FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
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, thatís 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.
21 June, 1998
Now before we really get into the meat of the message (Obedience Part III) I have a correction to make. You see it was only last week that I wrote, "And if youíll remember back a few weeks ago when we did the series on Why Itís Difficult For Some Women To Have Children, it will be easy for you to understand just how far back the word "disobedience" goes back in history. Because it all started with Godís first grown up children (Adam and Eve) and from then on out it never stopped. In fact after that very first act of disobedience was committed (sin) in the Garden of Eden there was probably only One Who obeyed God the Father throughout His entire life... and He was the perfect Son of God... and His name was Jesus."
Thatís what I wrote, and likewise it was that one word "probably" that absolutely positively destroyed the power behind what I should have been trying to say. Now the best way I know how to help you understand the situation is to compare it to the game of baseball. You see this life that we live is kinda sorta like this great(?) American pastime. And it was only last week, as I came up to bat, that Satan (the pitcher) threw me one mean and nasty curve ball. I mean it was so bad, but it looked so good... and I swung... and of course I missed. But, now that the first inning is over itís my time to pitch... and you had better believe that Iím ready.
Because as you will see, it was between the first and second innings of this baseball game of life (last Sunday till now) that God the Father has shown me something that I should have been totally aware of all along. But first of all, before I tell you how He made me aware of the fact that I messed up by swinging at Satanís curve ball pitch, let me tell you why the curve ball looked so enticing to swing at in the first place. You see the word "righteous" means to be without sin, or in other words to be in complete and total obedience to Godís will (do what He wants us to do). Now thereís a whole lot more that I could say about being an obedient child of God, but I wonít do it just yet; Iíll save it for a little bit later.
But anyway, when the child of God shows himself to be righteous by obeying his Heavenly Father it makes the Father very happy. And of course when that very obedient child makes the Father very happy, the Father will likewise want to give that child the very best. And what better way for a child of God to be rewarded than for that child to be with his Heavenly Father in Heaven. And of course what would make that reward even better would be to do it (get to Heaven) without having to die. So when I said "there was probably only One Who obeyed God the Father throughout His entire life... and He was the perfect Son of God... and His name was Jesus", I had two very special children (men) of God in mind.
Now I realize this is all pretty far out stuff, but so are Satanís real life curve balls. And in order to help you understand exactly what I was thinking about when I swung, letís first turn to and read the stories of these two very powerful men (sons) of God. The first man that we will read about was Enoch, and his story can be found in Genesis 5:1-24: "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died."
As you will see, these last three words that we have just read (and he died) will be repeated time after time throughout the entire Holy Bible. And of course the very good reason why all those men had to die goes all the way back in time to the days of Adam when he was in the Garden of Eden. Because it was right about that time in the history of mankind that God the Father gave His child Adam His very first "Thou Shalt Not". And of course that very first "Thou Shalt Not" meant exactly what it said, and because it meant what it said it brought about an entirely new set of opportunities called obedience. And since seeing is believing, lets read it for ourselves from Genesis 2:16-17, "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
So do you kinda see how one thing led to another? I mean even though God said donít do it, He still left the option open for Adam to do what he pleased. And of course if the choice that had pleased Adam would have been the choice that had pleased God then there would have never been any of that "and he died" stuff invented. But since Adam did not obey God the Fatherís "Thou Shalt Not", he had to die. And because he had to die, each and every one of his children (including me and you) had to die. You see the once pure and sinless life giving blood of Adam soon became the contaminated and sin filled death bringing blood of Adam. And it was this same blood that was passed right on down from generation to generation, and right on down to the time of you and me.
And so by continuing on with our reading in Genesis chapter 5 verse 6, we will see that just as predicted they did all die: "And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:... And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died. And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:... And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died. And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:... And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:... And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died. And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:... And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died."
And thatís the way it was until we get to verses 21-24. Because it was right about then that this fellow called Enoch kinda like broke the never ending trend of the "and he died" endings. So once again reading it for ourselves from the Scripture, "And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him."
Now for some of you who arenít too very hip with the Scriptures, you will have a very hard time believing this sort of thing actually took place. I mean can you even imagine anyone leaving this earth without having to die first? Well the truth of the matter is that it did happen and Hebrews 11:1-6 goes on to reinforce the idea that it did: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had his testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Now I know that you are going to find this hard to believe, but this little verse, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen", is my very own special Scripture. God presented it to me at a very young age (probably about 40 years ago) and it has been a valuable tool in my day to day life ever since. And of course since God gave it to me there was a very good reason why He did what He did. You see God already knew what my life was going to be before I even lived it, and He also knew that this very special verse was necessary for me to build my life around. And of course thereís one very special word in that short little verse that I have held onto ever since I started my walk with God... and that one very big and bold word just so happens to be FAITH!!!
But anyway, this "walk with God" that Enoch walked was a very unique walk indeed. In fact there was only one other person during the time before the flood who was given this special recognition of "walking with God", and his name just so happened to be Noah (Genesis 6:9). So in my infinite human wisdom and through my never ending fleshly intelligence it only made sense to me that this very special man must have been totally obedient to God the Father. And since he had been totally and completely obedient throughout his lifetime (he pleased God) he didnít even have to die. So this was the first of the two men that Satan used in his curve ball approach to convince me to use the word "probably" instead of "absolutely" in my statement "there was probably only One Who obeyed God the Father throughout His entire life... and He was the perfect Son of God... and His name was Jesus."
So if Enoch was the first man not to die who was the second? Well seeing how you asked, the #2 man to leave this earth without his heart even skipping a beat was Elijah. And turning to the book of I Kings chapter 19, we can find the beginning of this story by reading verses 13-21: "And behold there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room..."
You see Elijah was a mighty prophet of God who was obedient to God by serving Him during a time of extreme evil and wickedness. In fact he was the one chosen to go toe to toe with one of the most wicked couples ever to walk the face of this earth. Now even though this married couple just so happened to be the king and queen of Godís chosen people (Israel), they still refused to serve the One True God of Israel. His name was Ahab, her name was Jezebel, and the two of them were what you might call a very devoted husband and wife tag team for Satan. In fact between the two of them, and through Satanís evil magic of witchcraft, they almost entirely destroyed the souls of all the people of Israel. You see they were doing a pretty good job for Satan until this two man team of God and Elijah came on the scene.
And where we picked up the story in I Kings, Elijah had just gotten the victory by totally wiping out all 850 of Jezebelís priest of Satan (Baalís prophets). Elijah had done the job God had called him to do, all the false prophets were dead, and as Iím sure you can all imagine Jezebel was not what you would call a happy camper. She was one mean mad fire breathing woman and nothing was going to satisfy her anger except Elijiahís head. So Elijiah having heard the news promptly high tailed it out of town and headed for the hills.
And itís in the hills that we find him as God instructs him on what he is to do next. You see God is getting ready to give Elijah a well deserved rest. Elijah was really stressed out, but before he could officially take off on vacation he had to first prepare his replacement. And thatís what Godís command to him was all about: "And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room..."
So God told Elijah that Elisha was going to be the one to fill his shoes, but Elijah was the one who had to make it happen. And thatís what he did because as we read on into verse 19 we find, "So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yolk of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him."
So Elisha has accepted the calling of God to be Elijahís replacement. And now reading from II Kings, chapter 2, we can find out about the rest of the story: "And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head today? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan."
You see this event that was getting ready to take place was going to be the show of all times that nobody in this crowd wanted to miss. Elijah was getting ready to leave this earth in a very unnatural way and it was very important that Elisha not miss it. So as a crowd of 50 young prophets looked on, the rest of this story unfolds: "And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces."
So now that you have read both stories about how these two very special men of God (Enoch and Elijah) left this earth, and without ever having experienced death, what do you think? I mean it only stands to reason that since Enoch and Elijah got such special treatment from God it must have been because they totally obeyed God and never sinned? Right? Wrong!!! You see this was Satanís curve ball and I should have known it was a curve ball but I swung at it anyway. And it was only one day later that I discovered the gross error in my statement.
And just how did I come to understanding that what I had said was wrong? How, you might ask, did I finally see the light? Well as usual Iím so glad you asked because it just so happens that the rest of this story goes right along with the title of this message being Obedience. Because it was Monday, June the 15th, about 12:00 high noon that I drove up to the post office to put a letter in the mail. And as I drove up I noticed an unusual sight that I had never before witnessed at this post office. You see since moving to this area I had never before seen this lady standing by the front door of the post office selling whatever she was selling, and the truth of the matter was that it really did seem odd.
Now the problem arose in the fact that I had to get through the front doors and into the post office in order to do my business... but yet there was this lady standing right in my way. And in order to do what I needed to do I would have to walk by her... and as I would walk by her she would try and sell me whatever she was selling... and somehow I would have to just keep on walking because I had already made up my mind that whatever she had to sell I didnít want. So I made my break, walking at a pretty good pace, and before I knew it she was right there in front of me... with her basket full of fresh baked sweet breads... asking me if I would like to buy some. This was the moment of truth. And being as polite as possible I told her how very pretty they were and kept right on walking. (Pretty sweet breads?)
Well I had made it inside but I still had to make it back out. So in order to overcome this menacing obstacle at the front door I came up with a brilliant tactical maneuver: exit fast and focus my eyes anywhere but on the sweet bread lady. That was the plan, thatís what I did, and the rest of the story should be written down in the history books. Success... I made it to the truck! But... after all that trouble, as I was sitting in the truck savoring my victory over the sweet bread lady, the Holy Spirit "spoke" to me loud and clear. And the instruction that He gave me was for me to go back and talk to that very same sweet bread lady! Can you even imagine that? After all that I had been through to avoid this pesky person God the Father actually wanted me to go back and talk with her?
Well I immediately thought of 1001 very good reasons why not to do what He had told me to do, and I used them all. But after starting the engine and driving on off, I only to got a half block down the road before remembering the sermonet of the week on Obedience!!! Trapped by my very own words I turned right back into the post office parking lot to do it all again. But before making my move I needed more information on just what to do... so I asked Him. And what my Heavenly Father told me through His Holy Spirit was plain, and simple, and to the point; He told me to give her one of my FMH Childrenís Club business cards.
So thatís what I did... and she asked me what the Childrenís Club was all about... and I told her it was a ministry for Jesus Christ... and she told me about the ministry she was in... and she gave me some gospel literature and tracts... and I bought a loaf of banana nut bread... and that was the end of that... until I got home and read one of the tracts.
You see the title of the tract was Lake Of Fire, and it went on to say: ĎYou must be born again or BURN with your SIN!! JESUS SAID, "Except a man be born again, he CANNOT see [enter into] the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3), Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, one of the religious leaders of the day, who came to Him to learn about spiritual things. Nicodemus did not understand, so Jesus explained that Physical birth made him a member of the human family, which is under condemnation due to itís sinful nature. Only by being Born Again with a spiritual birth could he become a member of Godís family. Every person born into the world since Adam and Eve, except Jesus Christ, has been born in sin with a sinful nature. The Psalmist said, "I was shapened in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5). Because of this nature all men are sinners, and God, Who is Holy, cannot tolerate sin. The Bible says, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God... the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 3:23; 6:23). If you have not been Born Again, you are under the sentence of death and will spend eternity in hell, forever separated from God (Matthew 22:13).í
And it was this Scripture from Romans 3:23 that turned on the light in my head that really should have already been turned on. But of course the reason that it wasnít turned on was because of what I said back in the beginning of this story; Satan threw me a curve ball and I was sucker enough to take a swing at it. But that was then and this was now. Because what this tract from the sweet bread lady brought to mind was the reason why there must not be a "probably" in my statement of last weekís sermonet. What I should have said and the way that it should have read was "there was absolutely only One Who obeyed God the Father throughout His entire life... and He was the perfect Son of God... and His name was Jesus".
Because it doesnít matter how you look at it, regardless of the fact that both Enoch and Elijah were taken on up into Heaven without having to die, the Word of God still holds true. So if all have sinned through disobedience to God the Father, and all have earned the undeniable privilege(?) to die, then how in the world did Enoch and Elijah escape it?
Well their early departure to heaven, without ever having had to die, was only temporary. Because in the book of Revelation we see where they will both return during the final days of Satanís earthly rule (right before he gets tossed into the burning fires of Hell) and finally give their lives in this war against Satan. But reading it for ourselves from Revelation 11:3-14, "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth... And if any man will hurt them, fire preceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Talk about power! God is going to use these two very special prophets to work great and mighty miracles in the presence of all the unbelievers left on this earth after Godís first rapture. They are going to put on a show for all to see and then their death will come. Because as we read on we find: "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our LORD was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth."
Well at this point of the story things donít look too good for old Enoch and Elijah; dead and rotting in the streets of the city with no one even caring enough to bury them. But hold on just a second because thereís really no need for a burial service. You see these men are sons of God, and like all children of God they ainít going to die forever. And thatís exactly what we find as the rest of the story unfolds: "And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And in the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven."
Donít that just make you want to shout Hallelujah!!! Praise The Lord!!! Thank You Jesus!!!? God is The Great and Mighty God. And even though Satanís has the rights to kill us all, we certainly donít have to stay dead long. God Almighty has the power, through the sacrifice of His perfect Son Jesus, to put the Spirit of Life back into each and every child of Godís dead and rotting body.
So in closing please keep it in mind that sin is nothing more than disobedience to God, and the results of disobedience to God is always death. And since we have all been not only born under the curse of sin but have also sinned, their should be no doubting the fact that we must all die. But even though we must all die, it doesnít have to be forever. You see the choice is ours to either obey God and live (life after death; forever in Heaven) or disobey God and die (death after death; forever in Hell).
And of course, as you should have all learned by now, there is only one way any of us can possibly satisfy Godís requirement of obedience: KEEP THE FAITH!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
Home | Maggots And Fire? | Saved? Don't Lose It!
Statement Of Purpose | Early Beginnings | Sermonet Of The Week
Classic Sermonets | Internet Tools | E-mail Us