Coming Out of Babylon

On Saturday, August 7, 2004, J. Edwin Pope will be giving the sermon, continuing his series on “Coming Out of Babylon.”

Babylon's Ways – How You Are Affected!

According to God’s Word, the ways of Babylon have affected the entire world. These ways are contrary to God and to His Ways. Today’s world is under the jurisdiction of Satan the devil. God tells us that all nations have drunk of the wine of her fornication. In so doing, the world has become deceived into going the way of Satan and his angels (the demons). God says to those He is calling that we must come out of those ways or else will face with the world the plagues of Babylon. God will eventually destroy the entire system of Babylon and will establish His New Way in all the earth.

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Conversion — Not an Event — but a Way of Life!

Once God opens one’s mind to understanding (Ephesians 1:18, Hebrews 6:4), and draws that person to Christ (John 6:44), growth begins with the purpose of bringing the individual to repentance (Acts 11:18). Upon repentance (Acts 2:38) and with the acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior by the person, with baptism, and with “the laying on of hands” by the ministry completed, the individual is now justified before God and is sanctified by God for a very special purpose.

It is true that numerous miracles have been exacted through God’s intervention in this person’s life as God’s calling to His Way is effected. Many would say that this person is saved and Heaven is assured to him as a reward. But the Scripture tells us something totally different.

Peter tells us to “Repent therefore and be (become) converted… ” (Acts 3:19). What is intended by this statement of Peter?

God has been very gracious to one He has brought this far toward conversion. But this is just the beginning of the Christian’s journey in this New Way. Peter tells us that during the remainder of this special journey one must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We must overcome the sinful nature and the way of life that perpetuated that nature and begin walking in a “new way” of life, as described in God’s written Word. Jesus Christ shows in John 15 that a Christian must grow to the point of producing much fruit by virtue of the way he lives his life as he learns to apply the truths of God’s Way in what he does.

God is most interested that those He calls grow in His Way. He gives them, in addition to His Truth and His Spirit, the Church composed of like-minded brethren, and a ministry established to teach and to assist in the perfecting of the saints, so that they have every opportunity, if they apply these Truths, in their effort to “come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

This process of growing and overcoming is the process called conversion. It is a way of life — a process the effects of which will last throughout eternity!

Do Not Become Negligent with God’s Truth

God’s Truth is very precious to Him. The world lives totally contrary to His Truth and His Way. We have learned that God’s Mercy goes forth with His Truth and those who live according to Truth have God’s Mercy as a blessing in their lives. When one turns from God’s Truth and His Way and refuses to repent of his error, God’s Mercy is removed as well.

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Do Not Become Negligent with God's Truth

God’s Truth is very precious to Him. The world lives totally contrary to His Truth and His Way. We have learned that God’s Mercy goes forth with His Truth and those who live according to Truth have God’s Mercy as a blessing in their lives. When one turns from God’s Truth and His Way and refuses to repent of his error, God’s Mercy is removed as well.

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God's Truth – Part III

God’s Truth is precious to Him. When those who have been called of Him turn away from His Truth and begin living and teaching – even by the example of their lives – contrary to His Truth, they profane His Holy Name! We must walk in His Truth. To do this, there must be developed within our hearts and minds a love of His Truth. Without this love for God’s Truth, we will not be able to be pleasing to Him nor continue in His Way!

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Replace It With Truth!

A very profound truth is revealed in Psalm 119:165. We are told: “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing shall offend them.”

How often are we offended at what is said or done by another human being, even to the point of loss of a lifelong friendship? Do we have very “thin skin” as the saying goes, when such a situation occurs? Is this becoming less or more of a problem in our lives?

Perhaps this could be a good barometer of our true understanding of God’s Word! Christ said in Matthew 24:12 that the love of God’s Truth is going to grow cold in the lives even of many who have been striving in His Way for many years. Thus, Christ tells us in verse 13 of Matthew 24 that one must endure in God’s Love if he will achieve the ultimate goal of eternal life, which we all seek.

Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but will according to their own desires… heap up for themselves teachers… and… will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” Isaiah is clear that they will say to their prophets (teachers), “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophecy (teach) deceits” (Isaiah 30:10). In other words: Teach us easy things contrary to God’s righteous Way of Life.

As we approach the time of the end, this problem in the Churches of God is not going to get better — but will get worse! We need to understand that when people have lost (or are losing) the love of the Truth, they are no longer desiring to live God’s Way. The Truth is no longer important to them. They are looking for an easier way. And if we are not on our toes, they can pull us along with them!

We have been called to a better Way. We have been called out of the ways of this world. The Truth brings us out! Therefore, our actions should reflect that Truth at work in our lives. If we are easily offended, how much of the love of Christ is working in us?

The ways of this world are carnal. Notice Paul’s comment to the Corinthians in this regard in 1 Corinthians 3:3. He says, “For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” Only Truth will set us free from this carnal approach to life.

Christ tells us in John 8:31-32: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” That is, free from the pulls of this carnal nature we are born with, free from the ways of this world.

We must see and understand what we are, where our ways are contrary to God’s Ways. And we must replace that deviant way with God’s Truth! If we are diligent in our responsibility to the things we understand, God the Father and “Christ in you, the hope of glory” will complete the process through the Power of His Spirit (Colossians 1:27).

The Feast of Firstfruits

The Feast of Firstfruits is one of the most important days in the overall Plan of God. God gave His Truth to Israel and established the Old Testament Church on the day of Pentecost while in the process of leading them (in that first year of the Exodus) out of the land of Egypt. And on the first Pentecost after Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection from the dead, after having been accepted by the Father as the First of the Firstfruits, God sent His Spirit as a help to those He would call in this lifetime, upon repentance of their past sins, baptism, and the laying on of hands by His ordained Ministry.

If those called of God are successful in their calling, remaining true to God and His established Way of life, they will be among those referred to as the Firstfruits of the Lord, Jesus Christ being the First of the Firstfruits.

The day of Pentecost pictures these Firstfruits of the Lord. Pentecost can be viewed as their day!

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The Truth – Part II

God is concerned for those He has called into His Truth – His Way of Life. He tells us we are to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of the Truth. David illustrates that Truth belongs to God. Yet, God sends forth His mercy and His Truth. We who have been called into this Way of Truth are to abide in God’s Truth.

No man can come to Christ and God’s Way unless the Father calls Him. Yet, today, God is not calling all men to His Way. But God is not a respecter of persons, and every person who has ever lived or who will live in the future will have his opportunity to eternal life by receiving God’s Truth. God will, however, deal with each person based upon His time schedule (1 Cor 15:23).

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The Truth – Part I

When we in the Church of God think in terms of “The Truth”, we have in mind God’s “Way of Life.” This Way is discussed in God’s Word, “The Holy Bible”! While the Bible does speak of truth in the more conventional terminology; 1) whether or not facts given are true or false, and 2) the truth as an attribute of one’s character, we generally think in terms of the more frequent usage of the terminology used in the Bible, “the Truth” as it relates to the very Character of God and of His Way of Life.

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