Does Sin Exist?

After much debate the question of right and wrong has come to a standstill. Educational scholars, professors with PhD’s, are working again to determine how morals are founded and whether the idea of “right and wrong” is fluid or fixed. Some argue that what was “right” or permissible 200 years ago is clearly immoral by today’s standards. While many of their points have significance, the end of the conversation focuses on Biblical significance. Thus the question is asked, “Is there such a thing as sin?”

Paul wrote that all have sinned and come short of God’s glory. David said that he was born into sin and was shapen in iniquity. The prophets called the nation to abandon sinful practices. John, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, began a ministry centered around the baptism of repentance, which implies the need to be free from a life of sin. Thus the scripture itself is a book which declares the death of the Lamb of God, Who came to take away the sins of the world. Yes, sin exists!

However, subjectivism and good intentions have almost eradicated the idea that people sin. If the definitions are fluid, meaning shifting, then perhaps no one is wrong. If God’s Word is true, then a person enters this world with a sinful nature. This battleground is not new. Philosophers have been debating this subject for thousands of years. What has changed is the mindset of the Christian.

The world is filled with desperate people looking for an answer. They want something that is real, not a watered down version of salvation by intention. People are bound and the only way out is to die to the flesh. Jesus said, Unless you repent, you shall die. Acts 3:19 tells us to repent and be converted. Conversion occurs when we repent of our sins. The great commission is clear that Repentance and Remission of Sins should be preached in Jesus’ name!

The philosophers will never stop debating. To them, there is no settled truth. However to the Church, His Word is forever settled and we are all sinners saved by Grace through Faith, it is the gift of God! Paul said of himself that he was the chief sinner. He also said that he died daily and offered his body as a living sacrifice. There is no debate in this house. Jesus has cleansed us by His Blood and we are striving for the Kingdom.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

He Brings Peace

Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,

At the conclusion of World War I, The League of Nations was determined to end all wars. The 1918 speech by Woodrow Wilson was received, but did not last. September 1, 1939 marked the beginning of the Second World War. From that point to now, millions have died in battle. As prophesied, wars have increased. Even the intensity and rhetoric of nuclear proliferation is now a common conversation.

Humanity is often given to bloodshed. From the first strike of Cain to the wars in Congo and Ukraine, there is no pause in such vain pursuits. We are finite men, full of greed and the desire for power. All world leaders think in terms of conquest regardless of their political persuasion. History has spoken of such matters without regard to personality or intent.

However, there is coming a day when the Messiah shall return. He will come riding a white horse and wearing a crown of gold. His vesture will be dipped in the Blood of the Lamb and His Name shall be declared, Jesus. He is coming with power and peace. His government shall rule the world. From Him exudes perpetual peace and there shall be no end of it, for He is the Prince of Peace.

His first coming was for the sacrifice of mankind. His second will be for an eternal victory. His first coming depicted a vulnerable infant; lowly and meek and born in a manger. His second coming will commence with a shout; the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God.

We pause, not for presents or holiday songs, but to recognize the advent of the incarnate God. While the world has dismissed Him, choosing an emotional, howbeit, limited event, we are in consideration of The Redeemer! He is the Lord of Hosts; the Lord of Glory.

My prayer is that the Church will not become mired in activities for the sake of an American holiday. Jesus is more than a seasonal celebration. He was both fully God and fully man. He was tempted in all the ways common to us. He came to carry our griefs. His intent was to bear our sorrows. He is the Savior and the hope of humanity. He brings peace that surpasses all understanding. Today, we rejoice at the sound of His Name while looking steadfastly for His soon return.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Hold On

Gen 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

Jacob is at the brink of a potentially volatile reunion with Esau. He’s clearly uncertain as to the disposition of his once scorned brother. Esau had cried and begged to be included in the blessing of the inheritance two decades prior. He said to his father Isaac, “Isn’t there one more blessing left?” It all went to Jacob.

The meeting between them is about to commence. It’s a fragile moment for which Jacob has no confidence. So on the night before, he seeks the Lord, wrestling with the Angel of the Lord. This could have been a theophany; some physical, temporal manifestation of God. The night was difficult as Jacob sought for an answer. The scripture offers us a small insight in the breaking of dawn and the final moments of petition.

Of the many things preached, taught, and written concerning this passage, the final words echo in the corridors of time: “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” The request was open-ended. He did not ask for a specific blessing. It was God’s choice. The night of struggle revealed Jacob’s resolve, but it also pointed to the many who have let go.

The decision of letting go is in our hands. We cannot bless ourselves or change our situation. We are mostly inept as to what kind of blessing we need. There are issues on a daily basis. Past mistakes or poor paths always come with a reckoning. There is a cost for everything; a harvest for every seed planted. We all need help from the Lord. These are the times when we are given an opportunity to grasp God and not let Him go. Incredibly enough, He made it so that we can constrain Him. The grip of humanity in desperate prayer is sufficient to compel the very God of Heaven. He has allowed such.

This is not about talent, money, position, or power. The answer – the blessing given – has nothing to do with our faithfulness or merit. His blessing is given because First, He is Good and Secondly because we held on. There is no intellect in this equation. No inherent goodness on our part. We have nothing in our hands to exchange for His blessing. The only thing in our hands is Him. The word is found in Luke 11:8, Importunity! I did not earn it. I just did not stop asking, seeking, and knocking. I just would not let go of Him.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Seasons Change

There are comforting words which I have embraced through these many years. I’ll offer a few of them here. “Seasons change.” “This too shall pass.” In moments of triumph or trouble, I have come to recognize the temporal moment in which I am in. This awareness has helped me recover and rejoice; rest and take confidence. Regardless of the moment, there is a blessing in knowing that all things change.

Daniel gives an insight into the Lord. Dan 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

At His command, God brings all things into light. We do not always know when, but in His domain, which is beyond comprehension, the Lord changes the times. He moves us in and out of seasons as it suits His purpose and His Kingdom. God does not answer to us, but rather, He orchestrates our lives for the sake of our eternal soul.

While the natural seasons are known, life is far more varied. Solomon wrote of 28 seasons, found in Eccl 3:2-8. Solomon began: Eccl 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Times and seasons change, but they do so according to God’s design.

The admonition is that whatever season we are in, we must learn. We first must learn of God and about God. Secondly, we learn about ourselves and perhaps what we must do to adjust ourselves. Lastly, our times and seasons teach us about those around us: about compassion and understanding. All of these things are borne from years of living and paying attention to the voice of leadership. God speaks through various means. He speaks through the seasons of our lives.

Winter, spring, summer, and fall are mere periods depicting the earth’s rotation. They attend to the natural inclination of the earth’s axis and our location juxtaposed to the sun. These are far too shallow to depict the human journey. Natural seasons are mostly predictable, but the seasons of life demand far greater focus. Paul said, Phil 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. He said, 1 Tim 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Whatever season or time you find yourself, know that there are lessons to learn; understandings to gather; and adjustments to be made. However, in all of those times, learn to be content. The season will change. The Lord never changes, but the times will. Our part is to rest in Him and know that He is God.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Latter Times

1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1 Tim 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1 Tim 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
1 Tim 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

The attributes of the “latter times” of which Paul wrote mirror the exactness of our days. In a recent study, more people are rejecting marriage. Paul wrote: “forbidding to marry.” Live-ins; Tinder hook-ups; and casual relationships are more preferable than long-term unions. The study also shows a decline in the length of marriages. The 5 to 8 year span is about the length of time a marriage will last. Europe, Japan, and Canada are showing lower statistics. Young adults would rather have a car, cellphone, and a nightlife than a fixed home with a spouse.

Paul wrote of “seducing spirits” – akin to sensuality, which is rooted in our American culture. He categorized the last days with a culmination of false doctrines, lies, and the rejection of morality. Lastly, Paul wrote against vegans, which is the refusal to eat meat. Paul was dealing with the false belief that cattle, sheep, goats, etc, deserved the same treatment as humans. The early church was dealing with gross darkness.

While sin prevails, I believe that we are poised to see things we have never seen. The Latter Times are here! The darkness of this world is both prevalent and invasive. This is not a ‘live and let live” environment. The spirit of the age is aggressive. We are not to tolerate sexual perverseness; but we are told to celebrate it or be fired.

However, the Greater the Darkness, the Brighter the Light. We, you, are a city set on a hill which cannot be hid. To be an Apostolic Pentecostal in doctrine, worship, lifestyle, and conduct is a light unto itself. It is and will be impossible to be hidden! We are Salt and the Light, which means that no one is going to look past you. Our calling is to speak Truth and Life to a world lost in sin. We have the answer! His name is Jesus! We have the soul-saving Gospel found in Acts 2:38. We know the way: it is the Way called Holiness. It is time for each of us to speak the Word to everyone we meet. These are the latter times!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

First Love

Historically we know that the church at Ephesus had suffered many hardships, yet they persevered and stayed faithful to the Doctrine. Jesus even commended them for their “intolerance of wicked men.” Ephesus was a solid congregation on many levels. It appears they had structure, rules, protocols, and fortitude. However, what was missing could not be ignored. Jesus said, Rev 2:4 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

Faithfulness is important. Giving and returning tithes and offerings are biblical directives. Church order and family structure which include Bible devotion and conduct are essential. Yet, if we lose our “first love” then all is lost. Religious activities never make up for a lack of passion. The problem exists after years of doing right, but forgetting how much the Lord has done.

When we were first saved, or when we first found the Lord, we could not wait to get to the church. We wanted to be the first in the altar; first to find our favorite seat. We did not care what other people thought about our worship. When we first began, we believed anything was possible. We expected something miraculous every time we gathered.

However, as the years drifted by, so did the pathos. First Love is precious. I’ve felt it so many times in my own life. A little waning of hunger; a little apathy for praise. It happens so subtly that it’s hard to tell, but First Love is a fragile thing.

The great danger comes from Paul’s admonition written 2,000 years ago. He wrote: Rom 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

If Paul thought he was close to the second coming of the Lord, how much closer are we today? We may be standing on the brink of the Last Trumpet! I feel it to be true, which means, emphatically, that we cannot lose our First Love. If the signs of the times are not enough to recapture our passion, pathos, and purpose, then nothing will move us. The times demand a return to our First Love!

So if you have not cried, pray until you are moved to tears. If you have not worshiped, do it until it invades your pride. If you have not danced, or shouted, or fallen on your face at a the altar, climb over your inhibitions and get there. Keeping our structure, order, and faithfulness is important, but we must not lose the heart we had when we first found Him!

It Takes Time

To no fault of her own, Hagar, the handmaiden, was cast out of the house of Abraham and Sarah. Jealously borne from disobedience led her to this moment. Abraham did not wait on God and took unto him Hagar. Together they had Ishmael. This son was not the promised son because he did not come through Sarah. When Isaac was born, the conflict intensified and it has never ended. Hagar found herself alone, desperate for direction and comfort. It is here that an angel of the Lord appeared to her and showed her a fountain of water; giving her the path toward provision and help. Hagar called God, El Roi, The God Who sees me.

However, this was not the name of God. His name was not revealed until the archangel Gabriel spoke it to Mary and Joseph in Matthew chapter 1. All of the Old Testament “names” were designations or descriptions of Jehovah. He was the God Who Heals and the God Who Provides. He was called, Our Banner, Refuge, and the God of Our Peace. But His name is Jesus!

We recognize this as progressive revelation. God offered insight, but not the whole. David wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet” meaning, “just enough light for the moment.” Jesus completed this truth when he touched the blind man in Mark 8.

Mark 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
Mark 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
Mark 8:25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

Jesus had the power to completely heal the blind man the first time He touched him. Yet, the lesson is found in a progressive healing. Day by day we are healed, delivered, and made whole by and through His presence. Our lives are first saturated with His Word and Spirit, which in turn changes the constitution of our thought.

The quantum leap is counter to the making of a disciple. It takes time to learn and time to grow. Understanding is developed over time. Spiritual maturity is found in study, patience, and persistence. Thus making it critical that we stay connected to the Word, the preaching and teaching while our change comes.

The end of it all is that we are planted and grounded. The Lord will reveal His Truth, but it is found in the process. So let us not get weary in well doing. He is guiding our steps and revealing Himself as we learn to lean on His strength and learn from His Word.

The Battle Within

A distressed wife once said that every time her family began to “see success” it was destroyed. She said, “life was good and then it was blown up.” Her description is the definition of implosion; meaning damage from the inside out. I’ve lived long enough to see the same thing happen in churches. Struggle, followed by growth, followed by division, and then implosion. This happens when members whittle away at the core fabric of leadership and doctrine. It happens when small gossiping groups tear away at the good being done.

Paul addressed this issue: 1 Cor 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. He said, If you bite one another, you will devour one another.

Paul’s admonition has been experienced by a thousand congregations over. Divisions crippled even the healthiest of church bodies. Thriving revivals have been cut short; growth thwarted by the selfish ambition of a few. Remember, it only took one man, Achan, to cause Israel to be defeated. It doesn’t take much to implode the whole.

My concern is that those who need to read this will not and those to whom this applies will disregard it as a message meant for someone else. “After all, it’s just another bulletin with some words meshed together to fill a page.”

I pray you will heed this writing: We are standing on the brink of an Endtime revival. However, this is also a crossroad of decision. I’ve seen it before both here and beyond. If we miss this moment, it could take us years to recover. Some churches never make it back.

It begins with too many opinions about trivial things; too much flesh and not enough submission; and too little honor for pastoral leadership. The result is damage from within. For those who might wonder, “Yes, the world is fighting against the church,” and “Yes, there are demonic spirits which resist us.” But the real battle is from within.

The question becomes, Can the church love the church? Can we stay humble enough for God to use us for His glory? Can we stay obedient enough to follow spiritual authority? Is it possible for us to crucify our flesh and keep our attitudes pure? These are questions our lives will answer. These are the decisions which will lead us in or out of Spiritual endeavors and numerical growth. I can only hope that each person will comprehend this critical juncture and make whatever adjustments needed to see the revival God has prepared.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

The Price of a Soul

What is the price of a man’s soul? With inflation eating away the family budget and the economic conditions wrecking retirement accounts, cost is front and center. People are talking prices, value, and worth. However, these conversations, concern, assets and their counterparts are temporal. What is the worth of something that never dies? What about our soul?

Jesus asked “if a man gained the whole world and lose his soul, what does it profit?” The answer is clear; there is no profit. Even the whole world; all the money and wealth of ages gone by cannot compare to the worth of one, never-dying soul. And yet, many have given away their salvation for very little. Some have traded their walk with God for worldly pleasure or offense. Others have forfeited their eternal mansion for human ambition. Esau traded his entire birthright for a bowl of soup. He did so because he did not value what he held. We also have a birthright, but ours comes from a spiritual birth. The fact is that all who are lost will look back and see their “profit” as pitifully insignificant.

In review of the Great Commission, it is only fitting that we see the souls of our community as critical. People need Jesus and we have the answer. They need His name applied to their lives, Acts 4:12, Col 3:17, Rom. 6:1-4. They need to hear the message of salvation and feel the love of God. If we knew how close we are to the coming of the Lord, we would run to bring people the message. If we could see the worth of their soul juxtaposed against eternity, we would shake off our pride and fear of rejection and cry out in the street.

Mordecai tore his clothes and cried out because he understood the severity of the hour. He was in pursuit of saving his people, even though so few of them realized the moment. Mordecai was interceding, pleading, and calling for action. Ultimately he gave the Endtime Church this word: We are here for such a time as this!

This is our time. All who read this must know that we were placed here by God for this season to reach the lost. Our mission is His mission and the souls of men and women are held in the balance. The only question is whether we will move into the field; reach the harvest of lost souls and bring them to Christ. That question is best answered when we realize the price of a man’s soul.

Carry Offense To The Cross

2 Cor 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?

Above is a small excerpt from Paul’s presentation. In context, Paul offers a commonality to the church in Corinth that he too has been weak; he too has been offended. However, the result of those offenses never deterred him from serving people. He did not allow the wound to keep him from ministering or serving. In fact, he once returned to the same city that stoned him and left him for dead. Paul was kingdom-minded enough to love those who hated him and serve those who hurt him.

Offense is often a two-way street. Life is filled with such wounds which come from rejection or words. We have all been subject to false accusations which impugn our character. Many have been subject to truth without love which cuts the heart. These things are part of life, but we know that what happens to us or against us is not nearly as important as how we respond to it.

The question is whether an offense will keep you from the work of the Kingdom. Joseph was wounded in the house of his brothers and he was healed in the same company. He was spitefully used and maliciously maligned, and yet, he embraced those who hurt him. This is the pattern of Jesus Christ, but it is not always welcomed among Christians. Many embrace those infractions and then rehearse them, even posting them on social media. They feel it is their right to declare who offended them and what they are doing to recover. This is a far deviation from the path of Jesus Christ.

The reality is that all of us will suffer. The secret is how we handle hurt.

I submit that all of our offenses must be carried to the foot of the Cross. Calvary is the final resting place of every wound, hurt, ugly word, and hateful thing that has ever happened to us. To speak of the offense is to reject the work of the Blood of the Lamb. To spread the offense means that no real forgiveness has occurred. Ultimately, and sadly, there will be people who miss the rapture because they failed to offer what Jesus offered them. That is why it is incumbent upon us to remember what the Lord has done for us.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole