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Friday, June 6, 2014

. . . . . . .Mystery of Faith-Ch.5-Pt.4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .What Do Sheep Eat?

But he [Jesus] answered and said,
It is written,
Man shall not live
by bread alone,
But by every word
that proceedeth out
of the mouth of God.
-Matthew 4:4

Our Creator has told us that we have been designed to eat two types of "food"--physical bread and spiritual "bread" (i.e. Word of God--the King James Bible, which has not been altered as modern versions have).  Therefore, we can only conclude that those who do not feed on the Word of God are only half alive.  They are in fact, the walking dead, regardless of how religious they may appear to be.  (This means personally feeding on the Word daily, as opposed to waiting for someone else to read us the Word, to preach the Word to us, or interpret the Word for us).

Like those, who sincerely care for our physical well-being and encourage us to eat physical food that will nourish our body, every genuine minister is commissioned by God to humbly motivate the sheep to feed on the Word of God in order to nourish their own spiritual life.

While Bible reading may be mentioned from the pulpit from time to time, the necessity to personally and consistently feed on every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God is seldom stressed.  It is not usually emphatically preached from the pulpit that our spiritual life actually depends on saturating ourselves with the Word of God, as so clearly established in the above verse.  Sadly the subtle impression is given that Bible reading is merely an option or that inferior versions will somehow provide the spiritual nutrition required to maintain the life of church members.

Be Not Deceived

If you do not personally agree with all of the doctrines and practices of your church, you need to find another Church (if possible), because your doctrines are your "belief."  Just saying that you believe in Jesus does not guarantee eternal life.  On the last day you may find yourself among those who cried, "Lord, Lord," but did not really know Christ at all and He will reply, "Depart from me. . ."

Like the thief, on the cross next to Jesus, you must believe who Jesus (Himself) says He is (i.e. in His Word)--Not who you think He is or who someone else says He is.

That means that if you believe the Bible is the Word of God--if you have turned from your sin, from false beliefs, and from everything in this world that is controlling your life--and Jesus Christ and His Word are now preeminent in your life--then and only then--do you qualify as a genuine "believer" according to God's definition.

Christ is "Lord of lords," so He must actually be your Lord--the only One directing every area of your life and the only way this can happen is to personally hear His Voice from His Written Word and follow His specific directions.

It is amazing how many professing "christians" believe that it is okay to go to the gravesite of a loved one and have a conversation with them after they are dead.  Movies today are filled with scenes where people do this all of the time.

Yet, the Bible, in Leviticus 20 and elsewhere, says that people who do this are cursed and, according to the old law, they were put to death.  It is a serious sin to try to talk to the dead.  This is called "necromancy."

Many are led astray by their Biblical ignorance and misplaced emotions over the loss of loved ones, but I assure you that necromancy is a most dangerous trap.  It is only one step away from inviting demons into your life.  Demons masquerading as the "dearly departed" have used this method of spiritual deception from the beginning.  God would not say, "Don't do it!" if there was not a very important reason why we are not to attempt to engage the dead in this manner.

Another thing that even, so-called, "christian" movies promote is the idea that after death, people somehow turn into angels.  Nowhere in the Scriptures can this be found.  While speaking of marriage, the Apostle Paul said that people in Heaven have relationships similar to that of angels, because in Heaven people do not marry.  But it is quite a leap from a simple verbal illustration about marriage, to declaring that people turn into angels after they die.

While it is true that humans will have new, improved, bodies in Heaven, God created angels to be angels and humans to be humans.  Each type of being has a specific purpose in God's Kingdom.  They are not the same thing.

Contrary to what is being preached on television and by other wolves in sheep's clothing, it is really hypocritical (and actually impossible) to believe one thing with your heart and practice another thing in your mind and body.  Christ and His Word simply must reign over spirit, body, mind, and emotions--the entire person.

The problem is that the Word is often subtly or ignorantly changed and controlled from the pulpit as one verse is pulled from here and one from there to support the preacher's or Bible teacher's own interpretations and opinions in an attempt to feed the sheep the stubble of his own lofty opinions and self-serving attempts to wax eloquent, to promote denominational doctrines, or (in the name of "church growth") make people feel good so they will come back and bring their friends with them.

However, if his ministry is genuine, the Bible teacher will expound the Word in the context in which it is written and support one passage with another, letting the Word interpret the Word, thus giving the sheep his personal example of how to digest the food properly.  What he says will come first of all from the Word, instead of from some clever/romantic story or preconceived opinion that he wants to indoctrinate and propagate.  He will encourage his congregation in their own, personal, efforts to receive God's interpretation via the Holy Spirit, Who is their primary spiritual Teacher, commissioned by God to lead believers into all Truth.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come,
He will guide you [every believer] into all truth:
for he shall not speak of himself;
but whatsoever he shall hear [from the Most High God], 
that shall he speak:
and he will shew you things to come.
[even tell you what is coming in the future]
-John 16:13

Unfortunately, churches today are filled with S.A.D. (Spiritually Attention Deficit) individuals who are unable to spiritually focus and get a grip on the Scriptures because they have been fed fragmented bits and pieces of selected verses and various versions of the Word, causing their diet to be very limited and unbalanced.  So their thoughts and lives are based on a disorganized heap of unrelated and inconsistent beliefs which rob them of spiritual confidence because they don't know, with any certainty, what they really believe.  The cause of this?--ministers who are S.A.D themselves and have probably come from S.A.D. seminaries.

Nevertheless, the real responsibility lies on the shoulders of the one who calls himself "a believer in Christ" but is not really interested in what Christ has to say to him.  Either he does not care or he does not realize that if we do not listen to God, He will not listen to us.  So he goes on and on with his prayerful platitudes and "good works," unaware that God is not paying any attention to his rebellious, self-determined, vain efforts--and then wonders why his prayers do not get answered.

Corporate Designer Religion

In the corporate world today, worldings have discovered that knowledge is power so they see the advantage of withholding valuable information.  Often when one employee is assigned to train another employee, he often does a very sloppy job of it.  He fears that the new employee, equipped with the specifics of the position, could someday replace him.

When effective training is derailed in this manner, ultimately very few employees will know what is needed to do the job.  So this self-serving attitude can bring destructive consequences to the entire company.

Today we see this corporate training being assimilated into churches, even though Jesus taught that we should freely give, because we have freely received.

Nevertheless, a church leader may withhold knowledge and motivation from his congregation, fearing that he or the denomination may lose control over the members, if they begin feeding on the Word and are able to arrive at truth themselves.

A symptom of this can be seen when a member of the congregation makes a statement of truth, but instead of one in authority publicly confirming the statement, he ignores the comment and either moves on to a new topic or uses parts of the statement which was presented--only twisting it a little to water it down, or make it fit into his own opinion, but never encouraging or showing any gratitude for the initial contribution--refusing to give credit where credit is due.

Corporate worldlings very seldom, freely give information or public credit to anyone else, for fear of losing their hierarchical position--unless of course, a generous attitude at the moment, serves to feather their own nest.

The problem comes from the fact that churches today do not really understand God's definition of the word, "Church."  They do not realize that the real "Church" is not a religious organization or a building.  The real "Church" is made up of the physical bodies of genuine believers indwelt by the Spirit of God.  The real "Church" does not have any geographic or denominational boundaries. . .and it definitely is not a building.--The Church/Bride of Christ/Body of Believers, can assemble anywhere, any time because they are the Church.

Defining the word, "Church," correctly is more, eternally, important than we realize.  Much destructive false doctrine is attached to this one definition which has lead to the apostasy of these End Times.

If anyone happens to come into one of the world's corporate-styled "churches" today sharing the whole truth of the Word of God, they are often very subtly patronized or "kindly" shunned in order to provide an example to those who would dare "usurp" the preacher/teacher and speak from the Scriptures, when they do not have a seminary diploma or possess a denominationally sanctioned hierarchical position given to them by the church.

It is true that in the early Church there was a structural order to the Body of Christ and certain members held specific responsibilities and this should be followed as well today.  But at the same time, everyone--men, women, and children were, and still are, expected to freely fellowship in the Word and minister to one another through the Word of God.

If you listen carefully to what some evangelical preachers are saying today on television "under their breath," you may even catch them "dis" or criticize the Word of God by rebuking those in the audience who may be "too Word-focused" (in their opinion) and not enough works-focused when it comes to representing their church in the community or the world, by feeding the poor or doing other good works.

In this way they admonish church members to put the "work of works" before the "work of faith."  Interestingly, this is the same attitude Judas had concerning the oil that was used to anoint the feet of Jesus:

(3) Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard,
very costly,
and anointed the feet of Jesus,
and wiped his feet with her hair:
and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
(4) Then saith one of his disciples,
Judas Iscariot, Simon's son
which should betray him, [betray Jesus]
(5) Why was not this ointment sold
for three hundred pence,
and given to the poor?
(6) This he said, not that he cared for the poor;
but because he was a thief,
and had the bag, [controlled the money]
and bare what was put therein.
(7) Then said Jesus, Let her alone:
against the day of my burying
hath she kept this.
(8) For the poor always ye have with you;
but me ye have not always.
-John 12:3-8

Mary had her priorities in order.  She was focusing on her Lord and Savior and was in harmony with His Word and His mission.  She was demonstrating that Jesus Christ was preeminent.  Therefore, in her life, Jesus and His Word had to come before any "good works."

How can we do what God wants us to do in the manner He wants us to do it, unless we listen to His Word so we know His specific will in the matter?

Jesus was not teaching that we should ignore the poor, but that the poor cannot come before our relationship with Him.  God has a specific method of ministry.  When the Word of God is our priority, we will understand the important specifics regarding feeding the poor and will not just be throwing food and money at the world's problems, telling the poor to say that they believe in Jesus and then sending them back where they came from, instead of helping them build a new life in Christ.

Like so many in ministry today, Judas had a money problem and those who have this sort of problem also often have the same related problems Judas had--they are likely to also be thieves and betrayers--even willing to cause trouble for genuine Christians for monetary gain.

Therefore, Jesus told Judas that the poor will always be with us.  The Gospel is not just about counting up how many souls we think we have "won to the Lord" or our religious church group, or how many poor we have physically fed.

While we should follow the example of Jesus and feed the poor, we must not forget that the priority of the Gospel is to spiritually feed the poor.  In this way they will learn to first access all of the spiritual blessings God has made available to them, so they will be equipped to also receive all of the physical blessings God has waiting for them, as they learn to hear His Voice and follow Him themselves.

As the Gospel is spread throughout the world, the principles of life it carries, will cause many more to prosper than we may think.  It is obvious that the poor will always be with us because it is obvious that very few will ever really allow the Word of God to be preeminent in their life.  Jesus knew this.  This is the reason He also told us that the road to eternal life will be very narrow and few will be found on it.

The truth is, our own works are just "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6) when they are not the result of hearing God's Voice from the pages of His Word and following His specific instructions regarding the works we are actually called to do.

But let us give ministers the benefit of the doubt by considering one other reason why knowledge and motivation may be withheld.  Could it simply be that ministers are doing what they have been taught to do in seminary?  They may have been told that these are the proper techniques seminary students must use in order to qualify as ministers, get their diplomas, and do "the work of God."

Nevertheless in God's scheme of things, the true sheep that spiritually survive seminary and go out with the sincere intention of ministering to the flock of Christ, will themselves be feeding on the Word of God--or they would never have had the power to spiritually survive in the first place.  The rest will be preaching on the broad road that leads to hell.

If indeed, they are true sheep, they will see the value of the Word of God, sooner or later and through the Word, God Himself will teach these ministers that it is His will for them to train the sheep to also independently feed on the Word.

But, "Woe," to those who would put a stumbling block in the path of anyone who desires to know God and His Word.  Surely, He will one day personally deal with them.

The genuine minister will know the difference between preaching about the Word and actually preaching the Word, will not withhold knowledge of the Word, but will be dedicated to teaching the sheep how to feed on the Word.

He will not spoon feed the sheep in an attempt to make them dependent on himself and the denomination, but will freely give the sheep the necessary motivation and instruction to successfully feed on the Word of God themselves through the power of the Holy Spirit, Who has promised to lead us into all Truth.
Then Jesus said unto them,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
Except ye eat
the flesh
of the Son of man,
and drink
his blood,
ye have no life in you.
-John 6:53

Some understand that a believer is one who does good works; therefore we have false professors who try to convince themselves and others that they are genuine believers by exhibiting their good works.  But they are really "putting the cart before the horse."

On the other hand, Jesus gave us the above Word to test our genuineness.  Only those who do the work of eating His flesh and drinking His blood actually qualify as true believers and have eternal life.

What a strange statement for Jesus to make.  This sounds like cannibalism!  Keep in mind that the stranger the statement, the more important the lesson.  This statement was meant to get the attention of un-believers and it certainly did get their attention.  It was so outlandish that many of His disciples stopped following Him, after He said this.

From that time many of his disciples went back,
and walked no more with him.
-John 6:66

Interesting that the biblical reference number is "666."  I don't know about you--but I do not believe in coincidences.  If God can preserve His Word for thousands of years, He can certainly dictate where the numbers will ultimately be placed in His Word.

Could it be that this idea of eating His flesh and drinking His blood is, in some way, going to be tied to the antichrist, whose number is "666?"
. . .Just saying. . .

Some believe that communion is a time to confess sins and celebrate the death of Jesus.  However, it is His resurrection that we are to celebrate and sins should not be saved up for a time of a "communion ritual," but be confessed every day--even moment by moment--in private to God, alone, or to other believers if we have personally wronged them in some way, or so they can pray for us and encourage us to be accountable to God--but always remembering that only Christ, alone, has the power to actually forgive sin(s).  It is His death on the cross and shed blood that makes Him qualified to forgive sin.

When we ask forgiveness from others, it is not the same as asking forgiveness of Christ, for no human has the power to eradicate sin.

So what is the real purpose of "communion?"

As we shall soon see, "communion" is really supposed to be a time set aside to remember the first love lost.

Next Post. . .
Mystery of Faith-Ch.5-Pt.5-"Moldy Bread"

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Mystery of the First Love Lost

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Read Here. . .NOW. . .Most Important Mystery of End Times

From the Book of Revelation. . .

The First Love Lost

“Perhaps the greatest characteristic of this mystery is that scholars, for the most part, believe they have already identified the first love lost. Therefore, it is hidden in the assumption that it is not lost at all. They presume that the love that is lost is referring to the believer’s love for Jesus. But this is only part of the mystery.”

“The significance of this divine mystery could seriously alter the way the average person perceives the Bible. But, it remains beyond the reach of most people today so they are destined to miss out on the ultimate mystery of all time.”

“The enemies of God made a serious mistake by underestimating the mystery and failed to see the value of this pearl of great price. They were not interested. They did not have time to pay attention to details and clues. They had places to go, people to see, religion to spread, money to make, empires to build, and nests to feather. So they tripped over the mystery, which was hidden right in plain sight—and still failed to see it.”

"They had a vision before them, but it was the wrong vision. They had a faith, but it was a counterfeit faith. They had the Word of God, but it was a manipulated and fragmented Word. Therefore even when they had a Jesus, it was not the real Jesus they had."

“Thank God, like every good mystery, everything will be revealed in the end. According to the signs of the times, we are getting very close to the end right now. Would you like to see where you will appear in the picture when all of the pieces of this eternal puzzle come together?--If so, pick up your magnifying glass and join me in discovering the amazing Mystery of the First Love Lost.“

[Begin Reading Here NOW. . .Posting in Progress. . .Scroll Down]


2011 by Kay Frances Graves. All rights reserved. Do not use this material in any manner without prior written consent of author.

(Scripture is from the KJV. Bold words, underlining, and brackets are added by the author for emphasis.)
I was just seven years old when God first made Himself known to me. My younger sister and I came across a multicolored bird, feathered in a variegation of deep iridescent emerald, ruby-red and blues. It was lying dead on the path in the West Virginia woods where we played every day. I had never seen a bird like this before nor have I ever seen one since.
After poking the poor creature with a little stick and determining that it was really dead, we decided to give it a proper burial. We covered it with a small mound of dirt on the side of the path and carefully placed wild violets around the circumference of the tiny grave.
Donna and I had been to the movies often enough to know that a prayer comes after the burial. So we knelt down before the grave, bowed our heads, and called on God. But I did not know what to say to God about this beautiful lifeless little bird.
Questions about life and death began spinning in my mind.
Suddenly the light went out in the woods.
A dark cloud covered the sun and a strong, piercing wind funneled down the path, almost blowing us away. The friendly adventurous woods we loved so much became a cold, dark, and very frightening place to be.
My prayer and thoughts about life and death had been interrupted. Where was God now?
Shivering from the frigid wind blowing through my light cotton dress, I looked upward through the tree tops toward heaven searching for Him.
At that very moment, the woods became still, I saw the sun peek out from behind the dark cloud, illuminating the spot we were standing on, warming and comforting our little bodies.
This time a different type of chill shook me to my core. Somehow I knew God was right there in the woods with us. He was telling me not to be afraid and assuring my troubled heart and mind that He would be with me always.
I took my sister's hand and we ran back to our little cabin. Through excitement and tears, I proclaimed to my mother that I had seen God. She told me not to be so upset. She said that I had quite an imagination, that I should just forget about it, stop crying, and go out and play.
But I could not forget it.
Twenty years later, after I became a Christian and read the Book of Revelation for the first time, I was shaken to my core again, after all those years when I read:

(16)And he had in his right hand seven stars:
and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword:
and his countenance
was as the sun
shineth in his strength,
(17) And when I saw him,
I fell at his feet as dead.
And he laid his right hand upon me,
saying unto me,
Fear not; I am the first and the last:
(18) I am he that liveth, and was dead;
and, behold, I am alive for evermore,
and have the keys
of hell and of death.
-Revelation 1:16-18
To this day, this passage in Revelation still gives me goose bumps every time I read it. the similarity to my childhood experience in the woods in West Virginia that day could not be overlooked.
The description regarding what the writer of this passage in the Book of Revelation saw and heard made me realize that God wanted me to know that He held the answers to my question-filled prayer about death. God had, indeed, assured me that He was alive and eternal and that He had been, and always would be, with me. 
However, the rest of the Book of Revelation remained rather foggy for the next 30 years.  Then one day I came across another passage in Revelation that took on a whole new significance:

Blessed is he that readeth,
and they that hear
the words of this prophecy,
and keep those things
which are written therein:
for the time is at hand.
-Revelation 1:3
I was missing this blessing by not reading the Book of Revelation as often as the other books of the Bible. I guess I had been avoiding it because I found it rather difficult to understand.
This verse was telling me that I would be blessed by reading, hearing, and keeping [from #2334 in the Greek, meaning to attend to carefully, guard, and observe] the things that were contained in what was written.
Did it matter to God whether I understood what I was reading or not?
Yes. . .and No.
No, because the verse said that the blessing would come from reading and hearing the words.  
God was saying, "Just read it."
But the answer was also, "Yes," since God certainly wanted me to understand what I was reading so I could preserve and observe it.
It was only logical then that God would have to eventually give me an understanding of the words, if I was going to be able to observe something that I could not at the moment comprehend.
In other words, God was telling me that this Book, like the rest of the Books of the Bible, had to be read by faith believing that God Himself would impart its meaning to me.
I went to a dollar store and bought a CD of the audio version of the Book of Revelation and every night when I went to bed, I played the CD and every morning when I woke, I played it again. After several months, God prompted me to move my Bible study to the computer. First I typed out the passage and then prayed that God would give me something from it.
When I became anxious that I might not understand what was written, God asured me that I did not need to know everything perfectly. He led me to search for what He wanted to give me at that moment and not worry about understanding everything else. God reminded me that His Word has many levels of understanding and the Word interprets the Word through the Holy Spirit that resides both in my heart and in His written Word. In this way He would assemble the building blocks of the Word and begin revealing what He wanted me to know.
My computer study soon brought me to Revelation 2:4-5 and the serious warning Jesus gave about something He had against the church of Ephesus:

(4) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee,
because thou hast left thy first love.
(5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen,
and repent and do the first works;
or else I will come unto thee quickly,
and will remove thy candlestick
out of his place,
except thou repent.
-Revelation 2:4-5
I asked Him to reveal exactly what it means to "have left your first love."

Over the course of the next year, God showed me that I already knew what it meant. I just had to remember and identify it. Now He wanted me to help others identify it too, because without knowing, remembering, repenting, and returning to the first love and first works, no one will be able to endure to the end.
The Book of Revelation is specifically designed to "reveal" vital information in end times. 

While I admit that I do not completely understand the entire Book of Revelation, I am grateful that He has given me this important piece of the puzzle to share. So be it. This is my mission. Thanks be to God!

Kay Frances Graves
January, 2011    


(6) Howbeit we speak wisdom
among them that are perfect:
yet not the wisdom of this world,
nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
But we speak the wisdom of God
in a mystery,
even the hidden wisdom,
which God ordained
before the world unto our glory:
Which none of the princes
of this world knew:
for had they known it,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
-1 Corinthians 2:6-8
A mystery can be a novel, short story, play, or film in which the plot is formed around an event that remains puzzlingly unsettled until the very end. This definition can also describe the greatest mystery ever told. This is the mystery God refers to in Revelation 2:4 as "the first love lost."

(1) Unto the angel
of the church of Ephesus write;
These things saith
he that holdeth
the seven stars in his right hand,
who walketh in the midst
of the seven golden candlesticks;
(2) I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience,
and how thou canst not bear them which are evil:
and thou hast tried them
which say they are apostles,
and are not,
and hast found them liars:
(3) And hast borne, and hast patience,
and for my name's sake
hast laboured,
and hast not fainted.
(4) Nevertheless
I have somewhat against thee,
because thou hast left thy first love.
(5) Remember therefore
from whence thou art fallen,
and repent,
and do the first works;
or else I will come unto thee quickly,
and will remove thy candlestick
out of his place,
except thou repent.
-Revelation 2:1-5
In the King James Version, verse 4 actually reads, "...left thy first love" not "lost thy first love." Nevertheless, in the original language, the word "left" provides a picture of abandoning, disregarding, and discarding. However, it is also true that whatever we ignore usually goes away. Therefore, when something has been disregarded and ignored, it is lost.
Whatever has been discarded is also lost in the sense that it has been forgotten or is missing from the memory bank.
Jesus commands churches to remember what it was that was abandoned and lost. In order to avoid being removed from their perceived relationship with Christ, churches must find the memory or remember what was lost, repent of disregarding it, and do the first works.
This passage begins with Jesus telling the church that all of their impressive good works do not qualify. The passage ends with Jesus commanding the church to repent and do the first works. Apparently these first works are required works that will qualify the church's relationship with Christ.
How can any works qualify our relationship with Christ when we are not saved by works, but through faith alone?
"...For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Is the Word of God contradicting itself or are we getting closer to the mystery?
In Revelation 1:20, we are told that the candlesticks are the seven churches and representative of all churches that call upon the name of Christ.
If we do not unravel this mystery and remember exactly what it is that we have lost, so we can repent, our candlestick will be removed out of His place. Symbolically it is the position (or the relationship the church has with God) that will be removed.
Am I saying that if I am a real Christian I can, personally, lose my salvation? No. The candlestick represents the specific church of Ephesus and all churches that fit this profile.  This verse clearly states that it is the church that can be removed from its relationship and position in Christ.
The true Church is not a worldly corporate organization created by men. We have the world's "church" [manmade organization] and Christ's "Church" [true body of believers].  While members that make up false churches marked for removal will be removed, true believers who make up the true Church and Body of Christ will follow Him and not be found in these worldly churches.
Everyone who reads the Book of Revelation is being warned to examine the characteristics of the churches that are marked for removal and either be instrumental in their repentance or avoid them, lest they become guilty by association and also removed. If we truly belong to Christ, He will lead us to do this because we have the promise in John, Chapter 10, that none of His (true) sheep will be lost.
It is often said that true believers can be found in every church and every denomination.  Can't we assimilate into any church that calls itself "christian" and still be a Christian?
No, we cannot do whatever we want.
Our church affiliation should not be based on geographic location, as in "attend your local church," or on our historical family affiliation, as in "it was good enough for my parents, so I guess it is good enough for me." We are to follow Christ like the sheep follow the shepherd. If we are truly His sheep, we will follow Him and His Word in everything, including our church affiliation.
Why would the Spirit of God warn us about this, if it was not important?
If a church desires to decide for itself which (even religious) works it wants to engage in, instead of letting Christ lead them into the works He specifically wants them to do, why would a true follower of Jesus Christ join in their disobedience and idolatry (placing their own will above God's will)?
How can we know if the works that are being done are really led by Christ?
First of all we need to accept what Christ is telling us. He is saying that some good works are not acceptable. This will surprise many people no doubt, especially those who believe that Christianity is based on a system of our good works balancing out our bad deeds. This idea of trying to balance evil with good comes from ancient pagan beliefs, not Christianity.
We will know if a church is engaged in true Spirit-led works if our own works and theirs are coming out of the real "first works," which He has declared to be the priority.
Are we saved by these first works?
No, but without the first works we are not saved. Herein we will discover the mystery.
Perhaps the greatest characteristic of this mystery is that scholars believe for the most part that they have already identified the first love lost. Therefore, it is hidden in the assumption that it is not lost at all. They presume that the love lost is referring to the believer's love for Jesus. But this is only part of the mystery. God knows all things. He knew that we would not even see the need to identify what was lost. This is why He is commanding us to remember.
I will say no more and risk revealing the mystery prematurely.
The significance of this divine mystery could seriously alter the way the average person perceives the Bible. But, it remains beyond the reach of most people today. Therefore many are destined to miss out on the ultimate mystery of all time. God Himself tells us that very few will have "eyes to see and ears to hear." However, Mystery of the First Love Lost needs to be written for the few who do not yet realize that they have been given the capacity to receive these amazing secrets of God.
How do we know if we are among the few who will understand this mystery?
The truth is, if we are called to be among the few, we cannot miss it. We will begin to discover the mystery when we are confronted by it and it will not let us go. The detective in us will not rest until every rock is overturned, every clue is examined, and every piece of the puzzle is collected.
Searching for the answer to the mystery will become a labor of love. We will experience a sense of urgency and excitement with each step that brings us closer to discovering this "hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world, for our glory." (1 Corinthians 2:7)
This is not a glory that makes us gods or equal to God, but is the glory, or adornment, we receive through our relationship with Christ as His bride. It is the result of basking in the light of His glorious character and wisdom, just as the moon reflects the light of the sun.
This wisdom is so powerful, that if the enemies of God had known about it, they would not have crucified Christ--and this is the point. They did not care to know. They "loved the darkness rather than the light" because their deeds were evil. They were presumptuous and preoccupied with going their own way. Therefore they went down the wrong path.
They had a vision before them, but it was the wrong vision. They had a faith, but it was a counterfeit faith. They had the Word of God, but it was a manipulated and fragmented Word. Therefore even when they had a Jesus, it was not the real Jesus they had.
The enemies of God made a serious mistake by underestimating the mystery and failed to see the value of this pearl of great price. They were not interested. They did not have time to pay attention to details and clues. They had places to go, people to see, religion to spread, money to make, empires to build, and nests to feather. So they tripped over the mystery, which had been hidden right in plain sight--and still failed to see it.
The aspects and clues to the mystery of the first love lost are mysteries themselves.  Therefore, we are actually pursuing a mystery buried within many mysteries. Thank God, like every good mystery, everything will be revealed in the end.
According to the signs of the times, we are getting very close to the end right now.
Would you like to see where you will appear in the picture when all of the pieces of this eternal puzzle come together?
If so, pick up your magnifying glass and join me in discovering the amazing Mystery of the First Love Lost.     

Mystery of His Will - Ch.1

(9) Having made known unto us
the mystery of his will,
according to his good pleasure
which he hath purposed in himself:
(10) That in the dispensation
of the fulness of times
he might gather together in one
all things in Christ,
both which are in heaven,
and which are on earth;
even in him:
-Ephesians 1:9-10
One very important foundational mystery is the mystery of His will. If we can learn more about the will and nature of God, perhaps we can discover just what the mystery of the first love lost involves.
Then there are God's time frames to consider. The time frame on earth is limited. The time frame in heaven is actually an oxymoron, because our concept of time ceases to exist in the heavenly realm which is infinite. 
Nevertheless, we are told that the fulfillment of both of these times will be evident one day soon when time, as we know it on earth, will merge into infinity. When this happens, all things in Christ will be perfectly harmonized and unified in Him.

(1) And Nadab and Abihu,
the sons of Aaron,
took either of them his censer,
and put fire therein, and put incense thereon,
and offered strange fire
before the LORD,
which he commanded them not.
(2) And there went out fire from the LORD,
and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
(3) Then Moses said unto Aaron,
This is that the LORD spake, saying,
I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me,
and before all the people I will be glorified.
And Aaron held his peace.
(4) And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan,
the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron,
and said unto them,
Come near,
carry your brethren
from before the sanctuary out of the camp.
(5) So they went near,
and carried them in their coats
out of the camp;
as Moses had said.
-Leviticus 10:1-5
A popular leader of a prominent mega church on television recently interpreted the above words to mean that these sons of Aaron were incinerated by God because they did not wait for the "spiritual authority," namely their father Aaron, to conduct this offering to God.
The church leader was teaching his followers that the death of Nadab and Abihu was a result of their usurping Aaron's position of authority. But this is only a half truth. Perhaps if the sons of Aaron had waited for their father, the offering would have been carried out properly by him and they would not have experienced the awful consequences.
But is man's spiritual authority really God's intended primary focus in this passage?
If I remember correctly, the speaker's message was entitled something like, "spiritual authority," not titled anything like "Obedience to the Will of God." In his presentation it was evident that he was exalting the power of the office and position of the religious leaders instead of patterning his message after the details of the Scripture that actually focus on the preeminence of God in all things. 
In spite of the lessons provided by Scripture and Christian history, many churches still continue to be obsessed with their own perceived authority, the issue of submission, and church hierarchy today.
Is it really true that God wants to incinerate those who do not submit to religious leaders or others in positions of authority?
A common earmark of false teachers is their use of fear and guilt to acquire and control followers. These religious "authorities" claim to know what is best for everyone in their midst, thereby seducing them to entrust their spiritual life as well as their money and sometimes even their physical life to them.
False teachers misinterpret the above passage and many other Scriptures, attempting to make them support the idea that God's judgment is upon us if we do not honor their hierarical system and pay the tithes required to expand their ministries so they can build bigger and bigger churches.
In this way they twist the Word of God teaching that the favor and blessing of God can somehow be purchased with money. But He has clearly shown us that this is definitely not His intention. God wants to teach us that everything we have belongs to Him and He is perfectly able to supply all of our needs.
God's principles of giving are not about trying to put something into God's bank account so that He will put more into our bank account. When we give of what He has entrusted to us, it should be in faith knowing that our tithes and offerings will not diminish our financial resources because God has said that He is committed to continually providing all that we need beyond measure. The problem we have is with yielding what we think we need to what God has determined that we really need.
In order to profit, false religion has always tried to confuse the real priorities God has outlined in His Word. Tithes and offerings, like every other action God leads us to take, must be carried out by faith and the specifics of His will.
Caring for the needs of others, whether spiritual or physical, must first of all be personally provided to those in our own household and sphere as God brings these needs to our attention. Not every work God calls us to must be carried out through the hierarchy of some organization or church. True believers are the Church.
An excellent example of this can be found in the autobiography of George Muller, an evangelist, missionary, and director of several orphan homes in Bristol, England during the 1800s. He also established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, including the orphans in his homes. George Muller never asked one person for money (or anything else) to support the work he did, but all of the needs of the thousands of children he cared for was a direct result of prayer and His dedication to the Word of God. Mr. Muller let God, Himself, put it upon the hearts of others to support his ministry as God personally directed them.
God has not appointed any "under shepherds." Jesus, Himself, warned about this and told us that there is and always will be only "One Shepherd," which is Jesus Christ and "one flock" made up of all true believers in Christ.
This fact can be found in John 10:16 and many other places in the Scriptures. Yes, leaders are appointed by God for ministry in the Church, but God's method of leadership is not anything like the modern corporate hierarchy, patterned after the world's system of power and control, that we see in most churches today.
Now who is really guilty of trying to usurp God's position of Authority?
God's plan of redemption is based on our relationship with Him alone, made possible through the death of His only Son. But also through His life--remember Jesus is not dead.  He is no longer on the cross. He rose from the grave and is very much alive today.
Actually He is more a part of our lives right now than when He walked the earth in the flesh. We do not need some hireling to rule over us and interpret the Word of God for us. The living Spirit of God is perfectly capable of teaching us these truths Himself through His Word.
God never told us to entrust our spiritual lives to any earthly person. On the contrary, we are exhorted often in the Scriptures to take personal responsibility for our own eternal life and live out our life through the power of God's Spirit.
God's plan has always reflected His will and what is best for us. It is not about what we want or about us and our "delegated power of authority," it is about God and what He requires of us.
Real Christianity does not focus on getting power. Authority means responsibility and servanthood. God gives us the power to follow Him, not the power to control others.
How many children and how many wives long to have their fathers and husbands lovingly lead them and encourage their family in the Word of God, instead of lecturing them on why they are endowed from above with the power to rule over them?
Where is the error in focus? Where is the error in priorities? Where is the preeminence of Christ?
Unless they are Jesus Christ, they do not have the power to control anyone. The truth is that man is incapable of even controlling himself. This is why we must all submit to Christ as our Ruler. Leaders are called to be the chief servants of others--not the chief rulers or controllers of others.
King David, "a man after God's own heart," understood this. David's practice of leadership through servanthood won the hearts of those he led. His men loved him so much that, on one occasion, they were even willing to risk their own lives just to get him a drink of water. (See 2 Samuel 23:15-16.)
Even though Christ possessed ownership by right of Creator, He also demonstrated His right to rule by serving others, when He laid down His life for us and provided what we need to enter the Kingdom of God.
What then was the real reason Nadab and Abihu died?
Nadab, (his name meaning "willful or liberal") along with his brother, Abihu, dared to worship and serve God in their own way, instead of in the prescribed manner God had appointed.
God was so offended that He sent a fire from heaven to "devour" them.
This was a precise type of fire designed to exclusively consume only their bodies and not their clothing, further emphasizing and illustrating the importance God places on detailed specifics. We are told that what was left of them, probably just their ashes was carried away out of the camp in the very coats they were wearing.
God further emphasizes in this passage that it is His will to be sanctified and glorified before the people in the specific manner He has prescribed. "Sanctified" speaks of something greatly respected because it is pure and holy. The word, "glorified," denotes honoring God because of His preeminence (exclusive authority).
This is not the first time lack of concern and disrespect for the detailed will of God has been mentioned in the Bible. It began with Adam and Eve in the garden when they made excuses for not following God's will regarding which of the trees they could eat from.
When Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam and Eve, brought their offerings before God, we are given an example of disrespect for specifics again. While Abel honored the will of God by bringing an animal sacrifice which symbolized redemption through the blood, Cain wanted to offer something that came from his own efforts.
His self-centered heart was not in harmony with God's redemptive plan. Like his parents, Cain also disregarded God's detailed instructions and stubbornly decided to do it his own way.
How do we discover the mystery of God's will then?
The mystery of God's will is revealed in the details. Our relationship with God must, first of all, be centereed on the specific details of His will and what He requires of us, as opposed to being centered on our own will.
If we truly belong to Him, we will wrap our spirit, body, mind, and emotions around His will because we understand that He loves us and is the only One qualified to be God because He is the only One who created us and really knows what is best for us.
Anything less is idolatry--the basic sin from which all other sins originate.

(23) Now therefore put away, said he,
the strange gods which are among you,
and incline your heart
unto the LORD God of Israel.
(24) And the people said unto Joshua,
The LORD our God
will we serve,
and his voice will we obey.
-Joshua 24: 23-24
Do you see how the mystery of the will of God provides a clue to the mystery of the first love lost? 
If not, perhaps you will eventually, as we continue to examine the evidence.
We must be patient. This is only the first piece of the puzzle.