CHAPTER FIVE: THE SHIELD OF FAITH TO QUENCH ALL THE FIERY DARTS OF THE WICKED!
Failure to read this message from page one to the last pageand from chapter one to the last chapter could cause the reader to misunderstand this message. Please read page to page and chapter to chapter. Thank you and may God bless the reading of His Word. CHAPTER ONE
HOME CHAPTER SIX CHAPTER SEVEN CONTACT INFORMATION
If you begin to have difficulty reading this because of distractions or lack of concentration please proceed to the chapter on FIERY DARTS
CHRISTIAN FORUMS-PRAYER REQUESTS-QUESTIONS-COMMENTS!
We need the next piece of armor, the shield of faith, from the very first day we are born again to ward off the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:16, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” First Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion [not a roaring lion, but as a roaring lion], walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Steadfast is “stereos”, solid, stable, strong, sure. First John 3:8, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Before Jesus came and destroyed the works of the devil it was very difficult to have faith. Galatians 3:11-12, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith:” One of the two times the word faith is used in the Old Testament is in Habakkuk 2:4, “but the just shall live by his faith.” Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38 tells us that, “The just shall live by faith.” “But the just shall live by his faith.” in the Old Testament, but now we are able live by faith in God’s Word and the works of the Cross, God’s “Starter Kit” by Jesus which includes the cleansing Blood of Jesus.
THE FIG TREE AND THE MUSTARD SEED
Mark 11:12-14, 20-26 “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He [Jesus] was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And His disciples heard it.”
Verses 20-26, “And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in Heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 17:20 that, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye, ye, ye, ye, ye, ye, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” If you have ever seen a mustard seed, that's not very much and is probably how much I had when I was born again, but it was enough for me to repent, be born again, become dead to sin, become a new creature, have wisdom, become the righteousness of God, have peace with God, be sanctified, be justified, obtain mercy and grace, be glorified or honored, and begin to put on the preparation of peace so I could begin to fellowship with God and learn to take the shield of faith to become wise, righteous, sanctified, just, merciful, forgiving, compassionate and a trustworthy peacemaker.
FAITH COMES BY HEARING GOD’S WORD
After my bookstore closed and I was unemployed, I stopped by my parent’s one day and was watching the news on their television and they had a story about the high rate of unemployment and showing homeless people. I started to sweat and had to get up and go outside because of my lack of faith. We have to learn to trust the Word Of God, Jesus, our Lord, not the television reports or the newspaper or radio or friends or neighbors or family members or doctors report or bank statement or preacher or television evangelist or someone's well intentioned opinion or our circumstances or what you think you see, if you read it in the Bible, God said it, just believe it. Romans 10:17, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Read the Bible like it is a personal message that was written by God just for you. My scripture in this instance should have been Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” which He always has and always will and Second Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”
Note: Music has become one of satan’s greatest tools and as we strive to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for our lives we must be very selective as to what we choose to read and listen to program our minds. I don't know if it is angels or the Holy Spirit or whatever, but whenever I am battling I have always had songs that would begin to minister to me and they are always positive and uplifting and encourage my heart so I can be positive. Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” Faith cometh by hearing what ever we choose to listen to or read.
Hebrews 11:1-3 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. 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.” Is true reality what we can't see or what we can see? Anything we obtain from God will first be obtained in the spiritual realm via the Word of God and then we will see the evidence of whatever we believe God for in the physical realm. We can't help but want to see what we believe God for so we can have faith, but this is physical reality, not spiritual reality. We need to know what the Word of God says so that we can know His will about our situation so we can learn to trust Him. I have heard preachers say that it seems that it is easier for a new Christian to have faith than older Christians, but that is because we begin to put our faith in what we see instead of things not seen, or the Word of God as Second Corinthians 5:7 tells us, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”
Romans 4:17 tells us that God calleth those things that be not as though they were and He told Abraham that he would be “the father of many nations” although Abraham thought he was too old and in spite of him God made him the “father of many nations.”
Genesis 15:1-6, “After these things the Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not Abram: I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward.
And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
And, behold, the Word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And He brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward Heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.”
Genesis, 16:16, “And Abram was fourscore and six years old , when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”
Genesis 17:1-7, “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
Genesis 17:15-19, “And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old bear?
And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”
The Lord and two angels appear to Abraham in Genesis 18:1-15, we will start with verse 9. “And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And He said; I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life, and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind Him.
Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my Lord being old also? And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And He said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.”
Do you think Abraham had very much faith? Do you think Sarah had much faith? They laughed when God told them they were going to have a child, but God had told them what He would do and in spite of them He did it and they probably started with faith about the size of mustard seed just like when I was born again.
Genesis 21:1-7, “And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to Him. And Abraham called the name of His son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.
And Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? For I have born him a son in his old age.”
God spoke to Abram, before He renamed him Abraham, father of many nations, in Genesis 15 and showed him the stars in the heavens and told him that so Abraham's seed shall be. When God changed Abram’s name He was changing his name to Abraham which means father of many nations. I was reading in Charles Capps book, “Faith and Confession” that every time someone called Abraham’s name that he was actually calling him “father of nations.” The more Abraham heard that he was the “father of nations” the more he believed that he was the “father of nations.” Capps related this to how we are to use God’s Word and speak it until we believe what His Word says about us so we can build our faith in God’s Word. Just say it over and over in your mind and confess it to your Christian friends. “But my God shall supply all your [my] need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” just like Philippians 4:19 promises. God prepared Abraham so that Abraham would have faith enough to believe Him and we need to know God's promises for us in the Word of God. All the many wonderful things He has done for us through His Son Christ Jesus and the Blood that He shed on the Cross at Calvary. Jesus died for us and gave us the “Starter Kit” so we can be more than conquerors through Christ Jesus, Romans 8:37, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
Remember in Genesis 15:1, “After these things the Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not Abram: I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward.” The Word of God-Jesus-the Son of God is our Shield and exceeding great reward and Genesis 15:6 tells us that Abram believed the Word of the Lord and it was counted unto him for righteousness and now we are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus, Second Corinthians 5:21, “For He [God] hath made Him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
FAITH QUIETS THE STORM
Mark 4:35-41, “And the same day, when the even was come, He [Jesus] saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the ship. And there were also with Him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
John 6:15-21, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone. And when even was now come, His disciples went down unto the sea, And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But He saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.”
When we willingly receive Jesus into our heart and accept the Word of God-Jesus as our Lord and savior our storms will cease as we put our trust into His Word-the Word of God. We, through faith in the Word of God, can speak to and calm our storms. We, through faith in the Word of God, can speak to and calm our storms. I was going through a storm and made the comment to a friend of mine, Rob Weinger, that I sure would be glad when Jesus speaks to my storm. He immediately replied and said “Why don’t you speak to the storm?” At that point it dawned on me that the storm was my storm, not God’s, and I had actually created the storm in my own mind and now I needed to speak to my storm and say to myself, “Peace, be still” and have faith in the Word of God and calm my storm. Ephesians 6:16, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts [storms] of the wicked.”
We must bring every thought into the obedience of God, Second Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God [The Word of God], and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ [The Word of God];” Matthew 12:37, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
In Exodus 14, as the Israelites are fleeing Egypt and the Egyptian army are baring down on them and the people are about to panic, we read in verses 13 through 16, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” We read in verse 21, “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left."
The Lord told Moses to lift up his rod and divide the sea and then it says the Lord caused the sea to go back. God acted on Moses faith and Moses acted on His faith in God. God said, “Wherefore criest thou unto Me?” because all Moses had to do was point his rod and speak the Word and God would have done His part and now God needs us to speak to the spirits behind the problems in this world and fulfill Mark 16:15-18. God needs us and we most definitely need Him and we are to labor together with God and under our new and better covenant we can all take the Rod, the Word of God, spoken in the Name of Jesus, and move mountains and calm our storms. Hebrews 8:6, “But now hath He [Jesus] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” As we read earlier in Revelation 19:15, “And out of His [Jesus] mouth goeth a sharp sword [The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God], that with it He should smite the nations; and He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” That's our Lord-Jesus-The Word of God they are talking about and also in the story of His spiritual birth in Revelation 12:5, “And she brought forth a Man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne."
GOD WILL PROVIDE
Romans 4:17-5:5, speaking of Abraham, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before Him whom he believed, even God who quickeneth [makes alive] the dead, and calleth those things that be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Hope is Strong’s number 1680-(To anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation or confidence:-faith, hope. I like having confidence that God can perform that which He promises so I can stand on the Word of God-the promises of God and know that He will help me perfect the plan and purpose He has for my life.
Genesis 22:1-19, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of Heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of Heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the Heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.”
Galatians 3:6-9, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” We, the born again children of God, are those that be of faith and we are blessed with faithful Abraham. Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”
JUST DO WHAT YOU KNOW TO DO!
Acts 12:1-17, “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
And he went out, and followed him; and wist [saw] not that it was true which was by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward [cell blocks], they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord has sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished. But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place."
Jesus told Peter in John 21:18, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkest whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” Way down deep Peter knew that God would provide and that he was going to be okay because of what Jesus had told him and he was sound asleep and seemed to be quite relaxed. When we get into a situation where we have to battle for our faith we must always remember the Word of God, the promises of God. When Abraham was taking Isaac to sacrifice him Abraham knew that God had told him that he was going to be a “father of many nations.” God had given him Isaac and Abraham knew that Isaac was his heir that God had promised him and that somehow God would provide a sacrifice just like we need to relax and let God fulfill His plan and purpose for our lives. When God gives us something to do just do what you know to do and when and if you fail just remember Jesus tore the veil into the Holiest so that we can go to God in full assurance of faith cleansed by the blood of Jesus that was shed for the remission of our sins.
Hebrews 10:16-23, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised ;)”
The people in Acts were praying for Peter without ceasing, but evidently were looking at what happened to James and were just doing what they knew to do and they didn't appear to expect much. They told Rhoda that she was mad and she had to constantly affirm that Peter was alive and at the gate and Peter had to keep knocking to get them to even come to the gate. The people were astonished that their prayers were answered and just like Matthew 17:20 says “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” All they needed was a mustard seed of faith for God to be able to free Peter and praying in tongues and allowing the Holy Spirit to pray through us is one of our mightiest weapons and since they were fresh from the day of Pentecost I am sure they were aware of this fact.
Romans 4:17, “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before Him whom he believed, even God who quickeneth [makes alive] the dead, and calleth those things that be not as though they were.” We can also call those things that be not as though they were by quoting what God’s Word says about us and our situation and as we do our best, what we know to do, God will do the rest. All we have to do is speak God’s Word like Jesus did in Luke 4:1-14 and then wait on Him to make the things that haven't happened happen.
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.” Whatever we are believing God for is framed by the Word of God. Things that are seen are made by faith in spiritual things not seen through faith in the Word of God-Jesus. Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Remember, we can take the parable of the sower and apply it to any thing we are seeking God for, faith included, because the Word of God is our Author and Finisher, not what we see.
BELIEVERS AND NON-BELIEVERS-WHEAT AND TARES
I have learned that sometimes we are going to be surrounded by people that we really don't know where they are with Jesus and if we look at what they are saying or what is happening to them, good or bad, and get our eyes off of Jesus-The Word of God-we will expect to have happen to us what is happening to them-good or bad. Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." And not the people around us no matter how blessed or cursed they may appear.
Matthew 13:24-30, “The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in His field. But while men slept, His enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto Him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto Him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But He said, Nay; lest while you gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn.”
In Matthew 13:37-43 Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and tares, “He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” We have to live for God and have faith to trust Him now, so we aren't concerned with the end of the world, but the point here is that we, as born again children of God, are surrounded by the children of the devil and we are not to look to them for our faith, but to the Word of God. When we hear sermons we need to take notes and study those notes to be sure the message lines up with the Word.
WHEAT AND TARES USING THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
When we studied the Parable of the Sower in chapter one we separated faith into four stages: Stage one is found in verse 15, “And these are they by the wayside, where the Word is sown; but when they have heard, satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the Word that was sown in their hearts.”
Stage two, verses 16 & 17, “And these are they likewise which are sown on stoney ground; who, when they have heard the Word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the Word's sake, immediately they are offended.”
Stage three, verses 18 & 19, “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the Word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becometh unfruitful.”
Stage four, verse 20, “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the Word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”
We can hear or read the Word of God, a promise of God, and then have the Word stolen by the devil, succumb to persecution or let the cares of this world choke the Word and lose the battle for our faith. We need to know what God's best is so we can learn to look to the Word of God-Jesus-and not man as the basis for our faith and do like Philippians 2:12-13 says, “Work out your own salvation [The Greek word's “soteria” and “soterion” is rescue or safety (physically or morally):-deliver, health, salvation, save, saving. Defender or by implication defense:-salvation.] with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do His good pleasure.” and realize that we are going to be in contact with people that profess to be Christians and really aren't and are going to look “blessed” and like they never have trials and tribulations or cursed and constantly going through trials and tribulations, and we are not to look at their perceived success or failure, but only to Jesus-The Word of God as the author and finisher of our faith. Romans 8:28, “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.” And those plans are for good and not evil, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” And we can expect to be profitable for the Master’s use in the end and to prosper and be in health as our souls prosper as 3 John 2 declares.
FAITH AS LITTLE CHILDREN TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Matthew 18:1-4, “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily, I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
When the Bible speaks of entering into the Kingdom of Heaven it doesn’t mean being born again and receiving eternal life, but being a part of God’s work He is doing here on earth. You can either a be a participator or an observer. Second Timothy 2:19-21, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet [profitable] for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work.”
John 3:1-8, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
It is at this point we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and become a new creature that is dead to sin. Romans 6:11, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” When you read the Word and you see “shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” it is just telling you that if you have a certain area you need to work on to be “profitable for the Master’s use” and at this point we are to humble ourselves as little children to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and He will help us conquer whatever area we need to conquer.
First Peter 5:5-9 says, “For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
THE FOUR STAGES OR LEVELS OF FAITH
There are four stages of faith and stage one is intellectual faith, stage two is temporary faith, stage three is dead faith and stage four is real saving faith. We are going to illustrate this by using the four stages of the parable of the sower that we used in chapter one to trace my spiritual growth until I was born again.
Intellectual faith is the “measure of faith” everyone receives as Romans 12:3 tells us, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” I received my “measure of faith” when I was attending the Methodist church as a child and at the age of twelve I went through a confirmation service and remember feeling “grown-up” for the first time. I felt like I was doing something important, and I was, I was drawing closer to God and taking the first step of a spiritual journey that would culminate in me receiving eternal life when I was born again 31 years later on October 18, 1983.
Mark 4:14-15, the first stage of the parable of the sower, is the stage of faith I was in at that time, “The sower [the preacher or Sunday school teacher or whomever] soweth the Word. And these are they by the wayside, where the Word is sown; but when they have heard, satan cometh immediately and taketh away the Word that was sown in their hearts.”
A Biblical illustration of intellectual faith is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I thank God I did learn this one thing and that was a start, but I worked with a young man once that was staking his spiritual destiny on this scripture and this scripture only, the belief that God is and that Jesus was His Son. James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; Thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble.” I saw him sometime after that and he told me that he had become a real Christian. There are whole churches that are banking on this one scripture, but it takes more than John 3:16 as we have learned. I believed in Jesus for 43 years before I was born again.
The second stage of faith is temporary faith and was the stage of the parable of the sower I was in when I walked down the aisle at the Church of Christ when I was eighteen years old, Mark 4:16-17, “And these are they likewise which are sown on stoney ground; who, when they have heard the Word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution arise for the Word's sake, immediately they are offended.” and is also the best Bible illustration for temporary faith.
I behaved for a while, but had no roots, so I just sort of faded back into my old way of doing things, and like I said in chapter two, I wonder what would have happened if I would have been in a church that could have taken an interest in me and taught me the truth of God's Word that included Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” and Ephesians 1:13-14, “In whom [God] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom after also that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest [guarantee] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”
The third stage of faith is dead faith and is found in Mark 4:18-19, “And these are those that are sown among thorns; such as hear the Word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becometh unfruitful.” An excellent Biblical illustration of dead faith is Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” This person was deceived by the devil and was genuinely surprised to find out that Jesus didn't know them. They were a tare and we will reference back to this many more times, because we must be aware of the deceitfulness of our adversary, the devil.
Second Corinthians 11:13-15, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
When I walked down the aisle at the charismatic church, I bought a necklace with a cross on it and two Bibles that I never read and took notes in church and hung Jesus plaques in my house, but never changed my way of living. First Corinthians 6:9-10, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God.” I was on that list more than once during the next three years before I entered the next and final stage of the parable of the sower.
The fourth and final stage of faith, real saving faith, is found in the fourth stage of the parable of the sower, Mark 4:20, “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the Word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” Back to First Corinthians, chapter six, verse 11, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
Washed in the blood to have our sins remitted and sanctified, “hagiazo”, separated from the world or our old life unto God and justified, declared not guilty all because of what Jesus did at Calvary when He shed his blood and took our sins and gave us our “Starter Kit” from God. None of this was mine or could have been mine until I repented and was born again. Repent, to feel sorry for one's sins and determine to do what is right; to feel sorry for or dissatisfied with something one has done. I determined to do things God's way and put my trust in Jesus and let God take over on October 18, 1983 and that is when I obtained real-saving faith to be born again.
An illustration of real saving faith is found in Romans 10:9-11, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.”
We can apply the four levels of faith to anything spiritual that we are striving to obtain through the Word of God, such as, being born again, health, finances, ministries, marriages, a spouse or marriage partner, relationships or anything you are seeking from God. It can be applied to the different stages of the armor of God, truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God and prayer. We can obtain intellectual knowledge of a promise of God, written or spoken, and then we will begin to strive to move from temporary to dead to real saving faith. Once we recognize we are in dead or temporary faith that is when we can begin to battle and overcome, because we have endeavored to act on our faith. Acting on our faith is when we begin to wrestle not against flesh and blood but satanic powers and satan will always come to try to steal the Word out of our hearts. Having done all, stand! Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”
Faith to obtain anything in the spiritual realm is just like being born again, conception [intellectual], development [temporary and dead] and delivery [real-saving]. Delivery comes when you believe God and win the wrestling match for whatever you are seeking through His Word. We can also use the earlier parable of the wheat and tares to realize that the enemy comes and tries to plant his seed or word in our hearts to replace God’s Seed or the Word of God through non-believers. The way to maintain your real saving faith is to pray and let God show you where He wants you to begin to fulfill His plan and purpose for your life. He will send you wherever you can help the most people and just as Jesus came to help people we are to follow His example and help set the captives free. Mark 16:15, “And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” James 2:17-18. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.”
CHARITY AND FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD
The definition of charity is “agape” affection or benevolence, helping others, love. First Corinthians 13:1-7, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 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.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Colossians 3:12-15, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. [ties in with Matthew 5:48, completeness, “teleiotes”, maturity] And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
James 2:14-26, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
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?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
As we put our faith into action our ultimate goal is to take the Word of God and have a productive prayer life that can change not only ourselves, but the world around us, our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, churches and governments from local government to world-wide governments and countless other things that we battle on a daily basis. When troops of any nation are put into a situation when they are in danger for their lives that is the result of a spiritual battle that Unified Christianity can influence through effective and fervent united prayer. Life is a spiritual battle that can only be won by doing things God’s way and the battle will be much easier when we unite and come together. Once we are united we can begin to take to the streets and let our voice be heard. I dream of all Christians joining hands and marching together and proclaiming the Name of Jesus. JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!
CONFIDENCE TOWARD GOD
It is much easier for me to speak and have faith in God’s Word and have an effective, fervent prayer life and do my works when I am doing those things that make for righteousness. First John 3:7, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” Galatians 2:16-21, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 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. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
A transgressor is one that goes contrary to, a violator. When I begin to wrestle and begin to do what is contrary to my born again, dead to sin nature I need to stop and try to figure out why and stand on the Word of God so that I will not become a violator and find myself feeling separated from God. I can have real saving faith in any area, but if I allow satan to get me to transgress back to dead faith and allow the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things to enter in and choke the Word it will become unfruitful.
Psalm 78:41-42, speaking of Israel after God had brought them out of Egypt, “Yea, they turned back [In their hearts] and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. They remembered not His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy.” and we can still limit God when we transgress and go back to our old ways. One of our main goals should be not to frustrate the grace of God and if we do sin or transgress we need to have the faith that we can get back to God as quickly as we so desire and remember the mercy and grace of God and go to prayer and, if you find yourself in darkness go to First John 1:4-10 to 2:6 and confess, be forgiven and be cleansed from all unrighteousness and go on with God. “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 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. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 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.
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. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: And He is the propitiation [Mercy Seat, Depository] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.”
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Psalm 100:3, “Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us,” Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”
Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
First Peter 5:5-7 says, “For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” And cast your sins on Him by telling Him that you no longer have a desire for the things listed below in Galatians 5:19-21 and such like, because you are a born again child of God that is dead to sin and you no longer have a desire to sin and this is just the devil trying to keep you from being profitable for the Master’s use. Most of us revert back to the third stage of the parable of the sower and let the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in choke the Word and we at this point must battle through to become profitable for the Master’s use and complete His plan and purpose for our lives.
Galatians 5:19-21, which is written to the Christians in the church at Galatia, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”, which I know from experience means you will not be able to be an effective ambassador for Christ. The works of the flesh will steal your confidence in God, First John 3:20-24, “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment, that we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.”
The works of the flesh will kill our faith and keep us from fulfilling God’s plan and purpose, but we will always have eternal life. When we humble ourselves He will exalt us in due time.
The deceitfulness of sin will keep us from having faith, Ephesians 4:22-24, “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” And entering into God’s rest where we can believe Him for all things, Hebrews 3:12-14, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called to day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;” Second Timothy 2:19-22, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet [easily used, profitable] for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Sometimes what we perceive as sin is actually a battle with the devil for our faith and we will go into this in detail in the next chapter, “The Fiery Darts of the wicked.” We are going to learn how to contend for our faith by recognizing the fiery darts of the wicked and there have been times when I have been having thoughts that were contrary to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit has reminded me to remember that “These thoughts are not your thoughts.” Remember a sinful thought is not sin once we take it under our control. Second Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exaleth itself against the knowledge of God. And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
When I find myself separated from God it is either because of unbelief or sin and Hebrews 3:12 told us unbelief is sin, but when we get into fiery darts of the wicked you will see where this is not always true, because it could just simply be an attack of the wicked or the “evil day” and in that day we are to stand on the Word of God. What First John 1:7-10 is talking about is known sin and we will learn that the biggest problem in the church today is recognizing sin because we see people in the world doing things and think we can. We must be aware that there are the wheat and the tares and obey the Word of God no matter what we see others doing.
Don’t let your heart condemn you just because you lose a battle. God understands our battle better than we do and there are no limitations on First John 1:7-10. YOU ARE FORGIVEN!!! Confess your sin and have faith that God has forgiven you and that God wants you to move on and not let the power of the past destroy your future with Him. If you see your past influencing your future bind it and cast it out in the Name of Jesus.
HAVE FAITH IN AND SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD WHEN YOU PRAY AND WHEN YOU SPEAK
I have had people tell me that I needed to get in touch with reality when I have been trusting God to supply my needs, but even now as I write this I know that God is going to supply all my needs through child-like faith in His Word, because He calls those things that be not as though they were through Romans 4:17 as I stand on His Word. There are two kinds of reality-spiritual and physical. The Word of God is reality and reality will first manifest itself in the spiritual realm and then it will manifest itself in the physical realm. We need to know what the Word of God says about whatever situation we are in so we can speak the Word and have confidence that God will provide. Remember that Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Physical reality, what you can see, is not faith, because spiritual faith is not seen.
In 1987, when I had finished the first handwritten version of this message, I gently spoke to God and said, “I hate to mention it, but the light bill is due and I don’t have any money.” He replied and said, “I will take care of it.” I thought sure someone would knock on my door and hand me an envelope of money, but no, He got me a job, not just a job, but a good paying job with weekends off so I could raise my son and go to church. I worked there until 2003.
I have known people whose faith went up and down as they constantly watched the stock market. When the stock market crashed and the banks closed in 1929 many people lost their faith in being able to survive and committed suicide. They had their faith in their bank account not God. My dad told me that his parents, my grandparents, worried themselves to death because of the very appropriately named depression. My Grandfather was a banker. Hebrews 13:8-9 says, “Jesus Christ [The Word of God] the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.” Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;)” We must always remember that God is with us and calls those things that be not as though they were and when having done all, to stand on the Word of God.
I was interviewing for a job that paid a couple of dollars an hour more than I was making at the time and one of the interviewers asked me a question about something that I was very familiar with, but I couldn't think of what he was talking about and gave him some kind of answer and hoped it didn't matter. I didn't get the job. I am a child of God and know for a fact that God has gotten me jobs in the past and He has even gotten a job back for me after I quit without giving notice. He could just as easily have gotten me this job if He had wanted to, but I had a teen-age son at home and had no business working nights as this job required and God knew this and blinded my mind to the answer to the question, because He had a better job already lined up. God calls those things that be not as though they were when we trust Him with our child-like faith and be confident when you go look for a job saints, because you have the greatest employment agency in the universe on your side.
Mark 11:22-24, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. [All you need is a mustard seed] For verily I say unto you, That whoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Diligently is the Greek word “ekzeteo”, to search out, investigate, crave, demand, worship, enquire, seek after.
We have just read that if we don't doubt in our hearts we can have what we say and that with the heart man believeth. If we are to please God we must believe that God's Word is true and that He rewards those that diligently seek Him. God gives us a measure of faith and then we must contend for that faith as we read our Bibles and observe things that happen around us and be ready for the battle for our faith and not doubt in our hearts. There is a big difference between doubting in your mind and doubting in your heart, but God is faithful to fulfill His promises and will always prepare us for anything He is going to give us so that satan can't steal it from us through his wiles. When we know we have prayed and asked for something that is in God's will we must learn to begin to seek a solution as to why He is not answering our prayer. If we have doubts, we must find out where these doubts are coming from and how to overcome them and how to contend for our measure of faith God has given us? Doubt your doubts but never doubt the Word of God.
Hebrews 10:19-23, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised ;)”
First John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”
John 14:12-14, Jesus speaking, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my Name, I will do it.”
John 16:23-24, Jesus speaking, “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my Name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my Name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” Dear Heavenly Father, in the Name of Jesus we boldly approach your throne by the blood of Jesus.
Mark 9:23, “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
Let's learn how to contend for our measure of faith!