Christian Faith

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  (Heb. 11:6)

FAITH. The Bible says that it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Simply put, it is the ability to believe in something or someone without any evidence of the existence. (Heb. 11:1)

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

No taste, no sight, no sound, not anything to prove the reality, yet you still believe with all of your being, even to the point of eternity. This is real faith. This is the God kind of faith. This is the faith that never doubts.

Just as there is a God kind of love (agape love), there is a God kind of faith. This is the kind of faith that calls those things which be not as though they were, and then they are. This is the kind of faith by which God framed the worlds.

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb. 11:3)

Unwavering, unshakeable, undeniable faith.

There are those who think they don’t need it. That if it can’t be seen, or felt, or touched with the senses then it doesn’t exist. Such is a miserable existence.

There are those who think they have it, or who hope they have it, or who work hard to try to get it. Such is an uncertain existence.

And then there are those few in whom it actually dwells. Those who walk with God. Those who, as it says in the book of Daniel, do exploits for their God. These are those who live and walk in real joy, and peace, and the anointing of God.

There is only one way to obtain it, and that is to receive it. And there is only one you can receive it from, and that is from God.

God is the only one who can create it, and He is the only one who can give it away. God is the source of faith, and it is His gift. This ability to believe and never doubt is a gift from God.

And there are few who have it.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Eph. 2:8)

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Mat. 7:14)

How does one receive this miraculous gift of faith? It comes when we receive Christ and His Holy Spirit.

Tomorrow- Faith’s Measure

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Following in the Steps of Jesus

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”  (1Peter 2:21)

The Gospel of Matthew chapter six verses one through four says,

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”

“Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:”

“That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matt. 6:1-4)

Jesus is teaching on alms giving. This is one area where many Christians have failed terribly in God’s plan for having a giving life.

The giving of alms, or money for the poor, is very important in the eyes of God.

And once again, there is an apparent meaning and a spiritual meaning. The spiritual meaning reveals the truth in following the example of Christ and entering into “perfectness”.

“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.” (Prov. 21:13)

The Lord wants us to seek honor and acclaim in His eyes only.

That is why the Lord says that the giving of alms should be in secret, however the Pharisees and the hypocrites were doing it to seek honor in the eyes of men for various reasons.

The Pharisees practiced a vain and defiled religion which they had created by adding traditions and misinterpretations to the Law of Moses.

They practiced it to appease their inward wrong attitudes. They really did not believe in God actively engaging in their lives.

That is why they were so startled when individuals were delivered from demons or healed from diseases. That is why they were so offended when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath day, even though it was God who did the healing.

They were so intent on the minutia of their tradition they had lost sight of what was important. It didn’t matter to them if it was God who did it or not. They were totally involved in self-satisfaction and gloating over all the religious acts which they observed.

This religious attitude still persists today.

Several years ago, I was leaving a Hospital after visiting a sick individual when I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to hand a Gospel tract to a gentleman who was passing by.

I asked him if he knew that Jesus loved him and he declared that he was a Presbyterian.

I replied, “Great! Have you been born again? Jesus said, ‘except a man be born again he shall not see the Kingdom of God’.”

He replied, “I don’t care what Jesus said. I told you I was a Presbyterian.”

This religious pride is most prevalent in the Church today when it comes to giving.

The emphasis from the pulpit is often upon obedience to the law, the amount of the gift, and honoring the giver regardless of the reason for the giving and the attitude of the heart.

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1Sam. 16:7)

Matthew chapter 25 verses 34 through 40 declares,

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:”

“Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?”

“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?”

“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?”

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:34-40)

First Corinthians chapter four and verse five also says,

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” (1Cor. 4:5)

These Scriptures are talking about when we shall come into the presence of the Lord. If we give in secret for God’s eyes only, we shall receive praise from God as we stand before His throne plus He says that He shall reward us openly now.

When we give in secret it is God who receives the glory because there is no one standing in the way to receive the acclaim.

The Bible says that God who sees in secret shall reward openly.

This is a promise of prosperity not only in this life, but praise from God in the life to come. It is hard to imagine being praised by God, but God says He is going to do it.

James chapter 2 verses 15 and 16 says,

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (James 2:16)

The answer is it profits nothing.

God’s faith is a practical faith. Jesus met the physical needs of the hungry multitudes as well as meeting their spiritual needs.

Love and charity are practical.

And just as faith without works is dead, love and charity must have works also.

The Bible says that faith works by love.

“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” (Gal. 5:6)

First Corinthians chapter 13 and verse three declares,

“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.” (1Cor. 13:3)

There has to be charity, there has to be love involved in the giving, otherwise the giving profits nothing.

Many times people give wrongfully, such as the Pharisees and hypocrites did, because of the pride of self-sacrifice.

There is a certain pride in giving away what we believe we have worked so hard to earn.

There is a pride in believing that since we worked so hard for it then it is a great sacrifice and we should be honored for giving it.

John chapter three and verse 27 says,

“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” (John 3:27)

And in First Corinthians chapter four and verse seven,

“For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1Cor. 4:7)

Everything we have is not because we worked for it but we have it by the grace of God.

Therefore, if God has given it unto us then we can freely give it back to Him by giving it to others.

When we have this attitude of stewardship instead of ownership it takes away all pride and God is able to bless our giving.

First Timothy chapter six verses 17 through 19 tells us,

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”

“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”

“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” (1Tim. 6:17-19)

The Greek word for communicate literally means “to give to the poor”. The Lord teaches us that giving in love is instrumental in receiving back from him.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)

In conclusion, Jesus Christ is, was, and always shall be the same.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)

Jesus Christ and the Father are one.

“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)

Jesus Christ is perfect.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mat. 5:48)

We are to follow the example of Christ and strive for perfectness.

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” (1Peter 2:21)

“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col. 3:14)

We follow in His steps and strive for perfectness through charity, and we achieve charity by following His rules for Kingdom living as Jesus described in His “Sermon on the Mount”.

This can only be done through Christ in us, the hope of Glory, the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost.

“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)

Only then shall we see the manifestation of God’s power in our lives and receive the blessings of obedience.

Tomorrow- Christian Faith

"The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount" available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

“The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount” available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

Vain Traditions vs Perfect Love

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”  (Mark 7:13)

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.”  (1John 4:17)

Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter five verses 38 and 39,

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Mat 5:38-39)

In these verses of Scripture, Jesus is not contradicting the law of the land.

The Law of Moses had said “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

People who committed injury or crimes against another were to be brought before the proper authorities and punishment was to be issued by the appropriate judges in their judicial system.

However, during the times of Jesus many people had taken it upon themselves to avenge their wrongs and they were using the Word of God to justify it.

This is what the Lord is talking about in these verses.

Jesus here is talking to individuals who would later become Christians. They were going to know God as their Heavenly Father.

He tells them to resist not evil. He says that if someone slaps you on one side of your face, then offer them the other also. In other words, forgive them and give them another chance.

Jesus goes on to say in Matthew chapter five verses 40 through 42,

“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” (Matt. 5:40-42)

Jesus is teaching us that instead of avenging ourselves, we should go out of our way to demonstrate to those who would misuse us that, by the Grace of God, we have been changed from someone who would be angry and resist or retaliate.

We have been given a new heart and a new spirit made in the image of His heart and His Spirit. As God’s children, we should act as our Heavenly Father would act.

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4)

In Matthew chapter five verses 43 through 48 Jesus says,

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.” (Matt. 5:43)

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matt. 5:44)

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5:45)

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” (Matt. 5:46)

“And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Matt. 5:47)

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48)

Verse 43 is one example of what Jesus called the “vain traditions” of the Pharisees.

They had taken two unrelated Scriptures out of the Old Testament and had put them together to form a tradition.

Leviticus chapter 19 and verse18 says,

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Lev. 19:18)

The unrelated verse which they combined to the verse in Leviticus and formed the proverb “Love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy” is found in Deuteronomy chapter 23 and verse six.

“Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days forever.” (Deut. 23:6)

The Pharisees’ great desire was to appear righteous before men but they had no concern as to how they appeared before God, so they would take Scriptures out of context to vindicate their positions.

Over time these “vindications” became traditions which they lived and taught by. Jesus said that in doing so they made the Word of God of “none effect”.

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” (Mark 7:13)

Another example of this can be found in Matthew chapter 15 verses four through six.

“For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” (Matt. 15:4-6)

The Pharisees had created a tradition that promoted retaliation or hate against their enemies. Retaliation is nothing but fear. It is the attitude of “I have to stop them before they hurt me.” It is an attitude of fear.

However, Jesus said to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”

He went on to say, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  

The Bible says in First John chapter four and verse 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.” (1John 4:18)

Charity or love is the doorway to perfection, and the “perfect love” that the Scripture is talking about in First John chapter four and verse 18 is the love that many people call the “agape” kind of love.

This is the “God kind of love” which loves someone even when they may be against us. This is what God did when He sent Jesus. This is what God did when He loved us before we loved Him.

“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1John 4:19)

Colossians chapter three and verses 12 through 14 says,

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col. 3:12-14)

As Jesus said in Matthew,

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

The Bible says that charity is the “joint tie” or bond of perfectness. The Greek words that are translated “perfect” in Matthew 5:48 and “perfectness” in Colossians 3:14 are the words that mean “complete” or “completeness”.

It is only through charity, or “agape” love, by which we can achieve completeness, or full maturity, in Christ.

There are 3 different Greek words which are translated “love” in the New Testament.

The first type of love the Bible talks about is the Greek word “philio”. This love is the type of love that an individual has with his or her spouse or children. This is a familial love or love for family.

The next Greek word translated “love” in the Bible is “agapao”. This is a moral type of love. This is a general type of love or love for all mankind. This is the type of love that creates a willingness to give. It doesn’t mean that you have given but it means that you have a willingness to give.

This is the love that God had when he “so loved (agapao) the world.”

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

He loved the world with “agapao” love but then He did something about it.

He gave.

God’s general love for all mankind was transformed into perfect personal love when He gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ.

This is “agape” love.

It is created by and is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is manifested in us when we walk in the Spirit and do the works of God, when we give.

This is perfect love.

The Bible says we are to put on charity. (Col. 3:14)

So many times people pray, “Lord give me agape love. Give me charity.”

God has already given us the love, the willingness, the desire to give, when he gave us a new heart. When we add works birthed out of that love then it is a fruit of the Spirit for all to enjoy.

Faith without works is dead. Love without doing is not charity.

God gave his Son because He loved, and when He did it His love became agape love.

First Corinthians chapter 13 verses four through seven is the definition that the Word of God gives us for charity or agape love.

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1Cor. 13:4-7)

Tomorrow- Following in the Steps of Jesus

"The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount" available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

“The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount” available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

A New Heart and a New Spirit (Part 2)

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”  (Eze. 36:26)

Matthew chapter five verses 33 through 37 instruct us concerning the assurance of our words,

“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:”

“But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:”

“Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.”

“Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.”

“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matt. 5:33-37)

The apparent interpretation of these Scriptures is that God is dealing with swearing and oaths, but the deeper interpretation is that God is dealing with the attitude of pride.

When someone swears an oath such as “I swear on my mother’s grave”, or “I swear to God”, or any other such proclamation, they are really swearing that something “shall be” or “is so” regardless of the circumstances.

By doing such a thing, they are expressing their total dependence upon themselves to make it happen.

This is pride.

We should be saying, “If it is the Lord’s will.”

“For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:15)

The Lord says not to swear by anything, but let your words be simply “yes” or “no”.

In other words, there should be no need to convince anyone by swearing that what we are saying is the truth. As a Christian, our character alone should be all that is necessary for someone to know that what we have said is “yea” or “nay”.

James chapter five and verse 12 tells us,

“But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” (James 5:12)

In this verse of Scripture the Apostle James says, “above all things.” This is a tremendous significance to put upon the words that come out of our mouths, especially concerning whether we are “swearing by” something or not.

Why would the Scriptures put such significance on this?

“For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matt. 12:37)

The condemnation that is being spoken of here is the condemnation of the devil. We read in First Timothy chapter three and verse six,

“Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” (1Tim. 3:6)

The Bible says that God resists the proud.

Pride brings condemnation upon us before the throne of God.

Boastful words come forth from a prideful heart. A non-repentant prideful heart is not walking after the Spirit. We only escape condemnation when we walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1)

Revelation chapter 12 and verse ten says,

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Rev. 12:10)

The devil wants to accuse you. The devil wants to condemn you. The devil wants to hinder your prayers.

When we swear or do anything else to reinforce what we have declared, it is an outward manifestation of the pride of self-determination that is in our hearts.

James chapter four verses 13 through 17 declares,

“Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:”

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

“For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

“But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:13-17)

God is beholding and listening to our conversation, for the Bible says, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matt. 12:34).

The words we speak are an indicator to us and others of what is really in our hearts.

Tomorrow- Vain Traditions vs Perfect Love

"The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount" available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

“The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount” available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

A New Heart and a New Spirit (Part 1)

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”  (Eze. 36:26)

One of the reasons why God is able to give us the victory and keep us from falling is because He has given us another nature empowered by the Holy Spirit that we can choose to live by.

It is only because of this new man living inside of us that we can determine right from wrong and have the strength to live according to the principles of the Kingdom of God.

Matthew chapter five verses 31 and 32 instructs us,

“It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matt. 5:31-32)

These Scriptures give us the parameters concerning divorce. However, as it is with all the words of Jesus, there is the apparent meaning and there is the deeper meaning.

One of the things we must realize concerning the principles of the Kingdom of God is that the Lord is talking about living according to the abilities of a new and righteous heart.

He is talking about always living in peace and forgiveness.

In the Gospel of Mark chapter ten and verse five,

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.” (Mark 10:5)

We who have been born again and filled with the Holy Ghost have been delivered from a hard heart. The Lord says,

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Ezek. 36:26)

We as Christians have been given a new heart.

The psalmist cries out in Psalms 51 verse ten,

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

As believers in a Christian marriage, God gives us no excuse to head towards divorce. We do not have a hard heart but we have a softened heart. We are able to work things out.

We can come to the peace that God wants us to come to if we are willing to change and forgive.

However, for unbelievers sometimes such is not the case.

In First Corinthians chapter seven verses ten through 17 we read the Apostle Paul’s instructions concerning marriage as given through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:” (1Cor. 7:10)

“But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” (1Cor. 7:11)

“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.” (1Cor. 7:12)

“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.” (1Cor. 7:13)

“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” (1Cor. 7:14)

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” (1Cor. 7:15)

“For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (1Cor. 7:16)

“But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.” (1Cor. 7:17)

In verses ten and 11 the Lord through Paul is talking to husbands and wives who are both believers and married in the Lord. He says to “Let them not depart.”

In verses 12 through 16, the Apostle Paul says “but to the rest speak I, not the Lord”. Here he is referring to believers who find themselves married to unbelieving spouses that are not part of the body of Christ.

In verse 14 the Bible says that the unbeliever is sanctified, meaning set apart, by the believer. They are sanctified unto salvation. In God’s eyes that saved individual’s unbelieving husband, wife, or children are set apart from the rest of the world.

It is true that all individuals have to come to a personal acceptance of Christ for their salvation, but when God says they are sanctified it means that He has set them apart for a concentrated ministration of the Holy Spirit to convict them of sin and bring them to Christ.

By living with a changed, born again individual on a daily basis, 24 hours a day seven days a week, the unsaved spouse or children will witness firsthand the reality of God and His ability to transform a life through the power of a new heart and a new spirit.

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation (Greek: behavior) of the wives;” (1Peter 3:1)

God has not only promised to save us but He is has also promised to save our household.

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)

These Scriptures go on to say, “But if the unbelieving depart let him depart. A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases.” (1Cor. 7:15) Not under bondage means they have been set at liberty.

First and foremost, God has called us to peace.

The key for a believer to continue in marriage to a non-believer are the verses which declare “be pleased to dwell”,

But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.”

“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.” (1Cor. 7:14-15)

The unbelieving spouse must accept and be pleased with the changes in the spouse who has become a believer.

In no way does God condone abuse. The Scripture says, “God hath called us to peace.

There are many men and women of God who have been anointed and called to preach, but because of an unbelieving spouse that has chosen to leave and divorce them, certain religious institutions have forbidden and hindered them from fulfilling their place in the body of Christ.

There are religious organizations and leaders who say “you can’t do this” or “you can’t do that”, ignoring the fact that it is God who has forgiven and God who has justified, and it is God who calls and anoints.

God says, “A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases.”

Rest assured that if a believer has been divorced from an unbelieving spouse God has not withdrawn his call or anointing because of that divorce. The Bible says that the gifts and the calling of God are unchangeable.

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Rom. 11:29)

Tomorrow- A New Heart and a New Spirit (Part 2)

"The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount" available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

“The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount” available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

The Spirit of the Word

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”  (John 6:63)

Matthew chapter 5 verses 23 and 24 says,

“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.” (Matt. 5:23-24)

Now, as Christians we don’t bring a bullock or goat to be slain upon the altar of God. The Bible tells us that we offer the fruit of our lips as a sacrifice of praise.

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Heb. 13:15)

God tells us that before the sacrifice of praise is even acceptable unto Him, the aught that we have in our heart against someone or the aught that someone else feels against us has to be reconciled.

That is why the Bible teaches that we have to be washed before we come into the Holiest of Holies with our Lord. In the Old Testament the High Priest had to be cleansed with water, but we must be cleansed by the blood of Christ before we offer our gift.

It doesn’t matter whether we were wrong or we have been wronged, God declares that He will not accept our gift until we have done everything possible to make peace.

There should be no schism in the Body of Christ.

“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” (1Cor. 12:25)

Matthew chapter five verses 25 and 26 tells us,

Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” (Matt. 5:25-26)

Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63)

The words of Christ have a deeper meaning in these verses than just giving advice concerning civil matters involving judges, officers, prison, and fines.

Hebrews chapter 12 and verse 23 tells us that God is the judge of all.

“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,” (Heb. 12:23)

“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Rom. 14:10)

The Lord tells us that we are to come to an understanding with our adversary quickly while we are still engaged in the disagreement, before we part and go our separate ways.

Once we part company and the Holy Spirit begins to convict each heart, the one who repents first of the division commits as it were the other to the chastisement of God.

If my brother in Christ and I were to get into an argument, and I went home muttering against my brother, whether I was right or wrong, and my brother went home and went before the Lord in prayer repenting and asking forgiveness for the argument, then he has delivered me to the Judge.

He has cleansed his heart before God whether right or wrong.

He has forgiven me and asked forgiveness for himself, while as I on the other hand, holding onto my resentment and anger and still having ought in my heart, have been delivered to the Righteous Judge by my brother.

As long as I stay in my bitter and unforgiving attitude, we can rest assured that coals of fire will be heaped upon my head and I will receive the chastisement of the Lord until I turn and repent of my sinful pride and anger.

This is why Jesus says to agree with our adversary quickly while we are in the way with him, lest he delivers us up to the judge and the judge delivers us to the officer and the officer delivers us to the prison.

We will not come out from there until we have paid the uttermost amount.

In other words, we will not come out from under God’s chastisement and conviction until total repentance on our part has come forth.

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

“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:19-21)

Jesus said in Matthew chapter five verses 27 through 30,

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:”

“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

“And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matt. 5:27-30)

In these verses the Lord is talking about moral and spiritual impurity, and once again we see that is the same punishment for the act as well as the intent of the heart.

Let’s look at the spirit of Jesus words.

He is not saying that we should literally cut our hands off or pluck our eyes out in order to overcome the problem of impurity in our lives.

What He is saying is to mortify or count as dead our members upon the earth.

Treat them as if we had cut them off and it would therefore be impossible to commit the sin.

This is similar to the instance when Jesus was talking about being the bread sent down from heaven:

“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:53-54)

Jesus wasn’t talking about His literal flesh and blood. He was talking about partaking of Christ and receiving Him into your being. Jesus went on to say,

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

However, there were those who didn’t understand, and because they didn’t understand, they no longer followed.

Colossians chapter three and verse five tells us to,

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col. 3:5)

The word mortify literally means “to count as dead.” The Lord instructs us to consider our members to be so dead to sin, that rigor mortis has set in and they cannot be revived.

Romans chapter six verses 12 through 14 declares,

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:12-14)

The Word of God tells us that sin shall not have dominion over us if we will not allow it.

James chapter four verses seven and eight says,

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:7-8)

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” (Rom. 13:14)

Do whatever it takes to make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof, and you will have the victory that you are seeking from God.

He wants you to have that victory more than you even want it.

Jude chapter one verses 24 and 25 tells us how much he wants us to have it.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)

God is the one who is able to keep you from falling. God is able to do it.

Tomorrow- A New Heart and a New Spirit

"The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount" available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

“The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount” available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

Matthew 5:20- The First Requirement for Entering the Kingdom of Heaven

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  (Mat. 5:20)

Matthew chapter five verses 17 through 20 declares,

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-20)

In these verses of Scripture, Jesus begins to warn us of being like the scribes and the Pharisees.

“And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.” (Luke 11:39)

The Pharisees were clean on the outside but they were wicked on the inside.

There was another time when Jesus told them that they were like a whited sepulcher full of dead men’s bones.

In the book of Isaiah chapter 64 and verse six we read,

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa. 64:6)

The Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of the day, refused to recognize that their thoughts were evil and they were unrighteous.

Like the religious folk of every generation, they failed to acknowledge that they were prideful. They failed to acknowledge the fact that they had evil attitudes towards one another and others.

They thought that by physically obeying the rules and regulations of their religion then their thoughts and attitudes didn’t matter. They thought they had attained righteousness by keeping the letter of the law when in reality they were failing miserably.

The Pharisees believed that they were righteous in the eyes of God. They went about making their own righteousness with their works and traditions and they ignored the fact that God had concluded all under sin.

The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory,

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Rom. 3:23)

This is why many of the religious leaders and crowds followed Jesus and His miracles. They believed that because of their righteousness and holiness God was finally rewarding them by sending a deliverer to remove the Roman oppression and restore the Kingdom of David.

Their self-righteousness had blinded their minds to the words of the prophet,

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)

They believed that because of their religious deeds they had no sin and did not need the suffering Messiah described by Isaiah,

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he 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.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

When Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, the people went before him laying Palm branches on the ground and crying “Hosanna to the son of David”.

They believed that He was going to use His miraculous power to destroy the Roman armies and restore the Kingdom of David physically upon the earth.

They failed to realize the need for a suffering Messiah to die on a cross and bear the penalty for their sins.

The Pharisees and religious sects of the day had come to the conclusion that they had no sin because of the religious traditions which they fulfilled.

Therefore, when it became apparent that Jesus was not going to remove the Romans and set Himself upon a throne, those who followed Him for that reason turned against Him.

The same crowds that a few days before had been crying “Hosanna” now were crying “Crucify Him.”

They refused to believe they were sinners and needed a Savior. Their pride and self-righteousness blinded them to their need for a redeemer to pay the penalty for their sin.

They did not understand that they were sinners in the eyes of God. No amount of religious works and traditions could establish their righteousness in God’s eyes.

Second Corinthians chapter five and verse 21 says,

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor. 5:21)

Jesus came to establish His righteousness, and then to give us His righteousness in exchange for our sins at Calvary. He came to give us a new spirit, a new heart, a new attitude and will.

“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:” (Eze. 11:19)

Jesus said,

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

The Pharisees were concerned only with the letter of the Law and their appearance unto men.

God is concerned with the spirit of the Law, our attitudes, our hearts, our will, and our emotions.

Hebrews chapter ten verses 16 and 17 tells us,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb. 10:17)

The Bible tells us that God speaks to us.

Jesus said,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27)

If we have been born again, then God speaks to us. He impresses our hearts and speaks into our minds. We don’t have to go through someone else to hear from God.

God is our Father.

He will speak to us and deal with us personally. He will give us strength in our inner man to overcome the flesh and the carnal mind.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” (Rom. 6:12)

The Bible says:If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (1Tim. 6:3-5)

We are to follow the words of Jesus.

Jesus said, “Ye must be born again”. We must ask Jesus into our hearts and accept His righteousness in place of our unrighteousness. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

This is the righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees.

The Scripture tells us that the devil is the accuser of the brethren. (Rev. 12:10)

He is standing before the throne of God continually and likes nothing better than to see unrepentant sins in our lives that transgress the Word of God so that he can accuse us before our Heavenly Father.

He wants to accuse us as to why God shouldn’t answer our prayer or meet our need. He is the accuser of the brethren.

The Bible says he accuses us day and night before God.

However, when we repent of our sins and forgive others their trespasses, we are washed in the blood of Christ and the devil has no case against us. We stand in the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:31-32)

This is the righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees.

Tomorrow- The Spirit of the Word

"The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount" available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.

“The Sound Doctrine Seminar Volume Two: Revelations from the Sermon on the Mount” available now for $4.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore for the iPad, and Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices.