3 Keys to Building Faith

Have you ever had the thought ‘is my healing ever going to come?’ or ‘am I ever going to receive a breakthrough’? Sometimes we can find ourselves discouraged when what we are believing for doesn’t come in our timing. There is a truth for us concerning this in Mark 4:16-17 AMPC “And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy; 17 And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, they immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away.”

Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God.” When we hear the Word faith will come but that faith is not without opposition. Mark 16:17 says trouble arises on account of the Word. We have an enemy who is going to fight the process of building our faith every step of the way. This is why we must determine at the outset of whatever we are believing for that we will not be denied and we will not back off of our faith.

Something from our thoughts to our circumstances will always try to knock us off our faith, so how do we stay in faith? The following are three keys to building your faith and keeping it strong all the way through to manifestation.

Proverbs 4:20-27 KJV “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”

Keep your eyes on the Word

The Message Bible says, “keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions”. When thoughts come that say you won’t get what you are believing for, that is a sideshow distraction, it is something to be ignored!

Matthew 6:22 KJV “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!”

When we are singularly focused on the Word, the Word will produce results. It goes back to what we read in Mark chapter four a moment ago, we can’t allow the Word to be stolen from us through wrong thoughts or hardships. The Bible says persecution comes because we decide to grab hold of the Word, to stay with that Word we must focus on it and keep our eyes off of anything contrary to it. We must take the full Word, we can’t wonder about God’s will. His Word is His will, when we allow doubt and unbelief in, the light in us actually becomes darkness. Stay singularly focused on the Word and it will begin to bring forth results.

Keep your ears on the Word

Proverbs 4:20 NLT “My Child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words.”

Mark 4:23-24 AMPC “  If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend. 24 And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.”

When we hear something the first time it is seed, every time after that it is being watered and when we’ve heard it enough to take root we will have results. We can’t just hear teaching on healing once, faith comes by hearing and hearing. We must continually hear the Word for our faith to be built. The Woman with the issue of blood heard the things Jesus had done. Not one thing but things, when we continually hear the Word faith comes alive.

The measure of thought and study you give to the truth you hear is what you receive from. If what you hear is contrary to the Word and faith that is what you will receive from. I can’t spend my nights in front of shows that don’t build me up and expect to be strong in faith. We must give our ears to hearing the Word and good and positive things that are in line with it to see our faith built up.

Speak the Word

Mark 11:23 KJV “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 shall have whatsoever he saith.”

Our words are so important and so powerful, they are a key component to our faith. This verse says we can’t doubt, we must believe. This goes back to ignoring those sideshow distractions. When we speak the Word faith is built, when we speak things contrary to faith doubt and unbelief are built.

2 Corinthians 4:13 KJV “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believe and therefore have I spoken; we also believe and therefore speak.”  We train ourselves in negativity by thinking it, hearing it and speaking it, we train ourselves in faith the same way.

Let today be a new day, let today be a decision day that from today forward you will keep your eyes on the Word, you will listen to the Word and you will speak the Word. When we give the Word first priority it will produce the promises of the Word in our lives. Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged, when we mess up, we simply repent and get back to the Word and get in faith. Get in faith, let’s stay in faith and let’s watch faith produce in our lives.

Part 3: Renewing the Mind

hebrew-mindRomans 12:1 NIV “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” But how do we do this? Look at verse two in the Amplified Bible; “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”

In the last few weeks we have been talking about the roots of our faith and the importance of being connected to the root. Looking back at Romans eleven we remember that the root of the tree is Biblical Judaism, the natural branches are Jews who believe in Messiah and the grafted in branches are Gentiles that come to faith. We have been grafted in to a Jewish root through the Jewish Messiah, Philippians 2:5 says we have the mind of Christ, a Hebraic way of thinking and not a Greek way of thinking, this is our topic for this week. We have talked about Constantine and how he bribed the church with stopping persecution if they allowed him to make changes but look at Scripture itself, Pharaoh said just worship here, don’t leave Egypt. Pharaoh provided a stipulation that would have kept them in bondage and would have eventually taken away worship again.

During the time of Jesus the Greek and Roman way of life was beginning to heavily influence the Jewish people. Antiochus endeavored to spread Greek culture everywhere; he did this by robbing the temple, suspending Jewish worship and forbidding Jewish ceremonies. Gymnasiums were erected and many priests neglected duties to play in the games. Look at these words from A History of the Jewish People in the times of Jesus Christ by Emil Schurer:

“Antiochus directed his energies immediately to a war of extermination against the Jewish religion. Throughout the whole land the Jewish religion was to be rooted out, and worship of the Greek gods instituted. The observance of all Jewish rites, especially of the Sabbath and circumcision, was forbidden on the pain of death; the Jewish mode of worship was abolished. In all the cities of Judea sacrifices were to be offered to heathen deities. Officers were sent into all the districts, charged with the duty of seeing that the commands of the king were strictly obeyed. Wherever anyone showed reluctance, obedience was enforced with violence. Once a month a rigorous search was instituted: if a copy of the book of the law were found in the possession of anyone, or if anyone had his child circumcised he was put to death. In Jerusalem on the 15th of Chislev of the seleucid year 145, that is, in December B.C. 168, at the great altar of burnt-offering a pagan altar was built, and on 25th Chislev, for the first time, a sacrifice was offered upon it (1 Macc i. 54, 59; this is “the abomination that maketh desolate of which the book of Daniel speaks). This sacrifice according to the second book of Maccabees, was rendered to the Olympic Zeus, to whom the temple of Jerusalem has been dedicated. The Jews were also compelled to keep the Dionysiac festival, crowned with ivy, marching in procession as devotees of Bacchus”.

 Three years later at the same time we have the revolt and victory of the Maccabees which leads to the institution of the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) that Jesus celebrated in John chapter ten. The purpose of all of this was to introduce and make normal the pagan practices of the Greek and Roman culture among the Jews. Fast forward to after the time of Jesus to that of Constantine and we see how and why the Church stepped away from her roots. The aforementioned quote is hard to read but it is the truth of that time and shows us why Constantine was able to do what he did.

Let’s look again at Romans 12:2 AMP “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and new attitude,…”

2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature all together); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the new and fresh has come!” Jeremiah 31:33 tells us that the new is the Torah being written on our hearts.

In light of the history we have discussed and the Scriptures we have read we can see that from the very beginning the enemy has desired to change the understanding and mindset of the Church. Amos prophesied that the tabernacle of David would be restored in the tabernacle there is no wall separating Jew and Gentile. Jesus came and took down the middle wall of partition and for centuries the enemy has built it back up and kept it in tact.

Jesus said the first commandment is to love God and the second to love our neighbors. The only way we can fulfill these commands is to know the Word and to teach it to our children. Our minds are not renewed by reading the Bible but by doing what it says. Over time in history everything that had been laid out by God was taken out of the Church. We quit celebrating the Feasts of the Lord, we quit honoring the Sabbath, our worship has become something it never was, we have by and large lost the biblical expression of dance. As we saw historically the desire to spread Greek and Roman culture in falling in line we have lost biblical expressions and holy days.

We need to renew our minds and recover the Hebraic way of thinking, The Scriptures lay out home life in a way that is lost in the Greek mindset. In Jesus day, the religious life was centered in the home not the Synagogue. The Mezuzah adorned the entrance of every home, the first thing you saw was the Word of God on the doorposts. In Deuteronomy 6:1-9 parents were instructed to teach the Word to their children to talk about it when they woke up, went to bed and when they ate. The Greek/Roman culture under Constantine made the newly built churches the center of religious life and banned meeting in the home.

As our minds are renewed in the Word we must recover a Hebraic view of God, standing in amazement of who God is. The Greek way of thinking launched the Church into theological debate which lead to the dark ages and the creation of countless denominations. Instead of trying to comprehend God’s vastness through our mere human intellect like Greek thinking has taught us, let’s once again embrace the majesty and mystery of God. Let’s put aside old church councils that outlawed the roots of the Church and once again embrace the root that we are connected to. The Jewish people also have an amazing reverence for the Scriptures. Something that is definitely lost in the theological books of Christianity. You can have a three volume theology that totals over 1,000 pages and only have twenty pages devoted to the Bible itself. The Synagogue was a school, everyone was taught and learned the Scripture. Each year the Jews celebrate Simhat Torah (Rejoice with the Torah) in this celebration the people of the congregation take the scrolls and dance around the sanctuary with them to joyful music. At age six Jewish children start daily study of the Torah in classes and by the time of bar mitzvah, most observant Jews are expected to have the Torah memorized and have a pretty good understanding of it.

Think about how far we the Church have come away from such respect of the Bible. Let’s say that we were to teach our children in this way and by time our sons and daughters turned thirteen we expected them to have memorized the four Gospels and Acts. Let’s say at age six we started daily taking them to another few hours of school before or after school to study the Bible. This is hard to imagine isn’t it? I can tell you that after reading on what a Jewish boy must accomplish before he can be bar mitzvahed I clearly don’t have the knowledge of the Word I should and that I want to have.

It is these types of things we, the Church, have lost in separating ourselves from our roots. I encourage all of us to take The Word of God more seriously than we do. We shouldn’t be letting our pastors study the Bible for us. A love for God should also mean a love for His Word. This week let’s continue the process of receiving what is being presented in this series. Father I ask that our hearts and minds would be open to seeing and reading the Word with a Hebraic understanding, as Scripture says we are new creations, help us go from a Greek and Western world mindset to a Hebraic understanding. Help us to read the Bible through the eyes of a Jewish Jesus. I ask that as we continue to go through this series you would break off old ways of thinking and renew us to our roots in the name of our Messiah, Yeshua we pray.

In the coming weeks we will look specifically at the Hebrew months and the Feasts of the Lord and how they relate to us as believers in Jesus. These posts will go in depth on how we think in a Jewish understanding, operating on God’s calendar and walking in and receiving the blessing from celebrating the Feasts that are found in the Torah, the five books of Moses.

I hope this series is being a blessing to you and along with this I will be posting on the Hebrew months as we enter them as well as doing other posts on the different feasts as we come to them. If you have a question or comment please leave it in the comments section. If I don’t have an answer I will tell you that I don’t know and hopefully I’ll be able to point you in the right direction. As we go through this series I encourage you to do some reading and studying of your own using the recommendations on the bookshelf page and using the resources available in the links.      

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A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Christ by Emil Schurer, Translated by John Macpherson; First Division, Volume I. pgs. 206-208.

Walking in the New Creation

imageWe have all probably heard the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17 many times. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new”.

 
We know that verse, but many struggle to live in the reality of the new creation. The reason for this is very simple, Paul explains this in Romans; the nature of the flesh is always battling against our spirit, this is why Paul said, I die daily.

 
In Romans six Paul talks about how our old nature has been crucified and that we who are dead to sin should not continue to live in sin. Chapter six, however, is not what we will be looking at today. We will be looking at the eighth chapter. I would ask though, before you continue reading that you would get your Bible and read the sixth and seventh chapter to understand where Paul is coming from in chapter eight.

 
In chapter eight Paul differentiates between the carnal Christian and the spiritual Christian and in this post we will be looking at the differences between the two.

 
We won’t be looking at every verse in the chapter, just those that highlight the differences between the two ways of living.

 
Romans 8:5-7 KJV “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (6) For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (7) because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

 
This is precisely why we must be renewed in the spirit of our mind. If we live our lives focused on the things of this world we will not be spiritually minded, but carnally minded.

 
Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God. Conversely; fear cometh by hearing, and hearing comes by the words of doubt and unbelief. Now that last one is not a Bible verse but the principle is true.

 
Twelve spies were sent to Canaan, two had a faith report and ten had a fear report. They went with what they heard the most of, what we hear we believe.

 
The great Old Testament chapter of what Christ will accomplish on the cross begins with these words, “Who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed.” Believing requires hearing.

 
In order to be a spiritual Christian instead of a carnal Christian we must first look at what we are hearing. Take some time and take inventory of your life, what are you being filled with?

 
This ultimately leads us to the second area, the words we speak. Mark 11:23 says, we can have what we say, instead, many of us say what we have.

 
We must renew our minds and change the words of our mouths.

 
I know this sound over simplistic but this is how we walk in the new creation, we renew our minds and our mouths to the Word of God.

 
“As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”

 
“Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and they that love to talk will eat its fruit”.

 
Abraham’s faith was confirmed by the words he spoke and without faith it is impossible to please God.

 
Each of us need to take our lives moment by moment and day by day and choose to change our thinking and our mouths.

 
We start by praying and asking for the help of Holy Spirit, then we take the next step and get in the Word and renew our minds with it. It’s not enough just to go to Church, we must be in the Word daily for ourselves.

 

 

None of us will be able to see the Word work on our behalf if we aren’t in it and applying it.

 

Being in the Word changes our thinking and applying it changes our speaking.

 
That’s it, that’s how we walk in the new creation, we renew our minds and change our mouths.

 

 

Resources for renewing your mind and changing your mouth:
New Creation Realities: E.W. Kenyon

 
ReThink Your Life: Stan Toler

 
The Power of Your Words: Don Gossett & E. W. Kenyon

 

 

Easy steps to help start the process:

 
1. Cut out one thirty minute TV show and spend that time in prayer and Bible study.

 
2. Listen to a Bible teacher on your way to work (invest in CD’s, the radio is not the place to start).

 
3. Find a friend to help you keep your words lined up with The Word.

 
The truth is many of our minds and mouths don’t line up with the Word because we knowingly fill them with negative thoughts and talk. ReThink Your Life is an excellent resource that is broken into weekly segments to help you change the way you think. If you will give yourself thirty days, you will be a different person.

 
If you choose to get the book and do the four week plan, I recommend reading The Power of Your Words after you finish reading week two. That way you can incorporate your new way of speaking with your new way of thinking.

 
Also if you do the plan, let me know so I can be praying with you. keep me up to date with how you’re doing and let me hear your story at the end.

 
May the Lord richly bless the start of your life change and encourage and empower you to walk in victory.

 

Part 11: The Renewed Mind

imageOne of the most important and often neglected topics in our lives is the renewed mind. In order to see heaven on earth we must be renewed in our mind. That’s what repentance is, changing the way we think.

Today we begin a two part mini series if you will on Paul’s instructions for Christian living. It is not just important to understand our need for salvation but how we should live as Christians, and in a word we should live holy.

Now before we get into this, I want to make clear that holiness is not a list of law (rule) keeping, that is legalism. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were legalists not holy men. In saying that holiness is not law keeping, that does not mean that there is now law, or commandment. Jesus said a new command I give to you that you love God and love your neighbor.

The law came with commands that could not be kept, grace comes with commands that have the ability to fulfill themselves, the Holy Spirit within us.

Ephesians 4:17-18 NIV “So I tell you this, and insist on it in The Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. (18) They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

The Message says it this way, “And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore.”

Notice that Paul insists that we no longer live in the futility of our thinking or go along with the crowd. This is very important for us as Christians to understand.

2 Corinthians 5:17 in the Amplified tells us that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation all together and that our old previous moral and spiritual condition is no more. We are fresh and new.

When Paul says don’t be like the Gentiles he is not telling us to become Jewish, he deals with that in other letters, he’s saying don’t be like the world in your way of thinking.

The Message brings out an interesting point, “they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself.” It is crucial for us to understand that the earth realm we are living in is not our reality, the KINGDOM is our reality, we live from heaven to earth.

In the natural people function based on hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smell. In the Kingdom we function based on the Word of God through faith.

We walk by faith and not by sight and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We must understand that faith does not store up, once we use it in a situation it must be replenished. We must also understand that when it says faith comes by hearing it means hearing and not the hearing of a preacher but the hearing of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:26 AMP “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in my name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.”

This is what the renewed mind is, having the mind of Christ, thinking from heavens side, and basing the entirety of our thought life and confession from the Word of God.

Scripture says they did not do this because of the hardness of their hearts. How do our hearts get hard? In this instance, when it comes to our thinking, I believe, it comes from having a faith based in the negative experience of another and not faith fully persuaded in and on the Word of God.

As a quick example someone prays for something and they don’t receive so from that point on the base every prayer on the fact that God didn’t answer that one. This is where a twisted understanding of sovereignty comes from, this is where we get the though of sometimes God does and sometimes He does not. This is why when ministers talk on prayer people always want to talk about why God will not answer or why He does not answer instead of why He does.

We cannot allow our hearts to get hard based on negative experience. The truth is we need to let our experience catch up with the truth and promises of God’s Word. Also, there is never lack on God’s end, it’s always on ours. If we don’t get an answer it is not because in God’s infinite wisdom He knew we didn’t need it, that sounds good but no Scripture on prayer will substantiate that. There can only be two main reasons why prayer doesn’t get answered, we ask for motives that are not pure or we don’t ask in faith, none of that has to do with God.

Now I know that is not the most popular thing to say but it is the most truthful. Don’t blame someone not getting healed on God, it wasn’t God’s fault, something in the life of the person wasn’t what it needed to be. Now before you get upset consider this, Is it God’s will that none should perish but all inherit eternal life? Yes. Are people perishing? Yes. Now we establish that’s not God’s will yet it happens, it is the same with healing, prosperity, walking in holiness, and every other aspect of life, we have a part to play and we must take responsibility for our own faith or lack thereof.

Now before you think I am beating on you, I say all that to bring you to a high level of faith, to encourage you to increase. As believers we don’t have to sin, all over Scripture the command to be holy is given, we wouldn’t have been given the command if the Holy Spirit wasn’t going to enable us to keep that command.

Let’s get back to Ephesians 4:19-24 NIV “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. (20) That, however, is not the way of life you learned (21) when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. (22) You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (24) and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

They lost sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, they quit hearing His voice because they became more in tune with the knowledge of the world instead of the knowledge of the Word.

If you want to stop a sin issue in your life you have got to consume the Word. On the issue of sin, you need to do what David did in Psalm fifty-one and asked to be cleansed and renewed in heart. Jesus called that being sanctified in John 17:17.

What does it mean to be sanctified? Instead of giving you a definition, I’ll give you a Scripture. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NIV “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; (4) that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, (5) not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; (6) and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. (7) For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

Sanctification is simply the discarding of the old nature and an embracement of holy living.

Sanctification is a work in the heart but our mind must still be renewed in the Word of God.

The New Living Translation says this in verses twenty-two through twenty-four. “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. (23) Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. (24) Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

We no longer have to live according to the old nature. Notice it says let the Spirit, The Spirit won’t renew our minds unless we allow it. We allow it by getting in the Word. We must put our affections on things of the Kingdom not the earth. When we renew our minds we become truly holy.

The renewed mind is a holy mind and the renewed mind leads to a holy life which leads to the Kingdom being realized on earth as it is in heaven.

If you have thought patterns that aren’t renewed today, then today is the day to ask the Holy Spirit by the Word of God to renew your mind. Repent of your current thought processes and opinions that don’t line up with the Word and begin renewing your mind with the Word of God.

Renewing the mind is more than just being able to quote scripture it is truly thinking from heaven towards earth.

If you need to renew your mind in a certain area get on YouVersion, if you don’t have YouVersion download the APP and create and account then search for a plan that relates to the area you need to be renewed in.

To further your understanding on the renewed mind I recommend the following books:

The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind by Bill Johnson

Re Think Your Life by Stan Toler

New Creation Realities by E. W. Kenyon

Part of the renewed mind also deals with being renewed in your confession so I also recommend The Power of Your Words by Don Gossett and E. W. Kenyon as well as Dr. Bill Winston’s The Law of Confession. 

Part 10: Having A KINGDOM Mindset

imageIn the Church today many have a Kingdom mindset but many still don’t. What do I mean by that? Beginning in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s many denominations began to form around a core set of agreed upon doctrine.

Doctrine became the focus and not the message of the Kingdom. Now before I go any further with this I want to make two things clear, doctrine is important and there is nothing wrong with denominations.

The problem with doctrine is this, as Bill Johnson puts it, “doctrine without an experience only serves to make us more religious”. He also says this, “many people stop short of an experience from the Holy Spirit, simply because they are satisfied with good doctrine”.

The message of the Kingdom is more than doctrine, it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and an experience, a life of experience in the power of the Spirit.

We must understand that the umbrella we stand under so to speak, is the Kingdom, the problem is some of the denominations have pulled certain doctrines out from under the Kingdom and made doctrines the umbrella.

I’m not saying we need to get rid of denominations or put aside doctrine, I am saying that the Church needs to become unified under the message of the Kingdom and begin to spread the message together.

Ephesians 4:1-10 NIV “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (2) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (3) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (4) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; (5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism; (6) one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (7) But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (8) This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (9) (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? (10) He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)”

This is what Paul begins with, we need to live a holy life. It is interesting in today’s church it seems you can divide all denominations into two categories, ones that embrace the moving and gifts of the Spirit, and those who don’t. The denominations who tend to shy away from most of the gifts focus on holiness. To be fair there are denominations that focus on both.

I say however, the message the Church should be preaching is both holiness and the move of the Spirit.

John Wesley wrote the following in his journal on August 15, 1750 “I was fully convinced of what I had once suspected: 1) That the Montanists (those who believed in healing, prophecy, and other gifts of the Spirit.), in the second and third centuries, were real Scriptural Christians; and 2) That the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn was not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost, but that dry, formal, orthodox men began even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, and to decry them all as either madness or imposture”.

Does that sound familiar to anything we hear today? Those who see manifestations they declare odd say those people are crazy and that cant be the Holy Spirit. Was it the Holy Spirit when Jesus spit on mud and stuck it in the guys eye?

Instead of us being so afraid of excess and getting “out of balance”, I would say, for most, it is their “balance” that keeps the Holy Spirit out of Church. Yes there is order, yes there is a purpose in planning and in order. But to many times the cry for order is actually men wanting to control how the Spirit moves.

Back to the Scriptures, we need to live holy lives and be humble, gentle, patient, loving, and making every effort to be in unity.

Part of being a unified Church is actually practicing what most all denominations say, unity in essentials and liberty in non-essentials. The denominations problems are they have made things essential that are not. Not only for themselves but if a denomination agrees with another all except in one point the vast majority of the time they can never seem to be able to unify and do something together.

The one thing I absolutely love about my local Church is we come together with other churches (that are not in our denomination, and probably don’t share all our doctrines and have ones we don’t) we come together and we do outreaches and minister to our community. That my friends is THE KINGDOM! Who cares if they don’t have all your points, do they believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died and rose again for our salvation? Yes, then minister with them. But they don’t…. who cares, minister with them! But they…. who cares, minister with them!

Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, (12) to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (13) until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Notice it says, Christ himself gave. The “ministry gifts” are from Christ, the “administrative gifts” found in Romans twelve are called the gifts of God, and the “gifts of the Spirit” in First Corinthians twelve are from the Holy Spirit. The Church needs all three areas of gifts to function properly, we cannot afford to pick and choose the gifts we like, or only those we are comfortable with.
To understand these offices and how they relate to the body we need to define them (from the Greek).

Apostles: A delegate, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ with miraculous powers. Messenger, he that is sent.

Prophets: A foreteller, an inspired speaker.

Evangelists: Preacher of the Gospel, to announce the good news.

Pastors: A Shepherd.

Teachers: An instructor – doctor, master, teacher.

We must have all of these gifts present in the local and general Church so that the body can function at its highest ability.

We are given each of these so that we are equipped for works of service and so that we may be built up and come into…

1. The unity of faith.
2. Knowledge of the Son of God.
3. Become mature.
4. Attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Let’s examine these four things by looking at the Amplified bible.

1. That it might develop until we all attain oneness of faith.

How did the disciples attain oneness of faith? Acts 1:14 AMP “All of these with their minds in full agreement devoted themselves steadfastly through prayer, [waiting together] with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

How did they maintain oneness of faith after they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-4? Acts 2:42 NIV “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and prayer.”

The missing ingredient to most of our churches is unity in prayer. We must be a praying church!

2. In the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the son of God.

What is the full and accurate picture of the Son of God? The message that He carried.

Matthew 6:10 NIV “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.”

Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

This is THE message of the KINGDOM and until we get on board with it we will not and cannot walk in full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God.

3. That we might arrive at real mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection).

This deals with holiness, which is the subject of the next two posts in this series, so we will deal with this then.

4. The measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

Jesus healed the whole man on the Sabbath, he forgave his sin and healed his blindness. It was only the religious that got mad at miracles. It is only people that don’t have an accurate picture of who Jesus is that would drive Jesus out of town after delivering the demon possessed man.

Think about this, it scared them seeing the man in his right mind, yet they though it normal for him to be naked, cutting himself, and living among the tombs. COME ON NOW, HOW BACKWARDS CAN YOU GET?!

The modern day Church is fine with doctors, fine with filing for bankruptcy, and says sometimes divorce happens, but say you’re standing in faith for healing, that’s crazy. Stand in faith to be out of debt, bankruptcy makes more sense, its easier. While none of us are fans of divorce, I mean, come on, they have stuck it out long enough, let them divorce and be happy.

The Church for the most part is so backwards today! Let;s get an accurate picture of Jesus and quit allowing for things Jesus didn’t allow.

Why is there divorce? Because of the hardness of people’s hearts, Matthew 5:31-32.

Why do so many Christians live on medication and doctor visits? Because we have more faith in those things than we do the WORD.

The world we are most aware of is the world we have faith in. Our we more aware of Kingdom or are we more aware of natural?

Now before somebody get’s mad and says I am against medecine and doctors, I am not, but we should be looking to Jesus more than we do.

In wrapping up, to get an accurate picture of Jesus we cannot allow this world to trump the KINGDOM we truly live in. We are ambassadors to this planet and we are supposed to bring the KINGDOM here, on earth AS IT IS in heaven.

When we get that issue squared away in our thinking, speaking, and preaching, then the rest of todays portion takes affect.

Ephesians 4:14-16 NIV “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. (15) Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (16) From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work”.

Part 9: Strengthening The Inner Man

imageToday we are going to be discussing how to strengthen our inner man (our spirit). There are several ways to do this, we strengthen our inner man through worship, prayer, Bible study, hearing the Word, and hearing testimonies of what God has done.

In the middle of Ephesians, Paul prays for us, you will remember at the beginning of this series I mentioned that the text in our Bible adds in Ephesus, meaning that originally this letter was written to the general church and not dealing with any specific issues in a particular church.

Paul Begins his prayer by saying, in Ephesians 3:14-16 NIV “For this reason I kneel before the Father, (15) from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name. (16) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”

Paul says that our inner man (our spirit) needs to be strengthened through the power of the Spirit, this happens when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses….”

The cornerstone of how to live this Christian life is being filled with the Spirit. This involves talking to the Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:27 says the Holy Spirit is our teacher, how do we learn without talking with our teacher. In Acts the disciples have multiple conversations with the Spirit. This really is a teaching all on its own but to just be on point we need to embrace a Spirit-led life and in order do do that we must engage the Holy Spirit more than what the Church is known for.

Paul goes on to explain how we strengthen our inner man. Verse seventeen, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”. The first step to strengthening our inner man is to surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord so that we can become new creations, according to Second Corinthians 5:17.

The second thing is being rooted and established in love. Jesus said to his disciples, they will know you are my disciples because you love one another. He also said a new commandment I give to you that you love one another.

A picture of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 AMP “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”

That is what love is and that is a sign as well as how to strengthen our inner man.

Ephesians 3:18-19 NIV “may have the power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,”

I want to go to the Amplified for verse nineteen, “[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!”

That is quite a verse! Bill Johnson says this, “many people stop short of an experience with the Spirit because they are satisfied to have good theology”. I believe this verse speaks to how wrong Christians are to have the “education” of the scripture without the experience of the scripture.

(I’m not yelling, I just want you to see this), “That you may REALLY COME TO KNOW, PRACTICALLY, THROUGH EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELVES”.

Mental ascent or the ability to quote is not knowing His love and His love is not just saving us from Hell.

In order to be truly strengthened in our inner man we must realize the cross was more than for our souls salvation. Look at Psalm 103 with the Hebrew definitions added with the words.

Psalm 103:2-5 NIV “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits (dealing bountifully with) – who forgives (pardons) all your sins (your depravity, guilt, and punishment) and heals (makes healthy) all your diseases (suffering and sickness), who redeems (avenges and ransoms) your life (to have life, to live prosperously, to be restored to health, to be made alive and cause to grow) from [destruction] (the sinking down into depression of the mind, ultimate death) and crowns (surrounds) you [you surround them with favor as a shield (Psalm 5:12), you with love (goodness, kindness, faithfulness [Fruit of the Spirit/Gal. 5:22-23]) and compassion (tender mercies), who satisfies (fulfills) your desires with good things (pleasant, rich, valuable in estimation, to ave in excess, the good, better, happy, prosperous, and the higher nature) so that your youth (your early life) is renewed (repaired and made a new) like the eagles).

I know that seems like a long run on sentence, but we need to understand that as fact.

Christ’s death on the cross was not just for our souls but for our whole person. Remember when the Pharisees got mad at Jesus for healing on the Sabbath? Jesus said how can you get made about the whole man being healed on the Sabbath?

We have bought into the lie of the enemy that says our soul is more important than anything else. Now that sounds correct, however, most of the Church takes that and says we need to focus on salvation, healing isn’t important, as long as you have enough to get by that’s good, that is contrary to scripture.

Let’s go back and look at Ephesians 3:20 right quick, in the Amplified, “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]–”

This one verse alone and there are many others we can go to that point out much of the bad theology that has taken hold of the Church.

If we are going to strengthen our inner man we must realize what is available to us, salvation, the ability to walk holy without sinning, healing, good relationships, prosperity, and all that is in THE WORD belongs to us! We are a BLESSED people, it’s past time we take our BLESSING! THE BLESSING is the privilege of the sons of God, why we choose to believe the lies and think we are humble in lack and being taught in sickness, I don’t know, but we can’t find it in THE WORD.

We looked at Psalm one hundred and three, now let’s go to Isaiah.

Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV with Hebrew definitions, “Surely he took our pains (sickness) and bore our suffering (pain and sorrow), YET WE (notice it was mans perception and not Gods) considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions (rebellion), he was crushed for our iniquities (depravity); the punishment that brought us peace (completeness, safety, soundness, health, prosperity, and contentment) was on him, and by his wounds we are healed (made healthful).”

These two Old Covenant passages that tell us why Jesus is coming tell us that salvation is for everything that our life encompasses.

I am going to make a very strong statement, many churches messages are illegal in the Kingdom. What do I mean by that? We have taken one part of salvation and left all the others. Jesus came and preached the message of the KINGDOM.

If we preach power without purity it will ultimately lead to the pollution of the heart.

If we preach purity without power it will ultimately lead to Phariseeism, and Jesus said the Pharisees produce converts twice the sons of hell they themselves are.

Most agree that when ministers fall it hurts the Kingdom, but on the flip side if people are loving and holy yet have no power we don’t see a problem with it.

Jesus said do the works, the works are both the fruit and the gifts of the spirit. The fruit is the work in us and the gifts are the work outside of us. It is not an or ministry it is an and ministry.

As we strengthen our inner man, if you have lacked purity, strengthen the purity, if you have lacked power strengthen the power.

What areas of your inner man to be strengthened?

Part 8: Understanding The Mystery of Christ

jesus_thumbs_up2Today we are looking at the mystery of Christ revealed. We will read and then pull out two portions of scripture to be discussed.

Ephesians 3:1-13 NIV “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— (2) Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, (3) that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. (4) In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (5) which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. (6) This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (7) I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. (8) Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, (9) and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. (10) His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, (11) according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (12) In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (13) I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.”

When we look at the Old Covenant we see that God had one people with promises, but we, through Jesus Christ have a new and better covenant with better promises (Hebrews 8:6).

Ephesians 3:6 NIV “This mystery is that through the gospel the gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and shares together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

We are no longer Jews and Gentiles, we are all grafted in, we have THE BLESSING of Abraham and are one Church.

Galatians 3:9, 13-14 NKJV “So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (13) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), (14) that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

“….Jews, Greeks, or the church of God -” (1 Corinthians 10:32).

Romans 4:24 tells us that what was written for Abraham was also for us, that is the mystery revealed. We must understand that God’s plan never changes, Jesus’ goal was to get THE BLESSING back to us, it was not just a Heaven issue for us but an earth issue as well.

Matthew 6:10 “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”

His will has not changed since the first words He spoke to man, BLESSING words.

The will of God is also revealed in the WORD of God, we don’t pray “if it be your will”, we search the WORD, know the WORD, pray the WORD, and declare the WORD.

This is the mystery revealed, we are IN CHRIST, we are NEW CREATIONS, and we live in THE BLESSING of Abraham.

The second portion I want to look at is Ephesians 3:10-12 NIV “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, (11) according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (12) In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

The second thing that is revealed is that we do not need a priest to approach God we in faith through Christ and with boldness we can approach the throne of Grace.

The mystery behind the vail is revealed, the glory of God – we can now walk in the glory and the glory can flow out of us as we are yielded to Him. The glory outflowed from us is salvation of others, sanctification of others, the manifestation of the Kingdom in healing, miracles, deliverance, signs and wonders.

Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

Mark 16:15-18 NKJV “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (17) And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; (18) they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The mystery has been revealed in us, it is Christ in us and the Spirit flowing out of us producing the Kingdom here as it is on earth.

Let’s walk in the revealed mystery and RE-PRESENT Christ and RE-PRODUCE THE BLESSING of the Kingdom on earth.

Part 1: In Christ Introduction

brnWe are going to take the next several weeks and journey through the book of Ephesians to discover who we are in Christ and what belongs to us in Christ. On monday I gave a word about 2014 being a year of victory and in order to obtain that victory we must know who we are in Christ.

During these next weeks we will discuss the topics of sonship, walking in wisdom and understanding, seeing our daily lives through the Spirit, being alive in Christ, The plan of God, how to develop, family and friend relationships, and spiritual warfare.

We are all born into this world a human being, the only difference between a four year old and a forty year old is development. Each one has the same hands, feet, and everything, but the forty year old is more skilled than the four year old because he has had the time to develop.

The letter of Ephesians was a circular letter, many manuscripts do not have “in Ephesus” I believe that is because the letter is intended to promote spiritual development.

Today we are going to look at the first two verses, Ephesians 1:1-3 NIV “Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people, the faithful in Christ Jesus: (2) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paul says two things that will be key in our thinking as we learn who we are in Christ and what we have in Christ. We are called God’s holy people and the faithful.

The point of development in Christ, knowing who we are and what we have goes back to these things, being holy and faithful.

The Scripture tells us that blessing is dependent on our lifestyle and obedience, Deuteronomy 28:1-2 NIV “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. (2) All these blessings will come on you and accompany you, (overtake you, the New King James says) if you obey the LORD your God.”

As we go through Ephesians you will notice that holiness and faithfulness is a key component to spiritual development, it is important that we mark that in our thinking.

I want to establish a definition of holiness before we move forward in the series so that as holiness comes up we have a foundation to build upon.

Psalm 15 describes holiness as one who is blameless, does what is right, speaks truth, does not do wrong to his neighbor, despises a vile (cursing) person, honors those who fear God, keeps promises, and does not accept bribes.
For the sake of a concrete definition we turn to Donald Metz’s book, Studies in biblical holiness. “The word holiness may be said to refer to a state of personal spiritual life resulting from the baptism with the Holy Spirit, involving freedom from voluntary sin, purity of conscious intention and motivation, the practice of personal Christian ethics, and complete devotement to God.”

It is with this established definition we will go forward over these next weeks.

I believe this study is the most vital study for a Christian to do, if we do not know who we are in Christ and what belongs to us in Christ we cannot claim the exceeding great and precious promises of the Word of God.

It is when we know who we are in what we have that we defeat temptation when it comes.

The devil is defeated, he was defeated at calvary, he is defeated presently, he will always be defeated! The only time the enemy can snare you is when you let him, we avoid the snare by knowing and doing the word. We avoid the snare by speaking things that line up with the Word of God.

Proverbs 6:2 says we are snared by the Words of our mouth, thats how the enemy gets us, we hear a great word at church but as soon as we get out the door we say something contrary to the Word. We must speak the Word, we must walk rightly before God, for if we are willing and obedient we shall eat the good of the land.

I ask you to pray over these post in the coming weeks ask Holy Spirit to prepare your heart to learn who you are and what you have, ask for a believing spirit and a receiving heart, we are children of God and heirs with Christ Jesus, all good things belong to us!

Prepare your heart and mind to receive these next few weeks, get ready to know who you are and walk in who you are. Get ready to receive and take all the good things that belong to you.

There are two books that I believe will be beneficial in our study, The Power of Your Words by E. W. Kenyon and Re-Think Your Life by Stan Toler. The first book deals with your words and the second book deals with the mind, these two areas are essential in the discussion of who we are in Christ.