Ed Wrather

I grew up on a farm in western Oklahoma and TV reception was poor. To change channels we would need to go out and turn the antenna. This was done by grabbing hold of the pipe wrench we had on it and moving the antenna in the direction of the station we wanted. Then we would go back inside and adjust the TV. This usually took several attempts and worked much better with two people. At one point our Black and White TV had gotten old and the picture tube grew weak which meant I kept turning up the brightness control. Eventually the tube grew so weak that with the brightness control turned all the way up the picture was still blank. For about a year we just had sound with no picture before the TV was finally repaired.

In the early 60s some neighbors of ours bought the first color TV in the community and they invited my family down to view this new innovation. It was amazing the difference to see it in color as compared to the B&W that I had watched for so long. Even now I much prefer color to B&W and prefer even colorized films to the B&W version.

Sometimes as a child of God we move from living in color to living in Black and White. Others have never lived in color (The abundant life.) because they have never invited Jesus into their lives. In this Black and White kind of world every thing is drab and dreary, life has lost its excitement, lost its vividness, the realness and we just sort of go through the motions. That was a problem even in OT times (Isaiah 50:10ab). In this drab and dreary world there is no longer any light - you adjust the brightness control but it doesn’t get any brighter. What’s wrong? As a Christian, where does our light come from?

The Bible tells us in John 8:12 that Jesus is our light, He is the Light of the World. What does it say about those who follow Him? “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” As the Bible says back in Isaiah, you may fear the Lord, meaning you respect Him, you reverence Him and you may be somewhat obedient. But are you really following Him? Do you have your eyes upon Jesus through out the day, practicing/realizing His presence in your life. What do you think about all day long? Do any thoughts about the Lord Jesus ever cross your mind?

The Bible says in Romans 13:14, “ not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” The first part of that verse in Romans says this, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ....” Are you so clothed in Jesus that you are conscious of His presence? (Read Romans 8:5-6) When our minds are set upon our Lord and His desires the result is life and peace. But the result of having our minds set upon ourselves, upon our sinful nature, our fleshly desires, the result of that is death and death is the ultimate darkness. (Read Hebrews 12:3) Consider Him so that you don’t live in a Black and White dreary kind of world. Place your mind and heart upon Jesus and His desires instead of upon your desires and your life will grow bright from the light of the Lord.

Back in Isaiah chapter 50 there is a remarkable passage of prophecy which accurately describes our Lord Jesus (Isaiah 50:5-7). It’s only after that passage describing our Lord Jesus that we find verse 10 which talks about walking in darkness. What is the solution to darkness that Isaiah gives (Isaiah 50:10c)? God reveals Himself through His names. God is many things to us, here are a few of His names: Bread of Life, Water of Life, Light of the World, Door of the sheep, Good Shepherd, The Way, the Truth, the Life, Provider, The True Vine, Judge, High Priest, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and yet He is still Friend and Brother. (Psalm 20:7)

We should practice being conscious of the presence of God in our lives. At first this may be difficult but eventually we will be able to be conscious of God’s presence much of the time and will be praying without ceasing by doing so. How often are you conscious each day of the One who can bring color to your world? The problem many of us have is that instead of focusing on the Lord we focus on ourselves and our problems and try to make our own light (Isaiah 50:11). Isaiah says, “trust in the name of the Lord and stay upon his God.” (And he says in Isaiah 51:1). Are you consciously trusting in the name of the Lord each day? Do you have your mind consciously stayed upon your Lord Jesus? Are you looking unto the rock of your salvation, Jesus Christ?

The Phone rang near 1am in the Winters’ home. Leo Winters, a highly acclaimed Chicago surgeon, awakened with a start. The caller said a young boy had been tragically mangled in a late night accident. Could someone else handle it? Not this time his hands possibly were the only hands in the city, or maybe in the whole region, that were skilled enough to save the boy.

The quickest route to the hospital took the doctor through a bad area. But since time was critical, he decided to take the risk. He almost got through the worst of the neighborhood. Almost. Then, at a stoplight, a man in a gray hat and a dirty flannel shirt jerked open his door.

“I’ve got to have your car!” the man screamed, pulling him from his seat. Winters tried to explain the situation, but the man wouldn’t listen.

The doctor wandered for more than 45 minutes looking for a phone. When the taxi finally got him to the hospital, more than an hour had passed. He burst through the doors and into the nurses station, but the nurse on duty only shook her head. Too late. The boy had died about 30 minutes earlier.

“His dad got here just before he died,” the nurse told him. “He’s in the chapel. Go see him. He is awfully confused. He couldn’t understand why you never came.”

Without explaining, Dr. Winters walked hurriedly down the hall and quietly entered the chapel. At the front knelt the huddled form of a weeping father in a gray hat and dirty flannel shirt. The same man who had stolen Dr. Winters’ car. He tragically had pushed away the only one who could save his son.

Many are pushing away Jesus the only One who can save them. It may be that you haven’t pushed away Jesus as Savior, you have invited Him into your heart. But have you pushed Him away who is the Light of the World, the only One who can add color to your life? Maybe you have been saved and you come to church some and you may even pray and read the Bible some. But for the most part you keep Jesus out here at arms length, never allowing Him to really be the friend, the brother that He wants to be. Isn’t it time you let Him add some color to your life.?


by Ed Wrather

Mark 5:1-15

Just prior to Jesus coming to Gadara there was the storm on the Sea of Galilee which Jesus calmed. They had been in Capernaum, which was at the north end of the Sea of Galilee. Now they have crossed the sea to the southeast end.

Do you really believe there is a God? Do you really believe? Do you believe to the extent that your belief in God affects your everyday life? I have no doubt that God exists - I have based my life upon that fact. But many, many, people deny the existence of God or at least by their actions they deny His existence. The evidence of God’s existence is all around us. All a person has to do is open their eyes and look - to see that there is a God.

Sir Isaac Newton said that you only had to look at your thumb know there is a God. One evening on a ship returning from an expedition to Egypt, a group of officers were discussing, mostly in the negative, about whether or not there was a God. Napoleon who had been standing alone quietly thinking, upon hearing the question, “Is there a God?” Napoleon pointed to the stars and said, “Gentlemen, who made all that?”

A businessman once gave the reasons why be knew there was a God. He had been considering the wonders of the stars and planets and the order to it all. Then he said this, “It takes a girl in our factory about two days to learn to put the seventeen parts of a meat chopper together. Some may believe that these millions of worlds, each with its separate orbit, all balanced so wonderfully in space - that they just happened; that by a billion years of tumbling about they finally arranged themselves. I am merely a plain manufacturer of cutlery. But this I do know, that you can shake the seventeen parts of a meat chopper around in a washtub for the next seventeen billion years and you’ll never make a meat chopper.”

To think is to grow in awareness. Think as you look at a flower, a sunset, or gaze at the stars above. Someone has said that the unbelieving astronomer is mad. They must be but there are coming to be more and more believing astronomers.

“What do you see?” A friend asked a famous botanist who was examining a flower. “I see God.” Was the botanist’s answer.

A Scottish doctor wrote with his finger in the garden soil the letters of his little son’s name and then sowed seeds in the furrows. Ten days later, his son ran to him in astonishment and said that his name was growing in the garden and insisted on his father seeing it. “Is it not a mere chance?” asked the father. “No, someone must have arraged it that way.” “Look at yourself.” said the doctor. “Consider your hands, fingers, legs, feet; did you come here by chance?” “No, something must have made me.” “And who is that something?” And as he did not know, the father told him about the great God who had made him and all the world.

Do you believe there is a God? Do you really believe? If you do the Bible says in James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” If we really believe there is a God, why don’t we act like it? The devil and his demons know there is a God, and they “tremble.”

Back in our text in Mark 5 - This seemingly crazy man who had supernatural strength (broke chains) falls at the feet of Jesus and says. v.7. This man of Gadara did not have a psychological illness. This man was possessed by a legion of demons v. 9 A legion was the largest unit of the Roman Army consisting of 3 to 6,000 soldiers. How else would the man of Gadara have known that Jesus was the Son of God, unless it was revealed on a supernatural level - Not even the disciples acted like they believed it all the time (Consider the incident of the calming of the sea.). But here is this man, who has little contact with the outside world who falls at the feet of Jesus and says (v. 7).

Do you understand? There is a God and there is an enemy of God and, an enemy of all that is good. An enemy of all that would believe there is a God. We have an enemy! His name is Lucifer and we know him also by the name of satan or the devil. He is a fallen angel which led the revolt in Heaven the Bible tells us of one third of the angels. They were defeated and banished from Heaven. Lucifer is no ordinary angel, he is on the order of an arch angel such as Gabriel or Michael. But he was created by God and is not as powerful as God. God is omnipresent (present everywhere) but the devil goes to and fro across the earth. He cannot be everywhere at one time so he depends upon his demons (fallen angels) to do much of his work. The tragedy is that in reality most people deny the existence of God and have no idea there is someone trying to destroy them and their families.

2 Corinthians 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” How tragic it is that people refuse to believe there is a God, refuse to believe thay have an enemy, and satan who is stalking about like a roaring lion - gobbles them up. If you believe there is a God, if you then know you have an enemy, you can defend yourself. And it is God’s will that you do so. Ephesians 6:10-18 Open your eyes! According to known principles of science we know that what appears to be solid matter is not truly solid. At least it isn’t if you view it under an electron microscope. On another plane, on another level there could be a railroad, a train running through this room at this very moment. Are there angels and demons struggling in battle about this place even now? I have no doubt that they are. I’m not saying that there is a demon under every rock. But friends, to deny that there is spiritual warfare going on, between God, satan, demons and angels and that we are involved is to deny the truth of the Word of God. Listen to these words in Ephesians again. Eph 6:10-14a

Personal Experience - Began believing that all was psychological and that there was no such thing as a demon. Through the years, studying God’s Word, and my own personal experience I know that there are such things and that we are in the midst of a great battle. It really comes down to whether or not we believe the Word of God to be true and by faith I believe it to be true.

Pharisees vs. Saduccees. The Pharisees during the time of Jesus and the apostle Paul believe that there was the possibility of life after death and that there were such things as angels and demons. The Saduccees during the same period did not believe in angels and demons. So, the debate has been going on for a long time. Jesus obviously teaches of a life after death and of a supernatural world.

Can demons possess a saved person? No! 1 Cor. 3:16-17 John 4:4 Once the Holy Spirit lives inside of a person no demon can force God to leave. Can a saved person be influenced, used, controlled by demonic forces? Yes! I believe that I have been at times and I have seen other Christians that I thought were under demonic influence.

In my family my grandfather and my father were able to do what is called water witching. By getting a forked willow branch they could hold it in their hands and walk around and find water. When they are over an underground source of water the branch will twist downward. When I was a boy I was able to do this as well. But an amazing thing happened. After becoming a Christian I was back home once and wanted to show the water witching to my wife. But I could no longer do it. My dad came over and placed his hands on top of mine and the branch nearly twisted out of my hands. I have come to believe that the water witching was demonic and that I could no longer do it because the Holy Spirit now dwells within me. Because of that I have witnessed to my dad again and continue to be concerned about his salvation.

Galatians 5:1 This verse not only assures us that God wants us free, but warns us that we can lose our freedom (Not our salvation, but we can become enslaved to sin again if we refuse to take advantage of the resources of God which He has freely given to us.). Our goal as a Christian is to become mature to be comformed to the image of Christ. Eph. 4:13-15. Satan is opposed to your maturity and will do anything he can to keep you from realizing who you are and what you have in Christ Jesus.

We must experience victory before we can mature. Whenever we sin we open ourselves up to demonic activity. What is it that we are really doing when we sin? 2 Cor 10:10-22a (Notice especially verse 20 in this context.). When we sin, aren’t we really inviting the enemy into camp. Aren’t we really having fellowship, as the Bible says here (v. 20), with devils whenever we sin. It’s horrifying, if you really think about what you are doing when you sin.

I want to give you some practical advice. First of all in regard to your thought life. Ephesians 6:16 Fiery darts, many types - one is our thoughts - do you ever question where your thoughts come from? Or does a thought pop into your mind and in the next moment pop out of your mouth? If that’s the case you are being used. (Thoughts are I believe in the supernatural. Thoughts may come from ourselves, God, or from satan. The same with dreams. Dreams from God are most usually, organized, specific.). 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths....”
Matthew 12 :36-37, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Take control, test those thoughts, take them captive before you allow them to come out of your mouths.

And what do you think about? The Bible tells us what not to think about in Romans 13:14 “Do not think about how to gratify the sinful nature.” The Bible also tells us what to think about in Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.”

And there is nothing more true, right, pure or excellent than God’s Word. Imbed His Word in your heart - Run God’s Word through your mind - think about the Words of God often.

We are in a mighty battle - don’t just sit there and think that it doesn’t concern you - that it doesn’t affect you. Friends, even the very thoughts that you think affect you and can destroy you. It’s time to make a stand and get serious about God - the enemy is serious and he’s out to destroy you. Do you really believe God exists? Then we must act like it!

The devils tremble at the mention of the name of Jesus “Thou believest that there is one God, thou doest well: the devils also believe, and they tremble.” Mark 5:6-7 - Have you been ignoring God by your actions? Even the demons of hell don’t do that. - It’s time to get serious!

You can get serious about God by:
1. immediately repenting and confessing any sin - close the door to the devil and his demons (1 John 1:9)

2. taking captive every thought - consider what you say before you say it - think about good things.

3. being engaged in the battle through prayer - pray with spiritual enlightenment/with the knowledge of the spiritual struggle going on. And know that there is great power in the Name and Blood of Jesus Christ.

The skies over Weatherford, Oklahoma (or America for that matter) are not clear. There is a battle raging for the hearts and minds and souls of all those who live here. You can make a difference - You can make a difference, if you get serious about God. Will you do it? Isn’t it time to get serious about God? Many are depending upon you - their eternal destinies depend upon whether or not you get serious about God.

You can begin to get serious about God by doing what you know to do:
(1. Reading, studying, memorizing God’s Word.
(2. Having a quality quiet time each day - start the day and end the day with the Lord.
(3. Witness - we can not reach our fullest potential as a child of God unless we join in this activity of God.
(4. Give
(5. Serve
(6. Resist the devil and he will flee from you - build a hotter fire and he will get his fingers burned.

Do we really want to have revival, spiritual awakening in this city, in this church, in this nation? Let me ask you this question. If everyone who makes up this church just keeps on doing the same things they have been doing for the last several years. Will we have revival? Will anything change? We can look around at these other people and you can look at this preacher and say why don’t they do better why don’t they change. But for just a moment let’s just concentrate on you. Are you where God wants you to be spiritually. Have you reached perfection (Perfection is not possible as long as we are upon this earth and have this human flesh.). Don’t you have some things in your life that God wants you to deal with? If we were to all get serious with God what would happen? One person on fire for God could turn this church upside down. Think what would happen if we all got on fire for God. This church would be unstoppable.

D.L. Moody (The greatest evangelist of the last half of the 19th century, the Billy Graham of his day.) was once told something that changed his life. He was told that the world has yet to see what God can do with one person’s life wholly and completely committed to Him. What would God do with your life if you completely and totally committed your life to God? You would never regret it and it would be beyond your wildest imagination what God would do. Don’t you want to find out? Give God everything. Don’t you have enough spiritual curiousity to want to find out? Why don’t we find out together?

The very first place to begin getting serious about God is to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
In John 1:12 the Bible says about Jesus, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
In John 3:16 the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
In Romans 10:13 the Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Why not call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus now and receive God’s gift of salvation. Open the door of your heart to Jesus by inviting Him to come in. You can pray these words that follow or put it in your own words. God not only reads lips but also hearts and He will know whether you mean it or not.

“Dear Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and life. Forgive me of my sins, the bad things that I have done and help me to live my life in a way that would be pleasing to You. Thank you for saving me. In Your Name Lord Jesus I pray. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer I would like to know about it and will send you some helpful material, please email Ed Wrather at:


by Ed Wrather

Jude vs. 1-4
This is a letter written by Jude who identifies himself as the brother of James which means that Jude is also the half brother of our Lord. Jude is seldom preached from but closing in on the end of the millenium its message is very up to date.

In the days before electronic navigational equipment, lighthouses served as vital guides for ships. Mooncursers were pirates who in the 19th century purposely caused many shipwrecks. They would set up false lights off a dangerous coastline. A homeward-bound ship would mistake this light for the lighhouse showing the way to safe harbor and would change its course. Trusting in this false light, the ship would head for certain destruction on the rocks and shoals. These pirates would then collect the cargo of the stricken ship while leaving the crewmen to drown. The key to the Mooncursers success was their deception setting up of a false light to lure the ships to their doom.

Today we still have Mooncursers but they go by different names. Names like Heaven’s Gate, The People’s Temple, The Solar Temple, Branch Davidians, Supreme Truth, House of Jahweh, Jeffrey Lundgren, Moonies, Mormans, and Jehovah’s Witnesses and there are more.

We call them cults and they all have one thing in common, they deceive people. They set up a false light and call it the true light. As we approach the year two thousand the Mooncursers are alive and well and doing a thriving business.

It’s the same old, same old problem that Jude was warning the people about back then about. Jude 4, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. You think about men like Jim Jones, and David Koresh, or even the Morman missionaries and you see them creeping unaware into the flock, into the lives of people claiming to be what they aren’t.

What they are is wolves in sheep’s clothing, through whom the devil strikes again and again sending countless thousands or even millions through the gates of hell.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:15, “beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

And in Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus says, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

And in Matthew 24:11, Jesus says, “And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many.”

Cults have been around for many, many, many years along with their leaders who are false prophets. And isn’t that what the leaders of the cults are saying they are? Prophets receiving new revelations direct from God which if they do have any respect for the Bible they say their revelations supercede what the Bible said in the past.

From Jim Jones to the head of the Mormon church and sometimes even the pope the world is full of false prophets saying they have new direct revelation which is better than the Bible. A cult denies at least some of the fundamental truths of the Gospel. Some deny more than others.

One of the earliest cults was the Gnostics. This was a group that claimed to be Christians and existed from the late 1st century to the 3rd century.

In Colossians 2:8, it is believe the apostle Paul is referring to early Gnosticism when he says, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” When Gnosticism was in full bloom it was an intellectual, elitist group which stressed wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge.

Gnosticism identifies Christ as an emanation from God, fitting Jesus in somewhere between God an an evil universe. As a result Gnosticism does not regard Christ as God. All of the cults have a warped view of who Christ is. Many cult leaders claim to be Christ themselves.

Others like the Mormons say that Christ was once a created being just like us that became a God but even though a God is not as powerful as the Father a completely separate God. We as Christians believe that Jesus Christ is part of the Trinity, the godhead. We worship one God but He reveals Himself to us through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Jesus was in existence before the beginning of time before the foundation of the world. Jesus is the Word become flesh, born of a virgin, fully human (while walking on this earth) and yet fully God. The Gnostics not only denied that Jesus was God but also His humanity claiming that Jesus could have had no physical existence. They reached the point they did by claiming that only certain elite ones of their group had knowlege. In other words only certain people could understand and interpret the Scriptures.

That’s where David Koresh and many other cult leaders were and are at who claim essentially the same thing: That only they have the ability to interpret the Scriptures.

Along with this elitest attitude toward knowledge of the Scriptures comes a moral superiority. In other words, since they have this advanced knowledge they can pick and chose the moral laws they want to obey. So in the case of David Koresh and many other false prophets, we see immorality being committed on a large scale.

Jude is speaking of this v. 4b vv. 7-8 vv. 10-11, “...ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

“But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things thy corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah.”

In v. 11 where Jude mentions Cain, Ba’-laam, and Korah, they are all false prophets in the sense of rebellion against God. In David Koresh and many other modern day false prophets you see Cain, Ba’-laam, and Korah all rolled up into one person.

Let’s consider Cain first:

Cain was a religious man but a natural man - He believed in God and believed in religion, but he thought he could do it his own way. Cain denied that he was a sinner, rejected redemption by blood, and thought that he could come to God his own way. And we know Cain had a murderous heart killing his righteous brother, Abel. We can see that the false prophets of today, like David Koresh, have the same characteristics of Cain.

Next, let’s consider Ba’-laam:

Ba’-laam was guilty of covetousness which is idolatry. He was a hired prophet. He wanted to make money with the gift that God had apparently given to him. You can see something of that in David Koresh and the other cults today because in order to become a Branch Davidian you had to sell everything you had and give it to Koresh.

And what did Koresh do with it? For one thing he had a nice Camaro - He had also bought $200,000 worth of guns and ammunition. But a person can seek after other things then just money as a cult leader - it might be prominence, or popularity, or fame, or applause, or position. This is spiritual adultery seeking after things other than the Lord, who commands, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

Finally, who is this man Korah?

Korah led a rebellion against Moses - He came wrongly to the conclusion that Moses was not the only one around who had access to God. Korah rebelled against God’s appointed authority who was Moses (Of course in this dispensation there is no one with the authority of a Moses and God’s appointed authority is the Holy Scripture.)

In effect Korah said, “Has God only spoken to Moses? Who does Moses think he is?”. Today the God’s appointed authority is the Word of God, and the false prophets are saying, “Has God only spoken through the Bible? The Bible is only paper God is speaking directly to me, I have the authority.”

Well, Moses was called of God, and Korah was not and Korah died. Korah was rebelling against God and paid a heavy price. David Koresh claimed to be the Son of God in contradiction of the Scriptures and He too is paying a heavy price for his rebellion against the authority of God. As will all who deny the authority of the Word of God.

Jude goes on to say vv. 17 - 19, “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.”

Remember what Jesus said? “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” “And many false prophets shall rise and shall deceive many.”

And what is our responsibility in all of this? Jude 3, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

“And exhort you that you should earnestly contend....”

From the Geek word that is translated here as contend we get our English word agony. There is tied up in this word contend the meaning of strife, of conflict, of combat of the most vigorous kind - “earnestly contend” he says. “earnestly” “earnestly contend.”

Jude believed that the very foundation of the Christian faith was under attack.

“You can’t just sit there and take it!” Jude is saying.

“You can’t let them get by with it!” Jude is saying.

“You’ve got to stand up for the Lord, stand up for the apostles Doctrine, speak up, defend the faith!” Jude is saying.

And I believe God is saying the very same thing to all true believers today - “earnestly contend”

“You can’t just sit there and take it!”
“You can’t let them get by with it!”
“You’ve got to stand up for the Lord, stand up for the Word of God, speak up, defend the faith!”

Jude closes out this book by giving us further instructions about protecting ourselves and others from fals prophets and false teachings. Jude 20-23, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” “earnestly contend” “Building up yourselves on your most holy faith.”

“...your most holy faith.” Our faith is built upon the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Paul also wrote in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed....”

There are parts of Scripture that we will enjoy and other parts that will step on our toes, but we need them all. “Your most Holy faith” refers to The Faith, to the body of truth that has been given to us in the Word of God.

Next Jude says, “Praying in the Holy Spirit.” This is an unusual phrase which occurs in only one other place in Scripture, in Ephesisans, where Paul talks about putting on the whole armor of God. Each piece of armor is for defense except for two things. One is Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching there unto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

The second offensive weapon mentioned is in Ephesians 6:17 just prior to prayer - which says, “the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.”

Praying in the Holy Spirit means that we pray by means of the Holy Spirit that we are dependent upon Him and that at the time of praying we want what God wants, we want His will to be done on earth and in our lives as it is in Heaven. When we are praying in the Spirit we are not just mouthing words but we desire God’s help and empowerment and we want whatever God wants.

Paul wrote in Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Intercedes according to God’s will, in agreement with God.

Jude goes on to say, “Keep yourselves in the love of God.” We know God always loves us - but He doesn’t always love the way we act - Keep yourself in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ looking always to eternity - keeping your eyes upon your Lord Jesus. (Hebrews 12:3)

Finally Jude says vv. 22 - 23, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” When we are witnessing, sharing Christ we must be sensitive to the leadership of the HS. Some - Jude is saying in verse 22 - will be won to Christ through tenderness and the demonstration of compassion. Others must be “plucked from the fire.” They must be directly confronted with the truth of the Gospel and the truth about the result of unforgiven sin.

There are a lot of good people out there involved with cults who need to know the consequences of believing a lie. Someone needed to pluck the Branch Davidians, and the Heaven’s Gate people and the Solar Temple people and so many others from the fire before it was too late. But no one did!!!

Don’t be deceived by the false prophets - Study the Word, Pray in the Spirit - Fight for those in the grasp of the false prophets. “earnestly contend for the faith” “Pluck them from the fire.” You have a divine mandate, a divine command to do so.


You may very well be the one who could invite someone to church, to Sunday School, to Bible Study on Wednesday night - where they could experience a “rush of reason” and come to know the truth.

God would have you to make a difference in the lives of those around you to “earnestly contend for the faith.”

Jude finishes his letter by saying. Jude 24 -25, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”

Would you experience today a “rush of reason” and realize only Christ can save you from your sins and trust Him as your Savior?


by Ed Wrather

Argus Hamilton translated El Nino to mean: “Where the ‘blank’ is my condo?” Don’t you know that there were a lot of comfortable people out in California made uncomfortable by those two little words, El Nino.

There were a lot of comfortable people in their two or three million dollar condos with the beautiful view overlooking the ocean. Life was good, until one day they arrived home ready to push the button on their garage door opener to discover that their garage was gone. Not only was their garage gone but their condo was gone. “Now where the ‘blank’ is my condo?” “Hmm, this is my street isn’t it?” Then they see it the roof of their condo peeking out of the ocean as the waves slam into what used to be their dream home. Life had suddenly become uncomfortable. Because they knew where their condo was and it wasn’t where it was supposed to be!

Today I want to talk to you about Comfortable people and there are really two classes of comfortable people according to God’s definition. But which ever one of these groups of the Comfortable that we find ourselves in - I don’t think that it is very wise to be in either one.

Let’s consider the first group of comfortable people. Let’s look first at Matthew 7:21-23 because that’s where we find Jesus talking about the first group of comfortable people. Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

This first group of the comfortable people are the lost who don’t know that they are lost. Quite a few people in this group maybe even some of us here today. What do you think? If someone were to say they are staying in their lifestyle of homosexuality. The are going to continue with that lifestyle and that they don’t believe God will condemn them and that they believe in once saved always saved. They think that God is alright with their lifestyle

What do you think, would God forgive someone for living in homosexuality? Of course! If, if they were ending that way of life. But do you remember what Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery? (Briefly tell story - John 8:1-11) John 8:9-11, “And they which heard it being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her. Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man. Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 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.” “I have also told you in time past that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

And in Romans there is another list: Romans 1:26-32, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another: men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, Bod gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of god, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commitsuch things are worthy od death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Paul says: “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death....”

We as Southern Baptist have said “once saved always saved.” And I believe that, but it has been warped around every which way. On the surface there appears to be a dicotomy. On the one hand we have what Paul says: Galatians 5:19-21 And we have what Paul says in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And we have what our Lord says in John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

I believe that the statement once saved always saved is true. However where the rubber hits the road is that many who believe and claim to be saved apparently are not saved.

How do we know they are not saved? Because they keep on doing and keep on doing and loving to do the same old, same old things that they did before they professed Christ as their Savior.

If we are habitually living in sin, living a life of a homosexual, adulterer, fornicator, drunkard, murderer and so on most likely we have never had a salvation experience. Now I don’t know what’s going on inside of a person’s heart and I am not to judge but our Lord says that by their fruits we shall know them. If a person continues on in the same old sinful lifestyle and is comfortable with that, has no remorse, no guilt then that person by Biblical definition is not saved. That person has not been regenerated, has not been born again. However, there may be people living in sinful lifestyles who do feel guilty and do have a constant battle going on in their hearts because they do have a new nature and have been born again.

Where do you fit in?

Revelation 3:14-22 The second group of the comfortable are those who are Christians but are comfortable with their Christianity. They come to church when the feel like it, they pray when they feel like it, they think about God when it is convenient. God really is secondary to them. They are comfortable with their fire insurance policy. Yes they know that people are going to hell. And they are thankful that they are not. But then it really doesn’t bother them enough to do very much about others going to hell because you see they’re not going. So, it doesn’t affect them.

God says, Revelation 3:16, “So then because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”

God says, Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Do you really want to be rebuked by God?

Do you really want to be chasten by God?

Do you want God to spew you out of His mouth?

What I want you to understand is that there is great danger in being comfortable. For the lost, the danger in being comfortable, thinking that you are saved when you are not is that you may very well run out of time and spend eternity in that terrible place called hell.

For the saved who are comfortable with simply having a fire insurance policy there is great danger as well. Not that you will lose your salvation but that: God will spew you out of his mouth and then He will rebuke you and chasten you.

And if you do not repent you will miss out on great blessing after great blessing as a result. And you will miss out on the promise in Revelation 3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

Jesus, you see, didn't overcome by being lukewarm, neither can you overcome by being lukewarm.



Todd W. White pastor of South Heights Baptist Church, Sapulpa, Oklahoma.

"Back to the Basics!" is the cry so often heard in the world today. Whether it be in reference to school curricula, family values, or business practices, there is definitely a move in some circles away from the liberal, nauseating practices of recent history back to a more civilized BASIC way of doing things.

In the church, it is no different. We need to get "Back to the Basics" in so many areas. Far too long Christians have been satisfied with the simplicity and stagnation that arises out of a complacent following of programs that died long ago (but no one has the intestinal fortitude to bury).

There is more to being a church than having people attend church services. There is more to being a church than blindly following a program because "that's the way we've always done it." There is more to being a church than giving money. There is more to being a church than placing a sign out on the street and saying, "Ya'll come!"

Sadly, most churches and church members plod along week after week, year after year, stuck in the deepest of ruts, all the time wondering, "Why don't people want what we have?" and "Why doesn't God send us new members?"

The answer is simple: WE are the reason why the people around us don't want what we have! Christ and the church have made such little difference in our lives that those around us don't SEE any point in trying it out!

If we, by our DAILY LIVES, would allow the light of Christ to shine to others (Matt. 5:16), people would beat the doors of the church down trying to get what we have!

"Well, how do we DO we let our light shine?"

So glad you asked.


There are countless millions on the church rolls in this country who are PROFESSING but not POSSESSING CHRISTIANS. They have walked an aisle, prayed a prayer, gotten wet, and "presto-chango," they were proclaimed, "A Christian."

Many of these folks try the Christian "bit" for a while, but soon drop out because it is "too narrow" or "too hard" or "cramps" their lifestyle. However, if you ask them if they are going to go to Heaven when they die, they will answer emphatically, "YES!"

Not so. James, the brother of our Lord, said that though we are not saved by faith PLUS works, we ARE saved by a faith THAT WORKS (James 2:14-26). Friend, if you have a faith that does not cause you to work for Jesus Christ, you have a dead faith, and a dead faith can't save anybody - YOU'RE LOST!

There are so few today who have the inner strength to discipline themselves to read the Word of God and pray on a consistent, DAILY basis. This lack of intake of the Scriptures and prayer life is the basis for the personal failure of most believers to live a victorious Christian life, as well as for their familiy's and church's failure to be what they ought to be. Somebody said -

"A chain is only as strong as its' weakest link."

Are YOU the weak link in your family, spiritually?

Are YOU the weak link in the lives of your neighbors?

Are YOU the weak link in your church?

"A chain is only as strong as its' weakest link."

Lack of spiritual food (reading and studying the Bible daily) and lack of communication with the Heavenly Father (daily prayer) will make you - and all those with whom you have contact - weak.

If you are not currently reading the Bible and praying on a daily basis, contact me and I will be glad to show you how.

3. ATTEND CHURCH REGULARLY. There are times when a person cannot attend church (illness, job conflicts, etc.), but the vast majority of those who skip church do so because, quite frankly, they don't want to be there!

What happens when a believer fails to attend church? Well, he -


In order to be useful to God, a person must know what tools the Father has given him in order to work for Him. The Lord saves every person for a PURPOSE, and we will never be satisfied or useful to God until we are busy fulfilling our God-given task here on earth. (See Eph. 4:11; Rom. 12:6-8; I Cor. 12).

5. BEGIN TITHING. One of the greatest ways in which a believer can prove the existence of God to himself and those around him is by putting God to the test through tithing. The Word of God is very clear on this subject, and we have discussed it before, but suffice to say that there is no HUMAN explanation that can be given for the ways in which God blesses His children when they are obedient in the area of tithing.

The child of God who tithes has an irrefutable testimony to the reality of power of God.

By making a concentrated effort to be the best witness for Jesus Christ that you can possibly be, the individual Christian has a far greater opportunity of winning those in his circle of influence than a pastor or other church member has (See Acts 1:8).

By watching YOU - their loved one, neighbor, or friend - they will SEE with their own eyes whether what you SAY has changed your life really works or not! When you purpose to live a Christ-like life WHERE YOU ARE, you open the doors to the hearts of people no one else can possibly hope to reach.

7. HELP OTHERS WHO ARE IN NEED. When we reach out to those who are hurting in this world, many have needs in addition to salvation. Not only do they need Christ as their Saviour, they also need food, medical attention, clothes, housing, and so much more.

When we, as a church family, reach out to meet the needs of the whole man - spirit, mind, and body - we are doing what Jesus did when He healed the sick. We are doing what He did when He fed the 4,000 in Matthew 14. Anyone can stand on a streetcorner or in a pulpit and PROCLAIM Jesus Christ - but to TAKE Him to where the lost and hurting are, that is the way it is supposed to be!


(Back to the Basics was contributed by Todd W. White, Pastor of South Heights Baptist Church Sapulpa, Oklahoma -

Isaiah 6:1-7

by Clark Wrather
(Pastor of Little City Baptist Church, Madill, Oklahoma -

Have you ever met anyone famous? If you could meet someone famous, who would it be? Would you want to meet the president of the United States, a famous movie star, or possibly a talented professional sports hero? Let's say that you actually were able to meet whoever you would choose. You might notice certain things about the person. You might come away from your encounter with a new idea about the person's character. You might find that the person has one overriding characteristic. You might describe the person as humorous, or congenial, or even generous. During your encounter, you might even feel a little uncomfortable. Especially, if you were in the oval office of the president.

Unfortunately, I am unable to set up meetings for you with whoever you might choose. I'm not affiliated with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. When you thought about all the people that you would want to meet, I would hope that you included God. Have you already encountered God? If you have, then you will know some important things.

We need to know that we learn something important about God and ourselves when we encounter Him. You see, when you encounter God you realize His holiness and your own impurity. Turn with me this morning to Isaiah 6. In the first seven verses, we find a description of Isaiah's encounter with God. In this passage Isaiah learns something important about God and himself.

You may remember this incredible passage and its description of God's mighty presence. We see God's awe-inspiring majesty and the incredible impact that it had on the prophet Isaiah. He encountered God. Because of this encounter, Isaiah realizes an overriding characteristic of God: His holiness. The prophet also realizes something important about himself: his own impurity.

In this passage we find two things that Isaiah realized from his encounter with God. Have you encountered God? If you have, you should realize something about God's character. If you have encountered God, you should realize His holiness (vs. 1-4)

Isaiah saw the Lord, but in a vision. God enabled Isaiah to see Him through some mysterious power. (Young, 1965, 236) When he sees God, the prophet immediately recognizes His utter holiness. Isaiah states that he "saw the Lord seated on the throne, high and exalted." (NIV, v. 1) Earthly rulers sit in judgement on their thrones. God is seated on His throne, because His holiness allows him to sit in judgement over the world. Isaiah realizes that the Lord is "high in His own nature, exalted (which means) 'lifted up,'" because he recognizes God's holy majesty. (Motyer, 1993, 76)

Above God, were six-winged beings flying around called seraphs. Isaiah's eyes must have been overloaded, because the word for seraph means "burning one." (Grogan, 1986, 55) Yet, these creatures must have been only a glimmer compared to the holy glory of God. The fiery creatures used two of their wings to "hide their faces from the greater brightness and glory of God." (Grogan, 1986, 55) The seraphs may be the greatest beings ever created, but they showed humility to God. They used two of their wings to cover their feet. In covering their feet, the seraphs were acknowledging that they did not choose their own way, but went according to the will of God. (Motyer, 1993, 77)

The burning ones were singing praises to God. They were acclaiming His holiness,crying, "holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty." (NIV, v. 4) Holy means "set apart." God is so "set apart" in character from the rest of the universe that the seraphs had to say holy three times to describe God's nature. (Motyer, 1993, 77) Their praising of God and His holy presence caused the temple to begin shaking. The temple is most likely the heavenly one. (Watts, 1985, 72) It is in the temple that God meets with His people through worship.

Isaiah was seeing the dazzling array of the fiery beings and the radiant glory of God. His eyes must have been watering, because smoke had filled the temple. It must have been difficult for him to remain standing, because the whole place was shaking and the smoke filled the entire area, which was the essence of God. His ears must have been ringing from the resounding praises of "holy, holy, holy." (NIV, v. 4) Surely, this scene must have greatly moved him. Why didn't Isaiah join in with the seraphs and grasp the opportunity to worship God in the heavenly temple, by shouting, "holy, holy, holy!" Isaiah was unable to join in their praise of God, because he had realized God's holiness.

I once sat next to a U.S. Congressman, while eating breakfast in Washington, D.C. During high school, I was in the band, which was invited to play at Bush's inaugural parade. One morning, Glen English came to our hotel. He is a former Representative from Oklahoma. He sat down at our table and was right next to me. I thought, "what an opportunity?" I have all sorts of things I would like to ask him. This led me to realize, that he was one of very few who was responsible for making the laws of our country. I realized the enormous power and responsibility that this man held. Unfortunately, this train of thought made me feel uncomfortable. I thought, "why should I bother someone like him with my question." I sat right there, stared at my food, and never said a word, because I knew how unimportant I was in the big scheme of things. I wasn't even able to vote yet!

If you have encountered God, you should recognize His holiness. Most of us have not had a vision of God, but we are still able to encounter him through worship. Worship, not only in the church, but by obedience in our daily lives to his will. It is God's very holiness, that motivates us to be obedient to him. You should realize God's holiness in your life. He created the universe, which means He created the world and everyone who lives in it, including you. Realizing God's utter holiness, will motivate you to worship him with the way you live.

The seraphs acclaimed God's holiness with worship and no doubt Isaiah wanted to do so. You should acclaim God's holiness as well, by the way you live. Have you encountered God? Do you realize what an incredible being He truly is? If you have, you will realize His holiness and the realization will change the way you live. If you have encountered God, you should have realized His holiness. This causes you to realize something personal, as Isaiah did.

If you have encountered God, you will realize your own impurity (vs. 5-7) Isaiah could not join in the praising of God. Because upon realizing God's holiness, the prophet immediately realized his own impurity. He cannot sing praises to God, because he is a man of unclean lips. He does not feel worthy of being in the Holy presence of God. "This manifestation of the holiness. . .of the Lord fills Isaiah with horror as he thinks of his sin and the sin of his people." (Ridderbos, 1985, 77) Isaiah cries out, "woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips!" (NIV, v. 5) His sin was doubled because he lived within a sinful nation. Isaiah's confession of his impurity opened the way for him to be forgiven.

One of the seraphs removed a coal from the altar and touched to the lips of Isaiah. When he did, he told Isaiah that his "guilt" was "taken away" and his "sin atoned for." (NIV, v.6) This touching of the lips, with the live coal, demonstrates "how God ministers to the sinner at the point of confessed need." (Motyer, 1993, 78) Isaiah realized his impurity and was only able to join the worship of God after he was purified. (Grogan, 1986, 56)

What would have happened if Isaiah had not realized his own impurity? Last Monday evening on the NBC program, Dateline, there was an expose concerning a traveling auction. The auction was popular because it supposedly sold things for a small portion of their real value. One woman paid $800 for a ruby that was valued, by the auction, at $3,500. All of her friends had tried to tell her that it could not possibly be worth that much, but she would not believe them. Eventually, the crew of Dateline, convinced her to have it appraised. The woman must have felt like crying out, "woe is me! I am ruined." The appraiser said that the ruby was so impure and flawed that it was only valued at $10.

Have you encountered God? Have you realized your own impurity in light of God's holiness? Often, we refuse to admit our own impurity, much like the woman with the worthless ruby. We believe that we are more righteous than we are in reality. When you consider your righteousness in light of God's holiness, you will realize how impure you really are. Never allow yourself to believe that you are perfect. If you have encountered the Holy God, you should realize your impurity. This realization is the motivation for confession of sin. You must know your impurity, in order to confess it and receive forgiveness for it.

What happens when you fail to realize your impurity? You do not confess your sins and as a consequence are not forgiven for them. This hurts your relationship with the Holy God. It makes it difficult for you to effectively worship God, not only in church, but by following His will in your life. You must realize your impurity before the Holy God.


Have you encountered God? Are you encountering him every day with the life that you live? If you are, you have realized His holiness. God's holiness changed Isaiah's life and it will change your life as well. It motivates you to worship Him with the way you live. Are you worshiping the Holy God with your life? Or is your life seriously flawed with the impurities of sin, which need to be forgiven? Have you realized your own impurity? Admit it to God and He will forgive you. Have you encountered God? Recently? You can encounter Him this morning.


Grogan, G.W. Isaiah. In Isaiah-Ezekiel. Vol. 6. ("The Expositor's Bible Commentary.") Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986.

Kolenberger, John R. ed., Isaiah-Malachi. Vol 4: The NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985.

Motyer, J. Alec. The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary. Downer's Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Ridderbos, J. Isaiah. ("The Bible Student's Commentary.") Grand Rapids; Zondervan Publishing House, 1985.

Watts, John D.W. Isaiah 1-33. Vol 24 ("Word Biblical Commentary.") Waco: Word Books, 1985.

Young, Edward J. The Book of Isaiah. 3 Vols. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965.