We’re actually studying ( Acts 6 ). In my desire to teach what is transpiring in the first part of ( Acts 6 ) I felt compelled to go all the way back to the Old Testamant because of what I began to teach in this chapter. In the last segment we seen that the The Apostles; in ( verse 2 ) it says ( then the twelve ). It also says In ( verse 7 ) that ( a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith ). When we see these things; I’m reminded of a verse we see in:

( Acts 2:42 )


When we see this and, see where the priest were obedient to the faith, exactly what were they being obedient to? As I ponder these things; I’d like to use a metaphor to make my point. When any person goes out to pan for gold; that person goes through a great deal of material to find just a little piece of real gold. We could say; the good stuff is hard to come by. It’s the very same way with scripture. If we are not careful ( led by the Spirit ) we will begin to call what is just common dirt ( gold ).

When we look at the term ( the Apostles’ Doctrine ) exactly what would that be? Is the ( Apostles’ Doctrine ) something we can cling to forever and, was this doctrine what the priest were obedient to? When we consider ( spiritual growth ) these questions must be answered and, we must let the Spirit of God reveal the truth about these things to our hearts. If you will remember I said that ( all things worked together for good for those that love God and are called according to his purpose. The ( Apostles’ Doctrine ) was a necessary stepping stone to bring the reality of the true ( Church of Jesus Christ ) into the reality but, we must be willing to leave those principles and seek to allow God’s Spirit to reveal truth to each of us beyond what any man might teach.

Before I give a starting verse that I’m going to use to teach this; I’d like to say this. The problem with many people is that they desire control or, at least like to think they have it. The eleven Apostles in Acts at this time and, the priest that had ( been obedient to the faith ); were they concerned about how much power they had and, were they afraid of losing the power they had as simple men?

Now, let’s see something that Jesus Christ taught them in the gospels:

( Matthew 19:30 )


When Jesus made this statement to the Apostles he had just told them that they would sit on twelve thrones; judging the twelve tribes of Israel. ( The problem ) Jesus said; ( when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory ). They were still thinking that he would soon be sitting on that throne. That statement meaning that they thought they already had that authority. Not only that but, the priests that were coming to the faith were also seeing a need to be a part or, be left behind.

Now, I know I can’t prove what I just said and, I don’t mean in any way to diminish the authority given to the Apostles however, in this case we must consider the lack of spiritual maturity and what we see in the decisions they we making. For instance; if they remembered what Jesus Christ had told them concerning being judges over the twelve tribes of Israel, why would they ask the people to pick out ( seven men ) filled with the Holy Ghost to do the job they were given? I’m saying that all these things were happening because of their misunderstanding of all the things that had to unfold before they would have their position on the thrones.

Let’s look at another verse of scripture that we see in the New Testament. This verse is actually related to what I’m saying about ( the first shall be last ).

( 1 Corinthians 6:4 )


Here, the Apostle Paul speaking to the Church is making the same point. Can you see that happening in any Church. Most Church leaders like the power thry have and, are not likely to allow it to be taken away from them. However, can you see how that when a leader is willing to do just what he’s saying here, he can actually gain power? Do you remember when Jesus Christ ( humbled himself )?

( Philippians 2:8 )


If you continue to read here you will see what he gained by becoming obedient. There’s a great picture of this in the Old Testament. While I can’t write the whole story about the events that unfolded maybe I can give you a launching pad to start to understand what is being said.

( Genesis 37:5 )


As we get into the spiritual aspect of what we see here remember, the question is ( can a birthright be restolen )? And, we might add, what do I mean by that question? In the quest to see what it means when Jesus made the statement ( the fist shall be last and, the last shall be first ), the son Joseph was not the last son to be born to Jacob. He was the eleveneth son. Benjamin was the twelfth. However, as we move foward in time, we do see where that David being the youngest son of Jesse. He, being ( the last ) God made him king; looking past all his other brothers. ( 1Samuel 16:10-13 ).

In the scripture we’re looking into in ( Genesis 37 ) Joseph is a type of Jesus Christ. We see that he becomes, not only the savior of the Gentile nation but, also the savior of the Nation of Israel. I feel we need to point this out as well. The mother of Joseph was Rachel. She was the ( last wife ) of Jacob. As a matter of fact, Joseph and Benjamin were the last two sons of Jacob coming from the last wife of Jacob.

As you read the whole account of the life of Jacob after he stole the birthright of Esau in ( Genesis 27 ) it’s a great spiritual point to be made. When the birthright was stolen, those two brothers parted, becoming bitter enemies. Esau was the first born and, Jacob was the second born. These two brothers are a type of each born again believer and, the battle we fight once we are born again with our flesh.

In a spiritual sense; when we see the fact that ( Rachel ) could not have children, even that can be seen as a spiritual point. As time moved foward in the lives of Esau, being of the flesh and Jacob, the second born, being a type of the ( new birth of a believer ) we see that these two brothers finally come together in peace. As we, as born again believers grow spiritually, we slowly overcome the weaknesses of our flesh; being more conformed to the very will of God.

We see in :

( Genesis 32:24-25 )


As born again believers, this is the place we all need to come to in our spiritual lives. The place that we refuse to allow our flesh to dictate our lives anymore but, ask our Lord to give us the strength to overcome the weakness of our flesh and, only yield our complete being to his will.

I also like to point this out here. God touched the hollow of his thigh. From that time on, you could see a difference in the way he walked. In a spiritual light I like to put it this way. As Jacob’s grandchildren sit upon his knee, they might ask him ( grandpa ) what makes you walk like you do? At that question he would get the priviledge of sharing with them how the spirit of God changed him for what he was to who he is now.

You see, just because we get saved doesn’t mean we automatically yield ourselves to the will of God, it’s a life changing event when it happens. We have a battle to fight with our first born bodies of flesh, one that it takes our willingness to allow God to change our direction to make that difference. The picture of Esau and Jacob is one of our personal spiritual battle as our life unfolds. Within that battle we also see how ( the first becomes last ) as the younger man; being the spiritual man matures and begins to take control of our physical bodies.

As we read through Genesis and watch the life of Jacob and his twelve sons; we also see another ( last become first ). As you read about how Joseph, the eleveneth son born to Jacob became the savoir, not only of Egypt but, also of Israel; you will notice that after all those years Jacob learned from his brothers that he had a younger brother, Benjamin. Now, I want toy to notice something about Benjamin.

(Genesis 45:22 )


How do we tie that fact to ( the l;ast shall be first )? As we get back over into the New Testamant, we see a strange thing that the eleven Apostles could not see in ( Acts 6 ). At this, both Joseph and Benjamin were not liked by their older brothers because their father was so close to both of them. Now, look at these verses:

( Luke 10:17-20 )


I only show you that verse to help you see that their are things in our spiritual lives that are far more important than all that we might have in any form right here upon this earth. Remember the title? Can a birthright be stolen again? Again, let’s look at another group of verses:

( Romans 12:1-3 )


Do you realize that the Apostle Paul, the man that wrote this came out of the tribe of Benjamin? ( Philippians 3:5 ) ( Romans 11:1 ). He also says that he is the least of all Apostles. ( 1 Corinthians 15:9 ). The last! The last shall be first! He was also the Apostle to the Gentiles ( Roman 11:13 ).

So, where is the power of God revealed today? Is it not within the Church, the body of Christ in which the Holy Ghost gave unto the Apostle Paul to establish?

( Ephesians 3:1-11 )


A book could be written of all that is being said in these verses but, my intent, my desire is to show that God uses the least, the last in everything we have seen in what we have studied through this segment: ( can a birthright be stolen again )? Even as we look at the local Church today; we have a tendency to put men, pastors, teachers, deacons on a pedestal when; unless they are willing to become or, be last they are of no value to God the Father at all.

Look at yourself. What good is your flesh if you’re not willing to yield it to the Spirit of God that was born into you at some point after you were first born? ( The Last ). Now, the question is; can a birthright be stolen again? To bring this whole mindset into light, we must go back to the only two sons of Isaac: ( Esau and Jacob ). Do you realize that Jacob was the ( last born )? And, that the men being Joseph and Benjamin we also the ( Last Born )?

There’s no end to the study we can continue, such as Esau reconciling that Jacob was the man in front, giving him that authority. The spiritual life is a continual battle to allow that the inner man to completely control your life. However, if we ever allow our flesh to begin to overrule the spirit man that lives within us then our flesh is stealing the birthright that we gave to the spirit within us.

God the Father will never force you to be obedient to his Spirit, that my friend is your freewill! God’s desire is for each of us to work for him because we make a choice to do so, not ever as something that is forced upon us.

As we consider the picture of the ( last being first ) and ( a stolen birthright ), the flesh, the part of each of us that is always born first will always feel cheated when we begin to yield our members to the will of God. Our flesh is sinful and desires to be pleased with sin; having pleasure in the process of sin.

If we, once we are born again allow ourselves to go back to allowing our flesh to be pleased instead of yielding our members to the will of God then; our flesh is seeking to ( steal the birthright back ). The desire of our flesh is to reset itself as the leader of us, seeking to make the Holy Spirit to none effect.

In closing this lesson, I’d like to share something I noticed in scripture. My wife and I try to read scripture each night together. Right now we are reading in the Old Testament. I noticed something about the Nation of Israel. as time moved foward, king after king; the nation either walked with God or didn’t according to the will of the king. If the king was evil. Israel also done evil, if the king walked in God’s statues then, so did Israel. I realize that I’m putting every member of that nation in the same basket however, so did God the Father. As it might relate to the basic members of Israel or, any Church; I see a problem with the fact that far too many people simply follow the mindset or spiritual thought of someone else! If we, even we; have to be made to live like God desires for us to, where is our birthright? To whom are we serving? If we go to Church and, we live righteous lives that are dictated by what the Church or pastor expects from us, what actual good are we for God’s glory?

We are seen as a blessing to God when we decide ( to him ) to give our birthright. My desire is to have my flesh to die while I am alive on this earth and for God’s Spirit to be seen within my daily walk. That is the picture we see within the lives of Esau and Jacob.

As all this relates to the first part of ( Acts 6 ); can you see the possible lack of spiritual leadership with the choices that were made, even the fact that the priest were obedient to the faith. If you remember the fact that I questioned the Apostle’s ( casting lots ) for the twelieth Apostle, don’t we see the same picture here?

We see, spiritual leaders, priest and, in this case ( Apostles ) make decisions that have nothing to do with the Holy Ghost leading them. That has been a problem from the very beginning of the Church. Often we allow our flesh to steal the birthright, that is; as far as our spiritual leadership is concerned. I would like for you to show me one place in scripture that God the Father, God the Son or God the Spirit ever left any choice up to just people.

For instance; when the Apostle Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost, who picked him to do so, or as we continue to move throught the first few chapters of ( Acts ) why is he the main speaker? As we continue to read in ( Acts 6 ), we see Stephen have a very powerful voice. Was that because he was picked to be a deacon or, simply because he was filled with God’s Spirit? Look at this:

( Acts 6:8-9 )


We are looking into this thought ( the stealing of a birthright ).( The first shall be last ). The ability to allow the spirit of God, the last born in our lives, the person to whom we gave our birthright to is a challenge to every person. The reality of the the ( first born ) the flesh of any person desiring to be in control is the battle we all face.

I contend that it’s very possible that when many priest seen what was unfolding; they desired to have some control over all they seen. The priest were possibly starting the different ( synagogues ). We see the word ( faith ) used, ( being obedient to the faith ). Exactly what were they being obedient to, what faith?

We read in ( Ephesians 3 ) where the birthright was given to the ( the last ) ( the least ). In ( Acts 6 ) that hasn’t happened yet, therefore, there is completely no way that the original eleven Apostles or, the priest could have been ( obedient to the faith ) as we know it today. As a matter of ( Biblical teaching ) we can see where the Apostle Paul had a hard time convincing the eleven that he was actually an Apostle. We see that in almost every one of the Apostle Paul’s letters to the Church. ( Paul and Apostle of Jesus Christ ). It says it in different ways seeking to make the point that he is an Aposptle called by Jesus Christ.

I’ll make one other point and I’ll close this lesson. Do you realize that the ( Holy Ghost ) is the last part of the Godhead. God the Father spoke in the Old Testament, God the Son spoke in the gospels and, since the birth of the Church, that part of God’s design that he chose the last Apostle, the least Apostle to unveil the truth about; the Holy Spirit speaks the heart of nan by the preaching of truth in God’s word. There is no other part of God that will ever be seen, not in this world. The Spirit of God speaks only truth and, that of God the Son. Even after the rapture of the Church; if any person desires to be saved they must recognize that Jesus Christ is God in flesh.

We seen in ( Acts 6 ) where there were ( certain of the synagogue ), I believe they were the priest that were obedient to the faith; that set these ( synagogues up ). What’s the difference if we now call these ame places ( Baptists, Methodists, CHurch of God, Pentecostal, Lutheran and so on? The Bible tells us in ( Revelation 2-3 ) that within the Church there are things that God is dipleased with. That displeasure can be traced all the way back to the early Church. There have always been those that desire to ( resteal ) the birthright, to allow the flesh to dictate the moves of people, the Church rather than allowing God’s Spirit, the last born to be in complete control.

We now live in the last days. Look at the last Church mentioned in :

( Relevation 3:14-20 )


In all this, I mentioned ( the Apostles’ doctrine ):

( Acts 2:42 )


What was and, how can we define this doctrine? Let’s see if we can begin to define by asking you a simple question. If you are born again and the Spirit of God lives within you; the very second that you were born again, how much true knowledge did you have of ( the leadership of God’s Spirit )? Could you have formed a doctrine from what you knew? That is, a true doctrine; designed by God’s spirit?

The Apostles were teaching all they knew to teach, looking at the ( Doctrine of Christ ). Jesus Christ had a responsibility, a calling. He carried that out to the letter of the law. Within his doctrine, he did things to prove to the Nation of Istael that he was who he said he was. Why was Jesus born? Was he born to raise the dead, to heal the blind, to cause the lame to walk? No! He said this:

( John 18:27 )


Jesus Christ was ( God the Father in flesh ). His purpoose, his doctrine was to be the savior of the world, period! For example, Joseph was the savior of Egypt and Israel but, he was not the last was he? Benjamin was the last! Does that take anything away from who Joseph or Jesus was? No, of course not. If anything it inhances it! We see the same picture in every individual that allows the last to be first. Doesn’t walking in the Spirit of God make a believer a better person in the flesh? In reality, isn’t even Jesus Christ waiting to marry his bride?

Can we argue this point. When Jesus Christ looked at the Apostles and said this:

Matthew 19:28 )


Was it not the very same as the Holy Spirit speaking unto them? Wasn’t what Jesus said then just as stedfast as the Holy Spirit speaking now? When Jesus told them to ( go to Jerusalem an wait for the promise ). Can you see how the ( first ) might have to wait much longer for what was promised than the last? It’s more to it than just having the Spirit of God, It’s about hearing and obeying what he says. It’s just like your flesh, being yielded to God’s Spirit. Your flesh will have to ( wait for the promise ) while the spirit works out this will in your life.

I said I was closing however, it’s so much to teach. I still contend that if anyone is going to understand ( the Church ) they must begin by understanding the ( Book Of Acts ).

The Apostle Paul said this in:

( Hebrews 6:1-3 )


The Apostle Paul; ( the last ) ( the least ) is speaking to the Hebrew believers. He’s instructing them to move from where they are. If you will notice; he says ( principles of the doctrine of Christ ). He’s saying we have to leave that principle. I can see how the Apostles were clinging to those principles and, it became ( a doctrine ) of the Apostles.

The Apostle Paul said this ( And this we will do, if God permit ). What did he mean by that statement? The Apostle Paul knew; as revealed to him by God’s Spirit that ( blindness in part had come to the Nation of Israel ). Within that, the ability for any person to allow ( the last to be first ) within them is a challenge. That’s what this nation was facing. The Apostle Paul knows that God the Father is not going to allow the whole nation of Israel to understand this at this time however, any individual can become born again and, see what has transpired spiritually.

( The Apostles’ doctrine ) ( the Doctrine of Christ ). There are still people today that are following these doctrines, refusing to see the truth that ( the Last )( the least ) as directed by God’s Spirit has revealed. One of the most difficult things to happen to any person is for them to spiritually denounce a doctrine that they have been following and, begin to acknowledge truth! That fact is true, even today. Why is that? Because we seek as ( in our flesh ) to maintain our birthright.

Can a birthright be stolen again? Yes it can! When we, as born again believers allow anything, any doctrine, any principle other that that as revealed by God’s Spirit to guide us then ( that God given birthright ) is being ( stolen again ).

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7 )


As we consider all we see in ( Acts 6 ) I can see well the struggled to allow the very Spirit within us to be in control of our actions. The understanding of all these things is a part of every person’s spiritual education. That, not just at this time but as far back as when the Church was in its youth.

As we look at the apostles seeking to make decisions, the picture of a stolen birthright comes into play. We first see that picture revealed in ( Genesis 25:20 ) with the birth of twins to the wife of Isaac. I’ll be making some comments about this and, how it relates to the early Church. You can study behind me and even see far beyond what I might teach.

I’ll start this by looking at Rebekah, the wife of Isaac. We see that she was barren, Isaac prayed for her and she had twins. We see in ( Genesis 25:22 ) that the children struggled together within her. In ( Genesis 25:23 ) God told her she had two nations within her and that they would be seperated from her bowels, the elder would serve the younger.

If we go back in Genesis where Abraham sent his elder servant to get a bride for his son Isaac. ( Genesis 24 ). In the picture we see in that chapter; Abraham is ( God the Father ), The elder servant is ( the Holy Spirit ), Isaac his son is ( God the Son ) Jesus Christ. and, Rebekah is ( a type of the Church ). The Elder servant went and found a bride for Isaac. After some time he brought her to that son, Isaac. I just wanted to mention that because that journey, bringing that bride to the son is a picture of the Churches journey to the rapture.

In ( Genesis 25 ) we see where the two sons were born. Esau was born first. He is a type of ( flesh of man ) and Jacob was the second born. He is a type of ( God’s Spirit within each believer ). As you continue to read in ( Genesis 25 ) you will see that ( Rebekah ) helped ( Jacob ) steal the birthright from ( Esau ). Many people overlook this fact but, ( Rebekah ) being a type of the Church is totally responsible for the strength of the inner man. ( The Church ) seeks continually to steal the birthright from our flesh, to feed and make the inner man the strongest, to create a situation where ( the elder ) serves ( the younger ) in the sense that each of us are born in our flesh first and, we are born again second, being the younger.

As we continue to mover foward in ( Genesis ) we see that we follow the family of ( Jacob ) and not ( Esau ). The reason; because it’s the spirit that matters and not the flesh. In the next few chapters of ( Genesis ) we watch as the battle between these two sons unfold.We see both men began to build families. However, we still follow the family of Jacob in the end. As a matter of fact, the twelve tribes of Israel come from Jacob’s family.

Let’s not forget that the Lord told ( Rebekah ) the elder would serve to younger. As we continue to read we see that Jacob actually had twelve sons. In ( Genesis 37 ) we see once again that Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob, being the youngest at that time tells his brothers about a dream he had. In that dream, they had to submit unto him. His brothers hated him because of that fact. However, that dream did come to pass.

As you study through ( Genesis ) you will see that ( Joseph ) is a type of Jesus Christ. He became the savior of Egypt and, in turn also the savior of Israel. If you will notice here, he was the savior of Egypt first, then Israel. When Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to get food, Joseph learn’s he has still a ( younger brother ). A brother that he actually knows nothing about.

Now, let’s consider something here. The Lord told ( Rebekah ) ( the elder would serve to younger ).

How does all this tie to ( Acts 6 )? Do you remember that, actually at that time it was only eleven apostles? Although ( Genesis ) is just a picture of the Church as it unfolds, we still see that same picture. In the minds of the brothers of Joseph, it was only eleven brothers; Joseph being dead. They were now servants to him but, they didn’t know it.They sill have a younger brother, Benjamin, which actually made ( twelve brothers ). They would spiritually be servants to him, they just couldn’t see it. As a matter of fact, Joseph instructed them to go and get that younger brother.

In the minds of the eleven apostles, they were servants of Jesus Christ and, that was exactly what they should have been. However, they could not see the next person that they would have to be subject to. As you study through ( Genesis ) you will see that the youngest son born to Jacob was a man named ( Benjamin ). He was born (came into being ) after Joseph’s brothers had sold him to Egypt. Can you see a picture of Israel crucifying Jesus there?

After Jesus Christ was crucified, what came next? The Church was born. Now, the next apostle that Jesus Christ will call, we will see in ( Acts 9 ). His name was ( Saul ) who later became the ( apostle Paul ). Guess what tribe of Israel that the Apostle Paul was from?

( Philippians 3:5 )

Circumcised the eighteth day, of the stock of Israel, ( of the tribe of Benjamin ), an hebrew of the Hebrews; touching the law, a pharisee; ( Also ) this is what the Apostle Paul Said about himself:

( 1 Corinthians 15:8-9 )

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time, ( 9 ) For I am the least of the apostles, that I am not meet to be called an apostles, because I persecuted the Church of God.

Can you see the scripture here ( the first shall be last and, the last shall be first )?

You will never see where Israel or the sons of Jacob were subject to Benjamin in the Old Testament because the ( Church was hidden in the Old Testament to a great degree.With that being said, can you see how the very fact that had to go and get their younger brother points toward the Church and their relationship with it? We still see that Israel would not be blessed by Joseph unless the younger brother was in the picture, Also, notice that The brothers of Joseph do not recognize him in Egypt. It’s not until they bring their younger brother that he truly reveals himself to his own brethren. Can you see a picture of the ( rapture ) and tribulation in that picture, the way things will be in the end?

Now, I say all this, recognizing that ( Benjamin ) is actually the younger brother. It’s so much to teach here! First of all, if you will notice in all the apostle Paul’s writings, he continues to impress upon the readers that he is an apostle. You can read his desire to prove that point in almost the beginning of every letter he wrote. If you remember the phrase ( the elder shall serve the younger ) ( Romans 9:12 ) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

The is referring to ( Esau and Jacob ). However, that picture continues to be true all the way to the Church. The last apostle chosen is the apostle that Jesus Christ chose to give ( the mysteries ) concerning the Church.

( Ephesians 3:1-8 )

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, ( 2 ) If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given me to you-ward: ( 3 ) How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; ( as I wrote afore in few words. ( 4 ) Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ ) ( 5 ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophests by his Spirit; ( 6 ) That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: ( 7 ) Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. ( 8 ) Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

( The Church is the last )! Can you see how difficult it could be for ( the Jews ) ( the other eleven apostles ) to except this fact? Jesus Christ himself had told ( the twelve ) at that time this:

( Matthew 19:28 )

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

If we consider this whole picture, it appears to the ( eleven apostles ) they have lost their birthright; having to except the teachings of ( Paul ), which is ( the younger ). They, at that time were expecting Jesus Christ to return and set up his kingdom at any time. What the ( Apostle Paul ) was teaching concerning to concept of the Church had to be revealed unto each of them by God’s Spirit. We know according to ( Ephesians 3:5 ) that they will come to that knowledge and, be used by God’s Spirit. ( Which in other ages was not made known into the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

The Church is a vessel! We are placed in that vessel when we believe on Jesus Christ as our savior. The Church had its beginning on the day of Pentacost and, it will end at the rapture. Jesus Christ will keep his promise to his apostles at the end of this age. At the time we are studying in ( Acts 6 ) they were just having a hard time understanding it all. When Jesus taught them that ( the first shall be last and, the last shall be first, he meant it. ( Matthew 19:30 ) But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

If you will notice; this verse is just two verses beyond the promise to make them judges. Therefore, they actually didn’t lose their birthright in that sense, it just wasn’t time for it yet.

I’d like to make one more point here before we move on. In the Old Testament it was all about the Nation of Israel. God the Father spoke to them by his prophets. Basically, it was the same in the Gospels. However, now God the Father is speaking to the Nation of Israel by his Son, Jesus Christ. In both of these circumstanses, the Nation of Israel rejected what God had to say to them. They rejected the prophets and, now as a nation, they are rejecting the son. I know I’ve made this statement before however, it is a very important thing to remember.

( Matthew 12:31 )

Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

Here, God the Son has just been accused of commiting blasphemy against God the Father. Jesus Christ, looking right into the eyes of the man, a pharisee of the Jews that accused him of blasphemy and, said this. Therefore, let’s consider what has happened. Blasphemy is total rejection. The nation of Israel totally rejected; God the Father, now, they are totally rejecting , God the Son. As we live now, God the Spirit speaks to us. At that time, that Spirit was just before being revealed even to the Nation of Israel.

In reality, there is nothing else left to give. What Jesus Christ is telling them; I’m sending God’s Spirit among you, God’s forgiveness goes beyond you rejecting Him and, the fact you reject me but, if you reject God’s Spirit, there is no where else for you to turm, that’s it! For the nation of Israel and, for every person on the face of this earth. ( the last ) ( the Church ) is where God’s power to saved is revealed. The nation of Israel, the apostles, the pharisees, every person must surrender it’s birthright to the last chosen apostle, the least of all apostles!

As we consider this: what do you consider your bitthright? If you’ll go back and study ( Esau and Jacob ) you will notice that actually Esau gave up his birthright but, Jacob still had to steal it. As member of the body of Christ, ( the Church ) we have the very same problem. When we surrender ourselves to Christ, at that point we walk inside the ( Church ) the vessel Jesus Christ died for. We are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price. That price is the blood of Christ! When we are born again, just like Esau, we see a spiritual need in our lives. Esau seen a physical need in his life, we see a spiritual. Just as Jacob had to steal the birthright from Esau, we have to take over our flesh by force, stealing our will and yielding it to the spiritual aspects of our lives.

If you will study through ( Genesis 27-33 ) looking especially at ( Genesis 32:22-32 ) you will see where Jacob would not let go of God’s spirit until he blessed him. This is a type of any person totally surrendering themselves to God’s will. Once this happens to Jacob; you will notice that he and Esau come together once again. The whole picture is one of our spiritual battles we have within our own flesh.

Once we are ( born again ) our birthright becomes our ability to be just like Jesus Christ. That right is born into us by God’s own Spirit. As we study through ( Acts 6 ) we see this very thing happening to the apostles. They, just like us struggle with the leadership of God’s Spirit and make good and bad decisions. I say all of this to simply show a Biblical picture of the struggle we all have. However, just like Jacob, we must submit ourselves to that Spirit to grow spiritually, if not, we will make unwise decisions all our lives.

Therefore, in reality when we are born again, we give up our physical birthright and surrender ourselves to another birthright. When we ask the question whether we can be stolen again; yes it can!. Here, we are not speaking of salvation but rather to whom we yield our members to. Once we are born again and begin our spiritual journey we begin to yield ourselves to God’s will. The question might be; are you doing that if you say you are born again? Are you even seeking to do so?

In the picture we are presenting; it’s a matter of spritual groweth. If we begin to grow spiritually, then begin to once again yield to the will of our flesh then we can say that our spiritual birthright is trying to be stolen. The goal of every person that confesses Jesus Christ as their savior should be to be more and more like him each day. I personally believe that, as we look at ( Acts 6 ) that was the desire of the apostles. There are many people that believe that you can fall from grace. That is, once you are born again, you can be lost again. However, the teaching has nothing to do with being lost again. It is all about how you stand before your judge, Jesus Christ one day. If your desire is to hear him say to you on the day ( well done my good and faithful servant ) then you must surrender yourself to his will.

As we seek to spiritually relate, Jacob and Esau, The leadership of the Nation of Israel and the apostles, that is in a physical and spiritual sense and, also our own physical and spiritual abilities as it relates to ( the world ) and ( our eternal lives ) what birthright would you rather build upon. Consider: no matter how much Jacob or Esau gained while living here, to whom does it belong now? If the apostles gained physical control of the Nation of Israel, to whom would have that power now? If I, in my flesh gained the whole world, once I’m dead, to whom would it belong to?

Can you see how that our ( spiritual birthright ) is a far more precious thing than anything we will ever gain here? That aspect of our spiritual walk is a complete different study but, one that each believer needs to understand. Far too often we treat our day of salvation as ( the total of all we are ) which is a complete false satatement. As a matter of fact; that is all we might be taught in the average local Church. Consider this statement: While we might be taught ( right living ) in our Churches, there is a great difference in ( Spiritual living ) and simply living good clean lives!

Seemingly, we seek to live lives that are pleasing to man but, we seem to neglect the nurturing power of God’s Holy Spirit. As we continue in the ( Book of Acts ) we will see the apostles as they grow spiritually. We will see major changes in what they teach and, how they grow spiritually. In the next few chapters we will see a great change in the leadership role. Many people never think about this fact but, the original eleven apostles basically stayed around Jerusalem and, in Israel. We well learn that ( the twelveth apostle ) was the one that carried the gospel to the Gentiles.

In closing; you were giving a birthright the day you were born into this world! You can gain many things and, possibly become very rich or very satisfied with you life just as it is. However, when we are born again, we give up that birthright and except a God given, God inspired birthright to become just like Jesus Christ. Look at these verses:

( Romans 8:28-29 )

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. ( 29 ) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

I realize that it’s a lot said in those two verse, a study for another day! However, we see there that we are to be conformed to the very image of his son! That change begins on our day of salvation. As we grow more like him each day, we mature spiritually. When we stand before him, we will be like him!

When we, as born again believers revert back to seeking to please our flesh, it’s a picture of ( seeking to steal our heavenly birthright back from the one that died for us! We are seeking to be like ( Israel ) desiring to go back to Egypt. And that my friend is not a wise thing to do!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7


In the last segment I expressed a concern about how we preceive the Church today and, a desire to give my take on the true will of God concerning the actual foundation its’s built upon.Let’s look at a couple of scriptures before we begin to unfold this.

( Matthew 15:9 )

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

( Ephesians 4:14 )

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

We’ve looked at these verses before however, it’s ever so important to understand that there is a vast difference in what a man might teach and, what the Holy Spirit would truly have him to say. If we simply go back to the last segment and remember that we seen in scripture that there is ( one truth ) and ( one Spirit ). Common sense would tell us then that the very fact that we have different denominations would say that many people are not listening to the ( one Spirit ). I suppose the next question might be; do you truly desire to know truth and, allow the very Spirit of God reveal that truth to you?

Now let’s look at two different scriptures in ( Acts 6 ) and discuss them.

( Acts 6 1-2 )

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. ( 2 ) Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples together unto them, and said, it is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. ( 3 ) Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

( Acts 6:7 )

And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priest were obedient to the faith.

Just to make a point, I don’t believe that; just because we read something in scripture, decisions made by men, means that they were wise decisions. As it relates to spiritually building a Church, it works the same way. every decision made by man does not mean that God’s Spirit has anything to do with the choices we make. We must ( try the spirits ) of what sort they are and, that even as we read scripture.

Personally, I do not believe that the decision to allow the multitude to pick seven men was something that was led by God’s Spirit. At the same time I say that; I also realize that ( all things work together for good, for those that love God, the one’s called according to his purpose ).. It’s actually the same way in our lives. The question being; how much do you love God and, are you willing to be called according to his purpose?

The second verse we seen where ( the priest we obedient to the faith ), I can see there where we might have a problem as well but, in all things ( Romans 8:28 ) still comes into play. When we look at these priest, were they willing to drop their minset of authority and, submit to the apostles and, also the Holy Spirit? When we see the phrase: ( doctrines of men ) that is exactly what brought those ( doctrines ) about. The fact that people didn’t understand the leadership of God’s Spirit and, built their version of Churches.

This is a point that many people don’t understand. In order to yield to God’s Spirit you must be willing to forget everything you have ever been taught by man to to so. God’s Spirit, if you follow him will take you to places, mindsets that many people don’t want to go. One of the greatest problems in the early Church was understanding that fact, I believe it’s still the same problem today. Often, we can’t see the spiritual aspect of our lives because we are so wrapped up in the worldly mindset or, way of doing things.

The things I say here are things just to provoke thought. to cause you to seek leadership of God’s Spirit to open your understanding into Spiritual things. One thing I notice here is ( the Grecians ) were complaining. Were these people ( Jews in Greece ) or truly Greeks? It really doesn’t matter but, I just wonder.

Now, I want you to consider something here. In the mind of the Apostles, it was twelve of them. Mattias being numbered with them. Aren’t these men ( preachers )? What would have been wrong with each of these men, ( Apostles ) taking a part of these new believers and allowing God’s Spirit to guide them in the teaching of Spiritual things? Do you see what I’m saying?

With that thought in mind, look at what it says in ( Acts 6:7 ) ( AND THE WORD OF GOD INCREASED ). When we consider this phrase, I truly believe we must allow this to be seen as a ( pivot point ) in scripture as we seek to understand ( the Church ) and how it’s built and, on what foundation. This phrase simple means that there were more and more people sharing God’s word and, what had transpired in their lives.

When the Apostles said ( not reason that they should leave the word of God ). They we referring to the known word of God at that time. At that time none of the New Testament had been written. We know that every person that believed had the Holy Spirit within them. Although there was no written word at that time, they each could share ( what they had seen and heard ) inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. This is where a problem might come in. There are actually eleven Apostles at this time. Jesus Christ hasn’t revealed who the tweleth one will be yet. We now know that he will be ( the Apostle Paul ). He is the Apostle that God will reveal the ( mystery ) of the Church, ( the dispensation of the grace of God ). Since he is the last one chosen, will these eleven be able to yield to his leadership? How about the priest that are now saved, will they hear what he has to say and, yield to his leadership?

When we consider the building of the Church and, that on the proper foundation; these things must be considered. I want you to notice a verse of scripture that ( I believe ) relates to the building of the Church and, why we see so many different mindsets as we see; even today.

( Luke 13:30 )

And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

This is a spiritual concept that runs all the way through scripture. Within each person’s ability to except that concept is where we find the true power of God. The farther we get away from that very concept, the weaker the Church becomes.If you will simply apply this concept to your own personal life, you will see what I mean. If, by chance you are born again, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. Then common sense tells us you were physically born first but, the power you now depend on was born within you last. Your personal spiritual victory has to do with your willingness to allow that ( second born ) within you to have control over your body.

When I look at the events recorded here in ( Acts 6 ) we see the very possible ability of a lack of hearing and, yielding to the Holy Spirit by every person involved. When we look at an average Church setting, we can see how much more difficult it can be to get a number of people on the same page spiritually rather than simply one person yielding to that same Holy Spirit.

As we look at a whole Church, just as a single person; we can never give up on the quest to completely yield to that Spirit. I always like to point out that ( the pastor ) in a Church is that single person in a local Church that must set that presedence. When any pastor lacks the ability to yield or hear that Spirit then the whole Church suffers.It’s like saying that Jesus Christ is not yielding to God’s Spirit and, we know better that that.

Just as it’s easy for any individual to get tired and weak in the flesh, so can a local Church. The Holy Spirit within you is the force that draws conviction on your very being when that begins to happen. Can you see how the responsibility of a pastor can be overwhelming? Why? Because the complete spiritual strength of a local Church rests on this very willingness to preach with the power of God’s Spirit every time he stands behind that pulpit.

This is something that many will disagree with me on. But, can you see in the picture I’ve sought to paint? ( I BELIEVE ) that means, you don’t have to but, the apostles would have been far better off if they would have seperated the disciples into eleven different groups and, each apostle truly seeking to hear what Gos’d spirit was saying to them as the new found Church grew.

Friends, I’m telling you, even what happened here in ( Acts 6 ), with the picking of these seven men, it all works for God’s glory. No matter what we might think about, ( Acts 6 ) or any one local Church, it still all boils down to how willing you are as an individual, born again believer to seek his perfect will and direction for your own life.I can’t stand before God one day and blame the apostles, deacons or any pastor for my ignorance of his will for me. If those people make mistakes then, it’s up to me to find his will for my life.

Just as what I’m teaching about the fact that these eleven apostles struggled to find all the answers, at least they were seeking to do so. We, as ( what we might call ) believing people are far too willing just to except the doctrines taught by men, such as pastors, even denominations. We, as individuals need to be more agressive against men and, more willing to study ourselves beyond what we might hear from pulpits.We often fall in love with pastors or, local Church buildings or groups. We walk into spiritual darkness because we allow people to tell us their version of truth rather than seeking true guidance from God’s Spirit.

In reality, can’t you see how as we look at these eleven apostles, the priest that were now saved and, even the seven men that they pick could struggle within themselves as God’s Spirit attempted to guide them? I can! That’s why I always seek to make people understand the importance of ( individual spiritual leadership ).We’ve already looked at the verses seen in ( Ephesians 4 ) where God called apostles, evangelist, pastors and teachers. These people are there to help us as we seek God’s will, however that doesn’t mean you can trust every person that says they are in one of those positions, That’s why ( 1 John 4:1 ) is in scripture, We must try the spirits of any person that is seeking to share with us.

By way of closing this out, I’d like to point out something I’ve spoken of often. If I were to put these things into my heart felt way I believe and, stand on that God, by his Spirit desires for the ( Local Church ) to work, this is what I say. God desires for a man, with the passion to preach is word; led by God’s own spirit to stand before people and relay what God has to say to those people. This, being the pastor; never wavers from that heart felt desire. No amount of money, no outside influence or, even being tempted to be popular with other pastors will cause him to sway from his desire to always follow God’s Spirit.

As this man, this pastor speaks to the people that listen, then each of those people that hear that self same spirit speaking to them and, willingly surrender to that word that is being taught in truth. Therefore, every person knew and understood God’s Spirit and never wavered from that teaching. In other words, God’s is teaching every person that very same thing. If someone comes in and doesn’t except that teaching then; they leave.This man, this pastor is not tied to any other pastor, that is, not as far as it concerns what he teaches or preaches.What a blessing if other pastors around teach and preach with the same Holy Spirit power!

As we consider this, let’s look at a word used at least twice in ( Revelation ). The word is ( Nicolaitans ).We see this in ( Revelation 2:6 ) ( Revelation 2:15 ). We see this presented as deeds and doctrine. We can also find this term ( Doctrine of Balaam ) or ( error of Balaam ).( Revelation 2:14 )( Doctrine of Balaam ) ( Jude 1:11 ) ( error of Balaam ). The reason I chose to mention ( Nicolaitan ) is because of Laity. As you look at what either one of the men believed, seeking to understand it, it really doesn’t matter. What happens it becomes ( doctrine ) and that often led by Laity. A simple way to put that is ( organized religion ). It’s when a group of people begin to dictate what is taught in more than one local Church.

I personally don’t believe it has to be organized. We could even look at what I would call ( a pastoral click ) where men begin to stand on spiritual concepts simply to be friends with someone or, stay friends with someone.Either way, it sets up a situation where God’s Spirit is not in the leadership role.This mindset is what is being taught in ( Revelation 2 ) and God says ( he hates it ).

If we take God’s desire to speak to people on an individual level to the utmost point, this would be it. It all starts with the husband seeking to be a great spiritual leader of his ( individual home and family ). When God’s man speaks to each husband in the congregation, then God’s Spirit speaks to each of of them as well. That husband, father, then goes home and allows that same spirit to filter what has been taught through the word of God as he seeks to reveal truth to his family.

We often get lost in the concept of a local Church when; each man and his wife is a local Church. The Bible says this:

( Matthew 18:20 )

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there will I be in the midst of them.

A man that rruly loves his family and has a desire for them to know ( truth ) ( Jesus Christ ) will come to realize that a local Church; while they are important and, an asset to every community cannot be counted on for truth at all times. God’s Spirit that dwells within us will always reveal absolute truth. We simply must be in tune with that spirit to hear what he says and, act on what is is teaching us.

When you act, as a husband, as a father on the concept that I am speaking of then you have Church basically everyday. That’s not just as designed by some person or denomination. Satan, and the religious world loves it when we get caught up in a ( big Church mindset ). That mindseet doesn’t have anything to do with the number of people but, the idea of a single man or group instructing us in righteousness. We simply go to Church, listen to a pastor or teacher, except what they say and go home then, we cannot say we are being led by God’s Spirit. When we allow our children to go to Sunday School of any local Church but, never discuss what they are being taught at home then, we as fathers are neglecting our spiritual responsibility.

I’ll make this statement and we’ll move to another segment. This is something we truly need to consider. God’s word is truth! What does that mean? If we look at the apostles as in, the situation in ( Acts 6 ) what they did is absolute truth, it actually happen. Therefore, if we read where a man lied in scripture, that actually happened as well. The word od God is an inspired book. With that being said; if your Bible, right this minute is laying on the coffee table, where is God’s Spirit? The word of God is exactly like a local Church. The Spirit of God doesn’t live in a Church building or in God’s word. His Spirit lives within you once any person is born again. The Spirit within you will point you to absolute truth; whether you are reading his word or, sitting in any Church. You consider that through, that mindset! God uses his word, his men to bring the Spirit of God alive within you, to teach you to totally surrender yourself to that Spirit.

In the next segment; I’ll continue to teach this same concept in ( Acts 6 ). I’ll call it this: ( CAN A BIRTHRIGHT BE STOLEN BACK )? We’ll be using Esau and Jacob and, the twelve tribes of Israel to make a spiritual point. I feel compelled to teach this before we leave this part of Acts. We must consider the leadership role and, each person’s willingness to except the leadership of God’s Spirit!

May God bless us as we study!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7


As we get into ( chapter 6 ) I’d like to point out that we didn’t get into every verse in ( chapter 5 ). I say that because, as a Bible student you might have a desire to dig deeper than I did in your studies. There is always other things to see and learn, even teach whole Sunday School lessons off of single verses if we just seek them out.

If you will notice; I entited this segment ( The problems Begin ). If we will go back to ( chapter 5 ) and look at a couple of verses, one statement that was made; we might learn something about what we will be seeing here:

( Acts 5:38-39 )

And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this councel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: ( 39 ) But if it be of God, we cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

That was a wise statement made by Gamaliel. In more cases than not, the desruction of any Church or organization comes from within not from outside forces. As I make that statement, it is somewhat always outside forces that destroy however, it the people already in the Church that allow those forces to overtake the power within.

When we consider the very design of the Church ( the body of Christ ). the very way that God the Father chose to set it up, it can be very self destructive. That is, unless we are willing to allow God’s Spirit to dictate our every move. The Church is exactly like our own personal bodies. The only difference is that the Church is made up of many bodies. In the Church all those bodies have to be obedient to the self same Spirit. That spiritual mindset is taught in:

( Ephesians 4:2-3 )

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; ( 3 ) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

Now, for the sake of understanding and teaching, I’m going to write the next three verses as well:

( Ephesians 4:4-6 )

There is on body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; ( 5 ) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, ( 6 ) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

As we consider these verses; looking at that body ( the body of Christ ) which is beginning to be built in ( Acts ); what do we see in the first verse of ( Acts 6 )?

( Acts 6:1 )

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

Up until this point, the only enemy of the new born Church was from the outside. The religious sect were trying to keep them from talking about Jesus Christ and his saving power. Now we see a question being submitted within the body of those that say they believe.

As we get into this I might say some things that will create thought and, you will have to allow the Spirit of God show you or, let you know whether you agree with me or not. I often say, I’m just a vessel with a desire to reveal truth, it takes God’s Spirit within you to teach you spiritual things. We see that in the verses we read in ( Ephesians ). As you look at those verses why would we have different denominations? Since there is one body, one spirit and, one God, wouldn’t that fact all together, reveal each of us the same things? Where the problem comes in is each person excepting that revealed truth and, changing to conform to that truth.

If we are not willing to except truth, truth that is revealed by God’s Spirit then what difference does it make what denomination we follow? Here in ( Acts 6:1 ) we see two groups of people. The Hebrews and, the Grecians. What if we classify this as two different denominations? We see that one feels neglected in the daily ministration of what? I actually don’t know that it matters but, we do know that many of the Hebrew people had sold all they had, then took the money and laid it at the Apostles’ feet.

( Acts 3:37 )

Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the Apostles’ feet.

I just mentioned denominations there to point how denomination are actually started. They come about because of disagreements in how people look at spiritual things which, has nothing to do with the leadership of the Spirit of God.We’ve already seen where there is only one Spirit. Therefore, it becomes a lack of having the ability to hear or to yield to that Spirit that causes division among people. If we truly look at this; we now see at least three different mindsets. We see the ( religious people ) The ( Hebrew people ) and, the ( Grecian people ). When we consider this fact; who is right? The Holy Spirit is right in all cases. The Bible says ( Let God be true and every man a liar ).

( Romans 3:4 )

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

As we look at that verse and, what is happening then it becomes who understands what God by his Spirit is saying. That was true then and, it is also ever so true today. It’s just like what I’m about to teach concerning this first few verses in ( Acts 6 ). All that I say, it must be filtered through the teaching of God’s Spirit and, you, as a reader must be willing to hear what he teaches.

I made the statement in the last segment that I did not believe that when the Jews were selling all their possessions and laying the money at the Apostles’ feet that it was something that the Spirit of God led them to do. ( In my opinion ) the Jews were expecting Jesus Christ to soon return and set up his Kingdom. They had been looking for the Messiah to come for years. In their mind; it was about to happen and they were perfectly willing to allow him to be their king in every sense.

Although they had sold everything, they still had to eat and, have the other necessities of life until his return. When you consider the term ( daily ministration ) it appears that the Jews were now going to the Apostles each day to get what they now didn’t have. As we look at this we also see that it was ( the Grecians that were complaining, not the Hebrews.

We can read where the Hebrews had put their all into this mindset but, we can’t see where the Grecians had anything invested. We can assume that many Grecians had started to except Jesus Christ at this point as well as the Hebrews. However, when we consider what they had to do for remission of sin: ( believe and be baptized ). It says nothing about selling all you have and giving it to the Apostles. At the same time we could argue that many people were poor, they didn’t have anything to give but, being a part of the new formed Church, having the Holy Spirit; they had just as much right to be treated the same as anyone else.

At the very same time, how do you look at people and know thay have the Spirit of God within them? Can you see how it could be easy to seek something without being willing to pay the price? If you remember, Ananias and Sapphira had already done that very thing. As we consider these events; It might be a good time to point out that the Church is actually not an institute to provide the physical needs of people but, rather the spiritual needs. It’s not that the members of any Church, those that are truly born again aren’t willing to give to those in need but their main desire , even in that act would be to draw people to their salvation, to get them to know Christ.

We could ask here; did the Grecians have a legitimate complaint? Where the Apostles’ right in seeing to it that the Hegrews were getting more than they were? Those things I can’t say. We do however, see in the next verse that the Apostles did set out to find a way to resolve the problem.

Before we move on to that verse, I’d like to share a personal event that happened to me some years ago and, a few things about me that might help us to realize what might be unfolding here. Some thirty years ago I, and a small group of people set out to start a Church. The best I can remember, it was about twelve people; I being one of them and, I was the pastor. In the process of time the Church begin to grow but, after about eight years we still didn’t have but about twenty five faithful members. It might have been more members but, that all that was faithful.

We bought some land and built a building. Here I was, a man that basically never even attempted to pastor over twenty or twenty five people. I also was simply seeking the leadership of the Lord to guide me in all that I did. As soon as we moved into that brand new building, in a matter of weeks, those twenty five people became almost one hundred and twenty five.

I’m telling you that, I was lost, had no idea how to handle that many people. There was people coming out of the wood work telling me what I was doing wrong, giving their opinion about what we needed to do. To simply put it; I can relate to what the Apostles were facing! The Apostles went from a hundred and twenty believers in the upper room on the day of Pentecost to know well over ten thousand people that say the believe.

To bring my story to a close, I also had some personal problems. We often forget that Apostles or pastors are just as human as anyone else. We just have a passion to allow ourselves to be used to the best of our ability by God’s Holy Spirit. In the gospels, we can read about some of the personal problems that some of the Apostles had. Therefore, we know they weren’t perfect men, just men seeking to learn how to listen to God’s Spirit and led people.

In the ten years that I pastored under circumstances that might cause most people not to even consider starting a Church, I made many mistakes, went through some very hurtful situations, some I hope I never face again but, we, as a Church seen many people come to know Christ and, watched believer’s grow and mature. Therefore, it was worth it all.

If I can boast of anything and, that’s not my desire but, my whole spiritual education has come from study, willingly listening to pastors and teachers, allowing God’s spirit to teach me. I’m not educated. I have learned many thing through my failures and mistakes I have made. I see that as it relates to the Apostles. They didn’t listen to man, they sought to, by trial and error to understand God’s plan as it unfolded. They willingly gave themselves to the cause of Christ. For too often we allow ourselves to be guided by man, we think we dodge trouble by doing just that when; in reality we are not listening to God as he seeks to use us to do his will.

Now, I’d like to build a little more on what is being said in ( verse 1 ). Simply by what is being said in that verse; it appears the Apostles understood that the Hebrews had given all they had therefore, they were the people that were receivung it back daily.I can’t prove that but, that’s how it appears. Another point that needs to be made here and, we know this as a fact as well. If you give all you have, even to the cause of Christ then, simply stop working and wait for his return, sooner or later it all will run out if he doesn’t return quickly. That is exactly what happened at Jerusalem.

( Romans 15:26 )

For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

The people in these two places, although they were poor themselves were willing to help the people in Jerusalem that had lost everything. I can see how this can be considered a very possitive thing.

Something I continue to ask myself; how much do I love God and, how willing am I to be called according to his purpose?

(Romans 8:28 )

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

People often do things that are completely out of spiritual ignorance. That doesn’t mean they are not born again or, that they don’t love God and are called according to his purpose. As I’ve already stated; I believe the fact that these people gave all they had to the Apostles was done in ignorance. In their, minds Christ would soon return. Now its been some two thousand years and he still hasn’t returned. He will return but, only God the Father knows when that event will happen.

As I say that, at that time they didn’t understand the Gentiles were going to be a part of them as well. They thought that it was all about Jesus and the Jews. Therefore, can you see how that ( the poor saints at Jerusalem ) receiving money or things from the Gentiles could help build a bond between them? That for the love and purpose of God?

In this one verse; there’s a lot to be learned. For instance. when you place you money in an offering plate, at that point, to whom those that money belong? When you do spiritual things, whatever they are why do you do them? I could write a whole book on what I perceive to be problems in what we can see in this one verse according to the events that have already unfolded in the ( Book of Acts ). That and, how we perceive our roles in our Churches today.

When we place our money in an offering plate, at that very second that belongs to God the Father. You gave it to him. However, you placed it in the hands of men just like the Hebrews did with the Apostles. Whether it’s the Hebrews to the Apostles or , you to your local Church, it then becomes the spiritual responsibility of spiritual leaders to use that money according to the very will of God. That, as led by the very Spirit of God that lives within them.

Actually, It’s all about ( Spiritual leadership ) that beginning with the giver. I believe that to be true whether you give to a Church or, an individual. If I feel impressed to give money to a person and I do, then I allowed God’s Spirit to guide my actions. Once that money is in the hand of that individual, it’s up to him to be led by that same spirit. If you tithe to your local Church and, you do that being led by God to do so, then once that money leaves your hands; your heart is clear between you and God.

Now, let’s consider something here: just because you give money to your Church doesn’t mean ( God led you ) to do so; does it? It could be, your local Church pressured you to give or, you just do what you think is right. In either case. God has nothing to do with it does he? ( In my personal opinion ) most of the money given to a local Church and, the way it’s spent has nothing to do with God’s Spirit and his leadership. ( In my personal opinion ) if the average Church went completely broke; the members would be spiritually better off, even the pastor!

Now, you have a right to ask this question: Did the Spirit of God lead you to make those statements? My answer is ( yes he did )! What you, as an individual do with what I stated is between you and God’s Spirit. I base my statements on this verse of scripture:

( Revelation 3:16-18 )

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. ( 17 ) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: ( 18 ) I councel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. ( 19 ) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Most of our Churches today have become businesses, money making machines with members of a corporation attending to their affairs. In most cases, the members have fallen in love with a building and, the people, even the pastor. If God’s Spirit doesn’t show, we’ll be fine.

Before I leave this verse, I’d like to make one more statement. The people and the Apostles in ( Acts 6 ) had a very good reason for not completely understanding the whole concept of hearing and obeying God’s Spirit. It was all brand new to them. They were learning and, as we watch it all unfold, it bacame a very powerful vessel for God’s glory.

Look at these verses: ( Acts 17:29-30 )

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. ( 30 ) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: ( 31 ) Because he hath appionted a day, in the which he will jugde the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

The word ( ignorance ) simply means ( unaware ). Today we are without excuse. If we say we are born again then, God’s Spirit lives within us. Not only that but, we have now the complete word of God to guide us. In ( Acts 6 ) they didn’t have any of the New Testament.

Friends, I say this with all the love I know how! If you think the money machine in most Churches is done in ignorance, you’re wrong. Most of the leaders know exactly what is going on. We read that in ( Revelation 3 ). As I sit and write the closing to this verse; I tremble! My whole desire is to enlighten people to truth and, allow God’s Spirit to use me to open spiritual eyes. When I consider that any man would deliberately mislead someone for the ( love of Money ); leave those people in spiritual darkness for personal gain. it cause me to spue them out of my mouth.

The Grecians were murmuring; did they have a reason to? They were criticizing the leadership, did they have a true complaint? As we get into ( verse two ) did the Apostles make wise dicisions?

Now let’s look at ( verses 2-6 ).

Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, it is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. ( 3) Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. ( 4 ) But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. ( 5 ) And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: ( 6 ) Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

As I get into this; I want you to remember, I’m simply a vessel that seeks to be used of God that His Spirit might teach each person that reads what I have to say. As you read, you allow God’s Spirit to speak, to determine whether what I have to say is something that is worth hearing and sharing. Actually, we are no different than the disciples of that day. Far too often we simple hear what someone else says and we except it as being truth.

I truly believe that the Apstles were seeking to hear God as he spoke by his spirit and also the disciples wanted to learn. However, that doesn’t mean that every move they made was a move that was inspired by God, just like we are today.

As I make some of the statements I make, you might think I’m being hard on the apostles and the disciples but, that’s truly not my desire. My desire is to provoke thought in the hearts of those that might read, to cause us to consider what is truly God’s will for each of us.

First of all, when this problem arose between to Hebrews and the Grecians, let’s notice what the apostles did. They called the multitude together and, allowed them to pick seven men. This multitude was to find men ( in their opinion ) that was ( of honest report ) ( filled with the Holy Ghost and wisdom ). Do you think that the multitude of disciples could make that call? I would argue; no they couldn’t! They were already disputing about worldly things. I realize that it doesn’t mean that they were all that way but we know, some were.

Second, can you see that the Apostles actually did the same thing they did when Judas had died and they felt they needed another apostle in ( Acts 1 ). If you have followed me through the teaching of Acts, you know that I do not believe the apostles had the authority to pick other apostles, only Jesus can do that. In that case, they themselves cast lots and prayed. It says that Matthias was numbered with the eleven apostles. ( Acts 1:26 ) However, he was not an Apostle. I covered that in the first segment of this study.

Here we see that they allowed ( the multitude ) to pick seven men, they laid their hands on them and prayed. I feel impressed to say something here. Just because we are ( born again ) does not mean we are ( filled with the Holy Ghost ). It doesn’t mean we have spiritual wisdom. In more cases than not; those two attribute of spiritual growth takes time to secure. Therefore, when we leave a responsibility of making wise choices up to ( what I would Call ) ( babes in Christ ) we open ourselves up to tremendous problems.

( In my opinion ) at the time we are speaking of, even to apostles could be considered ( babes in Christ ). Even they had a lot to learn before making wise dicisions. For example: when the disciples began to sell all they had and, bring the money and lay it at the Apostles’ feet; why didn’t they stop that act and, seek Holy Ghost wisdom in that matter? Can you see how spiritual patience can be an asset and, cause us to make wise choices?

Looking at these things; when we make snap dicisions on feelings or things that seen to be wise instead of allowing God’s Spirit to direct us, it will always create another problem down the road. In the case of Mattias as an apostle, how do you explain that later? In the case of taking the money from the disciples, how do you fix that problem once that money is gone?

As I’ve stated before, Paul became the Twelveth Apostle. We read his letters to the Churches as part of the New Testament. Within many of those letters we also read about how those Churches were giving money to the ( poor saints ) at Jerusalem. An end result to what happened in the first days of the new formed Church.

As we read and study God’s word, we must be realistic and, understand that every dicision made is not a decision directed by God’s Spirit. Now, let’s look at something here. When the apostles picked the two men to become candidates for apostleship in ( Acts 1 ),do you realize that; that is the only time their names are mentioned in scripture? When the apostles allowed the disciples to pick those seven men, do you realize that, of those seven; only Stephen and Philip are ever mentioned again? Does that fact mean anything? Maybe not, however, I still contend that the ability to hear God’s Spirit when he speaks to your heart and, a desire to yield to that Spirit is the most powerful lesson that any person will ever learn.

I’ll say a few things about and, how I see it relating to our Churches today and, we’ll close out this segment. I made mention of ( making snap decisions ) and, how they create problems down the road. I also mentioned that simply allowing ( Church members ) to make spiritual decisions can become a problem as well. Sometimes the it’s very hard to admit we made a mistake in our spiritual judgement. We also can call that pride. The Bibles says this:

( James 5:16 )

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

I realize we often like to apply this verse and, the ones around it to physical things in our lives however, when we make spiritual bad choices; we also become spiritually sick. I personally believe that our spiritual condition is basically what ( James ) is speaking of. For instance: what if the apostles would have looked out at the people and said: we made a mistake in spiritual judgement. We were wrong to allow you all to give us your money, we confess that to be a mistake. Then, ask the disciples to please pray for them that the Holy Spirit might help them to be seen as being wise spiritually from then on.

In that case, spiritual people will inderstand the earnest desire to be led by God’s Spirit and, become ( effectual fervent prayer warriors ). You can almost count on the fact that there will be those that will show who they truy are as well. However, in every person’s quest to learn and yield to God’s Spirit, we must be allowed to grow as we learn. That’s what ( the unity of the Spirit ) is all about.

( I believe ) that the way they chose to pick these men is still a problem in our Churches today. If you desire to go back to the Old Testament and, also search the New Testament, I want you to show me one place where God’s Spirit was left up to a vote to decide the outcome. We see it twice here in ( Acts 1&6 ). I see one other place in ( Acts 15 ) we’ll get to that a little later in our study but, even then the choice that was make was all about pleasing those that were involved in the voting. We see the same thing here in the next verses, the people were pleased and ( the Church continued to grow ). At our very best we are just sinful people, seeking to find God’s will. It’s a good point to be made here; when people are pleased that have a better opportunity to be in unity.

In closing, I believe in the local New Testament Church. I also don’t know that I can see the way we govern them as being spiritual, it’s more man made, ( People pleasing ) and that apart from seeking to please God through and by his Spirit.

As I seek to close this segment, I’m struggling about what to teach next. I mentioned Stephen as ( Acts ) continues to unfold however, I also see and, am burdened and impressed by the Spirit to teach about ( deacons and what a local New Testament Church truly is.

Therefore, for now, I’ll say the next segment will be ( as the Spirit leads )

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7


( Verses 19-20 ) But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, ( 20 ) Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

It’s been a while since I done any teaching in the ( Book of Acts ). I’m happy that I now have time to teach a little more about the beginning of what we call the Church. If you read the last lesson, you seen that the Apostles were thrown into prison because of their teaching about Jesus Christ and, the fact that he was crucified, then raised from the dead. They also announced to this world that he was the savoir, for the forgiveness of their sin.

We’ll attempt to look at the rest of this chapter in this lesson and, point out some differences that ( I believe ) occurred even by the end of the ( Book of Acts ). I truly believe that understanding the spiritual groweth of ( the Church ) from its infancy and, why God the Father, by the Holy Spirit allowed things to happened is paramount in our ability to grow to spiritual maturity even today.

As we look at ( verse 19 ) we see that the angel of the Lord went into the prison where the Apostles were being held and, the Bible says ( he opened the prison doors, and brought them forth ). He also told them to go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of life.

When we look at these two verses, we see what God can do, what he has the power and ability to do. When men believe that they have power, they are badly mistaken, even in the religious world. Notice, the Apostles had nothing to do with this. In this, event we see no mention of anyone praying for their release or even expecting it. However, if we look ahead a few chapters what do we see? ( Acts 12:5 ) Peter therefore was kept in prison; but prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him.

We won’t speak to much about this until later but, we see here that a little more responsibility is slowly being given to the Church. In ( chapter 12 ) the responsibilities of Apostle Peter are slowly changing and, we will began to see more of the Apostle Paul as the leader of the Church. As we watch the Apostle Paul, we will also see him in prison but the angel of The Lord never helps him to escape.

Also, if we look at ( Hebrews 11:32-40 ) taking special notice of ( verse 38 ) ( Of whom the world was not worthy: ) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and cave of the earth. Also,, if we read in the next two chapters of Acts we see a man named Stephen that was stoned to death for his stand for Christ. notice, the angel of the Lord didn’t save him from death, why?

In the process of time, according to secular history; all the Apostles would suffer, even die for their stand for Christ, even ( John the Revelator ) was exiled on an island. What we need to understand as we go through this is that ( the Apostles ) are laying a foundation for the Church. The Church, even today is built upon that foundation. ( Ephesians 2:18-22 ) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. ( 19 ) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; ( 20 ) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone; ( 21 ) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: ( 22 ) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

If we go back to the gospels and follow the life of Jesus Christ; we can see that he was protected against those that sought to kill him until the time; when God ordained for him to die on the cross. That foundation was an important part of the construction of ( the Church ). The Apostles, their lives, even their freedom, their ability to share the gospel as they knew it to the people was an important part of the foudation of the Church. In other words, the religious people or, even the enemies of the cross could not stop God’s plan. These men were not going to be killed or, inprisoned until God was finished with them.

You might asked; then why did Stephen have to die? God used his death to draw conviction on a man called ( Saul ). In the sense of ( worthiness ) although Stephen was not one of ( the Twelve ); his life and, death, his stand for Christ was a very important part of the unfolding and growing of the Church. The question might be. just how much are we, today willing to pay for the salvation of souls? Do we value our worldly bodies too much to offer it to be used for God’s glory?

Just how far can we take this? As we go through the rest of this chapter we’ll see that God didn’t send them out to an obscure place to preach. He sent them right back to the temple. They didn’t hide from the religious people of that day. God wanted it to be known that he was the one that set them free, he was the one that told them where to go and, he was going to protect them against any enemy. In other words, God stuck himself right in front of their face, He let them know; this is my Church and I’m going to lay the foundation for it whether you like it or not.

You can read the rest of this chapter and study it out but, I’d like to make a couple of comments before we answer the question; ( how far can we take this )? We see that once the council knew that the Apostle Peter was speaking in that temple again and, that no one knew how they got out of prison; they were, once again brought back before the council. The Apostle Peter is still preaching the same message. Within that message he is saying that it’s not them he is suppose to yield but, his responsibility is to God the Father.

In the last part of this chapter we see a man called ( Gamaliel ). He is a ( doctor of the law ) and he had a reputation among all the people. This man, speaking to the council makes the point that there have been other people that; evidently stood against the council and both of these perished and the people were scattered, their work came to nought. He says to just leave them alone. He also says a profound statement. If we fight against them, we will be seen as fighting against God, if this is of man, it will come to nought but, if it’s of God, we can’t overthrow it anyway.

It says that they beat the Apostles after they agreed with Gamaliel. They also, once again told them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the council rejoicing becauce the were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. Now, look at this. It says they were daily in the temple and, in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

I’d like to focus on ( the Temple ) and what happened within that Temple. Who was the owner of the temple? Common sense would say that the high priest and his people were part of the temple. However, we see that the council did not stop the Apostles from coming into the Temple and preaching what ( they believed ) to be truth. This went on daily.

So, to whom did the Temple belong? And, who controlled what was said within that temple? My point is this; how does that compare to ( what we call ) our Churches today? Is your local Church seen as a place that is open to various spiritual points of view or, is diverse spiritual points held back? We often speak harshly about the religious leaders of that day and, maybe we should but, they, under wise council at least allowed a completely different point of view to be heard within the Temple.

Personally, I believe that the high priest completely recognized to whom the Temple belonged. If you will notice; Gamaliel said, we will be found to work against God. Our Churches today ( indirectly ) without even knowing it, are not seen as owned by God. The are seen as owned by the people or, a religiuos organization or, sometimes; even the pastor.

Consider! If we trust the leadership of God as granted us by his Holy Spirit that lives within each born again believer then, what would there be to fear if a person was allowed to speak, even false doctrine in a local Church? Do we trust the Holy Spirit or not? Gamaliel understood that, whether he liked what was being said or not, they should not fight against God.

As time has moved foward from those days, the very power of God has been shut out of our Churches. Most of the members of our Churches would be afraid if he actually were allowed in. God, in his wisdom seen this coming. ( Revelation 3:20 )Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

In most cases, this simply goes without being recognized. Look at these verses ( Revelation 3:17 ) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; AND KNOWEST NOT THAT THOU ART WRETCHED, AND MISERABLE, AND POOR, AND BLIND, AND NAKED: ( 18 ) I councel thee to by of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

( 2Peter 1:9-10 ) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. ( 10 ) Wherefore the rather, brethren, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: FOR IF YE DO THESE THINGS, YE SHALL NEVER FALL: ( 11 ) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In both of these books ( Revelation ) and ( 2 Peter ) the verses are leaving doubt whether their salvation is real or not. Although neither one of these authors brings judgment upon the Church members, it is a question that needs to be answered by those that allow the very Spirit of God to be kept out of the house of God.

I hope I can make myself clear here. You see, when I say that Gamaliel understood the ownership of the Temple; I mean he knew that basically, any person that desires to share God’s word within that Temple had the right to do so. It’s all about hearing from God and not from men. Way back in the 1500’s I understand that often three or four men with different spiritual mindsets would speak each week on different days in the same Church. When we fast foward that until today, our religious mindsets have become so mainstream that any person that seeks to stray, even toward to word of God or, the Holy Spirit of God cannot even speak in our local Churches.

Therefore, the religious mindset of our Church leaders today is far worse that they were right after the ( Day Of Pentecost ). I’ve often made this statement: if you put five people on a T.V. program for an half hour, all with different religious mindsets. Give each three minutes to say whatever they choose to say. The person that is filled with God’s Spirit will always overpower the rest. The people that are listening will feel the convicting power as ( The Spirit of God speaks ) not the man.

Without many people ( Church members ) understanding it, that is what is being ( held back ) in our Churches. The people they pick to speak will always have the very same religious mindset. That protects all that ( they think ) they have.

I’m going to share this story and I’ll close out ( chapter five ). They tell me that any camel can drink enough water to cross any dessert. I can’t prove that but, this is the story. The problem is; the man riding that camel can’t. He needs water. The man has control of the camel because of the bridle he has on his head. That camel has a big ugly nose. If the man riding that camel will simply drop the reins and allow the camel to go where he chooses then, that camel will stick that big ugly nose up in the air and he’ll find water for that man.

The leaders of our Churches has control of the reins. The point of the story is that they need to drop the reins and allow the Spirit of God to take conrol. The water of the Spirit of God will begin to flow and salvation will be real once again.

The next segment ( Acts 6 ) The problems start!

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy !:7

ACTS 5:17-18

Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, ( which is the sect os the Sadducees, ) and were filled with indignation. ( 18 ) And laid their hands on the Apostles, and put them in the common prison.


As we continue our study in Acts, starting with these two verses, notice here that the high priest and, all that were with him ( being the sect of the Sadducees ) rose up in ( indignation ). This word means ( anger or annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment ). As we look at this verse, we see that the high priest was surrounding himself with the sect of the Sadducees. The best I can understand the Sadducees were involved in the politics, social events and religious part of Israel. Most of them were also business owners and fairly wealthy.

Would you mind explaining to me why the high priest would surround himself with these people? What was the responsibility of the High priest under to Old Testament economy? One of the first things I noticed about the Sadducees was that they did not believe or, they were not looking for a Messiah. I would say that the high priest, being the spiritual leader of the Old Testament and, knowing that the coming of the Messiah was anounced in the Old Testament could be considered an oxcymoron. How can those two things go together?

At this time in Biblical history and now, in our time in Biblical history much of the higharchy in our religious world has more to do with money, influence and politics than it has to do with the leadership of the Holy Spirit. When I say politics, I referring to the politics within the religious realm and not so much the politics of the world. However, many times and, in different ways they do clash just as they did in the days of Jesus Christ and the beginning of the Church.

When I write and teach I often try to relate the events of those days to what we see today. We see in the gospels a man called ( John the Baptist ). He was a forerunner of Jesus Christ. He preached ( prepared ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight ). He was the voice, only voice speaking of the coming Messiah. My point being, the religious people were concermed about the legal aspects of how people lived. They were interested in carrying out judgement on any that didn’t abide by their interpretation of the law, they never talked about the coming of the messiah. A lot of the people in Israel knew about his coming because they had studied and, were even expecting him. But, the religious leaders didn’t push that well known event in their religious ceremonies.

Do we not see somewhat the same thing today? If you are a member of a conventional Church, main stream denomination, when is the last time you heard a message devoted expressly to the rapture of the Church, instructing people to prepare for that day? Are we, in general more concerned about the social, political aspects of our Churches? Can you see how things, such as Sunday School quarterlys and religious teaching material, even for pastors set the agenda for the average Church and what they teach?

What was happening outside the control of the high priest and, those that followed him was, they had no control of what was being taught. The Messiah was being exhalted and, the message of his return was being spread abroad. Their desire was to stop that message and regain control of the people.

Let’s consider something here. What Adam lost in the Garden of Eden, Jesus Christ won back on the Cross of Calvary. In the Garden of Eden, God’s desire was to come down in the cool of the day and to commune with Adam. His desire was to have fellowship with man. If we take that a step farther; not only did he desire to fellowship with man but, he also desired for man to have the desire to fellowship with him simply because he desired to, not because he had to.

Therefore, God gave Adam ( a Law ) as in one law. He also gave him a help meet. Her name was Eve. Just to keep it short, they being one failed to keep the law. When we speak of having fellowship with God, it always has to be on his terms, In other words, the law had to be obeyed, if not God could not fellowship with man. In the terms of being born again, it’s not the believer that keeps that law but, our faith is in the ( Righteousness of Jesus Christ ).

From the time Adam fell in Eden until Jesus Christ God spoke to man through prophets. Or, he spoke to individuals and those individuals conveyed God’s message to his people. The problem with that system was then and, is now,men are frail and people won’t listen to man. That is even if what the man says is what God relays to him. In that system, it still has to be the desire of a person to surrender his will to God the Father. However, in that system men have to believe that another man is saying; is what God told him to say. This was what the high priest and sadducees were clinging to. Their desire was for the people to listen to and obey them. They wanted the people to believe that they were saying what God told them to say.

What has transpired is that on the day of Pentecost, every born again believer now has the Spirit of God within them. This means that the high priest and Sadducees have lost their power. The whole religious world has lost its power.

Now, even today we don’t have to take any man’s word for what God the Father says, he now lives within us and can direct our path without the aid of man. When men or people are willing to be used of God’s Spirit then we all might grow thereby but, we also have the ability to seek truth, to discern for ourselves what is right and wrong in a spiritual sense. It’s not left to a physical high priest, pastor or teacher to guide us.

Without being judgemental, as we look in ( verse 18 ) evidently the high priest, and they that were with him didn’t understand this. They thought they could lock the apostles up in prison and that would end the problem. However, not only was God’s Spirit upon them but, upon every believer.

The point is that when it comes to God’s will and how we find it, deception is real and, for a multitude of reasons. Most of which has to do with power and greed. There are many people that are caught up in that deception today just as it was in those days. I want you to look at this verse just to make a point. ( Acts 19:2 ) And he said uno them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

( I believe ) this is a part of what is being taught today. It’s not axactly the same and, I’ll try to explain why. If you will study ( Acts 19 ) at least what is being said here, you will see that these disciples were ( disciples of John ). John was the forerunner of Jesus Christ. He preached, prepare ye the way of the Lord. Therefore, all the people that believed his message believed that Jesus Christ was the coming Messiah. However, each of them still needed to be filled with God’s Spirit. That act began on the day of Pentecost. We see in this chapter that they gladly received the Holy Ghost.

In essence, when the people began to believe the message of John the Baptist, the high priest and those that followed him were beginning to lose control. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the dispensation of the Holy Ghost. But if they can keep the people from having that Spirit then, they still have a certain amount of control.

We see that same mindset today. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that there are many pastors and teachers that are caught up in it and don’t even know it. That’s because of an upper religious class of leaders that are pushing a false religion for fame and money. They have a worldly influence that is hard to detect.

Satan is a great imitator. He seeks to be exactly like Jesus Christ simply to deceive people. He is transformed into an angel of light. ( 2 Corinthians 11:14 ) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

I realize that what I’m about to say is not popular. However, it needs to be considered. There is a ( Christian religion ). It teaches about Jesus Christ and, even reads God’s word. The problem is; it is void of the power and convicting power of the Holy Spirit. It basically does everything that a true Church does and, it’s so close to the real thing that many get caught up in it, believing they are saved but, with great doubt.

For instance; a person goes down to an alter, they say they believe in Jesus Christ, they get baptized and join Church. If you ask them if they are saved? They’ll say yes but, if you push that issue with; are you going to heaven when you die? All they have, no matter how many years they’ve been saves is ( I hope so ). I realize that we always will have people that are saved and might have doubt about it. But, I’m also convinced that there is a false teaching within a lot of Churches that never teach the aspect of the true power of God unto salvation. This teaching draws me to my knees and drives me to write about this deception.

The greatest problem with this is the fact that, if we are deceived, we still stand before God alone. It is the responsibility of each person to ( make their calling and election sure. ( 2 Peter 1:10 ). Once we die and, being deceived about salvation, if we go to hell, it doesn’t matter where your pastor is, it won’t help you one way or the other.

The religious people of that day sought to stop the movement of the Holy Ghost. Why? Because they wanted power and all the control. They didn’t want to lose that. If you think those people are not here now then, my friend, you are deceived!

Again, I desire that you put thought into what I’m about to say. The teaching that ( believing in ) Jesus Christ is salvation is only part true. That’s not all it is to salvation. I’ll try to explain that in a little while. In Israel, the religious leaders wanted the Jews to think that ( keeping their law ) was ( being right with God ). That also was not true then and, is not true now.

If Satan can devise a system where people believe that simply ( believing in ) Jesus Christ is salvation then, he’s got those people. Look at this verse: Acts 5:18 ) And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. Compare that verse to this one: ( Revelation 3:20 ) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

In ( Acts 5 ) they sought to stop it by locking the apostles up in prison. It didn’t stop it. Now, in our day, they simply lock Jesus out of the Church. That being the Holy Spirit. In other words, Jesus is there in name only, not in power, the power to save to the uttermost is not present.

In ( Acts 5 ) the phrase was used ( the high priest and those that were with him ). Today we can change that to ( the religious Jesus and, those that push him ). In either case, they don’t mind what is taught or said, even using the name of Jesus; as long as their is no transforming power present. All of these people can say they believe in Jesus Christ. Judas Ascariot believed in Jesus Christ, where is he today?

Now, we can show a lot there concerning Jesus Christ and what he teaches about salvation. We can see it here in Acts and, we can also go back to ( John ) as see what Jesus is teaching about true salvation.

We must have the transforming power of the Holy Spirit along with our belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ to experience true salvation. Jesus could see this and, even taught it in ( John 6:53 ) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

You can read this whole account here but, what’s he saying? These Jews, just like their fathers before them were very happy to be fed with physical food but, basically none of them could see any need to change anything about themselves, they were very content just to have God look after them. If God, grants you your every wish from the day you are born until you die then, what happens once you are dead? Life actually begins at your transformation from what and, who you are into what Jesus Christ causes you to be once salvation is real. Without you, being willing to give up who you are and, become trnsformed into what God desires you to be the, ( you have no life in you ).

As we look in ( Acts 5 ) we see the transformation that Jesus talked about in ( John 6 ) slowly being understood, possibly by some of the same people that couldn’t see it then. In ( Acts 6 ) we still see some physical things taking place however, these people now have the Spirit of God within them. Spiritual growth is taking place. Although the apostles are locked in prison the people that are not locked up are doing things that pertain to the power of God.

Now, let’s look at what happened to the apostles and try and find a spiritual connection to what we see physically. ( Verse 18 ) And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.

When we consider what Jesus said and sought to teach in ( John 6 ) and what is now happening in ( Acts 5 ); I’m reminded of this verse: ( John 6:45 ) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

The need of spiritual teachers is real. When you consider any person receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and, understanding all about it without it coming with a teacher to help in the growing process, it’s almost unheard of. For anyone to simply pick up a Bible, begin reading, understand their need to be saved and, within their personal study, understand the teaching of the Holy Spirit is a tough call.

Therefore, although God’s true desire is for each of us to grow to the place we don’t need to be taught by man, the cradle of spiritual growth begins with spirit filled men, such as the apostles. Although each person had God’s spirit in them, God placed the apostles there for a reason.

When the high priest and ( the people with him ) locked the apostles in the common prison, it handicapped the growth of those babes in Christ. How many pastors and teachers today are ( locked in a common prison ) just in a different way? In any Church setting, if that happens, it will hinder the spiritual growth of the people, maybe even deceive them into thinking they are saved when they are not.

As we tie this verse to our lives today, this is what we see? The high priest and, ( those that were with him ). Let’s stop here for a minute. This must be understood. People do not have a will of their own, although we like to think we do. There is no middle ground, You are either led by God’s Spirit or the spirit of antichrist. Therefore, when we use the term ( high priest ) but he is led by the wrong spirit, it’s the same as saying ( the spirit of antichrist ). ( All that are with him are led by that same spirit ).

like I’ve stated before. The high priest desired for the people just to listen to and, be led by him. Is it not the same picture when we allow literature to be sent to every Church from the same place? When the pastor and all the teachers are using and saying basically the same thing? When this happens, the pastors and the teachers are locked in a common prison. The people suffer because of this fact.

I also think of the man with one talent we I say these things. We read this account in ( Matthew 25:14-30 ). In this scripture we see where men are given talents. The man with one talent went and hid it, never using it. Therefore when his lord returned he had not gained anything.

I see that mindset in our mainstream denominations today. It’s like we are afraid to be seen as wrong and, we would rather take someone elses word, calling that truth rather than to take the chance of being wrong. We preach, pre- prepared messages and use Sunday School books to teach what others believe to be true or, at least what they say.

What’s so bad about being spiritually wrong if, when we learn truth we are willing to correct what we said? Isn’t that education? The learning process? God the father would much rather me teach error but, have a mindset to know truth than, to never search for truth at all. God desire is to speak to each of us, create controversy in the persuit of truth. ( Isaiah 1:18 ) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

The true power of God is within his ability to teach, commune with each believer, to reason with me and you about ourselves. We see this plainly in ( Acts 5 ). These people were turning their backs on what they had been taught and were now willing only to allow God to speak to them.

Consider this; a lot of these people, having possessions sold them and gave their money to the apostles. Wonder why they didn’t do that to the high priest? The reason is, what they believed to be true leadership. Were they correct when they made that move? No they weren’t and, they will soon find it out. Growing spiritually in power is a growing process, it takes time and, we learn often though our mistakes. The apostles were not right to take the money and, the people were not right in the offering of it. However, they all grew spiritually because of their actions which was a great benefit to them all.

As I close this segment out, consider this; whether they were right or wrong, whether they act in ignorance or with complete understanding, they willingly done all they did to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ foward to the next generation. The question would be now, what are you, as a believer willing to sacrifice that it might move foward?

The next segment will be ( Acts 5: 19 ) and beyond. I love taking simple verses and building spiritual metaphors with what is being said. As I teach, you see what you think.

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7



As we begin this, speaking of the very ( power of God ), notice something here in scripture. Do you see the parenthesis behind the word people in that verse? If you will notice the next parenthesis is behind the word women at the end of verse 14. So, let’s write this whole phrase. ( and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. ( 13 ) And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. ( 14 ) And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both men and women. )

It appears that Solomon’s porch is adjacent to or connected to the temple. All these things that are transpiring is happening just outside the temple. If you will notice; it makes the point in ( verse 13 ) And of the rest durst no man join himself to them. I take that to mean that no one inside the temple or, of the religious sect joined them in what they were doing.

The power of God is where? It is within each believer and, within those that are willing to allow the Holy Ghost of God to be seen or, revealed through their flesh. The power of God is not seen anywhere else. If the power of God is seen inside of a Church then, it’s because there are people inside that building allowing him to be seen. Once those people are gone then, that building has no power at all. I suppose that we could debate that if a building is filled with people that are willing to allow the Holy Ghost of God to be seen then; if a person that is lost sees that power at a Church service. The next day that person rides by that building, it’s very possible that the very building might speak to him when he sees it or, thinks about that Church. But, even at that the power still rest within those that are willing to allow him to work through their flesh.

I’ve often pointed out that any building that is called ( a Church ) needs to speak. I mean by that; people that see that building should be reminded of their need to know Jesus Christ. If that kind of power is felt from a building then it reflects the people that are members of that building. That is the responsibility of the local Church, to draw people to Christ. If a building we call ( a Church ) doesn’t do that then it needs to be torn down or at least change its name to something else.

However,we can see here the significance of the people over a building, or a religious group of people. There is a building being built there. At this time the foundation is being laid. Look at these verses: ( Ephesians 2: 18-22 ) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. ( 19 ) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; ( 20 ) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; ( 21 ) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto and holy temple in the Lord: ( 22 ) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through his Spirit.

The first point I’d like to make here is that the people and the apostles in ( Acts 5 ) could not have understood all of this. If you will notice; it says that the ( apostles and prophets ). That is the foundation. It also says that ( Jesus Christ ) is the chief corn stone. The architect of this building is God the Father. He alone has the plans. I say this because; as we move through time we can see more and more of the Church that is being built. The prophets and apostles had a glimpse of what it would look like and, each person as time move foward can see more and more of that building.

It takes power to build a building, even in the natural sense. Often the people digging the foundation, that is ; actually doing the work have no idea what the building will look like, they are simple doing the work. Even in the Old Testament, the Church was being built. It’s been in the mind and heart of God from the foundation of the world. ( Revelation 13:8 ) All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

In that verse; the person being worshipped is Satan however,we see that ( the Lamb’s book of life ) is mentioned here and, it was there from the foundation of the world. It’s like, when God spoke this world into existance; the Church building was a part of that establishment.

We can take this as deep as you desire to go but, I’ll make this point and we will move on. Do you realize that in ( Acts 5 ) only eleven apostles are present? Remember, Judas is dead, gone to his own place. We also see that the eleven Apostles made an attempt to pick another Apostle. We looked into that back in ( Chapter one ). However, I can see, as far as teaching is concerned the need to mention it here. The reason being, the fact that these eleven Apostles are only working on ( what we could call ) the foundation of the Church. It begins with the Nation of Israel. All the prophets and the Apostles were men from the nation of Israel. Now, the very first members of the Church are also members of the Nation of Israel.

I love metaphorical pictures in scripture. I’m always looking for those hidden pictures. It’s not that the picture might be a perfect picture but, it is a way that God chose to reveal the Church in the Old Testament. I’ll also say this; just because I say, I see a picture doesn’t mean you have to agree with me. Each of us, as members of God’s family needs to allow God’s Spirit to reveal truth unto us as we study. It’s his Spirit that we follow and not any man in the flesh. With that being said, I’ll show you what I believe is a picture of what we see unfolding here in the first days of the new born Church.

Before we get into this. Do you remember who the twelfth Apostle was? Or, at this time in scripture, who he will be? At this time he hasn’t been revealed yet. If you will study ( Genesis 37 ) and chapters beyond we can see a picture of this. I’ll just give you some things to think about and you can study it out, see what the Spirit shows you.

As you read ( Genesis 37 ) you will see that the eleventh son of Jacob being, Joseph dreamed a dream. Basically the dream revealed that all his older brothers would bow to him, he; being the youngest. You will also notice that ( Jacob’s ) name has changed to ( Israel ). When Joseph revealed his dream to his older brothers it infuriated them. The very thought of having to bow to their younger brother was not something they were willing to do.

Joseph is a type of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. His brothers left him for dead, even told his father he had died. In reality he was taken by the Egyptians and he became the savoir of those Gentiles and, in the end, the savoir of his brethren as well. When his brothers came to Egypt for food, they didn’t even recognize him. However, Joseph learned that there was another born to his father after he was seen as dead. The very youngest son’s name was Benjamin. You can read about how he ended up revealing himself to his brethren and becoming their savior in the flesh.

However, the Apostle Paul, the man that was not seen at this time in ( Acts ) was a man out of the ( Tribe of Benjamin ). ( Philippians 3:5 ) Circumcised on the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrews of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

He was also, just like Benjamin, born out of due season. ( 1 Corinthians 15:8 ) And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due season.

In the picture, as we watch it unfold in ( Genesis ) you will notice that the Gentiles are actually saved first. It’s because of Joseph’s insight and wisdom that they have, even enough to feed Israel.

Now, let’s get back to the Church. Although the gospel was preached to the Jew first. When those Jews become saved they are members of the Church. As this whole picture unfolds, even to the coming of Christ to receive his bride in the rapture, it’s the Gentiles that are saved first, as being ( the Church ). Once that takes place, Jesus Christ also become the savoir of Israel, destroying their enemies with the word of his mouth. ( Revelation 19:21 ). At that time Jesus Christ set up his Kingdom, with his people, Israel.

I like this verse of Scripture and, I always think about it when I’m speaking of this. ( Zechariah 13:6 ) And one shall say unto him, what are these wounds in thine hands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

Jesus Christ told his disciples this ( John 10:16 ) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one sheperd.

Those other sheep are the Gentiles. The Church which has just begun will also have that fold within it. The Jews, at that time could not see that fold. Just as Joseph didn’t know he had a younger brother ( Benjamin ), thet didn’t know the Gentiles would be brought into their fold. The Apostle Paul is the ( Apostle to the Gentiles ) ( Ephesians 3:1-7 ). You can read those verses and see what I’m saying.

THe power of God is just beginning to be seen. Although it has its beginning in the Nation of Israel, on the ( Day of Pentecost ) it will reach to every man upon the face of this earth. ( Whosoever will ) shall be saved and, the power of the Holy Spirit will live within the heart of every believer.

Within that power, I’d like to make a point here or, expound on one that has already been made. Do you remember these believers making this statement? ( Acts 4:20 ) ( For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. )

Within that statement lies the power of the Holy Spirit. Look at this verse: ( John 9:25 ) He answered and said, whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, wheresas I was blind, now I see.If you will read this whole account you will see that Jesus had made clay and anointed this man’s eyes. This man gained his sight. He was in the village shouting it from the housetops with joy. The religious people were trying to belittle what had been done saying that Jesus was evil or things of that sort. This man had limited knowledge of Jesus Christ. However, he proclaimed, ( I was blind but, now I see ).

When a person allows the Spirit of God to move into his being. When the Holy Spirit begins to speak through a body of flesh; it’s not the knowledge or, how much we know that matters; it’s the willingness to share the few things we do know. Therein is the power of God revealed. When a person is born again, he or shes knows that there is something different within them. As they begin to share that change to others they might well be questioned about how much they know. They can say exactly the same thing the blind man said, ( this one thing I know, I was lost but, now I’m saved. That might be limited in knowledge but it’s very powerful words when led by God’s Spirit in power. Consider this: today the average Church member will tell you ( they hope they go to heaven ). They never say to sinners: ( this one thing I know ) ( I was lost but now I’m saved ). Can you see where the power of God is? No doubt, no hesitation. I”m saved, born again, great confidence in Jesus Christ and his finished work.

There’s power in knowing. I know what I seen, I know what I heard. I know I am saved. I know what I was and, what I am now. What can we glean from all of this? The true power of God is in the faith that what he says he will do. Can you see how what I said about Joseph, his brethren and Benjamin? How it might have been hard to see at that time but it can be seen now by those that seek to know? What the Old Testament concealed, the New Testament reveals. By faith, the children of Israel look for the coming Messiah. By sight they could see these things now. And, by the power of God, they hadn’t seen it all yet. They haven’t even met the Apostle Paul yet.

As you look at what is happening to the new believers here, can you see a picture of new birth? That as to a new born babe? The the new born Church, God is feeding them with what it takes to make them strong. What it takes to bring them to the point that they can walk by faith and not by sight. As far as the Church is concerned, at some point in the future it will have to be by faith, all together faith.

The Apostle Paul made this point to the Corinthians. ( 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 ) And, I , brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. ( 2 ) I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

The power of God rests in our ability to grow spiritually. The new born Church has to be able to do so. The point I’m trying to make is that, what we see in the first; basically eight chapters of ( the book of Acts ) is the new Church being given things that helps them to become strong in faith. However, as we move foward the menu will change, so to speak and, they will be required to live by faith and not by sight. When we refuse to grow up, either physically or spiritually we can be seen as carnal. We live in our flesh, satisfy our flesh and not our spirt man.

If you will look at the picture I tried to paint in the Old Testament ( Genesis ). The very youngest son ( Benjamin ) is where the power is. He was born right after Joseph, a type of Jesus Christ. We, as members of the Church, the body of Christ are born after Christ. He being the first born of the resurrection. Just as the powerof God was never seen in Israel, without God’s spirit; it can never be seen in our flesh either. It is within the second birth that the power of God is revealed. Although all these people were of Israel, they are now being led by God’s spirit to which the power of God is revealed. They, these people, believers in Israel are the very first members of thr newly born Church.

The power of God lives within each person that is willing to allow him to speak. Unless individuals allow the Holy Spirit to speak through their flesh, God’s power is not revealed. It’s not in a nation, not in a Church; that is unless individuals willingly allow God to be seen in them. Did you notice that these individuals went ( from house to house ). They didn’t go ( from house to Church ) or a building. The Church is not a building. It’s an living organism that many have placed in a storage unit we call a Church building.

The power of God is within each born again believer and, we must allow him to be seen above all. As we go through the next few ( verses ) ( chapters ) just remember; God, by his Spirit is feeding his Church baby food and that body is gaining strength to evangelize the world. Remember, they don’t have the written New Testament yet. As we go foward we must forget about our phyical needs and allow the Spirit of God to feed the spiritual needs of each of us and, we can spiritually feed the lost sinners of this world.

The next segment will be: ( Acts 5:17-18 ) THE GROWTH AND POWER CONTINUES )



Just how can this verse be taught? Let’s begin by recapping a few things. Just a few days ago, as far as these people are concerned; they seen 120 people come out of a room, all speaking in other tongues. They’ve heard the Apostle Peter preach with a power they have never experienced before and, because of the message felt great conviction. They also felt the power, of the Holy Ghost of God. They’ve seen such great love for Jesus Christ that people that had possessions sold them, gave the money to the Apostles, completely yielding their lives to the Holy Ghost they now possessed. They’ve seen a man and his wife caught lying to the Holy Ghost and die because of that lie. They’ve seen themselves with a power they could not even dream of just a while ago. A power to stand, look at the religious leaders of that time and tell them, we will not do less than God, by his spirit tells us to do, we don’t need your leadership any more.

They have even seen the Apostle Peter, simply speak to a man that was cripple, take that man by the hand and, that man, crippled from birth, stood up and walked, praising God. Something has changed in the world they live in. Even they are doing things they never dreamed they would do.

FEAR! Can I tell you what ( I believe ) these people feared? ( I believe ) they even give us this answer. This is what they said; ( Acts 4:18-20 ) And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. ( 19 ) But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, Judge ye. ( 20 ) For we cannot but speak the things which ye have seen and heard.

These people feared, not being pleasing to the Spirit that lived within them. I want you to see something in these verses ( I believe we are missing. These people are filled with God’s Spirit. Why? Because they have ( believed the report ) as they have heard it and seen it. Notice what the Apostle Peter says to the leaders. ( Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than God, Judge ye. )

The leaders were saying what they thought God wanted but, they were not filled with God’s Spirit. Now. let me asked you? Are you filled with God’s Spirit? If your answer to that question is ( yes ) then tell me; how can you prove that your spiritual leader is filled with that same spirit? You can’t! We far too often listen to people that we know nothing about what truly drives them. That’s what we should fear. If we know that God lives within our hearts then we need to be obedient to that spirit above all. These people might have been seen as completely ignorant but, they had wisdom to hear God speak above any man and. that my friend is wise, even for us today.

Sine I am born again I have no need to fear hell or the wrath of God. What I do need to fear is not yielding to the will of God for my life. If we were to paint a picture here; this would be it. For a long time the religious leaders of Israel had been leading Israel, but actually leading them in the wrong direction or, in their own religion as defined.

Now, since the ( Day of Pentecost ) God has filled those that believe with himself, his own Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Each person has the ability to hear God and move in the direction God leads that one person.

Think on this, there is not but one Spirit. Therefore, no matter what each person done or, where they went, the same Spirit led what they all done and, said. I think I’ve made this point before but, as we speak of fear I can see a need to make it again. At this time; not one word of the New Testament has been written. All they knew was what they has seen and experienced. Everything was seen as brand new. I relate it to a child and how a good parent would discipline that child. The Church is a new born babe and, God is disciplining it to be how he would have it mature.

Let’s make a few statements about this new born Church and, ( the fear ) they have as we call it. First of all, let’s consider Ananias and Sapphira. We don’t know whether they actually had the Spirit of God within them or not. All we know is that they both died for not being honest. Can you see how a child would see that act. If a man and his wife had three children and, one was disobedient to the point of harsh punishment, how would the other two see that as it unfolded? How would they react to what they seen? ( In fear ) that is; of what might happen to them if they are not obedient.

Second; they had no building. It wasn’t a situation where the people ( loved ) the building they ( worshipped ) in. We see in ( Acts 5:42 ) that they were in the temple daily but, they didn’t own it and they will soon find that out. They also went into ( every house ). If you consider that picture. These people were overflowed with the Spirit of God. Where ever they went, that was the subject to be discussed and shared. There was nothing else on their mind and, it was a continual preaching service and Sunday School lesson. If they were in the temple, they talked about Jesus Christ, if you came to my house, we talked about Jesus Christ, if I came to your house, we talked about Jesus Christ, if you and I visited a stranger, we shared Jesus Christ. And we wonder why our homes, Churches are so dead and dried up spiritually today!

Are you in a spiritually dead Church? Or, would you know it if you were? What would be a good way to tell if the Church you are in is spiritually dead? One of the first things we could point to is; what are people, members of your Church, including you standing around before and after Church talking about? What is the main subject at your house?

I pointed out something a minute ago. I made the statement that not one word of the New Testament had been written. Do you realize that what these people were doing is now part of God’s Holy Word? There’s a saying that I can see how we need to poin it out here. ( YOU, YOUR LIFE MIGHT BE THE ONLY BIBLE SOME PEOPLE WILL EVER READ ). Therefore, if your life, your voice; is scripture;what are people reading, hearing? So, let’s take this a step farther. We have the ability to read the actions of these people; we call it the word of God. Do people see you as more like Ananias and Sapphira or the other people mentioned here? Forget about their personal actions as far as the lie they told; what lie does people around you see in you? Does your actions represent what you say?

There’s another saying we hear often: ( I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT ME ). Well, these people ( FEARED ) what was seen and heard, how people looked at them. ( I FEAR ) leaving this world, not being pleasing to my Lord, the one that gave his all for me. I’m going to say something about my personal life here. Even as a believer; I haven’t always walk as I should. I’ll even say this: ( I LOST MY FIRST LOVE ) the joy of walking and talking with my Lord above all. A babe in Christ, a young man, much younger, spiritually and physically than I said this to me. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:22 ) Abstain from all appearance of evil ). At the time I was being seen in a way that did not bring honor to my Lord. The young man came to me in love, not in a judgemental way. I have never forgotten that, even now the Lord brings it to my mind accasionally.

What did I lose? I didn’t lose my salvation, I lost my ( FEAR ) ( MY FIRST LOVE ). Maybe I need to define those two terms as it relates to what I’m saying. ( THE FEAR ) of not obeying God’s Spirit. ( MY FIRST LOVE ). Gaining and using all the wisdom God gives and my walk with him. The people in the early Church and, even I didn’t realize that ( SATAN NEVER GIVES UP ). Let’s end this by simply making a statement. If the believers in the early Church, the people that feared; were members of our average Church today. Then they would look at the leadership and say, just as they did to the religious leaders of that day. ( FOR WE CANNOT BUT THE THINGS WHICH WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD ).

At that time, they could have said the same thing to me and, this young man pointed that out to me with one simple verse.

What is our fear today? What do you fear? Do you realize that the members of the average Church today fear ( DYING AND GOING TO HELL )? Is that one of your fears? Most don’t even have enough confidence in Jesus Christ to say ( THEY KNOW ) they are saved. They don’t have enough confidence ( TO WITNESS ) in his name, most never speak of him in Church or out. Most Church members don’t even consider hearing him or seeking his will. We are being motivated by the wrong fear.

I’ve mentioned in this study the need to grow from a babe to a mature believer. I also said that ( the Church ) in which we see here has to grow to maturity. Many people refuse to look at ( God our Father ) as being toward us just as a good earthly father is toward his own children. However, the Bible teaches us that he does. ( Hebrews 12:8-11 ) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. ( 9 ) Futhermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? ( 10 ) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. ( 11 ) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Let’s start with ( verse 8 ). We often see Church members basically live as they please without any thought of how God might feel about how they live. This verse might tell us why they can live like they live. Hove you ever been in a store and witnessed a child being very unruly to his or her parent, maybe using bad language to someone or, just not showing general respect? If you have, more than likely you probably thought, if that was my child, this is what I would do. However, it is not your child therefore, you don’t correct them.

Many people in our Churches can live and be like they are because ( God is not their father ). Satan is their father and, they are well pleasing to him. We see in ( 9-10 ) that our father’s in the flesh corrected us ( at their their own pleasure ). That means that they wanted us to represent ( how they thought ) well. However, God chastens us ( for our own profit ). Why? That we might be partakers of his holiness. Would you agree that it is actually the same reason? Just as you father desired for you to look well and represent him well; each child of God, if they are ( partakers of his holiness ) will represent him well.( Verse 11 ) says that being chastised is never something we enjoy but, what it yields is fruitful for us.

Now, as we go back to ( Acts ), looking at fear and, Ananias and Sapphira. Let’s understand first that God is setting a precedence. This to a body called the Church. In other words, It has little to do with Ananias or Sapphira and, more to do with the body of Christ ( the new born Church ). You might ask; was this act toward Ananias and Sapphira profitable to them, even in their death? To that, I would answer; didn’t they make their own choice? Can you tell me the exact minute you are going to die? Each minute you live; aren’t you making your own choice to whether you will give yourself to Christ or, do your own will?

My point is that ( the act ) carried out upon Ananias and Sapphira ( brought great fear upon the new Church ). God, by his Spirit is showing them the importance of what they are doing through chastisement of his children. Even as I write this, my heart yearns to show our Churches today just how blind we have become to God’s will and how he truly desires for us to be. Not as Churches but, as individual, born again believers, that are suppose to make up our local Churches.

Let me share two seperate verses in two different books with you, ( 2 Peter 1: 9-11 ) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Now, look at the next verse: ( 10 ) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: ( 11 ) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

What is he saying here? What he is actually saying is that if you say you are saved and, lack these things, then you should check up on yourself to make sure. He’s saying that if these are not in you, something is wrong. I want to play on some words here. In 2 Peter 1:9 ) he make this statement: ( hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins ). With this in mind; I’m going to show you the other verse. ( Hebrews 6:4-6 ) For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, ( 5 ) And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, ( 6 ) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame.

I can see how these things tie together. First, when Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary, ( every sin of every person that will ever live ) was ( purged ). Every sin was forgiven. Now, if we tie ( Hebrews 6:4-6 ) to this same mindset, what do we see? Any person that has the priviledge of standing in the presence of a preacher, preaching under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is blessed to learn these things. These people gain the knowledge that ( their sins have been forgiven ). We can also say this, they have been ( enlightened and tasted ) of the heavenly gift. They have stood right in the presence of the Holy Ghost of God. They have been ( partakers ) of the Holy Ghost. However, that doesn’t mean that they actually received Jesus Christ as their savior, although they had every opporunity to do so. They might have gone to the alter, said they believed, got baptize and, joined Church but, They never allowed the Holy Spirit of God to come into their hearts and be born into the family of God.

Let’s look at this. ( Hebrews 6:6 ) If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance. I”ll do this one section at a time. What is being said is this. Once a person gains knowledge and, rejects that knowledge then he cannot say he didn’t know, He can’t ( repent ) from knowing is the way it’s said here.The Bible says ( seeing they ( crucify to themselves ) the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame).

When any person learns these things. He learns he is a sinner. He learns that without Jesus Christ as his savior, he’ll spend eternity in hell, he learns or feels the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. However, for what ever reason; he rejects these thing. At that, they ( crucify to themselves ). It’s like saying ( I don’t care what he did, makes no difference to me, at that, they walk away.

I want you to consider a common mistake we all make. The Bible says ( judge not that ye be not judged )( Matthew 7:1 ) You can see this phrase some other places as well but, consider this: If I look at you and say you are saved, didn’t I just judge you? If I look at you and say: I don’t believe you are saved; didn’t I just judge you? We very often see people go down to an alter, make a profession of faith, get baptized and join Church. At that we say they are saved but, only God can see a the heart of man.

Basically, we, in our Churches today are not taught the true meanig os salvation or, what it is to be sanctified. Our Churches today claim to give us spiritual birth then, they leave us to spiritually die. That is because of the lack of teaching the lessons that the new born Church after the day of Pentacost. The average Church doesn’t even teach what true salvation is. In other words ( although many have the knowledge of Jesus Christ; they have never been purged from their old sin ). What the difference in ( old sin ) and ( new sin ) or, is there any?

This might be splitting hairs but, there is a difference. ( Ye must be born again ). Jesus Christ paid the price for every sin you will ever commit. However, you must have a starting point. That starting point is asking Jesus Christ to come into your heart that you might be saved. Now, look at this: ( old things are passed away ). When you are born again, who you use to be is gone. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold; all things are become new. Does that mean you will never sin again or, commit the old sins? No it doesn’t. It means that your life is not governed by those things now. Look at this verse of scripture: ( 1 John 1:9 ) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

You cannot simply confess your sin before you are born again and expect them to go away or, God to forgive them. However, once you are born again and, began to be lead by God’s Spirit then, when you do fall short all he expects is for you to confess that sin. What does it do when you, as a believer confesses your sin? It shows God the Father that you are not happy with that lifestyle. I shows him you are truly seeking his guidance and will, not your own.

I make this point because of what we see in ( 2 Peter ) ( forgotten they were purged ) and, also what we read in ( Hebrews 6 ) ( once enlightened ) ( have tasted )( made partakers of the Holy Ghost ). Far too often we judge a man to be saved and, our judgement is wrong. We can also judge a man to be lost and be wrong.

( FEAR ) is a powerful thing when it is understood and used in a Godly way. While we often are seen, by God as ( playing Church ) God is not ( playing ) with us. These scriptures bear that out and, we will be very wise to learn, just as they did in the early Church ( TO FEAR ) Move because of that fear. The fear here is ( showing respect ) understanding every possibility of how God Works or, at least paying attention to what happens around you.

I’ll show you one other point and we’ll close the segment. We see this in ( 1 Corinthians 11:30 ) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. I’ll point out another verse to support this one before we make a comment. ( Hebrews 12:8 ) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and nor sons. We’ve already looked at that verse but, it’s revelant to see here as well.

The word ( sleep ) here is used in place of what we would call dying. We see in in other places as well. However, here he is saying that because of the way some people live after they are born again causes them to be sick or, even die. In our flesh we always look at the death of people the same way. We never even consider the fact that, as believers, living an ungodly life, God possibly said, that’s enough, you’re coming home. You won’t listen to me there so, I’ll bring you home. It also says ( many are sick ) because of the life they live.

Here, in ( 1 Corinthians 11 we are speaking about the Lord’s supper. In these verse he is saying that many partake of it unworthly. What that means is that the life they are living does not reflect Jesus Christ. There’s a lot that could be said here but, it all has to do with fearing or respecting God’s ability to have his will carried out.

Just to make a point here. Many Churches, when they offer communion will offer a few minutes before you partake of the communion for you to pray, supposedly to confess any sin that you might have. Actually, that is not what it’s about. Confessing sin is on thing, repenting from a life style is a completely different thing. For any person to sit, just before they take communion and pray; does not reflect who they truly are. In reality, any person that takes communion should already be doing all they can for Christ, sold out to his will. When and, if you pray before communion; your prayer should be: ( Lord help me to do more of you will ).

Communion is just like baptism in this sense. You are saying, by your action that you are taking the very body of Christ within you. Since you have been baptized, you have already stated that you have died to your own will.

We do these things, both baptism and communion without any fear of God of all. We act as though God pays little attention to what we do or say and, we are sadly mistakened.

Do you realize that about every person that dies today goes to heaven? And that according to message preached at their funeral? Do you believe that? I’ll stand on the fact that even the Bible teaches contrary to that. Look at this verse: ( Matthew 7:14 ) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it. So, let’s talk about the death of people. I want to share some things with that possibly; you have never considered.

We’ll start with children. This is something ( I believe ) that means you don’t have to. The reason I say that is because I really can’t scripturally prove this. God looks after children, they are protected under his hand until they reach ( the age of accountablity ) What age is that? ( In my opinion ) it’s when you realize you are a sinner, you know right from wrong and, you know what you do is wrong or sin. We could take this a step farther and add this . ( John 3:36 ) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.

When we are children and, have not the knowledge of Christ or, know nothing of the need of salvation then, that’s one thing. God speaks to our hearts, he call us by his spirit to be born again. If we reject that call, from that point on in our lives, if we die then, hell will be our home. That doesn’t mean he won’t speak to us again. That is the grace he shows to each of us. If I use myself as an axample. I first felt the Spirit of God when I was about thirteen, I rejected that call and left Church just as I went in. From that moment on, if I would have died it would have been apart from God for eternity. His grace continued though. In about tweve years I answered his call for salvation. I also believe that if a person rejects him too long then he will stop that conviction and you will never be saved.

The whole point is that when we reject God, as lost people, we can die at any time. With that being said; when we receive Christ then we are again protected by God. If you can relate to this , consider; a child grows under the protection of God. Once that child feels conviction, realizes their need for a savior, they asked Christ into their heart. That means they are always under the protection of God. It’s when we reject him that should cause us to fear.

Now, let’s look at believers. What does it mean to be a believer in Christ? If we go back to the early Church. Remember, them saying: ( you do as you will ) we can not do less than what we see and know. Look at this verse: ( Romans 8:28 ) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

Can you see how that; if we are born again then our lives are for his purpose? Not our own? How much do you love God? That is; since you say you are saved? If we are walking with Christ, are we willing to be used for his purpose, even die or lose a love one if necessary for his purpose? Just because we love God does not mean we will have long life. It doesn’t mean we will keep our loved ones safe with long life. If we say ( we love God ) then ( we are called according to his purpose ) not our own.

We can read in scripture where Godly people suffered, even died for God’s glory. To me, that is the way to leave this world ( all for God’s glory ).

Then, it’s one other aspect of dying. What if you are carnel, you say you are saved but don’t even consider walking in Christ. Remember chastisement? Remember; many are sick and some even sleep? I believe there are people that do not know Christ. They; all by God’s grace, live long lives but, when they die; they spend eternity in hell. There are people that are born again that live in open sin, never consider hearing God’s Spirit. If that is the case then you can expect chastisement. It’s very possible that you will be sickly even die.

Look at the Church you attend. As I say these things, I am not a judge. I cannot decide who is lost and who is saved. However, we all can judge righteous judgement. ( John 7:24 ) Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement. If we see people that say they are saved but, they never seem to change anything in their lives, are they saved? We cannot say. However, if they continue as they are and, never seem to have any difficulty them they must not be children of God.

FEAR, causes us to change our direction. We all must stand before God. Knowing that we will face him, knowing he will return brings about sanctifcation in our lives. ( 1 John 3:3 ) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

There’s a lot to teach. We can’t do it all here but, you look at yourself. Do you fear God to the place that you seek to hear his voice and, do his will? What is your life about? Is it all about you or, pleasing Jesus Christ? How well do you know him? And, are you seeking to know him better through study?

If we look at what the members of the newly formed Church said. ( We can only do what we know and what we see ). Are we as babes in Christ the very same way? Day by day we learn and hear. The secret is to yield to what we see and hear! What we learn.


husbandman going to a far country


In the last segment I tried to show a picture of the difference in a man named ( Joses ) the Levite and how he, being a leader tried to set and an example for the rest of Israel. That was in the last verses of ( Acts 4 ). Right on the other hand, the first part of ( Acts 5 ) is about Ananias and Sapphira. They are a picture of Israel being and desiring to stay just as they were. No change necessary. They assumed that since they were God’s chosen people they automatically received the blessings from God.

I’d like to make a point here before we move on. How do you define the blessings of God? Do you realize that even the vilest of people have the natural blessings of God? In Many cases, they have money, they are well known and have very good health. That even goes for their children and family members. Right on the other hand, there are many people that are born again and seek to walk with Jesus Christ that are not so blessed in either of those ways I mentioned.

Just being a member of this world, grants each of us certain blessings and cursing from God in that sense. It’s just a part of being here but, we must remember that this world is not our home. We are here for actually just a short while. The true blessings from God are given to a prepared people and, true curses of God are to those that refuse to prepare thinking that they are blessed here and they are not. It’s not that we are not blessed, we are and, we should be very thankful for all that we have. However, whether we are highly blessed on this earth or, if we have very little it’s still important to prepare for eternity. ( Mark 8:36 ) For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

If you can see this fact and, like Joses, act on that known fact then, you can be considered blessed. However, many people, like Ananias and Sapphira actually believe that they have something in this world and, that worth clinging to. And that, to the extent that people will not listen to or, heed to the Holy Spirit that is designed to lead them.

Ananias and Sapphira were husband and wife. We see that in ( Acts 5:1 ) Within that verse we see that they are acting as one. The whole account about their actions are seen in ( verses 1-10 ) In ( verse 2 ) it says that ( they ) kept back part of the money. his wife being privy to that act. As a couple, they sought to have the same recognizion as Joses but, they were not willing to pay the same price. In ( verse 3 ) Peter pointed this out. I say; that every person that knew this couple, knew that, in a spiritual sense, they were not real.

They hung around spiritual people that had ( sold out ) to the will of God but, they themselves were not like them. Do you really think that if you, as an individual that claims to be saved, filled with the Holy Ghost but, you are not. If you hang around people that are truly born again. Do you truly think that those people can’t tell that you are not real? The Apostle Peter here just happen to be the spokesman that said what every other person already knew.

You can read ( verses 1-10 ) and see what happened to both of these people being, husband and wife and we’ll look at the spiritual aspect of it all a little later but, I want to look at the two from a husband and wife aspect here.

We don’t know what actually happened at home between the man and his wife before The husband brought this to the apostles do we? We know that what he done was not a secret kept from his wife because she knew it. So, let’s begin by looking at the way it should be. The husband is supposed to be the strength of the woman. He is suppose to be stronger and, she is the weaker vessel in the marriage. We see this all the way back in ( Genesis 3:16 ) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

This husband and wife knew this. Therefore, in a perfect world the man, Ananias would tell his wife we are giving it all and, she would simply agree with what he said because, he rules over her. However, let’s look at another verse in the Old Testament. ( Genesis 2:24 ) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. We see this fact in scripture before the fall of Adam and Eve. Even before God told the women she would be submissive to the man; he had commanded the man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. Also, do you realize that the Bible never tells a woman to do that? To leave her father and mother and cleave to her husband?

I say that everything in scripture is there to teach us, to show us God’s will for our lives and, to teach us our responsibilities as believers. In most cases we simply read over things and never put any thought into what it is saying and, we are not taught to look and see, to allow the spirit of God to instruct us.

I truly believe that in a general sense that a woman has a gift of seeing things around her and making wise dicisions far beyond what any man can do and, that by nature. If this is not true, why would it be a curse for a woman to have to submit to the man?, A curse to be weaker than the man?

A man, by nature, has his own will as well. Therefore, it’s the exact same thing, one no harder than the other. When a man has the responsibility to submit to our Lord or, a wife has to submit to her husband. When you look at it from a correct spiritual respective; when a wife and her husband both agree to walk with the Lord then, if the man has a dicision to make, he talks to his wife. She is completely submissive to his will however, she disagrees with what he is about to do. She, being a wise woman instructs him, helping him see the whole picture as she sees it and, he hears what she says and, allows God’s spirit to actually, in the end, make a wise choice.

While the man is commanded to yield to the voice of the Holy Spirit, he is never forced, by God, to do so. While the woman is commanded to submit to her husband, she is never forced, by her husband to do so. Both are to work as one, all for God’s glory. Each of them willingly submitting to the authority above them. In the sense that the woman is the weaker vessel to her husband. isn’t he also weaker that his elder brother, Jesus Christ? The Spirit that leads him?

What if a man marries a woman, takes her for his wife. Once they are married; the woman decides she wants to stay in the same town with her family but the man desires to move to another state? Remember the verse; ( cleave to your wife )? She doesn’t have to submit so, where does that leave the man? By the same token, if a woman is spiritual and, seeking a man that is yielded to God’s Spirit she would be wise to pay attention to who she chooses to marry because, he doesn’t have to yield to the spirit of God either. It’s the same with the man, be wise in the life’s mate you pick. That is, if both are seeking to be in the center of God’s will.

The whole concept of husband and wife, all the way back in Genesis is a picture of how a Church should be. The first focus should always be to listen to God’s Spirit, that meaning, every person. I’m going to tie the Church into this here as well because it so much alike. In a little while we’ll get back to Ananias and Sapphira.

Do you remember in the last part of ( Acts 4 ) the people took a stand against the leaders? They let the religious leaders know that they would not do less than what the word told them to do? The Bible says that ( they spoke the word of God boldly ). ( Acts 4:29 ) Can we say here ( the people ) ( the members of the Church ) took a stand and demanded the truth be stood for and preached?

Jsst how important is it for a wife to be sumissive to her husband? Jesus Christ, the bridegroom, where is he? He is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. To whom is given the power to carry out his will on this earth? Would that not be his wife, his bride, the Church? This group of people represent that power. At the sight of that power; Joses the Levite ( sold out ). He laid everything he had at the feet of the apostles.

So, Jesus Christ and, all he stands for is seen in this world by the Church being submissive to him. Here in Acts, that Church might be very small but, it is also very powerful because the members refuse to yield to the threats of religious leaders. They are in one accord, all determined to speak what they know to be truth.

The willingness of a wife to submit to her ( Godly ) husband brings about transformation in her children and, is seen by all that know the family. We call that a Church. So, the few people that are members of the new born Church are standing in one accord for truth. They are boldly preaching all they know to be truth and, the power of God is being seen. If we want to use a metaphor, the husband has spoken, the wife agreed and, as a team, they are bringing about a spirit filled family.

They are not willing to allow anything to stop what they are doing. If we look at this in the light of the ( religious leaders being the pastor of this newly formed Church then, the Church just asked their pastor for his resignation, we don’t need you any more. If you are not going to submit to the truth and, preach the truth as it is then, leave.

Let’s stop here and dig a little deeper. At this point in scripture, Jesus Christ just started his bride to be. The Church, the bride of Christ, just met their future bridegroom. We call him the Holy Spirit. I often say this. The pastor of any Church is the very mouth piece of Jesus Christ. He stands where Jesus Christ would be standing if he were here.

Therefore, within this picture, can you see the power of any young woman? Can you see that if that young woman stands, demands, will not settle for less, than perfection from any young man; can you see just how much power she has? That being even before marriage. The young woman can say, if you expect me to be your wife, to submit to you then; I’m going to have to see Jesus Christ in every part of you. What would that force every young man to do?

If every member of every Church took that same stand, what would that force every pastor to do? God gave that power to the woman but, once any woman sells herself for less than she is worth then, she gets less than she deserves. A Church, the wife of Christ is the same way. Once that Church settles for less then, their true value goes to nothing. The Bible in ( Revelation 17:5 ) says this: And upon her forehead was a name written. MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. You can study that verse out if you choose to; but truth is that the Church can become a harlot just like any other woman. It all depends on who that wife or woman sells herself to.

Ananias and Sapphira were husband and wife. What do we see in them? Eveything I said about a husband and wife, as far as Ananias and Sapphira is concerned is a mute point. Why? Because it’s after the fact. The truth is, the Church was not going to put up with what they were. In reality, and, in a true Spiritual filled Church, you cannot stay as you are. The very fact that you have Jesus Christ within you, changes you. The main and most powerful point I desire for you to see about this couple is this. ( THEY ARE BOTH DEAD ) and, out of the Church. I doesn’t matter whether we blame Ananias or his wife for the choice they made, they have no power. When we think we can stay like we are, refuse to ( sell out ), we have no power. The Bible says ( it first must be a willing mind ). ( 2 Corinthians 8:12 ) For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

If you are willing to be all you can for Christ then, God can use you just as you are because, as time moves foward he will mold you and make you in his own image. However, if you lie about even being willing then God cannot use you. I don’t have to try and be like any other person. I just have to be willing to be who I am and, allow God to change me at his will.

If we assume in this picture that Ananias was perfectly willing to completely ( sell out ) but Sapphira refused to do so, didn’t it destroy both? If Sapphira, the wife was willing to ( sell out ) but, Ananias her would not hear it. Didn’t it still destroy both? It’s exactly the same in any Church or family. If we are not willing to work as a team, both yielding to the spirit of God, we might do a lot of things but, where is God in it all?

The Church ( as we call it ) is the very same way. When we are referring to ( the Church ) we can say ( her power ) is solely based on ( her willingness ) to yield the the ( Spirit of God ) that lives within her. Let’s use a metaphor here. Let’s say that this Church truly desires to be seen as ( filled with the Spirit of God ). Would you agree with me that the very fact that a sign in front of the building and, has the word ( Church ) on it says something about what they should represent? However, the body of that Church, its members meet with their pastor ( privately ) and decide that are going to ( hold back ) part of what they could do. He, the pastor and, all the members are ( privy ) to the choice they have made. Therefore, they set themselves up and present themselves to others that are filled with the Holy Ghost. Can you see how that ( in reality ); that Church is dead? That is, as seen by those filled with the Holy Ghost and, by God the Father?

I often use this verse and, I will here. ( Revelation 3:20 ) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Here, Jesus Christ is speaking, not to an individual but, to the Church. We can use it as an invitation for salvation but, actually he’s speaking to the Churches. Often we lock the very Spirit we say we are following outside of our Churches by being like Ananias and Sapphira, holding back and not being willing to completely ( sell out ) ourselves for Jesus Christ. We will not allow the ourselves to completly yield to the Holy Ghost of God and, we stop any person that tries to speak with the power of his spirit.

There is no end to the teaching ability of the Holy Spirit as it relates to the word of God. I stand on the concept that there are only two enities that; God, a triune being; is concerned with. The first is the Nation of Israel and the second is the Church, the body of Christ. In both of these enities God desires that; as he speaks through his servant, a body of people yield to his will. Can you see how much more powerful many people can be rather than just one person?

I’d like to stop here and share something personal about me with you, the reader. My heart felt desire is to ( sell out ) completely to God’s will, God’s Spirit as I seek to teach. Often something will come to my mind as I’m writing and , I’ll stop for a while to ponder what it is and, if it is God’s Spirit showing me something or, if I should simply move on. As I wrote the last paragraph here about the two enities God is concerned about, that happened. Something pop in my mind that happened in the Old Testament to cause me to stop and compare the two events. Seeking to tie Israel and the Church together, by comparison.

After praying and considering, I decided to show you this and, allow the Spirit of God to show you whether you can use it or not. After all, isn’t he the true teacher, I’m just a vessel seeking to do his will.

I can see how this whole picture relates to what we see in the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Moses wrote the first five books in the Old Testament. Most of what I say here can be found in those books or, in the book Of Joshua. In the book of Exodus the whole nation of Israel was captive in the land of Egypt. They were slaves to that nation. That, in itself is a type of individuals being captive or slaves to sin. If you study the events in Exodus you can see that Moses was a chosen vessel unto God to lead his people out of bondage. That makes him a type of Jesus Christ, in that sense.

As you read through that, you will see that it was through and by the faith of Moaes that they came out of Egypt. The rest of that nation had doubts continually. They were weak. That weakness is a type of each of us being weak through our flesh. God’s desire was for that whole nation, every person to trust him completely in everything. Therefore, let’s call Moses the pastor of the Nation of Israel. Now, I’ll show you these two events. ( Exodus 17:6 ) Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock of Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of of Israel.

As we seek to show a picture here and, relate it to the workings of the spirit as it pertains to the Church, we must understand that the Nation of Israel is an earthly people with earthly promises. The Church is a spiritual people with spiritual promises. Moses here is listening to God the Father as he speaks and, the Nation of Israel is being physically blessed in the process.

At this time they needed water and, God supplied. At the same time that they were being blessed; they, as a nation could never seem to have the faith in God that caused them to come to the knowledge that God would be there for them. Because of that, they continually complained anytime things were not just as they desired them.

Here, I want to share something that Moses said earlier in his spiritual walk. ( Hebrews 11:24-25 ) By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter: ( 25 ) Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season:

Now, look at the next verse: ( 26 ) Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypy: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

Therefore, if we compare the faith and mindset of Moses to the rest of Israel; this is what we see. Moses was saying, if I perish without water, my faith is in God, even to my death. Moses put everything he had on the line. On the other hand, Israel was bound and determined to be stisfied in the flesh

Can you relate that to the picture of ( Joses ) and ( Ananias and Sapphira ) we see in Acts? Let’s take it a step farther. ( Numbers 20: 11 ) And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

Here, God told Moses to ( speak to the rock )( verse 8 ). Moses, in his anger ( smote the rock instead ). God still supplied the need of the people but, if you continuse to study you will see that it cost Moses greatly. The point is that it is very important to follow the leadership of God the Father by his Spirit as he speaks. That being, any pastor of any Church. Here we see that, although Moses was wrong, God still supplied. However, Moses never got to go to the promise land. If you will study; you will see that God took him home.

If you will read in ( Joshua 7 ) you will read about ( sin in the camp ) the story of Achan. God killed him and his whole family. We see this same type of picture here in (Acts 5 ). in both cases, God’s people stood for righteousnes and, God destroyed those that would do anything to weaken the power of God.

I say all these things just by way of teaching where and how the power of God is revealed on this earth. In the Nation of Israel in the Old Testament and, in the Church in the New Testament, God’s power rest on his people seeking to hear his voice and, seeking to stand firm on all that he says. When any man, pastor, teacher or, whole Church refuses to hear and obey God’s Spirit then, God’s power is dead. The Nation of Israel, the Church, any pastor or teacher are all spiritually dead if they do not speak as lead by God’s Spirit.

The whole concept of husband ans wife, whether it is seen in Ananias and Sapphira, the Church and Christ or, a man and his wife is without spiritual power if each is not willing to be lead by God’s Spirit. We can all look good as seen by this world but, to be to none effect as far as God and his will is concerned.

Israel began ( to play ) with the fact they were God’s people. We now play with the marriage of man and woman and, with the marriage of the Church with Christ. We, like Ananias and Sapphira don’t take our relationships in any one of them seriously. We like to speak of ( love ) in the general sense and, in all of these relationships. In the next segment we’ll look at this and see what moved these people.

We’ll call it ( ACTS 5:11 ) ( MOVED BY FEAR )