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THE HIGHEST CALL OF THE CHURCH - FAITH (PART 3)
Dr. Allen M. Barber
February 3, 2008
 

Romans 8:1-2 NKJV

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

In Part 2, we learned that spiritual law determines spiritual experience, that is, just as there are physical laws that operate in the natural world and control the environment, spiritual law determines the course of our experience as believers. However, both God and Satan operate in the supernatural or spiritual realm and sometimes it is difficult to know whether what we are experiencing is from God or the enemy. This is the very reason God intended for us to develop our spiritual senses by the gift of discernment. Oftentimes, natural ability is mistaken as a spiritual gift and vice-versa, but they are separate and distinct.

Let me ask you a question, which came first the spiritual realm or the physical realm? In Genesis 1 we are told that God created the heavens (plural) and the earth, but which came first - heaven or earth. Well, God being the eternal God with no beginning and no ending was there operating in the spiritual realm before he created our solar system and placed planet earth in it. According to Paul's revelation, there are three heavens or three spiritual spheres and God resides in the third heaven. From His abode in the third heaven, He created the second and first heavens - the second heaven is outer space and the first heaven is the earth's atmosphere that contains the skies, the clouds, and the terra firma.  We live in the first heaven. When the astronauts venture into space, they break out  of the first heaven into the second heaven, which is outer space. Even in outer space there are certain laws the astronauts must obey in order to survive that environment such as space suits, etc.

From the spiritual realm God created the physical realm. Therefore spiritual law supersedes and controls physical law. When Jesus was on earth, He demonstrated in His miracles this truth - that spiritual law is able to overcome natural law.  When the lame, the blind, the deaf were healed and the dead raised, this was evidence that spiritual law is on a much higher plane than physical law. Guess what determined the forces of spiritual law to overcome natural physical law, even in the life of Jesus? It was FAITH. Now it is obvious from some of the emails I receive that sincere believers still do not understand what genuine biblical faith is and how it works. They fall into two primary groups: (1) The name it and claim it and grab it and blab bunch of the Charismatic persuasion motivated by emotional faith, which is not really faith and (2) those who oppose the Charismatics and live according to intellectual faith, which is not faith either; both are wrong. I keep telling my Christian friends that faith is the revelation of God and for there to be real live active faith, it must be according to revelation of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. I have conversed with Seminary president's who do not understand "revelation of the Spirit" as the necessary and vital ingredient to live the life of faith on this earth.

Jesus made this very clear when He responded to Peter's confession that He (Jesus) was the Son of the living God:

Matthew 16:16-18 NASB

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Peter was given the revelation of who Jesus was by the Father in heaven, which is the same as saying the Holy Spirit revealed it to him. Peter did not figure this out for himself.

The apostle Paul said the source of his revelation to write the bulk of the New Testament did not come from men, but from God:

Galatians 1:11-17 NKJV

11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Notice what Paul is saying here; he did not go up to Jerusalem to inquire of the so-called eminent apostles - the pillars in the Church (Peter, James and John) of the revelation of Jesus or the Word of God he received as New Covenant doctrine - No, he received the gospel and the New Covenant doctrine from the Holy Spirit. This is the major problem in the Church today among both the leadership and the laity (I do not  like making this distinction as somehow there is a super class in the Church for there is not- the leaders are servants and guides that is all) - lack of Holy Spirit revelation. The only way you are going to understand the Word of God and to live it by faith is by revelation of the Spirit and Word - anything else is second hand knowledge. While the Lord has given us teachers to help us understand the Word, the revelation comes by the Holy Spirit and Him alone.

I once made a statement in a Baptist Sunday school class that upset them and caused some to break fellowship with my wife and me. We were discussing "illumination" versus "revelation" and I said that I could tell within 5 minutes after a minister began to speak if he was speaking by revelation or strictly from his own intellect. You know how I can tell; if the preaching or teaching is born of revelation, it will immediately bear witness in my spirit, not my mind because spirit speaks to spirit and mind speaks to mind. The Baptist, for the most part, are not trained in the spirit but in the mind. I can prove what I am saying is the truth by the following passage:

1 Corinthians  2:9-16 NKJV

9 But as it is written:

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

Read this text carefully and notice all the references to the Spirit and revelation knowledge. Everything in the spiritual realm including what we know about the Word of God comes by revelation of the Holy Spirit to our reborn-spirits. It does not come by having a great intellect or lack or one. Paul says in Verse 13, spiritual wisdom the Holy Spirit teaches compares spiritual things with spiritual things, meaning the revelation of the Word of God does not come by reading some commentary on the Bible or some book, but by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Too many in the Church are trying to comprehend spiritual truth by indirect revelation and it does not come that way. While commentaries and books written about the Bible may offer some help, they are never to be our source of biblical revelation. If we live by faith, we will seek our revelation of the Word by the only source - the Holy Spirit.

With this background in mind, let's examine the first of the seven laws that govern faith as presented in Manley Beasley's workbook on faith (the reason I use his workbook is that I personally knew Manley as a man who lived solely by the revelation of faith. His book is from that revelation):

The Law of Vital Relationship

We have touched on this previously, but it is perhaps the starting point of walking  the "faith life" in our pilgrimage on this earth. By vital relationship, Manley says we must be conscious of the fact we have a living relationship with Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. Jesus said we must be born of the Spirit in John 3:3. Unfortunately, the religious and secular crowd have ruined the meaning of being born again. Man's greatest capacity is to know God, but he cannot know Him apart from spiritual regeneration. Now, while we are on this particular subject, let me say that Satan, the great copy-cat, is in the business of making false disciples of Jesus. How does he do that - by getting them to make false professions of faith. If the Holy Spirit is not leading the sinner to repentance and faith in the Lord, then one's salvation is either of the mind or the emotions, neither which result in genuine salvation. May I share my personal experience of how I came to know the Lord?

I was reared by my grandparents to age 11 (those important formative years) who were elderly and not in good physical health. Consequently, we seldom attended Church (they owned no automobile). Occasionally a relative or friend would pick me up and take me to Church. During Vacation Bible school in the summer of 1956, I was pressured by a legalistic independent Baptist Church to, as they called it - "get saved." They were not only adamant, but exerting great pressure on me to make a profession of faith, so I did just to make them leave me alone. At  the end of Vacation Bible School, I was baptized in a river near Garland, Texas. That meant I was saved and secure forever - right?  Well, no, but I did rely on that experience as being saved regardless that my life never bore any fruit of salvation. Because I lived in a moral environment (mainly legalistic morality), I didn't smoke, drink, or engage in sex so I felt secure and smug that I was a Christian. Later in college and the Marine Corps I developed some bad habits - drinking, smoking, vulgar language, sex, etc. to name a few. I will not even mention the "dark secrets" that only God knew I was doing. My old sin nature was in full control of my life and bearing its fruit - thorns and thistles!  There was no evidence in my life that I was truly born-again.

It was while I was in the pit of my sins that the Holy Spirit began to convict me of my lost condition (as a youth growing up in the Baptist Church, I heard the gospel many times and it was beginning to bear fruit). After an experience of nearly being killed in Vietnam, my frail humanity hit me square in the face. Even though I was only 22 years of age, I realized I could die in that war and the thought greatly frightened me.  When I returned from the war, I was saved three years later on April 25, 1971. The difference was that I saw my sin condition before God aided by the Holy Spirit, that is, he led me to see that I was a lost sinner having not the righteousness of God. On my knees in serious prayer, He led me to repent and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life. Immediately, I knew in my spirit I was born-again and the Holy Spirit began to bear fruit in my life. Romans 8:16 says, those who are truly born again, the Holy Spirit will bear witness with our Spirit that we are the sons and daughters of God.

The Law of Vital Relationship is in knowing God. Manley makes a distinction between "understanding" and "knowing" and says, "God allows us to understand many wonderful things, but knowing is on a spiritual level that must precede understanding on an intellectual level, because no man will ever understand God without first knowing Him." While we may not understand all there is about God, we must know that we know Him. This is not optional in the Christian life. In fact, there is no such thing as a Christian who does not know God in his or her spirit. Knowing God is the very foundation for a life of faith.

Who are the people you trust - those you know very well and then sometimes we are dubious even about them? To know God is to trust Him. This is the meaning of Hebrews 11:6 that we mentioned in the previous messages. Those who come to God must believe He is and that He rewards those diligently seek Him. You seek God with all your heart because you trust Him. Faith in God simply means we respond to the illumination of God's Spirit (Manley uses the word "illumination," but the Illuminists have ruined the word from a spiritual perspective; the better word is revelation - the unveiling of the spiritual realm to the spiritual Christian who knows God by spiritual birth).

If God did not choose to reveal Himself to us, we would have no basis for our faith. WE MUST KNOW HIM AND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST WHO IS THE SAME GOD IN ORDER TO WALK IN FAITH.

Do you know God or is your relationship to Him based on intellectual knowledge and emotional feelings both which are not genuine biblical faith. Hell is full of people this morning who lived on earth with a false commitment to Christ, thinking their experience was safe and secure when they did not meet the first requirement for knowing God - repentance of sin! May I just say that repentance is not feeling sorry for something you have done wrong or confessing a few sins. No, repentance that is of God is produced in the heart by the Holy Spirit who causes you to come humbly before Him and say, Lord, I am a sinner through and through and do not deserve your mercy. However, I now understand that Jesus died in my place so I could be forgiven and placed in right standing with you. Therefore, I abhor my flesh and confess my sin before you and ask you forgiveness. I am willing to be born again and to live for You the rest of my life. Thank you Lord for saving me and giving me your Holy Spirit.

If someone prays that prayer or one like it, they are saved and can begin to live the life of faith.

The Lord bless you all.