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The Breastplate of Righteousness

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Now, in terms of identity – and this is the year of identity – the bottom line is this: you must identify yourself as a righteous person.  If you are born again, you are righteous and you have to see yourself as righteous.  If you believe in Christ and His complete work, then right now you are approved by God, you are right with God, you are accepted by God.  You have free access to God’s favour, God treats you as if you are perfect, He answers your prayers like you have never messed up, He loves you like you never strayed, and He favours you like you always get it right.  There is no waiting for righteousness, there is no working for righteousness – you are right now righteous! 

Romans 3.21 says that a righteousness without the law has now been revealed – this is the great thing that Christ did on the cross – He made you righteous without you having to behave righteous.  You didn’t get it right, but you are right.  That’s good news!  But for some reason Christians struggle to accept this.  We often struggle in the same way as the Galatian church.

Read Galatians 3.1-5.  In Galatians, Paul is telling the church in Galatia that he painted a picture of Christ crucified for them.  He showed them that Christ died on the cross for their sins and all they had to do was believe and receive salvation.  But religion got in the way, and religion tried to add to the simple truth of believing in what Christ has done and added all sorts of works to it.

In Numbers 21.4-9, the people are being attacked by poisonous snakes because of their constant grumbling and complaining.  People are dying horribly due to snake bites, and they come to Moses and ask him to pray.  When Moses prays, God tells him to make a brass snake and put it on a stick.  Anyone who looked at the serpent on the stick was healed and the poison was neutralized, anyone who looked in a different direction died.  Now if you were in that situation, and you knew friends who looked at the serpent and lived and friends who didn’t and died you would go and look at the serpent Moses made.  It’s a no-brainer!  Now, if someone was obstructing your view of the serpent, knowing it would save your life, you would absolutely get them out of the way.

Read John 3.14.  Jesus is saying that He is the real serpent on the stick.  That what Moses did was just a picture of Jesus.  You see on the cross (the stick) Jesus became sin with our sin (2 Cor. 5.21) and became the serpent on a stick.  All we have to do is look at Jesus and realize that He became sin with our sin and that we are the righteousness of God in Him, and all the poison of sin in our life is neutralized by God as we gaze at Him.  It’s that simple.  Becoming a Christian is that simple, and living the Christian life is that simple.

The problem is that many people try to add to the Christian life.  Like the false teachers in Galatia who tried to tell people that to be filled with the Spirit and move in the gifts of the Spirit you had to meet a certain standard of holiness.  Jesus warns us against people who add to the simple gospel as well in Matthew 7.

Read Matthew 7.13-14.  There is a narrow road and a broad road.  I have heard people say the narrow road is when you are really living for God and really doing the things of God, and the broad road is when you go off and live for yourself – in other words, if you don’t live right all the time, you fall off the path and end up in hell.  That’s not what Jesus is saying: He is saying that there is only one place to look if you want the poison neutralized and that’s Jesus.  Just Jesus is your salvation, your healing, your victory and joy.  Just look to Him!  Now – if you add to just Jesus then you make the path broader because you are adding stuff to it – normally rules about how we dress, how we give, how we love, how we are.

Read Matthew 7.15.  After telling us about the narrow path, Jesus tells us to beware of false prophets.  There are always people who are trying to get you to add things to the work of Christ – add your effort and give you laws to obey.   Just like in Galatia, so it is today.  Jesus calls these people false prophets.  People who tell you that you have to obey certain rules to be right with God or have favour with God are false prophets, no matter if they are on Christian TV or seem lovely!  They come in sheep’s clothing – they go to church and look like you, and praise God like you, then they tell you that we haven’t got the full message and you need to add a bit of this or that – rules that take you away from looking to the complete work of Christ.

Read Matthew 7.16-20.  It’s all about fruit!  All false teaching has the following thing in common: they separate the tree from the fruit.  Let’s explain: an apple tree just produces apples – that’s natural for the apple tree.  Pear trees make pears and cherry trees make cherries.  According to Isaiah 61.3, you are a tree of righteousness.  You naturally produce righteousness as a Christian. 

A tree just produces fruit – you cannot sellotape fruit to a piece of wood and call it an apple tree.  Yet that is what we often do with people forcing them to do certain things to be a Christian.  Just get them planted in the Word and they will eventually produce fruit naturally.  Just keep feeding a Christian their identity in Christ and they will eventually bear fruit.

Most of our problems as Christians, and most of our sin is caused by not knowing who we are: not grasping that Christ has made us righteous once and for all.  All gossip is a lack of understanding righteousness – you run down others because you are not confident in who you are.   But you feed on your righteous identity, you study and meditate on the Scriptures you start to become confident in yourself and don’t need to snuff out someone else’s candle to believe that yours is burning bright.  Christians who don’t know their righteousness will never have healthy relationships because everything becomes a game to see who has kept the law the most.   Get off that path – it doesn’t work, and start to rest in your Christ-righteousness.

Read Matthew 7.21.  Jesus said that you will enter heaven by doing His will.  There are two ways we can do His will.  Either keep the law perfectly (and I think we have established that is not going to work) or believe the gospel!  When you believe the gospel you are made righteous (Romans 5.1) and you are right with God.  Lots of people say Jesus is Lord but they have never believed that He sent His Son to make them righteous.  You have to believe that it’s about Jesus and His work. 

Read Matthew 7.22-23.  Never think you are going to heaven because you have worked a miracle or done a good work.  You are going to heaven because Jesus Christ became sin with your sin so you could be the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5.21).  Not only that you can receive healing, receive prosperity, receive joy, receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit not because of your works but because of the work of Christ on the cross.  That’s good news!

Romans 2.6

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Romans 2.6
Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

This is possibly one of the most ignored truths and yet is one of the most important teachings in the whole of the Bible, and I would never say such a thing lightly.

The NIV says ‘God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”‘. There is no escaping what this verse is saying: you and I are going to be rewarded based on our actions.

Now at first this seems incongruent with the rest of the New Testament. Anyone who knows anything about the Bible knows that you cannot be saved according to your actions: salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The entire Reformation of the church revolved around this key issue: you CANNOT be saved by works, you can only be saved by believing in the sacrificial and redemptive death and resurrection of the Lord Christ Jesus. And I believe that, and the Bible teaches that: salvation is by grace alone. And most churches that have come from the Reformation: evangelical and Protestant churches will teach and believe this wonderful Biblical truth.

In addition, if you read Galatians 3, you will find that we are baptised in the Holy Spirit by grace alone. You cannot deserve the filling of the Holy Spirit, but you can believe for it. Galatians goes on to say that you cannot deserve miracles, but you can believe for them and work miracles by faith.

It seems that the entire Christian life is grace, but then in Romans 2 we find this short little verse that says “God will reward us for what we have done” (CEV). Is this verse wrong? Clearly not! But how do we fit it into the idea that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone?

The answer is remarkably simple. You enter heaven only by the grace of God – you are not good enough to enter heaven because you have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3.23). However, on the cross Jesus Christ became sin for you so that you could become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5.21).

Only by believing in Jesus can you be born again – made righteous – and enter heaven (John 3.16, Romans 5.1). The Bible says that as far as the east is from the west, that is how far God has removed our sins from us (Psalm 103.2).

However – and this is a wonderful truth that has been much neglected – when we enter heaven God will render to us according to what we have done. There are rewards in heaven, and those of us who work hard on earth will be given greater rewards than those on earth.

I want to make this clear: getting into heaven – only by the free grace of God and because of what Jesus did. Mark 16.16 says if you believe you are saved and if you believe not you are damned. Nothing to do with actions at all. Rewards in heaven – based on what you have done on this earth.

Let’s look a little bit at the Greek to get a deeper understanding of this verse. The Greek word for render here is apodidōmi which means to give what is due or to give exact compensation. I love that – God is just and fair. In heaven what you receive as your reward will be totally fair to your life. There will no injustice in heaven. That is beautiful and one of the things that makes heaven heavenly in my mind. Where the KJV says “every man”, the Greek means every individual. You are not going to rewarded for what I have done or not rewarded because I held you back. This is a personal, individual reward for your work from heaven.

So what are we rewarded for? Is it our good lifes, our judging others, our church attendance? Well, the verse says that we are rendered according to our deeds. The word deeds is the Greek word ergon which means either employment or productivity.

Employment is about doing the right job. If you are employed to clean the floor by a company, it does not matter how clean you get the windows, you cannot say that your employment was successful. It would take too much time to discuss how to find out God’s will for your life, but I tell you the truth: you need to find out what God has called you to do and do it – otherwise you will get to heaven with no reward! This is also very freeing – if God has called you to clean the floor then you will given a full reward if the floor is clean, and you do not have to worry about the windows – remember, this reward is personal to your employment. Do you know your employment contract with the Lord? What has He called – indeed crafted – you to do?

Productivity is about what you create and generate. Although part of this reward is personal and due to your calling and destiny, all Christians are supposed to be fruitful Christians. You should be reproducing what you are. If you are Spirit filled and a tongue talker, who have you led into the baptism in the Holy Spirit ever? If you are a teacher of God’s Word who have you fed into so much that now they can teach? And most importantly of all – if you are a born again Christian redeemed by the grace of the Lord Jesus, how many people have you led into that grace and into the new birth?

Your punishment is not going to happen – your sins and you are separate and that will not change. If you are born again, no hell for you. However, you now have the rest of your life to build a reward in heaven. Find out what you are called to do, find out how to be more fruitful. Your eternal destiny depends on it.

The Holy Spirit (Andrew Wommack)

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There are few things more controversial in the body of Christ than the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the accompanying gifts.

Much of modern-day Christianity sees the born-again experience as all there is to salvation. Many Christians oppose the belief that there is a separate experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and they especially oppose the validity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today’s believers.

That type of belief puts them in conflict with the book of Acts and the very teaching of Jesus. Those who experience the power of the Holy Spirit today are labeled as fanatics or heretics. But what does the Bible have to say? What did Jesus say about this?

On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He made one of the most astounding statements of His whole ministry. John 16:7 records these words:

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”

Grasp what Jesus is saying! Jesus said it is more beneficial for us to have the ministry of the Holy Spirit than it was to have Jesus present with us in His physical body!

Most Christians are totally shocked by this. They would give anything to have Jesus present in His physical body. How could anything be better than to physically see, hear, and touch Him?

Jesus knew His disciples would be shocked by His statement, so He prefaced it with the words, “I tell you the truth.” As hard as it may be to understand, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is better than the earthly ministry of Jesus.

This is not to take anything away from His ministry on this earth. Without Jesus coming to the earth and accomplishing what He did, there could be no ministry of the Holy Spirit. The whole plan of God hinges on the redemptive work of Christ.

But, once His work was done, it was actually to our advantage to have Jesus return to His Father and send the Holy Spirit to take His place. Therefore, we shouldn’t lessen the preeminence of Jesus, but we should increase the importance of the Holy Spirit’s ministry.

Most Christians don’t realize how involved the Holy Spirit is in everything that the Lord does. They do not ascribe nearly enough importance to the Holy Spirit and what He is doing in the earth today. In Genesis 1:1-2, the Bible says,

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

In the beginning, God created all the elements needed for His creation. Then, everything else was formed from what had already been created. All the essential ingredients were in place. But nothing happened without the Spirit of God.

Notice specifically that the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) moved upon the face of the waters. The English word moved was translated from the Hebrew word “rachaph.” It literally means “to brood.” This is describing the manner of a hen sitting on her eggs to hatch them.

The Holy Spirit was brooding over the creation of God just waiting to bring forth whatever God the Father said. When the Lord said “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3), then the power of the Holy Spirit brought that light into being. Likewise, with everything the Lord created and made, it was the power of the Holy Spirit that brought it all into existence.

God the Father conceived it. Jesus spoke it. And the Holy Spirit was the power that performed it. Everything God did in His creation was accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. When God the Father was ready to bring Jesus into the earth, He took the spoken Word (Jesus), the Holy Spirit brooded over Mary (a virgin), and she conceived Jesus’ physical body.

This perfectly illustrates the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They are one. In fact, they are so much one that they can’t operate independent of each other. They are a team. Jesus didn’t do any miracles or start His public ministry until after He had been anointed with the Holy Spirit.

If Jesus couldn’t, or wouldn’t, operate independently of the Holy Spirit, neither should we. No one can have an effective life or ministry without the power of God’s Holy Spirit working in him or her. This fact can’t be argued by anyone who truly believes the Bible is God’s Word. The Scriptures are replete with proof that it is “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 4:6).

So, why is there so much debate over this issue? The sad truth is that denial of the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit is a convenient theology. Believing that miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit don’t operate today excuses powerless living. If it’s true that the Holy Spirit is still willing to move as in biblical times (and it is true), then there is no excuse for living lives so far removed from the victory portrayed in God’s Word.

The number one reason people resist the ministry of the Holy Spirit is because it exposes the lack of power in their lives. And once exposed, it demands a change. In an attempt to avoid responsibility for change, they change the Scriptures instead of themselves. Of course, it’s not that blatant, but there is a predisposition against the ministry of the Holy Spirit, so the Scripture is twisted to support their views.

It’s now politically correct to say that alcoholics are not responsible for their actions, depression is a chemical imbalance, and homosexuality is genetic. We’ve even had lawsuits where overweight people sue fast-food chains for their obesity. No one wants to admit that their lives are the result of their choices and actions. It’s appealing to think that someone else is at fault for their messed up lives. Sadly, the lack of personal responsibility in our society has crept into the attitudes of the church.

But, the ultimate attempt to avoid responsibility is when we place the blame on God. This goes all the way back to Adam when he said, “It’s that woman that YOU gave me” (Gen. 3). He passed the “buck” to the woman and then ultimately blamed God. But God’s judgment shows that He held Adam responsible for his own actions.

Another group of Christians willingly accept a limited ministry of the Holy Spirit as their comforter and consoler, but they still deny His miraculous power. That’s convenient, the benefits without the responsibility. These are usually the ones who also believe there isn’t a second experience with the Holy Spirit beyond being born again. They may be sincere in their beliefs, but they are sincerely wrong.

There are many clear examples in Scripture where a miraculous encounter with the Holy Spirit enabled believers to live supernatural lives. Jesus taught about two separate experiences in the believer’s life.

In John 20:28, Thomas confessed Jesus as his Lord and God. That made him “saved” according to Romans 10:9-10. Yet, the Lord told Thomas and all the disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they received the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4). The reason Jesus told them to wait on the baptism of the Holy Spirit was because they didn’t have it yet. Look what happened to the disciples once they received that power. They were changed men.

Jesus said it this way in Acts 1:8,

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

After the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus’ disciples, they were powerful. They faced persecution and death fearlessly. What made the difference? By Jesus’ own words, it was the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts 8, Philip preached to the Samaritans, and the whole city believed on Jesus and was baptized in water. They were saved. But Acts 8:15-16 says,

“Who, when they [the apostles] were come down, prayed for them [the Samaritans], that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus)” (brackets mine).

This is a very clear example of people being born again but still needing to receive the Holy Spirit. This can also be witnessed in Acts 19. Paul found disciples who were not baptized in the Holy Spirit. He prayed for them, and they spoke with tongues.

Spirit filled, but no tongues!

There are other believers who acknowledge a second experience with the Holy Spirit which releases power, but they refuse the part of speaking in tongues, or at least say it’s not for everyone. But the baptism of the Holy Spirit is like a pair of tennis shoes: It always comes with tongues.

I guess it’s possible to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit and not speak in tongues, but why wouldn’t you want to? If you’re afraid, don’t be! There’s no reason to fear; you’re in full control. I’m not speaking in tongues as I write this, because it’s up to me to decide when I speak in tongues. It’s the same for you. You’ll control when you speak in tongues.

Maybe there’s something else that is holding you back. I know from experience that a person whose understanding of this gift isn’t right can stifle it. I did. In my case, a denomination had instilled such fear in me that I was afraid I would get something from the devil. It wasn’t until later that I learned the Lord wouldn’t let that happen (Luke 11:13).

Whether you’re not sure or just having a problem receiving, my teaching entitled The Holy Spirit will answer your questions and set you free to receive this powerful gift. My life was completely changed when I received the Holy Spirit. If it were not for that, you would never have heard of Andrew Wommack.

Here is a little of my personal story; it may help you. In 1957 I was born again at the age of eight. I loved God and served Him to a degree, but was basically powerless. I prayed six months for my Dad to be healed, but he died when I was only twelve years old. As a young man, I was introverted, timid, and so shy I couldn’t look people in the face when talking to them.

There wasn’t any difference between me and an unbeliever in terms of visible results. If I would have been arrested for being a Christian, there wouldn’t have been enough evidence to convict me.

Then, on March 23, 1968, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. My life was transformed instantly. Before the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I was in fear; afterward, I was as bold as a lion (Prov. 28:1). My love for the Lord went through the roof. It wasn’t me living anymore, but Christ was living through me.

My life wasn’t perfect then and still isn’t now. But receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit opened up a whole new, dynamic relationship with the Lord. You would never have heard of me if I hadn’t received the second work of the Holy Spirit, which the Bible calls the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It’s my desire to see you experience that same power of the Holy Spirit and the gifts that come with it.

Andrew Wommack in Holland Teaching on Salvation and Holy Spirit Baptism

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This is how people should be getting born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit – no hysteria, no carnal displays- but simple teaching of the Word of God leading to a response of faith. If you are not a Christian or not baptized in the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues, then please watch this and pay careful attention.

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