Saturday, August 13, 2022

 

Principles of Faith

HOW THEY FUNCTION - No. 1

by Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.

"And when they were come to the multitude, there came to Him certain man, kneeling down to Him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to Thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 

“When Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? Bring him hither to Me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

 "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said: Why could not we cast him out?  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting." (Matt. 17:14-21) 

Thousands have been saved and healed by our Lord Jesus Christ in our crusades listening to the preached WORD and through reading or having someone read these inspired messages to them. 

You can do the same because God is no respecter of persons and what He will do for one, He will do for all who accept His promises and act upon them! Although I preached these messages more than thirty years ago, they are as valid and important today, as ever! Amen.

CHAPTER ONE: BACK TO BASICS!

"Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6), but with faith "all things are possible". (Mark 9:23). Faith and unbelief are diametrically opposed, because faith comes from God's Word, while unbelief germinates where "there is ignorance" of the Scriptures!

Faith is born of God, but unbelief is the product of satanic invention for faith is a positive power, while unbelief is a negative force!  Faith is a divine gift, but unbelief has its origin in superstition, fear and unrighteousness! Faith is rooted in trust, sincerity and truth, while unbelief is anchored in skepticism, resentment and deception!

Faith touches the heart of God and opens Heaven's store - house to believers.  Unbelief closes the "channels of blessing" and sets the soul on a rebellious course of self-will and transgression!

Faith works, and so does unbelief.  Both bring forth an abundant harvest; one good and the other bad.  One produces life, the other death - for time and eternity!

The best example of living faith’ is found in the dynamic life of Jesus Christ.  He did not sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.  He obeyed His Father's will so implicitly that "a voice came from Heaven, saying: This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.  Hear ye Him". (Matt. 17:5)

No wonder Jesus could heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons, multiply the loaves and fishes, walk on the water, commandeer the elements, and raise the dead! He always did those things that pleased His Father!

 KEY TO MIRACLES, TOTAL VICTORY!

What is the Key to miracles, total victory, answered prayer and prosperity? If we are to see the power of God in our lives, we must follow the example of Jesus in obedience, dedication, consecration, and submission to God. We must follow the Master in a life of holiness, humility, and single-mindedness of purpose!

Jesus said, "I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me." (John 5:30); "For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me." (John 6:38); "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work." (John 4:34); "I always do those things that please Him." (John 8:29);"I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day..." (John 9:4); "Not My will, but Thy will be done." (Luke 22:42) 

We must do the same if we want the SAME COMMUNION with our Heavenly Father.  If we do not have that fellowship, we cannot do the same works!

Jesus said, "As My Father hath sent Me, so send I you". (John 20:21):  "The works that I do shall ye do also, and greater works than these shall ye do, because I go unto My Father". (John 14:12). The Holy Scripture emphasizes, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

“And this is His commandment; That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.  And he that keeps His commandments dwells in Him, and He in him.  And hereby we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us." (1 John 3:22-24)

Here are the two essential things the Church of the Living God must possess, to do the works of God: First, believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Redeemer. Second - to have fervent love (Gr. agape) one for another!

 OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD!

Our attitude to others reflects our relationship to God! St. John declared, "Beloved, if God so loved us we ought also to love one another.  No man hath seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us.

“Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  God is Love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God and God in him. 

“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:11-17)

The Bible says, "And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.  If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of Him." (1 John 2:28-29). There are three hindrances to receiving the power of God:

1. SINS OF CARNALITY OF THE FLESH & MIND!

 The first great hindrance is the sins that we allow in our lives! Sins of carnality and worldliness of the flesh and the mind rob believers of the intimacy necessary to function as the true Body of Christ!

 The Bible says: “For they that after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things that are after the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom.8:5,6)

Living in continual sin automatically creates GUILT in a Christian’s spirit, straining the sweet fellowship between God and that individual! Sin causes a blockage in the flow of the Holy Spirit because guilt brings condemnation and fear!

St. John wrote: "Beloved, if our hearts condemn us not, we have confidence to ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us..." (1 John 3:20)

Guilt also brings DOUBT with it, thus hindering the ability to pray the "prayer of faith". Satan, the originator of sin, fear, and doubt, is the winner in that situation. The only way back into fellowship with the Father is through REPENTANCE and TRUST.

The Scripture says, "...but if our hearts condemn us, then God is greater than our hearts and knows all things"(1 John 3:21). Our Lord knows that sin in our lives will rob us of faith and bring condemnation, but the shed blood of Jesus Christ is the remedy for sin and removes the guilt and condemnation!

The Bible states, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from ALL sin.” (1 John 1: 7)

 JESUS’ SHED BLOOD BRINGS PEACE! 

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit". (Rom. 8:1)

St. John stipulated, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". (1 John 1:9). Repentance brings immediate relief through God’s forgiveness. Condemnation leaves and faith rises in our hearts opening the door to God’s miracles in our lives!

The Bible states: “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1 John4: 21, 22)

Our hearts rejoice as we meditate upon the great salvation Christ purchased for us on Calvary's Cross!  Jesus is even now seated at our Father's right hand in Heaven, making intercession for us as our High Priest. And as our Advocate Jesus is pleading our case before the Father: "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25) 

 SATAN: ACCUSER OF GOD'S PEOPLE!  

The Holy Bible says: "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

"And they (believers) overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev. 12:10-11)

How to overcome: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.” (James 4: 7,8); “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5: 8, 9)

God desires to forgive every sin and bring us into fellowship, so that our prayers may be answered.  The Bible says, "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered". (1 Peter 3:7)

 2. LACK OF TOTAL COMMITMENT TO CHRIST!

 Many Christians are not fully committed to Christ and His Gospel. They have very little desire to see His agenda go forward! They have not experienced His saving grace or sanctifying power, therefore, have no real understanding of spiritual things.

Or, they have - over the years - lost their focus of why Jesus came to earth in the first place. They have forgotten the awful price He paid to redeem fallen man! Like the Church at Ephesus, they have “left their first love.” (Rev. 2: 4)

Following His program is not their Number One priority.  Some have ulterior motives and others are not willing to dedicate themselves sufficiently to the task.  Therefore, the work of Christ has suffered!

I have noticed in recent years, a lack of real desire and dedication in the lives of God's people to emulate Jesus!  He must be our example and role model!  We must obey Him totally and put forth effort commensurate with His PERSON and MISSION, which can be nothing less than TOP PRIORITY!

There is, however, hope for all! Jesus said to the Christians at Ephesus: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works: or else I will come unto thee quickly and remove thy candlestick out of His place, except thou repent.” (Rev.2: 5)

The candlestick or light stand bringing light speaks of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and the Gospel! Ephesus today lies in ruins and the Church is gone. The Muslim hordes overran the area years ago and the Gospel light went out! How sad!

The question is: “Will that also happen to our beloved nation, because of the backsliding of our clergy and the worldliness of the Church in general?” I pray fervently, that such a tragedy will not happen. Rather, that God will be merciful and send us a grass-roots-revival that will change our spiritual landscape!

The word Christian means, "Christ-like ones" and also has the connotation that we are members of "The Family of Jesus"!

In his letter to Timothy, St. Paul throws light on this problem.  We see shades of Fear developing in young Timothy, which the apostle seeks to dispel. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of love and of power and of a sound mind." (1 Tim. 1:7) Again, He speaks of the fact that Onesimus "was not ashamed of my chain." (2 Tim. 1:16)

Evidently, Timothy was feeling the pressure of St. Paul being in prison, wondering, "Who will be next"?  "Will I also be beaten, striped, imprisoned and martyred for the name of Jesus and because of my fellowship with 'this outspoken man' who is preaching the pure Word of God?"

Jesus emphasised: "Except a corn of wheat fall to the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit". (John 2:24). St. Paul taught us ‘How to Become a Man of God’. This was my premier message to 5000 preachers at the Assemblies of God Conference’ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1987 and also at the Christ for the Nations Bible Institute’ in Dallas, Texas in 1990.

 THE KEY IS TO DIE TO SELF!

 The old nature and the ‘old man’ in us, our ego, pride, and stubborn will must die, so that God’s life will come to the forefront in our lives! We must be in total submission to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God!

Like St. Paul, we also must be captive to the Word of God! The great Apostle stated: “…I am ready not be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21: 13) “…For the hope of Israel, I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28: 20); “Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel.” (1 Cor.9:16)

Defending his courageous stand for Christ and His Gospel against the evils of the Roman Church, Martin Luther stated: “I am captive to the Word of God. Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds of reasoning ... then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience." Then he added, "Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me! Amen."

WILLIAM TYNDALE was a student in Cambridge when Martin Luther posted   his 95 Thesis on the door of the Wittenberg Church. He was troubled about the problems within the Church. In 1523 taking advantage of the recent invention of the printing press, Tyndale began to cast the Scriptures in the current English. His aims were simple but ambitious, as expressed to an educated man.

William Tyndale said: “I defy the Pope and his laws; and if God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plow shall know within his lifetime more of the Scriptures than thou dost.” 

He was born in Slymbridge in about 1496. After being educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, he became a chaplain. While studying at Oxford he became very interested in the ideas of John Wycliffe and the Lollards. Tyndale became convinced that the church had become corrupt and selfish.

 Like Wycliffe, Tyndale thought it was important that people had the opportunity to read and interpret the Bible for themselves. Tyndale wanted to translate the Bible into English but at that time Henry V111 and the English church were very much against the idea.

In 1524 Tyndale went to Hamburg where he met Martin Luther and the following year moved to Cologne where he managed to arrange for his translation of the Bible to be printed.

In 1535 William Tyndale was betrayed by Henry Phillips and arrested in Antwerp and imprisoned in a castle near Brussels. He was found guilty of heresy and on 6th October 1536, he was strangled and burnt at the stake.

Tyndale did not die in vain. Two years later Henry V111 gave permission for the publication of the English Bible. However, people were not allowed to read it aloud to another person; nor were people below the rank of gentleman allowed to own a copy of the English Bible.

St. Paul understood that the Gospel of Christ and fellowship with Jesus is more important than one's own life - which is only temporary!  Eternal life through Christ is much more important!  That is why he wrote, "For me to live is Christ but to die is gain". (Phil. 1:21)

Many Christians have not learned that "It costs something to be a man of God".  There is a price to pay - to have God's faith and power, operating in our lives!

And unfortunately, many are not willing to pay that price, so they have only the message - without the power!  Preaching faith but having only presumption.  How sad! This combination produces sensual, fleshly believers, with the "yuppie attitude" – What can I get out of this for myself? instead of the true Christian spirit of "What can I give?"

 LORD, DO IT AGAIN!

 Here is Billy Graham’s prayer: "Lord, do it again!  Do what You did when the apostles were called.  Do what You did following Pentecost! Do what You did with Saul of Tarsus, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, John Wesley, George Whitefield, D.L. Moody and William Booth.  Lord, do it again. And help us to reach the world for Christ.”

 3. ABANDONMENT OF FERVENT PRAYER!

Some years ago a survey taken among Christians in the USA revealed that the average Christian spends 3 minutes in prayer daily and the average clergyman gives only 7 minutes to God in daily prayer! What a shame!

They feast when they should fast and the supper room has taken priority over the Upper Room! Remember, the Early Church was born in a prayer meeting!

One hundred and twenty believers were closeted in a place of prayer and supplication - seeking God for an endowment of power - when the Holy Spirit fell upon them!

For "the Church of the 21st Century" to grow, advance and occupy for Christ, an intense desire for prayer and seeking God must pervade the believing saints.  That was the SECRET of the success of the 1st Century Church!

 We must continue until the fire of God falls afresh on the altar of our souls and we again must become Living Stones crying out to a dying world, that Jesus Christ is Lord!

John Knox prayed: “O God give me Scotland, or I die”! And the wicked blood-thirsty ‘Mary Tudor - Queen of Scots’ agonized that she “feared the prayers of John Knox, more than the armies of England”!

God heard and answered his prayers, and that is why Scotland is Presbyterian today and not Papist! We must take as our models, holy men, and women of God who in past centuries, have shaken cities and stirred nations for God through their selflessness, fearlessness, piety and faith in God!

We must die so that He can live through us!  God has given us His blueprint for Revival and Healing: "If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land". (2 Chron. 7:14)

Four things we must do for God to send a gracious spiritual awakening and healing to this nation:

 1.WE MUST HUMBLE OURSELVES!

 One of the five sins of Sodom was Pride!  “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” (Ezek. 16:49)

Humility is the opposite of pride and God "hates a proud look and a haughty spirit". (Prov.6:16-17).  Humility requires Repentance toward God and Forsaking of Sin!

God's Word states, "For thus saith the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the heart of the contrite ones". (Isaiah 57:15)

The Bible says, “But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” (James 4:6,7,10)

By humbling ourselves we are saying, "God, take control of my life.  I want You to move into my life and set up Your throne in my heart.  From this moment forward, I desire You to take charge of my life".

Why is this so important?  God delights in making something out of nothing so that “No flesh should glory in His presence”. (1 Cor.1: 29)

PRIDE WAS SATAN’S SIN!

Pride precipitated his tragic, awful fall! The Bible says, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14)

“Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” (Ezek. 28:17)

 2.WE MUST PRAY!

There is an old adage, "Prayer Changes Things!"  That's absolutely right.  Prayer changes people and situations, as well! Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

He admonished: “...Pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you”. Again, He said, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.  The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak". (Mark 14:38)

 IT ALSO CHANGES THOSE WHO PRAY!  

When we begin to pray in earnest, God communes with us and speaks to us by His Word and the Blessed Holy Spirit.  And it doesn't take Him long to soften our hearts, penetrate our minds and affect our stubborn wills.

One of the characteristics of the life of Jesus, was the regularity and fervency of His prayers to His Father, and the consistency with which His requests were granted! And if we hope to affect our families, our communities, and our world for God, we must follow the example of Jesus and the admonitions of the apostles.

 St. Paul admonished, "I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting". (1 Tim. 2:8) "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thes. 5:17)

“Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6)

And St. James stated, "Confess your faults (troubles) one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much". (James 5:16)

 3.WE MUST SEEK GOD'S FACE!

To seek someone's face speaks about closeness and nearness!  A personal experience is necessary. God desires our input - an earnest desire to WALK WITH HIM, so that we may see His face!

We cannot follow afar off and expect to enjoy God's special favour and smile upon our lives!  He is our Heavenly Father and desires the special Father/Son relationship which was purchased for us through the death of His Son!

Like a child sitting upon his father's lap touches his heart, so we touch the heart of our Heavenly Father when we draw near to Him. St. James said, "Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8)

Seeking the face of God also implies intense and specific effort in focusing upon God and doing His will! That is why Jesus said, "Strive to enter in", and St. Peter declared, "make your calling and election sure". (2 Peter 1:10)

God's Word says, "And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart." (Jer. 29:13) The word ‘diligence’ is often used in conjunction with ‘walking with God’!

 St. Peter writes: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” (2 Peter 1:10)

And St. Paul admonished:  “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” (1 Cor. 11:28)         

 SPIRITUAL EXPECTANCY & REVIVAL!

Below are excerpts of a speech made by Billy Graham at the convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Denver, Col., USA, in the 1960’s. His address was called, 'Spiritual Expectancy and Revival'.

"Here we have a great deal to learn from Pentecostalists and the Assemblies of God.  They have enthusiasm for Christ.  I do not believe in cheap sensational emotions for emotions sake.  But I believe we have gone too far and we don't have the feeling, the emotion, the tears and the compassion we ought to have.

"Our Lord wept publicly.  He was moved to tears.  And who can forget Gethsemane?  Emotion!  Dr. MacKay says that Naziism had fire, Fascism had fire, Communism has fire - The Church needs to catch fire!

Grady Wilson and I were in Moscow two years ago.  We saw 50,000 young people in Red Square, stomping their feet, clenching their fists and shouting, ‘We're going to change the world.  We're going to change the world!’  And they looked like they meant it.

"Where are the young people today - stomping their feet for Christ and saying, ‘We're going to change the world’?  There was feeling in Moscow.  There was electricity there.

"At Pentecost people thought the 120 were drunk.  People don't think we're drunk anymore - they think we're dead!"

4.WE MUST TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS!

There is nothing more abhorrent to God our Heavenly Father, than the transgression of His laws.  When we revolt against God's order, we sin against Him, ourselves, our neighbours and also the universe!  

This universe was created by the Eternal Son of God to accommodate order, precision and truth.  It operates on a tight schedule - planets orbiting in perfect precision, according to the Word of God.

In this generation, there has again risen to the surface, the age-old time-worn, damnable doctrine of Gia or Mother Earth worship.  The New Agers say that the earth has a spirit.  This lie has been handed down from time immemorial and practiced by the ancient Hindus, the Vikings, and Indians!

 OLD SIN FOR NEW AGE MOVEMENT!

 And God hates it.  Hear His Word:  "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me". (Exodus 20:3)  "...and there is no god else beside Me.  Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else." (Is. 45:21-22)

Sin is an aberration and brings disorder; in the spirit, mind and body!  The word SIN, in the Greek means "missing the mark".  So sinning is certainly nothing to be proud of - for it always brings shame, remorse, sorrow, sickness, and death!

In God's books, sinners are categorically classified as Losers!  Sin cannot produce Winners! Since Satan, the eternally lost entity and author of sin and rebellion, is a COSMIC LIAR and perpetual LOSER, why should anyone in his right mind, follow him? That doesn’t make any sense at all!

                     KEYS TO A WONDEFUL LIFE!

 1. Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28; 16:24; John 6:35)

2. Cast your burdens upon Me and I will lead you and guide you by My Holy Spirit. (Eph.3:20; Ps. 55:22)

3.Make your requests known unto Me and I will answer you, saith the Lord. (Phil.4:6; John14:14)

4.My peace I give unto you not as the world giveth, give I unto you. (John 14:27; Rom.5:1; Phil.4:7)

5. Believe My Word and I will give you the desires of your heart. (John 6:69;  Rom.10:9; Heb.11:6)

6. Fear Not for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

7. Receive Healing for all you bodily ailments, because I am the Lord that healeth thee. (1 Peter 2:24)

8.Submit yourself to God. Resist the Devil and he will FLEE (in terror) from you. (James 4:7)

9. Let My mind be in you and My Spirit dwell in you. Let go of troublesome thoughts and fears. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! (1 Cor.2: 16; Eph.6:10). Amen.

                Awesome Testimony by Baptist Deacon! 

     In about 1990, after a Sunday morning service at Faith Cathedral, my family and I were at the old Swiss Chalet on 170 Street. While in the washroom, a man asked if he could have a few words with me. He was a deacon or an elder at North Edmonton Baptist Church. Unfortunately, I do not remember his name. Here is what he told me.

“Not long ago my son travelled to Prince Rupert, B.C. to visit my terminally sick brother in the hospital. He was a Roman Catholic and my son was concerned about his soul.

     He said, “Uncle, are you ready to die? Do you know Jesus?” He said, ‘Yes I am ready to die, and I do know Jesus.” My son asked, “How could you say that you are saved, being a Roman Catholic?”

    My brother said, “Please sit down, while I tell you this story. In the early 1960s, I needed a ride to Prince George. I spoke to Frank Clark of the Co-op asking if a commercial traveler might be deadheading to Prince George. Frank said that Max Solbrekken the McCormick’s man was coming to see him at 8 O’ clock to carry something for him to Prince George. He was certain that he would do it.

     I was there at 8 A.M. Max Solbrekken was more than willing to give me a lift. As we were travelling down the road, Max Solbrekken said, “I am not only a salesman, I am also a preacher and if its ok with you I’d like to preach to you!” I said, “No problem. Let’s hear what you have to say.”

    As we travelled beside the Nechako River and around the bends of the highway he preached the Gospel. I said, “Why don’t you let me drive and you can use both hands when you preach”

     We got to Terrace and stopped for coffee and Max Solbrekken kept on sharing the Word of God. I asked him all kinds of questions and he answered them with the Bible, archaeological findings and historical proving that the Holy Bible is the Word of God. We stopped in Houston and he bought me lunch and kept on sharing truths from the Bible. I drove and he preached.

     We stopped in Vanderhoof for coffee and the discussion continued about God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell, Sin and Salvation and about Jesus and the Cross, His blood and His resurrection. He spoke of the Rapture of the Church and Eternity! He was driving on the last leg of our journey and as we came to Prince George he pulled off to the side of the highway and parked the vehicle.

     We had driven 500 hundred miles and talked the entire time on spiritual things. Max Solbrekken turned to me and said, “I have to drop you of here. It’s been a good time together. I have only one question I’m going to ask you, “Do you want to give your heart and life to Jesus Christ and receive His salvation?”

    I said, “After listening to you preach for 10 hours, my answer is, Yes, I want to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.” He took my hand in his and led in prayer to God in the name of Jesus Christ and I was born again. He said to my son, “You can tell my brother, your father, that I am saved and will meet him in Heaven!

   CONFIRMING THE GOSPEL WORKS!

     I remembered the incident very well and had on occasion shared it in my preaching but had not met or heard from the man in Price Rupert until the Baptist deacon gave me this amazing report. Praise the Lord!

 Dear Friend,

    Let’s do everything we possibly can for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, while we still have opportunity to do so!   Pastor Max Solbrekken , August 14, 2022


Saturday, August 6, 2022

 

                        Pastor Max Solbrekken in Ukraine Wheatfield during 1992 Crusades

THE POSITIVE ATTITUDE:

The Key To Success!

by Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.

History has proven that pessimism kills, negativism destroys, but optimism gives opportunity the chance to knock on your door. There is nothing as dull and lifeless as pessimism and nothing quite as refreshing as optimism!

A pessimist breeds pessimism and discouragement in the lives of others while an optimist is able to multiply the glow that is in his heart to the lives round about him.  The pessimist is a crepe hanger and a prophet of gloom while an optimist is a Herald of good tidings and a bringer of Joyful News.

Pessimism is born of unbelief and is a negative force while optimism is born of faith and is a positive force.  A pessimist has no faith in God, in his fellow man, and many times, no faith in himself while an optimist has reached out to touch God, has confidence in those with whom he fellowships and has self-confidence.  

Not everyone that is optimistic is a born again Christian and not everyone that is a pessimist is an atheist, but it would certainly be an advantage for a pessimist to be an atheist and also for an optimist to be a Christian because God is a positive Being while Satan is a negative personality.

WE MUST BECOME CHRIST-LIKE!

We know that the goal of every Christian is to become Christ-like and it is a foregone conclusion that workers of iniquity have followed in the footsteps of their spiritual father, the devil.  The more you read God's Word, spend time in prayer and communion with God and the more you serve Him, the more you will become conformed to His image and the longer you live in sin and the deeper you go in the wrong life, the more you will become like Satan.  Don't let anyone fool you - you will reap what you sow! (Gal. 6:7,8)

A person who is always pessimistic and negative in his thinking and a constant complainer, murmurer, and criticizer certainly cannot know God because the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.  People who are constantly gossiping and murmuring are certainly not exemplifying the spirit and nature of Jesus Christ.

The diabolical power of negativism, pessimism, and defeatism has invaded nearly every avenue and walk of life.  Some people are never satisfied, not in the least bit thankful for what they have and have no desire to give praise, worship, and thanks to God.

The Bible states: "This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, unthankful, unholy, without natural affections... " (2 Tim. 3:1-3)

The negative attitude is especially harmful in the church because it prevents normal growth due to the fact that discouraged, disgruntled church members do not win souls or go out of their way to encourage people to attend church.  

                   THE BUILDERS & WRECKING CREW! 

Almost everywhere we find two groups, The one is comprised of builders, optimists and those who are loving, kind, cheerful and expecting from God and looking for service to do for God and his fellowmen.  The other one makes up the wrecking crew.  It takes no brains, ability or skill to smash things or destroy.  

You will find the dedicated worker and then there will be the dedicated agitator and obstructionist, on the job, in the unions, in the schools, universities, and even in the church.  It takes skill to build a building, put in the plumbing, do the wiring and complete the finishing.  It takes months to complete a building but in days it can be demolished by a caterpillar operator who knows only how to demolish.  A deranged arsonist with a few sticks of dynamite or a pail of gasoline and a match can destroy the same building with all its sophisticated equipment in a matter of a few hours.

Let us never be guilty of tearing down, wrecking, or destroying what someone else is doing for God, country or fellowman.  Let us be on the building crew who are always doing something to bless humanity.  

JESUS WAS MOCKED & BLASPHEMED!

Jesus, the very Son of God was put on public trial and display by the high priests, King Herod and the Roman Governor. Accusers gave false witness, soldiers mocked and blasphemed Him. He was condemned by the authority of the official religious and civil rulers, and even low-caste servants slapped His face! 

They all took part in humiliating, ridiculing, deriding, false accusing, despising and putting to death the Holy, impeccable, incomparable, righteous and perfect Saviour of the world, and they did it in the name of religion and piety!  

Corrupt, immoral, inhuman and senseless you say - and I reply "A Big Amen" - but be careful, history has a strange way of repeating itself again and again.  Always, my friend, be sure you are on the side of the builders - never in the ranks of the wrecking crew!

 BE NOT OF THE WORLD!

 Jesus made a very revolutionary statement when He said, "...the children of this world are...wiser than the children of light". (Luke 16:8)  We as Christians, can learn a few things from the world.  Jesus said, "Ye are in the world but not of the world".  We live in a real life situation, rubbing shoulders with sinners even though we do not let their sinfulness rub off on us.  

We are lights in a darkened world, showing forth the glow of Jesus through our daily walk.  What did Jesus mean when He said, "The children of this world...are wiser than the children of light"?  Let me ask you a question to answer the first one.  Why did Jesus say, "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves"? (Matt. 10:16)  

Many Christians are lacking in wisdom!  They may be long on zeal, knowledge and doctrine, but short on how to present themselves and promote the Gospel to this world! We have the greatest message ever delivered to the Human Family. The Creator of the world loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to deliver us from the Evil One called the Devil and SAVE us from eternal damnation!

Some Christians who represent our Lord are apologetic, backward and fearful.  I believe it's about time the church of the living God got a new enthusiasm, a new outlook on life and a new image.  It's one thing to say this, and it's another thing to put it into practice!  

How can you inject new life into millions of lukewarm, out-of-touch with God church members who are only enduring their salvation instead of enjoying it?  I know it looks hopeless, but it can be done!

YES, IT CAN BE DONE!  

What the Church desperately needs in this crucial hour is a re-evaluating of her beliefs, purposes and goals.  After looking at the old hill called Golgotha and a time of deep meditation as to why Jesus had to suffer, bleed and die for a Christ rejecting world - the church needs to take a long, hard look at the empty tomb until it realizes that our Christ was, is and always shall be a victorious champion of liberty and freedom and that Jesus Christ is the solution to man's problems, the answer to his perplexing questions and the fulfillment of his needs.  

We as His ambassadors and representatives have a story to tell to the nations.  We have a blessing to share to this world's untold millions who are at this time dying yet untold.

The masses of church members across this world desperately need a spiritual blood transfusion, a mighty revitalization, a good old-fashioned revival and a restoration of apostolic peace, love, joy, power and spiritual gifts.  Yes, it can be done - I believe it.  I am an optimist - I believe it can be done!

WITH MEN THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!

I realize that humanly speaking, this is an impossible task but remember, "Man's Extremity is God's Opportunity"!  And also remember the immortal words of Jesus when He said, "With men this is impossible but not with God, for with God all things are possible". (Mark 10:27)  

Again, the words of the angel to Mary back up my statement - "For with God nothing shall be impossible". (Luke 1:37)  Mary asked the angel how it could be that she a virgin should bear the Christ child seeing she had not known a man sexually.  The angel answered, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee...For with God nothing shall be impossible".  

Jesus realized man's limitations for He knew how weak man is, "knowing what is in man". (John 2:25)  Man is weak but God is strong.  Man is natural but God is supernatural.  Man is finite but God is infinite.  Man is mortal but God is immortal and man is limited but God is unlimited.  

Jesus was saying that when man has come to the end of his abilities, resources and limitations, God stands ready to answer the SOS and come to his rescue, for with man so many things are impossible but not with God for all things are possible with God! Amen.

WHAT IS THE KEY?

 There is a saying that goes like this: "Faith is the key to the kingdom of God.  Yes, faith is the key to the kingdom of God, but prayer unlocks the door".  Jesus said, "All things are possible to him that believeth". (Mark 9:23)

There are no closed doors where there is faith.  There are no impossibilities and defeats where faith is in the driver's seat.  Faith is the key to the storehouse of God's manifold blessings.

Jesus said to numerous people during His earthly ministry, "Thy faith hath made thee whole...Thy faith hath saved thee...According to thy faith be it done unto thee...Go in faith...How is it ye have no faith?...Where is your faith?...Oh, ye of little faith..."  

It is recorded that Jesus marvelled at the unbelief of some and also marvelled at the faith of others.  To a heathen woman who would not be denied, Jesus said, "Woman, great is thy faith.  Commenting on the faith of a Roman Centurion, Jesus said, "I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel".  

On another occasion, Jesus rebuked them and said, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you"?  He was provoked with them for not having the faith to set a demon possessed boy free.  He expected them to exercise authority and dominion over sickness, disease and devils and drive them out in His name.  He wouldn't always be with the Church, so He said, "How long shall I be with you, and suffer you?  Bring him unto Me".  

Jesus gave His power to His Church and that power was to be stronger after His departure than during His earthly ministry because He was going to the Father to oversee the entire operation from there as well as to send the Holy Spirit to the Church.  Therefore Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you". (John 16:7)

Again, "He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father, And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it." (John 14:12-14)  

One of the most staggering promises Jesus Christ gave the Church is found in Matt. 17:20, when He said, "If ye have faith of a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."  The mustard seed is the smallest of all seed, yet it produces a great tree.  

Jesus said that if we had just a little bit of faith, we could move mountains - not mountains of earth necessarily, for that would have little value for the individual Christian, but mountains of doubt, unbelief, fear, worry and defeat.  Insurmountable objects of difficulty topple as faith makes a way when there is no way.  

Praise God for victorious Christian living in a world filled with unbelief and fear!  Let us join with the disciples of Jesus in praying, "Lord increase our faith".

WHAT IS FAITH?

 The Bible definition of faith is given in Heb. 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".  The first lesson we learn from this scripture is that faith is in the present tense.  Faith is in the Now!  "Now faith is..."  

Faith is now - today, right now!  Faith is relevant, applicable and fashionable right now.  Faith is as modern and up to date as the newest fashions.  Faith never grows old, gets out of style or becomes out dated.  In fact faith gets stronger with age!  

Even though you cannot feel, see, smell, taste or touch faith, it is a substance nevertheless.  It is a reality.  Now Faith Is!  It is a present day up to the minute reality - as real as any of your five natural senses.  It is even more real since faith is born of God and a spiritual force.  

In fact the scripture tells us that when the four men could not get near the house where He was preaching because of the great crowd, they opened up the roof in order to let the palsied man on the bed down before Jesus.  He saw their faith!  

The Bible says, "When He saw their faith, He said unto him, man, thy sins are forgiven thee". (Luke 5:20)  Faith is action.  Faith has feet and faith is living, vibrant and life-giving.  The writer of the Hebrews tells us that faith is not only the substance of things hoped for, but also the evidence of things not seen.  

Faith believes the work is done even though the outward appearance of the situation denies it.  Faith holds on when all natural hope is gone - when the doctor has given his negative diagnosis and all natural minded men are waiting for death to claim its victim.  

Faith sees the sun breaking through the clouds when the storm is at its worst - realizing that soon the darkness will leave and the sun will shine - that tomorrow will bring a better day because your trust is in Christ - that next week will be a better week and next year will bring good things to you simply because you hold the hand of the one who holds tomorrow in His hand! 

Let me give you an example of what Heb. 11:1 means.  We were in a great revival Crusade in Swan River, Manitoba, under the gospel big tent in 1965.  One night they led an old man to the altar for prayer in the healing line.  He had been totally blind for many years.  Before prayer, I asked him of his faith in Christ and if he had come for a miracle or had he come only for prayer.  

His answer told me he had faith.  He said, "Young man, I'll have you know that I have come over 100 miles to get healed"!  There was a finality in his voice - no doubts, but simply an expectant, definite, determined knowledge that this was it and they wouldn't have to lead him around by the hand like a dog anymore.  

As I laid my hands upon him and prayed, I sensed the mighty presence of God upon him.  As I was praying, he began to shout, "I'm healed, I'm healed, I'm healed"!  My fingers covered his eyes and he couldn't see a thing but in his heart he knew.  He knew - yes, he knew.  That's faith!  That's the evidence of things not seen.  When I removed my hand from his head and he opened his eyes, he began to shout and rejoice, saying, "I can see, I can see, I can see"!  

His eyes were opened.  He was healed.  He saw all the people clearly.  He could see the cars outside the tent (the flaps were up).  As he walked outside after the meeting, he looked up at the sky, rubbed his eyes and asked his friend, "It is always so bright outside"?  (It was a dark, sultry, cloudy day, with threat of rain).  

His friend replied, "You've seen nothing yet.  Wait till the sun begins to shine"!  When did the miracle happen?  When I took my fingers off his eyes?  No!  When he shouted, "I am healed"!  That's when the work took place!

FAITH NEVER WAVERS!

Faith never gives up, wavers or throws in the towel.  Faith holds on until the light breaks through, until the answer comes and until reality rises on the horizon of human need.  Faith does not recognize impossibilities, but rather rejoices, knowing that with God all things are possible. (Mark 9:23)  

Let me share two examples with you.  First, the raising of Lazarus from the dead:  At the grave of Lazarus, Jesus was not a bit concerned or flustered.  He spoke with authority when He said, "Take ye the stone away". (John 11:39)  The fact that Lazarus had been dead four days and had begun to decompose did not deter the Master.  He knew Lazarus would rise again.  That is faith!  Praise God.  

Second, the raising of Jairus' daughter from the dead:  Jesus was on His way to heal the daughter of Jairus at the request of the ruler of the synagogue, when someone arrived to bring the sad news that the little girl had just died.  Here is the Bible account.  "While He yet spoke, there came from the ruler of the synagogues' house, certain which said, Thy daughter is dead.  Why troublest thou the Master any further?"  

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, "Be not afraid, only believe". (Mark 5:35-36)  The news had been brought of the death of the little damsel and yet Jesus continued in His course of deliverance.  He dismissed the bad news with the words, "Be not afraid - only believe."  

Then He proceeded to raise her from the dead.  What faith and what confidence!  When all looked utterly hopeless, Jesus was at His best.  Let us take an example of faith from Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith! (Heb. 12:2)

FAITH NEVER GETS OFFENDED!

The Bible says, "Great peace have they which love Thy law:  and nothing shall offend them". (Ps. 119:165)  Many people become critical, hard hearted, bitter and filled with self-pity because of economic struggles, broken marriages, sickness and pain. 

The Bible states: "And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.  But He answered her not a word.  And His disciples came and brought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.  But He answered and said, I an not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  

"Then came she and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me.  But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.  And she said, Truth, Lord:  yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith:  be it unto thee even as thou wilt.  And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." (Matt. 15:22-28)

Here is an account of humility, perseverance and faith.  This woman would not be denied and she did not get offended.  When Jesus called her and her daughter "dogs", as the Samaritans were called by the Jews, hear what she replied:  "And she said, Truth, Lord:  yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table".  She received an answer to her prayer.  Her daughter was healed!  Hallelujah!

WE ARE HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD!

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth, For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.

"Mortify therefore your members, which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which  things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 

"But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him: but Christ is all in all." (Col. 3:1-11)

Jesus said, "Except a man be Born Again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God... Verily, verily, Except a man be born of water (Word) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:1-7)

GOD HONOURS HIS SERVANTS!

Jesus promised: "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, Even the Spirit of Truth ... but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come unto you." (John 14: 16-18)

JESUS said: "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve Me, let Him follow Me: and where I  am, there shall also My servant be: If any man serve Me, him will My Father honour." (John 12:25, 26)

He spoke about His own death, "..except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die.."  Then, He said, "If any man serve Me, him will My Father honour." That is awesome. We are not looking for honour, but God  honours those who truly love and serve Christ!

 None of us are able to come to God on the basis of who we are or what we have done, but only by God's grace and because of what He has done for us, are we able to receive God's miracles. God the Father sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to REDEEM us through His shed blood on Golgotha's Cross! He alone purchased our total forgiveness and justification through His triumphant resurrection from the dead!

Satan is the adversary of God and the enemy of humanity! He is a deceiving, conniving LIAR. Jesus called him a thief, liar and murderer. He told the first lie and is the inventor of all lies, deception and condemnation! The word Satan means Enemy and the word Devil means Liar.

The GOOD NEWS is that Jesus Christ defeated him conclusively and destroyed him and his kingdom of darkness! The Bible says: "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested to Destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3: 8). 

JESUS said: "The thief cometh not but for to Steal, Kill and Destroy. I am come that you might have Life and have it more abundantly,"(John 10: 10)

St. John declared: "And this is the record, that God hath given us Eternal Life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to His will He heareth us: And we know that if He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we Know that we the petition that we desired of Him." (1 John 5: 11-15)

Real faith recognizes how little we are and how big He is - and then appropriates His promise to us His children, and receives graciously from His hand as a Son would receive from his father!   Amen.