Category Archives: repentance

“Love Your Enemies”–A Radical Teaching That Leads Us to Perfection

Christ tells us to obey Him. We are to do what He tells us to do. He is our Lord, Master and Savior, after all. And then He gives us a seemingly impossible command: “Be perfect.”

And then the knee jerk response comes. “Perfect? That can’t be right. Nobody is perfect.” But why would Christ give us this command if it were impossible to obey it? Of course, that is the point. With man it is impossible, but “with God all things are possible.”

Still, Christ’s indelible words just won’t go away. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5: 48). This is not a perfection according to shallow man’s wisdom, but we are to be perfect like our Father. To make sense of this paradox, we must dig down deeper into Christ’s words.

“Be ye therefore perfect” is the command. The word “therefore” means “for that reason,” or “as a result of all that was just said.” So what was He teaching in the previous forty-seven verses of Matthew 5? Christ was teaching agape love, the love from above. He was showing how human beings think and do when God, the Spirit of Love, dwells fully within them. “God is agape love,” says the apostle John (I John 4: 8). Love solidifies the fulfillment of the seventh apostles’ doctrine—perfection.

It starts with us being born of that Spirit of love. Christ is teaching us how we will be when He is fully manifested within us. He tells us, “Love your enemies” (v. 44). Very few of us have what it takes to love everyone, especially those who hate us. So Christ is speaking of a higher love, a love that far surpasses our original self-love that we are born with.

Christ is introducing a radical new teaching, far superior to man’s feeble and petty thoughts for self. Instead of loving your friends and hating your enemies, He commands us to “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” He is telling us that when  we obey these commandments, we will be showing that we are the children of our Father, for we will be like Him.

Well, what is the Father like? Our Father “makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (v. 45). The Father opens the clouds of heaven with literal showers upon the farms of the hateful farmer and the loving farmer.

Our Father provides for both the evil and the good. That is the perfection of our Father. That is the Spirit of His perfection, the perfection that we are commanded to be like.

Understanding Why?

I know. His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. We would not do it this way. It is difficult to grasp this with the natural mind, and we are tempted to just skip these chapters. The apostle Peter before the resurrection is an example of how natural man takes care of business. He got out a sword and commenced to hack off the guard’s ear. Peter loved his friends but hated his enemies. Not good. Not God’s way. Peter would have killed all the evil ones and let God sort it out. But Peter did not have the Spirit of agape love at that time. Later he got a hold of God’s thoughts and ways, and the rest is history, which now has become our future.

What are God’s thoughts toward evil people and things? Why does He put up with the evil? Why would He desire us to love our enemies? It does not make much sense when viewed with the wisdom of the world. But with God’s wisdom…

Understanding How to “Love Your Enemies”

It is perplexing. How do we love and forgive our enemies and thereby “be perfect,” the offspring of the Father? The key is understanding that God created both the light and the darkness. That includes the literal light of day and the dark of night, as well as spiritual good and evil. God created our enemies and our friends. “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Isa. 45: 7). “And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” There were no unexpected accidents in the script.

For all of us, good or bad, play a part in the drama that He has written, directed, and produced. Like a play, the script has been written by the great Author of our faith. He knows all about the protagonists and the antagonists; He created them. He has instilled in us, His sons and daughters, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge as to what this life is all about. His law of harvest states that we will reap what we sow. Those who seek will find out the answers to the mysteries of His interactions with man.

It is when we see life as God sees it that we will comprehend the need for evil to help us display the power of His love in dispelling darkness. For love, agape love, overcomes every dark and evil force on earth. God created it that way. And when that divine love surges through us, then God is glorified. When we through the power of His in-dwelling Spirit of agape love–when we love our enemies, then Love triumphs over hate, and God is glorified. Then God will have reproduced Himself in and through us.

The Father receives glory, not through us saying, “Glory to God!” He is glorified when we with His love inside overcome the darkness by loving the unlovable, by loving our enemies. We must understand that evil serves as a foil for the love within us in this drama. It is when we overcome evil with goodness, and hate with love, that we gain a critical knowledge of just who our Creator Yahweh is. We must never lose sight of His eternal purpose; it is written into the DNA of every living thing. He wants to reproduce Himself. When we love our enemies, God is multiplied. And the only place that He has ordained for that to happen is inside of us.

Moreover, if there is no evil for His children to overcome and surpass through His agape love, then God cannot be glorified. For good overcomes evil as light dispels darkness. In fact, agape love is matured within us by confronting evil.

I know that God is raising up a people who will understand all of the above. They are the Father’s chosen ones, His elect, His sons and daughters. They will reject the doubters who say, “It is impossible to be perfect.” For they will know that perfection means the completion of the spiritual growth within them. Perfection means that the Word has taken root in their hearts and has grown to full maturity and is bearing 100 fold fruit as Christ and His apostles did. For Christ did say, “Greater works shall you do than what I have done.” His word has taken root in their hearts; now that is a radical idea. It is fundamental and a sure foundation.

And armed with this knowledge, they will see that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). It will dawn on these princes and princesses of God that “no idle word” proceeds out of the mouth of God. They’ll take this admonition to heart: “Let us go on unto perfection” (Hebrews 6:1-2). And they’ll learn that there is so much more to God’s spiritual house than the first two apostles’ doctrines–“repentance from dead works and faith toward God,” which are the first steps of “newborn babes in Christ.”

They’ll realize that they have received in their hearts the seed of perfection.  Christ is that Seed.  And now that Seed is growing, for “one plants and another waters, and God gives the increase.”  This growth is likened to a planted seed of wheat or corn.  It comes up, “first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.”  And then harvest will come when He will have been perfectly reproduced in us.  And we then in full maturity will have completed the life cycle of God.  And that is perfection.

God’s elect will realize this in the command: “Be perfect.”  For they will see these two words as His challenge to “overcome all things” and walk on down His road to the Heavenly City.  They will answer the challenge and embark on this quest for perfection.  Because He said, “Be perfect.”                 Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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The Importance of the Apostles’ Doctrine

The doctrines that the early apostles taught were Christ’s very own teachings. And Christ’s doctrines were the Father’s. Christ said, “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent Me” (John 7: 16). That is why they are so important to God and should be important to us.

The apostles’ doctrine is the foundation. Period. When Christ admonishes us to dig deep and lay our house upon the rock, He means for us to have that solid foundation of His teachings of truth, for He is the truth.

We cannot go any farther in our preparation to fulfill God’s purpose of reproducing Himself in us without these principles established in our hearts. This is the major reason that millions of mute professing Christians sit in the same pew every week for decades. Some feel stagnant, ossified, and stunted.  These beautiful and wonderful people spiritually grow very little, for they were not taught the doctrine of Christ, which are the teachings that the apostles embraced. The people in the pews hear sermons about Christ, but not messages from Christ.

At best, Christ’s teachings are not presented as a purposeful curriculum. Preachers accidentally hint around at a biblical theme, but precious few know where Christ wants us to go and how to get there. And yet, it is right there in the scriptures. His teachings are right there, written down in the Bible, but one needs the key to gain “entrance…into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ (Yahshua the Messiah). His doctrine is plainly laid out for us (Heb. 6: 1-2).

Millions of Christians have read the apostles’ doctrine, but without the compass pointing to God’s purpose, the knowledge of God becomes just another nice story, another promise of going to heaven, escaping the woes of this earth. Escaping hell and going to heaven—is that all there is?

No. Christ has promised that “few there be to find this way of truth.” That means that few will be seeking the “high calling of God in Christ.” A few will learn the apostles’ doctrine like the early apostles did. And these few in our day will do the “greater works” that Christ promised some of us will do. They are the remnant; they are the first fruits.

For there is a stark distinction between those on the milk of the word and those on the strong meat of the word. Those desiring the milk are little children spiritually; those on meat will grow strong and brave and will do the same mighty works that Christ did. That is His promise. And by doing what He did, God fulfills His purpose of reproducing Himself. But the strong meat can only be digested by those who have the strong foundation in the apostles’ doctrine. Only those who have studied and shared the milk of the word with the young ones coming into the body will grow into fathers of the faith like the apostle Paul. The apostles’ doctrine is Christ’s pure teachings without the old leaven, which is the error-filled doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees and Herod.

So, yes, Christ’s teachings are important. They are the yellow brick road leading to us fulfilling our very purpose in being here on earth, which is to glorify God. But here is an example of just how humble and great our God is. He will glorify us by filling us up with Himself first, and in so doing, He is glorified. When He will have multiplied Himself in us, then He will be glorified. You talk about giving and thinking of others. What Love!

In God’s Mind It Is Already Done

The key to implementing every step in our spiritual growth is this: In God’s mind and heart, it is already done. His work and purpose is already finished in us. He sees us that way, as already having all of His holy attributes. For He “calls those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4: 17). That is a good description of His faith in Himself and in us. Through His apostles and prophets, He has spoken prophecy about us. And He believes His own word concerning us and sees it as accomplished. That is His faith, which now is our faith since He now lives within us.

Take repentance from sin. Nobody wants to talk about that concept. Most preachers equate it to feeling sorry for the bad things that they have done. But that is “godly sorrow which leads us to repentance.” Feeling sorry is good but it is not repentance. Repentance from sin happens when we surrender our old heart, our old nature, our old self and let it die with Christ on the cross. “And he that is dead is freed from sin. Feeling conviction and sorrow and walking the aisle and joining the church does not constitute repentance from sin. For past sins keep rearing their ugly heads in a person’s mind. There is a remembering of sins, and one’s conscience bothers them, and they feel guilty and defeated again. It is only the blood of Christ that can “purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” These dead works are produced by a sinful old nature.

But here is the astounding thing. Our old sinful self, in God’s eyes, is already dead. He is just waiting for His people to believe it. He has reckoned our old nature dead, and He considers us alive unto Him. What we must do is believe it in faith, confess it with our mouth that the Father has raised Christ from the dead, and we then may begin to “walk in a newness of life.” Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him…Rom. 6: 6.

This walk is a huge part of the first two of the apostles’ doctrine: repentance from dead works and faith toward God. The apostles’ doctrine is not only important, but also vital in us fulfilling our destiny here on earth.  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Faith Is Believing What God Believes

We have been sent into this world by Christ to bear witness to the truth (John 17: 18). A group of young Christians asks us to speak truth to them. What would we tell them? We should be speaking to them the exact same message that Christ spoke, not a message about Christ. Big difference. In fact, Christ’s very Spirit should be speaking through us to that group of young hungry seekers of God. But what would Christ say? Rather, what should He tell them through us?

  1. Christ spoke of God’s eternal purpose, which is this: God is reproducing Himself. He is agape love, and He intends to multiply Himself throughout all eternity.
  2. He spoke of His plan to accomplish this purpose. He created human beings to be the medium by which He would accomplish this magnificent purpose. God plants His Seed/Son in our hearts, and that seed of Love grows into His Kingdom of Love and Righteousness, till “God be all in all.”
  3. His plan is laid out in the Christ’s teachings.
  4. His teachings are His doctrine (Heb. 6: 1-2)
  5. The early apostles made it their doctrine.
  6. And the early church continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine
  7. Repentance from dead works is the first teaching. Sin is the breaking of the 10 Com. law (I John 3: 4). To repent one reckons their old self dead on the cross with Christ, buried with Christ. Then belief in His resurrection in us raises us up in a newness of life (Rom. 6: 1-12).
  8. The rest of the apostles’ doctrine is faith toward God, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, eternal judgement, and perfection.
  9. We receive the faith of the Son of God when we believe.

Faith, the Second Apostles’ Doctrine

The early church were of one mind and one accord. And one faith. God’s faith. Like Paul said, “The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God…”

It is all about belief—“faith” and “belief” are translated from the same Greek word. They both mean believing having not seen. But when we think of “faith” we immediately think about our faith in God. What we need to see is that we are dead and our life now is His life; our faith now is His faith, His belief in Himself, and His belief that we are in a right state with Him.

For it is God’s faith in Himself that moves mountains. “With God all things are possible.” His faith in His own intelligence and power is the foundation of His divine nature that He has imparted to us. We are to add to this faith other facets of His nature that now resides in us. God believed in His own abilities and power before He saw the fruit produced in us according to His plan of Sonship.

It Is All About the Seed

Like every spring, we get the urge to plant a seed in the garden. We take a seed and place it in the broken earth. We do this by faith, by believing that it will spring to life and shoot up and grow and finally bear fruit. We believe that this tiny seed will bear fruit before we ever plant it.

This is like God’s faith. He believes in His Seed, His Son. He has faith that His plan will work; He knows that it will, for He has spoken it, and His word is that Seed, and it always comes up and grows comes to pass.

That’s the faith we now walk in! It is not our puny faith that we have to muster up out of our depleted reserves. It is His faith! It is all about believing what He believes! Hey, He believes in His Spirit that He has placed now in us. Now we can say, “It is no longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me.” It is the Son’s faith that we live by now! (Gal. 2: 20).

I believe that this is what those young Christians need to hear. Not some tired, old, worn out platitudes about Christ, used in the 19th  and 20th Centuries. Yesterday’s light was a needed candle back then. But now Christ has arisen in our hearts with a new powerful light that illuminates our path to the entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our” God (II Pet. 1: 4-11). Remember that yesterday’s manna is of no use today. Christ is now giving “the hidden manna” to the over comers (Ex. 16: 14-21; Rev. 2: 17).

Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Faults Are Not Sins

At this point, some may be asking, Why the emphasis on the repentance doctrine? Let’s get on to the resurrection of the dead and healings and miracles.

This we will do, but to get to the growth where God would entrust us with His power to heal and raise the dead like the early apostles, we must do what they did, study what they studied, learn what they learned, and suffer what they suffered. To get to the 100 fold growth, we must “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine,” the first of which is “repentance from dead works.” Then we will have fellowship like they had, and the breaking of the bread of life, and prayers, and fear, “and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.” The miracles came after they continued in the doctrine of  Christ.  (Acts 2: 42-47). This is after they repented and were baptized (v. 38-41).

Repentance is the cornerstone of Christ’s doctrine. He came preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” He also said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” No getting around it. His remnant/elect, the sons and daughters of God, His princes and princesses—they will know these doctrines backwards and forwards. They must know them and do them, for they are pre-destined to sit on thrones with Christ, judging the nations. If you and I want this, if we really desire to go all the way with Christ, then we must pay the price of admission and completion. And it costs a lot—like everything. Law school’s a must for lawyers. Medical school’s a must for physicians. And the school of the prophets is a must for God’s future apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. And a part of our basic education is understanding the difference between sins and faults.

Back to the Greek

“Sin” and “fault” are two different words in the Greek. The word “sin” is translated from the word harmatia (G266), 172 times. The word paraptoma (G3900) is translated “fault, trespass, offense, fall.” We see here two distinct words for two different kinds of offenses.

We begin our new spiritual growth cycle after receiving Christ’s Spirit in our hearts. This germination and growth begins by faith. We begin as little children with the new nature from God. And as in the natural, even though little children are sincere and delightful at times, they lack maturity. They mimic the spirit around them, be it good or bad. They are not perfect, and neither are we in our new spiritual walk with God. Our old sin nature is gone, thanks be unto God, but we are left with the task of repenting of our shortcomings. Our minds must be renewed and re-programmed through study of His word.

Repentance from Sins and Faults—There Is a Huge Difference

Not knowing the difference between sins and faults breeds doubts and fears in a Christian’s mind. Some will wonder and ask themselves, “Did I just sin? I feel bad about what I did. Was it  a sin?” The problem is that many followers of Christ mistake their faults for sins. This lack of knowledge causes them to forever keep themselves in chains of self-condemnation, and this stunts their growth in Christ. Many become discouraged. But to grow into the “fullness of Christ,” we must understand what faults are and how they differ from sins.

Sins are the fruit of our original sin nature we are born with. A sin is an action that breaks the Ten Commandments. As stated above, when we surrender our old nature to the death on the cross with Christ, our old sin nature dies along with the sin it produced. We become free because “he that is dead is free from sin.” Sin does not control us anymore In God’s eyes we are His sinless little children; He imputes His new righteous nature to us as we reckon it done by faith. Simply amazing faith and power (Rom. 6: 1-12)!

Delineating the Difference between Sins and Faults

Through belief in His resurrection, we receive a new nature, a law-abiding one of love. However, many imperfections in our character and make-up remain. God waves no magic wand for us. There is no “Poof!” that instantly transforms us into being perfect Christians.

We have many habits of thought and actions that are not pleasing to God. Before coming to Christ and His cross, we had our own thoughts that were programmed by the world and its thought-giver, the devil. Our old life was filled with habits of thinking and actions that still exist after our initial repentance from sin. And most of these thoughts and beliefs are in error. These make up the old leaven that must be purged after we come to Christ and are born again.

We are not talking about theft, adultery, false god worship, murder, stealing, hatred, coveting, etc. These are sins of the old nature that are repented of when we die with Christ on His cross. But after the sins are dead and gone, we still have many faults, shortcomings, trespasses and imperfections to be repented of. Note: If you still hate, steal, commit adultery, covet, then you still have the old nature and need to take it to the cross and surrender it to death.

The Divine Nature

The Spirit of Christ in Peter tells us that we are to grow in God in order to produce powerful fruit. We are called unto glory. But first, we are to partake of His “divine nature.” God has promised us “great and precious” things. But before this happens we lack certain aspects of His nature. As we begin walking in His footsteps, we fall short. We now have a new heart, but our lack of maturity in Christ produces trespasses and faults.

Peter says we need to add aspects of God’s “divine nature” to the faith we now walk in: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and agape love (translated “charity”). He says that these things operating in us will insure that we will be fruitful in the knowledge of God. With God’s divine nature within us, we will “make our calling and election sure.” These additions to our faith will also illuminate “an entrance…into the everlasting kingdom” of Christ (II Pet. 1: 4-11). Not having these seven additions to the faith operating in our Christian life is a fault, not a sin. For we cannot begin to add them until the sin nature is gone.

Lack of Patience

Some have said that losing patience with another person is a sin. But “patience” is an attribute of God’s nature. It is His patience that we must add. As new Christians we are still running on our old concept of patience, and we will run out of it eventually. “Losing patience” is a fault, not a sin. God looks on the intent of the heart. In this example we see someone who intended to be Christ-like, but there is a lack of God’s nature. There’s a lack of maturity. God’s patience has not been added to this new Christian’s nature.

As said before, spiritual growth does not happen with a snap of the finger, mystically and magically. Receiving God’s patience into our being comes with an overcoming on our part, for “tribulation worketh patience.” Patience is endurance, and going through trials develops godly patience.

Here’s an example of the difference between a sin and a fault. Christ magnified the law when He taught on this commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.” [“Kill” here is better translated “murder.”] The Spirit taught that the spiritual root of murder is hate. “And he who hates his brother is a murderer” (I John 3: 15). We as Christians have passed from darkness to the light of love, and we no longer hate anyone. We may become impatient with someone in our dealings with them. But this is not a sin; it is a fault. For the Spirit has not grown up in us to fully express the 100 fold love and patience of the Father. But we are headed that way in our growth. Big difference.

Finally, sin is a “nature” thing. It is in mankind’s original nature to break the Ten Commandments. That is why it is said that if you are guilty of one of the commandments, you are guilty of them all. To break them all is in that nature. But God has made a way to put to death our first sin nature. He replaces it with the “new man,” the spiritual nature that sins no more. But we lack maturity and still have faults and shortcomings to be repented of.

Why This Lesson Is Important

If a Christian believes that faults are sins, he will not believe this scripture: “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (I John 3: 9). He will say to himself, “I am born again and I sin.” And that Christian will look at his fault and call it a sin, and he will reject this passage because of it. And he will miss this precious truth. And his growth in Christ will be stunted.    Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Repentance from Sin and Faults–But What’s the Difference?

If we were to outline the apostles’ doctrine “Repentance from dead works,” it would roughly look like this:

I. Repentance from Dead Works

A. Repentance from sin

B. Repentance from faults

We see that this teaching of repentance is divided into two distinct categories that are very different in meaning. Most people do not know the scriptural difference. The denominations have their own definitions. There is much confusion.

Especially when it comes to sin. Some say that shuffling your feet on a sawdust floor is sin. Some say that sipping a glass of wine is a sin. Some say losing your patience and yelling at someone is a sin.

God looks at the intent of the heart and not the outward appearance of things like natural man does. Sin is the state of spiritual being that we are born with. It is based on the love of self and the ego’s unquenchable drive for self-aggrandizement. In essence, sins are the actions one does in the worship of one’s self.  Sin is selfishness incarnate. It is a spiritual state of self-worship and all that it entails. The scriptures say that “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3: 4). That “law” is the Ten Commandments.

“Thou shalt not steal” is a pretty plain commandment. One steals from another for selfish reasons. It is not to help the victim of the theft. “Thou shalt not covet.” This is desiring things that another has, including wives or husbands. This is sin. As you go down the list of the Ten Commandments, you see how the worship of the self dominates and thereby breaks every one of them. Self-worship is the root cause of sinning.

Love Fulfills the Ten Commandment Law

The law must be taken as a whole to be understood. Breaking the Ten Commandments is a state of spiritual being alienated from God, who is Love. The state of Love keeps or obeys the law.  The old nature of man wants and takes for himself. The new nature of Love gives to others. “Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13: 9-10). There is no law against loving others. But there are laws on God’s book against selfishness and the sin that comes out of it.

The old original Adamic nature that man is born with cannot keep the law, try as he will. But “love fulfills the law.” God’s Spirit of love does keep the law—inside us! The old nature we are born with cannot obey the law, for its nature is opposite of loving God and others. This is why the old nature must die on the cross with Christ. “The wages of sin is death,” so for the lost person, it is best to just die now (spiritually) and avoid the rush. Death is coming for all who have sinned, for all who have broken the Ten Commandment Law. Christ’s sacrifice as our sin offering has given us an opportunity to let our sinful selfish nature die with Him, be buried with Him, and to be resurrected with Him—by believing God’s word about Him.

The old nature is a sin nature that must die in revelation with Christ. This is how we repent from sin. By faith we receive an earnest of His Spirit in a new life in Him by faith in His resurrection.  God has given us a portion of His Spirit that is sufficient to change our lives from sin to righteousness. It is now that we can begin to grow in this new life He has given us. At this beginning stage we are spiritual newborn babes in Christ. And there are things to digest in the milk of the word given by God’s five offices. We learn how to do certain new things in our new walk, and we learn of old things that need to be gotten rid of.

These are called faults. These actions are not breaking the Ten Commandments; they are not sin. Children of God have them. These shortcomings must be repented of as they are revealed to us—if we desire to grow in God. Many followers of Christ confuse faults with sins. Faults are habits of thoughts and actions generated by a lack of knowledge of God’s plan and purpose. Faults in Christians are things in our lives that show our lack of spiritual maturity. [More on “faults” next time.]  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Repentance and the Spiritual Growth Cycle

The early apostles continued steadfastly in the doctrines that their Savior had laid out for them in the three and one half years that He taught them. We will do the same thing if we sincerely desire to walk in that same power that they did. The first teaching was “repentance from dead works” (Heb. 5: 12-14; 6: 1-2).

Our whole walk in God is all about the first of His doctrines, and then by extension all of them. All things have become new because we have turned from our old ways for self, and we have by God’s grace and mercy turned on to the path of Light.

Our new life in Christ is a life of growth. Our old physical life was one of growth to adulthood. Then sadly it is marred by decay and eventual death of the earthly body. The good news is that Christ has overcome death and has brought immortality to light. “Repentance from dead works” is a process in our spiritual life cycle that gets rid of the old thinking that brought forth death; it then takes on His thoughts that brings life.

Our new walk is a continuing development, much like a garden seed that goes through its growth cycle. We, too, are growing. Upon germination, we spring forth as a seedling through simply believing His word on all of this. Christ said that the kingdom growth cycle is like a man sowing seed in a field and the seed came up—first the little blade spearing its way to the sunlight, then it heads out, and then the grain fills out in the head and matures and dries, and then you have seed to be made into bread or replanted for a future harvest. “The seed is the word of God (Luke 8: 11).

Our life in Christ grows into new and stronger stages. Repentance must be accomplished at each level, in order to grow into the next stage. In other words, we must repent from being a seedling in order to eventually grow into a full grown plant with the strength to hold the fruit that the Spirit of Truth is bringing. For a seedling cannot bear–physically nor spiritually–the fruit that’s borne by a mature plant. It is just not strong enough. Besides, He said that He would not put on us more than we could bear.

Consequently, we as the seedling/children of God must repent of whatever is hindering us from growing into a mature Christian. “That we be no more children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine…” We must rather “purge out the old leaven” concepts that we brought into Christ. Errors about Him in our thinking taint the bread of life. Yes, Christ in us is the bread of life that spiritually raises those that are dead in their sins. We have the awesome responsibility to get it right. When we do this, the same spiritual fruit–the same love, joy, and peace that Christ Himself bore—will come, along with its power to touch lives around us.

A Continuing Process

This is not a “one and done” process. As in all of the apostles’ doctrines, many layers are to be unfolded. We enter into Christ by repenting of our sins through the cross experience in our own hearts. We die with Christ by believing that our old sinful nature dies with Him on the cross. And “he that is dead is freed from sin” (Rom. 6: 5-7). In God’s eyes our old life is already dead and gone, for He calls things that are not as though they already were (Rom. 4: 17). That’s an example of “the faith of the Son of God.” When we think like He does about the sin question, then we are free from sin and sinning. We then are ready to walk on by repenting of faults in our life. Sin is defined as “the transgression of the law,” the Ten Commandments (I John 3: 4). We cannot keep them on our own strength. Consequently, we rely on Christ’s Spirit that we receive by faith in His resurrection to keep the law. He is Love, and “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13: 10).

This is a continuing process. However, we are not talking about fighting the dragon of sin in our personal lives every day. There is nothing more pathetic than to see a long-faced pastor stand up and tell his congregation, “I am a sinner saved by grace and I always will be a sinner.” That’s his testimony. Are you serious? I am glad he is speaking for himself. We have all sinned—yes, in the past. But all are not sinning in the present. Has he never read what the Spirit wrote through the apostle John? “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him sins not: whoever sins hath not seen him, nor known him” (I John 3: 5-6). Wow! That is not harsh; that’s love speaking. Tough love. And it is time we wake up and smell the righteousness that comes by believing His word.

For we have died on the cross with Christ, and our sin nature died with Him. Therefore, sin has no more dominion over us (Rom. 6: 12-14). Settle it. Believe it. Once and for all. Furthermore, once sin has been repented of by believing in Christ’s resurrection in us, we are free to work on our faults. Our faults consist of erroneous thoughts about God and the bad habits they encourage.

I’ll close this my letter to you here. There is much to absorb. May Yahweh bless you with spiritual understanding. If you are comprehending what the Spirit is saying to us all here, then blessed are your eyes for they see. We simply must do what is necessary to grow into “the fullness of God in Christ.” That is the vision that He has for us—to become exactly like Christ. There—I have said it again. Next time we shall explore how to get rid of our faults. Once this happens, the sky is the limit!           Kenneth Wayne Hancock

[Be sure to order your free copy of my latest book, The Royal Destiny of God’s Elect. It explores our rich destiny as the princes and princesses of God. It is free with free shipping. Just send me your mailing address to my email:  wayneman5@hotmail.com   I will get it right out to you. You need this book if you are serious about growing up to be like Peter, John, James, and Paul and the rest of the apostles.]

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Vain Worship–The Opposite of True Worship

Truth is free from error, by definition. The Father is searching for “true worshipers.” Christ said, “The true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4: 23-24). You want to get God’s attention? Start repenting of error filled worship and get into worshiping Him in a true way, and He will definitely take notice of you. Because He is seeking out somebody like you–somebody who will get rid of the errors and get into the true way of worship.

Christ taught us that our worship of the Father must not only be spiritual in nature, but also full of truth and free from error. Since He is the truth, our worship of Him must be grounded in truth, or it becomes “vain worship.” Vain worship is fruitless, futile worship. There is no profit in it; it affects nothing. God tells us to repent of error filled worship. This is part of “continuing steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine” of repentance from dead works.

For vain worship happens when erroneous concepts about God are taught by the preachers, pastors, and priests. When natural men concoct doctrines out of the thin air of their imaginations, vain worship is born. “In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” They disregard God’s words and teach unregenerate man’s traditions (Mark 7: 7-8). Their imaginations become doctrines, and these talking points become traditions, and then finally these false traditions become commandments for the masses to obey. This is error-filled vain worship.

Some Examples of Vain Worship

Churchianity is rife with false doctrines. Its foundation lies rotting on the sand. They say that repentance occurs when a sinner feels sorry for their sins and accepts Christ as their personal savior. Sorrow for sinful past actions is a good thing, but “godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (II Cor. 7: 10). The sinner wants to change his ways, but the preachers won’t tell them how He effects that change in their hearts.

They have prospective Christians being baptized in water as a mandatory action before joining the church. But they don’t teach them that the real baptism happens when the old sinful self is immersed into Christ’s death. The sinner’s old heart and spirit must die with Christ and be buried with Him, and be raised with Him through belief in His resurrection. This is the truth that we should rejoice in and worship in! This is true repentance from sin. But does anyone ever speak of our escape from sin and sinning, symbolized in water baptism (Rom. 6: 1-12)? Sadly, no. We all should ask the preachers, “Why aren’t you teaching Romans 6? Just read it aloud to the people, and let the Spirit reveal His truth to those that can receive it.”

Then there’s the matter with being “born again.” They say that feeling sorry and “coming down to the front” in an altar call is being born again. But there can be no new birth without the old seed of man’s sin nature dying first. Christ said, “He that loses his life for my sake and the kingdom’s sake will save it.” There has to be a losing of one’s old sinful life before one can be “born again” or born from above, which is being born of that incorruptible seed, the word of God” (I Pet. 1: 23).

Furthermore, they teach that “faith” is us believing God’s word—accent on “us” doing the believing. They say to the young Christian, “You gotta have faith,” as if that person’s faith is a different commodity than the one that God has. There is only one faith; the Spirit in Paul made that clear in Ephesians 4: 3-5. The true faith is “the faith of the Son of God.” It is His faith. When we receive Christ’s Spirit we receive His belief system; we now possess in our hearts the very same faith/belief that Christ displayed in the gospels!

It is not, “I have faith in God.” But rather it is, “God’s faith now is in me!” Paul gives us the secret that he lived by: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2: 20). Paul was dead, yet alive with Christ living in his earthly body. And the life on earth that he was living, he lived by Christ’s faith. Nobody else’s. Notice that Paul did not say, “I live now in this flesh body because of my faith in God.” No.

Newsflash! The Spirit of Christ is not just living in apostles like Paul; Christ lives in our hearts, too!

We are told by Christ to worship the Father “in spirit and in truth.” But the Christianity of the churches lies seething in error taught today by their preachers, pastors, and priests. These false concepts prevent sincere Christians from worshiping in truth. You cannot worship God in truth if your mind is full of error. When we comprehend that the Father is the Spirit of Truth, then we will realize that no room exists for error in His house of worship. And we are His house.

His Love Is Greater than Falsehoods about Him

And yet, despite the false teachings about our King and Savior, His love still touches hearts. The story of Him giving up His earthly life as a ransom for us all reaches down deep into the core of our existence. When we glimpse that inscrutable, boundless love—the greatest love the world has ever heard of—it still pierces harden hearts and leaves an indelible imprint. Today, at this very moment while you read these words, Christ’s story is touching thousands in spite of all the false concepts and traditions about Him.

After all, He is Love Incarnate and is come down from above, filled to overflowing with abundant mercy upon all who opens their heart to Him. No matter the dastardly sin nor the craven crime, He will touch all who come to Him sincerely. Even as He prayed for His mocking torturers, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” That’s our King; that is who He is.

His love calls many, but He chooses but a few to fulfill the spiritual life cycle and be His elect; they are chosen to grow to full maturity during these latter days. When you read the gospels, you will hear Christ speaking to those destined to be “conformed to the image” of the Son of God. Christ does not dumb the message down. It is open to all; “whosoever will may come.” That’s the God we serve.

But He now commands us to learn of Him. Learn the true path, the uncharted narrow path that the eagle of Rome has not seen. The time has come to put away childish things—things that will stunt our spiritual growth, things that will prevent us from becoming like Peter, John and Paul, things that will block us from becoming fit to inherit the earth upon His return to this sad, corrupt globe.

When Christ returns to earth, little children of God will not be admitted into Christ’s inner circle where He will assign His manifested sons and daughters their duties for the rulership of the planet.

If we want to be one of these 100 fold over comers, it is time to put away the childish desires for oneself. It is time to seek Him and His purpose and plan and not material things that will all waste away. It is time to lay hold of the plow that will turn this world over, instituting His righteous government in its stead. It is time to quit playing church and begin to repent of the errors in our worship. For He is the only hope for the survival of mankind. Our destiny is to be used by Him to save the world. He is seeking a people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. When He returns, will He find us doing that?       Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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