Matthew 12:50 “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
We are not just heirs, we are joint-heirs with Christ. It would be wonderful to inherit any amount of God’s glory and power. But, the idea that we share equally with the one who has inherited everything God is and has is beyond comprehension. This is an awesome blessing, but it also places a tremendous responsibility on us.
In the same way in which a check made out to two people cannot be cashed without the endorsement of both parties, so our joint-heirship with Jesus cannot be taken advantage of without our cooperation. Unaware of this, many Christians are just trusting that the Lord will produce the benefits of salvation for them. They are acutely aware that they can do nothing without Him, but don’t realize that He will do nothing without us, Ephesians 3:20.
The idea that God will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, PERIOD, is not true. He has power, but it is the use of His ability combined with the power that works in us. “No power working in us” means no power of God will come through us. The exceeding greatness of His power that is to us-ward who believe is power that is not external, but is internal, within the believer. It is working according to the faith that we exercise in the indwelling Savior. It was this principle that Paul was stating when he declared, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The way we place our endorsement on the check is to believe what God promised in His Word and act on it as if it were true. IT IS! Jesus has already signed His name to every promise in the Word. We aren’t waiting for Him. He is waiting for us.
God’s Word: Use AS Directed
Luke 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”
This parable illustrates the importance of the Word of God. God’s Word contains total power, but it has to be planted in our hearts and allowed to germinate before it releases that power.
The seed is God’s Word, and the types of ground are the four major categories of men’s hearts. The Word was the same in each situation, but there were different results in each case because of the condition of men’s hearts – not because of the Word. The Word doesn’t work for everyone because not everyone will allow the Word to work. The variable in this parable is the condition of these hearts. God’s Word is always the same. It has the same potential in every heart.
Good ground doesn’t just happen; it must be cultivated. This is the reason why only one out of four persons in Jesus’ parable brought forth fruit. It takes a lot of time, effort, and diligence to be a fruitful Christian. The Christian life is not like a hundred-yard dash but rather a 26.2 mile marathon. It’s quicker and easier to raise weeds than it is to raise tomatoes or corn.
In this whole parable, it was the Word that produced the fruit. The ground simply gave it a place to grow. If we will simply put God’s Word in our hearts, protect it, and give it priority in our lives, the Word will produce fruit of itself. Satan has deceived many people into thinking that they don’t have the talents or abilities to be fruitful Christians, but they are not the ones who bring forth fruit; it’s God’s Word. When we protect the Word sown in our hearts, it will do the rest.
Matthew 12:37 “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
God created the heavens and the earth and everything that is in the earth by His words, Hebrews 11:3. The whole creation was made by, and responds to, words. Our words, when spoken in faith, release either life or death, Proverbs 18:21, and will affect people, things, and circumstances. We can release the power that is in faith by our words.
Every word counts. There is no such things as an “idle” word which will not work for us or against us. Our words can be our most powerful weapon against the devil, or they can become a snare of the devil, Proverbs 6:2. Faith-filled words can move mountains.
The faith that made Jesus marvel was a faith in the authority of the spoken word, Matthew 8:8, 10. We are to believe in the power of our words. If we begin to speak words in faith that line up with God’s Word, then we will have the positive results that follow. But if we continue to speak words of doubt, we will eventually believe them and have the negative things that these words produce. Death or life are in the power of every word we speak.
Faith is released by speaking words. Jesus encouraged us to speak to mountains or to whatever our problem might be. Most people speak to God about their problem, but few follow Jesus’ instructions and speak directly to the “mountain.” God has put certain things under our authority and we must exercise it. When a problem stands in our way, we must speak to the problem and command it to get out of our way in the name of Jesus. Speak God’s Word today. His Words will produce life.
Being Yoked To Jesus
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Yokes were made of wood with two hollowed out sections on the bottom portion that rested on the necks of oxen, which used to plow or to draw a cart. Figuratively, a yoke symbolized servitude or submission. Jesus is admonishing us to submit ourselves to Him, for true rest comes from serving Him – not ourselves.
A new ox was often trained for plowing or drawing a cart by yoking him with an experienced ox. The yoke kept the young ox from “doing his own thing” and he soon learned obedience to his master. In like manner, we are to commit ourselves to being yoked to Jesus. “.. it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps”, Jeremiah 10:23. Therefore, we have to “Bear the yoke in our youth”, Lamentations 3:27, if we want to become mature Christians. The comparison ends at this point, though. Unlike the, sometimes, harsh treatment oxen are given to bring them into subjection, Jesus is “meek and lowly in heart,” and wins us by love. Jesus pulls more than His “share” of the load; therefore, our burden is light.
The most loving father in the world cannot compare with the love our Heavenly Father has for us. And yet, many times we find it easier to believe in the willingness of a father or mother or mate to help us than in the willingness of God to use His power on our behalf. Relatively few people really doubt God’s ability, but rather, it is our doubt of His willingness to use His ability on our behalf that causes most people to do without. Jesus assures us that God’s love, and His willingness to demonstrate that love, is far greater than we can ever experience in any human relationship. Not only does He want our love, but wants you to let Him love you today.
God’s Kind Of Love
Matthew 8:9-10 “For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
There were only two things in all of scripture that caused Jesus to marvel. They were (1) the Centurion’s faith and (2) the Jews’ unbelief, Mark 6:6. A faith that made Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, marvel is worth examining. This centurion believed that the spoken word of Jesus was sufficient to produce his miracle. He didn’t need Jesus to come to his house. He had faith in Jesus’ word. Therefore, we can see that the person who simply believes the written Word of God is operating in a much higher form of faith than those who require additional proof. Compare this centurion’s faith with the “little” faith of Thomas in John 20:24-29!
Thomas refused to believe what He couldn’t see or feel. Our five senses were given to us by God and are necessary to help us function in this life. But if we do not renew our minds to acknowledge the limits of the five senses, they will keep us from believing. Faith can perceive things that the senses cannot, Hebrews 11:1.
The type of faith that Thomas operated in was a human or natural faith that was based on what he could see. Jesus said there was a greater blessing to be obtained. That greater blessing comes from using a supernatural, God-kind of faith that is based only on God’s Word.
Jesus and God’s Word are one, John 1:1, 14. Believing God’s Word is not just putting your trust in some printed words on the pages of a book we call the Bible. There is much more involved. It is a relationship with a person, the person behind the words. Get to know Him through His Word.
More Than Just Sowing And Reaping
LUKE 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
This verse reveals one of God’s cardinal laws that will work in the spiritual realm, as well as the physical world. Just as we “give” seed into the ground to receive back multiple seeds, so it is with everything we give. Whether it’s money, possessions, an emotion such as love or hate, prayers, or our time, we will reap a harvest of whatever we give. We reap exactly what we sow and proportional to the same measure that we give, Galatians 6:7-8.
“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully”, 2 Corinthians 9:6. This law works on positive or negative things that we sow.
Although this is an unchangeable law of God, it can be overcome by a greater law in much the same way that we can escape the law of gravity by using the greater laws of thrust and lift. The negative things we have given don’t have to come back to us if we apply the greater law of forgiveness, 1 John 1:9. Likewise, the good things we have sown can be voided if we don’t continue in well doing, Galatians 6:9.
God is our source, but God uses people. If we pray for finances, God is not going to make counterfeit currency and put it into your wallet. He will use people to get the money to you. So, it is not always as simple as praying for money and receiving it the next minute. We need to believe the Lord hears and answers our prayers, and then pray for the people He’s going to use to deliver the answer. This could mean any number of people such as our employer and the people who buy our goods. Ultimately God is your source, trust Him.
Faith That Is Seen
Mark 2:5 “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”
Faith can be seen. Just as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3:8, faith is like the wind. Faith itself is invisible, but saving faith is always accompanied by corresponding actions which can be seen, James 2:17-26.
It was not only the faith of the paralytic that Jesus saw, but also that of his four friends, Mark 2:3. This demonstrates the effect our intercession in faith can have upon others. Jesus saw their faith. However, although our faith released on behalf of others is powerful, it is not a substitute for their faith. It is simply a help. The person who is to receive the miracle must have some degree of faith, also. Even Jesus could not produce healing in those who would not believe, Mark 6:5-6. In this instance, it is evident that the paralytic himself also had faith because he was not resistant to the four who brought him; and he got up and obeyed Jesus’ command, verse 12, without having to be helped.
Why did Jesus minister forgiveness of sins to this man instead of meeting the obvious need he had of healing? God is more concerned with the spiritual health of a man than his physical health. Or, Jesus, through a word of knowledge, may have perceived that the real heart-cry of this man was to be reconciled to God. In some instances, not all – John 9:2-3, sickness was a direct result of sin. Therefore, Jesus would be dealing with the very root of the paralysis. Whether or not this man’s paralysis was a direct result of sin, sin in our life (that has not been forgiven) will allow Satan to keep us in his bondage. Through Jesus’ act of forgiving this man’s sins, the paralytic was free to receive all the blessings of God, which certainly included healing.
The point Jesus is making is that both forgiveness of sins and the healing of the paralytic are humanly impossible. If Jesus could do one of these things, He could do the other. He then healed the paralytic showing that He did, indeed, have the authority to forgive sins. In Jesus’ day, the people were more inclined to accept His willingness to heal than they were to accept His forgiveness of sins without the keeping of the law. Today, the church world basically accepts forgiveness of sins, but doubts His willingness to heal. They were never meant to be separated. Believe and receive all God has for you today.
A Lifestyle Check
Matthew 7:20 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
The way that you can tell whether a person is genuine or not is by the fruit they produce. This fruit is speaking of lifestyle. Jesus made the point that you don’t get bad fruit from a good tree, and you don’t get good fruit from a bad tree. Many people say one thing, but their actions speak so loudly that you really can’t hear what they are saying. If you are in doubt about whether a person is genuine or not, or whether you should receive from them and follow their teaching, look at the fruit they are producing.
In evaluating ministers and ministries, more attention should be given to the fruit that is being produced. Failure to do this could lead someone to reject and even discredit a minister who simply makes a mistake or is wrong in one area. Every minister has shortcomings, just as every other member of the Body of Christ does. But that doesn’t mean his ministry is bad. Look at the fruit.
Fruit is the true test of ministers and ministries. If people are being saved, if lives are being changed, there is good fruit. Even though the minister may say something bad and make mistakes, the fruit is good.
Therefore, you can say that the tree is good. When a person says all of the right things and may seem sincere, but you see the lives of people around them shattered and torn, and in confusion and distress, then the fruit is bad. You can judge the effectiveness of a person by the fruit that they are producing in their life. In ministry you can judge the effectiveness of a minister by the fruit that his ministry is producing.
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”
Prayer which 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 before it is manifested in the physical realm. If we waver from our confident faith, then we abort the manifestation of that answer, James 1:6-7; Hebrews 10:35. But God did answer. Everyone who asks receives.
In the book of Daniel chapter 9, Daniel prayed a prayer and waited a relatively short period of time to see his answer to prayer. In less than three minutes the angel Gabriel appeared and answered all of his questions.
This same man prayed another prayer in Daniel chapter 10, but this time it took three weeks before he had an angelic messenger come and answer his questions. What was the difference? Most people believe that God answered one prayer in three minutes and the next prayer in three weeks. But Daniel 10:12, says “from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand,…thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” Satan had hindered the second prayer from reaching Daniel. God was not the variable. God answers every prayer.
This is confirmed in Matthew 7:8, which says that everyone who asks receives, he that seeks will find, to him that knocks it is opened. God answers, but Satan can hinder our prayers in the spiritual realm before they ever physically manifest. If we understand that God gives the answer and that Satan is the one hindering, the truths of these scriptures will encourage us. God does answer prayer.
God is always answering your prayer. If you haven’t seen it manifest, don’t doubt God, but recognize that you’re fighting an enemy, and persevere. Stand on your faith. Pray without ceasing until you see the answer.