A Time of Heighten Spiritual Awareness (Part 2)
We are living in turbulent times; the world at times seems to be spinning out of control. Life often seems unpredictable, and more chaotic than ever before wherever we look. There will be more challenges for each of us as Christians today and in the future. Are we prepared to make sacrifices and be ready to pay a higher cost for what we know is the truth? We will need to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and be there to support one another as well as unite corporately.
The Gift of Faith – a time to operate and activate this gift
Paul urges Timothy his young son in the Lord, in 1 Timothy 1:4 “Nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies which cause disputes rather than Godly Edification which is Faith.”
· Ability to believe God without doubt.
· Ability to combat unbelief.
· Ability to meet adverse circumstances with trust in God’s messages and words.
· Inner conviction impelled by an urgent and higher calling.
Faith is the eyes of our heart
Become a conduit – for the power of God to work in us and through us. God is too big to be understood but He may be discerned.
· Faith is the mirror of your heart.
· Your (heart) spirit is to be master over your mind. Heart – “kardia” means “to quiver”
- The physical organ of the body;
- The center of physical life;
- The seat of one’s personal life. (Both physical and spiritual);
- The center of one’s personality, the seat of one’s entire mental and moral activity, containing both rational and emotional elements;
- It is the seat of feelings, desires, joy, pain, and love;
- It is also the center for thought understanding, and will;
- The human heart is the dwelling place of the Lord and the Holy Spirit;
- The omniscient Lord sees into the innermost being where all decisions concerning Him are made.
- Faith is the substance (realization) of God’s word to live in the unseen world.
- Faith is the anchor (conviction) of all the unseen.
- We need to access the unseen dimension of the Holy Spirit.
HOW? By Faith
Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13).
· Its primary idea is trust
- A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust.
- A full assurance of faith, in accordance with the evidence on which it rests.
Jesus sees the Father
Jesus expects us to see from our hearts.
In John 5:19 “Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Fatherdo; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”
- His activity is not self-initiated;
- The Son’s activity imitates the Father;
- The two always work together;
- God has been at work “seeking and saving” the lost;
- Jesus states that the Father enables Him to do what He does and reveals His knowledge to Him personally;
- His works (miracles) come from the Father, including the miracle of raising the dead.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God . . . “ (Hebrews 11:6).
The word “faith”is used only twice in the Old Testament:
1. Deuteronomy 32:20, where God said He would hide from those who forget God and live wickedly: “Children in whom is no faith.” The Hebrew word used for faith is “emuwn” (pronounced “ay-moon”) meaning “established” i.e. “trusty, faithful, truth” (Strong’s).
2. Habakkuk 2:4 where it is stated, “The just shall live by his faith.” The Hebrew word used is “emuwnah” or “emunah” (pronounced “em-oo-naw”) meaning “firmness; figuratively security; morally fidelity; faith, faithfulness, stability, truth” (Strong’s).
The word “faith”is used in the New Testament:
Is translated mainly from the Greek word “pistis” (238 times) meaning “persuasion,i.e. credence, morally conviction(of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation: assurance, belief, faith, fidelity” (Strong’s).
Bullinger’s says, Faith: a firm persuasion, the conviction, which is based upon hearing, not upon sight, or knowledge; a firmly relying confidence in what we hear from God in His Word.
Bullinger’s says, Hope: an expectation of something future; a dearly cherished and apparently well-grounded expectation and prospect of some desired good.
Collins Dictionary says, Faith: “strong or unshakeable belief in something, especially without proof or evidence – a complete confidence or trust in a person.”
Our unshakable belief is: All about what we do with what we hear from Jesus. The key to releasing faith is listening to Jesus and doing whatever He asks us.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
1. That is why the “Faith Chapter” of the Bible – Hebrews 11 – is all about what men and women did by faith.
2. They didwhat they did because of a conviction that God had spoken to them, and they were committed to obeying Him.
Faith is a prophetic word and an action (risk) because it is activated by the voice of God – and our recognizing it is the voice of God!
Faith is born out of relationship – relationship with Jesus. “Whatever He tells you to do, do it!” (John 2:5). It is no different for us today. Whatever Jesus tells us to do, we should and need to be obedient!
The “Faith happenings” and the “Faith characters” of Hebrews Eleven (and other parts of the Bible too) should be an encouragement to us to follow in their footsteps. They have run their race it is now our turn to move ahead in unwavering faith.
The root of our Christian life lies in our belief in God who is Spirit (John 4:24).
Our faith is in an unseen God, and the invisible spiritual kingdom. We have become unaware of the unseen reality of God; we focus on the temporal world and miss the beckoning of the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit desires to communicate with us moment by moment. Men who are lost in darkness need the eyes of their hearts enlightened by the Word of God.
In Ephesians 1:18 we read, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”
We need a spiritual shift from seen to unseen, the eyes of faith. A choose to live a more deliberate spiritual life, to encounter the risen Lord Jesus. In the gospel of Matthew 5:8 we are extorted to see, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (To see God – inward impression and spiritual experience)
The pure in heart are joyful; for they shall see God. Here holiness and joyfulness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10.
The pure in heart are capable of seeing God,[inward precisions and a spiritual understanding]. As God cannot endure to look upon our iniquity, so we cannot expect to look upon His purity unless we are cleansed.
In John 1:49, 50, 51, Nathanael answered and said to Him, [Jesus] “Rabbi”, You are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, truly, truly, I say to you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the son of man.”
We need to teach disciples to see, to perceive and discern in these end times. It is absolutely critical that we as disciples can perceive and discern, the character of those we are in ministry with. Also be able to discern the agenda of the enemy when he is operating in the church or against the work of God or His people.
I Saw in Greek “eidon“ means “to see“
a) to perceive with the eyes; b) to perceive by any of the senses; c) To perceive, notice, discern, discover; d) to look at, behold; e) To pay attention, and observe.
The nature of true Christianity, is following Jesus; devoting ourselves to Him, and treading in His footsteps. Observe the objection Nathanael made. All who desire to profit by the word of God must beware of prejudices against people, places, culture or denominations.
As we examine for ourselves, and sometimes we will find good where we have not looked for any. Many people are kept from the ways of knowing God by the unreasonable prejudices they conceive.
In Nathanael there was no guile [deviousness]. His vocation was not hypocritical. He was not hiding anything by pretense; he was of a sound character, a really upright, godly man. Christ knows what is in the hearts of man. How is your heart today?
Let us desire to know Him
Let us seek and pray to be “a people” indeed, in whom there is no guile; truly Christian, approved of by Christ Himself. At times we are all weak, imperfect, and sinful, but hypocrisy does not belong to a believer’s character. Jesus witnessed and saw when He passed Nathanael under the fig-tree. Almost certainly he was then in fervent prayer, seeking direction as to the hope and consolation of Israel, where no human eye observed him.
Had Nathanael been reading about Jacob’s dream under the fig tree? Is this why Jesus referred to the open heavens? How should we view this as a future prophecy or revelation? Is Jesus suggesting to us that “He Himself is the new mediator of revelation,” a surer link between heaven and earth than the ladder which Jacob saw in his dream?
A Scriptural truth is that Jesus is the only way open to God?
In John 14:6 ” Jesus said to him [Thomas], “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Jesus shows Nathanael’s that his old covenant faith must now center in Him, the focus of the new covenant. Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man this title emphasized His humanity and suffering as well as the perfection of His human nature.
Let us be warned today, as Stephen declared in the book of Acts 7:51.
“You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you.”
There are 4 species of un-circumcision in the world.
- The un-circumcision of the ear.
- Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and the cannot hearken, (Jeremiah 6:10).
- The un-circumcision of lips.
- How shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? (Exodus 6:12).
- The un-circumcision of Heart.
- If then their uncircumcised Hearts be humbled, (Leviticus 26:41).
- Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, (Deuteronomy 10:16 and Jeremiah 4:4)
- For all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart, (Jeremiah 9:26).
- The un-circumcision of the Flesh.
- You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, (Genesis 17:11)
You do always resist the Holy Ghost
- Because our heart is uncircumcised we resist the influences of the Holy Spirit, who brings light and conviction to your minds. The consequences of which we become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, and we do not repent at the preaching of the word of God, nor to the good news told by Christ Himself.
- Because our ears were uncircumcised, they could not hear the prophets, Christ or His apostles.
- As their fathers did, so do we do also, we are disobedient children, of disobedient parents, will this generation have understanding? The eye of the mind refuses to behold the light and the will of mankind determines to remain obstinate.
- Our conscience hardens itself against every argument and protests and resists the Spirit of God, the Spirit is grieved and the sinner is left to reap the fruit of their choices. The resistance of uncircumcised ear, heart and mind resulting in spiritual death.