Faith (7): Hearing of faith 

Gal 3:2  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Gal 3:5  He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  (KJV)

Paul asked the Galatian church: the one who does miracles among you, did he do it as by the works of the law or the hearing of faith?

And Jesus said: be careful how you hear.

And we also read that faith comes by hearing and (the right) hearing comes via the word of God.

And in the book of Hebrews, the writer said that the word will profit those who hear it if it is mixed with faith in them.

Jesus went to his home town and he being “The Word” could not do much there except heal a few people.

The power of the word of God is therefore limited by the faith of the people. The workings of God is limited by faith.

The widow of Zeraphath was told by Elijah, go and prepare a meal for me and the flour and oil will last for many days.

She responded with faith and the miracle happened.

When Elisha said that “by this time tomorrow”, in the middle of a grievous famine in Israel, “things will become ridiculous cheap,” one man did not believe and the promise was that he will see it with his eyes but will not experience it. And he died in the stampede the next day in the rush after people knew there would was surplus. He heard what others heard but his hearing was not the hearing of faith.

We need our spiritual ears opened for us to hear with faith.

If something is normal, there is no need for faith.

There is no need for faith to believe that the sun will rise tomorrow, it is normal, you don’t need to faith so that water will be wet, that your seat in the office will hold your weight tomorrow.

But when you hear things that express the power of God, do you believe or you go into the doubt mode?

Isaiah asked: who has believed our report? It is that person who will see the power of God.

When you hear that miracles have not passed, miracles are for today, speaking in tongues is for  today, do you disagree and try to explain it away?

With that  you are refusing to hear by faith. For you, if something is not natural, it should be rejected.

When you hear of gold dust, supernatural gold teeth fillings, when you hear of the extraordinary, do you wave it aside as a joke? That will show that you are on the low end of the faith spectrum.

God told Moses: I will give the people of Israel meat and they will eat it for one month.

Moses started thinking of the logistics. He somehow presumed that the bread from heaven was the limit of God and that God will be overextending himself if he tried to give meat to the multitude of Israelites in the wilderness.

His was not hearing by faith, and God had to give him a lecture. He asked Moses: is my arm waxed short?

When we hear by faith, it means we do not put the limit on God, on what can happen, we switch to the supernatural zone of God where everything is possible as it is written: Everything is possible to him that believes.

Jesus told Peter, launch into the deep for a big catch.

Before he did that he wanted to update Jesus on the difficulty of the situation, that he had strived all night and have not caught any fish.

When he saw no reaction from Jesus, that Jesus could not care less whether they have caught no fish forever or for a day, Peter heard by faith and did as Jesus said, probably out of courtesy, but that was enough and the catch was big indeed.

When you hear Jesus say that those who believe in me will speak in new tongues, do you explain that away, that this “big man” of God and that “big man” of God, like Billy Graham do not speak in tongues therefore it is definitely okay not to speak in tongues.

Billy Graham via billygraham.org

You have heard the word concerning speaking in tongues but it was  not with the hearing of faith.

It was the hearing of “respect of persons.” The bible says that we should not have the faith of our lord Jesus with respect of persons.

That was the complaint that Jesus had against the Pharisee in his generation. He said that with their tradition, they neutralise the word of God.

There is nothing wrong with tradition, but when tradition runs in conflict to the word of God, it runs in conflict with faith and can block the ears so that we would not be able to hear with faith, and therefore the word will not profit, it will be as if the word was not preached at all, as tradition neutralises it.

Tradition, therefore, drowns the word of God. That is why the common man gladly heard Jesus, because tradition and respect of persons has not blocked their ears so they hear with faith and receive the miracles from Jesus.

Tradition could come in form of what we are used to and a rejection of the new. The people in the home town of Jesus was used to the normal carpenter and they were not ready to receive him as the miracle worker so they did not. They could not hear by faith and therefore it was almost as if Jesus was not around.

The faith movement primed the people to expect the unexpected, to reject tradition and embrace new things from God.

Some claim that the speaking in tongues is a gift and therefore not everyone will speak it.

They therefore leave it to God’s discretion.  With that they shut out faith. If it is left to God there is no need for faith.

If it were just left to Jesus to heal everyone who was sick in his home town, he would, but he will only manifest as he is believed and received. He does not cast his pearls before swine, before people who will regard it as nothing, not value it.

The hearing of faith values the word of God. The hearing of faith is what we need and we need to recognise that respect of persons will stop us from the hearing of faith.

I read a book by Billy Graham (titled The Holy Spirit) in which the only thing he has to say about speaking in tongues was that he knows many people who  were “spirit filled” but do not speak in tongues.

I wonder how he could with his ordinary eyes define who is “spirit filled”, but we all know he is not in the speaking in tongues camp, the pentecostal camp.

People give their lives to Christ in his meetings in their multitudes but most may never step into speaking in tongues because, somehow, the man does not believe in it, and he hides under respect of persons.

I want to remind you again that the bible (in the writing of James) clearly states that we should not have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons. Both are not compatible. They counter each other in a zero sum game, and God does not want that. For without faith it is impossible to please God. God is not neutral to faith, he is pleased with it.

To guard against respect of persons, Jesus gave a strict warning: Do not call any man on earth father, or teacher, saying, you have one teacher, and that is the Christ.

And Jesus said that those who believe in him will speak in new tongues.

The question, I repeat again is that, will you hear that with faith or you allow tradition, in which you have been seeped, to swallow you up? Do you put limits on God?

We have another man called Reinhard Bonnke, who is also an evangelist and just because he believes that every believers should speak in tongues, he has thousands of people baptised with the Holy Spirit, immediately after leading them to Christ.

Reinhard Bonnke via Charismanews.com

Some who read this piece will cringe with the  way I wrote about Billy Graham, that may means that somehow, you have mixed the faith of our Lord Jesus with respect of persons, exactly what the Bible warned against.

Man is still man and can never be God. But, of cause, human beings have the tendency to make a fellow man (either subtly of obviously, alive or dead) a deity.

But that is idolatry.

Hence, John writing in the first epistle ascribed to him, in the very last sentence, as if to create a long lasting impression, said: Little children, beware of idols.

Idols are what you have faith in as an alternative to God and that means the faith in God becomes compromised.

Paul told the Galatian church, you received the spirit by the hearing of faith and not by the works of the law.

But people seeped in tradition, say that since Martin Luther, John Calvin did not speak in tongues, it did not form part of their grid of interpretation the bible (they were silent on it) and they were great men, therefore, it is not needed at this time. So those who hold such an opinion are compelled to explain the phenomenon away.

But the first major huddle in the life of faith after you have believed Jesus by faith is to receive the Holy Spirit.

You will not be able to go into great things in faith if you do not cross this huddle. You may achieve some things but you will forever be putting limits on God.

Paul asked a set of disciples in Ephesus, did you receive the Spirit when you believed? So there is the first experience of believing after which we (every Christian without exception) should receive the Holy Spirit.

At the dawn of the 20th century, at Asuza Street, the Holy Spirit broke out in the tongues phenomenon, but till today people are still rejecting that reality.

Via trailoffire.org

It tests your faith because it is not “tidy”.

It tests your faith because it is foolish to men, like babbling, like someone with speech impediment. You may lose you ” sanity certificate ”

It tests your faith because, you mostly needed to have hands laid on you for it (though not compulsory) and that means you have to submit to another.

It tests your faith because it is against all the strain of tradition in you.

With advent of the faith movement, the idea that people needed to tarry and wait for days and beg God to be filled with the Holy Spirit was done away with, but some are still there and they need to come out.

By faith we understand that the receiving of the Spirit is via the hearing of faith and not the works of the flesh, like crying, fasting, begging God for many days, months or years.

Because of the way the matter of receiving the Spirit (remember it is RECEIVING) is, it tests your faith because you will not be waiting for God to do something, but you need do something.

But Jesus said we should ask for the Holy Spirit, not because he has not been given, but to release our faith, the same way we confess Jesus as Lord not because he is not Lord if we do not confess it, but as a release of faith.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit asks more of you, it asks that you act on what you believe which is the definition of faith.

If you can cross the huddle you can truly move into faith with God, it is the primary school of the experience of faith.

It demands that as hands are laid on you step out to speak with tongues believing that though you are not feeling anything right away, the Holy Spirit will immediately supply the spiritual words. (If you ask: how do I know what to speak, you have not heard with faith.)

And the faith movement sent by God shows us that what Paul said is true, that we can continue to speak with tongues after the initial experience anytime we want.

So Paul could say: I speak with tongues more than you all. He also said that I WILL speak with my spirit or speak with my understanding if I want to.

Again I repeat the words that Paul directed to the Galatian Christian when they seem to have seeped into the seeking justification through the works of the law. He said: in time past, did you receive the Spirit via the works of the law or the hearing of faith?

I believe that once you are moving away from being baptised with the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues (I have a feeling that some people hate that part of the scriptures) you will move to the works of the law.

By we walk in the Spirit by faith and that faith develops needed muscles as we receive the Holy Spirit by faith.

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Of junk and fake grace (16)

Grace has no limits. There is nothing it cannot touch. Once it is an expression of the inadequacy of humanity, grace is programmed to meet it. Your finances, health, relationship, job, family, service, travelling, name it.

Don’t play strong head, open up for the grace of God. Grace should be known, we should know the grace of God in truth as Paul said. Any area that you still think you need to act for you to do something to receive grace means you are disconnected from grace. Grace is freely given to us by God, released in Jesus.

For example we have access to full health and full supply in Jesus. By his stripes we were healed and for our sake he became poor so that we might become rich. Therefore fear nothing. His grace is sufficient for you, except he did not say it is finished on the cross.

When Jesus said that “with it is impossible but not with God, for with God nothing shall be impossible,” he was talking about the grace of God. The question was: who then can be saved?

If Man is inadequate, God’s adequacy springs into action, so that at the end no one will boast in his presence and all the glory belongs to God. God can do what “can’t” be done

Of junk and fake grace (13)

Grace brings you all the time to the foot of the cross. There is sufficiency in grace. Jesus called it his grace, adding in his conversation with Paul that “My grace is sufficient for you.” His grace is enough. He also told Paul, my strength is made perfect in weaknesses. His grace is His strength, not your joke.

You don’t need to add anything to what is sufficient, not you misunderstanding, not legalism, not your reductionist view of it. It’s enough. And what freedom that brings, what hope, what life. Christ emptied himself to fill us, not with an idea but with the substance of his grace.

Of junk and fake grace (10)

Where you find it easy is the place where you have contacted the grace of God and the opposite is also true. The grace of God is not an idea an event it is an endowment. An endowment makes the difference between crawling and flying, the difference between the beggar and the rich.

These flock of people running after prophets to tell them the will of God are clueless grace-wise. The grace of God is in our relationship with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of grace, it is the demonstration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The grace of God is seen in the life of those who are Christians who are comfortably rich, the happily married, the stressless birth, holy living in the midst of a perverse generation. Connect with the grace of God.

Don’t be scared of the grace of God whether through your over concentration on dos and don’t from your religious background or the grace abusers touting a fake grace. Know the grace of God in truth. It will make all the difference. It an heavenly endowment.

Of junk and fake grace (7)

Some people confuse grace with love. God’s love is his predisposition to act for our best interest as demonstrated on the cross. It is permanent, consistent, unchanging because God is love. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. But do you think he died so that we remain sinners?

The love of God does not care whether you are a sinner or not, but grace is different. We read that sin shall not have dominion over us because we are under grace. Grace is, therefore, a divine quality while love is divine disposition. God is love.

Grace is a spiritual quality that when added to you makes you different, makes you begin to act like God.

Grace is not love. Love is unchanging, grace you can grow in, grace does not work until you receive it. You are however benefiting from the love of God whether you are evil or good. E.g. the rain. And it is because of the love of God that God extends his grace to us through Jesus. It rained but you have to bring out your bowl to take and drink.

The gospel is called the gospel (good news) of the grace of God. It is not news if it is not new. It is not always available and will not always be available that is why we are in a grace dispensation.but God has always been love and will always be love. Maybe what these junk grace preachers should focus on is God’s love, but warn them, let them not confuse it again with grace otherwise, I will come after them. Lol.

And they should please back their assertion with a least two scriptures each. Otherwise, they should get out of our face. No lol.

Paul committed some people to the grace of God which is to build them up, and give them an inheritance. Grace does not leave you where you are, it is not about making you feel good, but making you do good. Grace makes. But we won’t even have the grace apart from the love. But we should not confuse the two and we should not confuse them also to justification, which is the divine declaration that we are righteous without having done anything to merit it, except faith. Shalom.

Of junk and fake grace (2)

Do you know you are not saved by faith but by grace through faith? Grace is a change agent that gets applied to you inwardly when to become a believer.

I know you are justified by faith, which goes from you to God, but you are saved by grace which comes from God to you.

Both happens at the same time. But if you mistakenly think you are saved by faith you are in error.

It means you don’t have to produce the fruit of a changed life since just believing in Jesus, which is a one-time event, is the only factor involved in your salvation.

If the grace comes, Jesus comes into your heart, the Spirit of Christ comes, life, light comes. Justification is only one side of the coin. It makes you right with God, grace is the other making you live like Christ. Grace does not make you right with God, it makes God right in you.

It is not called the grace of our Lord Jesus for fun. Note that it is not grace FROM our Lord Jesus (as if it is a one-time event), but grace OF. That grace carries his essence. It is not just a statement. People confuse justification with grace. It needs to stop. It presents grace as a past tense, but grace is present continuous.

Let this confusion stop, please.

The physicality of prayer

There are different physical expressions in prayer. For example people can scream when they are praying, lifting up their voice in a loud cry.
Hezekiah decided he was going to face the wall, Elijah bent over like someone in deep pain, Hannah was moving like someone drunk as she expressed her desire to God.

Paul mentioned the fact that he bent his knees in devotion to God. He also referred to the lifting up of the hands. Another physical expression in prayer is tears.

One thing that is common in prayer is that things are said, but the physical expression of the prayer is varied. Any attempt to give a regulation to the physical expression of prayer is humanistic rubbish, it is to excoriate the emotion out of the devotion of prayer. The emotion is part of who you are, and if anything less than who you are is expressed in prayer then the prayer is less than it can be. Prayer should be done with the whole of the heart. Loving God should be expressed in prayer and we were told to love the lord our God with all our might, mind, heart. Prayer should not be half hearted, we should not allow self consciousness to make prayer less than it should be.

How about learning from Jesus about physicality in prayer? While before the grave of Lazarus, he wept, and lifted up his voice in prayer. When the disciples came back from a time of ministry, the bible says that he rejoiced in the spirit, and thanked God for revealing things to babes and not to the high people in the society. They won’t know he rejoiced if he did n express that joy. That means you can laugh as you pray.

While he was in the garden of Gethsemane, he was in serious distress, and that was manifested physically in sweat like blood drops. When you see him in that position, you would not see Jesus with a calm demeanor, as what was going on inwardly became manifested physically.

Daniel decided that he was going to face Jerusalem in us regular prayer I a foreign land, showing his heart. The physicality of your prayer shows your heart.

While the physicality of prayer does not guarantee that prayer will be answered, its value is in how it reflects what is going on in the heart. There are people that are too cool to express anything in prayer, or are intimidated by those who are expressive in prayer and so push for a ban on such expression, constituting themselves to mockers.

God looks at the heart. Fine. But the heart is expressed in the act. God declared a damning judgement on Ahab but how he started wearing sack cloth after that touched the heart of God and he modified the punishment.

When you command or dictate for others certain physical posture in worship or prayer (prayer is also worship) the whole purpose is defeated. God wants your expression of devotion to be voluntary, just as he loves a cheerful giver, giving not by compulsion but willingly.

I should be free to sit down if I want to sit down, there should not be a contraint against physical expression in prayer and there should not be a commandment for it.

In Christ we have the freedom to express and the freedom not to express anything, the one who expresses should not think those who are less expressive are less, and the less expressive should not think that the expressive are playing to the gallery.

We have a bunch of humanists rubbish coming into the church, where everything is reduced to the confines of logic. There is nothing logical about raising your voice in prayer since God is not deaf, there is nothing logical about weeping in prayer because God is spirit. Embracing such line of reasoning is humanistic rubbish. There is nothing wrong with physical expression, God made us emotional beings for a reason, and emotions get expressed. Period. If you feel deeply enough about it, you will express it.

There is nothing wrong with emotions. God is emotional, but there is the humanistic rubbish in which the places in the bible where God expressed emotions are regarded as merely symbolic.

Everybody has emotions, and there is no better place to express emotions than pray. Prayer is serious business. It should involve everything: spirit, soul and body. Peter said that we should be serious minded about prayer. When praying, we should not bother about what others can say.

Concerning Elijah, James wrote that he prayed earnestly. There was a certain intensity in his prayer. We learnt that he prayed fervently. “Fervently” is an emotive word. James added that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much.

The “effectual” aspect is about praying the will of God, (soul) the “righteous” aspect is about right standing with God in your personal life (spirit). But the “fervently” is about physical expression. Anything and anyone therefore that reduces from the importance of the physicality of prayer, attacks the core of prayer.

In the Old Testament, we saw that Elijah went up the mount and bent down like a woman in labour, asking his servants to, at intervals, check the cloud. It was James who told us that what Elijah was doing was pray that it might rain on the earth.

He was in a groaning posture even though he had the word of God that he was going to send rain on the earth. So the physicality of prayer is not about getting God to do what he does not want to do, just the expression of the pressure we are sensing in our spirit, it is sharing the burden of Jesus concerning the matter.

Jesus complained that the disciples did not share his burden of prayer while he was near carrying the cross. They choose to yield to sleep, while he agonized in prayer.

If you see the way the writer of the book of Hebrews described the prayer life of Jesus, you will understand more about the physicality of prayer and he is the one we are supposed to follow.

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. – Hebrews 5:7” Esv

There is nothing “cool” about loud cries and tears. He offered intense prayer so that he can be saved from death? That was not the impression you get when just reading through the gospels.
But wasn’t it prophesied that Jesus was going to rise up, why then did he have to pray hard for it? The answer is that he was not supposed to rise up without his own active involvement and what is where the tears come in. Who says the physicality of prayer is not important, if Jesus did it, it is more than important, it is necessary.

What about the Holy Spirit? We were told that he intercedes for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. Groaning is not gentlemanly. It is an expression of an intense feeling. Holy Spirit has feelings, that is why we are told not to grieve the Holy Spirit.
So if the Holy Spirit is groaning and you are in tune with him at a particular moment, won’t you also groan? Groaning is intense desire for something (goes with a spiritual birthing process following the natural one). Please let’s stop this humanistic rubbish that reduces the importance of the physicality of prayer.

Rightly so we are taught the importance of the word of God in prayer, but if we are emotional beings, we should be free to express our emotions anyhow we want. To deprive me of my physicality in prayer is to deny God of his enjoyment of me in my prayer, enjoyment of my lack of shame in connecting with him in prayer.

What if my physicality offends others, should I then cage myself? Maybe you can, but don’t let anyone rubbish you, judge you with their humanistic, pseudo faith concepts.