Keith Hunt - Overcoming for NT Christians #2   Restitution of All Things
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Overcoming for NT Christians #2

All about what we must overcome to be saved

                        OVERCOMING
                         Part Two
                                    
                            by
                                    
                        Keith Hunt
                                    
                                    
              IS OVERCOMING ONLY IN THE PAST?
                                    
   Mr.Ralph Orr has written: "God is telling us that John knew
people who had already overcome Satan the devil. THEY DIDN'T NEED
TO OVERCOME. They already had overcome. Could that be said of you
and me? Yes, it can. In fact, God already has said it. He says we
already are overcomers. He says we have already overcome Satan,
this world and even our flesh.
   WE'VE OVERCOME ALL WE NEED TO OVERCOME TO HAVE ETERNAL
LIFE."

   Most of the above is indeed correct. We are overcomers when we
make the choice to set our minds to follow the call of the Lord
unto repentance, turn from our ways to serve and obey the ways of
God, to accept Jesus as our personal savior from sins, to leave
off living the life style of Satan, to come out of the
corruptions that are in the world, and to subdue our carnal
fleshly desires.

   I am a little disturbed by Mr.Orr's statement,  "They didn't
need to overcome. They already had overcome."
   This seems to imply overcoming is ALL IN THE PAST, no
overcoming in the present or in the future.
   I could be wrong, but I get a sense of the teaching of "once
saved always saved" being promulgated here. A teaching of
"everything was finished at the cross, nothing going on for
salvation in the present, it was all over when you accepted Jesus
as your savior."
   This teaching is a popular doctrine of some Theological
Schools and ministers. It is a teaching that being saved -
salvation - is an entirely PAST transaction, and leads into the
idea of "once saved always saved" theology.
   Of course many "scholars" in other Theological Schools of
learning, have blown to pieces the teaching that salvation or
being saved is only a past  transaction, one famous scholar to do
this comes to mind, his name is Herbert Lockyer. This man is
highly respected in theological circles of this world. I have a
full set of his books in my personal library.
Herbert Lockyer shows from the NT Greek and many passages of the
NT that salvation and being SAVED is a THREE FOLD ONGOING
PROGRESSIVE TRANSACTION - it is both PAST, and PRESENT, and
FUTURE.

   You really do not need a degree in theology to come to see
that what Herbert Lockyer wrote concerning being saved, is the
correct one. All you need to do is read and believe what God has
written in His word. I understood from a child that salvation was
a process with past, present and future aspects. I came to see
that just from reading my Bible. The very words of Jesus "he that
endures(overcomes) to THE END, the same SHALL BE SAVED"  clearly
teaches that  overcoming or enduring as a true Christian is not
ALL in the  PAST, but is also OUT PROM THE PRESENT INTO THE
FUTURE TO THE END OF OUR PHYSICAL LIFE ON EARTH!!

   Yes, we have overcome Satan, this corrupt world, and even our
carnal flesh. Yes, we are already overcomers. We became
overcomers when we first chose to follow the calling of the
Lord, when we chose to walk with Him in spirit and in truth, when
we chose to repent of sin, and set our mind to remember His
commandments to do them, when we chose to have faith in Jesus as
our savior and living advocate.
   But as previously stated: When we became in the past
overcomers, DID THE DEVIL, THE WORLD OF SIN, AND OUR CARNAL FLESH
VANISH AWAY TO BE NO MORE?

   I THINK NOT!  Satan, the corrupt world, and our carnal nature,
is still very much alive, and ready at the opportunity given to
pull us back into their snare of captivity and life style,
their "mind set" of deliberate willful rejection of Jesus, and
disobedience to the will and light and commandments of God.

   Satan is still as a roaring lion going about seeking who he
can devour.
   Is he still going after true Christians? You bet he is,
otherwise Paul had no need to instruct us to put on the whole
armor of God, so we could withstand the fiery darts of the
wicked one(Eph.6).

   We are still needing to PRESENTLY overcome Satan. We will need
to overcome him tomorrow, next week, next month, and in the next
years ahead of us, to the day we die.
   We are still today, at this present time, needing  to 
withstand the corruptions that are in the world, that could, if
we chose, pull us back into rejecting Christ, and deliberately
walking in the darkness of the habitual life style of sin. The
world is still with us today as it was yesterday, and will be
with us till Jesus returns to bring the Kingdom of God. We must
continue as overcomers to overcome the evil world, now, tomorrow,
and to the day we die.
   We are still having to withstand and be overcomers against out
fleshly carnality that is still a part of our physical nature. We
must still today and tomorrow and for as long as we shall live on
this earth, be overcoming the carnal pulls that say "being a
Christian is too hard, why don't you just give it up and enjoy
sin and living as you want" or "believing this Jesus stuff is
just mentally caging, give it up and be your own boss."

   Yes, we have in the past overcome Satan, the sin filled
world, our human nature. God has indeed said we have overcome.
God does say, as long as we remain faithful to Him, that we are
already overcomers. But Satan,the world, and human nature, are
still present with us, and will still need to be overcome  as
long as we are living.

   When we take our last breath, and have remained walking with
the Lord, remained with the heart attitude of David, then we
shall have ENDURED - OVERCOME TO THE END. 
   Then our victory we have now in Christ Jesus will be SEALED
FULLY AND UNCHANGEABLY, OUR NAMES CAN NEVER THEN BE BLOTTED OUT
OF THE BOOK OF LIFE - OUR CALLING AND ELECTION IS THEN
INDISPUTABLE, UNQUESTIONABLE UNTO THE GLORIOUS DAY OF THE
RESURRECTION AND ETERNAL LIFE.

          THE EXAMPLE OF SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO
                                    
   What a wonderful example of Christian overcoming these three
lads left us. Their story is found in the book of Daniel, chapter
3.

   At this time the Jews were in captivity under the power of
Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar.
   The King made an image of gold and set it up in the plain of
Dura. There was a great dedication day proclaimed and many people
of leadership and power were gathered together. It was at this
time of dedication that a herald cried out that: "At what time ye
hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp... and all kinds of
music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that
Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down
and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a
burning fiery furnace" (verses 5,6).

   So the people of many nations obeyed the dictates of the world
and society they lived in. The Christian reader knows that such a
decree by the world is CONTRARY TO AND AGAINST THE WAY, WILL, AND
COMMANDMENTS of the true Eternal God. The three lads Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, also knew this law of the king of Babylon
was opposed to the life style they were commanded to live by the
only true God.

   We are obviously entering the story of how these three Jews
would handle this situation, AFTER they had become servants of
the Lord. We are not told how old they were or when in the past
they had chosen to walk with the Lord, but the context shows they
were already God's children, already living in the truth and
light of the Eternal.
   At some point in their past life they had overcome Satan,
their carnal nature and the sin of the world. They were living as
overcomers, having the same mind set as ancient King David. God
would have already acknowledged they had overcome  and were
already overcomers.
   But was their overcoming all in the past? Was there any
overcoming to do in the present time as it came to them? Were
they "once saved so always saved" and the present or future
did not matter?
   They were living for the Lord now, yet what about tomorrow?
Could they not make a choice to stop following the will of the
Lord, were they now robots? Or were they expected to face each
temptation to reject the way of God as it came to them?

   The King of Babylon was wanting people to live a certain way,
practice habitually what was a sin as far as the Lord was
concerned. The King wanted the people to set their minds in
a mode that was against the way and thoughts of the true God.
   The leaders of Babylon wanted the Jews who served the Lord, to
abandon their religion which was founded on the revealed truth of
God, they wanted them to cast it aside, and live in open
rebellion to what they knew was the light of God's word and
commandments.

   The three Jewish lads were faced with a choice - obey the
dictates of the unsaved corrupt world, and turn around and walk
in the opposite direction to the way God was going, or withstand
and overcome the PRESENT situation by remaining faithfully true
to the will and way and commandments of God.
   They now had to choose - would they remember God's
commandments to do them, or turn back and follow the mind set of
the world?
   IN FAITH - WITH FAITH FOR VICTORY - they determined to press
forward as before, remaining on the pathway they were already on
- keeping the victory flag flying as before, continuing to be
overcomers as they already were, staying with the life style of
the Lord as revealed by His word and commandments.
   They had already set their heart attitude as that of David,
sometime in the past, and would now at this juncture in life that
they found themselves in, choose to not waver from it, but even
if it cost them their lives they would sooner "die in the Lord"
than turn from the truth given them.
   This situation was not for them a weakness of the flesh,
stumble from the perfect way of the Lord into a one time sin.
   THEY WERE BEING ASKED, COMMANDED NO LESS, TO GIVE UP FOLLOWING
THE WAYS OF THE TRUE GOD!
   They were expected to renounce the truth they had had revealed
to them, walk away from it, reject the true God, set their mind
on a new course of habitual life style action, and practice
willful deliberate sinning.
   If they had given in and changed back to living for Satan, the
world and their own carnal flesh, they WOULD NO LONGER HAVE BEEN
OVERCOMERS AND THEIR NAMES WOULD HAVE BEEN BLOTTED OUT OF THE
BOOK OF LIFE!

   You can read the rest of Daniel 3 for the inspiring outcome of
what happened to those lads as they continued to be overcomers in
the PRESENT.

          MANY THINGS COULD MAKE US QUIT BEING OVERCOMERS
                                    
   We have seen one example in the lives of Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego, that could determine for us that we will
deliberately reject the truth of God, and turn to walk and live
in continual sin and darkness.
   There are many other ways Satan, the world and carnal human
nature could, if we will allow it, turn us from following the
truth and way of God as revealed to us in His word and
commandments.

   The three Jewish lads were commanded by the world to commit
idolatry and reject the way of the Lord.
   Satan can use many forms of IDOLATRY to get us to stop
overcoming in the present and turn away from God.
   Anything that comes between us and God is idolatry. It could
be a job that must be given up or not entered into if we would
follow the truth of the Lord. Possibly you are working as a
stripper for a night club when called by the Lord. You will have
to give up that profession to live the way of God. Or if you are
under financial stress and have children to support, when someone
offers you the job of being a topless waitress for BIG money,
then to stay as an overcoming Christian you will have to resist
the temptation to take the job, and look to God in FAITH to
provide for your physical needs.
   Maybe you are in line for a huge promotion in your company,
with great dollars to go with it, but you will have to work two
Saturday mornings a month - no way out of it at all. Then to
remain as an overcomer in the Lord, you will have to make a
decision in the present NOT TO ACCEPT the job promotion.
   It could be a person or persons that would take you out of
being an overcomer. Your unconverted mate wants you to stop
following the truth and faith of God. Your mother or father will
give you a million dollars but only if you turn away from serving
the true Lord, and His way of life. Some nice guy or gal, great
in every way except they are not interested in God's way of life,
will marry you but only if you renounce your faith in the
Eternal. Under all the above situations a decision in the present
must be made. You have overcome  in the past. God says you are an
overcomer, but now in the present you can if you choose, turn
away and stop living God's life and be overcome again by the
world and Satan and human nature.
   You are born into a family that runs a drug ring, money is
everywhere, all physical things you can have. One day you can
inherit leadership of the drug cartel, then the Lord
calls you to His truth and way of life.
   You are faced with making a decision. Will you accept the
calling of the Lord? Will you choose to overcome the pull of the
sin of the world? Will you choose to overcome the desires of
carnal human nature and Satan? If you choose LIFE you will have
overcome. God will call you an overcomer.
   As long as you stay in the right heart attitude and mind set
of the Lord you are an overcomer.
   But 10 years later you hit bottom financially speaking,
children need hospital care costing ten's of thousands of
dollars. You have no house to mortgage, no health insurance to
cover the cost, no rich friend to help you out. You job does not
pay that well and your wife works in a factory for minimum wage.
   Who comes along at this time but your nephew who took over the
drug cartel you could have inherited. He offers you a partnership
and lots of money to solve your problems. Ah, it's decision time
again. Will you give up the way and life of the Lord? Will you
return to the world and Satan? If you make the choice to continue
in LIFE, to continue to follow the path and truth of God, you
will have OVERCOME in the present not just the past. God will
still keep your name in the book of life, it will not be blotted
out and you will still be considered as an overcomer.

   Your husband is killed in a car crash by a drunk driver and
you are angry at the Lord for allowing it to happen. You make a
cool mental choice to stop serving the Lord and return to the
world. You have stopped overcoming and your name is taken out of
the book of life.
   You know the truth of God about the Sabbath command. You have
proved it over and over again during the last 30 years you have
kept the 7th day holy. You were an overcomer 30 years earlier
when it was revealed to you the 7th and not the 1st day is the
Sabbath, and you decided to follow the truth of God. But now
today, in the present, a preacher comes along who tells you it
does not matter if you work on the Sabbath at your regular job if
you must, for God will understand, and you are under grace and
the New Covenant today, not the Old Covenant. You really know
better but it sounds kind of good, and it sure would help your
present job problems and money troubles, so you make a decision
to leave the truth of God and follow this false prophet. Your way
of life as a mind set, in some practices, goes back to the world
and Satan.
   You were a one time overcomer, God said you were an overcomer,
your name was in the book of life, but NOW in the present and
future you have(as long as you continue in that mind set) NOT
OVERCOME, but have BEEN OVERCOME by the world, human carnality,
and Satan.

   You are blessed with certain entertainment talents - singing,
music, acting, sports etc. The promoters, talent scouts, business
managers of T.V. and the Movies are on your heels, after your
abilities, knowing you could be a "great one."  At the same time
God is calling you to His truths and way of life. To accept the
life of fame in the entertainment world would mean breaking the
Sabbath command, doing what you are told, when you are told and
sometimes HOW you are told, by those in control of your
abilities. You know it would  be impossible to serve the Lord and
at the same time serve the world and its demands(I do not
mean by this example that it would not be ever possible for a
true Christian to be in the entertainment industry - with God all
things are possible).
   You make a deliberate choice to choose the promoters of the
entertainment world and their dictates above the calling of God.
You did not get off of first base with God. You reject His call.
You did not overcome! You never even started the race. Your name
is not entered into the book of life, as you willfully refuse the
voice of God and chose DEATH above LIFE. You never overcame.

   But suppose you did accept the calling of God? You rejected
the prying and pulling and sweet talk of the promoters and
managers to make you  into a "supper star" if you followed
their dictates. Then you did at that specific time heed the
calling and truth of the Lord, you did overcome the world. God
said you overcame, and you started along the road of true
Christianity. Your mind was set to follow and serve God in His
way of life as outlined in His word and commandments.  Our heart
attitude was as the great King David of ancient Israel.
Five years go by and you have tripped up into sin, you have
fallen short, missed the mark of perfect holiness, you have
sinned in thought, word, or action. You did not want to, your
desire was not to sin, you wanted to keep all of God's
commandments, but at times human nature and Satan working on the
law of sin and death that was still within our body, pulled us
away from the law of our mind that wanted to serve God's law, and
brought us into, for a time, the captivity of sin(Romans
7:13-23).
   You did at those times, acknowledge your sins, you confessed
them, you knew you were a sinner. You went to God in humble
repentance, asked Jesus to intercede on your behalf as
your High Priest, you asked for mercy and forgiveness (1 John
1:8-2:2; Heb.4:14-16).
   Because your heart attitude and mind set is to follow the way
and commandments of the Lord as your basic practice and life
style,  God does have grace and mercy, your sins are forgiven and
washed away by the blood of the lamb. Your name remains in the
book of life, just as David's name did when he sinned and
repented. God still says you are an OVERCOMER!

   Five years has gone by from the beginning when you first
accepted the Lord's calling and overcame. The managers and
promoters have not forgotten you, they are still remembering
your talents, they know that if you would come under their domain
and dictates, if you would give yourself over to them, serve them
as a mind set and way of life, they could still make you into a
world class "supper star."
   So they call you, send letters to you, wanting to rule and
manage you into stardom. More and more pressure is exerted on you
to accept their offer to come over onto their team, to leave the
way of the Lord and follow the lure and pleasure and fame of the
world.
   You have a CHOICE to make! You know that to follow and serve
the promoters means you will have to break the commandments of
the Lord, to reject the truths of God, to turn your back on Him
and walk the other way, the way of darkness.
   You are in the position of our three Hebrew lads of Daniel
chapter three. If you set your mind to serve the world, you
reject God and His commandments, your name is taken out of
the book of life, you are NO LONGER an overcomer BUT HAVE BEEN
OVERCOME by Satan and the world.
   If you choose to remain faithful to God, His way of life and
His commandments, you CONTINUE in the PRESENT to be an overcomer.
Your name remains in the book of life. If you continue to walk
with the Lord to the end of your life, you will have ENDURED TO
THE END - OVERCOME TO THE END and will be SAVED INTO THE KINGDOM
OF GOD.
  
                    SOME DID NOT OVERCOME TO THE END!
                                    
   Turn to first Kings and chapter three. Verse 3 tells us that :

  
"Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his
father..." He had come to the place where he now sat on the
throne of Israel to rule and guide them. Read Solomon's words to
the Lord in verses 5 through 9.
   What an attitude! Humble, repentant and submissive. Surely an
attitude and mind set that God would look to as we have seen in
Isaiah 66:2. And it was indeed so. The Lord was very pleased with
Solomon and his heart.
   He not only would give to Solomon understanding and wisdom of
the way of the Lord, but also that for which he did not ask -
physical wealth like no other ever had before. Read the book of
PROVERBS and the book of ECCLESIASTES. Truly Solomon came to
know the truths and ways of the Eternal God of Israel. He came to
know the commandments of the Lord.
   See what is written in the last two verses of Ecclesiastes:

     "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God,
and keep His  commandments: for this is the whole of man. For God
shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing,
whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

   Solomon STARTED  OUT well - as someone who did OVERCOME! He
overcame his human nature and the world to ask for the wrong
things. He asked for the right things. His attitude of mind was
pleasing to the Lord. God gave him the mind of truth and right 
knowledge. He did walk with the Lord as his father David did. God
looked upon Solomon as an overcomer.

   David overcame to the end, his heart remained faithful in its
desire to serve the Lord and His commandments.
   Would the heart of Solomon be as David's? Turn to 1 Kings
chapter 11.
   
   Let's begin in verse one: "But king Solomon loved MANY STRANGE
women... Solomon clave unto these in love.....and his wives
TURNED AWAY HIS HEART"(verses 1-3).
   Notice verse 4, "For it came to pass, when Solomon WAS OLD,
that his wives TURNED AWAY HIS HEART AFTER OTHER GODS: and his
heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, AS WAS THE HEART OF
DAVID HIS FATHER."
   Read on with verses 6, 9 and 10.
   Solomon did EVIL as a life style, his HEART - mind set - did
not go FULLY after the Lord as did David his father.
   Solomon's heart was TURNED AWAY from the Lord. God had
appeared to him TWICE and had corrected him concerning his life
style of going after other gods. Yet Solomon DID NOT KEEP THAT
WHICH THE LORD COMMANDED!

   Solomon had overcome in the past, he had been called by God an
overcomer! Then at some point in his latter days, when he was
old, he allowed idolatry to come between him and the true God.
Satan, the world, and human nature PULLED at his heart attitude
regarding certain commandments of God. His strange wives turned
his mind away from God and His truths to following the dictates
and practices of the unconverted world.
   He did not it would seem overcome and endure walking with God
to the END as did his father David. Solomon turned away from the
truth he knew and started to walk in ways of darkness.
  
     Turning to the Mew Testament we see examples of those who
knew the truths of God, started out on the correct pathway, were
originally overcomers, but swerved and turned aside to again
follow the corruption of habitual darkness and sin in the world.

   Turn to 1 Timothy chapter one. Let's pick it up in verse 5,
"Now the end (goal, purpose) of the commandment is charity (love)
out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith
unfeigned (sincere). FROM WHICH some HAVING SWERVED HAVE TURNED
ASIDE unto vain jangling. Desiring to be teachers of the law;
understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm."

   Paul knew of some who had started out well, accepted the
calling of God, had walked the life style of the commandments of
the Lord, had overcome, until and up to a certain time in their
lives, then their attitude of mind, set a different course of
action. They willfully TURNED ASIDE from the light of truth and
started to live a life contrary to the will and commandments of
God. They turned unto VAIN JANGLINGS of the world.
   Oh, you will notice, they wanted to be recognized as teachers
from the Lord, claiming they were teaching the law of God in its
purity, but Paul said they DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE TALKING
ABOUT!
   Many people   are doing that very same swerving away from the
truth of God unto the goo-bady-goo of the world, TODAY! Many so
called ministers in the Church of God, are today, turning aside
from the truth they once knew and taught unto teachings of the
lost world. They still want to teach people and be thought of as
ministers from God, yet they are walking in darkness and have
lost their understanding of the truth. They are no longer
overcomers!

   Notice what Paul later in this chapter said to Timothy: "This
charge I commit unto thee that thou by them mightest war a good
warfare; HOLDING FAITH (enduring to the end - continuing to
overcome in the present) and a good conscience; WHICH SOME HAVING
PUT AWAY concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is
Hymenaeus and Alexander "(verses 18-20).

   Here Paul mentions TWO people by very name that HAD PUT AWAY
AND MADE SHIPWRECK their faith!
   They had started out as overcomers. They had in the past
overcome. They had been recognized by God at one time as ones who
had overcome, they had had their names written in the book of
life at one time. Now their names were blotted out, for they had
turned aside from the light of the truth of God, had put away the
faith they had, made a choice to turn from the word and
commandments of the Lord and had chosen to set their minds to
follow the way of Satan and the world of sin.
   They had chosen at one time to overcome the world, board the
ship of victory, set their sails to the wind of the Lord, head
for the land of promise, but at some point along the journey,
they willfully chose to put a hole in the bottom of the ship and
sink it to the depths of the sea.
   At that point in time they stopped being overcomers and were
then overcome by Satan, the world and human nature.

   Writing to Timothy in his second letter, chapter two, he tells
him to STUDY(verse 15), in order to rightly understand God's
word. He tells him to shun vain babblings as it will be like a
cancer. Two individuals are named who had departed from the truth
by teaching false doctrine.
  
   The teaching of those two persons - teaching error - had
certain results. It resulted in the OVERTHROWING OF THE FAITH OF
SOME!
   Some who had at one time started on the pathway of the true
faith, had overcome in the past, were NOW - later - in the
present - themselves OVERCOME by false doctrine, false preachers,
false prophets, and their FAITH(you are saved by grace through
faith) had been OVERTHROWN! They had given up serving the Eternal
God, they had set their minds to STOP walking in the light, and
to return to the darkness they had come out of.

   As a way of life and habitual practice they now lived the way
of the corrupt evil world.

   It is possible for someone who had at one time in the past
been given the truth of the Lord, who had accepted it, who began
to walk in it, to FORSAKE IT, THROW IT ASIDE AND RETURN TO SATAN
AND LIVING IN SIN!

   The Bible teaches NO SUCH DOCTRINE as once saved always saved!

   Paul went on to teach Timothy that the servant of God must be
able to teach, and in teaching be patient,  "In meekness
instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure
will give them REPENTANCE TO THE ACKNOWLEDGING OF THE TRUTH; And
that they may RECOVER(Greek is "awake") themselves out of the
snare of the devil, who are taken CAPTIVE BY HIM at his will"
(verses 24-26).

   This could apply to those who are first coming into the light
of the truth, but it could also apply to those who have walked in
the light and THEN DEPARTED FROM IT, being taken again into the
snare and net of the wicked one, for a time. With the correct
teaching from the servant of God, mingled with patience and
meekness, it could be possible such individuals will again find
repentance to the acknowledging of the truth of Cod.

   To end this section let me give the reader a few scriptural
verses (and there are many others) that show being saved is NOT
JUST all in the past, over and done with, with no present and
future application. Here are a few verses showing salvation is a
process - an overcoming to the end: Hebrews 2:1-4;  12:1,2,15-17;

10:35-39.


          FALSE PROPHETS CAN LEAD US AWAY FROM GOD
                                    
   We have already seen from the sections of scripture above that
false teachers, can cause some to reject the true faith of God
and be led back into the world of  Satan and sin.
   Since Satan and man have been on this earth that has been the
case. God calls, reveals His truth and commandments to some, they
accept and start to follow, they overcome the wicked one. But
Satan does not go away, he does not play "lay-down-rollover and
die" games. He stays around ever to try and get us to TURN AWAY
from the Lord.
   One of his fiery darts he shoots at us to destroy and turn us
away from the will and commandments of the Lord, is FALSE
PROPHETS AND TEACHERS.

   Turn to Deuteronomy the 12th chapter. Read verses 29-32. When
God calls someone to His way of life He will give them His word
of truth. He wants us to live by His word. He talks to us through
His word, tells us HOW to serve and worship Him in spirit and in
truth.
  
   God does not want us going about asking our unconverted
relatives or neighbors about how to serve the true God. He does
not want us looking to the unrepentant world to see how they
serve their gods, and then adapt their customs and traditions and
ways to serve our God with them. Much of popular Christianity is
founded upon doing that very thing. If the reader has not yet
read books like THE TWO BABYLONS by Hislop or BABYLON MYSTERY
RELIGION by Woodrow, then I recommend you  do so. If you have
trouble locating those books please write to me for addresses.

   Now let's move to chapter 13th of Deuteronomy. Verse 1 and 2,
God tells us about a person coming to us as a PROPHET, a
PREACHER, a VISIONARY. They can even bring to pass a SIGN OR
WONDER. They can perform miraculous feats. BUT the words they
preach, if you follow them, will LEAD YOU AWAY FROM THE TRUTH OF
GOD! Will lead you to LIVE and PRACTICE as a "mind set" a way of
life that is in direct opposition to the way, will, and
commandments of the true Eternal.
   Notice what the Lord says to us in such circumstances as this:

     "Thou shalt not harken unto the words of that prophet, or
that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God PROVETH you, to
know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul. Ye shall WALK after the Lord your God, and
FEAR Him, and KEEP His COMMANDMENTS, and OBEY His voice, and ye
shall SERVE Him, and CLEAVE to Him. And that prophet, or that
dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death, because he hath spoken
to TURN YOU AWAY from the Lord your God......"(verses 3-5).

   You will notice the penalty for such false prophets was not a
slap on the wrist, but DEATH! God did not take lightly those who
would TURN PEOPLE AWAY from following the commandments of the
Lord.
   Yet responsibility also lay with those who would listen and
TURN AWAY from the life style of the Lord, back to the darkness
of Satan.

   Again this section of scripture shows that overcoming is not a
once upon a time event, all over in the past and nothing for the
present or future.
   Anyone at any time, once started on the road of salvation,
can, because they are always a free moral agent, GIVE IT UP AND
TURN AWAY, TURN BACK TO SERVING FALSE PROPHETS AND THE
CORRUPTIONS OF THE WORLD!

   Some in the Church of God over the last 20 years especially
have wondered why God has allowed FALSE prophets and FALSE
doctrines to separate and divide the Church. Many have come,
preachers from within the Church of God, coming in the name of
Jesus, claiming to be His ministers, coming with so called "new
light" or "new revelations from God" that HAVE LED PEOPLE TO
BREAK AND ABANDON THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. The present leaders of
the Worldwide Church of God now teach that God says His FOURTH
COMMANDMENT - the Sabbath commandment - is not binding upon
Christians under the New Covenant. They now teach you can keep
the 7th day as you personally choose - doing what seems right to
you. The reader needs to request my full in-depth study on this
called THE WCG COVENANT/SABBATH QUESTION: AN ANSWER.

   God has allowed this to come upon the Church of God TO PROVE
YOU, TO KNOW WHETHER YOU LOVE THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND
SOUL.
   God is dividing the sheep from the goats - those who hear only
His voice and another they will not follow, from those who do not
love the truth that they might continue to be overcomers and not
have their names blotted out of the book of life.

   Many in the Church of God can see that TRIALS, PERSECUTIONS,
having to lay your life on the line, and other "things" could
lead to some turning away from living the truth and return to the
way of the world, but most have not given it much thought that
Satan could use, and God would allow, another more clandestine
way to enter the Church and destroy people from the grace and
faith of God.
   It is a way that most would not think about too deeply because
on the surface it proclaims itself "Christian."
   The NT is full of it. Paul warned and wrote about it. Peter
did also. John had much to say about it, as did Jesus Himself.
   It is the truth that Satan will come among the children of God
as being LIGHT, as making himself out to be "Christian" - making
himself as if he is a true minister of God, coming as a wolf but
dressed in sheeps clothinq.  Coming and saying, "God has spoken" 
-  "This is from God"   - "I bring new revelations from the
Lord."

   They would come offering LIBERTY, while serving corruptions.
Claiming  grace does away with God's law, or parts of the law,
certainly the Sabbath law.
   The NT says MANY WOULD FOLLOW THEM, MANY WOULD TURN AWAY
FROM THE HOLY COMMANDMENTS GIVEN TO THEM, AND RETURN TO LIVING
IN SIN, AS A DOG RETURNS TO ITS VOMIT!
   Yet many of them would continue to say they were "Christians."
Many of them would continue to say Jesus is the Lord. They would
still use His name, do works in His name, they would continue to
believe they are saved and should be in the Kingdom at Christ's
coming. The truth of the matter is, they will have willfully
rejected the knowledge of the truth of God, willfully accepted
the lies of Satan, willfully made a choice to reject God and His
commandments, with clear heart set their minds to serve sin. They
will again have become SLAVES to sin and will be habitually
practicing as a way of life - WICKEDNESS and LAWLESSNESS!
   It is to such that Jesus will say: "Why do you call me Lord,
but will not do the things I say" and "I never knew you, depart
from me you that work iniquity - (lawlessness)."
   Truly as Jesus said, in that day there shall be weeping and
gnashing of teeth.

   I now encourage you to read 1,2,3,John and Jude,  KEEPING IN
MIND what I have written under this section of this study.
   John was writing at a time when the Church of God was being
BLOWN APART by false prophets and false teachers, teaching
HERESIES about Jesus and DOING AWAY WITH THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD.
   Those to whom John wrote were remaining faithful to the faith
once delivered to the saints. They had overcome in the past, and
they were overcoming in the present. They were walking on the
straight and narrow pathway of light, they had their mind set to
serve the will and commandments of the Lord. They were living
with the heart attitude of King David and so God called them
people after His own heart. God called them overcomers and their
names were not blotted out of the book of life.
  
                   THE TEACHING OF JESUS
                                    
   During His earthy ministry Jesus explained very clearly what
OVERCOMING as a Christian was all about.
   Turn to the gospel of Luke chapter 8.
   Jesus gives the people a parable: "A sower went out to sow his
seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was
trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And
some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it
withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some among thorns;
and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And some fell on
good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold."

   Matthew records that the good seed on good ground brought
forth "some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold" 
(Mat.13:8).

   Jesus' disciples wanted to know the meaning of this parable,
so the explanation was given.
   Continuing in Luke:  "The seed is the WORD OF GOD."  Paul was
inspired to say that, "....FAITH comes by HEARING and hearing by
the WORD OF GOD" (Rom.10:17). Back to Luke: "Those by the wayside
are they that hear; then cometh the DEVIL, and taketh away the
words out of their heart, lest they should BELIEVE and be SAVED."
   Here we see God calling, revealing His truths to some, but
Satan is "Jonny on the spot" - they have the words of truth taken
out of their heart immediately. They never get off the batters
mound, never even hit the ball so they can start to base one.
   This was probably the case with the rich young man who came to
Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life (Mat.19). 
Jesus told him to "keep the commandments" to which he replies he
had, but what did he still lack. Jesus then told him to sell all
that he had, give it to the poor and follow Him.
   Hearing that, the rich young man could not do it, he went away
sorrowful.  He was given truth, the word of the Lord was spoken
to him, but Satan came along and snatched it away from him. He
never even got STARTED on the road to salvation. He never got
saved! He never overcame!

     He never had his name written down in the book of life!

   Back to the book of Luke: "They on the rock are they, which,
when they hear, receive the word with Joy; and  these  have no
root, WHICH FOR  A WHILE BELIEVE, and in time of temptation FALL
AWAY."
   Ah, did you see it? God calls, truth is revealed to them, they
HEAR IT, they RECEIVE IT WITH JOY, they BELIEVE, have saving
FAITH, come under GRACE, for how long did Jesus say?
   Was it a once saved always saved teaching from Jesus? Not at
all! It was a "WHICH FOR A WHILE BELIEVE" that Christ taught they
endured. Then LATER ON in a time of some trial or temptation as I
have covered in this study already, they FELL AWAY! They did
overcome originally at the beginning, they did start on the saved
pathway. God did say they were overcomers, they had overcome the
devil, the world and human nature. But physical life was not yet
over, Satan was still alive and walking around, the corrupt world
was still out there, human nature was still part of them. While
all those factors remained overcoming them was still for the
present and for the future. Remaining faithful to the humble
heart attitude that David had was still to be endured with. While
they were still alive in the flesh the possibility to turn away
from God's life style and turn to walking in the pathway of the
darkness of the wicked one, STILL REMAINED!
   And sure enough, Jesus knew that some who would start out
well, would NOT FINISH WALKING THE NARROW PATHWAY TO LIFE BUT
WOULD "FALL AWAY."

   Jesus continued: "And that which fell among the thorns, are
they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with
the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring
no fruit to perfection."

   Have you ever planted seeds and then neglected to weed? Oh,
the seeds will take root and spring up, they will start on the
road to perfection, but soon the weeds will dominate the ground
and choke them out so they will not produce the desired fruit and
perfection.
   Jesus saw that some would hear the word, take root, would
believe, start out being saved, but "things" of one sort or
another would dry them up, encase them, choke them off from
continuing to overcome. Their names would be taken out of the
book of life.

   Then Jesus spoke last of all about the good seeds that fell on
good ground: "But on the good ground are they, which in an HONEST
and GOOD HEART, having heard the word, KEEP IT, AND BRING FORTH
WITH PATIENCE."

   Yes there it is, all I have been saying in this study, in a
few choice words from the Lord Jesus.
   The word goes forth, God calls, truth is revealed, and some
HEAR IT. They hear it with what kind of heart? Why the heart of
David, a heart that is after the very heart of God. They hear it
with a good, honest, repentant, humble, teachable heart. A heart
that sets its mind to KEEP THE WORD AND COMMANDMENTS of the Lord,
and to live the habitual life style that is the way of the Lord.
So they overcome and CONTINUE to do so with ENDURANCE, WITH
PATIENCE up to the very end of their life on earth.

   As recorded in Matthew, some of these Christians will produce
fruit or works that are a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some
thirtyfold.
   Yes, some will pray, study, fast, help the poor, serve the
brethren, do other "works" MORE than OTHERS.
   That is NOT overcoming. That is "works."  We are not saved by
our works! WE SHALL BE REWARDED ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS! We are
saved by GRACE through FAITH.
   All the good seeds on good ground have the same HONEST AND
GOOD HEART. They all have the heart of David, who heard the word
of the Lord and repented and set his mind to keep the way, the
commandments of God, with the help of the Spirit of God. All the
good seed on good ground overcame and continued overcoming to the
END.

          JESUS TAUGHT A CONTINUING OVERCOMING
                                    
  The plain truth on this subject is again shown to us in the
gospel of John chapter 8. We pick it up in verse 31, "Then said
Jesus to those Jews which BELIEVED on Him. IF ye CONTINUE in my
word, then are ye my disciples indeed: And ye shall know the
truth, and the truth shall make you free."
   We have already seen Jesus knew being saved and overcoming was
not just a one time event, but was something to stick with unto
the end.
  
   Here Jesus tells those that believed on Him, they would be His
true disciples IF THEY CONTINUED IN HIS WORD. Being saved and
overcoming to Jesus was not just for a certain time in the past
BUT WAS TO CONTINUE IN THE PRESENT.
   Those that would practice this continual life way of living
would KNOW THE TRUTH - their heart attitude would be what God was
looking for and He would look to that person as He did with
David. They would have the truth and it, the truth would make
them free. God would help them on the straight and narrow and
show them grace when they did stumble and bloody their knees.

   On hearing these words from the lips of Jesus, the
"believing"(what kind of believing is another question) Jews got
somewhat proudly indignant. They claimed they were never in
bondage to any man, so how could they be set free, they asked.
   Jesus replied: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever
COMMITTETH SIN is the SERVANT OF SIN. And the servant abideth not
in the house forever: but the Son abideth forever. If the Son
therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free  indeed."

   The word "committeth" is in the present progressive tense.
Jesus is saying that those who willfully set their minds, set
their heart attitude to reject the way and life of God, who
deliberately harden their hearts against doing the will and
commandments of the Lord, then those individuals become the
SLAVES, the servants, the habitual followers of sin. That kind
of a servant or slave cannot remain in the master's house for
always, the time will come when he must be cast out, when it must
be said to them "depart from me you that work iniquity."
But to those who accept the Son, His work today, tomorrow, and in
the future, to those who will be saved from sin by grace through
faith in the Son, who will come to God with a repentant heart and
a mind set to continue obeying the word, Then those individuals
will find the truth and will be truly set free from sin and
death, to truly be the real disciples of the Son.

          PAUL KNEW OVERCOMING WAS CONTINUAL
                                    
   The apostle Paul was at one time NOT SAVED, then at a certain
point of time in his life Jesus called in no uncertain way, truth
was revealed to Paul. A choice was to be made - LIFE on the one
hand - DEATH on the other hand. Paul chose LIFE! You can read it
all in Acts chapter 9.

   After Paul had overcome Satan, the world and his human nature,
after he had accepted the calling of the Lord, after he was saved
from death and sin, did he think it was ALL OVER, ALL NOW IN THE
PAST, NOTHING TO OVERCOME IN THE PRESENT, NO ENDURING TO THE END?
   Did Paul think and believe that in being saved he was "always
saved"?

   Let the great apostle answer that question for himself:

   "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one
receives the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man
that striveth in the mastery is temperate in all things.
Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an
incorruptible. I THEREFORE SO RUN, not as uncertain: so fight I,
not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body,
and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, WHEN I HAVE
PREACHED TO OTHERS, I MYSELF SHOULD BE A CAST AWAY" 
(1 Cor.9:24-27).
  
   Paul knew from the teachings of Jesus, from the Old Testament,
that being saved was not a one time event, but was continuous
from the day it started. He knew a person could fall away if they
deliberately chose to reject God and His commandments. He saw
examples in the OT where that did happen. He knew of persons
during his life time that had overcome and started out on the
pathway of light, but had along the way THROWN IN THE TOWEL,
MADE SHIPWRECK their faith, turned AWAY from the Lord and had
again become the slaves to sin and Satan.
   Paul knew that as a free moral agent able to make choices each
and every day of his life, IT WAS NOT IMPOSSIBLE FOR HIM TO
CASTAWAY HIS FAITH AS OTHERS HAD DONE!
   He had to be on guard, vigilant, yielded to God and Christ,
submissive to their will, humble and of a repentant mind, at all
times so he would continue as an overcomer to the end.
   He knew he was living a victorious life, he knew he had
victory over Satan, the world, and carnal nature. He knew that
victory was not in his own power or own deeds of righteousness,
for Paul knew the scripture that said "our own righteousness is
as filthy rags before Him." Paul knew he could remain an
overcomer unto the end through Jesus Christ that lived within
him.

   Because of this, the power to be an overcomer to the end, at
the time of his departure from this physical world into the sleep
of death, and to be with the Lord in the resurrection, Paul could
say with absolute confidence these words to Timothy:

     "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my
departure is at hand. I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT, I HAVE FINISHED
MY COURSE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH: Henceforth there is laid up for
me a CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord the righteous judge,
shall give me AT THAT DAY, and not to me only, but unto all them
also that love HIS APPEARING" (2 Tim.4:6-8).

   Paul overcame when he was first saved, his name was written at
that time into the Lambs book of life. Paul continued to
overcome, he remained faithful to the way of the Lord, he
endured with the heart of David, and overcame to the end.
   What kept him in the true love of God for all those years? I
could not answer that question any better than to use the very
words of Paul himself:

     "WHAT SHALL WE SAY TO THESE THINGS? IF GOD BE FOR US WHO CAN
BE AGAINST US? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him
up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all
things?  WHO SHALL LAY ANYTHING TO THE CHARGE OF GOD'S ELECT?  
It is God that  justifieth.   WHO IS HE THAT CONDEMNETH?  It is
Christ that died, yea rather, is risen again, who is even at the
right hand of God, WHO ALSO MAKES INTERCESSION FOR US.  WHO SHALL
SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST?  Shall tribulation, or
distress, or persecution, or  famine, or  nakedness, or  peril,
or  sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all
the day long, we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. NAY, IN
ALL THESE THINGS WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM THAT
LOVED US.  FOR I AM PERSUADED, THAT NEITHER DEATH, NOR LIFE, nor
angel, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor
things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
SHALL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD, WHICH IS IN
CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD" (Rom.8:31-39).


   What a great heart attitude the apostle Paul had. It was the
same as the heart of David, the heart of Abraham, the heart of
Noah, the heart of Joseph, that of Daniel, that of Esther,
that of Ruth, that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that of
Moses, that of Elijah, that of John the Baptist, that of Mary the
mother of Jesus, and that of all the faithful from the beginning.

   They were overcomers FROM THE TIME THEY STARTED TO WALK WITH
THE LORD TO THEIR DYING DAY.

   They all knew they were sinners, they all confessed their
sins, they all repented of their sins, they all looked to God in
faith through the Messiah, for mercy and forgiveness - for
grace to save them from the penalty of sin - death.
   They all looked to God for the help of His Holy Spirit to
guide and teach them the truths of the word of the Lord.
   They all loved the precepts, statutes, laws, and commandments
of God. They all willfully set their minds and hearts to follow
the word of the Lord, to walk in the light of the truth that
sets a person free.
   They all knew they would slip and stumble and sin at times as
they walked with the Lord, but they also knew that upon
repentance and a humble heart, God would forgive them through the
sacrifice of His Son, and they would find grace to help in the
time of need. They all knew they could overcome Satan, the world,
and their own human carnal nature through the love, the
sacrifice, the power, and the grace of God.

   They all knew it was not human "works" or "deeds" that made
them an overcomer in the sight of the Lord God, but it was a
humble, repentant, submissive and obedient heart towards Him,
that would keep their names written in the book of life, and
guarantee for them a place in the better resurrection at the
coming of the Son of God to stand on the earth in the latter
days.


   Do you have the kind of mind set towards God that He can say
"He/She is someone after my very own heart."?
   I hope you do!

   For of such will be they that inherit the Kingdom of God.
Those with such overcoming hearts will hear Jesus say: "Well done
thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy
Lord."

         "HE THAT OVERCOMETH SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS: AND I WILL
BE HIS GOD, AND HE SHALL BE MY SON" (Rev. 21:7)

         .........................................


Written June 1995.  All articles and studies by Keith Hunt may be
copied, printed, published, emailed, and distributed, as the
Spirit leads.
My Hunt trusts nothing with be changed without his consent.


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