© Copyright 2002, Adelphia. www.philadelphos.org This page and its contents are registered and cannot be stored on bbs or internet sites without the editor permission. None of the texts can be total o partially reproduced for comercial purposes. They may be distribuited for free e-mail, mentioning author and source but they must be left intact and nothing removed or changed.
THE CROSS AND THE “PHILADELPHIA” TESTIMONY
By Armando Di Pardo
The following message was given at the 38th Annual Convention of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America (I.F.C.A.) in Cicero, Illinois, USA, the 27th April 1967, by Armando Di Pardo, spokesman of the "Philadelphia" Testimony. He was pastor of the Evangelical Christian Church in Buenos Aires and president of the Theological Bible School "A.L.E.R.T.A." of the "ADELPHIA" Fellowship of Fundamental, Undenominational Churches and Institutions in Argentina, until his death in 2002.
“But God forbid that I should glory,
save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Galatians 6:14).
With gratitude to the Lord for the privilege of occupying this pulpit, I feel the need to repeat with Paul: "I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling" (1 Cor. 2:2, 3).
And in all humbleness, I would testify my absolute conviction that the Church of Christ must return to Calvary to hear once again "THE PREACHING -WORD or LOGOS- OF THE CROSS" (1 Cor. 1:18).
The Church needs to penetrate profoundly into the meaning and experiences that the great declaration of the Lamb of God has for it, when to purchase it with His own precious blood He said: " IT IS FINISHED " (Jn. 19:30).
The Church needs to verify once again the absolute nature of that declaration and its three-dimensional reaches: (1) all the negative was cancelled there; (2) all the positive was established there; (3) the brotherly bond was made manifest. The argument is cumulative and its enunciations are concurrent.
ALL THE NEGATIVE -SIN- WAS CANCELLED THERE
(a) Sin, here, is also understood in terms of totality including three areas: (1) rebellion or transgression (pash'a in Hebrew) as in Isa. 53:5a; (2) error, to miss the mark (châtâ in Hebrew) which is illustrated by contrast in Judges 20:16; (3) iniquity, perverseness, the state "in natura," the fountain of wickedness (âvon in Hebrew), Isa. 53:5b. A classic passage is that of Psalm 32:1, 2 where the three areas are contained.
In the Greek Septuagint and in the New Testament the words are likewise inclusive: (1) paraptoma, parabasis: transgression; (2) hamartia: to miss the mark; (3) anomia: illegality. These three areas always: transgression, error and illegality.
(b) The Cross destroyed sin and broke its yoke. It is surprising that the Church should be reminded of this. The reason for this is that it has forgotten that its compass is the "Word of the Cross". It is so used to preaching it to those that are outside that it has omitted interpreting it for itself. In Isa. 53:6 we read: "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way…": there is a lot of this in the Church today; just as sheep have no sense of direction, there is confusion and a lack of orientation and no ability to get reoriented nor to restore Biblical unity; while each group from its own deviations bleeds its own errors...
It should therefore listen again to its message and experience what it means, that God layed on the sinless Lamb, ALL our sins to destroy them; be they of transgression, of error or even of ignorance, not committed knowingly, as these also make the offender guilty, as it is written: "It is a trespass offering, he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord" (Lev. 5:19).
By reading Isa. 44:22, 53:4-6, 10; Heb. 9:26, 28; 1 Pet. 1:18-20;2:24; etc., we know and believe that every atom and nucleus of sin was disintegrated and destroyed, when they came into contact with the precious blood of the Lamb. All enslaving yokes were broken. The old nature, the "world", the Devil and his principalities and powers were broken: "For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that He might destroy the works of the Devil" (1 Jn. 3:8).
c) That total work of the Cross, that inductively finishes with sin, deductively establishes for the Church: THE DOCTRINE OF SEPARATION. That separation includes two areas that are intimately related: (1) separation from all sin of error, and (2) separation from all sin of transgression.
We do not refer here to the so-called "eradication" of sin, but rather we deal with the work of the Cross in destroying it and the practical application of that fact in the life of the Church. It should separate itself from all that the Cross destroyed. Nobody can question the fact that this separation rules for every believer individually, because it is written: "Abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Th. 5:22). Why should we question then, the application of this doctrine to the Church?
Some brethren consider the strict application of this principle as "presumption." We believe that this underestimates the seriousness of the errors of anti-Biblical doctrines and practices and carnalities and worldlyisms that plague the churches everywhere. We believe they would do well to remember the saying: "All heresy has in its bosom some subtle connection with an inadequate view of the sinfulness of sin." And we would add: Heresy also has to do with an inadequate view of the work of the Cross in destroying sin!
It should not be forgotten that all error -specially in doctrine- is always accompanied by transgression. For example:
the error as to the person to be baptized and the manner in which this is administered, as the Holy Trinity is invoked, is always accompanied by the transgression of the commandment: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain:"
the error as to the form of government of the Church, will displace the authority of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, and therefore will be accompanied by the transgression of the commandment: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me;"
the error as to the doctrine of separation is always accompanied by the transgression of the commandment: "Be ye holy for I am holy."
In conclusion: The Church will cleanse itself of errors and transgressions of flesh and spirit if it heeds the "Word of the Cross." To the contrary it will add sin upon sin, and this in good Theology means: (1) to annul the work of the Cross in the life of the Church; (2) to reinstate the yoke which the Cross destroyed; (3) to implicitly constitute itself as an enemy of the Cross of Christ wherever error occurs. Let it be remembered by analogy the lesson taught in Galatians 2:18 "FOR IF I BUILD AGAIN THE THINGS WHICH I DESTROYED I MAKE MYSELF A TRANSGRESSOR."
ALL THE POSITIVE WAS ESTABLISHED THERE
If all the negative is sin or diabolical; all the positive is holy, or of God.
Soteriology includes both these areas and the "IT IS FINISHED" of the Cross covers them completely, because the Cross on which sin was cancelled was at the same time the channel by which we receive the spiritual gifts of God.
Rivers of living water flowed from the smitten rock (Jn. 7:37-39). Christ crucified is the cause that made possible "that… we might be partakers of the divine nature" and the fullness of the Holy Spirit for us. The Church emerged from the open side of the "second Adam" (Eph. 5:30),
BUT -someone might say- is it not by the resurrection and ascension of the Lord, and Pentecost, that this part of our salvation and Christian experience was fulfilled?
- YES, we answer. But: without the destruction of sin that Christ accomplished on the Cross, there would not have been a resurrection or an ascension or a Pentecost, no ministry of the Spirit, therefore no Church either! (Jn. 1: 29,33).
In other words: a chain-reaction occurred, in which everything depended upon the initial liberating factor: THAT FACTOR WAS THE CROSS!
What significance has this part of "IT IS FINISHED" for the Church?
It does not only mean its mere calling into existence but its full development. All that God has for it is there: the life, fruit and gifts of the Spirit, holiness, unity and fellowship with the Lord and with the brethren, are all found there.
The Church must hear that "Word of the Cross" and penetrate deeply into the blessing there is for it. That blessing is found revealed, of course, in Holy Scripture. The "crucified Word" is identified with the "written Word." The Cross and the Scriptures speak the same language.
This obliges the Church to: (1) search the Scriptures; (2) search them exhaustively, until ALL THE TRUTH has been discerned in everything that concerns it.
The Church cannot content itself with partial or relative truths. It cannot excuse itself for having failed in something by saying: "I walked according to the light I had", if in the Scriptures THERE WAS MORE LIGHT and the Church HAD the opportunity to seek it.
In every case the only correct thing to do is to discern ALL the light. ALL the Biblical truth and then put it into practice, obeying without further delay and restrictions (Eph. 4:13-16).
The "Word of the Cross" gives us in this part ALL THE DOCTRINE OF UNITY.
The "IT IS FINISHED" of John 19:18, becomes the basis for the fulfillment of "THAT THEY MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE" of John 17:21-23.
This reveals to us that Christian Unity is also based on the "Word of the Cross;" and also that this Unity is not in part but in totality.
In other words: it includes not only substantial unity which is that of the Spirit, but all that the Spirit has given us in the Scriptures, that is the unity of Biblical doctrine and practices.
The Spirit will take of the "IT IS FINISHED" and will reveal to the born-again those profound truths and rich blessings of the "Word of the Cross" in their relation to unity.
In conclusion: The Church cannot remain disunited if it understands the "Word of the Cross.” It is at the foot of the Cross where the Church will find the humility it needs to recognize its errors ant the grace to correct them. To the contrary, if it resists the meaning of "IT IS FINISHED”, it will be found also in this area to be "AN ENEMY OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST."
THE CROSS ESTABLISHES THE BROTHERLY BOND AND "PHILADELPHIA " EMERGES IN ITS LIGHT
The "Word of the Cross" unites the solitude of the Lamb slain, with the countless company of the redeemed.
In Isa. 53:10 we see this expressed prophetically: "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…" -(here we have the Cross)- "…he shall see his seed" -(here we have the redeemed of God).
This is made clearer for the Church in Psalm 22, where after a description of the suffering of the cross, we come to verse 22 which says: - "I will declare thy name unto MY BRETHREN; in the midst of the CONGREGATION will I praise thee."
In Jn. 20:17, the triumphant and risen Lamb says: "Go to MY BRETHREN and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God."
In Heb. 2:10-17, we read: "He is not ashamed to call them BRETHREN…" (v.11). “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like HIS BRETHREN…" (v.17).
Let us observe that we arrive at BROTHERHOOD: a new status in Christ and with Christ, and with those who are Christ's.
THE LOVE OF CHRIST IS REVEALED AS "BROTHERLY LOVE," THAT IS: "PHILADELPHIA"!
This is a glorious revelation: may the name of the Lord be praised!
THE "PHILADELPHIA" CHURCH
Perhaps it would be good to ask ourselves some questions first, what we have in mind when we think of the "Philadelphia" Church.
Would pastors of "Philadelphia" hold evangelistic meetings with leaders of the "synagogue of Satan" (modernists and ecumenicals); pray and sit with them on the same platform, treating them as "brothers in Christ," and then send them saved souls so that the "synagogue of Satan" can edify them in the faith?
Would "Philadelphia" hold joint meetings with priests of "Babylon the Great" (Romanism), so as to show a broad spirit for the sake of unity?
Would it rejoice with the friendship of modernists, ecumenicals and healers? Would it be ashamed to call "brethren" believers who are zealous for the Word of God and would it seek to associate with so-called "intellectuals" who ridicule the Scriptures?
Would it support missionaries with prayer and money who use these methods?
Would it send offerings for the publication of adulterated Bibles; and would it sell modernist books and advertise them in its magazines?
Can you imagine "Philadelphia" compromising the Gospel message by getting into political, economic and military matters, which pertain to governments and kingdoms of this world which "lieth in wickedness"?
Can you imagine "Philadelphia" labouring in one place as "Baptist," in another as "Presbyterian" and in another as "Lutheran" or "Episcopalian?" In one place baptizing believers by immersion and in another place sprinkling babies? Would it have a "democratic" Church government in one place and in another an "autocratic" or an "aristocratic" in yet another?
Would "Philadelphia" join Councils or Associations whose ecclesiastical compromising bodies take "the middle of the road?" Or Councils which are organized to fight the enemies of the Faith, but have no calling to help their "denominational members" solve their discrepancies? Councils that maintain that "unity in Christ" and "interdenominational cooperation" are sufficient without dealing with doctrinal confessions and practices, even though they contradict each other?
There is only one Biblical answer to all these and other similar questions: NO! These are not qualifications of "Philadelphia." Any of these things would be done by "Sardis" or "Laodicea"!
(1) LOVES THE LORD
(2) KEEPS HIS WORD
(3) DOES NOT DENY HIS NAME
(4) TRIES THE SPIRITS
(5) GOES WITHOUT THE CAMP
(6) LOOKS FOR AND LOVES THE COMING OF THE LORD
(7) PURIFIES AND PREPARES ITSELF FOR THIS GREAT EVENT
(8) TESTIFIES FAITHFULLY.
REV. 3:7-13: THESE ARE ITS QUALIFICATIONS! Every local Church that is built on the dispensational truth, and desires to be "Philadelphia" should examine itself and recognize these qualifications. If it does not possess them it must go to the Cross and wash its errors and transgressions in the precious blood of the Lamb, humble itself before the Lord and His Holy Word, so that the Holy Spirit may produce them and manifest them.
Brethren: for this, organizations are useless. Vital experiences are needed. They can only be produced at the foot of the Cross. Only after that will we have the humility and brotherly love necessary to seek and understand each other and reconcile our doctrines and testimony!
THE "PHILADELPHIA " (BR0THERLY L0VE) TESTIMONY
(a) The "Word of the Cross" gives it life-giving breath. Since it emerges from the Cross it cannot be separated from it: "PHILÁDELPHIA" IS A CROSS-CENTRED TESTIMONY!
From this point of view, it is a serious call to the Church to return to the Cross. Here we do not refer to false modernistic and ecumenical churches, but to Churches of Christ made up of born-again believers.
Brethren: In moments when the "SIGNS OF THE TIMES" begin to mark the transition between the imminent and the immediate coming of Christ to rapture His Church: must we not prepare ourselves? And the apostate churches and the world: must they not be notified as to what awaits them?
FOR THESE REASONS, THIS TESTIMONY HAS TWO DEFINITE PURPOSES:
(1) Promote the qualifications of "Philadelphia" according to Rev. 3:7-13, in each local fundamental Church; promote Biblical unity in doctrine and practices and complete fellowship among God's people; in preparation for the coming of Christ for His Church.
(2) Call our brethren who are being deceived within apostate churches and organizations to come out of them; and denounce "oikoumene" which can only await the coming of "Antichrist" and the "Great Tribulation".
(b) Only an experience at the foot of the Cross can give us the enabling and put this into action in our Churches.
Churches, Denominations, Federations and Councils, should be subject to the trial of the Cross. A Church with false doctrines, practices and associations, will not be able to hold its ground at the foot of the Cross!
If the Word of God says that "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine, nor anything by which thy brother stumbleth" (Rom. 14:21); -is it possible to continue in churches with anti-Biblical "traditions"? The Cross cannot tolerate and has no respect for them. Christ Jesus has not crucified the truth. He was crucified for being The Truth, with the purpose of crucifying and destroying all lies!
The Church must return to the Cross. Their pastors and missionaries should become pioneers in this great pilgrimage to Calvary: even though it cost them their very bread and butter. There, in South America, servants of Christ have had to go and work in secular jobs rather than deny the Lord and His Word.
From this experience at the foot of the Cross, doubtless the Church which is TRULY "PHILADELPHIA" will rise. Not as a "new denomination", but rather as local Churches possessing the qualifications which make Christ say: "I HAVE LOVED THEE" (Rev. 3:9), and: "I ALSO WILL KEEP THEE FROM THE HOUR OF TEMPTATION, WHICH SHALL COME UPON ALL THE WORLD, TO TRY THEM THAT DWELL UPON THE EARTH" (Rev. 3:10).
"PHILADELPHIA" will be kept from the "Great Tribulation". This should awaken each local Church on the face of the earth that considers itself "fundamental", to examine itself. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God" (1 Pet. 4:17).
In the book of Revelation, which is a book of judgments, we first see the judgment of the Churches: Christ moving with impressive majesty judging the candlesticks and showing His dominion over the stars. This means that the Lord wants to prepare His people before coming for them. It is judgment in grace here on the earth, which should prepare us before we appear before the judgment-seat of Christ in heaven. He wants us to receive a full reward.
We ministers should teach this, and start by giving an example of submission to the Lord and His Holy Word. The Holy Spirit should have liberty to do the will of God in the Church. Scripture must be obeyed. Then the fruit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit will be fully manifested and the local Churches will function as the "body of Christ".
They will be independent, because they will be autonomous without the domination of small ambitious or "paternal" tyrants, nor of denominational or missionary organizations. They will depend and answer directly to their Only Head: CHRIST THE LORD!
They will be fundamental, because their faith, doctrine and practices will be based only on the Holy Scriptures!
They will be undenominational, because in the New Testament only Churches with one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one Spirit, one God and Father of all, one blessed hope and one love, exist!
(c) Each local Church that has this experience will go out in search of other sister-Churches, in brotherly love.
(1) They will be united in spiritual fellowship with those of like mind, heart and experience, so as to hold on high this banner. (Psalm 60:4).
(2) The "Philadelphia" Testimony, will be given in all parts of the world: “WHETHER THEY WILL HEAR OR WHETHER THEY WILL FORBEAR" (Ezek. 2:7).
(a) With its note of admonition and joy for the born-again: ALERT! MARANATHA! OUR LORD COMETH! "PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD"! (Amos 4:12).
(b) With its woe on all apostate churches and "lords of this world": ANTICHRIST AND THE "GREAT TRIBULATION" WILL SOON COME… WOE UNTO YOU!
BRETHREN: 31 years ago the Holy Spirit breathed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and revived lives and started a testimony. I praise God that since then He has cared for and prepared us, bringing us here to Cicero today, the birth-place of the Independent Fundamental Movement in this great nation.
RECEIVE THIS TESTIMONY! We have not brought it by human will or possibility, BUT BY GOD!, urged on by prayer and the "little strength" of "Philadelphia", through the "door which the Lord opened and none could shut" (Rev. 3:8).
We entreat every minister present here in this Convention, to judge us in the light of the Bible and with an open heart before the Lord. And then: (1) reprove us, or (2) realize that this Testimony is of the Holy Spirit and unite in heart with brethren in far off lands, whom the Holy Spirit has put on the march to take this message to our brethren in all the world. We pray the Lord that local Churches of the Independent Movement in the U.S.A., may hear this call and feel the same as this small nucleus of Evangelical Christian Churches in the far South.
From our hearts we thank your distinguished leaders for having given us the privilege of presenting this Testimony in your great 38th Annual Convention.