The Word Produces Fruit

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The Word Produces Fruit

Matthew 21:14 “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.”

When we, who are the temple of the Lord, are occupied with the cares of this life, the needs of others are not met. However, when we are cleansed, John 15:3, then the Lord can accomplish His ministry through us.

Jesus tells us not to worry or be anxious about our material needs being met. It would be impossible to never think about our physical needs, even Jesus thought about His need for money to pay taxes. We are simply not to be occupied with thinking about riches or spend time worrying about our necessities. They will be added unto us as we seek first the kingdom of God.

Prosperity can be damaging to the Body of Christ. God wants to bless His children with things, but a preoccupation with these things will choke God’s Word and make it unfruitful. If we follow God’s formula for prosperity found in Matthew 6:19-34, then the Word will bring forth fruit and we will enjoy the physical blessings of this life too.

There are people who have received God’s Word, committed themselves to it to the degree that they are able to remain faithful in persecution, but because of being occupied with the affairs of this life, the Word sown in their heart is choked and no fruit is produced. Just as weeds in a garden will steal the nutrients and starve the plant, so the pleasures of this life, if we allow them to dominate our thinking, will stop the fruit of the Word from producing.

It takes time, effort, and diligence to be a fruitful Christian. It’s quicker and easier to raise weeds than it is to raise tomatoes or corn. Let God’s Word produce fruit in you.

Believe That You Have Received

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Believe That You Have Received

Matthew 21:19 “And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.”

The Greek word for presently means “instantly; immediately; soon.” However, the disciples didn’t realize that the fig tree had died until the next day. If the tree died instantly, why didn’t they notice it until the next morning? The answer to this question is found in Mark 11:20. The tree was dead from the roots up. The tree did die instantly just as the Word declared, but what had happened to the roots wasn’t visible until the next morning.

There is a spiritual lesson here that applies to us receiving things from God. When we ask, we do receive, but it may take a period of time before we perceive it in the natural realm. God’s answer comes before we see the manifestation of what we have believed the Lord for when we prayed. Just as with this fig tree, the answer lies beneath the surface, and therefore we don’t “see” what God is doing until the answer manifests.

Not all answers to prayer are manifested instantly. Satan can hinder God’s power even after it has been released. In Daniel 10:1-13, God answered Daniel’s prayer instantly, yet it took 21 days for Daniel to see God’s answer manifest, because the prince of Persia (a demonic power) withheld the manifestation.

Prayer that meets the requirements outlined in God’s Word is always answered.

Many times we don’t perceive the answer because it always comes in the spiritual realm first then is manifested in the physical realm. If we waver from our confident faith, then we abort the manifestation of our answer to prayer. But God did answer. Everyone that asks receives.

Choose To Believe

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Choose To Believe

John 12:39-40 “Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

This could be interpreted as the ultimate teaching in predestination. That interpretation would be that these people were never given the opportunity to believe because of Isaiah’s prophecies. However, the Word of God makes it clear that “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”, Romans 10:13; “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me”, Revelation 3:20; and “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”, Revelation 22:17. No one has ever been denied the opportunity to accept salvation, Titus 2:11.

Mark 6:5 says that “he (Jesus) could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.” In that instance, it is evident that the reason Jesus couldn’t do any mighty work was not because He didn’t possess the power, but because He chose not to use that power against a person’s will. He couldn’t perform the mighty works because of His decision to uphold our freedom of choice.

Likewise, these Jews could not believe because of their choice to reject Jesus. They could not believe because they chose not to believe. “They stumbled at the stumblingstone”, Romans 9:32, which was Jesus.

Isaiah did not predestine them to this fate. Rather he saw that very few would receive the report, Isaiah 53:1) about the Messiah, and therefore would be kept from the knowledge of salvation because they rejected Him in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found, Colossians 2:3. This is what Isaiah prophesied, and it came to pass. Be careful what you choose.

The Power To Live A Holy Life

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The Power To Live A Holy Life

John 12:31 “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”

The only reason Satan ever had any right to become a prince or rule over us was because we yielded ourselves to him through sin, Romans 6:16. Since Jesus “bore our sins in His own body on the tree”, 1 Peter 2:24. Satan no longer has power or authority over those who accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. Satan has been “cast out” — stripped of any power he had. Now he can only deceive, and if we fall for his lies, we stop God’s blessings from flowing in our lives.

The reason why a believer must live a holy life, is to avoid Satan’s bondage. When we obey sin, we yield ourselves to Satan, the author of that sin.Yielding to sin is yielding to a person, Satan. God doesn’t impute the sin to us but the devil does. Our actions either release the power of Satan or the power of God in us.

Although God is not imputing our sins unto us, we cannot afford the luxury of sin because it allows Satan to have access to us. When a Christian does sin and gives the devil an opportunity to produce death in his life, the way to stop him is to confess the sin. God is faithful and just to take the forgiveness that is already present in our born-again spirit and release it in our flesh, thereby removing Satan and his strongholds.

A person who abandons himself to sin is actually becoming a slave to the devil while a person who obeys righteousness is yielding himself to the Lord. This is why a Christian should live a holy life.

Walk In The Light

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Walk In The Light

John 11:9 “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.”

Jesus compares His decision to return to Judaea to a man traveling during the day. Daytime travel doesn’t guarantee a hazard-free trip but the light does allow us to see the hazards. At nighttime, it’s inevitable that we will stumble. Likewise, walking in the light of God’s direction doesn’t mean that there won’t be problems, but the alternative of “doing our own thing” (that is walking in darkness) is guaranteed to get us into trouble.

Jesus was obeying the leading of His Father to return to Judaea. He could see exactly what was going to take place and He was going to walk in the light that His Father had given Him. Our decisions should not be based on whether or not we will be hurt in some way as a result of our actions, but we must discern God’s will and do it regardless of the cost.

The misconception that, “if God is in it, there will be no problems” is not only wrong, but is dangerous. This kind of thinking has caused many people to “back off” from what God has told them to do when things don’t go the way they expected. Our problems do not come from God, therefore, we should not pray for problems and not embrace them as being “a blessing from God in disguise.” Furthermore, when trials come, we should not be shocked, 1 Peter 4:12, and not let problems or the lack thereof confirm or deny God’s will for us.

Jesus died for each one of us. Each one of us ought to live for Him. Offering ourselves to God is not just a one-time deal. We have to die daily to our own desires. This has to be a living, ongoing commitment to the Lord.

The Measure Of Faith

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The Measure Of Faith

Luke 17:5 “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”

There are many scriptures that speak of varying degrees of faith. However, the scriptures also speak of Jesus increasing in wisdom, Luke 2:52, that certainly refers to His physical intellect drawing more and more on the perfect wisdom of God that was already in Him at birth. It is in this way that we also increase in faith.

At salvation, the believer is given the supernatural faith of God. We had to use the very faith of God (not human faith) to believe the gospel , Ephesians 2:8.

That faith came to us through hearing the Word of God, Romans 10:17, and once we are born again, it becomes an abiding fruit of the Spirit within us.

Every believer is given the same measure of faith at salvation but not all believers use what God has given them. Therefore, it is correct to speak of growing in faith and having great faith or little faith, but it is important to understand that this is speaking of how much faith we use or manifest – not how much faith we were given. All believers were given “the” same measure of faith.

Jesus’ example of the grain of mustard seed underscores the truth that our faith is sufficient if we will just use it without the hindrance of unbelief.

He then continues on into the parable of the servant serving his master to illustrate that our faith is not the problem but rather our use of it. We are using it to serve ourselves instead of our master who is God.

Living by faith is not something special that only the “super-saints” are supposed to do. The Lord expects all of His children to live a supernatural life of faith. He gave you everything you need to do this, just let Him live through you.

Our Debt Was Paid

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Our Debt Was Paid

Luke 16:17 “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”

The jot was not only one of the smallest letters of the Hebrew alphabet, but also one of the most insignificant, being sometimes deleted at the writer’s pleasure. The tittle was only a mark or a point on a line that helped distinguish one letter from another. The tittle corresponds to our period or apostrophe. The point that Jesus is making is that even the tiniest detail of the law would not pass away.

Christ fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law. The law was ordained to life, but no one could keep it. So, God Himself became flesh. He did what no sinful flesh had ever done. He kept the law thereby winning the life of God as the prize for keeping the law. This granted Him eternal life but before He could give it to us, we still had a debt that had to be paid. This is similar to someone receiving the death penalty for some hideous crime, then some billionaire leaves his whole estate to him. It would do the condemned man no good. But if that same billionaire could somehow take that man’s place and die for him, then he could go free and enjoy his new wealth. That’s what Jesus did for us. He took our sins and gave us His righteousness.

Jesus did much more than just obtain eternal life for us, He also paid all the wages of our sins, Romans 6:23. God literally placed the condemnation, or judgment, that was against us upon His own Son. Jesus’ perfect flesh was condemned so our defiled flesh could go free. What a trade! Since Jesus bore our sentence (condemnation), we don’t have to bear it. The debt has already been paid.

Freed From The Law

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Freed From The Law

Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”

The Bible teaches that there are different dispensations or divinely ordered ways of God dealing with mankind throughout the ages. A dispensation is simply a period of time in which God deals with mankind in a certain way.

The Old Testament law was only a temporary dispensation and ruled from the giving of the law, Exodus 20, until the ministry of John the Baptist. When Christ came, He put an end to the law for righteousness, Romans 10:4. Anyone who advocates the keeping of the law for the purpose of right standing with God is going back to an Old Testament system of law that has been abolished and is making the work of Christ void in his life.

The New Testament believer is under the dispensation of God’s grace. We are not under the law. That doesn’t mean the law has passed away. It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the law to fail. The law hasn’t failed. It has been fulfilled, Matthew 5:17. Christ fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law for us and imputes to us that righteousness is not based on our performance but on our faith in Him. The law was never given for the purpose of justification. It was totally powerless to save. It only showed us our need and pointed us to a Savior.

The law was not made for a righteous man and it still serves a purpose for those who are not born again. For those who do not accept Jesus as their Savior, the wrath of God, which the law produces, abides on them. In this present age, Jesus has come not to condemn men but to bring them grace and truth. Those who do not believe on the Son are presently under the wrath of the Old Testament law, and, unless they repent, will suffer the wrath of God eternally. Thank God for His grace today.