An Apostolic publication promoting balanced conservatism … "the finest of the wheat!"

Posts tagged ‘last days’

More Than Just A Form

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof….”
–2 Timothy 3:5

 

If we understand this scripture correctly, godliness (piety, right living) has two phases or parts. One is external and visible, and is called the form of godliness; the other is internal and invisible, and is called the power of godliness. We are admonished by the Apostle that there will be some in the last days who will have a form of godliness, but who in fact will be empty of the power of godliness. From such we are instructed to turn away, or, in other words, avoid.

Apparently, the form of godliness can be imitated and manufactured. It is like a glove that reveals the shape of the human hand, even when the hand is removed or withdrawn from it. However, just as the glove without the hand has no power or ability to function, so is the person who merely possesses the form of godliness without the power of godliness.

Such people look like Apostolics, act like Apostolics, and even go through the motions of worship like Apostolics. Yet there is an emptiness to their praise, and their testimony is hollow. Their witness is weak and ineffective. They are spiritually tepid. They have a form of godliness but they lack its power.

We are living in an age where an alarming number of so-called Apostolics are content with merely the form of godliness without also possessing the power of godliness. The great danger in this is that it takes the true power of godliness to maintain a viable walk with God. But because we have had such a heavy emphasis on “externals,” many of our modern Apostolics feel more secure around someone who has a “good standard” than they do around someone who has a “good spirit.”

We are truly living in perilous times. Some of the most godly-looking people have proven to be quite empty of true godliness. The power of godliness works within the lives of those who possess it and creates the form of godliness in them. Those who have the form of godliness but do not have the power of godliness have either imitated those who do have it or have retained the form of godliness from a time in their lives when they actually did possess the power thereof.

It is frightening to consider the amount of spiritual “con artists” that are thriving in the Apostolic ranks these days. Where is our spiritual discernment? Where is the prophet who will rise and rebuke the pretenders and the play-actors? We must have more than merely a form of godliness! And we must avoid those who only possess a form of godliness. How could anyone who truly possessed the power of godliness be comfortable around someone who merely had a form of godliness?

Sometimes our preaching has emphasized adherence to a standard to the exclusion of receiving an understanding of the true nature of God. We often judge others by their “form of godliness” (i.e., their standards of holiness), but when the Son of Man comes He will be looking for FAITH! What a shame it is to consider that Divine Healing is treated as a joke in many conservative Apostolic circles today.

There are congregations that look great, but where is the ability to pray the prayer of faith for the sick? Where is the power to keep ourselves unspotted from the world? Where is the power to love our enemy, and to do good to them who hate us? Where is the power to pray for them who despitefully use us? Where is the power to forgive?

Have we glorified the “earthen vessel” to the point that the “heavenly treasure” has departed from it? Heaven forbid that we would wind up as empty, powerless shells – beautiful gloves with no working hands, or highly polished shoes with no feet to walk in them.

Make no mistake about it: the form of godliness is vital to the power of godliness. But we must never fall into the snare of assuming that because the form of godliness exists the power of godliness invariably accompanies it. We must not confuse outward manifestations of godliness with true holiness. And we must never make final judgments about someone’s standing in God simply because of the way they dress or live up to certain codes.

People who merely have a form of godliness but lack the power of godliness are highly susceptible to deception, and eventually wind up in false doctrine of one sort or another. The reason for this is because the power of godliness derives from the preaching of the Word of God. We are living in the time when man cannot endure sound doctrine, but according their own lusts they have heaped to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they have turned away their ears from hearing the truth, and have therefore been turned unto fables. The end result of this is spiritual impotence due to not hearing the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

It is possible to dress conservatively and go through all the motions of godliness and still not possess the power of godliness within. This is a dangerous state. When we begin to feel empowered simply because we have a form of godliness, we have been deceived into thinking that is all we need. But we still need to fast and pray and worship God in spirit and in truth. We still have to connect spiritually with the preacher as he ministers to us the Word of God. We must be spiritually energized by the Holy Ghost within us. We receive power after the Holy Ghost comes upon us – power to work, power to witness, power to live an overcoming life.

God forbid that we should possess merely an empty shell of what a true child of God should be. We need more than simply a form of godliness – we need the power of godliness. We need power to intercept new forms of evil before they invade our homes and hearts; we need power to discern what spirits are trying to help us and what spirits are trying to harm us; we need power to overcome the constant downward pull of earth’s gravitational force; we need power to resist the ever-seducing siren’s song of worldly music; we need power to stand up for what is right even when it is not popular or safe to do so; we need power to ferret out all the subtle nuances of the New Age movement that have invaded Christendom; and we need power to defuse the demonic bombs that have been laid in our paths in an attempt to destroy us.

May God help us in these last days to beware lest we succumb to the pressure to settle for just a form of godliness. We must have more than a mere form of godliness – our very survival depends on our possessing the power of godliness.

Rev. Tim D. Cormier

Reprinted from the November, 2002 issue of the Apostolic Standard.

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.

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Are You Ready For The Next Millennium?

[This article was written 11 years ago when the world was facing the Y2K scare.]

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
—2 Timothy 3:1

Ready or not, here it comes.

The countdown for the Year 2000 has already started. And while our calendar may not be exactly synchronized with God’s, who would dispute the fact that we are indeed living in the last of the last days? Therefore, we would be wise to well consider the dangers that the Scriptures portray as being prevalent in the last days.

Surprisingly enough, our greatest threat does not come from the computer glitch (known as the Y2K bug, or the Millennium bug). Having been a computer programmer for twenty years, I can attest to the magnitude of the crisis our world is facing from this quarter; yet, in spite of this “inside information,” my largest concern is over the perils enumerated by the Apostle Paul in II Timothy 3.

Somehow I feel that the devil has managed to create a vast smokescreen, which has diverted our attention from the gross spiritual darkness that is enveloping the world, and is even attempting to extinguish the flame of the New Testament, Apostolic, Jesus-Name Church. And while we worry about the next millennium and its attendant crises, worldliness and spiritual apathy are creeping up all around us.

It never ceases to be amazing how great things grow out of small things. Why should we waste time worrying about Y2K when we should be agonizing over how such a tiny thing as a split skirt can grow into fornication and even adultery?! —Or how seemingly innocent electronic chatter in the global neighborhood can turn into lasciviousness and licentiousness powerful enough to permanently mar the minds of our young people?

The greatest perils that we are facing are not the ones that the gloom-and-doomers are ranting about. And should the economy of the world collapse—as some are predicting, we are yet in greater jeopardy from a spiritual decay than from an economic one. The winds of false doctrine and compromise are blowing with unprecedented ferocity, hell-bent on forever extinguishing the light from Truth’s beacon. The ocean of sin is at high tide, and its unrelenting waves beat mercilessly upon our shores, desperately striving to contaminate our reservoirs of holiness and purity.

And while it is clear from our Savior’s words that the gates of hell shall not prevail  against His Church, it is equally apparent that many have succumbed to the pressures of our contemporary society and have been washed overboard by foolish and hurtful lusts—only to drown in destruction and perdition. 

Should we, the Apostolic Church, be worrying about the Y2K/Millennium computer bug? Or should we be wondering about how Hollywood styles have mysteriously materialized in our hair-do’s and in our wardrobes? And why are so many Apostolic churches plagued with fornication and adultery and incest?

Even so, come Lord Jesus!         

 

Rev. Tim D. Cormier

Reprinted from the January, 1999 issue of the Apostolic Standard. 

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.

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