All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
September 23, 2011
HANDS FOR JESUS
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2011 by Merle E. Koepke
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What is the greatest sin among Christians today? I believe the greatest sin among Christians today is doubt and unbelief. It seems there are many Christian's today who are sickly, and going to the doctors for help. Yet, there is not one place in the Bible where it tells Christians to go to a doctor when they are sick.
In James 5:14,15, it says, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord...And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." According to James 5:14,15, this is what Christians should do if there is any sick among them.
Years ago, I was listening to a minister talking about healing. This man said, "God said He was going to use doctors to heal the sick." When I heard that, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. (That sick feeling was the Holy Spirit letting me know that statement was not true). The following evening, I had a dream. In the dream I saw myself sitting with Jesus' disciples while He was teaching them on a hillside. (What I was hearing was my CD playing the Gospel of John in the sixth chapter. I was amazed at what I was hearing Jesus say to His disciples). Then, Jesus pointed directly to me and said, "The doctors can remove the symptoms, but they cannot remove the cause."
What is the cause of sickness and disease? The cause is sin. Sin gives the spirits of this world the right to inflect people with sickness, disease, and infirmities. When the sin is removed, the spirits have no right to remain and cause sickness, disease, or infirmities.
In many of the Churches today, they very seldom pray the prayer of faith that is mentioned in James 5:14,15, to heal the sick. Some of the Churches do pray for the sick. Praying for the sick only works when the prayer is prayed in faith. Without faith, no one can please God (Heb.11:6). Praying without believing does not work. We must believe our prayer will be answered when we pray.
In James it says "...the prayer of faith shall save (heal) the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up..." If the LORD does not heal the sick when they pray, where is the problem? The problem could be in the prayer. If the prayer to heal the sick is not prayed in faith, the prayer may not work. So, what is the problem? Most likely it is doubt and unbelief.
When praying the prayer of faith there should not be even the slightest doubt. Our prayer should be based upon the written Word of God. According to the written Word, we should believe one-hundred percent. There should not be even one-tenth of a percent of doubt. It should be a prayer of faith, where we believe beyond all doubt that our prayer will be answered.
Jesus taught on prayer in Mark 11:24. There it says, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."
When we pray, we must believe it is already done. Not after we get done praying, but before we are done praying.
In Isaiah 65:24 it says, "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." God knows everything. God knows before we pray what we will be praying about. The answer to our prayer is already on its way before we pray. The Word of God says, "...before they call, I will answer..." God knows what we will say. God knows if we truly believe in our heart.
In Isaiah 43:26, the LORD said, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins...Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified."
The LORD said, "Put me in remembrance..." That means, remind the LORD of what He said in His Word, and He will answer. As an example, pray somewhat like, "LORD, You said in John 14:13,14," "...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."
Put the LORD in remembrance of what He said in His Word. According to the written Word, it shall be done.
God is looking for faith. God lives by faith, and God is looking for those who will also live by faith in His written Word. Whatsoever is not one-hundred percent faith, it is not the kind of faith God is looking for.
God speaks His Word and it is done. When Christians speak His Word and doubt not, it will come to pass. It will be done according to our faith.
Doubt & Unbelief
In Matthew 21:18-22 it says, "Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered...And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away...And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!...Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done...And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
In John 14:6, Jesus said to His disciples, "...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." In Titus 1:2, it says "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began."
Jesus is the Truth, and Jesus is also God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The problem with many Christians today is that they do not believe the written Word of God. They do not believe what it says in their Bibles. They let doubt and unbelief rob them of their victory.
In 1 John 5:4 it says, "For whatsoever (whosoever) is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." Our victory over the spirits of this world is in our faith. To overcome the world, we must "have faith in God."
In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus said, "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." This is the same account that is spoken of in Matthew 21:18-22.
Again in Mark 11:23, Jesus said, "...and shall not doubt in his heart..." Doubt in the heart is the greatest sin among Christians today. When they doubt the written Word of God, their faith will not work.
The power to overcome doubt is "in the Word" when we pray. In 2 Corinthians 1:20 it says, "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." We need to find the promises of God that guarantee the answer to what we are praying for. It is good if we get these promises in our heart by speaking them out loud day and night until they remain in our heart. Then pray according to the promises of God, and He will answer according to His promises.
God is looking for faith among Christians today. 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." If God is not pleased with our prayer, He may not answer when we pray.
In Mark 1:14,15 it says, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God...And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."
In the four Gospels, Jesus was teaching His disciples on "the kingdom of God." The complete New Testament is teaching "the kingdom of God." To believe what is called "the Gospel," we must believe "the Gospel of the kingdom of God," that Jesus was preaching.
The kingdom of God is "the reign of God here on earth." God reigns here on earth by working in and through the Body of Christ by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Just as God was working through Jesus Christ to reconcile man unto God, He has now given to those who are in Christ Jesus the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17,18).
While Jesus was teaching His disciples faith, He was looking for them to walk by faith, and not by sight. In Matthew 14:23-31, it tells us of a time when Jesus sent His disciples to cross the Sea while He went up to pray. Then, in the evening time, Jesus came to them walking on the water. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, they were troubled, and fear came upon them, thinking they saw a spirit (Matt. 14:26).
In Matthew 14:27-31 it says, "But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid...And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water...And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus...But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me...And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
Faith does not operate according to what we see. The evidence of faith is in things not seen (Heb. 11:1). Peter began to sink when he went according to things he saw.
Fear and doubt work together. They are both spirits sent by Satan to stop us from doing the will of God. To walk by faith, we must overcome all fear and doubt.
There are many Christians among us today that have sickness and disease, and there are many who have died before their time because of doubt and unbelief. In 1 Corinthians, 11:23-31, we are told of one reason why so many Christians are sickly and so many have gone before their time. In short, it is because many Christians do not believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Firstly, they are not rightly discerning the body of Christ. Secondly, they do not believe all that Jesus did for them on the Cross. (1 Cor. 11:29).
The body of Christ consists of all who are truly born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:23; John 3:6). Christians must learn to walk in love toward one another. Christians must keep the commandments of the LORD. Jesus said in Mark 12:30,31, "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: this is the first commandment...And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
When Christians "...love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength..." they will do the will of God here on earth. To do the will of God, we must also "...love thy neighbour as thyself..."
In Mark 1:14,15 it says, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God...And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." In Matthew 24:14, Jesus said, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." In doing the will of God we should be teaching the Kingdom of God, casting out devils, healing the sick, etc. Jesus said in Matthew 10:7,8, "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand...Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."
In Mark 16:15-18, Jesus said, "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature...He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned...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."
In Luke 24:46-48, Jesus said, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day...And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem...And ye are witnesses of these things."
Repentance and remission of sins are based upon what Jesus did for us when He died on the Cross and arose again from the dead. What Gospel are we to be preaching? Should it not include "Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins?"
Doubt and unbelief are sins against God by not believing in what Jesus did for us on the Cross of Calvary. Therefore, the LORD told us what to do. "Repent and receive the forgiveness of sins" (Luke 24:47; 1 John 1:9). If we do not repent, we are still sinning against God.
In Romans 14:23, it is speaking of doubt when it says, "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Doubt is sin. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
In the New Covenant, sin goes beyond the Ten Commandments of the Old Covenant. All disobedience to the LORD is sin in the New Covenant. In Hebrews 5:9 it says, "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Eternal salvation comes to those who obey the LORD.
Of ourselves, we cannot overcome sin. Therefore, we have a new and better covenant than that of the Old Covenant. By the Blood of Jesus Christ, we are made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). It is not by our righteousness, but by the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.
Therefore, when we repent and confess our sins, the Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:5-7). This is the gospel that should be preached to all nations.
We must not let sin remain within us. Sin must be overcome "by repentance and remission of sins" (Luke 24:47). Then, we must walk in the light of the Word of God and resist the Devil, and he will flee from us (1 John 1:7; James 4:7).
In 1 John 3:1-3 it says, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not...Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is...And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." When we were born again into the Body of Christ, we were washed clean by the Blood of Jesus Christ. We were set free of all our sins and iniquities. Now, by repentance and forgiveness of sins we must stay free of all sin.
How do we stay free of all sin? There is only one way to stay free, that is to "walk in the Light of the Word of God." In 1 John 1:5-10 it says, "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."
This is why Jesus said in Luke 24:47, "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." We do not overcome sin by our works of righteousness. We can only overcome sin by Faith in God, and what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. If we doubt anything that God tells us, we are not living by faith (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).
Some think they have no sin. Yet it says in James 4:17, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." Knowing what to do, and not doing it is sin. Is there anyone who never missed it when it comes to doing what they knew they should do?
Romans 3:20-23 says, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin...But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets...Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference...For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Some think this only applies to those who are not born again. According to Romans 3:20-23, anyone who thinks they are justified by their own works is deceived. Only "...the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ..." is acceptable to God.
We could go all throughout the New Testament searching for answers. The answer to everything is, "The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). Doubt is the opposite of faith. We must search and study the New Testament, and believe what it says concerning faith in what God did for us in Christ Jesus. Our Faith should also be in what God says we can do, being in Christ Jesus. Being justified freely by His Grace, we are given authority by our LORD Jesus Christ to destroy all the works of the Devil (Luke 10:19). It is not because of who we are in ourselves, but who we are "in Christ." It is not because of what we did or did not do. It is all because of what God did for us in Christ Jesus.
We cannot doubt what the Word of God tells us concerning who we are in Christ Jesus and the authority and power we have over sin, sickness, disease, and all the works of the Devil. Doubt will rob us of our faith. We must overcome all doubt and walk in faith, believing every Word of God concerning who we are in Christ Jesus.
New Covenant Faith
How many Christians understand the New Covenant as opposed to the Old Covenant? There could be a great error in understanding the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. These two covenants are explained in the book of Hebrews.
In Hebrews 8:10-12 it says, "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people...And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest...For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
God will make known to us His laws "in our minds and in our hearts." We will know what the will of God is. We will know if we sin against God or not? It will be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. It is not by what someone else tells us, but a knowing in our mind and in our heart.
After telling us that God will make our sins and iniquities known to us, the next thing it says is, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 8:12). This is where many Christians are deceived. They think this only means the sins and iniquities that were committed before they were born again into the Body of Christ. That is not what it says, when it says "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts..." It is speaking of after they are born again.
What it does not tell us in Hebrews 8:10-12, is told to us in other parts of the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 2:5-10, it says, "For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak...But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?...Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands...Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him...But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man...For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
Did Jesus do what He was sent by the Father to do? Are we a new creature in Christ or not (2 Cor. 5:17)? Did Jesus take the curse of the law upon Himself that we are no longer under the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13)? Is the Blood of the everlasting covenant for us today (Heb. 13:20,21)? If Jesus did what it says He did, why don't Christians believe the gospel?
In Hebrews 6:17-20, it says, "Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath...That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us...Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil...Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." Is Jesus our High Priest before God the Father on our behalf (Heb. 6:20; 7:25; 1 John 2:2)? Is 1 John 1:5-10 true?
It seems the Devil is blinding the minds of Christians through the teachings of men. Rather than setting the captives free, the Devil is bringing Christians back under his control though doubt and unbelief of the written Word of God concerning who Christians are in Christ Jesus.
Remember, Jesus said in Luke 24:46,47, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day...And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." What good will repentance and remission of sins do anyone if they do not believe the gospel?
In 1 John 1:9 it says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We know that confessing our sins without repentance will not avail anything. We must first repent, then receive forgiveness of sins.
If we repent and confess our sins, God will forgive us and will not remember our sins anymore (Heb. 8:12). Many Christians are defeated by doubt and unbelief, simply because the Devil does not forget the sins of the past. The Devil keeps reminding us of our past sins. The whole world is operating by "the knowledge of good and evil" which came when Adam and Eve first ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:6).
As long as Christians, who have already repented and confessed their sins, keep looking back and remember them, doubt and unbelief will hinder their faith.
The Gospel declares that the curse of the law, which came by sin was defeated by Jesus on the Cross of Calvary for us. If sin and death were defeated by Jesus, and we are a new creature in Christ Jesus, we should believe the Gospel and not the teachings of men. If God does not remember our sins that we have repented of and confessed, then we must not let our past sins stop us from believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If we look back, and remember our past sins (which we have repented of and confessed), doubt and unbelief will hinder our faith.
The Apostle Paul had many sins in his lifetime, which Satan reminded him of (2 Cor. 12:7). In Philippians 3:13,14, the Apostle Paul said, He forgets "...those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before...I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Christians cannot continue to dwell upon the past, and press forward in Christ Jesus at the same time.
Once we have repented (that is, turned away from all things that are not pleasing to God), and confessed our sins, we need to stop looking back and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The New Covenant is sealed with the blood of Jesus. The New Covenant is an everlasting covenant.
In the Old Covenant, the High Priest went once every year into the Holy of Holies to place the blood of animals upon the altar for the sins of the Children of Israel. This was done every year, to make reconciliation for all the sins of all the Children of Israel.
In the New Covenant, the Blood of Jesus was shed once forever for the sins of the whole world. The Blood is just as effective today as it was the day that Jesus paid the price for all the sins of the whole world. It is the blood of Jesus that sets us free of all doubt and unbelief. It is not what we did or did not do according the Law. It is what God did for us in Christ Jesus. That is the Gospel that should be taught.
When we believe the Gospel of "the Kingdom of God," and do what God tells us to do in the New Covenant, we will overcome all doubt and unbelief. We cannot let the Devil keep reminding us of our past. We must stop looking back, and forget the sins of the past which we have repented of and confessed. God does not remember them anymore, and neither should we remember then anymore.
After repentance and forgiveness comes righteousness, sanctification, justification, and salvation. After repentance and forgiveness, God does not remember our sins anymore (Heb. 8:12; 1 John 1:9).
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