Of Faith & Doubt – Walk Through the Word
This is Brother Joseph at TheLWBC.com.
In our last message, I shared the importance of maintaining balance in our natural and spiritual lives. Next, I’d like to target four areas in the spiritual and natural areas of life that often give us trouble. They are maintaining balance when:
- Handling doctrinal and political differences
- Navigating social changes
- Dealing with backslidden saints and outright sinners
- Loving family who don’t show your beliefs
Some are things we don’t like to talk about—at least I don’t— but they are part of Satan’s Eden. As such, I believe it’s my duty as a pastor to address them.
In going through our message this evening, as always I encourage you to get your Bible and read through the Scriptures I reference throughout the week. A good companion sermon to today’s message is The Falling Apart of the World preached by Bro. William Branham in 1962.
So, let’s start with an easy one:
1. Balance when doctrinal difference arise
Sadly, I’ve seen doctrinal divisions divide churches, marriages, and believers at-large more often than I care to recount. Message believers disagree on many things from Christmas to the COVID vaccine. Not only does this demonstrate spiritual (and often natural) immaturity, but the sad reality is that all believers are striving to get to the same heaven. Do some think there will be special spots in heaven perhaps closer to Jesus for them because their opinion is the right one? Believe me when I say neither the Bible nor the messenger for this hour support that belief. The scripture does show us that all our debating is irrelevant because only God holds perfect insight into His Word.
Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.Psalm 147:5
Believe it or not, it’s rare to find Christians who agree on every single detail of the Word. Even when they do, there’s no guarantee that they’re right. Just because believers, or even preachers, say the same thing, it doesn’t mean that God is present or that God is pleased. Just think of King Ahab’s group of preachers who were all sincerely in agreement but had a wrong view of the Word (2 Chronicles 18:1-25). As a result of their error, the king died and the nation was thrown into chaos.
So let’s look at this more closely. On one hand, believers are supposed to contend for the faith (Jude 3). We cannot accept ideas that contradict the Word. On the other, we are to preserve unity at all costs (Eph. 4:3). Where is the balance? Let me put it this way,
What should happen when we bitterly disagree on what the Bible (or the Message) means or what God wants for our life?
Again, our goal is to maintain spiritual balance. The devil’s goal is to cause you to fall on one side or the other. If you’re straying off on the legalist side, you might find yourself in an argument, having some kind of ill feeling toward that person. If you stray off on the excessive grace side of things, you’ll find yourself tolerating error and the Word will no longer produce Its power.
But a discerning, balanced approach focuses on knowing Christ, NOT explaining His Word. When explanations are necessary, line everything up with the Word as best as you know the Word and leaves the rest up to God. Above all, keep a firm love of God in your heart toward that person,no matter what church they affiliate with or even if they don’t belong to a church at all.
Right now, a divisive issue is the right response to the COVID-19 vaccine. Christians are all over the spectrum on this issue but let this be clear—Satan’s objective to divide and then conquer the Church has never changed. The only way to win this fight is to maintain a standard of divine love and unity regardless of your brother or sister’s feelings on the matter.
If not, pray through until you get that brotherly (or sisterly) love in your heart again. Otherwise, you’re not ready for the Rapture.
Let me give a simple example. Years ago, I used to work with a wonderful brother who I believe was an Apostolic Pentecostal. He and I often discussed the scriptures and , one day, he invited me to a gathering that Billy Graham was going to lead. I was a teenager and might not have been preaching yet but I told him that my friends and I wouldn’t go. My logic at the time was that, since we had heard what the messenger of the hour said, what could Billy Graham have to say that would be worth our time?
Now doesn’t that sound terrible?
It was. Frankly it was flat out wrong and I am thankful now that the Lord has let me grow enough in Him that I can share this with you to prevent you from making that same mistake. The fact is, yes we might be called out by a different Voice but that same messenger showed us time and again the importance of uniting ourselves and fellowshipping with others as long as they are Christians. Let me share a long but precious quote with you from teh emssage Speak to the Rock.
That’s the reason today the church is getting so dry and everything: murmuring, complaining, and fussing, and stewing, and one saying, “Oh, bless God, I belong to the Assemblies; that’s the biggest.”
And the other one say, “Well, I’m a Oneness, and I’ll tell you; I’ve got it.” And that’s just the reason your supply is cut off. That’s it exactly. Sure it is.
If you get together, and I don’t care whether he belongs here, or where he belongs to that; if he’s a Christian he’s my brother. Hallelujah. That’s all there is to it. And I’ll just shout, and shake his hands, and move on. What do I care? What…If he says he’s a Christian, and he’s acting like a Christian, and he—his fruits proves he’s a Christian, I’m associating with him and going on. If this fellow isn’t, I’ll take him by the arm and say, “Come on, brother, straighten up your life and let’s go anyhow.”53-1115A – Speak To The Rock
Rev. William Marrion Branham
Did you catch that? Our spiritual dryness is because of divisive spirits which is really spiritual prejudice. You think your church is superior even if you don’t say so. Your view of the Word is more accurate. Says who? The Holy Ghost or your own imagination?
Is it getting warm where you are? I hope so!
Let me point out that Brother Branham said even if a brother isn’t acting like a Christian, still reach out, pull him up higher and move on together. But do we do that? We who claim to be followers of William Branham’s message?
Too often we say, “if they were elect they’d have made it.” Or, the classic: “If they were elect, they’d see it my way.” This is exactly why we are dying by the thousands in our church pews instead of being the mature Bride that Jesus Christ is looking for. This is exactly why many may miss the Rapture itself. Beloved in Christ, you who are blessed of the Lord, examine your attitude so that you can reflect the truth of this Message.
A balanced approach sees the attitude of the person— desire to serve Christ and the efforts that are being made to live for God not the letter of the law as to whether they’re right or wrong.
You may have heard me tell this story but I believe it’s worth repeating just now. My wife and I love to travel. I’m a historian and and Europe is a favorite destination spot. One day I stood in France at Notre Dame cathedral and watched as an old woman who might have had MS struggled to make her way up the long path to the altar. She had a candle lit for prayer. My heart clenched as I admired this little lady. I don’t agree with the Catholic faith at all. But I wonder how many who claim to be Holy Ghost filled believers would go through the obvious pain and struggle that this lady did?
Or would we just stay home and stream?
In the end, I wonder who God feels has shown more love.
Remember this as you interact with Christians from across the spectrum. True balance doesn’t accept everything but it does accept everyone , discerning good from evil through the Word that you have received.
Divisions between Married Couples
Now I want to address this same issue but focus for a few minutes on married couples. Things get a little more intense when the people involved are married.
Yes, God has an order for that.
First of all, the Bible shows us that it is the husband’s view of the Word that is to anchor the home—not the wife or the children. If there is a difference in understanding, to bein line with the Word she must defer to his judgment unless it is totally antichrist (which of course wouldn’t happen if this is a Christian man). As it is written in the biblical marriage song,
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him.Psalm 45:10-11 ESV
That’s a tremendous amount of authority and most importantly responsibility. Men, make it your duty to be in fellowship with the Spirit and grow in your understanding of the Word. Quite honestly, not even the pastor of the church has the authority to go around a husband to explain the Word to that man’s wife (see 1 Corinthians 14:34-40) unless the husband asks the pastor to do so.
I’m stressing this because this Laodicean age influences easily creep into our lives and the only way to escape is to choose the Word way.
The same applies to the children of the home. If children believe they know more of God’s will than the parents, again this breaks the model of God’s Word (see Luke 2:51, Eph. 6:1-3).
2. Balance in natural and social issues
It seems that society places more emphasis on rights, technology, wealth, and science everyday. As such, Satan works through this to tempt the Christian and place us in situationst hat are very difficult to navigate.
Let’s start with the rights issue.
It seems that everyone in this world has rights except the Christian. We’re stripped of our right to pray, to witness, to share the love of God as and when we would. But the biggest social “hot topics” lately have been issues revolving around the women and gender identity. As you interact with people who, sadly, have been blinded by the god of this world and cannot see whether or not they are male or female, remember two things:
- God still expects you to love them as He loves
- We are not here to change the world but to prepare to leave it
This is Satan’s Garden of Eden, a perversion of the perfect place that God created. In God’s garden, man was both male or female originally (see Gen. 1:27-28) and Satan has deformed humanity through science until we have a generation that doesn’t know what gender they are. This is again a false perversion of the Bride of Christ losing Her identity as she unites with Jesus Christ (see 2 Tim. 2:7) and the beauty of Jesus Christ being formed in His Bride (see Rev. 1:13).
The spiritual union between man and woman is now a disgraceful reality that the governments of this world enforce. We as Christians must not encourage or support such lifestyles. However, we cannot stop people who wish to live in this way. Again, our job is not to REFORM society but to PREACH the Gospel (Good News) that Christ is here to liberate all who desire to find freedom from the bondage of this sodomite world. We are here to bear witness to the truth.
There has been much discussion about what to call “Johns” who now wish to be “Charlotte”. I do not believe we as Christians should use pronouns that refer to men as women and vice versa. To do so is to cater to what the enemy wants and implies that God made a mistake when He made that person male or female. However we believers are not responsible for the name that this person wishes to be called.
As much as I hate to say it, names are fluid and aren’t always tied to a particular gender. For example, we attribute the name Noah as belonging to a man, however the Bible tells us in Numbers 27 that Zelophehad had a daughter whose name was Noah and who received an inheritance along with her sisters.
The balance here is to stand for your principles, and the accuracy in God’s creative plan in making us male or female. However we must recognize that whatever name a man or woman is called is their responsibility not yours. I’m genuinely sorry for any man that wishes to be called Harriett. That’s a poor misguided brother that Satan has wrapped around his ugly crooked finger. But if that is the name I know him by, what else can I call him?
We cannot rename the whole world. Unfortunately. But I could not, as a Christian, refer to a man as “she.” Satan tries to indoctrinate us believers but we must remember that God makes no mistakes.
Beyond the gender issue, there are many social issues that clamor for our attention. Brothers and sisters, God has called us to peace. Racism is a rampant problem but Jesus never made it the focus of His ministry although He experienced it on a daily basis. He was a Jew, as they thought, living under the heel of Rome—the very government that killed him. In the Roman view, Jesus was not their equal. He was a little better than an animal fit to do the bidding of Rome.
If only they knew the truth!
My message to you is to keep balanced. Live a life that shows all you meet the respect and love of God. That is your focus. Remember, we are preparing to leave this world, not fix its problems.
Our world constantly struggles for “social justice” and to a certain degree that’s a good thing. But Solomon shows us that we shouldn’t be surprised when the poor are mistreated or the good meaning of a law is perverted to accomplish a political scheme. They are all reflections of a fallen world and corrupt government on a grand scale.
If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent [b]perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.Eccl. 5:8 NKJV
Many get caught up in the cries for social justice and unknowingly fall into the devil’s snare. Again, we’re speaking of balance here.
On one hand, Christians tend to live in their own bubble without reaching out to those who suffer. This is wrong and we may answer God for having a callous heart or committing sins of omission.
On the other hand, believers sometimes get themselves embroiled in things that God never called us to do.
So, where is the balance?
Our core mission is to “preach the Gospel” and demonstrate the power of Jesus Christ not be vocal advocate for social change and protestors.
We should care about the needs among us—the hurting, the homeless, the refugees and do all we can to help. James teaches us that this is part of true religion and undefiled (James 1:27). We should more than care, it is our responsibility to act to make a difference!
But act knowing that the corruption and cruelty in this world goes beyond your reach and will last until the King of Kings finally comes to set up His throne.
Brother Branham shows us where our eyes ought to be as Christians.
Everything that’s outside of that…God sent everything, He made it fragile so it would break. In its fragile condition like that, it’s got to break. It’s fragile. But, remember that we got a Kingdom that’s solid now, when everything else falls and give way.
….A Kingdom! Not a politicianal system, not a political system, not a church system, not a denominational system; it all becomes Pharisees and doctors of the devil. But we receive a Kingdom, an Eternal King Who is the Eternal Word, Who has Eternal Life; by His Eternal Word to His Eternal people who has Eternal Life, and we’re partakers of this. Oh, my! That’s the thing.62-1216 – The Falling Apart Of The World
Rev. William Marrion Branham
Cost of Living
The last thing I wish to present today is balance in regards to inflation. As the cost of living rises, the cry to “make more money” seems to rise in volume also. But, here again, God advocates for balance.
When goods increase,Eccl. 5:11 NKJV
They increase who eat them;
So what profit have the owners
Except to see them with their eyes?
Plainly said, the more money we make, the more expenses there will be to pay. It is all an illusion of security and the same can be said for education and technology. While money, tech, and education each have their place, we must be careful of giving into the social pressure to “get more tech/education/money” which can make us miss the very call that God has placed on our lives to fulfill.
Most Christians don’t mean to get caught in the “need more money trap.” Instead, it’s the pressure placed by the employer, mounting expenses, or simply too much time on our hands. As Solomon says, you’ll always need more money–if not today, then tomorrow. But without balance, you’ll lose the joy of living. So, if you’ve met your 40 hours for the week why not take end it there and enjoy time with the Lord, by yourself, or something positive that you enjoy?
Peter shows us that everything around us will pass away and urges us to live with that understanding.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?1 Peter 3:11-14 KJV
Sometimes parents want their children to succeed in life, so they overemphasize school, clubs, and sports more than they emphasize a deep spiritual walk with God. How many of our children are used to spending an hour in prayer on their knees each day? Or listening to the sermons that will give them the spiritual strength they need to face an overpowering enemy? The time they give to the natural is taking away from their ability to channel into God’s Spirit.
I’ve had the privilege of teaching kids who were lined up to be professional athletes, ambassadors or politicians, movie stars and dancers. They knew that in order to achieve anything, they had to be the best. And so they sacrificed everything for the chance to get noticed by the right people.
I wonder if we Christians have that same vision for our own souls and the souls of those whom we care about? Are we willing to sacrifice the other pulls in this life in order to achieve the walk that God desires?
John has words that we must never forget:
And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.1 John 2:17 NLT
Now, here’s a good place to pause and reflect on what we’ve covered so far.
Today we’ve looked at maintaining balance in some very controversial areas such as doctrinal divisions and social issues. Above all things, remember the coming of the Lord is near and we must focus our time on winning souls for His coming while preparing ourselves to leave. Let nothing move you from those goals.
Next time we wish to look at maintaining balance when dealing with those who are not walking with the Lord, particularly family. How do we keep our interactions positive and pleasing to the Lord when they don’t share our faith?
I hope this is helpful and addresses some of the issues you face. Until we meet again, walk in the Spirit and may the peace of the Lord be with you.