The Passover is now three months away. It is time we stated preparing for that event. All of us start examining our lives at some point after Tabernacles. Many of us are forced to address problems that we have in our daily lives and many are faced with new and serious matters.
Some of us are given reprieves in the period up to the Passover. Some have had their health restored and others see closure to problems they have faced over time. New areas open up or changes often occur at Passover and also at Tabernacles. God works through His Calendar and directs His people in accordance with that sequence.
Passover is the time of year in which we are all required to identify the Body of Christ. When we take the Passover we do so with that group of people we believe are trying to follow the Laws of God and His Calendar more closely. The works of the Church identify it. You should be supporting it once you agree that it is correct in its doctrines. If you are in schism, or absenteeism from it, you should repent, and Passover is the correct time to restore yourselves to the Church.
All of us are sinners. The Passover is all about sin and Christ’s redemptive sacrifice to save us. Each year we are washed and cleansed from the sins of the previous year. Some of our sins are more serious than others in the eyes of the world. However, sin is sin. It is defined as transgression of the Law. All of us have sinned and all of us have fallen short of the glory of God. He who says he is without sin is liar and the truth is not in him.
Some people wallow in accusation of others. They simply revel in it. The spirit of accusation is the spirit of the Adversary. It is Satan that is the accuser of the brethren. When you see that spirit you know that it comes from the father of lies. Our job is to examine ourselves and to try to bring ourselves to a better state before God. We are not concerned with the sins of others but with our own personalities and the imperfections within ourselves. The state a person is in before God is their business and not ours.
That was why Christ spoke about specks and beams. We are often more concerned with what is really the speck in our brothers’ eyes and do not see the beams that are hanging from our own eyes.
Each of us has a responsibility to perfect our own character in the sight of God and not to worry about others. None of us is perfect. Why then would we be concerned with the sins of others? Why would we be preoccupied with accusations? When you accuse you set yourself up as a judge. God has established a system among nations for that. Within the Church of God we also are required to judge one another within due process, but not of our own appointment. The Church appoints the process. We do what we are required to do within that process.
Some people have hurt others in the system that is the Church of God. Those hurt often resent the hurt given them. Others have been rejected because of their failings or deficiencies, and resent the success of others.
Passover is a time to get over all that and be reconciled to one another. Satan is a roaring lion seeking to devour each one of us. His success depends largely on us and on the opportunities that we give him.
We have two months to try to correct our errors and to get things right. We have to identify the Body and eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ in that Body. We are required to be at harmony with each other.
If we are at odds with one another then we should go and be reconciled to our brothers, and then go before God at the Passover.
Most people who fall out with the Church blame everyone else but themselves for their predicament. Our task is to promote peace and to make sure that the Feasts are havens of peace for the brethren. We go to the Feast to be reconciled with God and each other under Jesus Christ our Lord. Wash each other’s feet in love and humility.
Some people float from organisation to organisation seeking those they can accuse, and move on to the next organisation when they have worn out their welcome in that one. God declares the heart of a matter. Such restless and tormented souls have no peace in themselves and they are a vexation to the people that are required to endure them. Truly, the accuser of the brethren stirs within them. The evidence of disturbance is seen in the results of what they do in the Body of Christ. Our task is to encourage such people and if they can find no peace then to set them on their way with as little damage to the brethren as possible.
If you have been part of a problem then it is the time to be part of the solution and to reconcile yourselves to the Church and to Christ. Often we see people in contact with us that insist they were part of the Body of Christ yet the fruits of their lives do not display that claim. We are to support the Body of Christ with our efforts and our finances in accordance with the system laid down by God. The Church, in the first few centuries, not only kept the Law of God and tithed but also it actually made the tithe system more stringent in support of each other (see the paper Tithing (No. 161)). There are those today that attack that system and the Church beliefs for the sole purpose of breaking down the organised structure of the Church. They fool only those that want to be fooled, and only those that want to see the Churches of God destroyed.
If you want to be reconciled with God then turn to God and, as Malachi says, prove it and stop robbing God. Seek out the Body of Christ and tithe to it and work for it. Be reconciled to your brethren. Work in the positions God has given you. If you are not as powerful as you would like to be then that is a good indication that you are not ready for the position.
The people that have the greatest problem in the build up to Passover are those that think they have not sinned. Theirs is the greatest problem. Self-righteousness is difficult to deal with. With self-righteousness usually comes avarice and ambition because no one else is as worthy as the self-righteous person. Most problems in the Churches of God come from this mindset. Some actions are simply straight-out clandestine activity on behalf of other organisations or religions, but usually the self-righteous person is at the root of most problems. The real problem is that they appeal to a weakness in the human spirit and they suck people in to the problem and often cause a lot of casualties usually under the pretext of “helping” them. Usually no fabrication is too great for these people.
No one said life was going to be easy in the Churches of God. The body doing the work is attacked the most. Its leaders are the targets of vilification. Most of us have a hard row to hoe. The biggest single trial we face in our daily lives is keeping God’s Calendar and especially the New Moons (see the paper God’s Calendar (No. 156)).
The Sabbath is not as big a problem as it falls on the same day of the week and most nations now have it as a day off. Even a park system in New York closes down every Sabbath, from Friday night until Saturday night, in obedience to the Law. A Jew probably owns the facility. At least he tries. How much more should we of the Churches of God be dedicated to the Laws of God and the Faith? The New Moon is more difficult. It is more and more becoming the test of the Faith in the Last Days.
Go though the checklist. Have I failed God? How have I failed God? There are the Ten Commandments and then the sub-ordinances. Sin is transgression of the Law. If you have sinned you are in a lot of company. Repent and be reconciled. Your brethren will still accept you. They sin also. People outside of the Church are usually only too willing to point that out to them. If the self-righteous do not accept you then you know the problem is with them. God usually has a way of directing you in foot-washing. Be reconciled and forget offence. As you forgive so shall you be forgiven.
People confess their sins to one another and we are required to be silent about it. Confidentiality is a serious matter in the Churches of God. People repent and then need help to get over their sins. Baptism is the biggest step in that regard. However, we still sin after baptism and the Passover is what cleanses us on an annual basis.
Who was more acceptable to Christ, the Pharisee who thanked God that he was not like those miserable sinners, or the publican who beat his chest in anguish and confessed his sins and was not able to lift his head in shame? The latter was more acceptable to God, as Christ told us (Lk. 18:10-13).
We are about to go into a time of serious trouble. We need to be reconciled to each other and we need to help one another over the period ahead. As we show we love one another, we show we love God and He rewards us accordingly. Do not accuse lest you stand accused. Forgive one another and be reconciled.
Remember this fact:
We are of God: He that knows God hears us.
He that is not of God does not hear us.
In this way we know the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error (1 Jn 4:6).
In this way they go out of us because they are not of us, being led by the Spirit of Error.
Beloved: Let us love one another: for love is of God and everyone that loves
is born of God and knows God. He that does not love does not know God because
God is love. In this way God manifested His love for us in that he sent his
only born son (monogenese, cf. Jn 1:14) into the world that we might live through
him. In that is Love. Not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His
son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved: if God so loved us we ought also to love one another.
No man has seen God at any time, if we love one another God dwells in us and His love is perfected in us.
In that way we know that we dwell in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit (vv. 7-13).
In this way we are commanded to love one another. In the same text John tells
We have seen and testify that the father sent the son to be the saviour of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him and he in God (vv.14,15).
And we have known and believed the love God has for us. God is love and whoever
dwells in love dwells in God and God in them.
In that way our love is made perfect so that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment, because as He is so we are in this world. There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear. Fear has torment and he that fears is not made perfect in love.
We love him because he first loved us.
If a man says he loves God and hates his brother he is a liar, for he that does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
And this commandment have we from Him that he who loves God loves his brother also (1Jn. 4:16-21).
In this way we are baptised into the Body of Christ through the love of God.
Whosoever believes that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah is born of God and everyone
that loves him that begat loves him also that is begotten of Him.
By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and keep His commandments.
For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world: namely, our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
This is he that came by water and blood, the one Jesus Christ; not by water only but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness; the Spirit and the Water and the Blood and these three agree in one (1Jn. 5:1-8).
The words after witness in the KJV are forgeries inserted into the text of the Receptus at 1John 5:7 to the words in earth in verse 8 to confuse the issue of the importance of Passover and Baptism. From the water of baptism and the blood of Christ the Holy Spirit is sent to bear witness in us of the Grace of God.
In this way God sent His Son as a payment for the debts of our sins. In this way our sins were paid and the bill of our indebtedness was nailed to the stake on which he died. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater. Those of us that believe on the Son of God have the witness in ourselves. Those that do not believe are made liars because they do not believe the record that God gave us His Son. The record is that God gave us eternal life and that eternal life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life and he that has not the Son has no [eternal] life (1Jn. 5:9-12; cf. also Jn. 17:3).
John wrote these words for those that believe on the name of the Son of God so that they might know that they had eternal life and that those also might believe on the name of the Son of God in order to receive that life.
We have confidence in God such that if we ask anything in accordance with His Will then He hears us. We know that in hearing us He has our petitions that we desire, and those things we desire and ask amiss the Holy Spirit makes intercession for our groaning such that we are heard.
If any man sees his brother sin then he is to petition God and God will forgive him (1Jn. 5:16).
There are sins not unto death and there are sins unto death. The job of the brethren is to pray for the sins of one another and ask that they be healed. It is not our task to determine when we stop praying for those who sin. When they go out from among us then they demonstrate they are not of us and thus we can pray for their repentance. Those cut off from the Church are those who have sinned unto death. These problems are mentioned in 1Corinthians 5:5; 11:30 and James 5:14,16. Some are fallen asleep (i.e. dead) because of sin also.
All can be restored by faith and repentance. John shows us the love of God that should reside in us.
Love one another as God loves us.
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