FORTY STRIPES SAVE ONE
by Pastor Jeromy John Visser
Brothers and sisters in Yahweh, I'd like to begin this evening's sermon by asking a simple question -- Do you know what Christianity is? It's an uncomplicated question by itself yet one that has the ability to return numerous answers depending on the spiritual level or knowledge of the answering believer. Tonight's sermon is called Forty Stripes Save One and we'll be looking at several Biblical examples that shatter the fictitious judeo-Christianity myth or "prosperity doctrine."
Friends, a mere week ago Morris L. Gulett, the Senior Pastor for Church of the Sons of YHVH handwrote an official ordination for me behind jailhouse walls giving me a certificate that I'm more proud of than anything that could be printed from a machine or theology school and framed behind one's desk. This action finds me in good company with a line of such great teachers as Wesley A. Swift, Bertrand L. Comparet, Richard Butler, Ray Redfeairn and of course Morris Gulett himself.
Anyone familiar with the Identity message is in no doubt familiar with these names because the list doesn't stop there -- there are literally hundreds of pastors, evangelists and teachers that that have been influenced or somehow touched by these great men. Every sincere, truth-loving Christian living today will share a common bond with these teachers as well, it's called persecution. In fact, this very aspect is also a sure-fire way of knowing you're on the correct and narrow path.
Within this sermon itself I intend to show you that "there is no new thing under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)" and because of that there are certain 'keys' found within the New Testament on how to recognize the true church Body in a world of other gods and false churches. While attempting to introduce myself in the process, we'll take a closer look at several Biblical prophets and teachers who all suffered maltreatment for recognizing their serpentile enemy including Jesus Christ Himself.
(On Stony Ground:)
We should begin in 2nd Timothy 3:10; "Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (II Timothy 3:10-12)."
Paul here is speaking to Timotheus of an earlier accounts that are all transcribed in the book of Acts. We'll cover those in a moment but for now we should notice this New Testament teaching -- All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Paul doesn't say 'might' or 'possibly' suffer persecution, he says shall meaning without a doubt. 'Christian suffering' is an everyday part of our walk with Jesus and it has been so since righteous Abel.
Only a false prophet would teach that life is suddenly 'peachy-keen' after "accepting Christ." First off, we don't accept Christ -- He accepts us if He so chooses. Jesus Himself taught; "Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27)" and "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:38)." In the parable of 'the sower and the seed' those sown on stony ground wither at persecution (Mark 4:16-17)."
Jesus taught in Matthew 5:10-12; "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Notice that true 'Christian suffering' or persecution must be in Jesus' name?
(Paul At Antioch:)
Here's what happened at Antioch; "When they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience (Acts 13:14-16)."
Most Christians are familiar with this account -- Paul then proceeds to give an entire discourse on the history of Israel, the messianic Psalms an boldly teaching the message of Jesus Christ. Here's a clue in Acts 13:44; "And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming."
How things don't change. The Bible teaches that the jews got upset at Paul and Barnabas for teaching "the word of God" so they become filled with envy and blasphemed Jesus Christ. No matter; "The word of the Lord was published throughout all the region (Acts 13:49)" anyway even though "the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts (Acts 13:50)."
From here, both Paul and Barnabas "shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium (Acts 13:51)" with their mission accomplished at Antioch. Even with the constant twisting of scripture by our serpentile enemy we always have the upper hand because we are the Sons of YHVH always under the protection of the Holy Spirit and God our Father. We should notice the enemy's tactics of manipulation in high places and hatred of God from these passages.
(Paul At Iconium:)
The account of Paul at Iconium is found in the very next chapter; "It came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Judeans and also of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren (Acts 14:1-2)." Right from the start we can notice that 'the unbelieving Jews' were at opposition to Paul and Barnabas.
Even though Paul stayed in Iconium for a 'long time' doing missionary work; "The multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: And there they preached the gospel (Acts 4:4-7)."
As we can also see in these passages, it was the jews who protested the message of Jesus Christ wherever the apostles traveled holding power with the 'rulers' of the land. It should be no surprise because even in today's age it is the jews who still deny Jesus and go out of their way to twist scripture and history to suit their agenda. Just like in the days of old, the jews use politics and media 'images' to pull their strings -- Morris Dees and the SPL might come to mind.
Nonetheless, Paul continues his journey after becoming aware of a plot by the jews to stone him for preaching the Gospel. This was also seen in the example of Christ who was continually one step ahead of his enemies and moved from town to town teaching the truth wherever He went. Jesus taught us; "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come (Matthew 10:23)."
(Paul At Lystra:)
Timotheus himself most likely lived in Lystra (Acts 16:1) so he probably bore witness to an even more brutal attack by the enemies of Yahweh. Here Paul healed a lifelong cripple but when the locals who worshipped false gods saw it they "called Barnabas Jupiter and Paul Mercurius [Mercury] because he was the chief speaker (Acts 14:12)." While both men witnessed to the people of Lystra the angered jews from both Antioch and Iconium are planning their next attack.
Let's continue in Acts 14:19; "There came thither Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch (Acts 14:19-21)."
As we can see Paul got stoned in Lystra by those who worshipped other gods by the prodding of the jews that came from both cities. Needless to say, it sounds like a full-scale search party of snakes were against Paul and blueprinting a plot to have him murdered the entire time. This same wicked practice is going on in today's age by many serpentile groups and organizations who seek to destroy the teaching of the Creator Jesus because they hate the children of Yahweh.
Paul explains this event in 2 Corinthians 11:24; "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren (II Corinthians 11:24-26)."
(Strait And Narrow:)
These many persecutions that Paul experienced will also be similar to those that are heaped upon the true followers of Jesus Christ today. It's really what's to be expected because the Messiah Himself taught; "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:14-16)."
Sure, most Bible believers can quickly to point out the more obvious false prophets that have risen to power in these latter days and pollute the television airwaves, but how many can spot the 'Judas snake' that's sitting right next to them? A common trend for 'false brethren' is to infiltrate a Christian church posing as believers but their real intentions are to poison those around them by inserting their own 'leaven.' Judas Iscariot is a perfect example of this type.
Jesus taught us; "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:34-37)." It's safe to say that "God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16)" is a man of war.
David writes; "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me (Psalm 41:0)" and Jesus adds; "I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me (John 13:18)" when speaking of Judas Iscariot. Again, it is Jesus who does the choosing so we must always strive to be aware of what's around us.
My intention with this sermon was to give a few more references to my personal life and talk about a few of my own 'persecutions' from false brothers but who could blame me for not giving out extra details about myself after hearing what I've preached so far this evening? YHVH is always on our side working His perfect Will "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)."
Based on tonight's study alone snakes like Benny Hinn and Billy Graham should be rather obvious based on their so-called 'doctrines.' I once worked with a man who had the misfortune of being involved with Creflo A. Dollar's "church" and he mentioned to me that there are ATM machines on either side of the four man entrances to the comatose building and seating is based on 'tip' much like a Tom Jones cocktail party. Let our war-cry always be "No King but Jesus!"
It's my prayer that everyone who hears or reads this sermon will be 'given eyes to see (Romans 11:8)' and be able to see the similarities between these accounts and what is still taking place in the world today. Friends, real Christianity isn't pretty nor candy-coated and the age-old battle of 'good against evil' still wages. Let's never forget our 'brothers in bonds (Hebrews 13:3)' and never be quick to decide without hearing all facts -- only Yahweh can Judge us. War for Christ! Amen.
[ Date: Wednesday, June 15th, 2005 ]
Last Page Update: March 28, 2010
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