2 Cor. 11:3 However, I’m afraid that as the snake deceived Eve by its tricks, so your minds may somehow be lured away from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
One thing that bothers me is seeing people taken advantage of. It is never good and often can be quite destructive. The devils tricks have never changed. He is using the same tactics he has always used, but it is becoming more apparent in the last days that far too many are, as Eve was, being deceived through his tricks and they are being lured away from their devotion to Christ.
I want to share this week some important truths from the Word of God that can protect us from falling for his deceiving works. Just as Paul writing to the Corinthians in his day was concerned about this happening to them, so am I concerned about this happening to people in the body of Christ today. So let’s begin by looking at Eve as the example that Paul used and what led her astray.
Gen. 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
Gen. 3:3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
Gen. 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
The first thing that satan did to deceive Eve was to exchange the truth of God for a lie. God told Adam that if they ate of that tree they would die, but the devil being the liar that he is of course tells her that she would not die. Who was right? God of course, yet tragically I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this happen in believers lives. You can show them directly from the Word of God what the Bible says, and they will look at you and say, “I know the Bible says that, but….”.
This is a big problem today because people either don’t spend much time in the Word of God, or they are not allowing His Word to govern their lives, instead they are allowing their feelings to do so. Those feelings then lead to people reasoning in their own minds as to what they think the Bible says, or they just ignore it all together. There is a work of a demon in America and the church today, which is a lying demon. We need to be aware of how our enemy can get us focused on our feelings (flesh) and therefore reason things out without looking to God’s Word.
Rom. 8:5 For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.
Rom. 8:6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].
I hear people saying that the Word of God is not that important. I learned a long time ago as scripture teaches to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. One such man was Smith Wigglesworth who raised the dead, cast out demons, healed the sick, and got people saved. Smith Wigglesworth said that he could not come to know God by experience, nor what others said about Him, but he could only come to know the living Word through His written Word.
Most people that I hear who say the Word is not that important have not raised the dead, healed the sick, nor cast out demons. This is a big part of what Jesus commissioned His church to go do. God’s Word is God speaking to us. If you make that Word a time of fellowship with God and let Him speak to you through that Word you will get to know Him. Where people get deceived and fall prey to the lying demons that get people to trade the truth for a lie is they begin to reason in their minds what they think about something apart from what God’s Word says. Doing so is setting our minds on the things of the flesh.
If you don’t want to fall for a lie you need to know the truth. The truth is the Word and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. We are not to be controlled by our fleshly feelings as Romans above says; we are to be controlled by the Spirit of God. That won’t happen if we are reasoning things out in our minds and not examining things in the light of God’s Word. This happens far to often in believer’s lives and this leads them to be led by their feelings and emotions. Doing so can and will lead to falling for a lie.
This is what happened to Eve. Satan got her focused on her flesh, for in Genesis 3:6 it goes on to tell us that she saw that the tree was good for food and was pleasant to the eyes. She got her focus on what pleased her and did not examine what she was told in light of what God had said. This is what happens when people are led by their feelings. They are going to do what pleases them. They don’t look at things through God’s Word but their feelings. You can’t find a single scripture in the Bible that says what should lead us in our decisions is our feelings. We are to be led by the Spirit of God, and He being the Spirit of truth is always going to lead us in line with the Word.
Some would say this is not true for we are to be lead by love and love is a feeling. The love of God is not a feeling. God is love. The love of God that has been shed abroad in our hearts is a fruit of the spirit, not a feeling. It will change your feelings. In 1 John 4:8 we are told that those who do not walk in love do not know God. If you walk in love you don’t get offended. You don’t have unforgiveness in your heart. You don’t allow your feelings to be constantly hurt. If you do get your feelings hurt love looks beyond what was done in the natural and you see things from God’s perspective, not your feelings perspective, and you do what the Word says.
More people have left churches, Christian fellowship, etc., because they were offended or got their feelings hurt. That is having your mind set on the things of the flesh. Re-read Romans chapter 8. This is hurting the body and allowing this lying demon to cause us to trade the truth for a lie. I am aware that there are actually people that may want to intentionally harm you, but most do not. We are allowing satan far too much access in our life by being led by our feelings. There is not one human on the planet that has been perfected yet. We all still at times say things or do things we should not have done, but the average believer is not intentionally trying to hurt people. We must grow up spiritually and stop being lead by our fleshly emotions. We need to give people some liberty to grow and realize that we all still make mistakes.
Prov. 12:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.
I want to acknowledge there are people who don’t have a heart to change, don’t desire to know God and walk with God, and these are people we need to guard against. We should not be building friendships with people who are living ungodly lives and show no desire to change. No matter what you say about this the Bible tells us that such people will even lead the wicked astray. I am not talking about being cut off from the world. There is a difference between having those I am witnessing to as an acquaintance, as opposed to being my friends. Friends are people you spend a lot of time with, and you share much of your life with as well. Jesus went to sinners who had a heart to hear what He had to say, but Jesus did not have close friendship with those who sinned, for if He had He would have gone and done what they were doing. He went to those who desired for Him to change their life, not the other way around.
As our foundation text tells us the way Eve was lured away from her sincere devotion to God happened because she in her mind began to focus on her feelings, what please her, and she did not allow God’s Word to be what made her decision. So we need to recognize are we like Eve basing our decisions on what God said, or our fleshly feelings? Those fleshly feelings will always get us in trouble because then we will begin to reason out our decisions based on those feelings. Doing so will cause us to oppose God’s Word not even realizing that we have not taken His Word into account.
So let’s learn from Eve’s mistake. I, like the apostle Paul, am concerned about how many believers I am seeing being lured away by this lying spirit from their devotion to Christ. They are blaming ministers, church members, etc., and have not even taken into account what Gods’ Word says. We are to be instant forgivers. Never forget, offense is not given it is taken. Stick to the Word of God and make sure you do what it says and stop reasoning things out without looking clearly to the scriptures. Be careful who you fellowship with for the apostle Paul himself said we are to have NO FELLOWSHIP with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11). As a child of God you can live for Him and like Him. He and His Word are one. Stay true to God’s Word and you won’t trade the truth for a lie. The truth will set you free!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
James 4:7 So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you.
So there you are heading down the highway and then you hear it. It sounds like someone popped a very big balloon. The ride gets rough on one side of the car. Yep, it’s a tire blown out. Time to pull over to the side of the road, get into the trunk, get the jack and wrench out, then proceed to loosen those lugs nuts and take off the bad tire. Once you get the car jacked up and the tire off, what good would it do if that was all you did? Obviously if you want to get back on the road you are going to have to do more than just remove the bad tire, you need to fetch the spare and put it on.
A rather simple illustration I know, but one of the problems within the body of Christ today is we may often think about submitting to God, but far to often we are not resisting the devil and his works against us. I find that one of the reasons this is true is because people are either lacking in their understanding of spiritual things, or they have just forgotten the importance of what every believer needs to stay aware of in dealing with the works of the enemy.
One thing you are not hearing much of any more is teaching on dealing with the demonic attacks that come against us. Far too many ministers are not teaching their church families about the enemy we face and how he works. At the same time I know people also get a little leery when it comes to this topic because of those who go to extremes and claim that everything negative is a demon. We certainly know from God’s Word that this is not the case, even when it comes to dealing with people. There is a fleshly nature that can rise up and as my Pastor Dr. Barclay has said many times, “We can’t cast you out of you”. But we need to be aware of the enemy, how he works, and what we need to do to resist him.
2 Cor. 2:11 I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.
Satan is a schemer, and he works through his demons to try and outwit believers by deception. One of the biggest problems where many have unfortunately been taken advantage of is through the lies that demons get people to believe. They will not only work to get you to believe a lie, but to convince others as well. This lying demon will convince believers they don’t need church; they can live how they want and do what they want because it doesn’t really matter. But that is not what scripture teaches
Another aspect of the schemings of the devil is to get believers lulled to sleep where they begin to no longer resist what he is saying to them in their thoughts, and where they no longer resist the things around them that are evil. They just begin to accept what they see as a “natural” part of everyday life and society. The enemy then slowly begins to infiltrate their lives and little by little he begins to take advantage of believers. We need to understand not only the workings of satan, but we need to awaken ourselves and keep awake to what he is trying to do and we must then resist him and his works.
Before we begin to talk about resisting satan we need to touch on submitting to God. The simple truth about what submitting to God is all about can be summed up in one word, “obey”. Any believer that thinks it is not important to obey God and His Word is fooling himself or has already been fooled by the devil. James tells us that if you are a hearer and not a doer of the Word you deceive yourself. Obedience to God is not bondage, quite the contrary. Obedience to God is one of the smartest things you can do.
God knows more than we do. Our choosing to not obey God is living as our own god. The reason people “choose” not to obey God is because they have not fully surrendered to Him. When you know what God says and yet choose not to do it, you are acting out of a form of rebellion. For example if you as a child when growing up knew what your parents said you were to do and chose not to do it, that was clearly seen as a type of rebellion. It is no different with God. So it goes without saying we must submit to (obey) God first and foremost.
1 Pet. 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
1 Pet. 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Pet. 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Here is one of the primary areas that satan creeps into peoples lives unnoticed. Think about how many people today are weighed down with the cares of life. There are many different types of cares people carry. Some are full of cares because they fell for the lie that they had to have all the new gadgets and toys that everyone else has so they borrowed and borrowed to the point that they have to work all kinds of hours or even multiple jobs to afford their lifestyle. This financial pressure becomes a great burden on many people, but it is often self-inflicted. The answer here is simple; stop falling for the lie that having all those things brings true happiness. When you get to heaven those things won’t matter any more, but you don’t have to get to heaven to find that out.
God is not against us having things, but for far too many those things have them. They have allowed this lying demon to convince them that their lives will be miserable if they don’t have or do all these things. This comes from what others have and we envy them, which is a sign of being an immature Christian according to 1 Corinthians, or it comes from the influence of the world that convinces us that you cannot be happy without what they are trying to sell you. One of the ways you resist the devil is to live within your means. That seems to be hard for Americans to do, as our government itself has been unable to do so.
Other cares of life will also come through circumstances and challenges we face because we are in a fallen world. If you carry the burdens that circumstances can bring you are going to be taken advantage of by satan through the weight of those cares. This will produce worry, fear, anger, frustration, etc., and you cannot walk in those things and walk in faith at the same time. You must resist the devil when He tries to get you focused on what is happening in the natural. If you don’t resist those cares won’t go away. You must deliberately choose to cast those cares over upon God. You do this as you take time to draw near to Him and focus on Him.
Is. 26:3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
What a powerful verse of scripture we have here in Isaiah 26. God will keep us in perfect peace if we keep our mind stayed on Him, not on our problems. That takes effort, but that is what it takes to resist satan. The term here for “perfect peace” means a peace that produces health, prosperity, and wellbeing. It is obvious why satan is out to get us to carry the cares of life, but if we will resist him guess what, he will flee! He has to because God’s Word says so. Some may say, “I tried to resist satan but he didn’t go anywhere”. I am sorry but I believe God’s Word. If you really do resist him as scripture teaches us to, he will flee.
2 Cor. 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
2 Cor. 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
2 Cor. 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
The primary area for satan to come against us is in our mind. He will work to get us to reason out things through our thinking. He will get us thinking things that go against what God’s Word says. As brother Kenneth Hagin used to say if you allow satan to keep you in the realm of reason he will whip you every time. But if you will hold him in the realm of faith you will defeat satan every time. We must know the Word of God. It is one of the greatest weapons we have, and it reveals the other weapons God has given to us and how to use them. Stop allowing thoughts to come to you that you don’t examine in light of the Word but just begin to reason about them in your mind. Examine every thought that comes to you in light of the Word of God. Cast down all that are contrary to His Word.
We must submit to God if we want what God has for our life, but we must also resist the devil if we want to see him flee and to stop him from taking advantage of our lives. God has made us “more than” conquerors through Christ who loves us. He has given us the ability to resist our adversary, and to win!
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Prov. 16:20 Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be happy.
Who at sometime in their life has not done it or seen someone else who did? You go and purchase something and get the box home, open the box and there it is, all in pieces. Different parts, sometimes special tools included, and the infamous instructions. But as you look to the parts and the lengthy instructions you figure two things. The first is that you don’t have time to read those instructions, which leads to the second mistake that you think that you really don’t need them, for after all you can put it together yourself.
After several frustrating hours of putting things together and then taking them apart you begin to realize you would have actually saved more time had you just read and followed in detail those instructions. At this point you feel you have even less time to spare so on you go. The unfortunate part is that you may often never finish, or you do, but for some reason it just doesn’t work right. Sound familiar? Just recently I purchased an item that did not have the instructions with it. Someone forget to place them in the box. After several hours and putting it together then taking it apart, as it was not a major project, I finally got it done. But I had to do something twice that I could have gotten right the first time if it just would have had instructions with it.
Life is a lot like this. I can’t tell you how many times in my life personally and seeing this in the lives of other believers we have told ourselves to take time to focus in on God’s Word and make sure what we are about to do we were doing so as instructed in detail by God’s instruction manual. Yet we don’t take time to do so, or we pick and choose what we like of the Word and what we don’t, and in time down the road we are going to be disappointed in the results. God may get the blame, or we may just think that what we heard or read doesn’t work for everyone. This is a convenient way to live life in which we don’t have to take any responsibility for our part. The unfortunate part is that we are missing out on what God wanted for our life and often don’t even realize it.
God’s Word is explicit with instructions for this life. As the phrase has been stated many times the Bible is God’s instruction manual before leaving earth. There are those who say we don’t even need the Bible anymore for it is no longer relevant. Others may get focused only on principles in the Bible, which are important, but never learn through those principles how to develop a relationship with God, which is what He desires for us all. So we need to realize that God has given us all the details we need to do life the right way, and it includes getting to know Him.
As our foundation text tells us if we want to prosper, which means in the Hebrew language here to experience good, that which is sweet, to be well off, then we need to listen to God’s instructions. Those who do so are trusting God. Many talk about trusting God, but if we do that means we are going to find out what God says about something and how He says to we are to do it, and we are going to take Him at His Word. We are going to believe what He says, and we are going to do explicitly what He says. Realize that this means we can’t be leaving parts out.
There are several recipes that my Grandmother had for different deserts and dishes that I loved as a kid. I remember as I got older one of those deserts I loved was shoe fly pie. That is correct, shoe fly pie. I asked my Grandma if she would give me the recipe for this dessert and she did. I can remember the first time I made it. It did not come out the same as hers. I thought I had followed the instructions perfectly, but I came to find out there were a couple of things I had not done the way she did them. I got together with her and then with her help learned what I was not doing properly and behold, I was able to make the same shoe fly pie my Grandmother made.
This is a lot like how God’s Word works. First of all realize that if you leave certain steps out or certain ingredients out it is not going to come out the way God said. He did nothing wrong, nor does He not want to see you succeed, but you must take the time to learn to do things God’s way. This is two-fold. One you must take time to get into the Word of God and learn how God says things work. This is not as easy as some may think for God’s ways are not our ways. Take a look.
Is. 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
Is. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
You see this is already one of the key issues with following God’s instructions. Often we come to God and His Word with our own preconceived idea of how we want to do something, but then we find out that is not how God does things. He is not going to change for us. God comes down to meet us where we are to then take us up to where He is. His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts are higher than ours, and they are better.
The problem is if we come to God with how we want to do something and expect to get God’s results we are already defeated. We must be willing to do things God’s way. For example many want God to bless them and provide for them, but the way God declared clearly in His Word that He does this is through sowing and reaping. This is still offensive to some, but yet in scripture you cannot get around the fact that this is how God blesses us. There are many verses on this for example from the Words of Jesus He said that if you give, it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over shall men give unto you.
I know there are those who have exploited the body of Christ, but it doesn’t take much insight to realize those who are doing the work of the Bible and those who are just hirelings. Realize though no matter what you personally think about God blessing you it does not change what God’s Word says about it. We can choose to do things God’s way or our way, but His ways are not ours, and no I am not taking an offering here. Yet people want to see God bless them but those who get offended at what scripture says never do experience the blessing God has because they are not following the instructions.
Matt. 11:29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
The other side of this is you must come and learn from Jesus. This is more than just looking to the Word of God. Remember my example of trying to make shoe fly pie with the instructions I was given, but until I got together with my Grandma and learned from her how to make it, it did not come out the same. You see this is just like walking with God. We often don’t take the time to develop our relationship with the Lord, we may even read the Word of God, which we need to do to learn of Him and get His understanding of things, but we must also take time to develop our relationship as well.
There are things that you are only going to learn and get a hold of when you take time to get with the Lord and learn from Him. Without doing so you will often be missing something that you just are not seeing in the Word of God that is a key element to seeing God’s way work in your life. It is these simple but missing elements that often keep us from seeing what God desires for us to come to pass. The Word of God without relationship with God becomes nothing more than a religion. Those who say they have relationship with God in today’s times but don’t have His Word in their life will lack full understanding of how to live, for God and His Word are one. Realize we need both.
Even Jesus’ disciples had many of the writings of the Old Testament they had studied, but they had the Word’s of Christ spoken to them personally as well, which they later inspired by the Holy Spirit penned for us. They had both the Word’s of Christ and a close relationship with Him. Time and again we see Jesus teaching His disciples what to do, and then showing them by example as well as correcting them when they did wrong. So we need both if we want to follow God’s instructions for our life.
John 17:17Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
What is going to set you apart from those who don’t experience what God wants for our lives? It is the Truth, His Word, following His instructions explicitly for our lives. You can’t leave things out and see it work for you. You must take time to learn from Jesus and follow His example. Scripture teaches us in Proverbs 4:22 that God’s Word is life to those who find it and health to all their flesh. But it won’t be that if you don’t take time to learn what verses 20-27 say you must do to get that life and health. Just knowing God’s Word is life and health won’t bring life and health, you must know how it comes. So take time to learn and follow His instructions. Doing so you will prosper.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Gal. 5:16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).
I talk with believers all the time who say they want to see God’s will done in their life, but unfortunately are not. Too often we are letting our fleshly ways get the best of us and in doing so missing out on what is God’s will for our lives. I recently asked a group of men who were married if they knew what makes their spouse upset or mad. They all responded that they did. I then asked, “Why then do we do things that we know will upset them and make them mad? What is the benefit in that?
So often we do things that we know are not going to reap good results. If we love the Lord we don’t even do so with willful intentions, but yet we do things in the flesh, which does not bring good results. As scripture reveals there is nothing good that dwells in the flesh, for the flesh is opposed to God. So what can we do about this? Well as always God has an answer. This is one of the most important things to learn as a believer. One of the primary goals after getting born again is to become more and more spiritual. To be spiritual means to be governed by you spirit, which is to be led by the Holy Spirit. The more spiritual we become, the more we are walking in the Spirit. When we do this we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
The desires of the flesh apart from the Spirit of God are not going to reap good results. If we respond to people out of the flesh for example we will then often oppose what God says we should do in that situation. This brings about results that none of us like. If we face decisions in life and our response is founded off of what our flesh wants to do this will result in us missing out on God’s will for our life. So if you want to totally change your life and walk in the Spirit, which brings all the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), we must learn to do so.
So the key as to how we learn to become spiritual and not respond according to our old human fleshly nature is to walk in the Spirit. This is learning to live our life governed by the Holy Spirit who will always lead us in what is God’s will for our life, and in turn will produce godly fruit, which is far better than the fruit of the flesh. In Galatians 5:19-21 there is a list of the fruits of the flesh, and all you have to do is look over that list and I can assure you those are things you do not want to live in. There are two primary things associated with walking in the Spirit. That is what I want to teach you this week. So let’s begin.
John 6:63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
Here Jesus also states that the flesh is of no profit. Think about that. He declares it is the Spirit who gives life, and that is the word for “Zoe”, which means the god-kind of life. Now notice what He says at the end of this verse. The words that He spoke are spirit, and they are life. Did you get that? You see the first and most important truth to walking in the Spirit is one that is often overlooked. Jesus’ words are spirit. Therefore, if we will learn to walk in light of and obedience to His Words, you will begin to walk in the Spirit.
This is where you see an immediate problem for far too many that are born again. To walk in the light of and obedience to the Word’s of Jesus you must get into His Word; primarily focusing on what Jesus said, and what His disciples said which they learned of Him. If we don’t take time to get into His Word then how can we walk in the Spirit? There are two aspects to walking in the Word. First and foremost is learning to walk in the light of the Word of God, being obedient to what is says.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Walking in the light of God’s Word is practicing the truth, which is the Word of God. When we put God’s Word into practice in our lives then we walk in the light as He is in the light, and we walk in the liberty that has come from the blood of Jesus, which cleansed us from all sin. James tells us that we are to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. One who hears but does not take the time to put application of the Word into their life James said deceives himself. So don’t be self-deceived, walk in the light of the Word by practicing what it says. Like anything you practice that means you are going to get good at it because you are going to make an effort to practice.
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
The second key to walking in the Word is to live with an understanding of who you are in Christ Jesus. If you don’t take the time to meditate on and renew your mind to who you are in Christ, you are going to continue to think with the old fleshly mindset. You are NOT an old sinner saved by grace. You are a NEW creation. You can’t be both. You are a spirit and your spirit is born again. You are a new creature all together made in the image of God. You must learn this or the old fleshly nature will continue to dominate your life.
Rom. 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Rom. 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Rom. 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit…
To walk in life, the god-kind of life, you must also be led by the Spirit of God. But whatever you do don’t put this before walking in line with the Word of God. When you talk about walking in the Spirit this is what most people think of, being led by the Holy Spirit, and it is included. But if you are not going to get into the Word and walk in the light of the Word, you are not going to be able to accurately be led by the Holy Spirit. Everything He tells us to do is in line with the Word of God.
In verse 13 above Paul is stating the same thing here that we started with in Galatians 5:16. When we allow our flesh to make our decisions and not walk in the Spirit, then we are going to have the fruit of the flesh manifesting. But when we walk in the Spirit we are going to have life for we will have the fruit of the Spirit manifested in and through us. God wants to lead us by His Spirit. A key to this is that His Spirit is not going to speak to our brain. Notice it says that His Spirit bears witness with our spirit. God is a Spirit, and He is going to reveal Himself to us through our spirit. So we must learn to listen to our spirit man within to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let me share a key to how we can learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
James 1:19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.
One of the simplest truths to being led by the Spirit is to quit reacting immediately to what you hear, or to what goes on around you. Be quick to hear, a ready listener, and slow to speak. It is our flesh that wants to immediately speak, and when we do so without taking time to hear what God would say in that situation, we are not going to walk in the Spirit, we are going to walk in the flesh.
If we are taking time to hear this not only refers to us listening to what someone is saying, but also to what God is wanting us to say or do in that situation. I have by no means perfected this, but I have avoided some arguments and created fewer problems to deal with in my life when doing this. Think about how different your life would be if you took the time before responding to any situation in your life to simply ask the Holy Spirit, “What would God want me to say or do here?” If we will really learn this habit of listening first to our spirit man, not our thoughts or what we think, but really zeroing in on our spirit man within to hear from God, how different would our lives be? How different would our relationships be?
God gave us a great Helper, the Holy Spirit. But how often to we take advantage of this great Helper to really stop and listen to what He is trying to tell us to do or say? Walk in the light of the Word and listen to the Holy Spirit within you. Doing so you will walk in the Spirit and thus not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The results will be much better, and you will experience more of God’s will for your life. You will walk in the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the flesh. It is a much more peaceful and joyful way to live life.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Rom. 4:19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
As believers we are not only called to walk by faith, God enabled us to do so. It is something that does not initially come natural to us because of the fall we became accustomed to living by human natural faith. That type of faith has to “see it” before you “believe it.” But the God kind of faith believes before it sees. Most don’t grasp the fact that the same way we got saved (born again) is the same way we receive anything from God. Let me explain.
To receive salvation I did not see Jesus die on the cross. I was not there. I had someone tell me about what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago, but I was obviously not there. I did not see Him go to hell, but He did. There are some who are still confused about this who don’t know the whole of scripture, but Ephesians 4:9 clearly tells us this. I didn’t see Jesus raised from the dead, but as scripture reveals I know He did. I also was not there when He ascended into heaven, but again I know He did so and I also know He is now seated with the Father in heaven.
When I came to the knowledge of my sin and found out what Jesus did to change this in my life, my heart knew this was true even though I am not able to see my spirit, I know that I am a spirit being. The faith for all this was not felt in my natural body. I knew in my heart this was all true. My salvation began in my heart. When I released my faith in Christ then there was a change within me. I became born again. It did not instantly change how I felt on the outside, nor did it instantly change how I acted on the outside. But as time went by and I got to know Jesus and who He has now made me to be, my life on the outside began to change, but I already knew in my heart I was different.
This is how we receive from God. Take healing for example. The God kind of faith does not feel healed first on the outside in the body. Healing begins in you heart. You must believe in your heart. Just like salvation begins within the heart so does healing and all the promises of God. When you know in your heart that you are already healed, it is then that things are going to change in your body, but not before. If you are checking your body to see if you are healed you will find that you are not because you are not walking in Bible faith. You are basing your faith on the natural, not on the Word of God. Once you know and you have received your healing within, it will manifest on the outside. Just like salvation. Once you put your faith in Christ and believe in your heart you are saved then that begins to change the person on the outside.
This is so important to faith and a big reason why we are not seeing more of what God promised come to pass in our lives. As simple as this truth is that I am teaching on this week, YOU MUST take time to examine whether you are walking in Bible faith or not. You must recognize if you are looking at the outward to try and confirm what the Word of God says. That is not faith. When you believe in your heart what God has said you don’t look in the natural to try and confirm that belief. You already know it is so.
Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
The word “assurance” here is defined as “evidence”. Faith is the evidence, not what we feel or see. If we need to have evidence on the outside of what God says to believe then we are going to do without for that is not Bible faith. Salvation, healing, deliverance, all begin in the heart. When man knows in his heart it is already so then it will change things on the outside. What happens on the outside is not evidence of what is true on the inside, but the result of what one already knows is so in their heart.
All that to say a key factor to walking by faith comes down to what we are considering. Our foundation verse reveals to us a great truth about whom the Bible calls our father of the faith, Abraham. He was given a promise from God that he would have a child, even though he was about a hundred years old, and Sarah had never been able to have children. Abraham, as Romans 4:19 tells us, was not weak in faith and therefore he did not consider his own body, nor the deadness of Sarah’s womb. If he had there would have never been a son of Abraham’s named Isaac.
The word “consider” is a key word here. It means to fix one’s eye or mind upon. This is what we do by our old nature. We focus both our attention and our thoughts on what we see in the natural. If we do that we are not going to walk by faith. Faith does not consider, does not fix it’s focus, attention, or thoughts on what is in the natural. Now this does not mean that faith ignores what is true in the natural. Faith does not deny the existence of a problem, but faith denies it’s right to stay that way. Faith sees something beyond the natural, for with the eye of faith, knowing in our hearts, faith sees what God has said as already so.
Heb. 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
Heb. 3:2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
So if faith does not consider what is in the natural what does faith do? It considers, focuses its attention and thoughts upon the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. When you confessed Jesus as the Lord of your life you received full payment of not just your sins, but also your complete redemption, which includes being redeemed from sickness, disease, poverty, lack, and spiritual death. You have to consider, get your mind and your focus on something. You need to get it on your Apostle and High Priest.
The key here is seeing Jesus first and foremost as the Apostle, which means sent one of God who was faithful to come to this earth and through the act of becoming our High Priest, He has now paid the price in full for us to walk in all that we have a right to as children of God. In the Old Testament the High Priest went into the holy of holies once a year with a blood sacrifice to cover the peoples sins. But Jesus once and for all paid the price not to cover our sins, but to remove them, which is very significant.
Heb. 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Heb. 9:12 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.
Jesus our High Priest went into the holy place in heaven whereby He sprinkled His blood on that mercy seat and in doing so He provided the way for us through faith in Him to become righteous, or right with God. The moment that happens you are now a child of God, which makes you an heir of God, and a joint heir with Jesus. If you don’t consider what Jesus did for you and who you have now become because of what He did, you won’t have revelation of this truth, but if you know you are an heir of God then you know you have a right to the inheritance that He has for you. If you know you are a joint heir with Jesus then you know you are equal in the inheritance He has. But if you don’t consider this instead of your circumstances then you are going to continue to walk by natural human faith and not Bible faith.
Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
Mark 11:23For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Mark 11:24Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
What you receive from God begins within. You don’t get born again by first feeling saved in the natural. You get born again by first believing in your heart it is so after you have called upon His name. All the promises of God work the same. Healing comes from your spirit within. You must know you are healed in your heart, not basing your faith on what you feel in the natural or see. That won’t change until you first receive it within, in your heart.
In verse 22 it says here to have faith in God, but one translation says have the God kind of faith, which is what the Greek implies. The God kind of faith believes and receives within one’s heart what God has said is already so. To do that you cannot consider, focus your attention and thoughts on that which is external. Instead you need to consider the Apostle and High Priest of your confession. Do so until it becomes real inside to you and the things on the outside will follow.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Matt. 6:9 So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored,
Matt. 6:10 may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Matt. 6:11 Give us today our daily bread,
Matt. 6:12 and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.
Matt. 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Prayer is one of the greatest blessings we have in knowing God. Much of what people do in prayer is bring their requests to God, which we can clearly do so in faith, for God desires to help us attain all He has for our life. But prayer is simply our communication system whereby we can come to God and not just talk to Him, but hear from Him. It is an area that most believers really need to take time to develop more in their life. Life for pretty much everyone you talk to is summed up in one word, “busy”. But one thing we need to really grasp as a Christian is the fact that much of what we are so busy with does not have much eternal value. Those who know about prayer and have developed this part of their walk with God have the same 24 hours in a day. It really comes down to priorities and redeeming our time.
When you talk about the subject of prayer, the scripture here in Matthew often comes to mind. Many were taught when they were little children to recite this prayer, but that is not what Jesus was teaching us to do when He gave us this model for prayer. He told His disciples in verse 7 right before this that we are not to use vain repetitions in prayer. That means simply praying the same thing over and over with no real meaning nor understanding of what one is doing. So Jesus did not give us this model for the purpose of just reciting it over and over, but to teach us some key things about how we connect with God as we communicate with Him. This week I want to examine these elements in the model Jesus gave us for prayer.
1. “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”
Some will teach this part as two separate things, but I want to share them as one element for they address the key to all prayer. This model begins with recognizing that we are addressing our Father in heaven, and when we do we are to “honor our heavenly Father.” The word “hallowed” means to acknowledge that God is holy, and He is therefore worthy of our honor. When you honor someone you are acknowledging their value or worth to you. God is holy, set apart from that which is worldly or unholy. Because of what Christ did for us we can approach our God because His blood cleansed us from our sinful nature. We can now come and fellowship with our God.
To honor God does not mean to come to Him as your “bud” or as I hear some says “The man upstairs”, or “The big guy”, etc. We have become a society that really lacks honor. It has very much so crept into our words as well. To honor God means we recognize that He is God, the One who is Supreme in authority. There are many today who are trying to bring God down to man’s level in relating to Him, but you will never be able to do so. God will reach down to us when we reach out to Him, but He does not do so to come and stay with us on that level, but to bring us up to His. He wants us to allow Him to bring about divine change in our life so that we will become partakers of His heavenly nature.
We also approach God in honor by actually taking time to draw near to Him and spend time with Him. We are not showing honor to God by treating Him as our sugar daddy and we just come make request of what we want and never take time to listen and receive what He wants to share with us. Sometimes God just wants us to delight in His presence. When we take time to give honor to God, which He truly deserves, we will become more intimate with Him. We need to learn one of the best things we can do is stop coming to God with what we think about things and simply come with an open slate and ask God what He wants of us. God said those who honor Him He will honor, but those who make light of Him He will lightly esteem.
2. “… may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The next element in this model of prayer is in focusing on and building God’s kingdom here on earth. That may sound like something every believer is doing but the truth is there are many believers who are more focused on building their kingdom, not God’s. To do this one must be willing to come to God and find out what His will for us is here on earth. Often people refer to His will being done here on earth in our lives as it is in heaven to only that which Christ has done for us. That is certainly included. There is no one struggling with sickness or disease in heaven, and God wants us to overcome such attacks against us here as well. So we certainly have a right as children of God to stand up for what we have a right too as His kids.
But the other side of this part of prayer is often overlooked. We are not to come to God focused on what we want or how we want to live our life and ask God to bless it. We are to come to Him seeking from Him revelation of what He desires for our life. We need to come to Him with a blank page and ask God to write on the tablets of our hearts what He wants of our life. Not knowing nor walking in what God desires for us is only going to keep us from what really will bring fulfillment to one’s life. Think how many people have gone through life never seriously seeking from God what is His will for them. Many live day to day unfulfilled because they are not walking in nor doing what God gifted and called them to do.
Psa. 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
The key and the power behind this verse is the first part of the verse. To delight yourself in the Lord means to be pliable, like a piece of clay in the potter’s hand. The clay does not come and tell the potter what to do; the potter takes the clay and molds it the way he wants it to turn out. If you delight yourself in the Lord you don’t come to Him with any idea’s of what you want for your life. You come and submit fully to Him and seek Him in prayer to find out what He wants for your life. You will often find out it wasn’t what you were thinking of. But doing so will help you to then find out what is His desire for you, and that will then become your desire as well.
3. “Give us today our daily bread, …”
The next part of this model is to daily look to God and know that He is the provider of all that we have need of, and because of this we will acknowledge and obey what He has said we are to do for that provision to come into our life. Many say that God is their provider, but if He is that means you operate by the spiritual principles He gave us to have that provision, which is giving and receiving.
Take Elijah for example who was sent by God to a widow who was making her last little piece of bread for her and her son. The prophet led by God told her to give him a piece first. Because she obeyed the prophet of God, and therefore more importantly God, her bin of flour nor her jar of oil ran out. She gave and it was given unto her. This woman obeyed because she knew God was her provider.
4. “… and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.”
The fourth part of this great model of prayer is that we should acknowledge God’s forgiveness, and forgive anyone and everyone who has ever wronged or hurt us. The word debts here refers to our faults, or when we do wrong. This does not advocate that we should just live anyway we want, for we already recognized that we are to be submitted to God’s will for our life. But we should live with a constant knowledge that when we do wrong we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This is important because when we do something wrong the enemy is going to do all he can to make us now feel unworthy of who we really are in Christ.
Now just as we are to acknowledge that we have been forgiven, we are also to forgive everyone. Unforgiveness is a like a cancer that spreads bitterness in one’s heart. Jesus taught very clearly in the scriptures that if we do not forgive then our heavenly Father cannot forgive us. This is serious business. We must make sure that we continually examine our hearts in prayer and know that we are not holding any unforgiveness in our hearts.
5. “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Last but not least we need to acknowledge what Christ has done to deliver us from the power of sin, and that our heavenly Father will always provide a way for us to escape temptation. God does not tempt us; therefore this is not referring to us asking God to not tempt us, but that we are going to look to God in the midst of any temptation we face and turn from such temptations.
1 Cor. 10:13 There isn’t any temptation that you have experienced which is unusual for humans. God, who faithfully keeps his promises, will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist. But when you are tempted, he will also give you the ability to endure the temptation as your way of escape.
The reason people often give into temptation is because they don’t draw near to God. When temptation comes they don’t think of what He has done to deliver them. God is so faithful to those who look to Him that He will not even allow us to be tempted in this life with that which we would not have the power to resist. God makes a way of escape by empowering us to overcome every temptation and walk free from it. Jesus Himself said that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. When we stay close to God in prayer we will listen to and walk after the spirit, not the flesh.
This is the model Jesus taught for us to develop our prayer life. It is not a prayer that is to simply be repeated over and over again, but it is to show us how we can get to know our God better, and walk in what He desires for our life. We can draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. It is a matter of choice. If we choose to learn how to communicate with Him, we will get to know Him intimately.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Gal. 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Grace is a very important and powerful subject. It certainly is a very important part of our walk with Christ, and because of that the enemy has used this powerful topic to bring deception into the body of Christ. This is no different than any subject you would look at, there are several aspects to grace that must be considered when studying what grace really is. Whenever you only look at a part of a subject you certainly don’t get the whole picture and therefore can be mislead. It would be like looking out to the horizon and only seeing from the ground view one perspective of the earth, therefore thinking it is flat. But of course a complete view of the planet reveals otherwise.
That is what we are going to do this week in a brief study of grace. It is powerful, wonderful, and also able to empower us to change. It was given to us not only to bring us into right standing with God, but also to empower us to live as children of the light. Today there is much being said about grace, but most of what is being declared is the not the complete picture. Many are only looking at the horizon and not the whole scope of what grace encompasses. So let’s take a little journey through God’s Word and get a better understanding of the grace of God.
We start with our foundation verse I have already shared with you above. One of the key elements that grace is connected with and really is the primary reason we have grace in our life has to do with the work of justification. Justification means to be placed in right standing with God. God’s righteousness is a gift that is given to all those who having godly sorrow, repent, and turn to Jesus trusting their lives unto Him. As Paul states above those who have received Christ as their Savior by making Him the Lord of their life do so by faith in what Christ has done. To then think that one has to go back to upholding the Old Testament law to be justified in the eyes of God has fallen from grace.
This is a key point for there are those who teach today that many are trying to mix the law with grace. To mix the law with grace would mean that you would put your faith initially in Christ for salvation, but then you would continue to fulfill the requirements of the Levitical law to be justified in the sight of God. This is falling from grace for justification only comes through faith in Christ Jesus and what He did. But those who claim that ministers are mixing the law with grace say you are doing so whenever you talk about sin, or about righteous living, which is taught in scripture. The Bible has a lot to say about our lifestyle, but a minister of the whole counsel of God knows you cannot earn this gift of righteousness or right standing with God. That only comes through faith in Christ Jesus.
Be careful when you hear ministers say that for anyone to preach against sin they are mixing the law with grace, for that is not even biblically correct. That would only be true if someone was telling you that you must uphold all the requirements given in the Old Testament law to receive God’s righteousness. The gift of righteousness as I have stated earlier is only received through our faith in Jesus Christ. This of course does not mean that it really doesn’t matter then how we live, for after all we have been saved by grace. The wages of choosing to live a life of sin is still corruption as scripture clearly teaches in the New Testament.
Rom. 6:14 For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace.
Rom. 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not!
Everyone who is born again by faith in Christ is now under grace, not under the law. This is where most of the confusion seems to come from. People say they are no longer under the law but under grace so it doesn’t matter what they do. Anyone who believes this does not know what the law is nor what grace is. The law was necessary to reveal to man that he is a sinner and therefore in need of a Savior. The law did not give man the power to overcome sin, but revealed the sin within man. Grace means you got what you did not deserve. We did not deserve God’s righteousness because of the sinful nature we were born with, but God chose to give us this gift. This gift was made possible by God’s grace.
Once you receive this gift of righteousness through grace you are now a new creation on the inside. You now have the ability, God-given within you, to defeat sin and for it to no longer have dominion over your life. Grace empowered you to defeat sin, not live sinful. You could only become born again by faith in Christ Jesus, not by the fulfillment of the law, but once you got born again you now have a new spirit and the Holy Spirit within you to overcome sin and all of it’s destructive ways. Grace is heaven’s help extended to us to help us be empowered through the Holy Spirit to be victorious over sin, sickness, disease, and spiritual death.
Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Eph. 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
It is by grace (heaven’s help) that you have been saved. Man cannot save himself by his own merit. This word saved here refers too much more than just getting born again. The definition of this word means: to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): — heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. Man cannot save, deliver, protect, heal, or make himself whole through his own works. If he could do so then he would not need God. Our faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished in redeeming our life is what brings us into what Jesus died and paid for. Anyone claiming that you must earn this through some type of religious works does not know the Bible.
Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows,
Gal. 6:8 because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.
We in no way earn from God what Jesus died and paid for. Does this mean that we can do whatever our flesh wants because after all since we are saved by grace there is no recourse for fleshly behavior? No. Anyone who looks to the Word of God that tells us what we should and should not do and thinks that doing what you want and not what God said won’t matter is deceived. Paul clearly states above that God will not be made a fool. If you sow to your flesh, letting your flesh dominate how you live and what you do, you are going to reap corruption. God didn’t have anything to do with it, and even though you have received salvation through grace it does not exempt you from this spiritual truth.
But for those who sow to the Spirit, which would be doing what God says to do with our life, is going to reap life, not corruption. Contrary to popular opinion today if you as a born again child of God choose to live a lifestyle of willful sin ignoring what the Bible tells you not to do you are taking the risk of hardening your heart to the point of denying your Christ and choosing to face the eternal judgment to come from which you were once delivered.
Heb. 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
Heb. 10:27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
Some would say that if you preach this then no one can live assured of their salvation. Sure you can. If you are not living a lifestyle of willful sin you know that you have no reason to fear the judgment to come, which will devour the adversaries. But to say that because we are now under grace we can live however we want is not biblically correct. There are even those today, who teach that no one is going to hell, that all will wake up in heaven. This is not what scripture teaches.
Jude 3 Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 4 For certain men have secretly slipped in among you–men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe–ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude gave a warning 2,000 years ago to the church that there would be those who would preach grace in such a way that it would give people a license for evil, and in doing so they are denying Jesus as the Master and Lord of their life. If Jesus is your Master and Lord you are completely surrendered to Him. Don’t fall for these modern day preachers who are telling us that if grace is not preached in such a way that it is misunderstood then it isn’t being taught biblically. This is not true. How can one have biblical understanding of what grace is if it is taught in a way that it is misunderstood? I don’t think I need to explain that.
Acts 20:26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
Paul was the predominate teacher of all that grace is in the New Testament. He declared before his departure to Rome that he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. Because he had not done so he was innocent of the blood of all men. There are some ministers today who are clearly not declaring the whole counsel of God. They want to be popular and are a fulfillment of what Paul warned Timothy about that in the last days there would be many preachers who would tickle peoples itching ears. Don’t fall for this. Be willing to hear the whole counsel of God, which will protect you and deliver you from this wicked and evil generation. Thank God for His grace, heavens help, that came down to man to make him brand new, and empower him to overcome the evil of the last days.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
James 1:24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
Who do you know that likes being deceived? Who is there that wakes up every morning looking forward to being mislead into error? I have yet to personally meet anyone that wants to intentionally be deceived. Deception is a powerful thing, and it never turns out good in the end. Most Christians only think of deception as a work of satan, but did you know that one could in fact be self deceived in which the devil has no involvement with it? Scripture teaches us this and if you want to avoid self-deception it isn’t that hard.
Let me first of all give the basic definition of deception. It means to be lead away from truth and to therefore be misled into error. It is like the bait that leads an animal into a trap unaware that what they thought was a good thing turned out to be their demise. Most only attribute deception to satan for we know from scripture he has two primary weapons, deception and seduction. When someone is deceived they actually don’t know it and that is the danger of deception.
This week I want to talk about self-deception, what it is and what we can do to avoid it or come out of it. Remember even in self-deception when someone is deceived at the time they don’t realize it. As James states above in verse 22 if someone looks into the Word of God, hears what is says, but does not apply what it says to their life they are deceiving themselves. May sound simple, but deception never leads to a good ending.
God never intended for us to look to His Word and simply read it but never apply it. This would be like reading the directions on how to build something, but then tossing them aside and ignoring what they say choosing to build it your way. The only problem is if you are building something as complex as walking out this life, you are never going to see it completed or working right. The reason the manufacturer gave you the instructions on how to build what you have purchased is because he knows everything about it. He is the source from where it came. To ignore his directions is to think you are smarter then the one from whom it originated.
So it is with our life. God is the originator of life, and the maker of us all. He gave us an instruction manual from which to learn how to build the kind of life His Son has purchased for us. Choosing to ignore the directions means you think you know more than the Creator who gave you life and knows how it works. Doing so you enter into self-deception and therefore don’t even realize what you have done.
Take marriage for example. God is the one who created marriage. It takes two people to make a marriage work, but how many actually take the time to read the instructions on how this works and then choose to apply what God said no matter how you feel about it. For 22 years as a pastor I cannot tell you how many times I have sat with couples in telling them what scripture teaches of how to make their marriage work. Almost every time without fail they agree with what the scriptures say. Agreeing with the Bible is not what keeps you from deception. It is in doing what scripture says that will keep you from being deceived. I can’t tell you how many couples have told me they agree with what the Bible says, but they choose not to do what it says.
I can also tell you it is a beautiful thing to see two people who don’t just agree with the Bible, but actually do what it says and it works. It doesn’t change things overnight in most relationships, but it does work, and then you actually have a marriage, not just someone you are legally joined to.
Hearing the Word and not applying it to your life is like someone James said who looks into a mirror, they see their natural face but then walk away and forget what kind of person they are. This means they see the natural man, which reveals what needs to be changed, but when they walk away they forget what they saw. Therefore, they remain the same old person they have always been, doing the same old things over and over.
James 1:25 But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he will be blessed in what he does.
Who doesn’t want to be blessed in what he does? I can’t find many believers who say, “I don’t want God’s blessings in my life”. But to walk in those blessings you must look or in other words peer into the perfect law of liberty and fix your attention on it, doing what it says. The law of liberty is the ways of God given to us in our relationship with Christ, which do not bring bondage as some profess, but actually bring liberty or freedom. When you tell people what the New Testament says to do they often respond by saying, “Don’t put that bondage on me”. One who is a doer of the Word is not in bondage, but walking in liberty.
Remember when you look to the Word of God and don’t do it you are deceiving yourself. That is why people think when you tell them to forgive, love others as Christ loved us, don’t forsake assembling with your pastor and the body of Christ, give to the work of God, etc., people will say you are trying to put bondage on them. But in fact you are trying to liberate them from the deception and it’s destructive results that come from being deceived. For example not forgiving, choosing to walk out of love, not assembling with your pastor who is a gift from God, choosing to not give to the work of God keeps you from receiving what God has for you. This is a simple but powerful truth, if you want God’s blessing on your life you must be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.
To do this one must be willing to see some things about their life they may not want to change, but need to change. They are going to have to be more than a casual observer of the Word of God. The term to peer into God’s Word is like first getting a glimpse of something you may see on the ground but you stoop down and take a closer look to make sure of what you are seeing. Remember agreeing with the Bible does not mean you are doing it. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people who will agree with what you show them about their life and how the Word reveals what they can do to change. They will agree with you and say amen, but they walk off and don’t apply what the Word says. They continue to walk in self-deception. So how does one change this? The first question you need to ask yourself is, “What is my heart set on”?
Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
The first key is we need to know who or what we are serving. To serve means you don’t come with your agenda, you come as a servant and do what the master says. Mammon is more than just money. Mammon is taking anything or anyone and exalting it to the position of being the master of your life over God. This would refer to anything that keeps us therefore from being doers of the Word. If one’s heart is not totally set on God, we will begin to serve other things.
This is one of the primary reasons people don’t have a pastor or attend church. Going to God’s house was God’s plan for us; man did not make it up. Giving to the work of God was His idea, and a way He has made for us to receive blessing in our life, as we are being a blessing. Sure there are churches that are not of God and are not bible-based, but that doesn’t mean they are all that way, nor does it mean God doesn’t have a pastor for your life. There are those who don’t walk in what the Word of God says, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. God would never ask us to do something we couldn’t do.
2 Cor. 13:5 Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?
In examining our hearts we need to know that we are truly born again and not just a counterfeit. Doing what scripture says again is not bondage, for the believer who knows the Lord it is a great liberty and blessing in their life, not bondage. One who is a false convert and therefore never has had a heart change would obviously not want to do what scripture teaches. The Word is foolishness to them.
Heb. 3:15 But never forget the warning: “Today you must listen to his voice. Don’t harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled.”
Make sure you have not hardened your heart toward God. There are those who say they have not done so, but yet they don’t do what the Word says. They will blame their actions on what others have done to them and doing so is focusing on people, not the Lord. We don’t serve man, we serve Jesus Christ. Paul had a lot of people do a lot of bad things to him but he kept on obeying God and he was victorious in overcoming every obstacle he faced as he himself said that he faced many adversities, but the Lord delivered him out of them all. That is being blessed.
So if you want to live free from a life of being mislead from the truth that brings liberty not bondage, make the choice to keep Jesus on the throne of your life. To do so means He is Lord, supreme in authority over my life. His Word is final authority. What it says I will do, which will bring liberty not bondage. Don’t fall for the deception that doing what God’s Word says is putting you in bondage. That is a lie from the enemy. Get rid of the bumper sticker from your life that says God is your co-pilot. Put Him in the driver seat of your life. Agreeing with His Word is not enough; you must be a doer if you want to be blessed by God.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Gal. 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
I have been preaching a message to our church family on “Walking In Bible Faith”. Too often in my life I can look back and see times where I thought I was walking by faith, but in fact I was not walking in Bible faith. I have also seen this to be true in many believers’ lives as well. One of the most important truths I have learned from my walking with God, studying His Word, and hearing great messages from people like Kenneth E. Hagin is the fact that most Christians only see faith as a way to get things they need. I certainly don’t mean to imply that is not one of the benefits of faith, but I have found in my own experience that when focusing on the need and trying to exercise faith to get that need met it doesn’t work very well.
The reason this is true is because the foundation for which faith was given is so that we are in fact living a life of faith, not just using faith when we need something, and then setting it aside. To live by faith means that every day we are trusting in God and therefore are not living the way those who do not know God do. One who is not born again is not walking by faith in the Son of God, but we should be. As I have learned one of the reasons our faith is not working is because the focus of our faith is in the wrong thing, and therefore we are not really walking by faith. Let me explain further.
If you examine your life as a believer how much of your faith is in the prayer you pray instead of the One you are praying too? How much of your faith is in how many people you have praying for you? How much of your faith is in how many times you confess the Word instead of the One whom the Word actually reveals to us? Another way to say this is a statement that the Holy Spirit gave me just recently as I was preaching on this subject. This is what He gave me as I was sharing from Galatians 2:20 above. Your faith should not be in your Christianity, but in the Christ of your Christianity.
This is what Paul was stating here in Galatians 2:20 when he declared that he had in fact been crucified with Christ, and therefore it was no longer he who lived. In fact he refers to Christ now living in him for Paul also penned a powerful statement in 1 Corinthians 6:17 that when one is joined to the Lord, they become one spirit with Him. That is what Paul is stating here in Galatians when he says that Christ now lives in Him. But then he makes another powerful statement that I believe is often overlooked. The life that Paul was now living in his earthly body he was living by faith in the Son of God. His faith was not in whether he could get enough people praying for him so that he might get a breakthrough. I am not discounting having others pray for you, but again my question is this; is your faith in the prayers of others or the God whom you are praying too?
Paul knew if one’s faith is not in the Son of God then there really is no biblical faith being exercised. Putting our faith in the Son of God is the key and we must have understanding of exactly what that means if we are going to walk in Bible faith. As 2 Corinthians 5:7 states we are to walk by faith not by sight. When we are walking by faith and not by sight our words and actions will be in line with what we believe. Yet how often do we claim we are “believing God” for something and yet our words and actions say something else?
Before we examine further what Paul meant by his faith in the Son of God, let’s take a moment to look back at a key word in verse 20 of our foundation scripture. That key word is “crucified”. When Paul stated that he was crucified with Christ, this is far more than just saying the old man died. His old man (spirit) had died, but this word when defined from the original Greek text is translated as: by the death of Christ upon the cross I have become utterly estranged from (dead to) my former habit of feeling and action. Think about what Paul was actually saying here from the original text. Paul was actually saying through the use of the word for “crucified” here that he had died to the habit of responding based on what he felt.
This is another way to say he was no longer allowing his feelings to dictate how he acted. Instead, his actions were now based on His faith in the Son of God. His belief was in what Christ had done for him, and this is what determined his actions, not his feelings. Just another way to say he was now walking by faith, not by sight. Before being born again all we knew to live by was what we felt. Our five physical senses were the factor that determined how we responded in life. But when you become born again and learn to break that habit where the Son of God is concerned, and based on what He therefore has promised you, then your actions are based on Him and His Word.
Gal. 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
So what does it mean to live by faith in the Son of God? We see here in the next verse right after Paul made that statement something very important that relates to living by faith in the Son of God. To set something aside would be for example to put it out of sight, it is not something you are looking too. Out of sight, out of mind. Paul said he did not do this and then he reveals what he was referring to in connection with the grace of God here. He was referring to “righteousness” which is the foundation of the believer’s faith. When one puts their faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for them, they receive a gift from God, the gift of righteousness. Why is this so important? Because if you understand what this gift has done in your life, you begin to see how faith has no problem in believing what you now have a right to because of God’s righteousness.
Rom. 5:17 For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ!
The gift of righteousness is just that, a gift. A gift is something you cannot earn. This gift is received by putting your faith in the death, resurrection, and accession of Christ. Righteousness means right standing with God. This was all made possible when our old sinful nature died, and we had birthed within us a new spirit. Here in Romans Paul states that if you have received this gift of righteousness then you are to reign in life through what Jesus has done. Think about that. The word reign here means to rule. We are to rule over the things we face in this life, they are not to rule us. If we are ruling in this life that means life’s circumstances don’t control how we act, nor what we say. One who reigns in this life is walking by faith and not by sight.
This is why not setting aside the grace of God in which righteousness comes is so important. Setting this gift aside would mean that we have not taken time to focus on and get understanding of what righteousness is and how that has affected our life. You see it is our lack of understanding of this right standing with God that hinders our ability to exercise our faith in what we as children of God have a right to, all because of what Jesus did, not what we have or haven’t done. When you faith is in the Christ of your Christianity you are basing what you say and do on what He has done. When we start basing our faith on our own works, we are not going to walk in Bible faith.
Does that mean it doesn’t matter how I live or what I do? In today’s times you have to address this issue when you talk about trusting only in what Christ has done for you, and not your own works. This does not mean that scripture does not teach us as believers about living a life of good works, which refers to a lifestyle that brings glory to our God. Galatians 6:7-8 clearly teaches us that we will reap what we sow. If we sow to our flesh we will reap corruption. If we sow to the Spirit, we will reap life. Walking by faith and not by sight is putting our full trust in the works Christ did, but it does not mean that we can live in blatant willful sin and not suffer the consequences of doing so. One who truly begins to walk by faith sees things through the eye of faith and therefore does not desire to live in sin.
2 Cor. 4:18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.
2 Cor. 5:7 For we walk by faith [we a regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.
Walking by faith does not mean you don’t see, it means you see beyond what is in the natural, and with the eye of faith you see what the Word says is already so. When you live by faith what is seen in the natural cannot hold your attention nor bring you down. It is not what you focus on. There is no worry, fear, doubt, nor unbelief, just an absolute knowing that what Christ has done for us is done, period. Seeing with the eye of faith does not see things as maybe one day if I keep believing it will be so, for in the eyes of God and the believer who walks by faith it is finished.
As I stated earlier this all comes back to fully understanding who you now are in Christ because He has made you right with God. If for example you were from a wealthy family but grew up in another home not knowing your real name nor knowing you were from such a family, you could not receive what you have a right to by birthright. So it is as a child of God, you must get revelation in your heart as to who you now are in Christ. You can do so my looking at every verse in the New Testament that refers who you now are in Christ Jesus. There are many such verses in the Bible such as our foundation verse Galatians 2:20. Feed on these verses until they become a reality to you and you will begin to walk in your rights as a child of God as you learn to put faith in the Christ of your Christianity.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker
There are a lot of misconceptions amongst God’s people as to the role of the pastor or shepherd the Lord has given to bless your life, and in this weeks article I want to show from scripture the primary reason Jesus gave us the gift of a pastor as a part of the five-fold ministry gifts to grow us up. Among some of the misconceptions are those who believe they don’t need a pastor. I will address this in a moment but scripture is clear that this is one of the gifts that Jesus gave to the body of Christ. To say I don’t need a pastor is to reject a gift that Jesus gave to you as a blessing for your life.
Among all the misconceptions about pastor’s everything from not needing one, to thinking my pastor should come take personal care of me every week, scripture reveals a clear picture of what God intended for a pastor to be. Any pastor called by God has no problem going to help his people when called upon, but let’s focus on his primary role in our life according to scripture.
We start with this prophecy that was given by Jeremiah which we see here was for the final time or the last days, which we are now living in according to scripture. Here God reveals through this prophet that He would give us shepherds after His own heart, who will feed us with knowledge and understanding and judgment. There you have the primary calling of the pastor to his flock. This is significant and the primary focus of our study as you will see.
If God said through Jeremiah that He would give us shepherds after His own heart then we know He has done so, for God always fulfills His Word. The reason He says “shepherds” here is not because He wants us to have many shepherds in our life as we will see later also, but because some will say that Jesus is their shepherd and they don’t need a pastor. Jesus is the good shepherd and no shepherd given by God is trying to take His place, but is working to lead God’s people into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Why would God speak forth this prophecy if He wasn’t going to fulfill it and if He did not intend for us to have a pastor? Obviously He has fulfilled this word and He does therefore have a pastor for our life.
Now here is what I want you to see about this prophecy. Those shepherds whom God has given to the body of Christ are going to feed the flock with knowledge, understanding, and judgment. That means God is going to reveal to these shepherds what He (God) wants to speak into our life that is going to help us. God is going to use these shepherds to feed His sheep with His Word so they can have knowledge of God and who they are in Christ. These shepherds are going to bring understanding to His sheep so that they can live out what God says works and avoid what does not work. They are also going to reveal how to have sound judgment in knowing the truth from the deceptive and seductive ways of the devil, as well as knowledge of God’s judgment to come. You may be saying you know all this already, so let me look at it another way.
God who knows all things knows what you need to hear that will help you walk in what He has planned for your life. Not to mention He also knows what you need to hear to fix the problems you are dealing with, as well as knowing what you need to hear to avoid problems ahead. What is one of the main avenues by which God in His Word has said He will reveal these things to you? Through the shepherd that He, not man, has gifted and ordain to speak into your life. So if God has a shepherd who He gifted and called to help me who prays, hears from God, and then prepares a message that God gave Him to share with me, what if I am rarely there to hear it?
For example, if you knew that Jesus was going to show up at your church this coming week at your mid-week service, and your Sunday morning and evening service to speak to you, would you be too busy doing other things to come and hear Him? Now if God gave you a shepherd through Jesus Christ as we are about to see, to hear from Him what He knows you need to hear, why would that be any different? Either God’s Word in Jeremiah is true or it is not true. If it is true and of course it is, then God does know what you need to hear and He is trying to share with you knowledge, understanding, and judgment that is coming from Him.
For the sake of not getting off another direction here I am fully aware there are pastor’s whom God did not call nor ordain (anoint) to speak to His body and the New Testament warns us that we are to beware for there would be many such false preachers in these last days. But this does not take away from the fact that there are also shepherds that He has given as a gift to bless our life. Just as there are true worshippers and false worshippers in the body of Christ, there are true shepherds and false shepherds. But for us to then say we don’t even want to find the true shepherd God has for us would mean we don’t want one of the greatest gifts He has given to us His sheep.
The reason I share this is because I cannot tell you how many times in 22 years as a pastor that I have heard from God, stepped into the pulpit after hours of study and praying ready to share with God’s sheep what I know He has given me from Him found directly in His Word; and people in my church that I know who needed to hear that message as it dealt directly with what they are facing and would help to bring resolve to what they are dealing with are not there to hear it. It breaks my heart every time it happens. Many times I would then get a phone call from someone in my church wondering why they are having the problems they have and the very thing they want answers for were in that message.
I am fully aware that we are going to miss church services at times. If we get into bondage of thinking “I have to be in church” we are going for the wrong reasons to begin with. If we love the Lord more than the things of this life then going to His house, which He designed in the New Testament for us to be a part of, is a joy not a bondage. Some would say it doesn’t matter if I hear it then or later, I would rather sleep in, lay around on the couch, or just choose not to go to church. If they are connected to the shepherd Jesus gave to them as a gift for their life, then they are saying what God wants to say to me is not as important as what I want to do.
If you lived in Jesus’ day which do you think would have had more impact on your life? Hearing Jesus preach directly to you, or having to listen to someone tell you later what He said? Even after He ascended to heaven do you think hearing Paul preach under the anointing would have more of an impact on your life rather than hearing someone else tell you what he said days later? Unfortunately I don’t think some in the body of Christ understand this nor do they see their shepherd as the oracle of God, gifted by Him to speak into their life. This in no way means you cannot hear God directly for we can, but one of the primary ways God gave us to hear from Him is through our shepherd. If not then Jeremiah’s prophecy is not needed.
Eph. 4:8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men
Eph. 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Eph. 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, …
Here we see in the New Testament a fulfillment of what Jeremiah prophesied about shepherds. Jesus when He ascended into heaven gave to the body His gifts. They are the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. Out of these the pastor is obviously the shepherd whom God has chosen to use in giving us the knowledge, understanding, and judgment we need. The Word for pastor here in verse 11 is defined in the Greek language as “shepherd”. God always fulfills His Word.
There are those who are called to children’s ministry or youth ministry who may once a week be in those areas of ministry fulfilling their calling. For example in our church we have three services a week. We do not have a policy that if you are called to children’s ministry that is all you do and you never attend the main service. You serve once a week and have two other services you can attend. There are occasions they may serve more when someone is out temporarily, but they will not have a permanent position in kid’s church every service. If that is where one is called, I know God knows this is your place in the body and He will still use the Word being taught in those areas to bless your life as well.
My challenge from God’s Word this week is to the whole body of Christ. First, if you are someone who makes excuses as to why you do not go to church, you would rather do other things, I would be asking myself why would I not want to receive from God what He has to share with me and bless my life? God has a shepherd for your life or otherwise Jeremiah’s prophecy and Ephesians 4 are not a part of God’s Word. My other challenge to those who attend church is are you connected with the shepherd God has for your life? If you take time to study out John 10:1-14 you will find out that Jesus told us you will know the shepherd He has for you when you hear his voice. I also have a mini-teaching on this that you can listen to on our YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7I0n9c3W7A.
1 Th. 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
Last but not least if you have found your shepherd and go to church regularly do you go with the understanding that God is going to speak to me today? You need to know that the word your pastor shares is not the word of men, but the word of God. When we walk in the light of these powerful truths, God is going to be able to help us in our growth spiritually, and therefore in being the victorious church He bought and paid for.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker