A Hidden Gospel
By Billie Marie Zal
In an age when darkness is fast closing in, and the Church is being reduced by doctrine of devils, we need men of God to sound a warning much as did Jeremiah the prophet before Israel was carried away into captivity. But where are they? I am inclined to believe that the great god MONEY has captured the hearts and souls of those who have the ability to preach the Truth and so satan is winning the battle.
At such times we have one weapon with which to wage spiritual warfare, and that is the Word of God. True, the Word is being preached. And those is high places are professing Christ as Savior and Lord. But our Lord warned us about spiritual deception and it is happening. That’s why I know the end is so near. Lying wonders have replaced the centerpiece of God’s Word concerning the Church, and unless someone speaks out we shall see God’s people fall.
There is a Gospel that has been cleverly hidden by God’s arch enemy, satan. He doesn’t care if people get saved; he has so many disciples he doesn’t really care. And he can (and usually does) come in and make a Christian’s testimony sound like sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. He brings us down one way or another and if he can’t succeed in getting us to commit gross sins, he can always snare us with the promise of success, or wealth, or health. He is a master liar.
This Gospel, hidden for the most part in today’s preaching and evangelizing, is “PAUL’S GOSPEL.” I discovered this Gospel from the very first months of my spiritual infancy unto the present time. And I have waited and prayed for the day that this Gospel would be preached. Here and there, there are faithful men who have seen the necessity for this Gospel to be taught. In times past Watchmen Nee preached it. He was put in a prison in Red China for 17 years and died soon after he was released. Dietrich Bonhoeffer preached it and was executed by the Nazis. Amy Carmichael preached it and lay for seventeen years on a sick bed, her most fruitful period of her Christian life. George Mueller preached it and when he died he had given all of his money to the orphanages which God had called him to establish. He had nothing.
But more important, the Apostle Paul preached it, and what did it cost him? Everything. He tells us in his Gospel that we cannot have the world and Christ. We cannot preach anything but the cross of Christ and expect God’s smile or the commendation, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” He tells us that God is Sovereign and doesn’t have to be our “spiritual bellhop,” as Gene Scott so aptly puts it.
But who believes it, and who wants to hear it? We are in the same condition as was Judah when King Josiah became king. Josiah was the son of Amon, a wicked king who
“forsook the Lord God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of the Lord.” As a result, he
was killed by his servants and then Josiah, who was only eight years old, was made king. It’s all in 2 Chronicles, chapter 34.
It is said of Josiah that “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord and . . . turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” Then, when he was eighteen years old, he decided to repair the Temple and he sent his scribe, Shaphan to find out how much money was in the Temple treasury so that it could be designated for the repairing of the breaches.
Then something unusual happened. Shaphan gave this news to Hilkiah, the High Priest, and while the High Priest was getting the money in order to rebuild or repair, he exclaimed: “I HAVE FOUND THE BOOK OF THE LAW IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.” Then he gave the Book of the Law to Shaphan to give to Josiah the king. And when Josiah read it he was horrified (By the Law is the knowledge of sin). He tore his clothes and sent his men to “enquire of the Lord for himself and the people, and for all Judah . . . for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.”
As far as I can figure out, King Josiah was only thirty nine when he died. He brought restoration to the nation, and at eighteen years of age he began this restoration. His eyes did not see Judah fall.
It is a myth that if we come from a “dysfunctional” family, that is the cause of all our problems. We can always blame our dysfunctional environment for the mess we get into. Not so! King Josiah came from a dysfunctional family. His grandfather, King Manasseh, was one of the most wicked kings of all others. He flagrantly disobeyed every rule of God’s law. He set up altars (for idols) in the House of the Lord; he offered a son to a heathen god by child sacrifice (burning); he indulged in witchcraft, enchantments, and caused the people to follow him in his idolatries. In fact, the Bible tells us that Manasseh seduced the people to do more evil than the nations whom God had destroyed before them. When he died, Amon, his son and King Josiah’s father, reigned in his stead, and he, too, forsook the Lord God and was evil.
Now THIS was a dysfunctional family! Yet Josiah, instead of following in the path of his father and grandfather, chose to restore the order of the House of the Lord. We can’t blame anyone for what we become. We choose.
Now we might ask, what does all this have to do with Paul’s Gospel? It has a lot to do with it. For Paul’s Gospel, above all else, holds high the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. God is all in all. He answers to no man. He set the stars in place and commands the sea that it can go so far and no farther. He “inhabits eternity: and is high and holy.” He does as He wills, not what man wills. We cannot move Him except through our tears of repentance
and humility. He will do what He wills and no one can make Him into a “cosmic messenger boy.”
The Apostle Paul was well acquainted with the Book of the Law. He knew God’s Word as well as any man alive, most likely. He was proud of his position in the Jewish council and hated Christian with a vengeance. He believed that they were heretics and he killed
But on that wonderful day on the Damascus Road God struck him down and he fell to the ground in a blinding light. He knew instantly when Christ spoke, that it was the glorified Lord Jesus. That encounter changed his life. And later he was given the “mystery of the Church” which had been hidden before through all the ages.
This mystery is still hidden today to most believers who profess the new birth. Mystery means that we are a heavenly people. Our citizenship is in Heaven, and before the worlds were formed, as Dr. Scott put it, God “whispered our name in eternity.” He chose us, and called us to a “Heavenly calling” and we are to leave behind the trappings of this world and suffer for His sake.
No wonder Paul was eventually beheaded for his faith. Who could stand before such a man who had been given the revelation of what it really is, in God’s sight, to be a child of God? No wonder he was so hated. He was dangerous in the devil’s sight and when it was God’s appointed time, he went to his reward.
Many Christians do not realize that Paul the Apostle COULD have held on to the world and its religious trappings. He would have been accepted by the Jews had he not emphatically preached the message of the cross. He insisted that the circumcision would never alter a man’s heart. Only the circumcision of the heart could change a man and make him a new creature. Paul could have compromised his message.
But Paul chose to leave it all behind for the prize of the highest calling in Christ
Jesus - to become a member of the “mystical” Body of Christ, in the heavens, and live out the “afflictions of the body which are left behind” after the ascension of our Lord Jesus. Who wants to do that? All of us should. Few of us do. And there is no excuse.
I thank God that when I was born again I was not satisfied with the “usual
procedure” - to find a church, and enter into the program and get going. I didn’t like what I was. I read and re-read the Scriptures and something in my new life was missing. I could easily have fallen back into the sins from which I had been set free. I did not want that. If the Word said I was a new creature, then I wanted to be a NEW CREATURE. If the Word said that I did not have to sin, then I didn’t WANT to keep on sinning. After all, Someone - the very Son of God - had died in my place and it would be pretty cheap to continue in sin that grace may abound.
I kept on seeking God and He answered me with 1st Corinthians, chapter 4, versus 9 thru 13. Here the Apostle Paul is speaking under inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “For I think that God has set forth us, the Apostles, as it were appointed to death, for we are made a
spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised.
“Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labor, working with our own hands, being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure it;
“Being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the filth of the world, and are the off- scouring of all things unto this day. I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you . . . for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye followers of me.”
This is the commendation of a spiritual person. Where do we hear this message today? We don’t. And God is permitting a “strong delusion” to take over the Church because the Church, like Judah and Israel, does not want to obey the Truth.
The Truth for the Church is: (1) that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, died, was resurrected and ascended to Heaven, and (2) the Church received a heavenly call which necessitates a complete break with all earthly glories and a life of daily crucifixion of the self within. That Truth has long been hidden; it must be recognized and taught before members can realize the glory that awaits us in Eternity. It would be such a shame to lose everything for the sake of having it all down here.
God never leaves His people without a witness, and here and there He has given us witnesses to this hidden Gospel and our need to bring it out into the Light and live it! I, for one, am chosen to do this. And it has cost me everything. I praise God for it. Gene Scott, in California, is a Witness. He is controversial (aren’t we all when we speak the Truth?) but he encourages me in his love and faith and the words he speaks in Truth. I am thankful for this man of God. It is he who says he went to the dungeon in Rome where the Apostle Paul wrote his epistle, and sat for hours, trying to understand how this man could have had such faith. I personally wish I could go sit in that dungeon myself. It would perhaps remind me again of what it costs to be a member of Christ’s Church, the Mystical Church, that is avoided in today’s preaching.
For those of you who have no commentaries or books, I ask you to get into your Bible. Read it night and day; think upon it; hide the words in your heart. Put down the magazines and the TV programs that encourage immorality and violence. If you say that you are a child of God, then act like His child!
It has been aptly put by one commentator: “Those who are His, and those who
profess to be His accredit their profession by departing from evil.” And evil is not necessarily the grosser sin: Hatred is murder. Not forgiving keeps us from the forgiveness of the Father. Lying is an insult to the Spirit of Truth that lives within every born again believer. Cheating, gossiping, coveting, all the sins of the disposition, must be brought
into the light of God’s Word and forsaken. It does not happen at once, true. But there is a steady progression toward sanctification if we are a member of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Winning souls has replaced the need for sanctification. And we are not sanctified once and for all by the baptism into the Holy Spirit. Tongues do not sanctify, eloquence does not sanctify; the only thing that sanctifies is the forsaking of any sin that the Holy Spirit brings to our conscience.
Why do some people get well and some not? Why did the Apostle Paul leave one of his friends sick at Miletus? Why does the Bible say that Jesus had no place to lay His head? Why was He born in a manger instead of the equivalent to a Hilton Hotel accommodation? Why was He hated and finally hung on a cross? Why did He warn against riches? If we know the Word, we can find the answers and refuse to listen to heresy.
I am so thankful personally that we have this work which reaches into the prisons and jails, and gives men and women hope. I have always said it is easier to send a prisoner a box of tracts and a Bible study course than it is to write person to person letters, remember birthdays, and send what financial help one can so that these men and women might get to know that God is very PERSONAL.
God loves each of us the same and uses our circumstances to give us the chance to be corrected. I can testify to His faithfulness and goodness and mercy in the midst of trouble. He is God. He will always be God. And beside Him there is no other.
Today we are not persecuted in the same way as the Apostle Paul and the early Church were. We are not put in prison, beaten or killed for our belief in God. In fact its become almost popular to be a church member and a religious person. Very few people would believe that this is the work of satan and his demons.
Most churches have become social clubs here only to make us feel better about ourselves, or to cheer us on to better behavior and give us a more positive image of ourselves. The Gospel is so watered down or falsely taught that God’s power to change a person is none existent.
First Corinthians 1:18 says “for the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.” The Church needs to get back to the Word of God, leave the “self help” doctrine behind, bring back the Cross of Christ and understand that the place for the self life is on the Cross. We cannot change ourselves. The self is condemned to die.
Satan opposes the Truth wherever it is taught, and he hates anyone who loves God and stays true to His Word. So what happened on May 16 was a real miracle of God’s grace and power against the forces that be. Rodney and myself, along with one of our attorneys from the Rutherford Institute, went to Federal Court for a settlement conference on our lawsuit against the Oklahoma
Department of Corrections. The Director of Prisons and several attorneys where there to negotiate with us.
I’ll spare the details, but in the end we really were (pleasantly) shocked by the outcome. We are going to be allowed to send books again, thru the canteens. If you’re in Oklahoma you will have to put a request in thru the canteen, who will let us know about the order. In return, we’ll mail the book back to the canteen for distribution to the prisoner. It really does create more bureaucracy but is fair enough to us, so long as the books get in. I’m sure that it will take some time to work out the details, so we’ll let everyone in Oklahoma know more later.
We were blessed to have had the Rutherford Institute representing us, and to have drawn a very patient and reasonable judge, but in the end we give God the credit for our little Court victory (big to us, though), because it was God who softened the hearts of those involved that day. Even our attorney gave the credit to God.
That evening when we returned home from Court, during our Bible study, Rodney and I ran across something in the books of Acts that reinforced our belief that if “God be for us, who can be against us?” Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, speaking to the Counsel of Pharisees about the teaching of Peter and the early Church, said the following: “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it - lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts 5: 38, 39). The devil will make it difficult at times, but you cannot overthrow something of God.
We have other good news. Brian has found a new job with a local company that makes parts for the Defense Dept., NASA, and the aircraft industry. He won’t be earning the amount He made at the old job but in this bad economy he feels blessed to have a job at all.
We’re surviving the awful heat which has come early this year, and hope and pray that all of you are, too, especially those without air conditioning, or even fans. Take care and God bless.
Our Cone Flowers
Prayer Requests for July, 2009
For Robert Heffernan, Grady, Arkansas, that his case will get back into court soon. Also pray for his health.
For Willie Clark, Iowa Park, Texas, that he’ll be able to visit with his son soon.
For Jimmy Huff & his ministry in Colorado City, Texas.
For Michael Small’s son, Derek, that he will come back to the church; also for Michael’s step mother, Suzanne, who is very ill. Michael is at Menard, Illinois.
For Freddie Lee Lott, Galesburg, Illinois, that his cancer stays in remission.
For Ed Ewing in Dinuba, California, who is 88 years old.
For Robert Ross, Helena, Oklahoma, for favor with the parole board, and that God will keep his children safe.
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, that his diabetes will stay under control, and that the cancer doesn’t come back.
For Pastor Scott and her ministry (The University Network) in Los Angeles, California, which continue to teach the pure Gospel.
For Roger Best, Holdenville, Oklahoma, for his health.
For all the guys on H unit at McAlester, Oklahoma, that the air conditioning will work this summer.
For Frank Williams, Jr., Death Row, Grady, Arkansas. He is waiting on the State Supreme Court to rule on his case.
For Sister Ann & all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Willie Harper, Joliet, Illinois, that he stays “cancer free.”
For our neighbor, Cheryl, who is recovering from major surgery.
For all of us at Wingspread, especially for Margaret’s eyes, that the pressure will go down and stay down.
* Thanks to everyone who prayed for our Chocolate lab, Barney. It was a disease from a tick bite that made him so sick. He lost 20 pounds (which didn’t hurt him, he still weighs about 125) and its taken him a while to get his energy back, but he is going to be alright.
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