THE PRINCIPLES OF FAITH by Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
"And when they were come to the multitude, there came to Him a 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. Then 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)
In this concise work we will consider Five Principles of Faith and How They Function:
1) Read and Hear God's Word.
2) Think and Meditate on God's Word.
3) Believe God's Word.
4) Speak or articulate God's Word.
5) Act upon God's Word!
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 several decades ago, they are as valid and important today, as ever! Amen. Max Solbrekken, Edmonton, 1993
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 no 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!
THE KEY TO MIRACLES!
What is the Key to 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)
Our Lord stated, "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 "the 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 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 every one 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 brethen 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)
(II) – 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 in order 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 always seems to be getting into trouble?"
Jesus emphazised: "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.
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, Dr. 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 VIII 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 VIII 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 - in order 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.”
(III) AN ALMOST TOTAL ABANDONMENT OF FERVENT PRAYER BY CHRISTIANS AND CLERGY ALIKE!
A number of 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 be fasting 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!
In order 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 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)
There are four things we must do, if we expect 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 THEREFORE REQUIRES REPENTANCE AND CONFESSION 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)
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 every one 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 every thing 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)
WE NEED A REVIVAL OF EXPECTANCY & EXCITEMENT!
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 & 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!"
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 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!
Is it possible for a human being to know the Creator of the universe? The Holy Bible states, only through His Son Jesus Christ are we able to know God! And only Jesus Christ can SAVE us from sin and darkness, through His vicarious death for us on the Cross and His resurrection from the dead on the third day! Amen.
Max Solbrekken World Mission, Box 22440 RPO Garside, Edmonton, AB T5V 1N6;
Max Solbrekken World Mission, Box 22440 RPO Garside, Edmonton, AB T5V 1N6;E-Mail: [email protected]; comehometojesus.ca; YouTube, Face Book. Donations can be made by E-Transfer. Make your donation to [email protected]