baptizers” or “Sabbath-keepers”, or any kind of religious leaders, get after the Bible teacher or Christian worker, who is satisfied with The LORD Jesus Christ, and His pure message of Grace, without religious fetters...woe unto him! Religious people DO know how to persecute. Religion in the Child of God always counteracts the Fruit of the Spirit and changes love into hate.
Surely we must admire the Apostle Paul for his bold, noble, uncompromising stand against the pillars of the church and the religious “somewhats”. Galatians 2:6-9 . But it cost him some friends, including Barnabas. And what it cost him to completely deliver the message of Grace from every religious entanglement, including legalism, ritualism, signs and ordinances, is told in any 2 Timothy 1:15 , “All they which are in Asia be turned away from me.” At that time Paul was in prison for preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ, and proclaiming the Mystery, which was a message from the RISEN Christ that SUPERSEDED the entirety of the religious program foretold by the prophets of Israel. Colossians 4:3 ; Colossians 1:24-29 .
The “pillars” and religious “somewhats” in the world’s various Fundamentalist Associations, are today the great enemies of the Blessed Truth in the Word of God, known as “The Mystery”, The joint Body of Christ, made up of both Jew and Gentile without distinction, saved by Grace alone, through The Faith, the Glorious truth of the Child of God’s full identification with Christ, by a Divine baptism NOT made with hands. These “pillars” and religious “somewhats”, not only close their pulpits to that most wonderful truth of the Scriptures set forth in Ephesians and Colossians, but they actively boycott, persecute, ostracize, and dis-fellowship other servants of Christ, who do.
They contradict their own testimony by preaching, that the believer is accepted in Christ, complete in Christ, eternally and securely identified with Christ, as a member of His Body, blessed with all spiritual blessings and seated with Him in the highest heavenlies; all on the grounds of the shed blood of the spotless Son of God; all by the pure unmerited grace, nothing by human endeavor, practice or attainment. They claim this, BUT THEN, on the other hand, they withhold the right hand of fellowship from those who refuse to agree with their religious water baptism ordinance, admitting that they cannot quote one single verse of Scripture authorizing one member of the Body of Christ to baptize a believer who is already a member of that same Body. They manifest anything but the love of Christ toward the fellow-members of the same Body who are endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit on the basis of that one Divine baptism which makes believing sinners members of that Body and joined to Christ the Head.
It is just the repetition of the same old spirit mentioned in John 9:22 : “for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that Jesus was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.”
One of the “pillars” among the Fundamentalists of this country, who is one of the “somewhats”, has warned other Fundamentalists to shun Christians who do not accept the water ceremony (water baptism), and to have no fellowship with them. The Pharisees are not dead.
Virtually all of the leaders among the Fundamentalists are agreed concerning the important fundamental doctrines, but concerning water baptism they are divided and sub-divided into confusion, uncertainty and sectarianism.
The Body of Christ is truly menaced with a state of Baptism Babylon, destroying the unity of members of the Body of Christ and hindering believers from obeying Ephesians 4:3 and Ephesians 3:9 .
With many Christians the question is still the question of John 7:48 “have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed?” The question should be, “what saith the Scriptures, rightly divided?” The rulers and the Pharisees were WRONG in those days, and those who believed what they believed erred concerning the truth.
We trust that we may encourage many Children of God to be true searchers of the Holy Scriptures, and get their eyes off the “pillars” and the “somewhats”. Search the Scriptures. Remember that no man, or group of men, has reached the finality of truth. No Child of God has any monopoly on the only infallible teacher, the Holy Spirit. Always keep in mind that some of the most recognized “big men” among Bible teachers today are the real enemies of the most blessed truths of the Bible.
The purpose of this message, and all the messages of The Lion and Lamb Ministry are to stimulate, encourage, or provoke real honest to goodness spiritual, prayerful, first-hand Bible study. DO NOT FEAR MEN. Read Hebrews 13:6 and take courage, “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what men shall do unto me.”
Sacrifice the praise of men for the praise of God, which shall continue into the ages to come. Do not compromise for advantage, for a job with a good income. God can still open doors. Philippians 4:19 is still true: “But my God shall supply all you need according to His riches in Glory by Jesus Christ.” Get your eyes off of men. Look unto the Author and Finisher of our Faith. Be as the Bereans in study, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Be as Timothy, a good soldier of Christ, remembering those words of the Apostle Paul, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” 2 Timothy 1:8 .
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 . BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )