Hosea 4:6 King James Version (KJV)
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Psalm 103King James Version (KJV)
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
There is an old hymn sang years ago in the old camp meetings and brush arbors called ‘Rescue the Perishing’. It is strongly associated with the Salvation Army, but Baptists, Methodists and Pentecostals were proud to sing this wonderful old hymn. The perishing do need rescue, often from themselves. Here is one of the verses that is not usually thought of, but is appropriate for this writing:
Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
Waiting the penitent child to receive;
Plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
He will forgive if they only believe.
The problem is, too many in the church don’t know what it means to truly believe. It is a commitment few are willing to make, but through faith is the only way you can receive anything from God whether it be Salvation, healing, sight, wisdom, prosperity or peace. Too many church goers give mental assent, but really don’t project the Faith necessary to please God.
Can you be saved without receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? Without experiencing all of God’s benefits?Absolutely. You can also jump from an airplane without a parachute, but it isn’t recommended. To experience the fullness of God, you must be open to his teachings, you must be willing to put in the effort and frankly, few church goers are willing to do that. They find folks that believe the few things they believe and get together on Sunday and scratch each others ears.
What are the benefits of God? God’s promises are many and few are they that find them. To hear far too many people tell it, those benefits include poverty, sickness, oppression, and suffering. No where does the Bible tell you to ‘suffer for Jesus’ or that God is some mystical creature that roams about seeking whom he may bless and heal. Or you hear folks say ‘if it is God’s will, He will heal me….’ READ YOUR BIBLE and find out what His will is. He tells you. He wants you healed. Yes, some of those sound similar to scripture for a reason, for emphasis.
We are told to study God’s word to make ourselves approved a workman unto the Lord. Too many fail to study God’s word and spend more time studying what others say about God’s word, but only if it meets with their preconceived notions of what it should say. I find that often the people most offended by God’s Word are closed minded Christians. I have been reading and studying the Bible for over 45 years and still I find new things almost daily. God continues to reveal more of himself to those that diligently seek Him. For those with a closed mind, well, they see all they will ever see, and not to much of it are those ‘benefits’ the psalmist talks about.
Nothing is so narrow minded as is willful ignorance. Ignorance is no excuse, but it is very prevalent. Ignorance is just not knowing something. Willful ignorance is choosing to not know even though evidence says to the contrary of your beliefs. Like light quells the darkness, knowledge will quell ignorance. Ignorance can be overcome through study and application. But woe to the person that challenges the willfully ignorant person’s beliefs even if it is clearly written in the Word of God for all to see. You will be called every bad name in the world but if you challenge those folks to show you scripturally their basis for their beliefs, they can’t do it. Recently, I have been accused of being Satan himself for trying to get someone to accept God’s healing. That alone put me in pretty elite company.
Here is a perfect example. On the subject of healing, why is it people don’t believe God can and will heal you when the scriptures say otherwise? You give folks hundreds of verses saying just that and yet the still balk. They try to tell you that God goes around making determinations on whom to heal and whom to NOT heal. When asked to give a scriptural basis for that belief, they balk and refuse to even try. God is not a cosmic cowboy that dances around like some fairy blessing one and not the other, healing one and not the other… and there is no scripture that even closely alludes to that. As a matter of fact, scripture teaches just the opposite.
Romans 2:11 King James Version (KJV)
God wants to bless us all. We are all His children and so many who profess to be his children try to tell us he will give us a serpent or some other evil. My God is bigger and better than that. The problem is, we have had too many ‘preacherettes’ doing ‘sermonettes’ to ‘Christianettes’ for far too long.
Luke 11:9 “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” 10 “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” 11 “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” 12 “Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?” 13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
If you ask for healing, will God give you pain and suffering? The God I serve, the Yaweh of the Old Testament. His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit would NEVER think of doing that.
The same can be said of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Casting out of Demons, making the lame walk, the blind see and yes… even raising the dead. All these things are real and possible only because Christ Jesus made them possible. There are too many documented cases to deny these acts exist.
Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” 16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” 17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;” 18 “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” 19 ¶So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
At some point you have to make your faith real. Do you believe the Bible? Or are you a doubting Thomas who once you have seen God heal you, you will believe in His healing power? That isn’t faith. That is experience. Without Faith it is impossible to please God. He never mentioned experience.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
If you have seen it, you can’t have true faith. Faith trusts God at his word. Faith counts on God’s power for your life. Faith brings to being that which is ‘hoped for’….
Romans 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
When God renamed Abram to Abraham, was God lying? No, we all know God cannot lie. He was speaking faith. He was calling things that are not as though they were. He was showing Abram what Faith is all about. And from that point on, when Abraham introduced himself, he too was speaking faith, contrary to what the world saw in the natural eye, he believed God and it was ‘imputed unto him’ righteousness.
At some point, your faith must mean something. God’s word must be real in your life. At some point, you have to determine, am I going to believe God or not. That is the same delima Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden and man has been struggeling with that ever since.
At some point it has to be real to you or it is just another book. What does this mean to you.. the last line?
Exodus 15:22-26 King James Version (KJV)
25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
The same is true about restoring sight to the blind, making the lame walk, about prosperity. These things are all through the Bible, yet so many refuse to believe in them. As Jesus asked the man at the Pool of Bethesda, ‘Do you want to be made whole?’, he asks you the SAME question.. about ALL these topics. Is He real in your life or not. Only you can make that decision.
But quit kidding yourself. Either you are or you aren’t. There is almost NO middle ground concerning God’s Word. You can’t choose what to believe and what not to believe. Accept God or reject Him.. those are the two choices.
And quit making God your private Cosmic Cowboy. He is NOT some mystical creature from afar off… He is real, he has made himself known to you and to me. If you can’t find your belief in scripture, you are most likely very wrong. It is time for self examination..
Do you believe God? Or not?
There was a fellow caught in the floods in Louisiana. He prayed for God to save him. Some folks came by in a row boat and he was sitting on his porch, almost covered in water and he explaine that God would save him… as the water got higher, he climbed up on his roof. A bit later a larger rescue boat came by and again he cried that God would save him. As the water kept rising, he got on the very peak of his house where just a little was not covered in water. A helicopter came and he cried that God was going to save him. A bit later, his house was completely under water, the man could not swim, he drowned. He got to heaven and immediately asked God why he didn’t save him? God said, ‘I sent you a row boat, a rescue boat and a helicopter. What did you want me to do?’
Are you waiting on the Cosmic Cowboy or are you willing to listen to the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob and His word?
Where do I start?
Here are some really good links to start with..
May God bless your study.