by George Kirkpatrick 

Vital Words to the Body of Christ 
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give

   Violence is a word that has become very prevalent in our society today.  Violence has pervaded every facet of our lives. We witness violence in everything we see and do.  

    The most viewed thing in the home today is the television.  It is filled with violence.  The news programs let the viewer witness the violence that is happening all over the earth, where the murdered are thrown into mass graves for ALL the world to see man's brutality to man.  Fifty years ago murder was almost unheard of, except in big cities.  Now murder is an every day occurrence, and it is hardly news any more unless someone kills a large number of people, a mass murder occurs, or a celebrity is involved.  Only then does murder get attention or wide news coverage.  

     Every form of what is called "entertainment" has turned violent.  The movies are nothing but violence.  Each movie must be more violent than the one before, with more explosions, machine guns and more killings.  

     Music has turned violent.  Rock and roll, punk rock and acid rock promote the message of violence to pervert our children by warping their minds to think on sex, revolution, drugs, murder and violence.  

     It is hard to find a restaurant or store in which the customer is not subjected to off-beat, out-of-tune perversion of what is called music.

     Rock concerts have become scenes of violence where people are trampled to death trying to get in.  Once they are in, the use of drugs and the misbehavior of the human race is evident everywhere. Sexual activity is displayed openly and unashamedly.  All this has become part of the violent culture that has replaced the decency and sanctity that God has placed in His creation man.

     Newspapers and magazines are filled with the violence theme; the more violent, the more they sell.  With the violence is the perversion that accompanies such articles.  Violence and perversion go hand and hand.

    Another area where violence has taken over is sports;  not only on the field of play, but by the fans, who in their zeal become part of the mob.  Many are killed all over the earth at sporting events which are supposed to be entertainment for those attending.

     Men and women believe, that in order to be acceptable and beautiful, they must be "macho".  The men disregard every sign of manliness, chivalry and being a gentleman.  Instead they have become crude, rude and unkempt, displaying every sign of the old, beast nature that was created in man.

     The women, also, desire to act more like men than women.  They show no sign of femininity or being a lady, instead they show themselves to be loose, dirty, unkempt and available to any and all who would desire them.  This is all part of the violent scene that is prevalent in today's society.

     This has happened in this nation and around the world in the past thirty to thirty-five years.  It has happened since this nation turned its back on God and did away with morality and decency in the mind of the people.  This nation, and its people, have become part of the "pepsi" generation, "if it feels good, do it", and don't worry about the consequences.  

     Our justice system, or better termed our "injustice" system favors the criminal, with no regard for the victim of violent crime.  If they are fortunate enough to live through their horrifying experience, they must live with it the rest of their lives;  while the judicial system tries to find a way to release the criminal, or at best make sure they get a reduced sentence.  

     The question has been asked, "How could this once Godly nation become this godless, atheistic, perverted mess that it has become today?"  Homosexuals march in our streets, hold public office, teach our children and stand in the pulpits.  How could these abominations before God have happened?  It began when our Supreme Court began to legislate against God.  

     They removed prayer from schools.  This, in itself, was not the only crime against the children.  The real crime was the removing of God from our children's thinking, outlawing God from being displayed or spoken of, in any public assembly.  When God is eliminated, violence prevails.  

     Today the cities are filled with gangs of children.  They are considered the most violent of all the gangs that inhabit our city streets:  killing, robbing, raping, plundering, pillaging and destroying with no conscience of their debauchery.  This exists because God has been removed from their thinking.

     When the Supreme Court legalized abortion as a constitutional right, they opened the doors to the most violent acts that a society could enact upon their people, and that was murdering their unborn young.  Every natural instinct that God placed in His creation man had to be overcome  in  their degenerate mind.  In his letter to the Romans, Paul spoke of our day:

"Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:"  Romans 1:31

     Paul spoke of a people who would have no natural affection. Abortion means the mother and father are devoid of any and all natural affection for the unborn life.  Paul also said they would be unmerciful, showing no mercy.  When an abortion is performed, the unborn child suffers great pain, no matter how soon the abortion is performed after insemination.  No mercy is shown for this unborn life, and violence prevails.  

     Violence has inundated our society from the oldest down to the very youngest who are set in front of the television to watch the violent cartoons which are no longer funny, but more and more violent, corrupting the minds of our children God would not have it so.   

     John the Baptist was the voice of one crying in the wilderness.  John was only the voice of the "One" crying in the wilderness.  Today that same "One" is still crying in the wilderness of confusion and false teachings, where lies, misunderstandings, misconceptions and mouths of false prophets are heard.  God's people no longer hear the voice  of the "One" who is crying, "Repent ye:  for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  Matthew 3:2

     John was a useable vessel in speaking what the Spirit was saying unto the false religious system of his day.  Today, God is looking for a voice to proclaim what the Spirit is saying unto the churches.  

     When John was in the wilderness baptizing, some soldiers were attending his baptism, and they asked John what they must do to become acceptable in the sight of God.  John's answer was:

"Do  violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages,"  Luke 3:14

  The soldiers of Rome were very violent people, trained in hand to hand combat, and were very accustomed to the sight of blood.  In battle they would be covered with blood.  So violence was their way of life.  They were trained in methods of cruelty, to torture, maim, and show no feeling or emotion.  When John spoke to them, "Do no violence", these words were totally foreign to them. To accuse any falsely and to be content with their wages would be the words of a mad man to a Roman soldier.  And yet today everyone who calls himself by the name of Christ needs to heed these words.

     All who call themselves by His name are soldiers of Jesus Christ, and they need to heed John's words in their lives.  Paul's second letter to Timothy informs us:

" Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;  that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."  II Timothy 2:3-4

     As soldiers of Christ, we must learn to endure hardness.  The word hardness should have been translated "hardship".  The word hardship means "to suffer evil, to suffer trouble and to endure afflictions".  The "No Suffering Message" that is rampant in the church today does not come from the Bible, but from man's desire to receive the glory, not willing to pay the price to receive it.

     Paul tells us not to entangle ourselves with the affairs of this life.  And yet most who are called by His name are involved with "things", the cares and the activities of this life.  These have no time to be involved in the things God has called us to. 

Paul gave this direction so we may be pleasing to Him who has chosen  us   to  be   His  soldiers.   As soldiers of Christ, the  words of John the Baptist are for us when he proclaimed, "Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely and be content with your wages".  

     Most who are called by Christ's name would say, "I am not violent.  I don't do violence."  The word violence has many meanings.  It means "to shake violently, to intimidate, to be harsh, strict or severe."  It also means injustice.  Violence means to do physical, ethical or spiritual wrong.  We can do much violence with the tongue, and it can be more damaging than a 2 x 4. 

     An old saying states, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me."  This is a total lie.  Those who have been wounded by the tongue suffer much pain, and some are never healed from the attack of the tongue.  Some people's tongues are sharper than any sword or honed razor, and the damage they do cuts deep into the soul, into the very spirit of its victim.  James wrote:

"And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity:  so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature;  and it is set on fire of hell."  James 3:6

     The tongue is set on fire of hell, and it sets on fire the course of nature.  Man's ways are misdirected by the tongue.  His boasting, bragging and lies set a course he cannot, nor did God intend for him to live up to.  The Psalmist wrote:

"Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:"  Psalm 64:3

     This whetted sword of a tongue does tremendous damage as it shoots arrows that pierce the soul and spirit of their victims.  When this happens violence prevails.  James wrote:

"If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man."  James 3:2

     When we offend we shake violently, we intimidate, we are severe and we do injustice to all who hear our misdirected words. When we do this we become guilty of violence.  Our words can inflict wounds that may never heal, and can sometimes be spiritually fatal.  Jesus spoke of our offensive words:

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his  neck,  and that  he were drowned in the depth of the sea."  Matthew 18:6

     When our words offend, Jesus said it would be better if a millstone were hanged around our neck, and we be drowned in the depth of the sea.  When we do violence with our tongues, God's judgment is severe.  

     We need to understand when God speaks of violence, He is not only speaking of physical violence that shows man's inhumanity to man, but he is also speaking of mental and Spiritual violence.  Mental violence is the wounding of the soul.  Spiritual violence is the wounding of the Spirit.  When one is wounded mentally, they give up any will to accomplish for God in the flesh.  When they are wounded Spiritually they cease to try to please God with the inner man, and give way to the will of the flesh, forsaking all morality and sanctity of life.  

     Those who are wounded in the Spirit believe that God is a cruel, harsh God and that He does not love them, nor has He called them, nor is His plan of salvation for them.  They do not feel part of His kingdom, nor can they have a personal relationship with their God.  This feeling comes from an act of violence that has wounded their soul and spirit.  No matter how innocent, these  acts  of the violent tongue may seem, they wound into the innermost being of man.  

     These acts of violence can be in the form of condemnation. Condemnation comes from a condemning spirit; and is not of God:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."  Romans 8:1

      There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, whose walk is after the Spirit, not after the flesh.  But what happens to those who have not come to this place in God?  When they are condemned, their spirits are wounded, and some will never try to achieve their rightful place in God.  They get a dejected, rejected attitude, with a "what's the use" mentality saying, "I can never achieve in God anyway", and their wound is fatal.  An unruly tongue has inflicted violence, and Spiritual death is the result.

     Another way Spiritual wounds are inflicted is by belittling someone:  on who they are, how they dress, their station in life, how they talk, how they act, who their parents are, where they live;  the list is endless.  Belittling someone is an act of violence.  It may be done in innocence, not  intending to inflict deadly poison into the victim's soul or spirit;  or it could be done in jest.   The result is the same.  Violence has occurred and there is a victim of a violent act.  These violent acts can destroy those who are trying to walk in Christ Jesus.  

     When Cornelius was baptized in the Holy Spirit, Peter stated, "I perceive that God is no respecter of persons,"  Acts 10:34.  

      Paul wrote to the Romans:  "For there is no respect of persons with God."  Romans 2:11

God is no respecter of persons.  But man is very much a respecter of persons.  James wrote:

"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place;  and  say  to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?"  James 2:1-4

     When we belittle a person because of his clothes or station in life, we are a respecter of persons.  Because of these acts, violence presents itself and inflicts wounds to that person's soul and spirit.  These are evil thoughts that come from a wicked heart.

"The Lord trieth the righteous:  but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth."  Psalm 11:5

     God always tries the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence, His soul hateth.  Those who inflict violence are wicked, and God will judge them as He judges all wickedness.  King Solomon wrote:

"The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life:  but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked."  Proverbs 10:11

     What comes out of our mouths is either life or death.  The righteous speak life, the wicked speak death.  Our words determine our  thinking patterns.  Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, "Out of the  abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh," Matthew 12:34.  We speak what is in our mind, words of life or words of death. When we speak evil, violence covers our mouths.  Violent words destroy.  Words of life edify.

     There is another word that goes hand and hand with violence and that is vengeance.  Another word for vengeance is revenge.  Revenge and vengeance are the most destructive emotions in the make up of man.  To get even is a basic emotion, and it is one emotion that is the most difficult to overcome.  It is part of the old beast nature, and it is the food that violence feeds upon.  The Psalmist David wrote:

"Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man:  preserve me from the violent man;"  Psalm 140:1

     The evil man and the violent man are the old man nature, and our prayer should be, as David's, "God deliver us from the evil man and the violent man who dwells within each of us that  seek vengeance and revenge.

     When we are wronged, the new man that is created in righteousness and true holiness is the man that will love and forgive.  But until we are delivered from the old, evil man, and the man of violence, that new man  cannot  emerge.  The  "get even" emotion has not been overcome in that life.

     One of the most common sayings today is, "I don't get mad, I get even".  If the "get even" emotion is not dealt with, it will always lead to violence, either physical violence, mental violence, or spiritual violence.

     In today's society when one is wronged, their only thought is to get a lawyer and sue some one.  This is part of the old man's "get even" attitude, seeking vengeance at someone else's expense.  This attitude keeps the courts full, and lawyers rich.  Paul asked the question, 

". . .Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?"  I Corinthians 6:7b.  

     Why will we not allow oursevles to be defrauded?  It is because that old man and his "get even" attitude has not been brought under the control of the Holy Spirit.  When we are wronged anger arises, and we are going to make the wrong doer suffer as we have suffered.  Vengeance and revenge are sought, and we have entered into an act of violence.  Paul wrote to the church at Rome:

"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath:  for it is written,  Vengeance is  mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."  Romans 12:19

     We need to give place to wrath.  The word wrath is ORGE and means "anger and indignation."  When someone's wrath or anger is kindled against us, and we revile back, then we have entered into the same realm of thinking  as those who are yielding their thoughts and emotions to the spirit of darkness.  The old man nature, the evil man and the violent man have taken over the situations.  There is no well of life coming forth from the righteous mouth.  We have allowed ourselves to become part of the situation instead of rising above and overcoming in our trial.

     Peter was given the keys to the kingdom.  The Holy Spirit directed Peter to write of Jesus:

"Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again;  when he suffered, he threatened not;  but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:"  I Peter 2:23

     When Jesus was reviled, He reviled not again.  He is our example of overcoming.  Jesus committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.  Jesus  had overcome the old man nature that is inherent in each of us who are born in the  flesh.  He  is  our example of overcoming the old fleshly Adam nature;  the evil and violent man.

     God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us His Spirit that we may see and hear His Word.  He has revealed His desire and direction for His creation man in the hour we live. Luke recorded Jesus' words:

"And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man."  Luke 17:26

     As it was in Noah's day, so shall it be in the day of our Lord's coming.  So, how was it in Noah's day?

"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."  Genesis 6:5

     Man's wickedness was great in the earth.  The wickedness was in the earth, not on the earth.  The wickedness was in man's thoughts and imaginations.  What was the result of man's thoughts and imaginations being continually evil?  The Lord recorded:

"The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt;  for all flesh had corrupted His way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me;  for the earth is filled with violence through them;  and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."  ** Genesis 6:11-13

     The earth was filled with violence through the people.  Today God's creation man is filled with violence.  Because of violence man stands corrupt before God.  The evil, violent man is present in everything man does and thinks.  His thoughts and imaginations are continually evil and violent.

     In God's revelation in Genesis, ALL FLESH had corrupted God's way upon the earth.  It was not man's way that they corrupted, rather it was God's way that had been corrupted upon the earth.  Because of this, man's way had become corrupt in every thought, imagination and every evil work.

"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."  Genesis 6:8

     One man, Noah, found grace in the sight of God.  God said of Noah that he was a "just man, perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God,"  Genesis 6:9.  The name Noah means "rest".  Today God has a people who desire to enter into His rest, the seventh day rest which lies directly before us.

     In the days of Noah, God had one man who found grace in His sight.  Today, God has one man who has found grace in His sight, and that one man is the corporate body of Christ.  Paul spoke of this one man in his letter to the Corinthians:

"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ."  I Corinthians 12:12

     The man that God has in the earth today is His many, membered body of Christ, whose complete desire is to put on the mind of Christ.  These have allowed the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit to change their thoughts.  They have cast down their vain imaginations and allowed the new man who is created in righteousness and true holiness to walk again in God's way upon the earth.

     But unfortunately man's basic nature has not changed.  Paul wrote to the Romans of man's perverted ways:

""And even as they did not like to retain God  in  their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;"   Romans 1:28

     When man does not retain God in his thoughts, then God will turn him over to a reprobate mind.  The word reprobate means "rejected of God."  So when man is turned over to a reprobate mind his thoughts and imaginations are continually evil.  When man comes to this place, then the judgment of God will come, just as it did in the days of Noah.

     Can man be far from judgment?  Can a nation who has turned their backs on God be far from judgment when their man-made laws state that even the mention of God is forbidden?  Israel was given to us as an example upon whom the end of the age has come:

"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."  I Corinthians 10:11

     God judged our example, Israel, severely.  Judah had a king by the name of Manasseh who allowed the Sodomites to perform their debauchery next to the temple of God.  It was said of Manasseh that he filled the  streets of Jerusalem with the blood of the innocent.  God had recorded in II Kings:

"Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab:  and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies;  and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since  the  day  their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day."  II Kings 21:11-15

     Manasseh filled the streets of Jerusalem with innocent blood. Today we witness our nation allowing these same abominations.  Our streets are filled with the blood of the innocent.  Abortions of the unborn are performed in every town with the blessing of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.  And as He did in the days of Manasseh, God is about to wipe the United States plate clean and turn it upside down.

     In ancient times when a plate was wiped clean and turned upside down, it was the sign of rejection.  You would never eat at that table again.  You were on your own.  All blessings and protection were removed.  This nation's plate is in the hand of the Lord. Will He set our place to eat, or will He wipe it clean and turn it upside down?  I believe we know the answer.  When the richest nation on the earth has become the biggest debtor in fourteen short years, we have witnessed God's blessing being removed and His curses have taken its place.  As God states, we have become the tail and not the head, Deuteronomy 28:44.  Our violent way of life has come up before God.

     Habakkuk was a prophet to Judah in the days of King Josiah and Jehoiakim.  Josiah was the last king anointed by the children of Israel before God alllowed Judah to be overthrown and taken captive.  Jehoiakim was then appointed by Pharaoh Necho, King of Egypt.  Habakkuk was much troubled about the violence and miscarriage of justice in the land of Judah.  Habakkuk cried:

"O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear?  even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save?"  Habakkuk 1:2

     Habakkuk's heart was broken before God when he witnessed the violence and wickedness in the land of Judah.  Habakkuk was crying out for God's people:

"Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?  For spoiling and violence are before me:  and there are that raise up strife and contention."  Habakkuk 1:3

     The land of Judah [the people of praise] was filled with strife and contention because of the violence that was in the land.  Today our land is full of violence.  Strife and contention exist everywhere.  Strife and contention still exist in the church.  We witness those who are supposed to be becoming that new man in Christ being a part of this abomination.  These all hope to find grace in the sight of God in the day when His judgment fills the earth, even though they have allowed strife and contention to hinder their walk in God.  Habakkuk described what we witness in our judicial system today:

"Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth:  for the wicked doth compass about the righteous;  therefore wrong judgment proceedeth."  Habakkuk 1:4

     The law is slacked, favoring the criminal,  the innocent suffer and judgment never comes forth.  Habakkuk cried, "The wicked compass the righteous".  Everything that is righteous has been twisted and turned to evil.  When a righteous person expects moral behavior, they are called "old-fashioned, moral freaks, antiquated and out-dated".  When a righteous person insists that their children grow up to be moral, decent, respectful young people, they are told they are too hard on them, and that they are only young once;  let them do as they want.  This warped mentality has caused pre-marital sex to become rampant which leads to abortion.  Many unmarried mothers do not even know who the fathers of their children are. This has created a sense of violence in the children, leading to an uncontrollable  outbreak of teenage suicide.  Suicide is the most violent act one can commit on one's self.  The prophet Isaiah pronounced a woe upon today's mentality:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil;  that put darkness for light, and light for darkness;  that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"  Isaiah 5:20

     Habakkuk stated, "Wrong judgment proceedeth".  Today those who call good evil and evil good have put darkness for light and light for darkness.  They have allowed the spirit of darkness to hinder their sense of judgment, and because of this their ways have been perverted before God.

     Jesus is, was and always will be the Light of this world.  But Jesus has been replaced by the spirit of darkness, and Isaiah proclaimed "Woe unto them".  The prophet Ezekiel also spoke of our day when he penned God's inspired words:

"Make a chain:  for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence."  Ezekiel 7:23

     Our land is full of bloody crimes.  Our cities are full of violence.  This has all come about because this nation and  this  people,  as  Israel,  did not retain God in their thinking.  And because of this God has turned them over to a reprobate mind. Man's ways, man's thoughts and man's imaginations are continually evil just as in the days of Noah.  God's judgment came as a flood in the days of Noah because of the violence in the land.  Peter wrote:

"For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:"  II Peter 3:5-6 

     Even today God's people are willingly ignorant of God's righteous judgment.  They choose to overlook the inevitable.  They fail to admit, nor recognize that God's Word is true and that they can depend on it.  God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  God has not changed.  The only thing that has changed is man's relationship to God for the better or for the worse.  

     If God judged the world because of the violence in Noah's day, and if God judged Sodom and Gomorrah for their homo-sexuality and all their sexual sin, how can  He  not  judge  this nation, or any nation which permits these abominations.  On the same note, if God judged Israel whom He chose to carry His name, how can He not judge the church that is called by His name.  Peter informed us:

"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:  and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"  I Peter 4:17

     God will judge His house first, and that judgment has begun. Peter asked, "What will be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?  Those who obey not the gospel have become violent.  Their mouths have become violent, and many times their actions are violent.  These violent actions and reactions are prevalent in the church today.  The prophet Zephaniah wrote:

"In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit."  Zephaniah 1:9

     Our Master's house is our body, and many who are called by His name have filled His house with violence and deceit.  The one they have deceived the most is themselves.  We are informed seven times in Revelation, chapters Two and  Three  to  hear  what the Spirit is saying unto the churches.  The voice of the Holy Spirit is crying in the wilderness today, "Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand."

Vital Words to the Body of Christ 
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give