Thursday, May 31, 2007

Authority with Power

Power is the ability or capacity to perform or act effectively (Encarta). In the Holy Scripture the word power is sometimes used in conjunction with the word authority; and they are sometimes used interchangeably.

According to Encarta authority is: the right and power to enforce laws, exact obedience, to command, determine or judge.

Thus we see authority as being the moral and the legal right or privilege to act.

When the two words, power and authority, are used together it speaks of not only having the strength and ability or capacity to perform but also having the moral and legal right to do so.

The two basic forms of authority are intrinsic authority (belonging to one's essential nature) and derived authority (given to one from another source). Authority with power belongs to the essential nature of God.

“yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him (1 Cor. 8:6).”

We are taught in the following Scripture that even the governments of the world exist under God’s authority and power.

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God (Rom. 13:1 NASU).”

Therefore since “there is no authority except from God,” every kind of authority other than that of God Himself is derived and therefore secondary or subject to His authority. So it must be that even Jesus receives authority from the Father.

“So Jesus said, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him’ (John 8:28-29 NASU.”

[When you life up the Son of Man]

In this scripture it seems that Christ is saying, When you have crucified Me, and completed the measure of your iniquities, then you will know that I am the Christ, the one to whom the Father has granted authority with power, by the signs that shall follow; and you will know that what I spoke is true, also by the judgments that follow.

[then you will know that I am He]

Note in your bibles that the word “he” is in italics meaning that the translators added this word. Without the addition of the word “he” it would read---then you will know that I am. It is believed by some that our Lord here, and in other Scripture in the book of John, is alluding to the fact that He is the Great I Am.

[and I do nothing on My own initiative]

This is faith demonstrated; He does nothing on His own---He must hear from the Father first----thus He knows the will of the Father and then He is obedient to do His will.

[but I speak these things as the Father taught Me]

He speaks only what He has heard from the Father, thus He is a manifestation or He makes known the will and ways of the Father. He is taught truth from the only source of truth; thus His teachings are from the “Rock,” the very foundation of all creation and the wellspring of life.


“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven (Col. 1:15-20 NASU).”

And the Apostle Paul writes, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ (1Cor. 11:3 NASU).”

[God is the head of Christ]

This is God’s ordained order; His chain of command established for the governing of His creation. The use of the word “head” in this Scripture denotes authority; hence the Apostle is indicating that God is the intrinsic authority over His Son, and His Son has authority derived from Him over every man, and the man has derived authority from Christ over a woman.

In the following Scripture Jesus’ authority and power is demonstrated in His teachings and in His ability to cast out or command unclean spirits.

“They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him’ (Mark 1:27 NASU)."

He not only has authority over “unclean spirits” but also has authority to heal the sick and to forgive sins.

"But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" — then He said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, pick up your bed and go home.’ And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men (Matt. 9:6-8 NASU).”

Jesus gives authority to His disciples that they might experience the power that He has given them to preach His gospel.

“Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. And He was saying to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no money belt, no bag, no shoes; and greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city’ (Luke 10”1-12 NASU).”

The disciples return successful in their ministry.

“The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.’ And He said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven’ (Luke 10:17-20 NASU)."

In another account in the Scriptures Jesus gives authority and power to the twelve; and they were able to do all things that He did.

“Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness (Matt. 10:1 NASU).”

After His crucifixion and subsequent resurrection Jesus proclaims His authority before commissioning His disciples.

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18 NASU)

And then he commissions His disciples to preach the gospel that through it He might build His church.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matt. 28:19-20 NASU)."

The following Scripture gives an account of Jesus giving authority before His crucifixion to His soon to be apostles.

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus 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. 18 "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ (Matt. 16:13-20 NASU).”

[I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven]

In the Old Testament keys belong to the steward of the house, the trusted servant, the one that the master has chosen to care for the household affairs. In Isaiah the prophet foresees a day when the false steward will be removed and a true steward will be entrusted with the care of Jerusalem. The symbol is used by Isaiah as he says, “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David (Isa 22:22 NIV).” In addition to the obvious suggestion of authority given to the new steward, the passage also suggests that the keys are symbols of trust and responsibility.

Keys as actual physical objects appear only rarely in Scripture, yet metaphorically they form an important reoccurring theme that runs between the Old Testament and New. As a motif, keys have long been recognized as symbols of power and authority, yet the image has more subtle overtones as well. Keys symbolize authority because they are given to those who are judged trustworthy, and a key is a relatively small thing compared to that which it opens. Thus keys as symbols suggest something of authority, power, mystery and exclusivity.

Jesus says keys, meaning many, thus there must be many keys of the kingdom of God. Peter had demonstrated his faith when he proclaimed by the key of revelation knowledge that Jesus is the son of the “living God (v. 16).” Thus by the key of faith he was proven trustworthy. The gospel is the key of knowledge that unlocks the prisons of darkness and sets men’s souls free. Thus the gospel is the key that is entrusted to men of faith such as Peter; this is the key of the kingdom of God.

For the one who gives the keys, they are symbols of trust and belief in the character of the steward. For the one who receives the keys, they are symbols of responsibility.

Further Scripture evidence that the word “keys” is used symbolically as authority and power is found in the book of Luke.

“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering (Luke 11:52 NASU).”

The lawyers had taken away the key of knowledge or rather seated themselves in the position of responsibility of teaching the Scripture. Thus they were responsible for giving the key of knowledge to the people. Jesus speaks of knowledge as being a key to enter the kingdom of heaven as He rebuked the lawyers (scribes) for with holding knowledge from the people. The key controls access. The lawyers should have used their offices to gain knowledge and to unlock that knowledge for others; they were stewards of the truth. Because they did not fulfill, but rather abused their duties, it is implied that the key has been taken away.

These lawyers are proto-types of some of today’s pastors, teachers and etc. who have seated themselves in the position of teaching the Scriptures. They have taken the key of knowledge and put their own twist on it for personal gain. They have abused their self imposed duties and lost site of saving knowledge, thus the key has been taken away from them and they have resorted to “ear tickling;” they will be judged for their deeds.

After entrusting the keys of the kingdom of heaven to His apostles He would also equip them with power. He was crucified and His blood was shed for the many, He was resurrected by the power of God and just before His ascending into heaven Jesus promises this same power to the church.

And appearing to His apostles at the Mount of Olives, “He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:7-8 NASU).”

Ten days after His ascending the divine order for the church was completed. The Church receives the Holy Spirit of promise with great power. A congregation of people great or small without the presents of the Holy Spirit is reduced to no more than a social gathering.

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (Acts 2:1-4 NASU).”

By the Spirit they began to speak boldly with power and authority of the mighty deeds of God. There were thousands of people there from many different nations, speaking many different languages. The Holy Spirit came in the form of many tongues, a symbol of the Spirit speaking many different languages. As the Spirit spoke through the apostles the ears of the elect in the multitude were quickened and caused to hear in their on language. As they spoke of the identity of Christ and His work on the cross and the peoples need for repentance and of the saving power of faith toward the Son of the Living God three thousand souls were added to the church that day.

After the Day of Pentecost they continued to preach the good news of salvation through faith in the Messiah who had given His life in their stead. They, by the power of the Spirit that had come upon them, performed miracles of healing, cast out demons, raised the dead and caused the lame to walk and the blind to see as they ministered to the needs of the people. They were, by the same Spirit, the body of Christ in the earth. Like their master before them they were pursued by the enemies of truth, beaten and thrown into prison, persecuted and slain for the cause of Christ. They met in secret to worship and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and they went out in obedience to His commands. Like their Savior before them they were mocked, cursed and their blood shed for the benefit of the masses. This was the beginning of the building of the church of the Living God.

But it was not long before the spirit of the Scribes who taught false doctrines crept into the church deluding the minds and souls of many. The legalistic spirit of the Pharisees also entered the church, again putting the burden of ritualistic worship on the people. And the spirit of unbelief that belonged to Sadducees stormed the gates of the church. The message being preached is a twisted version of the gospel that appeals to the flesh. False teachers have filled the pulpits preaching a self help message and a watered down version of the true gospel. These men filled with these deceptive evil spirits have preyed upon the hearts of the multitude. Thus the modern church has been filled with people who have sought the cross in vain because the gospel they heard has no saving power. Because of such false teachings the “visible so called church” has a form of godliness but denies the power thereof, thus the power and the keys have been taken away; it has become an apostate church, a fallen away church. The judgment of this “church” is drawing near and when it comes the fall of the apostate church will be great.

But take heart dear ones for there is a true Church; a Church of true believers; a people who have been bought by the blood of the slain Christ. It is a Church that has survived the onslaught of the enemy; a remnant of people God has reserved for Himself; a Church of power and authority. It is not a social gathering or majestic buildings with stained glass windows and steeples reaching toward the sky; all designed for the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life. It is a Church of Spirit filled people who have laid down their lives for the cause of Christ; a Church with a history of martyrdom, a people who are obedient even unto death; a Church that is a pillow and support of God’s truth. It is a Church ministering to the needs of the people with authority and power. When the judgment of the apostate church comes and the tares are removed the Church built by our Lord will be revealed in all its glory. To this Church our Lord has given authority to rule.

“He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON,AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev.2:26-29 NASU).'

James C Sanford

A New Commandment

Some Sadducees had been asking Jesus questions and debating with Him.

28One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"
29“Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one:
30and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength (Jesus here is quoting from Deut. 6:4).
31The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (and this quote is from Lev. 19:18). There is none other commandment greater than these

(Mark 12:28-31 NASU).”

In answering the Scribe’s question Jesus begins by quoting the Law of Love; thus indicating that this was the foremost of all laws. He ended His quote by stating there is no other “greater than these;” thus indicating that at this point there has not been a law given greater than these.

As our Lord was preparing His disciples for His departure He spoke to them concerning their relationship with one another. He began by stating,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34 NASU)

[A new commandment I give to you]

In what sense are we to understand that this was a new commandment? You shall love thy neighbor as yourself, was a positive precept of the law, and it is basically the same that Christ repeats here; how then was it new? The answer lies in the statement, “even as I have loved you.” Now Christ more than fulfilled the law; he not only loved his neighbor as himself, but he loved him more than himself, for he laid down his life for the salvation of all men who would believe upon Him. His was a self giving sacrificial love for the service of others. In this he calls upon the disciples to be like him; to be ready on all occasions to lay down their lives in the cause of salvation for others. This was, strictly, a new commandment; not intended to supersede or replace the old, but in addition to or to become a part of the old.

No system of morality ever prescribed anything as pure as this. In these four points there does not exist a greater moral system.

  1. You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark. 12:30).
  2. Love your enemies (Matt. 5:44).
  3. Love your neighbors as yourself (Mark 12:31).
  4. And dedicate your lives to the edifying and strengthening of others for their salvation (John 13:34).

There is no greater law than this.

Pastor Jake

The Believers Relation to the World

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18 NASU)

[If the world hates you,]

The usage of the word “world” here by our Lord encompasses all people outside of His calling; those who have hated and rejected Him. Thus the word “world” represents evil or sinfulness standing in opposition to Christ and His kingdom. This also included the religious who were in deception or rebellion. Christ disciples cannot expect the friendship of the world, but they cannot be deterred from their work by its hatred.

As the early Disciples of Christ were to be exposed to the hatred of the world so are those of today. Just as it was no small consolation to them to know that the hatred from the world would be only in proportion to their faith and holiness, so it should be with today’s disciples also; and that, consequently, instead of being troubled at the prospect of persecution, they should rejoice (James 1:2-4), because that should always be a proof to them that they are in the very path in which Jesus Himself had walked.

[you know that it has hated Me before it hated you]

As light penetrates darkness and exposes the filth that lies therein so did the Word of God in the person of Jesus Christ expose the sins of the world; and men love sin more than righteousness, thus they hated Him.

The word of God is the judgment of sin, thus those who are bearers of the truth are hated by those who lust for the things of the world. They accuse the righteous of being judgmental and self righteous because their sins are exposed by the truth that they live and speak. The way of the world is, if you don’t like the message then persecute or kill the messenger. This they did to the early prophets, to Jesus and His first Apostles, and it continues to be so today.

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” (John 15:19 NASU)

[If you were of the world, the world would love its own:]

Those who are of the world have fellowship with others who are of the world. If you are religious or not inclined to religion, and are like them, you are vain, earthly, sensual, given to pleasure, hording of wealth, given to vain ambition, they will not oppose you.

[because you are not of the world]

The disciples had been call of Jesus and through obedience to His teachings they had been set apart (sanctified) from the world, thus the world hated them in the same way that they hated Jesus. The same is true today. The elect of God are justified and sanctified and made the righteous of God through Christ Jesus, thus they are not like the world and the world hates them.

“Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:20 NASU)

[If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you:]

Here Jesus makes reference to the religious sects of that time who followed Him taking note to catch Him in violation of the Law that they might kill Him. Jesus tells His disciples that they will do the same to them. It is much the same today. There are those who exalt themselves as scholars and follow men of God not to learn from them but to dissect every thing they say. But there are those who are true disciples of Jesus that recognize His ministers and follow them to learn of them.

“But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.” (John 15:21 NASU)

[But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake,]

Again He is speaking of the religious Jews who would persecute His Apostles because they are continuing to preach the gospel in the name of Jesus.

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” (John 15:22 NASU)

[If I had not come and spoken to them,]

Jesus was sent of the Father to restore truth and righteousness in the earth. The Father performed many miracles through His Son before them to convince them that this was indeed His Son. His teachings were from the Father and He made every effort to convince them He was the Messiah, but they rejected Him. Thus they sinned and were without excuse.

“He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, 'THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE'.”(John 15:23-25 NASU)

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.” (John 15:26 NASU)

[When the Helper comes,]

Here Christ speaks of the Holy Spirit who is from the Father. He calls Him the Helper and the Spirit of Truth. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came according to the promise of our Lord, completing the divine order of the Church (Acts 2:1-4). The tree of life is the word of God in the person of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. This event marked the removal of the cherubim and the flaming sword from the guarding of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24) for all those who believe in the name of Jesus can now partake of it.

“and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning” (John 15:27).

Shortly after this, His last teaching, our Lord was arrested, mocked, spat upon, beaten and cruelly crucified by and on the behalf of sinners.

Glory is to His name, the name of Jesus. Amen

James C Sanford

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Love One Another

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NASU)

[This is My commandment, that you love one another]

This is the “new commandment” (John 13:34-35) that is to govern the relationship of the disciples of our Lord. We are to love each other with the love of Christ as He loved us with the love of the Father even to death on the cross.

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NASU)

[Greater love has no man than this,]

No higher expression of love can be given. Life is the most valuable object we possess; and when a man is willing to lie that down for his friends, it shows the utmost extent of love. When he considers the life of a friend greater than his own then he has loved with the love of Christ; there is no greater love. To lay down one’s life may not mean in death always, but that he consider the welfare of others above his own.

“You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14 NASU)

[If you do what I command you]

Friends love their Master and friend and obey Him from that love.

“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15 NASU)

[No longer do I call you slaves,]

A slave receives the command of his master without knowing the reason why it is ordered. It is one of the conditions of slavery not to be let into the counsels and plans of the master. It is the privilege of friendship to be made acquainted with the plans wishes, and wants of the friend. This instance of friendship Jesus had given to His disciples by making them acquainted with the reasons why He was about to leave them, and with His desires in regard to them. As He had given them this proof of friendship, it was proper that he should not withhold from them the title of friends.

Our friendship with Christ is evidenced by each revelation we receive of His word. It is His desire that His friends know all mysteries as they seek to know them from a heart of love.

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” (John 15:16 NASU)

[You did not choose me]

Our Lord had chosen these to be His Apostles; they did not choose Him to be their teacher but He chose and commissioned them that they bear much fruit and that their fruit remain.

We are God’s elect through Christ our Lord; chosen and called to serve and to bear the fruit of righteousness to the glory of the Father. Those who remain steadfast in their calling bear much fruit and their fruit remains. We have the Apostles as witnesses of this fact. They were steadfast in their faith even unto death and their fruit remains to this day as evidenced by their writings that we are privileged to study.

[so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.]

Our Lord has made covenant with His disciples as He did with His first disciples; and if we remain faithful to that covenant then whatever we ask of the Father in our Lord’s name our Father will give it to us.

We are reminded that, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19 NASU)

“This I command you, that you love one another” (John 15:17 NASU).

[that you love one another]

This is the third time our Lord speaks this command to us; this is, no doubt, to emphasize the importance of our obedience.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-3 NASU).


James C Sanford

A Tree and Its Fruit

“Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9 NASU).”

We observe in this scripture trees that God “caused to grow” and then we observe two trees that were “in the midst of the garden” as if they were not caused to grow there, but were present. Thus we see the latter as symbols, not literally trees. We see the “tree of life” as a symbol of the Word of God in the person of the Holy Spirit of God and the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” as Satan in the person of the Serpent. We also see the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” the Serpent, as carnality or “sin in the flesh.” The Tree of Life is the good tree that bears good fruit, the life giving, life sustaining word of God; and the tree of carnality, or sin in the flesh, is the bad tree that bears bad fruit, false doctrines that lead to death.

Looking again in the book of Genesis; this time in chapter 1, verse 12, we see a principle of reproduction.

“The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.”

The trees bear fruit with seed in them to produce another tree in its own likeness. In this principle we see the “Tree of Life” producing fruit of righteousness with the “good seed,” the Word of God, in it that will produce another tree bearing more fruit of righteousness. The same principle applies to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The fruit of this tree is unrighteousness and it has the “corrupt seed,” false teachings, in it to produce another tree in its likeness also bearing fruit of unrighteousness.

When Adam partook of the corrupt fruit from his wife, whose origin was the lips of the Serpent, the corrupt seed in the fruit sprang fort and he became like the serpent, sin in the flesh; a tree of carnality. All that are born of Adam are born into the corruptness of Adam and are sin in the flesh.

Here we see the principle, from corrupt seed spring forth a corrupt tree. Thus false prophets or teachers are the product of a corrupt seed or false teachings. By corrupt we mean of a useless character, or of a nature that produces nothing beneficial. Carnal minded false apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers are “sin in the flesh,” crafty serpents disguised by Satan himself as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15). They depend upon their own intellect or the intellect of others of their kind for understanding, thus they reap more corrupt seed. Therefore they can produce nothing more than corrupt fruit having within it more corrupt seed.

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:15-20 NASU).”

Jesus warns, “Beware of the false prophets.” By false prophets we are to understand, in the context that it is used here by our Lord, means teachers of erroneous or false doctrines, who come falsely and unjustly laying claims to divine inspiration. These false prophets or teachers are totally void of the Spirit of God, yet they are well trained in their religion. They “come to you in sheep’s clothing;” being well trained in religiosity they appear saintly, but being men of the sin nature of the flesh are “inwardly ravenous wolves.” They are deceived hirelings who come to do the biding of their father the devil, to “steal, kill and destroy.” Like the hypocrites before them they shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for they do not enter in themselves, nor do they allow those who are entering to go in (see Matt. 23:13). In their deception they unwittingly lead the way down the broad path of destruction. And like sheep being led to slaughter the unlearned and foolish follow after them (Hos. 4:6).

“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?”

Just as a thorn bush cannot produce grapes and a thistle cannot produce figs, neither can the carnal soul, sin in the flesh, produce the fruit of righteousness having within it the true Seed of God.

But false prophets are presented by their father the devil as being righteous through religious acts, such as, the way they dress, eloquent speech, ritualistic worship, long repetitious prayers in public places, false humility and etc. They are the “tares among the wheat (see Matt. 13:25-30)” and cannot be detected by their appearance. Thus a false prophet or teacher, the tare, is known only by his false teachings, not by his works.

In the book of Hebrews we read “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Heb. 5:14 NASU).”

A disciple of the word of God as taught by the Holy Spirit is obedient to what he is taught and because of such practice his senses are trained to discern good and evil. I once heard a parable that went something like this, “a young man was hired to detect counterfeit money. On his first day on the job for training his instructor place him in a room and gave him bills of money of each denomination. Upon looking at the money he had been given he said, this is all real money, I though you hired me to detect counterfeit money. The instructor replied, young man if you study the real thing long enough to learn it well you will be able to detect the counterfeit when you see it.” So it is with the word of God, if one will commit himself to the prayerful study of the Holy Scripture and then obey what he has learned he will be able to discern the false doctrines.

“But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one (1 Cor. 2:15 NASU).”

“So every good tree bears good fruit.” A “born again” person has received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). He has received the “Tree of Life” in the person of the Holy Spirit, thus he has living within him the Word of God; all truth is in him. The Holy Spirit feeds the hungry soul (1 John 2:27) of the “new creature” with the fruit of the “Tree of Life,” which is the Word of God, and he bears the good fruit of righteousness.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16 NASU).”

“but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” The bad tree is void of the Spirit of Truth, he is fleshly in spirit, body and soul and he is taught by his own carnal intellect, thus he bears bad fruit. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (1 Cor. 2:14 NASU).”

“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire;” “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds (2 Cor. 11:13-15 NASU).” False prophets sin against our Lord and sooner or later their sins will find them our (see Num. 32:23ff).

“So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Selah.

James C Sanford

A Lesson In Love

Recently I asked my wife to give me her understanding of divine love. Now my wife has a way of talking all around a question without ever answering. We call that “beating around the bush.” As she began beating around the bush she said, “well---uh, uhhhh, well uh--God sets the standard for love---uh, uh---so--.” Now she never did get around to answering the question I had asked, but she did make a very truthful statement---God has set the standard for love. A few days later I was teaching a group of men and women at the Ms. State Veterans Home in Collins, Ms. and I ask them to give their understanding of divine love. One gentleman, about 93 years young, spoke up and said, “love gives life to the soul like food gives life to the body.” This was another very good and truthful statement, but was still not an answer for the meaning of divine love to my satisfaction, so we opened our Holy Bibles to the book of John and began to study.

In the book of John, chapter 3, verses 1 through 21, Jesus is speaking with Nicodemus. In this conversation is recorded the heart of the greatest love story every told. We learn here of the “Law of the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:1) that is brought about through an act of God that is the greatest expression of love ever made toward man (John 3:15-16).

Nicodemus was a member of the Pharisees, a division of Judaism. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, a religious council made up of the Pharisees, Sadducees and other sects of that time. He was educated in both the Moral and Ceremonial Law and also, the writings of the Prophets and was steeped in the religious traditions of his forefathers and was also well known as a teacher.

Jesus was a man of low esteem among the religious socialites of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Isaiah prophesied of Him, “For He (Jesus) grew up before Him (God the Father) like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him (Isa. 53:2-3 NAS).”

Jesus Himself said, --"The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Matt. 8:20f NAS).”

He went about wearing sandals and a robe, carrying no books and phylacteries, yet teaching with authority and performing miracles of healing with demonstration of great power. His congregation was a people of low social status; such as the poor, the weak, the lame, the blind and the sick. In contrast Nicodemus was wealthy, educated, and as pertaining to politics, a powerful man---according to the flesh a descendant of Abraham---well respected by his people. Yet, this man, “a ruler of the Jews,” came to Jesus by night (John 3:1-2f).

We can only speculate as to why Nicodemus came to Jesus by cover of darkness, but one would think it was probably because he feared a negative reaction from the Pharisees and other members of the Sanhedrin should he happen to be seen with Jesus. This fear could have been motivated by a possible loss of his position as a teacher and his membership in the Sanhedrin or maybe even a loss of his life.

Nicodemus began speaking to Jesus saying, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him (John 3:2ff NAS).”

Nicodemus, being a scholar and teacher of the Law and the writings of the Prophets, should have known Jesus as the Messiah. The Holy Spirit indicates here in this passage that Nicodemus did not have a clue that Jesus was the One spoken of in the Law and the Prophets; he only had a knowledge that came from his intellectual reasoning derived from observing Christ teachings and miracles. The only thing that Nicodemus seem to have going for him was a desire to know more of Jesus. He must have felt that this man Jesus had something more than what he himself had.

Love is the supreme attribute of God and is the very core and nucleus of His glory. Love is also a state of being, a living life form---or as the Bible declares, "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16)-- the personification of perfect love. God is the fountain of love; from this fountain of love flows mercy, and from mercy, grace. His Son, the living Word of God, is the expression or out-flowing of love, mercy and grace from the Fountain (John 1:14).

Love speaks truth with mercy and grace and results in faith, trust and hope. Often we consider it hard to speak the truth to someone. Consider the position that Jesus was in when Nicodemus, a “ruler of the Jews,” came to Him. Jesus could have taken the human approach and hugged this man of high position and respect; kissed him on the cheek; patted him on the back and said to him, you are doing great; just keep up the good works. But would this have saved his soul? Of course not!! Only truth spoken from a heart of love leads to life for the soul.

True love always speaks the truth, for it is the truth that leads one to salvation and preserves the soul (Rom. 1:16). Jesus, a man of compassion, a man filled with love, mercy and grace, took the Godly approach and said to Nicodemus, I tell you the truth, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3NAS).”

The Greek adverb translated “again” can also mean "from the beginning" (suggesting a new creation) and "from above" (that is, from the Holy Spirit of God). In other words Jesus told Nicodemus that being of the generation of the flesh had him bound; Judaism, circumcision, obedience to the Law, his descent from the line of Abraham or any other religious act would not gain him entrance into the kingdom of God. Only as a person has a spiritual regeneration--a new birth from the Sprit--will he be able to see the kingdom of God. Jesus loved Nicodemus therefore he gave him TRUTH, a gift of saving knowledge.

“Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he {John 3:4NAS}?’”

Nicodemus was trying to reason these things that Jesus spoke by way of his intellect.

Jesus answered him saying, I tell you the truth, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5 NAS).’”

When man is born the first time, he is born of the flesh; or rather he is born into the sinful nature of Adam and knows not the love of God. When man is born a second time he is born of the word and Spirit of God into Christ Jesus; he becomes a “new creature.”

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6 NAS).”

He is now a “new creature,” and a spirit being who has experienced the love of God and he knows love for God is love (1 John 4:7-8).

"Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit (John 3:7-8 NAS)."

Jesus explains that being born of the Holy Spirit is a matter of hearing and believing the word of truth and not a matter of sight or a feeling; it is by faith (Rom. 10:17).

“Nicodemus answered and said to Him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things?’”

Again Jesus says to him, I tell you the truth, “we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things? And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man (John 3:9-13 NAS).”

First Jesus told Nicodemus that to see the kingdom of heaven he must be born again. Then He introduced Nicodemus to faith. Now He tells him no one else has ascended into heaven to bear witness of the truth, but He Himself, who was in heaven, has bore witness of the truth and has descended from heaven to bring that truth to man.

At this time Jesus points to an event that came upon the children of Israel during their journey in the wilderness that Nicodemus as a teacher and scholar should be familiar with.

“Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. And the people spoke against God and Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.’ And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.’ And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live (Num. 21:4-8NAS).’” Now Jesus makes the comparison, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life (John 3:14-15 NAS).”

Jesus is telling Nicodemus that the people are dieing because of sin, but if He is lifted up, that is crucified, as the people looked upon Him and believed, they would be healed of the “sting of death” and granted eternal life. Jesus declares Himself to be the unique Son of God who became the Son of Man so He could die in man’s place and be the sacrificial offering and the satisfaction to the Father that man’s sin debt had been paid. In this we see the “Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten {unique} Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16 NAS).”

Christ Jesus is the one “who, although He existed in the form of God (see John 1:1-2), did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men (see John 1:14f). And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-8 NAS).”

While on the cross “He {God the Father} made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21 NAS).”

On the cross Jesus suffered the status of being in the lowest of life forms, He became sin in the flesh. Because of this the curse and the wrath of the Father that was due sinful man was poured out upon Him in man’s stead. Also, because He had became sin, He was totally separated from His Father, thus He suffered death of His body, death of His spirit and death of His soul (see Isa. 53).

Afterwards, God, being satisfied that man’s sin debt had been paid, raised Him up and gave Him victory over death, hell and the grave; and seated Him at His right hand in heaven (see Eph. 1:18-23). And all who believe are made to be in Him the righteousness of God; thus they are seated with Him (see Eph. 2:6). Jesus is more than a hero!! He is our Lord and our Savior; He is the guardian of our souls. Oh what love!! Certainly He is the unique Son of God in the image of God, a personification of love. In this act of priceless and precious redemption we see that love is the ultimate expression of the high value and esteem that God has for the soul of man.

Why does God regard man with such high esteem? When God created man He created him in His own image. He gave of Himself to man and man became a living soul (see Gen. 2:7) as God is a living soul; man comes forth from God as His son, a person of love. He esteemed man as being equal to Himself and gave to man dominion and power (Heb. 2:6-8). He, being the Creator and Father, made a commitment of fellowship and service to His son. Although He is Almighty God He took the position of a Father in order that He might serve the needs of that which was born of Him. He has set the standard for love.

To meet God’s standard for love man must be born again,---born again of the word and the Spirit of love. He must be a “new creature,” a creature of love. He must have the same high esteem, appraisal or assessment of value, and the same willingness to take the position of service to his heavenly Father, and to the others of God’s creation (see Matt. 22:37-39). He must have the same attitude in him that was also in Christ (see Phil. 2:5 NAS). Such love surpasses man’s powers of intellectual understanding (Eph. 3:19) and is revealed and imparted to man only by the Holy Spirit of God (see Rom. 5:5NAS).

Now pertaining to judgment Jesus said, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him (John 3:17NAS).”

Jesus had told Nicodemus of God’s great love for man and what he must do to enter the kingdom of heaven. He has given Him the “Law of the Spirit of life” and all he has to do is believe, repent and obey the truth from a heart of love. He has shown His love toward mankind and extended mercy and grace to him. He has offered the gift of faith, He would even die in mans stead; what more could man ask of Him?

“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed (John 3:18-20NAS).”

Men of sin hate truth because truth exposes and judges them and their deeds as being evil. They are enjoying what they are doing and right or wrong they will continue doing it. They shut their ears and harden their hearts, reject the truth, hate and accuse the messenger that their conscience not be troubled.

“But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God (John 3:21 NAS).

He who hears the truth and obeys comes to Christ because all his deeds have been in obedience to God and his conscience does not condemn him (1 John 3:19-21 NAS).

The Apostle John writes in another passage, “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:6 NAS).”

He who knows God knows truth and he loves and listens to the one who speaks the truth. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation {satisfaction} for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:7-11 NAS).”

With the words concerning judgment the conversation with Nicodemus was ended, but we add this interesting observation concerning him. From the Scriptures one can say that Nicodemus was probably converted and became a disciple as a result of his visit with Jesus (John 7:50-51; 19:39).

The following cannot be confirmed by the Holy Scripture but is taken from Nelson’s Bible Dictionary. “Christian tradition has it that Nicodemus was baptized by Peter and John, suffered persecution from hostile Jews, lost his membership in the Sanhedrin, and was forced to leave Jerusalem because of his Christian faith. Further mention is made of him in The Gospel of Nicodemus, an apocryphal narrative of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.” (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary). (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

What does love mean to the believer? Love is the out-pouring of truth and mercy and gives grace in the time of need. Love grants repentance and forgiveness and brings faith and hope. From love flows eternal joy, peace and abundant life. He that is a partaker of God’s love is granted to share in Gods glory (John 17:22).

What is love’s attitude and conduct?

“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8f NAS);”

A religious life without love is just a noisy ritualistic pagan religion.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3 NAS).”

What did Jesus have that Nicodemus did not have; the love that is from God. How does one gain so great a love?? “YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN.”

“Pursue love (1 Cor. 14:1f NAS).”

“And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also (1 John 4:21 NAS).”

“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith (1 John 5:1-4 NAS).”

Our Lord has poured out upon us an everlasting and enduring love and He has drawn us with mercy, kindness and grace. He has given us victory over sin by faith working through love. He descended into the earth to bring us grace and truth that we may be saved from sin. From a heart of love He went to the cross and gave His life for the cause of truth. He has ascended into heaven to assure our victory over death. He has given us the Spirit of truth and He has built the Church upon the foundation of truth, it is a pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15NAS). Therefore let us esteem, honor and worship Him by speaking the truth in love that we may be pleasing to Him (Eph. 4:15f NAS).

James C Sanford

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A New Commandment

Some Sadducees had been asking Jesus questions and debating with Him.
28One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?"
29“Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one:
30and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength (Jesus here is quoting from Deut. 6:4).
31The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (and this quote is from Lev. 19:18). There is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:28-31 NASU).”

In answering the Scribe’s question Jesus begins by quoting the Law of Love; thus indicating that this was the foremost of all laws. He ended His quote by stating there is no other “greater than these;” thus indicating that at this point there has not been a law given greater than these.

As our Lord was preparing His disciples for His departure He spoke to them concerning their relationship with one another. He began by stating,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another (John 13:34 NASU).”
[A new commandment I give to you] In what sense are we to understand that this was a new commandment? You shall love thy neighbor as yourself, was a positive precept of the law, and it is basically the same that Christ repeats here; how then was it new? The answer lies in the statement, “even as I have loved you.”

Now Christ more than fulfilled the law; he not only loved his neighbor as himself, but he loved him more than himself, for he laid down his life for the salvation of all men who would believe upon Him. His was a self giving sacrificial love for the service of others. In this he calls upon the disciples to be like him; to be ready on all occasions to lay down their lives in the cause of salvation for others. This was, strictly, a new commandment; not intended to supersede or replace the old, but in addition to or to become a part of the old.

No system of morality ever prescribed anything as pure as this. In these four points there does not exist a greater moral system.

  1. You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark. 12:30).

  2. Love your enemies (Matt. 5:44).

  3. Love your neighbors as yourself (Mark 12:31).

  4. And dedicate your lives to the edifying and strengthening of others for their salvation (John 13:34).

There is no greater law than this.

War on Children

At least two cased in the past two months of parents who killed their children by hanging before committing suicide. A trend? We hope not!

In April, The Baltimore Sun reported on a man who took his one-year-old and two-year-old into the woods and killed them by hanging before committing suicide by hanging.

Today, Reuters reported that a mother hanged her four children (ages 5, 3, 2 and 8-months) with strips of fabric before taking her own life. Fortunately, the 8-month-old survived.

There is not just a war on drugs and a war on terror... but satan has declared war on your children! Pray Psalm 91 over your children... and the children of this world!

A Little-Known Side-Affect of the Iraq War

According to The New York Times, one little-known side-effect of the war in Iraq is a boom in the dark underworld of prostitution in Syria. In establishments like the one pictured above, Iraqi women displaced by the war... afraid to return home because they could be slaughtered by Al-Qaeda... and with no male to support them financially... women are being forced to sell their bodies in order to survive. One Iraqi mother had to deal with the shame of prostituting her 16-year-old daughter so that they could have the basic bare necessities of life.

Women who came from a proud tradition, who were chaste in their dress and deportment, who wore the hijab as a sign of their modesty and morality, are now forced to display their naked bodies to drunken leering men who pay them mere pennies so that they can avoid starving to death on the streets.

Fortunately, there are Christian women in Syria who are ministering to these women and attempting to help them. Let us pray for those who are serving Christ in the Middle East, and that out of this terrible tragedy the Light may shine and that men and women may see and be saved.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

We were trying to think of some profound words to share about Memorial Day when, in our inbox, arrived a devotional from Pastor Mike Macintosh of Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego, CA. We found his words fitting for the holiday and hope he doesn’t mind us sharing them with you.

Incidentally, Pastor Mike will be having surgery tomorrow to correct chronic back pain. Please lift him up in prayer.

Memorial Day is so much more than just a three-day weekend that marks the beginning of summer. For many Americans, unfortunately, this is a “long weekend” to simply take the boat out, go camping, relax and have friends over for a barbeque. To others, it is a legitimate excuse to drink all the beer they can, and lull around in an easy chair.

On the other hand, for many people, especially the nation's thousands of combat veterans and military personnel, this day is a solemn day; a day which has a history in the United States stretching back to the Civil War, and is an important reminder for every free citizen of those who died in the service of their country.

President Franklin Roosevelt said, “Eleanor and I hate war.” We can all say, “Amen” to that, can’t we? Why does it seem that war is actually glorified? It would be interesting for someone to take a 365-day calendar and poll the 500 television stations available in the USA, along with the internet and motion pictures, and list the number of movies, documentaries, photo galleries, and books having to do with past and present wars. Not even to mention the future wars or star wars currently on the “drawing boards.”

Today, may we bow our heads before Almighty God and first thank Him for this wonderful country we live in? Thank Him for the brave men and women who have given their lives for the freedoms that we take for granted this day. Thank God for the parents, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives who have lost loved ones in one of these ugly wars. Today, we honor the memories of those who fought from Valley Forge to Gettysburg, from Iwo Jima to Berlin. We ask God’s forgiveness for our sins as a nation; sins so horrendous that we would have to take and give human life to protect a way of life.

Today we humbly ask the forgiveness of God for our nation turning our backs to Him and going about lifestyles that nailed His Son to the Cross. May God love us, help us, and protect us in the name of Jesus.

The final battle of mankind is drawing closer each day -- “that great and terrible day,” the prophet Joel called it:

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

- Joel 2:28-32 (KJV)
This is a wonderful thought that wars will end, lives will go on, and hope for eternity reigns through the finished work of the Cross.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pray for Pastor Mike Macintosh

Pastor Mike Macintosh announced during this morning’s worship service that he will be having surgery this coming week.

As he goes in to have a long-term back condition dealt with on Tuesday, be sure to lift him up in prayer for a successful operation and a speedy recovery.

Two New Audio Teaching Resources

The Powerhouse Ministry has released two new audio teaching resources.

“The Fast” looks at fasting from the perspective that it is not simply spiritual weight loss. In fact, it could be more important to keep things from coming out of your mouth than to keep things from going in.

“Power” explores Lord’s promise of power and authority over all the works of satan. We take a peek at the Biblical Greek to understand exactly what this power and authority is all about.

The Lord gives us POWER AND AUTHORITY over satan and all his powers of darkness. Jesus promises that nothing shall by any means hurt us. This teaching explores the power and authority that Jesus gives us over all of the work of satan, our enemy.

satan should not be on your track, trying to hold you back. The devil should be under your feet! Listen to this powerful teaching to understand how to excersize God's power in your life today!

Click Here for more details and to hear sample tracks...

The Fast

Fasting is not just about what goes in your mouth... Fasting also has to do with what comes out of your mouth! Fasting is not the most popular subject because people don't like to miss meals. But the key to fasting is not necessarily turning down your plate.

In some instances, the fast may mean turning down a shopping trip... or even turning down the opportunity to open your mouth and speak. When the Jews confess their sins during Yom Kippur, over 25% of the sins confessed have to do with the tongue. If you want to learn about the acceptable fast that the Lord desires, then you need to hear this powerful teaching.

Click Here for more details and to hear sample tracks...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Faith in God in Free Will...

My strength of love flows into every human heart when it opens itself to receive it. And My strength of love causes the spark of love to ignite itself and the flame to leap towards Me, the Father-Spirit of eternity. And thus the path to Me is unimpeded, it was started purely by the will to be illuminated by Me and My love, in other words, anyone with a positive attitude towards Me, anyone who believes in Me and wants to stay in contact with Me, will also receive My divine strength of love. And then he will advance in his development, for this is the effect of My strength. Hence the human being first has to believe in a God and Creator and recognise himself as My living creation, for only then will his desire awaken to enter into contact with Me, and then he will open himself to Me, thus willingly allowing himself to be illuminated by My strength of love, for only this willingness is required for it to happen. But it is difficult for a person to be affected by this ray of love if he does not believe in Me, if he merely regards himself to be a product of nature and therefore never establishes a bond either, because he refuses to acknowledge a Being Which has created him.

An extraordinary occurrence could certainly allow him to gain faith in Me, yet he may never be compellingly influenced or his faith would be worthless. And all proof of My existence is compelling. Even My Word would be compelling evidence were I to speak to people directly from above, so that everyone would have to hear My voice and believe in Me…. Such faith, however, is of no value.... Yet My Word is conveyed to humanity all the same, I merely avail Myself of a human form and speak through it directly…. but I leave each person the freedom to believe or disbelief whether these Words are spoken by a supremely perfect Being…. Free will is always decisive, and faith can never be forcibly attained. And even if I Myself revealed the most profound wisdom to people it would nevertheless not suffice to persuade a person into believing in Me if he doesn’t want to….

Alternatively, however, it is enough to give evidence of Myself to a person.... The human being can gain such convinced faith through My Word that no power of hell can take it away from him. For My Word is an illumination of love which can touch the human heart, which can trigger the love that grants him radiant enlightenment…. And then love will be pushing towards love.... Then a light will be kindled within the heart, the radiance of which dissolves all that is dark, which completely drives away the darkness…. which bestows a living faith upon a person, which is unshakable and withstands every onslaught that time and again is launched by hostile forces…. And thus it will always be up to the human being himself as to whether he allows himself to be touched by My ray of love, for he has to open himself voluntarily…. he has to want to enter into contact with Me as his God and Creator; he has to believe that he has emerged from the hand of a perfect Being and that he cannot sever the connection with this Being…. Then he will acknowledge Me, and only then will he look for Me and I will let Myself be found…. Amen

Friday, May 25, 2007

Abiding In His Love

In English we have one word for the concept of “love.”

However, in the Greek language (the original language that the New Testament of the Bible was written in), there are a number of words used for “love.” Each one of these words has a more specific meaning and understanding. Three of the more common Greek words are eros, philos and agape.


Eros is related to the English word “erotic.” This is sexual love. This is perhaps the most popular use of the word “love” in today’s society.


Philos is related to the English word “Philadelphia” (the City of Brotherly Love). This denotes affection, a strong personal attraction and attachment, such in a kindred ship. It also may signify “liking.” This is another popular use of the word “love.”


This is the highest form of love. It is God’s love and denotes a love primarily of the will rather than the emotions; such is divine love: a Godly love: a love that is from the will (John 3:16) and nature of God (1st John 4:8, 16). Agape indicates a love that “looks beyond one’s faults and sees his needs.”

Agape is unconditional love. You don’t have to feel an attraction for a person to have agape for them. You don’t have to even like that person to have agape for them. They can be despicable… horrible… your worst enemy that caused you great loss and harm. Still, you can have agape for them. Why? Because while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, the ungodly.

Agape love, without a doubt, is the most misunderstood in today’s society. It is probably best understood as seeking and desiring to do all in the best interest of others, or, in the case of our Lord’s disciples, esteeming God and others best interest even above their own; it is a self-giving sacrificial type love.


  1. Love is compassionate

    “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1st Corinthians. 13:4-7 NASU).”
  2. Love also has mercy and grace

    4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (Ephesians. 2:4-5 NAS).

Without this kind of love there would be nothing desirable in life.

In the Scripture, when God commands His people to love, in the Greek, only the word agape is used.

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My
love.” (John 15:9 NASU)

[abide in My love]

When Jesus commanded His disciples to abide in His love– what did He mean?

Degenerate man is vile, base, mean and evil; there is nothing in him that would cause our Lord to love and desire to have fellowship with him. But He looks beyond those faults and sees a loving relationship with the regenerate man and wills to love him (Rom. 5:8) and save his soul from everlasting destruction.

Remain steadfast in my love; for apart from my love you cannot love as I have loved. Man, in and of himself, is not able to love his fellowman as Christ has loved man. It is only when man summits his will to Christ that he is adequately equipped to love with the proper love. Thus it is not of his own will that he loves, neither by his own love, but by the will and love of Christ. Thus he is abiding in perfect harmony with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My
Father's commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:10 NASU)

[If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love;]

Again, it is by submission to the will of Christ, obedience to His commandment, that we remain steadfast in His love.

[just as I have kept My Father’s Commandments and abide in His love.]

Our Lord was submissive to the will of the Father even to a sacrificial death on the cross, thus He remained steadfast in the love of the Father.

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that
your joy may be made full (John 15:11 NASU).”

[so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full]

There is no joy in struggling from within one’s self to love the unlovable; it usually ends in heartbreak. It is only when we can see man through the love of Christ that his needs become greater than our sufferings and the cause of Christ greater than our on.

Therefore “------let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb. 12:1ff-3 NASU)

James C Sanford

Thursday, May 24, 2007

They Removed God from Schools

Certain people in the United States have worked hard to remove God from school systems, and we wonder why our schools are no longer safe. Columbine and Virginia Tech were just tips of a much larger iceberg now that children are being raised without a personal knowledge of their Creator.

There was a time when children were sent to school knowing that they would be watched over carefully by school personnel. There was even a time when misbehavior was punished by school officials. Today, we have children beating teachers and other students... creating videos of their outrageous behavior and posting them to YouTube, MySpace and Facebook.

Society has made school officials powerless to stop this behavior (touching a child could result in a lawsuit or worse, and in many cases even parents are prevented by law from providing discipline that the Bible says children need.

There was a time when school children began each day with prayer and scripture reading. There was a time when school children pledged allegiance to our country’s flag.

As Bob Dylan predicted, the times have changed. Children who attend school in the 21st Century need prayers of protection more than ever before.

(Pray Psalm 91 for your children’s protection.)

Let us unite in prayer for our school systems asking God for godly teachers, school counselors, coaches, and principles.

Enjoy your children and nurture them, build them up according to the purpose and plan of God.

It is your responsibility to pray for your children, ask God for wisdom and train your child/children in the way he is to go.

Holy Spirit, help me pray effectively for our children at school. Father, I ask
you to protect our children who attend school pursuing their education and
training. In the name of Jesus, I bind their steps to paths of righteousness
knowing that You are effectually at work in them, creating in them the power and
desire to please You. They are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath.
I pray that they will find favor, good understanding and high esteem in the
sight of God, their teachers and classmates.
In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Your Worst Enemy


Your words, your dreams, and your thoughts have power to create conditions in your life.

(Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life are in the power ofThe tongue, And those Who love it will eat its fruit.)

What you speak about, you can bring about.

If you keep saying you can't stand your job, you might lose your job.

If you keep saying you can't stand your body, your body can become sick.

If you keep saying you can't stand your car, your car could be stolen or just stop operating.

If you keep saying you're broke, guess what? You'll always be broke.

If you keep saying you can't trust a man or trust a woman, you will always find someone in your life to hurt and betray you.

If you keep saying you can't find a job, you will remain unemployed.

If you keep saying you can't find someone to love you or believe in you, your very thought will attract more experiences to confirm your beliefs.

If you keep talking about a divorce or break up in a relationship, then you might end up with it.

Turn your thoughts and conversations around to be more positive and power packed with faith, hope, love and action.

Don't be afraid to believe that you can have what you want and deserve.

Watch your Thoughts - they become words.

Watch your words - they become actions.

Watch your actions - they become habits.

Watch your Habits - they become character.

Watch your Character - for it becomes your Destiny.

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settle for. (Yes! I like that!)

Thought I would share this with you.

"In the search for me, I discovered truth.
In the search for truth, I discovered love.
In the search for love, I discovered GOD.
And in God, I have found Everything.

Be Blessed

Watch how your circumstances and situations begin to change when you change the way you speak.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

George Michael Praises Benefits of Marijuana

We were amused at the news today that pop star George Michael admits to being addicted to prescription drugs. Michael was quoted on a British talk show that he believes that the world would be a better place if everyone smoked marijuana.

Perhaps George needs to read Ephesians 5:18

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.

Smoking marijuana may give you a high... but it is temporary, and you will need to pay some dealer for it.

The Holy Spirit will give you more than a high... He will abide with you forever and you don’t have to pay.

Smoking marijuana will damage your lungs and impairs your judgment. The Holy Spirit will heal your diseases and will give you wisdom and understanding.

Let’s pray for George and others who seek their fulfillment from dead weeds and not from the Living God.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Roaring Lion

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

1st Peter 5:8 AMP

Peter advises us to be sober and vigilant, because the enemy (satan) is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour... just like that cat, seeking a pigeon to bully and intimidate.

I watched a video where this mean looking scrawny white cat persecuting this poor little pigeon. The pigeon is just minding his business when the cat shows up and does everything he can to make the poor bird miserable. It is only when someone comes in the yard and chases the cat away that the pigeon is safe.

This video so reminds me of our Christian walk. We are out doing our thing when, “WHAM,” the devil shows up and smacks us like the cat smacking that poor little pigeon with his paw. We try to get away but satan just sets up traps for us and continues to chase us until someone comes to chase him away.

Aren’t you glad that James writes that we can submit ourselves to God, and then resist the devil -- and satan will flee from you. While persecutions are promised to those of us who love God and are committed to live lives that give Him glory, we are also promised victory. We can overcome satan by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.

As a Christian, you can plead the blood of Jesus... and the word of our testimony is the word of God. Allow the word of God to dwell richly in you. Keep your eyes on Jesus. And, when the enemy comes to pounce on you, you can defeat him by the Blood of Jesus and by the word of your testimony.

1 Peter 5:8 tells us that satan is looking for someone to devour.

Obviously, not everyone can be devoured. If just anyone could be devoured, satan wouldn't have to spend time looking. For instance, not every woman is available. You have to look for one who is available. If she doesn't have a wedding band or engagement ring... if she doesn't run like the building is on fire when you walk into the room... then maybe. But you have to seek for one who is available.

Don't open doors for the devil. The devil is seeking for any crack he can crawl through in your life. It takes more work to be an eagle than a pigeon. The more of God's anointing in your life, the narrower your path must become. You may get by with things in 2006 that you can't in 2007. God works with us progressively and incrementally. He requires us to make progress in our walk with Him.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

John 10:10
You have an enemy. Sometimes our enemy knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows how to steal our peace... what buttons to push... and we need to watch ourselves and pray for strength over those areas that upset us.

As a believer, you have power and authority... but you must exercise it. Don't be passive about it. Walk in that authority. Let the devil know that you know that you have authority.

Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.

Luke 10:19
You have authority. You have power. But if the devil is walking all over you, perhaps you are letting him.

Are you a Sunday morning saint but a Monday morning sinner?

Are you a Sunday morning warrior but a Monday morning whiner?

Being a victorious powerful stomp-on-the-devil Christian is a full-time job. You must love the word. You must live in the word. You must study and pray and say no to things that take time away from God. If you want God's promises, you can have them because they are for whosoever will... but it takes something. It takes the amount of time you put into your relationship with God.

What causes divorce? A lot of things -- but one big thing is a lack of communication. Two people who lose that intimacy grow apart until eventually they have nothing common to keep them together. You can fall away from your first love in Jesus and that is a DANGEROUS position to be in.

We are all given the same amount of time... 24 hours each day. If you use it to get close to God, you will grow. If you waste it...

How do we open doors for the devil to come in and persecute us?

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].

Ephesians 4:26-27
It is not a sin to get angry about something. It is sin to try and vindicate yourself and act on that anger. God is our vindicator. Don't go to bed mad... minister to that person by sowing a seed of forgiveness.

Yes, we have authority over the devil... but we can't yield to the devil one minute and then take authority over him the next. We have to do what the word of God says to keep the door closed to the devil and have victory in our lives. Don't think you can give in to the devil on Monday and act like the devil on Tuesday and then, on Wednesday, try to take authority over him. The Bible doesn't tell us to resist our circumstances. We are to resist the devil. Just resist acting like the devil DURING the circumstance. What should we do in hard times? Remain stable whether you are abased or abounding.

Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be [a] content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [b]infuses inner strength into me; I am [c]self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].

Philippians 4:11-13
Learn to endure everything that comes your way with a good temper.

If you forgive anyone anything, I too forgive that one; and what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sakes in the presence [and with the approval] of Christ (the Messiah), To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions.

2nd Corinthians 2:10-11
A good reason to forgive people is to keep satan from taking advantage over you. When people are constantly getting up in your grill, doing stupid things that just ticks you off, realize that it is not them you need to be mad with, it is satan. The devil makes people trip... so that he can try and make you trip. But when you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, you can have victory over the devil.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

Philippians 1:6
If you are a Christian, God saved you and filled you with the Holy Spirit. He gives you all of the weapons that you need to win your battle against the devil.

For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)

2nd Corinthians 10:3-5
We have powerful weapons in the spirit that will help us to win the battle. Put them to work to achieve victory in your life! For additional help, check out the following resources by clicking the links below (they are 100% free of charge):

Friday, May 18, 2007

Abiding in the Vine

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me (John 15:4 NASU).”

[Abide in Me, and I in you]

Abide: To stand fast; remain; go on being (Webster). In the context in which it is used here: To stand fast in love and faith toward Christ; to remain united with Christ without intermission; go on or continue being faithful to Him. Thus Jesus is saying, if you remain in Me, I will remain with you, and will teach, guide, and comfort you. This He proceeds to illustrate by a reference to the vine. If the branch should be cut off an instant, it would die and be fruitless. As long as the branch is attached to the vine the parent stock imparts its juices, and furnishes a constant circulation of sap continuing the growth and fruitfulness of the branch. Thus if a disciple should be separated from Christ, or if he should lax his union to Him and dependence on Him, first the fruit withers and the branch droops and soon dies. While the disciples are united to Him by a living faith, from the nature of the case, strength flows from Him to His disciples, and they receive help as they need. Devotion then is manifested in good works, in love, and self-denial and is as natural, as easy, as unconstrained and as lovely as the vine covered with fruitful branches and is at once enticing and useful.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5 NASU).”

[he bears much fruit]

This verse is just stating the positive effect of abiding in Christ whereas the previous verse was stating the negative effect of not abiding in Him. In the last clause He re-emphasizes the negative effect thus leading into His next statement.

“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned (John 15:6 NASU).”

[he is thrown away as a branch and dries up]

Here we re-visit verse 2 [He takes away] Two very controversial statements among Christians. I was reared in a Southern Baptist Church and was taught “once saved always saved.” Their doctrine is based upon the following Scripture,

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand (John 10:27-29 NASU).”

[My sheep hear My voice,]

To hear His voice is to be led by the Spirit. And those who are led by the Spirit are obviously not led into sin. These are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14).

[and they follow Me]

It seems to be that “follow Me” would mean the same as “abide in Me.” These bear the fruit of righteousness and to these He gives eternal life. A willful sinner is not in right standing with God thus he does not and can not bear the fruit of righteousness.

When I was called into the ministry my Lord pointed out a verse of Scripture to me, which stated,

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6 NASU).”

He impressed upon me that I should teach His people His truths that they may be delivered from destruction. This I vowed to do. Now I believe in the eternal security of the believer, if the one who says he believes is “abiding in” or “following” Christ. But I do not believe that going to church ever Saturday (for those who go on the “Sabbath”) or every Sunday (for those who go on the “Lord’s Day”) or just every now and then and living in sin the balance of ones time is following our Lord or “abiding in the vine.” Thus I share the following truths with you that you might not be “destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

As the vine-dresser will remove every unfruitful branch from the vine, so will the Father remove every unfruitful member from the Body of Christ; the rebellious or stubborn, and all false and merely nominal Christians who are attached to the Christ by faith in the word and His divine mission, while they do not live in His life and Spirit, and do not bring forth any fruit to the glory of God. And also every disciple which has been in Him by true faith (Heb. 6:4-6) but have returned to or have continued to willfully sin, and in so doing, “has trampled under foot the Son of God and treated as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified and has insulted the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29 NAS):” all these “He takes away.”

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7 NASU).”

[If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,]

If you remain steadfast in Me through love and faith, and My doctrines and commandments abide in you through devotions and obedience, without intermission, then ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Our Lord requires of His disciples faithfulness from a heart of love.

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples (John 15:8 NASU).”

[that you bear much fruit,]

Jesus bore the fruit of righteousness, thus He glorified His Father. If His disciples bear the same fruit and glorify the Father as He did then they are “abiding in the vine” and are known as His disciples.

Pastor Jake