All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
January 22, 2011
Will set You
HANDS FOR JESUS
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2011 by Merle E. Koepke
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This is Part 6 of "TRUTH will set you FREE." It is very important that we understand what was already revealed in other parts of this series of Mini-Books. Other parts are available by downloading them freely, from our Web sites listed on the first page of this book.
In John 8:31,32 it says, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, 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."
It is important that Christians understand, they must "continue in the Word" if they are to be free. Christians are set free when they receive Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior. But to remain free, they must "continue in the Word."
Unless a person is truly born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, they cannot "continue in the Word." The only way for a person to continue in the Words of Jesus, is that, that person must become born again. Then they must also receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, to receive the power to become witnesses unto Jesus (Acts 1:8). There are many people going to Churches today, saying they are Christians, but they are not truly born again into the Body of Christ.
Christians need to understand the difference between that which is Truth and that which is a lie. To understand what is Truth and what is a lie, we must receive our information from the Word of God, not from the words of men.
Before Jesus came into this world "as the Son of God," born of the Holy Spirit and a virgin by the name of Mary, He was "the Word of God" (John 1:1). Jesus did not stop being "the Word of God" when He became "the Son of Man," born of the Holy Spirit and Mary. Jesus, who was "the Word of God" from the beginning became the first "Man," whereby God and man dwelt together in one. For, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (2 Cor. 5:19).
In parts three through five of this series of Mini-Books there are examples of the life of Simon Peter. We see where Peter was determined to follow Jesus, but of his own ability he was not able to do what he intended to do. Things happened in Peter's life while walking with Jesus that he had no control over. What Peter said he would do, did not always happen. Peter did not have the ability in "his own power" to do the perfect will of God.
As we continue to follow the life of Simon Peter in the Book of Acts, we will see how that Peter was then able to do the will of God in his life. It was not by Peter's own power and might, but by the Holy Spirit working in and through Peter. This was prophesied concerning the New Covenant already in Zechariah 4:6, saying, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
Jesus had also prophesied this to the New Testament Church when speaking first to His disciples, and then directly to Simon Peter, in Matthew 16:15-19. It says, "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?...And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God...And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven...And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it...And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Notice that Jesus first asked "his disciples," "...whom say ye that I am?" A disciple is "one who is following someone else or learning from someone else." Jesus was teaching His disciples things concerning "the kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14,15).
The kingdom of God could not come until Jesus was first crucified, dead, buried, and then raised again from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:11). Once Jesus became "the firstborn from the dead," then the kingdom of God could come (Rom. 8:29). The kingdom of God is "the reign of God." The reign of God is speaking of "God, the Holy Spirit" reigning in the lives of those who are "the Body of Christ here on earth."
Jesus, speaking to His disciples and directly to Peter, said, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven...And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:17,18).
There are a number of things that Jesus prophesied in these verses. First, Jesus prophesied that those who speak by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and not by man's ability are blessed. For, Peter did not speak from his intellectual knowledge, but by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, Jesus spoke to Peter, saying, "...upon this rock I will build my church..." Jesus did not say He would build his Church upon Peter. The name "Peter," does not mean a rock, it means "a stone, or a pebble." The "Rock" that Jesus was speaking of is first "speaking by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, believing, and confessing that," "...Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16).
By the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the body of Christ would go into all the world, believing and confessing "Christ, the Son of the living God." Therefore, the Church will be built by "the anointing of the Holy Spirit" working through those of the body of Christ who believe and confess the Truth, which is the Word of God.
Thirdly, the church will not be built by the intellectual knowledge or wisdom of men. "Jesus Christ," Himself, will build "His Church." It will not be built by religion, or religious people doing their own will of the flesh. It will be "Jesus Christ," Himself building His Church, which is His Body here on earth.
"Jesus Christ" is "the Rock" that the Church is built upon. The word "Christ" means "the anointed One." Therefore, we see in Acts 2:47 it says, "...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Peter did not add anyone to the Church. Neither did any of the other Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelist, or Pastors. Everyone who is added to the Church is added by Jesus Christ, Himself.
It is important that Christians understand, "the LORD adds to the Church those who should be saved" (Acts 2:47). When a person is first saved, which means "delivered and/or protected," they still need to be saved, "delivered and protected" all the time they are here on earth. They still have many areas in their lives where Satan attacks them. When these attacks come, they need to be delivered and protected from the works of the Devil in their lives.
Before Jesus went to be with God the Father, He said to Peter, "feed my sheep, and feed my lambs" (John 21: 15-17). Jesus was not speaking of Peter's sheep or Peter's lambs. Jesus was talking about His sheep and His lambs.
The Body of Christ belongs to Christ, not to anyone within the Body of Christ. God is not a controller. God has not put anyone in control over another. Everyone who is a part of the Body of Christ is subject to the LORD Jesus Christ, Himself. Everyone belongs to the LORD and not to another. The fivefold ministry is not to control anyone by their position or ability. Everything is to be done by the anointing (speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) (1 Peter 4:11).
The fivefold ministry is "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ... Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:12,13).
After Peter received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, he understood what Jesus was speaking of when Jesus said to him, "feed my sheep and feed my lambs." Therefore, Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:2,3, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind...Neither as lords over God's heritages, but being ensembles to the flock." The fivefold ministries are not to "lord over anyone." But, to be examples, for we are all a part of the same body of Christ.
God is not a respecter of persons. Everyone will give an account for what they do in the flesh. If anyone sows to the flesh, they will of the flesh reap corruption (Gal. 6:7,8). We must sow to the Spirit to reap everlasting life.
There are many in the Churches today, who are sowing to the flesh (claiming to be doing the will of God). Many of these have been taken captive by lying spirits which are sent by Satan to destroy Christians. These lying spirits use "half-truths" to gain control over others.
A half-truth is still a lie. It is a lying spirit that convinces Christians that they can trust in the worlds system, and not "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5).
Lying spirits have been in this world from the time of Adam and Eve. These lying spirits tell half-truths and half-lies. A half-truth is a lie. These lying spirits operate through those who are seeking to obtain for themselves whatsoever they desire.
These lying spirits were operating in the Church already in Acts 5:1-10. Ananias and Sapphira let a lying spirit convince them it was ok to lie. When they gave place for a lying spirit, "Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?" (Acts 5:3). In Acts 5:7-10 it says, "And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in...And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much...Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out...Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband."
Ananias and Sapphira both died that day. When a Christian lies to another Christian, they are also lying to the Holy Spirit. It was the desire for money that the lying spirits used to tempt Ananias and Sapphira. These lying spirits are still using money to deceive many Christians today.
I know of a person who claimed to be a Pastor of a Church. His main message was concerning money. His preaching was on how that God would bless those who give. This is a half-truth. Half-truths are lies. God blesses those who obey the LORD and the leading of the Holy Spirit. God does inspire Christians to give to help spread the Gospel. But, when people tell half-truths to obtain money to fulfill their own desires of the flesh, God is not in on it.
This pastor continued to build up his Church by his message of prosperity by giving. Over a period of years he had about three-hundred members. They were giving, and giving, and giving, expecting to receive a lot of money. Then they were asked to give to build a church building. Many gave their life savings toward building a church.
All during this time the pastor was in the process of having a home built in another state many miles from where his church was. When his house was about ready, he took the money the people gave to build a church and left the area.
The people who believed the half-truth were deceived. They lost their pastor, their money, and their church all because their giving was not according to the Scriptures. They gave, believing a half-truth, in which there was a lying spirit involved. Actually they were sowing to the flesh and they reaped corruption.
Had these members known the Scriptures, they would have known there was a lying spirit in operation. Their lack of knowledge of the written Word, and their lack of knowledge of the leading of the Holy Spirit caused their loss. They were sowing to the flesh and did not know what spirit was working in the life of that pastor.
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." These Christians were not continuing in the words of Jesus. They were following the words of a man, who was deceived.
When Christians sow to the flesh, they will reap corruption. In Galatians 6:7,8 it says, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap...For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." The opposite of corruption is eternal life. Christians need to renew their mind on the written Word of God and not be conformed to this world. The world sows to the flesh, and the world reaps corruption.
Christians are to be led by the Holy Spirit in their lives. The Holy Spirit is sent to be our helper, guide, leader, comforter, and teacher. Christians need to be walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh. The Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of Truth" (John 16:13). If we are led by the Holy Spirit, we will not be deceived by lying spirits.
There are times when the Holy Spirit will impress upon a Christian to give. When Christians obey the Holy Spirit, they will be blessed. But, to walk after the flesh and be deceived by a lying spirit is not the way the Holy Spirit works.
When Christians follow lying spirits, they are being deceived, and those who follow them will also be deceived. Actually, in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Christians are told to come out from among those who do not believe the Truth. Those who do not believe the Truth are called unbelievers. We cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24).
Peter learned the value of being led by the Holy Spirit in everything. As we follow the information we have in Acts Chapter Two through Acts Chapter Twelve concerning Peter, we will see the importance of walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh.
In Acts 6:1-4 it says, "And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration...Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables...Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business...But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word."
Peter was among the twelve Apostles that day. The concern of Christians was the way some were being treated unfairly within the church. The Apostles said, "...brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business" (Acts 6:3). In the churches there must be those who are "...of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom..." These are the ones who need to take care of the things concerning the needs of others.
The needs of everyone should be looked over by those who are "...of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom..." These same individuals should also be spending time in prayer and ministry of the Word. As for the Apostles, they said, "we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4).
God will supply all our needs if we will do what the Scriptures tell us to do. God is well able to do whatsoever He has promised in His Word, if we will do what God has asked us to do. Peter and the other Apostles were examples unto the Church. Their first and most important duty was to spend time in prayer and ministry of the Word, making sure those who are among them are filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom, having an honest report among the others. Lying spirits were not permitted to operate in the early Church.
Lying spirits should never be permitted to operate within the Churches. There should be those within the Churches that are filled with the Holy Spirit, and wisdom to help those who are truly in need.
When those who are in the ministry will follow the example of the Apostles in the book of Acts they will know the truth and the Truth will set them free. Spending time in "prayer and ministry of the Word" will always help keep us from the lying spirits that try to deceive those in the ministry.
In Acts 8:14,15 it says, "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John...Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost." Everyone who receives Jesus Christ into their lives needs to also receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit they do not have the power to do the perfect will of God.
Peter and John knew the plan of God for the Church. It is the Holy Spirit that leads, guides, helps, comforts, and teaches those who are obedient to the LORD. The LORD's Church is not built by the works of men. It is the LORD working through the Holy Spirit that builds His Church. It is not by man's power or man's ability, but the Holy Spirit (Zech. 4:6).
Peter continued to be led by the Holy Spirit wherever he went. In Acts 9:32-34 it says, "And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda...And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy...And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately."
Those who spend time in prayer and the ministry of the Word will have the anointing to do the work of the ministry whenever they are needed. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that is needed in the ministry. Peter obeyed the LORD and the anointing was upon Peter wherever he went.
In Acts 9:36-41 it says, "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did...And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber...And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them...Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them...But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up...And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive."
In Acts, Chapter Ten, the LORD sent an angel to "Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band," who needed to hear the gospel and be saved. Peter was at Joppa when the Holy Spirit told Peter to go with the men who were sent by Cornelius. Peter obeyed the Holy Spirit and went and preached the gospel to those at Cornelius's house. Acts 10:44-46 says, "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word...And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost...For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God."
It was not Peter, doing the work of the ministry by his own power. It was the Holy Spirit working through Peter by the anointing that manifested in the lives of Cornelius and those of his household. The LORD was adding to the Church such as should be saved (Acts 2:47).
This is the way ministry work is to be done within the Church. It is not by man's power or man's ability, but by the LORD working through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. All Peter was doing was obeying the LORD as the Holy Spirit worked in Peter's life.
In Acts, Chapter Twelve it tells us that Herod had "...killed James the brother of John with the sword" (Acts 12:2). In Acts 12:3-11 it says, "And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also...And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people...Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him...And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison...And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands...And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me...And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision...When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him...And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews."
Peter was trusting in the LORD and not in his own ability. Peter knew the leading of the Holy Spirit. Peter knew what the LORD had called him to do, and he also knew the LORD could take care of him as long as he trusted in the LORD.
When Christians learn to trust in the LORD and are led by the Holy Spirit, God will do His good pleasure in their lives. In Philippians 2:13 it says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Continue in the Truth
In John 8:31,32, Jesus said, "...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." There are many today who are being deceived by lying spirits. What will happen to those who are deceived and continue to be deceived by lying spirits?
Eve was deceived by a lying spirit (Gen. 3:4,5). God sent Jesus to set us free of the works of the Devil. Jesus said, the only way to stay free is to continue in His Word. Those who follow others, who do not continue in the Word, could easily be deceived.
Jesus said, "...if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch" (Matt. 15:14). Jesus also said, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matt. 7:5).
Christians need to continue in the Word of God and be led by the Holy Spirit. God has sent His Word to deliver us from all the works of the Devil. If we do not continue in His Word, what will be our end?
Everyone will stand before the LORD on the last day. Everyone will be judged according to what is written in the books concerning them. If we follow lying spirits where will we be when we stand before the LORD? If we follow those who are following lying spirits, where will we be when we stand before the LORD?
Jesus is the Truth, and Jesus is our example of how to live in this world and overcome the works of the Devil. As we study all that Jesus taught, and follow Jesus we will be free. If we follow another spirit, or someone who is following another spirit, we will not be free.
The Word of God is very clear. God has never changed, and God will not change. Therefore, we are the ones who must change from walking after the flesh to walking after the Holy Spirit.
Just because someone says they are a Christian that does not mean they are walking in the Truth. Just because someone says they are called into the ministry, that does not mean they are walking in the Truth. If we are not walking in the Truth, we are being deceived by a lying spirit.
The whole New Testament is written to Christians. It is not written to the world, but to those who are Christians. In 2 Timothy 3:16,17 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness... That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." The Scriptures are given for the perfecting of the Saints. The fivefold ministries are also given for the perfecting of the Saints (Eph. 4:12,13).
God has already done His part. Now it is up to each individual to do their part. It all begins with continuing in the Word according to Jesus Christ (John 8:31,32). Then receiving the Holy Spirit and being led by the Holy Spirit in everything we do. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher, and He will help, guide, lead, and teach us all things, as we abide in Him (1 John 2:27).
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). We should not let those who are not walking in the truth lead us in another direction. Half-truths are lies, and we should not follow those who are not walking in the truth. We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit according to the instructions of Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, let us not follow another.
Jesus said in Luke 24:47, "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." If anyone has not been walking in the Truth, they need to repent and be forgiven.
Those who do not repent are still walking in darkness. In 1 John 1:6-7 it says, "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." God cannot have fellowship with those who do not walk in the Light. Let us come out from among those who do not walk in the Light. Life here on earth is too short to be following another spirit, especially lying spirits that do not tell the truth.
A half-truth is still a lie. When someone lies to a Christian, they are also lying to the LORD Jesus Christ, Himself, and to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-10; 9:4).
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