Posts Tagged ‘Faith’


Faith-Frogs-Pleasing-GodThree frogs sat on a lily pad. One decided to jump off. How many were left? Three. He only decided to jump off, but never took the leap. It is not enough to make a decision. You have to make a leap of faith and follow through with it. So here we are at Hebrews 11. We just declared that we are not of those who “shrink back” to our destruction, but press forward to God in faith to the preservation of our souls…

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Heb 10:39

We have seen the foundational truths of our “Better Savior”, the one with the indestructible life, the one who ever ministers, mediates and interceded so that we can experience the Majesty in all of His holiness and glory! But NOW it is time to go and DEMONSTRATE the reality of the MAJESTY by leaping off the ‘churchy’ lily pad and living in the power of our faith!

Hebrews 11:1 starts with the declarative NOW! Now we are ready to see and experience what FAITH can do!

Life-of-FaithEverything else up to this point has been foundational. The Holy Spirit has shown us that the Christian Life is to be defined by the Supernatural, and that Supernatural centers upon and within Jesus Christ. If, (big if) Jesus Christ is central to your life you will enjoy some amazing supernatural benefits. If Jesus is not central to your life, then it will be obvious that something is missing from your life.


Hebrews: Evidence of Faith!…Power of Faith!…Progress of Faith!

  • Hebrews 1-10 is all about the result of centering your Life in Christ, and His Life in your life is EVIDENCE of your Faith.
  • Hebrews 11 is all about going forth in the POWER of Faith.
  • Hebrews 12-13 is all about PROGRESSING in Faith to that Holy City that awaits us!

Evidence of Lack of Faith

Evidence of Faith

No Benefit from the Word of God in your everyday life (take it or leave it) (Heb 4:2) We enter into Rest (Heb 4:3)
Spiritual Immaturity (Heb 6:1) Grow in Maturity and produce fruit
Promises of God are not at work in your life (Heb 6:12) Lay hold of the throne of grace and receive of the promises
Troubled by Guilt (Heb 10:22) Guilt-free through your mediator
Failure to Hold Fast (Heb 10:23) Boldly Lay Hold of the Throne of God
No real life in God (Heb 10:38-Just shall live by faith) Enjoying the presence of the Majesty through your minister
Shrink back from God. Avoid intimacy with Him. (because of sin and lack of confidence) (Heb 10:39) Go on with God in full confidence of His Word

You may claim ignorance or inability, but you have no excuse, for Faith is an issue of your heart, and always results in a commitment of action. The truth is that the way we live our lives proves…

We all have Faith in Something

You demonstrate with your living your faith in yourself, your connections, your abilitie

s, your friends and your family. Only when tragedy or harsh conditions strike do you wonder if your faith is well-founded. Only then do you wonder about an invisible God.

Are You ready to Discover the Power of Faith? The right kind of faith, faith that will intertwine your life with your Jehovah God. Faith that will give you a personal and family connection with the Creator of the Universe! When you have it, your life will bear evidence of it!

To develop and understand this Faith, you need to wrap your life around Jesus Christ! Have you come to Jesus as the Son of God, your Minister, your Mediator, your Intercessor, your Savior and Lord? You have not made a decision to center your life upon and around Him! If so, it is pointless to explore the power of Hebrews 11 Faith. Your faith is in yourself, and this will not make sense to you.

What is Faith? Faith is Proof of the Reality of Jehovah God 

Here are some translations of the Greek in Hebrews 11:1

  • ESV – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
  • Phillips – Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see.
  • KJV – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
  • AMP – NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
  • Holman – Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. Hebrews 11:1walk by faith not sight

Faith is “pistis”


Here is my translation of the Greek, and it is based on the meaning of the original combined with the context, particularly Hebrews 11:6. I see Hebrews 11:1 and 6 intrinsically connected. The two verses are intertwined and explain and complement each other. Faith is not a passive word, but involves two components that complement each other. Remove one or the other and you have no faith. Faith involves “substantiating” and “demonstrating.” And as verse 6 so clearly states, Faith requires a core belief in God and His power and nature, and then a life that demonstrates that belief through diligently seeking after Him!

Faith is the Substantiating of things we hope for, the Demonstrating of things that are unseen

Hebrews-11_1-Faith-Jims-Definition

 

Pistis is “firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality”.[1] I dare say that such a conviction would leave your life unaffected as these verses indicate:

For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5

FAITH SUBSTANTIATES the UNSEEN AS REALITY!

Faith visualizes God in all His Majesty, Power and Glory just as if you were kneeling before Him in real-time! This is seen in Hebrews 11:27, for Moses  is described as “seeing Him who is invisible.” Faith apprehends as a real fact what is not revealed to the senses. It rests on that fact, acts upon it, and is upheld by it in the face of all that seems to contradict it. Faith is a real seeing[2].

substantiate_from_dictionary_com

Substantiating is “hupóstasis”

hupóstasis means “to place or set under. In general, that which underlies the apparent, hence, reality, essence, substance; that which is the basis of something, hence, assurance guarantee, confidence”[3].

How do you substantiate something?

You do it everyday. A substance is an object, even a sound or perhaps a color. Substantiating means you exercise one of your senses to make an intangible substance real to you.

For example, the color yellow is very real; but if you shut your eyes, the color yellow loses its re

  • ality. It is nothing to you. With your faculty of sight you substantiate yellow. Not only is the color there before you, it is now reality to your consciousness.

Many people believe in UFO’s, but until they can get one and hold it and touch it, there can be no substantiating the reality of UFO’s. I assure you that UFO’s are not going to be found.

However, when it comes to Jesus Christ, we have a very real Savior. The hoped for things of Christ are eternal and therefore real. You have been given only one precious faculty to substantiate them-FAITH. Faith in the Word of God and His Son is the only faculty you can use to substantiate them. Faith makes divine things to become real in your experience. When you rest on God’s faithfulness, faith substantiates to you the unseen things you have as yet barely hoped for!

hebrews11_1Are You a Faith Warrior or Desperate Wimp?

Faith not only substantiates the things hoped for, but it involves demonstrating the unseen as real! You live as though the unseen things are real and visible! This is why multiple times God calls us to walk by faith and not sight. He wants us to live as though we are in His presence and enjoying His 

  • power and deity. When we walk by sight we tend to focus on our abilities and power, and we neglect seeing Him. Only when we can’t handle things do we look up and cry to Him for help. That is not faith, that is desperation, and God does not enjoy being a God of the desperate! He wants to be the God of the Faith walkers! Men and women who walk by faith and are working with Him to overcome the evil of this world! He wants Faith Warriors, not Desperate Wimps!

The Demonstrating of Faith

What in your life reveals that you are walking by sight and therefore failing to demonstrate Faith in our Almighty God?

  1. When you worry about clothes (Matt 6:30-The lily of the valley)
  2. When you fear in a storm (Matt 8:26-on the sea of Galilee)
  3. When we doubt His Word and Power (Matt 14:31-Peter fails to walk to Jesus)
  4. When we fail to see the Power of Jesus to meet our daily needs (Mt 16:8-feeding of 5000)
  5. When we fail to overcome Satan (Matt 17:20-21 – they could not cast out demons)
  6. When we fail to pray (Matt 21:22-Receive what you ask for if ask in faith)
  7. When you give yourself over to bitterness because of loss or hardship. (2 Cor 4:16-18) “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
  8. When we no longer hope in anything from God. (Romans 8:24) For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
  9. When you no longer have great joy in your life. (1 Peter 1:8) Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory

God wants our Faith to move us to be fully vested in Him and what He promises!!

Abraham was fully convinced!

abrahamIn hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:18-22

Faith Empowers us to Endure

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

Faith Rests in the Power of God!

“…that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:5

Foundational Qualities of Power Faith

1. “F” is the only Passing Grade with God

(F)aith – For by it the elders obtained a good report. Hebrews 11:2

Faith in God and His Provision for you is the only way for a Good Report Card!

Good report is “martyreō”. Faith in God and His provision for you has always been the basis for your salvation, your “commendation.” It has never been about your works bringing a smile to God. It has always been about your heart belief and faith commitment to follow Him! There is nothing you can do for God or for anyone that would ever make God “owe you” salvation or any other consideration. The whole point of Hebrews 11 is that Faith in God is the only way to experience the Power of God and in turn the Salvation of God. Faith is all about God and trusting in His abilities and provisions. This is why He gave us His Son as the visible representation of His power and salvation. Even then, people refuse to place their faith in Jesus Christ.

2. Faith begins with Believing Biblical Creation

in-the-beginning-GodThrough 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. Hebrews 11:3

  1. Why depend on a God whose power you question?
  2. Why depend on someone whose word you doubt?

Appear (are visible in KJV)  is “phaínō”, which means “to appear, to be seen, with the idea of shine forth. It also carries the idea of something suddenly appearing in the sky, like a phenomenon[4]” Matthew uses this word to describe the Star over Bethlehem as well as the appearing of Christ when He returns. Matt. 2:7; 24:27, 30;

Hebrews 11:3 puts the “Big Bang Theory” directly in its cross hairs! This world (things that are seen) was not made out of something that suddenly appeared (are visible). It was created out of nothing by the Word of God!

Look at the Power of David’s Prayer before beginning construction of the Temple…founded upon His firm believe in His Creator God.

Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

David realized that everything in the heavens and earth was Gods, for He is the Creator! If God is not the Creator, then you really do not need Him. Riches and honor are up to man, power and might is up to man, and there is no need to praise and worship the glorious Name of Jehovah.

If God is not your all-powerful Creator, He will never be your all-powerful King, Lord of all of your life. There will always be a back-door whereby you can go to your own Kingdom where you are lord. Believing in the 7 day Genesis account of the Creation of the world is fundamental to substantiating and demonstrating your faith in this unseen God. I love the Institute in Creation Research and I encourage you to check their site and take their magazine. There is so much proof of the Creation account! ICR.ORG

How to Please God

3. Faith is the only basis of Acceptance by God 
Abel offers blood sacrificeAbel

Only as you walk by faith can you please God. It wasn’t the quality or quantity of his sacrifice whereby God was pleased. No! It was because Abel’s offering was done in faith! Notice carefully what the Bible says:

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness (martyr) that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. Hebrews 11:4

Look how God responded to Cain’s offering. He told him it would be accepted ‘if he did well.’ The phrase refers more to the intrinsic nature of the person offering rather than the offering itself. Combine this with what Hebrews 11:4 states, and we find that God looks at our heart of faith when we do anything for Him. If we ever want to please God, we must have a heart that fully trusts in Him, even through He is invisible!

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it. Genesis 4:7

You do well not because you have to, but because you want to, you have a Covenant Connection with God by faith, just as David referred to:

[DO WELL-yatab] When David prays in Psalm 51:18 “Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion,” he acknowledges that the covenant Lord is the source “of all that is good and pleasing to mankind. This “doing good” is not capricious, but based on the covenant relationship revealed to the patriarchs)[5]

Imagine that Abel’s offering came after a virulent disease wiped out his flock, leaving him with a handful of sheep and goats. With a sorrowful heart he boldly offers his best remaining goat to God, not because he has plenty, but because He is fully trusting God to provide! Our faith is often revealed in the tough times, when our sight is obscured by tears.

Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and his days [seemingly] are prolonged [in his wickedness], yet surely I know that it will be well with those who [reverently] fear God, who revere and worship Him, realizing His continual presence. Ecclesiastes 8:12

Faith is the basis of acceptance by God, the means of pleasing God. You can never hope to please God by what you do, but only by whose your are and in whose Name  you live. Jesus Christ is the only one who ever pleased God. When you place your life unreservedly in Jesus Christ, you exchange your life for His, then you are no longer viewed by God in your sin. You are pleasing to God from that moment for you have “put on” Jesus Christ, and now you are “accepted in the beloved” as Ephesians 1:6 declares.

Enoch_was_fully_vested_in_GodEnoch

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony(martyr), that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5

How did Enoch please God? To understand this and see why Enoch was taken to heaven without dying, we must see the valuable connection between faith and becoming “fully vested” in God! (Point 5). Understand that Enoch demonstrated a life whose testimony, purpose and reputation was totally intertwined with God by his faith….

4. The Result of Faith is an Eternal Testimony of being “Fully Vested” with God

And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. Hebrews 11:4

Abel still testifies that all those who want to please God must do so with faith in their heart that He is who He says He is.

before his translation he had this testimony (martyr), that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5

are-you-fully-vested-in-GodEnoch walked and talked as a martyr (testimony) for God. He took God and His Nature personally! His life and interests were one with his God! His life was fully vested in God’s reputation and power on earth! He stood up for God for he was totally with God. You can see his heart revealed in Jude:

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. Jude 1:14-16

As the Psalmist wrote, His godly ones gladly praise Him and follow Him, even work to bring God’s Justice to the world. When you are fully vested in God, you are the representation of His love as well as His justice and righteousness in the world.

Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD! Psalm 149:6-9

5. Faith is the only Means of Gratifying God by being Fully Vested in Him!

faith5_hebrews_11-6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

“Fully Vested”

„  held completely, permanently, and inalienably: vested rights.

 “protected or established by law, commitment, tradition, ownership, etc.: vested contributions to a fund.”

Faith is the only way to please (gratify) God! „ Faith demonstrates the reality of your being in God and depending upon God! Faith makes you fully vest your life in God and His reputation and power. Walking in and by faith means you are walking and living in and by God, not by your own strength!

” Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8

Hebrews 11:6 complements the substantiating and demonstrating of Hebrews 11:1. Here we see how verse one changes our life by vesting everything in Him! The two points of verse one become the two things you must do in order to please God by your faith in verse 6.

Believe that God is1.)   You Must believe God IS

The idea is not merely that God exists as a rewarder, but that He will prove Himself to be a rewarder of that person who diligently seeks Him. As Vincent puts it: “He who approaches God has, through faith, the assurance that his seeking God will result in good to himself.”

This is not an academic belief, but one that grows from being fully vested in Him! This is reflected in your heart, your mind and your actions. Do you believe in an unseen Deity that watches you and who is eternal and powerful. Do you have faith to believe that He is powerful enough to work in your life?

„ The-What---the-way-into-the-love-of-GodHow does your Heart reflect your belief that God is?
  • Do you have dirty thoughts, hatred of others, wicked plotting, desire for revenge, bitterness over events?
  • Then you do not believe God is, for you would give those thoughts to Him, and trust in His providence and justice.
  • If God is, then you surrender your rights and will to Him
„The-So-What---learn-with-your-head How does your Mind reflect your belief that God is?
  • Do you rely on yourself?
  • Are you always thinking about yourself?
  • Are you normally selfish and motivated by what is good for you?
  • Always excusing the way you live being contrary to what God’s Word says?
  • Neglect to meditate on God’s Word?
„ The-Now-what_learning_by_doingHow do your hands reflect your belief that God is?
  • Are they selfish?
  • Do they steal?
  • Do they give to others?
  • Do they react in anger, fear, even striking others?
2.)    You Must believe God is a Rewarder who is worth seeking with all you have.

The words “diligently seek” are literally “seek Him out,” the prefixed preposition being local in its force in this translation. But those who seek Him out are diligently seeking Him, and here we have the perfective use of the preposition. Vincent says in this connection: “God’s beneficient will and attitude toward the seeker are not always apparent at the first approach. In such cases there is occasion for faith, in the face of delay, that diligent seeking will find its reward. One is reminded of Jesus’ lessons on importunity in seeking God (Luke 11:5-10, 18:1-8)”[6]

The only way to have Faith and be fully Vested in God is through Jesus Christ!

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

  • Jesus is the archēgos – leader, captain, founder of our faith.

Christ is the leader or captain of faith, in that he is the perfecter of faith.Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews 12:2″.

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. Galatians 2:20

  • Jesus is the “teleiōtēn” “to carry through completely, to finish, to make perfect or complete.”[7]

If you want to please God, you do so in faith, from faith and by faith. Faith empowers you to be fully vested in this invisible Creator God. Faith demonstrates a heart, mind and life that is fully vested in God and all that He is, regardless of how your life plays out, for your know that He is fully capable of rewarding your faith and commitment.

Don’t be like those frogs

Three-frogs-ridingNow, are you going to be like those frogs and sit there on that lily pad, professing your decision to jump? Or you actually going to leap off and into this mighty God, and demonstrate with your life the power of this unseen God.

Heart, Head and Hand considerations…
  • „ Heart=God is a rewarder of all those who seek after Him
  • „ Head=Good report is obtained not by what you do, but your substantiating in your life the truth and power of God by demonstrating through your life your trust in Him
  • „ Hands=Put on Jesus each and every day by faith, and serve others in the power of His name.
    • You offer your life in faith. You profess your testimony without reservation before your friends and acquaintances.
    • You continue to use your hands to diligently seek after God, knowing that He will reward the work of your hands, as long as they are working in the Faith of Jesus Christ!

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1162.

[2] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Hebrews Chapter 11″.

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “hupóstasis”.

[4] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1434.

[5] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “863: ‏יָטַב‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ‏מֵיטָב‎, 863a”.

[6] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 198.

[7] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.


Hebrews-study-in-contrasts

Hebrews was written by the Holy Spirit to a people who believed they knew Jesus Christ as Savior. Most everyone who read this letter had heard the voice of Jesus, whether in reality or spiritually. Most everyone had made a decision to follow Jesus. All the readers attended church, and probably gave a tithe, said a prayer, read the Old Testament, and took communion. By man’s measure of salvation, they were there, they could stand up and testify they knew they were going to heaven when they died. Some say it is hard to understand, others say it has some passages that are difficult to interpret. Everyone says there are passages that are hard to explain to young Christians. Hebrews is not normally the book given to new believers to study. However, this book is exactly what new believers need. I believe that the writer had young believer’s in mind as he or she penned it. They need to understand this truth, and learn the importance of living in it.

Who-is-the-Christian

This letter is powerful but difficult to understand. Plain but obscure. Pointed yet vague at times. Before we dig deeper into Chapter 4, I must be very honest and blunt with you, for our author is very blunt as well. Most preachers do not preach honestly about what we are going to begin discussing in Chapter 4. They either ignore it, spiritualize it or gloss it over with a thick coat of marine varnish so it appears shiny. I will not gloss it over, and if this truth makes you uncomfortable, a little squirmy, then great. This is what the Holy Spirit wants. In order to grasp the truth of Chapter 4, we need to understand the underlying purpose of Hebrews. Hebrews presents several Contrasts to bring home the truth:

CONTRASTS

A. Hebrews is a Study in Contrasts (differences)

  • „ contrasts-of-hebrewsJesus vs Angels – 1 & 2
  • „ Jesus vs Moses – 3
  • „ Jesus vs Joshua – 4
  • „ Jesus vs the Old Testament High Priest – 5
  • „ Jesus vs Abraham – 6
  • „ Jesus vs Mechizedek – 7
  • „ Jesus vs the Old Covenant – 8
  • „ Jesus vs the Earthly Temple – 9
  • „ Jesus vs earthly sacrifices – 10

THE KEY CONTRAST IS: DO YOU SHARE OR NOT?

B. Those who share in Christ and those who do not
(they have no life, no rest-now and forever)

  • Christ came to bring many sons to Glory-He had to do what was necessary to restore this world to the Glory of God and to bring many sons to God

Christian-heart-issueHebrews 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

PROOF THAT HEBREWS IS ABOUT WHETHER YOU SHARE IN CHRIST OR NOT

Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

  • Christ had to become exactly like us in flesh and blood so that we could share in His Life and victory

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,

  • Through Christ, we share in a heavenly calling, whereby we can hear the Voice of God

Hebrews 3:14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

  • Contrasts2We share in Jesus Christ

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,

  • We share in the Holy Spirit, and He brings certain assurances with Him.

Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

  • We share His holiness through His discipline

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

  • We share with others

Hebrews 12:1 We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

C. How do you know if you share in Christ?

HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE WORD OF GOD?

The Writer gives us the Key and it is the Word of God.

I want you to look at something that will at first appear obvious, but then I want to bring it a little closer to your heart:

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 

Hebrews 11:3 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.

Right away the author lets us know that all of creation understands the Power of the Word of Christ! You will never realize the power of His Word without faith.

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Hebrews 4:6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,

Lack of Faith and Disobedience are tied together. Evidenced by refusal to hear the Word!

faith_vs_unbelief - CopyThe Jews in the wilderness actually begged Moses to stop speaking the Words of God to them! They stopped their ears and “NO MORE!” Hebrews 12:19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

  • The truth is that many people hear the Word of Power, but most do not know its power, because they are unwilling to believe and obey

How Do You Know if you share in Christ?
The Word is Alive to You!

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

  • The Word is only powerful to those who are honest in their heart, and willing to submit to the power of the Word

heart contrastHebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

  • Faith and Obedience to the Word of God extends to those who preach the Word for they Evidence the reality of Faith by their Lives

D. The Greatest Contrast has to do with your Heart. (Chapter 3 & 4)

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

Contrast-of-heart-belief-or-unbeliefYes, the truth is that regardless of your view of Salvation, whether Arminian or Calvinistic, whether you can lose your Salvation or whether you believe in once-saved always saved-the truth is that your heart is the KEY to whether Jesus Christ makes any CONTRAST in your life!

God does not sit up in heaven and say “yes, you are saved because you said a prayer when you were 8.” That is how we tend to judge whether we are saved or not.. That is a man-centered view of Salvation.

God has a different determination of whether you are saved or not. He details it in the Letter to the Hebrews. It has to do with your heart-whether it believes or not! God doesn’t just listen to your confession of belief, He looks into the darkest corner of your heart and sees how that confession of belief interacts with your life.

God wants to see contrast, a contrast with your life in comparison to the lives of those who don’t care. You say you care and you are saved, but God wants to see a contrast.

Belief that actuates the Power of God to affect your life everyday is the aim of Hebrews.

EVIDENCE OF A BELIEVING HEART

evidence-of-believing-heartYou are either dead to God, or you have His life. I don’t care how alive you think you are. If your life has not been affected by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, you are dead to God.

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

You can say a prayer, you can join a church, you can get baptized all in the strength of your flesh and will, but if the Word of God and the Holy Spirit have not touched your life in such a way that you obey in faith, you are dead.

Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Ephesians 2:1-7 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Here is evidence that you share in the Life of Jesus Christ:

1 John 5:4-5 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

experience-Christs-power-to-restRest in Christ. Does that mean you don’t do anything? No, what it does mean is that you are yoked to Him and He is your primary focus. He gives  rest to your souls no matter what news you are hearing, or what situation you are facing.

  • The Word of God that penetrates your heart on a daily basis. (Manna)
  • Power to overcome the Giants of sin.
  • Courage and Confidence in the face of trials and hardships.

ARE YOU RESTING IN THE REALITY OF A LIFE IN JESUS CHRIST IN HIS VICTORY?

  • The FOCUS of your belief is to actuate the REST we have in Jesus Christ.
  • The FOCUS of the Jews in the Wilderness was to get to the Promised Land, a place of REST

overcome the world - CopyHebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

Hebrews 4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’ ” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Hebrews 4:9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God,

Hebrews 4:10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore strive (1 below) to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.

    • “to make effort, be prompt or earnest :- do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavor”
    • Not working as if it depends upon you, but effort born from a sense of urgency and need.
    • Knowing that our ways are opposite God’s ways

This is not talking about heaven. This is talking about NOW! God wants us to know and experience the Belief that brings the Life of His Son into our lives. This is eternal life. This is the Promise. This is the Rest!

1-ephesians-2-vs-4-61As Paul said, we SIT with Jesus in the Heavenlies! We REST in Him! That Rest is evidence of our salvation.

Is Salvation confidence in a prayer, or even in a better life you think you are experiencing?

Not according to God’s Word. Salvation results in a change in your life and your desires!

Here is Evidence that you do not share in the Life of Jesus Christ:

1. Being overthrown in the wilderness (the world).

1 Corinthians 10:5-6 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

Fail to reach – hystereō (see footnote 2) -to be last, behind, posterior in place or time. In the NT, figuratively of dignity, condition, strength and the like, to be behind, inferior, to lack (see footnote 3) - fall short of recognition by God.

    • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
overcome_the_world - CopyChristians are to Overcome the World by their Faith and Belief in God and His Word!
  • For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.
    Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5  

2. Having an Unbelieving Heart

Do-you-have-unbelieving-heart

  • Look at what happened in the Wilderness because of unbelieving hearts:

Exodus 17:1-7 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of  Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

  • Testing God by thinking He doesn’t care about your situation.
  • Turning back to the world and what it has – Achan
  • Relying on your own strength to get what you want.
  • Not believing and obeying God.

3. Living in your Flesh

black-heart-89479 - CopyNumbers 13:30-31 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.”

The Jews did not believe they could take the land, so they refused and desired to go back to Egypt, in spite of seeing all that God had done! Then Moses pronounced God’s judgment upon them, that they would never be allowed to enter the Promised Land. So they said, let’s go in and show God that we can do it!

Numbers 14:39-45 When Moses told these words to all the people of Israel, the people mourned greatly. And they rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the LORD has promised, for we have sinned.” But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the LORD, when that will not succeed? Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, lest you be struck down before your enemies. For there the Amalekites and the Canaanites are facing you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned back from following the LORD, the LORD will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the LORD nor Moses departed out of the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah.

The REST of God is a REST that is supernatural, it can not be attained by fleshly efforts. They were doomed to encounter defeat!

TO GOD, THE PROOF OF YOUR BELIEF IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE ENTERED INTO HIS REST.

  • This REST is only possible in Jesus Christ!unbelieving-heart - Copy

(1) Because Christ is Exalted above the Angels, being the Creator God and Managing this Creation with His Life:

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. „

The Danger is that we miss out on LIFE by drifting away from our Savior „ He will roll up all the old and useless stuff in a coat-do you want to be rolled up too?

(2) Because Christ is our mighty Captain, having become a man yet still conquering sin and making atonement for us, 

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling,consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,

„ If we are to share a heavenly calling, we will focus our lives upon Jesus „ Jesus has shown us that He the truth from God. „ Jesus has shown us that He is our High Priest who can be trusted and find comfort in.

(3) Because Jesus is the Builder and Faithful of God’s House:

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

„ We must watch our hearts, lest we fail to reach God’s house. „ The promise of rest requires our cooperation, desire and effort.

(4) The Rest which Christ promised is His Rest but it is not a passive rest.

Cure-for-unbelieving-heart-is-plenty-of-lettuceHis Rest is built on a bed of LETTUCE, as the next post will show.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Romans 4:16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

  • 1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
  • Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

More on how to obtain this rest in the next post…

1 “to make effort, be prompt or earnest :- do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour” James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “4704”.

2 James Strong, Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary, (Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “5302”.

3 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “hystereō“.

REST: Usage Notes: signifies “to cause or permit one to cease from any labor or movement” so as to recover strength. It implies previous toil and care.William E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1940), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Eased”.

anapaúō; fut. anapaúsō, from aná , again, and paúō , to cease, give rest. To give rest, quiet, recreate, refresh (Matt. 11:28; 1 Cor. 16:18; Phile. 1:20); in the mid. / pass. form, to be refreshed (2 Cor. 7:13; Phile. 1:7, 20; Sept.: Prov. 29:17; Isa. 14:3; Ezek. 34:15). In the mid., anapaúomai, to rest oneself, to take one’s rest 

(Matt. 26:45; Mark 6:31; 14:41; Luke 12:19; 1 Pet. 4:14; Rev. 6:11; 14:13; Sept.: Deut. 33:20; Esth. 9:16; Job 10:20; Prov. 21:16; Isa. 13:20, 21; 27:10; Mic. 4:4). In relation to 1 Pet. 4:14, compare the Sept. of Isa. 11:2, where anapaúomai is also applied to the Holy Spirit resting upon Christ. Deriv.: anápausis , inner rest; epanapaúō , to cause to rest; sunanapaúomai , to rest with or together.Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 156-157.


“But without faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith is an absolute requirement for coming to God, for pleasing Him. What sort of faith allows us to please Him?

We quote Hebrews 11:1 as a general definition of faith, but Romans 4:3 sheds more pertinent light on what sort of faith it takes to please God.

Romans 4:3 “What does scripture say? ‘Abraham took God at his word, and that act of faith was accepted as putting him into a right relationship with God'” (The New Testament: A Translation by William Barclay).

Abraham’s “act of faith” was to believe the words of God. Simply, faith is believing what God says. That belief, that faith, is what pleases God, putting us in a position to have a right relationship with Him. Even in our human relationships, trust in what a person says is foundational.

Trust is never simply an intellectual agreement. It is visceral and intangible and always affects our emotions and actions. This is why it is so devastating when a spouse discovers the other has been unfaithful. That trust which had enveloped his or her soul has been destroyed. That trust which gave him or her life had suddenly been exposed to be based on a lie.

Abraham shows us that this belief, this faith is a deep conviction which resides in our core being, effecting our will and our mind, and even our emotions. His great love for his only son was laid aside to show his trust in this great invisible God. His core trust and faith resulted in obedient action. This is why James declared that faith that does not result in works is not true faith at all, for it is useless for LIFE!

(Jas 2:20) Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?

Adam and Eve were forced from the Garden because their trust and faith in God had been shallow, and void of works that demonstrated their trust in His Word. They decided to live by sight when they chose to disobey and eat the fruit. Their action demonstrated a faith that was not pleasing to God. They believed in God, certainly, just as Satan and his minions. However, when it came to trusting His WORDS and acting upon them, their faith fell short of pleasing God. In fact, their “faith” resulted in their death!

Adam and Eve became the first example of man choosing to walk by sight rather than by faith. Mankind has continued in the footsteps of the first Adam, proving that Adam and Eve’s faithlessness was not an aberration, but a trait inherent in every human heart.

Failure to trust the Word of God, failure to walk by faith resulted in a barrier between themselves and fellowship with God. That broken trust ruined their relationship just as it does a marriage.

Satan is the foremost example of faithlessness (faith that does not please God). Satan believes God exists, but his faith is dead because it does not lead to right actions.

James 2:19-20, from the New Living Translation (NLT), forcefully points out the futility and foolishness of Satan’s faith: “Do you still think it’s enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?”

“Pleasing Faith” Believes and Obeys the Word of God

When confronted with the choice to eat or not eat the fruit, what evidence did Adam and Eve have? All they had were the words of God. Notice the classic definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” What is the “evidence of things not seen?” God’s words. The rest of the chapter provides examples of men and women who followed God based solely on His Words to them.

Hebrews 11:36-38 list various trials that they went through for their faith. Notice verse 39: “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise.” Even though they did not receive the promise of God, they still believed Him, followed Him, and gave their life for Him, trusting that the sovereign God could and would keep His promises even beyond the grave.

Consider closely Abraham’s decision to sacrifice his son, Isaac. When Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice his son, the only evidence things would work out was the word of an unseen God. Abraham could believe God—take Him at His word—or believe all the evidence he could see that the son of promise would die before God fulfilled His promises. Abraham could not “see” what God was going to do. As far as Abraham was concerned, Isaac was dead. The only “evidence” he had that it all would work out was God’s words—the promises God made to him.

God also needs evidence.

God wanted to know what was in Abraham’s heart. (Genesis 22:12) God said “Now I know what is in your heart.” He knew and recorded for all eternity the “evidence” that Abraham walked by faith, not by sight. Therefore, Abraham became the “Father of Faith” for all who would please God must have faith to believe that He is!

To walk requires action and effort. So even the phrase “walk by faith” demonstrates that living faith requires action and effort. As Hebrews 11:6 declares, “Pleasing Faith” believes that God rewards those who DILIGENTLY seek Him. Our evidence is God’s words. God’s evidence is our actions.

We are just like Abraham. So says Galatians 3:6: “You have exactly the same experience as Abraham. Abraham took God at his word, and that act of faith was accepted as putting him into a right relationship with God” (William Barclay). Just as Abraham had to choose between believing God and believing the circumstances he could see, God also has to put us into exactly the same position. He must find out what is the true intent of our hearts—the depth of our faith. God needs to “know” that we will trust Him, no matter what.

“Pleasing Faith’s” Source

Where do we get this “pleasing” faith? Ephesians 2:8 answers: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” We cannot work it up—that would be our effort, and Romans 8:8 says that we can never please God in our flesh. Further prove this faith comes from God is the correct application of Galatians 2:20:

(Gal 2:20) 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.

Paul exchanged his life for Christ’s life. Paul was dead, and Christ lived through him. This life of faith was only possible through the faith of Christ! Christ’s faith was Paul’s faith! This is truly an exchanged life!

Consider when God first started working on us. One year we were clueless, the next year things were making sense. We read the Bible and understood it, but more importantly, we believed it. Where did that belief come from? It was, as Ephesians 2:8 says, a gift from God. The real miracle is not that we understood, but rather that we now believed those words we understood. And this happened only because God made it possible.

What was the evidence that we believed those words? We began living by them. Our new works and actions were the evidence of our faith. Just like Abraham, our actions showed our desire to begin a right relationship with God motivated by His gift of faith. “Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was declared right with God because of what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to do. His faith was made complete by what he did—by his actions” (James 2:21-22 NLT).

Are you willing to believe and obey God’s Word?

To test our faith, God’s pattern is to bring us to a point—a brick wall or a Red Sea—that seemingly allows no escape. That is where He can find out what is truly in our hearts—hearts of belief or evil unbelief.

(Heb 3:12)  Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

Paul had this experience and recorded it for us in II Corinthians 1:8-10:

We should like you, our brothers, to know something of the trouble we went through in Asia. At that time we were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, in fact we told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we believe now that we had this sense of impending disaster that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead. It was God who preserved us from such deadly perils, and it is he who still preserves us. (Phillips translation)

Even though all human hope was lost, God came to the rescue to teach Paul—and us through Paul—that God can be trusted.

“I am God! I can be trusted. . . . I alone am the God who can be trusted” [Isaiah 65:16 (CEV)].

What areas of your life are not “pleasing” to God? What areas of your life are being lived by sight? Is your faith pleasing to God, or is it lifeless?


Jesus rebukes His disciples for their unbelief

Mark 16:14-18 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The disciples were reclining. They were at ease in their unbelief. They were more concerned about their bellies than they were their hard hearts. Jesus rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart. They had refused to believe the report that Jesus was risen and alive!

The disciples were allowing a fleshly thing to cloud a spiritual reality. Their focus on what was in the past hardened their heart to what was true in the now! This is true of Christians today. We feed our hearts on what God has not done or failed to do. Whenever we dwell on what has not happened, we foster the atmosphere for the spirit of offense and bitterness to arise and then thrive. When we dwell on what has not happened, we legitimize unbelief. We even excuse unbelief as normal. So we promote a sense of justification for not believing God.

Jesus rebuked that attitude in His disciples. He rebukes that attitude now! That attitude and thinking has to die! Christians are at ease in their unbelief. They are reclining at the table of fleshly attitudes and thinking. While we feed our bellies, the world is crying out for spiritual truth that will change their lives. While we are content in our unbelief our neighbors are crying out for something worth believing in.

Too often the Church focuses on keeping people from “sin” instead of taking people into their destiny with the power of the risen Christ. Churches that provide excuses for falling short of and not believing the power of Christ are merely promoters of “religion,” for God’s Word says religion is “form without power!” (2 Tim 3:5)

The area of our greatest unbelief is in our prayers. So much of the content of our praying is for things we already possess in Christ, but fail to believe. So we labor to ask God for things we already have. We expose our unbelief through our boring prayers. We fail to ask God for things we do not possess because we fail to believe what God has given us. No wonder prayer is laborious and cursory to most Christians. No wonder there is a prevailing attitude that their prayers never reach the ceiling! Our prayers are often exercises in unbelief!

Churches are to be houses of prayer. The God purpose of prayer is to produce JOY in the experience of the believer.

John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Prayer is not to twist God’s arm, or to make us seem more spiritual. Prayer is to encourage our belief in the reality of Jesus. Jesus wants prayer to take us into fullness of JOY! JOY is the currency of Heaven! God reserves JOY as the reward for the suffering. Christ endured the cross for the JOY that was set before Him. The reality of Christ will deposit the currency of heaven in our lives. JOY is the currency of Heaven! JOY is the result of prayer! Jesus says to all faithful servants who live with His power in their lives, “Well done…enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)

God wants us to feast on belief in the power of the Name of Jesus. Prayer is designed to be a breakthrough into His heavenly JOY! Prayer is the expenditure of belief in return for the heavenly currency. If we pray only for that which we already possess, we will never experience the breakthrough of JOY. We will never discover the riches of God’s heavenly currency!

Never allow our prayers to contradict what God has already promised. Our unbelief closes heaven’s resources to us. Closed heavens are between our ears. Failure to know JOY is between our ears! We limit our God because our unbelief does not want to take hold of His power and JOY, even when He is standing in front of us with outstretched arms!

This is why Paul prayed so fervently for us:

Ephesians 1:18-19 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might…

Paul saw Jesus, saw His power, and saw that power in His life. Paul experienced JOY even in prison, even in the stockades, even holding flotsam in the middle of the ocean. Paul’s eyes were opened and his heart was on fire for the realities of Jesus Christ! He could see the greatness of the power within Him, the same power that raised Jesus from the grave.  Paul never reclined in unbelief after that vision.

Our Vision should FIRE our Heart!

Christians have no excuse for not seeing the same vision. The vision is there for all to see. If we fail to believe, the hardness of our heart is exposed.

When Jesus was baptized, Matthew writes, “immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him” (Matthew 3:16). The picture is of the heavens being divided, rolled back, suddenly exposing the power of the heavenlies, and allowing the Holy Spirit to descend upon Jesus. Stephen saw the heavens rolled back and gazed upon the Glory of God and His Son. The truth is that the heavens have been opened to all Christians! The Holy Spirit has been given to all Christians. The Glory of God is for all Christians. We have the Holy Spirit living within us, a gift from our Savior!

Our Father is jealous for us to know the power of the Holy Spirit within us. He earnestly desires us to belief and experience His JOY!

James 4:5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

We live under an open heaven. The heavens are rolled back revealing the Power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit lives in every believer, but his POWER is not upon every believer. Luke 4:1 says that Jesus left the Jordan River full of the Holy Spirit. But he did not have the POWER of the Holy Spirit until He believed the Word of God in His confrontation with Satan in the wilderness.

Are You Aware of the Power within You?

The Holy Spirit is in us eternally, but His POWER is not opened to us unless we believe. When we allow the wilderness of this world to influence our believing, we fail to see the power of the Spirit. We fail to influence the wilderness around us. We fail to alter the environment around us. Men who believed in the POWER of Christ influenced the environment into which they were placed. Stephen had a profound effect upon those angry men. Paul had an astounding effect upon prisoners, towns people, and even hardened Roman Soldiers.

Christians must learn how to “host” the presence of God such that He is always before us, influencing the environment of every place we step into. What we are conscious of, we are positioned to manifest. What we are aware of, we are able to release. If we are not conscious and aware of the POWER of God within us, we will never be able to influence those around us. The Gospel is not a ministry of words. The Gospel is the ministry of Power because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The Gospel is the ministry of releasing the presence of the Holy Spirit in the whole earth. We will never release that which we are unaware of.

A woman who had struggled for years with an issue of blood made a “demand” upon Christ. In desperation she reached out among the throng to touch the “hem of His garment.” She made a demand for her life. In spite of all the people pressing around Him, Christ was so aware of the Spirit’s presence that He instantly knew when a demand was made to which the Spirit responded. If we are not intensely aware of the Holy Spirit within our lives, we will have nothing to offer those around us who are desperately seeking power for their lives. They are overwhelmed, they are needy, and we have no life-giving power to offer them.

A demand was made upon Peter. Peter confessed he had no silver or gold, but Peter was intensely aware of what he did possess. Peter had life in Christ, and He was willing to share that POWER with the beggar at the gate. Peter said “what I do have I will give you.”

Write a HUGE Check with Heavenly Currency!

Peter knew a heavenly currency that the world knows nothing about. Peter wrote a HUGE check because he knew what he possessed (Acts 3:6). Most Christians can only write tiny checks because our unbelief has obscured what we possess.

We live with such ignorance of what we possess. We possess the very “Kingdom of God.” The one who freed us from our sins, at the same time made us a Kingdom, Priests to His God and Father (Rev 1:6). Jesus said “the words that I speak to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63)

John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Jesus, being the very logos (word), spoke the Spirit and Life where ever He journeyed. When Christ spoke, His words became the Spirit and brought LIFE to those who believed. When we believe in the Words of Christ, and speak them into the world, we impart the Spirit to our environment, and we impart LIFE to those who believe.

We are Kingdom builders through the POWER that is in us. This Kingdom is not in food or drink, but is righteousness, peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

When we are aware of the power that lies within us, and we exercise that power in faith, we are building the Kingdom by bringing people to the LIFE in Christ. We are dispensing the heavenly currency of JOY to those around us.

When you are handing out money, people stop and demand some. When you are handing out JOY, joy that this world is so hungry for, people will stop and demand it. The communities around the disciples took note of what they were handing out. They took note of where they went. They even brought the sick and lame into the streets to catch the shadow of Peter and be healed (Acts 5:15). Note: Your Shadow will always release what overshadows you! Peter was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit!

An unbelieving, defeated group of Christians will never see life brought to the dead in sin. They will never see miracles of God. Unbelief and defeat produces inward focused Christians, prone to depression and discouragement. When we turn inward we become a dead sea. An inward focused Christian is a dead Christian. An inward Christian is self-absorbed and self-centered. We need to be pre-occupied with who Christ is! With what Christ can do! We need to constantly release Him into every circumstance we encounter. We release His POWER by faith!

Don’t allow disappointments to obscure Revelation

So much of “Christianity” is based upon disappointment rather than revelation. We fail to see the Glory of God or the Power of His Son. Stephen saw the revelation in the midst of a downpour of stones. Paul saw the revelation in the midst of a hateful heart. John saw the revelation in the midst of loneliness and exile. The Revelation of Christ changes our environment. It changes our heart! Rather than being disappointed in what God fails to do for us, we need to focus on all that God has done for us!

Jesus said that if you see Him, you have seen the Father. So Jesus is the revelation of the nature and power of God. Jesus said that “all power” had been given to him in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). His power is the basis of us going into the world. If we do not know His power by revelation, then we will be powerless if we go into the world. We will be overcome by the world!

Christ is in us as a River
Let Him Flow!

Powerlessness is inexcusable and unacceptable. The Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in you and he wants out. He is not in us as a lake, or a ‘dead sea’, but rather as a river. Rivers flow from. The nature and power of God becomes ours as a believer. We have to believe in our own conversion! We have to believe in the POWER that was given to Jesus and was given to us!

As Paul prayed, the Lord is releasing a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we can actually rise to who He says we are! We cannot afford to rest in unbelief, nor can we afford to think thought that God never thinks about us. We must learn to meditate on the things the Holy Spirit can say “AMEN!” to.

Paul wrote that in order to serve God acceptably, our minds (that thing between our ears) must be renewed so that our lives are transformed. Our minds must come under the influence of the Holy Spirit. We must learn divine perspective in order to live the divine life.

This renewing of our mind can only come from a divine encounter with the POWER of God. We must see the revelation of Christ as the POWER in our life. Any creed or teaching that does not take us to the person of Jesus in a divine encounter will only make us more “religious.” It will only equip us to argue, not bring life into our environment.

When our beliefs line up with the POWER of Christ in us, we can take the Gospel into our communities without limits, without baggage that weighs it down and renders it powerless. We must have the experience of the Gospel that changes our lives, changes our thinking and makes us intensely aware of the divine POWER within us. Only then can we dispense the currency of heaven to those joyless souls around us.

(Inspired by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church)


Early in my Christian walk I heard about an old Indian story about the white wolf and black wolf that live in us. The white wolf represents the Spirit of God. The black wolf represents the old sinful nature we were born with. Supposedly, these two are continually fighting with each other for control of our thoughts and actions. The one who wins is the one we feed. It sounds reasonable. Sometime I do feel like a battle is raging within me. It seems to fit with what Paul wrote about the struggle between the Spirit and the flesh:

Galatians 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

This video of a dog eating a bone shows the stupidity of this lie that is taught in churches. Watch as this dog struggles to control his rear leg, which he believes is trying to steal the bone! This dumb dog is growling at his own leg! Is this how funny we look to God, when we try to defeat sin by feeding a supposed “white wolf” so a supposed “black wolf” won’t steal our Jesus ‘bone’? Am I going to be dumb like this dog, and imagine a black wolf always lurking around, trying to steal the “bone” of my Christian walk?

However, I do not believe this “split personality” concept of struggle against sin is truthful according to God’s word. I believe it is a lie which promotes our self-effort to struggle against sin. This lie perpetuates our “bondage” to sin and the flesh. It actually leads to walking in the “flesh.” This is an element of that “other gospel” that Paul wrote the Galatians about.

Paul wrote in Romans that we were baptized into the death of Jesus Christ:

Romans 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

The body of Jesus Christ died and was buried in a borrowed tomb. So what part of me died, because I still have my five senses! Paul says that our “old man” died!

Romans 6:6-7 We know that our old self (man) was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

He states further that “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)

In reality, we have died… For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3) We are a “new creation” in which God Himself dwells. How could God dwell in a “split personality” type situation?

Paul further states:  “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

If born again Christians are “new creations” (2 Cor 5:17), and God dwells in us, why do we still sin? After all, if we say we do not sin, we make God a liar and His Word is not in us. (1 John 1:10). Paul struggled with this situation and wrote about it in Romans chapter 7. In fact, he wrote,  “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:14-15)

The Law of Sin

This led Paul to the discovery of a law that all physical men and women live under, the “Law of Sin.” This law of sin is present as long as we have a physical body, for it is inherent in this physical body which will one day be put into the grave. While we have only one nature as far as God sees us, because we have died in Christ, the law of sin is still in force. Our flesh is still under its influence.

but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:23-25)

Law of the Spirit of Life

The cry of Paul was “who will deliver me” and the answer came from God, “thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Jesus provides the answer, the deliverance, not through our struggle against this law of sin (for we will always lose), but through a NEW LAW which we can live under because we have a NEW NATURE! Our new spiritual nature allows us to live under the “Law of the Spirit of Life!” This new law sets us free from the law of sin. This new law can only be followed by faith, not by self-effort.

Romans 8:2-4 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

This new nature that we have been given as a result of our “new birth” is the nature of the Holy Spirit. God lives in us. We are His dwelling place. We are to have the “mindset” of Jesus (as described in Philippians 2:4-8). We are to die to what we want, even dying to our own self-effort, and live according to the Holy Spirit, who indwells us. This is the only way to freedom from the law of sin. This is the only way our flesh can be freed to serve Jesus Christ in victory over sin!

Romans 8:5-10 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

If we try to live the Christian life thinking that it is up to us to feed the white wolf, or else we will lose to the black wolf, we will walk in a continual up and down victory and defeat mode of which personality is in charge. We will be frustrated and defeated. We will burn out and feel that following Christ is pointless and powerless. Our faith will never grow. The only way the flesh is freed from the law of sin is not through self-effort, but through submission to God and walking dependant upon the Holy Spirit. That takes a growing faith to see Him in charge. That takes an attitude of rest in Him and the victory He has already won! That requires a trusting in His Word!

Romans 8:13-14 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the POWER of God!

This requires a true understanding and trusting in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For the death and burial of Jesus is the Power of God for our enjoying LIFE in Jesus Christ. But first we must die to self-effort and self-reliance! Our righteousness in Christ is revealed from faith to faith! His faith must be our faith! The righteous live by faith!

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

So don’t think you must feed the white wolf to keep the black wolf at bay. The black wolf is dead! What you are seeing is a ghost! Let him go and set your mind upon the Holy Spirit. Walk in Him by faith! Don’t let the ghost keep you scared, keep you enslaved. Walk in the freedom of the Holy Spirit, for He sets us free from the law of sin and from those nasty ghosts of wrong teaching!

For More, read: Walking After the Spirit  and The Great Escape of Death