All of Him or nothing

Matthew 26:4 “And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him.”

In every age there is a resistance to receive the fullness of Jesus Christ. Pieces of Him are palatable, but the whole of Him is distasteful. He offers “hard sayings” and straightforward commands. He tells the rich to sell all; the good-intentioned to leave the dead and follow Him. He offers no room for personal endeavors or self-advancements.

If truth be known, the most combative group against His Lordship is the religious segment. Jesus, in His sovereignty and Word, is a threat to religious people. They sit in church; sing in choirs; teach classes; and sing about Him. Yet, forsaking all does not appeal to them. Jesus, Who talks of His Kingdom, must contend with their kingdom. Jesus, Who prayed for laborers, and sought for the lost in the byways; Who purposely went through Samaria, is rejected by those who profess Him. They don’t see the lost as a necessity. They think it is enough for them to have receive the Gospel. They have no intention of spreading it. They will even tell you how many years they have “been in church.”

Caiaphas was perhaps among the first to find Jesus a threat. The palace of the high priest was in an uproar as Jesus advanced in ministry and popularity. The religious order could not afford to lose control of the minds of the people. They needed rituals and fear to rule the crowd. Caiaphas knew that he could not keep the people if they followed Jesus with their whole heart. Caiaphas offered the enjoyment of temple worship and personal ambition. The mixture of worldliness and religious practices was the right blend. However, Jesus preached against the lukewarm lifestyles and the half-hearted paths.

Killing Jesus is subtle among Christians. They would never accept that they would do such a thing. Pentecostals, which boast of Holy Ghost and exuberant worship, have joined the ranks of removing the sharp edges of His word in order to fit in with the world. Submission, forgiveness, authority, self-sacrifice, and servanthood are buried. These biblical teachings have been replaced for subjectivism and advancement in personal ministries.

There is a consultation going on. It may not be overt or verbal, but many are negotiating their level of commitment. Most live on the peripheral of true obedience. Most give a portion; few give all. Most like the idea of Jesus on special occasions; few would give their life for His cause.

The killing of Jesus did not begin and end with Matthew 26. Caiaphas was not the last to conspire. The question resides with us. Shall we live fully devoted? Jesus said, “except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will have no part with me.” It is all of Him or nothing. Sold out for the Cause of Christ is His demand. Yet subtly, the compromise is being considered.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Please, Don’t look away

Many years ago a young woman was being attacked in a nightclub. While others stood by, her life was forever changed. The onlooking crowd could have intervened, but they chose to walk away. The laws were challenged that day concerning the bystanders. States adopted new directives, which imposed a legal duty to act in some situations. Vermont’s law states that a person must render assistance if they know someone is in grave danger of physical harm. The penalties are not great, but the precedent has been set.

A similar instance occurred with a neighborhood house fire. Authorities say that there was sufficient time for bystanders to help those trapped inside, but the gathering crowd never opened the door. Those standing outside were holding their camera phones, recording the scene. They never thought that they would be found as defendants for those who died.

Jesus took up the matter with His parable of the Good Samaritan. A priest and Levite passed by the wounded man. Those with heritage and Temple service walked by “on the other side.” They had the means to help the man of whom the Bible says was “beaten and half dead.” The parable is a view of the church juxtaposed against the wounded in every era. Jesus said, Luke 10:33 “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.”

There is work to be done in the “temple.” There are duties, activities, and all manner of service to be rendered. However, the people will not be helped if we do not go to where they are. The Great Commission does not say, Come. It says, Go! We must go and reach! Go and heal! – go talk – go teach – go compel – go help – go feed – go love! The danger for us is that we love the activities of the “temple” and we forget about the wreckage sin has made on our city.

Lives are in need and we must open the door. People are in grave danger and we have the answer. The end time church must not turn away. Our salvation may hinge on what we do with what we have. Jesus said, Matthew 25:42-43 “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.”

Recently a Ukrainian leader made this plea. Upon seeing the hundreds of lifeless people sprawled out on the ground, he called out to the world: “Please, Don’t look away.”

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Easter….Sunday

Passover-Easter-Sunday. This is the Day of Resurrection! Easter is the day when we celebrate a Risen Savior Who loved us enough to die for our sins and powerful enough to rise from the grave. He redeemed us with His own Blood and gave us the victory when He rolled back the stone.

However, from the time of Moses until that first Resurrection morning, Sunday was not the day of observance. The Sabbath was observed beginning on Friday evening and concluded on Saturday evening. When Jesus rose from the grave, He set in motion a new observance that the early church followed. They came together to hear the preached Word with singing and rejoicing on Sunday!

Acts 20:7 “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them…”

All four gospels record the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the First Day of the Week.

John 20:1 “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”

Luke 24:1 “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”

Mark 16:9 “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.”

Matt 28:1 “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”

While many of the unbelieving Jews reverted to the Law of Moses and their traditions, the disciples were found worshiping on the day of the Lord’s resurrection. This was a hard break from the custom of their past. Their gathering served as a significant sign that indeed the Messiah had come and that the grave could not keep Him. The early church allowed the first day of the week to be the outward sign in keeping the new Sabbath, while giving witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus was our sacrifice and He has became our Redeemer.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Preamble

A preamble is referred to as the introduction to a subject or event. The broader thought is that the preamble encompasses the spectrum or future of what shall be told. There is purpose found in its hand; a forecast echoing from its voice, all of which declaring things to come.

Scholars have long considered the command of Moses given to the Children of Israel on the night of the Passover as a Type of Jesus’ death. Egypt was encased in the effects of the previous plagues. The tenth was on its way. Moses told them to kill a lamb and wipe its blood on the doorpost of their homes. They were to eat all of it and then remain inside throughout the night. Judgement was on the way and the only salvation was the sight of the blood and their obedience.

The night of Israel’s escape was the preamble to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and our redemption. He was taken to the base of the hill of skulls; His blood spilling on the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem. John called Him, “The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” He was the sacrifice for the whole of humanity!

The image of a suffering Christ seems lost on our generation. Jewel encrusted crosses sparkle. Crosses made of silver are pressed into lapels of suits. Jewelry of all kinds are molded into the emblem with little attention to the reality of His shame. In all, the American church has scrubbed His blood, sinew and flesh clean. His death does not appear as it was. His sacrifice now fits into a more palatable frame. Yet, The Bible gives a more descriptive scene which demands our attention.

Psalms 22:14-16 “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.”

Matthew 27:26 “…when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.”

Matthew 27:28 “And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.”

Matthew 26:67 “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands.”

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

… meaningless …

Ecclesiastes 1:3 “What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”

Within the text, Solomon repeatedly uses this appellation to refer to himself. He has gained all that the world has to offer. He sits in the most unique seat ever offered to the mortal man. The nations bend to his wisdom. His wealth and authority are revered all over the world. Yet, toward the end Solomon writes of the futility to both labor and gain. He calls it meaningless.

This is a far cry from the American dream. The mindset of our nation is to gain, keep, and enjoy the fruit of our labor. We have been conditioned to believe that our self-worth is tied to our self-wealth. The early church, all of which were pentecostal in experience, did not live for the moment. They were not enamored with a healthy retirement or a vacation spot. Rather, the early believers set out on a mission to spread the Gospel. Their convictions entailed the Harvest of souls. They believed it to be their personal responsibility.

There is an allure to this world. The offerings of it include good times and laughter. The Lord has not withheld these elements from us, though they are temporal in nature. However, as the church moves from economy to economy, politician to politician, and as we become worldly wise, there is a loss felt in the work of The Kingdom. We are meant to be ambassadors of the name of Jesus. Our purpose is to teach the only saving Gospel which is the message of Acts 2:38.

We are commanded to submit to the words of the Lord. Our homes must become spiritually healthy, which only comes through prayer and an open Bible. Our lifestyle must be in alignment with godly living. And finally, we are commanded to reach the lost!

I pray that our lives will not be consumed with labor. I hope we are not living to pay bills, buy cars, fix up houses, go on trips, or find a comfortable place. There must be something more than this temporal life. Jesus is coming soon and we must find people – souls – and bring them to Christ. The Cause and the Purpose of our lives is greater than jobs, homes, or money. In the end, none of those things will matter. Only what you do for Christ will last.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

The Truth

In the few hours after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a sudden realization struck the house of the High Priest. In a council meeting, maybe akin to a debriefing, the assessment was that the murder of Jesus was a mistake. They called it an error. They did not want to make a second one.

Matthew 27:63-64 “Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.”

There were fact-checkers among them; men who reviewed statements and positions. But as it is now, so it was then, no one was checking the fact-checkers. An old farmer’s quote depicted the fox guarding the hen house. The danger of course was that the predator was looking after the prey. We’ve all been subject to opinions posed as facts or philosophies presented as Truth. Just for the record, there is no such thing as “your truth” or “my truth.” There is only The Truth.

Jesus said, John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Our world is filled with personal concepts which are presented as doctrines. A revision of biblical declaratives have caused much confusion and doubt. This is nothing new. Even Paul addressed the church in Galatia which had received the Gospel. They were saved. They had obeyed the settled tenets of Acts 2:38. However, someone had corrupted the truth and presented another gospel which was not the gospel. Galatians 1:7 “Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”

I write as a Contender. Our future hinges on our adherence to the settled truth of Acts 4:12, I Corinthians 15:1-4, John 3:1-8, Acts 19:1-6, Colossians 3:17, and more. Regardless of what others may say; regardless of the supposed “fact-checkers” or revisionists, we must strive for the Gospel and the Kingdom.

Jude 1:3 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

FIXED

Luke 16:26 “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”

The obvious distinction between Heaven and Hell was on full display in the teaching of Jesus. He said, “there is a great gulf fixed.” No one will be able to traverse that impassible gulf. While we must not ignore the message, there is a stapled truth in the Lord’s word. The eternities are forever separated by a great gulf which is FIXED. Regardless of current culture or human intentions; irrespective of public opinion or feelings, some things will not change. They are forever settled.

David said of himself, Psalms 57:7 “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” The context of his life did not affect the song. David decided to make something stable which would not be moved. While it might not have always been a pleasant song or a joyful dance, his heart was fixed. Had he not made the determination, his family trouble would have erased his praise and worship.

The fluctuation of ideas, doctrines, and concepts have caused a ripple of untold damage. The unsteadiness of prayer, giving, or a home out order; combined with sporadic church attendance will inevitably lead to destruction. When midweek Bible class is deemed unnecessary or we become to busy for prayer an unsteady life is created. Nothing is fixed.

However, if stability is to be found, it will demand a determination to stay faithful and devoted. Paul asked the question that we must answer: Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The list of offenses and troubles are spelled out, but at the end, Paul simply said that nothing would remove him from the Love of God. He said that he was persuaded. Fixed. This must be the decision of every believer. It is not a church endeavor or a sermon idea. We must be fastened, anchored, moored to the Apostolic doctrine and the church, so that nothing will move us. It is both our privilege and our honor to arrange our lives around the things of God because we live for the sake of the Kingdom.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

The Jordan

The Bible bears proof that there are critical points, decisions and crossings, which attain to every life. It is apparent that the Jordan River is a showcase of a main crossing. It was the pivot of both ministry and nation. The Jordan held the change of a life and destiny.

  • Namaan was cleansed in those waters as both a type of the Gentile redemption to come and also a coming baptism preached by apostles. Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
  • Gideon divided the army at the water’s edge and reduced his number to preserve the Glory of God in battle. Judges 7:7 The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.”
  • Joshua led the people across the Jordan on dry ground as they took the final step out of the wilderness. It was the departure from the deeds and faithlessness of the past generation. Joshua 4:19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.
  • Jesus was baptized there as a showcase of His Lordship; His example to follow; and a declaration of His dual nature. Matthew 3:13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

The Jordan River was the pivot of the people; a critical juncture that had to be crossed. Here is the prophetic word given to Moses: Deuteronomy 12:10 But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; Deuteronomy 12:11 Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there;

After Jordan, wherever they set their foot became their inheritance. We also are standing at our own crossing. To reach souls for the Kingdom will demand Bible Studies, prayer meetings, fasting, giving, and much more. Today we endeavor to Break Ground for a House of Worship to train and equip the many souls which will make Heaven their home. This is our pivot point: A Crossing of Faith and a Purposeful Revival for the thousands of people who must hear the Gospel.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Plumb Line

The modern Christian thought was expressed recently when two religious leaders denounced the idea of a strict adherence to biblical doctrine. Instead they proposed an emotional response to salvation and what they called “God’s love factor.” This presents God’s love greater than any biblical narrative or interpretation of the scripture. While this philosophy is counterintuitive to the Bible, there are a host of church-goers who now adhere to this false premise.

The core issue revolves around disobedience to the scripture. There are other glaring tentacles which entail subjectivism and relativism. This is nothing less than carnal mindsets wrapped in the clothes of vain religion. For those who espouse such things, God’s Word no longer matters. His decrees and laws have been dismissed or traded for the opinions borne from mass consciousness. Ultimately, the lines have been drawn and Truth will prevail while many flounder on uncertain ground.

Amos, Isaiah, Zechariah, Jeremiah and more wrote of the “plumb line” – God’s measuring line. There will be a division between the Truth and a lie. God has drawn lines which divide apostasy from sound doctrine. The survey of any parcel of ground, declares ownership and property rights. The same is true for the Endtime church. There is and will be a separation of people based on the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. His name alone will divide us from a host of people. We will be hated for His Name’s sake. Jesus said as much.

Holiness standards are an outward display of the plumb line. Devotion to the Bible is a dividing line. Even our praise and worship looks odd to those who compartmentalize the church from their daily expressions. Our bodies are called a “living sacrifice.” We are temples of the Holy Spirit, thus we consider ourselves as the Bride of Christ and the list goes on.

To remove the scripture from salvation erodes the necessity of God’s design. It clouds the image of both Heaven and Hell, which have been prepared for the saint and the sinner. While God is a God of Love, He still demands obedience to His forever settled Word. Personal understandings will not change the outcome of our destinies. We must embrace the Scripture; abide by it; and put it into action. For out of the books will come the judgement. There is a line and the measurement has been made.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

“Garbage in, garbage out”

Within the script of Paul’s letter to Titus, whom he called “mine own son after the common faith” there is a notable nugget of understanding. Paul wrote: Titus 1:15 “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”

The training of the brain has a long and storied history. Psychologists and researchers have presented a plethora of information concerning the “structuring and restructuring of the human brain.” There are many expansive thoughts with large words and complex definitions if you so desire. However, there are a few constants which are easy to comprehend. Here’s one, “You are what you eat” or “Garbage in, garbage out.” The concept is basic, in that our minds are fed with thoughts and from that “feeding” comes the evolution of our lives.

To be pure demands pure input. Purity of spirit, by necessity, depends on what we entertain. If movies or shows present cussing and sexual permissiveness, then the outcome will be a defiled spirit. Pornography of all kinds stains the brain. Conversations that demean other people sour any real love or mercy. The result is a corrupted conscience. Purity has no chance when we purposely feed our mind with images and sounds contrary to a holy life. Words can then be taken the wrong way. Jokes are twisted into something perverse. Clothing becomes an advertisement of intent instead of a covering.

To stay pure takes work, especially in an hour when every image is readily accessible by the phone in our hands. There is labor involved to protect our minds from damaging thoughts.

Are we pure? Do we have a pure spirit? Is our life filled with honest conversation? How can we raise our hands and worship the Lord when our days are filled with angst, bitterness, and the unsavory things of this world? Or how can we proclaim Jesus when we wound the body of Jesus Christ?

Micah gave us the requirement. I’ll offer it here in hopes that everyone will heed the Word of God. Micah 6:8 “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole