Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Tag Archives: born again

An Argument for Learning (Jim Eliff)

0

An Argument for Learning

Jim Elliff

 

 

One of the immense edifices on the skyline of Christian history over the last hundred years was the eminent leader, Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones (1899-1981). He is noteworthy not only because he was a great preacher and the pastor of Westminster Chapel of London, but also because of his zest for learning. Having begun as a physician of exceptional quality, he carried over into his Christianity and ministry this unceasing hunger to know more. From a delightful little book entitled Martyn Lloyd Jones, The Man and His Books I found this humorous cameo of Lloyd Jones as a indefatigable learner, given by his daughter as a portion of a public address:

 

I remember staying in Wales. I was again fairly young, it was the mid 1930’s, on that lovely sandy beach in Borth. It was a boiling hot day. (I know we always tend to think it was like this when we were children, but this really was a boiling hot day.) I was gamboling about in a bathing costume, and digging and paddling and all the rest of it. Everybody else was on the beach, in the amount of undress that was allowed in the mid-1930’s. We were all hot, and there we all were in this glorious sunshine sunbathing, as I said, and playing. In front of a rock, over to one corner of the beach, was my father, fully clothed, in a gray suit with a hat upon his head, his usual hat, shoes, socks, waistcoat, the whole thing, sitting bolt upright, leaning against the rock and reading…1

 

I identify. Not that I have the acumen of a Lloyd-Jones, and certainly not because I like to wear a waistcoat and hat, but because I have the hunger to know, to think, to acquire substantial understanding of the nature of God and the way He works in his universe and with man. In fact, I find it a bit frustrating not to make better advances. Time is much too fugitive, my schedule too uncooperative, and my mind too sluggish, for making all the progress I would like.

 

Perusing the half-price books at the antique mall one day, I remarked that I loved books and could not pass them by, etc., and that television seemed to steal so much from people. You know the line of thinking. The kind woman who was sitting close by was candid in saying that she just could not get along without television and that she watched it incessantly. I said, not to be impressive, but to emphasize a great loss experienced by the Western world, that we had chosen to get rid of our television ten years ago, and that it was, for us, an extremely wise decision.

 

“Why? Was it because of the quality of the programs?” she asked. “Yes, that certainly,” I returned, “but perhaps as much because of the great loss of time. When there is so much to know that is important and television relates so little of it, while demanding more and more precious time, it causes concern. We miss some things,” I said, “but we gain far more.” This, of course, is my evaluation because I think there is much worth knowing about God and man, and there is little time to learn it. Understandably, for a non-believer, that particular pursuit does not generate near enough interest or energy to cause him to get up and “flip the switch.”

 

This encouragement toward learning is not to say an endless chain of degrees has superior value, per se. It goes without saying that “PhD’s do not a doctor make.” While in the Muir woods near San Francisco, feeling small among the giant redwoods, my wife and I happened to enter into a lengthy walk and discussion with a retired professor of rhetoric from a California university. The discussion ranged from its beginning place, rhetoric, to his liberal views on education, his philosophy of religion including his nominal Quakerism (actually nothing-ism), his desire to remove all negative labels (which he was not successful at doing, as you will see), the virtues of the ACLU with whom he collaborated, etc., etc. Unfortunately, his lofty degrees only made him wise in his foolishness, for he started with wrong premises and arrived at tragic conclusions.

 

“There is one kind of Christian I hate, ” he exclaimed, forgetting his prohibition on labels, “—the ‘born-again type.'” (I thought, “What other kind is there?”) “I don’t perceive you are one of them.” He misjudged, of course, but he was willing not to rule me out immediately because I listened and reasoned with him without being reactionary. I didn’t compromise my convictions, but rather stated them as much as his verbosity would allow; I did not react by throwing back clichés and getting huffy. He was an able thinker, but his beginning statements led him logically, and yet hopelessly, toward a metaphysical cliff.

 

Christians ought to be the world’s brightest thinkers. We should be best, not because we have the degrees (“Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” 1 Cor. 1:26), but because we start at the right place. We may or may not have the biggest hat size or be able to collect the most data, but we certainly ought to arrive at better conclusions. David said, “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation.”(Ps. 119:99) Starting with the Word of God, we simply have more insight into all else that can be learned.

 

Why Learn?

 

We should develop the attitude that life is far better if we use our minds actively to whatever degree we are able, and that slothfulness of mind is an unfortunate misuse of the uniqueness God gave men. Consider these reasons for continuing our education through developing a learning posture to life:

 

1. Learning is exercise with a purpose.

 

Constant accessing of new thoughts by reading and conversing cogently keeps our mind exercised for gaining and retaining the more significant biblical knowledge. The sheer joy with which we approach learning helps. I have a friend who never stops thinking. He adds to his study an occasional mystery and works through difficult riddles with friends because they prepare him for understanding the mysteries and riddles of the Word of God. More often than not I find him thinking through some issue in the Bible, attempting to unlock an enigma. He works his mind.

 

It is well known that the Puritans, as an illustration, were devoted to learning the logic of Peter Ramus 2 which formed their approach to scripture analysis by successive dichotomies. Ramus was a French humanist converted to Protestantism in 1561 and later killed in the massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day.3 There would be those who debate whether logic is useful in correct interpretation of Scripture in our day, yet I must side with those who use it for the glory of God without letting their philosophical tendencies overwhelm their exegesis. This is a day of many inconsistencies among Evangelicals. How many of these inconsistencies would be thrown down with the most basic rules of logic. After all, hermeneutics must be logical.

 

2. Learning in a broad spectrum of categories better prepares us for evangelism.

 

My wife and I read through one of the seminal New Age books over a couple of evenings, for instance-not a book about the New Age from a Christian perspective, but an important book in the movement’s own judgment. This reading paid big dividends when we encountered the confusion of our bed-and-breakfast hostess one evening. Three hours of conversation cleared her thinking a great deal. I believe she was freed from some dangerous views and brought to think more soberly about “the only true God.” It goes without saying that the study of the Word is that which filters and interprets all other information.

 

I might add to this that the very learning process which intelligent conversation with others brings to you can be evangelism itself. This is one of my most basic approaches. As I ask genuine questions, probing deeper and deeper into the other person’s philosophy throughout the dialogue, I am simultaneously uncovering the deficiency of their belief system leaving the door open for the truth. Often my sincere interest in their beliefs evokes genuine questions from them as to my own philosophy. Ingenuiness can be easily detected; we must want to know what they are saying.

 

3. All learning teaches us something about God.

 

A case can be made for the Christian laying the preponderance of his study on the subject of God. Paul said that we are to be “growing in the knowledge of God”(Col. 1:10). The ocean of knowledge of God is in the Bible itself, yet their are other streams to fish which reveal much about Him. Since all things were made by Him and for Him (Col. 1:16), we can expect all things to tell us something of Him, however hidden.

 

In a certain sense then, knowledge in any field speaks of God as magnificent and excellent in all He has done to man, for man, with man, and against man. Whatever we learn will tell us something about God either by thesis or antithesis. We draw a necessary line on reading what is designed as morally impure and destructive (because of the biblical injunction not to be polluted by our association with it-Rom. 8:6), yet even to know the raggedness of man, for instance, speaks volumes about God-whom He loves, rebukes, warns, tolerates, damns, and just how He does it. If God’s glory is the manifesting of the excellent nature of God, then it is true that “the whole earth is full of His glory.”

 

4. Knowledge, though able to defeat us through pride, can, in fact, humble us.

 

“Knowledge puffs up…”(1 Cor. 8:1). We are constantly reminded that any field of knowledge, even the spiritual, can leave a man proud. I have known many proud biblicists. Yet there is another man who is humbled by what he learns. I suppose that the difference is in his purpose for learning-does he seeks to know God through what he learns, or to be known as one who knows about God. With the proper desire, how could we contemplate the vastness of the universe, for instance, and fail to say, “What is man that thou art mindful of Him.” (Ps. 8:4) Why, God has created at least one star that we are aware of which has a diameter of twice the distance from the earth to the sun!

 

5. Learning tends to keep us from boredom, making us interested and therefore interesting.

 

Amusement (“a”, not, “muse,” thinking; the practice of not thinking), on the other hand, dulls us and creates an insatiable appetite for more. A man or woman who is interested in what he or she is seeing or hearing or reading, and approaches all things as opportunities to learn, enjoys life far more than the person who believes life is principally for the purpose of relaxing and making the mind idle and empty. I once heard an active eighty-year-old Christian leader in our church ride a group of senior adults pretty hard by saying something like, “If you would get up in the morning and read the Word of God and find out what’s in the news and read some good books, and talk seriously to somebody, you wouldn’t be so bored all the time.” All of us had a difficult time keeping up with this lady. The result is that the learner is the most interesting of people, and this, again, is a great benefit in presenting the gospel.

 

6. Most importantly, pursuing knowledge of God and His creation, and all things excellent, is obedience.

 

We are commanded to love the Lord with all our mind, and to meditate on what is true. “Think on these things…”(See Phil. 4:8)

 

Useful Rules in the Learning Process

 

Five guidelines are necessary: First, learn for the exaltation of God. In other words, do not learn to make a show of erudition, but for more noble reasons. Learn in order to boast in the God who has made magnificent items and ideas to be explored-such order, such immensity, such force, such complexity, such detail, such beauty.

 

Secondly, learn “Christianly.” By this I mean to say that we must acknowledge God in all things sensed and reflected upon. Grind that new thought through the teeth of Scripture; let the enzymes of sound doctrine dissolve and digest it. This places the Bible first in our learning and the bringing together of Scripture in categories which answer the questions and posit the extensions (theology) as next in our pursuits. Who can judge life without sound criteria for judgment? The noble theologian Turretin considered his Elenctic Theology the best biblical work he could offer: “Let other books, then, be commended for their novelty. I do not want this statement to justify mine.”4 Something of this spirit should pervade our learning.

 

Third, value the standard old works over the new. Now I write this as an author, so I could never bring myself to say we should avoid all new works. But something destructive has happened in our day. Today an author writes on subjects he knows nothing of-he finds a subject people wish to hear about, gathers a bit of material, mixes in a catchy outline and a striking title, and he has a best seller. Not all old books are worth your time, but at least most older authors wrote having some sense of their subject being a driving passion. There are many fine older works, numbers reprinted, readily available.

 

You will read so few books in your lifetime, you cannot afford to waste your time on contentless froth. “It is a good rule, after reading a new book not to allow yourself another new till you have read an old one in between” said C.S. Lewis.5 And go to the original sources. “The simplest student” he says, “will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavors as a teacher to persuade the young that first-hand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than second-hand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.”6

 

Fourth, despise an idle mind. Paul said to be “careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15) An hour wasted is never to be retrieved. Play hard when needed, but do not learn to enjoy mental emptiness. The idle brain feels a great deal of pain in thinking at first, but has all the potential to make progress if it is exercised. Take a book with you when you may have to spend time waiting, ask questions that lead to more significant discussions while eating dinner, pose a problem to solve when you are driving to work, or chew on a passage of Scripture while bathing (like the early church father Chrysostym, by the way). It is commonly known that a blind person has an improved use of his other senses tending to help overcome the disability. Why? Because of use alone. His nose is no better than yours, nor his ears. But he has used them more carefully, paying attention, focusing the mental powers. This illustrates what concentration can do for a person. The practice of scriptural meditation is a great help in developing that concentration.

 

Finally, do not let the gaining of knowledge of any kind, not even biblical knowledge, usurp the principle aim of knowing God. Here is a subtle trap. I cannot make too much of this. I have fallen into this snare many times myself. Knowledge proper can be a substitute for intimacy. If one could love without knowledge and love were pitted against knowledge, then never learn another thing for the sake of your love for God. Adam and Eve, you remember, were the first to desire knowledge over intimacy with God. Rather, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me…” Jer. 9:23-24.

 

As I look around this room lined with books, I cannot help but feel a bit embarrassed how little I have learned so far when so much is available to me. My embarrassment is aggravated when I think of an acquaintance of Dr. Don Whitney’s on a mission trip to Kenya. Perhaps this story will be an eloquent argument for learning:

 

I met a schoolteacher in his early thirties named Bernard. He lived in the back of a store that was one of four buildings in the Kilema community. He walked several miles even further into the bush country each day to the mud-brick elementary school where he taught. He returned home to his “cube,” an eight-foot-by eight-foot-by eight-foot room where he lived with his wife and infant son. A twin bed was against the back wall with a sheet hanging from the ceiling to separate the “bedroom” from the rest of the cube. Only a small table with one chair occupied the front half. What interested me most was what he had on the cement walls. On every wall were several pages from long-outdated magazines or pictures from old calendars. He explained that they were all he had to read. Though he’d been a Christian for many years, he was too poor even to own a Bible. The only books that ever came into his hands were a few secondhand books the teachers used at the school.

 

So as he holds his son to get him to go to sleep he reads the words on the magazines for the umpteenth time. While he eats at his table or lays on his bed, he looks at the pictures of far-off people and places and wonders what they are like. As I stood in that concrete cube, looking at a couple of dozen faded pictures and yellowing pages, I realized that before me stood a wise man. Bernard understands that knowledge really is like a rare treasure. Though it is more scarce than gold, he had stored up all he could. That’s the attitude all who are wise will have, for “wise men store up knowledge.”

 

 

 

…”The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.”7 

 


 

1 Addresses delivered by his daughter and son-in-law, Fredrick and Elizabeth Catherwood, Evangelical Press of Wales, 1982, p.

2 See Essays on Puritans and Puritanism, Leon Howard, edited by James Barbour and Thomas Quirk, University of New Mexico Press, for a full treatment of this.

3 Douglas, J.D., general editor, The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, Zondervan, 1978, p. 824.

4 Turretin, Francis, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Presb. and Reformed, copyright 1992 by James T. Dennison, Jr., p. xlii.

5 C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, Eerdmans, p. 202.

6 ibid., p. 200.

7 Whitney, Donald S., Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, NavPress, p. 215.
Click Here to Read and Post Feedback

Send this page to a friend

Distributed by http://www.ChristianWorldviewNetwork.com

By Jim Elliff

Click here for bio and archived articles

   

Poverty is A Curse (Bob Yandian)

1

I. Prosperity is a Blessing
The first mention of prosperity in the Word was when God blessed Abraham. God blessed Abraham because He knew Abraham would be a blessing. Abraham’s first priority was other people, but by the time he entered into the Promised Land, he was one of the wealthiest men on the earth.

We often think God’s riches are limited. How can God continue to give? His riches in glory are inexhaustible. We can give to missions, evangelists, and other ministries, and still have more than enough for ourselves because we seek first His kingdom and God wants to bless us.

3 John 2

Beloved, I wish above all things thou mayest prosper and be in health as thy soul prospers.

Three types of prosperity are mentioned in this verse: prosperity in our natural life, physical healing, and prosperity in our spiritual life. The Greek word for prosper means to have a good journey, or a good trip. It refers to starting from one place and going to a final destination. Prosperity is a trip, a journey. When we embark upon a trip to an unknown place, we pull out a map to guide our way. That is exactly what the Word of God is — a map to help guide us to that destination.

Prosperity doesn’t come overnight. As we learn and continue in the Word of God, it begins to take root and to grow and build inside of us, line upon line and precept upon precept. Mark 4 says when the seed is sown, first comes the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. Prosperity comes a little at a time, but God wants to bless us throughout our entire lifetime. Satan will send persecution, but God’s blessings are always greater than any attack or persecution the enemy may bring.

Not everyone understands that prosperity is a blessing and poverty is a curse. Religion has taught us that there is no Satan or that Satan is nothing more than our own conscious thoughts about evil. Religion also teaches that God controls all good and evil, and good and evil are simply the two sides of God. In other words, God can bless us at one moment and curse us another. That is completely contrary to the Word of God.

If every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father of life, then we can turn that verse around and say that every wicked, perverted, and stupid thing comes from below from the father of darkness. Satan always lies, he is always shifty, and he never keeps his word. We have to acknowledge the fact that the true and living God from heaven and the one who would be god on this earth are opposed to one another. The war going on between them was won at the Cross, but that victory will ultimately be established once and for all at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the meantime, the victory of the Cross has been given to the Church so we can enforce Satan’s defeat as we tread on serpents and scorpions, over all the works of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt us. (Luke 10:19) We will go through hard times, but Jesus promised we would always come out victorious on the other side. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)


II. Blessed in the City and in the Field

Deuteronomy 28:1

And it shall come to pass; if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.

Notice there is a blessing that comes upon you, and there is a blessing that overtakes you. The blessing that comes upon you comes directly from God. God wants to pour out blessings on us, but there are blessings that God wants to have come upon us and overtake us. We do not need to pursue blessings. We pursue God and blessings pursue us. We are not to chase after finances. We pursue God. We get to know Him. When we draw close to His heart and obey His commandments, blessings will pursue us.

An old expression says, “If you chase after a butterfly, you’ll never catch it. But if you stand still, the butterfly will come to you.” When we stand still and obey God’s commandments, we will watch the deliverance of the Lord in our behalf and His blessings will come upon us and overtake us.

Deuteronomy 28:1

Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
Many have said we need to go where the prosperity is, but this verse says you will be blessed no matter where you are. This isn’t just a North American gospel that works only in the United States. This is the gospel that works in the city and in the field.

Some are called to go into small communities because of their job, or to pastor small churches. Often they think they are leaving a place of prosperity to go to a place where there isn’t much available. The Scripture says prosperity will chase you down when you follow after God.

God told Abraham to leave a rich country and go to the land God would give him and his children. When he entered the Promised Land, it was in the midst of a drought. This was not a land flowing with milk and honey; it was a land of poverty and desert. Abraham trusted God. God blessed him and made him one of the richest men in the world. God can bless you in the desert and in the city.

III. Blessings Follow Obedience to God’s Word
Deuteronomy 28:8

The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Notice the word storehouses is plural. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, farmers had storehouses for their grain. First, the storehouses represented blessings for their family. Secondly, it represented next year’s crop because they would plant from the storehouse. Thirdly, it represented profit because they could sell what was in the storehouses. The storehouses in your life represent so many wonderful things, including blessings on your bank account, your job, and your future.

Notice it says, in all that thou settest thine hand unto. It does not say all you do while you idly sit. God will bless you when you follow His Word and whatever you begin to set your hand to will prosper. When God begins to pour out blessings on your work, you can do a little work and God will do a lot of work with you. There is a great blessing when you begin to work according to what God instructs you to do.


Deuteronomy 28:15, 38-39

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statues which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:

Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.

Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.

Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.
When your outgo exceeds your income, you are headed down the wrong path. Verse 14 tells us we will sow a few seeds and come back with a multitude of seeds. However, if you don’t hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, you can take the whole storehouse out there and come back with very little.

Throughout the Old Testament, and especially in Deuteronomy, it seems to imply that God is taking blessings from you. However, the Hebrew text implies that God does give, but if your heart is not right, God will permit Satan to steal from you. It is much like having your house unprotected. If you forget to set your house alarm and a thief breaks in, you can blame the alarm company all you want, but it is ultimately your fault for not setting the alarm. In our Christian lives, we leave the door unlocked through our own disobedience and when Satan comes in and steals from us, we blame God. But when God gave us His Word and His Spirit, He gave us every provision. When we leave the door standing wide open for Satan to rob us, we can’t blame God, only ourselves.

Throughout the Book of Job, it looks as though God is giving Job something one minute and taking it away the next. But in the opening of the book, we find that Satan was stealing from Job. God was pouring great blessings on Job’s life, yet Job left the door standing wide open.


Job 1:4-5, 10

And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

Job 3:25

For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
It was the fear for his children that opened the door for Satan to enter. However, when Job got rid of the fear and operated in forgiveness, his latter end was greater than his beginning.

IV. Redeemed From the Curse of the Law
Galatians 3:13 says Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us for it is written, “Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree.” Verse 14 tells us that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. There has been much debate about this because the word curse is singular. We know there are curses in the law, but that verse says Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. The curse of the law was, simply, that we were incapable of keeping the law. Through the new birth, God has enabled us to keep the law through the daily operation of the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit has made us free from the curse of the law. It is not a matter of trying to keep the law. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

The curses found in the Old Testament are wrapped up in this one word, curse, in the New Testament. Rather than delineate all the curses found in the Old Testament under the law, they are simply incorporated into one word. Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.

The curse of the law can be found under three categories:

1. Sin: When Jesus went to the cross and died, He redeemed us from the curse of sin. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He gave us His righteousness by becoming our sin. By becoming our sin, He can remove it and redeem us from it. This is something we couldn’t do for ourselves. I call it the divine swap.

2. Sickness: Jesus took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. (Isaiah 53:5) By His stripes we were healed. (1 Peter 2:24) Through the work of Jesus on the cross, we can become the very health and healing of God the Father.

3. Poverty: Deuteronomy 28 says poverty is a curse, but Galatians 3:13 says Christ redeemed us from the curse. Jesus went to the cross to redeem us spiritually and naturally. Though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor, that through His poverty, we might be rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Jesus became sin so we could be righteous. He became sickness so we could have His healing. He became poor that we through his poverty might be rich. That is speaking of the three-fold curses we find in the Old Testament, but wrapped up in that one word, curse, in Galatians 3:13.


III. What Happened When You Became Born Again

If you are born again, you are not a sinner trying to get saved, you are already saved. Therefore, you are already righteous. We are righteous people resisting the temptations of sin. The moment we became born again, we became righteous. Many Christians think they are still sinners. They say, “I’m a sinner just saved by grace.” No! You are saved by grace, you are the righteousness of God, and you have the right to resist sin.

If you are born again, you are healed. You are not a sick person trying to get healed. The moment you were born again, you were healed. You are a healed person resisting symptoms of disease and sickness that try to attach themselves to you. When you are walking in communion and fellowship with God, sickness and disease are like water off a duck’s back.

If you are born again, you are rich! You are not a poor person trying to get rich, you are a rich person resisting the poverty and lack that tries to come into your life. You are the prosperous. Quit seeing yourself as poor or as having lack. Quit seeing yourself as suffering the conditions of life. Instead, see yourself as an overcomer. You became an overcomer the minute you were born again; therefore, you can overcome.

If I am righteous, I can walk in righteousness. I can resist the temptations of sin. If I am healed, I can resist the sicknesses and diseases that try to come my way. Whenever lack tries to rear its ugly head, I can say, “No sir!. I am prosperous! By the stripes of Jesus Christ, He has made me to be rich in this earth the moment I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”

You are rich whether you ever walk in it or not. You are healed whether you ever walk in it or not. You are righteous whether you walk in it or not. It was all given to you the moment you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Throughout Proverbs, the Bible says He’s made unto you wisdom whether you are ever wise or not. You can act dumb all you want, but He was made wisdom unto you.

V. Receiving the Blessings; Resisting the Cursings
How does all this fit into Deuteronomy? The Hebrew meaning for Deuteronomy is to say it again. The Book of Deuteronomy is a repeat of what is said in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. What was quoted to the first generation has to be repeated to the second generation. Deuteronomy is saying the same thing to a brand-new generation who is about to step over the shores of the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land. It says we are to instruct our children in the Word of God when they rise in the morning, when they walk during the day, and when the sit around the dinner table. (Deuteronomy 6:7) It isn’t enough for us to simply know the Word; we are to pass it on. Knowledge doesn’t come by osmosis. A child has to be instructed and taught through the years, and they are to teach their children so it is passed on from generation to generation.

Deuteronomy 11:29

And it shall come to pass, when the Lord thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal.
They were going to come into the land and stand between two mountains. One mountain would be the blessing mountain and the other would be the cursing mountain.

Deuteronomy 27:12-13

These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin:

And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
Both of these mountains still stand in Israel today. Gerizim was the blessing mountain. It is a beautiful mountain, full of trees. Mount Ebal is a bare mountain with no trees, and was the cursing mountain.

Jacob had two wives and two handmaids. Those who were to stand on the blessing mountain are the sons of the wives. Those who were to stand upon mount Ebal to curse are the children of the handmaids. Although Reuben came through a wife, he was cursed later on because of sin in his life.

It took five chapters in Joshua for them to cross the Jordan River. In Joshua 6, they conquered the city of Jericho. In Joshua 7, they were conquered by the little city of Ai, then they had to go back and conquer the city again. After they conquered these cities, they came to this place between mount Gerizim and mount Ebal.

Joshua 8:30

Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal.

Remember mount Ebal is the cursing mountain. Joshua didn’t put an altar on the blessing mountain; he put one on the cursing mountain because Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. Jesus didn’t redeem us from the blessing! The blessing still stands intact.

Joshua 8:31

As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.

And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the Law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.

And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges; stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
After all this, Joshua read the blessings of the Law and everyone on mount Gerizim would shout, “Amen!” He would then read all the curses and all those on mount Ebal would shout, “Amen!” Can you imagine a million people on each mountain shouting in unison and Joshua and the high priest standing in the valley between with the Ark of the Covenant? After Joshua read all the blessings and cursings, they offered a sacrifice on the cursing mountain. This represented Christ redeeming us from the law.

The good news is that after Christ accomplished our redemption on the Cross, only the blessings stand. How do we receive the blessings? We receive them by faith. Faith is based upon the promises of God. The promises of God should become a part of your heart, your mind, and your lips. When you begin to speak the Word of God and believe the Word of God, whatever you put your hand to do will prosper greater than ever before. Where your hand used to produce little, it will now produce much. Where it once seemed like you spent more than you brought in, you will see God begin to bring in more than you can even imagine or think. Are you ready for some of those blessings which God promises exceedingly, abundantly above all you could ask or think? Get ready for the windows of heaven to open up in your life! It’s time!

Lester Sumrall’s Testimony of Salvation

0

Wonderful testimony from a great apostle and missionary. Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

%d bloggers like this: