Saturday, December 17, 2016

                    TWO PILLARS OF CHRISTIANITY:
                          REPENTANCE AND FAITH
   The two great pillars of the Christian Faith are Repentance toward God and Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  Naturally, the vicarious death of Jesus Christ to atone for our sins and all the sins of the world, past, present and the future, together with His glorious resurrection from the dead, is the Gospel message in a nutshell.
     The remedy for the problems of the world is the Person of Jesus Christ Himself. He is the Answer to the evil of Satanic bondage and all it entails, however repentance of Sin and faith in Jesus Christ opens the door into His Kingdom. (John 10: 9,10; 14: 6)
    St. Paul said: “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you...testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20: 20, 21)
    “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead, according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds: but the Word of God is not bound.” (2 Tim.2: 8, 9)
     He was imprisoned, chained and bound, but the Word of God was not bound. It was active and working even in Caesar's household. (Phil.4:22). In Thessalonica, the great apostle prayed that the Word of God would have free course and be glorified. (2 Thes. 3: 1).
   The Early Church proved repeatedly that the Word of God cannot be stopped by the onslaughts of the Enemy. “And the Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7)
     The Word of God penetrated the jail in Philippi where St. Paul and Silas were imprisoned for preaching Christ's gospel. To rescue His servants and to start a Revival, God sent an earthquake to shake down the prison:
       “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: And the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bands were loosed.”
     The keeper of the prison fell down before Paul and Silas, saying, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.” (Acts 16: 23-34). His entire family received Jesus Christ, the Living Word into their hearts and lives and were baptized to seal their new birth in Christ!
  “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon themselves to call over them which had evil spirits, the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?
      “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house, naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and the Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed.” (Acts 19: 13-20)
      One of the signs of true FAITH in Christ is our ability to cast out evil spirits in the name of Jesus Christ! In the Great Commission which our Saviour gave the Church, He said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.
     “And these Signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if the drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall hands upon the sick and they shall recover. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the WORD with SIGNS following.” (Mark 16: 15-20)
     God's Word cannot return unto Him void: “So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Is.55: 11).
      It must accomplish that for which it was sent. It is impossible for God to fail and since He has placed His Word above His Name, it is therefore impossible for His Word to fail! (Ps.138: 2)
     The Holy Bible says, “He hath sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from all their destructions.” (Ps.107: 20); “God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent (change). Has He not said it and shall He not do it, or hath He spoken and shall He not make it good?” (Nu. 23: 19).
     “For the Word of God is quick (lively) and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb.4: 12)
    God's great heart of mercy and grace desires to bless us and heal all who are hurting and suffering today. I do not believe it is God's will for any of His children to suffer the pain, agony and torment which Jesus suffered for us all in Pilate's Judgment Hall where He was brutally scourged, and on the Cross where He bore our sins!
     All our sickness, diseases and pains were laid upon Jesus Christ, God's Paschal Lamb and He paid the penalty for for us all, thereby meeting the demands of Divine Justice in payment for all our sins, past, present and future!
     The Word of God states: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.” (Is.53: 4,5)
   The Holy Scriptures are their own best defense. St. Mathew confirms perfectly the words of the ancient prophet Isaiah concerning the Jewish Messiah, which were spoken seven hundred years earlier!
   “When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His Word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Elijah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Matt.8: 16,17)
    “Who His own self bare our sins in is own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by Whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2: 24); “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in ONCE into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
    “How much more shall the Blood of Christ Who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
    “For Christ is not entered into the Holy places made with hands, which are the figure of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
     “For Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb.9: 12, 14, 24,28)
    “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the BODY of Jesus Christ once for all. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the Right hand of God.”
     “For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the Blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His Flesh.” (Heb.10:10, 12,14, 19, 20); “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the camp.” (Heb.13: 12)
    The two great pillars of the Christian Faith are Repentance toward God and Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Paul stated: “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you...testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20: 20, 21)
   The reason that we need to repent to God is because of Adam's Sin of treason and our inherited guilt, against our Heavenly Father. And only Faith in Jesus Christ, God's Paschal Lamb, has the power and ability to save us from our sins and everlasting death!
    Repentance becomes inescapable when we understand God's awesome mercy toward us. And Christ's magnanimous love and compassion that He showed toward us in His indescribable, torturous sufferings and death on Golgotha, disarms us! The Holy Bible says: “Or despises thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Rom.2: 4)
    The first thing that a new believer in Christ experiences is humility and a desire to worship Almighty God. A holy reverence called 'the fear of God' informs us that we are talking to our Maker. The second thing is that our sins are gone. 
     We will suddenly feel a release from the guilt and condemnation that had burdened us down. The third thing we will have is thanksgiving and peace causing us to praise God from deep within, because we realize that we are free. 
    The fourth thing is a feeling of victory, knowing that that we are free from Satan's shackles and no longer bound by sin, fear and torments. We are in Christ and He is in us and we are a slave no longer. 
     The fifth thing that will happen is that a great desire will fill our heart to share the Good News. We will want our relatives and friends to also know Christ and His saving, healing and delivering power! Amen.
     The BIBLE states: “Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb.12:1). Faith is the Evidence! Moffat says, “Faith means that we are convinced that we have what we do not see.”
      Faith is three things: It is coming to God with our needs. It is believing that God exists. It is expecting an answer when we pray! We wouldn't come to God with our needs unless we believed that He is greater than we are and has the power to meet those needs. The crux of the matter is, we must expect God to answer!
     The most important fact is the Integrity of God. Does He mean what He said and will He do what He said? The answer is, YES! Here is the real kicker: “Do we obey Him, seek His face, worship Him and prepare our hearts to receive Him?” He is ready to answer, when we are ready to obey Him. Period!
      “For 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. 11:6)
    Faith is a believing attitude, an abiding trust, an expectant outlook and a positive declaration. Faith is a quiet confidence and a receptive spirit, an inner strength and a vocal proclamation of assured victory!
     Faith believes the Words of Jesus, discounts the challenge of the enemy, puts to flight the spirit of fear, lust, torment and sickness. Faith reaches out to God for the impossible in the midst of the storm, in the eye of the hurricane, in the face of persecution, repression and betrayal!
     Faith is born of the Holy Spirit, grows by the Word of God and operates through a life that is purified by the BLOOD of Jesus Christ. Faith is a gift from God and a fruit of the Spirit. It operates through love and when mixed with God's Word, brings answers to prayer!
     Without Faith it is impossible to please God, but with Faith, nothing is impossible. Jesus said, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9: 23); “With men it is impossible, but not with God, for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10: 27); “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.” (Matt.21: 22);     “Therefore, I say unto you, whatsoever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11: 23). Faith is personal! It is fellowship with God; a fellowship of the heart with our Saviour Jesus Christ through the blessed Holy Spirit! 
    He imparts His very life into our spirit. He gives us His Name and His nature. He is in us and we are in Him. We receive His mind and His thoughts become our thoughts. We think like He thinks and begin doing what He does. (Phil. 2:5-11)
     He transforms us from glory to glory. (2 Cor. 3: 18). His Words are Spirit and they are life and light, hope and peace. (John 6: 63). He gives us all we need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1: 3,4). He is all we will ever Need. We are hid with Christ in God. (Col.3: 3). 
    By Faith in His BLOOD, we are transformed and receive a renewed mind. (Rom.12: 1, 2). We are justified (made right with God) by Faith. (Gal.3: 11). And by Faith we are actually made righteous through Christ. (Gal.5: 4-6)
    We are complete in Him: “But in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power.” (Col.2: 9, 10). 
     “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.” (Gal.5: 5, 6)
     Dr. Ole Hallesby who presided over the Free Faculty of Theology in Norway from 1909-1952 training Lutheran Ministers in Christ's true Gospel, was undoubtedly the truest theologian that Norway produced in the last century. He wrote in his Devotional for January 28, concerning Matthew 21: 22:
     “Now and then we make discoveries which almost take our breath away, namely, when we see what great powers are present in this realm of the invisible. This is especially true when these powers are put at our disposal, when God performs a mighty Miracle simply because we ask Him to do so.”
     “O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever. To Him Who alone doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth forever.” (Ps.136: 1,4). My deep convictions and my personal belief about Jesus Christ is identical to the Holy Scriptures. I concur entirely with the Word of God!
 Shall we Pray:
      “Kind Heavenly Father, in the Name of Thy crucified, risen and glorified Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, grant unto Thy humble servants, the Gifts and Graces necessary to do Thy bidding in reaching lost and dying souls, as well as to minister to Thy sick, suffering and struggling Church!
   “As the darkness of Satan, the world and the flesh seek to gain an ascendancy in this present hour, may Your life giving presence give us the Power of the Holy Spirit as promised in Your Word, to deliver a death blow to his evil power in Christ's name!
     Forgive me for the times I have failed Thee O' Lord. Wash me me in Thy precious blood and liberate me from all the powers of sin, fear, sickness and the powers of darkness in Jesus' name
     For Thy glory, honour and praise forever. Amen