Luke 17:5 tells us that the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith.
This was the Lord’s response.
And the Lord said, Ifye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (vs. 6)
(Note some versions say mulberry tree but I lean towards the KJV sycamore. Mulberry in comparison to a mountain in the gospel of Mark just doesn’t fit the context of what Jesus was talking about. Check out the link below)
A sycamine or sycamore is a huge tree. In Mark this story is relayed as a mountain. The sycamore tree can grow as tall as 30 to 40 meters (or 98 to 130 ft) with a diameter of 1.5 to 2 meters (or 4.9 to 6.6 ft)
The sycamore has a very deep root structure. The root structure is so aggressive that it can even lift a side walk. While a mountain being tossed into the sea is a big obstacle the sycamore tree is a deep rooted problem. Either way it takes faith the size of a mustard seed to get rid of it.
Jesus uses the illustration of a mustard seed to describe the Kingdom of heaven or how the kingdom of heaven operates in Matthew chapter 13. That is why when the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith he referred to the mustard seed.
The kingdom of heaven is like a grain ofmustard seed that a man planted.
The mustard tree Jesus was referring to is a black mustard tree or bush that grows in Israel. A large annual plant which grows up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall.
The black mustard seed is quite small. About 1-2 millimetres.
The mustard seed must be planted in order to grow. In God’s kingdom many times things have small beginnings.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Zechariah 4:10
On the seventh time the servant reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” And Elijah replied, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 1 Kings 18:44
Growth of a mustard seed into a mustard tree takes time. Faith takes time to develop in the same way. Faith is having complete trust in God without doubting.
Faith comes from God’s word to our heart. Planted in our heart God’s word will grow and our faith will grow too.
Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
Take for example the scripture. Butmy God shall supply all your needs according tohis riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
When we make petition in Jesus name for our need to be met and that need is met our faith grows. A sprout occurs!
After a while another petition is answered and our faith grows even more.
God proves he is our provider and our faith in him grows through having experience with his faithfulness.
Then after a time of trust and reliance on Jesus a great big need presents itself. A great big mountain or a great big sycamore tree which is rooted down deep in our heart or someone else’s heart. It needs plucking up and cast into the sea.
We now have experience with God. He met all those little needs. He has proven himself faithful. Now that grain of mustard seed has become a mustard tree where the birds can feed and take rest.
Feeding on God’s word is important for our faith to increase.
I rise before dawn and cry for help; in Your word I have put my hope. Psalm 119:147
Resting is an important factor in the development of faith. When we rest we trust that the Lord is doing his work. No matter what the circumstances look like to the contrary.
Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
By telling the apostles the parable of the mustard seed Jesus was showing them how to increase their faith. By planting the mustard seed of God’s word in the heart faith will grow.
That big sycamore in your life may look like it’s an impossible problem. That mountain standing in your way may look like a real big hindrance but the Lord tells us to plant our mustard seed. Plant the word of God in our heart! Water it every day and it will grow!
The Lord has promised in his word to come through for us. We may not know the exact process or the timing but what we do know is that the Lord is faithful to perform what he has promised.
So we can say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper!” Hebrews 13:6,
In Luke chapter 7 of the Bible, Jesus goes to Capernaum and finds a centurion’s servant is dying.
The centurion had sent elders of the synagogue to ask Jesus to come heal his servant.
These elders told Jesus that this man, the centurion was “worthy” to be healed because of the good deeds he had done for their people. He had even built a synagogue for them.
Jesus went with these religious leaders and when he was almost there the centurion sent a message. He said, “Don’t trouble yourself to come because I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. I know that you have authority in your kingdom to make a command just as I have authority in my kingdom and it will be done. Just say the word and I know what you command will be done. ” (My paraphrase)
Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith. Now it is true that the centurion did not have to see Jesus in person to know the command of healing would be done ( which it was ) but the faith Jesus marveled at was that the centurion recognized a greater authority than the Roman world authority.
The centurion recognized this because he considered himself to be unworthy for Jesus to enter his house. The centurion recognized that the kingdom of God is greater than the authority of Rome or the world system.
The centurion saw himself as a man of worldly authority who submitted to the greater authority of the kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The centurion recognized that even though he was put in a position of prestige having worldly authority in the land, that he was considered unworthy in the kingdom of God. His position he held in the world held no weight in the kingdom of God.
This recognition of the human sin nature (being unworthy) allowed the centurion to humble himself as an unworthy person or in other words he put himself in a subservient position to a greater authority than the authority of Rome.
In other words the centurion recognized that Jesus was other worldly or from a kingdom not of this world. Therefore being familiar with athourity he knew that Jesus just had to say a word and the healing would occur.
This is the gospel message. Recognition of one’s sinful or unworthy nature, recognizing the need to be in subjection to Jesus Christ and his authority and trusting in Jesus Christ as the head of the kingdom of God with the power to save and to heal.
Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith because he knew the steps to salvation. Recognizing one’s unworthiness and inability to save one’s self and being in submission to the authority of Jesus Christ for salvation.
What about you? Are you trusting in your “worthiness” because of all the good works you have done like those religious leaders did?
Jesus marvels at the faith of the person who recognizes their unworthiness and looks to his authority to be saved and healed.
Call on Jesus Christ to save and heal you. All the authority and prestige of the world system will never get you into heaven.
Simple recognition of your inability to save yourself is the first step to salvation. Once you recognize that then you can call on Jesus Christ the King of all kings to save you from your sin.
If you do that then you can be saved, forgiven. healed and given eternal life. You will become a member of the kingdom of God!
Whoever calls on the Lord shall be saved. Roman’s 10:13
Sometimes the trials of life can be so difficult we don’t know how we can possibly make it through, but the Lord never breaks a promise. He tells us that if we put our hope in him, we will never be disappointed. The God of all grace will comfort, strengthen, restore, and establish us after we have suffered for a while. In his kindness God has called us to share in his eternal glory by the mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The key to endurance in a trial is prayer. Through prayer the supply of the spirit is given. God gives us strength to hold on. To be patient and trust in him.
“because I know that through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, my distress will turn out for my deliverance.”Philippians 1:19
Through prayer we cling to Jesus and he will come through for us in our affliction.
“And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.”
Through prayer faith enters our heart. Faith is trust in God’s provision and deliverance.
“when you pray believe you receive,” Mark 11:24
Prayer will give us our miracle!
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:17-18
For with God nothing shall be impossible! James 5:17-18
After having done all the Bible says, we stand. Ephesian 6:13
Stand and see the salvation of our God! He is working all things together for our good! Romans 8:28
What seems grievous now is working a far greater eternal weight of glory! 2 Corinthians 4:17
In other words, the trial will lead to an eternal benefit!
The Lord always has our eternal life in mind. He sees what we do not see. He knows what we do not know. Sorrow lasts for only a night. Only a small fraction of time on this earth but joy comes in the morning!
Joy unspeakable and full of glory!
“For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10
There are natural doors that open to allow entrance and close to prevent entrance. In the Kingdom of God a door represents entrance or access from the natural realm to the Spiritual realm.
In Hebrew door is pethach. An opening, gate, entrance way. It is more than just an ordinary natural door. The root word for pethach is pâthach which means to open or loose.
God lives in the spiritual realm. The only way to enter into the realm of the Spirit of God is through the DOOR. Jesus is that door.
In Jesus’ time the sheepfold was a rock wall built of stones. This wall provided protection from predators. The enclosure also had a door which was an opening for the sheep to come in and go out. The Shepherd would lie at the door in order to protect the sheep.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. John 10:1-5
In Genesis 18:1 Abraham had a visitation of the Lord at the door of his tent. You will find many references in scripture where the Lord dialogues with his people at the door. The Door represent Jesus Christ the Messiah in which we must enter to have fellowship with God.
Blood was sprinkled on the door. The Lord passed over the door so that the destroyer would not destroy. Ex. 29:32
The door of the tabernacle is where the Lord met with Moses to speak to him. Ex. 33:9
The offerings were put at the door of the tabernacle. Ex 40:29 Leviticus. 1:5, 4:18 Numbers 6:10
Prophets or Nazerites were dedicated to the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 6:13
The Israelites repented at the door of their tents. Numbers 11:10
The Lord came down in a pillar of the cloud and stood at the door of the tabernacle to speak. Numbers 12:5
The Israelites put incense at the door of the tabernacle. Numbers 6:18
God’s glory appeared at the door of the congregation. Numbers 16:19
The law was to be written upon the door posts of the Israelites houses and gates. Deuteronomy 11:20
A bondservant’s ear was to be pierced on the door. Deuteronomy 15:17
The Lord appeared at the door of the tabernacle in a pillar of cloud over the door of the tabernacle. Ezekiel 10:19
The cherubim stood at the temple door and the glory of the Lord was above them. Deuteronomy 31:15
Prophecy of giving Israel a door of hope. Jesus is that door. Hoses 2:15
The 5 virgins who were prepared went in with Jesus and the 5 not prepared had the door shut on them. Matthew 25: 10
In Revelations 3:20 Jesus says I stand at the door and knock.
Jesus knocks on the door or entrance to our heart, he calls us by his Holy Spirit. If we hear his voice and come through the door he will have fellowship us.
When we come to Jesus by responding to his voice we can go in through the door to the realm of the Spirit and then out through the door to the natural realm with our needs met.
Commune or fellowship with the Lord gives us access into the holy realm of God’s Kingdom.
In Revelation 4:1
A door was opened in the heavenly realm for John and the word of the Lord came to him.
Once we come through the Door we have access into the Holy of holies. We can now come before God’s throne with our praise, worship, prayers and intercession. We can even come to receive instruction in righteous, get revelation of the word of God and simply just hang out in God’s presence.
In Matthew 7 Jesus tells us to ask, seek and knock. These 3 words hold different meanings.
To ask is to petition, to seek is to diligently look for or inquire and to knock is to request entrance.
In Revelations 3:20 Jesus is talking to his church.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
When we knock on the door, we are requesting access to the realm of the Spirit where God resides.
“Whoever knocks the door will be opened.”
We are gaining access to this realm of the Spirit when we come through the door. Jesus is that door into the presence of God.
There we can commune with the Lord. It’s a spiritual experience with God that takes us from this natural realm to the realm of the Spirit. It is our spirit fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit. Communing together in one accord.
Not every Christian knocks on the door or comes through the door as made evident in the Lord’s plea in Revelations 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Either they don’t know they have this access to the place where God resides or they don’t believe it. Scriptures tell us that we have a better covenant based on better promises.
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. Hebrews 8:6
Our access to the realm of the Spirit is based on our having gone through the Door. The veil to the Holy of Holies is now removed. We can like the high priest did once a year, enter into God’s presence. We can come every day!
The heavenly realm of communion in the Holy Spirit is available to those who knock on the door. That is through Jesus Christ we can come into the throne room of grace. It is much more than petition. It is much more than intercession.
It is having intimacy with the King of Kings in the realm of the Spirit of God. Dwelling in his very presence !
Knock and the door will be opened unto you for he who comes to me will never be refused. John 6:37
Have you ever heard of the idiom don’t put the cart before the horse?
What it means is don’t do things in the wrong order.
A spiritual principle many get out of order is the act of declaration.
To declare is to say something emphatically or to make it officially known.
A recent Christian trend today is to “declare God’s word.”
While it is true that God’s word has power to save, heal, provide and deliver, what is not true is that if you declare God’s word enough times that it will cause miracles to happen.
Not only is this not a Biblical concept but it is rather occultist in its application.
Let me explain.
To declare in the Hebrew is nâgad which means to announce, expose, predict or profess. To bring a report or speak forth an utterance.
Let’s look at the word used in context.
According to Genesis 41:24 the King of Babylon asked his magicians to interpret his dream but they were not able to declare it.
In other words magicians cannot declare a thing that God has hidden.
We know however from that story that Daniel was able to interpret the dream after prayer and fasting because God revealed the information to him. Then Daniel was able to bring forth the interpretation to the king.
In Deuteronomy 1:5 Moses declared the law to the people.
Remember that the law was given to Moses through revelation from God. After the law was revealed to him then he declared it.
In Judges 12:12-14, Samson put forth a riddle and asked the Philistines to declare it to him but they could not. So the Philistines used devious methods through Delilah in order to obtain the interpretation of the riddle.
In Kings Chapter 22 we see that Micaiah declared the word of the Lord while the other prophets declared the word out of their own hearts to please the king. I guess they valued their heads more than they valued God’s revealed word.
In the book of Job we find God demanding Job to declare to him all his mysteries since he thought he had the mind of God and knew all the answers.
In Psalms 2:7, David says that he will declare the word that God has spoken unto him. David often declared God’s word that was revealed to him.
Now let’s go to the New Testament.
Declare in the Greek is phrazō which means to indicate by word or act. To expound upon.
Matthew tells us that Jesus declared to his disciples what his parables meant. He expounded to them his word.
John 17: 26, relaying Jesus’ prayer to the Father he said that he had declared his word to his disciples.
In Acts 13, the disciples declared the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the book of Romans and other epistles Paul and John declare Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Do you see a pattern here?
When the word “declare” is used in scriptures it is used to make an announcement of a particular truth of God that is revealed to a person.
That being said, the word “declare” is not used in reference to making something happen.
It is used in cases when the word of God is revealed or expounded upon which bring revelation to the recipient.
Then the word that is revealed is declared according to the publishing of it for a divine purpose.
The scriptures being declared at random for the purpose of receiving an outcome of one’s own desire is not a Biblical concept.
Why then do people do it? Probably to try and force God to do what they want.
Like I said when used in that way declaration actually becomes a form of manipulation. Manipulating through the use of scripture for personal benefit.
In its proper order we declare the word of God when God has revealed it to us by his Holy Spirit for his purposes. What is revealed in scripture many times had perquisites attached to them. Unless one is in obedient to the perquisite it is a useless objective to declare that particular word.
As the Lord reveals his word to our heart and we walk in obedience to that revealed word then we can be assured that God’s word declared to us will come to pass!
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Ephesians 6:2 Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with thee,
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Isaiah 26:3, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
Deuteronomy . 11:26-28 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God.”
Jesus said in his word that he did not want us to “take thought” (Merimna) for our life.
In the Greek, Merimna, means to be anxious, troubled, worried, prompting one’s interest, looking out for, caring a lot about.
Jesus knew that by taking thought we can become mentally and emotionally sick. Science reveals that excessive worry causes stress that can make us physically and mentally sick. That is why Jesus said not to worry.
Therefore, I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Matthew 6:25,26
The root of emotional anxiety and depression is caused by worry.
Studies have shown a correlation between a negative thought life and depression.
Merimna is from the root word merízō which means “to divide, to separate.”
Merimna in effect is to be in a mental state that is dwelling on something. In early Greek literature it is used to convey the concept of meditation.
“Merimna, Bacchylides 19, Io for the Athenians as a ‘care, concern, a troubled thought’, or even ‘a song that is on one’s mind’. Classical Inquiries published article by Gregory Nagy
Jesus says don’t mediate or dwell on your life. In other words don’t be self focused.
How do we reconcile this word with examining our hearts as scriptures tell us?
How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin. Job 13:23
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.1 Corinthians 11:28
We confess, repent, and go on BUT we don’t dwell on our self.
When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Psalm 32:3
Jesus gives remedies for worry or having negative thoughts that are self focused.
Guard or keep watch over our hearts
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.1 Peter 1:13
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:13
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:5
Renew your thoughts with God’s word.
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. Romans 12:2
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Psalm 119:15
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:33,34
And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him. 1 Chronicles 5:20
“Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!” Psalm 4;1
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Romans 12:12
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Matthew 7:7
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22
Jesus performed many mighty miracles in certain cities in Israel but they still refused to repent.
Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not. Matthew 11: 20
What did these cities not repent of?
We have to read the whole Chapter of Matthew 11 to find out.
Jesus was preaching and teaching the people. He explained to them that John the Baptist was the greatest prophet of the OT because he came proclaiming Christ the Messiah. John was the messenger preparing people to receive Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. The people as a whole did not believe John’s message.
Then Jesus goes on to say that people criticized John for his prayer and fasting or for being set apart. (Being a fanatic basically) and then they turned around and criticized Jesus for ministering and eating with sinners. They accused him of being a drunkard and a glutton.
Obviously the people did not believe or receive John as the Elias which was prophesied to come or Jesus as the Messiah prophesied to come.
Jesus then tells the cities he did the most miracles in that they were going to be in big trouble on judgment day because they were not repentant.
Their sin was that they did not believe.
Jesus performed many miracles in their midst and yet they remained unrepentant.
“The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5
Lots of people came to see the miracles Jesus performed! Yet they still did not believe.
“But what went ye out for to see? ” Jesus asked the people concerning John.
The people it seemed went out to see a show.
They watched all the miracles being performed by Jesus and yet they did not believe that he was the Messiah. That is why Jesus pronounced future judgment on them!
Isn’t that kind of like today? How many people flock to miracle meetings to see the show yet fail to surrender their hearts to Jesus Christ?
No where in the Bible does it say that miracles produce faith. Some people think that. They even think that if they just had a sign from heaven then all their problems would go away.
Jesus says in his word that to seek a sign other than the one important one he has given is to be in unbelief.
A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. Matthew 16:4
What did Jesus say to John when he wanted confirmation that Jesus was the Messiah to come?
After Jesus gave his testimony he said, “blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. ” Matthew 11:6
In other words Jesus said believe that he is the Messiah and don’t be offended because Jesus says that he is the Messiah.
Lastly Jesus tells us that the Father reveals through his word Jesus is the Messiah and the Son reveals the Father to those who receive the Son.
All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Matthew 11: 27
It is not miracles as wonderful as they are that produce faith! According to the Bible, it is revelation of the Holy Spirit through the word of God that produces faith.
“And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 16:14-17
The Bible makes it clear that people who did receive miracles from Jesus actually believed before they got the miracle. It takes faith in Jesus Christ to get a miracle but watching miracles being performed does not produce faith.
And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. Matthew 8:17
And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.” Matthew 9:28
The Bible teaches that Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God!
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17
When God’s word is revealed to our heart then we will get a miracle!
A miracle specific to our need, for God knows what we have need of even before we ask him! (Matthew 6:8)
“Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” Psalm 119:114
Satanic forces are in opposition to our prayers. They want to stop the answers from materializing.
The powers of darkness cannot stop our victory but they most certainly can hinder. So don’t get discouraged over a set back. It’s just the devil putting out his resistance.
PAUL said that he wanted to go and preach in a certain area but the devil hindered him. The devil can hinder but never stop God’s plans. In fact when Satan hinders he usually shoots himself in the foot because it ends up working out for our good anyway!
Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. 1Thessalonians 2:18
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Satan tried to hinder Daniel’s prayers but persistence in prayer perservered and won the victory!
“Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.” Daniel 10:12-14
God gave David a vision. He told him what he was going to do and what the outcome of prayer would accomplish. The Lord has his watchman on the walls and they are in intercession. These watchman are not going to give God any rest until they get their answer. They are determined to pray and never give up.
This promise is yet to be fully realized but it will happen! The Lord has spoken!
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Isaiah 62:6,7
The Lord also tells us we need to put action to our faith.
Vs. 10 of Isaiah Chapter 62 the Lord gives some strong DO words.
“Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.”
When we pray we need to look at how we can prepare the way. Do we have some house cleaning to do? Are there stones in our gardens that need removing? Do we need to be a positive influence some where? How about casting forth that evangelism net if we want revival?
The Bible does say that faith without works is dead being alone. That is a spiritual principle. In other words if we are not actively living out that prayer request then we do not really believe the answer is on its way.
We need to act like we already have the answer if we know that it’s God’s will. This shows the devils that we are not looking at their garbage being thrown at us but rather we are looking to our God who has promised and is faithful to perform his promise.
“Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him,” Isaiah 62:11
Yes, God hears our prayer. No matter how impossible they seem!
If we continue to abide, be faithful and patient, the Lord will bring the victory!
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised. Hebrews 10:23
First of all let me tell you what it does not mean. It does not mean a natural physical descent in the same way as a natural birth.
To be born of God or gennaō ek theos in the Greek is to be born again or regenerated by God. (palingenesia in the Greek)
To regenerate is to regrow or replace something that was missing. To be formed again. To produce anew.
To be born again from a spiritual perspective is to be recreated.
The term palingenesia is actually a Greek Hellenistic word used to describe a process or recreating. To be born again. Restore to the original.
Jesus uses this same word to describe the regeneration of his Kingdom that is to come. The new earth which will be recreated. Restored to it’s original.
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28
Keeping this context in mind we can see what is meant by being born again or born of God.
It is actually a recreation process of the Holy Spirit.
In fact the word used for the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. To be born of God. gennaō ek theos.
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. Colossians 1:15
Jesus was born of God. His human form was created by the Holy Spirit.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1:18
Those born of God are recreated or restored to the original. palingenesia
Regenerated from the old man whose spirit was separated from God and dead in sin to the new man made alive in Christ. The new man created in righteous and holiness.
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:21-23
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24
To be born of God is to be recreated by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual re birth. Restored to the original. United with God’s Holy Spirit.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6
Jesus said you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3
It is this requirement that makes one a child of God.
All the intellectual ideology about God or all the theological principles of the Bible does not make one a child of God.
Nor does going to church, participating in catechism, saying hail Mary’s, or Bible reading. You MUST be born again.
You MUST be regenerated. You must be restored to the original spiritual creation.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3
That being said what then can one do to acquire this regeneration process?
The Bible makes it clear that we must first of all believe that Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6
Then we must receive him as both Savior and Lord.
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:11
That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
That means we receive his salvation gift and his Lordship.
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
It is not enough to simply believe in God. Even Satan believes in God.
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19
Many believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour but they do not receive him as Lord.
If you confess Jesus as Lord you shall be saved.
Why is this an important factor in the regeneration process?
Because to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord means to confess him as one’s head, having authority over, one’s master and ruler.
Lord kurios in the Greek. “Master,” or “Owner.”
You are not your own but are bought with a price the Bible clearly tells us.
know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20
In other words you are redeemed. That is you are the possession of another who has purchased you with a price.
Redeem is to gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.
Jesus Christ purchased you with his blood. He gave his life up for you in exchange for your life belonging to him.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1: 18,19
This means one repents of living a self serving life and surrenders to live a life determined by God in his word.
Repent Metanoeo To change ones mind. To have a a transformative change of heart.
God requires repentance as a part of salvation. Repentance is turning away from what is wrong to what is right.
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:32
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3″19
For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. 2 Chronicles 30:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Repentance is the fruit which proves one has being born again.
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. Matthew 3:8
While confession of sin is important it does not save in and of itself. Many confess their sin but keep going back to it.
True repentance stops the sin. In other words one must turn to God in surrender rather than continuing to live a life of sin. Repentance is accompanied with godly sorrow.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 7:10–11
Repentance requires sorrow for sin. Not a sorry I got caught but a sorrow to the point of laying down the sin at the cross and not picking it up again.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelations 3:9
When one reaches a complete surrender of self to God through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance toward him the Holy Spirit will bring regeneration.
Without repentance there is no true salvation.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:1-4
Jesus said you shall know who belong to him by their fruit.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 1John 4:7
Those born of God do not continue in sin.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1 Corinthians 6:9
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21-23
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 John3:9
Those born of God overcome the world. Their faith in Jesus Christ is the victory that overcomes the world.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name. John 1:12
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
Now that does not mean there is not a battle and a real devil who tempts but what it does mean is that a true born of God person will not continue to live a lifestyle of sin.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
To be born of God is to be born of the Spirit and born of the word. These two agree in one. The word of God is the seed. The logos which is made alive by the Spirit.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1 Peter 1:23
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:4-12
If you are born of God or become born of God scriptures tell us to grow up in the Lord by feeding on his word the Bible. Then you will mature and become the person God has created you to be!
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. 1 Peter 2:2
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16,17
So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10
A narrative is a spoken or written account of connected events. A story that may be fact or fiction.
There are four types of narratives.
A linear narrative presents a story in the chronological order in which events happened.
A non linear narrative presents the story out of order. Using flash backs or a shift in chronological order using forms of literary devices.
A quest narrative is a story in which the protagonist works hard at pursuing a goal. The character faces a hardship or obstacle.
The view point narrative expresses personal subjective opinions using sensory perceptions interjected by the speaker.
When a narrative is put forth its goal is to convince the hearer of a truth or merit within a story.
Very infrequently is a story presented in which the speaker tells you upfront the motive is to deceive or lie.
In effect a narrative actually tries to convince of something. Convince of an opinion, an argument or a persuasive objective.
A common method used to persuade others to a view point is using a narrative charged with emotional rhetoric.
Words that appeal to the audience are used often in the creation of narratives. Facts can be manipulated when emotion dominates the narrative. Characters can be sympathized with, actions related to and opinions empathized.
While Jesus did use story and metaphors to relay his message he never appealed to the emotions overriding the facts.
Determining truth requires determining the facts. Emotions need to be put aside in order to discern the objective of the narrative. What is the narrative trying to do? What are you trying to be convinced of?
Look carefully at the emotionally charged language being used in a narrative. Is the order of the story chronologically put forth with evidence or does the narrative shift events in order to confuse? Does the story omit facts or add to the facts?
Are suppositions being interjected which try to sway towards opinion rather than the evidence?
While everyone is entitled to opinion they are not entitled to alter facts in order to persuade.
This is why the Lord says in his word. “Be careful what you hear.”
The ear listening to emotionally charged rhetoric will eventually be persuaded to believe that narrative.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 2 Timothy 4:3
The Lord tells us in scriptures to incline our ears to hear his word. Proverbs 4:20
When our ears are open to heaven we are then able to receive knowledge, wisdom and understanding.
God’s word is a lamp to our feet! A light to our path! Giving direction for our lives. Psalms 119: 105
The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18:15
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:22