Brothers and sisters! In your purification, do not bypass and leave even a single sin in your heart, however large or small they may be according to your measurement. The most dangerous sin is exactly that one which is considered insignificant and which, in our mind, does not count as sin. Exactly these little sins cause the people of God the greatest defeat.
Fornication, for example, is a terrible sin. Everyone is wary of it. Yet envy seems unimportant, no one is frightened by it, people are indifferent toward it. Yet the results are the same. With the Lord there are no large or small sins. Each and every lawlessness as well as each and every unrighteousness is sin, and the result is the same. "Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15).
Since most believers consider the "little sins" to be of little significance, these "little sins" are the most dangerous because they separate us from God; and not merely a few souls, but they lead many people of God into defeat.
Congregations exist whose believers commit no "big" sins but they have envy, pride, discord and quarrelling. And those are the most unhealthy congregations. They will receive no blessing as long as they do not cleanse themselves. In these congregations often things are so confused that neither the congregation nor even visiting ministers know what to make of it from the reports, for the net of sin has tangled everything so that it is impossible to find either beginning or end—everything is seized up with these "little sins." And whoever of the ministers is sent there—no one will be able to help: their sin has separated them from Christ and no minister can substitute for Christ with them. They need Christ, who cleanses them from their sins and after their purification promises them inner fellowship.
How many congregations are there in which the words of the Apostle Paul can describe the believers, "All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's" (Phil. 2:21).
Although Christ gave His life for our salvation, many seek and defend their own but will not give in to their brother even one iota. Therefore they themselves sin and cast others into destruction. They will have to give account for these. Believers belong to Christ, they have been bought with a costly price.
The Apostle Paul warns, "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another" (Gal. 5:15). About what kind of consuming does the Apostle Paul speak? Of this kind: if we enter into a quarrel and commit sin, we will perish if we do not cleanse ourselves, In a number of congregations of the ECB, in addition to these inconspicuous sins, open transgression of the commands of God and erring from the truth has become almost a common occurrence.
In some congregations believers are being married to unbelievers. As many marriages of this kind that there are, that is how many unhappy families and unhappy children there are as well. Almost all of these kind of marriages end with a break-up of the family and in the loss of salvation. In such marriages, no blessing of the Lord is available.
And how many Christians are imprisoned by greed these days! They are often friendly and tactful in relationships. One cannot reproach them for anything. The problem with these people is that they do not want to think about the fact that no greedy person has an inheritance in the kingdom of God (Eph. 5:5).
In some places the use of wine has become common. However, if the members of the congregation use wine, what shall the world do? We tell those who drink wine, You obviously do not see, brothers and sisters, the thousands of ruined families, the thousands who are sunk in sin and immorality because of wine, you probably do not see this social evil. But instead of reaching out a hand to these who are going lost, you, who are in the church, commit this same sin! No one of those who get drunk with wine, can be filled with the Spirit, and those who occupy themselves with intemperance have no inheritance in the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21).
Another common occurrence in the congregation has begun The dreadful sin of betrayal. Those who Call themselves brothers and sisters, for their own personal well being, give information about God's work, the children of God and what the ministers are doing, to outsiders. They are fully aware that this disturbs the work of Christ and leads to tribulation and suffering for thousands of God's children, as well as for servants of the Lord and their families.
A lesser sin rests upon Pilate, who delivered Christ over to death, than upon the traitor. "Therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin " Jesus said to Pilate (John 19:11). "Woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born" (Matt. 26:24).
And if they do not repent, all those who betray God's children and His work will perish. This is a conscious sin, and the traitors know that they are betraying innocent blood.
It is no wonder, brothers, that many hearts are filled with fear. With such a multitude of sins one cannot have fellowship with the Almighty, and without fellowship with God, nothing but fear remains. Fear is almost always the result of other sins that weaken our hope and rob us of our openness toward God. (1 John 3:21, 22).
The righteous do not flee but "the wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion (Pro. 28:1). Because the righteous person knows that God is with him he can say "The Lord is my helper" and «I will not be afraid what man can do unto me" (Psa. 56:11). "The fearful, and unbelieving ... shall have their part in the lake which bumeth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).
Yet who can enumerate all the conscious transgressions of, and all deviations from, the commands of God?!
I would like to remind you once more about the destructive work which the false teachers carry out on purpose. We see only the tragic results of their sin; ruined congregations, a dying brotherhood which has lost not thousands but ten thousands of God's children. And that, not because they have ceased believing in God. There are very few of those, but because of destructive sin and deviation they have become mired in sorrow and sin, they have ceased attending the services; and almost no one is seeking them, no one asks about them. And even those who still attend the services, one cannot be without concern for them for one more often meets those of whom it may be said, "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead" (Rev. 3:1).
Many, when they sin, think nothing of it, that they, if they are called Christians, dishonour the Name of the great, holy God and that, because of them, the Name of God is blasphemed among the nations. The sinner is frequently not the least bit concerned about the fact that he not only fails in the building up of the work of Christ, for which Christ gave His life, but actually destroys it.
Many today cannot bring the message of Christ to others because they crucify Him to themselves again (Heb. 6:6). They desecrate His body for the sake of their own pleasures, their own disgraceful passions, for their sins.
So then, everyone should think about their relationship to the Lord, examine his life, because "there is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Pro. 14:12). Therefore, we want to examine ourselves in the light of God's Word and consider that whatever our sin and wherever it has occurred, whether between husband and wife, whether between brothers and sisters or in other situations, every conscious sin results in defeat and leads to destruction.
Take any Scripture passage which warns about our responsibility for sins and you will see that both large as well as small lead to the same outcome. An example; the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, "Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:20-21).
Also, think about the fact that our fellowship with those who consciously stray from the truth, those who sin consciously, is also sin. Purification begins with separation, "Be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Cor. 6:17).
But do not avoid those who stray from the truth out of ignorance, be merciful to them and explain the will of God to them, for it is written, "Of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save withfear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh " (Jude 22, 23).
So then, what is to be done when the guilt for sin is so great and the mercy of God is so near? What must we do when the Lord desires our purification and He calls us to it? We must thank the Lord for it and accept His mercy and "Cleanse ourselves from allfilthiness of the flesh and spirit" (2 Cor. 7:1).
Beloved brothers and sisters! It is our prayer to God and our plea to you that all of you, after you have read this material, separate yourselves from every sin and all lawlessness, that is, forsake every sin and truly repent as is properly required. If you have sinned one against the other, then call on each other and be reconciled fully through repentance. Then go before the membership meeting of the congregation, one after another, and testify before all whether your conscience is free from sin.
This is necessary so that everyone experiences, not only your condition but also so that everyone may take note of you in reference to the evidence of your conduct, so that every sin may be removed and that your relationships with the believers may remain pure and above any suspicion. It is written, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another ..." (James 5:16).
If you have a debt toward the congregation, you must repent. If you have strayed from the truth, they may ask you, "How do you intend to behave in the future?" The Apostle Paul says, "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).
Today this is demanded by the body of Christ, i.e. the Church, this is required for the work of saving many thousands of souls. This is also necessary for the good of your own soul. Whoever loves the Lord will also gladly testify of his hope for the hundredth, yes, even for the thousandth time. It is only difficult for the one who trusts in the Lord merely with words to testify of his hope if, in deed, he makes the flesh his strength.
The Psalmist said, "I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people" (Psa. 116: 14).
Come therefore, speak with one another, build up close relationships, do not turn aside to darkness, rather walk as the children of Light; with simplicity of conduct be what you are; do not be distressed by your weaknesses; do not spare sin; do all things in love. Many live as though they are strangers to each other, even though they form one body. That is sin. We are children of one God; therefore purify yourselves, establish close relationships, close your ranks, for the time is evil.
Encourage one another in the Lord, and He will fill your hearts with the Holy Spirit! Also, give reminders about purification to those who have no fellowship, who do not attend the services, for this is sin (Heb. 10:25). Moreover, purification without fellowship is impossible, and whoever has no fellowship is in darkness (1 John 1:7). You must make every effort, that in every region, where the members of your congregation are living, all believers be members of the congregation, that they attend services and that they participate in the life of the congregation. It is necessary, in the process of purification, to examine and renew the membership.
In the days of purification it is necessary to pray continually, together with fasting, if possible. Pray for the purification, not only of one's own heart and the believers of one's own congregation, but also for the whole brotherhood.
May all those who have distanced themselves from the Lord through sin forsake these and turn back to the Lord through repentance, about which we all, like a big family of brothers and sisters in the faith. His old and young children, will pray to our Lord.
If it is possible, gather the disinterested, invite them also to purification. The angels in heaven rejoice over every sinner who repents!
In our brotherhood there are thousands of congregations. If, in every congregation, one would return, then thousands of lost sons and daughters would find the Father again. We want to pray for this, purify ourselves, and the Lord will attend to us abundantly.
Thanks be to the Most High God that He, out of love for us, warns us, admonishes us and calls us to purification. We are no exception. God is not a respecter of persons. If we do not confirm our calling and do not sanctify ourselves, then we also, the Evangelical Christian Baptists, when we sin, will, step by step, go astray from the truth and, in time, will ourselves change into a religious-worldly organization, as many organizations, which have nothing of Christ except the name, have already been changed. Therefore, may the will of God regarding sanctification be fulfilled by all His people.
Beloved, we know and are convinced in the Lord, that the call to practical deeds with regard to purification and sanctification will call forth joy and praise to the Lord in all true children of God. Satan, however, will react with rage. Do not allow yourselves to be discouraged by this! Stand firm in the truth, fight against sin, and you will see the salvation of God. Move forward and do not be afraid; for because many are still afraid to confront sin openly, it parades around and boasts of itself, that it hits the camp of God's people at its' most sensitive point. Yet, as soon as we take up the battle against sin, Satan hurries to intimidate us and we stop. We must, however, resist to the point of shedding of blood in our struggle against sin (Heb. 12:4). Then our victory is assured.
Beloved friends! Believe and do not be afraid, "resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). The devil has only one instrument against us—sin. Do not sin and you will be invulnerable!
Let us look to Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and let us work. Even if Satan has bruised someone in the heel, we still need to cleanse ourselves in the blood of Christ, remove the sting of sin and crush the old serpent's head, and oppose the whole power of the enemy.
Arise! Rouse the whole people of God for the battle against sin! Look around you: How many children of God groan because they are affected by sin! Thousands! Yet, are we able to help them if we ourselves are mortally wounded by sin?
Call on the Lord in faith and gain the first victory in the battle against your own sin. Remove the sting of death. Receive strength in the renewing of fellowship with the Almighty and go to save others! "If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works? (Pro. 24:11, 12)
Beloved! Today is the accepted time, and the Lord calls us all to purification and to sanctification. Today we may rejoice and thank God that we have a fountain for purification—Christ and His precious blood.
The return of the Lord Jesus Christ draws ever nearer, and if the first appearing of the Lord brought joy for sinners, so his second coming will be an overwhelming disaster for those who continue in sin and do not repent; because the second time, Christ will appear, not for purification from sin, but rather as unto salvation for those who wait for Him (Heb. 9:28).
Let us quickly forsake every sin and return to the Cross at Calvary so that we may be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and be cleansed from all unrighteousness, in order to be filled with His power, so that abundant blessings may fall on the entire people of God!
From now on we want to walk with our lamps burning, pursue that which is holy in order to be always ready for the Rapture. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen " (Eph. 3:20, 21)
Dear Brothers, dear Sisters! We greet you in the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ!
We do not know you personally, nevertheless, we know you through the blood of Jesus Christ, who, for His Name's sake, redeemed us and made us into brothers and sisters! To Him be glory and honour!
The Lord has laid it on my heart to ask you several questions: Are you being sanctified? Are you walking on the path of blamelessly fulfilling the Word of God? No doubt you remember well how your deeds were a month ago, a year ago, or even several years ago. Were your later deeds greater than the previous ones? Do you deal with life better today than yesterday? Have you grown more humble, more faithful; do you have more love, are you more dedicated to the Lord? Are your perceptions and desires growing holier each day? Does every day see you spending more time in prayer, with more of the power of the Holy Spirit, progressing in your knowledge of the Lord and in your service for Him? Does your fruit increase?
If you are not growing in all of these spiritual qualities, then you will not be able to advance on the road toward sanctification. You cannot stand still, even for a moment, otherwise you go backward. You backslide.
Jesus Christ said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matt. 12:30).
Remember this: "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have" (Luke 8:18).
Dear Friend! Whoever you are, a fellow worker in the harvest field of God or just a simple layman, we appeal to you in the Name of our Lord, examine your spiritual standing before Him. The Word of God calls upon us: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves" (2 Cor. 13:5).
Even David turned to the Lord and prayed, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psa. 139:23, 24).
When your way of life and your service take place in purity and holiness and in a constant spiritual growth pattern, then thank the Lord that He has helped you and protected you in your purity. However, so that you can truly see your real spiritual standing, the Lord calls you to self examination. For this purpose the Lord gave us His Word that is "sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discemer of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). He has given to us the Holy Ghost, who guides our conscience correctly, if we have become guilty before God or before our fellow man.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord has challenged us to call on you and not only on you, but on all the people of God, for the purpose of purity and for holiness, so that His beloved church will be prepared for His glorious return.
In the days of purification, free yourselves as much as possible from all peripheral activities and spend time alone with the Lord in prayer and in meditation on the Word of God. In these days it is of much greater importance than ever before to humble yourselves before God and to continue from this day onward for the rest of your life, as you have promised Him, to serve Him and until now, to examine your life. Remember that day on which you made your promise to the Lord! How your heart beat with joy in the knowledge that Christ is yours and that you are His. You gave over your whole life for His service. You witnessed before heaven and before the congregation, that from this day forward, Christ would be your life and that your whole character was founded on this, "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death" (Phil. 3:10).
You said that you have no other goal in life than to believe Christ, love Christ, know Christ and to acknowledge Christ before the world, whatever this may cost you!
Dear friend, are you fulfilling your promise? If not, what is hindering you? Pray to the Lord that He will help you to understand yourself and your spiritual condition in the present and to see the causes that are holding back the abundant flow of God's grace in your life.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will remove all impurity out of the very depths of your heart, and that what is hidden from human view will be revealed to you so that you purpose to cleanse yourself of your secret sins. David turned toward the Lord with the prayer, "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins" (Psa. 19:13).
Think about it! Only the Holy Spirit can answer our righteous desire to show us our actual spiritual position before God! You will not try to deny that, to the Christian, all spiritual unhappiness and backsliding reflect his personal condition and hinge on his personal relationship with God (Rev. 3:17-20).
Every Christian is unhappy, wretched, poor, and blind when the Lord stands before the door of his heart, if he does not live his life in holiness. However, if our heart is guarded in purity and holiness, Christ is with us—and with Him we find victory, joy, blessedness and abide in the Holy Spirit. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7).
If you are a youth, test how your spiritual life looks; what is it that interests and motivates you? The Apostle Paul wrote to the youthful Timothy: "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace ..." (2 Tim. 2:22). "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them." (1 Tim. 4:16).
Dear brother, dear sister! When you are bound by marriage vows, where then is your blessed inheritance? Are all your children, which the Lord has pre-determined for you, with you? Or have you, like the unbelievers—who have no one whom they can confide in and so, in difficult situations become afraid—set aside this blessing? But if your children are with you, do they know the Lord? Do they love people? Do they continue in the discipline and in the admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4)? Perhaps you have kept the knowledge of the Lord hidden from them. The Word of God calls believing parents to witness to their children.
"[That] which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments" (Psa. 78:3-7).
The most important possession which we can build up and which we must give over to our children, is our precious faith. "For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children" (2 Cor. 12:14).
If your faith is a precious treasure for you yourself, then you will want to bestow it on your children and not withhold this saving faith from them, but rather give all your energy and pray to the Lord that He will grant them salvation. For everyone always desires the very best for his children. However, if your faith has become a heavy burden for you, then you will scarcely want to offer it to your children!
Dear parents! Will your children, on that new day, be forced to stand outside and testify against you with tears? Is your salvation sure?
And if all in your family are believers, can others call your family a house church and name Christ as the Head of your family? Do you speak with each other on spiritual matters? Do you read Scripture together? Do you pray together?
Does peace reign in your family, alongside love, kindly affection for one another, compassion and respect? Perhaps, "bitterness, and wrath and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking ... with all malice" (Eph. 4:31, 32) still reigns among the members of your family? Or is your unity in any way based only on the pursuit after material things, which is idolatry (Col. 3:5), that is, the desire for more material possessions?
Does your house compare with that of the hospitable Gaius? Does it serve others? Is the Lord able to use it for His congregation?
Do you have peace with your neighbours? "Ye are our epistle ... known and read of all men" (2 Cor. 3:2,3). According to your lifestyle and according to your way of dealing with your neighbours, people will develop a picture about Christ. What kind of picture are you for them? Do you bring them the Light of Christ in a positive way?
Perhaps you have long since discontinued attending prayer meetings and have no fellowship with the children of God? Perhaps you have grown spiritually cold and have fallen asleep? Yet even to you, the call of God comes, "Awake thou that steepest, and wise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Eph. 5:14).
Dear friend! If the Lord is correcting your conscience and reveals a sin in your heart or any straying from the truth, then acknowledge this and repent before God. If you have offended any person, then you must also acknowledge your sin before them. Pray to the Lord that He will remove your false shame and fear. You must realize that the evil one always works to hinder our sanctification; however, God desires that we who are dead to sin live in righteousness (1 Peter 2:24).
While you are making a confession of your spiritual condition before others, perhaps also before the congregation, they will be able to ask you concrete questions and will be able to correct you on any of your actions. You should not simply accept everything which they may tell you, but rather, sincerely desire that they would draw to your attention anything that is unsatisfactory in your life.
You must repent and ask forgiveness of all whom you have offended in everything in which you are guilty. You must make a great effort and ask God to give you strength, to move forward and not sin any more. Do not try to hide your sin and do not harden your heart, rather, humble yourself before God, for, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble " (James 4:6).
We need to judge ourselves severely. Do not look at the fact that others sin and try to justify yourself with this; for your sin will not be washed away by the fact that others sin. We would remind you that everyone who sins deliberately or intentionally will be lost if he does not repent.
While many believers do sin, they do so because they do not pay attention to the Word of God and they avoid every part of Scripture in which the Lord speaks about the death penalty for sin. This is an extremely dangerous practice and constrains us to call you to cleansing from all known sin. Possibly some of you think that when we speak about sin we are talking about drunkenness, stealing, sexual immorality and other severe sins. But do you know which sins the Lord means? Do you not understand that those who commit sins like jealousy, anger, debauchery, hatred and quarrelling, will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Gal. 5:20-21)? Some of those who have departed from the Truth strongly support the indifference and carelessness regarding the warnings of the Lord and the punishment for sins and teach that grace toward and for them will cover all their sins, and they change the "grace of our God into lasciviousness" (Jude 1:4).
The Apostle Paul says, "Be not deceived" (1 Cor. 6:9-10). "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience" (Eph. 5:6).
Therefore, when the Lord admonishes you regarding your sin, then repent! Because your sin will be washed away by the blood of Christ only through repentance, for He pardons gladly and willingly! May these days of remorse and repentance be days of forgiveness and joy, for the Lord works all these things for sanctification, for fruitfulness and for joy. God will be with us and we will experience His rich blessings. We want to glorify Him and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Rev. 1:5-6).
Dear brother, dear sister, if you know brothers and sisters who no longer attend services and perhaps have forsaken their Lord, then be concerned about them as well regarding their salvation (James 5:19-20).
Encourage them to read this letter so that they will understand that the Lord is calling them as well: whether or not they would return to the Lord and abandon the way to destruction. May they recollect the warnings of the Lord (Jer. 2:19; Gal. 6:7-8).
In Love to you and with prayers for you
Your Brothers in Christ
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