All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
May 20, 2014
HANDS FOR JESUS
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MILWAUKEE, WI 53225-0494
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2014 by Merle E. Koepke
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Have you ever noticed how many times Jesus used the word "if?" In the Gospel of John alone, the word "if" is used about seventy-six times. Many of these times, Jesus was using the word "if" in reference to what He was talking about.
In John 14:15, Jesus said to His disciples, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Why would Jesus use the word "if" in a statement like He made in John 14:15? Everyone, including those whom Jesus called to be His disciples, have a free will. Everyone is responsible for the decisions they make in their lives.
The word "if" is used in John 14:15 to place a condition upon the ones to whom it applies. Therefore, John 14:15 does not apply to those who do not love Jesus. It only applies to those who love Jesus.
Whenever Jesus used the word "if" in connection to what He was saying, it only applied to those who did what Jesus said they should do.
Too often Christians do not take the word "if" seriously, when reading the Scriptures. The word "if" places a condition upon what is stated, making the statement of no value unless the conditions are met. In John 14:15, where it says "If ye love me, keep my commandments," the word "love" is the Greek word "agape." Those who do not know the true meaning of the Greek word "agape," will not understand what Jesus is saying to His disciples in John 14:15.
Agape (love) is not the same as "phileo" (love) in the Greek. The English translations of the Bible do not give a true definition of "agape" (love). Therefore, it is important to know and understand the difference between "agape" (love) and "phileo" (love). Agape (love) is unconditional and does not consider themselves as more important than someone else.
Only God, and Christians who are truly born again, have (agape), love. Anyone who is not truly born again does not have (agape), love. In 1 John 4:8 it tells us that "God is love" (agape).
Many times, Jesus used the word "if" to state that there is a condition to obtaining what Jesus was speaking of. The word "if" indicates that the condition must be met to receive whatsoever Jesus promised.
Just as important as the word "if" that Jesus used many times are the words Jesus spoke without using the word "if." Such as, when Jesus said in John 3:7, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." Jesus did not use the word "if" in this statement. Jesus made this statement as "an absolute command." That means, what Jesus said, "must" be done. Anyone who does not do what Jesus said in John 3:7, cannot love (agape), Jesus. If, they cannot love (agape) Jesus they cannot keep His commandments.
Therefore, anyone who does not love (agape) Jesus, cannot receive whatsoever Jesus promised those who love (agape) Him.
Everything has a Beginning
Where is the beginning? Where do we begin? The first thing that is necessary is knowing that Jesus is talking to those who are truly born again "in Christ Jesus."
In order for someone to love (agape) Jesus, they must first be truly born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:23; John 3:5,6). There are multitudes of people going to churches today, saying they are Christians, but there is no real evidence of them ever becoming truly born again. There is no evidence of the (agape) love of God in them.
We are living in the days when multitudes of people are being deceived by the teachings of men. They say they are born again Christians, but they do not know what it means to be "a born again Christian." We need to study the Scriptures and examine our own lives to know "beyond all doubt" that we are truly born again.
There are times in the Gospel of John where Jesus made certain statements that we should pay special attention to. When Jesus came into the world, He came speaking to the Jews and those who were living under the Law of Moses at that time. Then, years later, what Jesus said was written (after Jesus died and arose again from the dead). Most of what is written applies to Christians today.
Jesus said in John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." What Jesus said applies to everyone today. In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." We must know beyond all doubt, that Jesus is "the only way to eternal life." There is no eternal life in anyone outside of God, and those who are truly born again, "in Christ Jesus" (2 Cor. 5:17).
Multitudes of people today, go to churches regularly. They think they are born again because the Churches they attend told them they were born again. They believe in their minds, what they have been told. Yet, there is no evidence that they are truly born again. They do not understand spiritual things. Therefore, they believe what someone else told them, with no evidence that they are truly born again. If they are truly born again there should be evidence of a "new birth."
The Scripture tells us that those who are born again, are no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit. That does not mean they do not have a body of flesh and bones as they had when they were first born into this world. When a person is born of the flesh they have a body of flesh and bones, just like everyone else who is born of the flesh into this world.
That body of flesh and bones is not the person. The body belongs to the person who lives inside of the body. The person who lives inside of the body of flesh and bones is a "living soul." A living soul is not a physical part of a person. A living soul does not take up space, like a physical body does.
A major change takes place when a person is truly born again of the Word of God and the Spirit of God. They receive "a new heart, and a new spirit" (Ezek. 36:26). When they are truly born again, their living soul is translated from their body of flesh and bones into the new spirit, which is also in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:9, is speaking of born again Christians, saying, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Then in 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." According to the Word of God, these things should have taken place in our lives when we were truly born again.
If all of this happens when a person is truly born again of the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit, there should be evidence of a change in the things we believe, and the things we do in life. If there is no evidence of a major change, then it is questionable, when they say they are a Christian.
Our lives, as born again Christians is a new beginning of a new life in Christ Jesus. When we become a new creature in Christ Jesus, we should no longer be like we were before we were born again. A new birth is a new beginning of a new life, which is in the spiritual realm, not in the natural realm. Therefore, our lives must be different than they were before we were born again.
A good example of this change is in that of a caterpillar and a butterfly. When the butterfly lays an egg, the egg hatches and it becomes a caterpillar. The egg that hatched becomes a caterpillar, not a butterfly.
A caterpillar has many legs and moves about and lives by what it eats. A caterpillar is limited by its ability to crawl upon its legs. A caterpillar cannot fly like the butterfly that laid the egg that began its birth into this world. The caterpillar does not have wings.
When a caterpillar goes through a process of change from a caterpillar to a butterfly, its whole physical being is changed. It no longer has multitudes of legs. But it does have wings. Now it can fly (which it could not do while it was still a caterpillar).
Now, the caterpillar is "a new creature." It is no longer a caterpillar, but it has become a butterfly.
What would happen to that butterfly if it continued to try to live like a caterpillar?
If it refused to fly and change the way it lived before it became a butterfly, what would happen? Truly, beyond all doubt, it would die. A butterfly cannot continue to live like a caterpillar. Neither can a born again Christian continue to live like people who are not born again.
Those who are not born again live after the flesh. They are like a caterpillar. They go around, living like the world and loving the things of the world. This is the opposite of what is says about Christians in 1 John 2:15-17.
How can you tell the difference between a caterpillar and a butterfly? You can tell by how they live. The caterpillar crawls around upon its legs. It cannot fly. A caterpillar mostly lives off what is attached to the ground.
A butterfly flies in the first heavens where the fowl of the air fly (Gen. 1:20). A butterfly usually travels in the daytime when there is light, usually not in the darkness of nighttime. A butterfly feeds mostly upon nectar from flowers. A butterfly is useful to plants by carrying pollen from one plant to another. Butterflies are productive and not destructive.
How can you tell a Christian from someone who is not truly born again? Born again Christians should be like the butterfly, living in the heavenly realm, by the Word of God, which created all things (John 1:1-3). Christians should be productive, not destructive. Christians should have the attitude of Jesus Christ, not that of the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. Christians should love one another and help one another, with more concern for each other than for themselves. A Christian should no longer love the world or the things that are in the world. In 1 John 2:15, it says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
Those who are not born again love the world and the things of the world. Many people who say they are born again Christians still live like the world lives. They do the same things the world does, the same way the world does things. You could say, they look like those of the world. They talk like those of the world. They act like those of the world.
In John 15:7, Jesus said, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." The only way to "...ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you," is "if" we abide in Jesus and His Words abide in us. If we do not abide in Jesus and His Words do not abide in us, then what Jesus said in John 15:7 does not apply to us.
We can be a born again, Spirit-filled Christian, and still not benefit from what Jesus said, "if" we do not do all that Jesus said to do. The promise that Jesus made in John 15:7 will not be of any value to us, if we do not do what Jesus said to do.
Doing what Jesus said is very important in the lives of a Christian. It is not something that comes only by grace through faith, "without obeying the LORD." This is where many born again, Spirit-filled Christians make their greatest mistakes in life.
All of the promises of God, have a condition attached to them. It is not a promise that we can receive just by believing what someone else tells us. We cannot go by what other people say. We can only go by what the Scriptures tell us, along with what we receive from the Holy Spirit, confirmed by the Blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 5:7,8).
In 1 John 5:7,8 it says, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one...And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water (Word), and the blood: and these three agree in one."
In the New Covenant, there are no other witnesses for Christians than these three. The witness of men is no longer for the New Covenant. That was for the Old Covenant, which is passed away. The Old Covenant is gone and a New Covenant now takes the place of the Old Covenant (Heb. 8:13).
If we believe what someone else tells us, without these three witnesses confirming what is said, we will easily be deceived.
Our new birth into the body of Christ is only the beginning of a new creature in Christ Jesus. Because it is a new beginning, we must learn how to live in the Spirit, according to the Word of God, the witness of the Holy Spirit, and the Blood of Jesus.
If we continue to live according to the way we lived before we were born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, we could easily die. Just like, if a butterfly would try to continue to live like a caterpillar, it would soon die. It is not good for a person who is truly born again into the body of Christ, to lose their position and have their names taken out of the Book of Life (Rev. 3:5; 22:19).
Therefore, "IF" we abide in Jesus Christ, and His Words abide in us, we can ask whatsoever we will and it will be done unto us (John 15:7). This abiding in Jesus Christ, and His Words abiding in us must be a daily lifestyle of a born again Christian.
What it means by abiding in Jesus Christ and His Words abiding in us, is that we must live by faith in the Word of God, not faith in what the people of this world can do. There are many times in the lives of Christians that they experience what Jesus was talking about in John 15:7. This is wonderful, and exciting, when we see God working in our lives "supernaturally." The things we could not do, God does for us.
God works from our spirit. What we try to do according to our ability, does not always work. We try everything we know, and it still does not work. But, when we are abiding in Jesus Christ, and His Word is abiding in us, things can be done supernaturally, by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God from within us.
Let me give one example of what happens when we are abiding in Jesus Christ, and His Word is abiding in us. Many years ago I was taking a trip to another state, which was about seven hundred and seventy-five miles. It was in the middle of the summer when the temperature was in the nineties.
Before I started on this trip, I decided that I would change the thermostat on my vehicle engine from about ninety-two degrees to a lower temperature thermostat.
As I was changing the thermostat I heard a crack sound, and I knew I cracked the housing that held the thermostat. I thought I should get a new housing and put it on before I left on the long trip to another state.
One thing that Christians should understand about the spiritual realm, is that the Devil is always working in our mind to prevent us from doing the will of God. If the Devil cannot prevent us from doing the will of God he will do all he can to hinder us in what we do. The Devil operates by putting thoughts in our mind, to keep us from doing what we know we should do.
That day, I did not immediately go and get a new thermostat housing and put it on. I thought I would do it the next day. By that, I forgot to get a new thermostat housing. I left the following day and traveled about two hundred and fifty miles. It was after five O'clock in the afternoon when the engine overheated. It was too late to get a part for the engine. We stayed there overnight. The next morning we filled the engine with water and left early, thinking I would stop in a larger city about eight or nine O'clock in the morning and get a thermostat housing there.
We drove past that city without remembering to stop and get the part. While driving through the country, the engine overheated again. We stopped at a wayside and let the engine cool down, then got water at the wayside and filled the engine. I intended to stop at the next city and get a new part and put it in. Again, we drove past the next city and forgot to stop and get a new part.
After driving quite some distance the engine overheated again. We came to an intersection in the country were there was an auto repair shop along the highway. We arrived there about ten-thirty in the morning. The mechanic took the old thermostat housing off the engine and said he would try to get a new one for me. I kept asking him ever so often, "Did you find a part yet?" His answer was always the some, "I'm still trying."
About five O'clock that afternoon the mechanic said, he could not find a part in the area, but I should wait until Monday morning and he could get one from about one-hundred miles away. I asked the mechanic, "Could I have the old part back?" He said, "Sure, what are you going to do?" I said, "I'm going to put it back on and start driving. I'm not staying here over the weekend."
I put the part back on and got five gallons of water at a restaurant not far from the repair shop. I started driving south on the highway. I only went about four or five miles, and the engine over-heated. I filled it again, and drove another four or five miles, and it over-heated again. I did this about three or four times, and only went about 15 miles.
James 4:17 says, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." I knew what to do many times and I didn't do it. So, I stopped and prayed, "LORD, I confess it as sin, a number of times I knew to change that housing and didn't do it. Now, I need Your help. Thank You, LORD!" Then I filled up the radiator and we drove down the highway. That time, we drove about 15 miles, and the engine never did over-heat. Somehow the LORD kept the engine from over-heating all the way to where I could get off the highway.
As I drove into the first filling station off the Highway, the attendant was coming out to meet us. It seemed a little unusual to me that He came out to meet us before we even got to the gas pumps. It seems, he knew we were coming, and he came out to meet us. He said, "What can I do for you?" I told him "I needed a new housing for the thermostat." It was just 6:00pm at the time, and he said, "Let me see which one you need?" He looked at the housing and said, "I'm going to make a telephone call." Then he came back and said, "They have one right here in town, they are going to wait for me to come and get it. I'll be right back," and he left.
For some reason, the mechanic about 30 miles before that must not have called that town, or he would have known they had one right there. I wasted about six hours doing things according to my ability. It only took this mechanic about an hour to get the part I needed and put it on for me. I left that evening, and drove to where I was going.
What the LORD did for me that day, was not something I could do in the natural. From the time I prayed and asked the LORD for help, the engine did not overheat (John 15:7). The part was changed by someone the LORD knew was there to help me. The LORD knows everything. The LORD knows how to do things in the natural and in the supernatural.
What Jesus said in John 15:7 applies to every Christian that will abide in Jesus Christ, and His Words will abide in them. We do not need to rely upon the natural world system, when we do things. We can rely upon the LORD and His Word, to work all things together for our good (Rom. 8:28).
Why do Christians suffer like the world suffers, when they could have all things working together for their good? It is usually, because they do not abide in Jesus Christ, and His Words are not abiding in them. Jesus said, "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 January of 2012, I had a growth growing on the bridge of my nose between my eyes. It kept getting larger and larger. One day I laid my finger on the growth and commanded it to die and leave my body "in the name of Jesus." Within about two and one-half weeks it was gone. There was not even a mark on my nose where it had been.
Why are these things not happening in the lives of Christians? Why are Christians spending so much time going to doctors, and hospitals, with all the pain and expense they go through? The Bible says that the way to receive healing for our bodies when something is not right is to pray. Jesus is the living Word of God and the Word of God is the healer of our bodies. In Exodus 15:26 it says, "I am the LORD that healeth thee."
If Christians do not spend time abiding in Jesus Christ and keeping His Word abiding in them, what will happen when they need healing for their bodies?
What good will the Word of God be to us, if we do not do what the Word of God tells us to do? In Hebrews 5:8,9, talking about Jesus, it says, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered...And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."
What about Christians who do not obey Him? Will He be the author of eternal salvation to them also? We must study the Scriptures for ourselves and do what the Scriptures tell us, if we want the LORD to do what He promises us in the Scriptures.
When it talks about obeying the LORD, Jesus Christ, it is not talking about obeying those who are not obeying the LORD. There seems to be a lot of people in the Churches today, who do not study the Scriptures for themselves, but go by what others tell them instead. What many of them tell us is not what it says in the Scriptures, even though they quote it from their Bibles.
I was forty-five years old, "before I became truly born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit." From the time I was sixteen, I made a decision in my life that I would study my Bible, and make sure that when I died, I would go to heaven. I belonged to a church system, where it seemed everyone believed what their pastors told them.
That church system taught that we were born again when we were baptized in water at about eight days old. They taught their doctrine from Ezekiel 36:25, where it says, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you." They teach that "their doctrine of infant baptism is the new birth."
Is this truly what Jesus taught? Is this truly what the Bible in the New Testament teaches? In John 1:10-13 It says, "He (Jesus) was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not...He came unto his own, and his own received him not...But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name...Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
In John 1:12, it says "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Can a child at about eight days old actually receive Jesus as their LORD and Savior? It seems that John 1:10-13 tells us that each person "individually" must receive Jesus as LORD. It does not say that someone else can do it for them.
If we study the Scriptures closely, we will find that in the New Birth, we must first receive Jesus ourselves. When we receive Jesus ourselves, that allows God to come into our lives and became our LORD and Savior.
At the time of our new birth, a change takes place. We are translated from the flesh of Adam into the Spirit of Christ (Ron. 8:9). When this happens, we receive an new spirit in Christ Jesus. In our new spirit, God the Father dwells along with Christ and the Holy Spirit. This causes us to become related to God in Christ Jesus. As New Creatures in Christ Jesus, there should be a change in our lives, going from Adam into Christ. That is, going from the flesh of Adam into the Spirit of Christ. That should cause a noticeable change in our attitude and the way we live.
It is our free will that allows us to ask Jesus to come into our lives and become our LORD and Savior. It seems that if someone else could do it for us, then we would not be exercising our free will. That would not agree with Genesis 2:16, whereby the LORD God gave mankind a free will.
According to our free will, God cannot force us to do anything. God cannot stop us from doing anything. God could not force Adam and Eve to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God could not stop Adam and Eve from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Neither could the Devil force Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Neither could the Devil stop them from eating of the Tree of Life, had they chosen to eat of the Tree of Life instead of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The decision to eat of either, the Tree of Life or the tree of knowledge of good and evil was entirely up to Adam and Eve. That is why the Devil used the serpent to deceive Eve first. Then, the Devil used Eve to get Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Is it possible that some people are being deceived, by believing people, who say they were born again in infant water baptism at about the age of eight-days old?
All of my life from sixteen years old until I was forty-five, I tried to live according to their teachings. I even got involved in teaching Sunday School, working on church councils and etc., believing what they taught. But, my life was not any different than those who are not born again in this world.
When I could no longer continue to live that lifestyle, I went down in my basement and prayed to the LORD, "Jesus, I cannot continue to live the way things are going in my life. LORD, Come into my life and be my LORD. LORD, You take over in my life, and be my LORD, and I will follow You to the best of my ability. Thank You, Jesus! Amen."
Almost immediately, my whole life changed. My thinking and my thoughts changed. I could not think of all the worldly things in my life as I had been doing for forty-five years. At first I was confused as to what happened to me. Something changed in my life so drastically, that I could not think of the things in this world as I had been for my whole lifetime before this.
There was "peace in my spirit," but I was concerned in my mind, because my thoughts were no longer of the world and the things of this world. I mentioned this to the Pastor of my church, and he said, "It was most likely some type of illusion, and it will go away within a week or so." Within days, on a Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in my livingroom, when all of a sudden, I saw myself standing on a large fluffy white cloud in the sky, seeing all that I owned in this world, and others doing what they were to gain fame for themselves. Then i saw a bright light shining down on me from above and a voice said to me, "All of this will pass away. The only thing that will matter is your relationship to Me!"
According the Scriptures, in my new birth, I also received a new spiritual body. That day, I saw my new spiritual body as I was standing upon that cloud, looking down on the earth below me. While I was standing on that cloud in a body that looked just like my physical body, my Son come into the house and asked for the keys to my vehicle. He said, he could not awake me to tell me he wanted the keys to my vehicle. Then, when he came in again to return the keys to me, he still could not awake me to tell me he used the keys go get my tools out of my vehicle.
It seems that while I was in my spiritual body standing on the cloud, my physical body could not respond to my Son as he asked for the keys to my vehicle and when he returned them again. It could be, that our soul, which contains our mind, will, intellect, etc., can only operate from the body in which we are in at the time. When I was not in my physical body, I could see and hear what was happening around me up there in the clouds. But, I did not know or respond to my Son, when he came and tried to awake me.
From that day forth, many times I saw the LORD working in my life, without me saying anything to the LORD about what He was doing in my life. I had many physical conditions in my body that needed healing. Many of these conditions were healed without me saying a single thing about them. They just disappeared from my body. I was healed by the power of God, without even asking.
Within a very short time from the day that I received Jesus Christ as my LORD, I desired to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I did everything I could think of to try to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. One day, there was a couple from another state in the city were I lived. I went to a meeting, where they were ministering. At that meeting, the LORD used this man's wife to help me receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
Then the LORD started using me to pray for others, and they got healed when I prayed for them. Then the LORD started having others minister to me, concerning the work of the ministry. It only took a short time, and I knew the LORD wanted me to go into the ministry, and write books and teach others the truth that I was not taught all those years from sixteen years old until I was forty-five.
Jesus said in John 15:7,8, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you...Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." The word "if" is very important.
Many Christians listen to men, rather than listen to the Holy Spirit. They follow the teachings of men and forsake the teachings of the Holy Spirit. Many build large ministries, with people following their teachings, but are not receiving their information from the Holy Spirit.
Many years ago I was at a meeting where a Word came from the LORD. The LORD said, "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!"
Are people in the Churches today following the teachings of men? Who is more important in our lives, the LORD Jesus Christ, or the people who say they are teaching the truth, and it does not agree with the Bible?
Who are we to believe, those who teach from their minds, according to what others teach? Or, are we to "Study the Scriptures ourselves, and be taught by God, not by men?"
Jesus said in John 6:45, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God..." Was Jesus talking about us being taught by God, or was He talking about someone else being taught by God? In 1 John 2:27, it says, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." According to 1 John 2:27, it seems that we are to be taught by the Holy Spirit.
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