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Difficult Verses 4: 1 John 1.9

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Well, thanks to the people who suggested this verse as a difficult verse they want an explanation on.  I will do my best to help you grasp what this verse is saying.  The verse says this:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1.9, ESV)

And it is a difficult verse because it seems at face value that it contradicts the wealth of New Covenant Scriptures that we are forgiven because of the work of Jesus, not because of anything we do: that we are saved by grace through faith alone (Ephesians 2.8-9), that the way to salvation is through believing in the work of Christ (Acts 16.31) and not by our works (Romans 4.16, 24).  If our forgiveness is dependent on our ability to confess, then we are in trouble – you don’t remember all your sins, and nor do I – so how can we possibly confess them all.

This verse is initially so difficult to reconcile with the New Covenant that some people actually seek to remove it from Scripture.  I have heard that, against all principles of letter-writing and grammar, that 1 John 1 was written to non-Christians and 1 John 2-5 was written to Christians.  I will give you three reasons why this cannot possibly be true, but firstly let’s just realize this: if your theology has to rip a New Testament letter to the church in two to avoid a verse, you are letting your theological system have more weight than the Word of God has.  That can only be reading into the text, not reading out of it.  

There are three clear reasons this verse applies to Christians today:

  • There is no chapter break between 1 and 2 in the original text.  You have to rip a letter written to the church into two to make this idea work
  • John uses first person plural pronounsin the verse: “we”, “our” and “us”.  Now if John says “we”, “our” and “us” he is including himself.  You cannot argue that this verse is not to Christians unless you want to make the case that John was not a Christian.  If this verse applies to John, it applies to you.
  • People haven’t thought through the implications of what they are saying.  For people who claim this verse isn’t for Christians, they have to then accept it is for non-Christians.  Some people say it is for all non-Christians, others have a special group of non-Christians that 1 John 1 is apparently written to (again, against all possible logic and grammar!).  One prominent teacher tells us that this first chapter of 1 John 1 is written to the Gnostics.   Now, let’s just ignore the fact that there were no Gnostics around in the 1st century when this letter was penned, and let’s just say that if it is not written to Christians then it must be written to someone!  Do the people who think that it written to non-Christians think that non-Christians (whether all of them or just a special group of them) think that non-Christians have to confess all their sins to be righteous?  Do they believe that for a certain group of Gnostics the normal rules of salvation by faith don’t apply?  It’s just not been thought through. 

I appreciate the passion people have for Christ and the complete work, but ripping verses out of the Bible, or relegating them to a secret group of people who no longer exist, because they are difficult to understand is not the way to honour the Word of God.  We have to engage with the Word and find out what it means.

So what does 1 John 1.9 mean?  Well, firstly, we have established that it is definitely written to Christians.  It is written to born-again, righteous, pure, holy, redeemed people.  John includes himself in the recipients of the letter – so it is definitely written to Christians, even mature Christians and leaders and elders!  Let’s just be honest – sometimes Christians, whether they are new Christians, older Christians or even church leaders – sin.  We get caught up in patterns of sinful behaviour and we need to get out.  This verse actually gives us a powerful route out of sin, and to relegate it to a 2nd century cult or rip it out of the letter is to do Christians a great disservice because this verse is powerful and will help you when you rightly understand it.

The first thing we need to do to find the meaning of the verse is examine the words that make it up.  Let’s start with the word “confess”, which in Greek is homologia.  Homo- means the same as, and logia means words, and homologia means to “say the same words as”.  It doesn’t mean we have to ball and squall on the floor and weep and wail about all our sins.  It isn’t talking about an emotional experience, although sinning, dealing with sin and making declarations can be emotional at times.  It is talking about you saying the same thing as God about your sin.  So what does God say about your sin?

Firstly, God says that sin is sin.  So stop calling it something else.  It’s not your personality type, it’s not a bad habit, it’s not my oopsie. It’s sin.  Gossip is sin.  Stealing is sin.  Outbursts of rage is sin.  Looking at a woman with lust in the heart, watching porn, is sin.  Sex outside of marriage is sin.  Cursing Christians is sin.  Pride and arrogance is sin.  Call it what it is.  Face up to the issue – man up and own your sin! Say out loud: “I have sinned.  This action I have done is sin, and I want to be free!”  Let’s exercise some responsibility.

Secondly, God says that your sin has been paid for on the cross.  It has been dealt with.  2 Cor. 5.21 tells us that Christ became sin with your sin so that you could be made the righteousness of God.  So your sin has been forgiven and you have died to sin.  Sin is not your master anymore because you are under grace (Romans 6.14).  Now you have accurately diagnosed your problem as sin, and are not hiding behind an excuse start to declare that you are free from sin, that you are forgiven, that you are redeemed, that you are righteous, that your spirit is pure and holy, that you are born again.  Start to declare this outloud.  That is confessing your sin – saying what God says about it.

You see you can only have God’s remedy for your problem when you admit God’s diagnosis for your problem.  Keep denying it is sin, keep blaming the other people for making you behave like that, you start to distort the world.  Your thinking darkens and you become corrupt.  Admit it is sin, declare it is sin, then you can declare God’s solution to sin: the blood of Christ and the cross of Christ.

So now you have confessed your sin, we find out that God will do two things.  Not because He is merciful and kind (though He is!) but He will do these things because He is faithful and righteous.  You see if you have sinned, and you have confessed that sin, then you need to know that God isn’t going to do what He does next because of His goodness but because of His righteousness and faithfulness.  Christ died for your sin because of God’s goodness, but now that Christ has paid the full price for sin, it would be unrighteous for God not to help you in your sin!

How does God help us?  Well, the Scripture says He forgives us and He cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  This again causes problems for us complete work people, we read this and go “well, I am forgiven” and “I am righteous” so what is this about?  Let’s just look a little deeper and find out.

Firstly, God forgiving us?  Aren’t we forgiven because of Jesus at the cross, rather than because of our awesome confession?  It depends what you mean by forgive.  The Greek word for forgive is also equally translated as separate, and even as divorce a couple of times.  It means to firmly and deliberately separate two things.  This verse isn’t talking about God forgiving us because we finally said sorry – I know it’s been preached that way, but God is not waiting for an apology!  Forgiveness is rooted in the cross, not our apology.  It’s talking about the fact that God will separate you from your sin – when you start declaring what the Bible says about your sin, you find that sin loses it’s power to tempt you, to control you, to hold you.  When you start declaring that you are free from sin, and sin has no dominion over you because you are under grace not law, that sin loses its power to con you into thinking you have to obey it.  That is what 1 John 1.9 means by forgiveness – it’s about being free from that sin.

Then the cleansing from all unrighteousness.  Look, we all should know that our spirits are righteous the moment we get born again. You are totally righteous in your spirit.  Therefore, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that this Scripture is not talking about our spirit! Then it shouldn’t be too difficult to realize it’s talking about our souls.  Your spirit is righteous, but your soul – not so much.  If you had an x-ray machine that could see spirit and soul, and you were standing next to Jesus and you set the machine to spirit – you would not be able to tell the difference between you and Jesus.  You are one spirit (1 Cor. 6.17).  That’s awesome – your spirit is the righteousness of God.

But if you turned the dial on the machine and set it to soul – to thought processes, to how we think and respond and feel.  I am guessing it wouldn’t be that hard to work out which one is Jesus and which one is us!  Our souls are not yet fully renewed and not yet fully restored – we are a work in progress in our souls.  But when we start declaring the Word of God and what God says about sin – confessing our sins – then God, in His faithfulness and righteousness – starts to cleanse our souls from that unrighteousness.  Our thoughts start to line up with His thoughts, our ways subsume into His ways.  It’s awesome!  You see now why the power of this verse means that it should not be relegated to non-Christians or Gnostics or ripped out of the Bible!  It’s part of grace!

Now you sin and most of the time, you can pick yourself up again.  This verse isn’t saying to confess all our sins, it’s talking about those times where a sin or group of sins just seems to be having the victory over us and our life.  Sometimes, and it happens to all of us, a certain sin just seems to get the better of us.  It seems to be winning.  In those cases, here are the 4 steps to victory:

  1. Agree with God that it is a sin.  Stop making excuses or blaming the others, or your DNA, or the situation.  It is sin.  Confess (declare) that your actions are sinful.  This is the diagnosis that allows the remedy – if you can’t make the right diagnosis, you won’t take the right cure!
  2. Agree with God that sin has been dealt with on the cross.  Start to declare and agree with God that sin has been dealt with.  That you died to sin, that sin is not your master.  Read Romans 6.1-14 out loud.  Declare that it is for freedom that you have been set free.  Declare that your spirit is righteous, that you are pure and holy.  Confess (agree with God) that this sin has been dealt with on the cross.
  3. God will then forgive (separate) you from your sin.  You will find as you declare and agree with God what He says about your sin that it’s power is dethroned.  Your confession gives you authority and wisdom.  It dislodges the sin from your thoughts, and God jumps in and separates you and your sin.
  4. God will cleanse you (your soul) from all unrighteousness.  He will start to help you renew your mind and think God thoughts.

The Christian life is not just health and wealth, it’s also manifest righteousness.  It’s living free from sin, living free from selfishness.  Never having to lose relationships because of your selfishness is one of the best blessings about living the Christian life.  And confession of sin, as defined Biblically – not culturally or dogmatically – is one of the most powerful tools in the Christian life.  Don’t follow the people who because of the misusers of this verse have become non-users of this verse!  Become a user of this verse and learn how to live a life free from sin today. 

Difficult Verses 2: Hebrews 12.14

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Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Hebrews 12.14)

This verse is one of the verses that is used to condemn people all the time.  If you are not holy, you will not see the Lord.  It’s often taken two ways: firstly, if you are not holy you will not see the Lord (come through for you).  In other words, you will stay poor and sick, stay broken, stay a mess because God isn’t happy with you and doesn’t want to bless you until you reach a certain standard of holiness.  That brings so much condemnation.  The second way people add to this verse is even worse, they think: if you are not holy, you will not see the Lord (when you die).  In other words, you lose your salvation because you are not good enough to be saved.

Let’s refute both of these.  Firstly, you are not going to fail to get blessed because you are not good enough.  You are already blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1.3) so you are not going to fail to be blessed because you are blessed.  In Galatians 3.1-5 Paul is clear that miracles happen because you believed the Word not because of you obeying the Law.  Your goodness is not a currency that you can exchange for blessings.  The good news of the gospel is that you are blessed independent of your behaviour.

Secondly, you are not going to heaven if you are good enough.  You are not good enough – entry into heaven is through faith in Christ alone.  All you have to do is believe and receive.  You are saved from hell by confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing with your heart that He is risen from the dead.  Again, goodness has nothing to do with it.

So what does the verse mean?  The context is clear from the first part of the verse (and the surrounding verses) that Paul (or whoever you think the writer to Hebrews is) is talking about how we relate to other people.  It’s to do with peace with all people.  You see this verse is about following holiness because without that holiness no man (i.e. other people) will see the Lord.

You are holy already (Ephesians 1.5).  Your spirit has been made in true holiness and righteousness.  Deep down you are holy – your salvation and you being blessed is secure in Him and His work.  But unless you follow that holiness other people will not see the Lord in you.  You have all the love of God in your spirit, but if you steal from your boss, are mean to your co-workers and are known as the office flirt, no one will ever see that love and that holiness in you.  You have to follow holiness – not to get saved, you are; not to get blessed, you are – but so that the world will see our light and come to the light.

So go and live holy.  Not to impress God – He loves you to bits.  Not to get blessed – everything is yours in Christ already.  But so the world may know.  So you have credibility when you ask people to church.  So you can impact the world with the love of God.

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.

The Importance of Right Relationships (Derek Prince)

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In the natural, if you are to have a symphony two things are certain: You must have a score, and you must have a conductor. In the spiritual realm, if you are to have symphony, you must have the same two things. The score is the will of God; the conductor is the Holy Spirit.

In Matthew 18:19 we read: “If two of you agree on earth.” The Greek word for agree is precisely the same word that gives us the word symphony. It is not mere intellectual agreement; it is harmony, concord. It is two or more people being united in one spirit. When people come together in one spirit, in harmony, agreeing on the will of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit, then anything they need is accessible. This is a real promise, but you have to meet the conditions.

 

 

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Sometimes people say to me, “Come, Brother Prince, let’s agree. We’ll pray for so-and-so.” I sometimes feel embarrassed because I think it is a shallow pretence and that it will not produce the results. Agreement is not just saying, “We agree.” Agreement is being in harmony in the Spirit with one another, and as we come to this place of real spiritual harmony, we are irresistible. Because of this, the devil will do everything in his power to keep Christians from coming into this place, and he has largely succeeded with multitudes of professing Christians.

I trust that I will not shock you by saying that the church, which is the body of Christ, is not an earthly institution. Generally speaking, Christians have felt obliged or impelled to produce some kind of institutional organisation through which they can tie themselves together to achieve unity. Yet the truth of the matter is this does not produce the kind of unity God intends for the body of Jesus Christ.
Under the Old Testament, God had a tremendous problem with His people, Israel. He had revealed Himself as One who could not be adequately represented by any kind of portrait, picture or image. The attempt to make an image of God was strictly forbidden. But we find again and again that Israel fell into the error of making an image or idol and saying it represented God.

guitarI believe a corresponding mistake is made by Christians in this dispensation. The body of Jesus Christ cannot be represented institutionally. It cannot be represented as an organisation of the kind that we are familiar with in secular life. But time and again, Christians try to make something visible and tangible out of that which is spiritual. They try to produce an organisation, a union, a tying together that will replace the proper unity and relationship of the body of Jesus Christ, and invariably there is failure.

Take, for example, the Salvation Army (and this is no criticism of the Salvation Army). Within the Salvation Army there is strong organisational unity that is similar to that of an army. And there is a further tying together through uniforms so that you can look at members and see immediately that he or she is in the Salvation Army. Everything man can do to produce unity and organisational structure is there, yet two people may be at loggerheads with each other. So, far from being in real union and harmony, they may actually be in total opposition. Two people may be in the Salvation Army and one may be converted and regenerated and the other may be un-regenerated. They aren’t even in the same spiritual sphere!

Take for example the Anglican church, in which I was brought up. You could be a member of the Anglican church and be communist or Roman Catholic. Within that organisation, bound together by organisational structure, there are diametrically different ideas, totally opposed to one another, in absolute disharmony, with no union whatever in the spiritual life. The church structure is an outward substitute for the inward reality. The great danger that I see is that we often accept the outward as a substitute for the inward, and then neglect the inward. The result is that today there are multitudes of Christians within the body that are in wrong relationship to other people and they are not even aware that anything is wrong.
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One night in a service, five people came forward for healing. I was led to ask each person individually, “Is there any unforgiveness or resentment in your heart against anybody?” Out of the five, three people said, “Yes, there is.” I replied, “Well, do you really want me to pray for you? I can go through the motions, but what kind of effect do you think prayer is going to have?”

And do you know what they said? “We’d better go away and put things right and then come back.” Remarkable! But what was really remarkable was that those people were not conscious of the wrong relationship. Why were they deceived? The reason is because they had allowed some external substitute to blind them to the inner reality. If we would look at the inner condition of the body of Christ today, we would be shocked at what we saw!

God Has Your Miracle on His Mind (Gloria Copeland)

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God Has Your Miracle on His Mind

by Gloria Copeland

What do you need from God today?

Stop and think about that for a moment. It’s a serious question. Picture yourself the way you want to be, healthy and whole in every area of your life. That is the will of God for you, you know. First Thessalonians 5:23 says, He desires you to be “preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)” (The Amplified Bible).

God wants you to be sound and complete. It’s His perfect will for you to be whole, undamaged and intact—spirit, soul, and body—before Jesus returns. In light of that fact, let me ask you again: What changes would you need God to make for His will to be fulfilled in your life? What would it take for you to be whole?

It would take a miracle.

That may well be what you’re thinking right now. If so, I am here to tell you God has one for you. He has as many miracles as you need. He is the God of the miraculous.

What’s more, He is thinking about you today. That’s amazing, isn’t it? The fact that the Almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth has you and me on His mind is almost more than we can comprehend. Yet we know it’s true because the Psalmist says, “How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn towards me. And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!” (Psalm 139:17-18, The Living Bible).

Just imagine that! When you woke up this morning, God was thinking about you. He was aware of your needs. He was mindful of the blessings He has laid up for you and He was making plans to get them to you.

In other words, when you awoke this morning God had your miracle on His mind.

Every Part Precious

I preach about healing a lot and healing is wonderful. But sometimes you need more than healing, you need a miracle. A miracle is different. A miracle is something that is absolutely impossible apart from the supernatural working of God. It’s something that cannot happen by natural means.

If you have a disease, you need healing. But if you have a part missing—if you were born without fingers or toes, for example, you need a miracle. For years, it’s been prophesied that we will see those kinds of miracles again in the Body of Christ. It’s been prophesied that we’ll see all the miracles the early church saw and even greater miracles than those. I sense in my heart we’re there!

I truly believe it. They might say, “Surely, you don’t expect to see somebody grow a part on their body where there was no part before!”

Yes, I do. God has parts for people! The Bible says He made all of our parts before we were born and we can easily believe that. Why is it so unthinkable that He could add another part at a later time if it’s needed?

Just before the verses we read that tell of God’s thoughts about us, Psalm 139 says:
 

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect [or unformed]; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (verses 14-16).

According to those verses, God wrote down all your members (every part of you) in His book. And because God does all things well, He didn’t write them down as broken or missing. He wrote them down as whole and intact.

My friend Billye Brim has revelation of that so she speaks to her body according to those scriptures. She says, “My parts are written in God’s book. So, parts I command you to be the way God designed you to be. I command you to be whole and complete in agreement with God’s book. All my parts are intact with nothing missing, nothing broken. All the parts of my body function and work as they’re designed. I receive what the Book says about me!”

You may not have thought God cared about your parts but He does. Your parts are as important to Him as they are to you. He made them for you and He wants you to have them the way He made them. We need to get that revelation because God is ready to restore some parts. He wants to work miracles!
 

Expect the Impossible

I am fully expecting to see those miracles in the days and months to come. In times past, we’ve had people who were very small in stature because of disease or abnormality come to Healing School and ask us to pray for them that they might grow. Naturally, their DNA had patterned their body to be very small. But that’s not their heavenly DNA. That’s not how God designed them to be. That’s just something that happened as a result of the devil’s work in this world. Through thousands of years of getting people to sin, he’s been able to mess up God’s perfect plan for people-not only spiritually but physically.

Well, what do you think God did when He saw that the devil’s work had perverted His divine plan and made that person abnormally small? Do you think He said, “Oh, my. I guess the devil won this time. I’d better go back to My book, scratch out My perfect physical plan for this person and write in ‘midget-size,’ instead.”

Certainly not. God never changes. He just kept the original entry in His book which says that person’s DNA is perfect. Now He’s waiting for somebody to agree with Him and believe for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

If faith in the Word of God is spoken and released without wavering, I believe we can see that small person G-R-O-W up and become normal right before our eyes.

You might think that would be impossible and, naturally speaking you’d be right. “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). “All things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23) so we need to start believing.

We need to start expecting the impossible!

It’s Never Too Late

Of course, people with physical abnormalities or missing parts aren’t the only ones who need miracles. Miracles are also needed when natural circumstances have gone on so long that it looks like it’s too late for a turn around. Abraham and Sarah needed that kind of miracle, for example. They needed a child for their lives to be whole and intact. Yet they were well past childbearing age when God told them He was going to give them one. They were about 100 years old.

No doubt, their natural thought was, Even if God did heal our barrenness, it’s too late for us now. We’re too old. That kind of thing can’t happen this late in the game.

But God did it for them, didn’t He? He proved that it’s never too late for a miracle.

A friend of ours experienced a “never too late” kind of miracle in his family. His name was Justus Du Plessis and although he went home to be with the Lord a couple of years ago, he experienced some amazing things during his lifetime as a Pentecostal minister in South Africa. On one occasion his father was desperately ill. In fact his father’s death was so imminent that the doctor who came to see him went ahead and filled out his death certificate.

After the doctor left, the church members gathered around to pray and while they were praying, he was healed. Do you know what he did? He got up, took a shower, milked the cows and then walked to the doctor’s house to return his death certificate.

Talk about a miracle coming late in the game! You know it’s late when you have to take back your own death certificate!

Clearly with God, it’s never too late for a miracle.

The Definitive Factor

Okay now, you may be thinking, if God wants to give me a miracle and I want to receive one-what’s the problem? Why hasn’t a miracle already taken place in my life?

For a miracle to get from heaven to earth, a divine connection has to be made. Miracles aren’t magic. They don’t just happen—poof!—because God decides to wave His miracle wand one day. No, miracles primarily occur when people put themselves in position to receive them.

To find out how to position yourself for a miracle, you can study the miracles in the New Testament. As you do you’ll see patterns emerge. You will find certain elements were most always involved when miracles happen.

The first of those elements is faith. Whenever a miracle takes place someone on earth is believing. It might be the person who needs the miracle. It might be the person who is ministering. It might be someone praying for the one who is in need. The situations may vary, but the fact remains that it is faith in God which connects the power of heaven with the need on earth. For a miracle to happen someone has to believe that God is willing and able to do it—and do it now.

Galatians 3:5 confirms that. There the Apostle Paul, rebuking the Galatians for their legalism, asks this question: “Does He Who supplies you with His marvelous [Holy] Spirit and works powerfully and miraculously among you do so on [the grounds of your doing] what the Law demands, or because of your believing…?” (The Amplified Bible).

The answer is obvious. God works miracles because we believe! We could look at one miracle after another and see that truth in action.
 

  • In Mark 5, when the woman with the incurable issue of blood receives her healing, Jesus says, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole” (verse 34).

     

  • In Mark 10, when blind Bartimaeus receives his sight, Jesus says, “thy faith hath made thee whole” (verse 52).

     

  • In Luke 17, when the leper is not only healed but his body parts are restored and made whole from the disease that had eaten them away, Jesus says, “thy faith hath made thee whole” (verse 19).

     

  • In Acts 3, when Peter and John heal the man who was crippled from birth, they give glory to the name of Jesus. And Peter says, “His name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness” (verse 16).

It’s interesting to notice that the power of God isn’t mentioned in most of those instances, just the faith of the people. I think that’s because God’s power and His willingness to heal and work miracles never changes. The variable is people’s faith. Faith is the definitive factor.

Just Do It

As important as faith is, however, that alone won’t get the whole job done. You can’t just sit around believing on the inside and doing nothing on the outside. For faith to come alive you have to take action. As James 2:26 says, “faith without works is dead.”

You can see the connection between “doing” and receiving in the very first miracle Jesus ever performed. I especially like to think about this miracle because it was clearly not a miracle Jesus planned to do. It was one that was drawn out of Him by the person who most wanted that miracle—His own mother Mary. John 2 tells us that she and Jesus were attending a wedding in Cana of Galilee and the host ran out of wine. Mary looked to Jesus to do something about it. He told her His time to do such things had not yet come but her faith was unshaken. She continued to expect a miracle and she turned to the servants and said:
 

Whatever He says to you, do it. Now there were six waterpots of stone standing there, as the Jewish custom of purification (ceremonial washing) demanded, holding twenty to thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, Fill the waterpots with water. So they filled them up to the brim. Then He said to them, Draw some out now and take it to the manager of the feast [to the one presiding, the superintendent of the banquet] (verses 5-8, The Amplified Bible).

What happened when the servants did what Jesus said?

They saw a miracle. The water was turned into wine!

It would serve us well to always remember what Mary told the servants that day. She said, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it.” That’s one of the major keys to receiving a miracle.

Whatever the Lord says to you—do it.

If the Lord tells you to get up and run, get up and run. If He tells you to dance and shout, then dance and shout. One time a man attended Healing School and during the meeting the Lord told him to run. He didn’t want to run in the meeting so he ran out the door, ran outside and ran around the block. If you think that’s silly, think again because he came back in healed!

Whatever the Lord tells you to do, do it!

If he tells you to repent of something, you repent. If he tells you to forgive someone, forgive them. He knows what you can do that will bring you into position to receive. So listen for His instructions, then obey!

Kick Doubt Out

Once you’ve believed and acted on your faith, refuse to doubt or fear. When the devil comes to you and says, You’re not going to get that miracle. You don’t deserve it. Remember how many times you’ve failed God. Refuse to entertain those doubt-producing thoughts. Instead, just answer him and say, “Bless the Lord, I don’t get what I deserve. I get what Jesus bought for me. I get the mercy of God. I get a miracle!”

Every time I think about refusing doubt and fear, I think about the story of Jairus. Initially, when he came to Jesus his daughter needed a healing. She was very sick and Jairus believed if Jesus came and laid His hands on her she would be healed. But before that healing could take place, Jairus’ daughter died. Suddenly the girl didn’t just need a healing, she needed a miracle.

Do you know that Jesus wasn’t disturbed by that? He knew that God could work a miracle just as easily as He could perform a healing. So he said to Jairus, “Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing” (Mark 5:36, The Amplified Bible). We know that this worked because the little girl was raised up whole.

That’s a good word for all of us who are positioning ourselves for a miracle. No matter what the devil says, no matter what circumstances may say, no matter what our natural senses might try to tell us, if we’ll refuse to doubt, refuse to fear and keep on believing God, our miracle will surely come!

Understanding Spirit, Soul and Body (Andrew Wommack)

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Understanding Spirit, Soul, And Body
By Andrew Wommack

Did you know a Christian can actually die from sickness or disease while the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lies dormant within them? Or did you know that believers can be overcome with depression, anger, and bitterness, all the while possessing God’s love, joy, and peace in their spirits?

It’s true—they can and they do. Why? Because they really don’t understand what changed when they were born again, and therefore have difficulty receiving the promises of God. The Bible says that every born-again believer has undergone a complete inner transformation.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17-18).

It doesn’t say that all things are becoming new or have the potential of becoming new; they are new, the moment you are born again. But in order for that to make sense, you must first understand how God created you.

God’s Word clearly teaches that we are three-part beings, but very few Christians have a functional understanding of spirit, soul, and body in their daily lives. Intellectually, most Christians believe they’re three-part beings, but functionally, they act as though they’re only made up of body and soul. They’re confused about the operation of the soul and spirit, seeing them basically as the same thing.

Even Strong’s Concordance fails to distinguish all three! It defines “spirit” (pneuma in the Greek) as “the rational soul.” However, in my study of God’s Word, I have found a very distinct difference between spirit and soul. Your spirit is your innermost part, not your “rational soul.”

First Thessalonians 5:23 makes it very clear:

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (emphasis mine).

If you were talking to me face to face, you’d be looking at my body but speaking to my soul. The word “soul” is defined by some as the mind, will, and emotions. While that’s certainly true, it’s incomplete. The “conscience” should also be included in that definition. The soul is really what most people call the “personality.”

You can feel both your body and your soul and are receiving information from them all the time. For example, if I put my hand on your shoulder, you would know that I touched you. I could also make you feel happy or sad, or even hurt you without any physically contact, simply by the words I speak. Those words are processed by your mind, and the result of their effect is often expressed in your emotions.

It’s easy to know how your body feels, what’s going on in your mind, and what emotions you’re experiencing. However, your spirit is much different. It cannot be accessed in any natural way.

John 3:6 says,

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Jesus meant that there’s no direct connection between the spirit and flesh. They are interrelated, but spirit is spirit and flesh is flesh. You simply cannot contact your spirit through your five senses or through your mind, will, or emotions. Therein lies one of the great problems of the Christian life!

If you don’t understand that spiritual reality can’t be felt, then you’ll be confused when God’s Word declares that you have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead living in you (Eph. 1:19-20). If you think truth can be discerned through your natural senses, you’ll be baffled when the Bible says you’re a brand-new creature who can do the same miraculous works that Jesus did (2 Cor. 5:17 and John 14:12).

The apparent disparity between your natural experiences and God’s Word will cause you to throw up your hands in frustration and conclude, “It must not be true.” It’s understanding spirit, soul, and body that unlocks the spirit realm so you can experience who you are and what you have in Christ.

In the natural, the spirit realm can’t be seen or felt; the only way to accurately perceive spiritual truth is through the Bible. Simply take God’s Word and believe it!

Jesus said in John 6:63,

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

God’s Word reveals spiritual reality. If you want to know what your spirit is like, you must find out from the Word, not rely on emotions or other perceptions. God’s Word is spirit and life! When you look at your face in a mirror, you aren’t really seeing yourself; you’re viewing a reflection. Even though it’s only a reflection, you have learned to trust it and act on what you see. God’s Word is just like that mirror: it reflects perfectly who you are in the spirit.

“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therin, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23-25).

You must look into God’s mirror and trust the spiritual reality you see! It reflects your new born-again spirit, your innermost part. However, it does not reflect your body or your soul.

Although full payment has been made for your glorified body through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, you still have a corrupted body. One day it will be redeemed and changed into an incorruptible one. For now, you still must live in the same body you had before you were saved.

Your soul wasn’t saved either. You may have the same thoughts and emotions you had before you were saved. And because of that, some people seriously doubt whether or not they are saved. They don’t understand that the change took place in their spirits. Typically, your body and soul are both impacted by what happens at salvation, but that’s not where the complete change took place.

The good news is you can change your mind. In fact, we are commanded to do so.

Romans 12:2 says,

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Your soul can be transformed to the degree that you renew your mind, change your attitudes, and conform to the Word of God. This should happen, and it’s in the process of happening, but it didn’t happen automatically when you were saved.

In your soul, old things did not pass away, and all things haven’t yet become new. For that reason, you could actually die from sickness or disease even though you have all of the power that raised Jesus from the dead residing untapped within your spirit. It’s like dying of thirst while leaning against a well full of life-giving water.

Think of your soul like the valve on a faucet. It controls the rate and volume of the flow of the spirit into your body. If your mind is renewed and in agreement with the Word, the valve is wide open. But if it is in agreement with what your body is feeling or your emotions are experiencing, the valve is either closed or in the process of closing.

Your soul has the power to keep every drop of life-giving power from ever reaching your physical body or flooding it with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. If the valve is open, you’ll experience healing, deliverance, anointing, victory, power, joy, prosperity, and more. So, keep it open!

This revelation of the relationship of the spirit, soul, and body has transformed my life. When I realized that God had already given me everything I needed and it’s all contained in my spirit, it set me free. All I needed to do was release it. That simple understanding changes everything.

The Christian life isn’t a process of “getting from God”; it’s a process of renewing the mind and learning to release what you’ve already received.

If you don’t understand that you have already received all that you will ever need (in your spirit) at salvation, there will always be an element of doubt. You may know it’s possible or even promised in the Word, but you’ll be trying to perceive it in the mental, emotional, or physical realm. That’s a formula for failure.

That erroneous concept can also result in a performance-based relationship with God: “If I’m good enough, if I read the Bible enough, if I pay my tithe,” and on and on it goes in an attempt to motivate God to give you what you need. It’s the misconception that God hasn’t already given you everything and that somehow you have to make yourself worthy enough to get it.

You’re already worthy because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. He paid the price for everything you will ever need. In fact, you’ve already got it. It’s just a matter of understanding the relationship of the spirit to the soul and body.

Understanding spirit, soul, and body is critically important to every believer. It’s like the key that opens the treasure chest of God’s grace. It could be a matter of life and death, and it’s the foundation to understanding the rest of Scripture.

Man of the Heart

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“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet SPIRIT, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Pet. 3:3-4).

No one knows what you look like! They may think they do, but they don’t. You, “the real you,” are a hidden man. You are a spirit; you have a soul; and you live in a body (1 Thess. 5:23).

What people see is only the “house” you live in.

I’ve heard ministers quote two-thirds of First Peter 3:3 and say that women shouldn’t fix their hair and shouldn’t wear gold. But if that’s what Peter meant, then women shouldn’t wear clothes, either!

Because if Peter told women not to plait their hair and not to wear gold, then he also told them not to put on apparel. (Apparel is clothing.) No, Peter is really saying “probably because women are more prone to do this, don’t spend all of your time on your hair, on your clothes, and on the outward man.

See to it, first of all, that the hidden man of the heart that’s the spiritual man, the real man, the inward man, is adorned with a meek and a quiet spirit.”

Confession: I am a spirit. I am a child of the Father of spirits. I have a soul. And I live in a body. I see to the adorning of the real me, the hidden man of the heart.

– Kenneth Hagin

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