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May 2005

VESSELS OF A GREAT HOUSE

This is Stacy's signature.

The solid foundation of God stands unmoved, having this seal. "The Lord knows those who actually belong to Him." Also, "Let every one who names the name of the Lord withdraw from all that is not right in character and principle." (2 Timothy 2:19).

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy concerning the vessels in a "great house." The expression "great house" is an Old English expression that refers to a mansion or large stately house of a wealthy slave owner. This terminology is still used in Jamaica and throughout the West Indies. Paul says that in a "great house" there are not only golden and silver utensils, but also wooden and earthenware. Every vessel in the house has an specific purpose. However, each qualifies on an individual basis as either a vessel of "HONOR" or "DISHONOR" (2Ti 2:19-21).

This parabolic statement illustrates that becoming a part of the Master's house does not automatically make one honorable of itself. There is a time for every vessel to become purged from its past involvements. The Apostle correlates the cleansing of a vessel with becoming valuable and set apart for the Owner's use. He says, the vessel which cleanses "ITSELF" from all ignoble and unclean exposures will become "A VESSEL OF HONOR."

The honorable vessel is set apart, useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work. It is cleanliness that renders a vessel usable, preparing it for every good work. However, neglecting to thoroughly purge the vessel disqualifies it and renders it dishonorable. The purging of ones' life is a very important principle of kingdom living. It is crucial we do not neglect this extremely important fundament of the faith. (Ro. 12:1-2, 13:11-14; 2Co. 6:14-7:1; Col. 2:20-23; 3:1-11).

It is time to become mindful of God's evaluation of the vessels in his house. Clearly, judgment first begins at the house of God. (1Pe. 4:12-19). There is no acceptable excuse for contamination of God's chosen vessels, for the purifying work was established within our lives at Calvary. The Lord Jesus Christ now washes each vessel at the "laver of the water of the word." (Eph. 5:25-27). One needs only to remain "WILLING TO HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH." (Joh. 7:16-18; Re. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 32).

No pointing of the finger will lessen the accountability. (Ro. 1:18-32, 2:1). Every defiled vessel becomes unsuitable and without excuse before its Master. The thoroughly purged vessels become set apart to fulfill their designated function, as honorable vessels. The same process used to segregate the honorable vessels also discloses the vessels of dishonor.

The Scripture often compares humanity to vessels, both usable and unusable. (Ps. 31:12, Jer. 22:28, 48:11, 51:34, Ho. 8:8, Ac. 9:15, 2Co. 4:7, Re. 2:27). While it is the Creator who chooses the material used to form each vessel. It is also the Creator who establishes each vessel's function. [ Jer 18:1 ff., Ro 9:20 ff.] He creates some as containers of compassion and others', receptacles of destruction. Some are full of substance, while others are void of character. The destiny of each vessel certainly is in the hand of its Creator. However, each individual vessel proves itself to be honorable or dishonorable in its intended function.

THREE POINTS TO PONDER

Meditating upon the parable of the great house brings three points to focus. First, the vessels consist of four distinct materials: gold, silver, wood and earth. Second, all four types of vessels are distinct in monetary value. This implies that four categories of distinct worth are symbolized, not two. Yet, identifying each vessel is one of only two evaluations: HONORABLE or DISHONORABLE. Third, a vessel who "cleanses himself" from "THESE THINGS," becomes a vessel of honor. Remember, the cleansing is what sets the vessel apart and consecrates it. This also prepares it for every good work, making it useful to the Master.

Pondering these points of interest provokes three questions: 1) What analogy might we find in gold, silver, wood and earthenware? 2) Why are there four distinctly different kinds of vessels, but only two categories? 3) What is one to "PURGE" himself from, to become a vessel of honor.

Separating the vessels clearly states the value of some is more than others. What is the basis for such a judgment? Some teach it is because gold and silverwares cost more than wood or clay. However, concluding only gold and silverwares are valuable to the Master is a fallacious concept. Concurrently, to believe the wooden and earthen wares are always worthless is equally false. If the focus was financial, one might assume these things to be a true assessment. However, the monetary value of the vessels is not the issue or focus of this lesson. Such supposition only distracts from the true intent of the analogy.

Each vessel serves a specific purpose in the house of the Master. It is appropriate for the dining table of the great house to display golden and silverwares. Yet, the wooden and pottery vessels are most suitable for the kitchen. Each vessel clearly holds its place of usefulness, as well as prominence. At times a vessel may serve to substitute another. Yet, it can never adequately replace the vessel specifically designed for the job. Keeping this in mind let us consider the basic substance of each type of vessel mentioned. All four kinds of materials mentioned in this parable have a metaphorical value.

GOLDEN IS PERFECT

The golden vessel represents those who have "a perfect heart." Gold in its native purity is a scarce element. Likewise, the vessel having a perfect heart is a rare and noble quality. Biblical records indicate very few ever possessed this godlike attribute. Having a "perfect" or "whole" heart is not a guarantee of a flawlessness existence. (Ps .119:2, 10). However, honesty ranks high among this vessel's more distinctive qualities. When discrepancies become evident the golden vessel's trustworthy character make it reliable. (Ps. 101:2; Isa 38:2-5). This is because the vessel always acknowledges God's way as the only correct way. (Pr. 3:5-7).

King David is a good example of a golden vessel. God said, David is "a man after my own heart." He is a vessel "who will do ALL MY WILL." (1Sa. 13:14; 16:7; Ps. 101:2; Ac. 13:22). It was not God's desire for David to commit adultery. The attempt to cover up his unscrupulous behavior positively was not God's heart. By taking both Uriah's wife and life David unquestionably transgressed God's guidelines for his life. Yet, his own heart convicted him for his for having participated in such lawless behavior. The recognition of the contamination produced by sin caused David to cry out to God. In honesty of heart he reached forth to the Master for reconciliation and change. Moral excellence and singleness of desire brought this vessel quickly to conform with the will and heart of God. (1Sa. 24:5, 10; 2Sa. 11:3-27, 12:1-25, 24:10; Ps 27:1-14, 38:1-22, 51:1-19; Ro. 2:29; 12:2).

It is not surprising to find the golden vessel in the Master's presence. These vessels serve as goblets, platters, and such in a great house. The guests who dine at the Master's table eat from the golden vessels. (Phil. 2:5-16). It is the Master delight to reveal his heart to the world through these vessels.

The necessity of the golden vessel becoming cleansed is very much a part of its life. A little residue left from its daily experience with the flesh and the cosmos can render it dishonorable. However, the continual longing to become the delight of its master will cause it to cleanse itself and qualify. (Joh. 15:19; Ro. 8:4-8; 1Jo 2:15-17, 3:1-3).

SILVER IS RIGHTEOUS

The silver vessel represents those who have "a righteous heart." The discovery of pure silver is infrequent, because it normally is found combined with copper or lead. In like manner, the contaminated condition of human life surrounds the upright heart. (Ro. 3:9-23). Just like deposits of silver hidden in the earth enrich it, the upright or just heart is hidden deep within humanity for their betterment. (Ro. 5:15, 18; Eph. 2:8). Like silver, the Refiner's fire brings forth the manifestation and beauty of this righteous heart. (Ro 5:6-11; 1Pe. 1:6-7). Purified seven times in the furnace of fire silver becomes translucent. (Ps. 12:6). Subjecting the upright heart to fiery testing frees it from every pollutant. (Pr. 27:21; Jer 6:28-30; Eze. 22:18-22; Mal 3:1-4; 1Pe. 4:12-13). The All Consuming Fire disposes of every fraudulent, unscrupulous, and unprincipled characteristic that surrounds the righteous heart. (Ps. 50:2-6; De. 4:21; Ex. 24:17; He. 12:29). Refining further liberates the just heart from the harsh, degrading condemnation of self-evaluation. For Paul declares, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus; for the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the Law of sin and death." (Ro. 8:1-2). This understanding has caused many to embrace a doctrine of fatalism. The belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable often creates apathetic and complacent attitudes of heart that prevent them from recognizing any need for cleansing. (Ro. 8:1-4).

The silversmith fashions the refined silver into useful vessels. These silver wares serve throughout the Master's house. The silver is formed into platters, flatware and decorations for the great house. When placed before the Master they all glisten with the glory of uprightness and fairness of heart.

WOODEN IS SIMPLICITY

The vessel of wood represents those who have "a simplistic heart." These vessels, formed from the most precious of woods, possess a distinct natural beauty. They are naked before the eye of the beholder. Their innocence causes a lifetime of experience to become easily discerned. Likewise the simple-hearted have the unpretentious and pleasing quality of being genuine and trusting. While this makes them quite desirable it also makes them gullible. (Ps. 1:1-3; 37:35-37; 52:8; 92:12; Ca. 2:3; Isa. 55:12-13.; 56:3; 61:3; Jer 5:14; 17:7-8; 2Co. 11:1-4).

Wood is a very absorbent material. It takes special preparation to prevent the wooden vessel from becoming stained and useless. Willingness to absorb everything poured into it is both an asset and a detriment. It an asset when the life of the Lord is being absorbed. However, being absorbent is a detriment when erroneous teachings fill the wooden vessel. A vessel loses its original value when it becomes tainted and spotted. However, by simply and immediately cleansing it in "the laver of water of the word" it is rendered fit once again. (Le. 11:32, 15:12).

Wooden dishes, platters, and flatware are found on the table of a common man. Regardless of this, the wooden vessels also serve within the Master's house. However, in the great house they function more efficiently in the kitchen area. Usually these vessels are the bowls, buckets, barrels and such. Actually the house could not run properly without the wooden vessels, for each vessel has its own purpose and function to fulfill.

The uniqueness of these vessels, when in their rightful place, is unequaled. It is evident they have not volunteered for their position in the Master's house. They would not even consider themselves worthy of the Master's attention. After all, how can they compare to the golden and silver vessels?

There is one area where wooden vessels clearly match the value of the golden and silver wares. When it comes to the influence of Babylonian captivity all are identical. Soulish games and the foul stench of religious customs captivate their minds equally. Meanwhile the Harlot's merchants successfully merchandise each vessel, whether they are gold, silver or wood of the earth all are vulnerable. (Rev 18:12).

EARTHEN IS CARNAL

The earthen vessel represents those who have "a carnal heart." Does anything this common truly belong in a large stately house? Some might not think so. However, earthen vessels have a very prominent place and purpose indeed and the Master's house could not function properly without them. (1Co. 8:1-12, 15:45-50; He. 5:12-14). Pottery, also known as ceramics, is made from clay, a natural material derived from eroded rock. Found in river beds, clay is soft and malleable, depending on the amount of water it contains. However, in its raw state it is a useless substance in any house. It is merely mud to be cleansed and removed whether in a common man's home or a great house.

However, after the Master Potter's hands are applied to the clay it is formed into a wide range of usable objects, including kitchenware, vases, sculptures, bricks and tiles. Once clay is fired in a kiln, it returns to the rock-like state from which it came and is permanent and waterproof.

Some believe the first clay vessel came into being quite by accident. Supposedly, a clay-lined basket fell into a fire and burnt. The fire baked the clay lining and rendered it usable as an earthen bowl. (The New Bible Dictionary, pg. 951). It does not really matter how earthenware came into existence. We know there are no accidents in the Master's house! The Master designs each vessel perfectly to fit its function. (Ge. 1:26-28, 2:7; 1Co. 15:45-50).

Potter's clay is a sediment of water remaining in pits and low areas. The name given the location having these deposits of clay is the Potter's field. Clay is a unique material over which the Potter exercises absolute control. (Isa. 45:9; Jer. 18:1-2; Ro. 9:20-21). The Potter begins by delivering the clay out of an "horrible pit." He then sets the formless blob upon "the Rock." Gently and patiently turning the Rock he works upon the clay. By applying the precise pressure he shapes and forms establishing the vessels function. (Ps 40:1-3).

When a vessel became sodden or broken mending it was not practical. (Le 6:28, 11:33, 15:12). It was much more desirable to transform an old vessel into "A NEW CREATION." (2Co. 5:16-17). This was accomplished by taking the worthless vessel and grinding it to powder and burying the powder in the potter's field. It would break down and soften over time, so the Master craftsman could form it anew. This process typifies the purpose for resurrection of the worthless vessels of creation. Notice this exemplifies resurrection and not reincarnation. It is for this very reason Jesus both died and rose again. For in dying he paid the full penalty for sin, which was death. (Ro. 5:12-21, 6:23; 1Co. 15:22-24). In resurrection Christ Jesus gave all humanity life. Now he vivifies each vessel in its own classification or order. The final judgment declares Jesus as Lord of both the living and the dead. Another thing often made from old pottery was a form of cement. Signifying that which could not bond will find its cohesion in the Christ. (Col. 1:13-18). Praise the Lord! (Ps. 2:7-9, 68:18-19; Is. 30:14; Jer 18:1-6; Ro. 9:20-23, 14:7-13; 1Pe. 3:18-22; Eph. 4:8 ff.-10; Phil. 2:9-11; Re. 2:26-29).

It is the Master who determines the design of each vessel. As it is written, "I am the Lord and there is no other; besides me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides me. I am the Lord and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these. . . Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker AN EARTHENWARE VESSEL among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'?' Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' Or to a woman, 'To what are you giving birth?' . . . It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with my hands, and ordained all their hosts. I have aroused him in righteousness, and I will make all his ways smooth; he will build my city, and will let my exiles go free. without and payment or reward," says the Lord of Hosts. "Behold, I myself have created the smith who blows the fires of coal, and brings out a weapon for its work; and I have created the destroyer to ruin." (Is. 45:1-13; 54:16-1).

This was written concerning Cyrus king of Persia, who is a fine example of an earthen vessel. He was definitely of the earth, earthy. Yet, Isaiah prophesied he was the chosen vessel of God, who would set Israel free from Babylonian captivity. Moreover, God declared Cyrus to be his chosen messiah, shepherd and son. This prophetic declaration came approximately one hundred and twenty-five years before the birth of this pagan ruler. (Is. 45:1-13; Ro. 9:20). Some are sure to ask, "How can such a thing be?" Remember, God said, "Light shall shine out of darkness." (Ge. 1:3, Ps. 119:130, Joh. 1:3-5, 9). The Light God called into existence now shines in the darkened hearts of all humanity. (Joh 1:9, 8:12: 2Co. 4:6). God has a purpose for depositing his Light in the earthen vessels. He is primarily establishing his transcendent capability by contrasting it with humanities inability. It is also the nature of the earthen vessel to preserve and keep the quality of everything stored within it. (Je. 32:6-15; 2Co. 4:6-7).

The Master Craftsman purchased his potter's field and it cost him a great price. (M't. 13:44; 2Co. 5:19; 1Ti. 2:1-6; 4:9-11). His love for the world caused him to pay the full price of redemption for the field. The purchase price was the life of his uniquely begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lamb of God who came and took away "THE SIN OF THE WORLD." This righteous sacrifice, on behalf of all the unworthy vessels of the earth, bought redemption, reconciliation and righteousness for all that died in the first Adam. (Ps. 103:8-17; Joh. 1:29, 36; Ro. 5:10-11, 18; 2Co. 5:19-21; 1Jo. 2:2). Jesus, the ransom payment, called out from the cross, "IT IS PAID IN FULL!" (Joh. 19:30). The evidence of this purchase is now sealed in earthen vessels made from the Potter's field. Each vessel has an appointed day in which it is opened to reveal its content. Removing the seal discloses the invoice stored within, which declares, "JESUS IS LORD!" Many are the vessels who already show the evidence of the work accomplished at Calvary. (1Co. 15:22-28; Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 1:26-28). Their testimony reverberate through the entire house, "We are saved by grace, through the faith of Jesus Christ our Lord." Unquestionably it is not of ourselves, "it is the gift of God." (Eph. 2:7-10; Phil. 2:12-16).

Throughout the Master's house these earthen vessels are in many forms and shapes. They will serve as lamps, jugs, pitchers, jars and pots. Large and small vessels for storage and the list could go on and on. Possibly there is not a room in the house without a piece of pottery.

WHY TWO CLASSIFICATIONS?

Golden, silver, wooden, and earthen wares all have a place in the Master's house. (1Co. 12:14- 27). Each vessel has a uniqueness which makes its existence necessary. To throw out everything but the golden and silver vessels, would cause a great lack within the Master's house. There is a place of prominence for each and every vessel in the great house. The wooden and earthen wares can never adequately become replaced by the golden and silver wares. Neither can golden and silver wares become suitably replaced by the wooden and earthen wares.

A vessel being honorable or dishonorable is not solely a monetary judgment. The more expensive vessels do not automatically become the honorable vessels. A lack of elegance does not disqualify the least luxurious vessel from being counted among the honorable vessels. Preference for a vessel, or superiority is not the basis of the segregation. For anyone to think this way is not only disgraceful but utter foolishness. (Ro. 2:11-13; Eph. 6:7-9; Col. 3:23-25; Jam. 2:9; 1Pe 1:17-19).

Since each vessel in the great house retains its own importance and worth. What is the true basis for determining some vessels are honorable and others dishonorable? The answer is simple. If a vessel cannot perform its function the result is a loss of value, known also as dishonor.

What causes a vessel to have an inability to satisfactorily fulfill its purpose? Once again the answer seems simple enough. Contamination is the primary cause of a loss of value to any vessel. The honorable vessel is PURE, while the dishonorable vessel is LACKING IN PURITY. The unclean or unwashed golden vessel is dishonorable. The tarnished and corroded silver vessel loses its original value. The stained and polluted wooden vessel is devalued. A blemished, spotted earthen vessels is disgraceful. Any vessel becoming polluted or tainted with spoiled food and beverage becomes disqualified. After all, who desires to eat from a dish with greasy egg stuck on it? Or who drinks from a glass with dried milk in the bottom? Therefore, any vessel becoming polluted or dirty is unfit, dishonorable, for the Master's use.

IF A VESSEL CLEANSE HIMSELF?

The next step in this parable is difficult for many to understand. For Paul says, "If a man cleanse HIMSELF, he will be a vessel of honor." (2Ti. 2:21). If we did not create ourselves, how then can we cleanse ourselves? The misguided thinking of some vessels dismiss this as a mistake in Paul's teaching. Some have suggested this statement reflects a little of Paul's Pharisaical background. A man's thinking can become absurd in the preservation of his fleshliness.

This is not the only place Paul presents the thought of cleansing oneself. To the Church in Corinth he wrote, "LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2Co. 7:1). Then to the saints in Ephesus he penned, "YOU LAY ASIDE the behavior of the old self, which is being corrupted in agreement with deceptive desires." (Eph. 4:22). In his letter to the Colossians he inscribed, "YOU PUT THESE ALL ASIDE: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth." (Col. 2:8). Recorded throughout all of Paul's letters is the instruction to cleanse oneself. Recording every incident would take far to much room in this article.

Some vessels, attempting to shirk the responsibility of cleansing themselves, exploit the Apostle Paul. This is done by quoting him and proclaiming, "By the grace of God I am what I am!" (1Co. 15:10). However, using this to defend their polluted condition does not change the obligation to cleanse oneself. Each vessel must learn how to purge itself thoroughly from all that pollutes it.

HOW CAN ONE PURGE HIMSELF?

A key to completely cleansing oneself is found in the idea of the total abandonment of the soul. The word for soul in the Greek language is "psuche" or "psyche." In classical mythology "Psyche" was a nymph, a personification of the soul. Her great beauty caused Cupid, the god of lustful desires, to fall in love with her. Both sacred and secular literature use "psuche" in reference to the human psychological makeup. Metaphorically, "Psuche" resides upon seven mountains. These seven areas consist of the cognition, reasoning, memory, desire, resolve, intuition, conscience and emotion. (Re. 17:9).

The expression of an individuals character manifests through the self-image contained in the soul. The ego and the id, or unconscious area of instinctive impulse, often blur the beauty of the vessel. Thus Jesus said, "He who holds his soul dear, is destroying it; and he who makes his life of no account (disregarding it) in this world (cosmos) shall keep it (guard, watch, keep by way of protection) into the (quality) Life (principle) of the Ages." (Joh. 12:25).

Self examination is a good place to begin learning how to purge oneself. However, it is necessary to accomplish this by seeking the Lord and not the problem. Otherwise, one will only accomplish the development of an evil conscience concerning himself. We must then recognize there is nothing hidden from God's sight within our vessel. Our earnest cry should be as King David, who prayed, "Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; test my mind and my heart." (Ps. 26:1- 2). When this becomes our earnest prayer, the thoughts and motives of the heart become exposed. It is at this time that the Lord not only reveals to us our need for cleansing, but the solution. (He. 4:12-13).

WHAT ARE "THESE THINGS?"

Jesus addressed the religious leadership of his day by saying, "Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are FULL OF EXTORTION and SELF-INDULGENCE. You blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also." (M't. 23:25-26). The hypocritical ministry in Jesus' day produced dishonorable vessels. They were intent on pushing their understanding of sacred things, so the inward man of the spirit became polluted. (Ro. 7:21- 25, 12:1-4; 2Co. 7:1, Eph. 4:23-24). The inward parts of the vessel remaining full of intimidation and self-indulgence.

Paul writes to Timothy concerning every vessel's responsibility to cleanse himself. He says, "If anyone CLEANSES HIMSELF from ALL THESE, he will be a honorable vessel. A vessel sanctified, useful to the Master, and prepared for every good work." (2Ti. 2:21). What are "these things" to which the Apostle is making reference? The context denies he was inferring the vessels should separate from other vessels, as some teach. The disqualification of every vessel is because of its own pollution. The company of other vessels is not what makes one dishonorable. Furthermore, the basic substance which makes up a vessel is not what determines its quality. To become honorable one must cleanse himself of every pollution of spirit and flesh. This takes deep introspection. It means dealing with every desire, thought and motive of the heart. Remember. As a vessel thinks in his soul, so it is ! Pr. 23:7). This means one needs to listen for adjustment and correction of their thinking, because it is not what the vessel thinks it knows, but whom the vessel knows that brings a purging. (Pr. 3:11-12; 1Co. 8:1-3; Ro. 12:3).

Many teachings have polluted the vessels with intimidation and excess. To become counted among those who are"more noble" the vessel must search the Scripture daily to see if what they are hearing is truth. (Ac. 17:11; 2Ti. 2:15). Each vessel needs to find and experience the Christ of reality for themselves. (Joh. 5:39, 8:31-32). Every vessel that submits to "the washing of water by the Word" will become purified and honorable. (Eph. 5:26).

CONTRADICTORY TEACHERS

It has become evident some impostors have slipped, unnoticed, into the ranks of the Church. They are unrestrained, reckless, headstrong individuals; spreading unbalanced and unfounded teachings. (Jude 1:1-25). Now, this is nothing new to the church, for it has been happening from the beginning. These false teachers are expressing themselves through ambiguous metaphysical theories. Exclusively using this form of teaching they neglect making their revelation applicable in practicality. This has resulted in many turning aside from divine intelligence, to ineffectual, nebulous contemplation.

Some have even turned from the truth and grace of our God to licentiousness. These deny the reality of sin, the cross, the blood, and the Bible. They are contradicting their only Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Concerning these things the Biblical warning to every vessel of honor is clear. It is simply to avoid all unproductive and profane babbling. Know that these teaching will only progress to more ungodliness. (2Ti. 3:1-17; Tit 1:9-16).

On the other extreme we can hear the accusing voices of the religious teachers. They are narrow minded, misguided and without vision. They are blindly upholding the lifeless traditions, and dogmatic ideas of former generations; maintaining the carnal commandments of men, or Pharisaical legalisms. Administrators of the letter of the Scripture, they produce death and condemnation. Their actions destroy the worth and value of God's grace, and their traditions make his word ineffective. There must be a silencing of their mouths from the teaching of their objectionable doctrines. ( Ga 1:6-12, 2:21, 5:1-6).

NO LOVE OF THE TRUTH

These undesirable malignancies presently exist in the Church. It is a very serious situation. However, it is not just a problem of erroneous teachers. The Lord says, "A devastating and horrible thing is committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and MY PEOPLE LOVE TO HAVE IT SO." (Je. 5:30-31). The season once again has come when many are avoiding sound, healthy teaching. These are gathering teachers to themselves, fulfilling their own desires. They listen only to those ideas which satisfy their itching ears. These have swerved from the faith, having never truly known the Lord. They have not reached out and received the word of God with deliberate and ready reception. Because of this they have never received "THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH." (Joh. 3:32; 2Th. 2:10-12; 2Ti. 4:3-4). Consequently, God has sent a strong delusion, or instability, upon them. They are like waves of the sea, surging about and every wind or spirit of teaching carries them hither and thither. Without reservation, they are embracing humanistic liberty, on the one hand. On the other they become snared in legalistic bondage. These are always learning, yet never coming into the full acknowledgment of the Truth. Remember, Jesus Christ is the Truth of God made manifest. (Eph. 4:14-15; 2Ti. 3:7; Jam. 1:8; Joh 14:6).

THE SOLID FOUNDATION

In the midst of all this the solid foundation of God stands. It has this seal upon it. "THE LORD IS NEVER AT A LOSS TO RECOGNIZE HIS OWN!" Moreover, "Let all those, who take the lord's name upon them, ACT ACCORDINGLY AND DEPART FROM ALL WRONGDOING." (2Ti. 2:19). We are not advocating open attacks upon any doctrine or teacher. Continually pointing out the character of those who have erred is not the answer. These actions will never suppress the deception. Furthermore, it would be a childish approach to the problem. Remember. GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO CONDEMN IT. (Joh. 3:17-18). Declaring humanity guilty would have been a waste of time, because condemnation already existed having come upon all humanity through the first Adam. The Son of God came to destroy the works of the evil one. Through Christ the cosmos of mankind will become whole, healthy, and sound once again. Through the manifested Christ reality all humanity becomes released from the bondage of corruption. All humanity becoming liberated into the glorious freedom of becoming the children of God. (1Co. 3:1-3; Ro 8:19-23; He. 5:11-14; 1Pe 2:1-5).

The Apostle Paul had understanding concerning disharmony. He also understood corruption in the church, for it was present even in his hour. There were sects, factions and heresies then, just as there are today. However, he taught, "THERE MUST BE HERESIES," or opinions differing from the established norm. This is "so they who are qualified may become apparent or manifest" in the Church. By this we can see why God permits heresies. However, this by no means validates the division caused by them. Remember, in the midst of it all we are looking for those who "QUALIFY." (1Co. 11:17-19).

TESTING THINGS WHICH DIFFER

Keep all of this in mind as you seek a cleansing. We earnestly pray your love for the Lord Jesus will abound more and more. Know this will bring you into the full acknowledgment and discernment of the truth. This will enable you to test those things which differ. Finding the differences, you will also understand they are incompatible with reality. Yes, it is an impossibility to join them together with the truth. (Phil. 1:9-11; 2Ti 2:15).

In obtaining the qualifying mark we recognize that God's desire for the Church is not division because brethren cannot agree among themselves. Qualifying begins with protecting "the unity of the spirit, in the bond of peace." (Eph 4:1-7). Yet, this unity must be WITHOUT COMPROMISE. The instruction of the apostle is to "flee youthful desires, while continuing to purse integrity of character, faith, love, and peace." The qualifier is to do this, "with all who are invoking the Lord out of a clean heart." (2Ti. 2:22).

The process by which all things are judged is very simple. The Christ Light, who illuminates the value of all activity, has come into the universe. Now, some are lovers of the darkness of their own ignorance much more than the Light. This is because their accomplishments are worthless. Everyone who practices futile acts abhors the true Light, because it measures life's accomplishments. These dare not move closer to the Light, fearful that their pointless activities would become more evident, even to themselves. On the other hand are those who live in the reality of God's life. These vessels are continually and intentionally moving closer to the Light. The purpose is to bless the Creator and by doing so they will affect the created. These vessels unmistakably declare all achievement has been because of the Master and not themselves.


More To Come . . .

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