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Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

For the Believer

Christian, I have a word of encouragement for you today.

Are you familiar with the ‘Hall of Faith‘ in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 11; that list of our Biblical heroes who triumphed in faith, by faith?  If you are, did you ever notice that this extraordinary list begins with someone very near and dear to your heart?

Who is this special person?

It’s you!

Check out what God recorded in His word:

“By faith ‘we’ understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3

Did you see it? “By faith ‘we’ (that’s you and me) understand this Godly stuff! Isn’t that so cool that God took the time to put us at the top of the list, above such notables as Moses, Noah, Abraham, and Issac? What an honor!

But don’t be too surprised. After all, didn’t Jesus say…

“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.” John 12:26

Hold on there, Babalouie!

Is this Hebrew passage really talking about you? In order to find out you must ask yourself these questions:

quickDo you believe that the worlds were created by God through His  word?

Do you believe in the invisible attributes of all creation?

Do you believe in the Biblical ‘Genesis’ account of creation? Or do you embrace unbiblical doctrines or the unprovable theories of evolution and big bangs?

If you do believe in those things, then the Hebrews passage is not talking about you, and therefore your are not included in the Hall of Faith. Sorry. The facts would show that you just might be a nominal Christian; that is, a Christian in name only.

But…

It could also mean that you’re merely immature in the faith.

Not to worry!

I remember being right where you are. When I became a new-believer, I carried around the nonsensical teachings of the world for years and it wasn’t until I became a diligent and submitted disciple of Christ that the truth of the Bible was revealed to me. In the light of that truth, I could not help but embrace it!

It can happen to you!

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Are you diligent in seeking Him?

The dictionary defines ‘diligently’ as steady application and care; with industry or assiduity (constant effort); actions not done carelessly or negligently.

Diligence of the Biblical sort is deliberate in its effort towards holy accomplishment, both attentive and persistent, and obedient to follow-through with the results that are discovered. In contrast, the unenthusiastic Christian is not rewarded, for God is not pleased if we are operating outside of faith. Would a parachute instructor be pleased if you refused to don the chute, even after being convinced it will save you? Similarly God is not pleased if you neglect your faith and His truth.

Diligent Christians believe by faith that ‘God is’ and that He rewards our faithful attentiveness.  It is not enough for us to just know God is God (head knowledge), we must seek Him with a persevering faith that says He will provide the things He knows we need.

To know Jesus is to know truth. For the Christian, ‘seeing is believing‘ is an errant and worldly concept, for it is our testimony that believing is the first step to seeing those things that truly matter. It is by this faith we understand God is the Creator and it is by this faith we are inducted into the Hall of Faith.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:1,3,14

I pray you were somehow blessed today. If you enjoyed the post please like it, share it, subscribe to it, or leave a comment on it. I read and respond to every comment.

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And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.” Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal…Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” Joshua 10:8-9, 12

First Things First

Joshua made a mistake. In the last chapter, Israel, after being deceived by their enemy, made a covenant with the Gibeonites. Discovering the deception, Joshua put his mistake to work. Oh he kept his vow as the Lord requires every vow-maker to do, but he made his error his slave; the Gibeonites would forever be servants of the Tabernacle as fetchers of wood and water.

God recognized the mistake too, but He chose to honor Joshua’s commitment–blessings would rise form the ashes of a bad decision. What our Father did with Joshua and Israel, He does with us as well—we have the same assurance from God that our errors can work towards some good thing despite the fact that we might not see it initially.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

In the text today, Joshua provides for us a four-part outline illustrating dynamic Christian faith in action. His example awards us the four basic components of spirited faith; one that bestows honor, glory, and praise to the faith Giver.

He Believed

It really can’t get any less basic than that. God told Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered (the enemy) into your hand.” Joshua took God at His word. He heard the word and he believed the word he heard. Do you believe God’s word?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

He Gave His Best Effort

The passage does not imply that Joshua performed perfectly, but strongly suggests he worked as quickly and as efficiently as he could to do God’s will, “Marching all night,” until the first leg of the task was completed. God did not tell him to do that, Joshua chose to do that. The fact of the matter is that the work was finished, just like Christ’s work was finished on the cross. Remember, God said, “I have delivered,” the enemy. In willing obedience, Joshua took it upon himself to complete the mission as best he could.

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17

He Called on the Lord

Joshua takes nothing for granted, probably learning that lesson from his bitter defeat at Ai. We aren’t privy to their conversation, but the passage hints that they must have been discussing some pretty powerful stuff. Contextually speaking, we know that it would have been impossible for Joshua to do what was done without God’s direct support, authority, and power.

…Without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5b

He Acted Boldly

Joshua could not have made the proclamation he made if a) he did not believe, b), he had not been working out his faith, and c) wasn’t checking in with the Father periodically. The kind of boldness Joshua displayed can only be manifest when the first three elements of our faith are in place. That’s not to say a person can’t ever speak boldly, but without God’s power and authority, that person operates in his flesh alone.

It’s sad to say that many Christians, having accomplished the first three steps, arrive at this same place, but shy away from the opportunity to take the wonderful leap. Why? Plain and simple: fear—the very opposite of faith. While it is true we have the ability to put our faith on the shelf, we often forget that by that same faith we have the power of God to destroy trepidation. Our Lord is gracious and merciful and He will let us wallow in this condition if we so choose—our salvation is not in jeopardy. But then again, someone might say to you and I, “Why buy a car if you’re never going to drive it?”

…And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel… Ephesians 6:19


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What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. Romans 4:1-4
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If it’s True it’s Not New
Building on the divine standard pronounced in the previous chapter, the Apostle Paul brings us way back to the Old Testament to emphasize that justification by faith alone is nothing new. Using Abraham to demonstrate his point, the passage reveals that his righteousness was accredited to him based solely on his faith and not by his efforts. If Abraham did achieve righteousness by his works he could have sung his own praises, but that was not the case . Abraham was a saved-man before he set out from Ur and before he brought Isaac to the mountain sacrificially; he was saved when he simply believed the Lord and took Him at His word.

Now to him who works…wages are not counted as grace but as debt. Romans 4:4

Romans 4:4 is an incredibly significant doctrine and one that many born-again believers quickly forget. Many Christians comprehend that salvation is not something that can be earned and that it is a free gift from God that we receive by faith—at least initially. The mistake we often make is after we are saved; after we have freely received this gift of grace and buy into a false teaching.

By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8)

God Owes Us Nothing

For whatever the reason, it is not unusual for the born again Christian to initiate works in order to earn God’s blessings. It’s often what’s being taught (the false prosperity gospel) and then erroneously enforced when we misinterpret the blessings the Lord bestows before, during, and after we work.

“I tithed, ” we might say, “and this is the reason God blessed me.”

That is wrong theology.

The Lord’s blessings do not cease or increase based upon any work we do. His blessings flow continually. Whether or not we are receiving them is based on positioning, not propositioning. We cannot approach our Lord and proclaim, “Ok Lord, I’ve prayed, I’ve fasted, I’ve poured through the Bible, and gone to church, now how are you going to bless me today?”

These are things that we get to do because it is our desire. If someone tells you that these are things you must do in order to gain or maintain your salvation, call him a liar and run away.

Just teasing.

Tell him the truth. Tell him that to assume God owes us anything is likely the most ridiculous concept we could harbor, for God is a debtor to no man. Any work we do should be a gracious response to what the Lord has done, is doing, and will continue to do regardless of our efforts. It is that faithful model that keeps us close to the spout where His blessings pour out.

He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted, Scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. “To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:23-28

  1. What do these passages say about God?
  2. What do they say about us?
  3. What should we consider doing?

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Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Fear

So frequently we find ourselves in God’s word, but lament that nothing much of spiritual significance is going on. Maybe we’re mired in fear, far too anxious to be of much good to anyone or anything, complaining about most of what we experience. Faced with tribulation our tendency is too often to crabbily recoil, belligerently spoil, or inefficiently toil, turning out results seldom worthwhile.

In order to overcome the first thing we need to recognize is that fear is pleasing to satan. Why is the devil pleased? He is pleased because in our fear we are not drawing on faith; in other words, we are not relying on Jesus Christ. It’s not necessarily that fear is faith in the devil, but rather a faith in nothingness—that somehow, in our anxiety, in our complaining, in our dread, something positive will be the result. That’s just utter nonsense.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

An Important Principle

The Deuteronomy passage plots a critical, spiritual principle in regard to our faith that you might not have caught. God essentially tells Israel to first be not afraid, for He will be with them on the other side of the Jordan River. In other words, it is a conditional agreement—God tends to reveal His self after we act faithfully. So, if it is our testimony that God seems distant, the cause might very well be that we walk in fear.

And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:26-27

We see the very same thing illustrated in this account from Matthew’s Gospel. There is a horrific storm and the disciples fear for their lives. Suddenly Jesus appears to them walking upon the turbulent sea, but they do not recognize Him. Why? Because they were filled with fear and fear nudges out faith.

Take note of what happens next because it is important. Jesus tells them to first be of good cheer, then He announces, “It is I.” Then and only then do they recognize Jesus for who He truly is. And that is the true essence of our faith. Christians should never be caught saying, “Seeing is believing, ” because that is in direct contrast to what faith is! It is when we believe; when we speak and act faithfully, we see.

Furthermore, We Know…

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God Romans 10:17

Faith is worked-in as we absorb God’s word and faith is worked-out when we speak or act out faithfully. If faith comes in and does not go out, we are quenching His Spirit and the work He desires to do. It’s the very reason the Dead Sea is dead—the Jordan flows in, but nothing whatsoever flows out. However, when we act faithfully (fearlessly), we experience the abundant life in Christ Jesus as He reveals more and more of Himself.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him… Hebrews 11:6a

When we more fully understand this principle, in the face of our tribulations we will choose to be of good cheer and thus an awesome, pleasing witness for Him. Inevitably we discover it works, or more accurately, God works. As God breathes forth His word and we eagerly take it in, our faith matures. As we faithfully speak out and act out the word that we heard, God is pleased, He is honored, He is glorified, and He is revealed.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b-6

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If you should say in your heart, ’These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?’– you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt… Deuteronomy 7:17-18
Did You Catch That?
Our Father is telling us something extraordinarily important—when we are afraid, we are to remember what He has already done. In many ways this truth destroys a popular doctrine that says when fear creeps in, ‘You need more faith.’ God says no to that; fear is not a lack of faith, but a lack of memory. God’s testimony wreaks of perfection, particularly in the realm of faithfulness and all we need do is remember that reality and in so doing fear will diminish.

That’s Not What Jesus Said…

Isn’t it true that in the New Testament Jesus frequently told His fearful-followers that the basis for their anxiety was a lack of faith? It is true, Jesus did use the phrase, “O you of little faith, ” several times, but when we examine the context in which He spoke we correctly observe that the Son is in total agreement with the Father.

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6:30

In this faith-account, Jesus adds to the framework when He further tells us to remember that the Father knows what we need before we ask for it and then reminds us that we must seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added. Jesus essentially says, ‘Remember His faithfulness and you will not worry.’

“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26

If only they remembered. It was Jesus Himself you told them they were going to cross over to the other side. In fact, He commanded it! Is Jesus capable of lying? No, He is not. Every one of these men should have slapped themselves in their foreheads and collectively uttered, “Duh. We knew that!”

But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Matthew 16:8

And in the very next breath Jesus said, “Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up?” Oh how quickly we forget.

In 1 John 4 we are again reminded that there is no fear in love because perfect love casts out fear. Are we perfect in anything? No. But there is one who is perfect in all things—Christ Jesus. In Him alone is our assurance. Let us remember that.

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14

change

 

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Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis 22:1-2Could You Do as Abraham Did?

I could not, but that is only because God has not prepared me to do what Abraham has done; God is preparing me to do something else and He is preparing you to do something else. We would recall that God commenced His work in Abraham when he was seventy five years old and does not ask him to sacrifice Isaac until fifty seven years have elapsed. In other words, God had invested over fifty years of spiritual preparation in Abraham and perhaps more importantly, Abraham submitted himself to it.

Are You Submitted

We can admit it. So many of us will not tender ourselves to God because we fear that He might ask us to do something we aren’t prepared or willing to do. The old cliché, “God never gives us anything we can’t handle, ” just doesn’t seem to ring true for us. Well, that’s a good thing, because that little chestnut is erroneous. A proper adage would declare that God never gives us anything He can’t handle—God makes our way, not the other way around.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

From Comfort to Completion

Hopefully the truth of 1 Corinthians soothes you, but you might wonder why a Christian would want to be positioned similarly to Abraham. Of what benefit could it possibly be? We do not know if Abraham fully understood the implications at the time, but we have the advantage of being able to examine the entire sequence of events permitting us to see the bigger picture…a picture perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-3

Starting With Faith…

This is exactly where Abraham started his expedition. The Book of Hebrews reminds us that by faith Abraham obeyed. Faith always comes first and it can only ripen as it steeps in blind submission. Compliance of that sort looks like this:

…He was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

Drawing on Hope…

When it was revealed to Abraham that he and his matured wife would bring forth a nation from a yet conceived child, he chose hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. ‘Hope’ is an oft misused word in today’s culture, but as applied by Abraham, it came with the notion that he absolutely expected fulfillment of God’s promise. Only active faith gives birth to that kind of hope.

Abraham, who is the father of us all…who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” Romans 4:16 + 18

Maturing in Love…

You might find this incredible, but we see God using the word ‘love’ for the very first time in the Bible in this passage about Abraham and Isaac. It is not an accident. God has fundamentally waited twenty-two chapters to introduce us to this word and when He does, it is within the context of a father’s love for his son.

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love… Genesis 22:2

Have you ever wondered why? Well it certainly is true that what God is asking Abraham to do with Isaac is a symbolic depiction of what He would later do Himself on Calvary with His Son Jesus, but that’s not the entire story. It is here where God essentially declares to Abraham; ‘Love me more than that which you love the most.’ This is the place God desires to bring us! In this position we fully realize it has never, ever been about us, but it has always been about Jesus. That is why it is a journey worth taking and why an intelligent person goes.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16


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Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing…?” Genesis 18:16-17Why God Talks to Abraham

You know, it all comes down to faith and obedience. Abraham has demonstrated by faith that he will do whatever the Lord asks of him and furthermore, that he will share this knowledge and wisdom with his family. In other words, God opens doors for Abraham and Abraham walks through them. It stands to reason that if God has not spoken to you, or He has stopped talking to you, there is a spiritual threshold you need to cross—go through that door and God will provide another.

The truth of the matter is that God desires to bring us all into the loop; He wants to reveal to us more and more of His plan. But what have we done with the information He has already given us? Have we kept it to ourselves? Do our families know these revelations? God honors our obedience, not our disobedience, so if you’re not hearing Him go back to the place where you last did [hear Him] and do what He said.

So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and…every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. Genesis 17:23

What Has God Asked You to Do?

Compared to Abraham’s gargantuan task, what has God asked you to do? I believe, at least in part, that God gave us an extreme example so that everything He would ask us to do would pale in comparison. There are three elements of Abraham’s faith that should leap out of the text and all three deal with obedience.

The first thing we notice as that Abraham took his son to be circumcised; he did not merely suggest to him that this was something he should do on his own. Let’s be honest, if Abraham left it up to the boy, it never would have been done. If you have a son, consider the present condition of his room…I rest my case.

Secondly we see Abraham imposed his faith upon everyone under his roof. It was compulsory. It does not mean that everyone believed in God as he did, but rather that everyone in his home would live by God’s moral standard. ‘My house, my rules, ’ is quite doctrinal as long as your rules jive with God’s.

The final principle is essential—Abraham practiced what he preached. There was no debate and there were no justifications, there was just obedience. God said it, he did it, and then he shared it. As a result God honored it and spoke clearly to him.


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Stumble Never AgainTherefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble 2 Peter 1:10It’s a PromiseThis is huge! We have a covenant with Jesus Christ that declares if we do these ‘things’ we will not stumble. (I do not know about you, but I hate it when I stumble). But the promise does not stop there, for if we do these things, our ministries will be fruit-filled and our walks will no longer be spiritually dry. Oh, and I forgot to mention the part about unmerited favor, peace, and exceptionally great and incalculable promises. You must be dying to know what these things are.

What Things

Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 2 Peter 1:5-7

It all comes down to spiritual-math and chemistry. Here is the formulaic equation (add to ‘faith’ the following thing and in the proper sequence): Faith + virtue + knowledge + self-control + patience + godliness + kindness + love = Spiritual-Stability.

Virtue

Faith, we know comes from God by the hearing of His word and it is the medium to which these other things must be added. The first component is virtue, which is really nothing more than the desire to live right before God’s eyes. Think of virtue as you would a diet—the things that you allow or will not allow to enter your body.

Knowledge

Once our ‘diet’ is on the right track, we are ready to add knowledge—and just so we are clear, we are talking about knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We can begin to see the importance of maintaining the prescribed sequence, for if our lives are un-virtuous (cluttered with trash) there is little room for knowledge. In contrast, if you are not hungry for the Word, it might be indicative that you are filling-up on junk food.

Self-control

To this we add self-control and discover that in many ways it is a natural byproduct of maintaining a healthy diet that has been fueled by godly knowledge. Self-control, without knowledge as its catalyst, always fails eventually.

Patience

You might say that self-control and patience go hand-in-hand. It seems an impossibility to have one without of the other, but without self-control, enduring patience will never come. Patience lost is patience never gained.

Godliness

Now we can add godliness. Could you imagine skipping the other things and adding godliness directly to faith? The sad thing is (that) we see it happen all the time. It certainly happened to me, and although I am better off for the experience, it is an experience I did not have to undergo.

Kindness

To godliness we add kindness. Why now—why not earlier? We add it now because of an inherent pitfall that often follows godliness—we can become a little haughty and a little nasty with our delivery. By the time we have added godliness we have learned the urgency of the Gospel message for a dying world and there is a tendency to cut-corners to get the message across. If you have ever heard a sermonette that boldly and loudly proclaims, “You’re all going to hell!” you know what I am talking about.

Love

Finally we add love. Love is added at the end because true love; agape love, cannot be realized until all the other ingredients are in place. When we broadcast love in the absence of these other qualities, it is often an emotional and imaginary kind of love; or love as we think it should be. That kind of love is an ugly thing to behold and it is referred to in 1 John 4:20

If someone says, “I love God, ” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

Yea, I Know That

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 1 Peter 1:12

Yea, I know you know that. I know it too. But we forget. Time is short and like Peter, our ministry must be that of stirring people up in the remembrance of things we already know. It is not what we know that counts for anything, but what we do with the things we know—wisdom is the result of using knowledge wisely.


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If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.   James 1:5-8

Light and Perfection

 

In Old Testament times, if you lacked wisdom you went to the high priest who consulted the Urim and the Thummim which adorned his breastplate and was positioned over his heart.  To this day nobody knows how they worked, but one thing we do know: when translated, these two words mean ‘light and perfection.’  We also may conclude that they offered a prophetic glimpse, a picture if you will, of the true Light and Perfection to come in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the Light of the world and the Perfect One that Colossians 2:3 proclaims…

 

In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

 

3 Way Bulbs

 

When we ask of God, there are three ways we might receive His perfect light: through His people, through His Word, and through the heart.  The first two are understood by most believers, as we are likely familiar with the truths established in Proverbs 11:14 and Psalm 119:105 + 130…

 

Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety…Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path…The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

 

But what about the heart?  Christians know what is right and what is wrong; period.  It can honestly be said, “Do what you know and you will know what to do.”  How can this be true?  It is true because God declared it in Jeremiah 31:33 and Colossians 3:15 and it is essentially the very difference between instinct and in-Christ.

 

I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts… 

 

Doubt

 

“My problem,” you might say, “is not the ‘asking’ part, but the doubting part.  God won’t hear me because of my lack of faith.”

 

That is not what James is talking about.   ConsiderProverbs 11:3

 

The integrity of the upright will guide (us)…

 

I discovered something extremely interesting; the word ‘integrity’ here comes from the same root word (Tummah) where we get the word Thummim (remember the Urim and the Thummim?).  Here it means a kind of perfection that comes from a singular focus on the Lord; a single-mindedness that’s brings us into one accord with the Father and has little or nothing to do with doubting that God will bring something to pass.

 

In other words, when we ask God for wisdom, He will provide it liberally, provided that ‘in faith’ we will do what He says.  A ‘double-minded’ person asks God for an answer so he can then make his own choice, while a single-minded person (a person of integrity) is committed to doing whatever God tells him to do.  God knows the heart and if He knows you are not going to do what He says, He probably won’t give you an answer to your inquiry.  This is the kind of doubt that leads to double-mindedness James was talking about and has less to do with faith and a whole lot to do with obedience.

 

If the Christian is determined to obey, he will receive godly wisdom liberally.


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Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2
Elementary Principles

The most basic of Christian truths is found within the text of John 3:16. Coupled with the understanding that there is a sin-filled chasm between us and the Father and Jesus is the only bridge across, and we are left with the elementary principles to which every believer subscribes; the ABC’s of our faith.

However, the writer of Hebrews would also remind us that there are six (6) additional tenets that are basic and foundational to our faith, and as believers, we should possess an acute familiarity with them as well.

Do You Know Them

That is not an indictment, but an invitation. Honestly, I am not as familiar with them as I should be, so my re-listing of them here selfishly serves as a personal review and tutorial. In the order they are recorded in the Bible, the topics are: repentance from dead works, faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

Repentance from Dead Works

This is not pertaining to a turning away from our sin and a turning towards Jesus Christ. This repentance is the rejecting of the false notion that we can somehow earn our salvation. The basic element of this tenet is that we cannot purchase what Christ has already bought.

Faith Toward God

It is all about God. Everything good was created by Him and for His good pleasure. A faith toward God continually recognizes this truth and endeavors to put Christ Jesus first in every aspect of our lives.

Doctrine of Baptisms

The first thing we notice is the ‘S’; there is more than one baptism. In addition to water baptism which symbolizes our death and resurrection, there are also baptisms of the Holy Spirit, into the Body of Christ, of suffering, and of fire.

Laying on of Hands

This speaks of, but is not limited to the discovery of God-given gifts for the purpose of ministry and the empowering of individuals to move forward in service. I further believe it lends it self to both encouragement and judgment from one brother or sister towards another.

Resurrection of the Dead

We need to know the basics of end-times theology. If you are one who believes in a pre-tribulation rapture, you might ask why we need to know this. The reason is for the sake of others, the fear of the Lord, after all is the beginning of wisdom. If you are a mid-trib, or post-trib subscriber, then the ‘need to know’ is much more relevant to you.

Eternal Judgment

Speaking of the fear of the Lord…

Actually, there are two very basic things every Christian needs to know: believers are not judged for sins, unbelievers are; the sins of the Christian have been cleansed by the blood of Christ. However, the works of the Christian will be judged by fire. One day every believer will stand before Jesus and He will interpret what it is we have done with the time, talent, and treasure He has provided us.


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