This booklet was written with the hope that lives might be changed. That we would walk closer to our Lord. That we would see ourselves more honestly as we are and as He sees us, rather than seeing ourselves as we think we are. It is my sincere desire that we see our need for faith that produces actions, rather than faith spoken of by words. Otherwise, we are in endanger of 2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof...”
Matthew 17:20 “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.“
The power God has given unto us, His children, through Christ by the Holy Spirit is amazing! We can, if we wish move mountains! Mountains that have been in place for thousands of years and by our command, they can be moved. If we can move mountains, then surely we can aid the sick, the poor and the hungry, not to mention, live godly lives as commanded in the Scriptures. So if this power is given to us, why don't we use it? Or maybe the better question is why doesn't it work?
I don't know about you, but as a young Christian I recall one night standing outside looking at a nearby mountain. I remember thinking of the passage in Matthew and I thought, I should be able to move this mountain before me. I commanded to move, nothing happen. I rose my arm and commanded it again moving my hand in the direction I willed it to go. I can honestly say, I'm glad it did not move: think of the people that would have suffered from such a foolish request. Yet, it brings to question, if the Scripture is true, why didn't it move? I knew than as I know now, why it did not move, I was testing the Lord our God to see if He was real. To test God is not believing in Him for the one I trust, needs no test. There is only one time in all of Scripture that I know of where God allows us to test Him: Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
The verse in Matthew gives one reason: “Because of your (our) unbelief...” Sadly we need only the faith of a mustard seed, about the size of the point on a pencil; then miracles would occur, to be an aid to humanity and bare witness of the One in us, Christ Jesus, whose power is the Holy Spirit. Other Scripture enlightens us as to why we can't merely do as we wish with the power we have given by Christ through the Holy Spirit. James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” God is not concerned with our wants as much as He is with our needs and of course, all must be done according to His will not our own. Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” and Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
It is our responsibility to discern what the Lord wishes us to do and then have the faith to do it. Easier said than done, of course; but this is why we are to soak ourselves in the Word, that we will think more as God and therefore do as He would do. Not limiting ourselves by our human experience as the verse in Matthew above says, “nothing shall be impossible unto you.” We are limited by the limits we put on God. There are many who say, today is not the day of miracles, but God has not changed and God does work in miracles today as He has in the past and will in the future. I've both heard of them and I've experienced them.
One such occasion was when I was in Northern California, where I grew up. I was with a few Japanese homestay students. My family took part in the program as a way to be missionaries to Japanese without having to go to Japan, they came to us. We had previously had numerous talks about God. One day we were in our van traveling and the girls were talking to each other in Japanese. I looked back at them and they questioned me, why did you look back? You don't know Japanese. I said, are you sure? Of course, I didn't, but couldn't resist saying it. Then they spoke a statement in Japanese. I know it was to test me and I had no clue what was said, but as I turned forward, I asked God: what did they say? A soft voice returned, if you know what I said, raise your hand; then I asked God, which hand? He replied, your right hand. I was then faced with a decision, do I trust that God had just answered my request and do I now act, or do I do nothing? Sadly, fear gripped me and I did nothing. Later I asked one of the students what was said in the van and she replied to my horror, “if you understand me, raise your right hand.” Wow, God had answered, yet I was unwilling to believe!
The opportunities we miss because we do not respond in faith to that which God brings us is disheartening. I did not act in faith and the moment of testimony was lost. More so, God did not answer any of my future questions regarding what the students said on that trip as I tried to “make up for it.” Why should He, I didn't act in faith and without faith, God will not act: Regarding salvation: Luke 18:25-27 “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Regarding a woman giving birth in her old age: Luke 1: 36-37 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.” We know also of Rachel and Hannah who were barren until God opened their wombs. Hebrew 11 is full of examples of those who were faithful too.
Additionally, it is our faith that pleases God, not our works, for our works are merely an outward extension and expression of our inward faith. Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” We too often rely on ourselves to accomplish the will of God or what we think is the will of God. We also rely on ourselves to change our lives to become more like the Savior, when in fact, it is God who do the work in us, a willing vessel. This is not to say we should sit idol while He does the work in us, rather as the verse in Hebrews says, we are to seek Him diligently. This of course, is after He has given us new life in Christ through the Holy Spirit.
It is our unbelief that keeps us from doing the things of God, even those things that are not a miracle such as moving mountains. We say we believe, yet our actions show that we do not as I failed to act in the van with the homestay students. More common to many, a person may believe in his mind a plane can fly him safely from one place to another, yet it's when he enters the plane and remains for the fight, that shows he truly believes. Anyone can say they believe and many in the Christian church say so, yet when life brings us opportunities so show ourselves what we actually believe, it is then that the truth is revealed. Will we lie to save our job when God clearly says not to lie. Surely this is something small and means nothing, right? Matthew 25:21-28 is the parable of the talents and what did the master do? Both that were faithful with a little, he gave them more and to the one who was unfaithful, he took what little he had and gave it to another. How faithful we are with little matters to God. Why then should God entrust us with big responsibilities, if we falter with small ones. Not to mention, lying is sin. Is not that one of the ten commandments given us by the Lord?
Why then can't we move the mountains in our lives? Our unbelief is the number one reason, although it is not the only one. Our own lusts and desires is another. We want what we want to serve our interest and if it is a benefit to God, well, that's a good plus. When it should be the other way. What is in the interest of God is what we must do and if it benefits us in the meantime, great, if not we must seek to do the will of God anyway. Many Christian have heard of Elliot, a missionary to South America, who lost his life along with a few others. They could have saved themselves the day they were attacked, but chose not to. They knew if they did defend themselves and shot the attackers, they would live and the attackers, not yet saved, would die. Elliot and the other men also knew they were ready to meet the Lord, they knew Christ, while the Indians did not know the Savior and would have been denied entry into heaven. The missionaries chose, not what was good for themselves or their families, but what was good for the souls of those they wanted to reach. God's will may take us to a place where we may think we are not ready, yet God knows we are, thus it is our faith, at that moment, that makes all the difference; not only to us but to those around us who may be watching us to see if our faith in God is true and real or merely nice words with no true meaning. We need to focus on discerning God's will and doing it. These are hardly the only reasons why the power available to us in Christ through the Holy Spirt is not activated. Each of us has moments in our lives like Elliot, maybe our life is not on the line, rather our job or reputation; nonetheless it is our faith in God that will see us through. It is our commitment to our Lord as lord that we must kneel down to.
Double mindedness will play a part in our demise if say we have faith, yet we truly do not. I know this well. Double mindedness has kept me from doing things that I know I should have. It has hurt me in many ways. Yet when my mind is focused on the One who created all things and it is aimed to please Him, I am at peace whether things are well or not so well. Inner peace comes from doing the will of the one that sent me.
All who are in Christ, are sent with a purpose to live for Christ and tell others of His second coming that they too may be ready. As life's circumstances come upon us, they may not be the things we want or we may not live in the condition we wish, yet we are in His hand. If we truly are as we say, then we have no voice in what God decides for us. God is the Master, we are the servants. God may lift us up or take us down, but it is God's choice and we are merely along for the ride. Do not misunderstand me, we are not to be idle and wait for God to strike us with a bolt of holiness. We are to be faithful, by faith, to do all that God leads us to do and we are to trust in Him to do what He wills with our lives. This at times seems impossible, yet we know with our mind all is possible with God and it is time to give Him the faith and trust, He alone deserves. We must take Him at His Word and follow Him where He will lead. Then as God leads us, we can move not only the mountains in our lives and the lives of others, but the mountains themselves according to the will of God.
What mountain are you facing today? Do you believe God can move it? Don't tell me of your faith, show it, let your belief be seen by the whole world. Do not shrink back when it appears as if God has failed you or when the worst has come and you feel there is no escape; it is then that we must stand firm in the will of God and weather the storm exercising our faith in the One true God of our faith. The apostles were on a ship with Jesus and then came a storm. Jesus was so at peace with God and trusting in God's provision of His life, He was sound a sleep. The apostles had to force Him awake. Then what did Jesus say? Matthew 8:26 “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” Jesus' faith was in the hands of His Father in heaven. Nothing would come of the storm, if it was not yet their time to die. Hebrews 9:27a “And as it is appointed unto men once to die.” So then if we die only once and their mission was not yet complete, they were to survive the storm.
We look on the surface and we make our conclusions and in doing so, we miss what is just underneath, a true treasure. The next verse in the passage in Matthew just above: Matthew 8:27 “But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” What we miss is that it was not Jesus in His own strength that stopped the storm. They saw Him do it, thus on the surface it was Jesus and they gave Him credit for it. Yet it was not Jesus! It was Jesus' faith in God the Father that stopped the storm. Jesus had no power in Himself, He was limited to the powers of humanity. Do you doubt this? Look at what Jesus Himself said: John 14:10-17 “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
Did you see it? In the beginning of the passage, I am (Jesus) in the Father and the Father is in me (Jesus). It continues, the words I (Jesus) speak are actually the Fathers and the works done, are done by the Father who is in Me (Jesus). Jesus is telling us that He did not do any of the miracles nor were any of His wise words actually His own! He merely yielded His life to the Father who was inside of Him. It was the Father that did the wondrous works and gave Jesus the words to say. Does this sound familiar? It should! It is Christianity! When Christ was preparing to leave He promised us a Comforter, that He may abide with us forever! This is the promise of the Holy Spirit who would live in us as the Father was in Christ. God is in us waiting and willing to do great things through us, if we believe! This is in the latter part of John 14:10-17 mentioned above.
Christ came to earth as an example for us, that we might live for God as He did. Christ is the Word of God become flesh. John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” As God He placed the limits of humanity upon Himself while He was on earth as Jesus, as a man. Jesus was without His powers as God while He lived with us as a man even though He was still God. Philippians 2:5-8 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” This is the mindset of Christ that He wants us to have. It is the same mindset Elliot and the other missionaries had in South America. They obeyed God to the end. Christ on the cross and Elliot in the jungle. Nonetheless, they trusted God to the end, which is what all of us our called to do.
There is of course, one other difference between Christ, the man, and us. We are born of the first Adam with a sin nature and Christ is the second Adam without the sin nature. We are by birth slaves to sin. Christ did not have the sin nature pulling at Him while on earth, yet He was tempted as we are, as the first Adam was in the garden, before the curse of sin, before the pull of the sin nature. Christ remained faithful to God. Now, just as Adam was before sin and Christ was on earth, we are once we are reborn of the Spirit of God through a saving faith in Christ. The power of our sin nature, we all have, is broken, it is dead, once we come to Christ. Romans 6 discusses this in great length. The pull we now have as Christians is not the power of the sin nature we were born with, which we were slaves to obey, which is now dead, rather it is the power of one who has tasted sin, Romans 7. For example, it is easier for someone that has never tasted alcohol to avoid drinking, than it is for one that drank, and liked it, to stop drinking. I, by God's grace and mercy am a 41 year old straight man at the time of this writing, who has never had sex. It is appealing to consider and tempting too, yet because I have not tasted sex, it is easier for me to avoid it than one who has and is trying to remain pure from now until he or she is married again, should that person be single. The same is true of very sin in the world. This is why God did not want us to experience sin, to know it, which is what the world teaches us to do. Once we have exposed ourselves to a particular sin, we more easily succumb to it, not because it has power over us, but because of our own lustful desires, we want what we have tasted for it was good. Sin is pleasurable for a season. Thus, we must ever be on guard and rely on the Holy Spirt, which was the promise given to us by Christ. Roman 8 tell us about living in the Spirit rather than in the flesh and if we yield to the flesh, we sin; if we yield to the Spirit we are living life as Christ did, through the power of our Father in heaven. Once we are saved, we are once again like Adam was in the beginning, free to choose to sin or free to choose to honor and obey God. Before salvation, we are a slave to sin and many cases don't even see the wrong of it.
Back in the passage John 14:10-17 above, Christ didn't stop at saying that His power was merely God inside of Him, but told us we would do even greater. This is because He knew that when we believe in Him, the Holy Spirit, God Himself would also reside within us! With God in us, as He was in Christ while Jesus was a man on earth, so He now is in us, through the Holy Spirit. Thus, we can do all that Christ did. Christ was and is God, yet He did not rely on His own strength to do and say what He did and said. Christ relied on the Father as we are to do. In the latter portion of the passage in John, Christ told us of the Spirit to come. In the book of Acts we know of His coming.
Therefore, if we believe in Christ as Savior, then the Holy Spirit indwells us and God's power is available to us as we yield our lives to the Lordship of Christ. For we can not have Christ as Savior without having Him as Lord. Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Notice we must confess the - Lord Jesus - and then we are saved! It is not merely a belief that Christ is who He is and did that which He did, even the devils belief this. James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” Our belief is not a mere belief of a truth. It is a belief, which produces action in our lives, that is the saving faith spoken of in the book of James. Faith that produces actions, actions based on the Word and will of God. This is way the Scripture tells us the world will know us by our fruits: Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Be not deceived, the Scripture is not talking of a big following, although just because a group is large is not a disqualification. The true test of any person or organization is their commitment to the Holy Word of God. This is see in their actions, not merely their words.
With God in us, through the Holy Spirt, we are not limited to the laws of this world. In faith we can, according to the will of God, do anything, for with God all things are possible! Remember, we must be seeking the will of God and not our own. Those that cling to the position, we can name it and claim it, if we only have faith, is not what I've written about. Although they understand the power of faith, many seem to ask amiss as the passage in James 4:3 says. Our power, as was Christ's while on earth, is limited to doing the will of God. We too must keep ourselves under the Lordship of Christ, for how can we ask God anything, if we are not willing to yield to Him.
Again, what mountain are you facing today? Do you believe God can move it? Don't tell me of your faith, show it, let your belief be seen by the whole world and do not shrink back! Seek the righteousness of God and do the will of Him that has chosen us to be the Christ the world is to see. Lest I be misunderstood, we are not, The Christ, we are those who represent Him while He is away, yet we are to so resemble Him in such a way that the world has a hard time knowing the difference. Paul said best: 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” That is a bold instruction, given to us by God through the Apostle Paul. Saying such, remember we are to test the spirits, for there are both good and evil speaking to us everyday. 1 John 3:23 - 4:2 “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.”