The Strength of Faith

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“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;”  (Rom. 4:20)

The Gospel of Matthew chapter five and verse 13 tells us,

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13)

In the days of Jesus, salt was used mostly as a preservative instead of a spice. It was used to preserve meat.

Here Jesus says that if the salt has lost its savor (strength or ability) and can no longer do what it is supposed to do, then it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and walked upon.

Now our strength, our keeping power, our preservative is our faith.

The Bible says “the just shall live by faith.” If our salt is faith then this Scripture is saying that if we lose the power of our faith it is good for nothing.

Our faith can become vain and useless by taking it and putting it in something other than Christ. (Gal. 5:1-6)

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)

There is only one direction for our faith, and that direction is not in ourselves, our abilities, our accomplishments, our commitment, our holiness, or anyone or anything else.

The only direction for our faith, the only place where our faith can be deposited, is in God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” (Col. 1:21-23)

There are those who think they have faith but they have let their faith die. The Bible says faith without works is dead.

“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20)

Faith is active. Faith is going. Faith is doing.

Ephesians chapter six and verse 13 says,

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Eph. 6:13)

Many people believe that if they become a Christian then their life will become boring with nothing to do. However, there is so much that God will give us to do if we really want to get close to Him, that we won’t have time to worry about things that we shouldn’t do anymore.

Being a Christian is very active.

A Spirit filled Christian who is drawing closer to Jesus is very active in the kingdom of God.

Faith is active.

When faith ceases to be active, it can die.

The Gospel of Matthew chapter five and verse 14 declares,

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” (Matt. 5:14)

We cannot hide, we cannot afford to hide, our faith and dedication to God.

Romans chapter two and verse four tells us,

“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)

People are going to see God in our lives. They are going to see God in our lives and they are going to see the goodness of God in our lives.

It is that goodness of God that leads men to repentance.

We cannot allow ourselves to be a light that is turned off.

The Bible says the city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

John chapter 18 verses 20 and 21 says,

“Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.” (John 18:21)

Nothing that Jesus did was hid behind closed doors. Jesus Christ was openly and freely proclaiming the counsel of God.

God is open. God is clear. God is light.

The Bible tells us in John chapter one and verse five,

“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:5)

Our witness for God has to be as God.

It has to be clear. It has to be light. Our witness to the world has to be pure, unadulterated, and without compromise.

God will use the light of His love in you and through you to draw sinners to repentance.

I’ve seen ministries and outreaches fail and go down the drain because they dimmed the light. They compromised. They may have succeeded in the world’s eyes but they lost the anointing of God.

The people of the world do not need a ministry or a gospel that looks like what they have already tried in the world. Those who are seeking a change in their lives have already found that what the world offered was empty and unfulfilling.

They have already found that the world and all that is in it is no help at all for their problems. The people of the world are hungry for something that is different, something that is pure, and something that is true.

They are tired of what they’re living in and they are not going to want anything that looks and feels the same. They want something different. They want something clean.

They’re tired of the degradation and they’re tired of the uncleanliness that the world offers. They want something that is pure, clean, and true.

Without realizing it, their souls are craving the anointing and the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our witness has to be pure and unfeigned.

Second Corinthians chapter four verses three and four declares,

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Cor. 4:4)

If someone does not get saved, let it be because they rejected the truth. Don’t let it be because they never heard the truth.

The apostle Paul says my gospel wasn’t hid to anyone except to those who didn’t want it. It was hid to those who were blinded by the prince of this world.

Matthew chapter five and verse 15 says,

“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” (Matt. 5:15)

Our witness should not just be on a hill so the world can see it, but our witness should also be in the house of God so the church can see it. Don’t let your light be put under a bushel in the house of God and in the family of God.

The Bible tells us that every one of us is a “member in particular” of the body of Christ.

“From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph. 4:16)

Each of us is an important individual in our local assembly and among the believers that we associate with in our lives. We are like a link in the chain and it has been said many times that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Each one of us has our place in the body of Christ. Each one of us has individual gifts that have been given to us by God that are useful to the building up of the entire body.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1Cor. 12:27)

No one is a “nobody” in the eyes of God. Each of us is a “somebody” in His eyes.

God has created each of us, saved us, anointed us, and deposited within us that certain “something” that no one else can duplicate.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)

For God to be glorified our works must be a result of faith in God and love.

Belief alone is not enough to please God.

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:19-20)

God wants to see the active result of our belief and faith with works.

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

If our faith is going to be working it has to be working by love.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 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. 13:2-3)

Faith and love together comprise good works which men will see and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Next- The Sin of Self-Righteousness

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Walking with a Pure Heart in the Peace of Christ

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Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”  (Mat. 5:8-9)

Matthew chapter five and verse eight declares,

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8)

Something that is pure, such as pure gold, has no variables in it. It is unchanging. It is steadfast.

Blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the steadfast in heart, for they shall see God.

First Corinthians chapter 15 and verse 58 tells us,

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Cor. 15:58)

The Book of James chapter one verses six and seven tells us why this is to our advantage to be steadfast and unmovable.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (James 1:6-7)

Have you ever known anyone in the body of Christ who this week believes in the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues and next week they don’t believe in it at all?

This week they believe that we are supposed to be baptized in water this way and the next week believe we are supposed to be baptized another way. They are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.

There are many winds of doctrine today but God says “stand fast”.

The Lord says to “stand fast” in what I have put in your heart and the revelation that I have given you. “Stand fast” in what the Holy Spirit has borne witness to be truth unto you.

We are not to be tossed to and fro as the wind tosses the waves, for the Bible says “we shall not receive anything from the Lord.”

Second Peter chapter three and verse 17 says,

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.” (2Peter 3:17)

God wants us to be steadfast.

The Gospel of Matthew chapter five and verse nine tells us,

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9)

Romans chapter eight and verse 14 says,

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14)

The children of God and the sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit and are peacemakers.

When the Spirit of God is involved we are going to be peacemakers. We are going to spread peace between man and God. We are going to show men how they can be reconciled unto God.

Acts chapter eight and verse 29 declares,

“Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” (Acts 8:29)

These Scriptures in Acts tell us of a time when Philip was led by the Spirit of God to go down to Gaza and there he met an Ethiopian eunuch whom he led to the Lord.

Philip was led by the Spirit of God.

This is the witness of the gospel that we are talking about: being a peacemaker.

James chapter five and verse 20 says,

“Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)

Ephesians chapter six and verses 14 and 15,

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” (Eph. 6:15)

Being a witness is very important to God. It is an attitude of heart. Many people know that they are supposed to witness but they do not exercise that attitude of heart.

This attitude of heart is just like the Bible says, having “your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”

It means to be ready.

The Bible says that we are to always be prepared and be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1Peter 3:15)

We are to be ready to give an answer as to why we don’t run to the same extremes of excess, the pleasures of sin, or the worry and panic that other people do.

This is an attitude of heart. To always be prepared to give an answer. To always be prepared to speak out for the Lord Jesus Christ and not to be ashamed.

Jesus said that if we are ashamed of Him in this wicked and adulterous generation, then He will be ashamed of us when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)

There is a lot more to the Word of God than just John 3:16.

It has been said that Thompson, the man who put together the Thompson Chain Reference Bible, said on his deathbed to the man who was consoling him as he was dying, that if we really believe everything contained in the Word of God, then there are going to be few who enter into eternal life.

This is just exactly what Jesus said.

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

Matthew chapter five verses ten through 12 declares,

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt. 5:10-12)

Persecution is a gauge or an indicator of our godliness. The Word of God tells us in Second Timothy chapter three and verse 12,

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2Tim. 3:12)

Jesus said in John chapter 15 verses 20 and 21,

“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” (John 15:20-21)

Here Jesus lets us know exactly what we’re getting into when we decide to follow Him. It is not all a bed of roses being a Christian.

There are things we are going to encounter as a Christian that might not be very pleasing to the flesh.

But Jesus said also said that great is the reward when we do live godly.

The Lord wants us to count the cost. Luke chapter 14 verses 28 through 30 says,

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” (Luke 14:28-30)

There will be persecutions. He says there will be divisions.

There will be a mother-in-law against a daughter-in-law and a father-in-law against a son-in-law. There will be a brother against a brother and a sister against a sister.

But the Lord says that if we stand fast and hold onto the faith, if we continue to go on and not turn back, we shall reap in due season if we faint not.

“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)

Many preachers preach about the 100 fold return, but oftentimes there are two words that they leave out when they preach about this Scripture. The words that are left out many times in preaching about the 100 fold return are the words “with persecutions”.

The persecutions are going to come as we live godly.

If we are able to live in this unrighteous world, work side-by-side with ungodly individuals, listen, laugh, or go along with the immoral jokes and philosophies and never receive any type of persecution for our faith and belief in Christ, then we need to ask ourselves “What kind of witness am I for Christ?”

Jesus told the Church at Laodicea,

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16)

Next- The Strength of Faith

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The Empowerment of Christian Mercy

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“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”  (Mat. 5:7)

The Bible tells us in the Old Testament book of Hosea that,

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6)

If we as God’s people are going to experience the abundant overcoming life that Jesus provided for us at Calvary, then we need to hunger and thirst to not only know God’s Word but also to understand it as well.

As we study the Word of God and seek after wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, we begin to see that often there is the apparent meaning of Scripture, and then there is the revealed meaning of Scripture that only the Holy Spirit can give.

In other words, we are to seek after and follow the whole Word of God, not just part of it. The Bible says,

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

As God reveals these principles unto us, then we can have victory in them as we daily strive to walk according to His word.

We not only have the righteousness of God in Christ, but the Bible also says,

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1John 1:7)

Jesus Christ cleanses us from not only all of our sin, but also everything that stands between us and Him that might interfere with receiving His best.

We see then that it is the whole Word of God, not just a few Scriptures, that provide for victorious Kingdom living.

So many times people have taken just a few Scriptures and built the entire doctrine of their Christian Faith around them, however the Bible says,

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4)

The Gospel of Matthew chapter five and verse seven says,

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. 5:7)

God wants us to be merciful so that we can be blessed of Him.

Second Chronicles chapter six and verse 42 tells us,

“O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.” (2Chron. 6:42)

The Bible teaches that David was a great example to us of how we ought to be merciful.

We can read in First Samuel chapter 24 verses one through eight and in First Samuel chapter 26 verses seven through 16 of how David was merciful unto Saul.

Twice David was in a position to thrust his spear into the heart of Saul and exact vengeance for himself.

David had the opportunity to kill the man who, for no reason, was chasing him and trying to kill him, but yet David was merciful. David said, “I will not touch God’s anointed”.

We can also read of David’s mercy in First Samuel the 25th chapter. These are the Scriptures referring to Abigail and her husband Nabal.

Nabal rightfully owed provisions to David’s men because they had protected Nabal’s servants while they were in the field.

However, Nabal mocked David’s men when David sent them to him and refused to give them the provisions they needed. David was furious and set out to destroy Nabal and all the men of his household.

Nabal’s wife Abigail was told of her husband’s foolish act so she loaded provisions and went to David to plead for his life. David saw the provisions and Abigail’s humility and decided to show mercy to Nabal for Abigail’s sake.

David committed Nabal unto God.

David committed Saul unto God.

And God wrought His sovereign vengeance on both Nabal and Saul in His time.

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom. 12:19)

Acts chapter 13 and verse 34 says,

“And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.” (Acts 13:34)

David was merciful and not only obtained mercy, but he obtained a promise from God that his descendent would sit upon his throne forever.

“The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.” (Psalm 132:11-12)

God fulfilled this promise through David’s descendent Mary when she gave birth to Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Having mercy and being merciful are monumental in the eyes of God.

Galatians chapter six verses seven and eight says,

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal. 6:7-8)

What we plant we are going to reap. The Bible says “God is not mocked”. In other words, make no mistake about it. It does not matter how spiritual we think we may be.

What we sow we are going to reap.

Job was a merciful man. In Job chapter 42 and verse ten the Bible tells us,

“And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10)

Job was delivered when he prayed for others. When he offered sacrifices for the false comforters who had come against him, then he received his deliverance from God.

Jesus was merciful from the cross.

He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Because of the mercy He showed to those who persecuted Him, tortured Him, and railed against Him, He received mercy as the Son of Man.

The mercy He received was the forgiveness of our sins.

In the Book of Zechariah we read,

“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.”

“And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”

“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.”

“And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”

“And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”

“And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying,”

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” (Zech. 3:1-7)

In these Scriptures found in the Book of Zechariah, we are reading a prophetic vision which the prophet had of Jesus Christ standing before the Heavenly Father after His ascension into heaven.

We know that there was a Joshua that returned from captivity and was a High Priest in the Old Testament, but the Bible also tells us that Jesus Christ is a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

This is a perfect example of the apparent meaning of Scripture and the revealed meaning of Scripture.

To fully understand this portion of Scripture, we need to understand that the Hebrew word for Joshua is the same for Jesus: Yeshua.

Since Jesus said,

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13)

These Scriptures are not referring to any Joshua from the Old Testament, but here the word of God in prophecy is talking about Jesus Christ as He ascended from the depths of hell and came before God the Father clothed in the filthy rags of our sins.

“And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”

After Jesus Christ had risen from the dead, He appeared to Mary and said, “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended unto my Father.” (John 20:17) Jesus could not allow Mary to touch Him for He still had the sin of the world upon His body.

He had to go and have the filthy spiritual garments removed. He had to be given the robes of righteousness to replace the filthy rags of our sins once they were taken away.

In the verse where the Lord says, “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee”, He is talking about our iniquity. The Bible says that Jesus knew no sin, therefore He had no iniquity.

Jesus Christ was without sin, spotless, and blameless.

However, the Bible 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)

The filthy garments that were upon Him and the iniquity that was upon Him were our sins and iniquity which He took upon Himself at the cross of Calvary.

There He made the atonement for us. The Greek word for “atonement” is katallage (pronounced kat-al-lag-ay’) which means “the exchange”.

This is why Jesus had to be separated from the Father and had to die a spiritual death.

What is spiritual death? It is being separated from God.

This is why in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was in agony, not over the physical death, but he was agonizing over the spiritual death of being separated from the Father, something He had never known since the beginning.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

In the garden Jesus was praying “Father, if there be any other way let this cup pass from me.” He was sweating as it were “great drops of blood”, not because of the physical death he was going to endure but in anticipation of the spiritual death that he was going to endure.

The Bible says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20)

The death this verse is talking about is spiritual separation from God, something that Christ had never known. Even before he came to this earth and was born in a manger, Christ had always been with the Father.

That is why He was in terrible agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

In Zechariah chapter three verse five the Lord said “Let them set a fair mitre upon his head”, meaning a “crown” or a “diadem”, signifying His restoration as the King of Heaven.

The angel was given a charge to speak unto Joshua or Jesus. He was speaking to the body of Christ. This is the charge given to the spiritual body of Christ. This is the charge given to us as Christians.

He says,

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” (Zech. 3:7)

The Bible says we shall judge the house of God. The Bible says we shall rule and reign as kings and priests with God. The Bible says “if you will walk in my ways”, and this is what we are talking about: walking in the ways of God.

We are talking about keeping the principles of the kingdom of God.

Next- Walking with a Pure Heart in the Peace of Christ

"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.

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The Empowerment of Christian Meekness and Righteousness

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“Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.”  (Psalm 45:3-4)

Matthew chapter five and verse five tells us,

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5)

Matthew chapter five and verse three instructs us concerning pride and humbleness, verse four instructs us concerning repentance, and now verse five instructs us about walking in that repentance and humility.

“Blessed are the meek.”

The Greek word for meek is “praus” (pronounced prah-ooce’). It literally means mild. Many people interpret the word meek to mean someone who is cowardly or afraid.

Jesus was a very meek individual and a very mild individual. The Bible says that He was led before His accusers as a Lamb led to the slaughter, meek and not opening his mouth.

However, He was anything but cowardly or afraid.

Jesus was a man among men.

He rebuked the Pharisees and religious leaders to their face.

He drove the money changers and sellers out of the Temple.

He willingly went to the cross knowing in advance what pain and suffering He would endure.

The “mildness” that God tells us to walk in is not a cowardly or timid meekness, for the Bible says the righteous are “bold as a lion”. (Prov. 28:1)

The “meek” that are blessed of God are those who determine in their hearts to completely do away with all vengeance and retaliation.

It is a meekness whereby we commit everything into the hands of our Heavenly Father.

He is the One who will rise up as a mighty Parent and protect His injured child.

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom. 12:19)

He is the One who will make sure that all things will work together for the good of His child.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

First Corinthians chapter six and verse seven says,

“Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (1Cor. 6:7)

God is able to sovereignly bless.

How many times have Christians deprived themselves of the tremendous blessings that God would have returned to them after they had been defrauded or wronged if only they had committed it to God instead of trying to obtain justice themselves?

God can cause men to give back to us good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over when we allow Him to be our avenger.

“Vengeance is mine” saith the Lord, “I will repay.”

Here He says we are “utterly at fault” because we go to law one with another instead of trusting God. The Lord says, “Why do you not rather endure being wronged?” I believe here the Lord is literally saying, “Don’t you know that you are robbing yourself of a blessing?”

By trying to be our own avenger and to force our own recompense, we miss out on the Lord being able to “…do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Eph. 3:20)

Trust God.

He is the one who owns everything. The Bible says that “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills; the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

Hebrews chapter ten verses 30 and 31 says,

“For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:30-31)

If we think that we can hurt someone because they have hurt us then we are wrong.

God is our avenger. God will judge to determine who is right and who is wrong and then He will punish or reward.

There were times when Jesus looked at the Pharisees and said, “Because of the traditions of men you make the Word of God of none effect.” Many times we literally tie God’s hands by taking it upon ourselves and not committing the situation unto Him.

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5)

Matthew chapter five and verse six says,

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6)

This is the attitude of a regenerate heart. This is the attitude of someone who has genuinely been born again. Romans chapter seven verses 18 and 19 says,

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Rom 7:18-19)

The Apostle Paul says, “I know that in this flesh dwells no good thing.”

This flesh is not who we are.

It is how we appear to others, but it is not who we are on the inside. The flesh may look ugly but inside can be a beautiful person.

Jesus makes us beautiful when He gives us a new heart.

Here the Apostle Paul says “to will” is present with him. He wants to do what is right. However, he says “how to perform that which is good I find not.” This is a description of someone yearning for righteousness.

The Bible says in Romans chapter seven verses 24 and 25,

“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Rom. 7:24-25)

Jesus said, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.”

Jesus said in Luke chapter 24 and verse 49,

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

The Bible goes on and says in Acts chapter two and verse four,

“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4)

The Holy Ghost is the only way to overcome the flesh.

A person who has not received the baptism of the Holy Ghost more than likely will be found going forward a little and then falling back even more, not having victory in their life.

The Holy Ghost is the power that God gives us to overcome the flesh.

Jesus says if we thirst, if we hunger and yearn, we shall be filled. We will not only be filled with righteousness but we will be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Ephesians chapter five and verse 18 says,

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Eph. 5:18)

Now all of these attitudes and principles that we are talking about have to do with living a blessed life in the eyes of God. It is not only our faith towards God that is important to Him but also our obedience to his word.

The Bible tells us in the book of James,

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26)

Let us walk in the light as He is in the light.

If we walk in the light as He gives us the light, then the Bible says He will cleanse us from all sin.

Next- The Empowerment of Christian Mercy

"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 Empowerment of Humility and Repentance

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Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”  (1Peter 5:6)

The Bible reads in the fifth chapter of Matthew verses one through three,

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 5:1-3)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Here Jesus is talking about humility or a contrite spirit. He is not talking about being financially or physically poor, spiritually starving, or poverty-stricken, but He is talking about having a humble spirit before God.

In James chapter four and verse six the Bible says,

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)

Grace is not only unmerited favor, but it is God’s power manifested in us to be able to carry out the will of God.

To have the grace of God is to be enabled by God.

The Bible says He gives grace unto the humble. He gives the humble the power to live an overcoming and abundant life in Christ.

The prophet Isaiah declared in Isaiah chapter 66 and verse two,

“For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)

In other words this verse is saying,

“This is the man that I’m going to look at,” says God. “This is the man I’m going to recognize. I’m going to consider and take note of the person who is of a poor and contrite spirit and trembles at my word.”

Psalms 51 and verse 17 says,

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, or we might even say the kingdom where God rules.

The Gospel of Luke chapter 17 verses 20 and 21 reads,

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

For us to begin seeing the kingdom of God manifested in our life, the first step is getting rid of pride and embracing humility and humbleness before God.

In Matthew chapter five and verse four we read,

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4)

On the surface it would appear that the “mourning” which the Lord is referring to here would be the type of “mourning” that is experienced upon the loss of a loved one. However, in the context of the Scripture we realize there is a deeper meaning.

The “mourning” that the Word of God is talking about here is referring to the repentance that comes into someone’s heart when an individual mourns and is sorrowful over their sins.

First Corinthians chapter five and verse two tells us,

“And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” (1Cor. 5:2)

The Church at Corinth had allowed blatant ungodliness and immorality to come into their midst. Instead of mourning and repenting that this sin would be taken from them, they allowed it to continue.

In other words, they okayed it by overlooking it.

In James chapter four and verses eight through ten the Bible says,

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:8-10)

Notice that mourning and weeping go hand-in-hand with repentance of sin.

The Bible is talking about repentance before God. It says to “let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness.” It says to “humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up.”

Humble yourselves.

In Second Corinthians chapter seven and verse ten it says,

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2Cor. 7:10)

Godly sorrow produces repentance. Godly sorrow is being sorry that we have sinned against a holy God and disappointed Him. Worldly sorrow is being sorry that we got caught, or that our sin didn’t work out as we had planned.

Once again, the Bible talks about mourning over our sins. In other words, Jesus is saying “Blessed are those who repent and mourn and are sorry for their sins for they shall be comforted.”

If we want to see a manifestation of the Holy Ghost moving in our life, then we must stay in a repentant state before God.

We must always keep an inward look at who we are, what we’re doing, and how we stand before God.

We must strive to attain the attitude of repentance.

It’s an attitude. Repentance is not something that we do one time and then it’s over, but it is an attitude and a continuance.

When I was a young Christian, my Pastor preached a message entitled “Living under the Altar of God” which was about living in a state of repentance.

In my pride, I thought “That’s wrong. I repented when I became a Christian and I don’t have to do that anymore.”

I wasn’t praying daily as I should and allowing the Holy Spirit to search my heart and reveal to me the presumptuous sins that were continuing in my life. The Bible says,

“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (Psalm 19:13)

And again in the New Testament,

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1John 1:10)

The Bible also says in First John chapter one verses eight through nine,

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:8-9)

Satan loves to condemn us when we sin. He loves to cause us to walk around in a state of heartbreak and defeat for days and keep us from having any victory.

Yes, we need to be sorry and mourn for our sins once they are revealed to us, but then our repentance must be mixed with faith.

God cannot lie.

When God says that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, then that is exactly what He will do.

The Bible says that He is faithful.

That means He will do it every time. The Bible says that He is a just God. He will not only cleanse us from our sins but He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Now it is time to believe it, receive it, and rejoice because of it.

There is a period of mourning and being sorry for our sin. There is a time to repent and change from what we were doing wrong and begin to walk in the opposite direction.

Once we have confessed our sin and forsaken it, God will cleanse us and we are to walk in that newness of life. We are not to drag ourselves around in an attitude of defeat.

We must rise up and walk in victory according to the Word of God.

When we determine to get pride out of the way and repent of our wrong attitudes, then we can begin to walk in the fullness of the Holy Ghost.

Next- The Empowerment of Christian Meekness and Humility

"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.

“Once Saved, Always Saved?”

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“In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”  (Col. 1:22-23)

In the previous verses of Scripture, the Bible says that God will present us holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight if we continue in the faith.

As we happen upon the word “if” in this portion of Scripture, it seems that we have come upon the question of an individual’s possible loss of salvation. The question of “eternal life” and whether or not a Christian can lose their salvation involves a doctrine which is called by many the “Once Saved, Always Saved Doctrine” of salvation.

Let’s look through the Scriptures to see if the whole Word of God refutes or supports this doctrine. In John chapter ten and verses 28 and 29 Jesus says,

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29)

This is one of many portions of Scripture pertaining to “eternal life” that seem to support this doctrine.

However, in order to “rightly divide the Word of God” (Second Timothy 2:15) we must understand that the word “eternal” simply describes the type of Life that God will give but does not preclude that life from being removed from us.

In the same way, the fact that “no man can pluck us out of the Father’s hand” does not preclude us from willingly leaving the Father’s hand on our own.

We read in Romans chapter 11 verses 19 through 22,

Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (Rom. 11:19-22)

Here the Bible says “if thou continue in his goodness.”

The Bible also says in Hebrews chapter six verses four through six,

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Heb. 6:4-6)

I’m sure many of us have read these Scriptures in Hebrews the sixth chapter; however it is quite possible that some might not have understood them. It is evident that these Scriptures are not describing someone who is minimally in the faith.

This is a description of a person who has tasted of the heavenly gift. They were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. They tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come. This describes an anointed individual. This was an individual walking in the power and the anointing of the Holy Ghost.

But the Bible here says that “if they shall fall away” that it is impossible for them to be renewed again unto repentance. I have met people in that condition. They could not find a place of repentance before God. They had lost their faith in Him.

In Revelation chapter three and verse five the Bible says,

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Rev. 3:5)

Here the Scripture refers to blotting someone’s name out of the book of life. A name cannot be blotted out if it had never been written in.

The Bible tells us in Galatians chapter five verse four,

“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal. 5:4)

The church at Galatia had started well. They had received the Spirit but then some false teachers came in and destroyed their faith in God’s grace. They taught the Galatians that they had to not only believe in Jesus for salvation, but they also had to resume obeying the Law of Moses and put their trust in their obedience of that Law.

The Galatians began to try to obey the Law of Moses and they took their faith that they had in Christ and placed it instead in their ability to obey the law. So here the Bible says they lost their faith in Christ and therefore Christ had become of no affect to them. They had fallen from grace.

We read in Hebrews chapter ten verses 38 and 39,

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb. 10:38-39)

Here the Bible says that if a man draws back he draws back to perdition, and that is the same as destruction.

The Scripture says in James chapter five verses 19 and 20,

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (Jas 5:19-20)

Here the Bible uses the word “brethren”. The Scripture is talking about saving the soul of a “believer” from death.

What can we say to conclude the things that we have just discussed? We cannot lose our salvation like we lose our keys. We cannot lose our salvation like we lose our pocket change. We stand by faith in Christ.

A person who begins to commit sin in their life, unrepentant and continued sin, and who quenches the Holy Spirit, does despite to the Spirit of grace, and loves the pleasure of sin more than they love the presence of God have begun walking on the wrong path.

They haven’t yet lost their salvation. For the Bible says that if we see anyone err from the truth and we convert them from their sinful way then we have saved their soul from death.

There is a distance that has to be trod before they lose their faith in God.

When we see a brother sinning, we can still go to him and convert him to keep him from falling. It we do such a thing and they are converted, the Bible says we have saved their soul from death. And this is talking about brothers in Christ: believers.

A person can lose their salvation but it is lost by losing their faith in Jesus Christ. As long as a person has faith in Jesus Christ they do not have to ever worry about losing their salvation.

The day someone refuses to believe that Jesus is the son of God and that He died for their sins and rose from the dead, then that is the day that they will no longer be saved.

The Bible says the just shall live by faith. Where there is no faith there is no spiritual life.

That is why it is called “eternal life” that he has given us. If we forever have faith in Christ then we forever have life. No one can pluck us out of the Father’s hand. The only way that we can come out of the Father’s hand is if we choose to leave ourselves.

No devil, no demon, no unclean spirit, nothing can cause us to quit believing in Jesus Christ. That is a choice that only we can make.

Humility and submission, coupled with faith and trust in God, opens the door to receiving from the Lord.

Now God has given unto us the measure of faith. Not by any amount of faith or belief in our strength or abilities does the abundant life come from, but by our belief in the faith and strength and righteousness and love of Jesus Christ.

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)

This is the only direction for our faith.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

The Bible says in James chapter four verses eight through ten,

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (Jas 4:8-10)

When we cast forth our pride and draw nigh to God in humility then He shall lift us up.

I want to say that this doesn’t come automatically. We need to search our hearts. We need to ask God to reveal areas of spiritual pride in our lives.

And we all have them. None of us have gained perfection.

When God reveals these areas of pride in our lives we must determine in our hearts to cast them away. When we do that then we draw nigh to God.

So many times we have such a battle in fighting the devil. But God says it’s His battle.

The Bible tells us that light dispels darkness and that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1John 1:5)

When we draw nigh to God through humility and obedience to His word and He draws nigh to us, then the light of the glory of God covers us. All the demons of hell have to leave. They cannot dwell in the light of God.

Hebrews chapter 12 verse two tells us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)

This is faith’s direction.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”

This takes all of the effort off ourselves and allows us to rest in what Christ did. This is what the Bible talks about when it says that we are to enter into his rest.

Jesus did it all.

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Heb. 4:1)

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9)

Next- The Empowerment of Humility and Repentance

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Jesus Christ and the Atonement

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“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”  (Rom. 5:11)

Here are four questions for consideration.

Where is all your faith directed? Is it directed towards how much you can accomplish? Is it directed towards how much you can order your thoughts? Is it directed towards how much Scripture you can memorize?

Or is it directed towards Jesus?

Jesus paid it all. Jesus provided for it all. Jesus fulfilled all.

The Bible says in Matthew chapter seven and verse 14,

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

We can compare our faith to an automobile.

Faith is the car. The key to start that car is belief in Jesus Christ. The battery to turn the engine over is the Holy Ghost. The fuel to keep the car going is the word of God.

The Bible says “straight is the gate” and “narrow is the way”. It’s a narrow road. As long as we have our car of faith pointed straight towards Jesus Christ we are not going to go off the road.

But the moment we direct our faith in some direction other than Jesus, we are going to run off the road and it is going to be disastrous. Our direction for faith has to be towards Jesus Christ.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)

The Bible tells us that God has already blessed us with all spiritual blessings,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Eph. 1:3)

God wants to manifest the spiritual into the natural for our benefit.

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1Cor. 12:7)

Here in First Corinthians the Bible is talking about spiritual gifts, but in the same manner God wants to manifest spiritual blessings into the natural for our benefit.

It’s going to take two conditions for this manifestation to take effect. They are proper faith direction towards Jesus and our humbleness, submission, and love for God and others.

The Bible says in James chapter four verses six through eight that God resists the proud,

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 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 4:6-8)

We cannot be high-minded and prideful and expect to receive anything from God. The first and foremost prerequisite for receiving from God is humility and absence of pride. “God resisteth (he pushes against) the proud but giveth grace unto the humble.”

What does it mean when the Bible says God has given us spiritual blessings but they have not yet been manifested? One example of this would be salvation.

In John chapter one and verse 29, John the Baptist beheld Jesus and said,

“…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

John the Baptist didn’t lie. Jesus took away the sin of the world but before we can be sinless in the eyes of God we have to receive it by faith.

If we had died before we were born again and saved, although Jesus provided for the sin of the world to be taken away, we would have died in our sins, missed heaven, and gone to hell. Before we can experience the reality of the forgiveness and cleansing of our sins, we have to believe it and receive it by faith.

In the same fashion, God has already provided every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus but is up to us to receive them by faith before they can be manifested and enjoyed in our life.

God wants the manifestation of the spirit in our life so that every man can profit withal. Jesus fulfilled the Law but He rejected the blessings of the Law so that He might freely give them unto us in exchange for our sins through the cross of Calvary.

If we must believe before we can receive, then what are these blessings contained in the Law that Jesus earned by His obedience but are now held in reserve for us in Heavenly places? And how can we believe in them so that they can be manifested in our lives?

We can believe in them when we see them contained in the Law, and we can receive their manifestation when we see in the Scriptures how Jesus rejected them and took upon Himself the curses instead.

What were some of the blessings and the curses contained in the Law of Moses? Blessings were promised to those who fulfilled the Law and curses were promised to those who broke the Law. Curses were opposite of blessings.

In order that faith can gain hold in our hearts, we must say again that Jesus was the only one to keep the whole Law, yet He rejected the promised blessings and received the curses so that He might impart the promised blessings to us by faith.

God had promised in Exodus chapter 23 and verse 25 that if they would obey, then He would remove sickness out of the midst of Israel,

“And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” (Exodus 23:25)

Jesus fulfilled the Law in all points so He should have received this promise. Jesus as an Israelite, as the Son of Man obeyed the Law therefore sickness should have been taken out of His midst. He was entitled to this blessing.

However, we read in Matthew chapter eight and verses 16 and 17,

“When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Mat 8:16-17)

Jesus took our infirmities and He bore our sicknesses. He took the curses of a sinful life to give us the blessings of a righteous and holy life.

Our health, our healing is not dependent upon how much we believe that we can be healed. Our healing is dependent upon how much we can believe in Jesus Christ fulfilling the Law, rejecting the blessing of promised healing, and exchanging that blessing of healing for our sicknesses and infirmities.

The Bible says that He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. Our faith has to be in Jesus being righteous and in His imparting that righteousness unto us. Therefore, we receive the fulfillment of the law and the promised blessing.

In Deuteronomy chapter 15 verses four and five, God says that He will take poverty out of our midst,

“Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it: Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day.” (Deut. 15:4-5)

Jesus should have obtained this promise by His righteousness. No poverty should have been in His midst. He should have had good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

However, we read in Matthew chapter eight and verse 20,

“And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matt. 8:20)

I have heard people preach that Jesus was a very prosperous and financially secure Prophet, that they had a headquarters, and that their ministry was run like a successful business.

All this might sound well and good and it is true that they did have a money bag and they distributed money to the poor. But here the Scripture tells us that Jesus rejected the blessings of the Law so that we could receive those blessings and He received the curses of the Law and therefore dwelt in the midst of poverty.

Jesus walked in obscure poverty. He walked the dusty streets. He did not have it pressed down, shaken together, and running over. He did not have a place to lay his head. Jesus took our sins and curses of disobedience.

In Deuteronomy chapter 28 verses 2 through 6 we read of the promised blessings of obedience,

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.” (Deut. 28:2-6)

Blessed, blessed, blessed.

Every blessing we just read in Deuteronomy should have belonged to Jesus because of His fulfillment of the Law. When God speaks, makes a covenant, or declares a promise then He will bring it to pass if the conditions are met.

The Bible says that “God is not a man that he should lie.”

When God made His covenant with Abraham’ seed, with David’s descendants, and with the nation of Israel through the Law of Moses, then whoever fulfills those covenants must receive the promises contained therein.

Jesus as the Son of Man, the Seed of Abraham, the descendant of David, and a child of Israel was the only One to ever fulfill man’s requirements in the covenants and thereby earn the promised blessings.

Yet He rejected those blessings when He went to Calvary and hung on the tree for it is written “Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.”

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” (Gal. 3:13)

The Bible says that Jesus exchanged His blessings for our curses and His righteousness for our sins.

“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)

This is called the atonement (the exchange).

“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Rom. 5:11)

God makes that exchange when an individual puts all of their faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Jesus was separated from His Father for our sins so we will never have to experience that separation because of our faith in Christ. There is no such thing as purgatory. There is no such thing as penance. We will never know separation from the Lord our God as long as we never reject the faith that we have in Jesus Christ.

Jesus as the Son of Man, without sin, pure, righteous, and obedient should have received on this earth, as a result of His righteousness, blessedness, long life, prosperity, healing, and no separation from God.

Man, on the other hand, with a sinful nature, a wicked heart, disobedient, and unrighteous should receive a cursed life, few days, poverty, sickness, and death with separation from God.

Through our faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross of Calvary, Jesus transfers His blessed life through His obedience to us and He received all of the curses that rightfully should have been ours.

Jesus even descended into hell as the Son of Man but He ascended out of it victorious as the Son of God.

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” (Col. 1:19-23)

This is the fulfillment of all that we have talked about in Scripture.

We are reconciled today. Because of Jesus, we stand before God holy, unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight.

This is all dependent upon how much we believe in Jesus Christ and not in ourselves. Not in what we can do, not even in how much faith we can muster, but only in how much faith we put in Christ alone.

“If we continue in the faith and be not moved away.”

There is a big “if” in there.

Next- “Once Saved, Always Saved?”

Available online for $4.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, at amazon.com for the KINDLE, at the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPAD, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-book reading devices

Available online for $4.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, at amazon.com for the KINDLE, at the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPAD, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-book reading devices