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Part 2 of 3

 

MAGNIFICENT PROMISES

Part 2 of 3  (chapters 6-8)

 

6.  DARE TO BELIEVE!

“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” - Y’shua, Jesus the Messiah. (Matthew 17:20)

Some people simply cannot believe. They want to figure out everything first, and be assured that every­thing is going to work out as they expect. They want to be in a situation where they don’t have to trust. Some want to be masters of their own destiny — hardcore mathematicians and materialists who don’t allow for faith. They dare not believe.

Other people have had bad experiences in trusting people, so they figure they can no longer trust anyone; and they dare not even trust God.

To some people, simply “trusting God,” is too easy. There cannot be any real value in simply trusting, they feel. They want to do something to impress God — climb a mountain; trek for miles to some special place; pay a goodly amount in one form or another; afflict their bodies in some way — do something to get God’s attention, and somehow get Him to fulfil their need. Try anything, except faith! Some even try to bribe God.

Some people try to impress God by impressing people; their attitude says, “Well if many people think I’m wonderful, then surely God must think like­wise.”

Then there are others who are “too humble.” They feel that they are so worthless that God would never even notice them. They have no doubt that God can do any­thing — anything except answer their prayers. They can trust God to meet another person’s need, but not their own need. Why? “Because ....Well, I’m me! And God hardly knows I even exist.” Sad! It seems they haven’t learned to shout loud enough for God to notice them!

The truth, of course, is that the Almighty knows every hair on our heads. He knows how many tears we have ever shed; He knows also the degree of hardness of our heart; how many times we have resisted His Spirit, refused His promises, and despised His entreaties.

Oh friend, if you are inclined to doubt, because you feel you are not significant enough to warrant God’s atten­tion, let me remind you, you are included in the “whoever” Jesus the Messiah mentioned ...

Whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.” (John 3:15,16, 36)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.(John 5:24)

“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)

If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37)

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and every one who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

In His famous “sermon on the mount,” Y’shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) taught about God’s care:

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?

“Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:26-34).

God loves YOU, and has a plan for your individual life, and He will fulfil it if you will believe and trust Him. You are worth much more than sparrows !

Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.

“Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!(Matthew 7:7-11)

When you read such words of the Messiah, and if your heart responds to them, faith will grow in your heart.

WHAT IS FAITH?

Faith is not a “leap in the dark.” Faith is not a “trust to luck.” Faith is not blind, unreasonable or rash. Faith is not some commodity you must search for, or buy in a supermarket. It is simply believing and trusting in God.

The Scripture says:

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

This statement contradicts the idea that we must leap into the dark. God does not ask for blind faith. God gives promises, He reveals the way; He gives the knowledge of His ability, His trust­worthiness; He gives examples of His dealings with men, of what many have attained by faith. He gives solid grounds and reasons for us to trust His Word.

Faith is the confident assurance that I can trust God, the great Almighty One, the Creator of the Universe, the Source of light, love and power; that I can trust God to fulfil His promises to me, and will work out a solution to my particular situation, as I trust Him.

The Word of God, the Bible, is so very important for the growth of faith.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ – the Messiah.”  

   (Romans 10:17)

As one reads and digests the words of the Messiah, faith begins to grow. It starts like a small mustard seed that can hardly be seen, but as it takes root in the heart, it springs to life.

Y’shua said the seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). It is not dead seed — it is seed with the power to come to life. But it must take root in the heart, in our mind and soul. It is the mind and heart that responds to that word, that seed; and this response be­comes faith. It then needs to grow, to be established and grow like a deep-rooted tree.

While faith is still a few days old, while it is like a small seedling, it needs to be carefully nurtured, for an enemy, a snail, a single hailstone, a gust of wind, a careless foot, can snuff out its life.

Of course, even a solid tree can suffer damage by an axe of affliction, persecution or adversity. But if the tree is rooted in good ground, it will endure such adver­sity. That’s why our faith needs to be rooted in the Messiah.

“As you therefore have received Messiah, Y’shua, the Heavenly Master, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

 

DARE TO TRUST GOD

Some people think that only when their faith has developed into a mature tree, can they dare to trust God. Oh no! If you don’t trust God, your sapling faith will never grow into a tree. Faith grows as you exercise it, as you nurture it by the Word of God and as it is encour­aged by testimonies of the Master’s people of faith.

The Messiah did not say, “If you have faith like a great oak tree.” No! He said,

“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it shall move, and nothing shall be impossible to you.”

Friend, this is a magnificent promise! But it’s one that we usually prefer to leave rolled up in the promise box. It’s too magnificent to claim, even though it only requires faith the size of a micro-seed. This is surely a promise that we must dare to trust.

Moving mountains by faith? Yes! It is possible to move a mountain by faith, if it is in the will of God, and for His glory.

Now, normally we don’t need to move physical mountains, but there are other mountains that we should move; mountains of Satanic opposition, overwhelming difficulties, towering threats and piles of pressures. Sometimes I have a mountain of work on my desk that I cannot conquer, except by faith. Of course, I have to put my brain and hands to work, but only by the mighty enabling of Y’shua Messiah can that mountain be moved.

We need to move the mountains, whatever they are, by faith in God. When we come to the place where we say, “I can’t,” we need to learn the lesson, “By faith in God, I can!” The element of faith is necessary for us to go “out on the limb.” We need to express our faith, to speak out; “Mountain, in the Name of Jesus, be removed.”

God has given us many examples to stimulate our faith, so that we will follow the lead of those who, by faith, are now “a great cloud of witnesses” to the mighty power of God. (Hebrews 12:1)

When Israel, escaping from the tyranny of Egypt, came to a blank wall — the Red Sea — God said to Moses, “Go forward! Lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea.” When Israel came to the Jordan, God said, “Step into the waters, and then you’ll see the miracle.”

When the apostle Paul was a prisoner, heading for Rome on an ill-fated ship, he dared to believe what God revealed; and then by faith, announced to the crew of the storm-tossed vessel that there would be no loss of life. (Acts 27:22). When he spoke those words, there was not the slightest hope that anyone would be saved. But by faith, all the lives were saved.

Some may ask, “When Paul had such great faith, why did he end up as an executed saint in Rome? Why didn’t God deliver him from martyrdom?”

It was the revelation and will of God that Paul would be given into the hands of the Romans (Acts 21:10-13). Paul is included no doubt, amongst those who by faith ... “were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection.” (Hebrews 11:35)

I cannot imagine the apostle Paul removing the mountain of martyrdom, so that he might die a “natural” death in retirement. He was most willing to glorify God, as a martyr for Christ. And even more than a martyr’s crown, he coveted a crown for obedi­ence - obedience to whatever the Heavenly Master had called him to endure.

So my reader, while claiming the magnificent prom­ises of God, let us have this right motive:

“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)

Always be wary of the terrible triplets, Non-belief, Wrong Motive and Iniquity; but by faith, dare to claim God’s promises.

 

7.  THE PROMISE OF SALVATION

Most of the world seems to think that salvation is something we earn by our good behaviour, and meritorious works. But it is not so! Salvation must be received as a gift of God, by faith.

What is Salvation? A home in heaven? Yes, but much more. It involves :

1.      having our sins forgiven.

2.      being redeemed (saved)  from  the  kingdom of darkness, from the clutches of         Satan, from the power of sin, and from the wages of  sin  which is eternal         death (hell and the lake of fire,)

3.      being born again/receiving  a  new  heart/being converted or made anew.

4.      receiving Y’shua, Jesus the Messiah, as our Saviour and Heavenly Master.

5.      receiving the gift of eternal life/partaking of the divine nature.

6.      receiving the Holy Spirit as Resident in our spirit.

7.      being received into heaven and the Presence of God; and receiving the glorified, supernatural perfect and eternal, spiritual body.

None of this is a result of our own righteousness or effort, but only through faith. This is very definite!

“All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” (Isaiah 64:6)

The next scripture makes it very clear:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Yes, we were created in the Messiah for good works …

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

But good works themselves — no matter how many we do — can never save us.

We must be saved through faith. And yet it is not our faith that saves us. It is grace that saves. It is Y’shua the gracious Saviour who saves. It is our faith, however, that must trust Him to do it.

Now here are some of the magnificent promises given to “whoever will believe,” pertaining to the seven salva­tion points listed above:

1 & 2.  REDEMPTION AND FORGIVENESS OF SINS

 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness  ... the blood of Y’shua His (God’s) Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:9, 7)

 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:9)

Notice in these three promises, forgiveness and redemption is through the blood of the Lord Jesus. We have spoken of the importance of the blood, in chapter 5 – (“A Clean Heart.”)  Now I want to emphasize that forgiveness of sin is not something God decides, partially, as though it depended on the mood He’s in at the particular time. And He does not forgive because He thinks you are “good enough.” No! God’s desire is that all men everywhere should come to repentance, and to faith in Christ, so that He might gladly forgive them. And please remember, it was not an “easy thing” to provide redemption — it required the sacrifice of the Son, Jesus the Messiah, on the Cross of Calvary. Now if God could pay that price, and if Jesus could pay that price, do you imagine that He is not willing to redeem all who call upon the Name of the Lord.

Look, here’s another magnificent promise along this line:

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)

And another promise about being saved from judgment and eternal death:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)

3. THE NEW BIRTH

“Therefore if any man is in Christ, the Messiah, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God.” (1 John 5:1)

4.          RECEIVING THE MESSIAH

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

5.          ETERNAL LIFE

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.” (John 3:16, 36)

“He has granted to us His precious and magnifi­cent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4)

6.          RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT

          “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Y’shua stood and cried out saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water’. But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive.”  (John 7:37-39)

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” (Acts 1:8)

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”  (1 Corinthians 6:19)

7.          ETERNAL LIFE

         Y’shua said: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Heavenly Master Jesus the Messiah; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

My Reader, like the apostle Paul, I ask you, “What shall we say to those things?” What shall we do with such magnificent promises? If you have believed, claimed and received the wonderful salvation of God, then I rejoice greatly with you. My heart’s desire is that every one of my readers will come into the experience of the salva­tion that is available through faith in Jesus Christ.

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salva­tion?”  (Hebrews 2:3)

God is reasoning with you, my friend. He says:

“At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the Day of Salvation I helped you. Look, now is ‘The acceptable time’; see, now is ‘The Day of Salva­tion’.” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

That’s also a promise for you! Salvation is available for you today if you simply believe the promise and trust the Saviour, Y’shua, Jesus to save you.

Will you trust Him now? The following prayer will help you to express your faith. First, read it through carefully, and then pray like this, sincerely, and believing.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I come to You, just as I am, a sinner in need of salvation. Today I have read Your promises, and by faith I am trusting You for forgiveness right now. I call to You in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son who died on my behalf on the Cross.

Oh God, I am turning from my sin and my past, and by faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Saviour. I believe His blood will cleanse me from my sin this very day.

I trust Your promise, Master, to redeem me from the clutches of Satan and I believe You will, from this day on, live in me by Your Holy Spirit, and that You will make me a new person.

By faith I receive Your gift of eternal life, and I trust You to complete the work of salvation in me, and to finally receive me to Yourself in Heaven.

Thank You Father, for planting the seed in my heart and for giving me the faith to trust You. Thank You Master, for fulfilling Your promises — forgiving my sins, receiving me, cleansing and saving me. Thank You the Name of Jesus, Y’shua, I pray.  Amen.

 

8.  THE PROMISE OF RESTORATION

There are many precious souls who once knew the Joy of Salvation. They were born again, and became part of the family of God. They became disciples of the Messiah, and were zealous to serve the Master and to share His message with others.

But later, something went wrong. It may have started with a gradual drift from their first love, as they gave priority to “the cares of life,” or to some personal ambition. This drift may have continued until it became a rift with the Saviour. This is commonly called backsliding.

Sometimes the “losing of first love” is the result of a discontented or quarrelsome spirit. Sometimes the decline develops from an unforgiving attitude. Sometimes spiritual life is stifled because of sin in the believer’s life. When a person comes to the Saviour, he is brought into the kingdom of light. His conscience is then re-sensitized, and he is called to “walk in the light, as He (God) is in the light.” (I John 1:7). The believer, however, is not instantly perfected. There’s a process that leads to maturity.

No believer on earth is sinless, and, “if we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (I John 1:8). But there is provision for constant cleansing.

“If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Y’shua the Messiah the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.” (I John 2:1-2).

“If we con­fess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

This does not give a believer a licence to continue in sin, as though sin hardly matters because the blood of Jesus is the remedy. All sin grieves God; it offends His holiness; and it also hinders our spiritual progress.

We will always have a battle against sin, against evil, while we live on this earth. But God has made provision, not only for cleansing, but also for the defeat of sin in our lives. On our part we must learn to avail of His provision, and to TRUST Him for the victory. The provision and victory requires that we confess our known sins, and to present our bodies and lives to God daily, to be a living sacrifice unto Him.

When one becomes indifferent or careless about sin, and fails to confess the sins he has committed, his spiritual life deteriorates and becomes carnal, worldly, powerless and discon­tented. He thus stands in need of restoration.

Some believers come to a state where they cease striving against sin. They say, “I’ve tried so many times but I keep on failing.” They sink into a disappointed state of mind, as though there was no hope. They think, irrationally, that it is no use continuing in a cycle of sinning-repenting-sinning-repenting, and therefore they reason that they may as well stop trying, and stop worrying about sin. That attitude is very irrational, for it leads to a joyless, no-man’s-land type of existence.

Some believers in this condition feel so guilty that they assume there is no hope — no restoration. Some feel they have committed “the unforgivable sin,” and there­fore they have no right to even ask God for forgiveness once more. And how Satan loves to keep them in such a state of mind.

The unforgivable sin is a deliberate rejection of saving work of the Holy Spirit, and describing Him as being unholy. It is an extreme sin; backsliders and the defeated have not usually committed this unpardonable sin.

The fact is that there is restoration for the backslidden, the fallen, and the defeated, if they return to the Lord.

And here are the magnificent promises, that declare God will restore, if we come to Him in confession and in faith.

 “The law of YHWH the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul.”  (Psalm 19:7)

The Law of the LORD, that is, the precepts and guidance of the Word of God, plays an important part in the restoration of a soul. Obedience to the Word is always required, if we would benefit from the Lord’s direction.

The shepherd psalmist, David, could say from his experience:

“YHWH  the LORD is my shepherd ... He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23)

God reasons with backslidden Israel, through the prophet Isaiah:

“Come now, and let us reason together, says YHWH, though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. I will also turn My hand against you, and will smelt away your dross as with lye, and will remove all your alloy. Then I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning; after that you will be called the city of righteousness, a faithful city.” (Isaiah 1:18, 25, 26)

The apostle Paul exhorts established believers to help restore the defeated:

“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourselves, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfil the law of Christ, the Messiah.” (Galatians 6:1-2)

Even the nauseating lukewarm church of Laodicea is invited by the ascended Y’shua to be restored:

“I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your naked­ness may not be revealed; and eye-salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:18-19)

A promise the Saviour gives to those weighed down by sin, worries and failures, is:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11: 21).

“The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37)

To those of my readers who are defeated and back­slidden I say, the loving Master is waiting for you. He is able to meet your need. You have failed for various reasons, but the Saviour will restore your soul and the joy of your salva­tion; and He will lead you on further into victory.

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely for mine anger is turned away from him.” (Hosea 14:4)

He’s just a prayer away! Why don’t you call upon Him now? Confess your sin and failure. Give your body and life to Him anew. Ask Him to restore you to His fellowship. Ask the Father for the renewed joy of your salvation. Ask Him to fill you anew with His Spirit, and to lead you on from victory to victory.

 

         

         

 

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