Thursday, October 13, 2016

Grace, Faith, & Gifts

1 Corinthians 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

Our role is to not convince others of the Kingdom of God, His Grace, and His Righteousness, but to demonstrate it. Without the demonstration of His Power through us, we only become philosophers or self-appointed educators of the word.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

2 Corinthians 4:5-7
For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

It is God Himself that always backs up His Word! This is Him demonstrating Himself. Not of our own ability, but His. It is His Faith. It is His Grace. It is His Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by (God’s) grace are ye saved through (Christ’s) faith; and that not of yourselves: the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Galatians 2:16,20
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

When we let go of it being “my faith” and “my ability” and “my righteousness (right-standing with God)”, it then becomes His Faith, His Ability, and His Righteousness that makes it all happen. And no longer do we title ourselves as “apostle so-and-so” or “prophet so-and-so” or the like. It’s not me or about me, it’s about and all about Him! It’s never about my gifts of the Holy Spirit, it’s the Holy Spirit’s Gifts for someone through me (as just a vessel).

1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:  But all these works that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are just that: His, and a free Gift (not earned or rewarded based on what you or me have done or are doing or want to do). They are not my Gifts He gives me to use; they are His Gifts through me as a vessel (conduit) for someone who needs it. We are always a vessel, and we must never place ourselves in any other position with the Lord! When we stop allowing ourselves to be His vessel, we shut Him off from doing as He Wills. In a sense, we shut off (bind) Heaven on earth.

Matthew 18:18
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Heaven is the warehouse of every Gift. The Holy Spirit is the package-bearer of that Gift. We are the deliverer of that Gift. And the other person is the recipient of that Gift of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit says He gives Gifts as he chooses, it’s not meant that He places in me a select number of Gifts; He is saying that He Gifts to the one that needs it and the Holy Spirit selects that specific Gift for that person to receive for their need. It is the Holy Spirit that has ALL Gifts for all who need a specific Gift. If I only think that I only have “certain gifts” that the Holy Spirit wants me to use, then I limit who the Holy Spirit wants to minister to; and I have to guess or determine how I choose which person or time I am only able to “work the gifts in”. I then place myself above the Lord because it becomes MY determination, not HIS. And thus, no longer becoming a vessel and co-worker in Christ as a part of His Body.

1 Corinthians 3:9
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

When I position myself as that, a labourer with Him, and a vessel for the Holy Spirit, I can minister as the Father desires for me, for others. When I am part of the prayer team at church and many in the congregation come up for prayer, I don’t have to worry about not having the right Spiritual Gift for the person coming for prayer, because it’s the Holy Spirit’s that will Gift to the person what is being prayed for. I remove myself from the Spiritual equation, letting whatever the Holy Spirit wants to do or say through me. The first person in line may need supernatural healing: the Holy Spirit has that and delivers it. The second person may need a word of wisdom: the Holy Spirit has that too for that person. The third person may need a prophetic word: the Holy Spirit has that Gift for them as well. And He has that for all people, no matter how many, or what that person needs from Him. There is no lack in the Gifting, and He does not waver based on who the person is; whether a believer or non-believer, Born-Again or not. Nor even what situation or ‘sin’ the person may be in or is dealing with, because all sins have already been dealt with and forgiven at the Cross.

Acts 10:34
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter (discriminator) of persons.

Romans 2:11
or there is no respect (partiality) of persons with God.

Romans 3:21-24
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

So no matter the circumstance or situation we are in praying for someone, we have to remember that everyone has been positioned in righteous by God’s Grace through Christ. So there is no ‘sin’ we need to address in a moment of prayer & ministry to someone for the Holy Spirit to Gift them anything. This is something we can not only remind others, but remind myself.

And as a believer, we are as Jesus was when He prayed and ministered to someone. Jesus demonstrated all the workings (Gifts) of the Holy Spirit—not because He was Jesus, but because He did as the Holy Spirit in Him led Him to do. This is how we operate now. Jesus Himself was just a vessel for the Father. And we are exactly the same.

Philippians 2:5-8
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

“Robbery”? When I steal something from someone, I claim that item as my own when it truly is not. Christ saw Himself as equal to God without thinking that He is claiming something that actually isn’t His—recognizing that equality with God is actually the Truth. Just as we can think the same as being equal to Christ Jesus Himself without feeling like we are stealing an identity that doesn’t really belong to us. We can have confidence in the Truth that we are equal to Christ.

1 John 4:13-17
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.

And this is not because of our own merits, but because God Himself made it that way. He made it True! He Gifted that Truth to and for us because of all that Christ Jesus accomplished through His ministry, death, sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension to the Right Hand of the Father, sending to us the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Hebrews 1:1‭-‬3‬‬
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Colossians 1:15-19
[Christ Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Colossians 2:6-7,9-10
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:  Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.  For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.

So, because we are as Him and complete in Him, we can perform as Him in confidence, knowing that when He calls us to do something, we have His Faith (Faithfulness) to know He will perform as well. Since it’s His Righteousness, His Grace, His Faith, His Gifts, His finished work through the Cross, nothing can keep His Will from happening in us and through us when we follow-through (obey) His prompting in our everyday. Let’s make His Will ours as He unifies our Spirit made Holy with His Holy Spirit. When two liquids are blended together, they no longer are two, but one. This is how we become one with Him.

2 Timothy 1:6
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God (the Holy Spirit), which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

And when we become one, we lose the distinction between me and Him. And in doing so, it becomes harder to discern based on a “feeling” when it’s Him working or myself.
This was a difficult change in me and the relationship that began with the Holy Spirit. I first started to see Him working in my life as separate from my own. I could easily tell when it was Him working as I became aware of His presence in me. But as Christ burnt up the inquiries in my life and started unifying me with Himself, that conflict of—let’s say, “personalities”—disappeared. This left me thinking I lost something in the relationship with Him. But where I thought I ”lost” His presence, in reality, I lost my own old self. The renewing of the mind. The dying of the old man.

Ephesians 4:22-24
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Now I had to rethink what a relationship with the Lord (Father) looked and behaved like. I had to stop seeing two, and start seeing One. I am One with Him. You are One with Him. No longer a “feeling”, but an existence. A reality. A fulfilled Promise. I am a Holy Temple (a personal Ark of the Covenant). He dwells fully in me. All Spiritual blessings are in me in Him. I am His, and He is mine.

1 Corinthians 3:16‭-‬17‬‬
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, [this defilement] shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

Jesus embodied that Truth and is our example of that Reality. When we look and see and read about and experience Jesus, we must see ourself in and of Him. As looking in a mirror!

Romans 8:28‭-‬30‬‬
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate and conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

2 Corinthians 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

So how can we then fail at anything He calls us out to do. The only hindrance is that we believe there is any. Let’s not limit Him when in reality we don’t. We are not called to have our own faith or “more faith” as a gauge or ability. We are only told to believe.

John 14:12
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Mark 16:16‭-‬18‬‬
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

We received Christ by believing; this is all we need to continue to do.

Colossians 2:6
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.

We continue walking in the Lord through believing in Him. And when we believe, we do all that Jesus did and more. Our response to that belief is what our faith is (our trust in what He says). Faith is not a belief or a “force”, faith is just a response to believing—this is what faith looks like for us. Our response (our faith) is not a power or a generator or type of electrical transformer that determines God’s power. We aren’t conjuring up God’s ability in that He looks upon our faith as a prerequisite or type of level (an amount) that determines how much He moves. He remains constant, and it is because of Christ’s already-completed response to believing the Father (Christ’s Faith) that determines His outpouring. Our term “stepping out in faith” is just us reacting to His Truth. Our faith does not compel God to move, our response releases what the Lord already has done (God’s Grace through Christ’s Faith).

When we detach our faith as a measure for God’s power, we allow God’s power to manifest through the Faith of Christ Jesus. This gives Him the glory, not us. If it were to do with my faith as a standard measure, it would become works and no longer His Gift…we’d get the glory, not Him.

We live by the Faith of Christ Jesus, not by having faith in Him. We believe in Him, and we react to Him in faith. That faith response to believing is often one where we react to the Lord’s Word or calling before we see the manifestation of what we believe (or are believing for).

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance (foundation, resolute confidence) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

We can have that resolute confidence in the Lord because we know He is a good and Loving Father who only wants the best for us and has made that all a possibility.  He is not making us sick, creating children born with disabilities, punishing or killing people, or even judging people. We truly have a Father that we can trust and can see fully demonstrated by Jesus Christ. Jesus never killed anyone or made them sick…He raised the dead and healed all who were sick. God the Father is the same!

So we can be confident of what His True Love is for us. We can be confident in what Christ already has accomplished for us. We can be confident that we are Righteous in His eyes. And we can thus be confident that the Holy Spirit works through us the same as He did through Jesus. And since we believe, and that we can be confident in that, we can respond in believing (that is our faith).

Acts 4:29‭-‬31‬
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,  By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.  And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Ephesians 3:7‭-‬21‬
Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.  Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.  For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.