Church of God Gospel Trumpet

A Revelation About the Church of God Restoration

PROCRASTINATION


Unto a youth the gospel came, Exhorting him in Jesus' name,
To turn from sin, embrace the truth, And serve the Lord in days of youth.
a Christless grave The youth replied, "I know that's right, But I won't turn from sin tonight;
A few more pleasures I will seek, And then I'll turn, perhaps next week."

But next week came, and still his heart, Was not inclined from sin to part.
"A few more days in sin I'll live, And then my heart to God I'll give."
Days passed by, and months rolled on, And still he sang the same old song,
"Not now, but later on I'll pray, For God to wash my sins away."

The months and years went by so fast; From youth to middle age he passed.
And yet his sins were not forgiven, Nor was his name enrolled in heaven.
From middle age to old he went; His body 'neath the years was bent.
"His conscience once so keen to feel, No more was stirred at God's appeal."

Procrastination, in its awful stealth, Had robbed his soul of heaven's wealth,
And so at last to sin a slave, He died to fill a Christless grave.
Oh souls, behold, God says, TODAY! Turn now from all your sins away,
Lest you should reach your doleful fate, And cry at last, "Too late! Too late!"

Ulysses Phillips

PREACH A SERMON, PREACHER

preach the truth
cry aloud and spare not

Preach a sermon, Preacher, but don't preach very long;
Just tell a heart-warming story, but don't condemn the wrong.
Say not a thing about specific problems,
Because that's something we don't want to know.
We're just here to feel real good, so don't mess up the show

Preach a sermon, Preacher, but don't preach doctrine plain.
Let others guess at what is meant; don't ever call a name.
We'll sing your praises loud and long, and keep you many a day,
But preach it clear and you will hear, "Brother, be on your way."

Preach a sermon, Preacher, but say nothing of our duty,
Tell us all about God's grace, and picture Heaven's beauty.
Leave out things that we must do, we're busy making money;
Keep it short and off the point, and make it sweet as honey.

Preach a sermon, Preacher, but say nothing of our sins;
Don't speak of hell, repentance, or other stuff that offends.
Tell us about how Jesus loves each and everyone,
And how He'll forgive us, no matter how our lives are run.

Preach a sermon, Preacher, but make sure we're entertained.
With the right technique, there's sure to be new converts to be gained.
Tell us about church youth programs and our gospel band,
With these we're sure to win more souls, and give our Lord a hand.

Preach a sermon, Preacher, and speak of the day we die,
Tell all the folks about our home beyond the starry sky.
Preach a sermon, Preacher, make it strong, preach us straight to Heaven,
Tell us that since we have church membership, we get eternal living.

Dr. W.R. Crews from 'Playing Church," third printing July 1982

Divine Healing

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.
Psalms 103:2-3

A Two Fold Solution

God created man as a two fold being, with a body and a soul. The body is physical and mortal. The soul is spiritual and eternal. In God's creation, He did a complete work. God created a human body and provided for its restoration to physical health, just as He created a soul and provided for its restoration to spiritual life.divine healing body and soul

The scripture in Psalms shows God's care for both soul and body, saying He "forgiveth all thine iniquities; [and] ... healeth all thy diseases." Our souls need healing after committing sin, as David wrote, "... be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee." Psalms 41:4.

Jesus came with a message of healing for the heart. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." Luke 4:18

A connection between physical healing and spiritual healing keeps appearing in the scriptures. Matthew 9:2-8 gives an account of a man whom Jesus healed of palsy. Verse two says "they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."

Jesus healed the man's soul of his sins and healed his body of his illness, asking his critics, "For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?" Physical and spiritual healing are equally easy for the Lord.

Isaiah prophesied of a Savior that came to meet both physical and spiritual needs. "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Proof that Isaiah was speaking of physical healing is found in this account in the eighth chapter of Matthew:

16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Healing is for God's Children

Jesus ignored a woman from Canaan that was seeking spiritual deliverance for her daughter, but the woman kept begging for healing in spite of being told that it was "not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs." Jesus was impressed with her faith, and granted the healing, in spite of the fact that his ministry was to the Jews first. By calling healing "the children's bread", Jesus led us to believe that healing was something that was intended for God's children.

Divine healing is available for all of God's people today. If your soul has been healed from sin, your body may be healed of "all manner of sickness and disease". There is a connection between being healed and living free from sin. After healing a man that could not walk, Jesus told him "sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." John 5:14

Many times in Jesus' ministry, he healed both body and soul at the same time. Even in the Old Testament, healing was contingent upon forsaking wickedness:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

God offers spiritual healing to people who will humble themselves:

15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.
19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
Isaiah 57
Jesus heals today

God's plan for physical healing was provided for mankind, not for animals. As God's children, we trust God for the healing of our bodies, but we use inferior methods of treatment for animals, giving them medication and performing operations. It is reassuring to know that God has provided a complete package of healing for his children that covers both body and soul.

"Is it true that every sickness may be laid at Jesus feet?
All my troubles, care, and sorrow, and I rest in joy complete?
Yes, my brother every sadness, if by faith to him you pray,
He'll remove with tender mercy, for he's just the same today."

It is God's will to give us healing.

9 ... what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Matthew 7

Trusting God for Physical Healing

The word of God tells us what to do when we are sick:

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
James 5

Trusting the Lord for divine healing of the body is not an optional exercise of faith. It is the Bible standard for all saints. Sometimes the scripture "according to your faith be it unto you" is quoted with the suggestion that people may trust the Lord as far as their faith goes and put their trust in man the rest of the way.

28 ...when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
Matthew 9

This scripture does not mean that we may choose how far to trust the Lord. It simply means that the Lord healed them in accordance with their simple faith.

Some teach that medical intervention and divine healing go together. Those who believe this tend to try the medical intervention path until nothing more can be done, and then say that the rest is up to the Lord. God wants us to put our trust in him - fully.

Asa, king of Judah, had done a great work against idolatry in the land. He also trusted God to help in battle, saying "Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power." God won the battle for him. But years later, Asa took a different approach. He took silver and gold from the house of the Lord and gave them to the king of Syria to form an allegiance in war. He chose to trust man rather than God, and the prophet Hanani reproved him, saying "Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand." Asa continued his trust in man, and in the end "was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians."

A blessing comes from trusting the Lord; a curse comes from trusting man:

5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
Jeremiah 17
5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee.
Psalms 84:5
7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
Psalms 147

Healing - An Important Part of Spreading the Gospel

The two fold plan of healing, physical and spiritual, was evident when Jesus first commissioned his disciples to spread the gospel.

1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
Luke 9
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Matthew 10

Divine healing is a mystery to the world, but a powerful witness to the gospel of Jesus. In Acts chapter 14, Paul perceived that a crippled man had the faith to be healed, and healed the man. The heathens were so amazed that they called Paul and Barnabas gods and would have offered sacrifices to them had Paul and Barnabas not stopped them. Divine healing is effective in spreading the gospel.

Divine Healing - So Much Better Medical Intervention

Mark gives an account of a woman who came to Jesus for healing after getting no help from the doctors:

25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
Mark 5

With divine healing, we get additional benefits:

We acknowledge God as our creator. Why would we turn away from God as our help to accept healing from a part of the creation rather than the creator? We do not question the fact that doctors have done good for mankind and that technological gains have been made. Those who do not know the Lord or do not know better are at the mercy of what man can do, with his limitations, mistakes, and side affects. We are thankful to know a better way for the healing of "all manner of sickness and disease", and that is divine healing.

Healing Restored

After man sinned, he was subject to a number of curses - sorrow, thorns, hard labor, and mortality. The greatest of the curses was separation from the tree of life:

22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Genesis 3

We find that the tree of life reappears in a throne scene in Revelation:

1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22

The tree of life brings healing, just as the Son of God who said "I am the ... life" brought healing as a part of his ministry. Jesus came as a cure for sin and its effects. He heals our bodies and our souls.

Physical Healing Still Applies Today

When a group of people drifts away from Bible doctrine, one of the first doctrines to be abandoned is that of divine physical healing. We have no evidence anywhere in the scripture that physical healing was to be abandoned as a part of gospel outreach. In fact, healing is to be a sign of all believers for all ages:

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Mark 16

Practicing and experiencing divine healing is to be one of the evidences that we are God's people. We are to carry on that great message of hope and healing as his followers today.

Douglas Wall, Jan. 2009
SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES, ACCEPTABLE TO GOD BY JESUS CHRIST by Harlan Sorrell
Use of Musical Instruments in Worship
A popular opinion of our time is that it does not matter how we worship God just as long as our hearts are in what we do as worship. However, the scriptures reveal that since the beginning of time, and in every age, God has been very particular about what He has accepted as worship. Worship in all ages of time, since man's fall from his original state of purity in Eden, has involved some kind of offerings or sacrifices.

In Genesis 4: 3-5, we read, "And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."

This is the first record we have in the Bible of man worshiping God after the fall and we see from this account that one sacrifice was "acceptable" and the other "unacceptable." Keep this in mind as we go along. The principle here is very important to this discussion. Throughout the Old Testament there is much said concerning acceptable and unacceptable sacrifices. Only certain kinds of sacrifices were accepted and, in many instances, those sacrifices could only be burned on a special kind of altar and by a special kind of fire. After the Levitical priesthood was set up and ordained by God, an offering of incense burned by a fire kindled by the worshiper himself was not acceptable. It had to be burned by "holy fire" and the offering had to be made upon a holy altar. It was a very serious thing to offer "strange fire" before the Lord (see Lev. 10: 1-7). Those particulars pertaining to the literal sacrifices of the Old Testament were types and shadows of the particulars pertaining to the spiritual sacrifices of the New Testament.

Colossians 2: 23 speaks of "will worship." Will worship involves the will, the desires, the personal likings, or the whims of the worshiper. The offerings of Nadab and Abihu, as recorded in Leviticus 10: 1 were a form of will worship. Cain's sacrifice was also a form of will worship. He offered it according to his own personal liking, and it involved that which meant the most to him -- the product of his own toil and the work of his own hands. Will worship can never produce a sacrifice that is acceptable to God.

The apostle Peter, speaking of the worship of God by the New Testament church said in 1 Pet. 2: 5, "Ye ... as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

This scripture gives us much insight into what kind of worship is acceptable to God in this dispensation of time. To be acceptable, it must be (1) a "spiritual sacrifice" and (2) offered in the divine element of His Son, "Jesus Christ." I believe that one reason Cain's offering was not accepted by God in the beginning was because it did not reflect a faith in the future atonement of the promised Messiah. Abel's did, therefore it was accepted. Cain's sacrifice, the fruit of his own labors, reflected a faith in his own works, the human element, while Abel's sacrifice, the life of an innocent animal, reflected his faith in the future atonement of Christ, the divine.

It is quite obvious that all worship, in whatever dispensation of time, has had to be carried out according to God's provision for that particular dispensation in order to be accepted by Him. Let us examine a few scriptures. In Hebrews 8: 5 we read that "...Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle ... See that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." Hebrews 9: 1, 9-10, "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. ... Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."

By these scriptures we see that even in Old Testament times God had a prescribed system of acceptable worship. It had to be "according to the pattern," even though it did not make the worshipers perfect pertaining to the conscience, or inner man. That system of worship was but a type and shadow of something better that was yet to come. God had a better plan in mind, which would reach the need of the inner man. This plan would completely remove sin from the heart and thereby perfect the conscience and put man back into spiritual communion with his Creator. This, God knew, would produce the kind of worship He really desired.

In John, chapter 4, we have an interesting account of Jesus conversing with a Samaritan woman who met Him at Jacob's well. In verses 19 through 24 we read, "The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

These scriptures reveal the true element in which God must be worshiped in New Testament times. Adam Clarke says, "A man worships God in spirit, when under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he brings all his affections, appetites, and desires, to the throne of God; and he worships in truth, when every purpose and passion of his heart and every act of his religious worship is guided and regulated by the Word of God." "Thy Word is truth" (John 17: 17).

This kind of worship was fully made possible when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost. It was in the divine element of the Holy Spirit that God set up His eternal kingdom in Christ, and it is only in the element of His living Spirit working in connection with His written Word that all true worship now takes place. Any worship outside these parameters is now unacceptable to God.

We cited 1 Pet. 2: 5 awhile ago as revealing that worship in the present dispensation must involve "spiritual sacrifices" offered "in the element of Jesus Christ." Let us expound further on what we mean by "in the element of Jesus Christ." There was a time when the Word (Christ) was made flesh and dwelt among men, and men beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1: 14). But though He was manifested in the flesh, He was "justified in the Spirit" and "received up into glory" (1 Tim. 3: 16), "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1: 4). And "though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more" (2 Cor. 5: 16). Christ, "the last Adam was made a quickening spirit" (1 Cor. 15: 45). Yes, He is still the same in "person," but He has transformed from "flesh" into the "spiritual" element, a transformation that we too shall experience at His second coming (see 1 Cor. 15: 35 - 55). "We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3: 2; Phil. 3: 21). But in the meantime He has sent the Holy Spirit to connect us in our present state with Him in His present state. And it is through this medium that He now comes to us and sups with us, and we with Him (see John 14: 15 - 26; 15: 26; 16: 13 - 15; 2 Cor. 6: 16; Rev. 3: 20, etc.).

New Testament worship involves an interaction and communication between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. Without this it is impossible to be a "true worshiper" in this dispensation. The primary interaction between man's spirit and God's Spirit comes through the work of regeneration (Tit. 3: 5), or the spiritual rebirth (John 3: 3-8). It is only by being "born of the Spirit" that man's spirit connects to the element of Jesus Christ and enters into the kingdom of God, the realm of divine worship. It is this interaction that introduces the spirit of man to "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost" (2 Cor. 13: 14).

All New Testament worship is in some sense a "spiritual sacrifice" offered to God in the element of Jesus Christ through the Spirit. There are, so far as I have been able to perceive from my studies, three basic parts of divine worship in the New Testament. They are (1) prayer, (2) praise, and (3) prophesying. Let us consider each one of these.

(1) Prayer. In prayer we speak directly to God, "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit" (Eph. 6: 18). "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God" Jude 20, 21.

(2) Praise. In praise we may speak directly to God in thanksgiving, "giving thanks for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5: 20), or we may extol Him by speaking of His wondrous works to or before others. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me." Psa. 50: 23. "I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. ... thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom." Psa. 145: 1, 10-12. "And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing." Psa. 107: 22. "By him (Christ) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." Heb. 13: 15.

(3) Prophesying. In prophesying we "speak unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort," and we "edify the church." 1 Cor. 14: 3-4. Prophesying can, and does, include the predicting of future events by divine inspiration and insight; however, in its broader and more general sense from the Hebrew and from the Greek it means "to speak or sing by inspiration" (Hebrew "naba") and to "speak under inspiration" (Greek "propheteuo"). On the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted from Joel 2:28, saying, "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy ..." Acts 2: 16, 17. Prophecy is a very important part of New Testament worship. "If all prophesy," says the apostle Paul, "and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth" (1Cor. 14: 24-25).

According to Smith's Bible Dictionary, "Prophecy comprehends three things: prediction; singing by the dictate of the Spirit; and explaining the mysterious, hidden sense of Scripture by an immediate illumination and motion of the Spirit." (See Smith's Bible Dictionary, pg. 535.) Also, in the October 1, 1887 issue of the "Gospel Trumpet," D. S. Warner commenting on the meaning of "prophesy" as it is used in the scriptures quoted above, says, "This includes all speaking in the church in the form of public worship." In this statement he is correct, according to the Greek meaning of the term as it is used in these scriptures. Beside Holy Spirit inspired preaching, prophesying may include singing, testifying, teaching, or exhorting "by motion, or inspiration of the Spirit." All these, when done under the inspiration and anointing of the Holy Spirit, comfort and edify the church, and are an integral part of New Testament worship.

Singing may be either prophesying or praise, as through singing we may speak either to men or to God or to both. "... Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Col. 3: 16. "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Eph. 5: 19.

Prayers, praises, and prophesyings that pour forth from hearts that are tuned with and inspired by the Holy Spirit rise up before God as sweet incense. These are "spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ," and He regards these sacrifices as "worship." Revelation 8: 3-4 speaks of the "prayers of the saints" ascending as incense before the throne of God. Also, Malachi 3:16 says, "they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name." This shows the regard God has for prophesying, or "speaking unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort" (1 Cor. 14: 3). "What is it then: I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also." 1 Cor. 14: 15.

It is obvious then, that all prayer, praising, and prophesying (worship) must be done in the Spirit. Outside of that our worship becomes merely a product of the human element and is, in reality, "will worship." There are many different forms of "will worship." Any self-motivated style of worship wherein the worshiper seeks fulfillment of certain emotional, sensational, or intellectual cravings is will worship. Will worship can manifest itself in different ways, depending upon the temperament of the worshiper. Our temperament is our "inclination or mode of emotional response -- disposition." In will worship it is often the temperament that regulates the will and the will becomes the regulating factor of one's worship. Will worship can take place when the temperament of a person is such as to cause him, or her, to crave the achievement of certain sensations of ecstasy or to experience certain intellectual delights. These sensations and delights can be achieved by listening to, producing or participating in certain styles of music, hearing a demonstrative, piquant orator, etc. In Acts 12: 21-22 we read of Herod giving an oration that so inspired the people that they "gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man." These kinds of motivations, however, come from the human element rather than the divine. God cannot be worshiped on the basis of any kind of human temperament. Human temperament may, and does, become involved in worship when touched by the Spirit of God, but the essence of all true worship lays within the element of God's own Spirit and His truth. Humanity cannot worship God aright without the moderation of His Spirit and the light of His truth. We must worship within the element of who God is, not who we are. Nothing but God Himself and the very essence of His own person can truly sate the cravings of the human heart.

Since God is a spirit and can only be truly worshiped in spirit (His own element), is it possible to worship Him through any means outside that element, such as by any human invention or mechanical device? Since prayer, praise, and prophesying must all be in the Spirit to be acceptable, can any part of divine worship, therefore, be mechanically produced? The answer is NO! Let us look at a scriptural principle regarding this fact.

In Acts chapter 17 we have the account of the apostle Paul during his visit to Mar's hill in Athens, Greece, and in verses 23 - 25 he said, "For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things."

Here we find a very important and basic principle of truth. Man's ability to worship God and capability of worshiping God lies completely in his endowment from God by creation and in nothing that his hands are able to produce. God formed a spirit within man (Zech 12: 1) and it is through this avenue that man is able to worship God and God is able to communicate with man. "There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." Job. 32: 8. This inspired understanding produces the intelligent communication and interaction between man's spirit and God's Spirit, which God accepts as "worship." It is by Him whose fullness dwells in Christ that we, by the Spirit who maketh intercession for us, offer up the holy incense of prayer that is received before the throne of God according to His will (see Rom. 8: 26-27 and Rev. 8: 3-4). It is by Him that we "offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name" (Heb. 13: 15). And it is by Him that we prophesy, that is, "speak under inspiration" in preaching, teaching, exhorting, testifying, and singing "by the dictate of the Spirit." None of these things can be accomplished through any kind of mechanical means. All these things relate to a creation possessing spiritual endowment and involved in a spiritual interaction. These are all "spiritual sacrifices," and they are made "acceptable to God by Jesus Christ," our supreme sacrifice. (Eph. 5: 2.) We may safely conclude, therefore, that every aspect of New Testament offerings and sacrifices, as pertaining to our worship to God, must lie within the same spiritual element as Christ's sacrifice. It could not be otherwise. Now in what element did Christ offer His sacrifice? In Hebrews 9: 14 we find the answer: "Christ ... through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God...." It is, therefore, within the element of that same eternal Spirit that we must offer all our sacrifices of worship to God.

In Mark 9: 49 Jesus stated the above truth like this: "For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." Every New Testament worshiper, as well as what he offers to God as worship, must be salted with "fire" and "salt." Now I want to ask a question. Is it possible to salt a piano, organ, guitar, or any other instrument or mechanical invention created by man with the kind of fire and salt Jesus spoke of here? If not, then it is impossible to offer an acceptable sacrifice to God by any such means. Fire and salt are figures of speech relative to the Holy Spirit. Only those sacrifices that are offered with the warm and seasoned inspiration of the Holy Spirit are accepted by God today as worship. And again, all such sacrifices must necessarily be of a spiritual essence and must involve a spiritual interaction. There is nothing spiritually interactive between a mechanical instrument and the Spirit of God. This is an all-important truth and worthy of your utmost consideration!

There are, of course, sacrifices of service to the Lord, such as alms giving, ministering to the poor, sick, or needy, and distributing to temporal needs relative to the promotion of God's cause and kingdom here on earth. "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." Heb. 13: 16. These sacrifices however, fall into a somewhat different category than worship itself, although they are related to our worship and the laying up of treasures in heaven. There are also three ceremonial ordinances of the New Testament that may be considered acts of worship. They are water baptism, the Lord's Supper, and feet washing. But even in the observance of these the spirit within us must be in tune with the meaning behind them, otherwise the acts are of no value to the soul.

God has made man a very complex creature. He is capable of a vast realm of experience physically, mentally, and spiritually. God made us capable of enjoying the taste of good food. He made us capable of smelling the sweet scent of flowers. He made us capable of seeing His beautiful handiwork and enjoying it. He made us capable of hearing the sweet sounds of birds singing in the trees. He made us capable of feeling the gentle breezes blow upon our bodies. These are all physical pleasures. He made us capable of unlimited imaginations, marvelous inventions, and with an appreciation for, and ability to produce, fine arts. In these we find intellectual pleasures. And, by forming a spirit within us, He made us capable of inwardly enjoying Himself. In this we find spiritual pleasure. It is very important that we understand the differences in these experiences. It is possible to mistake our intellectual delights for spiritual experiences when actually our spiritual being has received no divine inspiration at all.

A woman told me one time that a man who attended church services where she did brought his handsaw to service with him and demonstrated a very special skill that he had developed. By certain movements of the handsaw he was able to play the tune of the old familiar hymn, "What a Friend." The woman said, "I got such a blessing from that!" I believe that what this woman actually experienced was "intellectual pleasure." The artistic sensibilities of her intellect were touched and stimulated by the demonstration of the player's skill and expertise, thus producing a sensation of delight and a pleasurable mood. She interpreted this stimulation as "a blessing." There is nothing morally wrong with this kind of stimulation, but do the artistic skills and works produced by men's hands really have any relationship to the "spiritual blessings" of New Testament worship? I would here like to quote from the late C. E. Orr, a gospel minister who had profound spiritual understanding, and who was a co-worker with D. S. Warner.

"God has made us physical beings and gives us physical pleasures. He has made us mental beings and gives us intellectual delights. He has made us moral beings and gives us happiness in doing good, but all this is not worship to God. You can have physical pleasures, intellectual delights, moral happiness and yet not worship God in the Spirit. In the realms of our intellectual tastes, and our finer artistic sensibilities we delight in beholding the beauty of sunset or the loveliness of flowers, but when we get in the Spirit and are given a vision of the wondrous perfections of God we do not want any bouquet of flowers to intercept our view.

"It is only human hearts that can pour music into the ears of God. The Holy Spirit never pours incense on the tones of the organ and wafts them up to the nostrils of the Almighty. Heavenly incense is poured on nothing but the altar fires of God in the human soul. Our singing may be out of time and out of tune, but if there is melody in the heart to God, it rolls in sweet symphonies throughout the corridors of heaven and angels listen. My dear holy brethren, let me whisper a secret to you. Artistic music only touches the finer tastes and higher sentimentality of our intellectual and moral being and never touches the spirit being of man. God is a Spirit and it is only the Spirit of God that can touch and delight the spirit of man and it is only the spirit of man that can touch and delight the heart of God. Spirit beings have no ear to hear sounds made by material things." End of quote.

The question has been asked, "What is the difference in playing musical instruments in your home and in playing them in a church service?" Let us answer this question by considering another question. "What would be the difference in serving cookies and milk as an after-supper dessert in your home and in serving cookies and milk when observing the Lord's Supper?" There is nothing morally wrong with cookies and milk, is there? But yet Jesus never authorized such to be served as emblems in His sacred memorial service. To do so would be to step outside the plan He ordained and miss the real purpose and blessing of the Lord's Supper. Likewise, there is nothing morally wrong with musical instruments or with developing our skills with musical instruments, so long as they are not used in a way that displeases God. But when it comes to worship, neither instruments nor our skills were ever ordained or authorized by God to have any part in the New Testament arrangement of things. That arrangement is a spiritual arrangement. Why bring any thing into a worship service that His arrangement has not provided for? Inasmuch as we deviate from the New Testament design we miss the blessing and purpose of what New Testament worship was meant to be. Anything we try to add to the spiritual arrangement of the New Testament system actually hinders rather than helps it. It is complete and perfect just as Christ and the Father set it up in the Spirit. Nothing of man's provision can add anything to it. Praying, praising, and prophesying in the Holy Ghost provide everything for the soul of man that God meant New Testament worship to provide. The tones of a musical instrument can never accomplish what "singing with the spirit and with the understanding" was meant to do.

Other questions that are sometimes asked are, "Does God condemn those who use instrumental music in their worship?" or "Does God consider the use of musical instruments in worship a sin?" Consider this: did God condemn Cain for bringing an offering of the fruit of the ground, or did He count Cain's offering a sin? The scripture just simply says, "But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect." It seems that God did not condemn Cain on the basis of his offering in itself, nor did He count it a sin. He just simply did not regard the sacrifice acceptable. Why? Cain brought an offering that befitted his own temperament. It reflected a faith in his own work and skill as a tiller of the ground, and a desire to be accepted on his own merit. But Abel offered his sacrifice in a faith that extended to an invisible substance outside himself, apart from any skills or works of his own. His sacrifice reflected his faith in the future atonement of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering (Gen. 4:4). God could not accept Cains offering because it was offered in the human element rather than in the divine. When Cain saw that God did not respect or accept his offering, what he should have done was to have inquired of God what was wrong with the offering and how to go about offering a sacrifice that could be accepted and bring God's respect and favor. God said, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?" (Gen. 4: 7.) Cain had the privilege of offering an acceptable sacrifice to God had he sought out that which was indeed acceptable. But sadly, he chose to take another course.

If we find ourselves below the New Testament standard of worship, or having deviated from it to some degree, we have the privilege of allowing God to teach us the deep truth of what it means to offer "acceptable sacrifices" within the divine element of His Son. He longs to "bless us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1: 3), by the Spirit (Eph. 2: 18). He wants us to know the "spiritual pleasure" that can only come from offering "spiritual sacrifices" salted with "fire." But we must humble our hearts before Him and fully resign our wills to His will, realizing that we know not even how to pray as we ought, except the Spirit helps our infirmities. Neither can we worship acceptably unless the Spirit makes intercession for us according to the will of God. (Rom. 8: 26-27.) As we tune our hearts to the mind of the Spirit and receive understanding from Him of how to remove those things from our worship services that He cannot salt with His holy fire (those elements that are foreign to the realm of His operation), He is then ready and anxious to fill the vacuum. As He fills it, we can then begin experiencing, to a degree unknown before, the blessings and benefits of true worship -- praying, praising, and prophesying by the illumination, motion, and dictation of the Spirit. This is what "Holy Spirit leadership" means, relative to worship services. This is the kind of worship that searches and manifests the secrets of men's hearts (1 Cor. 14: 24-25), and this is how it was experienced by the primitive church on the day of Pentecost and in the years following, before the great apostasy introduced other elements into worship.

There are several documentations from ancient church history, which the reader may research, that reveal beyond doubt that musical instruments were not used in worship by the apostolic church, but were introduced into so-called Christian worship by the apostate church during what we now know as the "dark ages." It was the reviving of the true element of spiritual worship in men's hearts that inspired such reformers and spiritual leaders as Martin Luther, John Wesley, Daniel S. Warner, and many others to remove instrumental music from worship services, along with other unscriptural practices of so-called worship that developed during the era of the great apostasy. Many hungry hearts had an earnest desire to worship God "acceptably" and to fully conform to the spirit and letter of the New Testament. They earnestly and prayerfully sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help them understand it, and God's Spirit was faithful to reveal His will to their hearts and minds regarding many issues. It was not by their personal opinions, but by the Holy Spirit's illumination of scriptural principles that our spiritual ancestors, such as the brethren mentioned above, as well as the Anabaptists and many others, came to regard instrumental music as foreign to the true element of New Testament worship. They did not arrive at this conclusion by any degree of lightness, but with solemn reverence for God and His will. The Holy Spirit enabled them to discern and "approve things that are excellent" (Phil. 1: 9-10). And, as expressed in the preface of a nineteenth century songbook, they found that "It is not only 'good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity' (Psa. 133: 1), but it is also beautiful and delightful to sing together in harmony!"

Regretfully however, some succeeding generations did not maintain, or rather failed to personally attain, the same depth of spiritual revelation their forefather's had attained to through intimate communion with Christ in the Spirit. Once again some allowed the human element to became involved in their worship where the divine should have been. Small provisions for the flesh began to be made, which naturally quench the Spirit, like "little foxes that spoil the vines" (Song of Sol. 2: 15). Although somewhat mildly and subtly at first, so-called "Protestant" movements began retrogressing toward apostate religious practices. This retrogression gained rapid momentum in the 20th century, following World War I.

About the end of the year 1999, Time Life Books, Inc. advertised a series of "collector's edition volumes" on "the most extraordinary 100 years of history." A separate volume was dedicated to each decade of the 20th century. Interestingly, the second volume, covering the years 1910 to 1920, was titled, "The End of Innocence." It is a historic fact that during those very years, when great revolutions were taking place in the political affairs of nations, great revolutions were also taking place in the ecclesiastical affairs of churches. (There is good reason to believe that this stage of events, both politically and ecclesiastically, is prophetically indicated in Rev. 11: 13. However, that is a subject for another discussion.)

The third volume of the above-mentioned series, covering the decade of the 1920's, was titled "The Jazz Age." This was the time when secular music took a turn toward a more fleshly appeal (although it was mild compared to our time). This was also the time when traditional restraints began to be thrown aside and new trends began to be accepted that were very bold for that day. Women began cutting their hair and shortening their skirts, and sleeve lengths began to be shortened. But all this was only a beginning. As Time Life Books stated in its advertising brochure, "Sit back in breathless wonder at how we CAME SO FAR, SO FAST!" Did God not warn us in Gal. 6: 8 that "he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption?" We have a generation today that is reaping an overwhelming harvest of corruption from seeds sown by their ancestors 80 to 90 years ago. We are now in an age of full-blown apostasy, so far as nominal Christianity is concerned. And this subtle, apostate spirit is also waging an all-out conflict against the pure Bride of Christ and the remnant of her seed. Who will dare, in this dark mid-night hour, to cleave to radical principles of Bible truth?

Most professed Christians of our time have no idea how greatly their standards and practices differ from those of "holy men of old." Many have little or even no regard for modesty or decency, and seem not to realize the Bible teaches "Christians" to "cover" their nakedness in a manner becoming to godliness. Most think of worship services as theatrically styled performances and formal programs led by clergymen. And sadly, most have never had the opportunity to hear a remnant congregation of Spirit-tuned people harmoniously blending their voices together, singing and making melody from their hearts to the Lord. And if, per chance, they ever get this opportunity they are amazed and astonished at the heavenly sound of this music and how it speaks to the heart!

Has not this generation been robbed of something very special that was given to the church by the wisdom of God? Indeed it has! God's ways really are best, and He has much more to offer the thirsty souls of mankind when they resort to His ways than mankind himself can ever begin to offer by his programs, ceremonies, and artistic performances. It is like the difference in drinking from a fresh, living well and a stale cistern! But as God said in Jer. 2: 13, "My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Modern so-called worship services do not even resemble the spiritual environment of those of our forefathers, yet few seem to understand why. Could it be because the Holy Spirit will not and cannot "salt" those sacrifices offered to God as worship that are outside the true element of Jesus Christ?

If we have not yet attained to the same "breadth, and length, and depth, and height" in Christ that some of our forefathers did, we may find ourselves having difficulty understanding their views regarding such issues as we here discuss. Nevertheless, it is wise to respect their views and prayerfully seek to be guided by the same Word and Spirit that guided them in their understanding and perception of divine things. Even in this modern age of "human reasoning" these two faithful Guides are jointly able to lead us to His thoughts that are higher than our thoughts and His ways that are higher than our ways (Isa. 55: 8-9). Also, we should keep in mind that not every child of God arrives at the same degree of knowledge and understanding of God's thoughts and ways at the same time. Therefore we should always endeavor "to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" with every truly born again soul, "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4: 3, 13). To attain to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ should be the ultimate goal of every Christian.

Consider the word "acappella." This is an Italian word derived from two Latin words "ad capella." "Ad" means "according to" and "capella" means "chapel." The word "acappella" means "in chapel style; without instrumental accompaniment." How do you suppose this word came into existence in ancient Italy? The answer is quite obvious. It was because of the presence and growth of primitive Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. The manner in which the primitive Christian churches worshiped the Lord in song was "without instrumental accompaniment." Therefore music after that manner became known as "acappella," or "according to chapel."

When we arrive at a clear understanding of what New Testament worship really is, we are struck by the realization that the issue of musical instruments in worship is not so much an issue of right or wrong as it is an issue of possible or impossible! It is simply impossible to bring that which has no connection with the Holy Spirit into the realm of New Testament worship. Only "spiritual sacrifices" are now accepted by God as worship, and they must all be offered within the element of His own dear Son, in the Spirit. Nothing outside that realm has had any place in true worship since the day of Pentecost.

May the Lord bless each reader as you consider, search, and weigh these thoughts in the fear of God.
Truth Never Dies
Truth Never Dies
Truth never dies. The ages come and go.
The mountains wear away, the stars retire.
Destruction lays earth's mighty cities low;
And empires, states and dynasties expire;
But caught and handed onward by the wise,
Truth never dies.

Though unreceived and scoffed at through the years,
Though made the butt of ridicule and jest,
Though held aloft for mockery and jeers,
Denied by those of transient power possessed,
Insulted by the insolence of lies,
Truth never dies.

It answers not. It does not take offense,
But with a mighty silence bides its time.
As some great cliff that braves the elements,
And lifts through all the storms its head sublime,
It ever stands, uplifted by the wise,
And never dies.

As rests the Sphinx amid Egyptian sands;
As looms on high the snowy peak and crest;
As firm and patient as Gibraltar stands,
So truth, unwearied, waits the era blest,
When men shall turn to it with great surprise.
Truth never dies.

Anonymous
Storms of Youth
sailing ship in storm
Through the perilous storms of adolescent emotions, impatience and frustration often obscure the sky of youthful joy. It is in these blackest moments of our lives that we may shrink from the future and reality, not willing to expose ourselves when the cloak of childhood security is torn away. That childish happiness, once so abundant and so unappreciated, is gone. It is during this natural stage that many young people fall to ruin, like raging children who uselessly defy their parents correction. In fighting their fates, it is possible for young people to imbed themselves more deeply in the quagmire of heartache. Thus they choose to obliterate all hopes of eternal gain in a short, defiant struggle for their own ways. But the bitterness of the heart in the beginning turns to acrid remorse in the end.

Fruit picked unripe is lost. Bridges traversed uncompleted may crumble. So it is with the fruit of life and destructions overpasses. If harvested prematurely, the joy of our lives will be spoiled; and if crossed too soon, lifes bridges may give way to the vast, dark crevice of heartache. If fruit is wholesome, is it not worth the wait for its season? If a bridge will make lifes pathway complete, must we vehemently insist on scaling the treacherous cliffs? If we do insist, sure destruction awaits: the pathway was not made for us to choose its course. The journey is a days travel at mostthen why would we not take time enough to find the right path? All short-cuts lead to failureto a bitter end.

What storm rages without end? What could hide the sun forever? The lesson so precious is this; submission to God during the onslaught of cold, violent waves of misery is the course to safety. Why cast overboard the charts and compass? Why untie the anchor in the worst of seas, only to be dashed against the reefs? The reefs are cluttered with crushed skeletons of ships gone before; ships which once had the choice that is to be made today; ships whose control was lost in the storm.

But far away from the crashing breakers is a tranquil sea. On the horizon a majestic fleet skims the golden waters. It is true that the hulls are weather-beaten, that the sails are worn. But how softly the breeze swells and gently tugs the sails. How brightly the sun bathes the restful scene. No sorrows of youth haunt those grand ships nowthe dark billows have long been forgotten. The joy now is one deeper than any childhood joy. All that was torn away in youth gave way to a beautiful blossoming of happiness and comfort. Tattered but glorious, those ships are sailing home.

Douglas Wall 1983
How Can We Know the Truth? by Bro. Harlan Sorrell
What is truth? Jesus before Pilate
We are living in a world of lies and deception. The prince of this world, the devil, is the father of lies. Jesus spoke these words concerning him in John 8:44: "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Jer. 17:9-10 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."

The human heart was not originally created deceitful and wicked, but Satan so succeeded in marring God's creation through Adam's fall that this has become man's natural state without divine intervention. Thus, all who are born into this world have to overcome two things in order to arrive at the truth -- a lying devil and a deceitful heart. God's great desire for man is that truth might dwell in his "inward parts" (Psa. 51:6).

Jesus was born into this world with a perfectly pure heart and with the purpose to overthrow the father of lies. Jesus met this arch-deceiver on his own territory in head-on conflict, assaulting his kingdom of lies with the truth. Jesus came to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). He announced that the words He spoke were His Father's words (John 14:24) and that those words are truth (John 17:17). He said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32.

As long as Jesus was in this world he bore personal witness to the truth. But when the time came for Him to leave He promised to send another personal witness to the truth whom He called the "Comforter," or "Spirit of truth." This One, He said, would abide with us forever (John 14:16) would reprove (convict, convince) the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8), and guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

There are those who seem to feel that, because of man's inherently fallen condition, it is not presently possible for anyone to be totally free from error and fully established in truth. 1 Cor. 13:12, "For now we see through a glass darkly," is often quoted as an excuse for dimness of spiritual vision and understanding. But what about 2 Cor. 3:18? "But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Here Paul speaks of an experience presently attainable to all of us whereby we may behold as in a glass (not darkly, but brilliantly) the glory of the Lord with an open (or unveiled) face and thus be changed into the same image by His Spirit. Proverbs 4:18 says, "But the path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

James 1:16-17 says, "Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." God, the Father of lights, has sent two especially good and perfect gifts down from above to illuminate our darkness and save us from error. They are (1) the Word of truth and (2) the Spirit of truth (the interpreter of the Word). Having received these two gifts it is not needful that any man err.

In the June 1, 1885 issue of the Gospel Trumpet, Bro. D. S. Warner wrote the following words: "When a weak convert of two years old, after rambling through a wilderness maze of human creeds, to find out what church I ought to join, and was more unsettled than before I read any, I threw myself at the feet of Jesus, and asked His leading through the Spirit. My soul was in an agony of intense earnestness. I kept up this pursuit until the refreshings of the Holy Spirit came upon me, shedding much light on my mind. One thing was settled by the voice of the Lord, that was, God willed me to ignore all human sects and creeds, and commit myself to the whole Word of God, and rejecting all it does not teach. But ten years later, after becoming wholly sanctified, and receiving the personal Comforter, I soon found that I had not been able to decide in many things what the will of the Lord was, until this glorious illumination. Then I laid all my previous views down at the feet of Christ, just as if they were all wrong. Then putting myself under the direct teaching of the Comforter, He has led my soul forward in the steps of the truth with absolute and eternal certainty. ... Doubtless, much truth lays beyond our present knowledge, but what we know by the revelation of the Spirit, we do not think, but know indeed." End of quote.

Without the guidance, inspiration, and illumination of the Spirit of God, we are ALL sure to misunderstand or misinterpret the truth at some point or another. The depths of God's written Word cannot be understood by the natural man or comprehended by the carnal mind. (See 1 Cor. 2:9-16; Rom. 8:5-8.) Since "no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation," but "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1:20,21), it is imperative that our hearts and minds be moved by the inspiration of the same Holy Ghost who spoke through the holy men of old that we may properly understand the message He intended to convey in the Scriptures. Only "in thy light shall we see light" in proper perspective (Psa. 36:9)

God has made just enough of His Word comprehensible to us in our natural state to enable us to find the way of deliverance from our carnal mind and to receive "the mind of Christ;" to get us out of the flesh and into the Spirit. It is only in this state that we are ready to begin learning and exploring the "mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints" (Col. 1:26).

Nothing except the "unction" that comes from the Holy One (1 John 2:20,27) can teach us all things and help us to correctly interpret and "rightly divide the Word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). "For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." 1 Cor. 2:10. Without the "unction," or "anointing" that comes from the Spirit of truth all men will certainly miss the mark. On the other hand, it is not possible to err by the leadings of the Spirit of God. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Rom. 8:14. Every time the sons (or children) of God err, it is because they have gotten out of step with their Guide, the divine Spirit -- the One who bore witness to their adoption (Rom. 8:15), and regenerated and spoke peace to their souls (Tit. 3:5). We always err when we trust in our own understanding and follow our own minds, or the influence of some other spirit beside the Holy Spirit upon our minds. We are instructed to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and to lean not to our own understanding (Pro. 3:5). How can we who "know not what we should pray for as we ought" arrive at a proper understanding of God's truth and will for our lives unless "the Spirit helpeth our infirmities?" Therefore God, in His great mercy, has sent His Spirit to make "intercession" for us (see Rom. 8:26-27) and to personally reveal His Son to us, Who is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). It is the Spirit of truth who quickens the Word of truth, making it alive in our inner man, and more than just a dead letter. The Holy Spirit is the One who administers all the blessings Christ purchased for us at Calvary. The Holy Spirit is the Administrator of all things pertaining to salvation, the New Testament, and the New Testament Church. He is our Teacher, our Guide, and our Director. All who "live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit," and are "led by the Spirit" will go right and be right, because God's Spirit is right. He KNOWS the will of God. He KNOWS the truth. If we would know the truth, then we must have our hearts tuned to the Spirit. It is the Spirit who writes God's law of truth on our inward parts (see Jer. 31:33, Ezek. 36:27, & 2 Cor. 3:3).

Even with all the advanced education available to us, we humans, in our natural state, cannot comprehend many important aspects of divine truth. We cannot discern, in many instances, the true meaning of the scriptures. Why? Because the Word was given by the inspiration of the Spirit, and "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: nieither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14. I heard a man say one time that his IQ was of the top two percent of the nation, therefore if anybody could rightly understand the Bible, he could. But it is just such persons as he who miss the mark! Obadiah 3 says, "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee." There is no greater deterrent to arriving at knowledge of the truth than "pride" in the heart. "If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." 1 Cor. 8:2. Pride is an inherent part of man's carnal nature. It is natural for all men to think they know and are capable of discerning truth from error. It takes the refining fire of the Holy Spirit to melt and consume this spirit of pride in man's heart -- to reduce our estimation of who we are and what we know to "nothing" and exalt the knowledge of God and who He is to "everything." This is why it is vitally important that all Christians be emptied of "self," and "filled with the Spirit." One writer says, "Do we enjoy His fullness? Are we filled with the Spirit? Or is He quenched, grieved, resisted, crowded into a corner by carnal purposes, passions and pleasures? The full measure of the Spirit comes in when self goes out. Self must die, and then God the Spirit will fill us." How true! It is only then that He can lead us into all truth. "When He, the Spirit of truth is come (having been given full control of your body, soul, and mind, by your complete consecration), He will guide you into all truth." (John 16:13.) "The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way." Psa. 25:9. The secret of understanding truth is found in being filled with the Spirit of truth. Thereby we assimilate the meekness of Christ as well as all the other attributes of the divine nature. (Consider Acts 1:8 and 2 Pet. 1:3-4; also Phil. 2: 5-8.) It is neither safe to lean on our own understanding of truth nor yet that of others. But by the illuminating presence of the Holy Spirit, who wills to indwell us in His fullness, we can all receive personal revelation of truth from God's perspective. The Spirit leads all men into the same truth.

The reason many are "ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7), is because they do not possess the spiritual illumination that comes from being "filled with all the fullness of God." They are neither "filled with the Spirit" nor "walking in the Spirit," but are still "carnal, and walking as men" (1 Cor. 3:1-4). They are still filled with much of themselves. Through the sanctifying and all-pervading presence of the Holy Spirit, Who comes to possess us in His fullness when we "present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God" (Rom. 12:1), we can become intimately acquainted with the Author of truth, lose our biased opinions of truth, and be led into all truth. It is then that we become "transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Rom. 12:2). We then take on the "mind of Christ" and begin to comprehend "the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" (Eph. 3:18-19). "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness (to this revelation of fullness), because the Spirit is truth." 1 John 5:6. Becoming "wholly sanctified," as Bro. D. S. Warner terms it, means giving the Holy Spirit complete control of one's whole being. It means being wholly consecrated to God in every respect, with every aspect of our lives subjected to the personal council, direction, and leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is then that the refining fire of the eternal Spirit consumes the dross of our carnal nature and we begin to grow and abound in the knowledge and revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As one old song says, "Let me lose myself and find it, Lord, in thee." "Our God is a consuming fire." Heb. 12:29. "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all," and "if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:5,7. Jesus said, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12), and "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). We can never be too dead to self and filled with too much of God. This is the abundant life! It is found in the fullness of Christ, who "is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Cor. 1:30) "by the Spirit" (1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 3:18). "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thes. 2:13,14. Thus man is restored to the image of God, being sanctified by the Spirit and by the truth (John 17:17). This is the only way we can know the truth. Amen.
Parable of the Tares, Comments by Harlan Sorrell
D.S. Warner of the Church of God
In 1989, when Brother Danny Layne went out from among us (after having imbibed a wrong spirit), he began advocating the notion that, in this gospel harvest, he and his associate ministers are the angels (messengers) commissioned by God to separate the wheat from the tares, and to execute God's judgments by a so-called "sounding of the seventh trumpet," which they believe to be God's final and complete message for this gospel age. In talking with one of Danny's associate ministers a few years ago, he went so far as to tell me that in Jude 14-15, where it speaks of the Lord coming "with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds," etc.; this is not speaking of Christ's second coming and final judgment, but of God's (?) present judgments being executed by the seventh trumpet ministry.

How far off track can people get? This is a serious error! There is no indication whatsoever of such a meaning being implied in Jude 14-15, nor is their any record, to my knowledge, of any of God's people at any time in history so applying this text. But this group claims it has more light! But did Jesus not say, "If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness?" (Matt. 6:23.) This is a false light -- a mirage -- a counterfeit invented by Satan to "deceive the very elect, if possible." The most dangerous and deceptive thing about this false teaching is that, along with its misapplication of prophetic scriptures, it also proclaims a message of "holiness." This can make it very misleading to the unenlightened.

In the song,"Prophetic Truth" (#2 in Evening Light Songs), Bro. D. S. Warner wrote these words: "We stand in the glory that Jesus has given, The moon, as the day-spring doth shine; The light of the sun is now equal to seven, So bright is the glory divine." This verse of song was written on the basis of Isa. 30:26, which says, "Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound."

Bro. Warner's rejoicing was this: "Ye are complete in Him (Christ), which is the head of all principality and power" (Col. 2:10). As Jesus said, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12.) This is how our light becomes "equal to seven" -- complete. Thus Bro. Warner wrote in song #114 of our hymnal, "My darkness now is passed away, In Jesus all is perfect day; And peace and comfort ever stay, Since Christ is my perfect light."

The light of the sun has never ceased to be "equal to seven" for all those who have chosen to follow Jesus, abide in Him, and reject every element that is outside of Him, or foreign to Him, whetherthose elementsbe along the lines of compromise or fanaticism. These are those who have always composed God's true Church. Hence, there has never been such a thing as "corruption existing in or being purged out of the Church," for the Church has never consisted of any but those who walk in the light: the children of the kingdom, the wheat; no tares included! Such as see the Church as corrupted or needing "tares" purged out of itare missingthe true vision of the Church.

This article presents the real truth on the Church, the wheat, and the tares.
Parable of the Tares, (Matt. 13: 24-30 and 39-43) by A. M. Kiergan
Bible parable sower and seed
This beautiful parable has been the foundation of many discourses upon the spiritual nature and organic function of the Church. The stress, however, is usually put upon the following prohibitory words: "Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But He said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest...." - Verses 28 - 30.

Early in the apostasy of the Church, the Donatists, as they were called, separated from what had been the true Christian Church and from what is now the Roman Catholic Church. Between these and Augustine arose a controversy upon the words quoted above, and some others.

The Donatists contended for the purity of the Church over against the encroachments of the unsaved and profligate; that in it, in fact, there were none but real Christians. Augustine affirmed that those who have outward marks of belonging to it are in it, but not of it. He assumed that there were certain outward conditions to be met in order to belong to the Church and yet not every one who met these conditions were of it although they were in it - an argument singular enough, and yet the doctrine of which has been perpetuated from then till now. In Catholicism we see it gone to seed, and in Protestantism we see it about as nearly so.

Hence upon this parable it is assumed that in the Church there are both real Christians and the deceived, hypocritical and profligate; that these must remain together in the Church through all time, and that any attempt to separate the evil would destroy the good.

This view might be true if the Church were man's invention, for then man, standing at the door as its keeper, would admit all sorts. But since the Church is not man's invention in any sense, and he cannot keep the door, it cannot be affirmed truthfully that there is a single unregenerate person in it. This may be affirmed of every denomination in the world, but not of the Church which Christ built. It is true some attempt to turn the point upon a visible and invisible Church. But there is no such distinction made in the Word of God. The notion is invented to accommodate the denominational idea of a mingling of the spiritual and profligate in the Church of God, or, in other words, to make it appear that the institutions which they have set up are the Church of God. Let the "thus saith the Lord," be set down for the visible and invisible churches and the whole question will be yielded with grace and gratitude.

Let us take now, the Savior's own explanation of this parable. He says, "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world." - Verses 37 - 40.

To understand this explanation, a few words therein must be attended to. The first word of these is the word kingdom. It is from the word basileia - that which is directed by a king, in this case, that which God rules. It consists of a king to direct principles upon which direction is to proceed and an intelligent being to be directed - God the King, the elements of righteousness and true holiness the principles, and a human being or an angel the subject. The kingdom of God is just as complete if there is but one subject, as if there were a million. "The kingdom of God is within you," and the whole of it at that. In whom? In each individual subject. And here may be properly marked one clearly defined distinction between the "Kingdom of God" and the "Church of God." The kingdom is first, the Church is second - the latter depends upon the former, and grows out of it, and not the former out of the latter. The word church is from ecclesia - an assembly. The kingdom may encompass but one, the Church implies more than one.

From this comes an inevitable conclusion. If the Church is second, depends upon and grows out of the kingdom, then it is composed of those, and those only, in whom the kingdom is set up. This is equivalent to saying; there is not an unregenerate person in the Church. So we can determine the spiritual status of the Church by the subjects of the kingdom. This, we are not left to guess at, for Jesus said in this parable, "the good seed are the children (subjects) of the kingdom." "The tares (bad seed) are the children of the wicked one," neither subjects of the kingdom nor members of the Church.

Now we are prepared to understand the meaning of that important phrase in the Savior's explanation, "the field is the world." The sense is involved in the word world, and upon it turns the central idea of the whole parable. But viewing the kingdom and Church as human inventions has involved the word in much confusion. Hence many have interpreted the parable upon the assumption that the word world means the church. But let us see: the word here is kosmos - arrangement, beautiful system, world. It is the stage upon which the sense is enacted; it is not the church, but a field. In this field, the world, the earth, there are two forces in action, in conflict - the good and the bad, the children of the wicked one and the children of the kingdom, the tares and the wheat. Here these two elements grow (exist) together, not in ecclesia - Church - but in kosmos - world. If the phrase should read, "the field is the church," then the Holy Ghost made a mistake in the use of His words, for no sort nor any number of arguments can ever make kosmos - world mean ecclesia - Church.

Now, the question does not arise whether or not we shall root out of the Church the children of the wicked one, for there are none such in it, but whether or not we shall root them out of the world. This rooting out does not involve, consequently, the commonplace, unscriptural absurdity of turning persons out of the church, but the final and absolute destruction or annihilation of the devil's children from the face of the earth. The disciples had some crude notions in those days; some of them asked if they should call fire down from heaven to consume their enemies, but Jesus forbade and reproved them. Likewise, He says in this parable, nay. But that the gathering up in this place means destruction, and not expulsion from the church, is evident from the Savior's own words: "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world" (age). Again: "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire." - Verses 40, 42. Hence the Savior said and still says, nay, for many obvious reasons. We are not to use violence of any sort, nor to execute. God will repay, and His angels, not we, shall execute His judgments.

But it may be asked then, how the angels "shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity," if the good and the bad are not mixed together in the Church? The answer is at hand and comprehensive: the "enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat." - Verse 25. Not in the Church among the wheat, but among the wheat in the world, for "the field is the world." Out of, here, does not mean from within, but from side by side. Hence, "two women shall be grinding at the mill, one shall be taken and the other left." - Matt. 24: 41. The wheat and tares grow together in the field side by side and the tares are taken from among the wheat. So it is said in Matt. 13: 49, in the parable of the net, "the angels shall come forth, and shall sever the wicked from among the just." In both cases the same word - ek - from is used. The unworthy may be as parasites endeavoring to adhere the kingdom, but never able to enter it, hence, never taken from within it, but from among those who are in it.

Now, in this scriptural exposition of the parable there is a literal and total annihilation of many notions concerning the organic functions of the Church of God. By it, what becomes of the various contending factions organized by men, which they call the Church? Of (the notion of) corruption existing in or being purged out of the Church? Of (the notion of) taking in and putting out members? Of the common prevailing ecclesiastical laws and sect appliances? As these vanish the one only visible, organized Church remains, with sufficient power to free itself of all would-be intruders, and as a granite rock of eternal truth. Upon "this rock" Jesus built it and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Published in the Gospel Trumpet, July 1, 1885
Ministerial Statement on Use of Television, Church of God
Printed September, 1959 TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: We, the undersigned ministers of the Church of God, seeing the spiritual and moral detriment and sinful influence of the television, definitely believe and teach from the Scriptures that the use of the television is wrong and should have no place in the home. A few scriptures are here quoted: "I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before my eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave unto me." (Psa. 101:2,3) "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (1 Jno. 2:15,16). "Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God". (Gal. 5:19-21). Therefore, we warn every one against its (television) use, and advise anyone who has professed to be out in the clear light of God's truth and has begun using the television or bringing it into the home over which they have control (1 Tim. 3:4,5) has lowered the standard and has disqualified himself as a pattern for the saints.

1. Murphy Allen
2. Fred Pruitt
3. Sister Marie Miles
4. George W. Stephenson
5. O.C. Porter
6. John R. Sisk
7. Ira D. Stover
8. Ruby E. Stover
9. Lewis Williams
10. Sister Margaret Eck
11. Max F. Williamson
12. E. B. Pinkerton
13. Salvatore Didio
14. Lottie Joiner
15. D. A. Gibson
16. Roy D. Harmon
17. T. E. Whipple
18. Henry Chaney
19. William A. McCoy
20. Everett B. Pierce
21. Ray Key
22. T. H. Golden
23. Charles Neely
24. Paul Neely
25. Paul Lambert
26. Katherine Key
27. Earl L. Sharp
28. Alice Morehead
29. Loyd Dollins
30. Merrill A. Williamson
31. Sam J. Barton
32. Fern Stubblefield
33. Troy Meek
34. David Madden
35. Leron West
36. Charles R. Smith
37. Richard Madden
38. Orie Young
39. Samuel E. Abbott
40. Armilda Abbott
41. A. E. Harmon
42. O. B. Wilson
43. Opal B. Wilson
44. E.J. Trotter
45. E. M. Zinn
46. Sister Essie Wilson
47. John W. Wilson
48. Jerry Lee Quave
49. LaVerne Manuel
50. Cecil C. Carver
51. T. Gus Poulos
52. Ruth M. Murphey
53. Beatrice Spaur
54. E. W. Sanders
55. M. S. Greer
56. Nancy Jones
57. Ada B. Davis
58. Genevieve Carver
59. Lucille Elliott
60. Anita Corteway
61. Nellie Poulos
62. Gus P. Poulos
63. Bessie L. Gordon
64. Artie M. Bowers
65. Woodrow Warren
66. Leslie Busbee
67. W. W. Crawley
68. Katherine Williams
69. Annie Bell Allen
70. Manly L. Jones
71. Ben Goldsberry
72. Thomas V. McMillan
73. Carrie E. McMillan
74. Archie Souder
75. Clarence Hattley
76. Edward Joe Cramer
77. Emma L. Dilley

This is to certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the original copy which is on file with the undersigned secretary of the Church of God National Campmeeting.
- Lawrence D. Pruitt, 1116 W. Wash., Guthrie, Okla.