Monday, November 20, 2017

What Is Grace?

Is grace really unmerited favor?

Let's look at what the scriptures tell us.

James 4:6 tells us:

"But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

So we learn that humility is a prerequisite to receiving the grace of God, and grace is something that God gives, so what is grace?

The Greek word for grace used in the New Testament scriptures is 'Charis' which means:

1. Grace

    A. That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech

2. Good will, loving-kindness, favour

    A. Of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.

3. What is due to grace

   A. The spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace

   B. The token or proof of grace, benefit

         I. A gift of grace

        II. Benefit, bounty

4. Thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward

Strong’s Definitions

χάρις cháris, khar'-ece; from G5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):—acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace(- ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank(-s, -worthy).

Grace is more of God's essence, His presence in the soul and upon the spirit of those who obey Him, follow Jesus and walk closely with Him. It's like the more you're with God, the more you grow in Him, the more you meditate on His word, the more you grow in grace and knowledge. The more you become like Him and God rubs off on you!

1st Corinthians 15:33

"Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

The word tells us evil company corrupts good habits or good manners/character, so walking with God does the exact opposite. Being with Him and receiving His grace in our souls, changes our corrupt nature and bad characteristics into His divine nature and goodness, we become holy and righteous!

Jesus was full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

So grace is something you can be full of, and your heart can be established or built up with grace.

Hebrews 13:9

Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

Grace is much more than unmerited favor, grace is the power, presence, essence, substance, and divine influence of God that fills the heart, permeates our being, fills the atmosphere and emanates from our soul and spirit, spreading outward through the flesh, it affects those around us, and it saves those in Christ every day.

Even the words that come forth out of your mouth as you speak can be full of grace and wisdom.

Colossians 4:5-6

"Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."

The true meaning of grace gives us a much deeper understanding of Ephesians 2:8-9

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

In Jesus,

The Authority Of God's Ministers

Romans 13:1-4

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil."

Are the scriptures above the view we hold about ministers today? Are we afraid of God's ministers who have the authority to execute wrath and judgment upon those who practice evil?

Paul certainly exercised his authority and power as God's minister when he judged the sexually immoral brother who sinned by sleeping with his fathers wife.

1st Corinthians 5:1-5

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Wow! Now that's a judgment, imagine being handed over to satan for the destruction of your flesh! I  imagine that could be something like what happened to Job, and including even death! That the spirit of the person may be saved on judgment day. Now that should cause those in the body of Christ to be afraid of sinning and being judged by a true minister of God.

God used Peter to bring judgment on Ananias and Sapphira.

Acts 5:1-11

"But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?  While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him. Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

How could Peter know that satan had filled the heart of Ananias? The Holy Spirit told Him!! Now that's the power of God in the moment, in real time action!!

It's not a stretch for me to say that many believers do not have a true fear of God or His ministers in today's church!

Paul also gave two men name Hymenaeus and Alexander over to satan to teach them not to blaspheme!!!

1st Timothy 1:18-20

"This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Paul was not playing was he!!? When it was time to judge a spiritual matter in the body of Christ he did it with the authority and judgment he was given from Jesus Himself!!!

1st Corinthians 5:12-13

"For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

I wonder how many of those called brother and sister would remain in many churches today if Paul were to go in under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit to judge and purge out the old leaven?

O how I long for the day when the Lord will operate through His Spirit, through His ministers as He did in the days of old, bring the fire Lord, bring the rain, bring your judgment!

In Jesus Name!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Let It Rain!

Joel 2:23-27

"Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you—The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil. “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God,Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame."

So many people are crying out across the nation and the world for God to pour out His Spirit one more time before Jesus returns. And that's exactly what He's going to do, but is everyone ready for it?

God does things suddenly, and many times He does something when you least expect it. But we can clearly see that the only thing that's going to wake up His people today is a great outpouring and refreshing of His Spirit.

It's been over a hundred years since the last outpouring of God's Spirit at 216 North Bonnie Brae Street in Los Angeles California. An outpouring that can only be compared to the day of Pentecost when the Lord poured out His Spirit on the one hundred and twenty disciples in the upper room.

Although many thousands of souls have been baptized in God's Holy Spirit since then, including myself! It hasn't been as wide spread and world reaching as it was with those two outpourings.

So how do revivals start? What's the catalyst that makes a great outpouring possible? Well when we look at scripture we find a few disciples, both men and women, who were faithful to the Lord, who believed in Him, and waited on Him and His word to be fulfilled. Those who were willing to go against the status quo and the religious traditions of the day.

The same is true almost two thousand years later when students of Charles F. Parham met together at Bethel Bible College in Topeka Kansas. Those brave souls studied the word of God and read the book of Acts and repeated what the first disciples did before the Spirit was poured out on them, they prayed, worshipped, and waited on the Lord.

"The students had several days of prayer and worship, and held a New Year's Eve "watch-night" service at Bethel (December 31, 1900). The next evening (January 1, 1901) they also held a worship service, and it was that evening that Agnes Ozman felt impressed to ask to be prayed for to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Immediately after being prayed for, she began to speak in what they referred to as "in tongues", speaking in what was believed to be a known language." (Wikipedia-Charles Fox Parham)

"As the Azusa Street Revival was coming to an end in the 1900s, it is recorded that Charles Parham, and William Seymour, on the same day, at two separate locations, prophesied that there will be another stronger move of God´s Spirit on the earth, which will take place 100 years from then. They said that it will be an outpouring of God´s Spirit and His Shekinah glory that would be greater and more far-reaching than what was experienced at Azusa."

Maria Woodsworth Etter prophesied “We are not yet up to the fullness of the former rain and when the latter rain comes, it will far exceed anything we have seen.” Also that “there will be a greater move of God in the next 100 years, the glory of which has never been seen…”

 2nd Corinthians 13:1

“By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”

"And He will cause the rain to come down for you—The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month."

Isn't January the first month? Well it is for us! Perhaps this January 1st 2018 will be the first month that God pours out His Spirit once again on the souls, praying, worshipping, crying out, and waiting upon Him! We can believe and we can hope!

In Jesus,