Friday, 24 July 2015

What is Faith? ~ Rabqa

St Augustine said: "Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe.

Heb 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Moffatt's translation of this verse reads: Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see.

The author of Hebrews supports his encouragement to steadfast faith by reviewing the triumphant experiences of Hebrew heroes. First He provides not a definition, but a description of of how faith works. Faith is established conviction concerning things unseen & settled exception of future reward.

The Greek word translated substance literally means "a standing under," & was used in the technical sense of "title deed." The root idea is that of standing under the claim to the property to support its validity. So faith is the title deed of things hoped for.

Faith gives substance to things hoped for, hope doesn’t have any substance, but faith gives substance to those things you are hoping for. In other words, what God is saying here is that faith is taking hold of the unseen realm of hope & bringing it into the realm of reality.
Faith grows out of the Word of God Rom 10:17 So faith then comes by hearing, & by hearing by the Word of God.

AS Ganeida said last time that the Greek word for faith is Pistis which means conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, & persuasion. in the New Testament setting pisitis is the divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust & reliance in God & all that He says. The word sometimes means the object or content of belief. (Acts 6:7; 14:22; Gal 1:23)
What God is telling us is that faith is laying hold of hope & bringing it into the realm of reality. Too many times when it comes to receiving the Holy Spirit, healing or an answer to prayer, many people are just simply hoping they will receive. Hope is NOT faith.

Hoping does not get the job done; it's believing. The Bible says "now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1. If it is not now it's not faith. Someone may say "Well I believe I'll get the Holy Spirit sometime”. That is not faith, that is hope, because hope is always future tense or pointing to the future. But faith is now. Faith says "I’ll receive right now; I believe I have my petition now when we pray

 Mk 11:24

Therefore I say unto you, whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them.

We need to realise this when it comes to receiving from God.. The same principal is true concerning receiving the Holy Spirit, healing, or an answer to prayer. The principles of faith are the same in any area, you want to receive from God.

Faith chooses to believe God's word above the evidence of the physical senses & is to be kept subject to the Word of God. In other words Faith is not denying the circumstances; rather it is believing God's testimony & living in agreement with it.

Unbelief is really taking sides against God's Word. The sad thing about it is, there are so many believers who are in doubt & unbelief, & who are taking sides against the Word of God.  These same believers then wonder why God's Word doesn't work for them.
God's Word cannot work for you if you take sides against it. If you want God's Word to work for you, you must side with it.
When you learn the principles of faith, then it is easy to receive whatever it is you are seeking or whatever you desire from God that is in line with His Word.

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth concerning anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven.

Let me put it this way if you come & ask me to pray in agreement with you say in the area of finances & that you need an extra $50 dollars to meet a bill, I pray the prayer of faith, then tell you that it is done, & you respond "well I hope so", then it's not done because you were hoping & I was believing. Let me give you an example: I like to think I am a girl of faith, I can pray for healing, expecting & believing I am healed or whoever I am praying for, & animals & have seen some miraculous results, even with my own cat Willum has been on deaths door, because of the prayer of faith he is as fit as a mallee bull. I mention pets because God gives them to us to love & look after, they become part of our family & I believe He wants them well. Now I have been praying for a husband for quite some time now with no answer, it was when I was preparing this message that God spoke to me & said "You have been praying in hope, for you keep confessing my husband is coming & not "Thank you Father I have him now". Again hope is always future tense, & faith is now.

This is why some of our prayers don't work for us. Certainly, it isn't God's fault that prayer doesn’t work. If our prayers don't work. it isn't God fault because God never fails. He is always the same & that means He is always faithful to His Word. (Heb 10:23; 13:8; Rom4:20,21)

It is imperative that we pray in line with God's Word, He does not change, He only works in line with His Word. So when we pray & don't get an answer we are at fault, it cannot be God's fault because He never changes, we must get back to praying in line with His Word. We cannot substitute hope for faith & expect to get answers from God.
Please don't misunderstand me, if you keep hope in the right place, it is a most blessed & wonderful reality to you. Paul said in 1 Cor 13:3
And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Paul didn't say that faith & hope aren't important; he just said that the greatest of these is love.  Each one has their place.
For example, you can't substitute love for hope, & you can't substitute hope for faith. Yet so many people are trying to receive from God whatever they need based on hope instead of faith.

I know this because sooner or later they say if you take my hope away from me I don't have anything left.

Now we can thank God that we do have a Blessed Hope. The Blessed Hope of the Church is the soon to return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the saved dead, the rapture of the living saints, the hope of heaven, & the hope of seeing our loved ones & friends.

We rejoice in that hope, but that's all future tense. Jesus is coming again, whether we believe it or not. He is coming because the Word says so. The resurrection is going to take place whether we have faith or not. The rapture is going to take place whether we believe it or not. & loved ones & friends who are Christians, who have died & left this world & have gone to heaven, are there regardless of what we believe about it.
My faith is not going to bring back Jesus. In other words, I can't believe that He will come back at a particular time & have my faith bring Him back. If that were true then the Church could believe & could bring Jesus back by their believing.

Jesus is coming, But you see that is all future tense because we don't know when that will happen, but we do know it will happen. We do know that it is Blessed Hope. We also know that it is purifying hope for 1 Jn 3:3 says
And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.

The Greek word for pure is hagnos comes from the same root word hagios meaning holy. The adjective describes a person or thing as clean, modest, pure, undefiled, faultless, & without blemish. Christ's ability to overcome temptation & remain pure makes Him a role model for all believers.
Looking for Jesus' return & waiting for that Blessed Hope is simply believing what the Word says.

If I say ""I'm going to get my healing sometime " that's not believing at all. It's hope, NOT faith & hope won't bring healing to me. If you say I believe God is going to heal me, sometime that isn't faith it's hope. Again anything that points to the future is hope. It is not faith because faith is now Heb 11:1 Now faith Is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith says "It is mine I have Now". Hope on the other hand says "I'll get it sometime. As long as you are in hope & not in faith whatever it is you are desiring will never materialise that is it will never come into being. But the moment you start believing & acting like God's Word is so, your faith will work for you.

If you have been in the healing line time & time again, then say "I just can't get healed, that is the very reason, you have confessed that you CAN'T get healed In Matt 25:34 ...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Because you said you can't what in fact you are saying is that you believe you can't get your answer, so as long as you say you can't & believe you can't, then you can't. But as soon as you start  believing you can receive from God, whatever you need, you will get your answer,
Kenneth Hagin tells how his hope was changed into faith, He had laid in bed for sixteen months before he was healed, he had been sick all his life, therefore never had a normal childhood. He never ran & played like other children & at fifteen years of age became totally bed ridden.
Five doctors, one of whom had practised at the Mayo Clinic had said that as far medical science knew or any record of, no one had lived past the age of sixteen with this disease. He became totally bed ridden just a few months before he was sixteen he remained bed ridden till he was almost seventeen years of age.

He went through everything, everyone does when they desperately want to be healed. He thanked God for all the good books on faith & healing, not that there were many in those days. He was just a denominational boy reading his Grandma's Bible.

When he was trying to get healed he cried & prayed & said, "Dear Lord, please heal me." He begged God to heal him, & prayed all night & for several nights.

Kenneth said "when you are bed ridden twenty four hours a day you can do a lot of praying."

He prayed many hours a day, day after day, & month after month, but not getting any results as far as obtaining his healing. Then he had a feeling that God had heard him & had healed him. He didn't feel it physically but felt that God had heard him in the spiritual sense.
But then he'd feel his heart & it was not beating as it should, & he would look at his lower limbs & they were paralysed, his legs were just skin & bone.
Then He cried & said "Lord I thought you were going to heal me. I just felt like you did, I just knew it, but you didn't”.

He couldn't understand it, for about a month or so he wouldn't look at the Bible, & decided he might as well give up on prayer as a bad job. Then he started slipping away to death’s door, he fought death with every fibre of his being. The he came back to the Word of God.

He wanted to live so badly, from the natural point of view he fought death & could not see where he was missing it spiritually. He tried to act on God's Word & would recover from the attacks but still didn't receive his healing.

On the second Tuesday in August 1934 (a bit of trivia that date was the 14th) after lying on a sickbed for sixteen months he said to the Lord, "Dear Lord Jesus, when you were on earth you said in Mk 11:24
Therefore I say unto you, whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them.
You said, "When you pray". I have prayed. You said "Believe" I have believed.

He continued "Dear Lord Jesus, if You stood here by my bed in the flesh & I could see You with my physical eyes, & I could reach out my physical hand & lay my hand on Yours, if You were to say to me, "Son the trouble with you is you're not believing," Kenneth said that his response would be that Jesus was lying because he did believe ( he said that he would have in kindness, not arrogance).

Then he suddenly saw it, like some had turned on a light bulb. He spoke again to the Lord & said "Dear Lord Jesus I see it, I see it, I have to believe I receive my healing before I get it. I have to believe for my heart whilst it is not beating right. I have to believe I have receive healing for my paralysis even from the natural point of view I am still paralysed, & if I believe I receive it, then I have it.

That was thing he hadn't done, he wanted his healing first & then believe it. Instantly he saw what he had been doing, he had been hoping all those months to receive healing & of course hope doesn’t work. He could never receive his healing through hope, only by faith, so he had to believe before it manifested.

He was lying there on his bed, it was only the lower part of his body he couldn't move, no one told him to raise his hands, he doesn’t know why but he did, he lifted his hands towards heaven & said "Heavenly Father, dear Lord Jesus, thank God I am healed! I believe I am healed."
When he said to the Lord that he believed & he received his healing he had faith working for him. He said "Thank you dear Lord Jesus, for my healing! I believe that my heart is well; I believe that my paralysis is healed! I thank you for the healing. He praised God in that vein for about ten minutes that his body & heart were healed.

The devil tried to steal the healing telling him he wasn't healed but Kenneth sent him on his way... satan tried to tell him that he had lied because he said that he was healed, Kenneth told the devil that he didn't lie because he didn't say he was healed only that he believed
He was healed. He went on praising God & thanking Him for the answer. Then He heard a voice on the inside of him that said "Now you believe that you are healed, healed people don't have any business being in bed at this time of day, they need to be up."

Kenneth said "Yes that's right Lord, Praise God I'm going to get up."
Now he was in faith, believing is taking a step of faith, & that requires the corresponding action, in Kenneth case he had been in bed for sixteen months he needed to get up out of bed in order to act in faith. He didn't look or feel any better, nor did he have any feeling from the waist down. If he had gone by feeling, he would have been saying that he wasn't healed, but he knew that he had been healed regardless of how he felt, so he pushed himself to a seated position, then with his hands he pushed his limbs & feet off the bed & twisted his body around so that he was sitting on the edge of the bed. His feet fell to the floor like like chunks of wood.

The devil tried yet again tell him that he would fall & that he would have to lie on the floor for hours before someone would be home to put him back in bed. in Eph 4:27 says neither give place to the devil so he ignored him as if he satan hadn't spoken.

He grabbed hold of the bed post, but his knees wouldn't function, with his arms hugging the bedpost he hung there sagging at the knees. Praising God he lifted one hand a bit I am healed he declared in the presence of Almighty God & the Lord Jesus Christ & the angels in heaven, & to the presence of the devil & evil spirits he said the Word of God is true. I believe I am healed.

Because he had been lying flat on his back for sixteen months, he felt that the room was spinning, he closed his eyes & eventually everything seemed normal again, So he opened his eyes & began praising God & thanking Him "according to the Word I am healed, I believe that’. Then he felt something, feeling was actually returning to him. It seemed to start at the top of his head, & went down over him, Like oil or something warm. When it got to his waist, the feeling continued right down to his toes. every nerve in his limbs was reactivated, & it felt like two million pins were sticking in him.

Then he felt normal, his paralysis was gone, so he said "I am going to walk now." He did & had been walking right up to the time he went home to be with the Lord In 2003 at the age of eighty six.

We sing the song "Every step by faith", Some churches march round the room singing "Every step by faith," This is not a fun thing to do but a reminder that faith is an action, we are not merely to sit back & let God do all the work we must do our part in Kenneth's case he had to get up out of bed.

That's what faith is, you must act on it, God will do his part but you have a part to play as well, whatever God tells you to do, do it, it's no different then when Jesus told the man at the pool of Bethesda "Take up your bed & walk (Jn 5:8).
We need to realise that faith is of the heart, not the head. John Wesley called it mental assent, he said that people mentally agree that the Bible or the Word is true, but they don't believe it in their heart.

If you are only mentally agreeing, you will say you believe that the Bible is true, but you don't believe it is true for you, & you conclude in saying something like "I believe the Bible is true, but I don't have my answer, & don't understand why." But faith says "It's mine, I have it now." Faith believes the Word & acts on it.

A good analogy between head faith & heart faith, is the example Thomas' faith versus Abraham's faith. Jn 20:25-29.
So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe. After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

Rom 4:17-21
(as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in thepresence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.” Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.
You can see the difference between Abraham's faith & Thomas' faith. Thomas said I won't believe until I can see the print of the nails in His hand & the wound in His side, Jesus said to Him in V 25 "Because you have seen me you believe, blessed are they THAT HAVE NOT SEEN & yet have BELIEVED."

Now look at Abraham who Calls those things which are not as though they were.(V17)

So we see that true Bible faith is of course Abraham's faith Because Heb 11:1 say
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen

Abraham is mentioned in this chapter as having faith that pleased God (8-12) Abraham's faith was based on Rom 4:17...being fully persuaded that, what He (God) had promised, he was able to perform. Abraham believed God & he believed His promise.

Acknowledgement Kenneth E Hagin.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Following Jesus ~ Ganeida

What I want to talk to you about today is something that
I think we in the West find very difficult, very off~putting, even offensive.  That is partly because we think of it in negative terms yet Jesus Himself said it ~ & He was pretty blunt about it.  Partly we find it difficult because we have muddly ideas about what it means to love someone, what it means to love God, & what it means to love our family. It is only when we allow the Word of God to wash our spirits & renew our minds that we can honestly come to grips, not with what Jesus is saying, but with what He actually means.  We need to be Bereans: students of the Word & that means we need to be wise.

Proverbs 9:10 tells us

 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
    Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

Proverbs is full of pithy little comments like this one but it says something about God that we have excluded from our Western church thinking: the fear of the Lord & what it really means to follow Jesus.  We talk about His love, His grace, His mercy but we don’t talk about fearing Him.  We talk about entering His throne room boldly, our authority in Christ, our salvation & redemption; we spend time in *praise & worship*, but not in fear.

Now we have been taught that fear in this context does not denote terror.  This is not strictly correct. The word in Hebrew is Yare. It is usually translated as fear, to be afraid or worship ~ depending on context. However it is the same word used in Jonah where the sailors’ terror [yare] is turned into worship [yare]. It is the 2 sides of a single coin.

You see this same duality in the Greek in Matthew 10:28 where Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Both times the Greek word phobeomai is used.  It carries the meaning of both terror & awe.

It is important we get this right because Hebrews 10:29 says Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God's mercy to us.

You see there is such a thing as the Holiness of God, that is He is separate & apart from the common things of man & we are not to bring Him down to our level & thus make Him *common*. For this not to happen we must start with a right view of who God is & Proverbs tells us that it begins with our fearing Him. We should tremble in terror at the one who has the power to caste into hell but it is bigger even than that.
Consider Isaiah 40:12
Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?

Job 38:4~6

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it?… "On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?…
Have you stood under the stars at night & considered that God knows them each by name?

Or Proverbs 30:4

Who has gathered the wind in His fists

Think of a cyclone bearing down on the coast, a typhoon, or hurricane, force five, winds of 252ks an hour, yet all God has to do is close His fists & all that fury is contained.

When we consider our God like this ~ & we are meant to ~ we won’t come barging into His presence in an irreverent way. Deuteronomy

10:12-13 King James Version (KJV)
12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
13 To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

The first thing God requires of us is our reverence, our fear. It is part of what it means to love the Lord your God.  Does that surprise you?  This is why Jesus tells us to count the cost.  There is a progression.  A person who fears the Lord will do their best to walk in His ways ~ in the Hebrew it means to trample as you would trample down the grapes in a wine press.  Only then does love come into it.

God is a God of order & He will always put things in order before His presence manifests.  Think how Solomon was instructed to build the temple.  God was very exact, very specific.  Only when everything was ready according to God’s instructions did His presence manifest.  Obedience to God’s word, His instructions, & how careful we are about obeying them is proof of our love ~ not out of obligation or duty, which are dead & have no life in them, but out of ahab, liking. Out of hesed, steadfast love.   You will see in hesed that God’s love is obedient to His faithfulness, His steadfastness.  He requires nothing of us that He does not first require of Himself.  We are made in His image to reflect His nature.

It comes to full fruition in Jesus Christ.  See there was no salvation until all the terms had been fulfilled exactly.  Christ’s love was exhibited in obedience even unto death.  The Father’s lovingkindness, His faithfulness, remained unto death & beyond.

As we begin to grasp the magnitude of who God is & what He has done for us something radically alters within us.

We were given a most amazing gift when we were saved.  The Father & the Son gifted us with the living, ever abiding presence of their Spirit & nothing delights the Spirit’s heart so much as to see God’s children walk in Truth.  He desires so much to reveal Jesus more & more to us & we can hinder His work so much by not reverencing Christ as we should.
Now part of the problem in dealing with a subject like this is that is can come across as hard, legalistic, & maybe even *unloving* so I want to return to definitions & deal with the word love as it is used in the bible. 
We are very familiar with the Greek word agape, which we have redefined to mean love as God loves, which is fascinating because that is not what it originally meant.  I suspect the New Testament writers chose it because it was a bland, neutral word, lacking nuance & so they could usefully use it to replace the Hebrew idea of Hesed.  Hesed has no equivalent in English & so translators have used a variety of different words to convey different aspects of the meaning of Hesed. The closest Greek equivalent is *grace* ~ charis.
Now bear with me because we have to look at several different things to arrive at an understanding of hesed.

The first thing we need to grasp is that hesed is a covenant term, thus a legal term.  It encompasses many different aspects of God’s character in the same way that the Hebrew word shalom means a great deal more than simply peace & it also implies a mutual relationship because a covenant, by its very nature, requires 2 parties.

Thus its first & primary meaning is of God’s faithful steadfastness, often in juxtaposition to Israel’s spiritual adultery. It includes, but is not limited to:
mercy, goodness, great kindness, favour, reliability, steadiness.  As a covenant word it implies the unbreakability of the covenant bond.  It is a word that transcends the demands of God’s law, of obligation & duty.

Though the mountains be shaken & the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love [hesed] for you will not be shaken. Isaiah 54:10

Or think about all the goodness [hesed] of God passing before Moses. Thus it is the fullness of God towards those He has made in His image, primarily towards His covenant people.

This fits neatly with the New Testament Greek use of Charis:

Quote: “Against a still common view it must be stated that in Paul χαρις does not mean primarily a divine attribute (Wobbe, Charis-Gedanke, 32). It does not mean, in good Greek fashion, God’s graciousness, nor concretely his free love (Taylor). It almost always means the power of salvation which finds expression in specific gifts, acts, and spheres and which is even individualized in the charismata.” —Ernst Käsemann,Commentary on Romans, trans. G. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), p. 14

In the Greek Charis [grace] is closely linked to Chara [joy], which Tyndale & others render as awareness of God’s grace & favour.

Now we need to understand our God is still a covenant God. Hebrews 8:6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.

God’s plan was always to dwell with man & Paul is very clear about this in Hebrews 10:16 where he quotes Jeremiah 31:31: "This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds."

I do not want to sidetrack too much but I will quickly point out there are three sorts of Law covered biblically: civil law, ceremonial law & moral law. The ceremonial law has been done away with, the civil law does not apply outside Israel, the moral law remains eternal. The moral law deals with just 2 things: our relationship with God & our relationship with each other.

The wonderful part of all this is Philippians 2:13
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Now, I have not  forgotten what we are really talking about: the fear of the Lord & how that works out in walking with Him! I have laid a foundation because God is a God of order & this is true of our Christian walk. There is an order that leads unto salvation but once saved there is also an order to the way things are to be done.  God’s Holy Spirit is there to help us get things in order so that God can move mightily through us.

The first Christians were often called followers of the Way & that tells us something immediately.  There is a correct way, a right path, & we are to walk in it. 
God’s love towards us does not change.  He views us in Christ as sanctified, redeemed, sinless.  His purposes towards us are abundance, mercy, kindness but how much of Himself He can share with us is in direct proportion to how closely we choose to walk with Him.  Sadly many of us choose less than all we could have.  We are content with a little; content with compromise; content with something rather than following the Holy Spirit’s lead into the fullness of life in Christ.  We hold onto things we should let go of.  We put things & people above Christ.  Often we don’t even mean to, don’t realise we’ve done it ~ but we do & settle for a life that in no real way reflects the life of Christ.

In conclusion I want to share 2 stories.  The first is mine & is the reason I know that fear & reverence are 2 sides of the same coin, why I know the priests couldn’t stand in the presence of the Lord.
At one point in my life the Lord chose to share a part of His heart with me that was very hard to bear.  The issue is not important & it was not about me but it was something that grieved the Holy Spirit.  I learnt something about God’s capacity for love & grief over His chosen people that I have never forgotten & that the only thing that keeps any of us from living in abject terror of the King of the Universe is our relationship with Him, & more importantly, His relationship with us.  It turns our fear into awe but we should never take that favour for granted.

The 2nd story is a Smith Wigglesworth story.  If you don’t know, Smith was a blue collar worker, a plumber, with almost no education yet he raised the dead to life on at least 17 recorded occasions through the power of the Holy Spirit. Smith was not special.  Really, he wasn’t.  He was a very, very ordinary man but he was serious about putting God first in his life, serious about revering the Lord, serious about his obedience.  He got a bit of a reputation as a miracle worker & eventually a certain young man came to visit him wanting to know his secret to such a successful walk with the Lord.

Smith agreed to tutor him.  To the young man’s horror & abject mortification he was to meet Smith at his house at 5am every morning when the day began with prayer & bible study ~ for 3 hours!!! They then broke for breakfast.  Breakfast was followed by bible study until lunch.  After lunch they had a walk then more prayer & bible study until tea time.  This was the pattern of Smith’s life.  It was also the pattern of Jesus life.  We read in scripture of Jesus that a long while before dawn he rose & went off alone to pray.  When there was a need to be met they had power ready & available because they we so closely attuned to the heart of the one whose power they called upon.
This is what it means to pick up our cross, to crucify our flesh.  The more we do those 2 things the more we will come to know the heart of the Father, the more we will stand in awe of His wonder & majesty, & the more able we are to do even the *greater works* ~ not because we are wonderful in & of ourselves but because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.

None of this is easy.  It is radical. It puts us out there in the *fanatical* category.  Even other Christians become uncomfortable because we are not used to living our lives this way.  Jesus is right.  There is a cost.  We need to count it because it would be better for us to never have begun, than having begun to turn back.  It may cost us everything. I think of the mother in China with its *One Child* policy who was arrested for her faith.  Her child was removed & placed in state custody to be raised as a good communist.  She has never seen her again. All because Christ was more to her than even her own flesh & blood. Is He more to us than anything else?

We need to understand that we are not singing pretty words when we sing:

I have decided to follow Jesus,
no turning back, no turning back…

I want to encourage each & every one of us to examine ourselves in the Light of the Holy Spirit & see if there is anything in our lives that needs to go.  And really, is it so very much that God asks of us?  After all, he gave up everything for us.

How to Turn Your Faith Loose Part 1 ~ Rabqa

Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness & with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Oral confession declares, confirms & seals the belief in the heart.
Mk 11:23 For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, be removed & be cast into the sea, & does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

A mountain is a symbolic obstacle a hindrance or an insurmountable problem. Faith is the key that releases the resources of heaven into our situation.

We have been looking at right & wrong thinking, right & wrong believing & right & wrong confession. If our confession is wrong, it is because our believing is wrong, if our believing is wrong it is because our thinking is wrong, if our thinking is wrong it is because our mind has not yet been renewed by the word of God.

God's ways & thoughts are not like ours as we see in:
Isa55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, & my thoughts than your thoughts.

Let God & His Holy Spirit radically transform your way of thinking. Renew your mind to know & to do the will of God.

Mk11:22-24...Have faith in God for assuredly, I say to you whoever says to this mountain, be removed & be cast into the sea, & does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says, Therefore I say to you whatever things you ask for when you pray, believe that you receive them & you will have
The A M P puts it this verse: 24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe, trust & be confident that it is granted to you, & you will get it.

This verse is saying if you trust & are confident that whatever you ask for is granted, then you are to saying "It's mine, I have it now". That is your faith speaking.

In verse 22 Jesus tell us to have faith in God, in verse 23 He spoke about releasing faith by speaking to your mountains & in verse 24 He spoke of the importance of praying believing what you say.

The greatest thing that will ever happen to you will occur when you move out into the faith realm of believing & saying, BUT the intellect & the physical senses will fight you every step of the way to keep you from moving into this

realm. That's because the physical or the natural mind, isn't renewed by the Word, & wants to hold you in the natural realm.

Let us have a look at wrong thinking, wrong believing, & wrong confessing, then we will bring confession back to the positive side.
Wrong confession is of course a confession of defeat, failure & of of the supremacy of satan, that is to talk of how the devil is hindering you, how he is keeping you from success, how he is keeping you sick, etc, this is a confession of defeat that glorifies the devil, Confessions that glorify him are wrong confessions.

Please remember our confession is to proclaim the truth, something that we give in Church that we have excepted wholeheartedly, declaring something we know to be true & saying something we believe. Testimonies that we give in Church are confessions, but sadly
many glorify the devil rather than God.

When you speak of what God has done for you or is doing for you, you are glorifying Him, By the same token when you say what the devil has done or what he is doing for you, you are glorifying him. Many times people miss it by making the wrong confession. They loose the blessing, they are defeated & their life is not good.

So a wrong confession glorifies the devil & THAT is NOT our business to glorify him, A wrong confession is an unconscious declaration that your Father, your heavenly Father is a failure.

Testimonies, or confessions that glorify the devil simply sap the very life out of you, it destroys your faith BUT the confession that you speak out that has grown out of faith in your heart will absolutely defeat the devil.
Now the confession of satan's ability to to keep you from success, or hinder you gives him dominion over you. So you see with your mouth you are either going to give God dominion over you or you are going to give satan dominion over you. THE CHOICE is yours.

Let me put it this way to be saved you had to confess the Lordship of Jesus. Rom 10:9 says if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, which means you are to confess Him as your Lord, you are to confess Jesus Lord of your life. Then, & only then He begins to have dominion over you as you give Him place in your life.

Don't confess fear, you might say "what if I am really afraid?" Well you're not because the Bible tells us very plainly in 2 Tim 1:7 God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power love & a sound mind. I really like the way the AMP puts it: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity of cowardice of craven & cringing & fawning fear but, He has given us a spirit of power & of love & of calm & of well balanced mind & discipline & self control.

Instead of being afraid we need to confess Father I declare that you have not given me a spirit of fear, you have given me a spirit of power & of love & a calm, well balanced mind & self control.

If you are a Christian fear isn't something that is coming from the inside of you. It is something that is coming from the outside of you, trying to get hold of you. It's from the enemy.

In Jam 4:7 it says that if you submit to God & resist the devil he will flee from you.

Renounce rebellion! Submit yourself to God. renounce the devil & reject all his suggestions.

True faith is humble. And humility is the opposite of the proud & selfish & self-centred ambition that characterises this present evil age. self- centredness is the essence of the worldliness. Therefore to be a self-centred person is to be at enmity with God.

Don't confess doubt. The same thing is true about doubt that is true about fear. DON'T CONFESS YOUR DOUBTS. DON'T CONFESS YOUR FEARS. I did not say you weren't doubting or that you didn't have any fears. If you have them don't say anything about them.

Confess God's Word instead, in fact you haven't got any business with doubt then you do with dope. It's of the devil, doubt is just as evil as dope or cursing & if it's evil we haven't got any business with it
Num13:32 & they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out saying "The land through which we have gone as spies is a land That devours its inhabitants, & all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.

The bad report was a faithless one that defamed God's abilities.
This is a prime example of how you see yourself, how you see the obstacles in your way. If you feel you are nothing it will be hard to accomplish much in life. You will probably shrink back in fear from every challenge. Just like the ten men that were sent to spy the land. They saw saw that it was good with abundant fruit BUT there was a problem there were giants in the land. They looked at the giants, then at themselves & fainted in their minds. You see they saw themselves as small, it was what they were in their own sight that defeated them. The same is true about us as believers it is what we see in our own sight that makes the difference, if we see ourselves as weak & powerless satan will run all over us,
But when we see ourselves as God does, as conquers then the devil will stay clear.

Twelve men were sent out to see if they could conquer the land as we see in verse 33, only Joshua & Caleb believed that God is greater than any obstacle. Make a decision today that you will not stand with those who see only their limitations when facing giants. Decide to stand with those who see God & believe the giants can be slain. Believe that He take care of the giants & bring you to a place of abundant blessing.
Don't confess your sickness, confess your healing.

What does God say about the subject of healing? in Isa 53:5 By His stripes we are healed It also says the same in 1 Pet 2:24.
Isa 53:4 He has born our sickness & carried our diseases & In Matt 8:17 He Himself took our infirmities & bore our sicknesses

Many times instead of confessing that Jesus has borne our diseases & put them away, People continually confess that they still have them. You see the reason why we miss it so much it so much of the time, is that we take the testimony of the physical sense, instead of the testimony of the Word of God. But when we start confessing that Jesus has done something about our sicknesses & disease-- that is that He has taken them away, then, & only then healing & health will become a reality in our lives.

If you confess fear, doubt & defeat they will become part of you. All you need to do is confess the Word over your situation.
Understand that your will & your believing have a lot to do with your receiving healing, or whatever it is that you need from God. If you don't want to believe the Word Or you don't want to be healed, Then God wont push healing on to you. You have a part to play in receiving from God, He won't override your will in the matter.

It is just the same with your doctor he can't help you without your cooperation E. G he may write out a prescription but if you fail to get it filled therefor not taking the medicine, then you wont get well.
If you are going to receive permanent help, then you are going to have to act in faith, you must practice God's Word for it to work for you.
As long as you hold on to the confession of weakness, sickness, & pain, you will still have weakness, sickness, & pain. Some people of God may pray the prayer of faith for you, BUT it will not work because of doubt & unbelief, it will destroy the effects of his/her faith. Baby Christians on the other hand can be carried along for a while by the faith of others. BUT
the time will come when they have to exercise & develop their own faith.

That's exactly why people receive their healing & then loose it. They have been in a service where there was a mass or corporate faith & they received their healing. BUT when they got on their own satan took advantage of their doubt & unbelief & put the ailment back on them, just because they did nor know how to stand against him with their own faith.
Don't confess your sins & weaknesses confess God's forgiveness, you are otherwise just building up weakness, failure & sin into your consciousness. If we sin, when we confess our sins God is faithful & just to forgive us & to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1Jn1:9) Once we confess we don't have to refer to it again, it is NOT past history because past history can be remembered.

After we have confessed it is though it had never been because God said in Isa 43:25 I
even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; & I will NOT remember your sins.

Don't talk yourself out of faith by bringing up every sin that you have already confessed, instead pray His Word Thank you God for blotting out & concealing my transgressions & forgetting my sins completely.
In conclusion: These are the ways you learn to turn your faith loose: By believing right, by thinking right, & by making the right confession. ALWAYS confess in line with Gods Word regardless of contradictory circumstances, & watch God's work for you as you learn to turn your faith loose.

Scriptures have been used more then once because that is how you turn your faith lose,

all Scriptures are from N K J V.
Acknowledgements Kenneth E Hagin.

How to turn your faith loose. Part 2

Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, & with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Notice this verse says with the mouth confession is made unto salvation In Mk 11:23 Jesus said something similar ...whosoever says to this mountain be removed & cast into the sea & does not doubt in his heart, but believe that those things he says will be done.

You can tell if a person truly believes by what he says. If his confession is wrong his believing is wrong, his thinking is wrong, it is because his mind has not been renewed by the Word of God.

Thinking, believing & confession go together. God has given us His Word to get our thinking straightened out. We can think in line with God's Word; we can believe in line with God's Word & we can speak in line with God's Word.

Some folk actually think they can get help from God apart from His Word, I haver never been able to work that out. I'm speaking here of full gospel believing people who think they can get answers from God apart from His Word, GOD ONLY MOVES IN LINE WITH HIS WORD. Ps 138 :2... For You have magnified Your Word above all Your name. I ask myself how can believer get help from God when they are actually taking sides against His Word?

You may be taking sides unconsciously, or through ignorance, BUT no matter what the reason if you are taking sides against the Word, you can't get God to work for you, He only works in line with His Word.
I have just said that thinking believing & confessing in line with God's Word all go together. When the word confession is used, we instinctively thing of confession of sin & failure, BUT that is negative side of
confession. That is important in it's place but as I said in my last message there is also a positive side of confession & the Bible has more to say about that than it does about the negative side. I also said last time Confession is stating something we believe. It is declaring something we know to be true, & it is proclaiming a truth we have accepted wholeheartedly. Our confession should centre around several basic, scriptural truths. I'll go through them again:

(1)What God has done for us through Christ in His plan of salvation.

(2) What God has done in us by the Word & the Holy Spirit in the new birth & the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

(3) Who we are to God the Father in Christ Jesus .

(4) What Jesus is presently doing for us at the right of the Father, where He lives to make intercession for us.

(5) What God can accomplish through us or what His Word will accomplish as we proclaim

The way God works through us & in our lives is by His Word through our mouth in Matt 28:19 Jesus commanded us to teach His Word...that is the way God works in us—through His Word. We are carriers of the Word & If we DON'T carry the Word & give out the Word then we ARE NOT obeying Jesus. So ask God to show you where He wants you to go...Maybe to a friend Or someone in your office, or someone in your neighbourhood, or perhaps someone in your own family so you can help others follow Him too.

Mk 16:20 says that the apostles went everywhere preaching the Word & God confirmed the word with signs & wonders.

I used to believe those signs & wonders to be miraculous healings, but when I finally got it, I can be a bit slow sometimes, not to believe only for healings to confirm the Word preached, but also to believe for & expect miraculous breakthroughs & abundant fruit in all areas.

Whatever we do to serve the Lord whether it is at home taking care of our family, as an employee, or volunteer, whatever you do, do it for the Lord & believe God for miraculous breakthroughs to follow the things you do as you serve Him. Jesus heals us everywhere we hurt! When we are about His business, we can expect signs & wonders to follow us.
Confession is about witnessing to what you know, you can't witness about what you do not know. It is what you personally know about the Lord Jesus Christ & what you are to Him that counts.

Of course you have to be born again before you can know Jesus. BUT just because you've been born again does not mean you are a successful Christian. You must know WHAT YOU HAVE in CHRIST & WHO YOU ARE in Him, when you know who you are in Him & think
in line with His Word & believe & confess that, then there is no failure for you.

I am going to give you some Scriptures that do not have the words "in Him" "in Whom" or "in Christ" in them, yet they do infer something about our rights & privileges in Christ,

Col1:13 He has delivered us from the powers of darkness & conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

The word He in this verse refers to God. In Christ we have been delivered from the power or authority of darkness.

1Jn4:4 You are of God little children & have overcome them because He who is in you is greater then he who is in the world.

Isa 41:10 Fear not for I Am with you; be not dismayed for I Am your God. I will strengthen you. yes I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteousness hand.

In The New Testament God says something else that agrees with the Scripture I have just read.

Rom8:31 What then shall I say to these things? If God is for us who can be against us?

These Scriptures are a personal message for you, yes that's right for each & every one of you, in Isa 41:10 God said fear not for I am with you, because we as Christians are under the New Covenant, we can say Thank God, He is in us. To me that is the best reason in the world not to be afraid, because God is with us. He also said He would strengthen us & uphold us.

Our confession should be God is with me, greater is He who is in me then he who is in the world. You may be facing something that seems impossible, Don't talk about the impossibility, look to Him who is inside of you, & say "God is in me now" you will find that your confession of faith will cause God to work on your behalf. He will rise up in you & give you success.

The Master of creation is in you. You can face life fearlessly because you that that greater is He that is in you is greater then he who his in the world. This should be your continual confession, so hold on to it.
There is no faith without confession. There is no such thing as as faith without confession! Confession is faith's way of expressing itself. Faith, like love is of the heart or the spirit.& you know just as well as I do that there is no love without word or action. Ganeida said last time "that faith is not a namby pamby word, it is active, not just belief but also action,
There is a reason why faith is weak & held in bondage is because some people have never dared to confess you who God says they are.
Remember faith never grows beyond your confession of who the Father is to you, of what Jesus is doing for you now at the right hand of the Father, & what His mighty Holy Spirit is doing in you will build a solid positive faith life. You will not be afraid of any circumstances. You will not be afraid of any disease. you will afraid of any condition. You will face life fearlessly, a conqueror.

When you read God's Word about who God says you are & who you are in Christ & what you have been through it doesn't seem real to you, instead of taking sides against the Word & saying NO, that's not for me, & making God out to a liar, start confessing, "It is so" "yes that's mine", whatever God says in His Word is mine you'll find that faith's confession does create reality.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Bringing Our Faith to the Communion Table

Words matter.  Words bring the Gospel to those who have not heard it.  Words produce faith in the hearer.  Words confess Jesus as Lord & Saviour.  Words can bring life or death.  We are accountable for our words.
Over the last month we have been looking at the word Faith. We looked at the original word in the Greek: PISTAS.  It means to have a firm conviction. We have learnt that without Faith it is impossible to please God; that faith comes by hearing & hearing by the word of God; that God’s children are to walk by faith & that without faith it is impossible to please God.

Now we know that there are different kinds of faith: weak faith, little faith, strong faith, great faith, faith as small as a mustard seed…saving faith.  We have talked about the different sorts of confession: the negative sort when we confess our sin & the positive sort when we proclaim our belief in God, who He is & what He has done for us.

I am reminding you of these things because faith is what you should bring to Communion. Again we have talked about what communion really is: how it is first & foremost a communion of the Holy Spirit because it is He who brings us into communion with Christ & Christ brings us to the Father, clean, redeemed, justified, sanctified. The old word, the catholic word is Eucharist.  Now that mightn’t mean much to us today but I want to remind you of the liturgical words used by many churches for communion.  They come from 1 Corinthians 11:
and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me
We think of *thanks* in terms of our grace ~ & that is fine ~ but the word used is eucharisteō, from which we get the term Eucharist. The Eucharist is a giving of thanks, a proclaiming of what the Lord has done for us according to verse 26: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.

In this sense Communion is a way or reaffirming our salvation according to Romans 10:9:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
So what exactly are we giving thanks for?
I think this is a hugely important question because if we look back over some of the things we have talked about as regards communion we begin to get a revelation of what God intended.

We know that the first Communion meal was part of Christ’s last Passover.  Here the matzoh bread was broken & it is a bread that is stripped & pitted just as Jesus body was stripped & pitted that by His stripes we might be healed.  Thank you, Lord.  We know that His blood was shed for us: 4 cups, 3 times the wine was drunk while the 4th, the cup of the kingdom, has been reserved for the wedding feast in heaven. Thank you, Jesus. It is at Passover the Hallel is sung ~ the great psalms of praise & worship, Psalms that Jesus sang as part of this final celebration with His disciples & which finishes with The Great Hallel, the wonderful psalm 136 whose refrain reiterates “His Love endures forever…”
Just stop & think for a moment.  This was probably the final hymn Jesus sang as recorded in Mark 14 & Matthew 26 & when they had sung it they made their way through the city streets to the Mount of Olives.  It was dark.  It was the Passover.  The streets would have been empty because the Special Sabbath for the Passover had begun.  House after house would have been lit with the lights of the menorah.  Perhaps people would have done what some Jews do today & placed their lit menorah in their window as a testimony & a witness. As they walked the only sounds would have been their sandals hitting the cobbled stones & the voices drifting out from the cosy rooms praising God & declaring, His Love Endures Forever. Words of Faith.

We can be very glib & quite often we don’t stop to think what we mean when we open our mouths; the old open mouth before engaging brain problem.

We say Jesus came to redeem.  So He did.  What did He come to redeem?  You would probably answer, people ~ & you would be right, but he came to do, oh so much more than that!
Turn to Romans 8:19~22: For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

We know, of course we do, that when Adam & Eve sinned in the garden they brought the whole of creation down with them, subjecting the world to death & decay. We might even give lip service to the new heaven & the new earth.  What we may not realise is how that is even possible.
We have talked before about the meaning of *shomar* ~ a legal custodian of another’s property.  Adam was the earth’s shomar.  When he defaulted on his responsibility the whole of creation became subject to futility.  This is a legal position. Satan was able to usurp Adam’s position as shomar & he is always a liar, a destroyer, a murderer. Thus what he ruled became subject to lies, death, destruction.
Now if Jesus legally retook the earth as it’s shomar ~ & that is what His death & resurrection is all about ~ who rules creation?  Is it satan or is it Jesus? 
I am going to run some parallels past you.
Adam & Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit which hung on a tree in the garden of Eden. Five times  (Acts 5:30, 10:39, 13:29, Galatians 3:13 and 1 Peter 2:24) Scripture refers to the cross as a tree. The 2 most common words used are   stauros (stake) [a noun] and the   verb stauroo (crucify).
Before they sinned Adam & Eve were clothed with God’s glory.  Afterwards they were ashamed of their nakedness.  Jesus was stripped naked to be crucified that His righteousness might become ours.
Now watch.  God cursed the land with thistles & thorns. What was placed on Jesus’ head?  A crown of thorns!  He is Lord.  He is King.  His rulership extends even to the redemption of the land.  He wore the thorns that the land might be freed of the curse.
Sin separated mankind from God.  It put a spiritual veil between them.  2 Corinthians 4:3~4 says And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
A veil was torn in the synagogue on the day Jesus died.
Adam committed high treason.  He sold his birthright for a lie. Jesus was obedient even unto death to the one who sent Him.  Legally he has restored all that was lost.  Not just some of it.  All of it.  This matters when we come to communion.

See, I don’t see a restored world delivered from destruction & decay when I look at the world.  However, I have a *firm conviction* that legally the land has been retaken & if it has been retaken it is restored.  I may not be able to see it yet but it is so because Jesus died to ensure it was so!

What is it that satan has destroyed, killed, maimed, lied about in your life?  Whatever it is you can bring it to the cross & give it to Jesus because He died that we might have life & have it abundantly. John 10:10   He has a legal right to give that life to everyone who believes on His name. What’s more, verse 9 says
"I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”. It is a very wonderful thing Jesus is saying.  Where are we?  We are in psalm 23 & what does it say?
 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

This is the table He has prepared for us. There are enemies all around us but He is our shomar, our shepherd.  We have a firm conviction that this is so & because of it we can walk in blessing & abundance, in utmost assurance that the Lord promises good to us all the days of our lives. So bring your faith with you to communion & eat & drink to the glory of God.

Acknowledgements: Mike Beecham

~ Understanding The Mystery of the Cross.