Faith Is, Chapter Twenty Three


In the last chapter I shared with you what the great Apostle Paul had to say about anyone that had accepted the Lord in 2 Cor. 5:16-21,


"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting menís sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christís ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christís behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."


When we are involved with those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savor we need to realize that just because someone has accepted the Lord doesn't mean that they are mature in the Lord and they are going to make mistakes just as a baby does in the natural. It is sad to say that some Christians never mature much beyond the baby state and remain immature all their lives. Paul said in Heb. 5:8-14,


"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing. For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."


There are many who never grow up in the Lord but remain babies and have to be dealt with as such. As a pastor or leader in the Church we deal with everyone from babies to adults. Unfortunately, most preachers spend the majority of their time ministering to those who remain babies in the Lord and as a result those who are adults in the Lord never hear about the deeper things of the Lord because of the fear of disturbing the younger ones.


I can remember when I was in the first grade that my parents would shield me from what they thought I was too young to understand and it always made me wonder why they did that because I was able to face the truth about things. Like when Dad had to put down our pet dog because it was old and sick. They gave me some story about it being lost.


The same thing happens with preachers and elders. They are afraid to get into deeper things of the Kingdom of God for fear they will offend someone. What they fail to realize many times is that the Lord lives within His children and it is the Holy Spirit's responsibility to teach us. Without His help none of us would be able to understand the deeper things of God. Paul quoted the Lord in Heb. 10:15-18 when He said,


"Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,    This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;    And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.    Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin."


We also deal with those who reach a certain level in their understanding and don't have any desire to learn any more about the deeper things of God. The result of this is that we have many churches at different spiritual levels because that is where their people are comfortable. Paul addresses this in Phil. 3:4-16, (NIV)


"If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;  as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christóthe righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.


So where are you in this great adventure of living for Christ. Are you comfortable in your knowledge of Him or are you ever seeking to know Him and have a personal relationship with Him? Jesus talked about those who serve Him for personal gain in Matt. 7:21-23,


"Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity."


Why would Jesus say something like this to one of His disciples? The key to understanding why Jesus would say something like this is when He said, "I never KNEW you!" This Greek word 'knew' means to have an intimate relationship with one such as a husband and wife would have in the act of marriage. It means to have intercourse or a close relationship with someone. If you serve the Lord for personal gain and fame you have your reward and are not pleasing to Him. He is looking for a bride so He can have a personal relationship with her and share His life with her.


Bette Midler had a song out a few years ago that was the farthest thing from the truth and gave the wrong impression of the Lord. It was called "From a Distance!" and said, "God is watching us From a distance!" Unfortunately there are many Christians that think the same thing despite the fact of what Jesus said in Luke 17:20-21,


"The Kingdom of God comes not with observation:    Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you."


Paul had a clear understanding of this when he wrote in Col. 1:27,


"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory


God is not watching us from a distance but is living within us both to inspire us and to cause us to be willing to do His will. Phil. 2:13


The point I am trying to make to you is that we are not alone in our journey to know the deeper things of the Kingdom of God. The Lord is very active with us to reveal Himself to each of us. Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:18-21,


"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more; but you will see me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am inyou. He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest (reveal) myself to him."


What is your relationship with the Lord? Is He someone that is far off in heaven somewhere sitting in judgment of everything that you think or do? Are you afraid of Him because you are afraid He just might send you to hell? Do you know for sure that you will go to be with Him when you die? Are you sin conscience or heavenly conscience? Do you really believe that Jesus paid the price in full for your sins on the cross or do you still think that you have to pay the price?


Please listen to me today when I tell you that you can have a personal relationship with the Lord and walk and talk with Him every day of your life. He loves you and wants to share His life with you every minute of every day.


My prayer for you today is that the Lord will open your spiritual eyes so that you might see Him living in your life and inspiring you to do His will for you!