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The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, that’s the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.


29 May, 2005


Dear Children,


In our last sermonet on suffering for Jesus – “Is God Almighty A Sadist? (4/24/05)” – we started things off with the real-life example of my oldest son Felix. And even though I was well into the writing of our next message (The Shepherd Who Scattered The Flock! (7/24/05)) the Lord kinda like put the brakes on when I got the following e-mail from Sister Carol:




Bro. Bruce,


I have a question regarding your last sermonet. It has to do with the following excerpt from that sermonet:


“So my “unimaginable joy” was suddenly turned into “unbearable sorrow” when Felix refused to “suffer for Jesus”. I was heart-broken to say the least! But then the Father made me a promise: Felix would return to Jesus “IF” I would be willing to become “homeless for Jesus!” In other words God said that my son would return to the Lord and suffer for Christ…but it wouldn’t happen unless I suffered first. And to put that in even simpler terms, God’s “promise” concerning Felix would become a “lie” IF I decided not to obey God by becoming homeless!”


Since we all have free will given to us by the Heavenly Father; I was having trouble with the promise that your suffering would lead your son back to the Lord. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe it could happen but why. Is it because the Lord continued to “deal” with your son because of your suffering and did not give up on him? I know through the years he continually reminded me He was still there no matter how far away from Him I tried to get.





That was Sister Carol’s question, and, might I add, a very good one at that! So just why was it necessary for me (Dad) to suffer for my son Felix in order to bring him back to Jesus? I mean wasn’t Jesus there for Felix all along; even during the time of his rebellion against God?


Well now that we understand the question, let’s check out the answer from the Word of God in today’s message of “Consumed With The Fire Of God’s Wrath!


Because the Truth concerning Felix’s backsliding is that it began about a year after he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. As well as I remember it was January of 1998 when I got the first call from my newly “born-again” son. Without a doubt it was one more awesome experience hearing him speak the spiritual things that the Holy Spirit was giving him to speak. In fact as the days went by I was amazed at the speed in which the Father was growing my son in the Lord. I mean the two of us were discussing spiritual things that had taken me years to understand. I was the happiest Dad in the world!


But then came the day when one simple little act of disobedience caused Felix to stumble and fall. You see God told Felix to grow a beard, and he obeyed, but then he decided to shave it. And it was only shortly after Felix’s “disobedience” that the Lord gave me the following two Scriptures especially for him:


“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 KJV)


Remember Lot's wife.” (Luke 17:32 KJV)


So what did it all mean? What was God trying to say to Felix through those two short Scriptures that He gave me to give to him back on 1/3/99?


Well before you try and answer that one let me give you a few more of the details of the story. Because it was months before Felix decided to “look back at all the stuff he was having to give up in order to follow Jesus” that the Lord really pounded the following Scripture into his head:


Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:1-8 KJV)


You see one of the hardest things to deal with in our walk with Christ is the part about giving up what we want in order to do what He wants so that we might become more like Jesus – “let us go on unto perfection”:


“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25 KJV)


In fact when it came down to Felix just doing what the Father had demanded him to do (the beard and a few other unmentionable things), the struggle got so intense that the Lord gave him Hebrews chapter 6 as an added encouragement to make the right choice. Because you see it was that one very serious warning concerning the Believer who “falls away” – “whose end is to be burned” – that shook Felix to the point of asking me for my understanding of it. I mean Felix didn’t want to believe that it meant what he thought it meant…so he turned to me!


Well what I was able to give him helped to ease his fears a little. Because what the Father had shown me about that particular Scripture was that those who “fall away” from the grace of God and thereby cannot be “renewed in Christ” are those who were “once enlightened”. And in the pure and simple of it, the word “enlightened” applies to that part of the Believer’s “mind” that’s been “renewed” in Christ Jesus. So quite naturally it can refer to a “part” of the Believer, and not the entire “whole” Believer. In other words God works on our sinful nature piece by piece, layer by layer, and once a particular sin nature has been dealt with, and thereby eradicated through the Blood of Jesus, it has no more power over the Believer. So from that point on the Believer is free from it’s overpowering demonic pull on their life (enlightened/perfection).


However, if the Believer decides to once again become entangled with a sin that he/she has been delivered from previously, there is absolutely no way for that Believer to be set free from that sin again…not even after they’ve sincerely repented. That Believer will die with that particular sin nature still in them, and therefore the part about “whose end is to be burned” will apply! In fact another Scripture that shows how a Believer can “lose a part of who they are to God’s consuming fire but yet still make it on into Heaven” is found in the book of Corinthians:


For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15 KJV)


In fact without going into a long dissertation on the subject of “obedience” (the act of hearing God and obeying God), the definition of “works” in the proceeding Scripture is “any type of action (word or deed) that uses human energy to make it happen.” And in order for the Believer not to experience God’s promise of “whose end is to be burned”, that same Believer must be “directed by” and “in obedience to” the Father in all things that he/she either does or says (works):


And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:17 KJV)


And now that we’ve said all that let’s get back to God’s warning to Felix through Hebrews 6:8. How did God mean for “whose end is to be burned” to apply to Felix’s life?


Well the way that particular Scripture ties back in with God’s two warning Scriptures of 1/3/99 – “Remember Lot's wifeNo man looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.” – is through the very first verse in that same chapter:


Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection” (Hebrews 6:1 KJV)


Because you see this thing about leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ and going on unto perfection without looking back was God’s warning to Felix shortly before he looked back, lost control, and spun off God’s straight and narrow highway. In fact by going back a few verses to chapter 5 we can get a better picture of what this brutal crash has done to Felix’s spiritual vehicle:


Though he [Jesus] were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he [Jesus] became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection” (Hebrews 5:8-14 and 6:1 KJV)


So were you able to see the terrible damage that’s been incurred to Felix’s “spiritual vehicle”? Well let me help you see it just a little bit clearer!


You see God has two spiritual foods prepared for His sons and daughters; the “milk” and the “meat”? The “milk” is God’s Word (the gospel) that teaches the Believer to recognize the Voice of the Shepherd (Jesus)…and of course it’s that same “milk” that prepares the Believer to eat the “meat”. Because you see the “meat” is God’s Word, through the Voice of the Shepherd (Jesus), that tells the Believer what “work of obedience” must be done in order to “go on into perfection”. And just as it was with Felix, God’s “meat” for the Believer is most often some pretty tough stuff to chew!


Now just what do you think happens to the Believer who spits-out (rejects) the “meat” that God has provided for their spiritual growth and salvation? Well it’s no different than what happened to my son Felix who decided to stop growing his beard – he became “hard of hearing” to the Voice of God. And of course seeing how “Jesus became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out that it’s impossible for Felix, or anybody else for that matter, to obey God if they can’t hear God:


My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27 KJV)


And with all of that in mind, do you now see why it’s so important that the Believer not “look back” at all the stuff they’re having to give up for Jesus but just go on into perfection? Well just in case you haven’t grabbed hold of the frightening truth just yet, maybe the following warning from Brother Paul will help:


Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” (Philippians 3:13-19 KJV)


You see when Felix refused to eat the “meat” that the Father had put on his plate by refusing to continue with the very uncomfortable task of growing his beard, he in effect became an enemy of the cross of Christ…Whose end is destruction!!! In fact the only way that Felix was going to accomplish his very uncomfortable task of growing a beard was by “taking up his cross and following Jesus”…and that’s exactly what Father God had intended! Because “IF” Felix would have suffered through in obedience to God’s Word, he would have moved on “into perfection” after having nailed some of his sinful flesh to the cross that Father God commanded him to carry.


And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:47-50 KJV)


So to kinda like recap where we’ve been in this story of Felix, it was some years ago that he professed Jesus as his Lord and Saviour and then got blessed through a powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit. However, it was shortly after Felix consumed God’s 32 oz. glass of “milk”, and thereby learned to recognize God’s Voice, that the Father spoke a Word of “meat” to him. And of course “IF” Felix would have consumed that same “meat” Word through his uncompromising obedience to it, Felix would have gotten rid of a sinful part of himself that God the Father cannot stomach, stand, or even tolerate for that matter.


However…seeing how Felix wasn’t willing to “prove his sincerity” through his “act of obedience” to God’s Word of judgment, it’s that same Word of judgment (that he wasn’t willing to obey) that’s just waiting to “prove” him.guilty of the sin that he wasn’t willing to get rid of. In other words it’s because of the sin that Felix decided to hold on to that Felix has now been put on the Father’s very undesirable “black list”.


See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:25-29 KJV)


So you see God Almighty was really, really HOT over Felix making the commitment to serve Him when he wasn’t really committed to serving Him!!! I mean in the pure and simple of it, Felix lied to the Holy Spirit and could have very easily become just another “Ananias” – “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost…thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.” (Acts 5:3-5 KJV)


In fact the following is exactly where Felix was headed to in his backslidden condition if no one would have been willing to “stand in the gap” and suffer for him:


And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation…And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 22:23-31 KJV)


You see God Almighty hates sin! And what He hates even more than the sin itself is the Believer who refuses to be “cleansed” of their sin (go on unto perfection) because of the “pain” involved in obeying His Word (they spit out the meat). I mean let’s get real! God Almighty is a “consuming fire” for any and all who claim the Name of Jesus yet won’t allow the Blood of Jesus to clean them up! And this was the way it was with Felix!


However, in His love and mercy the Almighty has provided a temporary “stop gap” for backsliders like Felix who’re not willing to follow through with the suffering required of them. In fact it was on 8/16/99 that the Lord spoke the following very special “Promise” to Felix through my son Arthur:


All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6 KJV)


Now that was one more beautiful Promise for my backslidden son Felix! However, as it turned out, what I thought God was saying through that Word some six (6) years ago was not at all what God was actually saying. Because you see back then I believed it meant that Jesus had done all the suffering for us on His Cross…which even included the “standing in the gap” type of suffering for the backslidden “unbelieving” Believer like Felix. But what I was to soon discover was that it just wasn’t so! I mean it was right about the time God chose me to become “homeless for Felix” that I began to feel the “fiery wrath of God” coming down on top of my little old head…and it was the same “fiery wrath of God” that should have consumed my son Felix!


For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:21-25 KJV)


You see in the spiritual realm there exist this strange phenomenon called “intercession”. And in the plain and simple of it, “intercession” is nothing less than a person taking on the pain and suffering that belongs to someone else. In fact I personally witnessed a very good example of it at a Saturday morning prayer meeting a few years back. There were about half a dozen Believers in the prayer circle that morning, and Brother Don was directly across from me. As we were praying I noticed Brother Don take in a long deep breath as he would normally do whenever the Lord wanted to use him as an intercessor. However, what I witnessed next caught me completely off-guard. Because the next thing I knew Brother Don was bent over double and groaning in intense pain. So just what in the world was going on?


Well after the prayer session had ended I asked Brother Don to fill me in on the details. I just had to know! And what I soon discovered was that God had used Brother Don to intercede for a young lady many miles away who was being attacked with a knife. She got stabbed in the stomach, and Brother Don took her pain.


But getting back to this thing about “The Cross of Christ” being “an example for Believers to follow”, Jesus took on the sin of the world and “suffered and died” so that everyone who “believes” in Him might escape the burning flames of Hell (God’s wrath). And when it comes down to just what the “Believer” who “believes in Jesus” must “believe in”, it’s the following command from Jesus that must be “believed” by that same “Believer” to the point of having an uncompromising obedience to it:


This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:12-14 KJV)


Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16 KJV)


So now that you understand all that, it should be a little easier to understand why I had to suffer for my son Felix in his backslidden condition:


Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-6 KJV)


And with all that in mind, the Scripture that’s used by much of the church world today to prove that Jesus has done all the suffering for us on His Cross should take on a whole new meaning – “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.


Because you see what Brother Paul goes on to say in the following Scripture is that “The Cross of Christ” not only includes the Cross that Jesus had to carry but also the cross that the Believer must carry…which even includes the part about “by whose stripes ye were healed”:


But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:14-17 KJV)


So now that we’ve said all that, the answer to Sister Carol’s question should be pretty obvious: “I was having trouble with the promise that your suffering would lead your son back to the Lord. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe it could happen but why. Is it because the Lord continued to “deal” with your son because of your suffering and did not give up on him?”


You see Sister Carol answered her own question, and all we’ve done in this message is prove her answer through the Scriptures. So to kinda like cap this thing off, we have the following two very powerful verses from Brother Paul:


Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2 KJV)


So, in closing, please allow me to extend an open invitation to all the “legalistic” out there who faithfully trust in the law to save them:


Grab hold of that ‘law’ and obey it!!!”


Because you see if the “Believer” will fulfill the “law of Christ” by “bearing one another’s burdens”, they will “Keep On Keeping The Faith In Jesus!!!


“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35 KJV)




Dad (Bruce Hallman)



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