Sunday, January 4, 2015

Title Deed Faith

Title Deed Faith 
by 
EP Lockley Sr.

Embracing New Faith


In the book of Hebrews, the apostle Paul mentions the impossibility of pleasing God without faith.  If God requires mankind to have faith, then certainly he must provide this faith.  It would be unfair to hold man responsible for not getting faith if he was not given the resources to take it.  As a parent, I would not hold any of my children responsible to a standard if I did not initially provide them with proper instruction and tools to get the job done.  Only after I have given them the necessary tools for the job would I start holding them accountable.  The same holds true with God who has provided every man with what he needs to be connected to Him and be successful in the earth.
I assume that most Christians are struggling with the faith thing.  After all, some believers do not really understand how they were saved.  The truth is, I struggled with this area myself until I realized some essential pointers that I would like to share with you.
Can you remember when you were new to Christianity and all you knew is that you wanted that feeling that the others were receiving when they accepted Christ?  Well maybe not, but that feeling is what can be misleading to future faith.  You see faith is not based on a feeling.  I will explain it later, but for right now let us look at the scriptures for some answers about new faith.
We get faith by first hearing the word of God preached to us.  So hearing is a vital aspect of faith.  Let us take a closer look at Romans 10 to see what the apostle Paul is sharing with the Romans. Paul is earnestly seeking for Israel to receive salvation and he carefully breaks down why and how.  He mentions how those in Moses’ day obeyed the law unto righteousness but there was something new in the atmosphere that needed their attention.  Jesus Christ had fulfilled the law perfectly and therefore ended it.  This was the good news that the Jews needed to hear.  The Word was now presented to those that needed to get faith.   Paul’s concern for Israel was addressed by preaching the Word of God to them.
The apostle informs the Jews of the process of receiving Christ into their hearts.  They had to not only say they believed his teaching about salvation with a nodding of the head but they had to declare openly that they would concede the old Mosaic teachings and accept Jesus’ work on the cross as the total way to righteousness and God.  Only after denial of the old ways and acceptance of Christ’s resurrection as sufficiency of righteousness would they be saved.
The apostle Paul helps us today see a vital principle in place concerning faith.  There are three steps in the faith process that we must take a closer look at.  A person receives faith for salvation by confessing the word that they heard, believing in the spirit it is so, and accepting it by acting on it.
NOTE:  Confess, Believe, and Accept
While it is true that all believers have experience this process for salvation.  Not all believers work on their faith after salvation. While salvation is deliverance from the molestation of our enemies, In the 2000’s Christians are still defeated in many areas of their lives.  It is important that more Christians read faith-based materials to attack the enemies of faith.  Lack of knowledge is a major enemy of faith.
Romans 10:11,17 mentions that whosoever or any one that hears the Word of God has to power to get faith.  Hearing the Word is essential to any vital growth in your faith walk.  Acknowledging that hearing is vital to faith building is your first step to increasing your faith potential.
I know many people out there think that they are by nature good people and certainly, they are going to heaven because God would not destroy good people.  In fact they have made it so far without faith building.  And rightly so they have been fortunate to be successful in the earth without faith, but not knowing God is true to the fact that they have good fortune because Satan gives blessings too.  He will keep any lost soul blessed in the earth to keep them away from God.  But God cares for those lost souls, in fact, Acts 10-11 gives us an example of the loving Father at work.
Cornelius was a good man who followed the ways of God and Mosaic teachings.  However, Cornelius was visited  by and angel who told him to send for Peter so that Peter could tell him words to be saved.  Cornelius had to hear the Word to get the faith to be saved.  Without those words, Cornelius would have been just another lost Jew.
The Word that Peter brought to Cornelius was the spoken word of God or (rhema).  In Romans 10, the word is translated as rhema or spoken word.

APPLICATION:
You can boost your faith walk with God by focusing on the (CBA) confessing, believing and accepting principles.  It is important as a chosen vessel in the kingdom of Heaven that you fill yourself with faith filled words that will produce success in your everyday life.  You do this by putting God’s word in your spirit/heart, believing it or having a firm conviction that it is true and accepting it by acting on it.   In the words of Apostle Paul, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:11).  In other words, having a firm conviction that God’s word will not fail, results in the manifestation of what you believe God toward (healing, deliverance, preservation, safety, and prosperity).



Faith that Restores
Now that we dug into the principles of producing faith, let us examine one aspect of salvation that many Christians do not explore, healing.  
Jesus’ ministry was filled with many acts of restoring mankind to God’s intended will from creation.  Numerous stories and parables depict Jesus healing and raising people from the dead.  I once read that Jesus did not heal everyone but He healed all that was in His path.  Some had the faith to be healed, others, He rebuked demons and made them whole, while yet those interceding for another to be healed was successful.  Healing is a major part of the salvation process whether we accept it or not.
In America, many Christians are suffering from chronic illnesses mostly because of abuse to their bodies.  While there are some genetic issues surrounding illness in the church, abuse of the body is a main concern.  After a short illness and exercising my faith, God showed me an important principle.  I had to exercise my body and eat the right foods He designed for it.  We are too busy as earth citizens to focus on eating healthy.  We abuse our bodies and expect a miracle from God.  Well, God wants us to be on the preventive side.  God made of stewards in the earth realm and we must recognize that our bodies are also apart of the management system.  Eat poor and live shorter than the 120 years God promised the righteous, eat correctly and live the years as promised.  God says he will not go back on his word.
Jesus healed many impotent folk during His ministry.  He turned the ministry over to the apostles who repeated what they were taught in from the Lord.  In Acts 14, the Apostle Paul and company were preaching at Lystra where there as a man who had been disabled since birth in the crowd.  As the impotent man sat there listening to the Word of God preached, he gathered the faith he needed to be healed.  The Scripture reveals that this man fixed his position on what was being said.  He blocked out all opposition as he gazed at the apostle preaching the word.  Paul continued preaching the word as he discerned or noticed that this man qualified himself to be the recipient of God’s grace through the gospel message.  Paul acted on this faith and commanded the man to rise up and stand on his feet.  As all eyes were gazed in amazement as what was taking place, this man suddenly without thought obeyed Paul.
The important steps to consider are that this man had no knowledge of Jesus’ ministry but heard the word preached through Paul.  He not only heard this gospel but also received it into his heart.  Because of believing what Paul professed, he acted in response because of the faith he now possessed.  The consequences were that he “leaped and walked”.
This gospel Paul preached had to include more than just getting to heaven in Jesus’ name.  Otherwise, this man would have not responded with leaping and walking, but rather seeking salvation only.  God used the apostle to bring the good news to this man.  As mentioned in the previous chapter, salvation includes healing, deliverance, preservation, safety, and prosperity.  Physical restoration is God’s will for us.
In Acts 8, Phillip reaped a great harvest of Samaritan souls after he preached the gospel message to them. Before Phillip, there had only been one ministry through the Samaritan region and that was Jesus.  He had spent time there after ministering to the Samaritan woman.  Among those that brought salvation reports to Philip were healing and depossession from evil spirits, a complete act of salvation that today is overlooked.  We can not neglect healing in the church ministry is a part of the salvanistic work of the kingdom of Heaven.
APPLICATION:
The same way we got faith to be saved, is the same process to be healed.  However, we must also understand that healing comes through both natural and supernatural means.  After Jesus raised the little girl, he instructed her folks to give her nourishment.  God does his part, but we are to be good managers of our bodies and eat the right foods, presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service.  How can we work for God if we are sick and struggling with and ailment.
When the doctors gave me up, increase the medication and told me they did all they could I prayed this prayer to God:  Father, I thank you for life and life more abundantly, I repent for neglecting my body in my youth.  I will start today learning what foods to eat and exercising appropriately.  I will work hard on my part to bring my body back to where you created it to be.  I command all my organs to work as you created them to work.  I command my blood to be pure with the blood of Jesus.  I call my brain, heart, lungs, circulatory, respiratory systems to operate 100%.  Now God I expect you to do whatever I can not do.  If I do my part, I trust you to do your part and I will refuse to worry or second-guess your divine timing.  Thank you for your intervention in my mess-ups, in Jesus’ name I praise you, amen.
Now go after your healing or motivate your love one to get theirs.  Do your part and trust God to do the rest.  We serve a God that intervenes for us only when it is impossible for man.  That’s why Jesus died so that we could be back in covenant with the Father again.  A covenant means that each partner will operate in the other partner’s area of weakness.  In God’s place, he has no weakness but to work through us in the earth.  How can he work through us if we are too feeble to do what He asks… BE RESTORED!


Characteristics of Faith


1 Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. 
NCV 

1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 
NIV 

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 
NKJV 

1 What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. 
NLT 

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 
NRSV 

1 Now faith is the title deed of things hoped for, the proof of things which are not being seen.

Let us consider faith as a title deed to begin discussion of it characteristics.  A title is a legitimate or supposed right to demand something as one's rightful due; a claim.  A deed is to change the ownership of property by means of a legal document; a transfer.  Having faith means that you have the legal right to transfer what is yours from the spiritual side to the physical side.
Many people are sidetracked in their faith because they do not understand that there is a spiritual side to everything material or natural.  For example, you are a spirit have a natural experience, we find out how true this is when someone departs their body at death.  A propeller on an aircraft can be seen when it is not in motion, but once the engine cranks and begins to roar you can hear the noise but the sight of it disappears.  However if you tried to walk into what you could not see, the spinning propeller would give you indications that it still exist.  Well faith would tell you that even though you can’t see the propeller it is still there and not to go in that direction because it could harm you.  
One thing I learned early in my life is that there are natural and supernatural laws in the earth.  Every man possesses the natural side.  Only Christians have the supernatural side of the equations.  Jesus connects us to the super side of the natural.  This connection is made through the word of God.  It is God coming into man to do only what God can do through the human race.  We are His contact point in the earth.  God wants to do the impossible through us if we allow Him too.  Remember, when things seem impossible for you to do something, it’s a job for Super (God).  He operates in the impossible.  Do you have an impossible situation in your life?  Allow God to move on your behalf (He will not let you down).
Lack of finances and sickness is a major obstacle in the body of Christ.  We have to learn how to put God in the impossible situations and let Him work it all out for us.  Although, there have been times in my life and ministry when I did not see how I would pull through a situation, God provided for me.  I learned to allow the Super to intercede on my behalf, after all we are in covenant together.  Faith is your legal claim on what is yours.
Hope is a characteristic that can strengthen faith. In Scripture, hope is referenced as favorable future state under God’s province.  The apostle Paul uses hope in his writings to motivate his readers to remain steadfast in the faith.  In both 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:19; 4:13; 5:8, 1 Corinthians 13:13, Galatians 5:5-6 hope is used in connection with love and faith.  Hope stems from faith and includes the seal that what God began in Christ is transformed through the hearts of men and will conclude on the last day (2 Cor 5:5).  The apostle Paul wanted his readers to understand that hope is the bridge that gaps the already of salvation to the not yet of the eternal state.  Mankind already has salvation but he is not yet living in his glorified body like Jesus Christ.  Hope assures the believer that one day soon he will be like Christ in his completeness, however one must remain faithful (Rom 11:22; 1 Cor 15:2) to the process that was initiated at baptism and one day culminated in their own resurrection.

 © 2015 EP Lockley Sr.
(copyright exclude graphics which are the property of original owners)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Knitting the body of Christ


From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Eph 4:16

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; Col. 2:2, 

And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Col. 2:19

Symbibazo is the greek work for compacted in Eph 4:16. It means to cause to come together; to unite, knit together, cf Col. 2:2, 19

At first thought about the illustration of the body of Christ, a picture of a human body appears. Starting with a neck, upper body, mid section, left and right arm with legs, each symbolically registers as the appropriate animation for the body of Christ. The idea to list sections of the human body appears more useful even though a body is what is visualized. 
In Ephesians 4 and Colossians 2, the typology of the human body is used to paint a picture of Christian’s relationship towards each other and toward the Godhead.
Christians or members have individuality and uniqueness in the church but are universally connected. This connection is manifested through a central belief that each one professes. As Christians, faith in Jesus Christ and the Godhead places each in new family of love. Through faith and love, each believer becomes connected to the Godhead. In response, God gives grace (unmerited divine assistance) and Jesus gives gifts (spiritual gifts) to each believer and places them in the church. The church is called the body of Christ. Christ is the head of this body. All believers are a part of Christ’s body. It is in this body that believers and their uniqueness are to function. Like moving parts of the body have joints and move according to the command of the head (brain), it is the coming together of the unique members that form the body of Christ. Those members united in love form joints in which Christ then nourishes and supplies for growth into a holy temple unto God.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sunday School Lesson for September 29, 2013 God Scatters the Nations (Genesis 11:1-9)



Lesson for September 29, 2013: 
God Scatters the Nations
(Genesis 11:1-9)
By Sam E. Stone

After Noah and his family came out of the ark, they sought to follow God’s directions (Genesis 8, 9). Chapter 10 is sometimes called “The Table of Nations,” listing where the families of Noah’s sons settled after the flood. The chapter concludes, “These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations” (10:32).

The Setting

Genesis 11:1, 2
Noah’s descendants were evidently nomadic people. They moved south and east to the land of Shinar. At some point, they determined to build a city in the region around the area later known as Babylon. Some students believe that Shinar is near where the Garden of Eden was located, since the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers both ran through that region.

E. F. Kevan suggests that when Genesis states the world had one language and a common speech, it means that everyone spoke in the same way both as to pronunciation and vocabulary. Basil Atkinson agrees, pointing out that the Hebrew word translated language means literally lip and that speech means literally words. “Perhaps the former refers to phonetics, the actual sounds and their pronunciation, and the latter to vocabulary.” Various dialects and speech patterns had not kept the people from understanding one another up until this point.


The Scheme

Genesis 11:3, 4
The people determined to build a large tower, one that reaches to the heavens. The original purpose of the structure may have been for defensive security and political domination. The tower may have also had a religious and astrological significance. Some Bible teachers feel that this was a kind of temple tower, common later in the cities of Mesopotamia and known as a zigurrat. Such buildings were used for pagan worship.

James E. Smith explains, “The motives of the tower builders are not entirely clear. . . . They hoped that the tower would provide protection from another Flood or from enemies who might attempt to scatter them. So the tower pointed to man’s attempt to glorify and fortify himself.” C. F. Keil suggests, “The real motive therefore was the desire for renown, and the object was to establish a noted central point, which might serve to maintain their unity.”



The Sovereign God

Genesis 11:5-9
The people were not “putting one over” on God by their plans. The Lord had carefully observed all that they were doing. He knew their hearts as well. If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. The power of sin will continue to grow. Sin rules in a corrupt heart. Wrong desires lead to wrong action (James 1:15). No wonder Proverbs 4:23 teaches, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life” (NIV 1984). In the case of the tower of Babel, “God moved to deprive them of the ability to comprehend one another, and thus effected their dispersion” (Keil).

E. F. Kevan points out the significance of Babel (Babylon) in Scripture. “Right through to the book of Revelation, Babylon represents the idea of materialistic and humanistic federation in opposition to God.” He adds, “The proud builders of the city had called it Babel (the gate or court of God), but God, taking up their word and derisively giving it another meaning from a similar sounding root, also called it Babel (confusion).”

God said, “Let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” The “us” is most likely a reference to the Trinity. By confusing their language, the Lord caused the people to leave their construction project and scatter across the face of the earth. This brought the building of the tower to an abrupt halt. The place was called Babel, “confusion,” to commemorate this judicial act of God.

Significantly when the church began in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost many years later, people were there from every nation (Acts 2:5), and all of them could hear the message of salvation in their own language. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, the confusion of Babel was replaced by a single divinely-directed message preached by the apostles (Acts 2:1-11).

________

*Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2009, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS
September 23: Job 38:1-7
September 24: Job 38:12-18
September 25: Job 38:28-38
September 26: Job 40:6-14
September 27: 2 Chronicles 34:14-21
September 28: 2 Chronicles 34:22-28
September 29: Genesis 11:1-9