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Understanding Prosperity (Kenneth Copeland)

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Understanding Prosperity

Throughout the Word, God plainly shows that His will is for His covenant people to have a surplus of prosperity. He promised to make Abraham rich, and the promise of Abraham is ours today (Galatians 3:13-14; Genesis 17:6). God’s will is prosperity for you—spirit, soul and body.

We want to share with you what true Bible prosperity is and how to apply it to your own life. We encourage you to look up each of the following scriptures as a basis for your own study.

What Is Prosperity?
Matthew 6:33; James 2:14-17; John 14:21; 2 Corinthians 9:9

True prosperity is the ability to use God’s ability and power to meet the needs of mankind—regardless of what those needs may be.

Spiritual Prosperity
Romans 8:2; Luke 4:18, 6:27-38

Spiritual prosperity is freedom from the law of sin and death. To be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit puts you in the position to receive from God all the things promised in His word.

Mental Prosperity
2 Corinthians 10:5; 3 John 2-4; Philippians 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:14

To prosper mentally (in your soul), you must be able to control your mind, your will and your emotions. Prosperity of the mind comes when you use the knowledge you have accumulated from the Word of God—when you are controlling your mind, instead of allowing your mind to control you.

Physical Prosperity
1 Peter 2:24; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:8

Physical prosperity is twofold—health and wealth. Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law—sickness, poverty and death (Deuteronomy 28:15-61). Health and wealth belong to the believer. Meditation on the Word and acting on the Word will bring results (Joshua 1:8). When you act on the Word, mix your faith with it and do not doubt in your heart, the Word will work for you.

What produces spiritual, mental and physical prosperity? What brings all these areas together? The Word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 says the Word is alive, powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. It divides the soul and the spirit, the joints and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. When you are walking in the Word of God, you will prosper and be in health.

We cannot settle for prosperity in the physical or mental realm only, just as we cannot settle for spiritual prosperity alone. We can’t afford to be lazy and to discount physical and mental prosperity simply because we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. It is God’s will for us to be made whole—spirit, soul and body—and to be kept that way until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

As you walk in the light of God’s Word, you will become prosperous in every area of your life.

Hebrews – the Pivotal Epistle (Chuck Missler)

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The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the two greatest theological treatises of the New Testament.1 This letter is, in a real sense, the “Leviticus” of the New Testament, detailing how the Lord Jesus Christ is both the fulfillment and the successor to all that had gone on before.

The extreme dilemma of the Jewish Christians — especially while the Temple was still standing — was their extreme predicament.

They had been drawn from a divinely appointed religion, with divinely appointed priests officiating in a divinely appointed Temple, accomplishing a divinely ordered service, all of which had been ennobled throughout their entire history.

How could believing priests and Pharisees remain “zealous of the Law”? It was, after all, the Jewish world that had crucified Christ and was repudiating Him.

This letter was clearly aimed at the people who were now Christians but had come out of Judaism. It focuses on the background that they came from, and tries to demonstrate how Jesus was a fulfillment of those things; in fact, he superseded those things. Jesus is the very fulfillment of the Old Testament.

Authorship

Who wrote the book of Hebrews? Hebrews is an unsigned book and there are many theories, but the available evidence, we feel, seems to justify a Pauline ascription.

Apollos? Some suggest that Apollos wrote this epistle, although there is not much evidence to support the theory. Furthermore, Apollos was from Alexandria, and yet even in Alexandria in the earliest times the book was associated with Paul. So, if Apollos was the author, somehow he didn’t even convince his own hometown.

Barnabas? Others ascribe the book to Barnabas, but here again there is no evidence to support this theory. There are some spurious writings (that are not regarded as authentic) that were attributed to Barnabas, but their style is so different from the epistle to the Hebrews that if one can conclude that the writings attributed to Barnabas were at all indicative of Barnabas’ style, he clearly didn’t write the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Paul? There are many stylistic reasons that point to its Pauline authorship.

Paul’s Special Mark

If one recognizes that there were apparently forgeries of Thessalonian letters being circulated, then several passages become clearer.2 Thus at the end of that letter, Paul includes a sort of special mark, a token:

The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.
2 Thessalonians 3:17

Note how Paul is emphasizing that he has signed the letter with his own hand (most were probably drafted by an amanuensis or secretary). He would include a sign at the end so they would know that the letter was really from him.

So what is this signature or style item that is included in every letter?3

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
2 Thessalonians 3:18

And how does Hebrews end?

Grace be with you all. Amen.
Hebrews 13:25

Why is this so impressive of Paul’s style? Because the word “Grace” does not even appear in the other epistles!4

The Trilogy on Habakkuk 2:4

The key verse in Habakkuk is:

The Just shall live by faith.
Habakkuk 2:4

This verse became the primary banner that inflamed the Reformation. It would seem that Paul penned a deliberate trilogy on this very verse.

Who are “the Just”? The Book of Romans answers the question (Cf. Rom 1:17).

How then “Shall [they] Live”? Gal-atians shows how we are to live — called out of religious externalism (Cf. Gal 3:11).

“By faith…” What is the epistle on “faith”? This Epistle to the Hebrews (Cf. Heb 10:38)!

As a former systems engineer and technologist in the information sciences, I tend to favor evidences that reveal an architecture and integrity of design, and it is this unique characteristic of the entire Bible that has been the foundation of our ministry.

Thus, it is the apparent trilogy of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews, dealing specifically on Habakkuk 2:4, that causes us to lean strongly on the inference that Hebrews was authored by Paul.

(If it should turn out that it was by another, then this very design becomes an even more impressive “fingerprint” of the Holy Spirit!)

Other Stylistic Evidences

In Romans 8:35-39, Paul lists a number of things that can separate you from the love of Christ. He lists seven things, and then 10 more, for a total of 17.

In Hebrews 12:18-24 we find a similar list: Again there are seven things, and then 10 more, for a total of 17. And in Galatians 5:19-21 there is also a list of 17 things.

(Again, it is Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews that evidence a similarity of style.)

Paul also favored the Greek word, huios, “sons,” rather than a similar Greek word, teknon, which other writers use, which means “children.”

The “witness of the Holy Spirit,” discussed in Romans 8:16 and Hebrews 10:15 also hints at a common authorship.

In Hebrews 13:18, the writer says, “Pray for us.” There is only one epistle writer that makes that specific request: none other than Paul.

The Role of Timothy

In Chapter 13 of Hebrews, there is a reference that notes that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews was accompanied by Timothy.5 We know from a number of epistles that Timothy accompanied Paul.6 We do not have any record of him accompanying anyone else. While that does not mean that Timothy exclusively accompanied Paul, we do not have any evidence of him accompanying any other writer.

Why Anonymous?

So if Paul did write the book, why would he keep it anonymous? From Acts 9:15 we know that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. While the Gentiles were his primary mission field, he also had an intense burden for his own brethren. Looking at Paul’s life, it is clear that Paul would sooner or later write an epistle to the Hebrews.

So why would he write one and keep it anonymous? Because every time he tried to address them there were riots. They were prejudiced against his ministry; he was distrusted by the Jews because he had converted to Christianity.

He never recovered the confidence of the Jewish side; they reputed his apostleship and also feared his attack against their ancient rituals and ceremonies.7

Nowhere in the book of Hebrews does Paul assert his apostleship, unlike his other epistles, but instead he builds his entire thesis uniquely from basic Jewish arguments from Old Testament passages. He exalts Christ, not his own apostleship.

There are reasons in the text that we could infer that the book was probably written after Paul’s first imprisonment, but before his second arrest.8 It was clearly written prior to the destruction of the Temple in 70 a.d. The impending destruction of the Temple may have been one of the reasons that God had Paul show them how they needed, as Christian believers, not only to accept Christ, but to come out of Judaism.9

Peter’s Testimony

Peter also seems to allude to this letter in 2 Peter 3:15-16:

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you…
2 Peter 3:15

Peter here ascribes a letter written by Paul to the Hebrews. But the other 13 Pauline epistles all went to Gentile churches. So if Hebrews was not written by Paul, then there is a missing letter written by Paul to the Hebrews.

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:16

Here Peter is commenting on Paul’s letter, saying that Paul had written some things that were hard to understand (indeed, the difficulties in Hebrews 6 and 10).

Pressing On to Maturity

The primary focus of this letter to believers is to press on to spiritual maturity.10

For anyone serious about their spiritual growth, both the Epistle to the Romans and the Epistle to the Hebrews are absolutely essential to thoroughly understand.

And is there any priority or commitment that is more important — or urgent — in your own life? Pray about it.

I will run to you – Darlene Zchech, Hillsong

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Song of dedication to the Lord. Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Simon Brading – You Reign

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This song has lovely lyrics

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Simon Brading – You Reign“, posted with vodpod

Run Through Romans (3.22-31)

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So far Paul has proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that every human being has the same basic problem: our actions have made us guilty before God. This guilt is called unrighteousness. It means that when we die, we shall be judged by God, found guilty and be sentenced to hell. It also means we shall endure hell on earth as we have life without a relationship with the living God.

It has not been the most positive experience reading and studying Romans up until this point.  This is why many Christians can quote Romans 5 and Romans 8 a great deal, but they simply do not understand the context.  The context is this: Paul shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that you cannot be righteous yourself either by a good life or by religious rituals.

So when Paul now introduces a new way of becoming righteous –  a new way of becoming accepted by God and declared not guilty; a way of going to heaven when you die and enjoying heaven on earth –  when Paul introduces this new way of being righteous we jump at it.

The only way we will jump at righteousness by faith is if someone takes the time to explain and prove to us that we cannot be righteous by works.

Ray Comfort explains this by using the analogy of an aeroplane.  If you give someone on a plane a parachute and make him wear it for the journey, he probably will not because it will be uncomfortable and make the journey more difficult.  If however you take the time to explain to the person that the plane is about to crash and is completely unreliable, he will put the parachute on and be glad to wear it.

If you convince someone to put their faith in Jesus Christ for righteousness, without first showing them that their righteousness by their works and rituals and self-opinion is utterly worthless then they will eventually backslide right out of a relationship with Christ.

Before you tell a person to accept Christ by faith for righteousness, for entrance into heaven, you first must show them that their righteousness is worthless as Paul has done in Romans 1-3.  Some people are already convinced – they know that nothing good dwells in them.  People like that you simply share the gospel with and encourage them to trust the Lord Jesus Christ.  Other people still think that God owes them a favour or that God will judge their deeds with a giant set of scales and they think that the scales are tipped in their favour.  These people need to hear the message of Romans 1-3.  But once they have realize that they are unrighteous and nothing they could ever do will make them righteous, they will ask just one question – though it might be expressed in different forms: how can I be righteous?  how can I be saved?  how can I know God?

21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

After Romans 1.18-3.20, Paul is convinced that people will have realized that they are unrighteousness, that they are guilty before God.  So now, he explains the good news: there is another way to be righteous.  A way that has nothing to do with obeying the law of Moses.  In fact, in v. 21 Paul claims that this way is actually found in the law and the prophets – the Old Testament – which it is if you read it carefully.  Perhaps after we have run through Romans, I will show where the gospel is found throughout the Old Testament.  It is an interesting study to say the least.

22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

This is the revelation that Paul has being building up to – the crescendo of all the evidence that we are unrighteous and cannot be righteous by works – the fact that we can have the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ.  If we place our faith in Jesus Christ, irrespective of our actions, our sins, our lifestyle, we become righteous.  We can stand before God as if we never sinned, as if we lived a perfect lifestly.  We can stand before God and be declared innocent.  We can go to heaven when we die and enjoy heaven on earth.  And it does not come by working for it, it comes by faith.

23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Nearly every Christian knows Romans 3.23 and knows that our sin, which everyone has committed, mean we fall short of the glory of God.  Very very few Christians know Romans 3.24 which says that we are justified (made righteous) freely by the grace of God through Jesus Christ.

Our sin cut us off from the glory of God.  Jesus Christ has now made us righteous if we believe in him, and we are now plugged back into the glory of God.

25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

This is some of the much powerful and beautiful truths in the Bible.  The word propitiation means: a sacrifice that deals with wrath.  Can you understand how powerful this is?  Jesus’ sacrifice has completely dealt with the wrath of God.  The wrath of God is the element of the justice of God that demands that every act of unrighteousness must be punished.  Jesus, on the cross, bore the entire wrath of God, the entire punishment for the unrighteousness of every single human being in the entire world.

If you believe in Jesus you are declared completely righteous – no matter whether you have been religious or not, no matter your background, your history or anything.

26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Remember that the word just means the same as the word righteous.  This verse paraphrased is saying: God is righteous and if you believe in Jesus, God will make you righteous too.

This is not a process.  This is an instant event the moment you place your faith in Jesus Christ you become totally righteous.  You become as innocent as God.  You become as right with God as Jesus was, as right with God as someone who has never sinned.  You will go to heaven when you die, and start to enjoy heaven on earth.

27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

People who are self-righteous, the people Romans 2 was aimed at, boast.  They are people Jesus referred to who pray at night “I thank you I am not like…”.  But people who know the truth that they could do nothing to become righteous, but that they have received perfect righteousness by believing in Jesus don’t boast.

28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

This is Paul’s argument and something that every Christian needs to meditate on: you are not right with God because of any deed or action, but only by faith.  Many Christians still feel that God does not love them because they have acted a certain way – rubbish! You are righteous because of Jesus, not because of your actions.

Many Christians are striving to do this and do that to make God love them, hoping that God will receive them.  Waste of time – God loves you and receives you on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus, and only on the sacrifice of Jesus.  You are righteous because of Jesus.  When you lay hands on the sick, don’t think “well, I have done this wrong this week, and lost my temper this week and done this and that, so God won’t come through” – that is nonsense.  Rather think, “I am right with God because of what Jesus has done, I can live in victory because of what Jesus has done, I can ask and receive because of Jesus.”

The devil and your own flesh will accuse you and pressure you.  To be a good Christian, to get your prayers answered you have to live right, you have to do this and that, and not do that and this.  It is all a lie.  The truth of the gospel is that you are loved and accepted by God and declared and made righteous, totally innocent before God, because of Jesus.  There is nothing you can do that will make God love you and accept you less; there is nothing you can do that will make God love you and accept you more.

It has nothing to do with your actions: you are righteous right now if you believe in Jesus.  His shed blood has made propitiation and satisfied God’s wrath.  You cannot and will not be punished in any way for any sin you have committed or will commit.  You are righteous.

29Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

30Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

This process of being justified – made and declared right and innocent – is available to the Jew and to the Gentiles.  Whether you have been religious and a goody-two-shoes all your life, or whether you have been the most selfish scumbag who ever lived, you need and have access to the grace of God through Jesus Christ that makes you righteous before God.

31Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Does this mean the law is now useless?  No – it means the law is in its right place.  It is not there to show you how to live right, it is there to show you that you cannot live right.  It is there to condemn you and show you that you are unrighteous no matter how religious you are.  It is there to shut your mouth and shut up all your bragging about how wonderful you are and to make you realize that you, just like me, just like every human on the planet, need a new way of being righteous.  The way of faith.

Tomorrow we will follow Paul’s argument as he convinces us from one of the most famous characters in the Old Testament that your actions have nothing to do with your right standing with God.  You are righteous due to the work of Jesus Christ.  You are completely righteous the moment you believe in Jesus and that cannot be added to or taken away from by what you do.

If you realize this truth, the truth will make you free.  Free from striving, free from fear, free from condemnation, free from feeling yucky, dirty and defeated.  Free to walk in truth and love.  Free to pray and know your prayer will be answered.  Free to lay hands on the sick and see them recover.  Free to be as bold as a lion.  Free to enjoy your relationship with God.  The price has been paid, the wrath has been satisfied.  You are declared innocent.

You will be in heaven when you die and enjoy heaven on earth.  Not because of anything you have done or ever will do.  But because of what Jesus has done on the cross 2000 years ago.

Praise His name forevermore!

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