“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
The Spirit spoke expressly, and friends we are in those ‘latter times’. It is amazing when we look at history with the guiding of the Holy Ghost, we can see just how it came to pass. Men’s consciences have been seared with hot irons and the persecution of the martyrs of old and the abuse of the professing church are contributing factors of this searing. When the ones presenting themselves as the church are persecuting believers it breeds confusion. At the same time if we are students of Scripture we should not be surprised, it seems God uses this confusion to prove our faith.
 I Ti. 4:1
“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
Jesus told us it would be this way and all His apostles have affirmed it. Still, many are taken in by religious acts, feigned piety, pomp and circumstance. All of these are like the leaven of the Pharisees of old to be avoided. Jesus warned His disciples to beware and the warning stands even more so today. The true body of Christ may be small, in comparison to its imitators, but it is mighty. It is not in the wind, not in the shaking of the earth, not in the fire, but in the still small voice.
The Catholic/Protestant religious systems have killed so many while claiming the name of Jesus that there has become an almost inherent shame when dealing with matters of religious doctrine. After centuries of ‘holy’ wars people distance themselves from ‘religion’. They seek instead to be non-judgmental speaking of a relationship with God. Yet, how do you have any good relationship with Jesus and know nothing of Him?
 Mt. 16:6; Mk. 8:12; Lk.12:1  I Ki. 19:11-12
This important definition was copied from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary—Doctrine, noun [Latin, to teach.]
Doctrine matters, otherwise, we have no basis to truly know God. God never changes, so our experience with God cannot contradict His holy Word. Men, on the other hand, change with the wind. If our experience with God is governed only by our feelings, intellect or instinct for survival, then we will serve a god of our own imaginations. Every man is right in his own eyes, but God ponders the hearts of men. Satan is seeking worship for himself; he loves to try to sift the Saints as wheat. We must let the trials prove our converted hearts, persecution purifies our walk with Christ, it strengthens and clarifies the borders of the kingdom of God in opposition to the kingdom of mere men.
It has been said, if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. This is being proven before our very eyes in this wicked perverse generation. Most of the professing church says we cannot judge, therefore allowing all manner of evil to thrive. The church described in the Martyr’s Mirror stood for something. It is amazing to read that Thessalonica, the church that Paul praised for its faith in action, turning from their idols unto the true and living God remained unchanged by Roman or Greek influence up until the sixteenth century. Timothy was told to ‘refuse profane and old wives’ tales’, this message must have carried to the believers of this city. They understood their doctrine and refused to be swayed by the philosophy of men and the changing of times and seasons. They, instead, looked to matters of godliness and holiness; a simplicity, taking of God at His Word.
 Pr. 21:2  Lk. 22:31  I Th. 1:9
 Martyrs Mirror, Severe Persecution in The East, About A. D. 718 (p.228-229), Summary of Baptism in the Sixteenth Century (p. 364)
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”-II Ti. 4:16
The word doctrine is used 12 times within the 4 Gospels and 4 times in the book of Acts. Paul referred to doctrine 23 times in his letters and the Apostle John warned us not to say godspeed to those who “abideth not the doctrine of Christ”. What is the doctrine of Christ?
 II Jn. 1:9-10
“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
Many scholars make this answer much more complicated than it need be, as it is written, God uses foolish things to confound the wise. It is a simple matter of taking Jesus words to heart. In modern teaching it is often said of the sermon on the mount (for example) that Jesus was showing us we could not keep the law as we cannot keep covetousness, lust murder and adultery from our heart. Is this true? Does not the same Scripture tell us to renew our mind? Did not God promise us a new heart as a part of the new covenant? Are we not warned to guard our heart with due diligence?
If a person studies the Bible accepting the idea that there may be contradictions, then that person will find no end of contradiction. It is for this reason it seems foolish to those who are perishing. The obvious problem with this is that the doctrine of Christ reflects the Heavenly Father: there is no contradiction in Him, no shadow of turning. If there is no contradiction in Him, then there is no contradiction in His Word, it is plain and simple.
The Greeks of the day were used to overlooking contradictions. A brief study of the Greek pantheon makes this clear. The gods were said to do vulgar, profane things, even ungodly things. The wives’ tales were simply stories used to teach children moral lessons and continuity of theme or reality were not necessarily important. The idea being taught was the focus, not reality. The Bible, on the other hand, proclaims its own truth repetitively, the exact phrase “thus saith the Lord” shows up 413 times in the King James Bible. The consistent teaching of Greek mythology is a sort of helpless fate, whereas the Bible gives us choices and places the responsibility for the choices we make, rightfully, upon us. It is for this reason doctrine is so important: We will stand and give an account for every idle word on judgment day! Are we really prepared for that day, when we are waffling under pressure on what we believe here on earth? What will happen then if we don’t take God’s Word seriously?
The Martyrs died for the details. They could have said, “well it is not that serious, I suppose we can just agree to disagree,” but they didn’t. They were killed for their opposition of infant baptism, which denies the rationality of our faith, implying that people baptized before they can even remember it will somehow be saved by the baptism. Jesus told Peter the church was built on a conscious confession, of course the Catholics use this verse to claim the church was built on him. By the eighth century the catechisms were full of superstition, many of which, were in direct conflict with the Word of God itself. The Bible believing Saints of that time were careful to stand against this demonic doctrine.
They used letters sent strategically, laced with the Word of God and fervent prayer. We will look at one Saint who wrote a whole book, only to have it burned by order of the pope. They used every form of persuasion they could conceive of, but they never returned evil for evil. The constant in all these testimonies are lives devoted to godliness. This speaks volumes above any wisdom or innovation we could develop. It is a theme repeated in the Martyr’s Mirror and it should be our desire as well, the persecuted Saints put on the spiritual armor and battled to their last breath. If we can truly get hold of the Gospel message we will do likewise, we are not fighting for victory, we are fighting to declare victory! We proclaim the good news: Jesus died on the cross that men could live free from the bondage of sin and the weight of shame.
Walkabout Jesus! Hallelujah!!!
 I Co. 1:27 Mt. 16:18 Ep. 6:10-18
“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:”
Please re-read this verse—and once more. Now, have you ever heard any ministers saying this today? It would be a surprise if you have. If you live anywhere in western society it is very rare (though things are rapidly changing) to face real persecution. It is often taught in the western churches that God will rapture the church from any tribulation. Is this a legitimate hope? Is there any Biblical reference to support this teaching?
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”-John 16:33
Quite the opposite! Furthermore, if God ‘raptured’ the western church what would He say to the church in the east? What of those steadfast saints, who have faced so much persecution and tribulation? God is no respecter of persons and as we (in the west) become more like Sodom and Gomorrah it seems more reasonable to expect destruction. There is comfort in the truth, as this is the only place the spirit within a person will allow true rest.
Paul did not try to convince the church at Thessalonica of any reprieve from the persecution, rather he sought to help them to see its usefulness. As we suffer in the flesh, we cease from sin. This holiness we are called to, as saints, begins with an inward change, is quickly seen outwardly. Those who cleave to God in such a manner become a reproach to a rebellious generation demanding acceptance, rather than pardon. Still, the truth is, those “that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy”.
 I Pt. 4:1  Jonah 2:8
Paul surely had not forgotten his own experiences. This was why he was able to witness to the people edifying their faith despite the circumstances. God delivered him from “them all” and since God is no respecter of persons, as he was delivered, they would be also. The main thing that he wanted to build on was their resolve to hate “even the garment spotted by the flesh”.
 Jude 23
Paul gives the reason they are suffering—"a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God”. The word ‘manifest’ is defined as plain, open, clearly visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding; apparent; not obscure or difficult to be seen or understood. The word token is defined as “a sign; something intended to represent or indicate another thing or an event. Thus the rainbow is a token of God’s covenant with Noah. The blood of the paschal lamb, sprinkled on the doors of the Hebrews, was a token to the destroying angel of God’s will that he should pass by those houses”.
So, a manifest token is a sign which makes clear the judgment of God to come. “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord”, dear Saint, did you ever realize that you will have a part in that great and terrible day?
 Webster’s Dictionary 1828 Webster’s Dictionary 1828 Gn. 9:12; Ex:12:13 Rm. 12:19
”Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;”-I Th. 1:6
When that day comes, we will fight alongside of Jesus and we will be completely just to do so. We will have been set free from the bounds of this fallen world, just as we have now been delivered from the bonds of sin by the precious blood of Jesus. We will have the righteous banner of Elohim; this is described in Psalm 149 as well as this letter to the Thessalonians. What a wonderful day that will be!
”For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
Paul exhorted the saints at Thessalonica to “rest with us”. He reminded them that it is a “righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation”. It does not yet appear what we shall be, but when he appears, we shall be like Him. What a precious promise this is! What hope we ought to have, a longing for Him to return!
 I Jn. 3:2
“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”-II Th. 1:8-9
This is a deep insight into the nature of God and a roster of the events of judgment day. It seems through consistent Bible study that we (Saints) will be fighting along the side of Jesus. Do you think you will be able to fight against people who have rebelled against God by their lifetime of committing the same sins as you compromise the Gospel for? No, you must “Come out from among them”. Any compromise will lead to an inability to stand on that great and terrible day!
The world wants you to make the deal. Don’t tell about them their sin and they won’t tell of yours. In doing so, you become those who judge themselves by themselves, this is not wise. This is the ‘Christianity’ modernity offers and it is a culture of death. Do you suppose Jesus will allow an army of hypocrites to serve in His Royal army? God forbid!
 II Co. 6:17  II Co. 10:12
Are you worthy of His calling? To be sure, you cannot do it on our own merit. Have you been washed by the blood? If so, see to your walk, if you have been “…purged of your former sins”, be sure that you do not return to them “like a dog returning to its vomit”. What God has cleansed, let no man call unclean. This is the reproach of Christ that we should suffer as we live blameless and above reproach by the power of the Holy Ghost. Those who understand will be glad to bear their cross.
II Pt. 1:9  II Pt.2:22  Acts 11:9
“That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”-II Th.1:12
The Gospel of the Bible produces obedience to God. The grace of God produces godliness, or holiness. So, this was what Paul spoke to those being persecuted in Thessalonica, and you would do well to hear his words. When we begin to live the Gospel, we can count on persecution. We know that through this tribulation God gets glory. This will cause us to take our rightful place, which is waiting patiently at the foot of the cross. We will then begin our mission of pointing the way to others. The love of God is herein fulfilled, as we who once were unconcerned by the will of God become obedient even to death. We will love God with all our heart mind and strength. In our earnest pleadings and stern warnings, we are truly loving our neighbors as ourselves. As unprofitable servants we hope to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Hallelujah, Saint! Proclaim the victory in the high times, in the sadness, and in the tribulation for Jesus has truly overcome the world!
 Ph. 2:8
Today, let us look at the conversion of Basilides, who lived in A.D. 204. There were three women executed, Rhais, Marcella and her daughter Potamiena. The women were tortured then burned slowly “by degrees” alive. One would shudder to imagine such a death, Basilides one of the executors was converted following something Potamiena had said during her conversion.
“Eusebius writes, "Being among his companions, and an oath being demanded of him on some special matter, he said, that he dared not swear at all, because he was a Christian, and did openly confess it before them. When they heard this, they thought at first, that he was joking; but when he persistently asserted it, and showed that he was in earnest, he was seized and cast into prison. When some of the brethren came to visit him and inquired how it happened that he had become changed so suddenly, he fully satisfied them in regard to the matter. Having heard this, they gave him the sign of the Lord, that is (as A. Mellinus explains it), he was baptized in the name of Christ. The following day he was beheaded for the confession of the Lord. Compare the preceding accounts concerning the disciples of Origen, with Eusebius, lib. 6, cap. 5, fol. 107, cot. 1, 2. Also, A, Mellinus, lst book, fol. 58, Col. 1, 2. Also, P. J, Twisck, Chron., 3d book, for the year 204, fol. 55; Col. 2, above. Also, Introduction M. Sp., fol. 39; Col. 1. (p. 129)”
This is someone who had counted the cost. He knew firsthand what it meant to profess faith in Christ. We don’t know how many Christians he himself had killed; it would only take one to get the point across. Christianity was a death sentence in A.D.204, and not only death awaited but terrible torture before dying. Still, Basilides forsook his sins and became ready for the kingdom of God. Like Moses, he decided to “...to suffer affliction with the people of God, [rather] than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” (He. 11:25).
Perhaps he was struck by the admonishment of Jesus, who said (Mk. 8:36), “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” We don’t know what was said but the question is exemplified in this courageous act of Basilides. His fellow soldiers thought he must be joking. This must have weighed on their hearts to see him stand and not back down even to the point of death.
His fellow Christians came “to visit him” when they were convinced of the genuineness of his conversion, they baptized him. These men of God took seriously the admonitions in the Scripture to test every spirit, to lay hands on no man suddenly. This must be done sternly, soberly and thoroughly, as eternity is too grave a matter to be wrong.
People today won’t come to Christ because they realize they must give up their sinful lifestyles. This is not a good example of counting the cost. These people have not considered their sinful pleasures last only so long. Consider this truth, written plainly in the Revelation of John:
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”-Rv. 22:11
In other words, if you die a drunkard, you will be a drunkard still. Drunkards do not enter heaven, therefore, in hell you will continue with your desire for drunkenness, yet there will be no relief for that desire. You may be in hell with all your worldly lovers, but you will no longer be fornicating with them. Count the cost!
Whatever thrill you may find in this earth is pursuing it worth an eternity in hell?
What does it profit a man? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?
“For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.”-Is. 52:3
He delivered that promise on the cross of cavalry. The lamb of God has come to take away the sins of the world and woe unto anyone who would deny that precious gift! For what? Basilides was a wise man and we would do well to remember his sacrifice and example.
He was quickly baptized just before he was killed. One of the women mentioned above, was yet to be baptized when she was killed. There was some discussion of whether she would be saved until it was decided she was baptized by fire. Do you see the reverence they placed on the doctrine of salvation in the early days of Christianity? Do you see the fear of God? We would do well follow the example of the early church.
I am only a brother...
Can I tell you about my elder brother Jesus?