Tuesday, March 18, 2014

We are living in perilous times when faith is being eroded by the 'frog in the boiling water' syndrome. Great changes in moral values and Biblical beliefs both in society and the Church have come upon us slowly at first, and as we acquiesced and accepted the New Normal, the 'Stockholm Syndrome' took over and we have neutralized in order to get along with the world, the flesh and the devil. I believe this message should help us get back on track. - Pastor Max Solbrekken

                              ABRAHAM STAGGERED NOT:
                                         By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D. 
“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.” (Rom 4: 20, 21

    NAPOLEON BONAPARTE marched his armies across southern Europe crushing all opposition in their path. Having reached the outskirts of Milan in Italy he stopped and sent for the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church. The archbishop looked small and insignificant to Napoleon Bonaparte who sat on his horse in a semi-circle of Military Leaders.

    Napoleon challenged: “Prove to me that there is a GOD and that the Bible is true.” The archbishop didn't say a word. He pointed to the Emperor's leading General, Messena, who was Jewish! If there were no God there would be no Jews, because Abraham was impotent and Sarah being barren could not have children.

   Against the laws of nature, the aged pair received physical miracles from God, allowing them to procreate. After Sarah's death, Abraham married a young woman called Keturah and at 143 years of age was still fathering children. Six sons were born to that union. (Gen. 25:1)

  The Emperor got the message and immediately shouted a command, swung his horse around and galloped away from Milan without firing a shot.

     At 99 years of age Abraham was impotent. Sarah was barren and 89 years old, with no hope of having children. Yet, God had promised them a son and a great posterity. After 25 years of waiting, God gave them the strength to copulate resulting in Sarah conceiving and bearing a son called Isaac, whose son JACOB became known as Israel.

      Can you imagine Sarah giving birth and breast feeding Isaac at the age of ninety! No wonder she laughed when she overheard the conversation the Lord was having with her husband, stating that it was time for the long awaited miracle to happen! (Gen.18:1-15)

     I can only surmise that Abraham was dumbfounded when some years later, he heard that unmistakeable VOICE demanding that he take his son to Mount Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice. How he must have struggled with such an unusual request from the Eternal God Who did not condone human sacrifices and had promised Abraham that through Isaac the Messiah would come!

   St. Paul gives us the reason he obeyed: "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him as a figure." (Heb.11:17-19)


  Abraham’s belief in the Lord was solid. He trusted in Him explicitly. He knew that if God could raise the dead He could do anything. And he knew that if God had promised something He would deliver. He would keep His Word, as He had done in the past. He had promised him and Sarah a son and even though it took about twenty five years, God kept His promise to them.

   The relationship between Almighty God and Abraham was so amazing and far above our comprehension to understand, however, a greater plan was being carried out. Abraham offering up his only begotten son (in a figure) was a type of God, Who would (in reality) offer up His only begotten Son Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of the world!

    The difference is that God did not allow Abraham to go through with it, by providing a ram as a substitute! Jesus of Nazareth, God's only begotten Son is our substitute Whom our Heavenly Father gave to die in our stead. Hallelujah!

    JESUS CHRIST was the Only One who could fulfill the TYPE that was played out in Isaac's life. Had Isaac, the only begotten son of Abraham and Sarah been offered up, death would have had the right to hold him, because he was NOT sinless! His blood was human and therefore contaminated and without spiritual merit.

   The Bible says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23); "The wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom.6: 23)

   Jesus of Nazareth was able to fulfill the prophetic type on Golgatha years later, because His blood was not contaminated by sin. He was SINLESS and therefore DEATH could not hold Him. His pure and perfect blood was able to raise Him from the dead. He had conquered death for Himself and also for all who believe in Him!


   The Bible states: “For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham or his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith… 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.

   “As it is written, I have made thee a father unto many nations, before Him who BELIEVED, even God, Who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things that be not as through the were. 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. And being NOT weak in FAITH, he considered NOT his body now dead, when he was an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:

     “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”  (Rom 4: 13-22). An old Gospel Hymn says:

Standing on the Promises of Christ my King

Through eternal ages let the glory ring

Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing

Standing on the promises of God

Standing on the promises I cannot fall

Listening every moment for the Spirit’s call

Resting in My Saviour as my all in all

I’m standing on the promises of God

   D.L. MOODY stated: "Find a promise and tarry there.” God's Word is immutable and cannot be changed! He will keep every Promise He has made. Everet C. Storm stated that God has made 7,959 promises in the Holy Bible, and He is well able to fulfill every one of them!

   ARMIN GESSWEIN, who lived to be 93, stated that as a young Lutheran pastor, he learned about prayer from Ambrose Whaley, a 92 year old Methodist blacksmith who told him: “Learn to plead the promises of God.” His prayer chamber was a hayloft where he knelt between two piles of hay upon which lay two Bibles. He placed one hand on each of the Bibles, while pleading the promises of God and the Blood of Jesus Christ in earnest and intercessory prayer!

    I have learned that pleading the Blood of Jesus Christ over every prayer request, for lost, sick and suffering humanity, and a need for more COMPASSION and FAITH are prayers that God will answer. By His grace, I daily plead the Blood of Jesus Christ and the promises of God as I humble myself in His awesome presence!

   Agonizing in Prayer for a REVIVAL of RIGHTEOUSNESS brings the greatest fruitful breakthroughs in God’s presence! Pastor Gesswein stated: “Revival is Christians returning to normal. When God is about to do something great, He starts with a difficulty. When He is about to do something truly magnificent, He starts with an impossibility.”

                              LUTHER LOCKED THE DOOR!

  When MARTIN LUTHER found Philip Melancthon in the last stages of death, he turned his face to the wall and prayed for about an hour for God’s intervention. He writes: 
   “I threw my satchel against the door and said: ‘Now Lord it’s between You and me. If You don’t heal Melanchthon I do not know if I’ll have faith to ask You for anything again’. Then I shouted in God’s ears all the promises He had given us for faith and healing.” 

  After calling upon the Lord for about an hour, he heard Melanchton whisper: “Luther, stop praying. Let me die.” Luther replied: “You shall live. If you die, I will excommunicate you.”  
     Then, he called the nurse to bring some broth. Melanchton said: “Let me die, Luther. I don’t want any broth,” to which Luther replied, “If you die before me, I will excommunicate you.” He then took Melanchthon by the hand and said, "Be of good courage Philip, you shall not    die." 

   Melanchthon immediately revived and soon regained his health. He later said, "I should have been a dead man had I not been recalled from death itself by the coming of Luther.”  The words the Great Reformer spoke were prophetic because Philip Melanchton did outlive Martin Luther!

     By locking the door, Martin Luther was saying two things: “God, You are not leaving here until we straighten out this problem, and I don’t want any disruptions while You and I talk.” Luther wrote: “I found Melanchton near death but by an evident miracle of God he lives.”

                        WHAT GREATER WICKEDNESS!

  MARTIN LUTHER stated: "What greater wickedness, what greater contempt of God is there than not believing His promise? For what is this but to make God a liar or to doubt that He is truthful? - that is, to ascribe truthfulness to one’s self but lying and vanity to God."

    To all who have prayed without receiving an answer, do not give up! Keep on praying and don’t forget to PLEAD the PROMISES of God in your prayers. This will do two things: It will increase your faith in God and it will cause you to enjoy getting into God’s presence more often.

    And as you as plead His promises, don’t forget to PLEAD the BLOOD of Jesus over those for whom you are praying. This will do two things: As you exalt the Blood of Jesus Christ, it will make the Gospel more precious to you, and it will cause Almighty God to come forth in mighty power through the blessed Holy Spirit to grant your request!

                                 HOW DO I KNOW THIS? 
    Jesus promised that if we love Him and believe that God sent Him as the Saviour, the Father is obligated to LOVE us and to COME and live in us!  

      He said: “I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live ye shall live also. 
      "At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me and I in you. He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me:   

      “And he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: And MY FATHER will love him, and WE will come unto him and make OUR abode with Him.” (John 15:18-21, 23)

    Hallelujah to the Lamb of God for sinners slain! Here are some great gospel truths:

Faith in the Father and Faith in the Son

Faith in the Holy Ghost, Three in the One

Demons will tremble and sinners awake

Faith in Christ Jesus will anything shake!

Faith in God can move a mighty Mountain

Faith in God will calm a troubled Sea

Faith will turn a desert into a Fountain

And faith in God will bring the Victory

So have Faith, my Friend; Faith in God!

                     CHILDREN OF FAITHFUL ABRAHAM!

   It is almost unreal to believe that we could be called “children of Abraham”. But that is what the Bible declares! We can have that kind of faith also, if we walk in his footsteps and put out trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham looked forward to the 'Crucified Christ ' by faith, and we look back to the 'Crucified Christ ' by faith!

  “And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but FOR US ALSO to whom it shall be imputed, if we BELIEVE on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for OUR offences (SINS), and was raised again for our Justification. (Rom.4: 22-25)

    Again the Word of God states: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree: That the BLESSING of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the (Holy) Spirit by FAITH.” (Gal.3: 13, 14)

   The Bible says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: For he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb.11: 1, 6)  

   FAITH is three things: First, it is coming to God with our needs. It takes faith to confess that we need help and that we have a problem! By coming to Him with our needs we are confessing that He is greater than we are and therefore able to help us.

   “The first step in receiving forgiveness, restoration or divine healing is humility and repentance. We must therefore humble ourselves before God, acknowledging our desperate need of His mercy and grace!

   Second, faith is believing that God exists and that He is the God of the Bible; Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Infinite, Eternal, Immutable and Transcendent. He is incomprehensible, unknowable and sovereign. He is perfect, pure, righteous, compassionate, just, honest and trustworthy. And He is Love!

   Third, we must expect an answer when we pray, for He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him! It is not enough just to ask. We must believe that He hears us and that He will answer as He has promised. His Word is His bond! St. John states definitely and clearly:

   “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatever we ask, we KNOW that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” (1John 5: 14, 15)

    FAITH is believing that the Bible is TRUE and that God will keep His Promises to those who pray in sincerity and truth. FAITH is believing God’s Word in totality, and trusting in His mercy and grace, love, goodness and righteousness.

   FAITH is believing the record He has given of His Son Jesus Christ and receiving Him into our hearts and lives as Lord and Saviour, Master and God. Faith is asking His blessed Holy Spirit to fill us with His LIFE and to lead by His Word and according to His Will, with great joy and peace!

  God’s Word states: “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom.10: 17). Let us all fill our hearts and minds with God’s pure and Holy Word and serve Him diligently in all things, and FAITH will come into our lives. We then, will become living epistles of His mercy, love and grace, spreading His glorious Gospel far and wide!

                         FAITH IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS!    

   The BIBLE declares: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Being justified fully by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

   “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in HIS BLOOD, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say at this time His righteousness: That He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Rom.3: 23-26)

 To be justified freely and fully means that we are totally exonerated, forgiven and “accepted in the Beloved” as children of God, heirs of God and joints heirs with Christ, soley on the merits of the life-giving blood of Jesus Christ! (Eph.1: 6; Rom.8: 14-17)

   The BLOOD of Jesus Christ that was shed for the sins of the world - past, present and future - on Calvary's Cross nearly 2,000 years ago will NOT benefit us, unless we have FAITH in His BLOOD! Faith in the blood of Jesus Christ opens the door of Heaven to us by bringing instant forgiveness for our sins, purity of heart and a freedom from guilt, condemnation and shame!

   Faith in the shed BLOOD of Jesus Christ God's Pascal Lamb, breaks the bonds of Sin, opens the prison doors and liberates the captives held by the chains of Darkness. 
   Faith in the blood of Jesus Christ causes the Devil to flee in terror, destroys the shackles of servitude and causes the heart to sing, rejoice and receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

    Faith in the BLOOD of Jesus destroys evil habits of lust, greed and pride. It breaks the bondage of lying, stealing, gambling, fornicating and carousing! It liberates the spirit from guilt and fear of the past, present and future. It prepares the spirit for fellowship with God and an entrance into our eternal Home!

  The Bible states: “Without shedding of blood, there is no remission for sin.” (Heb.9: 22); “For it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” (Lev.17: 11); “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)
   For nearly 2,000 years the Church's Rallying Cry has been: Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again! And that is our Cry today as well and will continue to be until He returns. For many years my Rallying Cry has been: Christ's Victory, Satan's Defeat and Our Liberty!

    An old hymn of the Church begins with these powerful words: 'The Church's One Foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord!' 
    Without the DEATH of Jesus Christ on the CROSS on the hill of Gogatha, there would be no salvation and had not Jesus Christ RISEN from the dead, there would be NO Saviour. And if He had not risen from the dead, there would be no Triumphant returning King to rule in Power and Majesty!
   SAUL of Tarsus - the Jewish terrorist - met the RISEN Lord Jesus on the Damascus Road on his way to arrest Jewish believers in the risen Christ, and was blinded by His glorious presence. His life was totally rearranged, transformed and set apart for His Service through the shed blood of our Saviour, the blessed Holy Spirit and the living Word of God!
  He stated: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the FAITH of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me." (Gal.2: 20)
   "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
   "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the CROSS. Wherefore God also has highly EXALTED HIM, and given Him a name  which is above every name: That at the Name of JESUS every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
    "And that every tongue should confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the glory of God The Father." (Phil.2: 5-11). 
   The Bible says: "God saith...And let all the angels worship Him." (Heb.1: 6); "The Father loveth the SON, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the SON hath everlasting life: and He that believeth not the SON shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3: 36); 
     This Scripture proves that whenever the Father receives glory the SON also receives glory and when the SON receives glory so does the Father, because the SON is also God! Jesus Christ was God the SON in human flesh through the incarnation!
    "Therefore...Jesus said, Now is the SON of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God be glorified in Him (Jesus), God  shall also glorify Him (Jesus) in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him." (John 13: 31,32)
     JESUS repeatedly said: "If ye shall ask anything in My NAME, I will do it." (John 14:14); "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My NAME, He may give it you." (John 15:16); "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall as the Father in My NAME, He will give it to you, Hitherto ye have asked nothing in My NAME, ask and ye shall receive." (John 16:23,24)
    ST. JOHN was visited by the Glorified Lord Jesus Christ on the Isle of Patmos and fell at His feet as dead. Here is his marvellous testimony: 
    "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and heard behind me a GREAT VOICE, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last...And I turned to see the VOICE that spoke with me. And being turned I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks ONE like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
   "His head and His hairs were as were white like wool, as white as snow;and His eyes were as aflame of fire; and His feet like as unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
    "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth and was dead; and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of Hell and of death." (Rev.1: 10-18)  
    It is a very serious mistake to ignore the claims of Christ and to put His Gospel on the back burner of your life. The Bible states: 
  "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father, but he that aknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." (1 John 2: 22,23)
   "He that believeth on the SON of God hath the witness in himself: He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of His SON. 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  of God hath not life." (1 John 5: 10-12)
   The Bible says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3: 16) Amen.