Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mission Impossible

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.” (Hebrews 11:4 NASU)

Now faith is hearing, believing and obeying God. Knowing God is a just God we must believe that He gave both Cain and Able instructions concerning the sacrifice. Able followed God’s instructions and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Rather than following God’s instructions Cain devised his own plan---he did what he wanted to do and totally failed in his efforts to please God.

“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Hebrews 11:7 NASU)

Noah was warned of a devastating flood that was to come upon the wicked and then was given instructions to build an ark; Noah heard God, believed Him, and built the ark according to God’s instructions. Thus he “became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith;” he was pleasing to God.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8 NASU).”

Abraham was called and given instructions; he heard, believed and obeyed, thus it was reckoned unto him as righteousness; he was pleasing to God.

Before ascending into heaven Jesus commanded His disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5). And then He added,

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even in the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NAS)

The disciples followed His instructions and did as He had commanded. They waited in prayer and one accord; not knowing when the Holy Spirit would come but never doubting that He would.Ten days later, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came anointing all who had been faithfully waiting for Him (Acts 2).

Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit the apostles began to speak with great power and authority. As the people heard the anointed preaching they became convicted of their sins and cried out,

“Brethren; What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

With these instructions,

“Peter said to them, Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NASU)

Three thousand heard the message, followed the Spirits instructions and by “grace through faith” they were added to the church that day.

Throughout the Book of Acts we read accounts of the Holy Spirit giving instruction to our Lord’s Apostles; they followed these instructions with great success.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 1l:6 NASU)

To take a “leap of faith” without instructions from God is to take on a mission impossible. One may meet with some success or even great success in the eyes of men and self but he cannot be pleasing to God.To please God one must receive the gift of faith.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NASU)

The word of God quickens the spiritual ear and causes the soul of man to hear His instructions. When the hearer believes these instructions and acts upon them he has received the gift of faith; thus he is pleasing to God.

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14 NASU)

And there are those who take off on their own without instructions from God (take a “leap of faith); or like Cain, have instruction but do not follow them but do their own thing. These are on a mission impossible.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS’” (Matt. 7:21-23 NASU).

Our heavenly Father tells us to seek Him and He will reward our efforts with instructions for living a life pleasing to Him (Hebrews 11:6).

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NASU)

James C Sanford

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