All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.

March 15, 2012



WHY

CHRISTIANS

SUFFER

Mini-book

Part 2



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HANDS FOR JESUS

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MILWAUKEE, WI 53225-0494



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2012 by Merle E. Koepke

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Introduction



Most Christians have not been taught the reason that Christians suffer in so many areas of their lives. Wherever we go we find Christians suffering from all sorts of conditions. Some Christians live in poverty. Some Christians have infirmities in their bodies. Some have mental problems. Some Christians suffer from sickness and disease. Why is it that way among Christians?

In Hosea 4:6 it says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge..." How do Christians reject knowledge? They do not spend time in the Word of God. They do not take the time to study the Word of God, to find out what God's Word says concerning how they should live their lives here on earth.

Some Christians only open their Bibles when they go to Church on Sunday mornings. The rest of the week they do not get into the Word of God themselves. They seem to ignore the Word of God, when it is the Word of God that will cause them to prosper and be in good health.

For the most part, most Christians do not know what the Word of God says concerning Christians. They still live like the world. They still suffer the same as those of this world who are not born again.

Many born again Christians do not know the difference between people who are truly born again and people who are not truly born again. When a Christian is truly born again they are born again of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. In John 3:6 it says, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." In 1 Peter 1:23, it says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." When a Christian is born again of the Word of God, they should continue to grow and mature into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.

Most Christians do not know what it means when it tells us in Genesis 1:26,27, that "God created mankind in His own image and likeness." It is so simple, very few Christians understand what it means to be in the image and likeness of God.

The image of God is the way you see God. How do you see God? God is Spirit, and with our natural eyes we cannot see spirits. But, we can perceive and understand the image of God by knowing what God is? In 1 John 4:8 it says, "God is love (agape)."

The Greek word "agape" speaks of the love of God, which is a much higher form of love than the Greek word "phileo" which is the highest form of human love. Only God and born again Christians have "agape" love. Those who are not born again do not have "agape" love.

No one can know or understand the love "agape" of God unless they are truly born again. Christians receive the "agape" love of God when they become born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. When a person is truly born again, they receive "the fruit of the Spirit" which are listed in Galatians 5:22,23. It says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

Notice that the first one listed of all of the fruit of the Spirit is love "agape." The fruit of the Spirit, are the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which are given to Christians when they are truly born again into the Body of Christ.

The image of God is love "agape." Thereby, Christians are born again "in the image of God," with the love "agape" of God within them, "for God is love" (agape). When we truly know God, we will know God by His love.

In John 3:16 it says, "For God so loved (agapao) the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (zoe)." (The Greek word "agapao" is a verb form of the noun "agape." The Greek word "zoe" is the spiritual life of God, in born again Christians. Those who are not born again do not have "zoe" life. Those who are not born again have "psuche" which is soul life. By the breath of the LORD God, man became a living soul (psuche, in the Greek) (1 Cor. 15:45).

In John 3:16, we see the fullness of the love of God, in that the love of God is willing to give Himself for others, including giving His own life of the flesh on the Cross, that others could be free of all the works of the enemy. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die for the whole world, that through Him, the world might be saved from eternal death in hell. No human being outside of Jesus, loved the world so much that He was willing to come in the flesh of man and die for the whole world. That is true "agape" love. God's love "agape" prefers others before Himself. That is true "agape" love.

Therefore, the image of God is love "agape." This is the image that true born again Christians should also walk in. When Christians are willing to lay their lives down for God and for their neighbors you will see the image of God in them also.

Mankind was also created in the likeness of God (Gen. 1:26,27). What is the likeness of God? The likeness of God is how God does things. God lives by faith, and that is the likeness of God. God does everything by faith in His Word. God speaks His Word and it comes to pass. That is the likeness of God that Christians should walk in.

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden they no longer walked in the image and likeness of God. Jesus came into this world to defeat sin and death, and restore mankind to the image and likeness of God. By the love of God in Christ Jesus, He defeated sin and death, and became the head of the Body of Christ, which is a new creation of mankind in the Spirit, not in the flesh as Adam was.

Christians must mature into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Word of God, which is the "Seed" of the our new birth (1 Peter 1:23).

A seed must reproduce after its own image and likeness. Jesus Christ is God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. God is love (1 John 4:8). The image of Jesus Christ is love. Therefore, because that God is love, Christians must also walk in love. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...This is the first and great commandment...And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself...On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

The likeness of Jesus Christ is that Jesus lived by faith in God. Therefore, Christians must mature into the likeness of Jesus and live by "faith in God." 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."

The Seed of the new birth is the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). Jesus is the Word of God which came in the flesh of man (John 1:1,2,14). Jesus is the Head of the Body of Christ (Col. 1:18). Therefore, all who are in Christ must mature and walk in love and live by faith.

Living by the Word of God



How do Christians live by the Word of God? The way to live by the Word of God is to be continually speaking and hearing the Word of God daily. It is the hearing of the Word of God and speaking the Word of God that brings eternal life, and continues to sustain our eternal life here on earth. We are born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we need the Word of God daily to maintain our daily lives.

God teaches us by His Spirit and His Word. When we understand the importance of the Word of God, we will understand how we must continue to live in the Spirit.

In Joshua 1:8, the LORD said to Joshua, "This book of the law shall not depart out (stop coming out) of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate (murmur, speak softly) therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

This is what Christians should be doing day and night. They should be speaking the Word of God out of their mouth daily. When we cannot be speaking the Word, we could be hearing the Word that has been spoken by someone. Therefore, we can be listening to the Word of God by other means.

Today, there are many different means of hearing the Word of God. There are recordings of the whole Bible, and New Testament only, that can be listened to on CD's, MP3's, DVD's, or mini-MP3 players, just to mention a few. These can be listened to with ear phones, or by other means. These can be playing day and night, wherever we are.

Speaking the Word of God from our own mouth is the most effective way. But, hearing the spoken Word also helps when we cannot be speaking it ourselves. Our instructions from the Word of God are that we are to be continually "speaking the Word of God out of our mouth."

We can also pray in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is also effective in speaking the Word. When we pray in the Spirit, it is our spirit that does the praying (1 Cor. 14:14). When we pray in the Spirit the Holy Spirit helps us pray according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26,27).

Therefore, the Word of God tells us to keep the Word of God coming out of our mouth day and night (Joshua 1:8). Thereby, the Word of God "...shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Joshua 1:8). Prosperous means "having all sufficiency in everything we need." Good success includes "being healthy, and living a long life here on earth." In 3 John 1:2, it says, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."

Our soul is "our mind, and intellect," which is one part of our three part human being that determines what we do and how we do what we do. Man was created as a living soul in a body of flesh and bones, with a spirit within man (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:45; Job 32:8; Zech. 12:1).

When a person becomes born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit they receive a new spiritual body in Christ Jesus. At that time, their soul is translated from the physical body of Adam into the spiritual body, which is in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 1:23; John 3:6; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:17; 2 Cor. 5:17).

Once we are truly born again, our mind, which is a part of our living soul must be renewed so that it is no longer conformed to this world, but transformed to live and believe the Word like God lives and believes. In Romans 12:1.2 it says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service...And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

These two things are our part (our responsibility). God already did His part by creating a new spirit within us and translating our living soul from the flesh of Adam into the Spirit of Christ. God made us a New Creature in Christ Jesus, so that He could help us renew our minds to live like God lives, in His image and likeness.

Now it is up to us, if we will get involved in the Word of God and be taught by the Holy Spirit to do the will of God in our lives. For those who have not received the Holy Spirit after they are born again, it will not be easy, until they are baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

Why is the baptism in the Holy Spirit so important in the lives of Christians? Simply, because God desires to teach His Children the ways of God by the anointing of the Holy Spirit within them. This is mentioned in 1 John 2:27, where 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."

For the Holy Spirit to teach us all things, we must be continually studying, reading, and speaking the Word of God day and night. The Holy Spirit uses the written Word of God to teach us all things. Without the written Word of God, it is not easy for the Holy Spirit to teach us those things which are needed to renew our mind, so that we are no longer conformed to this world.

The world lives by the knowledge of good and evil which came upon mankind in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of knowledge of good and evil brought sin and death upon all mankind. The knowledge of good and evil justifies some and condemns others.

That is the opposite of God. God is love, and love does not justify some and condemn others. Living by the knowledge of good and evil is called "sin." Death comes by sin. In Romans 5:12 it tells us, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

Romans 5:12 is speaking of Adam, who was the beginning of the human race. Even though Eve was the first to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam was right there with Eve when she did first eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:6). Adam was the head of mankind (the first man created by the LORD God). Adam was responsible for taking authority over the serpent, who was already serving the Devil. Adam and Eve did not do what they responsible for doing. They disobeyed the LORD God, sin and death came upon all of mankind through Adam.

Today, Christians are responsible to do what they are told to do in the Scriptures. If Christians do not do what they are told to do, sin and death will also have control in their lives. It is time that Christians learn to do what the Scriptures tell them to do. It is time for Christians to take responsibility for the things God tells us are our responsibilities.

God has already done His part, when He sent His Son Jesus Christ into this world as a man, born of a woman and the Holy Spirit to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8). Jesus did His part, and paid the price for our salvation from the works of the Devil. Now it is up to us to do our part and walk in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, the head of the body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:49, it says, "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Adam became the image of the earthly man. Jesus Christ is the image of the heavenly Man, born of the Holy Spirit and a virgin woman.

How can Christians bear the image of Jesus Christ? We must walk in His image and likeness, by destroying the works of the Devil in our lives and the lives of others. We start by doing what it says in Romans 12:1,2, plus do whatsoever else we are told in the Scriptures.

As long as we are conformed to this world, we will be walking after the flesh and not after the Spirit. As long as we are conformed to this world we will be living according to the knowledge of good and evil, which is what brought sin and death into mankind in the beginning.

What would we gain if we gained the whole world and lost our soul in hell? Is there anything more important to us than living for God and entering into eternity when we leave this earth? What would a man trade for his soul, "...the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things..." (Mark 4:19). If Satan can steal the Word of God out of our heart, what will we gain in this world? If we gain the whole world and lose our soul in hell, where will we spend eternity? We are all going to leave this earth someday. When we leave this earth for the last time, where will we go?

Christians are born again of the Word of God. Christians are to live by the Word of God. If we let the Devil steal the Word of God out of our heart, where will we be?

To live by the Word of God, we must continue to renew our minds on the written Word of God daily. We should keep the Word of God coming out of our mouth day and night, that we will prosper and have good success (Joshua 1:8).

How the Devil Steals the Word



Jesus explained the parable of "the Seed and the Sower" in Mark 4:14-20. In the parable Jesus mentioned that once the Word of God is sown in the hearts of people, Satan comes immediately to steal the Word out of their heart. If Christians do not continue to receive the Word and live by the Word, Satan will steal the Word out of their heart.

In Joshua 1:8 we are told to keep speaking the Word out of our mouth day and night. By doing what it says, "...thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." God is for us, not against us (Rom. 8:31).

In Joshua 1:8, God is telling us how to live and not die. God is telling us how to defeat the Devil when he comes to steal the Word of God out of our heart. In 1 Peter 1:23 it says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." This is talking about born again Christians. They are born again by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

Now that we have been born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, we must continue to live by the Word of God and the help of the Holy Spirit. Those who are not born again in this world live by the elements of this world, including food and water to keep their bodies alive. For Christians, we must learn to live by the Word of God and the help of the Holy Spirit.

Satan knows that Christians are to live by the Word of God and the help of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Satan comes to steal the Word of God out of our heart, that we cannot live by the Word of God. If Satan can keep us from living by the Word of God, he can control our lives here on earth, and even get us to come against God, by the things we do and say. If we come against God, God cannot help us. That is Satan's goal to get us to come against God in the things we speak out of our mouth. It is our words that Satan uses to defeat us. Satan knows what is written, and also what Jesus said in Matthew 12:36,37, where it says, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment...For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

Satan tries to get us to condemn ourselves by the Words we speak out of our mouth. When Christians say, "I cannot read the Word of God out loud," they are disagreeing with the Word of God and letting the Devil steal the Word of God out of their heart. The Scripture says in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." It does not say we must do all things according to our ability. It says, we can do all things "...through Christ which strengtheneth me." That means that if we will purpose in our heart to do something that God tells us to do, God will give us the strength to do it.

God is for us, not against us. God is in us, to strengthen us in whatsoever God tells us to do. It is not by our strength or might, but by His Spirit that dwells in us (Zech. 4:6). Jesus told us in John 14:18, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." In this, Jesus was speaking of coming back from the dead and living in our New Created Spirit. Then after Jesus came back from the dead He said in Matthew 28:20, "...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Jesus will never leave us, He will be with us until the end of the world.

In John 14:15,16, Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments...And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." Therefore, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will be with us until the end of the world. The Holy Spirit is in our spirit, waiting to help, guide, comfort, lead, and teach us.

God is for us, not against us. God will do whatsoever He can to help us do whatsoever He tells us to do in His Word. God will give us the ability to do whatsoever the Word of God says that we should do.

Most Christians are trying to do the will of God by their own power and their own ability, by walking in the flesh. It will not work for us if we continue to walk in the flesh.

What the flesh cannot do, God will do for us if we will walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh (Rom. 8:1-7). God will give us the power to overcome the works of the flesh, if we will walk after the Spirit.

The Devil knows that. Therefore, the Devil will do all he can to stop us from walking in the Spirit. First the Devil will try all he can to steal the Word of God out of our heart, that we cannot use the Word of God to stop him from working in our lives.

The Devil works from our mind, putting thoughts in our minds to keep us from doing what the Word of God tells us to do. In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 it says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh...(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)...Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

When the thought comes to our mind that we cannot do something the Scriptures tell us to do, the first thing we must do is "cast that thought down, and completely destroy that thought." That thought came from the Devil, and it must be destroyed.

Those of this world live by the thoughts that come to their minds. These thoughts come from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which Adam and Eve ate from in the beginning. The world is still living by the knowledge of good and evil.

Christians are to live by the Word of God, not by the knowledge of good and evil. Jesus said to the Devil in Matthew 4:4, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." In this Jesus is saying that the world lives by natural food, but Christians who are born again of the Word of God are to live by the Word of God.

How will Christians be able to live by the Word of God if they let Satan steal the Word out of their heart? God put His Word in our heart when we were born again of the Word and the Spirit. Now we must continue to put the Word of God in our heart by speaking the Word out of our mouth day and night.

If the Devil can stop us from speaking the Word of God out of our mouth, he can defeat us in our lives. It is the power of the spoken Word of God that will defeat the Devil.

Jesus defeated the Devil in Matthew 4:4 when He said, "It is written..." and then Jesus quoted what was written in Deuteronomy 8:3. That is how Christians need to defeat the Devil every time the Devil puts thoughts in their minds that do not agree with what is written.

To do this, Christians must have the Word of God hidden in their heart. In Luke 6:45, Jesus said, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."

We must have the Word of God in our heart in order to speak it out of our mouth to defeat the Devil. If Christians let the Devil steal the Word of God out of their heart, they will not be able to defeat the Devil when they are under attack by the thoughts the Devil puts in their mind.

The battle is in our mind. It is in our mind that thoughts come from the Devil that do not agree with the written Word of God. In Amos 3:3 it says, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Can Christians walk with God if they do not agree with the written Word of God?

How to Over Come



We overcome the Devil by the help of the Holy Spirit, and the words we speak out of our mouth. They Holy Spirit is our helper, guide, comforter, leader and teacher. When we receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit we receive the power to become witnesses of Jesus here on earth. Jesus said in Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

A witness of Jesus is a person who walks in love toward God and their neighbor. Jesus gave us two commandments. In Matthew 22:37-40 it says, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...This is the first and great commandment...And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself...On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

If we obey these two commandments we will not do anything that is not pleasing to God or our neighbor. When we walk in love, the power of God is in us to do the same works that Jesus did (John 14:12).

When we walk after the Holy Spirit and not after the flesh, the Holy Spirit will give us the power to do whatsoever the Word of God tells us to do. We cannot do everything the Word of God tells us to do by our own ability. God knows that the only way we can do His will is by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us.

If we miss the mark and sin, the Holy Spirit within us will let us know, and will also help us to repent and confess our sins, so that God will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:5-9). With our sins cleansed by the Blood of Jesus, we can do the will of God. We can do everything we are told to do in the written Word of God, by the Holy Spirit working in us and through us.

In Philippians 2:13 it says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Every time Christians try to do the will of God by their own power, they will fail. Of ourselves, we do not have the power to do the will of God.

But we do have the power to receive the help of the Holy Spirit, and overcome the works of the Devil by the Words we speak out of our mouth day and night. When we continually put the Word of God in our heart by speaking the Word day and night, the Holy Spirit will continue to work from within us to overcome all the works of the Devil.

When we speak the Word of God only, we will have the greatest faith that man can have (Matt. 8:8-10). Speaking the Word of God in love, will cause the anointing of the Holy Spirit to manifest in our lives.

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