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.
28 June, 1998
As I sit here facing this computer I know all too well the very familiar brain cell smoking job ahead of me. You see this writing that we (the Holy Spirit and I) do almost every week ainít easy! In fact itís nothing just short of a miracle that someone such as I, who has such a hard time putting into words what I feel, ever gets a sermonet out. But week end and week out I do what I do through the leading of the Holy Spirit, and I do it because I know this is what God the Father wants me to do. And itís only because of my obedience to Him that Obedience Part IV is about to get written.
And of course as you should all know by now, this thing about being obedient to God the Father will get you both His present blessings and future rewards in return. But even though I have worked very hard at being obedient, the closer I get to His blessings for this ministry the more concerned I get. Now I fully realize that for most of you that statement doesnít even make sense. But I can say what I have just said with much authority because I know something a whole lot better than any of you might know it, and that something just so happens to be me. You see even though I struggle to be obedient to God the Father, I know that "me" is still made up of a flesh and bones body tainted (all messed up) through sin. And that "sin" Iím talking about not only includes Adamís first original one but also quite a few more that Iíve managed to add on during the 49 years of my life.
And seeing how I know me so well, and seeing how God the Father is about to bless this ministry, I must constantly keep in mind a very special quote from Matthew Henry: "The more we do for God the more we are indebted to him; for our sufficiency is of Him, and not of ourselves."
So did you catch the never ending mind expanding message of that short but powerful sentence? Well what Mr. Henry said (in plain and simple language) was that any and every "good thing" we (I) might do in our lifetimes for God, anything deserving of His rewards and blessings, can only been done through what God has given us to do it with in the first place. In other words any and all "good things" that I might have done for Him ainít because of me but Him! And itís only because of what He did through The Perfect Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ that I even have the opportunity to do anything "good" in this life. And itís only through my "new birth" in my "old body" that I even have the ability to take on the opportunity of be pleasing to the Lord. And even though I have been born again with the ability to be pleasing to the Lord Iím still living in the sinful trashed up body that hasnít gone through itís new birth yet. And because of that one very important fact I will always have great concerns about this life long journey of obedience to the Lord. And itís right about now that you should start to see some smoke coming out of my ears because weíre getting ready to exercise your brain too.
You see itís because of this sinful trashed up body that we were all born into (the flesh), that we flat out donít have what it takes to do anything "good" for God. And because of the fact that we start off "bad" from birth, itís only because of what God the Father has made available to us that we can ever become a person capable of doing anything "good" for the Lord. And this thing that God the Father has made available to us is a process called "being born again". In fact going back to the sweet bread ladyís tract we covered last week, it read: 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)... Every person born into the world since Adam and Eve, except Jesus Christ, has been born in sin with a sinful nature... 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
Sounds simple enough? Well it ainít! But there is a least one very simple fact about this very deep subject and it is that there is absolutely no way you or I can get to Heaven without first going through the process of "being born again"! Itís what you might want to call one of them "must do" requirements for making Heaven our home, because without it you had just as well hang it up, give it up, and throw in the towel. There just ainít no way to get from point A (earth) to point B (Heaven) without first being born again. And after having said all of that, this is only the beginning of this subject.
But anyway, now that we have finally gotten on the subject of the born again experience, what better time than now to tell you about another one of my real life encounters at work. You see it was several months ago that a young lady told me about a very strange dream that she had dreamed just the night before (as well as I remember anyway). You see this lady from work saw herself in this dream watching as some other lady sewed together a life-size doll of herself. Now this doll was an exact detailed look-a-like of the lady who was having the dream. So quite naturally, in the dream she asked this lady why she was making the doll that just so happened to look just like her. And being totally caught off guard, the shocking reply that she got was that this doll was being prepared for her burial. She was getting ready to die and her remains (soul and spirit) would be stuffed inside of this doll.
Now as if that part of the dream wasnít bad enough, what she was told next completely finished it off. You see this lady who was doing the sewing went on to tell my friend that she was going to die, and this burial doll would be used to stuff her inside, because there was no real good reason for her life to continue on any longer. And even though everything looked pretty dark right about then, there was still one way for her to get out of this up coming funeral. She could get out of dying, and she could continue on to live, but only and only if she gave birth and did it pretty quickly. And it was this part of the dream (the part about giving birth) that threw her right on into a full blown tailspin. Because not only was this young lady not married, but she wasnít even thinking too seriously about getting married. And because of that one very good reason she wasnít about to have any children.
So what was she going to do? Well to say the least this dream kinda like shook her all up... and that was why she was asking me if I could help her figure out what it all meant... and thatís about the time I said I would pray about it... and thatís exactly what I did. And it was only the next day that I came back to her with the answer that I believed I had received from the Lord. And what I told her was that God was trying to tell her a very important truth. He wanted her to understand that if she didnít want to die she must give birth to a brand new self, to a brand new life style, and the only way that it could possibly happen was if she would be "born again". Kind of scary huh?
Now understanding this process of being "born again" is kinda tricky to say the least. It takes on a whole new set of words that you probably thought you already knew the meaning of (born, child, father, children, obedience, and sons), but as you will soon see most of you really donít. And the best place I know to start is in the first chapter of John. So starting with verse 1 and reading, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shinneth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
Without a shadow of doubt, Iím not one of those people that IQ tests would consider very intelligent. But then again, God designed me the way that I am and since becoming born again He is making available to me everything needed to get the job done (the Holy Spirit). So if He wants me to tell others about this very deep subject of the God of the Universe and His new birth experience, then thatís just what I will have to do. And what we have just read from John chapter 1 will begin our journey into this very complex subject.
Because this is where it all started: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." The fact is that you just canít go back any further in time than this. Because in the beginning was the Word (Who would become Jesus Christ at the appointed time) Who was not only with God but Who was God. And if you will carefully consider all the possibilities of that statement there is only way it can be true. God is made up of Three but yet They are One (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). And the One of the Three Who was known as the Word made everything including the human race. And likewise it was only through Him that this human race could have life. And not only was He The Life but He was also The Light that would allow us to see that He is The Life.
And the Scriptures goes on to say, "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
And of course this is where we will take off into the unknown universe of the Word of God (The Holy Bible) concerning what most call the born again experience. Because the key to what we need to know is found in this one very important statement: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
Now the Scripture that we have just read told about John the Baptistís introduction of Jesus Christ and His Divine Ministry into this world. Jesus had given up His Heavenly throne as The Word and come down to earth in the form of a human (Jesus). And He did it not only for the reason of the cross (He died so that all might have the opportunity to live forever) but also for the reason of allowing everybody the opportunity of seeing Him do it (The Light). He paid the price of sin through His death and He did it for the world to see.
But in order for His death to do any of us any good (eternity in Heaven), we also have to meet the rest of the requirements as stated above. Because in order to become a child of God (sons of God) we not only have to believe on His name (Jesus the Savior) but also be "born of the will of God" or be "born again". And of course since this very important event in history (Jesus death on the Cross) took place a few thousand years after Adam "bit" the dust by committing the very first sin, does that mean that all those in between didnít have the opportunity to accept Jesus Christís death for their sins and become children of God?
Nope! You see the promise of The Word becoming The Christ Jesus goes all the way back to that terrible day in history when Satan got the serpent to tempt Eve who tempted Adam to do what he knew he shouldnít do... and he did. And thatís about the time when it became necessary for God to proclaim to the serpent in Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Thatís what The Word told Satan. And of course the Word said what He said because it was the seed of the woman that was going to deal a death blow to Satanís mind control over the human race... and this seed just so happened to be Jesus.
But until that would happen it was only the continuous blood shedding of perfect little innocent animals that symbolically "satisfied" Godís requirement for sin. And thatís the way it was until that Great and Mighty Day when The Word become flesh (Jesus) and gave His perfect and sinless blood on the cross... and that was how they satisfied the requirements of trusting in (believing in) Jesus in order to become a child of God . In fact if you will go back to the story of Cain and Abel you will see that Abel became a son of God because he obeyed God by offering "the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof" (Genesis 4:4) as a sign of his faith in what Jesus would do in the future. Abel became a born again child of God by obeying God and trusting in what He (Jesus) was going to do on the cross.
And that was exactly what all those before the time of Jesus had to do... and it was hard... because they had to believe in Someone Who hadnít yet come. You see He was but yet He wasnít. And I say that because God has always been in the form of Three (God the Father, God the Word, and God the Holy Spirit). And even way back then if you truly believed in God and trusted in God, knowing through faith that He was going to do what was necessary to solve the sin problem, then you would have obeyed Him.
So the key to being a child of God (even way back then) was to believe in God (God the Father, God the Word, and God the Holy Spirit), trust in God, and obey God. And in order to develop a true picture of the born again child of God, letís turn to the book of Deuteronomy and read about some of the first children of God from chapter 10: "At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou breakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be as the LORD commanded me."
What we have just read is the story as told by Moses of the Ten Commandments. And of course it was this set of rules and regulations (doís and do notís) that God had given His children (the nation of Israel) as a means of helping them understand just Who God their Heavenly Father really was, what He expected of them, and what sin was. And of course as the Scripture goes, these tablets that the Ten Commandments were written on was the second set... because Moses broke the first set... because the children of God werenít behaving like the children of God should have been behaving. But to help you understand the story in more descriptive terms, letís turn back to Exodus 19 and 20 and read it for ourselves: "In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai... and there Israel camped before the mount."
So the children of Israel had just made their great escape out of the hands of the Egyptians. And it was only after a few months of travel that they stopped right in front of this mountain called Sinai. And it just so happened that this particular mountain was going to be used by God for a pretty awesome earthshaking special purpose. Because as we read on, "And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eaglesí wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD."
Now what we have just read was the informal contract between God Almighty and His chosen people. He was going to take care of them but they must be obedient and follow Him. Well they agreed to the conditions but God the Father wanted to make sure they understood exactly Who they were making this contract with. So what happens next is, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai..."
So have you ever heard the expression "when the fear of God comes on you?" Well thatís what the Lord had in mind and thatís exactly what He did for the children of Israel. Because as we read on we find, "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the neither part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on top of the mount..."
Now that had to be one awesome show that no Israelite should have forgotten any too quickly. In fact itís still to this very day that the charred rocks remain on that mountain top as the results of Godís great display of power. And it was while that exhibition of power was going on that God laid down His message with the Ten Commandments: "And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them...Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain... Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy... Honour thy father and thy mother... Thy shalt not kill. Thy shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet... And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and, that this fear may be before your faces that ye sin not."
You see God was doing what He was doing in order to put the fear of God in His childrenís hearts. It was very important that they fully understand and believe what they were hearing. And it was very shortly thereafter that we read in Exodus chapter 24, verses 3-12, "And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words..."
And of course it was this blood of the sacrifice that made this contract (the Ten Commandments) a legal agreement between God and His chosen people. It was a done deal and thatís why the Scripture goes on to say, "And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written: that thou mayest teach them."
You see this was some pretty important stuff. And thatís why God did what He did, and thatís why Moses did what he did, but guess what the people did? Well reading on into chapter 23 of Exodus, "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods... And the LORD said unto Moses, Go get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves... And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand... And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount... Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORDís side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men."
Well it looks as though this blood contract between the children of God and God the Father kind of like fell apart... and guess whoís blood got shed because of it?... all three thousand of them. So as we read on we find that Moses goes back up to give the news to God the Father: "And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin-; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made."
Now what we have covered today is part IV of Obedience. And in this very important message we saw where the children of God who had the promise of becoming a holy nation of God broke their blood contract with God the Father. They disobeyed God, refused to ask forgiveness of God, and in turn they lost their lives (forever). And not only did three thousand die after publicly confessing their rebellion against God, but even those who secretly hid rebellion in their heart soon fell dead because of a plague.
So tune in next week when we will continue on with the message of Obedience part V (the born again experience and why we should obey God). And until then, make sure you keep this message in mind and donít forget to Keep The Faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
Iíll probably be on vacation next week so donít look for me until the 11th of July.
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