Christians Suffer Amnesia Attacks CRISES OF IDENTITY! by Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
“But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” (James 1: 22-24)
The Christian Church appears to be suffering from a disease called, ‘AMNESIA’! This condition - intermittent, other times complete – seriously retards church growth and spirituality. It is not new, however, and St. James was well acquainted with it!
The most serious crises of identity, or ‘amnesia attack’ happened to Jesus’ secretary treasurer, Judas Iscariot, who fell for the sin of ‘greed and covetousness’ and ‘stole from the bag’! (John 12: 4-6; 13: 29) He continued playing the game and eventually, “Satan entered into him” (John 13:27).
After he had betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and saw that He was condemned to die, he returned the money to the high priest, saying: “I have betrayed the innocent blood! He then took his own life! (Matt. 27: 3-5)
How very sad, to see a man who was ‘one of the twelve disciples’, who had been given power to preach the gospel, heal the sick and cast out devils, fall from grace and be lost forever! (Mark 6: 7,12,13; Acts 1: 17)
At our Saviour’s trial, St. Peter also suffered such an attack, when he was labeled a disciple of Jesus! On three separate occasions, he vigorously denied the accusation, stating that he did not “know the man”! Peter even cursed and swore, to make his point!
The ‘necessary medicine’ for Peter’s amnesia, came in the form of ‘one look' from Jesus’: “The Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice. And Peter went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22: 61-62) And his amnesia was gone!
As with Peter, it usually happens at a very crucial and important moment. It is certainly related to the spiritual disease of ‘slumber’ in which Peter and the other disciples were involved, just prior to his denial of Jesus!
When Jesus needed them the most, in the time of His greatest agony and conflict, they fell asleep. And when the Master awakened them on several occasions, they were unable to respond!
St. Paul identified the problem, putting it in proper perspective, in his letter to the church in Rome: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom.1: 16)
NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL!
In his epistle to Timothy, the great apostle, admonishes: “Hold fast the form of sound words…That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost, which dwelleth in us”.
Then, he shares some very sad news: “This thou knowest, that ALL they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain.” (2 Tim. 1: 13-16)
Paul’s imprisonment had embarrassed and frightened some of the believers, and Timothy was undoubtedly becoming fearful that he also might be subjected to beatings, imprisonment and death!
In the letter to his young disciple, Paul writes: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” (2 Tim. 2:7,8)
DEMAS suffered a devastating attack of ‘spiritual amnesia’, which quite probably led to his eternal damnation. In his letter to Timothy, the great ‘warrior of the cross’ writes: “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…”
Again, Paul reports: “At my first answer, no man stood with me, but ALL MEN FORSOOK ME: I pray God that it will not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” (2 Tim. 4: 16,17)
The Bible warns: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God, abideth forever.” (1 John 2: 15-17)
Pastor James of the first Pentecostal Church, in Jerusalem, put a HUMAN FACE on the problem of spiritual amnesia! He divided people into two classes: the ‘hearers and doers’ and the ‘hearers only’. He said that those who hear the Scriptures and give only mental assent, can be likened to a man, looking at his face in the mirror, and shortly forgetting what he looked like!
HOW RIDICULOUS, INDEED!
Could a man forget whether he had a beard or was clean - shaven? Or whether he had black hair or blond, or if his eyes were blue or brown? Of course not! But, spiritual amnesia is just as absurd and ridiculous!
How could anyone ever forget the life transforming experience, of being Born - Again? The release from condemnation and guilt, as our sins were washed away by the precious blood of Jesus Christ! The peace of God flooded our spirit and soul, and God’s love swept through our entire being as Jesus made Himself real to our hearts, and the Holy Spirit introduced us to our Heavenly Father!
It is impossible for a Christian – unless the conscience is seared - to forget the glorious experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit!
JESUS SAID: “But ye shall receive power (authority) after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto Me…
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive…” (Acts 1:8; John 7:37-38)
The word that Jesus used to describe the impact of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is ‘dunamis’, out of which we get the word ‘DYNAMITE’! St. Paul’s prayer for the Church; best describes the Holy Spirit’s impact upon a believer!
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us - ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right Hand in the heavenly places,
“Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church, Which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” (Eph. 1: 17-23)
BUILDING ON SAND OR THE SOLID ROCK!
Jesus drew a comparison between those who heard His Word and acted upon it and those who did not! Here are His timeless Words: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a WISE MAN who built, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock.
“And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine and doeth them not, is likened unto a FOOLISH MAN, which built his house upon the sand: And the rains descended, and the floods
“And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched: and because it had no root, it withered away.
“And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.” (Mark 4: 3-8)
SATAN STEALS THE WORD!
In this parable, Jesus made it plain that when the Word of God is sown, immediately the devil comes to steal the Word. (v.15) Our Lord stated that Satan came to “steal, kill and destroy”. (John 10:10)
The seed that was sown on STONY GROUND speaks of those “who have heard the Word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward when affliction or persecution ariseth for the Word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” (v. 18,19)
The seed sown AMONG THORNS refers to: “such as hear the Word, and the cares of this world, And the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (v.18,19)
And finally, the seed that fell on GOOD GROUND are: “such as hear the Word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” (v. 20)
JESUS doesn’t recognize those “who receive the Word with gladness, but fall away” or those who “hear the Word and become unfruitful because of the cares, pleasures and lusts of this world” as GENUINE believers!
Our Lord separates believers – “such as hear the Word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit” - into three groups: “some thirty fold, some sixty and some an hundred.”
JESUS DESIRES FRUIT in His followers! He stated: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He PURGETH it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
“Abide in Me. and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
“If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15: 1-6)
D.L. MOODY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT!
Jesus places believers in three categories: thirty percent, sixty percent and one hundred percent! The famous American Evangelist, D.L. Moody said: “The FIRST CLASS, are those who got to Calvary and there got life. They believed on the Son and were saved, and there they rested satisfied. They did not seek anything higher.”
Moody continued: “You might safely say, I think, without exaggeration, that 19 out of 20 Christians…have just got life and have settled down, and have not sought for power.”
The SECOND CLASS, Moody calls, ‘a better class of Christian’ asserting “the secret of the Holy Spirit’s coming in power to the believer is the individual’s complete surrender to the Saviour. And we do not need to wait upon God to do something for us. He is waiting for us to yield ourselves to Him.”
Moody points to John 7: 37,38, where we read: “out of whose belly (innermost being) shall flow rivers of living water.” He says: “This is the BEST CLASS; this is the kind of Christian we ought to be.”
A number of years ago,, Rev. Ray Brubaker of ‘Good News Behind The News’, wrote the article, ‘God’s Message to This Generation’, in which he gave his personal testimony of being miraculously healed and filled with the Holy Spirit! He quotes great preachers, who have been used of God, because they were empowered through the infilling of the Blessed Holy Spirit!
He says: “As Moody stated, ’Pentecost was only a specimen day’. Moody calls attention to the fact that for thirty years our Lord lived in obscurity in Nazareth. Then, there came a day when we read where Jesus was “full of the Holy Ghost.”
Coming back to Nazareth after His victorious encounter over Satan, in the wilderness we read where He entered the temple and read from Isaiah…”the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me.” From thence, “for three years we find Him preaching the kingdom of God, casting out devils and raising the dead…”
MOODY concludes: “If the Son of God has got to be anointed, do not His disciples need it, and shall we not seek it, and shall we barely rest with conversion?”
When there were those who took exception to Moody’s reference to receiving the Holy Spirit, or his messages on the baptism of the Spirit, TORREY relates how Moody would reply: “Why will they split hairs? Why don’t they see that this is just the one thing that they themselves need?”
DO WE KNOW WHO WE ARE?
Being a follower of Jesus is serious business. Let us strive to live for Him, in such a manner that we are in the one hundred percent category, because we love Him and desire to bring forth godly fruit!
The sad fact is that God knows who we are ‘in Christ’ and the devil knows who we are ‘in Christ’, but we don’t seem to know who we are ‘in Christ!
My Christian friend, ‘Do you know who you are in Christ’? In the event, that anyone reading this message, does not know or has forgotten who you are in Christ, let me inform you or refresh your memory, of your standing before God and man!
IF YOU ARE BORN AGAIN, YOU ARE:
1). A child of God – “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…Beloved, now are we the sons of God…” (1 John 3:1,3)
2). An heir of God; a joint heir with Jesus Christ – “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom.8: 16,17)
3). A king and a priest unto God – “And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us: And washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev.1: 5,6)
4). A temple of the Holy Spirit – “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Cor.3: 16,17; 6: 19; 2 Cor.6: 16)
5). Bone of Jesus’ bone and flesh of His flesh – “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” (Eph.5: 30)
6). A member of the body of Christ – “Know ye not that your bodies are the member of Christ? Shall I take then the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.” (1 Cor.6: 15; Eph. 5: 23,30)
7). An ambassador of the kingdom of God – “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5: 20)
8). A representative of Christ and His Gospel – “And all things are of God, Who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit (that is) that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5: 18,19)
9). A lively stone in the building of God – “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet.2: 5)
10). An epistle of God, seen and read of all men – “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” (2 Cor. 3: 2,3)
11). An Overcomer, through the blood of Christ – “For whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God,” (1 John 5: 4,5; Rom.12: 21; Rev. 2: 7)
12). More than a conqueror through Jesus Christ – “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yeah rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” (Rom. 8:33-38)
CORRECTING SPIRITUAL AMNESIA!
God says: “My people are destroyed for lack of wisdom.” (Hosea 4: 6)
This treatise has been prepared with the assistance of the blessed Holy Spirit, in order to help correct the devastating problem of ‘Spiritual Amnesia’, in the ‘Body of Christ’!
PLEASE STUDY the words that I have shared with you – from the depths of my heart - and allow the blessed Holy Spirit to work mightily in your heart and life! Believe these words: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father, be glory for ever and ever. Amen,” (Phil. 4: 19,20)
“Therefore I say unto you: What things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Mark 11:24; Matt. 21: 22)
“Now unto Him, Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.” (Eph. 3: 20, 21) Ω