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Monthly Archives: June 2012

6/25/12 – “WHAT IS YOUR FAITH IN?”

Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Gal. 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

I have been preaching a message to our church family on “Walking In Bible Faith”. Too often in my life I can look back and see times where I thought I was walking by faith, but in fact I was not walking in Bible faith. I have also seen this to be true in many believers’ lives as well. One of the most important truths I have learned from my walking with God, studying His Word, and hearing great messages from people like Kenneth E. Hagin is the fact that most Christians only see faith as a way to get things they need. I certainly don’t mean to imply that is not one of the benefits of faith, but I have found in my own experience that when focusing on the need and trying to exercise faith to get that need met it doesn’t work very well.

The reason this is true is because the foundation for which faith was given is so that we are in fact living a life of faith, not just using faith when we need something, and then setting it aside. To live by faith means that every day we are trusting in God and therefore are not living the way those who do not know God do. One who is not born again is not walking by faith in the Son of God, but we should be. As I have learned one of the reasons our faith is not working is because the focus of our faith is in the wrong thing, and therefore we are not really walking by faith. Let me explain further.

If you examine your life as a believer how much of your faith is in the prayer you pray instead of the One you are praying too? How much of your faith is in how many people you have praying for you? How much of your faith is in how many times you confess the Word instead of the One whom the Word actually reveals to us? Another way to say this is a statement that the Holy Spirit gave me just recently as I was preaching on this subject. This is what He gave me as I was sharing from Galatians 2:20 above. Your faith should not be in your Christianity, but in the Christ of your Christianity.

This is what Paul was stating here in Galatians 2:20 when he declared that he had in fact been crucified with Christ, and therefore it was no longer he who lived. In fact he refers to Christ now living in him for Paul also penned a powerful statement in 1 Corinthians 6:17 that when one is joined to the Lord, they become one spirit with Him. That is what Paul is stating here in Galatians when he says that Christ now lives in Him. But then he makes another powerful statement that I believe is often overlooked. The life that Paul was now living in his earthly body he was living by faith in the Son of God. His faith was not in whether he could get enough people praying for him so that he might get a breakthrough. I am not discounting having others pray for you, but again my question is this; is your faith in the prayers of others or the God whom you are praying too?

Paul knew if one’s faith is not in the Son of God then there really is no biblical faith being exercised. Putting our faith in the Son of God is the key and we must have understanding of exactly what that means if we are going to walk in Bible faith. As 2 Corinthians 5:7 states we are to walk by faith not by sight. When we are walking by faith and not by sight our words and actions will be in line with what we believe. Yet how often do we claim we are “believing God” for something and yet our words and actions say something else?

Before we examine further what Paul meant by his faith in the Son of God, let’s take a moment to look back at a key word in verse 20 of our foundation scripture. That key word is “crucified”. When Paul stated that he was crucified with Christ, this is far more than just saying the old man died. His old man (spirit) had died, but this word when defined from the original Greek text is translated as: by the death of Christ upon the cross I have become utterly estranged from (dead to) my former habit of feeling and action. Think about what Paul was actually saying here from the original text. Paul was actually saying through the use of the word for “crucified” here that he had died to the habit of responding based on what he felt.

This is another way to say he was no longer allowing his feelings to dictate how he acted. Instead, his actions were now based on His faith in the Son of God. His belief was in what Christ had done for him, and this is what determined his actions, not his feelings. Just another way to say he was now walking by faith, not by sight. Before being born again all we knew to live by was what we felt. Our five physical senses were the factor that determined how we responded in life. But when you become born again and learn to break that habit where the Son of God is concerned, and based on what He therefore has promised you, then your actions are based on Him and His Word.

Gal. 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

So what does it mean to live by faith in the Son of God? We see here in the next verse right after Paul made that statement something very important that relates to living by faith in the Son of God. To set something aside would be for example to put it out of sight, it is not something you are looking too. Out of sight, out of mind. Paul said he did not do this and then he reveals what he was referring to in connection with the grace of God here. He was referring to “righteousness” which is the foundation of the believer’s faith. When one puts their faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for them, they receive a gift from God, the gift of righteousness. Why is this so important? Because if you understand what this gift has done in your life, you begin to see how faith has no problem in believing what you now have a right to because of God’s righteousness.

Rom. 5:17 For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ!

The gift of righteousness is just that, a gift. A gift is something you cannot earn. This gift is received by putting your faith in the death, resurrection, and accession of Christ. Righteousness means right standing with God. This was all made possible when our old sinful nature died, and we had birthed within us a new spirit. Here in Romans Paul states that if you have received this gift of righteousness then you are to reign in life through what Jesus has done. Think about that. The word reign here means to rule. We are to rule over the things we face in this life, they are not to rule us. If we are ruling in this life that means life’s circumstances don’t control how we act, nor what we say. One who reigns in this life is walking by faith and not by sight.

This is why not setting aside the grace of God in which righteousness comes is so important. Setting this gift aside would mean that we have not taken time to focus on and get understanding of what righteousness is and how that has affected our life. You see it is our lack of understanding of this right standing with God that hinders our ability to exercise our faith in what we as children of God have a right to, all because of what Jesus did, not what we have or haven’t done. When you faith is in the Christ of your Christianity you are basing what you say and do on what He has done. When we start basing our faith on our own works, we are not going to walk in Bible faith.

Does that mean it doesn’t matter how I live or what I do? In today’s times you have to address this issue when you talk about trusting only in what Christ has done for you, and not your own works. This does not mean that scripture does not teach us as believers about living a life of good works, which refers to a lifestyle that brings glory to our God. Galatians 6:7-8 clearly teaches us that we will reap what we sow. If we sow to our flesh we will reap corruption. If we sow to the Spirit, we will reap life. Walking by faith and not by sight is putting our full trust in the works Christ did, but it does not mean that we can live in blatant willful sin and not suffer the consequences of doing so. One who truly begins to walk by faith sees things through the eye of faith and therefore does not desire to live in sin.

2 Cor. 4:18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.
2 Cor. 5:7 For we walk by faith [we a regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.

Walking by faith does not mean you don’t see, it means you see beyond what is in the natural, and with the eye of faith you see what the Word says is already so. When you live by faith what is seen in the natural cannot hold your attention nor bring you down. It is not what you focus on. There is no worry, fear, doubt, nor unbelief, just an absolute knowing that what Christ has done for us is done, period. Seeing with the eye of faith does not see things as maybe one day if I keep believing it will be so, for in the eyes of God and the believer who walks by faith it is finished.

As I stated earlier this all comes back to fully understanding who you now are in Christ because He has made you right with God. If for example you were from a wealthy family but grew up in another home not knowing your real name nor knowing you were from such a family, you could not receive what you have a right to by birthright. So it is as a child of God, you must get revelation in your heart as to who you now are in Christ. You can do so my looking at every verse in the New Testament that refers who you now are in Christ Jesus. There are many such verses in the Bible such as our foundation verse Galatians 2:20. Feed on these verses until they become a reality to you and you will begin to walk in your rights as a child of God as you learn to put faith in the Christ of your Christianity.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
Aside

ImageJer. 3:15 And I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart [in the final time], who will feed you with knowledge and understanding and judgment. AMP

There are a lot of misconceptions amongst God’s people as to the role of the pastor or shepherd the Lord has given to bless your life, and in this weeks article I want to show from scripture the primary reason Jesus gave us the gift of a pastor as a part of the five-fold ministry gifts to grow us up. Among some of the misconceptions are those who believe they don’t need a pastor. I will address this in a moment but scripture is clear that this is one of the gifts that Jesus gave to the body of Christ. To say I don’t need a pastor is to reject a gift that Jesus gave to you as a blessing for your life.

Among all the misconceptions about pastor’s everything from not needing one, to thinking my pastor should come take personal care of me every week, scripture reveals a clear picture of what God intended for a pastor to be. Any pastor called by God has no problem going to help his people when called upon, but let’s focus on his primary role in our life according to scripture.

We start with this prophecy that was given by Jeremiah which we see here was for the final time or the last days, which we are now living in according to scripture. Here God reveals through this prophet that He would give us shepherds after His own heart, who will feed us with knowledge and understanding and judgment. There you have the primary calling of the pastor to his flock. This is significant and the primary focus of our study as you will see.

If God said through Jeremiah that He would give us shepherds after His own heart then we know He has done so, for God always fulfills His Word. The reason He says “shepherds” here is not because He wants us to have many shepherds in our life as we will see later also, but because some will say that Jesus is their shepherd and they don’t need a pastor. Jesus is the good shepherd and no shepherd given by God is trying to take His place, but is working to lead God’s people into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Why would God speak forth this prophecy if He wasn’t going to fulfill it and if He did not intend for us to have a pastor? Obviously He has fulfilled this word and He does therefore have a pastor for our life.

Now here is what I want you to see about this prophecy. Those shepherds whom God has given to the body of Christ are going to feed the flock with knowledge, understanding, and judgment. That means God is going to reveal to these shepherds what He (God) wants to speak into our life that is going to help us. God is going to use these shepherds to feed His sheep with His Word so they can have knowledge of God and who they are in Christ. These shepherds are going to bring understanding to His sheep so that they can live out what God says works and avoid what does not work. They are also going to reveal how to have sound judgment in knowing the truth from the deceptive and seductive ways of the devil, as well as knowledge of God’s judgment to come. You may be saying you know all this already, so let me look at it another way.

God who knows all things knows what you need to hear that will help you walk in what He has planned for your life. Not to mention He also knows what you need to hear to fix the problems you are dealing with, as well as knowing what you need to hear to avoid problems ahead. What is one of the main avenues by which God in His Word has said He will reveal these things to you? Through the shepherd that He, not man, has gifted and ordain to speak into your life. So if God has a shepherd who He gifted and called to help me who prays, hears from God, and then prepares a message that God gave Him to share with me, what if I am rarely there to hear it?

For example, if you knew that Jesus was going to show up at your church this coming week at your mid-week service, and your Sunday morning and evening service to speak to you, would you be too busy doing other things to come and hear Him? Now if God gave you a shepherd through Jesus Christ as we are about to see, to hear from Him what He knows you need to hear, why would that be any different? Either God’s Word in Jeremiah is true or it is not true. If it is true and of course it is, then God does know what you need to hear and He is trying to share with you knowledge, understanding, and judgment that is coming from Him.

For the sake of not getting off another direction here I am fully aware there are pastor’s whom God did not call nor ordain (anoint) to speak to His body and the New Testament warns us that we are to beware for there would be many such false preachers in these last days. But this does not take away from the fact that there are also shepherds that He has given as a gift to bless our life. Just as there are true worshippers and false worshippers in the body of Christ, there are true shepherds and false shepherds. But for us to then say we don’t even want to find the true shepherd God has for us would mean we don’t want one of the greatest gifts He has given to us His sheep.

The reason I share this is because I cannot tell you how many times in 22 years as a pastor that I have heard from God, stepped into the pulpit after hours of study and praying ready to share with God’s sheep what I know He has given me from Him found directly in His Word; and people in my church that I know who needed to hear that message as it dealt directly with what they are facing and would help to bring resolve to what they are dealing with are not there to hear it. It breaks my heart every time it happens. Many times I would then get a phone call from someone in my church wondering why they are having the problems they have and the very thing they want answers for were in that message.

I am fully aware that we are going to miss church services at times. If we get into bondage of thinking “I have to be in church” we are going for the wrong reasons to begin with. If we love the Lord more than the things of this life then going to His house, which He designed in the New Testament for us to be a part of, is a joy not a bondage. Some would say it doesn’t matter if I hear it then or later, I would rather sleep in, lay around on the couch, or just choose not to go to church. If they are connected to the shepherd Jesus gave to them as a gift for their life, then they are saying what God wants to say to me is not as important as what I want to do.

If you lived in Jesus’ day which do you think would have had more impact on your life? Hearing Jesus preach directly to you, or having to listen to someone tell you later what He said? Even after He ascended to heaven do you think hearing Paul preach under the anointing would have more of an impact on your life rather than hearing someone else tell you what he said days later? Unfortunately I don’t think some in the body of Christ understand this nor do they see their shepherd as the oracle of God, gifted by Him to speak into their life. This in no way means you cannot hear God directly for we can, but one of the primary ways God gave us to hear from Him is through our shepherd. If not then Jeremiah’s prophecy is not needed.

Eph. 4:8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men
Eph. 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Eph. 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, …

Here we see in the New Testament a fulfillment of what Jeremiah prophesied about shepherds. Jesus when He ascended into heaven gave to the body His gifts. They are the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. Out of these the pastor is obviously the shepherd whom God has chosen to use in giving us the knowledge, understanding, and judgment we need. The Word for pastor here in verse 11 is defined in the Greek language as “shepherd”. God always fulfills His Word.

There are those who are called to children’s ministry or youth ministry who may once a week be in those areas of ministry fulfilling their calling. For example in our church we have three services a week. We do not have a policy that if you are called to children’s ministry that is all you do and you never attend the main service. You serve once a week and have two other services you can attend. There are occasions they may serve more when someone is out temporarily, but they will not have a permanent position in kid’s church every service. If that is where one is called, I know God knows this is your place in the body and He will still use the Word being taught in those areas to bless your life as well.

My challenge from God’s Word this week is to the whole body of Christ. First, if you are someone who makes excuses as to why you do not go to church, you would rather do other things, I would be asking myself why would I not want to receive from God what He has to share with me and bless my life? God has a shepherd for your life or otherwise Jeremiah’s prophecy and Ephesians 4 are not a part of God’s Word. My other challenge to those who attend church is are you connected with the shepherd God has for your life? If you take time to study out John 10:1-14 you will find out that Jesus told us you will know the shepherd He has for you when you hear his voice. I also have a mini-teaching on this that you can listen to on our YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7I0n9c3W7A.

1 Th. 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

Last but not least if you have found your shepherd and go to church regularly do you go with the understanding that God is going to speak to me today? You need to know that the word your pastor shares is not the word of men, but the word of God. When we walk in the light of these powerful truths, God is going to be able to help us in our growth spiritually, and therefore in being the victorious church He bought and paid for.

See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”

May God’s Best Be Yours!

Pastor Darryl Baker

6/18/12 – “THE #1 REASON JESUS GAVE YOU A SHEPHERD”

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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