8/19/13 – “JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE”

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John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

When you think about Jesus and all that scripture reveals that He is, there are many ways you can describe Him. Yet one of the most powerful statements ever made in describing Jesus was what He said here in John’s gospel. These three attributes not only describe the Lord Himself, but also reveal some key things in how we relate to Him and how these attributes can impact and change our life as well.

The first description Jesus gives of Himself is what Jesus had been discussing with His disciples right before He made this statement. He had told them He was going to the Father’s house and that He would prepare a place for us. Thomas responded to the Lord saying he did not know where Jesus was going and that the disciples did not know the way. Jesus declares in verse six above that He was the way.

This is powerful when you fully understand what Jesus was referring to. For us to experience the presence of God once again living in us, and for us to once again be one with God as Adam and Eve were before the fall, there had to be a change in man. Man with a sinful nature needed to be transformed so that he could once again have the holy presence of God united within him. Because of the blood of Jesus once you become born again you have had an absolute miracle take place in your life that many seem to overlook. You now have the presence of Jehovah God living on the inside of you! Do you understand how significant that is?

This means I am no longer without help. I am no longer separated from God. I have open access to the Father and all of His resources. I have His very Spirit living within me, which is a spirit of love, power, and soundness. A spirit that is filled with a peace that people all throughout the world search for and yet cannot find. Anyone born again who is not experiencing this peace and yet still trying to get peace through outward ways is looking in the wrong place. The problem for believers is they often don’t realize what they already have. The key is not just knowing these things, but in fact acknowledging them in your life.

Psa. 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! NKJ
Psa. 46:10 Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God. I rule the nations. I rule the earth. GWORD

Because of the blood Jesus shed, He provided the way for you and I to have our old man completely cleansed of sin by giving us a new spirit. Now residing in you as a believer is love, joy, peace, the gifts of the Spirit, the power of God, the wisdom of God, and all that you need for His Spirit is dwelling in you. When we don’t take time to stop and be still, let go of all our earthly concerns, we don’t experience what is residing within us. You don’t need anything in this world to find true peace, for it cannot be found there. If you are born again just look within, for it is already there.

This is what I believe to be one of the most difficult things in our society for believers to do. To be still means you must quiet your mind and focus on your spirit within. God bears witness with your spirit. Where is peace going to come from? The Holy Spirit within you. Where is joy going to come from? Where is the love you desire going to come from? Where is the wisdom and understanding you need going to come from? It comes from the Holy Spirit, who is God, who is living within every born again believer. Jesus is the way that we come to know God and receive His presence within us.

Don’t say, “I don’t have time to quiet my mind, I have too many things to do?” Yet if you look at what people do everyday, there are many activities that are not necessities but instead things that appease our flesh in which if they dominate our time they actually become a type of thief in our life. They rob us of the opportunity to experience all the things we are searching for everyday, that are actually no farther away than your next breath. Jesus made the way for us to come back to the Father so we could have His presence residing in us once again.

John 8:31 So Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you live by what I say, you are truly my disciples.
John 8:32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Liberty is a powerful thing. In America we have liberty but it is often taken for granted. So it is in the body of Christ as well. Jesus Christ not only provided a way to the Father, Jesus Himself is also the truth that sets people free. Free from what some may ask? First and foremost freedom from deception. Think about how many people’s lives have been destroyed or at least adversely affected by deception. Deception robs you of freedom. Freedom from fear, pain, sickness, disease, and all that Jesus has died to give you.

Freedom as the saying goes is not free. Our freedom cost God something. Our freedom cost Jesus something. It cost Him His life on the cross. It cost Him being separated from the Father. It cost Him in being mocked, scourged, and then being hung on a cross before all to see when He had done nothing wrong. What I see that is often overlooked in the church is that it also costs us something as well. You see to know the truth you must live by the truth. To know the truth you must get to know the Word of God, which is Jesus.

This is more than just going to church, or just praying a prayer once in a while. When I fell in love with my beautiful wife after seeing her for the first time for me to get to know her and to continue to know her cost me something. It cost me my time, money, and a change of direction for my life. I would never have gotten to know my wife if I would not have changed the direction my life was going. So it is with Jesus Christ.

Notice in John 8:31 Jesus declares plainly that if you live by what He says you will be His disciple. It is in being a disciple of Jesus that you come to know the truth and in coming to know the truth (Jesus) that truth will set you free. A disciple is one who is a student of another who disciplines themselves to the teachings of the one discipling them. They don’t try to do things their way; they are focused on learning from the one who is training them.

Living by what Jesus said is learning who you are in Christ. As scripture teaches we have the mind of Christ. We are to put on the helmet of salvation. As my Pastor Dr. Barclay has always said, we need to think saved. In other words think the thoughts of one who is delivered, who is healed, who is victorious, and more than a conqueror. This is what Jesus has said about us. Truth frees us from the old way of thinking. Living by the truth means I am going to live my life by what scripture says that I already am. So everything Jesus said that pertains to who we now are in Him we should live by. This is where satan fights Christians the most because he knows this is where the real battle is won or lost. As a man thinks, so is he. The devil does not want us to live by what Jesus said; he wants us to live by what he says about us.

Matt. 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
Matt. 7:14 But the gate is narrow and the way is difficult that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Last but certainly not least Jesus is the life. The word life means the God-kind of life. That is a life full of God and therefore full of all that God is. Jesus declared this life; this Zoë life as it is called in the Greek language, is only obtained through a narrow gate. The way to destruction is wide and may go the way of destruction. They choose to live life in a way that is contrary to the truth they have learned. They instead choose the wide gate instead of the narrow gate. The word “difficult” in verse 14 is defined as “a confined way”. This is where there is quite a bit of misunderstanding because of wrong teaching in the body.

Simply put God has already established before we were born spiritual laws in the earth. He does not change, and He has already provided a way for us to obtain Zoë life. That way is narrow not wide. That way is Jesus, the Word of God. If we don’t take time to “lose our life” as Jesus put it we will miss out on true life. Losing our life means we can’t do things our way, we must learn to do things God’s way. This is not bondage nor are we earning anything from God. But if you want to experience the God-kind of life you are going to have to follow Jesus’ example.

When you choose this narrow way you are simply choosing to do life the way God intended. This narrow way doesn’t lead to bondage; it leads you to a life full of who God is and what God has for you. It is obtained by us walking out progressively what Jesus revealed to us of Himself. You must know Him as the way, the One who paved the way through His shed blood for you to be united with the presence of God. You must live by what He has said for He is the truth, and that truth begins to free you from deception. Finally He is the life, the God-kind of life, for as you lay down you life (way of doing things) you begin to find true life.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

8/12/13 – “GOD OR MAMMON – YOU CAN’T SERVE BOTH”

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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.

One of the most destructive things in a person’s life has to do with what Jesus spoke about in these verses of scripture, in which Jesus tells us of two different masters. One of those masters is God and the other mammon. God is of course a Spirit, therefore it is very clear that mammon would not directly refer to some type of material thing, but in fact mammon has to do with five different demons.

The five demons that make up this spirit of mammon are: poverty, lack, lust, greed, and debt. When you look at how demons work as a team there is always a chief demon. Just as when Jesus came to the mad man at the Gadarenes even though he had a legion of demons only one spoke to the Lord. Poverty is the chief demon that speaks on behalf of lust, greed, debt, and lack. This demon of poverty will try to convince you of many different things, of which those things will relate to one of these four other demons.

For example the spirit of poverty will work to get you to lust for things you either should not have or get you to desire something so much you will do anything to get it. Poverty does so by trying to convince you that you cannot live without things to the degree you will lust after them instead of chasing after God. Poverty will get you into debt by going beyond your word to repay. It is not a sin to borrow money, but to be indebted to someone else means you have gone beyond your word and you cannot repay them. Now you are indebted to that person. Poverty convinces you that without these things you are a nobody, and that your perception of yourself is based on what you have or don’t have.

Poverty will work at getting you to become greedy by teaching you the worlds system of getting ahead, which then when manifested in greed will cause you to do whatever it takes to climb to the top of the ladder, even if it hurts others to get there. Poverty will cause you to lack what you need by working to destroy what you have through your words and your belief system. Lack comes as a result of saying the wrong things and also by living under the lie that nothing works for you.

So if we are going to serve God and not these demons that make up mammon we are going to have to expose this demon of poverty and deal with it head on in faith. What many don’t realize is how this demon of poverty has in fact already so conditioned their thinking that they don’t even realize they are being influenced by it. I know in my own life it has been a struggle for me to deal with. I was raised the same as so many others that were brought up to trust in the world’s system and not God’s.

This begins for many at a very early age. I was taught to borrow money for the sole reason of establishing good credit so that I like others would only look to who could loan me money as the way to get the things I needed. But God is the One who desires to meet all our needs. As I said earlier it is not a sin to borrow money because God told the children of Israel that He would make them to lend and not to borrow. So if it is wrong to borrow then the children of Israel would be aiding others in sin. But this demon of poverty teaches us that if we are going to have anything we are going to have to borrow money, but this in fact of course is not so.

This demon of poverty is at work even in the lives of the rich, because remember it is not necessarily referring to not having money, but this demon of poverty will convince you that you will never have enough, or that you may lose what you have. This demon was at work in Job’s life for Job had a lot of possessions, and yet when he lost everything Job even said that the thing he greatly feared had come upon him. Where do you think that fear came from? It wasn’t from God but instead from this demon of poverty that had gotten Job into fear of losing what he had. This is what gave this demon the right to strike Job’s life.

For the born again believer one of the ways you can know that this demon of poverty and therefore mammon is still affecting what you think and what you believe has to do with tithe’s and offerings. Whenever you are in a church service for example and they prepare to receive tithe’s and offerings and you think it’s about money; that is a sign that this demon of poverty is still affecting your thinking. Giving to the work of God is not about money, it is about honoring God and impacting the lives of others. I understand there are those ministers who are after your money, but as Paul stated to the Philippians he wanted to see the fruit that would about to their account for giving.

Phil. 4:16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
Phil. 4:17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.

Paul was telling these Philippians that he was not after their money, but after winning souls and helping people to be set free. This is fruit that would abound to their account for helping him to preach the gospel. Every time we give to the work of God we literally hold in our hand someone’s salvation, healing, answer from God, deliverance, etc., that they will receive through hearing God’s Word preached. Giving is not about money, it involves money, but giving is about seeing the fruit that will come as a result of that giving.

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.
James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

So how do we deal with this demon of poverty and not give in to mammon? You must become a doer of the Word where your finances are concerned. James clearly states here that the person who hears the Word but does not put into practice what the Word of God says they are self-deceived. When you are deceived you don’t know it or you wouldn’t be deceived. Notice in verse 25 he declares that those who look to the Word and do what it says they will be blessed in what they do. If you want to overcome poverty you must stand up to this demon and you do so by faith, but faith if it has no corresponding action is dead. The doer of the Word is the one that will be blessed.

2 Cor. 9:6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2 Cor. 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

If you believe the Bible then you believe in all that God’s Word says. If you sow sparingly you are going to reap, but you are going to reap sparingly. You don’t notice much when you reap sparingly. But God’s Word is true, if you sow sparingly you do reap, but you reap sparingly. But if you sow bountifully you will reap bountifully. In talking about these verses if your mind begins to think solely of money and you think that is what a teaching like this is all about, you have already missed it.

The only way you show poverty that it is not your Lord is to live contrary to what this demon says you can’t do. The Word of God clearly states that if you sow bountifully you will reap bountifully. This demon of poverty gets you so focused on money that you don’t think you can sow bountifully. It conditions you to live under the dominion of the kingdom of the world instead of the kingdom of God. Just as with any area of our life you must take God at His Word, and then do what His Word says.

2 Cor. 9:10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,…

God supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, and he multiplies the seed we sow. To defeat the demon of poverty and not serve mammon you must stop looking to money as your provider and look to God. God provides seed to sow, and bread for food, but if we don’t sow bountifully, we don’t reap bountifully. We continue to live under the rule of mammon thinking we can’t do what God’s Word says. But we can. Our obedience to God will break the back of this poverty demon and will deliver us from mammon. So seek God as you give. Honor what He tells you to give and you can get free from the rule of mammon.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

08/05/13 – “WHAT ARE YOU SAYING”

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Mark 11:23 For 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.

One of the most important truths found in scripture is how important and how powerful our words are. Even as much as scripture speaks about this subject, believers still don’t always seem to understand the importance of this subject and how much of a part this plays on seeing your life change. James devoted almost an entire chapter speaking about the power of the tongue, and Jesus Himself had quite a bit to say about this subject as well.

When you look at this foundation verse of scripture out of Mark’s gospel, I want to bring your attention to something significant about this verse. We often emphasis how important it is to believe or have faith, and faith is important when it comes to receiving from God what He has provided for your life, but with that said look at this verse closely as Jesus states something very important here.

Notice in our foundation text that believing is mentioned one time, but saying or speaking is mentioned three times. Years ago I heard Kenneth Hagin talking about this verse and the Lord had revealed to him that he would have to teach on the importance of what a believer says three times more than on the believing part. I can attest to this for no matter how much you teach on the subject people still tend to say things that sabotage their faith. For even if you believe in a promise of God it won’t happen unless you consistently confess what His Word says.

Oral Roberts said God revealed to him that Christians are telling their God about how big their mountain is instead of telling their mountain how big their God is. When you look at the very first part of verse 23 above notice the words that Jesus starts off with. “For assuredly I say to you”, this is an absolute guarantee. Another way we might say this phrase is, “You can take it to the bank”. So first of all when you look at Mark 11:23 if you want to see this verse work in your life you are going to have to take Jesus at His Word.

Wouldn’t every believer just take Jesus at His Word? Certainly most don’t intentionally deny His Word, but without realizing it many discount what the Word says because of several factors. For example some don’t actually take Him at His Word because of the religious teachings of those who either have not applied that part of scripture in their life, or they may have tried it but in doing so they did not fully apply what scripture teaches. It would be like trying someone’s recipe for a cake but you don’t add all the ingredients or you don’t mix them properly.

God’s Word is proven, the Bible teaches us so it always works, but we just don’t always do what scripture teaches. I recently heard my Pastor Dr. Barclay give an example of this. A medical doctor he knows told him that they both face a common problem when trying to help people. He went on to say that a medical doctor like a minster is trying to help people get better. Say for example they prescribe antibiotics and the directions say to take until they are all gone, but after taking half the bottle they begin to feel better and they quit taking their medication. Then a short time later they are feeling bad again and come back to their doctor wanting to know what is wrong. They did not fully follow the instructions.

This is often the case with Christians. Ministers share God’s instructions on how to see positive change come in their life and they may begin to apply what the Bible says, but they often don’t remain consistent at it and then they wonder why they are not getting results. They often give up thinking it won’t work for them. To get results from the Word you must do all that the Word says, not just add a few ingredients, but also everything it tells us to add to our life. If you want to see results you must not base your belief on what someone else says but on what the Word of God says.

So we have a guarantee here in Mark 11:23 that if we believe in our hearts that what we say will come to pass then we will have what we say. If you want to see God’s Word work in your life you must stop allowing what others say to influence you when it comes to the Word of God. You must also stop living by what you see in the natural. When walking by faith you do see, but not with the natural eye. The eye of faith sees what it believes for before it is ever seen in the natural. Our part is to believe we receive, that’s it. But to do this what you say is important.

To begin with you must confess with your mouth that what you are believing for you have received. When are you going to have what you are believing for? When you believe you receive it. When are you going to believe you receive it? Before you have it. That is a challenge to the human way of doing things. Two of the greatest examples we have in the Bible that reveal the difference between Bible faith and human or sense knowledge faith is Abraham and Thomas.

John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Thomas was not with the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them. He showed up afterwards and after hearing the disciples talk about seeing Jesus he said that he would not believe unless he saw the nail prints in His hands and feet, and the hole in His side. Jesus then appears to them and in the above verse Jesus tells Thomas that he has believed because he has seen, but Jesus said blessed are those who have not yet seen and have yet believed. Jesus did not endorse the Thomas kind of faith. Those who want to receive from God will not do so with the Thomas kind of faith.

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.
Rom. 4:20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,
Rom. 4:21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Abraham was given a promise to have a son through Sarah who was passed the age of child bearing and had never had a child. But notice what it says in verse 19 above, that he did not consider his own body, nor the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Abraham did not base his faith on what he saw, but instead on what God had said. That is a vital difference between receiving from God or not receiving from God. So for us to receive from God we must walk by Bible faith, not sense knowledge faith or sight.

Back to the importance of our confession in receiving from God. When you believe you receive what you say you must of course declare with your own lips the promise of God you have found scripture, and you must declare that it is already so. But what you do after that is just as important. This is where many believers miss out on receiving what God has promised them. Once you believe you receive what you have a promise to, you must continue to make a confession declaring that you believe you have received what you have asked for, or what you have spoken to in the area of moving a mountain or obstacle. I want to remind you that you must believe in your heart what you are expecting from God that you have been promised, but your confession after that can make or break your faith.

Heb. 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

As Hebrews 13:15 declares we are to continually give thanks to God, not just once, but all the time. When you believe you receive a promise from God, or believe what you have said will come to pass in speaking to your mountain, you must then stay in faith. You do this by thanking God for what you know is yours. This is where most battles are won or lost. Again often people think you are making too much of words, but scripture clearly tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Jesus said it was by our words which we will be justified or condemned. He did not say by our word, but our words plural.

Certainly we are not saying nor is scripture saying that if we say anything contrary to the Word in a difficult time we won’t receive from God, but what scripture is clear about is that what we are saying in abundance is what will have a vital impact on our life. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So it is what we are saying consistently that will determine what we receive or what we don’t receive. So watch your words and keep your heart full of the Word of God for it is not just important what you believe, but just as important is what you are saying.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

7/22/13 – “WALKING IN UNITY”

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Phil. 2:2 Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention.
Phil. 2:3 Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].
Phil. 2:4 Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others.

One of the most powerful attributes of the book of Acts church was the unity they walked in. This does not mean they didn’t have their differences, and sometimes those differences caused issues, but they worked through them and continued to fulfill their purpose because unity ultimately kept them together. In the above verses we see the apostle Paul speaking about this type of unity with the church at Philippi.

Paul here speaks about the importance of walking in a true spirit of humility, regarding others better than yourself. Paul is not recommending that we should demean ourselves, for it was Paul himself that spoke of the importance of knowing who we are in Christ. What Paul is referring to is an example that is seen in the life of Jesus Himself, and that we should follow in that example to walk in unity as a body.

Phil. 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Phil. 2:6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
Phil. 2:7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

So here Paul using Jesus as our example reveals what should be the focus of every believer in developing unity. Notice in verse 7 Paul shows us this focus in Christ’s life, which is to become a servant. Remember Jesus Himself said that He did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for us. He Himself said that He only did that which He saw the Father doing. Jesus was the Father’s servant, and therefore took on a servant mentality in reaching out to mankind. To become a servant one must take their focus off of self, which is where the humility comes in. When focused on ourselves we are looking at the wrong thing, and focusing on self will not bring about unity in the body of Christ.

Rom. 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God…

Here is what all who are born again need to become focused on. We are to be bondservants of Jesus Christ. This is what the focus of the church that walked in unity was all about. They were striving to serve Jesus Christ in and through their lives. A bondservant refers to a voluntary slave. They were not made to serve Jesus; they did so by their own choice. Their focus was not on themselves; it was on Jesus Christ. This is the first key to the power of unity that was created in the book of Acts church.

When we are focused on ourselves, we are easily offended at what others may say to us, and we become very defense and therefore divisive. This will result in disunity. Instead of working to resolve difference on both ends, we instead feel like we are the “victim” and want to then defend ourselves. This keeps us from walking in the power of unity and experiencing what God wants to bring about in and through our lives. We must learn to keep our focus on Jesus.

So the first key to walking in unity is that we must make sure we don’t get focused on self, but instead as Hebrews 12:2 tells us we need to get our focus on Jesus Christ, who is the author and finisher of our faith. Just like Jesus we need to stop focusing on our reputation as Philippians 2:7 states, trying to prove ourselves to others. Instead we need to become a bondservant of Jesus Christ. As Paul states we should have this same mind which was in Christ Jesus.

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Acts 2:43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
Acts 2:44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,
Acts 2:45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Acts 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,

 

As this New Testament church was birthed we see some powerful things that reveals to us how they continued to walk unified as the body of Christ seeing God do many miraculous things through the body. The first thing we see in verse 42 above is that the disciples continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine. Simply stated this means they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teachings. The word steadfast means to give constant attention to, and to persevere.

To give constant attention to the teaching of the apostle’s they were first and foremost showing up every time the Word was being taught. This was happening multiple times per week. It is easy to see that if we are giving constant attention to the teaching of the Word the body is going to become more mature and walking united in the truths of God’s Word.

One reason the body today is not as united is because most believers who do attend church today only do so once a week, and many only a few times a month. Just recently I was talking with one of our church members who referred to another church that was no longer having Sunday night services because people were not coming. They instead voted to have their flag football league games on Sunday afternoon and evenings. A pastor who is obedient to God’s Word does not determine if he is going to have services based on the response of people, but based on the Word of God. We are not to forsake assembling together as is the manner of some, even so much the more as we see the return of the Lord approaching.

A second key to them giving constant attention to the apostle’s teachings is that they went home and studied further what they were being taught, and gathered together sharing these truths with each other as well. Remember to be steadfast in their teachings also means to persevere. They did not give up on the Word. They remained faithful to obey the teachings shared with them, even when they faced opposition and times of trial. This brings great unity.

If you look back to Acts 2:42 you will also find out that they walked in fellowship. The word fellowship means association by participation. They were connected together by what everyone had to offer in helping to do the work of the ministry. The apostle Paul speaks about this in Ephesians 4:16. He tells us that when the whole body begins to take part in doing the work of the ministry, this causes us to become joined and knit together (unity). Every believer should be involved in doing the work of the ministry in their church, and outside of their church. That is biblical fellowship, association by participation.

The next thing we see that brought unity in the church is what scripture calls “breaking of bread”. This is a phrase that we tend to think the word fellowship means. They were devoted to each other as a body, so much so that they met continually in each other’s homes, going house to house, talking about what they had learned from the apostles, and having a meal together.

It was very common that when they had a meal at the end of that meal they took communion together just as Jesus did with His disciples. The word communion means to be “one with”. This was done as a reminder and a commitment that they were one with Jesus, and one together as a body. This is a big missing element in the church today and definitely one of the most powerful aspects of what built unity in the body.

Last but not least they were devoted to praying together. You see this all through the book of Acts. As they would come and pray together they would see God move in and through their lives. Times of intercession brought about great results. This too is unfortunately a great weakness in the body as many churches don’t even have corporate prayer times, or the body of Christ is just to busy to come or uncomfortable trying to spend that time in prayer. There is only one way to develop in prayer, you must pray.

So these are some powerful things that I am believing to see the body of Christ awaken to once again that will bring about great unity. A body that walks in unity will be a powerful force in the earth for Jesus Christ. They will go forth with the Word of God on their lips, and the anointing of God on their lives to change the lives of others.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

7/15/13 – “A KEY TO LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS”

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2 Tim. 3:1 You must understand this: In the last days there will be violent periods of time.
2 Tim. 3:2 People will be selfish and love money. They will brag, be arrogant, and use abusive language. They will curse their parents, show no gratitude, have no respect for what is holy,
2 Tim. 3:3 and lack normal affection for their families. They will refuse to make peace with anyone. They will be slanderous, lack self-control, be brutal, and have no love for what is good.
2 Tim. 3:4 They will be traitors. They will be reckless and conceited. They will love pleasure rather than God.
2 Tim. 3:5 They will appear to have a godly life, but they will not let its power change them. Stay away from such people.

Every minister of God has a responsibility to warn people about the last days. Every believer needs to be aware of what scripture says about this time on earth and what we need to do in the midst of these times. This certainly does not mean preachers should be teaching that it is all “gloom and doom”, for in fact it is to be a glorious day for the children of God who know their rightful place in Christ, and walk out what the scriptures teach we should be doing. Even though this may not be the popular doctrine of the day, it is what scripture teaches.

It certainly doesn’t take much to look around at all that is going on in our world, and especially right now in America to realize these are in fact “perilous or violent times”. As you read the above verses you would think you are reading a report of what is happening just as if you were watching the evening news. Some want to ignore these things, but if we act as if they are not there then why did God see fit to put them in scripture to begin with? Because He wanted us prepared and aware of what we need to do so that we are not overtaken by these destructive works. So let’s take a look at one of the key things we need to do in facing these events as a part of the last day’s church.

In our foundation scriptures notice in verse 5 we are given a word about dealing with a certain type of people that will in fact be a part of the last days. Paul refers here to those who appear to have a godly life, but they will not let its power change their life. Paul clearly states that the believer should stay away from such people. This is not a reference to sinners, for he is referring those who have the appearance of being godly. What distinguishes them is the fact that they may talk of being a Christian, but they are not allowing the power of God to change their lives. Who are these people?

Matt. 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Matt. 25:2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
Matt. 25:3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
Matt. 25:4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Matt. 25:5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
Matt. 25:6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’
Matt. 25:7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
Matt. 25:8 And the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
Matt. 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, “No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
Matt. 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
Matt. 25:11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’
Matt. 25:12 But he answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Matt. 25:13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

The greatest illustration we have of those who have an appearance of being godly but deny the power of God to transform their lives is the parable of the five wise and the five foolish virgins. The power of God that changes believer’s lives scripture reveals is the power of the Holy Spirit. Anyone who denies the work of the Holy Spirit’s power in their life is not going to be truly changed for it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit working in someone’s life that this change takes place. The sad truth is there are many churches today that deny the work of the Holy Spirit in their services.

In this parable there are five wise and five foolish virgins. To become a virgin or pure in the eyes of God one must be born again. The foolish and the wise took their lamps with them. The lamp represents the light of God that comes into ones life through salvation, for the Word of God tells us as a believer that we are the light of the world and we are not to take our lamp (salvation) and put it under a basket, but let it shine for the whole world to see. The oil represents the Holy Spirit and His anointing upon our life (power) to transform us.

Notice the foolish did not take oil with them, but the wise did. Oil is seen in the Bible being used to anoint the priest, kings, and prophets to be empowered for their calling. Believers are a part of the body of Christ, which the word Christ means anointed One. But to have that anointing on your life (the power of God) you must yield to the Holy Spirit, not just once but continually so that you can be empowered to see Him change your life, and then go and see Him change others through you by that same power.

Where does this anointing of the Holy Spirit take place? When you read the New Testament you will find the number one place this occurred time and again is when the disciples came together and worshiped, prayed, and heard the Word of God taught. It was what we call “church” today. But the Holy Spirit must be welcome in the church and we must yield to Him so that we stay anointed. Doing so is what the wise virgins did that represented taking oil with their lamp. They took the anointing with them from these meetings wherever they went.

It was the foolish virgins who when they began to hear that Jesus was coming soon tried to get the wise virgins to go with them. They were in fact making light of church, not attending regularly, or going to churches where the Holy Spirit was not allowed to manifest so there was no fresh anointing. No anointing, no power. No power, no changed life, nor were they seeing God’s power work through them to change the lives of others. They talked about Christianity, but they did not demonstrate the power of God in and through their life. Just remember Paul was warning us for a reason to make note of such people.

The foolish virgins today don’t think church is that important. They would rather be off doing their own thing or just sitting at home thinking T.V. church is good enough. The believers who took oil with them got that anointing from being in the presence of the Holy Spirit as they worshiped together in God’s house as well as having such meetings in their homes during the week where the Holy Spirit and His power was welcome. Why the importance of the Holy Spirit being a part of these services? Because you can’t get revelation from the Word of God without Him (he who has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the church). You can’t have burdens removed and yokes destroyed off of your life without the anointing (or power) of God. You also cannot do the miraculous works that Jesus did, which we are all called to do, without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now remember what Paul said about those who appear to have a godly life, but they are denying the power of the Holy Spirit to work in them to bring about true change. Change that involves not only what someone says and does in their own life, but most of all change that involves them going forth as the Book of Acts disciples did seeing the power of God working through them to bring deliverance and healing to others. Paul said and I quote, “Stay away from such people”. That is what Paul said.

What Paul is referring to can be seen back in the parable of the virgins. To stay away means to not allow them to get so close to you that you begin to allow them to influence you in becoming a foolish virgin. The foolish virgin is always trying to get the wise virgin, who is in a church where the Holy Spirit is welcome, to leave their church or to get them out of church all together. They make fun of and often speak against such churches. Simple truth, do you attend a church where there are testimonies of the power of God in people’s lives working, and do you see the gifts of the Spirit ever manifested? If not don’t be a foolish virgin, go find such a church and receive all that God has for you.

So one of the key things that will help us to be victorious in the last days is to stay anointed by the Holy Spirit, and to not allow anyone who may appear to be godly, but they put down churches where the Holy Spirit is welcomed, to pull you away. This is the work of the anti-Christ (anti-anointing). Without God’s power believers will unfortunately begin to see the things Paul talked about become a part of their lives. Stay anointed! Live your life like the wise virgin! Keep plenty of oil with your lamp! What a blessing we have in the power of the Holy Spirit to not only set us free, but to free others also.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

7/8/13 – “CHOOSE WHOM YOU WILL SERVE”

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Josh. 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

I recently heard a powerful message from my Pastor Dr. Mark T. Barclay, a message every believer should listen to. In this series he has been preaching on he has been dealing with things that are enemies of the church, the very things that are at work trying to tear down the body of Christ. In this particular message of this series he dealt with what he calls the number one enemy of the church of Jesus Christ, liberalism. There is no doubt based on what we are seeing in America and other parts of the world how this is without a doubt doing major damage to the body of Christ. It made me think of this verse out of Joshua, and I want to share some on this line of thought this week.

First of all realize that when we talk about liberalism we are not talking about a political party, but in fact a belief or system of belief. Let’s take a look at the definition of liberalism. It is defined as: Free to excess; regardless of law or moral restraint; licentious, independent in opinion. You see liberals don’t allow morality to determine their beliefs. They live a life free from moral restraint. They are independent in their opinion. What is so dangerous about that? Simple, man’s ways are not God’s ways, for God’s ways are higher. Man should be governed by the morality that comes from the God of the scriptures. Man should not live independent of God and what He says. This is what has gotten man in trouble all throughout history.

Nothing new under the sun as they say, for this is exactly what Joshua was speaking about in Joshua chapter 24. Joshua was coming to the end of his life and dealing once again with the rebellion of the children of Israel, which was an all to common occurrence in his day. As he is preparing to depart he tells them if they were unwilling to serve the Lord but instead wanted to serve the gods of their fathers, it was in fact their choice. But Joshua finishes with that powerful declaration, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

That same question is posed to every generation on the planet by the choices they make. It is easy to see how the liberal view has crept back into this so-called “modern day” church. A part of liberalism and its beliefs is founded upon the fact that it is the culture that determines what we are to live by. As culture changes so do the views by which liberals change. The culture as it supposedly matures determines the beliefs by which man should live. But this is nothing new. It is what has gotten every generation that was unwilling to serve God in a position where they no longer received the grace God offered. The modern day church and even America want all of God’s grace, but they don’t want the God of that grace.

James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

You hear a lot of talk today among Christians that we should not deal with nor even talk about sin. I grant you the focus of the believer should in fact be who we are in Christ. The more the church learns who they are the better they can address the old nature and overcome that nature. But yet we clearly see that if we want to experience more of God’s grace there is something we must do. James even tells us this in the scriptures above.

He tells us that God gives more grace (heaven’s help), but he goes on to say that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. So who are the humble in the eyes of God? James tells us in the following verses. The humble are those who: 1. Submit to God. 2. Resist the devil. 3. Draw near to God. 4. Cleanse themselves from sin. 5. Purify theirs hearts from being double-minded.

What do I mean when I stated that America and many Christians want God’s grace, but not the God of that grace? They want God’s help, but they don’t want the God who provides that help. If they did they would humble themselves just as James states in these verses. The thing that most people don’t understand is that God and His grace go together. You don’t get God’s grace and yet reject God. This is why liberalism is having such a devastating effect on the church. Let me give some examples.

There are many Christians who see nothing wrong with what they call a women’s right to choose when it comes to abortion. But God’s Word is clearly against it. Abortion in the eyes of God is murder, plan and simple. But our modern day society including many who are born again see nothing wrong with abortion, but God does. There are many in the church that don’t see anything wrong with homosexuality, and even the redefining of marriage as our Supreme Court has even recently ruled upon, but God’s Word is against it. Scripture clearly tells us that homosexuality is an abomination to God.

Realize I have nothing wrong with a person who is in such sin, no more than I do of someone who is living in sexual sin with someone of the opposite sex. It is the sin that God is against and if you serve God so are you. Before becoming born again we are all sinners. No believer who is serving God is against the sinner, but they are opposed to the sin because God is opposed to the sin. Remember, humility James said is when we submit to God. If you submit to God you submit to His Word.

How can you be submitted to God and oppose God’s Word? You can’t, just like you cannot be wet or dry, cold or hot, etc. You are one or the other, not both. Liberalism causes people to begin to cast off restraint, the Word of God, intended to protect our life from that which will only bring hurt and pain. When we allow culture, or our own individual views to determine what we believe we have begun to allow liberalism to enter our life. Even recently I heard a local newscast where they were talking about a pastor who had stood up to speak against abortion as a guest speaker at the capital. They called him a “controversial pastor” all because he believes in and teaches the Word of God.

God’s Word will never change, because the God of the Word does not change. Believers should never allow the culture of the day nor independent opinions to determine their beliefs. If we want God’s grace on every part of our life, the help of God, we must have the God of that grace with it. Submit to Him, draw near to Him, and He with His grace will draw near to us. Choose whom you will serve.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

7/1/2013 – “DOES EVERYTHING JUST HAPPEN FOR A REASON?”

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Gal. 6:7 Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow!
Gal. 6:8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

One of the statements that I hear often from people is, “Everything happens for a reason”. This is not a biblical statement when implying that God is always behind whatever happens. Often believers who have not been taught properly will make this statement in response to things that happen in their lives that may be difficult to deal with or hard to explain. But scripture paints a completely different picture and I want to share with you why it is so important to understand that in fact things happen because of choices.

When you think that everything happens for a reason you automatically do several things. First of all if what happened was in fact a work of satan then he gets to stay under the radar doing his destructive deceptive work and never gets caught, not to mention that God is the One that is usually getting the credit for what has happened. Satan loves to feed people this lie because his desire is to turn people away from God.

When people think everything just happens for a reason and God was behind it they are declaring that God in fact was the one that either was the source of why things happened, or He was unwilling to do something about it. There is another thing that happens when assuming this lie. If in fact man is the one responsible for what happened through a choice he makes then he is not being held accountable.  When people who are responsible are not help accountable then nothing changes.

Look at so much of what is going on today in our country. On almost every topic where our money is being spent for lavish parties, to reporters having their personal emails monitored, and on and on, no one wants to become accountable. Because no one wants to be accountable nothing is being done and therefore nothing is going to change.

Let’s start by looking to our foundation text of scripture and talk about first and foremost the responsibility man has in the outcome of his own life and what happens. Paul clearly states in Galatians 6:7 that those who try and make a mockery of God, or in other words ignore what He has said, they are not going to get away with not being accountable for their decisions. Whatever a man sows he is going to reap. It is really that simple.

If a man chooses to not get up and go to work each day, but instead decides he will stay home and watch T.V. and just be lazy, he is going to lose his job. That did not happen for a reason in the sense that God must have not wanted him to have that job. That happened because of a choice that man made to be lazy and stay home. If someone loaded a gun and chose to point that gun at his foot and pull the trigger, that didn’t happen for some unknown reason, that happened because he chose to point a loaded weapon at his foot and pull the trigger.

People make wrong choices everyday. Those choices have consequences, but man has never liked taking accountability for his actions. From the very beginning of time man has always wanted to place the blame of his choices on someone else. Doing so is a way for man to try and avoid acknowledging that what he did was wrong. Then the blame gets shifted to an innocent party in which the innocent party is then often viewed as the “bad guy”.

Gen. 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Gen. 3:9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
Gen. 3:10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
Gen. 3:11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Gen. 3:12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

Adam was told by God to walk in dominion over all the earth and to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam then following after Eve ate of that tree. Then when God came down in the cool of the day to fellowship with them they had hidden themselves from God. When God questioned them about eating the forbidden fruit, notice in verse 12 Adam’s response to God. “The woman You gave to be with me”. Adam was implying to God that if He had not given Eve to him this would have never happened. He was not willing to take responsibility for his wrong choice, which then had consequences.

When Adam sinned the authority God had given Him in the earth was in fact given to satan, now allowing him the opportunity to bring about into the earth his very works of darkness. We see this manifested early on between Cain and Able. Through this transfer of authority satan now had the ability to do his work here on the earth. Adam was supposed to kick out of that garden anything that was not to be there. It was his responsibility to exercise the authority he had been given.

Man was given the right of choice, a free will to do what he wanted. Because of the free will of man God allows us to make choices, whether good or bad. Without that right of free will you would not truly have the opportunity to love God, for love is a choice. You would be nothing but a robot if God would not have given you this free will to choose. But what you choose God must allow, because He had given man authority over the earth.

James 1:22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].

Here even James reveals a powerful truth about man’s choices. No one has to obey the Word of God. We can read it, hear it preached, declare it, and yet still choose not to do what it says. That choice is up to us. Some today claim that when you teach others about obedience to the Word of God that is a form of bondage. But in fact if you teach people to live by the Word of God you help to lead them out of self-deception. Being obedient to the Word of God is what walking by faith is all about. You recognize that God is smatter than you, and you therefore “CHOOSE” what you know is going to be the better path to take.

When we hear the Word as James states above but we only listen and we do not obey what it says, we are betraying and deceiving ourselves. When this happens people are actually reasoning contrary to the Truth, thinking they know better than God. Sound familiar? How about when you were younger and your parents who had lived longer than you told you things for your benefit but you instead chose to do your own thing because after all you knew better then they did. I can tell you every time I chose not to obey my parents I suffered the consequences, not because God had a reason for it, but because in my high and mightiness I thought I knew better than my parents. So it is with God.

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.

We must also be careful as well that we don’t blame satan for everything bad that takes place in the earth. The old saying of Flip Wilson, “The devil made me do it”, is not true. If you are not over 40 don’t worry about that last illustration. Satan can’t make you do anything you should not do unless you begin to fall prey to his deceptive ways. In doing so he can through that deception begin to take advantage of your life and even lure you away from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

All of a sudden doing the things that believers do out of a love and devotion to Jesus for all He has done for us doesn’t matter anymore. Going to God’s house, reading the Word to fellowship with God, and spending time with Him is no longer a priority. Instead our time becomes consumed with things that have no eternal value and before long we are being taken advantage of by satan and don’t even know it. Our love for God becomes weaker and our desire for the things of this world becomes greater.

Jesus made a powerful statement in John 14:21. Those who have His commandments and keep them (obedience to what God’s Word teaches us as Christians), it is he who loves Him. The motive for obedience to the Word is our love for Christ. If that is not the motive, we will eventually walk away.

So don’t believe the lie that everything happens for a reason as a reference to God being the One that brought it about or allowed it to happen and chose not to help us. Man has the power of a free will and we make choices everyday. Those choices have consequences. Make right choices and you will reap the benefits of what God has for you.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

6/24/13 – “YOUR AUTHORITY IN CHRIST”

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Luke 9:1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.

One of the areas that far too many Christians are lacking revelation of is their authority that has been given to them through Jesus Christ. This is a very important part of our walk with God that we need to have understanding of. If we do not understand our authority and how to use it, this gives satan the upper hand in our lives because we are not then using that authority to defeat the works of darkness that come against us. It is important to note that you will never understand your authority with your intellect; you must get spiritual revelation of it.

Imagine if you had a weapon to protect you and your family against someone who came into your home with the intent to harm and take lives, but you didn’t know how to use that weapon. Or what if there was a weapon available to you but you didn’t even know it was there. This is what happens to Christians who do not know of the authority they have been given, or they don’t know how to use that authority.

First off let’s take a look at our foundation scripture above and recognize the difference between power and authority. Jesus here gives to His disciples the power and authority to deal with demonic forces and the very works they often bring. The word for power here means supernatural force. It is referring to God’s power that is supernatural, meaning not of natural human strength. It is the same power that God used when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The word authority means the right to use God’s power. The believer when exercising their God-given authority is simply tapping into the power of God that is already available to them. The first key is recognizing that you have this authority because of who you are in Christ Jesus.

Eph. 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Eph. 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Eph. 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,…

Take a look at these verses very carefully. Notice that because of God’s great love for us even when we were dead in trespasses and sins He did three things. 1 – He made us alive together with Christ, 2 – He raised us up together with Christ, 3 – He made us sit together with Christ in heavenly places. That is powerful. We were dead in our sins but God through what Jesus did for us made us alive again. We have been born again once we accept the sacrifice Christ made for us.

But God didn’t stop there; He also through Christ raised us up together with Him. That means He has raised us up into the same position of authority that He gave Christ here on earth and He proved it because He made us sit down together with Him. In Jesus’ day, whoever was given the seat on the right hand of the king was given the authority of the king. So it is with us, for whoever has been given a seat at the right hand of God now has the same use of His authority, the right to use His power. Take a look at what scripture reveals about the position Jesus has been given.

Eph. 1:20 Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His [own] right hand in the heavenly [places],
Eph. 1:21 Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.
Eph. 1:22 And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church],
Eph. 1:23 Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself].

When the Father raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand He gave Him a position of authority far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and even every name that is named. Some will say that was only Jesus who was given that place of authority, but what they fail to realize is that they need to keep reading down into Ephesians chapter 2 and there they will find out as we just stated that we have been made alive together, raised up together, and seated together with Christ. So we too are positioned far above, not a little above, all the same powers of darkness and every name that is named.

This is not something that is going to happen one day; it is where we are positioned right now. Notice in verse 22 above it also states that God has put all things under Jesus’ feet and in verse 23 it tells us that we are His body. Christ is the head, and the believers are the body.  The feet are a part of the body. The Father placed all things under His feet, which simply means under the body of Christ. Every believer has already been given this authority, many just don’t know it, or it is not a revelation to their spirit man.

Col. 2:15 [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].

Think about what this verse is saying. In the beginning of creation God gave man dominion over the whole earth. Adam when he sinned relinquished that to satan, but Jesus did something about it. In the King James translation the word for “disarmed” here is spoiled. When a king took on another king and his kingdom and won, they brought back the spoils. Jesus brought back the spoils when he defeated satan through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. He got man’s authority in the earth back. Because we are one with Him, we now have that authority once again. We have the right to use God’s power and establish His rule through our lives here on earth.

2 Cor. 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
2 Cor. 6:15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

Remember, the most important key to walking in that authority is having revelation of who you are “In Christ”. I want you to look carefully at these verses. Paul is making a comparison between two different types of people. They are the believer and the unbeliever. This is the comparison that is being made in each example here. Paul tells us that the believer is righteousness and the unbeliever is lawlessness. The believer is light and the unbeliever is darkness. The believer is Christ and the unbeliever is Belial. I know that many will say there is no way I can be considered Christ, but that is exactly what Paul just said. Let me explain this further.

Paul did not say that we the believer are Jesus Christ, he said we are Christ, which refers to the anointed one. Just as Jesus is anointed (empowered) by God to do His works, so is the believer anointed. We are not Jesus, but we are Christ (anointed). We are the body of Christ; Jesus is the head of His body. If I where to ask someone to come into another room I would not ask for the head of that person to come into the room, because their body and head are one. So it is with the body of Christ. We are one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). Again, I did not say we are Jesus Christ, but Paul said we are Christ. Let’s look at another verse.

1 Cor. 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

Clearly again Paul is using this analogy of a physical body to make his point. We are the body of Christ, yes members individually, but we are all a part of His body, which makes us Christ, not Belial. Most believers don’t see themselves as anointed like Jesus, yet Jesus Himself said in John 14:12 that he who believes in Him the works that He did we would do also. How are you going to do those works? With the same authority, anointing, and power, which Jesus did. You can’t do that if you are not one with Him, but you are.

Mark 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
Mark 16:18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Here is how we release that authority. We do so through the name of Jesus. This is why He was given a name above every name. Jesus declared it right here in these verses that in His name we would do the works He did. We simply need to have revelation in our hearts of who we are in Christ, and then go forth using our God-given authority in this earth to do what He did through the name of Jesus. You have authority in this earth, the same authority Jesus has. You have been made alive together, raised up together, and seated together with Him! Take your place in Christ and use the authority God gave you!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

6/17/13 – “SPIRITUAL FATHERS”

Spiritual-Fathers

Matt. 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

As we have just celebrated father’s day, I had it on my heart to share a very important and powerful truth that satan has worked very hard at coming against. It is the importance of having a spiritual father in your life. Scripture is very clear that it is God’s design not man’s, that every believer find their shepherd whom Jesus gifted to help develop them and grow them up in God. The devil has continued to deceive people in the body of Christ making them think they don’t need a shepherd because they have Jesus, or that they need to simply find a church that gives them in the natural what they want and are comfortable with.

Jesus clearly reveals in Matthew 9:36 above that those who do not have a shepherd, they will become weary and scattered. The problem with many believers is they may know they need a attend church to grow in their walk with God, but the focus is on finding a church instead of a spiritual father. This would be like us looking for a family to live with instead of who the father of that family is. As great as a family can be to you, they cannot take the place of a good father.

The other key thing to consider is that often we see things in the natural are a reflection of things in the spiritual as well. So it is with finding a spiritual father. For example, you did not have a choice as to who your natural father would be, so why do we think that it is our personal preference that determines who our spiritual father is going to be. The Bible actually tells us how we can know when we have found our spiritual father, and it has nothing to do with what you want in the natural, but everything to do with whom the heavenly Father desires to have as a spiritual father in your life.

John 10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
John 10:2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
John 10:3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 10:4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
John 10:5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
John 10:6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
John 10:7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
John 10:8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

Throughout my ministry life as a pastor I have taught this truth that God has a spiritual father for you. Many people have told me over the years that it really doesn’t matter where you go to church. That is the same thing as saying it really doesn’t matter who father’s you, but in fact it does. If you take time to study these verses of John chapter 10 you will find out that Jesus is teaching us about how He selects for us our spiritual father.

He tells us here that He is the door in these verses, and the shepherd who came through Him, who was gifted in other words by Him to be a pastor. He will speak and when he does those who are to be his sheep will know his voice (v. 4). This is not referring to Jesus in the first part of John 10, because Jesus Himself said He was the door in this example. When I heard Dr. Mark T. Barclay speak for the first time there was something within me that just knew he was different. I did not know it at that moment, but that was the confirmation in my spirit by God that he in fact was the spiritual father God had for me. I am so grateful to know I have found my spiritual father.

Since I have gotten to know him and become one of his sons in the faith, my wife and I are no longer going through life weary and scattered. We are on track with our assignment and we are fulfilling what God has called us to do. Whenever we need direction, correction, or just some biblical advice, I have a shepherd I can turn to that is there to help us stay on course in our walk of faith. This is why so many believers are weak spiritually and become scattered.

2 Tim. 4:1 I solemnly call on you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge those who are living and those who are dead. I do this because Christ Jesus will come to rule ‹the world›.
2 Tim. 4:2 Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right. Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very patient when you teach.
2 Tim. 4:3 A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear.
2 Tim. 4:4 People will refuse to listen to the truth and turn to myths.

In these set of verses we have the most precise description of the responsibilities of a shepherd. Paul is writing this letter to Timothy who was the pastor of the church at Ephesus. Take note that in verse 2 Timothy is given specific instruction as to what he was required by God to do. He was to spread the Word of God, even when the time may not seem right (people may not want to hear it). He was to point out errors in people’s lives. He was to warn them about things to come, and what they were to be aware of in their daily lives. He was to encourage them in their walk of faith, and he had to remain patient in doing so.

Then he is told the day is coming when people will no longer listen to accurate teachings. Instead they will follow after their own desires, and surround themselves with teachers who will tell them what they want to hear. They will refuse to listen to the truth. The people who are doing this don’t even realize they are doing so. They may be listening to the wrong people not even realizing they are not their shepherd, or they are people who once knew who their pastor was and even acknowledge this, but they eventually wandered away by becoming deceived, offended, misled, etc. They don’t think it matters that much where they go to church. The sad truth is many of these people even stop going to church.

If these are the responsibilities given to the pastors, then what is the responsibility of the sons and daughters who are to receive their pastor as a gift from God in their life? Let’s look at these again and see what God expects of His sheep in response to what the pastor is required to do as mandated by the Lord whom He serves and works for.

1. Pastors are to spread the Word whether people want to hear it or not.
This means that when you find a God-appointed shepherd whom God wants you submitted under, he is going to teach things that you are not always going to want to hear. That is how growth occurs. A muscle does not grow when it is always comfortable, but when it is challenged and it responds by getting stronger. So it is with spiritual growth. If you are always wanting hear what makes you comfortable you are not going to grow and you are deceiving yourself thinking you don’t need to grow as a believer.

2. Point out errors.
There are it appears less and less believers it seems who want anything to do with a pastor who is willing to address issues that involve people living in error. He should not do so using names of people in the pulpit, but a pastor who is teaching and preaching as led by God is going to point out things a times that people in his church are doing that are wrong. This is a part of his responsibility as a pastor. People call it stepping on my toes. If you don’t hear about what you are doing that is wrong how are you ever going to correct the mistakes you are making?

3. Warn people.
Pastors are to warn people about sinful practices, judgments to come, things that can hurt their life, etc. A believer should heed those warnings realizing that God is trying to spare their life from pain. But when believers won’t receive these warnings they then wonder down the road why they end up somewhere they don’t want to be.

4. Encourage them.
Every pastor should as well encourage his people helping them to learn how to walk by faith, learn who they are in Christ, and help them realize that God will always be there for them. This is what believers want all the time, but if you feed a child only candy they are going to get cavities and experience an unhealthy future.

So realize the power and the blessing of having a spiritual father in your life. It is by God’s design, and it is a great strength, protection, and a necessary part of your life if you want to walk in the light of what God has for you. To deny this need is to deny God’s Word on the subject. Both pastors and believers need to know and walk in what God expects of their life. Doing so brings about God’s purpose and plan for us.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

6/10/13 – “THE LORD GIVES AND THE LORD TAKES AWAY?”

BooksoftheBible_Job_slide1x_365_y_273

Job 1:21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

One of the most quoted, or I should say misquoted texts of the Bible is the famous phrase that was spoken by Job in a time of great trial in his life. I have heard many people through difficulties and tragedies in their life quote this scripture. I don’t know if you have ever heard of a radio personality by the name of Paul Harvey, but to quote a famous saying of his I want to share with you “the rest of the story”.

You surely have heard of the saying, “hindsight is 20/20.” Often in life we may say things in the midst of what we are dealing with, or what we may be going through at the time, but as time goes by we may then often see a completely different picture. As we do we then realize what we may have said or thought about that situation at the time may not have been correct. Often in life you may think what you are saying is accurate at the time, but when you have then lived a while you may realize that things are not quite the way they seemed. So it is with Job.

No one seems to want to study the entire book of Job to find out the “rest of the story.” They tend to only focus on the first couple of chapters in the book, and therefore they get an incomplete picture of what all happened in Jobs life, and more importantly why it happened. So let’s begin at the beginning where the confusion seems to always start when you are talking about Jobs life.

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
Job 1:7 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

The first thing God asks satan is, while he was roaming the earth he must have come across Job. This is the term for the word “considered”. God was not throwing Job to the lions; God was saying satan surely had seen His servant who walked before God with a heart for Him, shunning the work of evil in his life. This does not mean Job had not given place for satan to come against him, it does mean that in Job’s relationship to God, Job had such reverence and honor for God, that he personally had lived a godly life not giving in to evil practices.

Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, “Is it for nothing that Job fears God?
Job 1:10 Have you not made a hedge around him and his household and all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock have increased in the land.
Job 1:11 But extend your hand and strike everything he has, and he will no doubt curse you to your face!”
Job 1:12 So the LORD said to Satan, “All right then, everything he has is in your power. Only do not extend your hand against the man himself!” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

There are a couple of very key elements to point out in these verses as this conversation between God and satan continues. God was able to protect Job just as He is able to protect us who walk by faith and not fear, as we will address this in a moment with Job. Realize that when satan suggests to God that if He would strike everything he has then he would no longer serve God.

First question, do you really believe that God is going to take satan’s advice? That would be like a mob boss coming to a parent and telling that parent if you will strike them down, or let me beat them up, take everything they have, they won’t love you anymore. How many parents who love their kids are going to tell the mob boss, “Yea, that sounds like a good idea to me, go ahead and do what you want with my kid, just don’t kill them”. Yet we think God who loves us more than we love our own children would do so?

God did not strike Job. God does tell satan that he had the right to come against him as far as what he had in the natural, but he could not take his spirit for his spirit belonged to God. Why did satan have the right to come against Job in the natural? Realize that when Adam fell in the garden the authority that God had given Adam was now given over to satan. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that he is the god of this world. Man has a choice as to whether he is going to walk by faith in his God, or give way to satan through fear. When you walk by faith you give God access to every part of your life. When you walk in fear you now give satan the opportunity to take advantage of your life. That is why he works to deceive people and lead them into fear.

Job 1:16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

Here again is something may believe is proof that God was doing this, but the phrase, “fire from God” actually refers to lightning. Writers in the Old Testament would often attribute this to God’s doing, but scripture reveals in Ephesians 2:2 that satan is called the prince of the power of the air. He brings destructive storms just as he did against Jesus and His disciples when they were in a boat heading across the sea and a storm came against them.

Jesus after being awakened by His disciples rebuked this storm and it left. Then He looked to His disciples and wanted to know why they had not used their faith to come against this storm. If God sends such things against His children who fear Him, then why did Jesus rebuke this storm? Because it was a work of satan, not a work of God.

Job 3:25 What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come to be.

Job reveals here in chapter three that he had been living with a certain fear for some time. That fear was all the things that had happened to him. What he had always feared had now come to pass. Fear gave satan the right to come against Job in the natural, but because Job did reverence God and served God for who He is and not what Job had, satan could not touch his spirit, for his spirit belonged to God.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].

Job was experiencing a time of dread in his life because Job had not yet come to the place of fully understanding the love God had for him. One who fully understands the love of God will walk by faith, for faith works through love. This lack of understanding God’s love gave way to fear, and this opened the door for satan to torment Job. Because of this fear Job then made a statement in the midst of his darkest hour that was based on what he was going through at the time. In Job 1:21 he declared that the Lord had given and the Lord had taken away. It is true that Job said this, but that does not make it a true statement. Let’s look at the rest of the story.

Job 42:1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:
Job 42:2 “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
Job 42:3 You asked, “Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

God later in a conversation with Job who had been listening to wrong counsel from his friends has God reveal Himself as One whom Job did not fully understand. Job had uttered those words in chapter one that the Lord was the One who had taken what he had away. But after God questions Job as to whether he actually knew everything about God, Job admits here in chapter 42 that he did not know everything about God. It was not God doing this to Job, and therefore Job states in Job 42:3 that what he uttered he did not understand. Who has not at times said something in the midst of a painful or difficult situation but then later on realize what they said was not true.

Job 42:10 And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

The Lord then tells Job to go and pray for his friends. This got Jobs focus off of himself. Ministering to others takes faith. In doing so God got Job back in faith. In doing this God restored Job back with twice as much as he had before. Remember, fear gives satan access to our life, but faith opens the door for God to work in our lives and see His will fulfilled. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy; the Lord has come to give us life and that more abundantly!

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker