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The Highest Calling of the Church - Faith Part 4
Dr. Allen M. Barber
February 10, 2008

We are studying "faith" and looking at the Seven Laws That Govern the Life of Faith from Manley Beasley's book, Faith Workbook No. 2. Manley was a godly man whom God had given the revelation of faith and he wrote several books and articles on faith. The reason I entitled this series, "The Highest Call of the Church - Faith, " is that Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore, it is the centerpiece of the Christian life and what we know about it determines how we live our lives on this earth and our eternal destiny. Many believers have been taught that since we have been saved by grace and not works, it does not matter how we end up - we are all going up in the pretrib rapture when the Lord returns. That is about as far from the truth as night and day.

In Philippians 3: 10-11, the apostle Paul said he was striving for the resurrection from the dead (Paul knew the rapture was not going to occur in his day):

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. NKJV.

The Greek language of Verse 11 says, "The out resurrection from among the dead" - ek nekroon means "out of the dead." The implication is that Paul was seeking a better resurrection from among all the dead both the just and the unjust. Jesus and Daniel mention the resurrection when both the righteous and unrighteous will be raised simultaneously. This is the general resurrection. Not until the New Testament letters do we find mention of the First Resurrection. Hebrews 11:35 says, the First Resurrection is the better resurrection. The better resurrection is the one Paul implied in Philippians 3 because it involves only believers, specifically the overcomers. The First Resurrection is about receiving our glorified bodies, but not all the saints are going to participate in the First Resurrection; some are going to have to wait the general and second resurrection as mentioned in Revelation 20:11-13 - this is another teaching, which you are not going to hear in denominational and Charismatic churches; nevertheless it is true. In addition, John 14:1-6 does not teach a pretrib rapture or that the saints are going to some heavenly mansion in the sky.

Well, we need to discuss the second law of faith - The Law of Maintained Fellowship. This law is dependent on the first - The Law of Vital Relationship. This second law means "that we must be cognizant of the presence of Jesus at all times." In order to have the continual consciousness of Jesus in our lives, we must be obedient to the light He gives us (light is revelation; the removal of the veil that keeps us from knowing the Lord and His Word). I John 1:7 says, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."  Manley says, "The lack of obedience to revealed truth is the downfall of many a Christian's fellowship with the Lord. He is right of course.

Any sin breaks fellowship with the Lord and especially habitual unconfessed sin:

Isaiah 59:1-2 KJV

1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

James 4:7 says that if we know the truth (that which has been revealed to us) and we fail to walk in it, then it is sin. Again, this is why obedience is so important to the Christian life. Andrew Murray commenting on obedience says, "We must take care of the obedience and God will take care of the blessing." Too many saints are wanting the blessing without being obedient. This was Esau's problem, he wanted the blessings without being careful to protect the birthright. Consequently, he ended up receiving a second-hand blessing and not the one God would have given him had he been obedient. (Actually neither Esau nor Jacob were obedient to God's revealed will and their disobedience is the root of all the enmity between the Jews and Arabs. We have no idea how our sin may affect the lives of others and for how long, so we need to be careful what we say and do in relation to others).

Manley writes, "That when we are out of fellowship with God, we lose consciousness of His presence and often seek an experience to reassure us that He is still around." Why do so many people today seek experiences rather than the truth?  It is because of the lack of a conscious presence of the Lord. When believers are close to the Lord, maintaining daily prayer and Bible reading, to that degree the Lord is real in their lives and they want nothing but His presence.  However, leave off daily prayer and Bible reading, attending worship, witnessing to the lost, etc. and the awareness of the Lord's presence wanes. Then add sin to the mix and the believer does what Jonah did - run from the Lord. Instead of dealing with the lack of maintaining daily fellowship with the Lord and one's sin, believers seek experiences in order to reassure them God is still around.

I once pastored a Baptist church in which some were trying to be Baptist-costals (Baptistism and Pentecostalism at the same time). One young man was one of the tongue speakers and during the services raised his hands the highest and gave the most tear-jerking testimonies.  I wasn't fooled by his Charismatic flair and knew something was not right about him. To make a long story short, he was a wife and child beater. On one occasion, I was called to his house after he had beaten his wife and two daughters. He later divorced his wife and moved in with another man (yes another man) - he was bi-sexual. You see he was seeking experiences in order to appease his ungodly behavior and secret sins. The Lord wasn't within two light years of the man, but you would see him on Sunday jumping pews and speaking in tongues. His religious experience was a substitute for the real presence of the Lord.

It is easy for all of us to seek experiences over truth because we think our religious experiences make us spiritual; and since we have convinced ourselves that we are spiritual, that must mean God is around!  Manley says, "We never get so spiritual that we do not have to confess and repent of our sins" - amen to that!  If we are not obedient and make things right with God, there is no way to maintain fellowship with Him. "The object of our faith must always be the PERSON OF CHRIST; the expression of our fellowship is the love and worship of our Lord; and the maintenance of our fellowship comes only one way - obedience to His revealed will - that which He has personally shown us in His Word and by the Holy Spirit.

Are you presently maintaining your fellowship with the Lord by obeying the truth He has given you? God wants us to believe in Him and to obey Him. He is not interested in our experiences that derive from our own carnal desires that substitute for His real presence.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of believers trying to conjure up the presence of God aided by carnal forms of worship - singing the same verses over and over and getting all pumped up by soulish music; others yell and scream, fall out in the aisles, speak in unknown babble, etc. - all for the purpose of trying to invent the presence of God. A much better way is to daily come before the Lord and ask Him to turn on His searchlight within your soul to see if He can find overt or covert sins; then when He does, to confess and repent of them so your fellowship with Him is not broken. Pray seeking to fellowship with Him, not in coercing Him to meet your needs; pray for others before you pray for yourself; and read the Word of God daily. A Psalms and a Proverb a day will keep the devil away.

The Lord bless you.