Leaving Laodicea
438 - How to Pray God’s Word

438 - How to Pray God’s Word

November 27, 2019

For the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about praying through Scripture to help focus our prayers and have specifically been using the book of Ephesians.  If you remember, before we began we looked at three great truths regarding using God's Word to focus our prayers.  They are:

One, there is a direct connection between the degree that our minds are shaped by Scripture and the degree to which our prayers are answered.

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" - John 15:7.

Two, God only answers the prayers and petitions that His Son had some part in asking.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him - 1 John 5:14-15.

And three, the early church prayed Scripture.  And so should we.

But today we want to focus on some of the doctrines we found in just the first chapter of Ephesians.  It is on these doctrines we have been focusing our prayers.


Praying Through Doctrines

Some of the truths we have been praying through are:

  1.  God’s Calling
  2.  Faithfulness
  3.  Grace and Peace
  4.  Blessed is our God
  5.  Complete in Him
  6.  Being “in Christ” and all that means
  7.  Election
  8.  Sanctification
  9.  Identification
  10.  Predestination
  11.  Adoption
  12.  Sovereignty of God
  13.  Grace
  14.  Our Acceptance
  15.  Redemption
  16.  Substitutionary Atonement of Christ
  17.  Forgiveness of Sins
  18.  Grace in Abundance / Riches of His Grace
  19.  Wisdom and Prudence of God
  20.  Reconciliation
  21.  The Church
  22.  Eternal Security / Sealed
  23.  Holy Spirit
  24.  How to Pray / What to Pray For
  25.  Revelation
  26.  The Knowledge of God
  27.  Effectual Calling
  28.  Eternal Life / Our Final State
  29.  Resurrection
  30.  Ascension
  31.  Power
  32.  Dominion

I hope you can see the importance of using Scripture to focus your prayers, especially as we see dark times approaching.  To find out more about how this is done and how to become a faith prepper, keep listening.

The following is a study on Praying God's Word and Ephesians 1.

437 - Our Union with Christ

437 - Our Union with Christ

November 27, 2019

As we begin to look more into the idea of being a faith prepper, one of the key elements to understanding our position in Christ is to try to get a firm grasp on our union with Him.  After all, it seems the most common phrase in Scripture regarding our position is "in Christ" or "in Him".  But what does that mean?  And what kind of union with Christ does that phrase imply?

Let's put on our theology hats for just a moment and look at the two types of unions spoken of in Scripture about Christ.


Two Types of Union

First, our union with Christ can be seen as a federal (head) or covenantal union (called Federalism).  Romans 5:12-21 shows each of us as being in Adam before salvation and in Christ after salvation.  And God established Adam as a representative or federal head of the human race.  If Adam continued in righteousness, we would also have been considered to have continued in righteousness, being in Adam.  But if Adam sinned, we too would be considered as also having sinned, being in Adam.  This is where we begin to understand original sin.

If Adam sinned and fell by the transgression of God’s command, then we would also be considered to have sinned in him and Adam’s sin judgment and subsequent death would pass on to each of us.  And, as we know, Adam did sin and death was passed on to each of us.  This is the proof of our identification with Adam.

But Jesus did not sin and, by living a perfect, sinless life, not only demonstrated for each of us a practical and perfect righteousness in His own life, but He also died for us who would be united to Him in faith. See 1 Peter 3:18 ––“the just for the unjust".

Thus, those judged sinners because of Adam’s sin are now declared righteous because of Christ’s righteousness.  Our sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness was imputed to us.

Therefore, because He is justified, we are justified.  Because He is raised, we are raised.  Because He is exalted to heaven, so are we.  And because He now sits at the right hand of the Father in glory, so also are we seated.

Second, our union with Christ can be described as an experiential union with Him.  This refers to the actual effects in us of our relationship and union with Christ.  It’s how our union with Him relates to us in real-time.  It is like positional vs practical sanctification.  And it can be seen most clearly in Jesus’ teaching about the vine and branches in John 15.

Let me suggest you turn to John 15 in your Bible and read along as you listen to this teaching.  Why?  Because knowing who you are "in Christ" is a fundamental first step in becoming a faith prepper.  And becoming a faith prepper is a necessary first step to becoming the kind of believer you will need to be to navigate the times that are coming.

The following is a study on Our Union with Christ and focuses on John 15.

436 - Exercising Faith: No Pain, No Gain

436 - Exercising Faith: No Pain, No Gain

November 25, 2019

As we begin to grow in our life with Christ and actually, without reservation, take His Word and His promises at face value, we will inevitably come face to face with the limits of our faith.  After all, there is only so much we can believe today and, if we are growing in our faith, there will hopefully be more we can believe tomorrow.  But right now we live in today and today we must begin to prepare for tomorrow.  That is why His disciples cried out to Him and pleaded, "Lord, increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5).

That's the essence of being a faith prepper.

So let me ask just a few questions.  What is the shortest way to get from where you are in your life of faith right now and where you want to be?  Or, what can you do to increase your faith?  Just like everything else in life, increase comes from repeated use and exercise.  So you must exercise your faith and, unfortunately, that is done by having your faith tested.

No pain, no gain.


No Pain, No Gain

If you will look at James 1:2-4, you will see this is the classic No Pain, No Gain passage regarding faith.  Especially when you take the time to define the words James uses to convey this truth.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

After looking up the various Greek words in the verse, it would read something like this:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall (surrounded, engulfed, in the midst of) into various trials (temptations, testing, adversity, afflictions), knowing (ginṓskō) that the testing (to try or prove by afflictions) of your faith (firm persuasion, conviction, assurance, belief in the truth) produces (to work, to bring about, to accomplish, to carry out a task until it is finished) patience (to persevere, to remain under, to bear up under, to endure).  But let patience (to persevere, to remain under, to bear up under, to endure) have its perfect (reaching a goal or purpose, finished, that which has reached its end, complete, full, wanting for nothing) work (performance, the result or object of employment), (why) that you may be perfect (reaching a goal or purpose, finished, that which has reached its end, complete, full, wanting for nothing) and complete (all, the whole, sound, perfect, with all its needed parts), lacking nothing - James 1:2-4.

And it that wasn't enough, read Matthew 10:1-15 where Jesus intentionally puts His disciples in situations that will require them to exercise their faith.  After all, He sends them out two by two and tells them to bring nothing with them to rely on.  Then He commands them to do the same things by faith they had seen their Lord do.  It was time to exercise their faith, time to move from milk to meat.  It was time to grow up.  No pain, no gain.

Next, we have the account of the early church in the first few chapters of Acts.  Different day, but same story.  Every time a new trial comes their way they are forced to rely only on Jesus and to exercise their faith in Him.  Read it for yourself.

To grow in the kind of faith we are going to need, as our world dissolves into more chaos, requires us to become proficient with the faith we already possess.  From there, growth comes from testing.  And testing is often painful.  But that shouldn't be a surprise to any of us.  Why?  Because of the universal truth, "No Pain, No Gain".

The following is a study on Exercising our Faith and Matthew 10:1-15.

435 - How to Become a Faith Prepper

435 - How to Become a Faith Prepper

October 31, 2019

There comes a time in each of our lives when we have to ask ourselves some tough questions, especially as we see the coming darkness growing over our land and the church.  And for many, that day of self-examination and questioning is today.  Consider the following:

What are we to do when we see the darkness rapidly encroaching on everything we hold dear?
How do we raise our children in this deeply divided and hostile environment?
How are we to remain light in the coming darkness?
Where do we find our strength for the journey?
Where can we go for our encouragement and motivation to stand strong, come what may?
What is going to happen to all we know and love if things keep getting darker?
How can we become, today, the believers we need to be, seeing all the chaos around us?

The answer is simple.  It is now time to put everything aside and begin to prepare for what lies ahead.  No more denial or sticking our heads in the sand.  It is now time to become a faith prepper.


It's Time to Become a Faith Prepper

A faith prepper, like any prepper, is one who sees the danger ahead and sacrifices today for tomorrow in order to secure the safety and well being of those he loves.  After all, Noah built the ark before it started to rain.

Consider these two people who both saw the danger, yet only one did anything about it.  Which are you?

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished - Proverbs 22:3.

Just a few more questions.

How can we, as individual believers and as a church, work, and sacrifice to become a faith prepper?
What is the shortest distance between where we are spiritually and where we need to be?
What is the key to intimacy with the Lord?
And what is the one area in our spiritual lives that is most lacking?
Answer:  Prayer.

That's right, the first step to becoming a faith prepper is understanding the importance of prayer.  And we will begin to do that with a 21 Day Prayer Challenge to "Pray Before Anything". The following is a study on Prayer and becoming a Faith Prepper.

431 - How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit

431 - How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit

August 20, 2019

As we begin to see the darkness come over our land and persecution confront the church in ways unimaginable just a generation ago, it is well past time for each of us to understand and embrace the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit like never before.  As Appollo Creed said to Rocky to shake him from his fear, "There is no tomorrow!"

And Appollo was right.  There is no tomorrow.  The time for spiritual preparation is today.  Actually, it should have been yesterday, or last week.  The time for fervency towards our Lord cannot be put off any longer.  The well-worn excuses about family responsibilities, career advancement, and the general business of life seem trite at best, and will mean nothing when persecution comes.  And it will come.  Most assuredly it will come.  The Scriptures promise persecution.

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution - 2 Timothy 3:12

That is, of course, unless you aren't particularly interested in living godly in Christ.  Then you may be pretty safe, right up until the time you take the mark on your hand or forehead.  But that's another issue for another time.


How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit

The key to living a life of assurance and confidence in Him is learning how to remain filled with the Holy Spirit.  And before you can remain filled, you have to be filled in the first place.  This is what this message talks about. We talk about some steps you can take to prepare yourself for His filling.  They are as follows:

First, you must desire to live a life that will please the Lord.

Second, be willing to surrender your life totally and irrevocably to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Third, confess every known sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and experience the cleansing and forgiveness that God promises in 1 John 1:9.

Fourth, ask Him, by faith, to fill you with the Holy Spirit. You can pray something like this:

Dear Father, I need You. I hunger and thirst for a more vital relationship with You. I admit that I have been in control of my life. And, as a result, I have sinned against You. Thank You for forgiving my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now confess and turn from my sins and surrender the control of my life to the Lord Jesus. By faith, I invite You to fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled. You promised to fill me if I ask according to Your will. I pray this in the authority of the name of Jesus Christ.

To demonstrate my faith, I now thank You for filling me with Your Holy Spirit and for taking control of my life. Amen.

But that's not the end of it.


There is so much more to learn.

You will need to understand the basis of God's filling, and it has nothing to do with the amount of time you spend praying or the people who lay hands on you.  The basis is on the command (Eph. 5:18) and promise (1 John 5:14-15) of God.  And the filling of the Holy Spirit is given to you the same way you received salvation, by faith.

But there is so much more about all this that we cannot do it justice in this simple summary. 

To find out more, you will need to keep listening. The following is a study on How to Be Filled by the Holy Spirit.

419 - Thyatira - The Church of Sin and Corruption

419 - Thyatira - The Church of Sin and Corruption

October 25, 2017

In our Lord's seven letters to His seven churches, He says both good and bad things about three of the churches (Ephesus, Pergamos, and Thyatira).  Two churches have only good things said about them (Smyrna and Philadelphia) and two have only bad (Sardis and Laodicea).  And when we look at how these seven letters lay out for us church history in advance, we would assume the church that represents the Medieval church, the church of the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church, would have only bad things said about it.

But that's not what happens.  In fact, incredulously, the Lord says some pretty good things about the church at Thyatira, which represents the Catholic church (along with some pretty bad things too).  For example:

“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first" - Revelation 2:19.

Note this is the first time the Lord commends a church for their love (agapē).  Love?  How can He say that about a church known for corruption, false doctrine and the Inquisition?  And then He says the church that represents the Catholic church is actually getting better.  After all, our Lord says, "I know your works" and "the last are more than the first."  Really?  How can that be? How can the Lord have anything good to say about a church filled with so much corruption and have nothing good to say about the church (Sardis) that shed their own blood to remove themselves from that corruption? 

How is that possible?  Is there something we’re missing?

I think so.  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on the Lord's letter to the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29.

415 - The Curse of God’s Abandonment

415 - The Curse of God’s Abandonment

August 24, 2017

There's a time when the Lord gives us what we want: freedom, autonomy, independence, and to have no authority over our lives but ourselves.  That's right.  God gives us over to our selfish, carnal attitudes and allows us to experience the consequences of our sins.  It's like He says, "Ok, you want to go your own way?  Have at it.  I'll be here when you come to your senses."  It's the story of the prodigal son played out in our lives in real time.

This is called the curse of God's abandonment.  It's when He removes His protecting grace from our lives and our nation and let's us see how we like life without Him.  And the results are catastrophic.

Samson, after having his hair cut by Delilah, woke up to confront his enemies still believing he had the same strength as before because his God was with him.  But that was not the case.  He said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!”  But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him (Judges 16:20).  Samson was experiencing the abandonment of God.


God Gave Them Up

In Romans 1 we see three examples of this very act of God's abandonment:

Therefore God also gave them up – Romans 1:24.

For this reason God gave them up – Romans 1:26.

God gave them over – Romans 1:28.

But who are the "them" in these verses?  The lost?  The unregenerate?  Those nations that reject truth and justice?  Yes.  But if you will study these verses closely you will find the object of God's curse of abandonment is also the church.  It includes His wayward believers.  It includes you and me.

Does this seem strange to you?  Maybe hard to believe?  Then I suggest you keep listening and find out the truth for yourself.  And remember, "judgment begins at the house of God" (1 Peter 4:17).  Are you ready?

The following is a study on the Curse of the Abandonment of God.

414 - The Blessings of Persecution

414 - The Blessings of Persecution

August 20, 2017

Sometimes there are passages in the Scripture that confound even the most mature Believer.  These are the ones that seem to defy logic, ones that fly in the face of our cherished sensibilities.  For example, in Luke 6:30 the Lord tells us to "Give to everyone who asks of you.  And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back."  But Jesus gives no qualifier in this verse.  The person who asks for your stuff may be a bum, a greedy businessman, or the government.  How are we supposed to follow that command?

Another example deals with how we respond to a personal attack.  Jesus said, "But I tell you not to resist an evil person.  But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also" (Matt. 5:39-40).  How does this play out in real life in real time?  If the church followed this command the future of the legal profession would be in great peril.

But one of the hardest teachings in Scripture, especially to an opulent, narcissistic church like we have today, is the idea that suffering or persecution could be a good thing.  That sentiment is hard to swallow, let alone believe.  How could persecution be a good thing?  Ever?  To anybody?


The Church at Smyrna

In the second of our Lord's seven personal epistles to His church, found in Revelation 2 and 3, He has nothing but kind words to say about the church at Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11).   And the primary characteristic of this church was their faithful perseverance under extreme persecution that lasted centuries.  We would be well advised as a church, and as individuals, to emulate in our life what brought this church such praise from our Lord.

To find out more about the Lord's letter to the church at Smyrna, and what we can learn about our own view of suffering, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Jesus’ letter to the church at Smyrna, Revelation 2:8-11.

398 - When Our Blessings Become Curses

398 - When Our Blessings Become Curses

April 23, 2017

One of the greatest blessings the church has experienced has become its greatest curse.  And that is wealth.  Opulence.  The ability to run ahead of God rather than waiting on Him to provide what His church needs and when it needs it.  Then there’s the great blessing that comes with persecution that a wealthy church always views as a curse.  How did it become so upside down?

The early church understood the blessings that come with persecution.  Because they remembered the promise of Jesus when He preached His sermon on the mount where He said, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).

And later, Paul would tell his son Timothy that “Yes, and all who (condition) desire to live godly in Christ Jesus (result) will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).  Do you see the condition and the result?  If you desire to live godly in Christ Jesus, which most Christians would say they do, then you will suffer persecution because of your godly life in Christ.  It’s a given.  A promise.

And the opposite of this promise is also true.  If you are not suffering persecution, then it stands to reason you do not desire to live godly in Christ Jesus.  Sobering, isn’t it?  This is not how the early church lived.  They embraced every opportunity to live godly in Christ, regardless of how they suffered.  Do you want to know more about people who love Jesus that way?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Acts 4:1-35.

366 - The Downside of Revival

366 - The Downside of Revival

October 3, 2016
Often we preach about the need for revival in the church and in our own lives.  We hold the virtues and blessings of revival up high, for all to see, yet fail to talk about the dark side of revival, the downside of totally surrendering to Him.

And that downside is satanic attack.

For the novice, this attack can be devastating because they are often ill-prepared to stand against it.  For the more mature believer, the attack is just another affirmation they are living as light and walking where the enemy dwells.

Do you know how to prepare for a spiritual attack?  Do you know how to stand when the day of evil comes (Eph. 6:13)?  If not, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Spiritual Warfare.