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#245 – Let A Man Examine Himself



1 Cor.  11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Psalms 139:23 24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
David was a man after God’s own heart.  He was anything but perfect but he knew where to go when he needed forgiveness.  He invited God to “Search me . . . and know my heart.  The words “my heart” and “my thoughts” are key words in this passage.  So many think that what they do in their hearts and thoughts does not make any difference.  It does.  God knows us through and through.  No man can hide himself from God.  Let a man—


It does make God a difference who we run with. Psalms 1:1, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” The word “counsel” means advice, purpose, counsel.” 1Cor. 15:33, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The words “evil communications” mean that running with the wrong crowd will rub off on you.



1 John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

There are things that become habits in our lives that are sins that we never ask forgiveness.  The reason is that we have never considered that what we are doing might be sin.

There is no way to love the world and be right with God.  I am talking about loving the world as John puts it.  I know some Christians that use bad language.  They do not consider it wrong. Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Some would look at this as being overbearing.  However, if God says it is wrong it is wrong.  To clean up ones language must begin with confessing it as a sin.  Once this is done one can proceed and ask the Lord to help break this offensive habit.



Psalms 10:4, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” God knows this.  Our Creator is shunned in ones thoughts.  He is not only shunned, He is expected to go along with the professed Christian.  I have heard many times the saying, God loves us and is willing to take us like we are.  He is not bothered by course language on the part of His people.

Acts 8:22, “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” How many of us have had a foolish thought in the past few days?  This is the reason that unbelievers will go to hell.  Some of them are good citizens.  They treat their neighbors with respect.  They give to the poor.  But is there one of them who does not have evil thoughts?

God’s standard of judgment is so high it is completely out of sight even for the most righteous of unsaved people.  The fact is, Jesus is ones only way out.



Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” There is a definite connection between the world and the believer.  The believer wants to live holy.  His adversaries do everything they can to stop him.  The world, the flesh, and the Devil are enemies who will draw our attention away from “things above” and get us to focus on the things of this world.

But how do we overcome in this life as a believer solely dedicated to the Lord? 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” We have the enabling power of the Holy Ghost to give victory misplaced affections.



1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

We need to examine our company, our habits, our thoughts, our affections, and our motives.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#244 – Seven Characteristics that Contributed to Calebs Greatness



Herbert Lockyer said, “Although Caleb was not an Israelite by birth, he was “an Israelite indeed.” He was one of the chief spies sent out by Moses. He was courageous and persevered when the other spies became discouraged. He was invincible in driving out giants completely devoted to God and vigorous in old age. Six times it is recorded of Caleb, “he hath fully followed the Lord.” Caleb fully followed the Lord. He led nothing back. He was no coward. He did not turn back in the day of battle. What an example he was to the rest of the Jews when they went into battle.

Lockyer said, “His consecration was thorough. What magnificent adverbs are used to describe Caleb. He followed faithfully, wholly, and fully. He never lowered his standards, but was perpetually wholehearted.”

“His courage was unfaltering. Giants did not disturb Caleb nor did those dastards who were ready to stone him. Webster says, “dastard” means “a mean, sneaking coward.” These people of whom Caleb speaks were a bunch of low life cowards.

His request was answered. To Caleb, whose life was woven on one piece throughout, reward crowned his faith and faithfulness. Through autumn winds and premonitions of snow, he brought forth fruit in his old age. When we come to the record of Caleb’s personal inheritance in the land of Canaan we find him at eighty years of age asking Joshua, ‘Now therefore give me this mountain.’ Caleb was a man of altitudes. He was not content with the average or the commonplace. He never thought in terms of fences or walled cities. It was the heights for Caleb, and although the mountains he wanted were filled with hostile Anakims, he refused defeat and claimed his inheritance. At long last a worthy recompense came to this noble man for, ‘to patient faith the prize is sure.’”

Now first of all,


He never once turned back in the battle. He never once used discouraging words concerning taking the land God had given them. God says in Numbers 14:24, “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” What a great promise is confirmed here.

God didn’t say, “I have observed Caleb. His strength is adequate. He is able to take these mountains.” Faith never rests on one’s own ability. Caleb’s faith was in God. He believed God could do anything that He promised to do.

Look around you. Everything you can see was created by God. He is all powerful. If God can speak the worlds into existence, will He have any problems enabling Caleb, His servant, to win the victory against them? Losing the victory against the giants of those mountains wasn’t a thought that Caleb could even entertain. It was completely out of the question. God is honored when one of His servants exercises this kind of faith.


Here are the words Caleb spoke after spying out the land in Numbers 13:30, “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Was this self confidence or confidence in the Lord? It was definitely confidence in the Lord. Ten of the spies who brought back an evil report, were shaking in their boots!

Numbers 13:25 29, “And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.”

Caleb spoke out publicly and assured them. He said, “The is no chance that God will let us lose the battle against these idolatrous giants. You come against them in the name of the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We can’t lose. God is with us. Do you remember who this God is for whom I speak? He is the Almighty God with whom nothing is impossible.


Numbers 14:24, “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.”

Caleb’s stand with the Lord and His Faith in God’s power to deliver these people over into the hands of him and His children.

Does your speech indicate that you have unwavering faith in the God of heaven? First of all, our faith should indicate that we are followers of the Lord. Second, our speech should indicate our faith in Him is without a shadow of a doubt. Faith in God and unbelief cannot exist in the same body. Our speech should reveal that our faith is unbelief. An unwavering faith is a faith that cannot or will not allow doubt to the destroy our confidence in God.

1.    Doubt comes when one believes that God will not meet our particular need. Now this most of the time is of the devil. He does not want us to believe because we are encouraged when God meets our needs and we can testify to the faithfulness of God.

2.    Doubt comes when we allow our hearts to become hardened; The Lord says in Hebrews 3:12 13, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

3.    Doubt comes when we allow ourselves to become doubtful of the Word of God. We still maintain that the Bible is the Word of God theologically but we become doubtful that it is for us in particular. We believe some of it is for today but much of it was for past generations. So we become unbelieving because we believe that much of the promises are not for us. When one does that he has to be an expert in knowing which part is for us and which is not for us. Satan and the flesh is behind all of that.

4.    The doubter has to set aside verses like Isaiah 34:16, “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.”

5.    The Lord’s own disciples doubted at times and He had to reprove them for it; Matthew 21:21, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” Note the condition, “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou into the sea; it shall be done.” (The bold is mine).

6.    None of us feels that our faith is strong enough. So unless one is filled with humility he will never muster the faith that connects with the God of answered prayer. We need to spend some time in fasting and searching the Scriptures to know the will of God in this matter. This is something that strengthens us to believe His promise and thank Him before we see the answer. My faith needs encouragement not unbelief. To thank the Lord for what has just happened, when I have not yet experienced any feeling, is what I call a strong faith. This truth is based upon our Lord’s thanking His Father for raising Lazarus from the dead before He was raised to life again (John 11:41-42).

7.   One of my favorite verses in these days when I’m wanting some one to pray for me is Heb 4:14-16.  “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” The door into the holiest is opened wide to come in to Him as our High Priest any time we desire at any time during the day.

Caleb was a man with another spirit because he had an outstanding faith in God. What a blessing it would be to be around a man like that. Then something very important was said of Caleb,


He did not hesitate to be prompt to act on the basis of faith. He said in Numbers 13:30, “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” This is based on faith not human rationalism. I think Caleb had learned the principle of Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” I have been rebuked by this verse many times. I praise the Lord that He leads me to the verses that He personalizes to me. This is where prayer becomes a dialog. Caleb was one who did not wait to act and lose the opportunity of surprise. When one acts immediately upon God’s command, he never goes alone.


Caleb said, “We are well able to overcome.” Did he make this statement of confidence based on his self confidence. Or, did he make this statement based on the confidence he had in Israel’s ability to fight? I believe he had confidence in God and was willing to fight and trust God to give the victory. This is something that the rest of the Jews had not even thought of. The short span of time between the victories that God had given the Jews should have shown them something. They should have noticed that God could be trusted. That He was a living God and God wanted them to trust Him in all things. This Caleb did. But the Israelis didn’t. May the Lord bless these words to strengthen our confidence in God by Caleb’s example.

In Christ

Brother White

#243 – God Speaks to Joshua About the Enemy



Josh. 1:5 “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Israel had not done much fighting for the past forty years . . . except among themselves. That is not the kind of training one needs to defeat the Amalekites and the Canaanites. However, there is no instruction for training for fighting even though God sends them against the enemy. The conclusion is obvious. It is not the horse or sword that wins in the battle in Israel’s case. It is the LORD. He goes to battle with them and they never lose. That is right. When Israel lost a battle, it was because God did not go out to battle with them.

We are reminded of our Spiritual battle. Paul says if you want to win, “ . . . be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For 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. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:10-13). The secret of victory for the child of God is the presence of the Lord. When He is with us, we are fighting a battle already won.

The LORD is preparing Joshua to lead Israel into the land He has given them. The first thing He does is say, “Moses my servant is dead . . .” He is not around. He will not be fighting earthly battles any more. Joshua must realize this. He is no longer a servant of Moses, he is a servant of the LORD like Moses. The next thing the LORD wants Joshua to know, is that He will now be speaking to him. The LORD says, “ . . . arise, go over this Jordan . . .” Joshua must finish the job that the LORD started. The responsibility has now fallen on him. He must know that the leadership has fallen on his shoulders. The LORD also speaks to Joshua about the land. He tells him that the land is given but they must claim the land by walking through it. The LORD says, “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon . . .” The LORD gave the land but there is the walk by faith. He gives Joshua and Israel something to believe.

Now the LORD speaks to Joshua about the enemy. You know you can have the land but if it is occupied by one stronger than you, there is a slight problem. Joshua has to be a little nervous over his new position. He had followed Moses as a servant. The decisions were Moses’ decisions. Being a second man has its advantages. When the people disagreed with Moses and became disagreeable, they did not murmur against Joshua. It was always against Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron are dead. These men were more popular in death than they were in life. It is amazing how man deifies a dead man that he would have nothing to do with when he was alive. Joshua liked being the second man! Now he has been thrust into being the leader. It was not his choice. It was the LORD’s.

The LORD says, “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee . . .” That takes care of “How in the world will we stand up against this strong enemy?” There are a couple of questions that every man of God needs to have answered. Has God called me and will He be with me? God determined the success of Joshua in this statement. Joshua will be fighting a battle already won.

There was only one Moses and one Joshua out of millions of Jews. Can’t you just see the disappointment in the faces of those who feel rejected because The LORD did not choose them instead of Joshua? The LORD is the answer to Joshua’s success. And the LORD sets that record straight here in the first chapter of Joshua. I have taught something for years that has met opposition in some of my dear friends. I will state it here. A man cannot develop beyond the gift or gifts that God has given him. If you try to develop beyond the gifts He has given you, you will be a miserable person. Always trying to do something that God has not gifted you to do. Or always trying to lead Israel (millions) when you have not been chosen to do it. You have been chosen to lead a smaller number of the whole. When you attempt to “do great things FOR the Lord,” and you find that no matter how hard you try, you are still not reaching your “perceived potential,” you will adopt the methods of the world and dedicate them to the Lord, so that He will be impressed with your dedication and your great accomplishments. Just remember this. God told Saul to wipe out the Amalekites and destroy all their possessions (1 Sam. 15:3). He saved Agag the king, and the best of the sheep and oxen, and the best of the things that they might sacrifice it to the LORD in Gilgal. Amalek is a type of the flesh. I often wondered why it was so important that everything be destroyed. Here it is: there is not one thing that originates in our fallen nature, that is called the flesh, that God will accept in His service. God has utterly rejected the flesh. Flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God. When God saves, He does it by grace, and His grace is not a response to the works of the flesh. It is a response to faith. Let me state it again. The best the flesh has to offer, God has no use for. Don’t offer it. God works through the NEW MAN IN CHRIST. What man does that stands with God is the fruit of the Spirit.

What we need, He has, and is willing to give it to us. But He will only give it on His terms.  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). Not only does He give salvation by faith but also our walk in the Christian life is by faith (Heb. 10:38). Does this mean we are to be passive? Absolutely not. The LORD talked to Joshua about the soles of his shoes! We must walk through the land He has given us. We must serve Him in the area of our calling. He also says to us, “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee . . . ”

Then the LORD adds as He speaks to Joshua, “ . . . all the days of thy life . . .” The LORD says to Joshua, “I am with you for the long haul. I am with you to the end.” Have ever read these words in the great commission: “ . . . lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Vance Havner said of these words, “I think the average church is more conscious of the absence of the people than they are the presence of the Lord.” I think too many go to church for a performance rather than a meeting with the Lord in worship. I praise the Lord that He is with us all the way. Even when we are wandering around in the wilderness.

The LORD says to Joshua, “ . . . as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee . . . ” I believe that brought back memories. Joshua was with Moses in some of those places where God was all over the place. This is an “as” and “so” that will encourage Joshua to be the leader for which he has been chosen. I can’t stress it too much. As long as you are where God wants you, doing what God wants you to do, and you have His presence, this is the most fulfilling experience you can have in this life. Satan will do his utmost to get you out of the Lord’s will. When we are out of His will we are fighting a battle already lost. It is a waste. When we are in God’s will, we are fighting a battle already won. And the flesh dare not take credit!

Then finally, the LORD said, “ . . . I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” The LORD tells Joshua that He will not fail him. There will never be a time when Joshua is faced with a situation that the LORD will not provide him with the right answer. The LORD says, “I will not fail you.” He also says, “I will not forsake you. Joshua, you will never get into a battle and find that I am gone. I will always be there.” Have you ever had a friend that told you “I will always be there for you,” and when you really needed him, he was nowhere to be found? And after you survived the battle with the cuts and bruises, you looked around and here he comes walking out of the shadows, and expects you to treat him like the friend he claimed to be? Maybe we expect too much of our friends. The Lord is really the only one who won’t let you down. He says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6).

Let me close by saying, if we are disappointed in man, it just proves our trust was misplaced to begin with. And if we are bitter over the experience, it means that we are still as dumb as we were when we got disappointed. Our disappointments are His appointments and He never misses an appointment, i.e., “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” He is constantly teaching us not to depend on the arm of the flesh. Amen.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#242 – The Failure of the Ten Spies



Num. 13:1-3 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them. And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.”

I want us to take a brief look at Israel at Kadesh-barnea. To do this I will use all of chapter 13 but will let you look on in your Bibles. This is the original door of entrance into the promised land. They have come from Egypt to Canaan. They are at what could have been their final stage of the journey. They have the land in view. The LORD tells Moses, “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel . . .” It was the LORD’S will that they search out the land.

The LORD wanted them to see the land before they entered it. First of all, the land is a type of our victory and possessions in Christ. It is not a type of heaven. God’s people will not have to fight for heaven but there is a fight to possess our possession in this life. This is the way of faith. First God reveals what He gives to us (through His Word), then we believe it, and then we receive it. Let me restate that. God reveals to the eyes of faith what He is willing to give, then faith exercises confidence in the Lord that made the promise, and then the promise is received as a token of God’s faithfulness, unseen presence, and power.

The next truth in this statement is that the LORD says, “Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, WHICH I GIVE UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL . . .” (Caps mine for emphasis). Canaan was a gift. The LORD wanted them to know that. They are not spying out the land to see if they could take it. They could not take it. The power to take the land was to be a gift of God as well as the land. But it was a gift to faith. This is something that Israel was lacking in. Let me state: Israel’s failure at Kadesh-barnea was a faith failure. Hebrews 3:18-19, “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

The twelve spies that Moses sent into the land were of the leaders from the twelve tribes. They are each named and the tribes from which they were selected. They are to represent the tribes from which they came in their observance of the land. They will be held directly responsible for their faithfulness to report their findings and faith with regard to entering the land. When they returned the report went like this: “And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.” (Verses 26-27). They gave testimony to the truth of God that He had promised to His people. They said, “It is just like God promised. It is truly a land that flows with milk and honey. And here is a sample of it, as they showed the grapes and other things that they had brought with them, to Moses and all the congregation of the children of Israel there was some oohs and aah’s on that occasion. God never stretches the truth. They had been thinking of what God had told them of the land, now they are witnesses to the truthfulness of what He had said. It is exactly like He said. It always is. They were ok in their testimony up to this point. But here comes the problem. They said, “Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and the coast of Jordan” (vss 28-29). The spies had spent forty days, and had done an excellent job of covering the entire land, and what they reported was the truth. It was their conclusion that was wrong. The testimony of the richness of the land thrilled the people but the information concerning the size and strength of the enemy sent cold chills in the very souls of the children of Israel. Verse 30 says, “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.”

Now why would Caleb make such a claim. Israel was a nation of slaves and had no fighting skills. They were about to go up against an enemy that had spent their entire lives developing the skills of warfare. Their walled cities (their defense against enemy aggression) tell us that they were a warring people. The ten spies were right when you look at it from a human viewpoint. But God was training them to walk by faith and trust Him. This is where Caleb and Joshua excelled. Caleb remembered God’s promise: “And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite” (Exo 33:2). Caleb also had the victory over Amalek to remember. The children of Israel had not learned to remember the promises of God.

So Israel listened to the majority, believed the lie “we can’t,” and continued in their unbelief. Did they become unbelievers here? No. Their unbelief was manifest here. They had enough faith to get them out of Egypt but not enough to get them into Canaan. This describes the life of the saved. Paul said, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” (Col. 2:6). How did we receive Christ Jesus the Lord? “ . . . Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Walking continually in repentance keeps us humble and faith in Christ keeps us strong in His strength. No weakling can lose a battle who is strong in faith in the Mighty One. When He sends His angel as the advanced guard, all that is left when these weaklings arrive is the cleanup!!! Hallelujah! Unbelief can see the grapes but cannot see the unseen God. Therefore their judgement was based on human reason entirely.

God is constantly allowing our faith to be tried.  Peter says of us, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:5-7). First, we are kept. So the trial of our faith has nothing to do with our salvation, i.e., our salvation is not at stake when our faith is tried. Second, we are allowed “seasonably” to be tried. The words “for a season” may refer to short periods of time. Or, it could refer to this day of grace in comparison to our eternal existence with God where there will be no trials. I believe both are true. The Lord’s promise in First Corinthians 10:13 seems to bear this out. He will make a way of escape, which means that the pressure brought on by the trial is either relieved by its removal, or one is given His strength to bear it. I believe that Ephesians 6:13 suggests this. It says, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in THE EVIL DAY, and having done all, to stand.” (Caps mine for emphasis). Psalm 30:5 says, “ . . . weeping may endure for a night by joy cometh in the morning.” Paul is trying to prepare the Christians at Ephesus for an attack which would take place at some point of time in the future called “the evil day.” We go through many times of temptation. But thank the Lord there are some oasis’ in the desert for us. There is the morning after the temptation!

Peter also says about our trials, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth. . . .” God says our trials are precious in His sight when we stand the test. Caleb and Joshua stood the test and had the LORD’s approval in two ways. First, God said spoke His approval. Second, they were allowed to enter the land forty years later. They were the ONLY ONES THAT SURVIVED. More on this tomorrow.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#241 – What in the World is Happening in Prophecy



2 Tim. 3:1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”

The first thing we will look at in this passage is to,


The word  “know” is the translation of a word that means to come to know. It is a present imperative verb. Paul is saying that one needs to come to know right now. The imperative mood is a command  expressing  urgency. We can know something of the times in which we live because God has revealed them to us.

Frankly, what modern man sees as perilous, does not harmonize with Scripture. Paul identifies perilous times. He says when “men shall be lovers of their own selves,” times will be perilous.  There are all kinds of self-help books designed to make man think more of himself. The fact is Christianity sees man as an utter failure. The Christian answer to man’s utter failure is Christ. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

The secret is the life which I now live is “Christ living in me.” It is not just Christ in me, but what is He doing in me. Is He in control? Have I lost control? No, I have simply learned that I am wrong and He is right and I voluntarily relinquish all to His lordship.

The word “covetous” means a very strong craving for money and possessions. How would we apply this definition to people in the USA? I am afraid the word covetous is probably the most descriptive word in the English language. We can’t get enough. The more we get the more we want. How many people do you know that are completely satisfied with what they have? I’m not saying that all are covetous, but if we really face the facts, more are than we want to admit. It  comes so close to us that speaking on the subject  makes us a little uncomfortable.

The word “boasters” means “an empty pretender.” The word “proud” means “showing one’s self above others, outdoing others, conspicuous above others, pre eminent.” This is an ego wrapped in skin. This is seen many times in Christian movements. There is  a struggle for power. Next Paul says, “disobedient to parents.” How many times have I seen children who were disobedient to their parents and were offended that their parents did not give them everything they desired. Then there are those who become violent when a godly parents make rules and enforce them in an attempt to get their children to live a good moral life. The children are violently opposed to any attempt of the parents to correct their prodigal life-style.

The word “blasphemers” means, “speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive.”  The word blasphemy describes a person who degrades others  without respect for those of whom they speak.  One hears God’s name used  continually by man as a by-word. Man has no respect for God. Then the world is ready to attack those who have a true belief in God. Paul says when we see these things perilous times have arrived.

Then Paul includes the word “unthankful.” This is a person who has no appreciation for things done for him. Then he adds “unholy.” The word unholy means, “wicked, impious.” This person cannot be reasoned with by the use of Scriptures. An unholy person is not open to holiness. Holiness comes about through a submission to the Scriptures. Holiness is a development in the life of one who recognizes the authority of the Bible.

Next, “ Without natural affection.” This is a reference to an affection that even unsaved members of the human race would normally have. An illustration of this is the many babies who have been discarded in garbage dumps because the mother’s do not want them. We must also point out the fact that the USA is financing the killing of the unborn. This is a blatant disregard for human life. This is not natural. Natural affections are set aside.

Then there are “trucebreakers.”  This is a person who cannot be trusted to keep his promises. You would not want to get involved with this person in money matters. He will not keep his word. You may get his name on the line but that line makes no difference to him. When it hurts, he quits. He thinks nothing of breaking his word.

The words “false accusers” means, “one who is prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely.” Gill comments: “False accusers; or devils, being like Satan, the accuser of the brethren, charging all that depart from their communion with schism and heresy.”

The word “ incontinent” means without self control or intemperate.” An incontinent person would be one who would be a sex killer. He gets what he wants and then kills the victim in an attempt to do away with the evidence. An incontinent person would be a slave to pornography. A incontinent person would probably be one that would never be true to his marriage vows. Paul is saying this sin would characterize the populace at the end of the age.

The word fierce describes a person who, at the least provocation, is ready to fight or destroy anyone he considers an opponent. The fierce person is not controlled by reason. He is out of control and ready to rule by force and fear.

Next Paul says, “despisers of those that are good.”   Paul says we are living in perilous times when men despise the good. They do not want good. They are evil. We have heard our President use the word evil in describing the terrorist. He is right. We are living in dangerous times when men have no use for the good. They feed off evil and rejoice in wickedness.

The word “Traitors” refers to an untrustworthy person. You can’t trust them. They will stab you in the back.

The word “heady” is the classic egocentric person. His head is blown up on pride. He is an air-head. This person is reckless.

The word “highminded” means to raise a smoke, to wrap in a mist.”  These words are close in defining. Paul is anticipating the whole scene and stopping every leak.

Then he really hits where it hurts when he says, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” What Paul is writing is by inspiration of God. God knows the end from the beginning. This is the reason Paul writes from a standpoint of acute accuracy. This is a verb. It is a perfect passive participle. The perfect tense is completed action in the pass, that completed action having present results. The passive voice is where the subject is acted upon. In this case pleasure makes a play for man’s affection and wins out.

Then Paul speaks of “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” The idea is a powerless Christianity. They have the form but are without the fire. There is an awesome absence of power in the life of present Christianity. Paul says to separate ourselves from those who are described in this manner.


We have to ask ourselves, what are we to do in the midst of all this? It is very obvious that Paul is describing a condition that will exist prior to the coming of Christ in the rapture.

One might say, “it is hopeless. These are too far gone to be saved.” God’s grace is greater that all sin. Romans 5:20 21 says, “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Sometimes we forget where we were when God found us. We forget how patient and longsuffering God has been to us. God still loves the world. The gospel is still to be preached in all nations. Paul says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

As believers, if we take a fatalistic view towards the lost, we will lose our power to win them to Christ. Then the issue is not that the sinner has gone too far, but the saint has lost his power through unbelief.

We can look up for our redemption draws nigh. Let’s not wait in unbelief, believing the sinners of our day are too hard for God to save, but wait with expectant faith and preach the gospel with the same confidence that Paul had.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#240 – The Unction and Anointing of the Holy Spirit



1 John 2:20, 27 “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things . . . But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

A lot will be left unsaid about this subject because of the nature of the meditations. I would like to look at these statements contextually, expositorily, and then make a brief application.


John is combating error as he writes to believers (2:12-14; 5:13). The particular error that John was dealing with in this epistle was Gnosticism. Without going into it historically we know they denied that Jesus literally came in the flesh. They did not believe in the virgin birth, i.e., that Jesus is literally God manifest in the flesh (2 Cor. 5:19). John was concerned that these believers not be carried off with this error. In fact, he teaches that those who bought in to this lie, were never true disciples to begin with. This is what he is teaching in chapter 2 verse 19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” This is a strong statement. But it is exactly what the Holy Spirit taught John to write for our benefit.

What this is not teaching. This verse is not teaching that a person is unsaved when they disagree with a pastor over some issue that has nothing to do with the gospel, and leave and join another church where the gospel is also being preached. I am not indorsing a person leaving a church, where God has placed them, over minor issues. That should not happen.

What then is this verse teaching? It is teaching that when a person is truly saved it is because he has believed the true gospel. The true gospel is faith in who the Bible says Jesus is which includes His virgin birth, i.e., the incarnation. It is faith in His substitutionary atonement, i.e., that God accepted His death in our place and counts it as our payment of the penalty of sin. It is faith in His literal resurrection and ascension into heaven. The Gnostics denied this. When those of whom John speaks followed these Gnostics who were denying the very sum and substance of the gospel they claimed to believe, John said, “They went out from us, but they were not of us.” John says they were never saved to start with.

How would this apply today? It applies when a cult that does not believe that Jesus is God incarnate in the flesh, died a substitutionary death for us, was raise gloriously from the dead and is now the One Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5), solicits a person who CLAIMS TO BELIEVE the true gospel, and he withdraws from an assembly that preaches that truth, to follow the cult that denies that truth. John says if you are saved, you will not do that, that it would be an indication that you were never saved to begin with.


John says, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” The word “But” is a conjunction connecting his statement with those remaining with the assembly that believed that “Jesus is come in the flesh.” (2:22-23; 4:2-3). The words “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things” is given as a reason that the ones remaining did not follow the Gnostics and their teachings. The word “ye” is in the Greek text and emphasizes the plural “you.” Normally the personal pronouns are attached to the verb as endings as it is in this case. But when a special emphasis is being made on the personal pronoun, it is added. It is added here and has the effect of showing the difference between those remaining and those who left. The verb “have” translates “echo” and means, “to have, i.e. to hold, to have (hold) in the hand, in the sense of wearing.” It is present tense and means that they continually have in the present “an unction.” The word “unction” translates “chrisma” and means, “anything smeared on, unguent, ointment, usually prepared by the Hebrews from oil and aromatic herbs. Anointing was the inaugural ceremony for priests.” This unction is clearly meant to mean that all believers have it and that it is received from the “Holy One.” This could apply to any one of the trinity. The result of receiving the anointing from the Holy One is stated in the words, “and ye know all things.” “Ye know” translates “eido” and mean, “to see, to perceive with the eyes, to perceive by any of the senses.” It is a perfect active indicative verb. The perfect tense is completed action in the past that completed action having present results. This means John is saying that the KNOWING of which he speaks has been learned by them in the past and they continue to know it in the present. The words “all things” have to be limited to the immediate truths and the related truths of which he speaks. He is not saying that one does not need to be taught by God called and ordained preachers and teachers of the Word or else he would not be writing the present epistle at the time.

Then verse 27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

The word “anointing” translates “chrisma” the same word with the same definition as the word “unction” in verse 20. The pronoun “ye” is emphasized making a difference between the true believers in the Bible Jesus and ones, who do not allow for Jesus being God incarnate in the flesh. The  words “have received” translates “lambano” meaning, “to take with the hand, lay hold of.” It is an aorist active indicative verb and refers to a once-for-all act at a point of time in the past, i.e., when they were saved. The words “of him” identify the source from which the anointing came. The word “abideth” translates “meno” and means, “to remain, to abide.” The same word is translated “remaining” in John 1:33: “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and REMAINING on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” (Caps mine for emphasis). The anointing is the Holy Spirit that indwells every believer (Rom. 8:9; Eph. 4:30) and will until the day of redemption, i.e, the rapture or resurrection.

The words “and ye need not that any man teach you” is to be applied to the immediate context or else there would be no need for the Bible and those God-called men and women who teach it. What he is saying is that the reason that the true believers in that assembly have not fallen for the false teachings of the Gnostics is because the anointing that abides in them has caused them to see the heresy of the teaching and has convicted them not to receive it. They had the truth that they had received when they saved, and the Holy Spirit that he sealed their salvation, to compare to the heresy of the Gnostics. The Anointing helped them make a right analysis of the heresy in the light of what they had believed to be saved.

He goes on to say that the “anointing” continues to teach you “all things” with reference to Jesus, who He is, and what He came to do. This Anointing “is truth” and therefore what He teaches is truth. God the Holy Spirit is not capable of lying. John is simply helping them to understand what the Holy Spirit is doing in them in revealing heresy when it is being taught. The words “ye shall abide in him” is an exhortation to stay with the truth that they had been taught and continue to be taught as the “anointing” confirms the truth of Jesus, that He did come in the flesh, that He did die and was raised again, and is our one and only Advocate (2:1) with the Father.


Every true believer (because there are those who claim to believe but deny the very truth of the gospel), has the SAME anointing of which John speaks. It is received when we are saved (Eph. 1:13-14). The “Anointing” will teach us not to follow those of our day who explain away the virgin birth, the sinless life, the substitutionary atonement, the literal resurrection, and His present session. We must recognize that these “are not of us.” They never have been. They are not true believers gone wrong. They depart from the “faith” which was “once (once-for-all) delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) because they have never believed the true gospel of Christ.

We need to do what Paul says to the Church at Corinth in 2 Cor. 13:5: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” The words “Jesus Christ is in you” are the same as the “Unction” and the “Anointing” of our text. See Rom. 8:9. What if one does not have the “Unction,” the “Anointing,” “Christ in you?” Paul says he is a “reprobate.” The word “reprobate” translates “adokimos” and means, “not standing the test, not approved.” Paul is saying that Christ in you is the test of true salvation. If you want to know if you are saved, “Examine yourselves.” What are you looking for in this examination? You look within for Christ. If He is there, you are saved. If He is not, you are not saved, i.e., reprobates not standing the test, and the test is Christ within. You say, “Preacher, if I look within, how do I recognize Him? How will I know that it is really Jesus?” You’ll know (Rom. 8:16).

These two verses of our text are especially helpful in this day of apostasy when those who once supported churches that believe the gospel are departing and going into cults that do not believe in the BIBLE JESUS. I mean, if the Jesus you believe in was not virgin born, you do not believe in the BIBLE JESUS. I mean, if the Jesus you believe in IS NOT GOD MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH, you do not believe in the BIBLE JESUS. You can say you believe in Jesus all you want to, but if you do not accept what the BIBLE says about Him, you have created another Jesus to believe in. It is not the BIBLE JESUS. The BIBLE JESUS was raised on the third day literally, and proved it by showing the scars of the nails in his hands and the scar in His side (Read John 20:24-29). If the Jesus you believe in did not have a literal resurrection, you have created a Jesus to believe in that is very different than the One presented in Scripture, and your Jesus can’t save. The BIBLE JESUS is the ONE AND ONLY SAVIOUR, THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SAVE (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#239 – Filled With The Spirit



John 7:37 39 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)”

There is no doctrine that is more sorely misused that the doctrine of the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Then I must go on to say that there is no truth more sought after than the filling.  Then looking a little further, there is no truth more abused than the truth of the filling of the Holy Spirit.  There have been in recent days the profession of revival where the Holy Spirit invades a congregation and He is recognized by speaking languages that no one understands, being slain in the spirit, and crawling around on the floor barking like a dog.  Then there are those who have what they call a laughing revival.  They just begin to laugh and the whole congregation are laughing uncontrollably.  This is not of God you can be sure.  Let me make a few remarks that will help us understand the real work of the Holy Spirit.


Because of this the unsaved will be convicted just by being around the one filled with the Spirit.  Jesus said when speaking of the Holy Spirit in John 16:7 11, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”

I tell missionaries when you go to some far off field in order to preach the gospel, you will find that the Holy Spirit beat you there.  I understand that it is not enough for one to be saved to be convicted by the Holy Spirit, but without this work of the Spirit, the gospel preached will fall on heathen ears and be outright rejected.  Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father that sent me draw him.” One who is filled with the Spirit will be full of faith.  He knows he is sent and He knows God is with him in the preaching of the Word.  Being full of faith is a must.


After Pentecost what was the subject matter of the Apostles preaching?  It was a clearly defined message of the gospel.  On the day of Pentecost Peter preached the Word and 3,000 souls were saved and baptized into the fellowship of the Church.  The way Luke puts it Acts 2:41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

One of the first indications that a person has been truly saved is that he wants his family and friends to hear the gospel and be saved.


“I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, ‘Go,’ and he goeth, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he cometh.’” The reason why the centurion had power to command the soldiers under him, was, that he was under the power of Rome, and hence he had all its power at his back.  If he failed to recognize his position and his responsibility to Rome, those under him would not recognize him.  Thus, as we are under the authority of Heaven, we have authority, and we have no power, save as we recognize the power of God.

“Paul’s might lay, not in enticing words of man’s wisdom but in “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor.  2:4).  Many pray earnestly for power, in, and with their work, and receive it not, because they do not accept the only position in which the power can work.  We want to get possession of the Power, and use it.  God wants the power to get possession of us, and use us.  If we give up ourselves to the Power to rule in us, the Power will give itself to us to rule through us.” — F.E. Marsh


We continually need the Holy Spirit, to have fellowship with the Lord, by His Word, in service.  It is only as we meditate on the Word that we are healthy in life, wealthy in experience, and helpful to others.  I have heard it said many times, “I just want to be a blessing.” The fact is we cannot be a blessing to others.  For others to be blessed we must be blessed of the Lord.  Therefore we do not study that others will know, we study that we may know.  And as we come into the Lord’s presence, and are filled with His Spirit, others will be blessed.  So we recognize a need to be continually filled with the Spirit.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” This is personal revival.  We are not the water that refreshes, we are the channel through which the water comes to refresh others.  We only bless others by being blessed.  It is God who furnishes an unending stream through His Spirit filled child to give others what they need.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#238 – A Dying Christian’s Testimony



2 Timothy 4:6 8 “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Paul gives a great testimony as he waited martyrdom.  Paul is the one that said, “To depart and be with Christ is far better.” The saints of God today can trust this testimony and assure their hearts at the time of death.


Paul is quite clear on this.  Most of us will say, “I’m not ready.” It is almost like one wants to die.  Notice the words, “I am now ready to be offered.” The “now” is a faithful testimony that the New Birth and obedience to the faith has assured him.

Jesus said in  John 11:25 26, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”

There was a Christian Science teacher speaking at the funeral of one of their congregation’s members.  He explained that this man was not dead.  He just thinks he is dead.  One old farm boy punched his friend and said, “He may not be dead, but I looked at him before the service, and I just about as soon to be dead as be in his shape!

The death of the body is certain.  Jesus is not saying that death will not come to the physical body.  What He does say is that the believer will never die.  We are not our bodies.  The inner man of the Christian has eternal life and is not subject to death.

Paul was ready and gave testimony to that fact.


1.    He had been a good soldier; He says in verse 7, “I have fought a good fight.” The Christian life is a fight.  But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Cor.  10:4).

2.    As a runner in the games he says, “I have finished my course.” Everyone  of us has a course to run.  It will be great if we are able to say with Paul, “I have finished my course.”

3.    Next he says, “I have kept the faith.” He never departed from preaching the gospel.  He warned in Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” The heretics did not warm up to Paul.  He would take them on and reveal their heresy on the spot.  Paul’s readiness came as a result of faithfulness.


1.    Paul’s testimony did not have in it a whining spirit.  He did not accuse his accusers.  He knew what he was facing.  It would not be long until his head would roll.  Did that bother him?  He said, “I am now ready to be offered.” His martyrdom was an offering to the Lord.  He knew that death was not the end but a blessed beginning with the Lord never to be separated again.

2.    Our readiness does not consist in the amount of good works we may have done, or the number of years we have lived, but in that “quietness and confidence” in Jesus Christ which brings the strength of His prevailing peace into the heart, and that calmly whispers: “Father, not my will, but Thine be done.  Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord.  Into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

3.    A Scotsman lay dying in a country home, while a snow storm was on.  His daughter said: “Father I will read to you.” He answered: “Na, my lassie, don’t trouble.  I thatched my house in calm weather.”


Verse 8 says, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give me.” The crown of righteousness is the reward that those will get who have lived faithfully and waited patiently for the Lord’s return.

2 Corinthians 5:1 2, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:”

2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#237 – Four Scriptural Guidelines for Living



Col.  3:15-17 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Paul calls attention to four important guideline to use in our walk with the Lord.


Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

The word translated peace is “eirene” and when used of Christianity it refers to  the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.”

The words “let rule” translate “brabeuo” and means, “to be an umpire.” It is a present tense verb and refers to present action, it is active voice which means they are to do this of their own volition and the imperative mood is a command expressing urgency.

Serving the Lord is the Christians primary purpose in this life.  If, when we go about our duties as believers, we begin to feel uneasy, it is time to examine what we are doing.  Peace within is the umpire calling the moves.  When we let the peace of God rule, we take immediate action, and yield to the Holy Spirit Who brings the peace of God back into our daily lives.  Next,


Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

The words, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,” is another imperative command.  It is urgent that the Christian not act outside the guidelines that we find here.  The “word of Christ” refers to the Scriptures.  He speaks to us through His Word.  The word “richly” means “abundantly.” The believer is not to work on his own.  Paul gives specific guidance in this verse.  The words, “in all wisdom,” are referring to the proper use of the Scriptures.  It is not uncommon for one to be in a service where a text is read by the speaker and what follows is a message totally removed from the text.  That is frustrating and a very little good is accomplished as far as the spiritual use of the Scriptures.

The intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures is necessary.  We can memorize the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit can reach into our memory-bank and pull out what we need.  Christians who seldom read their Bibles are left in a state of confusion because of their neglect.  Next,


Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” When we live from the inside out, it will not be difficult for us to praise Him in all things. Religion goes from the outside in.  Christianity is lived from the inside out.  Praise is a great river flowing from the depths of one’s soul and is a ministry not only to the one doing it but also to others.  The Word of Christ, and the ministry of song, is something the regenerated life feeds on.  It is able to bring us out of depression and crown us with the gladness of God.  Next,


Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

We are sent into all the world with the saving gospel of Christ.  It is not our invention.  “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” The reason for this is found in the words of the next verse, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

If we cannot sign the name of Jesus to the end of our words or actions we fail to be the conduit from our Saviour to the unsaved.

May the Lord bless our hearts with these words.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#236 – We Learn from the Wise Men



Matt. 2:1-2 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

Matthew begins to describe what happened after the birth of Jesus. He was not welcomed by Israel as a nation. Herod, when he heard of the birth of Christ, killed all the children that might qualify to be the One born King. Herod would not tolerate anyone or anything that might eventually be a threat to his position as king. He is a good type of the flesh that struggles against the Spirit and will do anything to prevent the reign of the Spirit in the believer’s life.

If the nation of Israel will not welcome Christ, God will bring wise men from another country to do so. The word “wise” translates “magos” and means, according to Strong: “a magus, the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc.” These men were called wise men because the fact that they fit into the general category of people who were identified by this name. These men were either Jews who were carried away in the dispersion by Nebuchadnezzar, the children of those who were taken into captivity, or, converted to the Jewish faith through the influence of those taken captive. They were not “soothsayers” of demonic origin. These men came to “see for themselves” and to “worship him.” How did this all come about?

First, they had the Scriptures. The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. But the stars do not tell you when Christ is going to be born. These men were students of the Scriptures that were available to them at that time. Numbers 24:17 says, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” These wise men were wise in Scripture. God had given them insight into the truth of this prophecy.

They did not only have the Scriptures, they had the star. The wise men’s explanation of how they came to come to the Land of Israel at this time is, “ . . . we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” They were not trying to keep secrets. They boldly declared “we have seen his star in the east.” They confessed “we were looking for HIS star.” There is no other way these wise men could have known except Numbers 24:17. This was not a normal star. It amazes me how those who claim to believe the Bible fall for this idea that this was a star up in the heavens located over Bethlehem. Have you ever noticed how that you can look up into the heavens and see a star right above you and then drive down the road one hundred miles and get out and look up and it is still right above you? This star came low enough to guide them to the very door of the house where Jesus was. Was there no one in the Land who knew this prophecy? Probably not anyone who would worship Him. So God brought these wise men to worship Him. They had the Scriptures and the star.

They also had satisfaction. They found the Christ. Born in a stable, He is now in a house. Verse 11 says, “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother . . .” These were men of faith. They would have never taken this long journey unless they had believed the Scripture and had seen HIS STAR in the east, i.e., the star appeared to them in the east where ever that was. These men were satisfied that they had found the fulfillment of the prophecy they were studying when they looked upon Jesus. They worshiped Him.

I believe that God’s revelations are found in the Scripture. This is where He begins with us. Then He illuminates and shows us what the revelation means and how it is applied. This “word of knowledge” business does not come out of the air, it comes off the PAGE! And what you hear from the Holy Spirit about the meaning, will NEVER contradict that passage or any other passage in the Bible. God does not contradict Himself.

There are some reasons the wise men rejoiced: verse 10 says, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” The word “rejoiced” translates a word that means “to rejoice exceedingly.” But the word “exceeding” is also there and it means “exceedingly” and has the word “violence” in the definition. They “rejoiced violently” doesn’t sound quite right. But I want you to see they were not acting like they were in a funeral home! The word “great” translates the word “megas” from which we get our word “megaphone, or megaton”. This word is used to describe the expanse of space. Do you see how the Father in heaven provided a welcome for His Son that it would surpass any greeting that a victorious army would receive at their homecoming.

Now lets look at the reasons for their joy. First, they rejoiced that the Scriptures were authenticated. There is nothing that authenticates the Scriptures more than fulfilled prophecy. There are literally thousands of prophecies that have already been fulfilled. Isaiah 34:16 says, “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.” Many are yet to be fulfilled. We can be sure that all prophecy will be fulfilled exactly as written. These wise men believed the Scriptures and rejoiced when they saw an ancient prophecy fulfilled before their eyes.

Second, they rejoiced that they were being guided. Have you ever been guided by the Lord in a matter, and the length of the journey, and the difficulties thereof, made you wonder if you missed it? These men were every bit as human as any of us. They had to struggle against their own human rationalism. They had not come to Bethlehem from the air port. They had been walking and riding camels for months.  Faith had been sorely tried. But their faith stood the test. They were in it to the end. Now, here they are, starring down upon Jesus, the seed of the woman, the Christ of God and Matthew tells us “they worshiped Him.” Hallelujah! They rejoice that they were being guided by the unseen hand of God.

Third, they rejoiced that they had found the promised One. They asked “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” The wise men believed correctly that this Child was one with a destiny. He was born with a destiny. None born in the natural way could have this particular destiny. He came through the womb not from the womb. God is stepping down from eternity into time. It is such an awesome step. Only the Infinite One could do this. When the wise men looked down upon the face of this “young child” (vs 9), they rejoiced that God had visited man and they rejoiced that they had found Him.

Fourth, they rejoiced in their worship. Worship should be a joy. It should be a release. It should be a time of private and collective praise. We need to learn to worship in private. Privacy shuts you up to God. That is good. Then we need to worship collectively. Jesus began the church as a place where collective worship could take place. “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph. 3:21). Unless Jesus is worshiped in the church, he is not glorified. The church is the place where we come together to worship and glorify Him. We need to learn from the wise men.

May the Lord bless this to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#235 – A Great Deliverance



Psa. 18:16-20 “He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.”

This is one of David’s victory songs written after a battle had been won. He credits God as the Deliverer in verse 2. I want to look at the points he made concerning this deliverance.


David could have gloried in his skill and the skill of those who fought with him. But he didn’t do that. He gave glory to God. David knew that there were invisible armies who fought with him and gave the victory.

David said, “He sent from above.” God was involved in the battle with the armies of Israel. He identified with His people.

The believer can sing this song and apply it to himself. The Lord is with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is invisible but faith can make His invisible presence known. Too many act like God is a million miles away. They depend solely on their skills to accomplish God’s work. They miss the opportunity of “laboring together with God.” When we do not operate in the Spirit by faith, what we do, we do without His help. Next—


David said, “He took me.” He knew that God’s invisible hand had delivered him. That is also true of us. The Lord Jesus must become one’s personal Saviour. You can’t go to heaven on the coat tail of another. Salvation is a personal matter. Repentance is personal. It is true that man inherits his sin nature from his father. It is traced all the way back to Adam. But it is not just what we are by nature, it is what we do personally. Paul says in Romans 3:10 12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” So deliverance is personal. Next—


David said, “He drew me out.” There was no part of him left in hands of the enemy. Our salvation is complete. Ephesians 1:13 14, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

The believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. You will notice it is not BY the Holy Spirit of promise, it is WITH the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Spirit Himself becomes the Seal. The Seal is the identification of the product. God owns the one sealed.

The Seal is the Lord’s way of saying that He is committed to finishing the deliverance. This is brought out in the words, “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”


David said in Psalms 18:17, “He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.”

David’s enemies were vicious and strong. He said they are too strong for me. The world, the flesh and the Devil are too strong for us. We are dominated by Satan and sin. Man is trapped in a world that will not turn him loose.

The good news is that Jesus became a man in the virgin birth that He might deliver us. He came to where we are to execute deliverance. He was not born with an old sin nature because Joseph had nothing to do with His birth. He lived a perfect life and then paid the price that God required of the sinner. What Jesus did on the cross can only deliver when a sinner comes in repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.


David said, “He brought me into a large place.” The idea is that David was brought by the Lord into a place of abundance and safety.

This happens to the sinner when he believes in Christ as a personal Saviour. Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#234 – Some of the Rich Blessings of God in Ephesians



Ephesians 1:6 “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Each of these gold mines of blessing are connected with the Greek preposition “in.” The first that we will look at is,


“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

“The uttermost and chiefest final cause is the glory of God the Father, who saves us freely in his Son. That as his bountiful goodness deserves all praise, so also it should be set forth and proclaimed. Another final cause more near is our justification, in that he freely accounted us as being righteous in his Son. — Geneva Bible Footnotes.

This acceptance is, “To the praise of the glory of His grace,” because He determined to save men this way.  The only testimony of salvation must bow to the truth of grace because it is only by grace that we are saved.  So our praise of salvation looks to Him alone and accepts by faith His diagnosis of us.  When we see ourselves as He sees us, we are then ready to receive with thankful hearts that “He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”


Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

Paul opens the door to the heavenly market place and this truth extends to all of God’s children.  Isaiah 55:1 3, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

The Lord has left nothing out that is good for us when He says, with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”


Ephesians 1:4 says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

The only way one can be holy in the sense that Paul is speaking of here is to understand the truth of “in Him.” Jesus has in Him all the saints and Satan would have to go through Him to get to us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We are new creatures operating as pilgrims in this sinful world with a message that will give the most wicked sinner an opportunity to change sides.  When we are saved we go from Satan’s side to God’s side.  God extracts us from the kingdom of darkness and places us in God’s dear son.  We are the chosen and if God has chosen us, Satan would have to be more powerful than God to re-obtain us.


Ephesians 3:17 says, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,”

Our body is His temple. 1 Corinthians 6:19 20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Paul calls attention to God’s ownership of us which ought to calm our fears and give us that adrenalin flow that will cause shouts of praise.


Ephesians 6:10 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

We have that heavenly enduement to withstand Satan and to accomplish the work God has called us to do. 1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”


Ephesians 1:13, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” These are just a few of the rich blessing of the Lord given to His people.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#233 – The Servant



Mark 10:44 “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”

I think many Christians want an elevated position in the Lord’s spiritual kingdom in this life.  Jesus made it clear that the servant is not one who gets recognition in this life. Jesus says in Mark 10:44, “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”

This meditation will look at some qualifying statements that will identify a servant.


Paul gives the motivation of the servant in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”

The word “constraineth” translates “sunecho” and means, “to hold together lest it fall to pieces.” The love of God will not let the servant stray from the right path in this life.  The love of Christ proceeds in its service against all opposition.  A list of things that love does is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4 6, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;”

1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” We know that He loves us because He laid down His life for us.  We know that our love is genuine when we lay down our lives for the brethren.  The love of Christ constrains us to love our brethren.


1 Peter 1:15, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” 1 John 2:6, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” While it is impossible for the believer to be without sin, it is possible for the believer to live a holy life empowered by the Holy Spirit dwelling within.

The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch because of the likeness to Christ they were exhibiting in their daily walk. Acts 11:26, “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”


2 Corinthians 5:9, “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” The word “accepted” translates, “euarestos” and means, “well pleasing.”

I have heard many say, “I could never please my father.  I would have done anything to have pleased him.” That is a sad statement but it is true in all too many cases.  But it is not so with God.  Those who labor for Him in His service will find the Lord is well pleased.  Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:6 8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”


Acts 13:1 3, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”

We have here a world wide missionary ministry beginning.  It is strongly implied that the prayer meeting of the first two verses was about supplying laborers for world missions.  The Lord answered their prayers on the spot.  The Lord told the leaders of the Church there to, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”


Colossians 1:29, “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 4:29, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,”

The Holy Spirit is the Guide, Illuminator, Power, and the Authenticator of the Word that was preached.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#232 – Quietness Before God



Psalms 37:1-7 “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

Someone has said that quietness before God is one of the most difficult of all Christian graces. Some do not even believe that quietness before the Lord is a form of prayer.

Madam Guyon calls a state of quietness before God as one of the higher degrees of prayer.

David seems to recognize this in these seven verses.


The whole statement is, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers.” It is easy for the believer to fall into a negative posture as he sees the evildoers prospering in their sins. It seem that they are making it better than the righteous. So what do you do when things are going bad for you and your prayers do not seem to be answered. You fret!!!

It is almost like we question the goodness of God when this happens. We have been serving the Lord and the bottom fell out. Everything seems to be going wrong. The wicked mock us and say that it does not pay to serve God. Satan gets involved in his accusations against us and puts it in our minds that God has let us down.

All of these things and much more happen and we pick up our Bible and it falls open to Psalm 37:1 and we are smitten in the heart as we read, “Fret not.” If we have been fretting, there is only one thing for the Christian to do and that is to repent and ask forgiveness. The believer is on God’s side no matter how silent the heavens are. God will come through in His time. Next—


Psalms 37:3, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”  We are called believers because we TRUST in the Lord. He is worthy of our trust. We are loved by Him. He has made us His own through the sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son on the cross.

There are some attachments to the word TRUST. He says “Trust in the LORD, and do good.” God wants His people to do good no matter how evil the wicked are around us. They do bad, we do good. We do not do good because those to whom we do the good deserve it. They do not deserve it. They may even make fun of the good we do for them. But we do good in obedience to the LORD’S command. You are never more like Jesus than when you do good to those who speak evil of you. We are reminded of His prayer on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” We are to trust in the Lord to make things right with those who do wrong.  And He will in His time. Next—


Psalms 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

The word “delight” means to be excited and happy about one’s thoughts of the LORD. It means to rejoice in the LORD and to be thrilled that we are under His care. Then there is a promise to those who do this. David says, “and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Probably the most accepted application of this promise is that the LORD will give us what we want. There is another way to interpret this. If we delight ourselves in the LORD He will work in us to desire what He wants for us. In other words our desires will be God given. I like that. I want what He wants for me. We are constantly seeking God’s will for us. It is good to know that if we delight ourselves in Him we will know His will because He will plant the desire in our hearts. Next—


The word “commit” means “to roll your way on the Lord.”  When we commit our way to the Lord, it means that we let Him get in the drivers seat. And we don’t back-seat-drive. It means that we never take God for granted. We pray about everything. If we can’t get peace about it, we do not act. His way is our way. We will never go wrong if His way is our way. Next—


The word “rest” literally means “be silent.”  There are times when silence is a virtue. David says this is how to act before the LORD. So, silence is a legitimate form of prayer. There are times when we are at a loss for words. When this happens the Holy Spirit will make intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#231 – The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Saints



Romans 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

Man by his human nature was so damaged by the fall that it is impossible for him to please God by what he does.  This leaves him helplessly lost and without the slightest chance of being saved by what he does. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

God has made a marvelous attempt to save mankind, by the gift of His Son both by living the life we couldn’t, and suffering vicariously on the Cross for our sins.  Man could never survive the payment for his sins.  Only Christ could do that and He is willing to save all that come to God by Him.  Let’s notice first,


The Lord wants the Holy Spirit to penetrate every part of our nature.  John suggest this in John 7:37 39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)”

The saved partake of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:3 4, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”


The believer in Christ is the instrument which the Spirit of God uses in His service.  All God’s servants are sons, and as such, the Lord says to each, “Son, go to work today in my vineyard.”  But as sons they are not to act apart from the Lord, not even as agents, for the true position of every child is that of an instrument to be used by the Lord.

On the day of Pentecost the disciples spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” When the people who were present, when this happened, began to question what was happening, Peter stood up and denied any personal power, and referred them to the prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:16-17).


Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Nothing could possibly encourage the saint of God more than to know that the Holy Spirit is his constant companion supplying his needs as he fulfill the task the Lord had given him to do.


1 Corinthians 2:13, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

How many times have I had trouble understanding a verse of Scripture and I would drop to my knees and as I meditated in prayer the verse became clear.  This is the illumination.  The illumination of the Spirit gives insights into the word that we do not have when we are not filled with the Spirit.  The written Word of God was given by the Holy Spirit and it is completely logical that when He is sought for help He will give it to our complete satisfaction.

Someone has said, the eyes of the heart must be opened by the Holy Spirit before the things of God can be seen.


The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is brought out in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” The word “inspiration” translates a word that means “God breathed.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#230 – A Fourfold Fellowship



The little book of Philemon is packed with great truths. Philemon was a resident of Colossae. This is a prison epistle. Onesimus was  a runaway slave and had robbed his master in his departure. He wound up in prison with Paul. Paul won Onesimus to the Lord and sent him back to Philemon to make things right. Let’s look at the fourfold fellowship that is evident in this short epistle.


Philemon 1:6, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is going to ask Philemon to receive Onesimus back and reinstate him. This is Christian forgiveness. When Paul said, “That the communion of thy faith may become effectual.” The word “communion” means “fellowship, association.” The idea here is to receive him without punishment. Paul knew that salvation had completely changed Onesimus and he could go back to work and make a profitable servant.

If the salvation that you profess does not give you a willingness to forgive another who has done you wrong, there is a  question about the reality of your experience. Next let’s look at—


Philemon 1:2, “And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:”

Fighting follows trusting. After one trusts the Lord many times he runs into stiff opposition from within his own family. It is a struggle.

2 Corinthians 7:5, “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.”  The word “fightings” means “combat.” It also means “disputing, striving, quarreling.” Paul was challenged on every hand. He had to publicly debate the truth of the gospel. He did this with the religious leaders in Israel. They made his outward life miserable.

Christians are in a fight for the truth of the gospel. Those who believe in and preach out of the modern perversions of the Bible are self deceived and are deceiving those who listen to them. There is not a grander text anywhere than the King James Bible. People who use the perverted texts don’t like to be identified with the apostasy. The first thing Satan did when he deceived Eve in the Garden was to change the Word of God. Next let’s look at—


Philemon 1:1, “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,”

Paul was in prison for the gospel he preached. He would finally die a martyrs death because of his preaching of the gospel. He is now in prison with no charge against him but preaching the gospel. So, he calls himself “a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” He addresses Philemon as a dearly beloved brother. Paul then adds, “and fellowlabourer.”

Fellow laborer means working together for the kingdom of God. Amos asked, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” The answer is obviously no. One of the major problems in Christianity, and it has been since the early days of the church, is believers can’t get along. We split hairs when there are no hairs to split. Next let’s look at—


Hebrews 13:1 3, “Let brotherly love continue.  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

Back when our brothers and sisters were in prison in Russia for preaching the gospel, I bought a chain and put it by my bed so that I would not go to sleep without being reminded to pray for our brother’s and sister’s in chains.

There continues to be persecution of Christians around the world. We should suffer with them. May the Lord help us not to forget the persecuted saints.

Matthew Henry said, “We ought not to make any conditions of our brethren’s acceptance with us but such as God has made the conditions of their acceptance with Him.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#229 – The Ministry of John the Baptist – Part 4



Matt. 3:13-17 “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

We are told by Mark specifically where Jesus came from to be baptized of John. Mark 1:9 says, “And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.” This was probably two or three days journey for Jesus. Why did Jesus come and ask John to baptize Him? It certainly was not because He needed to repent or have sins washed away. He did come to John and ask him for baptism.

John’s first response is brought out in the words. “But John forbad, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” The word “forbad” translates “diakoluo” and means “ to hinder, to prevent.” It is a imperfect active indicative verb. This is a continuous action verb and means that John kept on resisting the idea of baptizing Jesus. It does not imply an argument. John baptized repentant sinners. It was evident to John that Jesus needed no repentance. What a testimony to the purity and holiness of Christ! John refuse to baptize the Pharisees and Sadducees on the grounds of hypocrisy. Here John is resisting on the grounds of our Lord’s holiness and office.

Jesus is manifest to Israel at His baptism. From this point on, He will begin His public ministry. It is my belief that John’s baptism was a picture of the death, burial and resurrection and not different from Christian baptism. John was the last of the Old Testament prophets. He did not understand what would happen in the setting aside of the nation of Israel and the birth of the Church. This was a hidden mystery to Old Testament saints. John probably did not understand the truth of the “Suffering Messiah” and therefore, would not have seen the picture in baptism of the death, burial and resurrection. This is MY OPINION. And if you have different beliefs about this, it is YOUR OPINION. It is not wrong to have an opinion. It is wrong to teach our opinions as INFALLIBLE. God does not explain some things and leaves us to trust Him with those things He doesn’t explain.

John said, “I have need to be baptized of thee.” The verb “I have” is a present tense. John says, “I continually have, I am in a state of constant need.” John was a holy man. But when Jesus came on the scene, all of a sudden John saw himself. Jesus has a way about doing that to us. Isaiah was in good shape until he saw the “Lord high and lifted up.” Then Isaiah said, “Woe is me! for I am undone . . .” The presence of God will make the holiest man fall on his face and see the need of grace. This is the reason John said, “I have need to be baptized of thee.” Those who walk the closest to the Lord, see themselves as sinners in need of grace. You can go to the bank with this: any arrogant cocky Christian is not even in the vicinity of the Lord. He will have to impress you with his knowledge or something else; it will not be with his walk with the Lord. Now I’m not setting myself up as a judge. What I’m saying is Bible: Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Jesus responds to John’s reluctance with the words, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness . . .” The word “suffer” translates “aphiemi” and is defined by Strong: “to send away; to bid to go away or depart; of a husband divorcing his wife.” Jesus says “divorce yourself from this idea.” Isn’t that good? There are some ideas we have to permanently divorce. We are not going to marry new ideas until the old ones go. Jesus is telling John that His baptism has nothing to do with worthiness, it has to do with obedience. John was the forerunner. The Messiah is on the scene and needs an introduction. He has ceased to be an IDEA and has become a REAL LIVE PERSON.  Jesus is saying “John do your job and I’ll do mine and in doing it we will fulfil all righteousness.” We are not here after we are saved to make a personal point. We are here to fulfil God’s will and purpose in our lives. Every man is a plan of God. We may not understand everything about what God is doing with us. John didn’t. But we can continue to act in obedience to Him as long as we live and we will be received with His “well done” as we enter into the fulness of the life we now possess. Glory to God and the Lamb forever!!! Someone hold my mules!

Jesus was not baptized in order to become the Son of God. He was baptized to manifest that He was the Son of God. And when Jesus, as the Eternal Son, submitted in obedience to the will of the Father, the Father gave testimony concerning His Son to those who were present.

This is brought out in the words,  “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The words “went up” translate “anabaino” and means “ascend, to go up, to rise, mount, be borne up, spring up.” All these words are resurrection words. Baptism pictures the resurrection. Jesus declares the purpose of His coming at the service where He is introduced into His public ministry. Don’t make the mistake of saying John’s baptism was different from ours today. We are not baptized to become Children of God. We are baptized to manifest that fact. If a person is not saved before his baptism, he is lying when he is baptized. This is the reason the so-called baptism of babies is Unscriptural. I’m not being negative here. Our children are not Christians because they are born to us as Christian parents. They must be born again when they reach the age of responsibility. And that age is not given is Scripture. Jesus said, “Forbid not little children to come to me.” But they do need to be old enough to recognize who Jesus is and make the decision to come.

Matthew says when this took place, “ . . . Lo, the heavens were opened unto him . . .” I do not know what this means. It could be that the heavens became something like a visual display of heaven with the throne of God and the angels on display. The Old Testament saints could have been in the scene to witness the introduction of the ONE on whom they waited with joyful expectancy. This was what happened to Isaiah in chapter six of his book. This was heaven’s testimony to the authenticity of John’s baptism and our Lord’s introduction into His public ministry by means of that baptism. Then the Spirit of God descended like a dove and lit on Jesus. This was a visual confirmation to John of the Messiahship of Jesus. John 1:32-34 says, “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”

Then there was the voice: “And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” After approximately 29 years on this earth, God the Father could still say that He was well pleased with His Son. I praise the Lord for this. Because His acceptance is mine. First John 4:17 says, “ . . . as he is so are we in this world.” Jesus as the Son of God became as the Son of man all  that God in all His holiness demanded that man should be. And God could say about Him, “I am well pleased.”

May God bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#228 – The Ministry of John the Baptist – Part 3



Matt. 3:11-12 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew quotes John the Baptist in this passage of Scripture. You will notice that John uses the personal pronoun “I.”

John says, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance . . .” John says, “I want to say something further about my ministry.” In the Greek pronouns are attached to the verb. In other words, you do not have to use a personal pronoun separate from the verb unless you want to emphasize it. The “I” here is the translation of “ego” and is a personal pronoun that is placed there for emphasis. John is going to contrast his ministry with that of Jesus. The word “baptize” translates “baptizo” and means “ to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk), to overwhelm.” Sometimes a word is illustrated by its use in the Bible. This is true of the word “baptize.” Paul says in Romans 6:4:  “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  The word buried” translates “sunthapto” and means, “to bury together with.” He says this burial is by “baptism” which translates “baptisma” and means “immersion.” It is not the purpose of this meditation to straighten anyone out on the subject of baptism. It is simply my desire to aid you in your understanding of what the Bible actually says. What you do with the truth after I help you to understand it, is strictly between you and your Lord. Baptism has never been and is not now a condition to salvation.

The word “baptize” is also a verb and is in the present tense. This means, “I indeed keep on baptizing you with water unto repentance.” The words “keep on” is an explanation of the present tense which is a continuous action verb. John is talking about his present practice, i.e., the present tense referring to the time he spoke these words. I baptize you with water, not in vegetable beef soup! Water was used to cleanse the priests and vessels in the Temple. The people to whom John spoke knew what the water represented. So water is the proper element. The word “unto” is the preposition “eis” and means “with reference to.” The word “repentance” is the translation of “metanoia” and means “a change of mind.” Have you ever been wrong about something and someone or something changed your mind?  And when you changed your mind, your change of mind became evident in your talk on that subject and your actions with regard to that subject. God sent John to preach and baptize those who believed the message. as an expression of their identification with him and his message, they were baptized.

Next John says, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” The words “but he that cometh after me” means “he who follows after me.” John was a forerunner. He came to “prepare the way” for the Lord. John knew what his job was. He did not allow visions of greatness to deter him. He did not try to “develop his full potential!” He came (was sent; Jn. 1:6) to do a job and did it. That was what success was to John. I thank God for the day I learned that it was not up to me to be great. What ever God wants to make of me is His business. I ceased to listen to the voices a long time ago who tried to tell me what God wanted me to accomplish for Him. Have you ever heard the, “I’m doing it and you can also” routine? Or, “Come and hear me and I’ll tell you how to do it.” Now I’m not saying you can’t get help from another. I am saying that you need to know what God has gifted you to do and begin to let Him work in and through you to accomplish that service (Phil. 1:12-13). I will tell you this. He has not called us to be great! He has called us to walk in humility before Him and exalt Jesus in our words and works.

John says that the One who comes after me is “mightier than I” and I am not worthy to “bear” His “shoes.” I believe John knew that in the eyes of a lot of his followers that he was the greatest thing since buttons on a shirt. John tells them that he is baptizing with water but the Messiah will baptize with the “Holy Ghost, and with fire.” He says that there is nothing supernatural about my baptism but there is His. I believe John is saying, “You can reject me and there is no real consequences ( what if you are not baptized. Big deal!), but what you do with Him will be the difference between heaven and hell.”

John says, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” The Holy Spirit baptism happens when we are Saved and Jesus is the Baptizer. This is John’s theology and I’m going with it. This is also Paul’s theology. Paul says in Ephesians 1:13-14: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” This is a definitive statement about when the Holy Spirit comes into the life of the believer.  We do not pray Him in, He comes in when we believe the gospel and stays for the duration, i.e., the redemption of the body. If we do not have the Holy Spirit we are not saved (Rom. 8:9). It is as simple as that.

What does “and with fire” mean? This is explained in the next verse. Verse 12 says, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Fire in the Bible speaks of judgment. There is no question about what it means in this passage. When you come to Jesus you either get saved or you will suffer the judgment of eternal fire as a result of your rejection of Him. John says, “Your reject me and there is no eternal consequences. You reject Jesus and there is eternal consequences.”

John also brings out the greatness of Jesus with the words “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Those who are interested in sermons or lessons, there are four things to look at in this verse: “His hand” His floor” “His wheat” and “He will burn up the chaff  (His judgment).” John says His greatness is brought out in the fact that He is the Savior and Judge. What you do with Him determines where you spend eternity. The “garner” is heaven. Jesus takes His own to a specially prepared place (John 14:1-3). He puts the “chaff” into a place prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). It is a place of “unquenchable fire.” The word “unquenchable” translates “asbestos” from which we get our word asbestos. Asbestos is something that resists fire and remains. The idea here is that the fire is irresistible. There is nothing that will quench it. Those cast into hell will not be able to resist it. It is an eternal judgment upon those who reject Jesus as a personal Savior. It is true, man has a choice to either accept or reject the gospel of Christ. But he has absolutely no choice over the consequences of his choice.

John says, “I am just a voice. But Jesus is the One who can either save you or reject you forever as your eternal Judge.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ
Bro. White

#227 – The Ministry of John the Baptist – Part 2



Matt. 3:3 “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

John’s ministry was a part of God’s unfolding plan. John was a very humble man. He only claimed to be a voice. We are told how he dressed in verse 4. John would hardly be welcomed in any church today dressed like that. It is kind of amusing how preachers think in terms of presenting themselves on the platform today. They want glass pulpits and the most expensive suits to present themselves. The idea is that one does not need to hide behind a wooden pulpit. You know “We have to sell ourselves” in order to “sell our message.” Someone needs to tell them that the Christian Message is not for sale. We have the glorious privilege of giving the greatest gift that can be imagined “without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1). I really don’t think it will be long before we will see preachers with earrings to appeal to those with earrings (I’m talking about male preachers!). I think it would be a little distracting to dress like John in one of todays pulpits. God gave John his popularity and he was drawing good crowds.

Verses 5-6 say, “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” The popularity of John’s message and the number of converts was disturbing the leaders of the religious groups. Numbers were being baptized which was done in association with a confession of sin. Baptism was and is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. John came to introduce the One who would take away sin by His own death on the cross. Baptism was a profession of belief in that message. It is still a profession of faith in that message. Baptism didn’t save then or now. But anyone who professes to believe the gospel should be baptized as an outward declaration of faith in that message i.e., the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

John had a Spirit of discernment. This is brought out in verse 7:  “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” He called them a “generation of vipers.” He had not read Dale Carnegie’s book on How To Win Friends and Influence People. He was not standing behind a glass pulpit with a pinkie ring on his finger when he said this. A viper was a snake and this word was used to “address cunning, malignant, and wicked men” (Strong). Now we need to realize that these men were the “respected” leaders of the day. You had the fundamentalists (Pharisees) and the liberals (Sadducees) both represented when John said this. He divided the crowd right there. But it is amazing how common enemies will get together to do away with a common enemy! I do not have the Spirit of discernment. I have had many church members saved over the years and most of the time it was someone of whom I had no suspicions. John knew. And it was not just a natural intuition. God told John on them!

These “vipers,” as John called them, came for baptism! I thank the Lord we are told what John said. He told them to “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance.” I think I know some Baptist preachers that would have taken them in! They may have run them off later, but, they would have baptized them for the count! John’s message was one of repentance. The word “repentance” translates “metanoio” and means “a change of mind.” It goes something like this: “I used to believe that if you kept the outward law and the tradition of the elders, that you were right with God. But I see now that that can be a sham. You can be a hypocrite and do all that. I see now that you must have an inward change first. There must be the cleansing of the heart that issues in a change of actions” (The Pharisee would have said something like that if he had repented). John knew they had not repented. So he takes it a step further. He says in verse 8, “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:” The word “meet” translates “axios” and means “equal to or corresponding to a thing.” In other words John says, “You claim to have repented. Let me observe your change before I baptize you.”

There are people who profess faith in Jesus Christ and never make any kind of a change. Their talk is the same. Their pleasures are the same. Their life style is the same. The only difference is that they go to church … if something they like to do doesn’t interfere. If it does, they just miss that service. Some preachers cancel the services when a ball game is going on at the same time. The great reduction in church attendance is just too depressing to face.  This lack of repentance also comes out when the preacher preaches against something they are doing. It is like the old lady who said amen to the preacher when he preached against smoking. She didn’t smoke. But when he got on snuff dippin’, she told him he had gone too far!

Then John goes to the root of the problem. He says in verses 9-10, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” John knew them. He knew what they would think as a result of the last demand that he had made. He knew they would claim superiority because of their lineage from Abraham. This made them the elite. John told them that they had made a claim that was less than nothing. He said, “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Ouch! That hurt, John. John is taking the position that they thought God owed them something because the were the seed of Abraham. John says, “All God has to do to make someone to take your place is to speak to the rocks under your feet.” John just cut them down and turned them into quadriplegics!  John is not helping their PRIDE at all.

Do you know a fundamentalist who thinks he is elite because he graduated from a certain school? I mean there are a lot of schools that think they turn out elite preachers. Some schools just kind of build that into their graduates. Now this is going to hurt. But don’t look too close. There is someone passing you on the wrong side of the road (he is not doing it in the normal manner) with a message people are flocking to hear and he doesn’t even have a degree! Amen! He doesn’t even have a degree but people drive right by your church on the way to his. Is it ok with you, if God raises up a rock and makes it into a fundamentalist, that no one but God can take credit for?

Now watch what you “say.” John said, “Think not within yourselves . . .” We always try to answer things we object to in a way that lets us off the hook. Have you noticed how we always win in our imaginary life? John did not accept excuses or objections to his message. He told them the truth and at that point the ball was in their possession. We can do what we want to with the ball, but we have no control whatsoever with the result over what we do with that ball.

In Christ

Bro. White

#226 – The Ministry of John the Baptist – Part 1



Matt. 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

John Gill says in his introduction to this chapter: “The Evangelist having given an account of the genealogy and birth of Christ; of the coming of the wise men from the east to him; of his preservation from Herod’s bloody design against him, when all the infants at Bethlehem were slain; of the flight of Joseph with Mary and Jesus into Egypt, and of their return from thence, and settlement in Nazareth, where Christ continued till near the time of his baptism, and entrance on his public ministry; proceeds to give a brief relation of John, the harbinger and forerunner of Christ, and the administrator of baptism to him: and he describes him by his name John, in Hebrew ‘Jochanan’, which signifies ‘gracious’, or ‘the grace of the Lord’, or ‘the Lord has given grace’; which agrees with him, both as a good man, on whom the Lord had bestowed much grace, and as a preacher, whose business it was to publish the grace of God in Christ, Luke 16:16. This name was given him by an angel before his conception, and by his parents at his birth, contrary to the mind of their relations and neighbors, Luke 1:13-60,63. He is called by some of the Jewish writers,  John the ‘high priest’; his father Zacharias was a priest of the course of Abia, and he might succeed him therein, and be the head of that course, and for that reason be called a ‘high’ or ‘chief priest’; as we find such were called, who were the principal among the priests, as were those who were chosen into the sanhedrim, or were the heads of these courses; and therefore we read of many chief priests, Matt. 2:4. From his being the first administrator of the ordinance of baptism, he is called John the Baptist; and this was a well known title and character of him. Josephus calls him ‘John’, who is surnamed, ‘the Baptist’; and Ben Gorion having spoken of him, says, this is that John who, ‘made’, instituted, or practiced ‘baptism’; and which, by the way, shows that this was not in use among the Jews before, but that John was the first practiser this way. He is described by his work and office as a preacher, he ‘came’ or ‘was preaching’ the doctrines of repentance and baptism; he published and declared that the kingdom of the Messiah was at hand, that he would quickly be revealed; and exhorted the people to believe on him, which should come after him. The place where he preached is mentioned, in the wilderness of Judea; not that he preached to trees and to the wild beasts of the desert; for the wilderness of Judea was an habitable place, and had in it many cities, towns, and villages, in which we must suppose John came preaching, at least to persons which came out from thence. There were in Joshua’s time six cities in this wilderness, namely Betharabah, Middin, and Secacah, and Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and Engedi, Joshua 15:61,62. Mention is made in the Talmud of this wilderness of Judea, as distinct from the land of Israel, when the doctors say, that ‘they do not bring up small cattle in the land of Israel, but they bring them up, ‘in the wilderness which is in Judea.’”

John is not only mentioned in the Bible but secular writers and Jewish commentators as well. They knew of John and made reference to him. He was the son of a high priest. He evidently had no intentions of succeeding his father in the priesthood. He took up residence in the wilderness and was thus identified.

He was a man sent from God (John 1:6), was named by the Lord before his birth (Luke 1:5-13), and was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). We are told what he wore and that he ate locust and wild honey (Mark 1:6). All of this means that he was anything but normal. He was a prophet and this is the first time Israel had had a prophet sent by God in over four hundred years. This would definitely make him an attention getter. He defied the powers that be, exposed the sin of adultery in Herod and Herodias  (Mark 6:14-29), and was martyred because of it.

Our text says, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea.” John was his name. He is called a “Baptist” because he immersed his converts. This was new to Israel in those days. John Gill, along with secular writers, tells us that John instituted baptism. It had not been practiced before. I have read many writers who suggested that baptism was already being practiced when John came on the scene. Well it wasn’t. If one makes the “sprinkling” and “pouring” that is associated with the Old Testament sacrifices as a forerunner of John’s baptism, it is done without one shred of Scriptural evidence. (Incidentally, I am not studying from the standpoint of a Baptist. All I’m interested in is what the Bible says).

The theme of John’s ministry is brought out in the words in verse 2: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” There are two things in this statement that are important. First the doctrine of repentance. The word “repent” is the translation of “metanoeo” which means “to change one’s mind.” The Jews had gone away from the right path and John is a prophet sent by God to call them back. John tells them they must change their mind. They are wrong and without a change of mind they will not be open to listening to the WORD that will bring them back. John was sent to get them to admit they were wrong, so that Jesus could tell them where, and get them to accept the right. Jesus is the Door and The Way, The Truth and The Life and therefore, the RIGHT.

Second, this verse emphasizes the urgency of repentance, i.e., “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The Jews were looking for a King and a kingdom on this earth. They were expecting the Messiah, who would bring the Jews back to being a world power, in which the Messiah would reign on this earth from David’s throne in Jerusalem. John was the forerunner of the Messiah and he is introducing the kingdom of heaven as “at hand.” The words “at hand” translate “eggizo” and means “to bring near.” John is saying we are at the threshold of the promised kingdom. If John preached a kingdom that was at the very threshold, why has it been two thousand years and it has not taken place yet? That is a good question and volumes have been written trying to answer this question. All I can say is that God had the Church age in mind which was a hidden mystery to the Old Testament. It is certainly not hidden to us because we are here after the fact. But, had you been a student of the Scriptures in that day, you would not have understood why the kingdom did not start immediately with the coming of the Messiah.

Paul writes on this. I will let him explain it: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee” (Rom. 11:13-21).

We Gentiles are just a graft! And John knew nothing of the graft. This is one of the reasons that after he was imprisoned, he sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus, “ . . . Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3). John was a little confused because, as an Old Testament prophet, he had the Old Testament idea of the Messiah. But it didn’t take much to satisfy John and he was willing to live by faith without understanding.

I will continue this thought in the next meditation.

God bless each of you and may He bless our hearts with these truths.

In Christ

Bro. White