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.
26 July, 1998
Well Iím sure you could hardly wait out the week to hear about my trip to the ranch... so hereís what youíve all been waiting for. Now Iíll try not to bore you with the small stuff but the drive from here to there was about an hour and a halfís worth of open road trucking through wide open countryside. And as it turned out, the directions given me by the owner must have been pretty good because I ended up finding the place with very little trouble at all. And upon my arrival the owner of the property gave me what you might call a nickel tour of the spread... and boy what a spread it was. Talk about big!!! And just how big was it? Well it was so big that the thought of needing a gasoline station in the middle of it just for safety measure did cross my mind (slight exaggeration).
But anyway, the owner was a very nice man whose specialty is training horses. You see even though heís an expert at raising cattle, his first love seemed to be for the horses. And of course you could really tell where his heart was by the nice accommodations that he had so expertly made for them. But to be honest with you it was all very nice; the house, the horse stables, the hay barn, the holding pens, and the swimming pool. In fact it was that last item that really caught my attention. This swimming pool was what you might call a "ranch style special". It was very different to say the least. Not only did this pool get itís water from a wind mill, but it also served another very useful purpose as well. This pool kept the younguns cool in the summer time and it did a pretty fair job of quenching the thirst of all them cows and horses as well. This "ranch style swimming pool" was nothing more than a very large (24 foot diameter x 6 feet high?) open top steel holding tank for water... equipped with a swimming pool ladder on the side... and the cows and the horses didnít even mind it at all.
So my stay with the rancher lasted for about three hours, and then it was time to say a short prayer (asking God to show us His will and purpose) and then head it on back to the house. And boy what a long trip it was! It seemed as though every demon and his neighbor was riding along with me in that truck . Talk about negative vibes! I must have visualized every bad thing imaginable about that ranch, and it didnít even stop until the very next day. Because it was Thursday morning that things seemed a little bit brighter... and they just right on kept getting brighter until bed time... and that was about the time He (my Heavenly Father) really turned up the light.
You see it was just as I was saying my prayers that night that He started showing me all the possibilities of the ranch; how to grow more hay, where to put the roads, where to put the dormitories, and where to put the landing strip. Landing strip? Did I say landing strip? Yes I said landing strip. How else do you think weíre going to get the planes on the ground without it? Sounds pretty far fetched huh? Well it might sound that way but it ainít, because my Heavenly Father is the Creator of the Universe. He can do anything and everything that is good and perfect, and Heís showing me what He will do for the FMH Childrenís Club if I will only obey Him and keep the faith! But for now thatís about all Iím going to tell you about my first trip to the ranch... but just hold on tight... because I feel thereís a whole lot more to come.
And getting back to the matter at hand (Obedience part VII) Iíd like to clear up a point of interest before we too deep into the Scriptures for this week. You see there are some of you out there who think you can preach and teach the Good News of Jesus Christ without ever having to mention that big bad word Hell. In fact it wasnít too very long ago that I received a farewell letter from a reader stating that these messages we write each week were just too awfully painful for him to continue on reading. He felt that all he needed to hear was the good stuff (the Love Of Jesus) and the rest of the Scriptures (everlasting destruction in the burning fires of Hell) should be forgotten and not even brought to mind. So that was what he thought, and this is what I think about what he thought: Horse feathers!!!
You see regardless of whether we want to admit it or not, we are all totally messed up in sin. And even though Jesus Christ has already given His Perfect Lifeís Blood to take care of our sin problem, there are just a few more very small details we should first consider before throwing out all Scriptures on Hell. Because as we will continue to dig deeper into the Word of God concerning what He has to say on "obedience" I think you will see that the following statement holds true: Even though you might have accepted (?) Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, it ainít over until itís over!
And of course thatís where weíve been heading to for the last 6 messages... and thatís also where we left off last week when we ended the sermonet with: There ainít nobody in the eyes of God who is so very special that they canít lose their preferred status with The Father and end up in Hell!!! Because as I hope you will all remember, it was those specially chosen children of God (twelve sons of Jacob / twelve tribes of Israel / children of Israel / nation of Israel) who seemed as though they just couldnít get it all together. I mean these folks kept right on getting into trouble. In fact it was only last week that we left Moses as he was giving them all a history lesson on the bad things that had happened to some of their kissin cousins who forgot that it ainít over with until itís over!
And it was only a few chapters later that Moses went on to drive this point on home. You see even though these people were chosen by God, and they were very special in the eyes of God, they still werenít totally separated from their ability to lose their relationship with God the Father. Because reading on into Deuteronomy 13:1-5, "If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams and giveth thee a sign or a wonder. And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee."
You see because of the fact that it ainít over with until itís over, the possibilities of messing it all up big time with God will remain until death do us part. Because as long as we walk the face of this earth we will be continually tempted by Satan and his motley crew to turn away from God and follow him; he has that right and God allows him that privilege. And itís just as Moses said in the previous verses: "for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul." God the Father will put us to the test and all too often itís our family and friends that He will allow to give it. In fact it was back in the days of Moses that God the Father actually made this law which stated that anyone caught spreading lies that could result in others turning away from God Almighty must be put to death. And of course it was these same children of God being taken by Moses to the promised land who this law of death applied to.
But that ainít all because he goes on to say in Deuteronomy 21:18-21, "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."
So what do you think about that one? Pretty heavy stuff huh? Well the truth of the matter is that a rebellious son or daughter is not a child of God. And of course the son being talked about in the above scriptures was one who had reached maturity and made a choice to live life the way that he wanted too. He had made up his mind, he was set in his ways, and regardless of whether his parents liked it or not he was going to do exactly what he wanted to do. He was a child of Satan, he was bad to bone, and God the father gave the parents the rights to take care of the "disease" before it spread to a whole lot more: "And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."
And although God the Father handles it a little bit differently today, He continues to feel the same way about rebellious children. You see even though this law of death still applies, itís God the Father who now makes the final call. He says when enough is enough and then the death angel comes in for the kill. And itís right about that point in time when you can say itís over (itís over because itís over). You see after death itís just a little too late to make any corrections in our relationships as sons or daughters to God the Father. And if we die as rebellious children we will be punished forever as rebellious children.
And itís right about now thatís as good a time as ever to revisit the Scripture found in John 1:6-14: "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."
So seeing how it was John the baptizer (Baptist) who was just mentioned in the reading above, why not go ahead and make the statement that there are far too many professing Christians in the world of today who donít even understand the full importance of those very few short verses. You see The Light Who was (and still is) in the world was Jesus Christ... and what He did for us on the cross made it possible for each and every one of us to become a full grown and mature adopted child of God. And itís this adoption process thatís available to us all, but only if we believe that He is Who He says He is and trust in Him completely. Because if we will only accept Jesus Christ for Who He was (God in the flesh) we can have the power to be adopted out of the family of Satan and into the family of God.
Now keep it in mind that this adoption process "ainít over with until itís over". Because itís only through believing in Christ that we even have the power to start the process which can eventually take us to the place of becoming a full fledged son or daughter of God. And of course itís the part about "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" that gets this whole process rolling. We can not ever hope to become adopted by God until we first become born again.
And Iím sure there are at least a few of you out there asking the question "what does it mean to be born again?" Well seeing how thatís the exact same question Nicodemus asked Jesus, why donít we just read Jesusí reply to him? So picking it up in John 3:1-8: "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles thast thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his motherís womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whether it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit."
All right now, itís time to get to work. Go ahead and wrinkle up your forehead and get prepared to think about what weíre getting ready to say. Because in the definition that Jesus gave of "born again" He started off by saying first of all that we canít even see the kingdom of God unless we have been born again. And then He goes on to say we canít enter into the kingdom of God unless we are born of water and of the Spirit. So based on that one statement do you think we can safely say that the process of becoming born again means that we have to be born of water and of the Spirit?
Now of course itís just as the term implies, to be "born again" means that we have to be born the first time in order to do it again the second. And since the natural birth process means that the baby lives in water for itís first nine months of growth, then itís the first birth process thatís done through water. So us human beings can only become human beings through the first birth process of water and it takes approximately nine months for to happen. And as we have said so many times before, all babies born into this world through the natural birth process are born not only with sin already in them but also with a very strong desire to continue in sin. Itís like what you would call "in the blood".
And seeing how sin is rebellion against God, which is totally and completely unacceptable to God, then it should be pretty easy to understand that in order for us humans to become children of God there just has to be a whole lotta changes taking place in us first. And one of these great big changes is what is known as the second birth. So the first birth is of the flesh through water, but the second birth is of God through His Spirit. But the question still remains "how in the world do we get born of the Spirit?"
Well as always Iím kinda glad you asked because now Iíll have to try and explain it. So how do I do that?.. OK, Iíve got it. First of all, a person is ready to get born of the Spirit when he or she has finally gotten to the point of being sick and tired of the trouble that his or her fleshly body keeps on getting them into. You see itís because of the fact that we have to live in these sin infested bodies that they will likewise try very hard to tell us what to do. And seeing how they love to sin, they will continue to try and get us to do things not at all pleasing to God the Father. So if we want to be the children of God we must obey the Father and not the flesh. And in order to obey the Father we must first hear Him. And in order to hear Him loud and clear we must first invite Him to come inside of us. So one part of this born again thing is asking God the Father to let His Spirit come inside of us and tell us exactly what to do twenty-four hours a day.
But before we can ask the Spirit of God to come inside of us we must first get our bodies ready for Him. And how do we do that? Well going back to John 1:12-13, "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." You see itís this "receiving part" that allows us to get out the bad (spirit of Satan; flesh) and allow the good (Spirit of God) to come in. And the good canít come in until we accept (receive) Jesusí death on the cross as payment for our sins. Only the sinless blood of Jesus will totally and completely wash away not only the sins that we were born with but also the ones that we have committed in our own lifetimes.
So once again going back to John 1:12-13, "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 as I hope you can all see by now, what it takes to be born again is to first accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and then invite the Spirit of God to live inside of you. But all of that only takes care of the "born again" part. We still have to figure out what it takes to become a full fledged son or daughter of God.
And to find the answer to that question letís turn to Romans 8:1-14 and read, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit."
Now what we have just read, although seemingly not too easy to understand, is exactly what we have spent several pages writing about. You see this thing about the twelve tribes of Israel being chosen by God to be His special people is really true of all of us. We have all been chosen by Him for a special position in the kingdom of God, but in order to become a part of that kingdom we must first become a son or daughter of God. And in order to become a son or daughter of God we must first start listening to the voice of our Heavenly Father and stop listening to what our sinful body keeps telling us to do. Because the things that our body wants us to do is rebellion against God, and the punishment for rebellion against God is death. And the only way to avoid the everlasting stoning process (the burning fires of Hell) is not to be a rebellious child. And the only way not to be a rebellious child is to do just as the first verse has said, because "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Are you starting to catch on? Well letís continue on with Paulís explanation of the born again experience because weíre about to get to the part Iíve been trying to get to all along: "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
OK, so letís run through the requirements for being born again once again. To start it all off, a person who is born again must first accept the death of Jesus Christ as payment for his or her sins. And through this acceptance it must be totally and completely understood and believed that this same Jesus Christ was the Word of God before he came to this earth. He was God in Heaven Who gave up His position in Heaven to become man on earth and likewise die a sinless death on the cross. He died the death for our sins without ever having sinned so that we might all have the opportunity to escape Hell.
And the second born again requirement is to not only accept Jesus Christ as Savior but to also accept Him as Lord. In other words after having accepted His death on the cross we must ask His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) to not only live inside of us but we must be willing to obey what He tells us to do. Because as verses 12-14 plainly tell us, "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
Well as you can see this born again experience is just a little bit more than some people understand it to be. Because you see the part that comes after having accepted Jesus as Savior is all too often the part that most just arenít too willing to complete. So my questions to you are: Have you accepted Jesusí death for your salvation? Have you invited the Spirit of God to live within you? Do you seek His guidance day in and day out through prayer and the study of His Word? Do you listen for Him to speak to you in your heart? Do you obey Him when He does speak to you? Are you really born again? Are you really saved?
As you can see those are some very tough questions that each and every one of us needs to seriously consider. Hell is a terrible place to be, but yet there is only one way, one plan, and one method that will keep us from making it our everlasting home. Are you ready?
There is only one way out so Keep The Faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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