The Book of Romans


The book of Romans provides the most comprehensive understanding of spiritual regeneration (salvation chapters 3-5), the vital truth most attacked and hated by Satan. The book also furnishes an in-depth exposition regarding the way of deliverance from our sinful nature (“old man”) and the demonic influence of “this present evil world” (chapters 6-8). Therefore, the believer would do well to be extra familiar with this crucial book. Memorize the “Romans Road” “…and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear…” (1 Peter 3:15).

How to Share the Gospel Using Paul’s Epistle to the Romans

Pastor A.W. Weckeman 4/21/2022

(Essential truths that transform Lives)

1st The Fact of Sin

God’s assessment of the human condition:

“As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one.’” (Rom. 3:10)

No one possesses the pureness or blamelessness necessary to be justified before God.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23)

The fact is we are all sinners who fail to measure up to God’s glory.

When confronted with the indictment of the above Scripture, most people will proclaim their self-righteousness—measuring themselves against others. However, the apostle Paul points out that the standard isn’t how we stack up against others but God Himself. The standard is God’s holiness, and all of us fall far short of that measure.

2nd Sin Inherited from Adam

(Adam the “Federal Head” of the Human Race)

“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…” (Rom. 5:12) [Emphasis mine]. We are not just sinners because we sin; we were born sinners. We are all sinners by birth, choice, and nature.

 3rd The Wages of Sin vs. the Gift of God

(Bad news, good news).

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)  

First, the bad news “For the wages of sin is death….” Because sin is inborn and universal, death is the consequence or wages of sin (earnings, reward, or punishment).

Because of our sin, we face the inevitability of physical death and eternal separation from God. For all who die in their lost and sinful state, this separation is twofold, physical and spiritual.

Once you have established the “bad news,” the next step is to explain the good news, the second half of the verse: “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Once you reach this milestone in the Romans road it is essential to emphasize the fact that salvation is a free GIFT, not something we have to work for or earn. Use Ephesians 2:8-9 to establish this truth: “For by grace [unmerited favor] are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” [emphasis mine]

4th The Love of God

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8).

God demonstrated His love for us by dying in our place, even though we didn’t deserve it.

 5th How to Receive Christ and be Saved

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:13)

At this point, you have established (from God’s Word) the reality that we are all born sinners and therefore condemned and separated from God—facing both physical and spiritual death because of it. Now share the good news that God loved us and sent His Son Jesus to die in our place to pay for our sin.

Explain that if they are willing to sincerely repent of their sins and by faith call upon the name of the Lord and ask in prayer to be saved, they too shall have forgiveness and eternal life.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  (Rom. 10:9-13)

6th Eternal Security

Lastly, the fact of eternal security “in Christ” “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 accounted 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 angels, 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. 8:35-39).

End with supplementary verse (1 John 5:11-13) “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [Emphasis added]. Notice: Not hope for or maybe but KNOW you have eternal life. With child-like faith, take God at His Word.

The Leading of the Holy Spirit

The Leading of the Holy Spirit   Pastor A.W. Weckeman Feb.27, 2021

“I being in the way…”

The 24th chapter of Genesis opens with Abraham sending his servant (Eliezer) back to his homeland (Mesopotamia) to find a bride, from amongst his kindred, for his son Isaac. Through a series of divine appointments, Abraham assures Eliezer that God will lead him to the right woman. Upon miraculously being led to Rebekah (Isaac’s second cousin), Eliezer, in verse 27, worships the God of Abraham, proclaiming, “I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.” (Gen. 24:27). “I being in the way…” is pregnant with meaning, manifesting not only the essential need of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit but also the prerequisite principles of spiritual guidance; faith, obedience, and discernment. Consider the inherent danger of leaning on our own understanding. Prov.14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” And Isa. 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool…” (Prov. 28:26).


Receptivity to the indwelling Holy Spirit must be the motivating force behind everything we do in the name of the Lord. The only effective way to love, obey, serve, and please God is to “be led of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:18) and also (Rom.8:14) “led by the Spirit.” Consider Isa. 30:21, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Herein lies the subtle difference between “a work of the Lord” as opposed to “a work for the Lord.”

God’s transforming truths are intuitively revealed, understood through the faculties of man’s spirit, or more precisely, through the movements of the Holy Spirit illuminating the believer’s spirit “… not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man [unsaved] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED” (1 Cor. 2:13-14) [emphasis mine].

See the illustration below:

Led of the Spirit Color Illustration

When yielded to, God’s Spirit exerts a dominating influence on man’s triune being (spirit, soul, and body), providing the essential “spiritual understanding” necessary to discern His will and access His power.

Serve With My Spirit

Consider the apostle Paul’s declaration in Rom. 1:9) “For God is my witness, whom I serve WITH MY SPIRIT in the gospel of his Son…” [emphasis added]. To be fully comprehended, the things of God require “spiritual understanding” (Col. 1:9), which only God can provide. Whether it involves serving Him or loving one another (Col.1:8), prayer (Eph. 6:18, Rom. 8:26-27), overcoming the flesh (Rom. 8:13), worship (John 4:23-24 & Phil 3:3), spiritual warfare (2 Cor. 10:3-5, Eph. 6:10-12 & 1 John 4:4), singing praise (Col.3:16); to be authentic and effectual all must stem from the leading of the Lord.

The preceding realities highlight the vital role performed by the Holy Spirit working through the believer’s yielded spirit, which must be the impetus of all that concerns both our service and personal interaction with the Lord. Jesus said, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13). All thought, and action must flow from our sensitivity and obedience to the resident Holy Spirit’s leading to be fruitful.

“For it is God that worketh in you both to will and do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

“That he [Jesus]would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with all might BY HIS SPIRT in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to THE POWER THAT WORKETH IN US, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph. 3:16-21) [emphasis added].

Encapsulated in Ps. 25:4-5, we find an example of the effectual prayer of all who genuinely desire to serve and please the Lord, “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

Outer Darkness

“OUTER DARKNESS”  Dec. 22, 2017  

Pastor A. W. Weckeman 

The term “outer darkness” is a peculiar phrase used by Jesus in Mathew 8:12, 22:13, and 25:30. In all three instances, the Lord refers to a particular aspect of the judgment that awaits those who reject Him. For many years I wondered about the nature of this judgment. Precisely what did “outer darkness” mean…what was the force of the term?
Of all places, I found my answer in a cave. While vacationing in Virginia, Sandy and I spent a day visiting the “Luray Caverns” in the Shenandoah Valley. The tour guide took us deep down into a series of natural underground chambers, which contained a small clear lake that reflected eerie forms of stalactites hanging from the ceiling of the cave, a truly spectacular sight.

Then at the end of the tour, to demonstrate the depth of darkness that is far underground, the guide switched off the lights. Never before or after have I ever experienced such total darkness. After a minute or so, my amazement gave way to discomfort. At that point, I realized darkness to be more than the absence of light; the blackness was palpable to the point of distressing. A darkness that was more a presence or force than a physical condition. Then a horrible thought occurred, what if the lights failed to come back on?

On the way back to the hotel, the Lord brought to mind a verse in Exodus where Moses, in the form of God’s judgment, caused total darkness over the land of Egypt. The verse describes the pitch blackness as “…darkness which may be felt” (Exodus 10:21). I then decided to look up some other verses concerning darkness in the Scriptures.
The Lord directed my attention to Job 10:21-22, which I believe is a companion verse to Jesus’ reference to “outer darkness” in Matthews’s gospel.
“Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and the shadow of death, without any order, and WHERE LIGHT IS AS DARKNESS.” [Emphasis added]

To spend eternity separated from God, enveloped in pure, penetrating darkness, would be an unimaginable terror. Yet, that’s what Jesus said would be the fate of those who foolishly reject God’s love and forgiveness.
Another enlightening portion of Scripture is found in Psalm 49, which again describes the horrible destiny of people who choose material wealth above God:  “For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; THEY SHALL NEVER SEE LIGHT.” [Emphasis added]

The purpose of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection: “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18)
“…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5).

“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.” (John 3:16)

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…” (Heb.2:3).

The Mind is the Battlefield

The Mind is the Battlefield   Nov. 2020

Pastor A.W. Weckeman.

New Creature in Christ

Upon repenting of our sin and trusting Christ’s substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf, a miraculous “spiritual rebirth” occurs, a reversal of the “spiritual death” we inherited from Adam. In a split second, the Holy Spirit permanently reunites with the new believer’s spirit so that two become one “…he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor.6:17)

Due to the second birth, every born-again believer truly is a “new creature in Christ,” sealed with the Holy Spirit, possessing a “divine nature” (“new man”) “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

However, our old fleshly nature, which is contrary to God, is not eradicated upon salvation; unfortunately, he remains alive and active.

In reality, every believer is a “spiritual being” (“new man”) temporarily residing in the sin-prone flesh (“old man”): “An immortal life in dying flesh…a royal servant in a prison of clay” possessing a dual nature made up of two diametrically opposed forces contending for dominance. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal.5:17)

The nature of the “new man” is animated by the Holy Spirit; therefore, He desires to love, obey, and please God.

The nature of the “old man” is that of the “flesh,” which manifests itself through self-centeredness, self-gratification, and self-righteousness. He is characterized by an attitude that is antagonistic to everything genuinely associated with God (although he will gladly wear the mask of religion to suit his self-righteousness) “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” (2 Tim. 3:5). Rebelliousness, lust, worldliness, and pride are in his DNA. The “works of the flesh” (the old man) and “the fruit of the Spirit” (the new man) are contrasted in Gal.5:19-25:

19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 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. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such, there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Understanding the Inner Struggle  

At every level, the flesh exerts tremendous force on the will, continuously drawing us to disobedience by counteracting the Holy Spirit’s pull. The flesh employs temptation through carnal appetites and fleshly lusts, providing an endless list of excuses, continually seeking to override or neutralize the Holy Spirit’s influence. When moved by the Spirit to read the scriptures, pray, or worship, the flesh instantly distracts and deflects, reminding us of other things to do. Better things, more pleasurable pursuits inclined toward self-satisfaction.

In essence, the battle for control of the being is a tug-of-war between an inborn, well-established nature and an emerging new nature, intense as hand-to-hand combat. In this case, the battle is not physical; the mind is the arena of conflict where battles are won or lost.

The following verses provide the Apostle Paul’s personal account of the inner conflict between his old nature (sin-prone flesh) and the new nature (indwelling Holy Spirit). This critical portion of scripture explains the inner workings of an intense battle between two coexisting, diametrically opposed forces, the inevitable outcome of the second birth.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom. 7:15-25).

In the above verses, the Apostle Paul expresses his frustration with his inability to abstain from sin. He has a sincere desire to please God, yet he finds it impossible to do so in the power of his flesh. No matter how hard he tries, he inevitably fails: his self-will and determination are wholly insufficient. “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

The realization that “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…” is a wonderful, liberating truth. Humbly acknowledging our inability is the key to subduing the old nature; ironically, the battle is won by surrender. Jesus said, “the flesh profiteth nothing…” (John 6:63).

Walking in the flesh is to be controlled by our carnal appetites, ruled by our circumstances. It is to be motivated by “old man” ceding to the old nature, reacting to our emotions, and relying on our abilities and intellect rather than the indwelling Holy Spirit. “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Phip. 3:3).

The Heart of the Problem

As previously discussed, every true “born-again believer has two wells to draw from. Two contrary reservoirs of influence shape and determine thought life; one inherited from Adam, the other implanted by God upon salvation; two hearts, two minds resulting in two opposing wills.

The necessity of comprehending both source and nature of the two diametrically opposed forces responsible for the incessant inner struggle is of paramount importance. Our hearts’ spiritual condition is in direct proportion to our resistance to the flesh (through God’s power in us); therefore, it is crucial that we fully understand the nature of the enemy within. Learning to feed the “new man” while starving the “old man,” although essential, is only half the battle. Putting on the whole armor of God also involves understanding the mechanics (energy and forces) behind the warfare “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Cor.2:11).

The way we live is closely related to our inner state. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23). It is essential on many levels to understand how the inner man shapes the outer man. The following illustration depicts the heart of the problem; the two fountains responsible for our thought life.

Completed Two Hearts Color 2

The illustration should help us to understand the origin of the inner struggle and reality of the following verses:

The Heart of the “Old Man” (the natural man)

 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool…” (Prov.28:26)

In Mark 7:18-23, the Lord Jesus reveals the fountainhead of evil thoughts and acts:

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

“And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts.” (Luke 24:38).

“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.” (James 3:10)

The Heart of the “New Man”

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) “…Christ in you, the hope of glory…” (Col. 1:27b) “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal.4:6) It is impossible for the “new man” and the “old man” to peacefully coexist, hence the continuous mental tug-of-war.

The Mind is the Battlefield

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind…” (1 Peter 1:13). The analogy put forth in this verse provides valuable insight regarding the essential defense of the mind. The keyword is “loins,” which means the vital parts of the body, major organs protected in battle. A wound in this critical region was almost always fatal.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Cor. 10:3-5). Notice the warlike terminology used by the Holy Spirit in these highly instructive verses; war, weapons, warfare, casting down, and captivity.

Consider the three main spheres of influence (strongholds, imaginations, and thoughts) detailed in the above verses concerning the spiritual battle for the mind:

Strongholds: Before salvation, we lived “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience…” (Eph.2:2). During that time, the insidious influence of an ungodly society had thoroughly indoctrinated our way of thinking…conforming us to “this present evil world.” Over time, through repeated exposure, thought patterns were formed, and a worldview was established. The Bible refers to these carry-over captive areas of the mind, held by the devil and vigorously defended, as “strongholds.” These well-founded worldly attitudes are contrary to the teachings of God’s word and, unless “pulled down,” will add much resistance to spiritual growth. As new creatures in Christ, we are clearly warned by the Word of God not to be “conformed to this world” (Rom.12:2).

Imaginations: The LORD hates “An heart that devises wicked imaginations… (Prov.6:18). The word “imaginations” is mentioned six times in the scriptures and always carries a negative connotation. Consider (1 Chron.28:9, Prov. 6:18, Lam. 3:60-61, Rom.1:21, 2 Cor. 10:5). Imaginations: The ability to form mental pictures of something not actually present to the physical senses. Imaginations can be defined as spontaneous thoughts and mental images projected from the subconscious, stored thoughts and images arising from the sinful heart of the “old man”; fantasies, the sensuous free play of man’s sinful nature.

The first mention of “imagination” “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen.6:5). Fallen man is “a transgressor from the womb…” (Isa.48:8), “…for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth…” (Gen.8:21). It is vital to the Christian’s spiritual welfare (and usefulness to the Lord) that he or she learns to discern “…refuse the evil and choose the good…” (Isa.7:15).

Thoughts: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Prov.23:7). Every word, every action, begins as a thought. “Sow a thought, reap an act, Sow an act reap a habit, Sow a habit reap your character, Sow your character reap your destiny.” Charles Reade. Whatever rules our minds govern our lives. Our thoughts can sway the whole inner being in one direction or another; they are an accurate reflection of who we are. That which occupies the mind shapes the heart “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt.12:34). “The language we employ is a sure index to the condition our souls.” Pink

All “thought” and “belief” belongs to one of two realms…the realm of truth or the realm of falsehood…each having its source in God or Satan.” Jessie Penn Lewis “War on the Saints”

13 “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:13-17)

There are two types of wisdom in the world. One is born of Light, the other of darkness; one is from above, the other from below. The new man is animated by the wisdom from above, the old man by the wisdom from below. Spiritual growth depends on discernment and choice. The first challenge is to discern between the two types of wisdom. The second challenge is to choose between the two.

Thoughts, like almost everything else in life, are a matter of choices. Keeping your heart pure involves selectivity in the thought life and control of imagination. Thoughts are like food; some foods are beneficial, some are harmful, and many times that which looks or tastes good isn’t good. It is vital to our spiritual health and mental well-being that we choose wisely.

Learning to discern the nature and source of our beliefs and thoughts and be willing to make the necessary changes is pivotal. “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” [defenseless] (Prov.25:28). If you don’t control your thoughts, your thoughts will control you. “…bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” “How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” (Jer.4:14). “…choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Josh. 24:15)

“We will remain the same until the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change.” Unknown.

 The Essential Exchange (“Put off” “Put on”)

Real spiritual growth is a choice, depending on a willingness to be changed, submission born out of sincere gratitude, and a heartfelt desire to obey the will of the Lord as revealed in His word. Spiritual development requires a retreat from self. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). The deciding factor, which determines whether we are carnal or spiritual, hinges on a crucial exchange:

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation [manner of living] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph.4:22-24).

This putting off or yielding initiates an essential lifelong process whereby changed people learn to live changed lives, a gradual transformation that causes what happened on the inside becomes evident on the outside “Christ be formed in you…” (Gal.4:19).

Spirituality is the fruit of resistance; the more you choose to resist self-life (flesh), the more spiritual clarity and supply of God’s power you experience. However, it is of utmost importance to realize that we (in and of ourselves) do not possess the ability necessary to overcome the influence world, flesh, and devil.

Undoubtedly one of the most significant impediments to resisting the flesh and guarding the heart is to rely on our own strength, attempting to go it alone. The surest path to defeat is to forget, or be ignorant of, the fact that “…our sufficiency is of God” (2 Cor. 3:5). “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7) “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and do of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13) The power is in you yet not of you. There is a vast difference between a work “for God” and a work “of God.”

As far as overcoming the flesh and living a fruitful Christian life, the most important thing to realize is that Jesus Christ actually lives in you in the person of the Holy Spirit. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal.4:6). Consider the Apostle Paul’s declaration in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

Therein resides the power to resist temptation. Self-determination, in and of itself, is incapable of overcoming the flesh. Self-discipline is, of course, necessary, but it can only carry you so far; it is insufficient in the sense that we cannot will ourselves spiritually, we can only “yield” our will to God’s will “…not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Concerning spiritual matters, sheer determination because it is rooted in the flesh, is inadequate. The flesh cannot overcome the flesh; only the Holy Spirit can do that. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3)

No matter hard you try, you cannot serve God in the flesh, “the flesh profiteth nothing…” (John 6:63). Inconsistency is the enemy of spirituality; to consistently guard our hearts and overcome our enemies, we must beseech the Lord to supply the spiritual wisdom and necessary grace to live a life pleasing to Him. “Ask and it shall be given you…” (Matt.7:1).

“Except we are given grace we are but defenseless sinners.” Nee

The Eye Gate

To guard our hearts, we must control our eyes.  The eye gate is the primary entrance to the mind. Eighty-nine percent of what we learn comes through visual stimulation, ten percent through audible stimulation, and one percent through the other three senses. Therefore the eye gate is of foremost concern and must be strictly guarded.

The eye gate is the primary pathway of enticement…the trigger of temptation. Temptation is a struggle between desire and reason which begins (activated) when (stimulus or influence) on the outside connects (through the eye gate) with something on the inside (old sinful nature), setting off a lustful response.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).

Must guard your heart by learning to recognize and “abstain from all appearance of evil.” Avoid that which provokes negative stimulation, and identify and shun your susceptibilities’ (areas of weakness); those things to which you have little resistance. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Rom. 13:14). Acknowledging and shunning our vulnerabilities goes a long way to guarding our hearts.

Remember, the “eye gate” is the primary entrance to the soul. To guard your heart, you must control your eyes; a glimpse will lead to a gaze, imprinting an indelible image on the heart. “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes…” (Ps. 101:3).

To illustrate: Eyes the projector, heart the screen, and mind the computer (memory). The eyes project indelible images upon the heart, which are then stored in the mind.

One of the most amazing features of the human mind is memory, which is, in effect, an incredible living computer. Man’s memory not only has the capability of recalling information and reviving past images but also has the capacity to create its own scenes in the form of dreams and imaginations from information stored in the subconscious. Adapted from “Improving Your Serve” C. Swindoll”

Whether before or after salvation, all evil entered through the unguarded eye-gate is permanently stored in the mind, thus providing the enemy internal poison to hinder the Holy Spirit. As each sensual, thought-provoking scene passes unchecked through the breach, the will to resist breaks down until the eye gate becomes the failed floodgate. The effect can be profound and lasting, adding much resistance and frustration to the battle for God’s control of the total being. Henceforth the Apostle Paul’s exhortations in 2 Cor.10:3-5 & Rom. 12:1-2:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exhalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom.12:1-2)

“Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” (Hos. 14:9)

The Power of God’s Word

The Power of God's Word

“…my heart standeth in awe of thy word” (Ps.119:161)

The adage: “Perception defines reality” is only valid in a limited sense. Perception doesn’t truly define reality; God’s Word, absolute and eternal, defines that which is true and real. However, it is true that how we perceive things has a tremendous effect on our attitude toward them; this is especially true regarding the Scriptures.

Our conception of the world (our “worldview”) determines how we live in the world. How we view the world is the result of dominant influences that have shaped our lives. Similarly, if the Word of God is the dominant influence, it will result in a “biblical worldview.” The depth of influence depends upon how we perceive the scriptures. What we truly believe about the nature and character of God’s Word plays a big part in transforming our lives.

Hebrews 4:12-13 contains the truth necessary to enlighten our understanding as to the Personality of God’s Word: “For the Word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

No ordinary book! Alive and powerful, not merely paper and ink! This portion of scripture sheds light on a vital truth that should affect our reading of the Bible. “There is a supernatural, indivisible union between God and His word; therefore, unlike human words, God’s words have a life of their own “…the word of God which liveth and abideth forever.” (1 Peter 1:23). Jesus said: “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (John 6:63).
Upon salvation, God permanently joins Himself to us by His Spirit, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor.6:17) and speaks to us on a personal level through His Word.

Right Motive for Reading the Word

Attitude determines the outcome. Our motive for spending time in the Word shouldn’t be one of obligation but rather desire to hear: “Speak, LORD for thy servant heareth” (1 Sam.3:9). We must approach the Scriptures from the standpoint of awe and submission; we are not to judge the Word but rather allow it to judge us. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps.139:23-24)

Remember, God’s Word is “…a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12). So, in reality, while we are reading God’s Word, He is simultaneously reading us: Searching our hearts, discerning our motives, causing introspection, provoking thoughts, all the while convicting the conscience.

To neglect God’s Word is to shut your ears to His voice, to deprive yourself of His counsel. “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand. (Prov. 19:21), guidance “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Ps.119:105) correction, “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Prov.3:11) and comfort, “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” (Ps.119:50). And so much more.

“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:12)

A Way To Escape

Sometimes there’s only one way out.


While working as an N.Y.C. firefighter, one of the first things I learned was that fire had a nasty habit of doing things you didn’t anticipate. Even though a big part of our training centered on being prepared to expect the unexpected, out-of-control fire never ceased to amaze me.  When operating in a fire situation, the variables are too numerous to get it right every time. The worst fear was being trapped by a sudden change of conditions at the fire scene, which, unfortunately, was a very real possibility.

For this very reason, early on in my career, I substituted a bull’s collar for a belt and kept 30ft of mountain climbing rope in my turn-out coat pocket. The bull collar had a 2-inch diameter steel ring stitched between double leather, which could be quickly attached to a karabiner (repelling device). It gave me an extra sense of security…a way to escape an intolerable situation.

Like the unpredictable fire scene, life inevitably brings difficult, unexpected things our way leaving us feeling emotionally trapped with no way out. Situations and circumstances converge to make life seem unbearable and hopeless.  The stress and anxiety of these impossible situations can be overwhelming. Yet, no matter how severe the trial or affliction, the Bible plainly states that with the test, God will provide “a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted [tried] above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor.10:13). The way to escape may not be immediately obvious; nevertheless, a door opens in God’s perfect time.

“For the child of God, everything is under the control of our  Heavenly Father.”

Our trials, suffering, and tribulation are not meaningless, although the purpose is often hidden from us in the present. No matter how perplexing and seemingly senseless our trials appear, they are always meant to do us good in the latter end. Our part is to trust, and God’s part is to make a way of escape that we may be able to bear that which seems impossible. When your back is up against the wall, and you feel trapped, Jesus is the rope. “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” (Isa.32:2). 

However, God, in His infinite wisdom, sometimes chooses not to remove the infirmity. Consider the apostle Paul’s request regarding a “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Cor. 12:8-9. “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Thus God proportions our trials and afflictions to the amount of strength that He has committed to us within.”

Therefore sometimes, the way to escape is simply, in genuine faith, to ask the Lord to supply the grace to endure, the strength to overcome. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Ps. 46:1)

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:29-31)

 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations [trials]: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, who mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isa.26:3)

The Bible is of no Private Interpretation


The Bible is of no Private Interpretation.

Pastor A.W. Weckeman, Oct. 2016

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any PRIVATE INTERPRETATION. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were MOVED BY THE HOLY GHOST.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) [Emphasis added].

Private interpretation forms a bias in favor of our “own understanding” (Prov.3:5), a personal viewpoint or erroneous teaching which tends to solidify over time.

When challenged, people respond, “Well, that’s what I have always been taught and have come to believe.” “The great Dr. so and so says…or I heard on Christian radio or read on the internet.”

 Always be ready to change whatever you have been taught or have come to believe when it is contrary to what the Bible teaches. Avoid the trap of attempting to make the Bible line up with what you think; instead, always line yourself up with what the Bible teaches. Be careful not to allow your pride or intellect to close your mind and rob you of the truth.

 “Deception has all to do with the mind and means a wrong thought admitted to the mind under the belief that it is truth. Assumed knowledge is as dangerous as ignorance since it closes the mind to truth.” Jessie Penn Lewis

People generally approach the subject of Bible interpretation from three different perspectives: First, “I sincerely want to know what it means.” Second, “I know what I think it means.” Third, “I know what I want it to mean” (to line up with my preconceived ideas).

In reality, the second and third methods are based upon private interpretation; someone’s opinion derived from their personal point of view. The first approach humbly acknowledges the inadequacy of human intellect, instead choosing to rely on illumination from God’s Word and Spirit.

The three diverse attitudes are rooted in two contrary types of understanding; intellectual understanding” (Prov.3:5) and “spiritual understanding” (Col.1:9).

The greatest obstacle to “spiritual understanding” (the prerequisite to correct interpretation) is that it is often expressed in the form of paradox. Spiritual realities are paradoxical (just the opposite of what we think); therefore, many times, what we think we know isn’t so. Consider:

Calvary life from death (John 12:24).

Surrender equals victory (Phil.4:11).

Weakness becomes strength (2 Cor.12:9).

Humility is power (1 Peter 5:5).

Evil is overcome by good (Rom.12:21).

To lose your life means to save your life (Luke 9:23-24).

Fortunate to have misfortune (Ps. 119:67, 71, 75).

God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Cor. 1:26-29).

The Power of Paradox

The power of paradox confounds pride and human intellect, rendering “the wisdom of this world” (reason, logic, and deduction) foolishness; while at the same time unveiling fundamental truths absolutely essential to “spiritual understanding.” Hidden realities are reserved for the humble, truth-seeking heart, providing “spiritual wisdom,” without which sound interpretation and doctrine are unobtainable.

 “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours…” (1Cor. 3:18) [Emphasis added]

Intellectually gifted people are rarely humble people; they pride themselves in their intellect; therefore, their natural tendency is to interpret the Scriptures through their own inadequate abilities.

“A humble and prayerful person will find a thousand things in the Bible, which the proud student will utterly fail to discern.” J.C. Ryle

Pride produces men of high self-esteem; conceited, contemporary Pharisees and Sadducees mysteriously oblivious to the truth of the truth mentioned above in (1 Cor.1:25-29). Sadly, many of the recognized “scholars” of today (Professional Theologians of Christian Academia) have fallen into the same trap as their secular cousins, believing intellect to be all-sufficient, the key to understanding…including “spiritual realities.” The power of paradox has restrained their comprehension, often rendering them blind to spiritual truth “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim.3:7).

However, this does not, in any way, imply human intellect is of little value when studying the scriptures; it is God’s wonderful gift (1 Cor.4:7) to be used for His glory. However: “Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, human intellect is not only vain but dangerous because it often confuses right and wrong” (therefore, a powerful means of deception). “Assumed knowledge is as dangerous as ignorance, since it closes the mind to truth.”  Jessie Penn Lewis

The Heart of the Problem

Pride is an insidious heart problem that darkens the mind and hardens the heart.

 “The pride of thine HEART hath deceived thee…” (Obadiah 1:3). [All emphasis mine]. 

“For as he thinketh in his HEART, so is he…” (Prov.23:7).

“…the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the HEART.” (1 Sam.16:7).

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your HEART” (Jer. 29:13).

God is infinitely more interested in the heart than the head.

Which Bible is “of no private interpretation”… the actual preserved word of God?

There are hundreds of contradictory versions of the Bible, which obviously are not the fruit of “spiritual understanding” (provided by the Holy Spirit); “For God is not the author of confusion…” (1 Cor. 14:33). Rather, they are the product of so-called “Christian scholarship” (textual criticism), a pernicious amalgamation of intellectual understanding and assumed spiritual understanding.

Upon comparing the genuine humility, evident depth of “spiritual understanding,” and reverence by which the King James translators approached God’s Word with the translators of the “New International Version” (or any other modern “politically correct” perversion), it’s not hard to understand how the devil makes use of man’s sin nature to “corrupt the word of God.”

 “…God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5). Pride is the opposite of humility; just as humility opens the door to spiritual understanding, pride closes it.

Satan’s words: “Yea, hath God said...?” [are you sure that’s what God said] (Gen.3:1). Jesus’ words, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matt. 24:35)

The Mechanics of Sin

The Mechanics of Sin  


As a vehicle in need of wheel alignment, constantly pulling in the wrong direction, so is the constant gravitational pull of sin and self. Hence, the driving force behind our natural tendency to wander away from the Lord: “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. (Ps. 119:10).

Sin is both self-perpetuating and cumulative; each time we yield to its insidious influence, it increases strength. “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to INIQUITY UNTO INIQUITY…” (Rom. 6:19) [Emphasis mine]. “…iniquity unto iniquity”. The Scriptures are replete with warnings, the world and our flesh subtly lead us away from Christ, and sin leads to more sin.

Just as it takes a constant effort to keep the unaligned car on the road, it requires steadfast resolve to resist the seductive magnetism of the flesh, the world, and the devil to maintain fellowship with the Lord. “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul…” (1 Peter 2:11).

The constant negative influence of a godless, decadent society (T.V., the Internet, social media, etc.) incrementally wears us down, “day by day” vexing our five senses…gradually, subtly causing us to backslide.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” (Rom.6:16-19)

Biblical Dispensations Defined

Biblical Dispensations Defined 

Pastor A.W. Weckeman   Sept. 2016

The Change of Times and Seasons

The Change of Times and Seasons

As used in the Scriptures, the word dispensation refers to different administrations or stewardship, which occurs in specific time periods (ages) involving variations of God’s dealings with humanity. Dispensations concern accountability, responsibility, and faithfulness to the revealed will of God on the part of the steward. The “dispensation of the Law,” contrasted with the “dispensation of the grace of God,” vividly demonstrate the distinction between the two.

Law vs. Grace

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)

LAW                                                                               GRACE

A Dividing Veil (Ex.26:33)                                             A Veil rent (Matt.27:51, Heb.10:19, 22)

Blots out the sinner (Ex.32:33)                                     Blots out the sin (Col.2:14)

Curses the offender (Gal.3:10)                                     Covers the offender (Rom.4:7)

Do and live (Deut.8:1)                                                   Done for the sinner (John 19:30, Matt.5:17)

Every mouth stopped (Rom.3:19)                                 Every mouth opened (Rom.8:10)

Graven on stone – outward (2 Cor.3:3)                         Graven on the heart – inward (2 Cor. 3:3)

Judgment (Ezek. 18:20)                                                Justification (Rom.3:24)

Love demanded (Deut.6:5)                                            Love exhibited (John 3:16)

Nearness impossible (Ex.20:21)                                    Nearness certain (Eph.2:12-15)

Prodigal stoned to death (Deut.21:20,21)                      Prodigal robed & feasted (Lk.15:20,22)

Retaliates (Ex.21:24)                                                      Redeems (Gal.3:13)

Sanctification demanded (Lev.11:44)                             Sanctification bestowed (1 Cor.1:30)

Three thousand slain (Ex.32:28)                                    Three thousand saved (Acts 2:41)


 Concise Definitions of Dispensations

“The word dispensation means literally a stewardship or administration. Therefore, in its Biblical usage, a dispensation is a divinely established stewardship of a particular revelation of God’s mind and will (i.e. innocence, conscience, human government, etc.) which brings added responsibility to the whole race of men or that portion of or that portion of the race to whom the revelation is particularly given by God.  Associated with the revelation, on the one hand, are promises of reward or blessing for those responding to the obedience of faith, while on the other hand there are warnings of judgment upon those who do not respond in the obedience of faith to that particular revelation.” Clarence E. Mason Jr.

“A dispensation is God’s distinctive method of governing mankind during a period of human history, marked by a crucial event, test, failure, and judgment. From the divine standpoint, it is a stewardship, a rule of life, or a responsibility for managing God’s affairs in His house. From the historical standpoint, it is a stage in the progress of revelation.” Paul David Nevin

Seven Dispensations in the Bible:

1st   Dispensation of Innocence– Genesis chapters 1-3. From the creation of man to the Fall and expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

 2nd   Dispensation of Conscience-Genesis chapters 4-8. This dispensation extends from the Fall to the Flood.

 3rd   Dispensation of Human Government-Genesis chapters 4-11. From the Flood to the dispersion of Babel.

4th   Dispensation of Promise-Genesis 12- Exodus 19. From the call of Abraham to Egyptian Bondage.

5th   Dispensation of Law-Exodus 19- Acts 2. From the Exodus to the Crucifixion.

6th   Dispensation of Grace– Acts 2-? From Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church.

7th   Dispensation of the KingdomThe Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ.

In Summary:

In the Bible, a dispensation is a unique administration, a stage in the outworking of God’s plan throughout history, during which MAN IS TESTED IN RESPECT OF OBEDIENCE to a specific revelation of the will of God. Thus, scripturally speaking, a dispensation is NOT a period of time but a manner or method which God sets up to test man during a specific stage of God’s dealing with humanity.

“However, though the time period (age) ends, certain principles of the revelation (dispensation or stewardship) are often carried over into succeeding ages because God’s truth does not cease to be true…” C.E. Mason Jr.

“God who at sundry [different] times and in divers [various] manners spake IN TIME PAST unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” (Heb.1:1-2).

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John1:17).

“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand MY [Paul’s] knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which IN OTHER AGES WAS NOT MADE KNOWN unto the sons of men, as it is now [AD 64] revealed…” (Eph.3:4-5).

“If you have heard of the DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD which is given me to  you-ward…” (Eph.3:2).

“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (1 Cor. 4:1-2).

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the DISPENSATION OF GOD which is given to me for you.” (Col.1:25). [All emphasis mine].

Understanding God’s differing dispensations is essential to correct interpretation and, therefore, the key to “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The Remnant, the Lord’s Minority

The Remnant, the Lord’s Minority

Pastor A. W. Weckeman Aug. 2016


The “end times”  will be characterized by widespread deception, false doctrine, and a mass falling away.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Tim. 4:1)

“…evil men and seducers shall wax and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim.3:13)

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…” And they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned to fables.” (2 Tim.4:3-4)

As the church age draws to a close, the scriptures tell of a “lukewarm” Christianity that has been chilled by tremendous deception, a time of indifference and confusion…that time has arrived.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…” (2 Thess.2:3).

Mass apostasy: The “latter days” of the Church Age will be characterized by a “falling away” from biblical Christianity to religion, ritual, and man-made tradition; from sound doctrine to false doctrine, from the pure word to the impure, from steadfastness to compromise and mixture, “lukewarm.” There will also be a dominating “spirit of fear” caused by persecution from hostile forces of a godless culture.

At this prophecied age,  “the mystery of iniquity” has come close to permeating the whole of Christianity. A disheartening time in which the devil has succeeded in infiltrating (subverting) and corrupting the majority of so-called Christianity. For those who know and love the truth, these times can be very discouraging, very frustrating, even depressing. It’s never easy to be in the persecuted minority.

The Remnant of Israel
In reality, we shouldn’t find it surprising that only a few (relatively speaking) will be saved and remain faithful to the truth in the end times.  A study of the  Hebrew people, chronicled in the Old Testament, reveals the reality that it has always been a REMNANT that truly believed and remained faithful during times of spiritual darkness and inevitable moral decay. No matter how severe the persecution or tribulation, they remained steadfast by the grace of God.

Remnant defined: A residue; that which remains after separation (falling away) removal or destruction.
At first, the use of the word remnant denoted a family or clan that survived a calamity or slaughter. Later came to be applied to a nation’s spiritual seed, which survived God’s judgment and remained to start anew (Noah, for example).

In the history of Israel, a remnant can be defined as a “spiritual Israel” within the Nation of Israel. So then, so now. The contemporary remnant is made up of “spiritual believers” (faithfully holding on to the Truth; obediently abiding in Christ) within a  lukewarm Christianity; “…blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world…” (Phil.2:15).

In Elijah’s day, there were 7000 who had not bowed to Baal (1 Kings 19:18 & Rom.11:4-5).
In Isaiah’s time, it was a “very small remnant” for whose sake God withheld the nation’s destruction. (Isa. 1:19)

During Israel’s and Judah’s captivity in Assyria and Babylon, the remnant appears in Jews like Ezekiel, Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego, Esther, and Mordecai.
At the end of the seventy years of Babylonian captivity, it was a remnant that returned under Ezra and Nehemiah. (Ezra 9:8-15, Neh.1:3)

At the First Advent, during a time of great spiritual darkness in Israel, John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna (Luke 2:25-38) were among the few who “…looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). In these “last days” of the church age, we are “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God  and our Saviour Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13)

What Can We Learn from the Remnant?
In many ways, the end times we live in are similar to the troublesome times through which the children of Israel passed; apostasy, false prophets, teachers, tremendous deception, confusion, and persecution.

The Old Testament paints a vivid picture of the remnant, informing us of their attitude, character, and courage in the face of overwhelming persecution, providing an instructive example for the contemporary remnant. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4).

In Israel’s history, the remnant hung on to their faith in the Lord even during the darkest times. Those who steadfastly refused to compromise with the pagan culture they resided in, even while living in bondage in foreign lands. The remnant were those who passed through the calamity of their generation, the survivors of a spiritual disaster.

Analyzing the Old Testament Remnant
What characterized the remnant?

How did they differ from their brethren?

What was it that enabled them to remain faithful and endure?

Before we study these remarkable characters, which stood out in dark times, let’s first begin by considering an early prototype of the Jewish remnant.

The life of Noah not only provides an excellent example of what it means to be in a very small persecuted minority but also reveals a prophetic picture; a CONNECTION between the remnant of the past and the remnant of the future; consider: (Luke 17:26-30) “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” (Second Advent)

To understand what it will be like in the “end times,” we need to consider what was it like in the “days of Noe” Consider, (Gen.6:5-8):

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”

Noah: The portrait of a man who found grace and favor with God:

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Gen.6:8-9).
Mercy is not getting what you deserve, and grace is getting what you don’t deserve.

Upright, honest, and righteous, conformed to the truth; he judges with righteous judgment, equal, honest, and fair. (Prov. 21:3, 7, 15, Prov. 29:27 cf. Ezek. 18:8-9). Right is right, and wrong is wrong, no gray areas with Noah.

“…and perfect in his generations….”

Not “perfect” in the sense of flawlessness or without defect but “perfect” meaning spiritual maturity, which includes blamelessness: “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” (Acts 24:16). As used in this verse,  perfect isn’t one who never fails; but rather, the person who does fail yet repents upon conviction accepts the consequences and continues to follow the Lord.

Perfect before God involves a particular attitude of heart, a  person driven by the desire to please and obey God. By the grace of God, a person who is consistently obedient to the revealed will of God.

“…and Noah walked with God” cf. Gen.5:24, “Enoch” cf. Heb. 11:5.

Psalm 1:1-2 provides an excellent example concerning our walk: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Ps.1:1-2)

How should you and I conduct ourselves amid a decadent, godless society? Consider:  “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ DEPART FROM INIQUITY. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore PURGE HIMSELF from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified [set apart], and meet [fit] for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim.2:19-22). “…we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom.6:4). “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him…” (Col.2:6)

Noah also feared God

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear…” (Heb. 11:7). So Noah feared God and took Him at His word.
This verse provides an excellent example of the beneficial aspects of “the fear of the LORD” demonstrating it to be a positive force…a great motivator. Cf. (Prov.1:7 w/notes).

The opposite side of the coin: “fear of man bringeth a snare…” (Prov.29:25).
Think about how Noah must have been mocked and scorned for simply obeying God’s word. Imagine what people must have thought of him: religious fanatic, delusional nut case.  Noah wasn’t overly concerned about how people thought of him. He was more concerned about what God thought of him.

How often does our concern about what people (our peers, co-workers, family, friends, etc.) may think of us keep us from sharing the TRUTH? So we hold back, or “forebear” Consider (Proverbs 24:11.)
Noah obviously could have spared himself much grief and ridicule by keeping the purpose of the ark low-key; however, he openly warned about the impending judgment. Thus, despite the mockery, Noah preached and prepared (2 Peter 2:5).

There was something else about Noah that marked him exceptional. We already mentioned Noah as a just and perfect man, yet there is an additional important aspect regarding those who the Bible describes as “the just.”

“The just shall live by faith.” (Rom.10:17). Heb. 11:7 describes Noah as a man of faith.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of THINGS NOT SEEN as yet, moved with fear…”  [Emphasis added]

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb.11:6)

Everything hinges on our desire to obey and please God, and when it comes to pleasing Him, FAITH is the critical factor.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor.5:7)

Hebrews 11:7; “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear….” The term “not seen” sounds familiar. “Not seen” things apprehended by faith.
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18).
John 20:29 – we, too, have been warned of God about the importance of faith regarding things “not seen as yet….”

OUR REWARD: “But it is written, Eye hath not seen nor ear hear…” (1 Cor.4:18).

OUR PERSPECTIVE, OUTLOOK: “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for…” (2 Cor.4:18)

OUR MEANS: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

OUR AFFECTIONS: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8)

Noah believed against all odds regardless of circumstances, hardships, ridicule, scorn; he “moved with fear” and did what God told him to do; he preached judgment and prepared for the coming calamity.

As it was with Noah, so should it be with us. Faith is the evidence of our trust, the reason for our faithfulness.

As the coming of the Lord draws nearer each day, the minority (remnant) is shrinking; fewer and fewer believers are found to be faithful. Remember Jesus’ question in Luke 18:8 “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

The Jewish remnant consisted of two groups of people:
1st  The remnant who remained steadfast, faithful from beginning to end (Noah, the prophets).
2nd Those who went into captivity through unbelief and compromise survived acknowledged their sin and repented. As a result, of their humility, they were eventually brought back to their homeland, given another chance to get it right.

There is much to learn by studying these two groups of people so then, so now. When studying the O.T. characters,  always remember,  “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”  (Rom.15:4)