Vol. 35, No. 9 September, 2011
WHAT’S RIGHT WITH THE CHURCH?
By Dr. George Mills
“But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn which are written in Heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” (Heb. 12:22-23).
What a wonderful Book to study. The Book of Hebrews will bless your heart as you carefully study the finished work of our Lord Jesus. The key word to the Book is the word “better.” Whatever there was in the old covenant, Christ gives something better.
There are three groups in the above text.
1. The Angels. An innumerable host. This host worships the Lord before His Throne. (Rev. 5:11-12, Heb 1:6).
2. The general assembly and Church of the firstborn which are written in Heaven. These are the redeemed on earth. Our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in Heaven.
3. The spirits of just men made perfect. These are the redeemed in Heaven. They have finished their course on earth and are now with The Lord. Their spirit is there, they have not received their glorified body yet. This will happen when Christ returns in the air and calls His church home. (1Thess 4:13-18, Phil. 3:20-21).
Today, I want us to think about this GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN. May our Dear Lord open our understanding. First;
1. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE CHURCH?
Thousands of accusing fingers point our way, voices of sarcasm shout their opposition…
“The church is out-dated,” some say. “It served it’s purpose in ages past, but these are days of enlightenment, of technology.”
“The church takes too much of my time.”
“All the church talks about is money.”
“There are too many pretenders.”
And the old stand-by; “The church is full of hypocrites.” Let me say that for every hypocrite you can point out in the church, you can point out ten hypocrites that are not in the church. You know of Lawyers that are not interested in the Law, they are interested in money. And how many salesmen do you meet that are just hypocrites? And in the medical field, how many Doctors who are not really concerned for their patients, they are in for the money they can make. The world is full of hypocrites, pretenders in every area of life. And you will find some in churches, but we all know the destination of every hypocrite. They are not part of that Great General Assembly known as the Church.” So don’t let the word “hypocrite” upset you. They are everywhere down here, but none up there.
I’ve heard some preachers “down the church.” They say “the church is dead, lifeless, or demon possessed and must go through the tribulation period to get straightened out.” I believe that if I had that kind of fatalistic view of the church I’d find something else to join.
Yes, millions on the outside can tell you WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE CHURCH, but let me share with you “WHAT’S RIGHT WITH THE CHURCH. I understand that a large brokerage firm has as it’s slogan, or motto;
BEFORE YOU INVEST,INVESTIGATE!. Don’t place your money just anywhere, check out things first. I challenge people everywhere to know Christ as personal Saviour and then invest their life in a local New Testament Church. Invest time, talent, money, invest your life for the furtherance of the Gospel through that local church. So, WHAT’S RIGHT WITH THE CHUCH?
1. THE MASTER OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT! Jesus Christ said, “Upon this Rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt. 16:18). It is Christ’s Church. He bought it with His own blood. That makes it right. He knows every member. He calls His own by name. He keeps watch. He keeps His own sheep in line. The Church is the body of Christ on earth, (1Cor. 12:27). Born again believers who have placed their faith and trust in the finished work of Christ alone, THAT’S THE CHURCH. No group, no earthly denomination can claim that they are “the church.” All born again believers everywhere make up the Church, HIS CHURCH! THE MASTER IS RIGHT! Pilate said of Christ, “I find no fault in him.” He went to the Cross, to the tomb, to rise again the third day. He is Lord and Saviour. Yes, beyond all doubt, THE MASTER OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT.
2. THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT! Yes, I said the membership is right, not perfect yet, but right. Let me again define the Church so we can be absolutely right about the MEMBERSHIP. The Church is revealed in two ways in the Scriptures…
(A) THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH,
(General assembly). The Scripture does not use the word “universal” The Scriptures refer to the “Whole family in Heaven and in earth” (Eph. 3:15). This refers to the family of God, The CHURCH, the redeemed ones. Some have gone on to Heaven and some remain here on earth. These are blood washed, born again children of God. These have placed their faith in Christ alone. There’s not too much wrong with this crowd, NOT YET PERFECT. You don’t have to beg these to go to Church every Sunday. You don’t have to prime, pump, plead with this crowd. They love the Church. I meet some of these everywhere I go. In churches, in schools, on mission fields, homes, everywhere. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ. We have a kindred spirit. The Spirit of God bears witness.
(B) LOCAL ASSEMBLIES. The second way the Church is revealed in Scripture is LOCAL ASSEMBLIES. Paul addressed his epistles to; the Church at Rome, the Church at Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, etc. Local, New Testament assemblies. The great world wide Church cannot meet at one place so the Church meets in local assemblies with Pastor, and needed helpers for worship and fellowship. I can almost hear someone say, “I know that crowd, and boy, I could sure tell you some things.” They find fault. Now here’s where some of the problem may be. Did it ever occur to you that not all of the members of local assemblies are members of that Great assembly of New Testament believers? That’s right! One can be a member of a local church, be baptized in water, be a worker in that church without ever being born again. That’s right. I have met some down through the years. I am afraid that today we have many, many church members around the world who have never met Christ. How about you? Are you a member of His Church, or are you just a church member? There’s a difference! There are many poor, lost church members. Ask yourself, “Am I really born again? Or, am I just a “church member?” “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.”(1Jn. 3:14). Yes, the membership is right, not yet perfect, but made right. Today, many strange doctrines are preached. The winds of doctrines blow. Many are being deceived. If you include some of these new movements in the Church, then the Church has problems. BUT NOT SO, as John said, “they went out from us, but they were not of us.”
3. THE MANDATE OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT! What is our Mandate, our Mission? The Church is not here to reform society, the Mandate of the Church is to take the Gospel to the world. We are a local assembly with the world in view. We cannot change society by trying to reform society. We cannot vote out, or vote in a new administration and change things. Man is changed when his heart is changed. Then society is changed. Our Mandate is to take the Gospel of Jesus to the world.
4. THE MESSAGE OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT!
The Message of the Church is “LOOK AND LIVE.” The message is simple. It is never complicated. It is the same for all people everywhere. Jesus said in John 3, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”(Jn 3:14-15). That text is referring to the Old Testament Book Of Numbers, Ch. 21. In that text, the Israelites spoke against God and Moses. This was a constant murmuring and complaining. God sent serpents through the camp of the Israelites and much people of Israel died because of the serpent bites. When the Israelites confessed their sin, God told Moses to make a serpent of brass and lift it high so that all may see it. Then if anyone who was bitten by a serpent, if he would look to that brazen serpent, he would not die, but live. Now that’s exactly what Jesus did. He was lifted high upon a cross. We are sinners, we are dying. We have been stung by that old serpent, Satan. But LOOK to the Cross and LIVE! That’s the message. LOOK AND LIVE! Let’s not complicate it by adding things like works, baptisms, denominations, joining, or a thousand other things. The MESSAGE of the Church is right. Children understand it.
5. THE METHOD OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT!
In Mt. 28:6-7, the Angel said, “Come and see, Go and tell.” It’s that simple, tell others about Christ and what He has done for you. Jesus said to the maniac of Gadara after he was healed, “Go home to thy friends and tell..” The disciples went out two by two and told about Christ. “I have taught you publicly and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20). That’s the method; one tells another, then another. If everyone joins in, the job gets done. The business world spends billions on advertising their products, but they still say their best advertisement is a satisfied customer telling another about their product. That’s the Method of the Church. Get in on it.
6. THE MOTIVE OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT!
There is a two-fold motive of the Church
(A) THAT THE DESTINY OF MEN MAY BE CHANGED. What is man’s destiny? “The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God.” Read Rev. 20:11-15, Luke 16:19-31. Many passages clearly teach that when a person dies without Christ he will go to a devil’s hell. That’s not popular, but it is true. Jesus came to this earth and gave His Life on a cross so that man’s destiny may be changed. We want to see people saved! Saved from the penalty and power of sin. We do not want anyone to die without Christ. That’s the MOTIVE!
(B) THAT LIVES MAY BE TRANSFORMED.
The second motive is the transforming of lives. Sin abounds everywhere, engulfing, deceiving. Billions of lives are ruined because of sin. But in Christ, THERE IS HOPE! The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, and behold, all things are become new.” The Bible says, “Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God. AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU, BUT YE ARE WASHED, YE ARE SANCTIFIED, YE ARE JUSTIFIED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS.” Changed lives. Try reforming, try stopping, try quitting, nothing works. Only Christ can take the helpless and hopeless who have trusted Him and make us all vessels, “meet for the master’s use.”
7. THE MUSIC OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT!
Music reflects the mood of the times. Listen to the music of any society and it will tell you all you need to know. Listen to the “music” of our time. Have you ever heard anything so hopeless? Listen to Rock and Roll, to Heavy Metal. Listen to the sounds and beat. The rhythm hypnotizes the mind while the words of the “music”fills the heart. If you want to know what’s wrong with our young people, just listen to their “music.” Today’s “music” glorifies drugs, rebellion and attacks anything Godly. Listen to the BOOM BOOM, CRASH BANG BOP BOP of today’s “pop music.” Hillbilly and country ‘music is no better. It glorifies the bed room, cheating, slipping around, bar rooms and whiskey. It is sad to me that many of the “church world” are adopting the BOOM BOOM, BOP, BOP sounds of the world. Some “churches” have that same sound stage, same lights, and same beat.
Just last Lord’s Day as I was dressing for Church, I tuned the television set to a local church. Their entire service consisted only of this sad sound. Oh, they were dancing in the aisles, the lights were flashing, but you could not tell that from a rock and roll concert.
LET US NOT COMPROMISE WITH OUR MUSIC. The Church has given to the world the most beautiful music. Just read the words of the hymns you will find love, hope, peace, and assurance. The words are beautiful and the melodies are glorious. The MUSIC of the Church is RIGHT! Let us not compromise with the world.
8. THE MANUAL OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT!
Thank God for His gift to the world, the gift of the Bible, (KJB). It was given as God breathed upon holy men of old. God preserved that which He inspired. God would not give us a MANDATE without a MANUAL or “how-to” Book. The Bible tells us how to live in all ages. I can recall many times when I wasted much time and energy in not consulting the instruction manual that came with the product. I have tried in vain to put a child’s toy together and then in embarrassment, I opened the instruction sheet. The Great Creator of Heaven, Earth, and Man gave us a “how-to” Book. When we follow the instructions, the product turns out right. America has tossed out the Manual. The Bible in this society is not welcome, and things are not turning out so good. Look at the product.
Many “churches” have tossed out the Manual, and have brought in substitutes, and have forsaken God’s way and adopted the world’s way. Don’t be deceived by the flood of new versions (over 200) on the market today. They are not up-dates of the Old Book, they come from a different text altogether. Know, and love, and read your Bible. This Book has endured the ages. Let us not try to change it or find fault with it, just believe it. The Word of God will do the work of God!
Oh yes, there are crowds today and much “rattle” but “rattle” does not mean Revival. The Name “GOD” has been painted on the world, and brought into the “church world,” Let us all stay with the teachings of our Bible, (KJB). Yes, the MANUAL OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT!
9. THE MANAGER OF THE CHURCH IS RIGHT!
The Manager or Director is the Holy Spirit. He directed the early Church in the Book of Acts, He managed the Church through the ages, and He is alive and well today conducting, managing, directing. With His Power and anointing we can get the job done. With His leadership, we are on the winning side!
YES, Things are right with THE CHURCH!
Are you part of His Church? Have you been Born again? If not, why not, right now, ask Christ into your life to be your Saviour? He is there, wherever you are, and He will hear the prayer of your heart as you tell Him in your own words that you Believe that He died for your sin, and that he arose from the dead.
Begin TODAY to live FOREVER!
By Pastor George Mills
“Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Before the foundation of earth was laid,
Before the awful stain of man’s sin,
The plan of Salvation was already made,
And Christ came for His work to begin.
Christ came to redeem, not with Silver or Gold,
But by His own blood, the Spotless Lamb,
The Lamb upon whom all sin was rolled,
The Incarnate, the Great I am.
I love the Church that Jesus bought,
With blood from His wounded side,
To know that He came to earth and sought,
And claims us for His Bride.
Filled with His Spirit, armed with His Sword,
Washed and made white in His blood,
All clothed in the armor of His Blessed Word,
And will withstand the enemy’s flood.
The Church born from His wounded side,
‘Though Satan may assail,
Secure in the Saviour’s hands we abide,
The Church will forever prevail.
“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
THINK ABOUT IT…Man, Satan, fallen angels, powers, principalities, governments, and organizations have tried to stop, to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ. But the Church is fine and will do alright until the Lord of the Church calls His Church home. The Church age has not yet ended, as one preacher tried to claim. We’re still here!
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001-
SEPTEMBER 11, 2011…
We remember with both sadness and pride the events of September 11, 2001, ten years ago.
Sadness because of the great loss of lives. Pride because of the thousands of unselfish deeds done by so many on that day. Please take a few moments to read our message posted on our web-site since that day. Click on the Statute of Liberty on the home page. Now, let me share with you just a portion of a message about Sept. 11, 2001…
THEY SIGNED UP
By Dr. John E. Trainer, M.D.
“Here am I, send me.” (Isa. 6:8). “I think about the men and women on the fourth plane. The place that crashed in Pennsylvania. We have all heard stories about people who called their loved ones on the ground. People heard what was going on. People on that plane knew that they were going to die. We have heard about the ones who said, “We have to do something about this. No one but God knows what happened on that plane that day, but we believe that a group of passengers overpowered the terrorists and stopped them from taking additional lives on the ground. THEY SIGNED UP. They knew they were going to die. Either way their lives would end that day. They told their loved ones goodbye. They made a plan. As near as anyone can tell, they stopped the terrorists from destroying another National Landmark, and probably saved thousands of lives on the ground. THEY SIGNED UP. My wife and I have talked about that day. We take turns asking each other, “Would you call?” I think so. “Would you want me to tell you?” Yes. Is that more sad, or less sad, to say one last goodbye? I don’t know. We shudder together and change the subject. I think about our life together, hers and mine. I pray that she and I will die together, maybe in our sleep, sixty or seventy years from now. But I also pray that if I find myself in a certain situation, that if I can make my death mean something, that I will take that opportunity and use it. I think about the heroic acts of the passengers on that fourth plane, and I pray that God will give me the courage TO SIGN UP.”
….from the WILDERNESS, November, 2001
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
WHEN THE ROAD GOES “BUMP”
Ever noticed how everything seems to be going along just fine and then suddenly the ride gets rough?
Well, that’s life! Sometimes smooth and sometimes rough. We just have to remember the same God is with us through the rough times just like He is when life is so wonderful. I don’t like it when the ride gets rough and neither do you. We all love the good times and that’s just human nature. We have to remind ourselves that we are certainly not in Heaven yet and things will not always be calm, peaceful and anxiety free like we would like them to be. We have to remember things can always be worse and that may help a little, but we still worry. All the worry and anxieties we have cannot change one circumstance, but it can make one sick. Ever heard the phrase, “sick from worry?” Sure you have, and it is a true statement. There is only one remedy for our anxieties, fears and worries and that is to take them to the One that can do something about it. He can change things. Our Lord Jesus can make a bumpy road smooth. He may choose not to remove the rocks from the road, but He will be with us while we forge ahead. There is always a reason for the rocks to be in our path. Remember, the singing brook would lose it’s song if the rocks were removed. It’s the rocks that allow the brook to make it’s sweet music. So it should be with us, when our road of life becomes bumpy for whatever reason. Let’s just thank God for every rock and ask Him to make something beautiful and good come from every bump we encounter along life’s way. “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth.” (Luke 3:5)
TEEN TALKS THAT MATTER
By Ashley Stevens
God calls to a Mission Field
I was very grateful to have gone on my first mission trip this summer. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. God was able to open my eyes and use me to help benefit others. Most of us can recall hurricane Katrina that hit the United States a few years ago. There were a lot of places that were devastated and lost practically everything that they had when the storm came through. I was very fortunate to have been able to go to one such small town in Mississippi and help put on a Vacation Bible School for children last month. The Church group from Jacksonville, Florida that I went with actually went there right after the hurricane and helped them rebuild their Church and they have been going back each year to put on a Vacation Bible School. A few months before we left to go on this trip, we began to start praying as a group that God would not only prepare our minds, but our hearts for this mission trip. I asked God for guidance and to give me the words to speak so that I could be a witness to these young children. The first day I walked inside of this Church my heart was prepared and I was ready to be on fire for the Lord. I not only wanted my heart on fire for the Lord, but I wanted others to see that as well. There were a lot of poor children there who had not eaten that day, or had a very limited amount of food for the week. It just brought tears to my eyes to see children who want to know that they are loved, or just simply want a hug. I was so glad to know by the end of that week that those children left Vacation Bible School with the ultimate love, and that is the Love of Jesus Christ. Keep your eyes open, because you should always be on a Mission Trip for God. You don’t have to go to another country, or state, your mission field is right in your own back yard. God doesn’t call us to a play ground, He calls us to a mission field. Share Christ with someone you come across today!
Until next time, May God bless your life each and every day…..Ashley Stevens
As the MANNA supplied the need in the Wilderness for forty years, so your kind letters, gifts, and most certainly your prayers have sustained this ministry for over 35 years. Our Thanks to everyone for supplying this “MANNA.”
Our Kind and Most Gracious Heavenly Father, Bless every reader of this publication just now. Supply the need of each life. Save the unsaved, and strengthen every believer, In Jesus’ Name, Bless our Great nation, May there be a great turning back to the fundamentals that made us great.