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.
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.
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.
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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