All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
September 18, 2013
HANDS FOR JESUS
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2013 by Merle E. Koepke
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What must Christians do to build up their faith? In Jude 1:20 it says, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." This helps, but there are other things we need to understand concerning building up our faith.
Faith is based upon believing the Word of God. Prayer is important, for prayer is talking to God. If we do not talk to God, what will happen to our faith?
The New Covenant teaches that "the just shall live by faith." This does not mean that the just shall live by prayer. Before we pray, we must believe. Prayer and believing are both important. Yet, prayer without believing will not avail much.
Many times Christians want to skip the basics of faith and prayer, looking for the desires of their minds without first searching their own hearts. God looks at the heart, not the mind, not the outward appearance.
Things to understand about prayer.
The Bible has a lot to say about Prayer. Yet, it never specifically says "if you pray." In Luke 18:1, it tells us that Jesus taught that "men ought to always pray." In Matthew 6:7 Jesus said, "when you pray..." In Ephesians 6:18 says, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit..."
Things to consider when we pray:
1). God does not answer prayer because we are faithful. "God answers prayer because He is faithful."
2). God does not answer prayer because we are perfect. "God answers prayer because He is perfect."
3). God does not answer prayer because of our good works. "God answers prayer because of what Jesus did."
4). God does not answer prayer because we want Him to. "God answers prayer because of His Word."
5). God does not answer prayers of begging and pleading. "God answers prayers because of our believing and faith."
6). God is not a respecter of persons. "We cannot force God to answer our prayers."
7). God does all things because of His Love, Grace, and Mercy. "Not because we deserve it."
8). God does not answer prayer according to our will. "God answers prayer according to His will."
Prayer Works by Faith
Jesus said in Mark 11:22, "Have faith in God." Any time our faith is in anything other than God and His Word we are not living by faith in God. Faith in God is not the same as faith in what people can do.
"Faith in God" is believing that God will do whatsoever we ask God in faith. "Faith in man" is, believing others will help us do whatsoever we desire to do.
As an example of faith in God, it tells us that when Jesus fed the four thousand and the five thousand, He did not send someone to get the food from someone else. Jesus was working His faith along with prayer.
As we study the life of Jesus, and the things Jesus said about Himself, we can understand better what Jesus was talking about when He talked about faith and prayer.
Before Jesus prayed, "Jesus knew what His Father would do when He prayed." Jesus knew that He was doing the will of His Father, not His own will. In John 5:30, Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
In John 11:3,4, Lazarus was sick. It says, "Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick...When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby."
In John 11:41-44 it says, "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me...And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me...And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth...And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."
Jesus knew before He prayed that God the Father would answer His prayer when He prayed. Prayer without knowing that God will answer, is not "a prayer of faith."
When Jesus lifted up the bread and fish unto the Father to feed the four-thousand and five-thousand, Jesus thanked the Father for multiplying the small amount that He had. God multiplied the amount according to what Jesus believed He would do. That is faith in God.
As an example of faith in man, when people who say they are called to the ministry go about raising money to do the work of the ministry, their faith is in man. They believe that others will help them if they ask others to help.
The Bible tells us, "The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38). In Hebrews 10:38, it even goes further than Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11 by saying, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." Therefore, if we do not "live by faith in God and His Word," God will have no pleasure in us.
Hebrews 11:6 says, "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." God is only pleased when we believe He is God and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 explains Hebrews 11:1, where it says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith does have substance and faith does have evidence.
Faith never focuses upon the circumstances. Faith always focuses upon the Word of God. Abraham was a man of faith. In Romans, Chapter Four, it speaks of the faith of Abraham. Romans 4:17 explains faith, by saying, "(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were."
Faith calls those things which are not as though they were. Faith in God is necessary to receive into the natural what is already present in the spiritual. Faith in God is needed to bring into the natural that which already exists in the spiritual.
About Abraham's faith, it says, "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." Against all natural hope, Abraham believed God "...according to that which was spoken." What God has spoken and is recorded in the Scriptures, is God's Word to us today. We must go by the written Word of God, and a witness in our spirit. We cannot go by the circumstances, such as what we see with our eyes, or hear with our ears. We cannot go by our five senses. We must "have faith in God" to receive what is not seen in the natural.
Speaking of Abraham, in Romans 4:19,20, it says, "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." We must not stagger at the promises of God, nor let doubt control what we believe. We must be "strong in faith."
Then in Romans 4:21, speaking of Abraham, it says, "And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform." Abraham was "...fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform." When we are "fully persuaded," that God will do according to what God has promised, we will see the manifestation of God's Word on our behalf. We need to continue in God's Word until we are fully persuaded that His Word is true. God will reward those who come to Him, "knowing that God will reward them for their diligence" (Heb. 11:6).
Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." We must not get over into mind operations, trying to figure out what to do and how to do it. We must, trust in the LORD, and give Him opportunity to work things out for our good according to His ability.
Jesus is God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is faithful, and will cause the Word of God to work for our good, and not only for our good, but for the good of all who will trust in Him.
The LORD is in control of all things upon this earth. God the Father put all things into Jesus hands (John 13:3). Jesus did not come to judge God's children (John 12:47). Jesus came to set those who love God free of all of the works of the enemy.
When we pray, we must pray according to God's Word. In 1 John 5:14,15 it says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing 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."
God's will is revealed in His Word. If we pray according to His Word, we know that He hears us. When we know that He hears us, we know also that we have whatsoever we prayed for.
Jesus said in Mark 11:24, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." We must believe we already have them, when we pray. In Isaiah 65:24, it says, "And it will come to pass, that before they call, I will answer. While they are yet speaking, I will hear." Therefore, once we pray, we must hold fast to our confidence, and not waver (Heb. 10:35). If we do not waver, we will see the manifestation of that which we have prayed for.
All things that exist in the natural were created by God's Word. Jesus is the Word of God, and by Him all things exist. John 1:3 says, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Colossians 1:16 says, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him."
We must submit ourselves unto Jesus and unto the Word of God. Then, nothing the enemy tries to do can stop us. It is not what we can do, it is what God will do through us if we "walk by faith in the Word of God."
For those who desire to walk by faith, Jesus said in John 8:31,32, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed...And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The first thing we must do is to become a disciple of Jesus, which means, "a learner, or someone who is being taught by Jesus." We must continue in Jesus' Words to be taught by Jesus.
In John 15:1-7, Jesus gave us a much better understanding of what He was teaching. Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman...Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit...Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you...Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me...I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing...If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned...If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
In John 15:1-7, Jesus made some very important statements concerning faith. (1). We must abide in Jesus. (2) We must bring forth fruit into the Kingdom of God. (3) We cannot do anything without Jesus. (4) The Words of Jesus must abide in us.
These things are important if we are to receive whatsoever we ask. In John 15:16, Jesus said, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
We must remember, God is not looking for those who are only interested in what they want God to do for them. God is looking for those who will bear fruit in the Kingdom of God. Our desire should be to do the will of God, not our will of the flesh.
To bring forth much fruit into the Kingdom of God, it must be God working in us to do His good pleasure. In Philippians 2:13, it says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Jesus said, "of ourselves we can do nothing" (John 7:5).
For those who "walk by faith," Jesus said in John 14:13,14, "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."
God is for us, not against us (Rom. 8:31). God's Word cannot fail to accomplish that which He has spoken, when all things are done according to His Word.
Our part is to keep our heart right before God and be doers of the Word, not just hearers only. In James 1:19, it tells us, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." We should not be in a hurry to speak, but wait on the LORD. We should not be pressured into coming against those who come against us. People are not our enemies. It is the spirits that control people who come against us.
God is faithful, and will not allow us to be tempted beyond our endurance (1 Cor. 10:13). Those who endure until the end will be rewarded according to the Word of God.
Look at Paul and Silas in Philippi. They were beaten and put into jail. The enemy was coming at them strongly. But, they were swift to hear and slow to speak against those who accused them.
Paul and Silas were Romans. They were not to be thrown into prison without a trial, proving they were guilty of whatsoever they were accused. They did not trust in their own rights as Romans. They permitted people to put them in prison.
It tells us in Acts16:25,26, "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them...And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed."
At that time, things in the natural looked bad, and the circumstances were not looking good for Paul and Silas. Yet, they did not look at the circumstances. They kept their minds and hearts on God, Who was well able to deliver them.
We are not fighting an enemy in the natural. We are not fighting against people, even though the Devil uses people to come against us. Our battle is not against flesh and blood (2 Cor. 10:3,4). Our battle is against spiritual wickedness in high places. To overcome the enemy we must be led by the Spirit of God according to the Written Word of God.
Therefore, we must "Have faith in God," and "lean not unto your own understanding." We must trust in the LORD with all our heart, and He will deliver us and set us free of all the works of the enemy. God will give us the wisdom and knowledge of how to defeat the enemy.
The circumstances cannot prevail against the Word of God. The Word of God controls everything that happens on this earth. We must get to know the Word of God, and keep it in the midst of our heart. For God and His Word are One. We must stay with the written Word of God and we will overcome everything the enemy uses to come against us. We must put God first in our everyday lives, and His angels will watch over us and help us.
It would be very helpful if we would study, Psalm 91 and keep it into our hearts every day. By keeping God's Word in our hearts, God will fulfill His promise to us.
We must not have any fear, for fear is of the enemy In 2 Timothy 1:7, it says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." In 1 John 4:18, it says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
In Hebrews 10:35,36, it says, "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward...For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." Therefore, we must not cast away our confidence, but keep our eyes upon Jesus. Jesus is our all in all. Everything we have and everything we will ever be, is dependent upon Jesus and our relationship and fellowship with Him.
Building up Our Faith
Every born again Christian has faith. God gave us faith in "the fruit of the Spirit" when we received Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior (Gal. 5:22,23). Now, we must build up our faith. In Jude 1:20,21, it says, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost...Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
Building up our faith by praying in the Spirit is very helpful. But there is more to it than just praying in the Spirit. We must keep ourselves in the love of God. Faith works by love (Gal. 5:6). To keep ourselves in the love of God, we must be about our Father's business, which is "destroying the works of the Devil."
In 1 John 3:8, it says, "...For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." In John 20:21, it says, "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." In John 14:12, Jesus said, "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."
We have been given everything we need to destroy the works of the Devil. Now, it is up to us to "build up our faith" and destroy all the works of the Devil.
The things in the natural are types and shadows of things in the spiritual. The way to do things in the spiritual are similar to the way to do things in the natural.
Faith gives us power to do the works that Jesus called us to do. The greater our faith the more we can do for Jesus, and the body of Christ.
One way to build up our faith is through much use of our faith. That is, the more we use our faith the more our faith will work for us. It is like building up muscles in the physical bodies of people. The more people use their muscles, the greater their strength will be.
Therefore, the more we use our faith the greater our faith will be. We can study and study the Scriptures concerning faith, and still not see our faith working when we need it. Learning about exercise to build up strength in our physical bodies will not do a lot of good. We need to be doing the exercising to build up our strength in our physical bodies.
Therefore, reading and studying about faith, will not produce great faith. But exercising our faith, by doing, not just hearing, will build up our faith. The more we use our faith, the more we will see our faith working for us when we need it.
The greatest help in building up our faith is, when we use our faith to help others, not just for ourselves. Living by faith includes everything involved in living. Not, just when we need something for ourselves. But, also when we use our faith to help others in need.
Jesus had more faith than anyone else who ever lived upon this earth. Jesus did not use His faith for himself only, so that He could have whatsoever He wanted. Jesus used His faith to help others. Jesus didn't just talk about healing. Jesus healed those that needed healing. Where there was a need, Jesus used His faith in God to supply their need.
Wherever Jesus went, Jesus exercised His faith to supply the needs of others. God took care of Jesus's needs while Jesus went about taking care of the needs of others.
This is the example Christians should be following today. Look upon the needs of others first, and destroy the works of the Devil in the lives of others. Set the captives free by "faith in God." Christ in us, will destroy the works of the Devil.
In Matthew 5:42, Jesus said, "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away." Does that mean give to everyone who comes asking for a handout? No. Christians are to be led by the Spirit in whatsoever they do. We are not to let the spirits of this world rob us of everything God has given us.
Too often, Christians are caught in the snare of the Devil, trying to help those who come begging for help. In Matthew 7:6, Jesus said, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." God does not help beggars. Begging God will not avail much.
God knows why people need help. God looks at the cause of the problem, not the problem itself. That means, if someone comes begging for money, their problem is not always a lack of money. Their problem is the works of the Devil, in their minds and bodies. Giving them money will not do much good. It will only be temporal. But, teaching them to overcome their adversary the Devil, will change their lives. There is an evil spirit behind every condition of lack in every person who has a lack of anything in their lives.
When we get rid of the spirits that caused the problem, they will no longer have a problem. We should teach them how to overcome in their lives, and they will no longer be begging for help.
Most of the beggars today are not truly born again Christians. Until they become truly born again, whatsoever you do for them will only keep them bound to serving the Devil. To help them, we need to get them to receive Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior in their lives, and God will supply all their needs.
We must be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16). We must overcome the spirits of this world by the Word of God. Set the captives free, by teaching them the Word of God, not by helping them continue to live like the Devil.
It is so sad to see the same people begging and begging for days, months, and years. God created mankind to take dominion not be dominated by the spirits of this world. In Acts 2:21 it says, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Every living soul has the ability to call upon the Name of the LORD and be Saved.
We must first know the cause before we can overcome the works of the Devil. If there is a physical problem, we need to find out why? When we know the cause, we need to come against the spirits behind the problem and set the captives free. If there is a mental problem, we need to find out the cause behind the mental problem, and set the captives free. Whatsoever the problem is, there is a cause. When the cause is overcome, the problem will disappear.
To heal the sick, we must know the cause and then pray in faith. Most of the time the cause is sin and demons. Jesus gave us the answer to any problems caused by sin and demons.
In Mark 16:17,18, Jesus said, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues...They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
The first thing Christians must do is "cast out the devils." Use "the name of Jesus" and cast out the devils. Once the devils are cast out, then lay hands upon the sick and they will recover.
How do we know if it is a devil or not? Praying in the Spirit, seeking God for the cause of the problem will help. We do not need to always pray in our native language. God has given us tongues to pray to God in, where no one else knows what we are saying. From our spirit we will receive the answer.
Don't listen for audible voices, the devil also speaks in an audible voice. What comes from your spirit will be of God. For the Devil cannot speak to you from your spirit. God dwells in your Spirit and where God dwells no evil spirit can enter. Mind operations are not always from God. But, what comes from your spirit is from God.
Do not let your mind have any control in what you are doing in the spiritual realm. We must train our senses to be quiet, and do not let our senses stop us when we are operating in the Spirit. We do not live by our five senses, we live by faith in the Word of God.
Exercise your faith daily. Just like physical exercise helps to build up muscles, spiritual exercise builds up your faith. Speak the Word of God over every circumstance in your life. Speak in faith, nothing wavering, and you will build up your faith to do great things for Jesus.
It's all about Christ in you, not who you are, but who Christ is in you. The words you speak have power over everything you speak to in faith. Exercise your faith, and it will increase to great faith. Always, take control over your five senses, do not let them hinder your faith, or stop you from exercising your faith. Put all your faith in God, not in man.
The greatest hindrance that Spirit filled Christians have is, trying to do things from their natural mind, not first receiving their information from their spirit. Our natural mind is of the flesh, whereas our Spirit is of God. God operates from our spirit, not from our natural mind.
In Galatians 5:16,17, it says, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh...For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
Christians should be walking after the Spirit and not walking after the flesh. In Romans 8:1,2, it says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit...For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." Satan does not have any power over Christians who walk after the Spirit, and not after the flesh.
It is the Spirit of God that gives us life and everything we need to live in victory over all the works of the Devil. Our victory is not in the flesh, but in "Christ Jesus," in whom we live and have our being.
It is "Christ in us," doing the works that destroy the works of the Devil. Denying ourselves is the beginning of God working in us and through us to do His good pleasure.
Be careful of the teachings of men, those who teach from their minds, what they have heard others teach. Do not be quick to follow those who teach what they have heard others teach. There was a time years ago that a word came from the LORD, saying, "Those who have taught what they heard other men teach and have not received it from My Spirit, if they will repent, My grace will cover them!"
Spirit filled Christians are not to be teaching from their minds. We are to be teaching from our spirit as the Holy Spirit gives us the utterance (1 Peter 4:11). Too many Spirit filled Christians are trying to please men, rather than please God. In doing so, they agree with the spirits of this world, that come to destroy our faith. Nice sounding words can be a hindrance to the work of the Holy Spirit. Look what it says in 2 John 1:10, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed (rejoice, receive him gladly)."
God looks at our heart, not our mind when we speak to others, and hear what others are teaching. We must serve God with all our heart, not with our mind of the flesh, always wanting to please others.
If others are not teaching the truth of the Word of God from their spirit, do not rejoice in their great swelling words. They are walking after the flesh, not after the Holy Spirit.
In Hebrews 10:38, it says, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." God is not pleased when Christians are not following the leading of the Holy Spirit, and walking by faith in God. In this life here on earth we will always be fighting the good fight of faith, laying hold onto eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12). God is looking at our heart. Who are we trying to please, the flesh or the Holy Spirit? Those who walk after the flesh cannot please God (Rom. 8:6,7).
Faith works by Love. The beginning of great faith comes when we obey our first commandment. "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." (Mark 12:30). Never put the second commandment of love before the first commandment of love. We cannot love others more than we love God. When Christians become pleasers of men, they are no longer pleasing to God. In Galatians 1:9,10, it says, "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed...For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."
In the life of Jesus, Jesus pleased God in everything He did. Jesus is our example. Please God in everything we do, and we will have great faith. Faith is what pleases God.
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