Prayer Power

Luke 11:1  “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

When you consider that Jesus was the greatest miracle worker who ever walked the earth and the greatest preacher who ever lived, it is amazing that His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. Why didn’t they ask Him to teach them how to work these miracles or how to preach and amaze the people with their doctrine?

It’s because Jesus’ prayer life was even more powerful than His miracles or His doctrine. Indeed, it was His union with the Father that gave Him His power to work miracles and His authority to speak as no man had ever spoken before. Jesus said repeatedly that it was His Father who was doing the miracles through Him and that His doctrine was not His own but the Father’s.

The same holds true today. Jesus said in John 15:5 that without Him, we can do nothing. There are many things that we should do in addition to prayer, but there is nothing that we can effectively do without prayer. Prayer is one of the main ways of abiding in Him…John 15:7. Therefore, our request should be like these disciples’ — “Lord, teach us to pray.”

We should come expecting to receive answers to prayer. The Father is ready and willing to answer our prayers. Just ask and you shall receive.

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Jesus, The Wisdom Of God

Luke 11:49 “Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute.”

This phrase “Therefore also said the wisdom of God,” is a part of Luke’s narrative and not the words of Jesus. Luke is saying that Jesus is the wisdom of God, a truth well-established in scripture.

There is no way to access the wisdom of God except through Jesus. Until a person receives Christ, he is missing the only source of true wisdom. Men and women are incapable of receiving the wisdom of God, but those who submit themselves to God have access to the wisdom of God on their own, through the Holy Spirit. We must be dependent upon the Holy Spirit to receive the wisdom of God in our lives.

A Christian who has not received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit can have some revelation knowledge, but it will be limited. One of the greatest evidences that an individual has received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the tremendous amount of God’s wisdom that becomes available to him.

The truths of the Gospel, and the power of God that these truths release, can only be imparted through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Human wisdom, regardless of how eloquent it is, cannot convey the life of God. Much of the preaching of the Gospel today is done in man’s wisdom. It’s impressive to the carnal mind, but it leaves the spirit starving for the touch of God. The greatest need among ministers today is not to have more of the world’s education, but to receive the revelation knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Only words spoken by the Spirit of God can reach the spirit of man. Spiritual thoughts have to be spoken with spiritual words… 1 Corinthians 2:13.

Holiness Is A Fruit

Luke 11:42 “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

When Jesus said, “and not to leave the other undone,” it is clear that He is not arguing against doing what is right. God’s Word stresses holiness in our actions. The Pharisees’ error that caused Jesus’ rebuke was that they believed their actions could produce a right relationship with God. But a proper relationship with God can only come by humbling ourselves and putting faith in a Savior, who is Jesus. God cleanses our hearts by grace through faith… Ephesians 2:8, and then we have our fruit unto holiness … Romans 6:22. Holiness is a fruit, not a root, of salvation.

In a similar instance found in Matthew 23:26, Jesus told the Pharisees, “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” True Christianity comes from the inside out. A good heart will change a man’s actions, but a man’s actions cannot change his heart.

One of religion’s favorite doctrines is that if you will just act right, you will be right. Nothing could be further from the truth. You must be born again. And if you are born again, then holiness is a by-product and not the way to a relationship with God.

This is the heart of the Gospel. Every major religion of the world has a moral standard it enforces, but only Christianity offers salvation through a Savior. Presenting holiness in any way other than as a result of salvation is denying Jesus as our Savior and places the burden of salvation on us. Improper emphasis on achieving holiness or salvation through one’s own actions can damn that person. We must trust Jesus completely.

All The Wrong Reasons

Luke 15:28 “And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him.”

If this elder son had considered his brother, he would have rejoiced at his return even as his father did. Rather, he was totally self-centered (that’s pride) and became angry. This illustrates Proverbs 13:10; “Only by pride cometh contention:”.

How can we esteem others better than ourselves when in truth we really think we are better than others? Some people are better athletes than others. Some are better businessmen than others. Some are better speakers than others, and so forth. First, we need to recognize that our accomplishments don’t make us better than others. There is a difference between what we do and who we are.

Better performance does not make a better person. A person’s character can be severely wanting even though his performance is good. A classic example of this is found in the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. They did the right things for all the wrong reasons. Inside they were corrupt. So our evaluation of others needs to change. God judges by looking on the inside, not the outside…1 Samuel 16:7. We need to esteem others on a different basis than what most of us do.

Secondly, to esteem someone better than ourselves simply means to value them more than we value ourselves. To some that may seem impossible, but it isn’t.

It is exactly what Jesus did. If Jesus, who was God in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), could humble Himself and value our good above His own welfare, then we should certainly be able to do the same. It can happen when we die to self and live to God.

The Right Righteousness

Luke 16:15 “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.”

Justification is not something to be earned, but a gift to be received. Seeking to earn salvation is the only sin that will prevent a person from being saved, because you cannot submit yourself to the righteousness of God which comes as a gift through faith as long as you are seeking to establish your own righteousness.

Most people are unaware that there are two kinds of righteousness. Only one type of righteousness is acceptable to God. There is our righteousness, which is our compliance with the requirements of the law. This is an imperfect righteousness because human nature is imperfect and incapable of fulfilling the law. And there is God’s righteousness, which only comes as a gift and is received by faith. God’s righteousness is perfect. Our righteousness is as filthy rags…Isaiah 64:6. A person who believes that he must earn God’s acceptance by his holy actions is not believing in God’s righteousness, which is a gift. It has to be one or the other; we cannot mix the two.

Righteousness is not what Jesus has done for us plus some minimum standard of holiness that we have to accomplish.

Right standing before a holy God is not to be achieved in the keeping of the law, but in humble trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ. No one who is trusting in his own righteousness can have the benefit of Christ’s righteousness. The righteousness that gives men relationship with God is the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, and it comes freely through faith in Jesus Christ… Romans 3:22. It is true that the way we obtained this righteousness is by putting faith IN what Christ has done for us. But when we place our faith in Christ, then the righteousness that Jesus obtained by His faith becomes ours. We are possessors of Christ’s righteousness, which His faith produced.

God Likes Us

Matthew 18:14 “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

One of the greatest truths of the Bible and also one of the hardest to comprehend, is that we are the objects of God’s love. God didn’t just pity us or feel some sense of moral obligation to save us. He saved us because of His infinite love for us… John 3:16.

God loves people. He even loves those who have gone astray. As Jesus said in a similar parable (Luke 15:7), “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

Once we experience the life-changing power of Christ, there is a tendency to become harsh and impatient with others who continue to live their lives without Him. We sometimes forget that it was the love and goodness of God that brought us to repentance… Romans 2:4, and we become condemning and judgmental toward the lost. This is not the attitude that Jesus had, nor the attitude He wants us to have.

“Even when we were spiritually dead because of our sins, God’s forbearance was working on our behalf. He was tolerant, patient and kind towards us. God abounded in excessive proportion with good will, compassion, and desire to help us. His disposition was kind, compassionate, and forgiving in His treatment of us. He wanted in abundant supply to alleviate our distress and bring relief from our sins. He did this by giving us life in place of death.

It was with Christ that this salvation was secured. By grace, kindness, and favor we are saved. All of this was the result of God’s extremely large degree of love wherewith He loved us, always seeking the welfare and betterment of us. God likes us! Ephesians 2:4-5 God loves YOU!

Angelic Protection

Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

We have angels assigned to us. Hebrews 1:14 further reveals that their purpose is to minister to us (i.e. on our behalf). In the Old Testament, Psalm 91 teaches on the ministry of angels to God’s people.

Some have realized this truth and have taken it even further to say that we are supposed to speak to our angels and they will obey our commands. There is no instruction in scripture to do this nor is there any example of it being done. Many of the angels’ protective duties described in Psalm 91 are preventative, and we certainly could not effectively command these activities.

Rather, these angels are dispatched exactly as this verse describes – by looking at the Father’s face. God Almighty controls them for us; however, we do have a part to play. In Psalm 91 it is those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, that are able to benefit from angelic activity (v. 1). Verse 2 further instructs us to say that the Lord is our refuge and fortress and that we are trusting in Him.

It is the combination of our faith in God and His faithfulness to us that releases the angels on our behalf. If it was solely up to God, His provision would be the same for everyone because of His mercy and grace. However, we have to receive God’s grace by faith… Ephesians 2:8. As you seek the Lord, become aware of His ministering spirits which were created to minister for us, and speak forth your faith in this area, He will send forth His angels on your behalf.