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June 2012 Newsletter-WBVN Creed

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June Newsletter WBVN Creed

“I believe that what I believe is what makes me who I am.  I did not make it, no it is making me.  It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man…” Lyrics from “Creed” by Rich Mullins

WBVN began broadcasting the Gospel of Grace the afternoon of January 8th, 1990.  That’s considered the “start” of this ministry, however the real beginning of this ministry is more closely associated with a message rather than a date.  Our message starts with the simple truth that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.”  He is, and was intended to be by the Father, our everything, standing alone as the central figure in the Gospel message, sharing the stage with no other performer.  He alone has been made to us Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption. (1 Cor. 1:30)  For that to be true, it’s our contention that while the Law had a limited purpose, Christ’s ministry is “limitless” and now stands as the only object of our Faith.  Paul taught that prior generations were spoken to by Moses and the Prophets “in many portions and many ways”, but in these days He has spoken to us in “His Son”.

Behavior modification based on the Law will not produce the Power of God we all hope for; the Power we all need!  Romans 1:16-17 instructs that a revelation of the Righteousness of God is what will empower us.  The Law had two revelations in it: one: you don’t measure up and two: no one else does either!  John 5:45 shows Jesus accusing the hearers of trusting the Law of Moses, setting their hope on ordinances rather than a “Faith” such as Abraham’s.  That kind of thinking was a mistake for believers then and it’s a mistake for us today!

The Law teaches if we do well enough, we’ll succeed.  Grace says receive Mercy and Peace and you will do well enough!  Paul said teaching the Law was a “the ministry of death and condemnation” (2Cor. 3:7,9), contrasting it with the ministry of reconciliation: teaching that in Christ, God reconciled the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. (2Cor 5:18-19)  We trust in the Scripture: “…the Gentiles which followed not after Righteousness have obtained Righteousness, even the Righteousness which is by Faith (a free gift).  But Israel, which followed after the Law of Righteousness, has not attained the Law of Righteousness…because they sought it not by Faith, but as it were by the works of the Law.  For they stumbled at the stumbling stone (Jesus). (Romans 9:30-32)  “For not knowing about God’s Righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the Righteousness of God…For Christ is the end of the Law for Righteousness to everyone that believes. (Rom. 10:3,4) “…For with the heart man believeth unto Righteousness”.  (Rom. 10:10)

As an “angel of light” the spirit of Satan wants believers under the Law.  He knows we’ll always be succeeding at one part but failing at another.  Our hearts know if we fail at one we’re guilty of all!  Therefore, we live in “self-condemnation” as well as the condemnation of those around us.  That knowledge will eventually lead us to just give up, becoming hopeless of ever pleasing God.  There’s only one solution, and its God’s solution offered to us through Faith: there’s no remedy except Jesus.  “Man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the Faith of Jesus Christ…by no works of the Law shall any flesh be justified…I (Paul) do not frustrate the Grace of God, for if Righteousness came by the Law, then Christ has died needlessly!” (Gal. 2:16,21)  “… the just shall live by Faith and the Law is not of Faith…Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us…that the blessing of Abraham (Righteousness by Faith) might come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through Faith…. For if the inheritance be of the Law, it is no more a promise: but God gave it to Abraham (and us) by a promise…for if there had been a Law given which could have given life, verily Righteousness should have been by the Law…the Law as a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by Faith, but after that Faith is come we are not longer under a schoolmaster.” (Gal. 3:11-25)  The Law entered that the offense might increase (get bigger!!!), it added to our problem not the other way round. (Rom. 5:20)

“Tell me, you that desire to be under the Law, do you hear the Law?  For it is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid and the other by a freewomen.  But he (Ishmael) that was born of the bondwoman (Hagar) was born after the flesh (was by Abraham’s ability and will); but he of the freewoman (Sarah) was by promise (by the Father’s promise)…these are the two covenants, one giving bondage (Law), one that is free (Grace)…now we brethren, as was Isaac, are the children of His promise.  But as then, he that was born of the flesh persecuted him that was born of the Spirit, even so it is now…(Now, we should) cast out the bondwoman (the old), for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the of the freewoman (the new).  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage…Christ is of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law, you are fallen from Grace.” For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of Righteousness by Faith.  If you be lead by the Spirit you are not under the Law. (Gal. 4:21- 5:18)  Much of the time when we mix Law and Grace, we’re trying to put new wine (Grace) in an old wineskin (Law).  We know the result of that…. it will not work! (Luke 5: 36-39)  Or another way: A little leaven (Law) leavens the whole loaf (bread of Life).

Most of the time, if we’re to “rightly divide” the Word of God, we’ll have to separate the work of the Law from Christ’s work. That’s because what the “Law” could not do, Jesus has done!  Hebrews, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Timothy (all were written by Paul who was described as the only one God took aside and explained the Mystery of Christ) are all comparative books, comparative by separating Law from Grace, the dividing of the Old and the New Covenant.

Our sufficiency must come from Christ and Christ alone.  We can add nothing to the Cross and the Resurrection; doing so diminishes their Glory!  Paul wrote in 2Cor. 3:5. “not that we are sufficient of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who has made us ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter (Law) killeth, but the Spirit giveth Life… for even unto this day, when Moses is read (Law) the veil is upon our hearts, nevertheless, when it (our hearts) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.”  “Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.”

Paul warns: beware the concision (law teachers) for we are the circumcision which Worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. (Law)…thought I might also have confidence in the flesh.  If any other man thinks that he might trust in the flesh, I even more: Circumcised on the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the Law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church, touching the Righteousness which is in the Law, blameless!  But what things were gain to me, those things I counted loss for Christ…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, counting them as dung that I might win Christ.  And be found in Him, not having a Righteousness which is of the Law, but that which is through Faith in Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by Faith”. (Phil 3:2-9)  “… by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.  For by the Law is knowledge of sin, but now that Righteousness that is without the Law is manifest…the Righteousness of God which is by Faith in Jesus Christ …being justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus… therefore we conclude that a man is justified by Faith without the deeds of the Law.” (Rom. 3:20-28)

As believers, we’re continually being confronted with whom we will put our trust in.  …However, if the first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.  For finding fault, He said, “Behold the days come says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant in the day when I took them by the hand and lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant…for I will have Mercy to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb. 8:6-13)  He will take away the first that He might establish the second.  By which we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ Jesus once and for all!” (Heb. 10:4-10)

In the four Gospels Jesus taught Law in such a way that he simply raised the bar so high knowing no one could meet the Law’s demands. (We need to remember that the Gospels were still part of the Old Testament ‘circumstance’.  The new testament begins with power at the death and resurrection of Jesus, changing the environment we all now live in beginning with the empty tomb!)  Jesus went so far as to teach that to even think about a deed was to be guilty of performing it.  So far as to teach that, being guilty of one made the hearer guilty of all!  He made sure we realized that it’s impossible to satisfy the Law.  It can’t be done.  We’re left with only one remedy: Jesus Christ.  Jesus “fulfilled the Law on our behalf and set us free from the Law of sin and death”. (Rom. 8:2)

Now the final point to this “Creed”.  Paul taught there was a Rest that resulted from knowing these things.  He compares it to the Israelites coming out of Egypt, “but the Word of God preached to them did not profit them, not being mixed with Faith in them that heard it: they did not enter into His Rest because of their unbelief.  We don’t enter into His Rest because of the same reason.  We’ll know when we’ve entered into it because, “he that is entered into His Rest, he also has ceased from his works…let us labor therefore to enter into that Rest”. (Heb. 4:9-11)  Jesus taught that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  The disciples asked Jesus, “what shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”  Jesus reply: “this is the work of God, that you believe on whom he has sent.” (John 6:27-29)  It’s a full time job to fight your way through unbelief and unbelief’s allies, but in the end, it’s the only thing we’re demanded to do as work.  Believing will produce “fruit” in our lives but that fruit comes as a result of believing Christ sufficiency first.  We’re not of those that believe we can perfect the flesh so that we might become “spiritual”.  Ours is a belief that the Spiritual will manifest dominion over the flesh, not the other way round.  Paul called those that thought the Law manifested the Spiritual “foolish” and “bewitched”.  (Gal. 3:1)


Our work is to labor at being “in His Rest”.  Our role is to stay strong, be rooted and grounded in His Love and not moved away from the “full Gospel of Christ”.  This is our Creed.  It’s who we are. It’s what we depend on to hold us up and establish us.  Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb, he is the Passover, he is our Jubilee, he’s “all in all”.  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Isa. 61, Luke4)  Literally, to be the Good News.

Finally, we’re not to study the Word so that we will fulfill the Law and therefore be approved by God. Christ granted you that approval for free.  We should study to show ourselves, to actually discover for ourselves, we’re approved of God only because of one thing:  Jesus Christ!  The Old Testament is a shadow of the New Testament.   The “Light” shines out of the New and cast a shadow in understanding on the Old.  We need to subject our understanding of the Old to the Revelation of the “Light” in the New, not the other way around.

We believe in what we believe and it makes us who we are, we did not make it, for it is making us!

Lincoln Brewster

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May Newsletter. Rapala.

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My grandfather, Parker Holmes, was the postmaster and owned a general store in Palzo, Illinois.  There are no original buildings left in Palzo, although the Springhill Baptist Church is still located on its original location and there have been homes built around the area where the store and blacksmith shops once stood.  One of the things I still have from my grandfather’s store is a half-dollar.  Well, it’s a half-dollar but it’s not a half-dollar.  It’s a counterfeit half-dollar.  My grandmother gave it to me when I was just a small boy.  It was made of lead and actually has knife cuts along the side because my grandfather was suspicious of it when it was handed to him as payment for goods.  But, it was a pretty good counterfeit.  It could fool someone who was not looking very close, and of course once taken he really did not have a real half-dollar, he had nothing.  You know where I’m going, right?  Life can be like that.  Especially like that.  Life (big L) and life (small l) are two different things and not to be thought of as the same.  Life (big L) is the Life that God provides and life (small l) is biology.  Little life is best described as the best man can do for man.  Man is not sufficient to give Life, only God can do that.  The Greek word for the Life of God is Zoe. Man’s life, in its boiled down meaning, is ‘life with the breath’.  Life is ‘Life as the Father would have it for us’.  The other life comes from just being born.  Plants and animals have life.  ‘Life as the Father would have it for us’ comes only from God and can’t be simplified to meat or drink only.  It is Righteousness, Peace and the Spirit.  Those characteristics of Life only come from God, can’t get them any other place.  Life with the breath doesn’t have any of those to give, but it will tell you that it can.  It will fool you into believing it has the answers to a satisfied life.  And, life with the breath can give you ‘riches’ and ‘ease’, but it can’t give you what you need to have a real Life…Life as the Creator God would have you experience it.

This is a Rapala.  It’s a beauty.  I guess I’ve caught more bass on this lure than any other lure that I’ve tried.  I actually got my first one when I was in college and working at Tempo Department store in Marion a few years ago, back in my brown hair days.  That baby right there is a ‘for sure’ lure!  Do you know why it’s so ‘for sure’?  I’ll tell you in one word: mimic.  Yep, fish try to eat that thing but it’s really a  plastic fake.

This is a minnow.  It’s a beauty.  I’ve caught lots of fish with minnows as well.  Minnows swim like minnows, they are shiny like minnows and fish love minnows.  That’s the rub if you’re a fish.  That plastic Rapala looks just like that minnow. Sounds like a minnow as it’s pulled through the water.  But, if a fish falls for the fake, woe to that fish!   Those two minnows produce two completely different results, just as Life and life produce two different results as well.  In the water a minnow and Rapala appear pretty much the same in that environment.  Even the plastic one, the one with the 6 hooks, is pretty harmless until you fall for it.  There’s no real ‘sting’ with the plastic one until you try and consume it, try to use it to your advantage.  Once a fish falls for that Rapala, it’s too late.  Not only is there sting but usually it becomes a very complicated trap that not only hooks you with the first barb but ends up hooking you with all 6 of the barbs.  Well, everyone knows what happens next.  The result of that simple act of the fish grabbing on to that Rapala most the time cost it its life, or at the least injury.

Our problem is like the fish’s problem.  So much of the time we can’t tell the real from the fake.  Culture and society (i.e. man) offers a life that is attractive and it looks good.  It’s usually shiny money, cars, women or men, or grand homes to make you complete.  It swims like Life, but is life.  It looks like Life, but its looks are deceiving.  It’s a life that seems like the right way to live but its end leads to calamity.  The life that men have created and offer mimics Life.  Perhaps it offers a momentary reward just like that fish was thinking before it actually contacted the barb.  But, in the end we get trapped into depression, discouraged, perhaps unhealthy, and usually filled with melancholy.  Trapped into something we wish we had never ‘struck’ at, wish we had known better, wish we had been able to recognize it as a fake life, not the Life the Father had prepared for us.  The Father’s Life will have us chase the contents of our heart and bite onto something real rather than the content of our head and its chase to simple existence.

Of course this all started in the first Garden.  The literal translation for the words used to describe the serpent tempter in Genesis was ‘the shiny one’, the most beautiful thing in that Garden.  It was attractive and what it had to offer was tempting to our ears and our flesh.  It was a lure away from Life then, it is a lure that pulls away from Life today.  Nothing has changed.  Today, there’s always a tempter to persuade us away from the God kind of Life.  A persuader wooing us to seek bio-experience only: appealing to our senses rather than our hearts.  It’s a daily lure that swims by and it shows no favor to the unbelieving or believing fishes.  Amazing, that lure never comes ugly!  It swims by just like the real Life minnow.  It appears often as an ‘angel of light’ not showing itself in darkness but rather as a shining.  Much of the time it appears with authority as a roaring lion, but it’s only a roar, not much lion.  It looks so much like the real that we follow it, slowly at first and more rapidly as we close in on it.  And once entangled, well it’s very difficult to get off the hook.  Youth and inexperience are its most likely targets, but every now and again a ‘lunker’ will bite.  What’s amazing to me is that fish are for the most part smarter than humans once they’re caught.  By that I mean fish put up a passionate fight, I might add to the joy of the fisherman.  Humans seem to just get dragged along.  Some of the most entangled never seem to acknowledge being entangled.  I sometimes think if fish could talk they would say ‘my fault’.  Humans, well for the most part, it’s never their fault.  Many times they’re not even alarmed by the hook.  That lure suggests to us there is another way that will be a successful alternative to the real minnow (the God Life).  But, a successful fish never chases, never bites at that Rapala.  Or, if it does move toward it, that fish quickly recognizes the craftiness of the plastic and stops its run up to the lure.  Fish can be like people you know, or is it that people can be like fish?  Some fish run up to the lure and suddenly turn away while others fall for it ‘hook, line and sinker’.  People do the same thing.

There is a Tree that is a proper source of Life.  There’s another tree, the tree of good and evil.  Anything that separates us from the first Tree satisfies the second.  You can be as bad as you want to be or you can be self-righteous to the point that your approach to the Father ‘is as filthy rags’.  That tree promises you prestige through your money, position, education or power.  The Tree of Life promises are much different, much more.  To source the Tree of Life, who is Christ Jesus and has been placed back in our Garden, you again have to choose between those two trees.  The more of the Tree of Life that we can consume into your life (bio) the more of His Life we can experience in this present darkness we call the World, its culture and its solutions for life.  After going bankrupt, the famed author Ernest Hemingway was asked how that could happen to such a successful writer.  Hemingway responded that it happened a little at a time and all at once.  As we chase the wrong things, as we follow and increasingly approach the wrong source and solutions in our lives, as we bite onto the imitation, all at once we are entangled.  We don’t know how we got there, but there we are.  Everything seems ok on the way.  We never did see any hooks, only minnow!  Like Hemingway’s bankruptcy, it usually doesn’t happen all at once.   Gradually and subtly we eventfully arrive at the entanglement.  By then it’s usually very complicated and hard to untangle ourselves.  One barb simply leads to another barb.  It was shiny all the way, attractive.  It promised to satisfy us and it disappoints in the end.  We have no real excuse, it’s just our attempt for independence from God, swimming away from His Love and Way toward trouble, content along the way, but in many ways a frying pan awaits.  We leave the safety of His presence for the terror of the fake.

The tree of good and evil is subtle.  It so easily seems the right way.  It seemed right in the first Garden.  It is a tree, so it looks like The Tree.  It is however a counterfeit.  Just like that coin from my grandfather’s store, it will get you nothing in the end, certainly not what you needed or wanted in the end.  As I mentioned earlier, it never comes ugly.  Its dangers and tragedies may not be obvious at first but God had given us a manual on ‘Rapala’ recognition.  Use it to identify the fakes, pull off before getting to the ‘all at once’ and choose Life as the Father has made it for us, rather than the sly and whispering mimic!

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