Vol. 32, No. 3 March, 2008
LET’S PLAY, “PLAY LIKE.”
By Pastor George Mills
We wish for everyone out there, for our readers in this nation, and in foreign lands of the world, a most GLORIOUS RESURRECTION SEASON! What a blessed time of the year as we celebrate the Greatest event in human history. I would like to share some brief points for us to consider…
1. VAIN. The word VAIN, meaning “Having no real value.” “Worthless.” “Ineffective.” Paul uses this word some five times as he faces the doubters of the ages. Today, I would like to share with you some thoughts from our text in First Corinthians, Ch. 15, and other like passages. The Apostle Paul has had to deal with just about everything one can imagine as he writes to correct certain errors that were creeping into the Church. In dealing with the fact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Paul is
playing “word games” or scenarios to
Illustrate the foolishness of the skeptics. I would like to borrow from Paul’s example and play some “word games” myself. I remember when we were just kids playing games in the back yard, we would not say; “Let’s pretend.” (We didn’t know the meaning of that word). We would say, now let us “PLAY LIKE”
One of us would say, “Now, you PLAY LIKE you’re the Lone Ranger, and I’ll PLAY LIKE I’m Tonto,” and off we would ride on our horses; “Silver, and Scout.” So let us for a few moments just “PLAY LIKE.”
“How say some among you that there is no resurrection from the dead?” (v12). It is not clear who were saying “there is no resurrection” One thing we do know, they who said such were not saved. Paul made it very clear that “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that GOD HATH RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD thou shalt be saved.” (Ro.10:9). This group was probably made up of the Greek doubters, who laughed at Paul’s message on Mars Hill, (Acts 17:32). One cannot deny the Resurrection and be saved. It cannot be. Everything we have in life, and in eternity is based on this great truth of His Resurrection. But just for awhile, let us “PLAY LIKE” Let’s PLAY LIKE” they have found proof that
His grave has been found and that it still has the Roman seal after all these centuries. What Then?
(A) VAIN. (v14) You’re not saved. Your
Faith is in VAIN. You defied common sense and reasoning, and confessed
that you believe that God raised Him from the dead, but that’s wrong. VAIN.
(B) VAIN. (v14) Preaching the Good News of the Gospel is VAIN. Carrying the Gospel from Jerusalem to the distant lands, to Greece, to Rome, to Macedonia, Ephesus, Smyrna, to all the Mediterranean countries, all in VAIN!
Let’s “PLAY LIKE” some more…
(C) VAIN. (v15-16) All hope of any resurrection is VAIN. There were, and still are those that teach that the body houses the soul, and when the soul leaves the body, That’s it! There is nothing else. All VAIN! Now, more “PLAY LIKE”
(D) VAIN. (v17) There is no such thing as forgiveness of sins. Do you remember the peace that came into your heart the moment you trusted the Living Christ? Well, there’s nothing to that. You are yet in your sins. Remember, they reported that they found His grave. Remember too, we’re just “PLAYING LIKE.”
(E) VAIN. (v18) According to this verse, your saved loved ones did not go to Heaven; they “Just perished.”
(F) The Sufferings of Christ on the Cross were useless, VAIN, and void. But would you know it, the more I play “PLAY LIKE” the more I find that I don’t like to play “PLAY LIKE.” I like the real thing! Remember now, we have been “just supposin’ or “PLAYING LIKE”. They did not find a sealed tomb. However, many are still playing this game. BUT, HE’S ALIVE! HALLELEUIA TO GOD!
And because He’s ALIVE, there is…
2. VINDICATION. Meaning “to confirm” “to substantiate” “to justify” “justification against denial.”
The Disciples found the tomb empty. Christ’s Body was not there. The soldiers did not take it. The disciples did not take it. His enemies did not take it. In order to stop the “tale” about a resurrection, all that they needed to do was present the body. His body was NOT THERE. The tomb was empty. The grave clothes were still there, wrapped in the shape of a body, but He was not there. Like a butterfly that had left an empty cocoon behind, so Christ left those grave clothes behind and put on His eternal High Priestly Garment.
(A)THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST IS THE VINDICATION, of the SUFFERINGS of the Cross.” Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn 2:18-21) “But He spoke of the temple of His body.” The Jews asked for a sign. He gave the sign of the empty tomb. In Mt. 12, the Jews asked for a sign. He gave them the sign of the empty tomb. His statement about destroying his temple led Him all the way to the Cross, (Mt 26:60-61). There, upon the Cross, Our Lord suffered more than our minds can fathom. He suffered Mentally, Physically, Spiritually, Vicariously. We have no way to explain that. We only receive that, and rest in that great truth.
A very popular, prosperous Televangelist charlatan made this statement on his telecast, “Every prophet that walked on the face of the earth under the Abrahamic covenant could have paid the price for sin…anybody could do that.” People continue to send their offerings to him. I would to God that every believer knows his/her Bible. We must learn to recognize truth and error
(B) THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST IS THE VINDICATION of every Old Testament sacrifice. Each one pointed to the Cross where Christ bore all the sin of all the world. The VINDICATION is His Empty Tomb. The innocent for the guilty. It started in Eden when God made a garment of animal skins for Adam and Eve. The Ram at the offering of Isaac, the Passover lamb in Egypt. Every sacrifice in the Old Testament Law…Everything has been VINDICATED, Justified, because of the empty tomb of Christ.
(C) THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST IS THE VINDICATION OF THE SAVIOUR’S CRY, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” God refused to hear that cry, FOR AWHILE! The sin of all the ages had been placed upon the sinless One. God could not look upon that. One can only imagine the pain of the heart of the Holy God. It is written concerning the Suffering Servant of Jehovah, in the 16th Psalm, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth, my flesh shall also rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” For a while, all seemed VAIN, VOID, USELESS. The Christ had died calling upon One who would not hear Him. But on that THIRD DAY, the grave, that had nothing but silence through the centuries. Nothing but SILENCE, suddenly, the silence was interrupted by the sound of breathing, of steps, of the folding of garments. The grave could not stand the sounds it never heard before, and the stone rolled away from the door, and out walked the Saviour! Christ is alive, and alive forever more. And because He’s ALIVE, there is…
3. VICTORY. What “seemed” to be VAIN, soon became VICTORIOUS. The doubters and skeptics are still with us. They have the same information we heave. They have the same opportunity. Let me share with you some of the PROOFS of the RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ.
(A) THE PRESENCE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. The Church is alive because The Saviour is alive. Jesus said, “I will build my Church.” He has been building for 2000 years. “Upon the first day of the week, (Not Saturday) cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre. and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” (Jn. 20:1) “Upon the first day of the week.” (1Cor. 16:2)(Acts 20:7). Some are stuck on the fact that believers worshipped on Saturday. It is true that Paul ministered in the synagogue on Saturday. There, he was guaranteed an audience. But the Church met on Sunday. And the same is true today. Saturday speaks of LAW and It’s strictness. Sunday speaks of GRACE and It’s liberty. The PRESENCE of the New Testament Church in the world, meeting on the first day of the week, is a proof of His Resurrection.
(B) THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL OF GRACE. Is proof. I love the doctrine of GRACE. It is one of the greatest words in the languages of men. We are SOUGHT by Grace, SAVED by Grace, We are SEALED by Grace. We SERVE by Grace. There is enough of God’s Grace to meet the need. Peter called it “The Manifold Grace of God.” That wonderful message of Grace has gone around the world and touched billions of hearts, and lives have been transformed, made anew, all by the Grace of God. The words of the Great Hymn writer, John Newton, say it so well. These beloved words have, in a sense, become the theme song of the CHURCH. John Newton was raised by a Godly Mother. She taught him about Jesus. John’s Mother died when he was just 7 years old. John was sent to sea when he was age 11. He went on to live a life of violence. He became a ship’s captain, and a slave trader. One night, during a violent storm, as sailors were crying out to various “gods” for help, someone cried aloud “Jesus.” “That’s the God my Mother told me about.” He called upon that Great Name, and was gloriously saved. One of the Hymns he wrote is…
Amazing GRACE, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Oh, what a Wonderful Word;
God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense!
The Empty Tomb is as the open Mouth Of God as He cries out to the world. “GRACE is here, free to all, at the Empty Tomb!”
(C) THE PUBLISHING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES is proof.
Of course, I cannot get into all of the omitted verses in these new “versions.”
Did you ever consider what the New Testament would be like, had there been no resurrection? Had a New Testament been written without the resurrection, I believe it would have stopped at, “He died and was buried.” (Mt 27:66) (Mk. 15:47) Lk. 23:56) (Jn. 19:42). But because He is alive, the world has been flooded with the Good News of the Gospel. The PRESENCE and PUBLISHING of the New Testament Scriptures that tell about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ is PROOF enough. He is alive!
(D) THE PRESENCE OF THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT IN EVERY BELIEVER is proof. Jesus told His disciples that He had to return to the Father, and would, one day, come again. In the meantime, He promised a more intimate relationship. “I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever. Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him, but ye know Him for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you.” (Jn 14:16-17). He told His disciples to “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with Power from on high.” On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to dwell IN the believer. The Holy Spirit comes into the life of every believer the moment we trust the sacrifice of Christ and his Resurrection as our only hope of salvation. Have you, by Faith alone, in Christ alone, received Him, and trusted Him alone. Have you told Him that you receive Him? The Bible says, “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.” “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Today, while the Holy Spirit is speaking to your heart, Ask Christ to forgive your sin. You can begin TODAY to live FOREVER!
And because He’s ALIVE, there is…
4. VISION. The empty tomb is like an open window to the world. We can clearly see from this point of view. Now, the world has a Saviour. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life for us, suffered history’s mockery trial, was nailed to a Roman cross and died in full payment for the sins of the world. He was buried, and on the third day, He arose from the dead, VICTORIOUSLY, and VICARIOUSLY. His death is our death, His life is our life. That message is to be taken from the EMPTY TOMB to every corner of the earth.
Thank God for His Life, pure, and spotless. But we are not saved by His Life alone. Thank God for His death on the Cross, but we are not saved by the cross alone. Everything is conditioned by the empty tomb. He’s alive. His Tomb is empty! This is not “PLAY LIKE” this is the real thing! Today, we view the Cross. We view the Empty Tomb, and we can more clearly view the need of all mankind. This is where VISION comes from. “Where there is no VISION, the people perish.” The world does not look the same when we see it from the vantage point of the Empty Tomb.
May God bless us as we celebrate the Glorious event of celebration, HE’S ALIVE! And may we, on this wonderful day, catch a fresh VISION OF THE WORLD’S NEED OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS…It is no friend to the Christian. The world crucified the only friend it ever had. I was not there, the day He was nailed to the Cross. But my sin was there. That’s why He died. The only thing that could have killed Him was sin. He’s my Friend. He paid a debt I could never pay.
THE LILY AND THE ROSE
“I am the ROSE of Sharon, and the LILY
of the valleys. (Song Of Solomon 2:1)
By Pastor George Mills
Who can solve this mystery?
I guess nobody knows,
The mystery of the ages,
About the LILY and the ROSE.
I thought about it many times,
In prayer I asked, “Who knows?’
Then God began to clear my mind,
About the LILY and the ROSE.
“One day while sin was reigning,”
And as the story goes,
Then God began explaining,
That “The LILY became the ROSE”
Then the ROSE began to bloom,
For all the world to see,
But the world saw only gloom,
They missed this Purity.
“Nothing like a ‘common rose’
Will do, so we propose,
Perhaps a lovely orchid,
But surely, not a rose.”
Then the ROSE began to fade,
And discarded by the throng,
They placed it in a borrowed tomb,
They even sealed their wrong.
Yes, greater still, this mystery,
And I guess some think me silly,
But on a lovely Sunday Morn,
The ROSE was now a LILY.
Women came unto the tomb,
To see that faded ROSE,
But they found a LILY there,
And now, the LILY grows.
The glory of King Solomon,
The vastness of his yield,
Was not arrayed like the least of these,
These flowers of the field.
The LILY was once a ROSE so fair,
The ROSE did fadeaway.
The LILY blossoms everywhere,
Since that RESURRECTION day.
Yes, happy was that day for me,
Just as the story goes,
As God explained, I clearly see,
About the LILY and the ROSE.
By Pastor George Mills
“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour.”(1Pet. 5:8)
In a recent edition of the WILDERNESS, I answered some questions about Angels. Today, I will try to answer some questions about ‘DEMONS.’ This is by no means an exhaustive study on the subject of ‘Demons’. The Bible (KJB) refers to what we call ‘Demons’ as “Devils” I cannot find the word ‘Demon’ in the Bible. Today, in the world of religion, there is much fanaticism on just about every major Bible doctrine. For example, just mention the Holy Spirit, and emotions, fanaticism, tongues, etc will come to mind. Mention the word ‘demon’ and we recall instances of fanatical exorcism. Modern movies and books have added to this confusion. I well remember reading a Weekly publication. PASTOR STRANGLES HIS WIFE IN LAS VEGAS. “A Pentecostal minister strangled his wife trying to expel demons from her body.” The pastor, and other church members, in a religious ceremony, began screaming and foaming at the mouth for about an hour. The minister said that he realized the only way to release his wife from the demons was to wrap his belt around her neck tightly. “She went limp. I assumed that she would be alright.” After waiting five days for her to ‘rise from the dead’ in vain, he called his lawyer, who called the police.
Similar instances are frequently reported. The fact is very plain that behind the scenes, satanic activity has, and is plaguing humanity in so many ways.
1. DEVILS. THE FACT OF THEIR EXISTANCE.. I have heard many times, “ONE DEVIL, MANY DEMONS.” As I have said, let’s stay with what the BIBLE (KJB) says; “Devils.”
Where did they come from? There seems to be two main avenues of discussion as to their origin.
(A) Some say that they are disembodied spirits from a pre-Adamic race.
(B) Some say that they are fallen angels.
I personally believe that they are fallen angels. Please read the Book of Ezekiel, 28:12-19, Isaiah 14:12-17, Revelation 12. These give a history of the rebellion of Lucifer. “A great red dragon…and his tail drew a third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth.” Satan evidently led about 1/3 of the angels of heaven in his rebellion against God. Satan lost his position. Some of these rebellious angels are now in chains, (Jude 6, 2Pet 2:4), while others are active. I believe the air is filled with fallen angels who are busy, deceiving, deceiving, and deceiving. Talk about air pollution. This is not something new. THANK GOD FOR THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT!
2. DO DEVILS POSSESS PEOPLE? HOW DOES ONE BECOME SUBJECT TO POSSESSION?
Jesus said, “Ye are of your father, the Devil. And the lusts of your father ye will do.” (Jn 8:44) Ephesians 2:1-2, “and you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked ACCORDING TO THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR.” “There is none good, no not one.” These verses and others clearly teach that all unsaved are children of Satan, and are subject to do his will. The Bible says that Jesus met many who were POSSESSED by devils. By being “possessed” means to be “controlled by something, or someone.” How then, and who can become completely controlled by Satan? Or given over to Satan? While not all unsaved are “possessed” they are subject to become so.
(A) Those in heathen darkness. God has spared our land of much satanic possession. However, this is rapidly vanishing as we see our homeland reject the Gospel. Some time ago, I watched a film and saw natives begin to dance to the rhythm of drums, etc. They became hypnotized, intoxicated, or whatever you may call it. They began to dance on fire, and were not burned. The narrator in the film spoke about his not being able to explain. I believe that there is a clear, Biblical explanation;” Satanic possession.” I thank God for the faithful Missionaries who carry the Light of the Glorious Gospel of Christ that brings deliverance to the captives.
(B)Those who hear, and reject the Gospel. It is very dangerous for one to hear and reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Death, and the second coming of Christ lie just ahead. Christ rejecters are opening their lives to satanic activity. Think of the mass murders, vile killings, and Mothers who kill their children and cannot explain why. People who do things so vile there is not reasoning as to why, only reply, I HEARD A VOICE.” I am sure they heard a voice, a satanic voice. There is no explaining the daily reports of murders, addictions, and vileness. The Bible says that now, on this side of the rapture of the Church, there is a hindrance, that keeps back much satanic activity, (2Thess. 2) After the Church is called out, in the Rapture, Satanic forces, led by the anti-Christ will rise to world power. Those who have heard the Gospel and have rejected it, who are alive at the rapture, will believe Satanic lies, and never be saved. The point is, Jesus could come for His church at any moment. It is most important to make sure that you are saved. And think about this; it is not fair for one to hear the Gospel twice, before the world hears it one time.
(C) “The NATURAL Man.” (1Cor 2:14) The unsaved man. He has been described in the above. Just a few more thoughts… “In whom the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the MINDS of them that believe not..” (2Cor 4:4). Millions of people have left themselves opened to satanic oppression. Satan’s TARGET is the MIND.. His TACTIC is deception. Think of the many MIND-ALTERING things in the world that have blinded the MINDS of men. The booze industry. Liquor, alcohol all work on the MIND. Drugs, thousands of different kinds, all work on the MIND. Literature, the entertainment industry. The education system that rules God out, that teaches theories contrary to the revealed Word of God The list is endless. Think of the Ouigi Boards, Horoscope, fortune telling witchcraft, Mediums, all play with the MIND. And .MUSIC. Young people listen to the WORDS as the beat and rhythm hypnotize the MIND.. Some churches have listened to the Satanic call, “Come on down,” and have brought this into their church. You can get a crowd of young people in a large auditorium, and let them dance and scream, and they will make any kind of “profession” you ask for. DON’T LIE TO YOUR YOUNG PEOPLE! DON’T BRING THE BEAT OF THE WORLD INTO YOUR CHURCH. Many a young person has left a “religious, jammin’ for Jesus” session only to victimize others. The church has courted the world so much that many are just like the world. All of these things and so much more have left millions hopelessly addicted victims of Satanic possession. Now, I cannot cover this subject except to bring a few thoughts to our attention.
3. SOME ARE INVOLVED IN “CASTING OUT DEMONS” What are my thoughts on this? What does the BIBLE say?
I personally do not believe that I, along with most Christians have the spiritual discernment to know and understand who is and who is not possessed by satanic forces. Not all of the ones I have mentioned in this article are possessed by devils, However, many, many are on that road. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Gentiles walk in the vanity of their MIND… alienated from the life of God…Who being past feeling have given themselves over.” (Eph 4:17-20).
As Christians, we MUST come to the realization that apart from Jesus Christ, all men are sinners and in need of the New Birth. We should put first things first. We should get men SAVED. We should EVANGELIZE the lost. Our churches are NOT entertainment centers. Or “medicine shows,” in competition with the world. Let us be busy in winning the lost to Christ. That will take care of satanic possession.
NOW, for that all important question; “Can a Christian be possessed by Satan?” ABSOLUTELY NOT! “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. (1Jn 4:4) While we cannot be possessed, we can be influenced.. Many are. Paul knew that. We have been studying the Book of Ephesians. In Ch. 6, Paul reminded us that “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities, against Powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The enemy is unseen. We recognize him by his work. Paul warned the believer to “Put on the whole armor of God. Let us remember that the indwelling Holy Spirit, the implanted Word of God are our weapons against the onslaughts of satanic forces. We “Resist steadfast in the Faith.” (1Pet. 5:8-9. May God bless you. If you are not saved, take care of that right now. God will hear the cry of the repentant heart. And my dear Christian Brother, or Sister, get as close to Jesus as you can, and stay there. In Christ, In His Word, and In the Power of the Holy Spirit, you are more than a match for the enemy!
THINK ABOUT IT… We should become students of the Holy Bible (KJB) God gave us warnings on how to, and what to do .The Scout’s motto, “Be Prepared” is up to date.