What is our work? (Hebrews 6) and questions about faith, healing, and other topics from discipleship class

Saturday, May 31, 2008

What is our work? (Hebrews 6) and a question about faith from discipleship class by Pastor Don

The enemies of God, if they fail are not brought to repentance for their evil works, they don’t care. They are the products of evil in our midst. Paul honored the Bereans. They knew what to do concerning Israel, pray for guidance.

Hebrews 6:9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.

Because we are believers we are not in the same category as those who would choose to reject God, so we are under a different covenant. Those who turn their back on God are not going to receive the things that accomplish salvation. The Holy Spirit led believers to accept the truth, and they are working to get the Word of God out by any means possible. We are not going to commit the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit, even if we make a mistake, we can still be forgiven.

Pastor Don told us it breaks his heart when people who sin run away from the Church. The devil wants to isolate the person in their shame. When you mess up, remember God is your Father. He will not turn us away, and you cannot hide from Him.

Many people have the wrong view of hell and think it is about torture. Torment is internal, coming from within a person, torture is external. The only reason a person ends up in hell is because they did not want to be in Heaven with God, they wanted to be out of God’s love. If you don’t want to be with God, hell is the only place He isn’t. Salvation is not accompanied by torment and torture. The will of man leads people away from God to torment. Man wants to blame God for everything,  tragedies and wealth, but much of what happens in our lives comes from the exercise of the will of man in disobedience or obedience to God.

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

God is outside of Chronos time. He is saying that, at the right time, all the good works that you do God will repay. He may not repay in kind, and He may not repay immediately, but we can rest assured God is sovereign and all will be made right. We can be peacefully confident in the promise of God. The catch is John 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Therefore, the better Promise is promised not by work, but BECAUSE WE BELIEVE ON JESUS WHOM GOD SENT.  We believe our Father (God) and trust Him. Yes, we do good works, but works will not get us to heaven, they are just a manifestation of the faith we have. Faith without works is dead.

The Holy Spirit in your spirit is your guarantee, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings us under conviction if we are too much in the world.

John 16 talks about the Holy Spirit, how He convicts the world of sin, is our comforter, and leads us into truth, bringing to attention what you need to know. We are in relationship with the Holy Spirit and that helps us to avoid sin and condemnation. We can’t know this in the flesh, for what we know in the flesh comes from our senses and observation. We see things and wonder what is going on. But our senses do not always show us reality, the Holy Spirit leads us into truth. Only the Holy Spirit can give us the correct interpretation of prophesied word, and not lead us into a rabbit trail to get lost.

Pastor Don gave us an example of how our senses can give us false information. Cynthia, his wife, has had dark black hair for much of the time we knew her. But recently she had some lighter shades of color put in her hair. If someone saw Pastor Don driving with Cynthia with her new hair color and relied only on their senses, they may have had the impression Pastor Don was going out with another woman, for Cynthia’s hair color was dramatically different from what we were accustomed to. Without knowledge, we could have drawn the wrong conclusion.

Hebrews 6:11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,

We do good works, but that is not the basis on which God is responding. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We store up treasures in Heaven, but it is not like Fort Knox. When we need it, God will open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing. We do good works because we want God to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” When we know God, then the works that we do will reflect God, and these good works are stored up in Heaven.

Matthew 6:23-24  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

We do not always know how God will pour out blessings. God can pour out blessings in other ways than just financial. We serve God, not the things of the earth.

Hebrews 6:11 (see above) shows us we are to persevere until the end. Pastor Don told us we are to help people, even if they will not help you back. Sometimes we feel if we do something for another person, that somehow they owe us the equivalent in some way. But we do not have to worry about that. If we do something for another person and they don’t return it to you, give your service with a good attitude, and don’t worry about reciprocity. God will be our debtor. He will give us back in another way. We need to remember that everything we have is God’s.

Someone asked about giving handouts to people who beg on the street, especially when the person tells a story about how they need the money to pay a bill, but you suspect the person will really use the money for drugs or alcohol. Pastor Don told us  he tells the person not to tell him a story, to speak a lie, he will give them the money but he tells them the money he is giving them is God’s money, and if they use it for a wrong thing, God will put them in a bad place. Pastor Don told us when he hands out money, he gives it to them in the name of the Lord.

Pastor Don then talked about the words we use, telling us that a prophet will swear to his own harm. That if we say we are going to do something, we have to find a way to do it, because we have to be true to our word.

Pastor Don gave us an example about how he had stopped using a particular booking agent for his music, and one day he got a job at a place that the booking agent used to get Pastor Don jobs at. The agent came to Pastor Don wanting a $5,000 commission. Pastor Don wrote him a check, even though that took all of his extra money and mailed the check. God repaid him back in time. God is faithful and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

We are not to be sluggish waiting for what we cannot see, but keep doing the work God wants us to do. Express our need to the Lord, and keep doing the Good works and believe God will reward us.

So many people hide from doing what they should be doing by using the excuse, “I have to pray about it.” Sometimes that is a feeble, lame excuse. Do we have to pray about being a servant in the church? Do we have to pray to open up the door for a person, or work in the parking lot, or help a person who needs food? We know God’s heart and when we do works of service that please Him, we don’t have to get a divine Word from God to do those good works. Do we have to pray to help clear a table of dishes and clean up after a church dinner? Now prayer is good, but there are some acts and good works we can just do without seeking God about, because we know they would please God. As we know His Word, we know what pleases Him.

Someone asked a question about faith, a carryover from the previous evening’s discipleship class. She pointed out we receive a certain measure of faith, but we don’t seem to have faith for every situation in our lives, and how do we grow faith. Pastor Don took us to the story of Jesus calming the storm and asked us what do the disciples have faith for? The following incident came after Jesus already had demonstrated divine provision with the loaves and the fishes.

Mark 4:35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”

Jesus told them they were going to cross over to the other side.

Mark 4:38  But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

Jesus was not concerned about the storm, he was sleeping.  He had said they would cross over to the other side, and He knew they would. The disciples woke him up asking if he didn’t care they were perishing. Jesus had faith they would cross over to the other side, but the disciples had faith for perishing. Jesus calmed the storm and then asked the disciples.

Mark 4:40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

We looked at the same incident in another chapter.

Matthew 8:23-25 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

In this situation Jesus is telling them they don’t have faith for this situation. They just have a little faith.

Luke 8:22-25  Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”  Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”

And another incident with a storm

John 6:16-21  Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

Pastor Don told us, in every situation where there is an absence of faith there is a presence of fear. The only one with all faith in all categories is Jesus. We haven’t attained to that perfect faith yet.

Sometimes we can come to the point of believing something is possible but not probable. When we pray we are to pray in faith believing.

Notice in John 6, when Jesus got to the boat, IMMEDIATELY the boat was at the land they were going.

We are sealed, special to God. God loves us so much. In some situations He knows we don’t have faith for the situation and God gives us a gift of faith, even though we were bankrupt. He can give special faith for situation you did not think possible. In some cases you are so beaten down, and in so many areas we are bankrupt. He loves us, and there is the fruit of enduring until the end. You can’t be in faith and at the same time in doubt and unbelief and worry. But Jesus can work with us if we can get our minds to neutral.

When Jairus sent for Jesus and learned his daughter was dead, Jesus told him to believe. The daughter was healed on the gift of faith.

Someone mentioned one time Pastor Don described how we build our faith, giving as an example a series of cubby holes. That if we get healed for a sore throat we put faith in that sore throat cubby hole. Then when we get a cold those cubby holes of faith for sore throat healing and colds are close together and you can transfer the sore throat healing faith over to the cold and get healed of that. But maybe you have appendicitis, and you don’t have faith for healing of that without surgery. So you pray your surgery goes well and you recover quickly. You receive that, so now you have recover quickly faith. As your faith grows in each instance you build more faith for certain situations that can transfer to similar situations. Your faith grows and as you walk more with God, at some point, your ability to believe in faith increases so it can be applied to situations that are dissimilar to ones you have had success with. We are all given a measure of faith, but it grows as we exercise our faith. God is good and He wants us to exercise and grow the faith that He has given us, not let it atrophy from disuse.

I pray you have a wonderful day.

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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