Thursday, January 31, 2013

DOCTRINE vs BELIEF


WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

AND, HOW STONGLY DO YOU BELIEVE IT?

I sincerely invite you to “think” and not just read what I have written in this blog.  Do not just read through it, but please think through it.  Let your mind pause and consider the meaning of the words I have used.  Meditate and ponder.  Consider and compare what I have written with what you have been taught and what you believe. 

What is the difference between “doctrine” and “belief?”

Do we have doctrines which we do not really believe?

We know our doctrine, but do we know what we believe?

Agreement is not the same as “faith.”

Many people agree that there is a God, but few have faith to trust and obey God.

The word “faith” is used to refer to doctrine and also to belief.

When someone asks, “What is your faith?” they are asking about your doctrine.  When they ask, “Do you have faith?” they are asking about your trust and confidence to believe.

Christians need to be able wordsmiths.  They need to know what they believe and be able to express their faith in accurate terms.  We need to be teachers who are able to give an answer for what we believe.

2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 

The word “study” is an exhortation to diligently endeavor to understand the meaning of a subject.   Christians should seriously apply themselves to understand the doctrines of Christ.  The doctrine of Christ is the gospel of Jesus Christ which teaches men about the way of salvation and righteousness and eternal life. 

Jesus said that we can know someone by their fruit.  So what is fruit?  Is fruit made evident by a person’s doctrine or a person’s belief?  Can a person hold to a certain doctrine without truly believing, trusting and holding confidence in that doctrine?

Webster definition of “doctrine.”

TEACHING, INSTRUCTION, 2 a : something that is taught b : a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : DOGMA c : a principle of law established through past decisions.

Webster definition of “belief.”

1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2 : something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
synonyms BELIEF, FAITH, CREDENCE, CREDIT mean assent to the truth of something offered for acceptance. BELIEF may or may not imply certitude in the believer belief
that I had caught all the errors>. FAITH almost always implies certitude even where there is no evidence or proof faith in God>. CREDENCE suggests intellectual assent without implying anything about grounds for assent credence by scientists>. CREDIT may imply assent on grounds other than direct proof credit to the statement of a reputable witness>. synonyms see in addition OPINION
 
I believe that holiness and healing are so intricately related in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as to be inseparable.  Satan has worked hard to distort these two doctrines.  Satan has caused the minds of the people to be confused on these two doctrines. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God has made it very clear that if a person would keep His commandments, He would bless that person with healing.  Holiness without the evidence of divine healing is a doctrine without a testimony of faith.  It is like saying, “I have done my part by obedience, but God has not kept His promise of healing.” 

Satan has always had his magicians, wizards and false prophets.  God has allowed Satan to have this great power so that he might sorely test your faith in God.  Will you believe Satan’s lies or God’s promises?  Do you teach a doctrine you do not believe?  At what point will God charge us of being hypocritical, if we teach a doctrine we do not believe?

Webster’s definition of hypocrisy:

1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Let’s read a passage of scripture and see if we still believe what is written in God’s word.

Do you still believe what is written in God’s word?  Have some of His promises ceased?

If God’s word clearly teaches a certain thing to be true will you believe it and stand on it?

Isaiah 53: 1-12

1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Some people believe our report, but are not willing to live by it.  They do not have the faith to trust God to do what He has promised to do for His people.  They say they believe but they do not trust and obey.  They intellectually accept the doctrine, but do not consecrate themselves to live by the precepts of those doctrines. 

2 For he [Jesus Christ] shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He [Jesus Christ] s despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he [Jesus Christ]  hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he [Jesus Christ] was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he [Jesus Christ] was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

When the prophet Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah and Savior of all men, he clearly stated that he would come with healing for both the body and the soul.  This two-fold blessing has always been the will of God from the very beginning of time.  It is still His will today, if you can believe it.  The words of Jesus Christ still ring out to us today: “If thou canst believe.” 

Mark 9:17-29
17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

Don’t be too hasty to condemn the disciples for not being able to cast out this dumb spirit.  Jesus was answering the father who brought his child to be healed.  He was not addressing the disciples.  Perhaps the man brought his son to the disciples first; but, he did not believe that the disciples could deliver his son.  It seems to me that Jesus may have been reproving the father and not the disciples.  

If you do not believe that God will heal you and you doubt that the minister can pray the prayer of faith, then don’t come and ask to be anointed and the prayer of faith be offered for your healing. 

20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

It is a sad report of how many people, who claim to believe in Jesus and have faith in God, will hide behind this weak statement, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”   

What are you doing to help your unbelief?  Why don’t you fast and pray and asked God to cleanse you of your unbelief?  Why don’t you put your flesh on the altar and be willing to suffer for the building up of your faith?  So many people want to walk with the Savior, but they do not want to suffer with the Savior. 

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

There will be times in our life when we encounter some very serious and difficult situations.  Unless we have walked closely to Jesus Christ, we will not be able to exercise the faith to believe.  Strong faith comes forth from an intimate relationship with Jesus.  Strong faith comes forth from a daily walk of faithful obedience.  If you know that you have not been walking close to God in obedience to His revealed will, your faith will be weak and wavering.  When Jesus made the statement, “If thou canst believe,” He specifically identified our battle.   It is Satan’s intention to and purpose to keep us from having that faith which touches Jesus.  Satan will use any means he can to prevent you from believing that your prayer will be answered.  “If thou canst believe.”  Can you believe?  If not, why not?  Have you disobeyed; or, are you believing the devil’s lies. 

A lot of people try to identify with this grief stricken father in this chapter.  They say, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”  They think that they are expressing the same spiritual weakness.   But I am confident that when this man said, “I believe!” he really meant it.  Let me paraphrase this verse for you:  “Lord I believe, and help me to believe in a way that would be pleasing to you.”  What most people today are saying is: “Lord I don’t believe, but would you answer anyway?”   

What people need to do is repent of their sins and then cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.  How is this intimate relationship built?  Your obedience must be coupled with much prayer and fasting.  The more time you spend in prayer and fasting the more confident you will be that Jesus loves you and is pleased with you.  Too many people are a stranger to Jesus and they are very unsure what He thinks of them.   

It is not so much the actual work of prayer and fasting which builds faith; but rather, it is the knowledge and attitude of intimacy which puts you into the right position to ask and then confidently receive.  It is not your works alone which please God.  It is the intent and attitude of your heart that motivates you to do those works.  You may have some attitudes which you have not paid much attention.  But God knows all. 

Hebrews 4:12-16 

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

God wants to do more for you and with you than just to save your soul and heal your body.  God has a purpose to use your life to manifest grace.  God wants the world to SEE His grace working in your life.  God wants the world to see that you are different in character and nature.  God wants the world to see that you have His grace in times of trouble, persecution and affliction.  God wants the world to see that you have His grace to be happy, to be peaceable and to be content.   This is God’s will: “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

 1 John 5:14-15 

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

Do you have confidence in your relationship with Jesus?  This is where the problem is located.  Do you know that Jesus hears your request?  If not, why not?  You must know the answer.  If you ask according to the word of God, then you know that He hears you.   If you have confidence and don’t ask amiss, then you have what you ask for.   “If thou canst believe.”  What an important question.  You must know the condition of your faith.  You must know the reason for that condition.   And if that condition is not good, you must put all your heart and strength into fixing it.   How do you fix it?  Do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do.   You may have to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to talk to you and tell you again.   You probably did not pay very good attention the last dozen times He told you.   Repent of your indifference.   Repent of your carelessness and procrastination.  If you have willfully disobeyed, you must repent of your disobedience.   Then after you have repented of your disobedience you can work on your obedience.  God will never bless disobedience.  He is not like man to reward evil with good.   

John 11:40-44 

“Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.  And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.”

The key element in the divine and miraculous works of God is faith, believing with all the heart.  Too many saints miss their rightful inheritance because they can not accept that Jesus will do this great thing for them.  There is too much doubt.  There is too much negative thinking.   “I am not worthy?”  Who do personal works meritorious enough to be worth of God’s miracles?  “I have not been saved long enough?”  Sinners and new converts experience the miracles of God.   It is not how long you have been saved, but rather how completely you have surrendered yourself to God. 

Each and every one of us knows just how well we have obeyed God and if there is some wall between us which hinders our faith.  If there is something between you and God which is hindering your faith, go take care of it and then come and ask God for what you need.    

Matt 5:23-24 

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

This scripture says: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar.”  What is your gift to God?  Is it not your body and your life?  When you come to the altar to be healed, you are giving God the gift of your honor, trust and obedience.  Now if there is something amiss in your life and you know what it is, go set that thing in order and then come and offer yourself to God.  Put yourself into His hands and trust Him to heal you.  He will receive glory and honor from such an act.  

James 5:16 

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.”

There are some common statements which people make and they indicate a lack of faith or perhaps the absence of faith.  You need to really pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you if you are saying these things:

“It is not a sin to go to the doctor.”

Although it is commonly believed among us that it is not a sin to go to the doctor, it certainly will not add anything to your faith if you are going with the expectation of receiving help from them.  If my soul is right with God, there is no reason why I should go to the doctor.   Going to the doctor is a definite sign of some weakness and that should concern you.  You should have a strong burden to find the remedy for your spiritual weakness as well as your physical need.  

“I know God can heal me; but, I don’t know if it is His will right now.”

Has God told you that He will not heal you right now?  His Word teaches us that it is His will to heal you right now; so, if God has not specifically told you that He wants something else, you need to stand on His word.   

“I think that God wants to teach me a lesson through my affliction and disease.”

If God wants to teach you a lesson surely He would tell you what that lesson is.  The devil loves to work with confusion, doubt and a lack of knowledge and understanding.   

Each one of these negative thoughts is meant to prevent you from believing.  “If thou canst believe” is the secret to victory and divine healing and every prayer answered.  You must find out what is hindering you from believing.  Can you believe?  Whatever your spiritual problem or need is, God wants to meet that need. Will you listen and submit to the Holy Spirit of God as He ministers to your soul?

The following requirements for divine healing pertain to the born again child of God.  These are requirements of those who know the truth and have experienced faith for salvation. The same faith which takes hold of God’s mercy and forgiveness for salvation, is the same faith which takes hold of the compassionate will of God to heal our body when we are sick.  Why is divine healing different for the sinner than for the saint?  Because a sinner does not have faith for healing if they do not also have faith or the will to be saved.

A justified person must exercise their faith and not rely entirely on the faith of the minister praying for them.  If you are claiming to be saved and you truly do have an experience of salvation, my faith will work with your faith and God will honor our prayer and our obedience. 

If you do not have faith for your own healing and you are relying totally on the minister’s faith, you most likely will not receive anything more than some olive oil on your head.   

Requirements for divine healing:

1.)  Have you been born again?

God’s promises are for His children. 

Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 

Mark 7:26-29  The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.  But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.  And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.  And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. 

2.)  Are you presently guilty of any personal sin?

John 9:30-31  The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.  Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 

3.)  Do you seek God’s will daily in Bible reading and prayer?

Matt 7:7-8  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 

4.)  Are you harboring an unforgiving spirit toward anyone?

Mark 11:25-26  25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. 

5.)  Do you have any restitution to make or wrong to right?

Rom 13:7-8  Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 

6.)  Are you convinced that it is God’s will to heal you?

Mark 11:23-24  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 

7.)  Do you seek healing for the glory of God only?

John 2:11  This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.  

John 7:17-18  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.  He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 

8.)  Can you press forward and claim your healing?

John 20:29-31  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. 

2 Cor 5:7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 

After you are healed you must continue to obey.  Don’t let someone cause your faith to fail. 

John 5:14  Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 

Not only do you get the sickness back, but you are bound by a greater measure of unbelief.   

You must have a will to be healed and you must believe that God’s will is to heal you now.  There must be a will to receive before we will have the faith to receive.   If you are going to receive divine healing you must put a time limit on it.  NOW!!  Sickness is never a blessing. 

God allows Satan to afflict the saints, and God expects His children to resist the devil with every temptation or sickness.  Sickness is in fact a temptation of the devil.  Divine Healing is a great influence in winning souls to Christ.  People want to give their hearts to the God who can supply every need.  

I believe that the will of God has always been the same and will continue to be the same until Jesus comes.

Save every sinner

Heal every sickness

Gather all His people together in unity

We must believe that God has healed us though the symptoms remain.  From the point of prayer with faith and obedience we must believe we are healed and resist symptoms. 

Faith makes all promises a present reality. 

Do you believe that when I anoint and pray for you that God will answer and heal you right now?  If you can not answer “Yes”, then you need to go pray and ask God to help your faith increase so that you can believe.  There may be something in your life hindering your faith and God will not heal until you correct whatever is out of order.  Salvation is not a question of worthiness.  Divine healing is not a question of worthiness.  Faith in the will of God to forgive and heal is all that is needed.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

THE LOVE OF GOD

Do your really understand the LOVE OF GOD?  Authors have written volumes in an attempt to describe it.  Song poets have expressed it with great emotion.  The Holy Bible has made it our highest and most noble duty to possess it.   

The love of God, God’s love, compels, constrains and convinces.  That divine, heavenly, perfect love is the most powerful motivator and restraint known to any inhabitant of heaven and earth. 

AND YET! This vital virtue has been forgotten, ignored, distorted and misunderstood by the multitudes of mankind.  If you do not know and possess this perfect love, then you do not know or possess The Father, The Son or The Holy Spirit.  Failure to walk in love is a failure to walk in the Spirit.  Failure to manifest the love of God in your conversation and conduct is a failure to bear witness of the grace of God.  Without this perfect love, there will be division, strife, envy and the unjust acts and judgments of people who say they know God but do not keep His commandments. 

In the book of First John and chapter four, the apostle teaches us about the value and power of this perfect love.  Although John speaks of the Love of God with words that are clear and easy to be understood, Satan has stood as a strong adversary to prevent people from possessing this great gift of God’s love. 

Many, who lay claim to the gift of God’s love and the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, fail to show evidence of possessing and being possessed by God’s love.  Great is the evidence of God’s love, but few there be that show forth that evidence.  Instead of love we find hate, because hate is the absence of God’s love.  OH NO, none would say that they hate their neighbor, but their conduct and conversation proves that they are moved by hate instead of love.  Listen to the words of John.

1 John 4:7-21
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Now we know that John is not talking about a “free love spirit” or “fleshly love.”  He is not talking about that kind of love that is identified by the Greek word “eros”.  He is talking about that heavenly love which is identified by the Greek word “agape.”  He is speaking about that heavenly love which is characterized by charity, kindness, benevolence and a genuine compassion for the needs of others. 

It is a sad report on the condition of congregations across the nation because people who profess to be Christians do not manifest the love of God in their relationships with one another.  From the pulpit to the pew, the powerful influence of example of perfect love has been greatly lacking.  Ministers have failed to endeavor with one another with the grace of God’s love.  Saints have fallen into biting and devouring one another because they have not be guided into the high calling of being servants to one another.  The church needs a fresh, inspiring example of perfect love. 

Galatians 5:13-17
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

In our day, we have suffered from the silence and the lukewarmness which is the result of this lack of God’s love.  The Evening Time silence which came upon the church at the opening of the Seventh Seal (Revelation 8:1) has affected the whole world.  Every nation and every congregation has been deprived of the witness and the blessing of men and women who operate with divine compassion for the souls and welfare of others. 

Matthew 20:20-28
20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

The book of Matthew gives us a report of a situation which was contrary to the perfect will of God.  No doubt the mother of James and John was just expressing the desire of a mother who wants good success for her children.  She was thinking wholly in the natural because she did not understand the spiritual aspect of her request. 

There is no sin, willful rebellion, in this event.  But, it does lack wisdom and knowledge of the will of God.  Jesus corrected it and gave righteous instructions without any condemnation. 

The ten disciples were just as much out of order in their reaction.  They responded after the carnal nature of the flesh.  When the ten disciples saw that Jesus corrected the mother of Mary, they surmised that James and John were involved in some political move to exalt themselves above their fellow disciples.   They “were moved with indignation against the two brethren.” 

How often do people who claim to be Christians respond just like the disciples in a similar situation.  When a person is seen to be in error, instead of endeavoring to be a helper they become their adversary. 

Instead of being part of the solution, they become part of the problem. 

Instead of correcting, they condemn.

Instead of compassion, they become critical.

Instead of helping, they hurt the faith and confidence of the one in need.

Instead of healing, they afflict.

Instead of working with the Holy Spirit, they become an accomplice with Satan. 

Deuteronomy 13:12-15
12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
14 Then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

Surmising and judging without sufficient witness of the facts is much more common than people may think.  It is easy to form your opinions based upon your limited knowledge of the true facts.  Decisions which are made without a diligent inquiry are subject to great harm.   Decisions which are made without the help of the Holy Spirit are the work of man and not the work of God. 

The most important subject which can occupy your mind is the desire to know, to understand and to possess the Love of God.   

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Anointed Ministry - Amplified

God has always had a people and a ministry to set an example before the people so that they could know the God of all heaven and earth.  In the Old Testament and in the New Testament there have been those who have been anointed by God to teach and show the way of truth and holiness.  Christ also proved His ministry and His identity by the miracles He worked and the gospel He preached. 

Listen to the testimony of Luke as he tells us how Jesus testified to the disciples of John the Baptist on how to recognize the man of God who has the anointing of God upon his ministry. 

Luke 7:16-23
16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.
19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.
22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

This is the proof of the ministry of God.  A gospel without the anointing of God and the manifestation of His divine power will not convince the world of sinners. 

What distinguishes the true church of God from man-made religious organizations which have no power and which please the people more than please God?  It must be the manifestation of the power of God in his ministry.   Again, before we look at the ministry of other men of God, let us consider the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Luke 4:13-21
13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

The Bible clearly teaches us that God gives His ministry and all His servants the “mind of Christ.”  We are taught by the scriptures that Jesus has commanded His ministers to heal the sick as well as preach the gospel.  Is this the witness and testimony we see today?  Should we seek after these blessings which are promised in the Word of God?  Is it considered too fanatical in our day to seek after the anointing of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit? 

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Paul said, “God has anointed us.”  Was Paul proud or confident?  Was he boasting or was he reminding the people as Jesus did, that the works of his ministry testified of the anointing of God.  God has anointed the ministers of His Son Jesus Christ and given them the earnest of the Spirit.  They are sent forth to do the works which Jesus did.  The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:1, “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”

How well can a ministry prophesy, if they do not follow after charity and if they do not desire spiritual gifts?  Does the Bible give us a standard for the ministry which is relative in every generation? 

Matthew 10:5-8
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

The ministers of Jesus Christ are sent to do the work which Jesus did. 

Is this the evidence and witness which we have seen in the ministry in the last 80 years?  Are ministers no longer sent forth with this great commission?  I ask you to pray for me that God will teach me and help me increase in knowledge and grace so that the witness of the Holy Spirit will be upon my ministry.  I don’t want to be a lukewarm, powerless minster with little faith. 

Luke 10:1-9
1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.
4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.
5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.
7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:
9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

Why are these identifying characteristics of God’s ministers repeated so many times in the Holy Scriptures?  Did God intend for us to have sufficient evidence in the Bible to teach us how to recognize the true ministers of God who have been anointed to take this gospel to all people?

Acts 8:5-8
5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.

Did the church of God ministers in the Book of Acts prove themselves to be the anointed ministers of Jesus Christ? 

Should we expect or require less from the ministers of God in our day?

Revelation 19:6-10
6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Did you notice what verse ten said?  “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  What does that mean?  If we do not have the spirit of prophecy, do we not have the testimony of Jesus? 

1 Corinthians 12:1-11
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Which of these gifts do you want your pastor to have? 

The Holy Spirit will give these gifts according to His will.  He will give them to those ministers whom He trusts to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and not become exalted in their own heart and mind, thinking themselves to be something when they are nothing without God. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

God will not give these gifts to any person who is not rooted and grounded in that Perfect Love which comes by the possession of the Holy Spirit.

1 Timothy 4:12-16
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

How was prophecy a factor in the anointing of Timothy to do the work of the ministry?  This prophecy is the anointing and inspiration of the Holy Spirit which enables the ministry to operate according to the perfect will of God.  This is how errors and mistakes and pride are avoided.  A ministry which has the anointing of the Holy Spirit will have the discernment necessary to know the spirit and fruit of a man before they recommend him to the people as an elder, minister, teacher, evangelist or pastor.  Too many men and women have been recommended to the people as their spiritual leaders who have not the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit.   It is true that some ministers have lost the grace of God in their life; but woe to the people who choose leaders who do not have the grace of God at the beginning of their rule.  

2 Peter 1:19-21
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

When Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are in control of the operations and administrations of the church, divine prophecy will prevail.  The gospel of Jesus Christ will not be perverted by human error and opinions.  The miraculous works of God will be present to witness and testify of the approval and blessings of God. 

These thoughts have been shared with you to inspire you to expect to receive from God and His ministers what the Word of God teaches.  It is my prayer that God will have mercy and help the church experience a spiritual awakening and enjoy the benefits of being a child of God in the Kingdom of God with all the blessings which are available to His children. 

3 John verse 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

I challenge each of you to seek the anointing of the Holy Spirit in every area of your life.  Don’t think that there is a day in your life when you do not need to depend on the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  

Matthew 10:20, “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

Mark 13:11, “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.”