daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 03 October 2009 10:32
2 Corinthians 13:5 - Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.
Test yourself: do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? If not,
then you are counterfeit!

A living faith has a living Jesus in it. A living faith is a faith that
sees and knows with certainty. A living faith interacts in a very
personal way with the living Savior, Christ Jesus. Do you realize that
Jesus Christ is in you? The faith which is in Christ Jesus brought forth
a Christ Jesus in us, whom we confess and abide in. When the Spirit of
God came upon us, we received more than just a change of heart and
spirit; we were given a new heart and a new spirit. Thus we boldly
proclaim that we have been born of God - who formed His son Christ Jesus
in us (Galatians 4:19; 1 John 3:24). We therefore have both experienced
and acknowledged that Christ Jesus lives in us! The miracle power of
faith has brought forth the very life of Christ Jesus into our beings
(Colossians 1:27; John 17:23; Romans 8:11; Romans 10:8; Romans 13:14; 2
Corinthians 5:14-15; 2 Corinthians 10:7; 2 Corinthians 13:3; 1
Corinthians 6:15; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 3:17;
Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:4;16; 1 Corinthians 4:17;
2 Corinthians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 2:17; Galatians 4:19). The faith of
God brought forth the life, nature, and acts of Jesus into our lives.

It would have been difficult for Paul to use a more harsh word for those
who failed the test. To say that one is counterfeit, or reprobate, means
that they are both undiscerning and unfit. This word is used of those
who have either rejected God or have been rejected by God (Titus 1:16;
Romans 1:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5-7; 2 Timothy 3:8; 1 Corinthians 9:27).
Such a one has failed to realize, much less confess, that Christ Jesus
is in them. Certainly Paul did not believe that they would fail the
test; but they indeed needed to be sobered up, because they were
drifting upon a sea of jeopardy.

If we are going to receive the benefits of faith, then we must believe
the word of God! It is essential that we acknowledge the truth and the
glorious mystery of God: that Christ is indeed living in us; for this is
living in the living Savior (Colossians 2:2; Colossians 1:27; 1
Thessalonians 5:10; John 15:1-5)! In Chapter 11, Paul had warned that
there were those who were preaching another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4).
However, the Jesus that Paul preached was one who had both risen from
the dead, and was dwelling in the life of those who had received the
miracle of salvation. There is no faith without Jesus; for He is the
author and finisher of it!
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 01 October 2009 12:05
James 2:22 - You see that faith worked with his works; and by the works,
faith was completed.

James reveals in his message about faith that faith is the vital
co-laborer with works. Using the same example that Paul did in Romans
4:2-4, he reveals how that although a man is saved by faith, faith is
the vital force of the divine power of God that is active to accomplish
the works of obedience. The works of faith are seen in Abraham when he
offered up Isaac. In obedience to the command of God, Abraham went to
the place of sacrifice without hesitation. When he arrived at the place
that he was commanded, he demonstrated faith in his confession; telling
his servants that he and Isaac would go and worship, and return again
unto them. When Isaac asked his father where the lamb was for a
sacrifice, once again the power of faith that raises the dead was
expressed through Abraham when he said, "The Lord will provide himself a
lamb" (Genesis 22:5-8; Hebrews 11:19). James makes it clear that faith
always has with it an outworking, an accompanying partner called works.
Faith always produces an action; otherwise it is dead (James 2:17,20;
James 2:26).

Faith is the vital force of the Spirit of God behind the deeds of
obedience. Whereas Paul was addressing the uselessness of the works of
the law, James reveals the essential reality of the works of faith. The
works of the law depend upon human ability, but the works of faith come
only by the Holy Spirit. When faith comes by hearing the word, it
produces an action by the Spirit - that goes beyond the works of the
law, or the works of human ability (Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:5). If
there is not an accompanying action, then the faith is not activated
(Matthew 14:28-29). When the outworking of faith is accomplished by the
action, then at that moment faith is complete.

Faith is the power of God given to every man to do something. If the
action of faith (that is dictated by the word of God) is not followed
through on, then the empowerment of faith is meaningless; and the hearer
is disobedient. In that faith always comes as a consequence of the word
of God, it is either utilized as the ability to fulfill God's will - or
it becomes ineffective through disobedience (Hebrews 4:2; James
2:17-26). The kind of faith, therefore, that makes one righteous is
accompanied by obedience to the word of God. As the works of the flesh
are done by unsaved people who walk in the things of the old nature, and
the works of the law done by those who trust in their own ability; the
works of faith are done by those who have received the life of God, and
walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:19; Galatians 3:21; Romans 8:9). There
is a power active in everyone who has been born of the Spirit; and that
power is faith (Romans 10:8; Romans 12:3-6). If we are willing to step
out in obedience, then nothing will be impossible for those who move in
faith. Let faith be at work in your actions today!
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Thursday, 01 October 2009 11:29
James 2:26 - Just as the body is dead without the spirit, even so faith
without action is dead.

Faith is the miracle-working power of God that lives on the inside of
us, because Jesus lives on the inside of us. The word of God that
produces faith was incarnated into flesh, and the actions of faith were
demonstrated for the whole world to see. That same Jesus now lives in
us, and from Him continues to flow the mighty deeds of faith and power
(2 Corinthians 13:5; Colossians 1:27; John 17:23; 1 John 4:13).

James helps us to understand that there is a living faith, and there is
a dead faith. A living faith has action. A living faith participates in
the things that the word of God describes. The word of God cannot help
but produce faith in those who will hear (Romans 10:8,17; Galatians 3:3;
1 Thessalonians 2:13). Those who will hear the word of faith will have a
corresponding action. There will be a divine power and ability supplied
by the Spirit of God to do those things that the word of God demands.
However, if we are unwilling to come under the control and domination of
the Holy Spirit, then faith will have no action at all; and the word
will not be revealed in our lives. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to
reveal Jesus (John 16:14; John 15:26; Galatians 1:16). Even as the Holy
Spirit was responsible for revealing the incarnate Word with mighty
signs and wonders - He reveals the life of the word, Christ Jesus, in us
today (Acts 10:38; John 3:34; Luke 4:18; Acts 2:22; Matthew 12:28;
Galatians 3:5). The Holy Spirit does this through the actions of faith.
The actions of faith are the word made manifest in our lives.

Faith that does not produce an action is a corpse; even as the body
without the spirit is a corpse. A corpse is nothing more than a rotting,
decaying body that is returning to its dust. The word of God that does
not produce an action is the word that is not obeyed. When the word of
God goes forth, the Holy Spirit stands ready to produce the miracle of
obedience in all those who will act (Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26; 1 Peter
1:2). The gift of God has provided the measure of faith that is needed
to do all that God has commanded. As soon as the word is heard, faith
comes; but the faith that comes must be yielded to - if the actions of
the word are to be revealed. The Holy Spirit stands ready to supply all
the faith that is needed to do all that God has commanded, so that the
life and nature of Jesus may be revealed in our lives today (Galatians
5:22; 2 Corinthians 4:13).
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 11:27
James 2:17 - And so faith without works is dead, being by itself.

How many people have dead faith? In other words - their faith just does
not work? Each person must realize that faith is inseparably linked to
the word of God. Faith has its starting point and its beginning in the
word of God. It is established, and then grows into all the
glory-producing power that is contained within it. The word of God
describes the blessings that we are to have in our life; and it is faith
that lays hold of those blessings. The word of God describes the actions
that must be taken; and it is faith that moves forward in those actions.
Without those actions or works, then faith is dead. If the word of God
does not move us to do something, then we are only hearers of the word;
as such Jesus said we are not right with God (Matthew 7:21,24; Matthew
7:26; Luke 6:47,49). The word of God, that is living and powerful,
empowers us to do extraordinary things. Like Peter, we must be willing
to step out and begin to walk in the realm of impossibility when we hear
the word of God (Matthew 14:28).

We must be careful that we obey God, and do the first things first. How
can a person who is not willing to find the power to obey God in their
conduct ever expect that they will find the power to walk on water? If
we are not going to be faithful in the basic things related to our
relationship with Jesus, then how do we expect to be entrusted by Him to
do greater things? We must recognize that Jesus Christ is in us, and
that He is the fountainhead of all faith. Paul says for us to test
ourselves, to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). The faith
that flows from the Word of God, Christ Jesus, is going to produce the
works of God - that are to be found only in the life of Christ Jesus.

The word of God says that we can do all things through Christ who
strengthens us (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:11; 1
Peter 5:10). Yet many shrink back, and with the confession of their
mouths say the opposite; because they failed at one thing or another.
Yet were they reaching for it in God, or were they reaching for it in
self-interest? If we will start by reaching for the strength to walk in
obedience in conduct, then we will find the strength to lay hold of all
of the blessings and promises of God. For example, if a person reaches
to lay hold on the wealth that God has promised His saints, but refuses
to reach for the ability to walk in love - faith will not work
(Galatians 5:6). There is a fellowship with Christ Jesus that produces
the confidence and assurance that we need to function in all the great
things that God has called us to do (1 John 3:21; 1 John 5:14; Ephesians
3:12; Hebrews 10:22). We must understand then that living and active
faith functions out of a realm of fellowship with Jesus: a fellowship
that is demonstrated by obedience.
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 13:15
Matthew 8:10 - When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who
followed, "Truly I tell you: I have not found so great of faith in Israel."

The definition that Jesus has of faith is recorded in Matthew 8:10. The
definition of faith was characterized by the attitude and confidence
that a Roman Centurion had in Jesus. The centurion recognized who Jesus
was, and laid hold on the power and authority which Jesus possessed. The
centurion was in such awe of Jesus, that he did not feel worthy to even
have Him come to his house. Perhaps one of the advantages that this man
had was his ability to recognize authority. All the centurion needed was
for Jesus to "speak the word only." If Jesus said it - then that would
be good enough. With the word of Jesus, the centurion was able to call
it done; and leave fully satisfied that his servant was totally cured.

The authority of the word, and our willingness to accept it and act on
it, is a theme that runs throughout the scripture. To move in such
faith, we must be struck with the awesomeness and power of God; who has
authority to do anything He chooses. We must hear His word telling us
that he cares for us, and that He will do whatever we ask. Then we must
call it done (Mark 11:24; Acts 10:43; Galatians 3:2; Romans 4:17; Romans
4:20-21; 2 Corinthians 1:20). The centurion was not of the household of
faith, and had no rights to the covenant and promises. He was a man of a
pagan race, who did not know God. Even though Jesus was sent to the lost
sheep of the house of Israel, He could not pass by the faith of this
man. The centurion's faith created an access into the realms of the
Kingdom that was not yet available, and His petition was immediately
granted. Perhaps one of the advantages that this man had over many in
Israel was that he was not confused with all of the doctrinal questions
as to whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. He, being a man exposed to
great commanders and leaders, was able to recognize authority and
greatness when he saw it.

Today, if we will only have faith in God, we will see the great things
that He has promised become a reality in our lives. If we will have
faith that Jesus is exalted above all other rulers and authorities,
everything being subject to Him; then we can be certain that what He has
said, He is also able to do. We can have the same confidence that the
centurion had, and know that because Jesus has spoken the word - that is
all that we need. We do not have to wait until we can see it with our
eyes in order to believe; for His word is evidence enough for those who
are convinced of who Jesus is!
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