Babylon, broken foundations, drunkards of Ephraim, Israel of God, line upon line, pale of Orthodoxy, preaching the gospel, precept upon precept, sent by God, the great commission, the seed rotten under the clod, wild grapes, Word of God, works of righteousness
When it is said in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word and the word was God”, most people who read that scripture don’t understand it, it goes right over their head or rather past their spiritual understanding. How is it that Jesus is the Word of God?
(Joh 1:4-9) In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 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. John the Baptist was not that light, but he came to bare witness of that light, he was sent from God. The Word of God is a person.
In my last article, “Raise the standard and Sow not among thorns“, I attempted to explain that the “Great Commission”, so called, was not some sort of “rule in the good book”, sending anyone and everyone claiming to be a Christian to preach the gospel. As the scriptures say, “How shall they preach except they be sent?” (Rom. 10:15). John was sent by God and therefore had a message and testimony that was unique in all of Israel.
Those who preach today and claim they are representatives of Christ, I continue to ask the question, “Who sent you?” Did you read the bible like a rule book and now you believe it is your Christian duty to “Preach the Gospel”? Did some preacher tell you behind his pulpit that it was your calling to “Preach the Gospel”, to fill his church pews? Did the seminary send you, is it your great theological mind that sent you to “Preach the Gospel”? How shall they Preach except they be sent?
We are told “The Gospel message is so simple anyone can preach, just do your Christians duty and preach” – I would take you to the simple scripture “call on the name of the Lord and you shall be saved” – that is pretty simple, is it not? Yet here is the rest of the story –
(Rom 10:14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Jesus had disciples, they lived, ate, walked, worked and talked with him personally, they were the founding Apostles of the New Testament assembly. It was their Gospel that was preached in the early church, it was the Jesus of their testimony which was believed and received, they were sent by Jesus. And how about Paul the apostle, the apostle to the gentiles?
(Gal 1:15-17) But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
Paul did not go to those who were apostles before him, he did not go to gospel training class in Jerusalem to learn how to “present the Gospel”, but he went to Arabia and received a personal revelation of Jesus Christ. It was Jesus Christ that sent Paul and nothing else could take the credit for that.
(Rom 15:20) Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:
Paul understood that preaching the gospel was like laying a foundation to build upon. The importance of this foundation was so crucial to the persons being built on it, so that Paul refused to preach the gospel where Christ had already been named, lest he should build on another man’s foundation. Do you know anyone who is like Paul today, anyone who considers the foundation so important?
(1Co 3:10-13) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
Paul did not what he did out of his own strength, but according to the grace that God had given him, he was a wise masterbuilder, building with lively stones. Even though Paul would not preach where another man had already done so, Paul knew that only one foundation could be laid, which is Jesus Christ, because any other foundation is no foundation at all, but sinking sand.
(1Co 4:15-16) For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
Paul also warned them that they did not have many fathers and he was a father to them in the faith, he said “I have begotten you through the gospel”. So the preaching of the gospel, the good news in the New Testament assembly was not just a one sermon presentation like it is today. It is clear to me in the scriptures that the preaching of the gospel was a process of laying a sure foundation over many months in the lives of those who heard. Today the so called preaching of the gospel is nothing but a one night stand, it lacks any resemblance of the Saints of old, the gospel of Paul. As I have already said “the foundations are broken, so what shall the righteous do?” I realize that many of you believe I am speaking about Joel Osteen or some other know false teacher of our day, but I can assure you, I am not, I am speaking about you.
The people of God today are building on a foundation that is not sure, it is not the foundation of Paul, so how shall we preach except we be sent? Just like the Israel of old in Nehemiah and Ezra, when they left Babylon and went to repair the foundation of their physical temple that had been destroyed, we to have a spiritual temple who’s foundation is also destroyed and needs repair.
(Ezr 3:11-12) And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
The Israel of old was in Babylonish captivity for 70 literal years, there were still men alive who had seen the fist house and wept when the foundation was laid. Our circumstances are much different in that none of us were alive when Jesus, his disciples or Paul laid our spiritual foundation, we don’t even know what it is really supposed to look like. Most people just read history books and refer back to the reformation in the 15-16th centry, some look to other revivals of the past and assume it must have looked like that, but no one really knows first hand, even with the few writings describing the time, know one has really seen that foundation clearly. What do you think it will look like and what do you think it will be like, when the breaches of our foundation are repaired and the only one genuine foundation which is Christ will be laid as our sure foundation? Will those who really know the Lord weep? I just cannot help but cut and paste the following verses of the Prophet Joel.
(Joe 1:2-14) Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten. Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth. For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion. He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white. Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth. The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the LORD; the priests, the LORD’S ministers, mourn. The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men. Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God. Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,
It is very distressing for me to realize that people today who claim to know the Lord do not take the above words of the Prophet Joel to heart. Most of them admit that the latter rain has not come, yet they don’t admit that the land is desolate and the new wine is dried up and the meat offering and drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord, they won’t admit that! I believe that this is the evidence spoken of by the prophet Isaiah in chapter 9 where he says:
(Isa 9:9-10) And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.
Interpretation meaning: You admit that God is calling his people out of Babylon, the religious system, so you do say “The bricks are fallen” and you go on to point out all of the apostasy and false teaching of the harlot church system. So you say that you will rebuild the house of God not with bricks, but with hewn stone and you realize the big sycamore trees of Babylon are being cut down, but you will replace them with cedar that does not rot. So you endeavor to build on a faulty foundation with hewn stone and cedar. No weeping from you, no considering your ways, no thought given at all to the truths I am speaking of, that one must have a revelation of Jesus Christ and sent by him in order to preach on a sure foundation.
The Lord does not accept hewn stone shaped by the hands of men, he only accepts lively stones shaped by his hand alone, and neither will your cedar trees save you either! Brothers – talking about spiritual things here – you shall be a tree planted by the rivers of living water – the altars of God shall not be made of hewn stone, but of lively stone, just like the stone in Daniel that was cut without hand and smote the statue of Babylon on the toes.
So finally Brothers, my message is real simple here, none of you have seen the first house of God, none of you were built by a wise masterbuilder, like Paul the Apostle. None of you have been personally sent by Jesus Christ. If the spiritual foundations are destroyed as the scriptures foretell, then the answer is not making the building pretty, but to sure up the foundations and repair the breaches, so that the foundation will hold in the storm. Only pride and stoutness of heart and drunkenness in the night, this is the only reason that any minister of truth today would not weep and mourn over the condition of their spiritual land, and the body of Christ, of which we are his body and his holy temple!