All the Hail the Power of Jesus Name IV

Related image(Acts 3:16)  And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

After three posts examining God’s power in the name of Jesus Christ, we will now focus our attention on how this power was manifested, in the miracle chronicled in the third chapter of Acts of the Apostles.

I realize some of the readers are skittish concerning miracles, signs and wonders, as testifying elements of the veracity of the gospel message (Mark 16:15-20). Sadly, here are those who have damaged the message of Christ, as they extend a hand and use His name a magic incantation to attain what’s needed. With their other hand they fleece the flock of God. These are heretics and hucksters, God will give them their just desserts whe

Despite the damage done, we must not feel free to change the words and intentions of the Savior, because we are uncomfortable with the possibility of error, or because they do not fit our modern and American Christian mind. Jesus was clear in what will occur when men believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God…

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

Above I underlined and placed in bold type the word “will”The reason I did this, is that Jesus never indicated, nor do any of the epistles, that miracles (n His name) would end after the apostolic age. In fact, beyond the apostolic age, through the age of the church fathers, in recorded revival history up to the full gospel movements in England and America, we see miracles, signs and wonders testify to the truth of the gospel message. This continues throughout the world today, largely outside of westernized Christianity, when and where the gospel is preached.

It is for this reason, we need to digest the operational aspect of laying hold of the power of God, in the name of Jesus Christ, as we walk in relationship to Him. Let us begin with Acts 3:16.

As Peter explains, the lame man at Beautiful Gate, was made well “through faith in His (Jesus Christ) name“. He further elaborates “Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all“. This is very revealing, especially to those who question whether they can conjure enough faith to pray or pronounce a person healed in Jesus name; or like the apostles exercise enough faith to believe to be healed for themselves.

The phrase “Yes, the faith which comes through Him” reveals the awesome nature of faith and where it comes from. Let’s look at Galatians 2:20, a very well know and often quoted passage.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by (the) faith in (of) the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

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You’ll note I added (the) and (of) next to “in“. The reason is that this is what is reads in the KJV Bible “by the faith of the Son of God”. This translation is actually the most accurate Greek translation into English, and reveals that our faith to believe for salvation is not our’s–nor is our faith to be healed because of Jesus’ Name–nor is our faith to believe for our sanctification or whatever other promise God has given us in Christ; the faith is given to us by Jesus. It is His faith.

Jesus perfectly walked in the Spirit, by walking in faith. This is why He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Remember in Christ’s self-emptying, though He is fully God, He chose to lay aside His right or prerogative to express His character as God, unless led by the Holy Spirit to do so.

Therefore we can understand a passage like “for the joy set before Him, he endured the cross...” (Hebrews12:2). The joy set before Him was resurrection, reuniting with the disciples, ascending to His Father, the salvation of all who would believe on the cross. These were all future events that were promised. Despite this joy, he still needed to die a horrible death. Therefore His endurance was by faith “the substance of things hoped for… the evidence of things not yet seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Our great God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who provides each man a measure of faith, and in critical encounters (like the one we are looking at in Acts 3:16), He provides faith to believe and act upon what is seen, in His name. In our case “the faith which comes through Him” is seen in both the lame man and the ministering apostles.

The lame man was expecting to receive something (Acts 3:5), upon Peter’s insistence that he look at them. What did he expect to receive? Did he recognize Peter and John as men who had been with Jesus and expect soemthing supernatural? We don’t know. It’s possible at first he simply thought he would receive some alms. What we do know is that when the man heard the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth something clicked.

At first we see Peter kind of took his hand and lifted him up, but after standing, we read in verses 8-9, that he did some additional things in faith, without Peter (leaped, stood, walked, went walking in the temple, leaping and praising God). These things he did by faith. It was the faith in Peter and John to stand him up, but it was his faith in Christ, by which he attained the rest.

This man had been laying there for decades. He most likely knew of Jesus’ ministry, which over the course of three and half years had many stops at the temple. Perhaps he had seen Jesus and wanted to be healed or hoping for an opportunity that never came. Whether he knew Peter and John is a moot point, because when he heard the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Holy Spirit gave him the needed faith to move. Once up on his feet, it was up to him to put one foot in front of the other.

This is why Peter declared to the amazed onlookers “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all“.  So healing does take faith in the one receiving, but God be praised, in His mercy He provides the faith. Therefore, little faith is not the key issue the issue, but unbelief , when there is a delay to healing(but that is for another time).

Despite this revelation, there would have been no miracle, had the apostles not first acted with faith in the power that is in Jesus’ name. Their actions reveal a little understood truth, that in cases of miracles which lead too or testify to evangelistic efforts, the operation of faith is a gift of the Spirit. What we are about to discuss is a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

In Pentecostal circles, the manifestation gifts of the Holy Spirit (detailed in I Corinthians 12:1-11), are mostly relegated to congregational gatherings. This is a grievous error, as the gifts are to operate wherever the church gathers in Jesus’ name, for the kingdom purposes. The lack of the full complement of the gifts of the Spirit, in many Pentecostal settings, ought to reveal these gatherings are not forwarding kingdom purposes. Consider where the gifts of faith, healing, miracles, discerning of spirits, word of wisdom, or word of knowledge mostly took place, in the Book of Acts… where two or more believers were ministering in Christ’s name.

Full gospel people, must not settle for a trickle of kingdom power in the places we gather for worship. We must walk outside the sanctuary, expecting God to manifest the gifts of the Spirit, in our efforts to declare the good news. This is exactly what happened in Acts 3. Between Peter and John the gifts of the Spirit were in operation, such as, the gift of a word of wisdom, the gift of faith and the gifts of healing.

It is the gift of faith which leads Peter to declare “Look at us” and subsequently, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:4-6).

For those who find this a bit strange to consider, consider what took place with Paul and Barnabas in Lystra in Acts 14:8-10…

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Acts 14:8-10 8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.

Here we see Paul, with the a gift of knowledge “Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed“. How did Paul see faith in a man who was sitting and listening to him preach, but by a gift of knowledge from the Holy Spirit. This gift was coupled with faith and the gift of miracles. In response to this the man had faith to get up and then “he leaped and walked“.

This process and endowment of faith in the name of Jesus, beyond the measure of faith given in salvation, ought to set many at ease as to who is producing miracles, signs, wonders and bringing transformation power… The Holy Spirit! He also supplies the faith in the moment of need. We simply must believe for the power that is in His name and obey His leading. For there is power in the name of Jesus Christ.

Have you ever felt the prompting of God’s Spirit, to declare a miracle, lay hands on the sick, pronounce a word of wisdom, knowledge or seomthing prophetic? How did you respond and if this has not occured, what could be hindering? Let us remember God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He equipped His saints in Acts of the Apostles, He will continue to do so, for all who follow Christ, even until He comes.

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All Hail the Power IN Jesus Name III

Related imageAs we have been considering that there is power in the name of Jesus Christ, we have looked at two primary passages.

(Acts 3:16)  And His namethrough faith in His namehas made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

and…

(John 1:12-13)  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of Godto those who believe in His name:  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

In summary, we understand that the man who was lame from his mothers womb (Acts 3:1-2), was healed because he had faith in Jesus’ name. John 1:12-13 further reveals that faith in Jesus’ name is to lay hold of (believe) the truth about Jesus contained in His name. As we looked almost exclusively at John 1, in our last post, we discovered that the name of Jesus contains powerful truths about His person, presence, and power towards us.

*If you have not read “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name II” click the title, and you will be able to see the references for each of the above revelations.

To have faith in His name one must receive Him, which is to lay hold of all Christ is, as is revealed in His name. Yet before we can grasp the depth of what that means in our life we must first step away from our two passages to look at the name bestowed upon Jesus  because of Him being the one to fulfill God’s plan of redemption.

(Philippians 2:8-11) …He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him THE name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This portion of the word of God is absolutely AWESOME! You’ll note that I have underlined and capitalized the THE in this passage. This little three letter word sets Jesus apart as having the greatest NAME ever spoken to men. In fact this NAME is so high above all other names that the Jewish people were fearful of even writing or speaking it, not wanting to defile it in any way. We English speakers often pronounce this name Jehovah, from Yahweh (Hebrews pronunciation), but in the Hebrews language it is YHWH.

This is the highest name of God in the entirety of the Old Testament, and in Jesus’ perfect fulfillment of the plan of God’s redemption of man, the Father proclaims His Christ,one with Him, YHWH, Eternal God! As this is an overwhelmingly awesome truth, it ought not be difficult to grasp given the context of Philippians 2:5-11, especially when reading verse five…

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God

This means that within the name of Jesus Christ the Lord, we know He has the name of YHWH, being that He is one in being with the Father. But this means more than just a title, so much more, as we remember that the name of YHWH revealed the character of God. Yet more than that, this name was used throughout the O.T. when a servant of the LORD had a personal visitation from God Himself, in a theophany.

Simply put a theophany is a visible manifestation in the Old Testament. Some of these include but are not limited to: the burning bush, the pillar of cloud/fire, Moses speaking with God face to face and in the Shekinah of God, Melchizedek, Samson’s parents speaking to the Angel of the LORD.

Interestingly, when God arrives in His personal presence in these times, we are blessed with a further revelation of His character through what He bestowed, when He was manifestly present to His people. From this we have a host of the Names of God such as but not limited to…

  1. The LORD Will Provide
  2. The LORD who Heals
  3. The LORD our Banner
  4. The LORD who Sanctifies
  5. The LORD my Shepherd
  6. The LORD is Peace
  7. The LORD is There
  8. The LORD our Righteousness

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Each occurrence begins with the Name that is above all names “YHWH”, as represented in English with the all capital “LORD”. I would encourage you to seek out the passages where these names are written and meditate on God being present with His servants in them, because not only is His power present in miraculous ways, so are His presence and power when those names are spoken.

This is one of the reasons for the commandment “Thou shall not take the name of the LORD in vain”. Contrary to popular opinion, where this only means to not use His name as a curse, Jesus defined this in its primary fashion in Matthew 5:33-37. In this portion of the sermon on the mount, Jesus forbids the use of the Name above all Names in oaths. The reason was simple, don’t call God’s weight, glory, presence, power, and authority into something you ought to be able to do on your own; simply let your yes be yes and your no be no.

To the Jewish person, to speak the name of YHWH was to literally call Him to your present tense as a witness. This is not mere mental gymnastics, but truth. To speak the name of YHWH is to believe He is present to do what He promised. Jesus reiterates this truth.

Matthew 18:18-20 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

The primary contest of this passage is when we come together for the purpose of  disciplining a sinning and unrepentant brother, but verse 20 is an across the board specific. When we gather together in Jesus’ name, He is literally present to perform all YHWH promises to fulfill. Christ is present to provide power to save, heal, set free, witness to His Resurrection with boldness, and perform signs and wonders. When considering Acts 3:16, concerning the healing of the lame man, Peter and John (where ever two or three are gathered in my name), go into the temple at the hour of prayer.

Their purpose was to witness to Christ, as evidenced by Peter’s response to the lame man asking of alms “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk”. As these men were walking in the Spirit, they knew the presence of Christ in and through them as a living reality, not just a theological belief. In speaking His name, they brought attention to the truth YHWH, I Am that I Am, is in the building. This is where their confident faith came from and why we often lack it.

LET’S NOT WATER DOWN THE TRUTH ANY LONGER

Believing on the name of Jesus Christ, means we hold to all truth about Jesus which is revealed in His name, including that He is literally present in power to fulfill all His supernatural God promises. Yet let us not water down the words for the purpose of walking in the current generalized status quo of the church in America; which is almost completely devoid of His promised power. In pursuit of this let’s look a little closer at the word “believe” from John 1:12-13 and “faith” from Acts 3:16.

Both words are from the same Greek root, so they are close, but together give a full picture of our intended goal to exercise the power that is in Jesus’ name, for His glory and honor. In the first place “believe” from John 1:12 means to entrust our entire well being because of what His name reveals about Him. The word “faith” adds to this the vital element of knowing He is present to do what He says. It is closely related to the meaning of the Hebrew word “shem” which communicates God is present to perform what He promised.

Therefore, to have faith in the power in Jesus’ name means we trust all that His name reveals He is and know that He is present with us, in His name above all names, to save, sanctify, and heal. This means He alone does these things, as we obey Him. The practical outlay is what we see in acts of the apostles, which is still occurring around the world everywhere, except in most of the church in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

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Let me be clear as to what this means… In His name demons are cast out, the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, the sick are healed, the saints live in persecution enduring to show the love of God to His enemies. And lest we forget, the churches are not divided over money, programs, or worship music to the largest extent.

The time has come for Christians in the west to examine themselves to see if they are truly in the faith, the once delivered to the saints in the book of Acts, not the one that is more palatable to those who trust in men and themselves more than God.

Jesus is present in power IN His Name! Will we walk being demonstrations of this or will will retreat further into our intellectually reason based house of cards we call the church?

 

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All Hail the Power of Jesus Name II

Image result for there is power in the name of JesusHow often have we spoken or sung the words superimposed over the cross to our right? How often have we spent more than five minutes considering what that phrase means? It is true, that there is power in the name of Jesus Christ, yet to fail to grasp what that means practically, concerning our walk of faith, places us at risk of giving “lip service” to the truth of God. To do this is unacceptable to God, at best, and irreverent at worst. In either case, failing to grasp that power in Jesus name and properly exercise faith in it, is to damage the testimony of Christ.

Our discussion this time, is not and exhaustive study of the name of the only Begotten Son, in the entirety of the bible, but a hearty morsel, enough for the sincere to “taste and see that the LORD is good”, in taking in the power of Jesus name. Let us consider the passage, we will continue to look to from Acts Chapter 3:16, remembering that Peter is explaining how the man who was lame for 38 years, had been made well, in the midst of thousands of onlookers.

Acts 3:16  And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING TO LAY THE FOUNDATION

In Acts 3:16 we see clearly that it is faith in Jesus’ name that made this man well. Despite many Christians having read this passage or at least heard of it and would most likely say “Amen” to this truth, few have really consider the ramifications for us in our time.

Jesus had Himself commissioned the disciples to minister in this exact manner in Mark 16:15-18 “Go into all the world and preach the gospel… “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but He who does not believe will be condemned. and these signs will follow those who believe; In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover“.

Once more we see a statement clearly indicating Jesus’ name at the head of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which confirms the preaching of the gospel (Mark 16:20). In order to understand why this is, let’s look at another passage from John’s gospel.

John 1:12-13  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:  who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Here we see, that those who receive Jesus by faith, are granted the right to become God’s children. Wow! But what does it mean to receive Him according to this passage. Simply put “received” means to “lay hold of” or to “take”. To receive Him means to take Him as He is, yet this passage gives us a little more to go on. Those who receive Jesus are “those who believe on His name” (vs. 13).

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In the first place we must consider the Jewish context of this passage. In the Hebrew culture of Jesus’ time, in fact middle eastern culture in general, everything about a person was contained within the confines of their name: a persons character, ability, upward mobility, honor and heritage. It is not to say that they chose names considering the message that child would carry. When reading the O.T. prophet Hosea, this becomes clear.

Although names are chosen today for far more frivolous reasons, this cultural under pinning is not lost to everyone. Each one of my children have been named to represent servants of God, as chronicled in His word and my wife and I are disciplined to remind our children who they represent when they are away from us (not the Erdel family primarily, but Jesus Christ the Messiah). Scripture reminds us of the power of a good name.

Proverbs 22:1-2 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold. The rich and the poor have this in common, The Lord is the maker of them all.

Once more let us return to what it means to receive Jesus by believing on His name. What is it that is contained in His name that we are to believe? We can begin by looking no further than in the same chapter of John we are looking at; particularly verses 1-5, where we find that contained in the name of Christ is His character as…

  1. Fully God; the Word who was with God and was God (John 1:1).
  2. He is Creator (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-16).
  3. He is the Word made flesh (John 1:14)
  4. This makes Him the virgin born Son Immanuel, the fulfillment of prophesy (Isaiah 7:14).
  5. His name, Jesus Christ (Yeshua) YHWH saves, reveals He is the Atonement of God (John 1:17; Isaiah 53:1-10)
  6. In His name, as the Atonement, He is also “the LORD who heals…” (Isaiah 53:5; Exodus 15:22).
  7. His name, Jesus Christ (Yeshua Hamaschiah) reveals He is God’s “Anointed” or “Messiah” and the only Begotten Son” (John 1:17; Psalm 2:2; Isaiah 11:1-11, 61:1-3).
  8. In His name as the Atonement and the Anointed of God, He is the LORD who sanctifies” (Isaiah 53:5 and Isaiah 61:1-3).
  9. In His name as the “Anointed” He is the King of Israel, who will return (John 1:49; Psalm 2:6-12).

To receive Him, is to believe on His name. To believe on His name means to trust that Jesus Christ is all of the above and that in His name is the power that each title brings into the life of the one who has faith in His name. He is our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and soon coming King, but not just in a head knowledge fact sense.; He does these things in God’s power in the one who truly trusts and obeys.

There is still one more powerful truth to consider concerning the name of Jesus. He has been given “the name” which is above every name…

In my next post we will dive into the depths of this wonderful truth concerning the power that is in Jesus’ name!!! You do not want to be left out.

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“lip service”… All Hail the Power of Jesus Name!

Related imagelip service” is defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as “an avowal of advocacy, adherence, or allegiance expressed in words but not backed by deeds”. The Urban dictionary provides further clarity by defining “lip service” as “to say something but not actually do it” and “to pretend to believe a certain thing but not practice that belief.

The reality of “lip service” from a biblical perspective cannot be ignored. In Mark 7:6-8 Jesus bridges the Old Testament to the New Testament period, as He quotes Isaiah the prophet.

Mark 7:6-8 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

In this address the Lord Jesus Christ is referring to Isaiah 29:13. This O.T. prophecy is one of “double reference” or “duel fulfillment”. Simply put this means that some prophesies have a short term fulfillment and a long term and final fulfillment. For the purpose of our discussion, this means that God followers in both the Old and New Testamental period, were called to practice what they proclaimed to believe, concerning God, His word, and our response to them.

One of the most sobering prophetic utterances concerning “lip service” came through the mouth of Jesus, where He declares “Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’… And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23).

It would appear that our God really despises “lip service”. It is time we consider, very soberly, whether our practice matches our profession. Let’s consider some areas of American Christian lip service.

We believe Jesus is coming very soonImage result for the blessed hope

Christian media is filled with talk of the Lord Jesus’ soon return. Most Christians of any biblical literacy will agree, and even talk of the sign of the times. Despite this truth and the impact it is supposed to have, we find quite the opposite. Consider that Titus 2:11-14 and II Peter 3:10-14 call us to consider how Christ’s soon return is affect our behavior. These passages declare that our Lord’s second coming is to catalyze us to living holy, godly, without spot, blamelessly, zealously and always going about the will and work of God. Let’s be honest, most Christians are ignorant of the true meaning of these words and for the most part unconcerned, assuming that  having “accepted Jesus” they’re cool, no matter how cold they are to His ways, work and will. This is “lip service”.

Even more primary to how we live in the light of our professed belief in Christ’s return is, that it is our blessed hope. This means that regardless of the circumstances we have hope and deep abiding joy, as we look for His physical return to catch us up to be with Him forever.  This has been the fuel for Christians since Christ’s ascension and is the buoyancy of the persecuted church. Yet in America, many Christians live with more hope in the prospect of their party’s political candidate being elected. Hope does not disappoint, as God’s word declares, but many of the Christians in the U.S. are disappointed, frustrated and anxious. This is to give “lip service” to God’s word concerning “our Blessed Hope” the “glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”.

“Nothing can separate us from His love” & “I will never leave you nor forsake you”

The two quotes above are well known and recited often in Christian circles in America. Let a brother take a down turn and a well-meaning Christian will quote the above verses, to encourage the down Christian to “buck up” and “cheer up”.  Yet, allow the well-meaning encourager to hit a rough spot and they may sing another tune. Being a Christian is filled with trials and joys, in fact the greatest joy, by biblical definition, arises during trials. Perhaps we need to do a better job at living and teaching this truth, but it would seem we can be a depressed group of Christians; in comparison to Christians of other nations, where their trails are life threatening on an hourly basis.

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No matter how often we quote this above passage, to behave as if Jesus Christ has forsaken us, when we say we believe the above passages, is “lip service”. Let us do some personal inventory, concerning this truth. Do we look for an immediate way out of difficulty? Do we feel as if God does not love us, because our circumstances have turned difficult? Do we sulk and question our calling when challenged by obstacles? Do we move into time wasting and carnality to avoid dealing with our problems with faith, as Christ is with us, even when we don’t feel him?

These are only two “lip service” issues prevalent among believers in America. Not only is it “lip service” it is also a poor testimony to the lost around us. Consider this quote from Christian Brennon Manning…

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

Although we could explore this topic of “lip service” in many ways, I would like, over the next few posts, to explore it regarding the power in the name of Jesus. In relation to the power of His name consider the passage below.

Acts 3:11-16 11 Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed. 12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. 16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

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In this passage we see that there is real power in the name of Jesus for all who use it in faith. But what does that mean and how ought it affect us, as we are to walk in faith? These questions are important, for to profess we believe there is power in the name of Jesus yet fail to live considering that power, is to give “lip service” to a most important foundation of God’s word.

The ramifications of misuse or watering down the power in Jesus’ name are far reaching, especially when we sing of the power in Jesus name regularly in our times of fellowship. Over the next three posts we will examine the singularly unique character of Jesus’ name—the power unleashed when we use His name in faith—how this worked practically in Acts chapter 3—and what gets in the way of our walking in the blessing of Jesus’ name.

Please begin to prayerfully consider the name of Jesus and walk with us as we discover the power in Jesus’ name, in the next post.

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RESOLUTION: Don’t Die While Soaring!

Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

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While cleaning out my files, I came across a message I preached in Bedford Pennsylvania, back in August of 2005. The message was entitled “GOD IS ANGRY WITH A CHURCH, THAT IS ANGRY WITHOUT CAUSE”. After 13 years of space from its presentation, I still believe it to be a God anointed message; one very necessary in the Church of Jesus Christ in America, regardless of denominational affiliation. Some suggest God can never be angry at His Church or at the least that the title implies an overstated assumption.

If you are in that crowd, I encourage you to read James 3:13-18 through James 4:1-10. In this passage we encounter a church that was tearing apart at the seams from strife, which could have ended in angry separation, because of the flock’s submitting to the world, the flesh and the devil. God was angry with them.

Even more plain, is the force of the Lord Jesus Christ’s words against His church in Revelation chapter’s 2 and 3. How can one deny God’s anger with His children, when Jesus declares in one place, that unless they repent He “…will come quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (Revelation 2:16). In another place He proclaims to the lukewarm church that “I will vomit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

Therefore we ought to be able to grasp God is angry with a Church that is angry without cause, because God is angry with individual saints that hold anger without cause (read again Matthew 5:21-22). My encouragement is to resolve in this next year to not be angry without solid biblical cause.

Why is this so important? Because we are living among millions in this nation, who believe they have the right to be angry if they have to wait too long for their morning coffee at the drive thru (hope that’s not you Christian). In America every slight, pass-over, or unintentional intrusion into one’s personal space is a reason to be angry, yet with our God and Father, this is not the case. Note I did not say, “Don’t ever be angry”, because we can and should be angry over the same issues that anger God; just not carrying out that anger sinfully.

Ephesians 4:26-27 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.

How do we practice this? Take your feelings and the reason for them and submit them to God in prayer. Don’t ever assume you have a right to be angry, just because a persons behavior falls outside of the confines of a passage of scripture; but trust in God with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, submit to Him and He will direct your heart and behavior going forward (Proverbs 3:5-7).

As a pastor the last 15 years, I can report that people being angry without a biblical cause, has caused much of the missing power and presence of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ in America. We have grieved the Holy Spirit, with our angry, entitled, and selfish attitudes toward one another. Several years ago Jim Dobson, the former founder and head for Focus on the Family ministries had this to say, concerning undue anger in the Church.

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“Satan’s most successful maneuver in the churches and Christian organizations is to get people angry at one another; to attack and insult our brothers and sisters, thus splitting the body of Christ”.

I would add, this is the same tactic used by the kingdom of darkness to divide ministry families, as well as to take down ministers of the gospel. The temptation to remain angry without biblical cause can sink the most faithful in the kingdom. Therefore the Lord instructs “… let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).

My encouragement to you is when angry, be swift to hear from God in prayer, as to if you have a valid and godly reason. If you do, then seek and wait for His solution. If you have no biblical reason, deny your pride, arrogance and preference and move forward walking in love. Anger in and of itself is not sinful, but must be expressed in the context of God’s will and always through the self control that is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). If not walked out in this manner, we are headed for trouble. Consider this quote found in Chuck Swindoll’s “Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes”.

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Anger won’t fix itself… same as a flat tire or a dirty diaper. I remember reading about an eagle that swooped to the ground one day, catching a weasel in its powerful talons. But when it flew away, its wings inexplicably went limp, and it dropped to the ground like a lifeless doll. As it turned out, the weasel had bitten its attacker in mid-flight, killing the proud eagle as it flew. If we cling to a attitude of anger (without biblical cause)…, it will, like the weasel, sink its teeth into us when we least expect it.

I would like to add, the “when we least expect it” to be, just as we are set to soar for Christ. Resolve in this next year not to die while you are set to soar with Christ. Resolve to walk in love and to reject any anger, which has no just and biblical cause.

Posted in Be angry and do not sin, biblical anger, do not be angry with a cause, Matthew 5:21-22, righteous anger, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

“To Be or Not to Be HOLY!!!” IV

Related imageIt is my sincere understanding that God has always wanted to walk with those who were created in His image. From the beginning of the creation of man, YHWH walk with Adam and Eve in the garden. As they commiserated with Him, they were naked and unashamed. Before their willful sin, they enjoyed unhindered fellowship with God, but after the fall, the relationship between God and man had changed; fellowship would be hindered. From that time forward, a blood offering would be needed to cover the sin of the one who desired to walk with God, until the blood of Christ would be offered once for all.

Some, who honored God’s call to atonement, walked with God with great success and their lives bore the mark of that relationship; which is holiness, where by they set themselves apart from the world around them. The world regarded these people as different, as God’s own. These few who were friends of God, were persecuted by the world.

The first of these was Enoch, who was so fixated on God that the scripture reports “Enoch walked with God; and He was not (found), for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). This means that Enoch was translated directly to heaven, at a very young age (365 years) compared with those of his generation and even his offspring (his son Methuselah, his grandson Lamech and his great-grandson Noah). Although we have understand that Methuselah and Lamech were godly, Noah is where we see the results of the previous three men’s commitment to walking with God who alone is holiness.

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Noah, was the last righteousness man on earth, and he walked with God, sticking out like a sore thumb in his generation. In his walk with God, he obeyed some outrageous commands, such as building an ark, in the middle of a region with not large bodies of water, before rain had ever fallen and would not fall for another 120 years (Genesis 2:6). Noah’s work itself would be a rebuke against the world’s population concerning their wickedness against God (Genesis 6:5). Like his great-grandfather Enoch, Noah would be “taken” out of the world (as it perished) through the ark. Noah walked with God, set apart from the world, with no compromise.

Of course after the flood, things once more got drastically bad, yet God had reserved a man named Abram, whom the LORD would later rename Abraham. His walk with God begins in earnest in Genesis 12:1-4, where out of no where God speaks to Him.

Genesis 12:1-4 ​ Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

Let’s note a few things about Abraham’s walk with God, which concern our topic of “Be holy, for I am holy”. In the first place Abraham was called out of darkness into the light of God. We have not indication that God had ever spoken to Abraham before. Historical documents will tell us, Abraham live in Ur of the Chaldean’s.

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Abraham lived in the anti-God pagan capitol of the world. Jewish tradition would relay that Abraham likely an astrologer in the vein of the Magi, but when he looked at the stars he saw that there could only be One true God. Once more this is Jewish tradition and he subsequently rejected the multiplicity of god’s his culture worshiped. What we know for sure is that Abraham heard YHWH’s voice and walked away from all he had ever known, to follow the only true God, whom he just heard for the first time! Secondly we see Abraham believed he was hearing from the one true God, because he moved away from his world, his culture and his own preferences.

This leads us to the third and very important aspect of Abraham’s walking with God… it changed his disposition, thinking and behavior. When reading through Genesis account of the life of Abraham–we see him obey God–make rash decision’s with potentially disastrous consequences–obey God again–make more rash decisions–hear God concerning His promise and be accounted as righteous for his faith in God–exhibit great compassion for the potential loss of righteous lives, while he intercedes with God concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah–we see the promise realized in Isaac. We finally witness Abraham’s faith and love for God above all other people, including Isaac, when he was going to kill the boy, at God’s command.

The point to this recounting is to highlight that Abraham was not holy in himself, but he obeyed God’s call to set himself apart from Genesis 12:1-4. In setting himself apart, Abraham interacted with the God who is HOLY. Even though his relationship to God was intimate, it was not what we have in Christ, yet interacting with God changed Abraham forever. In a very similar fashion, God has called us to walk away from our old lives and set ourselves apart, in our call to “Be holy, for I am holy”.

2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among themI will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.“I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” ​ Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

I suggest you spend some quality time in a season of prayer over this passage. For the sake of time, I want to focus on God’s call in Christ “Come out from among them and be separate says the Lord“. In this we can see, like Abraham, we are called to leave behind the world, the flesh and the devil; we are called to cleanse our lives from anything which defiles our spirit cleansed and sanctified, by Christ’s shed blood. In doing this we are walking with God. Similar to how God’s holiness transformed Abraham, as he walked with God, so in new relationship to Him, our lives ought to be transformed; that transformation will not ultimately look like the life of Abraham, but that of Christ Himself (Romans 8:29; II Corinthians 5:21).

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In his relationship to God, Abraham was considered a friend of God; we in our walk are considered God’s son and daughters. Our walking with Him is also different in that God would appear to Abraham in some form of His manifest presence (in human form or glory). We have the benefit of the indwelling presence of Abba, with the potential to be filled with all His fullness (Romans 8:14-17; Ephesians 3:14-21). Therefore, our walk with God, produces a holiness that transforms us from the inside out. This is only a guaranteed promise for those who obey His command to “Come out from among them and be separate“, with all our hearts.

My hope is that the practice of walking with God, a His way to “Be holy, as I am holy“, relieves you of some of the anxiety associated with the call. Remember that God has His part and we have ours. If we can leave behind the world, the flesh and the devil, He makes it as easy as letting Him lead the walk; we simply learn to hear Him and yield to His moving in and through us. For the person who has committed to walking away from their old life, this is less difficult than we tend make it (Romans 6:11-13).

That being said, the absence of full commitment to walk in holiness, is without a doubt the one of the biggest drags on the church in America. Without holiness we can not expect God’s manifest presence among us, or to have true discipleship or ministry in the power of God’s Spirit. Let us commit to simply obey God’s call to be what we are in Christ… holy!

“To Be or Not to Be HOLY!!!” Part I

“To Be or Not to Be HOLY!!!” Part II

“To Be or Not to Be HOLY!!!” Part III

Posted in Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Be Holy, for I am holy, Genesis 12:1-4, holiness, I Peter 1:13-16, II Corinthians 6:14-18, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“To Be or Not to Be HOLY!” III

1 Peter 1:13-16  Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

*If you have not read the first two parts of this series click the link below to go to            “To Be or Not to Be HOLY! #1″                                                                                                              “To Be or Not to Be HOLY! #2”

In answer to the question that is contained in the title… Yes, we are to be holy! by faith in Christ’s shed blood (Romans 5:9) we are holy in God’s sight, as if never having sinned (positional holiness). This holiness is to extend to our every day experience and is possible by not only His resurrection from the dead (Romans 6:6-14) but through our being regenerated in the new birth, as the Holy Spirit comes to dwell with us. In addition we are called to be (be being) filled with the Holy Spirit, which amplifies our ability to walk in holiness without which none will see the Lord (Romans 8:11, Ephesians 5:18).

The Holy Spirit makes any man who is absolutely surrendered to the Savior holy; that person lives a life of being set apart from the world and set apart to God, that is powerful testimony of Christ. In this post we will dig deeper into our call to be holy.

OUR BE HOLY IS SIMILAR TO HIS “I AM HOLY”

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When dividing this phrase “Be holy, for I am holy”, we come to understand the word for our “Be holy” is the same as His “for I am holy”. We found in our last blog that God’s “holy” means to be sacred, “consecrated” and “set apart”. His holiness also means to be completely other and above all that He has created, in this respect He alone is HOLY, yet in Christ, we share in the benefit of His unique HOLY.

Ephesians 1:17-21-18b that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Ephesians 2:4-7 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

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Aside from that sharing, lets look a bit deeper into our holy being similar to God’s holy.  In the first place we are “sacred”. Now God being sacred means deeply inherently righteous and morally pure; no thing and no person is as sacred as God. This relates to our being washed in the blood of the Lamb of our sin. Our accounts being cleaned and our very being removed of all stain of sin. To the angels, the world and the kingdom of darkness we are sacred vessels.

Secondly, God is the epitome of being consecrated. This means that in His holiness He does not accept nor allow Himself to be defiled by darkness. The word declares that our holy God dwells in light which is unapproachable (I Timothy 6:16) and that in Him there is no darkness nor shadow of turning (James 1:17), which means that He won’t be influenced whatsoever by darkness. Consecration in our being holy, means that we as sacred vessels of God, refuse to be influenced or sullied by the world, the flesh, or the devil. In this we turn from our bent toward self, by yielding to the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:11-13). In this see our being holy as He is, means we maintain our sacred status, by refusing to be unrighteous, by yielding  to the Holy Spirit.

Thirdly, we understand our being holy as He is holy means we are set apart like God. God’s set apart, is His unique otherness that sets Him above all His creation. Further still this is seen in God being 100% about fulfilling His will and purpose in His creation. Yet let us remember that this is not self motivated any more than His desire to reveal His glory. We remember that God is love, meaning that His will and purpose is expressed and pursued for the benefit of His creation. Wow.

Similarly, we are set apart unto God. This means that we are to be different and unique among all humanity. We are to be uncommon in the midst of everyone else’s commonality, selfless in the midst of selfishness and holy and truly righteous in our actions. Yet all of this is because in being holy we are set apart for God’s purpose, will and pleasure. This means our being holy reveals to the world that we as faithful bond-servants have no will other than what pleases our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Therefore, our “be holy, for I am holy” is in opposition to the half-baked view of the Church in America (in-general), which tries to convince those who are still sinners and outside of the kingdom, that we we are just like them accept forgiven. Truth be told, if we are truly saved it is a lie to declare we are just like the world only forgiven–or worse yet to declare I’m not perfect, I sin all the time. If you use this to endear the lost to listen to you, PLEASE STOP; learn the gospel and preach the cross. Oh and stop refusing to yield the the Spirit of God, that your positional holiness becomes practical.

1 John 3:4-9 Whoever commits (continues to practice) sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin (continues to practice). Whoever sins (continues to practice) has neither seen Him nor known Him.  Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins(continues to practice)  is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin (continues to practice), for His seed remains in him; and he cannot (continue to practice) sin , because he has been born of God.

How we accomplish this “be holy for I am holy”, can still produce anxiety, but if we are willing to take a walk with God, we will find “be holy, for I am holy” a delight, not a burden. More on that next time.

Posted in Be Holy, for I am holy, holiness, Holy Spirit, I Peter 1:13-16, sanctification, Uncategorized | 2 Comments