Radio Broadcast Tuesday 05/19/2020

Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P14 (05-19-20)

Synopsis

It seems people do not really understand what faith is. We have the faith healers who think they can call upon God to do what they want to do. We have those people who put guilt trips on people who are physically blind, telling them that if they have enough faith they would be healed. There are those who think they have some kind of power of prayer to make God act. All of that kind of thinking is error. Faith must be based in truth. I can have faith that a chair will hold me up or I can have faith in one of those faulty chairs that would fall apart if a cat jumped on it. Your faith is either placed in something that is true, that works, or a lie, that does not produce results, or bad results. God wants our faith to be in something that is true, not a lie. The object of your faith is what is important, and that should be in Jesus Christ.

This understanding of the object of our faith, of who Jesus Christ is, that He is God, and what He has accomplished for us that we could never do, leads us to enter in what God has promised you, that He has given you everything you need for life and godliness. People pervert faith and put the emphasis on what I do, on how big or small my faith is, or how much power I have. That is misplaced faith, faith in you rather than on God, who is the source and supplier of everything we need. He is the initiator and I am the responder. But that other kind of thinking places me in the position of initiator, telling God what to do, and God as the one who must respond to me.

Another error in thinking is this concept that your confession is going to activate your forgiveness from God. That is another perversion of what faith is. That is like having faith in a belief system, rather than faith in God, who gave Jesus Christ, who already took away all your sins, and that without consulting you for approval to do what He did. Not only that, salvation is the receiving of new life. Forgiveness of sins was a necessary preparation for life to be given. God initiated and did not consult with man to do die or to rise again. We respond in faith in what He already did and receive the life of God to come and permanently take residence in us. Please understand that God is the initiator and we are the responder.

As a child of God, growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, you live by that same faith. In our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we access everything that has been given to us that we need for life and for godliness. That life is in Him. So, if you want to say, “What do I need for life and godliness?” To get to know Jesus. When you get to know Him, then you are going to access everything you need for life and godliness. It has already been provided. Your faith does not bring it about. It has already been brought about. Faith enables you to enter into it. You live by faith in God, continuing to trust God to lead you into all truth, and to trust Him and depend on Him for your every need.

When I think that I can do something to cause God to do something for me, on my behalf, then I am in essence putting myself in the place of God, bossing God around or manipulating God to act, or begging Him to do something I think He does not want to do. Listen, God is more interested in me than I am. He is more interested in my mother and father, friend or neighbor more than I am. He initiates what He wants to see accomplished in my mother, father, friend or neighbor, and He invites me to participate in His good plans for them. So God initiates love toward us and we respond to that, in whatever ways He wants us to participate. We love because He first loved us. This is love, not that we loved God, but He loved us.

Even in this matter of prayer there can be this error in thinking. A man testifies, “All these things happened. It was so obvious it was of God. All of these things happened. Well, you know, I prayed for that to happen.” He is implying that his prayer caused God to act. What happened was that God put a desire in your heart to pray for what He already had an action. God put a thought in your heart to pray for what He already had decided. In essence, if we would look at it in that realm, what God is doing is getting you in on the action. He is saying, “I am about to do something, and I will tell you what I am going to do if you will listen to me. When you do you are going to come back to me and say, ‘Lord, please do it’”. Then we take credit for it. But if we keep that vine and branch in mind. All the responsibility of the branch to do is to abide in the life of the vine and there is a promise there. When you participate in that nature, God promises ”I will produce My fruit in and through you”. That is a promise of God that we are talking about here that we can live by. He can produce it if we let Him.

We must realize that the source of power is in the person of God Himself. This power is the power to love, and only God can produce that, but we have been given the privilege to participate in the divine nature, and we have been given the mind of Christ, through the Spirit of God living in us. We cannot produce love, joy, peace, or any of those characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. We must abide in Him as we were designed to function, dependent on the Holy Spirit, the one who created us and knows how we are designed to function and live.

God is perfectly loving and He has all wisdom, and wisdom we know nothing about unless He gives us that wisdom. We, as a child of God, can simply ask for wisdom and He gives without finding fault. At times, God may say to us to stay out of it. Jesus is the example of how we were designed to live, living as man like us, even though He is God. He set aside those attributes of God and depended totally on His Father. So He tells us, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”, to imitate, not his actions, but his attitude of dependency.

Faith is trusting in what He has said, in what is true, and He is the way, the truth and the life, and we act on that truth, those thing He tells us by the Spirit He has given us. The just shall live by faith.

Transcript

There are some people who only have the humanity of Jesus and never entered into His Deity. I had the opposite. I entered into His Deity but I never entered into His humanity. Now He gave me the complete Jesus. If you were all infatuated with His humanity and have never come to Him for his Deity, for God living in you, by trying to imitate a man instead of being indwelt by God, that is the step you need to take. Or if you are like me, who is indwelt by God but not really paying much attention to His humanity, you need to enter into that. In both cases, you need a complete Jesus. I am eternally grateful for teaching that God brought in my life to come to know a complete Jesus.

John 17:3
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Now, that brings us to John 3, [of being born again through faith in who Jesus is and what he did] which is the object of our faith. There is some talk in some movements, where people say your faith is not big enough. I can remember a dying man that came to one of our conferences in the early days where we had a training center close to Denton, close to San Ridge. This young man George came out who was blind. At the end of the conference, at the sharing time, with tears down his face, with the joy of the Lord beaming out of him. “All of my Christian experience I have had someone say in church, where someone stuck a hymnal in my face, saying ‘if you have enough faith, you will see’. So all of my life I was put under a guilt trip that I did not have enough faith to be able to see. Now I have come to understand the sovereignty of God.” Just like the girl at the camp site, where she said, “I thank God for making me blind.” Why? “Because God in His sovereignty gave me virgin eyes and the very first person I will see is Jesus.” That kind of attitude that came from that girl was also in George. “I thank God that in my blind condition that God can use me with dead eyes just as much as He can use you with living eyes.” He died not too long after that. If you remember his mom wrote a beautiful letter how he died with peace and joy. George, of course, is seeing quite well, absent from the body and present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

At another conference, a young girl was there with a seeing eye dog. I kept observing that dog the whole week. I looked at that dog. That dog is a total example of what God wants for us. When she was sitting there resting, that dog was laying on the floor just relaxing. He was not striving to being a seeing eye dog. He was just available. Then in a minute she would move to get up, and up was the dog leading her. If we could ever learn to be like a seeing eye dog. That dog was living in total dependency upon the command of the owner. As the owner moved, the dog moved. Some of these stories of blind people, as an example, they have a testimony as to our condition and how we are to be led internally by the Spirit of God.

But in this day and age, people are walking around saying “your faith is not big enough. You come to me. I am a faith healer, but if you do not get well, your faith is not big enough.” It is kind of like a no lose situation for these guys. People are always talking about little faith and big faith. But Jesus said, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move a mountain.”

Matthew 17:20
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

I have not seen anybody moving a mountain. It is not the size of your faith, but who your faith is in. That is the issue. Faith in and of itself is something you use, quite frankly, when you sit down in a chair. If you did not think the chair would hold you up, you would be stupid to sit down on it. I have faith to believe that as a teacher on radio that it is going out over the air. I do not have to have a huge faith for that. There is a lot of technology that I have confidence in that allows it to happen. It is not my faith that causes it to happen. My faith just enables me to access what is available to happen. My faith does not cause anything big. Something big is there that I can enter into and access by faith. That is what the Christian life is all about.

Let us talk now about some attitudes of faith. The last time, we talked about attitudes of faith. Faith means being available, that is what our faith is. “Lord, I am available to access what you said to me.” It is an attitude of dependency we have. There are a couple of attitudes people can have on this. One, if Jesus said, “I do not do anything unless the Father tells me to do it.” So the source of the instruction came from the Father. When the Father told Jesus to do something, he had an option. Enter into that and do it or refuse it. And so, obviously Jesus never refused the instruction of the Father. But the Father is the initiator and he was the responder.

So in essence, he was bearing the fruit of the Father. That is what true faith is. True faith would not be, “I am going to claim what I want You to do Father, and then my faith is going to be big enough to cause You to do it.” That is basically what you hear in this faith teaching today. So such a person is saying, “I have been given this faith and that faith means that I can tell God anything that I want and He is obligated to answer my prayer.” So people think faith is, “I am going to command You, God, to do what I want You to do.”

Such false faith is a form of manipulation. “If I can manipulate my congregation to grow into a thousand or two thousand people, I would have to assume I am a pretty good manipulator. I am such a good manipulator that I do not know why I cannot manipulate God. I have done such a good job with these people down here.” So you see this total manipulation taking place in the Christian world today of telling people, and in their own heart believing it by now, that God is subservient to you, and, therefore, my faith is such that if I put enough faith in this, God has got to do it. People are talking about the power of prayer. This might step on people’s feet but people need to have their feet stepped on. Where do you see in scripture about the power of prayer? I do not see anything in scripture about the power of prayer. This is what people say it means. “My prayer has the power of God to do what I want Him to do. So when we pray and something happens, see there, then I caused God to do something as if God was not interested at all to do that. But if you have enough power and enough faith, God responds, ‘I will take My arms across my belly, and I will go ahead and do what you want Me to do. I do not want to heal this person, but if you beg Me enough and beg enough people, I will do it for you.’” That is how we perceive God.

But even in the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and people know we live by those laws, for they are God’s laws. The effect of something is never greater than the cause of something. The warmth of the sun is never greater than the sun. The result is never greater than the source. My salvation is not greater than my Savior. We have to understand that truth. That is a principle of life itself. That the effect of something is never greater than the cause of something.

Now, think about that for a moment. Are you the cause and God is the effect? Or, is God the cause and you are the effect? You have to answer that question. Do not come up with “it is both”. It is not both. God has never relinquished His position to you. To some people teaching that I really have to say, “Thank God”. God is the initiator. Jesus is the example for this. Jesus did not walk on this earth saying, “I have enough faith to say, ‘Heal this guy, and God will do it’. I got enough faith to say, ‘Lazarus, rise from the dead and because of my faith, God has got to obey’, and ‘He has got to raise Lazarus from the dead.’” That is if Jesus was saying to His Father, “He does not want to and does not have any plan. I am the one with the plan, not Him, but if I boss Him around and then He has got to do what I want Him to do.” Do you see that attitude in Christ Jesus? No, of course not! Is that what faith is in the bible? No! This is a perversion of what God calls faith. That is what all evil is, a perversion of good.

God meant faith to be faith in Him. We have twisted it to mean faith in me and my ability to get Him to do what I want Him to do. We call that faith. We think that is spiritual. There is the 2nd law of thermodynamics and there is a law of God. That law of God says, “No one is greater than God. I am the cause of all things.” He did not consult us when He created the world. There was nobody to consult. Salvation is like creation. He did not consult anybody. He did not consult us when He created us and He did not consult us when He saved us. He did not say, “I got a plan up here, guys, but I think I will consult you to see if you like it so you will see if you enter into it.” nor did he say, “I have something going on up here, but I am a little confused on how to pull it off, but let us see if you guys can conjure up some faith and maybe I can come up with a plan to save you”. Oh, we have a perversion of who God is and who we are.

Hebrews 11:6
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

When talking about faith, you are talking about what true faith is. It is not faith in me. There is no power in my prayer to God. There is no place in the bible that talks about that. He is the one with the power. I have the privilege of entering into His plan.

2 Peter 1:3
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

If you lack wisdom, ask Him and He will give it to you. I have the privilege to consult with God as my best friend and for Him to give wisdom in regard to things. Sometimes that wisdom is, “Bob, this is My will and stay out of it”.

James 1:5
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Isaiah 55:9
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Power can be the cause of something. If you think there is power in prayer that someone got healed spiritually, then why would you not say there is power in surgery when someone got healed from a surgery. Then you would have to say the surgeon has a very specific power to do something there. So what is the difference, whether you get healed here or healed there. I am just talking about just healing because that is a big thing in this healing movement. Then there would be power in the surgeon. The surgeon has some shots and the surgeon has a cause, of “I am going to operate”, but the effect of that aspect is in the hands of God.

So, when you are looking at prayer, prayer is what enables me to enter into the cause of all things, to enter into God, to enter into His mind, to seek the counsel of God Himself in regard to my life and yours. You talk about prayer changing things. I do not mean to be critical on this thing, but if we do not function in truth, who is going to? If prayer changes things, why don’t you change yourself? Think about that for a minute.

Do we sit here thinking, “Boy, there is nothing about me that needs changing. I am just marvelous.” Do you feel that way about yourself? No, not at all. I do not think anybody I am talking to feels that way. If you have so much power, why don’t you just change yourself? Instead of changing the world out there, why don’t you start with you. If you think that power is there, why don’t you through faith get rid of your bad disposition and critical spirit and self righteousness, and any of those things that are in us and that are there? We are confusing ourselves.

We are putting the emphasis on us and what we do and we being the power instead of on Him and who He is in being the power. God is the initiator of all things. We are the responders. He did not call you to be an initiator. Was Jesus an initiator? He said, “no”. If Jesus was the initiator then why do you think we should be the initiator? If Jesus did not give us an example of how to walk in total dependency of the Father, then he sure messed up, if that is not what he came to teach us. He did not need to do that, for He is God. He could be the dynamic of His own action and the cause of His own effect in everything He did. He put that aside because if He didn’t He would not teach us anything. And even with this example, would we be taught, if he taught us anything.

In this issue of faith, and it is such an important issue, Satan took faith and made it mean something other than what it is. Then, we do not enter into faith in anything.

Hebrews 11:6
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

We are trying to please God by imitating Jesus actions and forget about his attitude. So if we are going to walk on this earth pleasing to God, we need to walk by faith. Let us take the teaching in regard to forgiveness. There is no place in scripture that talks about anything in regard to the cross except it is over and finished and done. What does faith say? If I had been taught that faith means, “I am the initiator to get God to do something” is that pleasing to God? No. He is the initiator and I am the responder. Who initiated salvation for us? Jesus. Who initiated the cross to us? Jesus. Who is one who said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing? Jesus.

Luke 23:34
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Who is the one who said, “it is finished” Jesus.

John 19:30
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

I did not initiate one thing in that. What does true faith say? Thank you. If I do not believe that is what faith is, then I will once again pervert what faith is, and say, “No. My confession [that is being the initiator] is going to activate His forgiveness.„ Now we put Him as the responder and me as the initiator. And so we are in essence saying, “I am greater than God”. That is what this faith stuff does. It is saying, “I am greater than God and He becomes my heavenly vending machine. I am putting in the quarter and He is obligated to give me the candy bar.”

Faith is like swallowing. Bob, you need to swallow to live. You think of that and say, “That makes sense”. Then you start thinking about it. Hold on just a minute. Is that a true statement? I can swallow food and live and I can also swallow poison and die using the identical mechanism that I used to swallow food to live. So it is not swallowing that enables me to live. It is swallowing food that enables me to live, because swallowing poison would cause me to die. Faith is like swallowing. It is not my faith but it is the object of my faith that saves me. Jesus is equivalent to food that saves and error is equivalent to poison that kills you. In both of those cases, you swallowed. In both cases you exercised faith. One was faith in someone who brought good results and the other was faith in someone who brought evil results. We have to understand the object of our Christian faith is not to talk about your faith, but to talk about the object of your faith. There are many people who believe error. What did Jesus say about that?

John 8:32
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

So if I am going to exercise faith I need to exercise faith in what is true. I can tell you that chair will hold you. And you could say “I believe that” and sit on it, and sure enough it does hold you up. Or I could make one of those fake deals that the legs collapse with just a cat jumping on it. I say that chair will hold you. You could say, “Well, Bob is an honest guy”, and you sit on it and you fall flat on the floor. In both cases, you exercised faith. On one, you sit and relax and the other you fall flat on your face on the floor. Faith is not the issue, folks. It is the object of your faith. Faith is what enables you to enter into either truth or error.

Let us take a look at some key verses.

2 Peter 1:3
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

If you want to grow, you need a foundation. This verse is a terrific foundation for us to grow in this understanding of what true faith is all about. True faith has to be faith in truth, not error. Whenever you are taught that your faith is the initiator and God is the responder, then you have been taught error. That is not truth. God is the initiator and faith enables you to access that or enter into it. It is ridiculous to say my faith causes a computer to spit something out at me. It has nothing to do with it. If you got good software, you will get some good answers back. If you have bad software in there, then at least a computer has enough sense to spit it back out at you. So we have to understand that my faith does not cause the computer to do something. My faith accesses what the computer is designed to do.

We are told in 2 Peter that His divine power has given us everything we need. In other words, there is a power that is there to give us everything we need for what? For life and for godliness. How does He bring that about? How does He do that? Through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. In our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we access everything that has been given to us that we need for life and for godliness. So, if you want to say, “What do I need for life and godliness?” To get to know Jesus. When you get to know Him, and not just the act of salvation, but getting to know this person who lives in you, then you are going to access everything you need for life and godliness. It has already been provided. Your faith does not bring it about. It has already been brought about. Faith enables you to enter into it.

These promises He has given us.

2 Peter 1:4
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

What does that tell us? It tells us that we have a divine nature living in us. Whose nature is that? Christ. The Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in us at the the moment of salvation. If the Spirit of God does not live in us, we do not belong to Him.

Romans 8:9
9 And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

We cannot be born again without being born again of the Spirit (John 3). When the Spirit comes to live in us then we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16
16 “Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”[Isaiah 40:13]

But we have the mind of Christ.

So His divine nature has taken up residence in us. What do we get to do? We participate in His nature. It is there. His nature is there. His mind is there. His emotions are there. He is living inside of you. We can participate in His information, in His knowledge, in His character, in His being, in all of the things He has given us for life and godliness. It is there. Now, participate in it. What do you do when you participate with somebody? You get involved with him. You do not cause them. You get involved with him. If you were in broadcasting for years and years, and then I come in, I am going to participate with you in your broadcasting career. We are partners in this thing. We are participating in a movement together, of the declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are participating together for a purpose that is greater than ourselves.

Let me reiterate one thing. God is more interested than you than you will ever be interested in you. He is more interested in your loved ones than you will ever be. He is more interested in your children than you will ever be. He is more interested in your mom and dad than you will ever be. He is more interested in your friends than you are. He is much more interested in the congregation than I am. We have to understand those things. We are not down there as if God is disinterested. But my deep interest and my deep faith can cause Him to get involved in people’s lives.

We have a strange concept. A person said the other day, “All these things happened. It was so obvious it was of God. All of these things happened. Well, you know, I prayed for that to happen.” The inference is “I caused it“. My response was that probably God had this in mind long before you prayed. Your prayer did not cause this to happen. What happened was that God put a desire in your heart to pray for what He already had an action. God put a thought in your heart to pray for what He already had decided. In essence, if we would look at it in that realm, what God is doing is getting you in on the action. He is saying, “I am about to do something, Bob, and I will tell you what I am going to do if you will listen to me. When you do you are going to come back to me and say, ‘Lord, please do it’”. Then we take credit for it. But if we keep that vine and branch in mind. All the responsibility of the branch to do is to abide in the life of the vine and there is a promise there. When you participate in that nature, God promises ”I will produce My fruit in and through you”. That is a promise of God that we are talking about here that we can live by. He can produce it if we let Him.

A Closer Look at Faith Hope and Love

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