December 4, 2016 The Devolution of Society

The Devolution of Society

           A historical figure of the late 20th Century recently died at an advanced age. He had been raised a Catholic but became a Communist in his middle years. How is his example of drifting away from the truth instructive for us to prevent this in our lives? The Apostle Paul warns about drifting in Hebrews 2.1 NASB: “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.” The “reason” to which he refers is explained in Hebrews 1.1-4 as Jesus, the Son of God and “exact representation of His nature, and [upholder of] all things by the word of His power.” “Drifting” lacks intent; it just happens over time. Our national and world societies continue the drift begun long ago. So, how do we keep from drifting and return to the course assigned or, even, get back on course?

A. Societal Evidence of Drifting

  1. How many of the list of Galatians 5.19-21 can you identify on television, in the newspapers, in popular movies, and/or among persons known by you? We will comment on Paul’s warning later.
  2. What about Paul’s list in 2 Timothy 3.1-7? Do you see this in the present sophomoric protests?
  3. And, lest we forget why we, of all ages, are anxious and loose sleep, from 1 Timothy 6.10. Does this describe you or someone you know? How does this fit into Matthew 6.27?
  4. Paul is not alone. James (3.16) explains the origins of “chaos theory” as this mathematical theory might be applied to any group of people. Have you been around and/or subject to these causes?
  5. Of course, these aberrant behaviors have their sources in Paul’s list in Colossians 2.8 and result in his nautical description in Ephesians 4.14. How is Peter’s walk on water (Matthew 14.30) analogous to Paul’s description? How does this illustrate “drifting”?

B. Source of Drifting

  1. Only one, as described in Jeremiah 13.10.
  2. How is the end of verse 10 connected to Isaiah 14.12? What was/is satan’s motive behind all the behavioral “straw men” above? Consider Isaiah 14.13-14. Since he was unsuccessful (Revelation 12.7-9), is this why he picked on our “fairer sex” (Genesis 3.1-5)?
  3. Remember how Jesus described satan to his followers in John 8.44. Have you seen this evidence of satan in the media or in any associate recently?
  4. The reason for these behaviors, and the explanation of Jeremiah 13.10, is seen in the illustrations of King Saul (1 Samuel 13.9-14), the Prince of Tyre (Ezekiel 28.1-5), King Herod (Acts 12.22-23), and summarized in John’s third item in 1 John 2.16. What is that fundamental reason? How do all the behaviors above exemplify this reason, especially that stated by Jesus in John 8.44? The “end” of these may be seen in Isaiah 14.15!

C. Remedy for Prideful Imaginations

  1. King Solomon taught his children early this in Proverbs 3.1-7, 21-23 and 20-27. Perhaps, Solomon was remembering his father’s teaching in Psalm 119.9-16.
  2. Paul provides wise counsel in Hebrews 3.12-13.
  3. Paul, even, suggest a radical solution to a difficult problem in 1 Corinthians 5.5. In other words, let evil bring the person down so far that s/he can only look up. Perhaps, Paul was remembering Nebuchadnezzar’s story in Daniel 4.1-37. A reasonable warning to us: satan will take you all the way down! Jonah (2.7-10) is a like illustration of returning.
  4. God gave Moses His best remedy in Deuteronomy 6.4-9. What steps can you take to incorporate these practices?
  5. Consequently, the ultimate remedy is simply to reverse Jeremiah 13.10, like David acknowledges in Psalm 119.67 and 71. What does that mean to you?
  6. How is harnessing your “imagination” like “taming your tongue”, as James (3.2-5) describes? How are Moses’ behaviors the needed “bits”?

“Drifting” is a scheme of satan for taking the word of God from you. The Holy Spirit instructed me, one morning as I drove to my downtown office, to phone a man I had led to faith in Jesus Christ and to tell him “don’t stop reading the Bible”. “How did you know” was his questioning response. He, then, confided that he was seriously considering reducing his time of daily study of the Bible so he could add the reading of some well-known Christian authors. God’s instruction may be for you, too, who may be considering the same. Remember that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10.17).

Two final suggestions. First, resolve to read the Bible from beginning to end within one year. There are many interesting formats, including daily portions from the Old and New Testaments or a chronological arrangement of the various books of the Bible. Second, invest as much time in Bible reading and study as you spend on the daily news. And, remember Paul’s warning in 2 Corinthians 2.11.

Don’t “drift” into his grasp! Jeremiah 15.19-21 will lead you to joyously proclaim verse 16!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.

November 27, 2016 Don’t Quench the Holy Spirit

Don’t Quench the Holy Spirit

Apostle Paul includes this imperative in the closing paragraph of his first letter to believers in Thessalonica (1.5.19). Literally, Paul admonishes us to not douse with water the fire that describes the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.3-4. The reason for this is the picture in and reality of Ephesians 3.10-12: we are to make known to “the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” the “manifold wisdom of God”! This is the result of 2 Corinthians 10.5 leading to 2 Corinthians 5.20 and Paul’s fulfillment of Acts 26.16-18. Further, Paul presents the role and responsibility of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 3.14-21 for effecting the “manifold wisdom of God”. Consequently, we understand the reason for not quenching or diminishing the Holy Spirit.

A. So that…

  1. The last clause of Ephesians 3.19 expresses His goal for you: to “be filled up to all the fullness of God.” This is important because Jesus is our Head; so, His body (of believers) must be like Him (Ephesians 1.22-23). “Fullness” is the complete measure of maturity for believers equipped with Jesus’ knowledge and faith (Ephesians 4.11-13) for which we strive.
  2. Paul gives us stair steps in Ephesians 3.16-21 that I have connected vertically with the words “so that”; that is, each building upon the previous. The foundation step is the strengthening “with power” (verse 15) of the ‘real’ person, our “inner man (“male and female”; Genesis 5.2), by the Holy Spirit. Paul discusses this power in 1 Corinthians 2.5 and 2 Corinthians 4.7 and 7. Therein, he desires that our power be that of God within us (John 17.21-23; to reveal God). Only God’s power in Jeremiah could “pluck up and break down, destroy and overthrow” satan’s kingdom and “build and plant” the Kingdom of God (Jeremiah 1.10)! The same is true for us.
  3. This “power” is ours so that the Anointing (the meaning of Christ; Colossians 1.26-27; 1 John 2.27) may fill our minds, so that we may be “rooted and grounded” in God’s teachings (Ephesians 3.16-17). The “Anointing” secures us against the storms of relative philosophies and other of satan’s schemes (Ephesians 4.14-16; Colossians 2.8-10). “Love” is defined in John 14.15, 1 John 5.3, and 2 John 1.6 as obedience to God’s commands. Remember the reward of Jeremiah 7.23!
  4. From Ephesians 3.18, we are to be “rooted and grounded” in “love” so that we can “comprehend” the totality of God (Jeremiah 9.23-24; Hebrews 11.3, 6; Genesis 1.1; Isaiah 43.10-11, 22)! How big is your God? Consider that His house in Revelation 21.9-27 is 1,500 miles in length, width, and height! That is where believers in John 14.6 will dwell with Jesus eternally! Can you “comprehend” this?
  5. In Ephesians 3.19, we are to “comprehend” the totality of God so that our Anointing (1 John 2.27) will be greater than all knowledge (the “light” of John 1.9: cosmological logos and epistemological logos: the complete knowledge of mankind)!
  6. We climb these upward stairs with the “strength” of the Holy Spirit so that we may arrive at the “fullness of God” (Ephesians 3.19). You have all of this potential within you! So, do not quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5.19)!

B. How do we quench the Holy Spirit?

  1. By emphasizing Jeremiah 9.23 over 24;
  2. By turning away from God to follow a devolving imagination (Jeremiah 13.10);
  3. By not “asking, seeking, or knocking” as Jesus encourages in Matthew 7.7-11; and
  4. By not hearing and/or obeying what the Holy Spirit tells us (James 1.5-8).

C. The Results of an Unquenchable Holy Spirit.

  1. As Paul concludes in Ephesians 3.20-21 NASB: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us [i.e., the Anointing of God’s Holy Spirit within us; John 1.12], to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
  2. Isaiah 64.4 acclaims similarly.

And, thus, we make known to “the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” the “manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3.10-12)!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

November 20, 2016 Conversing with the Holy Spirit

Conversing with the Holy Spirit

In John 14.16, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would arrive – to “be with you forever” – when Jesus departed to be with God (Psalm 110.1-2). Acts 1.9-11 discusses Jesus’ ascension before the disciples’ eyes and the angels’ reminder to expect His return someday. Then, Acts 2.1-11 tells the amazing story of the arrival of the Holy Spirit, Who immediately proclaimed to the different nationalities gathered in Jerusalem for commerce the “mighty deeds of God”. He continues this proclamation to and through believers within the contexts of our lives. The Apostle Paul summarizes this activity in Romans 8.14 NASB: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” “Being led” implies communication between each of us and the Holy Spirit. Is this intuitive or auditory? How do we discern His voice among the voices we hear?

A. Who is the Holy Spirit?

  1. John 14.16-17 tells us that He comes from the Father, God. He is the third person of the Trinity. All three are, also, included in Matthew 3.16-17, 28.19, and Luke 3.22. (See Notes A, B, & C below.)
  2. He is the “Spirit of truth”. The world does not know Him. He “abides with you and will be in you”, which Paul states in Ephesians 1.13-14 as a “pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Jesus discusses “will be in you” in John 17.20-21 as including God the Father and God the Son; note that Jesus includes us in Them!       Jesus repeats this perspective in Matthew 28.18-20 where “baptizing them IN the name” is also understood as “baptizing them INTO the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (my emphasis). Likewise, the Holy Spirit “in you” explains Mark 16.20; the Holy Spirit did the “signs that followed”.
  3. Jesus, also, addressed the Holy Spirit as “the Helper” in John 14.16. “Helper” is Paracletos in the Greek (meaning one who walks alongside) and is explained as “Comforter, Advocate, and Intercessor”. So, we should expect to experience these in our lives. Paul explains “Intercessor” in Romans 8.26-27; His “groanings” express to God needs that we cannot find the best words to express. His “groanings” are according to the will of God, as stated in the Bible except for James 4.13-16.
  4. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 2.10-16 that the Holy Spirit knows the will of God, for He “searches all things, even the depths of God”…”even so the thoughts of God”. So, the Holy Spirit knows God’s plans for each of us and, by Romans 8.14, is leading us to fulfill them.       Thus, we should walk backwards with our backs against the Holy Spirit’s back, as 19th Century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard observed: “Life is lived forward but understood backward.” Solomon states this conclusion in Proverbs 19.21. Walking backwards will keep you ‘on plan’.
  5. Jesus discussed the Holy Spirit’s knowledge of “the thoughts of God” in John 16.13. This “Spirit of truth”…“will guide you into all the truth.” Jesus, also, proclaimed the Bible as God’s truth, in John 17.17. We mature in Jesus’ knowledge (Ephesians 4.13) only through the Bible. The Holy Spirit is our guide through the process of “sanctification”, or maturation of our “inner man” (Ephesians 3.16, Romans 7.22, 1 Thessalonians 5.23, 2 Corinthians 5.17, John 3.1-8). Again, Romans 8.14.
  6. Jesus, also, says that the Holy Spirit will “disclose to you what is to come”, in John 16.13. He knows the future as He does the present as He does the past. Paul states ‘past’ in John 14.26 and ‘future’ in 1 Timothy 4.1 and 2 Timothy 3.1-7. He is Historian and Forecaster. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16.14). As Ronald Nash writes: “In other words, the epistemological Logos is not only the mediator of divine special revelation (John 1.14), He is also the ground of all human knowledge” (Nash).
  7. In Matthew 10.19-20 and Luke 12.11-12, Jesus reassures that the Holy Spirit, as “Advocate”, will give us answers to the questions of persecutors and inquirers. Peter (1, 3.15) encourages us to be ready; that is, walk with the Holy Spirit so closely that you will repeat what He wants the other person to know, as Paul implies in Romans 8.14 and proclaims to Timothy (2, 4.2). This is the Holy Spirit as Comforter (John 16.7 AMPC).
  8. Matthew 12.28 and Luke 11.20 are Jesus’ statements that the Spirit of God reveals the Kingdom of God to mankind. Jesus instructs us, in Matthew 6.10, to pray for God’s kingdom to come to Earth.
    1. Matthew 10.7-8 is Jesus’ instruction carrying out this prayer. I believe that this proceeded from His observation and expressed desire in Matthew 9.35-38 where He describes people unable to fight Spiritual Warfare (2 Corinthians 10.3-6). Luke 10.1-19 repeats Jesus’ instruction and explains it, especially, in verses 8 and 9. Note the result in Luke 10.17. “Jesus” is the name above all other names (Philippians 2.9-11)!
    2. Jesus encourages us to “seek His kingdom” in Luke 12.31-32. It must be important, since God has “chosen gladly to give you the kingdom”! How do Jesus’ words in Matthew 6.33 help to explain the Kingdom’s importance?
    3. So, what is the “Kingdom of God”? Easton’s Bible Dictionary definition of ‘Kingdom of God’: “(Matt 6:33; Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:43) = “kingdom of Christ”(Matt 13:41; 20:21) = “kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph 5:5 = “kingdom of David” (Mark 11:10) = “the kingdom” (Matt 8:12; 13:19) = “kingdom of heaven” (Matt 3:2 4:17; Matt 3:2), all denote the same thing under different aspects, viz.: (1) Christ’s mediatorial authority, or his rule on the earth; (2) the blessings and advantages of all kinds that flow from this rule; (3) the subjects of this kingdom taken collectively, or the Church.”
    4. But, the Kingdom of God existed in the Old Testament, didn’t it? The Decalogue of Exodus 20.1-17 expressed the ‘righteousness of God’ (Hosea 14.9) to His chosen people. Jesus used the Decalogue to emphasize the difficulty of wealthy people to enter the kingdom; Matthew 19.16-23 and Mark 10.17-23 and to emphasize Christian responsibility (Matthew 22.36-40).   It is impossible to serve God and money (Matthew 6.24, Romans 6.16)! God, speaking about His chosen people, says, in Ezekiel 36.26, that He will replace their rebellious “heart of stone” (Jeremiah 13.10; 2 Corinthians 4.4) with a “heart of flesh” (“I desire mercy!”; Hosea 6.6, Matthew 9:13). Notice what role He gives the Holy Spirit in Ezekiel 36.27. Is this His role today, to “cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (1 John 2.27)? Jeremiah 31.31-34 (Hebrews 8.10-11, 16) states that God has written His requirements upon our minds! Thus, the Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17.20-21) and enlightened by the Holy Spirit!
    5. Jesus had cast out blind and mute demons from a man in Matthew 12.22. In Luke 11.20, He says that the “finger of God” did this. A new title for the Holy Spirit?
    6. Jesus had given the same instruction to the Apostles in Matthew 10.7-8: Preach that the Kingdom is present wherever you are, and prove it by healing and casting out demons!
    7. In 1 Corinthians 2.4-5, Paul states his preference for demonstration by the Spirit doing miracles rather than the orations of man. Likewise, the Spirit was present to heal the Pharisees who would not accept this gift, so He healed a paralytic with faith enough to be let down by four ropes through the roof; see Luke 5.17-25.
    8. The Holy Spirit does the works that reveal Jesus, Whose works revealed God (John 15.24, 18, 14.7-11, Exodus 34.10, Deuteronomy 18.18, Isaiah 7.14)!
    9. Thus, the Holy Spirit is the Power at work through us to reveal God to mankind, as Jesus said is our job (John 17.18; Matthew 28.18-20). The Holy Spirit takes authority and power from Jesus and gives to us to do God’s “good works” (John 16.14; Ephesians 2.10; John 10.37-38).
    10. The Holy Spirit reveals the Kingdom of Heaven to man so that it becomes the Kingdom of God on Earth, just as Jesus instructed us to pray (Matthew 6.10)! May His will be done through us, His servants (Philippians 2.7). Note how David received strength, in Psalm 119.97-104.

B. “And”.

  1. Jesus says that Paracletos will “teach you all things, AND bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”; John 14.26 (my emphasis). The two points are connected. Jesus pointed this out in Matthew 6.33; all the things we might worry about become ours when we inject His principles into our contexts. Paul repeats this in Philippians 4.6-7. How does God’s solicitation in Jeremiah 29.11-13 & 33.3 state this confluence?
  2. The importance of John 14.26 is gained from John 16.15, where Jesus said the Holy Spirit would reveal to believers everything that God the Father had given to Jesus the Son.       This includes the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Remember that Jesus spoke in His Model Prayer the desire that the “Kingdom come”; i.e., the Kingdom of Heaven becoming the Kingdom of God on Earth (Matthew 6.10).
  3. The Holy Spirit, thus, reveals the Kingdom of God as mankind becomes capable of understanding it. Dr. Ron Nash (A.6) divides “all human knowledge” into two types – cosmological logos, using John 1.3, and epistemological logos, using John 1.9 (Nash).       God’s cosmological wonders have become clearer and more abundant with ever-increasing technological capabilities, evidenced by the Hubble Telescope revealing an expanding universe, whose increasing speed is calculated using Christian Doppler’s theory, basically rate = distance/time. Likewise, epistemological knowledge continues to advance with revelation driven by discovery and adaptation. Consider, for example, the advances in medicine, nanoscience, economics, and other sciences recognized by annual Nobel Prizes.
  4. All these things are among those included in John 14.26. The Holy Spirit continues to bring to light (John 1.9) the knowledge of the Kingdom of God as it becomes increasingly like the Kingdom of Heaven. I believe that Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.14-21 explains this. For, he prays that the Anointing (1 John 2.27) may “root and ground” us and enable us to “comprehend” the expanse of God’s “love” and “fullness”!
  5. This advancement can, also, be envisioned as upward stair steps, where the horizontal step is knowledge acquired and understood leading to the vertical advance of wisdom for its use; leading the next horizontals and verticals successively.
  6. The warning, of course, is to remember that the Source is God, not man (Isaiah 13.10; 1 John 2.15-17). Man has only discovered what God has seen fit to reveal, as in Proverbs 3.19 and Jeremiah 32.17 & 27. Our response can only be David’s questions of Psalm 8.1-9. Answered in Isaiah 43.10.
  7. This warning is defensed by the second part of Jesus’ description of the Holy Spirit in John 14.26: He will remind you of what I have said.       For example, how does Jesus instruction in Matthew 6.33 remind man to consider the Source first? This instruction, seems, to have been given earlier by God to Jeremiah (9.23-24): strive to know and understand God, from Whom you will be better able to acquire wisdom, strength, and wealth. Oh, how we have sold ourselves short by striving for the result apart from the Cause! And, our wicked imaginations have only further separated us by Edging God Out – EGO! This is illustrated by the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10.17-22. How much more could he have gained from God, since He seems to have given him ability to enlist and deploy money?
  8. Mankind’s question should always be: how do I know and understand God better through my study and practice of (fill in the blank with your passionate interest or school or work discipline)? All work and study can be, ultimately, traced back to the Source of “all human knowledge” (Nash).
  9. Hence, we can use John 14.26 as a means for accomplishing Acts 26.16-18. This will be the turning on of the light switch for those in the darkness of satan’s deceptions (2 Corinthians 4.4) and for introducing them to the Kingdom of God, to be explained to them by the Holy Spirit. A rationale for this view is found in the Psalmist (119.89-91) contemplation: verse 91b: “For all things are Your servants.” Consequently, again, how does the doctor (lawyer, teacher, entrepreneur, engineer, scientist, economist, accountant, salesman, pastor, craftsman, and all other laborers) know God better through the practice of the work for which He has equipped and in which He has engaged them? And, what greater understanding of God is gained through the practice of such knowledge? Is this a part of Ephesians 2.10? What are God’s planned “good works”? Do everything as unto Him; Colossians 3.23.
  10. Each person’s plan is meant to serve the common good. Are ‘all things’ “manifestations of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12.7)? This is readily understood from Exodus 31.1-6. God chose Moses’ technicians and taught and empowered them by His Spirit.       God did the same for Jeremiah (1.5, 10) and John the Baptist (John 3.27). God imbues in us abilities needed to carry out His plans.
  11. How is Isaiah 30.21 the same as Romans 8.14? Notice that there is ‘purposeful movement’ in both verses, which might be vocational or avocational activity; Deuteronomy 6.7. How can John 10.27 be a ‘work’ application of Matthew 6.33? How does Isaiah 59.21 explain this consistency?
  12. Regarding Spiritual warfare, I believe Mark understood this when writing Mark 16.20 as a fulfillment of verses 15-18. Obviously, Jesus would not go with the disciples to do the miracles, since He was departing for Heaven. The Holy Spirit would go with them to work miracles through them; the Kingdom of Heaven coming to mankind as the Kingdom of God (A.8.10, above). It is just so with us. We don’t heal or cast out demons. The Holy Spirit does through us when we use the name ‘Jesus’ (Luke 10.17; Philippians 2.9-11; Acts 13.9-11)! He gives the right ‘sword’ (Ephesians 6.17; Matthew 4.1-11) and gives understanding to strengthen our ‘shields of faith’ (Ephesians 6.16). He overcomes the enemies we face individually; 2 Corinthians 10.4-6; 1 John 4.4.
  13. Was Joshua’s pride the cause of the problem in Joshua 9.1-27, especially verse 14? Thus, does the Holy Spirit want to be a “Counselor” to us in our contracts, purchases, and other relational dealings?       How should Joshua have sought His counsel? How can we? Ask Him to remind you in your next opportunity.
  14. From another perspective, how, then, is ‘faith-connected-to-work’ (John 14.26) an accomplishment of Acts 26.16-18? Does the Holy Spirit give employment to Spiritual warriors in organizations for this purpose? Is the connection in John 14.26 His means for distinguishing Christian workers, so as to reveal the Kingdom of God to mankind? How does Daniel 2.21 (4.32, 36) apply to this?
  15. Consider Jeremiah 32.17 and Proverbs 3.19. Worship in Colossians 1.16-17. Be in awe through Hebrews 11.3! Rest in Psalm 127.1. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in you who believe John 3.16 and 14.6 (John 14.17; 1 Corinthians 3.16)! Consequently, do everything in Jesus’ name (Colossians 3.17), as unto Him (Colossians 3.23), and for His glory (1 Corinthians 10.31)!
  16. The result will be Isaiah 26.12 (Common English Bible): “Lord, grant us peace, because all that we have done has been your doing” (similar in HCSB). Paul agrees in Philippians 4.6-7. This will always be true as we walk backwards (A.4, above) and view John 14.26 in our experience!

C. So, what has God chosen, (Isaiah 49.7), called (Isaiah 48.15), and brought (Isaiah 48.15) you to do?

  1. God birthed you to accomplish His task; like in Jeremiah 1.5 (10).
  2. The Holy Spirit continues to teach you this task’s particular “all things” (John 14.26; 1 John 2.27).
  3. This same Holy Spirit has iterated the understandings of “all things” to our predecessors’, even back past the time Jesus walked the Earth, even to Genesis 1.1.
  4. The Bible tells these stories (knowledge) from which the Holy Spirit reveals the principles to use (understanding) as we apply the principles within our current contexts. This leads to greater knowledge, which He helps us to understand and apply again and again.
  5. Thus, which Bible stories relate to your profession? What principle do you learn from the stories with the help of the Holy Spirit?       How have you applied them?
  6. He gives you the Spiritual gifts necessary for success; 1 Corinthians 12.1-11.
  7. His ‘fruit’ will is part of the end result; Galatians 5.22-23!
  8. The Holy Spirit is your teacher; Ephesians 3.14-19. He gives “living water” (John 7.37-39)!
  9. Luke 11.13!

D. God has always spoken to people made in His image.

  1. Adam and Eve heard His voice in the Garden of Eden; Genesis 1.29, 2.16, 3.9-19.
  2. Abraham heard His voice; Genesis 12.1-3, 13.14-17, 22.15-18.
  3. Moses heard His voice; Exodus 3.1-4.9. [Side bar 1: notice that God would validate His identity to the Hebrews by signs and wonders. He would later state that as His protocol, in Exodus 34.10. This was one of the ‘proofs’ of Jesus as God’s Son, as He says in John 15.24. Jesus, even, said signs and wonders would continue to be an evidence of God’s presence, in Matthew 10.7-8. Apostle Paul affirms this in Corinthians (1.2.4-5 and 2.4.7). Signs and wonders was the reason followers of Jesus were called ‘Christian’ in Antioch; Acts 11.25-26. Side bar 2: God identified Himself to Moses as ‘I AM’. Could this have been Jesus’ intent in John 14.6, where ‘am’ was not a verb but a noun?       Thus, “I AM: the way; the truth; the life” (my emphasis and paraphrase). What do you think?]
  4. Jeremiah and other prophets spoke messages they heard from God; Jeremiah 1.9-10 and Deuteronomy 18.22, generally.
  5. Acts 4.8 tells of the Holy Spirit speaking through Peter to the Sanhedrin about healing the paralytic (Acts 3.1-10, 16; 4.12). Such boldness continued after Acts 4.29-31.
  6. Acts 6.8-10 tells of the Holy Spirit speaking through Stephen to the Jews who stoned him
  7. Acts 8.26, 39-40 tells of Deacon (Acts 6.5, 8.5, 21.8) Philip’s hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit regarding the Ethiopian treasurer of Queen Candace.
  8. Acts 10.19 tells of the Holy Spirit instructing Peter to go with the three men sent by Cornelius.
  9. “Elijah was instructed to meet with God at His mountain, Horeb, in 1 Kings 19.9-16. Remember that Elijah was running from Jezebel the wicked wife of King Ahab, who had sworn to kill Elijah because his God had humiliated and/or killed the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah,”who [ate] at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18.19-40).
  10. “At Mount Horeb, God spoke to Elijah not through the powerful wind or earthquake or fire but through “a sound of a gentle blowing” (verse 12, NASB; “still small voice” in NKJV; “sound of a low whisper” in ESV). What do you make of the contrast? How is this an evidence of Spiritual Warfare? How, then, does this position Philippians 2.9-11?
  11. “What is the essence of God’s question, “’What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19.13)? Like so many of us, Elijah repeats his actions and Jezebel’s intention (verse 14). But, God understands the real reason for summonsing Elijah and, ignoring Jezebel’s threat, instructs him to carry out certain solutions from God (verses 15-16).
  12. “My contemporary application of this understanding is the CEO who must listen to God to deal with the external powerful “wind” of the economy and the competitive “earthquake” and/or the internal “fire” of corporate stresses from growth of size and complexity. The Holy Spirit speaks with “a sound of a gentle blowing”. Elijah listened carefully; so must we” (Painter).
  13. “Turn your career over to Me and you’ll always be happy.”       I heard these words while contemplating my career as a 30 year-old executive while returning from a favorable job interview.
  14. Philippians 4.3 is your verse for life.” I heard these words in the middle of one night, during my 31st year, after trading beds with my four year-old child to finish my sleep.
  15. “Yes, and I remember your baby shoes.” I heard these words while looking for shoe laces in a grocery and spying laces for baby shoes which produced a flashback to my son’s early years.
  16. * “Consider God’s words in Psalm 50.15, 91.14-16, Isaiah 30.21 and Jeremiah 33.3 assuring of His readiness to answer our questions and assist with our deepest longings (Psalm 37.4)” (Painter).
  17. I continue to develop my ability to converse with the Holy Spirit about daily issues. How about you?

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

Painter, M. 9-11-2016. Acknowledging Dependence. Retrieved from www.sozoclass.com.

Nash, R. 1982. The Word of God and The Mind of Man, p. 67.

Note A: There is so much more to be known about the Holy Spirit. I suggest Dr. Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, pps. 634-649, 1994, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, USA.

Note B: Dr. Jim Eckman’s Issues in Perspective: re split between Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy: re Holy Spirit:

“A doctrinal development further intensified the obvious East-West division. The issue centered on the question of who sent the Holy Spirit–the Father or the Father and Son? The great 5th century theologian Augustine (354-430) argued strongly that the Spirit was sent (“proceeded from”) both the Father and the Son. In 589, at Western council that met in Toledo, Spain, Western theologians added to the Nicene Creed of 381 the language that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son (in Latin, filioque, “and from the Son”).

This controversy is hence called the filioque controversy. The Eastern theologians strongly protested this addition.” (https://graceuniversity.edu/iip/2011/08/11-08-20-2/)

Note C: Dr. Jack Kamiruka, Director of the Lake Basin Region Centre for Theology in Kisumu, Kenya, gives the following Scriptural support for the Western and Eastern interpretations:

“There are several scriptural passages which indeed points out to the Holy Spirit being the Spirit of the father. Such passages include: Luke 1:35 The Holy Spirit depicted as the Spirit of the most High, Job 26:13 (NKJV) the Heavens were made by the Spirit of the God, Romans 8:11 ‘And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, which lives in you.’

The notion that the Spirit also comes from the Son, seems to have developed from the New Testament thought. Scriptures used to allude to that may include: Acts 1:8 Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, and in Acts 2, The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and as the Gospel of Christ began to be propagated after he had gone to heaven, the focus centered on Christ and with the Holy Spirit being seen as applying the benefits of Christ in us.”   Also, note Jesus’ words in John 15.26.

(Dr. Kamiruka’s reply to my email inquiry about Scriptural support, dated October 26, 2016)

October 16, 2016 Acknowledge Dependence (updated for 161009}

Acknowledging Dependence (updated for 161009)

Among Apostle Paul’s ‘final instructions and benediction’ of 1 Thessalonians 5.12-25 is verse 17: “pray without ceasing”. How can we do this, since we must work to keep the roof over our heads and food in the frig? What about with sports and school and just hanging out with friends? What did Paul mean? Does this have anything to do with Deuteronomy 6.4-9? How are we to “pray without ceasing”? Did even Jesus practice this? Besides, what does “praying without ceasing” have to do with Spiritual Warfare?

A. Illustrations.

  1. Elijah was instructed to meet with God at His mountain, Horeb, in 1 Kings 19.9-16. Remember that Elijah was running from Jezebel the wicked wife of King Ahab, who had sworn to kill Elijah because his God had humiliated and/or killed the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah,”who [ate] at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18.19-40).
  2. At Mount Horeb, God spoke to Elijah not through the powerful wind or earthquake or fire but through “a sound of a gentle blowing” (verse 12, NASB; “still small voice” in NKJV; “sound of a low whisper” in ESV). What do you make of the contrast? How is this an evidence of Spiritual Warfare? How, then, does this position Philippians 2.9-11?
  3. What is the essence of God’s question, “’What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19.13)? Like so many of us, Elijah repeats his actions and Jezebel’s intention (verse 14). But, God understands the real reason for summonsing Elijah and, ignoring Jezebel’s threat, instructs him to carry out certain solutions from God (verses 15-16).
  4. My contemporary application of this understanding is the CEO who must listen to God to deal with the external powerful “wind” of the economy and the competitive “earthquake” and/or the internal “fire” of corporate stresses from growth of size and complexity.       The Holy Spirit speaks with “a sound of a gentle blowing”. Elijah listened carefully; so must we.
  5. In another, the Prophet Nathan’s instructions to King David in 2 Samuel 7.1-3 help to explain Elijah’s complaint and my application. Whereas Elijah ran to God to save him from his fears, David had experienced God overcoming his fears through conquests. Now, at ease, David envisions a Temple for God’s Ark of the Covenant.
  6. How does Nathan’s instruction reveal “a sound of a gentle blowing” within David’s mind and that of the CEO? BTW, I believe we hear God’s voice more intuitively than audibly.
  7. Consider God’s words in Psalm 50.15, 91.14-16, Isaiah 30.21 and Jeremiah 33.3 assuring of His readiness to answer our questions and assist with our deepest longings (Psalm 37.4).
  8. The following are examples of Biblical leaders who heard the voice of God (OT) and the Holy Spirit (NT):

B. So, how is the Model Prayer an example of “Praying without Ceasing”?

  1. Matthew 6.7-13 record Jesus’ instruction about succinctly worded prayers and about the acknowledgements of our prayers.
  2. God does not count the number of words; rather, He weighs our faith in our use of each acknowledgement. Consider 2 Chronicles 16.9a, Habakkuk 2.4 and Hebrews 11.6.
  3. How, then, does Matthew 6.8 frame the Model Prayer in verses 9-13?
  4. Driving this understanding deeper, why did Jesus say “Hallowed BE Your name” instead of “Hallowed IS Your name” in verse nine?       Obviously, Jesus knew that God’s name was already hallowed. What is He saying about “praying without ceasing” through this verb? How is Jesus affirming for His present and for our future the past statement of God to Abraham in Genesis 17.7?       What is the ‘Covenant’ that God has made with you?   See B.6, below. Consider Galatians 3.1-29.
  5. How is the ‘kingdom’ different from the ‘will’ of God in Matthew 6.10?       Note Daniel’s (2.44) description of God’s pronouncement in Isaiah 9.6-7 about the ‘kingdom’. How does Matthew 10.7-8 illustrate the difference? How about Romans 14.17-19?       How does God describe His Kingdom to Jeremiah (9.24)?       So, then, ‘will’ expresses and fulfills ‘kingdom’.
  6. How do Jehovah-jireh, -rapha, -rohi, -nissi, and -shalom show this? How are Philippians 4.13 & 19 and 2 Corinthians 12.10 illustrative? Was Paul saying, “I know that God’s ‘will’ includes these, and that I will experience them because I am walking in His ‘kingdom’?” What requirement did Paul understand that is expressed in John 1.12? What are the encouraging promises of Ephesians 3.20-21 and Isaiah 64.4?
  7. If Jesus is explaining God’s ‘will’ in Matthew 6.11-13, are these ‘categories’ of God’s will? Since God’s will involves action, as in Matthew 10.7-8, consider that the action verbs of the Model Prayer are categories of God’s will.       And, therefore, which of His names fits appropriately? To wit:
    1. ‘Give’ in verse 11: Jehovah-jireh, -rapha, resulting in -shalom;
    2. ‘Forgive’ in verse 12: Jehovah-tsidkenu, since sin/’debts’ is a violation of righteousness, resulting in -shalom;
    3. ‘Lead’ in verse 13: Jehovah-rohi, -shammah, resulting in -shalom;
    4. ‘Deliver’ in verse 13: Jehovah-nissi, -shalom.
    5. Thus, God is the ‘Supplier/El Shaddai’ satisfying each category of Jesus’ Model Prayer. Which ‘Jehovah+’ do you see in Matthew 10.7-8? God’s will is revealed in the characteristics of His names. John (1.18) summarized this: “(Jesus) has explained [God]” NASB, “He has made Him known” ESV, and “He has declared Him” NKJV. God had said He would, in Exodus 34.10!
    6. Therefore, I paraphrase the end of verse 13: Your Kingdom come by Your Power to display Your Glory! This is what Paul means in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5 and 2 Corinthians 4.7 (9-10).
  8. Consequently, how do you understand each acknowledgement of Matthew 6.9-13 as you state each in your own wording? What are you acknowledging? How does this evidence ‘maturity’, as in Hebrews 5.14-6.2 and 1 Corinthians 2.6-8?
  9. Do you sincerely mean the words of your acknowledgment? Remember that the definition of ‘vain’ in Exodus 20.7 includes believing there is no power in the name of the Lord God.       Sincerely consider the penalty!       What is Paul’s conclusion in Hebrews 11.6?       Also, the name of the Lord God must be ‘Jesus’ because of Philippians 2.9-11, Ephesians 1.21, Hebrews 13.8, and Isaiah 7.14.       Reflect upon Proverbs 18.10 as the Source of 1 Corinthians 4.20.       The ‘will’ of God expresses the ‘power’ of His kingdom, as Jesus states in Matthew 10.7-8.       Note Jeremiah‘s understanding in chapter 32 and verse 17 and David’s in Psalm 8.1-9!       What is your conclusion from God’s reply in Jeremiah 32.27?
  10. How might you word the Model Prayer in the jargon of your profession, life stage, or life style? Consider the following illustration, which I wrote in January 2016.

For Enterprise Leaders:

Our Founder, Who art in Heaven; Hallowed be Your name!

Your vision come. Your mission be done on Earth, as Your will is done in Heaven.

Give us today the customers we need, and forgive us for speaking ill about our customers, competitors, and suppliers, for we repent from speaking ill about them.

And, lead us away from the temptations of philosophies and strategies that change Your vision or mission, and deliver us from the power of satan that would confuse, conflict, and confound us.

For, it is Your righteous kingdom we seek, and Your power and wisdom we depend upon, and Your glory we desire to be our result forever and ever! Amen!

C. What does “praying without ceasing” have to do with Spiritual Warfare?

  1. Paul answers in Ephesians 6.18-20, restating the wording as “pray at all times” and after putting on “the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (verse 11, my emphasis). Communication with the Holy Spirit is critical to your deployment and success (Isaiah 30.21).
  2. How do 1 Corinthians 2.6-16 and Romans 8.26-27 explain Paul’s “pray at all times in the Spirit”?       How do these verses complete the thought of Romans 8.14? How does Isaiah 30.21 make this personal? What is your picture of yourself in Jeremiah 6.16? You might see this in Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. An interesting ending verse.
  3. Further, anticipating an enemy’s actions is the reason armies train, football teams practice, and negotiators rehearse. Why is this what Paul means in Hebrews 5.14? How, then, would you benefit from writing a prayer to establish communications with the Holy Spirit during each attack contrary to Jehovah-tsidkenu, -jireh- rapha, -rohi, -nissi, -shalom, and -shammah? “General Quarters! This is a drill!” I remember hearing these words from my Naval commanders. They meant that all warriors were to report to our battle stations and prepare for the fight. In Spiritual Warfare, “this is NOT a drill!” But, we must be “drilled”! Are you on your “battle station”, ready for the daily fight?
  4. In Matthew 13.18-23, Jesus explains how satan is always attacking (Matthew 6.13).
    1. Verse 19: Notice that satan comes immediately to ‘snatch away’ the ‘word of the Kingdom’ that is not understood. How? Verse 23 helps us to answer by explaining that the ‘word’ produces results in proportion to our understanding; complete understanding ‘yields a hundredfold of fruit’, and with increasingly limited understanding only ‘sixty’ or ‘thirty’. Could our ‘understanding’ be the source of ‘power’ that Paul said limits God’s ability, in Ephesians 3.20? Time in meditation with the Holy Spirit results in our understanding the ‘why’ or ‘principle’ of the knowledgeable narrative (‘who, what, when, where’) of the ‘word of the Kingdom’ that is heard. This equips us for ‘how’ to ‘bear fruit’ (Matthew 13.23). God reminds Israel, in Hosea 14.8, that only He can produce fruit through them; idols never can! Jesus reminds us that He is the ‘vine’ and we are the ‘branches’ that bear fruit, but only through His nourishment (John 15.5). Paul states, in Colossians 1.6, that we must ‘understand’ what we ‘hear’. So, understand the ‘word of the Kingdom’ before satan can ‘snatch [it] away’! Pray for understanding as you hear!
    2. Verse 21 describes many believers today: they start ‘hot’ but ‘cool down’ over time. God describes this, in Hosea 6.4, as the morning dew that burns off quickly in sunlight. Similarly, Paul complains that Galatian believers were “so quickly deserting” Jesus and were “turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one” (6-7). In Galatians 5.9-10 (2 Corinthians 11.3-4), Paul reminds that only a little of philosophy can ruin believing faith that is not nurtured by increasing ‘word of the Kingdom’ with understanding.
      1. Ravi Zacharias explained this in a recent podcast (Apologetics and Worldviews, Part 1, 160924), that man has become his own measure of Biblical truth, rather than Biblical truth becoming the aspiration of man’s faith. He says that we live in an age ruled by ’empirical’ evidence; that is, man judges the reliability of the Bible through the experiences of self and other people.
      2. In Part 2 (161001), he says, regarding Post-Modernism, that “man [has become] the author of all being…[telling] the author what he wants [to hear]…[devolving] from objective facts to the reader [determining] if it is meaningful or not” (2 Timothy 4.3-4). College ‘safe zones’ illustrates.
      3. “Thus saith the Lord” has become ‘but that’s not what faith-filled so-in-so experienced’ or ‘brother so-in-so said’ (This may be illustrated by Pastor Andy Stanley‘s article, Why ‘The Bible Says So’ Is Not Enough Anymore. Also, see Dr. Michael Brown‘s response, Some important questions for Andy Stanley about the Bible. In essence, what is the role of the Bible in developing someone’s saving faith in Jesus, since apologists might have difficulty defending the Bible’s complete accuracy, according to Stanley? However, he writes: “I believe the Bible is without error in everything it affirms. I believe what the Bible says is true, is true.”)
      4. Jesus warns that traditions make ‘void the word of God’ (Mark 7.13). “God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated” (Ecclesiastes 7.29, Good News Translation; Jeremiah 13.10). Paul warns of this in Colossians 2.8-10. Consider the illustration Solomon writes in Proverbs 25.26.
      5. Paul refers to this situation in 1 Corinthians 1.20-25, Acts 7.16-31, especially 21 and Ephesians 4.14.
      6. In verse 21, Jesus said this one had “no root in himself”. Jesus declares Himself as the “root and descendant of David” (Revelation 22.16) that was prophesied in Isaiah 11.10: “Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious” (NSAB; verses 1 and 12, also). This prophecy connects Isaiah 9.6-7 to John 3.14-15, 32. John 1.12 is a key to understanding this because of the requirement of faith to receive the anointed Jesus into the heart and into the life of the believer. Thus, Habakkuk 2.4: “the righteous will live by his faith” (double entendre’ of ‘live’; temporally and eternally).
      7. How is time spent in ‘understanding’ (Matthew 13.19) important to the nourishment of the “root” of faith? Paul implies that our ‘roots’ in Christ Jesus become stronger as we walk with Him (Colossians 2.6-7; Ephesians 3.17-19).
      8. Remember, too, the purpose of our teachers from Ephesians 4.11-13: “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
      9. The greater our fullness of the “knowledge” that Jesus has and the stronger our “faith” like that of Jesus, the better able we will be to overcome the “afflictions or persecutions” (Matthew 13.21, Mark 4.17; NASB) and “trials and temptations” (Luke 8.13) from people under satan’s spell (2 Corinthians 4.4; Ephesians 6.12), who persecute us because of the “word of the kingdom” (Matthew 10.16-42, 19).
      10. We must “endure” (Mark 13.13; Hebrews 12.1-2; 2 Timothy 2.3), holding fast the profession of our faith and bringing every contrary thought or word into subjection to the knowledge possessed by Christ (2 Corinthians 10.3-6) and passed on to us (John 14.26 and 1 John 2.20-27)!
    3. Verse 22 (Matthew 13.22) describes other believers today: they give in to the ‘lusts and pride’ of lifestyles that are passing away and in God’s judgment (1 John 2.15-17). How is “the worry of the world” (Matthew 13.22) “pride” (1 John 2.15-16)? How is the current discussion of ‘climate change’ illustrative? How is the “deceitfulness of wealth” “lust of the eyes”?
      1. ‘Demas’ was Paul’s illustration to Timothy (2.4.10). How does Proverbs 25.28 relate?
      2. Further, Paul amplified Jesus warning about duplicity (Luke 16.13) with his statement in 1 Timothy 6.9-10: “money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith….” Ananias and Sapphira died because of duplicity; Acts 5.1-11. The Rich Young Ruler missed out on Heaven while holding his dollars; Mark 10.17-23. Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6.24). What are substitutes for “money”? How does the ‘principle’ continue to apply?
      3. Paul writes that we must “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that entangles” (Hebrews 12.1-2) and warns of judgment (1 Corinthians 3.12-15). How do the various forms of ‘entertainment’ “entangle” us?
      4. Duplicity is hard to recognize, as Jesus taught in the Parable of the Tares Among Wheat, in Matthew 13.24-30, the only mention of this Parable in Scripture. One of His points is that only fully-developed Christians can be ‘salt and light’ in our world. Understanding duplicity from Easton’s Bible Dictionary’s definition of Tares: “It is the Lolium temulentum, a species of rye-grass, the seeds of which are a strong soporific poison. It bears the closest resemblance to wheat till the ear appears, and only then the difference is discovered. It grows plentifully in Syria and Palestine.” Do your ‘ears’ identify you to other people? How?
      5. “Tares” are included in Jesus’ Model Prayer, Matthew 6.13: “deliver us from evil.” How will Jesus deliver you? Ask Him, as is encouraged in 1 Corinthians 10.12-13. Look for His ‘exit’…and follow the Holy Spirit (Romans 8.14)!
      6. Duplicity is a choice weapon of satan for deceiving through advertising (for more ‘wants’ than ‘needs’) and entertainment! But, reread 1 John 2.15-17 for the rest of the story. Is not Jehovah-jireh able? How does Jeremiah 32.27 challenge your response?
  5. The Holy Spirit will lead away from satan’s temptation and harm and to overcome them.
    1. We must pray for His deliverance from “the power of evil” (Matthew 6.13) in our “day of trouble” (Psalm 20.1, 1, 108.12, 118.8.)
    2. How do Jesus’ illustrations in Matthew 24.32-44 and Luke 12.39-40 relate to satanic attacks? What should you do?

We must acknowledge our dependence upon God and fight satan’s attempts to ‘snatch away’ ‘shame away’ or ‘desire away’ God’s truth! Be confident of victory as you enjoy God’s reassuring and similar words in Isaiah 35.8-10.

October 2, 2016 Acknowledge Dependence

Acknowledging Dependence

Among Apostle Paul’s ‘final instructions and benediction’ of 1 Thessalonians 5.12-25 is verse 17: “pray without ceasing”. How can we do this, since we must work to keep the roof over our heads and food in the frig? What about with sports and school and just hanging out with friends? What did Paul mean? Does this have anything to do with Deuteronomy 6.4-9? How are we to “pray without ceasing”? Did even Jesus practice this? Besides, what does “praying without ceasing” have to do with Spiritual Warfare?

A. Illustrations.

  1. Elijah was instructed to meet with God at His mountain, Horeb, in 1 Kings 19.9-16. Remember that Elijah was running from Jezebel the wicked wife of King Ahab, who had sworn to kill Elijah because his God had humiliated and/or killed the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah,”who [ate] at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18.19-40).
  2. At Mount Horeb, God spoke to Elijah not through the powerful wind or earthquake or fire but through “a sound of a gentle blowing” (verse 12, NASB; “still small voice” in NKJV; “sound of a low whisper” in ESV). What do you make of the contrast? How is this an evidence of Spiritual Warfare? How, then, does this position Philippians 2.9-11?
  3. What is the essence of God’s question, “’What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19.13)? Like so many of us, Elijah repeats his actions and Jezebel’s intention to kill him (verse 14). But, God understands the real reason for summonsing Elijah and, ignoring Jezebel’s threat, instructs him to carry out certain solutions from God (verses 15-16).
  4. My contemporary application of this understanding is the CEO who must listen to God to deal with the external powerful “wind” of the economy and the competitive “earthquake” and/or the internal “fire” of corporate stresses from growth of size and complexity. The Holy Spirit speaks with “a sound of a gentle blowing”. Elijah listened carefully; so must we.
  5. In another, the Prophet Nathan’s instructions to King David in 2 Samuel 7.1-3 help to explain Elijah’s complaint and my application. Whereas Elijah ran to God to save him from his fears, David had experienced God overcoming his fears through conquests. Now, at ease, David envisions a Temple for God’s Ark of the Covenant.
  6. How does Nathan’s instruction reveal “a sound of a gentle blowing” within David’s mind and that of the CEO? BTW, I believe we hear God’s voice more intuitively than audibly.
  7. Consider God’s words in Psalm 50.15, 14-16, Isaiah 30-.21 and Jeremiah 33.3 assuring of His readiness to answer our questions and assist with our deepest longings (Psalm 37.4).
  8. The following are examples of Biblical leaders who heard the voice of God (OT) and the Holy Spirit (NT):

B. So, how is the Model Prayer an example of “Praying without Ceasing”?

  1. Matthew 6.7-13 record Jesus’ instruction about succinctly worded prayers and about the acknowledgements of our prayers.
  2. God does not count the number of words; rather, He weighs our faith in our use of each acknowledgement. Consider 2 Chronicles 16.9a, Habakkuk 2.4 and Hebrews 11.6.
  3. How, then, does Matthew 6.8 frame the Model Prayer in verses 9-13?
  4. Driving this understanding deeper, why did Jesus say “Hallowed BE Your name” instead of “Hallowed IS Your name”? Obviously, Jesus knew that God’s name was already hallowed. What is He saying about “praying without ceasing” through this verb? How is Jesus affirming for His present and for our future the past statement of God to Abraham in Genesis 17.7? What is the ‘Covenant’ that God has made with you? See B.6, below. Consider Galatians 3.1-29.
  5. How is the ‘kingdom’ different from the ‘will’ of God in Matthew 6.10? Note Daniel’s (2.44) description of God’s pronouncement in Isaiah 9.6-7 about the ‘kingdom’. How does Matthew 10.7-8 illustrate the difference? How about Romans 14.17-19? How does God describe His Kingdom to Jeremiah (9.24)? So, then. ‘will’ express and fulfills ‘kingdom’.
  6. How do Jehovah-jireh, -rapha, -rohi, -nissi, and –shalom show this? How are Philippians 4.13 & 19 and 2 Corinthians 12.10 illustrative? Was Paul saying, “I know that God’s ‘will’ includes these, and that I will experience hem because I am walking in His ‘kingdom’?” What requirement did Paul understand that is expressed in John 1.12? What are the encouraging promises of Ephesians 3.20-21 and Isaiah 64.4?
  7. If Jesus is explaining God’s ‘will’ in Matthew 6.11-13, are these ‘categories’ of God’s will? Since God’s will involves action, as in Matthew 10.7-8, consider that the action verbs of the Model Prayer are categories of God’s will. And, therefore, which of His names fits appropriately? To wit:
  1. ‘Give’ in verse 11: Jehovah-jireh, -rapha, resulting in –shalom;
  2. ‘Forgive’ in verse 12: Jehovah-tsidkenu, since sin/’debts’ is a violation of righteousness, resulting in –shalom;
  3. ‘Lead’ in verse 13: Jehovah-rohi, -shammah, resulting in –shalom;
  4. ‘Deliver’ in verse 13: Jehovah-nissi, -shalom.
  5. Thus, God is the ‘Supplier/El Shaddai’ satisfying each category of Jesus’ Model Prayer. Which ‘Jehovah+’ do you see in Matthew 10.7-8? God’s will is revealed in the characteristics of His names. John (1.18) summarized this: “(Jesus) has explained [God]” NASB, “He has made Him known” ESV, and “He has declared Him” NKJV. God had said He would, in Exodus 34.10!
  6. Therefore, I paraphrase the end of verse 13: Your Kingdom come by Your Power and to display Your Glory! This is what Paul means in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5 and 2 Corinthians 4.7 (12.9-10)
  1. Consequently, how do you understand each acknowledgement of Matthew 6.9-13 as you state each in your own wording? What are you acknowledging? How does this evidence ‘maturity’ as in Hebrews 5.14-6.2 and 1 Corinthians 2.6-8?
  2. Do you sincerely mean the words of your acknowledgement? Remember that the definition of ‘vain’ in Exodus 20.7 includes believing there is no power in the name of the Lord God. Sincerely consider the penalty! What is Paul’s conclusion in Hebrews 11.6? Also, the name of the Lord God must be ‘Jesus’ because of Philippians 2.9-11, Ephesians 1.21, Hebrews 13.8, and Isaiah 7.14. Reflect upon Proverbs 18.10 as the Source of 1 Corinthians 4.20. The ‘will’ of God expresses the ‘power’ of His kingdom, as Jesus states in Matthew 10.7-8. Note Jeremiah’s understanding in chapter 32 and verse 17 and David’s in Psalm 8.1-9! What is your conclusion from God’s reply in Jeremiah 32.27?
  3. How might you word the prayer in the jargon of your profession? Consider the following illustration, which I wrote in January 2016.

For Enterprise Leaders:

Our Founder, Who art in Heaven; Hallowed be Your name!

Your vision come. Your mission be done on Earth, as Your will is done in Heaven.

Give us today the customers we need, and forgive us for speaking ill about our customers, competitors, and suppliers, for we repent from speaking ill about them.

And, lead us away from the temptations of philosophies and strategies that change Your vision or mission, and deliver us from the power of satan that would confuse, conflict, and confound us.

For, it is Your righteous kingdom we seek, and Your power and wisdom we depend upon, and Your glory we desire to be our result forever and ever!

Amen!

C. What does “praying without ceasing” have to do with Spiritual Warfare?

  1. Paul answers in Ephesians 6.18-20, restating the wording as “pray at all times” and after putting on “the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (verse 11, my emphasis). Communication with the Holy Spirit is critical to your deployment and success (Isaiah 30.21).
  2. How do 1 Corinthians 2.6-16 and Romans 8.26-27 explain Paul’s “pray at all times in the Spirit”? How do these verses complete the thought of Romans 8.14? How does Isaiah 30.21 make this personal? What is your picture of yourself in Jeremiah 6.16? You might see this in Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. An interesting ending verse.
  3. Further, anticipating an enemy’s actions is the reason armies train, football teams practice, and negotiators rehearse. Why is this what Paul means in Hebrews 5.14? How, then, would you benefit from writing a prayer to establish communications with the Holy Spirit during each attack contrary to Jehova-tsidkenu, -jireh –rapha, -rohi, -nissi, -shalom, and –shammah? “General Quarters! This is a drill!” I remember hearing these words from my Naval commanders. They meant that all warriors were to report to our battle stations and prepare for the fight. In Spiritual Warfare, “this is NOT a drill!” But, we must be “drilled”! Are you on your “battle station”, ready for the daily fight?
  4. In Matthew 13.18-22, Jesus explains how satan is always attacking (Matthew 6.13).
  1. Verse 19: Notice that satan comes immediately to ‘snatch away’ the ‘word of the Kingdom’ that is not understood. How? Verse 23 helps us to answer by explaining that the ‘word’ produces results in proportion to our understanding; complete understanding ‘yields a hundredfold of fruit’, and with increasingly limited understanding only ‘sixty’ or ‘thirty’. Could our ‘understanding’ be the source of ‘power’ that Paul said limits God’s ability, in Ephesians 3.20? Time in meditation with the Holy Spirit results in our understanding the ‘why’ or ‘principle’ of the knowledgeable narrative (‘who, what, when, where’) of the ‘word of the Kingdom’ that is heard. This equips us for ‘how’ to ‘bear fruit’ (Matthew 13.23). God reminds Israel, in Hosea 14.8, that only He can produce fruit through them; idols never can! Jesus reminds us that He is the ‘vine’ and we are the ‘branches’ that bear fruit, but only through His nourishment (John 15.5). Paul states, in Colossians 1.6, that we must ‘understand’ what we ‘hear’. So, understand the ‘word of the Kingdom’ before satan can ‘snatch [it] away’! Pray for understanding as you hear!
  2. Verse 21 describes many believers today: they start ‘hot’ but ‘cool down’ over time. God describes this, in Hosea 6.4, as he morning dew that burns off quickly in sunlight. Similarly, Paul complains that Galatian believers were “so quickly deserting” Jesus and were “turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one” (6-7). In Galatians 5.9-10, Paul reminds that only a little of philosophy can ruin believing faith that is not nurtured by increasing ‘word of the Kingdom’ with understanding. Ravi Zacharias explained this in a recent podcast (Apologetics and Worldviews, Part 1, 160924), that man has become his own measure of Biblical truth, rather than Biblical truth becoming the aspiration of man’s faith. He says that we live in an age ruled by ‘empirical’ evidence; that is, man judges the reliability of the Bible through the experiences of other people. “Thus saith the Lord” has become ‘but that’s not what faith-filled so-in-so experienced’ or ‘brother so-in-so said’. Jesus warns that such traditions make ‘void the word of God’ (Mark 7.13). “God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated” (Ecclesiastes 7.29, Good News Translation; Jeremiah 13.10). Paul warns of this in Colossians 2.8-10. Consider the illustration Solomon writes in Proverbs 25.26.
  3. Verse 22 describes other believers today: they give in to the ‘lusts and pride’ of lifestyles that are passing away and in God’s judgment (1 John 2.15-17). ‘Demas’ was Paul’s illustration of Timothy (2.4.10). Further, Paul amplified Jesus warning about duplicity (Luke 16.13) with his statement in 1 Timothy 6.9-10: “money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith….” Ananias and Sapphira died because of duplicity; Acts 5.1-11. The Rich Young Ruler missed out on Heaven while holding his dollars; Mark 10.17-23. Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6.24). Paul writes that we must “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that entangles” (Hebrews 12.1-2) and warns of judgment (1 Corinthians 3.12-15). Duplicity is a choice weapon of satan for deceiving through advertising and entertainment! Is not Jehovah-jireh able?

5. The Holy Spirit will lead away from and to overcome satan’s temptation and harm, as Jesus stated we should pray, in Matthew 6.13. We must pray for His deliverance from “the power of evil” (Matthew 6.13) in our “day of trouble” (Psalm 20.1, 46.1, 108.12, 118.8 [this is the middle verse of the Bible]).

We must acknowledge our dependence upon God and fight satan’s attempts to ‘snatch away’ God’s truth! Be confident of victory as you enjoy God’s reassuring and similar words in Isaiah 35.8-10.

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

September 11, 2016 Acknowledging Dependence

Acknowledging Dependence

Among Apostle Paul’s ‘final instructions and benediction’ of 1 Thessalonians 5.12-25 is verse 17: “pray without ceasing”. How can we do this, since we must work to keep the roof over our heads and food in the frig? What about with sports and school and just hanging out with friends? What did Paul mean? Does this have anything to do with Deuteronomy 6.4-9? How are we to “pray without ceasing”? Did even Jesus practice this? Besides, what does “praying without ceasing” have to do with Spiritual Warfare?

A. Illustrations.

  1. Elijah was instructed to meet with God at His mountain, Horeb, in 1 Kings 19.9-16. Remember that Elijah was running from Jezebel the wicked wife of King Ahab, who had sworn to kill Elijah because his God had humiliated and/or killed the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah,”who [ate] at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18.19-40).
  2. At Mount Horeb, God spoke to Elijah not through the powerful wind or earthquake or fire but through “a sound of a gentle blowing” (verse 12, NASB; “still small voice” in NKJV; “sound of a low whisper” in ESV). What do you make of the contrast? How is this an evidence of Spiritual Warfare? How, then, does this position Philippians 2.9-11?
  3. What is the essence of God’s question, “’What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19.13)? Like so many of us, Elijah repeats his actions and Jezebel’s intention to kill him (verse 14). But, God understands the real reason for summonsing Elijah and, ignoring Jezebel’s threat, instructs him to carry out certain solutions from God (verses 15-16).
  4. My contemporary application of this understanding is the CEO who must listen to God to deal with the external powerful “wind” of the economy and the competitive “earthquake” and/or the internal “fire” of corporate stresses from growth of size and complexity.       The Holy Spirit speaks with “a sound of a gentle blowing”. Elijah listened carefully; so must we.
  5. In another, the Prophet Nathan’s instructions to King David in 2 Samuel 7.1-3 help to explain Elijah’s complaint and my application. Whereas Elijah ran to God to save him from his fears, David had experienced God overcoming his fears through conquests. Now, at ease, David envisions a Temple for God’s Ark of the Covenant.
  6. How does Nathan’s instruction reveal “a sound of a gentle blowing” within David’s mind and that of the CEO? BTW, I believe we hear God’s voice more intuitively than audibly.
  7. Consider God’s words in Psalm 50.15, 91.14-16, Isaiah 30-.21 and Jeremiah 33.3 assuring of His readiness to answer our questions and assist with our deepest longings (Psalm 37.4).
  8. The following are examples of Biblical leaders who heard the voice of God (OT) and the Holy Spirit (NT):

B. So, how is the Model Prayer an example of “Praying without Ceasing”?

  1. Matthew 6.7-13 record Jesus’ instruction about succinctly worded prayers and about the acknowledgements of our prayers.
  2. God does not count the number of words; rather, He weighs our faith in our use of each acknowledgement. Consider Habakkuk 2.4 and Hebrews 11.6.
  3. How, then, does verse 8 frame the Model Prayer in verses 9-13?
  4. Driving this understanding deeper, why did Jesus say “Hallowed BE Your name” instead of “Hallowed IS Your name”? Obviously, Jesus knew that God’s name was already hallowed. What is He saying about “praying without ceasing” through this verb?
  5. Thus, how do you understand each acknowledgement of Matthew 6.9-13 as you state each in your own wording? What are you acknowledging? Do you sincerely mean it?
  6. How might you word the prayer in the jargon of your profession? Consider the following illustration, which I wrote in January 2016.

For Enterprise Leaders:

Our Founder, Who art in Heaven;

Hallowed be Your name!

Your vision come.

Your mission be done on Earth, as Your will is done in Heaven.

Give us today the customers we need, and forgive us for speaking ill about our customers, competitors, and suppliers, for we repent from speaking ill about them.

And, lead us away from the temptations of philosophies and strategies that change Your vision or mission, and deliver us from the power of satan that would confuse, conflict, and confound us.

For, it is Your righteous kingdom we seek, and Your power and wisdom we depend upon, and Your glory we desire to be our result forever and ever!

Amen!

C. What does “praying without ceasing” have to do with Spiritual Warfare?

  1. Paul answers in Ephesians 6.18-20, restating the wording as “pray at all times”.
  2. How does Romans 8.26-27 explain Paul’s “pray at all times in the Spirit”? How do these verses complete the thought of Romans 8.14? How does Isaiah 30.21 make this personal? What picture of this is given in Jeremiah 6.16? You might see this in Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. An interesting ending verse.

The Holy Spirit will lead away from and to overcome satan’s temptation and harm. Enjoy God’s reassuring and similar words in Isaiah 35.8-10.

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

September 4, 2016 The Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit

How powerful are the words we speak? Jesus said His words were “spirit and life” (John 6.63). Was this because He was God (Isaiah 7.14)? No, because of the illustration of Luke 10.1-19; the disciples spoke one Word “Jesus’, (Spirit) to effect life! Thus, the name ‘Jesus” IS “Spirit and life”! Paul reminds us of this in Philippians 2:9-11. In verses, 12-13, Paul says that Jesus expects us to use His name for overcoming satan. There is great power when we say what God has said, as Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3.16-17: the word of God IS God-breathed; thus, filled with His power! Ezekiel 37.1-14 illustrates this power, especially verses 9 & 10. John 1.9 generalizes about this Source of all knowledge, as Jesus focused in John 14.26. “Christ is described as the cosmological Logos, he presents Him as the epistemological Logos….He is also the ground of all human knowledge” (Ronald H. Nash, The Word of God and The Mind of Man, P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ, pp. 66-67).

Now, combine this knowledge with Paul’s declaration in Ephesians 6.12, that our daily struggles are against ‘spirits’ and not persons. Thus, we discover how the Word of God, the Bible, becomes an effective ‘sword’, and the only weapon needed, for fighting Spiritual Warfare, as Paul encourages in Ephesians 6.17. Matthew 4.1-11 gives us Jesus’ example for teaching us the protocol for effective use of the Sword. He, as a ‘Son of Man’ (Matthew 1.1-17; Luke 3.23-38), was subject to satan’s temptations to pride and lust (1 John 2.15-17) but did not give in (2 Corinthians 5.21; 1 Peter 2.22). Rather, He defeated the temptation by speaking “spirit and life”, not repeating the ‘death-results’ of satan’s words and ways, as Jesus identifies in John 10.10a. We must develop a vocabulary of ‘swords’ to thrust back at satan as we quench his fiery darts with our polished shields of faith (Ephesians 6.16)!

The power of words is in its Source. The Bible is “God’s word for God’s people; hear it, believe it, and live,” as my pastor says each week after reading the sermon text. Faith comes from hearing the word of God (Romans 10.17). We need faith for God’s salvation and from satan’s destruction (John 3.16-21; Romans 10.9-10. His-stories of ‘who, what, when, and where’ from the Bible develop into the ‘how’ of faith through the work of the Holy Spirit in helping us to understand the ‘why’ of the story, thereby revealing God (Jeremiah 9.24; John 1.18; 1 Corinthians 2.6-16). The Source is God Himself!

A. An Overview of the Bible.

  1. The Bible contains statements of God’s principles for righteousness and His promises for those who obey. He states this to Jeremiah in 7.23 and 23-24. Paul affirms this in Hebrews 11.6.
    1. God’s principles begin with the foundation of Genesis 1.1 (ESV): “In the beginning, God….”
    2. He continues with promises for Abraham and principles for mankind in Genesis 12.1-4, including a foretelling of the salvation of mankind at the Cross and Tomb (John 3.16; Romans 10.9-10).
    3. God enumerates and explains His principles for righteousness in the Decalogue of Exodus 20.1-17 and the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5-7, including the Model Prayer of Matthew 6.5-13. Is our Father’s Name to be ‘hallowed’ because of what Jesus says in the next verses? Remember that Jehovah+tsidkenu, jireh, raphe, rohi, nissi, shalom, and shammah cover all of life. Thus, is His name worthy of “hallow’? Notice Paul exclaims this in Ephesians 3.20-21.
  2. The Bible, then, illustrates leaders and followers who succeeded so long as they obeyed.
    1. In Genesis 17.1-22, Abraham talked with God about carrying out His plan in Genesis 12.1-4, and God called Abraham His ‘Friend’ (2 Chronicles 20.7; Isaiah 41.8).
    2. Moses depended upon God to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and to deposit them in the Land Promised to Abraham, illustrated in the defeat of Amalek (Exodus 17.8-16).
    3. The shepherd who became the greatest King of Israel, David, was a ‘man after [God’s] own heart’ (1Samuel 13.14) because David obeyed God wholeheartedly (1 Kings 14.8; 2 Chronicles 16.9a).
    4. These understood and enjoyed the essence of what Moses encourages the Israelites in Deuteronomy 28.1-14.
  3. But, there were leaders and followers who failed because they, apparently, did not read Deuteronomy 28.15-68.
    1. Notably, Solomon in his later years became deceived by the gods of the foreign wives he had married (1 Kings 11.1-11).
    2. King Manasseh did more evil than those before him in leading the Israelites to worship the heavenly hosts (Moon god, predecessor of Islam; 2 Kings 21.9, 11-12).
    3. Even King Uzziah became deceived by pride and ended his years alone (2 Chronicles 26.16-21).
    4. They should have remembered God’s words to Cain in Genesis 4.7. Success is found in ruling over sin, not giving in to it!
  4. Thus, the various Prophets were sent to warn the Israelites to return to God but without success (2 Kings 17.13-15). John the Baptist (Luke 1.17; Matthew 11.14) fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi 4.5-6. JB was the last of the Old Testament prophets and was to identify Messiah (Isaiah 40.3-5; Malachi 3.1-2; Matthew 3.1-3, 13-17; John 1.29-34).
  5. Jeremiah 44.1-30 illustrates the patience and firmness of God to honor His word. One lesson from this illustration is to follow the advice from God for which you asked! See Psalm 138.2. Read Solomon’s observation about words in Proverbs 18.20-21. Is your stomach aching or calm?
  6. Lastly, God sent His only ‘Begotten Son’ (1 John 4.9, NKJV; John 1.14) to free mankind from satan’s bondage (John 8.31-32) and “deliver us from this present evil age” (Galatians 1.3-5; 2 Peter 1.2-4). We, Jesus’ prophets, continue the task of reconciling lost mankind to God (1 Peter 2.9; 2 Corinthians 5.20; Matthew 28.18-20) before God calls an end to the opportunity of salvation (Revelation 4.1).

B. Bible Readership Statistics.

  1. As at January 2015, Barna Group reports that 28% of those surveyed read the Bible four to seven days each week, 17% once a month to once a week, 26% one-to-four times per year, 28% never, and one percent ‘not sure’ (www.statista.com).
  2. “Pew Research Center said Wednesday [160824] that 49 percent of what they term ‘nones’ left their church and religion because they ‘don’t believe.’ Another 20 percent said they don’t like organized religion. Other reasons included ‘common sense’ and a lack of belief in miracles….The survey is the latest from Pew that demonstrates a growing trend in America: more and more people are junking religion and many are giving up on God” (Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner, Pew: Americans giving up on God, miracles, August 24, 2016, http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/pew-huge-surge-in-americans-who-no0longer-believe-in-god-miracles/articles/2600066).
  3. “Americans have a high interest and awareness of the Bible, but a majority believe the scripture has too little influence on a society some of them say is in moral decline, according to a recent poll for the American Bible Society” (www.deseretnews.com; April 9, 2013).
  4. “The number of those who are skeptical or agnostic toward the Bible—who believe that the Bible is “just another book of teachings written by men that contains stories and advice”—has nearly doubled from 10% to 19% in just three years” (barna.org/The State of the Bible: 6 Trends for 2014; April 8, 2014).
  5. “Digging into the population segmentation of Bible skeptics, we find that two-thirds are 48 or younger (28% Millennials, 36% Gen-Xers), and they are twice as likely to be male (68%) than female (32%). They are more likely to identify as Catholic than any other single denomination or affiliation (30%) and are the most-likely segment not to have attended church (87%) or prayed (63%) during the previous week. They are also most likely not to have made a commitment to Jesus that is important in their life today (76%)” (ibid).
  6. A greater travesty is that Christians were included in the survey! “‘The tyranny of political correctness is causing people to step away from their values,’ says Judge Wayne Mack, a justice of the peace in Montgomery County, Texas” (The Daily Signal, August 17, 2016).

C. Rationale for Obeying the Bible today.

  1. Simply stated, the Bible will be the test document for mankind at the Great White Throne Judgment of God Almighty (Revelation 20.11-15). Notice there that the judgment of unbelievers will be “according to what they had done” (ESV), especially as related to John 14.6 (John 3.16-21). Jesus emphasizes this in Matthew 12.36-37; again, the spoken word!
  2. This was Solomon’s summary, too, after examining existential philosophies, in Ecclesiastes 12.13-14. God EXPECTS mankind to obey His commandments! These are His criteria for separating good from evil (Jeremiah 15.19).
  3. This was the essence of Paul’s argument with the philosophers at Mars Hill, Athens, Greece. Notice, in Acts 17.22-31, his use of words in presenting the argument for the exclusivity of Jesus. Such ‘escape’ was Paul’s point in Galatians 1.4, too; we do not escape judgment through philosophies of relativism, secular-humanism, pluralism, etc. All these have resulted from Jeremiah 13.10: leaving God’s truth and following devolving lies from satan’s demons.
  4. Mankind has become ignorant, as God pointed out specifically about adulterous Israel, in Hosea 4.6. James (4.4) repeats this theme to Christ-followers, too. Ignorance is rampant, including among ‘people of the Book’!
  5. James (4.7) continues with the imperative: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (NASB). This is what God had encouraged Cain to do in Genesis 4.7. Paul gives more details and the necessary practical steps in Ephesians 6.10-19. You must do this; others can only stand with you; they cannot stand for you (unless you are a child before their ‘age of accountability’).
  6. In the “Bible sword drills’ of my childhood, the leader would command, ‘draw swords’, before naming the Bible verse to look up; then, give the start command, ‘charge’, to see which student could find the verse first. We probably need to renew this practice.

D. So, why Study the Bible?

  1. Solomon answers in Ecclesiastes (12.13-14) that there will be a future ‘judgment’ of mankind for their ‘whole duty’.
  2. Paul answers in Acts (17.22-31) that the ‘ignorant’ philosophies of any era will be ‘Judged’ by Jesus.
  3. John answers in Revelation (20.11-15) that God will ‘throw into the Lake of Fire’ all persons ‘according to what they have done’ against God or to earn their salvation, but whose names are ‘not found written in the Book of Life’ because they believed John 14.6
  4. Since there will be a Judgment by God, people should study the practices illustrated in the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit to discern the principle of God being taught, so that they may perform the principle in the contexts to which into which the Holy Spirit will be guiding their lives.
  5. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10.11: “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”
  6. R. G. Lee preached a famous sermon about this titled ‘Payday Someday’. We should listen to it from time to time as a reminder.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNoMuCspTKE)

  The opportunities are great for Christians to walk their talk by reading and obeying their Bibles and living out God’s principles in all of their daily contexts, which is where the Holy Spirit has placed them to make an impact for God. Someone should know God better each day because of you (Isaiah 55.5)! Angels are waiting for your orders to complement your use of the Sword of the Spirit (Psalm 103.20; Hebrews 1.14)! Pick up the Sword and learn to use it in Spiritual Warfare (2 Corinthians 10.4-6)!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

August 14, 2016

Great Faith

How much faith is enough? How much depends upon how small we want satan to be and how big you want Jesus to be in the bisected rectangle of our lives (see 160627 “Growing Faith” at www.sozoclass.com; either two equal right triangles or one right triangle, with one short side, and a quadrilateral, with one short side, representing not fully our of ‘darkness’ into ‘light’ (John 1:4-5). Ideally, we want to experience what the disciples reported to Jesus in Luke 10.17 and to hear His response in verse 19. Theirs was the reality of what Apostle Paul writes, later, in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6. By the way, these express the reality the Apostle John presents in Revelation 12.11; “Jesus” is the only word needed (Philippians 2.9-11)! Remember, also, that the list of our Spiritual equippers in Ephesians 4.11-12 are there to produce verse 13 in us. Continually adding knowledge and understanding that knowledge will develop a stronger faith (Romans 10.17; Jeremiah 9. 23-24; 1 John 5.4). Consider the following examples of great faith and based upon an important principle.

The Fundamental Principle.

  1. Since our faith is to grow into the size of Jesus’ (Ephesians 4.13), how should we measure Jesus’ faith?
  2. Mark 11.22-26 (Matthew 21.20-22) is Jesus’ answer: ask according to God’s will (1 John 5.14; expressed in His names, Jehovah+__; illustrated by Jesus’ life and work on Earth; see John 5.19-20 and 12.49; Jeremiah 7.23).
    1. Notice, too, in Mark 11.23-24 that believing faith speaks and that it does not doubt.
    2. Notice, also, in verses 25-26 the importance of forgiving others; what is the connection of forgiveness to answered prayer? Consider 1 Corinthians 11.27-31 and Matthew 5.21-24 in your answer.
    3. Paul discusses this with Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.8. [Many versions use ‘wrath and quarreling/dissension’ and differentiate a view external (inter-personal) and internal (intra-personal; a troubled mind or uncertainty), respectively. However, the New King James Version uses ‘wrath and doubt’. Doubt is the better word to express internal incomplete certainty.] Paul was repeating Jesus’ emphasis of ‘forgiveness/no wrath’ and ‘complete certainty/no doubt’ (i.e., faith resulting from understanding of the knowledge of God’s will from history and/or personal experience). Certainty is gained from remembering experiences of God showing up and showing off for self and/or other people! Doubt flees; James 4.7!
    4. James 1:5-8 discusses the importance of not doubting: i.e., being certain about ‘grace’; defined: God’s word of promise and His unwillingness to use His mighty power to bring it to my reality.
  3. In Romans 10.9-10, Paul emphasizes the desired connection between our minds and our lips: speak only what we believe with certainty! Does this principle only regard believing Jesus for eternal life? Or, does the principle include believing for Jehovah+tsidkenu, jireh, rapha, rohi, nissi, shalom, and shammah? Thus, the importance of growing from ‘faith to faith’ (Romans 1.17) is for understanding God more fully (Jeremiah 9.24) and for developing capacity for spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10.6; James 4.7; 1 John 5:4-5; Hebrews 5.14; 1 John 4.4).

B .Frantic Pleas.

  1. As you review the following examples, identity 1) the satanic attack, 2) what salvation was needed, 3) any prior experience of the requestor with that salvation, 4) what did the requestor say, 5) any doubt by the requestor, 6) any barriers in the way, 7) the results for the requestor and for the beneficiary, 8) you ‘why’ understanding of the ‘who, what, when, and where’ knowledge of the incidents, and 9) your ‘how’ you will personally use this review to increase your faith.
  2. Matthew 9.18-26 records the frantic plea of a father for his daughter, who has just died. “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live” (my emphasis). And, she did; verse 25! How great was his faith in “the Name above all names” (Philippians 2.9-11) that took on flesh (John 1.14)? What was God’s will, which the father reasoned (Genesis 6.3; Jeremiah 29.11)?       Remember the definition of grace is God’s word of promise and His willingness to use His mighty power to bring it to your reality.
  3. John 4.46-53 records the frantic plea of another father, whose son was almost dead. What circumstantial differences are there with the other father? It is important to note that the father’s faith in Jesus’ words did not waiver, even when Jesus did not continue the journey with him.       How great was his faith?       What do you think the father muttered to himself all the way home? He had no doubt! How strong was the father’s faith after the events of verses 51-53?
  4. [How do these two examples above help you to understand Abraham’s faith, as is discussed in Hebrews 11.17-19, Romans 4.16-25, and James 2.14-16?       Remember that Abraham grew from faith to faith over 25 years to the fulfillment of God’s promised birth plus, probably, another 25 years until the sacrifice! “Faith comes…” by acting from God’s promises (knowledge + understanding)!]
  5. Luke 5.17-26 (Matthew 9.1-8; Mark 2.1-12) relates the story of friends lowering a paralytic through the roof to position him before Jesus for the purpose of receiving healing (John 1.12; Mark 11.23-24). Jesus “saw their faith” in action, especially the faith of the paralytic, who probably had called his friends to take him to Jesus (James 5.14-15). He, too, said with his mouth what he believed in his heart!
  6. Mark 10.46-52 tells the story of ‘Blind Bartimaeus’. What barriers did he overcome to get to Jesus? How did Jesus help him to become specific about his request? Why did Jesus include the caveat in verse 52? What do you learn from this example?
  7. Luke 8:43-47 (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34) tells a similar story. Answer the questions in B. 6. for her. What is your takeaway from both stories? Was there any doubt?
  8. Acts 3.1-10 tells the story of another paralytic who received healing. How did Peter know his desire? How did Peter know the words to say? (Consider Luke 10.7) How did Peter describe this in Acts 3.16 and 4.12 and to whom? What is the importance of these declarations?
  9. So far, our considerations have been personal and family and related to health. Isaiah 37.1-35 discusses a threat to the survival of Israel when Hezekiah was king. What did he do? What was the result? What quality of God do you read in verse 32, that may be new to you? (Consider Isaiah 9.7, 42.13; John 2.17.) How were King Jehoshaphat’s actions similar in 2 Chronicles 20.1-30? How were God’s actions similar? Genesis 12.1-3 and Isaiah 7.14 and 9.6-7 explain God’s defense of Israel, in addition to King J’s reference to Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.22-61, especially verses 33-34. What were His reasons? What was King J’s important declaration in 2 Chronicles 20.12? Why was/is this important? What general truth does Peter illustrate in Matthew 14.22-23? Remember Psalm 127.1.
  10. What important perspective do you learn from Psalm 138.2? Numbers 23.19! Isaiah 45.22!

C. Great Faith!

  1. Jesus recognized “great faith” on only two occasions, as follows. What made faith great?
  2. Matthew 8.5-13 is the story of a Roman Centurion (i.e., responsible for 100 troops) who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, who was “dreadfully tormented”.       Even though the Centurion was a Gentile, Jesus offered to come to his house to heal the boy. Why did the Centurion object? What made his faith ‘great’? How do his words in verse 8 and Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7.24-27 help you? Also, how do John 5.44 & 15.24 explain why Jesus said, “I have not such great faith with anyone in Israel” (NASB)? Notice that Jesus acknowledged the Centurion’s responsibility for the boy in Matthew 7.13. The boy was not yet ‘accountable’ for his faith.
  3. Matthew 15.21-28 records the story of a Syrophoenician mother who persistently implored until Jesus “cast the demon out of her daughter” (Mark 7.26). [Matthew 4:24-25 indicates that Jesus had already encountered Syrians.] What made her faith ‘great’?       How was her faith like that of the Centurion? Compare Matthew 15.25 to Matthew 8.8. John MacArthur wrote: “Great faith, the kind of faith that you see with this woman, has great reverence, a sense of respect and awe. I know she didn’t understand the fullness of the Lordship of Christ, and she would not have perceived the sweeping reality of what these titles meant, but she sees in there some sense of His Lordship, and power, and supernatural character” (The Quality of Great Faith).
  4. The illustrations in Section B, above, were not called “Great” because God was the foundation for their faith. Jesus came to return them to ‘truth’ (John 1.17) from their philosophy called Judaism. The Centurion expressed “Great Faith” by calling Jesus “Lord” (Matthew 8.8); thereby, displacing Caesar from that position, which was treason punishable by death. The woman expressed “Great Faith” by calling Jesus “Lord” (Matthew 15.25); thereby, perhaps, going against the traditions of other gods of the Syrophoenician peoples and her family. The rick was worth the taking because of the reward was desperately desired… and received!
  5. The woman was persistent in her focus and had answers to every one of Jesus’ qualifying comments. She did not give in to fears of failure (Matthew 13.18-22). The Centurion recognized Jesus as having authority over His words; he had proven this in the practice of his leadership; see Hebrews 5.14. Words cause results, as Jesus said in John 6.63!
  6. Notice that neither Gentile doubted that what they spoke in faith would be what they found when they returned to their sick loved one. How does this illustrate Mark 11.22-24?
  7. “Great faith” is contrasted from “little faith” by Peter in Matthew 14.31. Then, what makes the difference? What is Paul’s conclusion about this in Romans 14.23? James’ in 1.7-8? Contrast Peter’s experience with King Jehoshaphat’s statement in 2 Chronicles 10.12. What do you learn from the difference?
  8. Was Matthew 14.28 Peter’s fleece? If so, did it seem to bother Jesus? Notice, too, that what both asked was according to God’s will: Matthew 10.7-8 and Acts 10.38. So, how does Matthew 6.30-34 wrap this together? How is this a resentment of Isaiah 45.22? “Great Faith” does!

D. How is faith a shield?

  1. Jeremiah 12.5 was God’s way of framing the challenge. The thicket of the Jordan River was where lions roamed (Jeremiah 49.19 & 44) and is the contrast to peace. You must be up to the challenge! Learn now to use the ‘shield of faith’ and the ‘sword of the Spirit’.
  2. Notice the potential of the ‘shield of faith’ that Paul describes in Ephesians 6.16: “above all (in degree and/or function), taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (NKJV; my parenthesis for explanation and italics for emphasis).
    1. Above all”: remember Who is greater, as in 1 John 4.4 & 4-5, 2 Corinthians 2.14, and Philippians 1.27-28. God applied this to Joshua in 1.6-9. Remember Zechariah 4.6 and Romans 8.14! Receive Paul’s encouragement in 2 Timothy 4.17-18.
    2. Will be able”: remember what God has already done with satan, as in Revelation 12.7-9, Isaiah 14.12-15, John 12.31 & 33, Ephesians 1.22-23, Psalm 7.10, Matthew 28.18, and Luke 10.17-19. Remember, too, that the command to ‘rule over’ was given in Genesis 1.26, 28 & 4.7. Notice how the disciples of Jesus exercised this in Luke 10.17!
    3. All”: Paul knew about ‘all’ as he relates in 2 Corinthians 9.8 (NKJV): “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (my underline). God IS able! Remember the definition of Grace in Section B.2 above.
    4. Fiery Darts”: What are ‘fiery darts’? How does John 10.10a summarize ‘all’ the ‘fiery darts‘? How do you see this in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.18-22?
    5. Which ‘fiery darts‘ do you recognize by the following shields that quench them: Jehovah+tsidkenu/righteousness (Jeremiah 23.6, 16), jireh/provider (Genesis 8.13, 22.14), rapha/healer (Exodus 17.15, 23.26), rohi/guide (Psalm 23), nissi/protector (Exodus 17.15, 23.22; Joshua 16.11; Psalm 81.13-14), shalom/peace (Judges 6.24), and shammah/companion (Ezekiel 48.35)? Remember, too, 2 Corinthians 10.4-6 & 12.9-10 includes ‘all’.
    6. What ‘fiery darts of the wicked one’ do you see in Sections B and C, above? Notice that the shield of faith was raised in anticipation of the fight in some instances. In other instances, it was raised along with the ‘sword of the Spirit’ (Ephesians 6.17) to stop the wicked one’s abuse and to drive the demons away. The healing of the epileptic son illustrates Jesus encouraging his father to raise the shield of faith, in Mark 9.14-27, especially verse 23.
  3. What are some events when you used faith as a shield to quench satan’s fiery darts? What did you learn? What happened the next time satan threw this ‘fiery dart‘ at you? How did you use this new-found shield of faith to quench new ones? Remember Ephesians 6.12.

So, against what anticipated attack from satan are you believing for God’s promised salvation? Where do you find His promise in the Bible? When do/will you meditate upon the Bible-promise of Jehovah+ to build “GREAT” faith? Put your name in Mark 9.23! Habakkuk 2.4b!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.

July 31, 2016 Great Faith

Great Faith

How much faith is enough? How depends upon how small we want satan to be and how big you want Jesus to be in the bisected rectangle of our lives (see 160627 “Growing Faith” at www.sozoclass.com; either two equal right triangles or one right triangle, with one short side, and a quadrilateral, with one short side, representing not fully our of ‘darkness’ into ‘light’ (John 1:4-5). Ideally, we want to experience what the disciples reported to Jesus in Luke 10.17 and to hear His response in verse 19. Theirs was the reality of what Apostle Paul writes, later, in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6. By the way, these express the reality the Apostle John presents in Revelation 12.11; “Jesus” is the only word needed (Philippians 2.9-11)! Remember, also, that the list of our Spiritual equippers in Ephesians 4.11-12 are there to produce verse 13 in us. Continually adding knowledge and understanding that knowledge will develop a stronger faith (Romans 10.17; Jeremiah 9. 23-24; 1 John 5.4). Consider the following examples of great faith and based upon an important principle.

A. The Fundamental Principle.

  1. Since our faith is to grow into the size of Jesus’ (Ephesians 4.13), how should we measure Jesus’ faith?
  2. Mark 11.22-26 (Matthew 21.20-22) is Jesus’ answer: ask according to God’s will (1 John 5.14; expressed in His names, Jehovah+__; illustrated by Jesus’ life and work on Earth; see John 5.19-20 and 12.49; Jeremiah 7.23).

1. Notice, too, in Mark 11.23-24 that believing faith speaks and that it does not doubt.

2. Notice, also, in verses 25-26 the importance of forgiving others; what is the connection of forgiveness to answered prayer? Consider 1 Corinthians 11.27-31 and Matthew 5.21-24 in your answer.

3. Paul discusses this with Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.8. [Many versions use ‘wrath and quarreling/dissension’ and differentiate a view external (inter-personal) and internal (intra-personal; a troubled mind or uncertainty), respectively. However, the New King James Version uses ‘wrath and doubt’. Doubt is the better word to express internal incomplete certainty.] Paul was repeating Jesus’ emphasis of ‘forgiveness/no wrath’ and ‘complete certainty/no doubt’ (i.e., faith resulting from understanding of the knowledge of God’s will from history and/or personal experience). Certainty is gained from remembering experiences of God showing up and showing off for self and/or other people! Doubt flees; James 4.7!

4. James 1:5-8 discusses the importance of not doubting: i.e., being certain about ‘grace’; defined: God’s word of promise and His unwillingness to use His mighty power to bring it to my reality.

3. In Romans 10.9-10, Paul emphasizes the desired connection between our minds and our lips: speak only what we believe with certainty! Does this principle only regard believing Jesus for eternal life? Or, does the principle include believing for Jehovah+tsidkenu, jireh, rapha, rohi, nissi, shalom, and shammah? Thus, the importance of growing from ‘faith to faith’ (Romans 1.17) is for understanding God more fully (Jeremiah 9.24) and for developing capacity for spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10.6; James 4.7; 1 John 5:4-5; Hebrews 5.14; 1 John 4.4).

B. Frantic Pleas.

  1. As you review the following examples, identity 1) the satanic attack, 2) what salvation was needed, 3) any prior experience of the requestor with that salvation, 4) what did the requestor say, 5) any doubt by the requestor, 6) any barriers in the way, 7) the results for the requestor and for the beneficiary, 8) you ‘why’ understanding of the ‘who, what, when, and where’ knowledge of the incidents, and 9) your ‘how’ you will personally use this review to increase your faith.
  2. Matthew 9.18-26 records the frantic plea of a father for his daughter, who has just died. “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live” (my emphasis). And, she did; verse 25! How great was his faith in “the Name above all names” (Philippians 2.9-11) that took on flesh (John 1.14)? What was God’s will, which the father reasoned (Genesis 6.3; Jeremiah 29.11)?       Remember the definition of grace is God’s word of promise and His willingness to use His mighty power to bring it to your reality.
  3. John 4.46-53 records the frantic plea of another father, whose son was almost dead. What circumstantial differences are there with the other father? It is important to note that the father’s faith in Jesus’ words did not waiver, even when Jesus did not continue the journey with him. How great was his faith? What do you think the father muttered to himself all the way home? He had no doubt! How strong was the father’s faith after the events of verses 51-53?
  4. [How do these two examples above help you to understand Abraham’s faith, as is discussed in Hebrews 11.17-19 and Romans 4.16-25?       Remember that Abraham grew from faith to faith over 25 years to the fulfillment of God’s promised birth plus, probably, another 25 years until the sacrifice! “Faith comes…” by acting from God’s promises (knowledge + understanding)!]
  5. Luke 5.17-26 (Matthew 9.1-8; Mark 2.1-12) relates the story of friends lowering a paralytic through the roof to position him before Jesus for the purpose of receiving healing (John 1.12; Mark 11.23-24). Jesus “saw their faith” in action, especially the faith of the paralytic, who probably had called his friends to take him to Jesus (James 5.14-15). He, too, said with his mouth what he believed in his heart!
  6. Mark 10.46-52 tells the story of ‘Blind Bartimaeus’. What barriers did he overcome to get to Jesus? How did Jesus help him to become specific about his request? Why did Jesus include the caveat in verse 52? What do you learn from this example?
  7. Luke 8:43-47 (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34) tells a similar story.       Answer the questions in B. 6. for her. What is your takeaway from both stories? Was there any doubt?
  8. Acts 3.1-10 tells the story of another paralytic who received healing. How did Peter know his desire? How did Peter know the words to say? (Consider Luke 10.7) How did Peter describe this in Acts 3.16 and 4.12 and to whom? What is the importance of these declarations?
  9. So far, our considerations have been personal and family and related to health. Isaiah 37.1-35 discusses a threat to the survival of Israel when Hezekiah was king. What did he do? What was the result? What quality of God do you read in verse 32, that may be new to you? (Consider Isaiah 9.7, 42.13; John 2.17.) How were King Jehoshaphat’s actions similar in 2 Chronicles 20.1-30? How were God’s actions similar? Genesis 12.1-3 and Isaiah 7.14 and 9.6-7 explain God’s defense of Israel, in addition to King J’s reference to Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.22-61, especially verses 33-34. What were His reasons? Remember Psalm 127.1.
  10. What important perspective do you learn from Psalm 138.2? Numbers 23.19! Isaiah 45.22!

C. Great Faith!

  1. Jesus recognized “great faith” on only two occasions, as follows. What made faith great?
  2. Matthew 8.5-13 is the story of a Roman Centurion (i.e., responsible for 100 troops) who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, who was “dreadfully tormented”.       Even though the Centurion was a Gentile, Jesus offered to come to his house to heal the servant. Why did the Centurion object? What made his faith ‘great’? What is your takeaway?
  3. Matthew 15.21-28 records the story of a Syrophoenician mother who persistently implored until Jesus “cast the demon out of her daughter” (Mark 7.26). What made her faith ‘great’? How was her faith like that of the Centurion? What is your takeaway?
  4. Notice that neither Gentile doubted that what they spoke in faith would be what they found when they returned to their sick loved one. How does this illustrate Mark 11.22-24?
  5. Notice, too, that what both asked was according to God’s will: Matthew 10.7-8 and Acts 10.38.

So, against what attack from satan are you believing for God’s promised salvation? Where do you find His promise in the Bible? How and how often do you meditate thereupon for faith? Habakkuk 2.4b!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.

July 24, 2016 Great Faith

Great Faith

How much faith is enough? How much was enough for the widow to feed Elijah, her son, and herself with the little meal she had until it rained; 1 Kings 17:1-34? How much was enough for the widow to keep pouring the little she had until she paid her family debt; 2 Kings 4:1-7? How much was enough to float the iron axehead; 2 Kings 6:1-7?

How depends upon how small we want satan to be and how big you want Jesus to be in the bisected rectangle of our lives (see 160627 “Growing Faith” at www.sozoclass.com; either two equal right triangles or one right triangle, with one short side, and a quadrilateral, with one short side, representing not fully our of ‘darkness’ into ‘light’ (John 1:4-5). Ideally, we want to experience what the disciples reported to Jesus in Luke 10.17 and to hear His response in verse 19. Theirs was the reality of what Apostle Paul writes, later, in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6. By the way, these express the reality the Apostle John presents in Revelation 12.11; “Jesus” is the only word needed (Philippians 2.9-11)! Remember, also, that the list of our Spiritual equippers in Ephesians 4.11-12 are there to produce verse 13 in us. Continually adding knowledge and understanding that knowledge will develop a stronger faith (Romans 10.17; Jeremiah 9. 23-24; 1 John 5.4). Consider the following examples of great faith and based upon an important principle.

A. The Fundamental Principle.

  1. Since our faith is to grow into the size of Jesus’ (Ephesians 4.13), how should we measure Jesus’ faith?
  2. Mark 11.22-26 (Matthew 21.20-22) is Jesus’ answer: ask according to God’s will (1 John 5.14; expressed in His names, Jehovah+__; illustrated by Jesus’ life and work on Earth; see John 5.19-20 and 12.49; Jeremiah 7.23).
    1. Notice, too, in Mark 11.23-24 that believing faith speaks and that it does not doubt.
    2. Notice, also, in verses 25-26 the importance of forgiving others; what is the connection of forgiveness to answered prayer? Consider 1 Corinthians 11.27-31 and Matthew 5.21-24 in your answer.
    3. Paul discusses this with Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.8. [Many versions use ‘wrath and quarreling/dissension’ and differentiate a view external (inter-personal) and internal (intra-personal; a troubled mind or uncertainty), respectively. However, the New King James Version uses ‘wrath and doubt’; doubt being the better word to express incomplete certainty.] Paul was repeating Jesus’ emphasis of ‘forgiveness/no wrath’ and ‘complete certainty/no doubt’ (i.e., faith resulting from understanding of the knowledge of God’s will from history and/or personal experience). Certainty is gained by remembering experiences of God showing up and showing off for self and/or other people! Doubt flees: James 4:7!
    4. James 1:5-8 discusses the importance of not doubting: i.e., being certain about ‘grace’; defined: God’s word of promise and His unwillingness to use His mighty power to bring it to my reality.
  3. In Romans 10.9-10, Paul emphasizes the desired connection between our minds and our lips: speak only what we believe with certainty! Does this principle only regard believing Jesus for eternal life? Or, does the principle include believing for Jehovah+tsidkenu, jireh, rapha, rohi, nissi, shalom, and shammah? Thus, the importance of growing from ‘faith to faith’ (Romans 1.17) is for understanding God more fully (Jeremiah 9.24) and for developing capacity for spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10.6; James 4.7; 1 John 5:4-5; Hebrews 5.14; 1 John 4.4).

B. Frantic Pleas.

  1. Matthew 9.18-26 records the frantic plea of a father for his daughter, who has just died. “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live” (my emphasis). And, she did; verse 25! How great was his faith in “the Name above all names” (Philippians 2.9-11) that took on flesh (John 1.14)? What was God’s will, which the father reasoned (Genesis 6.3; Jeremiah 29.11)? Remember the definition of grace is God’s word of promise and His willingness to use His mighty power to bring it to your reality.
  2. John 4.46-53 records the frantic plea of another father, whose son was almost dead. What circumstantial differences are there with the other father? It is important to note that the father’s faith in Jesus’ words did not waiver, even when Jesus did not continue the journey with him. How great was his faith? What do you think the father muttered to himself all the way home? He had no doubt! How strong was the father’s faith after the events of verses 51-53?
  3. [How do these two examples above help you to understand Abraham’s faith, as is discussed in Hebrews 11.17-19 and Romans 4.16-25?       Remember that Abraham grew from faith to faith over 25 years to the fulfillment of God’s promised birth plus, probably, another 25 years until the sacrifice! “Faith comes…” by acting from God’s promises (knowledge + understanding)!]
  4. Luke 5.17-26 (Matthew 9.1-8; Mark 2.1-12) relates the story of friends lowering a paralytic through the roof to position him before Jesus for the purpose of receiving healing (John 1.12).  Jesus “saw their faith” in action, especially the faith of the paralytic, who probably had called his friends to take him to Jesus (James 5.14-15). He, too, said with his mouth what he believed in his heart!
  5. Mark 10.46-52 tells the story of ‘Blind Bartimaeus’. What barriers did he overcome to get to Jesus? How did Jesus help him to become specific about his request? Why did Jesus include the caveat in verse 52? What do you learn from this example?
  6. Luke 8:43-47 (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34) tells a similar story. Answer the questions in B. 5. for her. What is your takeaway from both stories? Was there any doubt?
  7. So far, our considerations have been personal and family and related to health. Isaiah 37.1-35 discusses a threat to the survival of Israel when Hezekiah was king. What did he do? What was the result? What quality of God do you read in verse 32, that may be new to you?  (Consider Isaiah 9.7, 42.13; John 2.17.) How were King Jehoshaphat’s actions similar in 2 Chronicles 20.1-30? How were God’s actions similar? Genesis 12.1-3 and Isaiah 7.14 and 9.6-7 explain God’s defense of Israel, in addition to King J’s reference to Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.22-61, especially verses 33-34. What were His reasons? Remember Psalm 127.1.
  8. What important perspective do you learn from Psalm 138.2? Numbers 23.19! Isaiah 45.22!

C. Great Faith!

  1. Jesus recognized “great faith” on only two occasions, as follows. What made faith great?
  2. Matthew 8.5-13 is the story of a Roman Centurion (i.e., responsible for 100 troops) who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, who was “dreadfully tormented”. Even though the Centurion was a Gentile, Jesus offered to come to his house to heal the servant. Why did the Centurion object? What made his faith ‘great’? What is your takeaway?
  3. Matthew 15.21-28 records the story of a Syrophoenician mother who persistently implored until Jesus “cast the demon out of her daughter” (Mark 7.26). What made her faith ‘great’? How was her faith like that of the Centurion? What is your takeaway?
  4. Notice that neither Gentile doubted that what they spoke in faith would be what they found when they returned to their sick loved one. How does this illustrate Mark 11.22-24?
  5. Notice, too, that what both asked was according to God’s will: Matthew 10.7-8 and Acts 10.38.

So, against what attack from satan are you believing for God’s promised salvation? Where do you find His promise in the Bible? How and how often do you meditate thereupon for faith? Habakkuk 2.4b!

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.