Acts 4:23 (KJV)
“And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.”
I have read this verse many times and have always been captured by the indirect message contained here.
Great emphasis is placed on being connected to the Body of Christ and recognizing His Church in its totality. I am the first to agree on the necessity of this and rejoice in the progress that has been achieved.
Having said this, however, I believe there is something we tend to miss, namely our uniqueness, and it's not to be taken lightly. Each functioning part of the Body of Christ has a purpose; to forget that is to cease to function by God’s design.
The long list of Christian groups and various denominations aren’t the expression of their founder’s desire to form something of which they could be the head. Sometimes we are made to think in that manner, but it just isn’t so.
I contend it has something to do with company. It’s an expression of a truth or a revelation, or maybe a neglected segment of mankind. It’s something God Himself wants to reveal to the world or do for the people He loves.
It reflects the progression of truth, line upon line, precept upon precept. If you carefully examine the multiplicity of Christian ministries this will become evident. My Pastor taught me if a new revelation destroys a previous truth, it’s a heresy.
We are all in the same body, but we aren’t all in the same company. We are all part of the human race, but not all in the same family. God has placed us in the body as it has pleased Him. This placement includes the Christian group we are a part of, it’s our company. It’s not just a place to get ordination so we can function with proper recognition with our government.
It’s the place where we are connected, the place where what God has called us to do is understood. It’s the place we can go and tell our story and receive strength to continue.
In the verse we are examining, Peter and John had just been seriously threatened for preaching and healing the lame man in the name of Jesus. They had some second thoughts about proceeding so what did they do? They went to their own company and told their story. There among those who understood their mission and message, they were strengthened and received great Grace, wisdom, and continued lacking nothing. Had they sought advise outside their company their mission may have been understood, but the message may still have been questioned.
From its inception, FCF has been a ministry with a mandate. The Harrison’s weren’t looking for something to be the leader of. They were fulfilling a mandate. In obedience they birthed God’s desire, a family Church, a charismatic teaching centre, reaching the world. Many years later our company encompasses fifty two nations, thousands of believers, and a host of Churches who call it family.
Why am I writing this? First, to catch your attention and focus you on the fact you are important to us and loved by us.
Secondly, you have been placed here by God and we recognize that placement as God’s gift to our company. Because of this you will always be treated as family no matter the circumstance you find yourself in. You can always come to your own company and receive love, strength, and empowerment.
This brings me to my final reason for writing this. Family Church Conference will be in Ajax from November 13th-14th. For those who can stay, our guest speaker will be at Faith Family Church Sunday 10:30 am on the 15th. This is the annual gathering of your company.
Under God’s direction we are going to be blessed by the ministry of Jeremy and Sarah Pearsons. They will bring a message that is relevant to what God wants for us now. We will share what God has done nationally and internationally as we have fulfilled His will and walked in our purpose together.
Pastors, this isn’t just another ministers’ conference. It’s a Family Church Conference. I am asking you to promote FCC to your Church and bring as many as can come. They need to see the big picture and enjoy what you are a part of. You may have to put some of your local Church activities on hold that week and free up some time so they can attend. This is what families do when creating family functions.
Put up the posters, promote it in your meetings, and we will all gather at the Ajax Convention Centre.
See you at the family reunion!
Pastor Bill Annis, President, FCF Canada
Acts 5:20 NKJV
“Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
Have you ever wondered why faith is needed when it comes to the gospel? Why does God require faith to save us? What is this whole faith thing all about?
Faith is not what God needs, but what we need to make use of what He has offered us. God did not make man to be His servant. He made us so that we could be partakers of His life.
He Made Us so that He Could Share His Life with Someone Like Him. Someone made in His image.
This is amazing! It changes the whole platform from where we view the gospel; because--although it is wonderful that we are saved from sin--what are we saved to? We are saved to the original plan God had long before the world was made--the plan to have people to share His life with.
As I come to realize what God believes about me, I am changed in my belief about Him. We gradually open up to Him by faith, so much so, that each gains access to the other. We can actually say that we are born into each other.
John 14:20 "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
This is made possible through a wonderful gift from God called faith. This is why it’s impossible to be saved without faith. It is impossible to have who God is, being born into you, without your persuasion of who He is and what He’s done for you in Jesus Christ.
I fully believe this is what the Bible talks about when the Bible says that “the Lord is One” (Mark 12:29). Father and Son have such a powerful influence on each other that they are perfectly one, and no one is lost in the union. This is the very dynamic of faith made available to us, so that we can share in the same quality of life. It was the understanding of this that caused Paul to declare "for me to live is Christ."
It is impossible for us to be born of God apart from faith. The only way we can be born of God is if we believe in Him through Jesus Christ. This is not a pre-requisite like obeying the law, but a characteristic of our design as God-beings.
When we see God for who He really is, portrayed in the person and actions of Jesus Christ, faith will rise in our hearts, and we can willingly believe in Him. Our belief in who He is gives Him access to our hearts, and we are born from His spirit.
This is what scripture is speaking of when we read Romans 10:17 (KJV) "So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
In closing, let me take a moment to encourage you to make Family Church Conference a top priority for you as well as your congregation.
November 13th & 14th at the Ajax Convention Center is a don't miss event.
Jesus will be revealed as the Pearsons preach Him!
Pastor Bill Annis, President, FCF Canada
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others; While they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:10-15
Those of you who know Duska and I are aware that it’s our greatest joy to help people, especially ministers, to succeed. There is no greater joy than to see a person or a ministry come from financial lack into prosperity.
By prosperity, I mean that all of their needs are taken care of, personally and in their ministry, with funds left over to give to others.
The verses we are looking at in this blog are my favorites.
To say God prospers all believers is both true and false. All you have to do is look around and observe and you know that isn’t necessarily the situation.
Now what is true is that God desires that all of His children prosper, and He has provided a means so that they may. He desires that all men be saved and has made provision so they can experience His desire for them.
In both situations there has to be a participation on the person’s part. There is a way to receive salvation that we all understand. It’s by Grace through Faith.
Now God supplies bread to eat because we are His children. It’s an expression of our Father’s love.
However, He also gives His children seed to sow to increase them and His cause in the earth. He will enrich you in every way so you can be generous and your generosity will produce thanksgiving to God.
When we follow God’s plan we understand that He wants us to participate, not just in giving, but in the joy of blessing others. He wants us to experience the joy of seeing what we sow multiply, as well as being a part of others experiencing our Fathers goodness through us.
This is the shared life; God in Christ has shared His life with us.
This is the blessed life. Nothing compares to it on earth outside of our Oneness with Divine Life. The result is that people will long for us (not hate the believer) and pray for us.
Why? They will glorify God because of our submission to His plan that came when we confessed faith in the Gospel. Also, they rejoice because the surpassing Grace of God is seen on His people.
I feel like Paul when he said: “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift”. The gift of giving.
I encourage you to participate in this Grace found only in Jesus.
-Pastor Bill Annis
Faith Christian Fellowship Canada represents churches and ministries in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon, while FCF International also reaches into 45 nations of the world.
We are a Church planting fellowship and are positioned as a ministry of helps providing leadership training & mentorship.
We are located at 70 King Street, Moncton, N.B.
The Canadian Churches are fully supporting missionaries in Sri Lanka, India, Peru, Africa (Tanzania), and have also built a Church in Cuba.
Sherine and Dileepa have four Churches in Sri Lanka and are reaching the Buddhist people. They are in the capital city of Columbo.
Prem Singh is the FCF Canada representative for India. Prem’s ministry is focused primarily in the Northern State of Odisha. This is a ministry to the Hindu population. Prem oversees 30 plus churches as well as conducting evangelistic crusades in other cities.
2014 saw many conversions, healings, and 250 water baptisms. As a former Hindu he understands how to present the Gospel within the context of Hindu culture. He also provides a home and education for twenty orphan girls.
FCF has been able to assist the local rural Pastors in rebuilding ten Churches destroyed in the persecution.
Prem resides in the city of Bhubaneswar with his wife and daughters. His goal is to establish a Headquarters Church in this city of over one million people. Christians of all denominations number less than three per cent.
Pastor Bill Annis will be visiting India in 2015.
FCF Canada at present conducts three regional gatherings as well as a National Conference annually in Canada. This year we add our first Western relational in Edmonton, Alberta.
FCF Canada has a representative of First Nations. Pastor Murray & Tracey have established a Church at Kettle Point, Ontario. They are planning the first ever FCF Canada First Nations Conference for 2015.
Our Parent body, FCF International, has been headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, since its beginning in 1977.
Today while FCF International represents 45 nations, they supply humanitarian aid to most world crisis.
Bible Schools are training next generation workers in many countries. The relief provided during the Philippines disaster resulted in large baptisms.
Together we are reaching the world with the message of Jesus.
-Pastor Bill Annis, President, FCF Canada
‘Time flies’ has become more than just a saying. I can hardly imagine that 2014 has come and gone, but it has.
I can truly say that it was one of the best years ever, personally and for FCF as well.
I have had the opportunity to visit many of you and have been blessed by the impact of your ministries in Canada and around the world. Together we have accomplished great things. On the National level we have seen a large increase in our membership. New Churches have been planted in Montreal, Quebec, and Ft McMurray, Alberta.
In New Brunswick, it was a joy to receive my personal friend, Pastor Terry Messer, from life Tabernacle, Fredericton, to FCF. Pastor Dale and June Shaw from Florenceville were also an added blessing to the local FCF family.
On the international scene, ten Churches have been constructed in Northern India. Evangelist Prem Singh reports many converts among the Hindus.
Sherine and Dileepa report that the work of the Holy Spirit among the Buddhists of Sri Lanka is reaching an all-°©‐time high.
Faith Christian Fellowship is a wonderful group of people brought together in a very unique manner. We come from classical Pentecostal, Word of Faith, and Charismatic backgrounds. We have been shaped by various moves of the Holy Spirit and reflect a panorama of the rich blessings of God and His Story (history), the story of His Church in Canada.
To visit the ministers that make up our fellowship is to walk upon the road of unfolding revelation. It’s a journey with an ever moving God who is making Himself known in ever increasing ways, but yet stays true to His unchangeableness.
This ability to receive what He is revealing, and to accept each other wherever we are at the moment in the progression, sets us apart.
It sets us apart from the religious systems that we all escaped. It’s what makes us a fellowship versus a denomination. It’s what allows us to be Spirit-°©‐led rather than religiously conformed.
This uniqueness is what allows the story to continue rather than be confined to a historical past. It keeps us in the flow of the Holy Spirit rather than worshiping at the shrine of the high water marks of a spiritual yesterday.
As I travel among you I have come to appreciate our differences and to celebrate our connecting points. My desire for 2015 is that we will stay strong where we are joined and not allow our differences to divide.
Matt 13:47 “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea.”
A net is made up of string or twine running in four directions. The strings left alone are useless as a fishing instrument. In order to be of value, they must connect with each other and these connecting points give them value.
God allows us to have differences but He connects us for effectiveness in His service.
I personally have a marvellous life, as do you. I am amazed where I have been, what I get to do, the people I know, the things I have seen, and the joys I have experienced. As I reflect on it, I am very much aware that it’s the connections God blessed me with, YOU, that makes this life and ministry possible. All of us are connecting at different points, each adding value to the other. FCF has become a net cast into the sea of changing Canadian culture. Together we have become fishers of mankind. Collectively we are reaching Canada and the World.
This is the DNA of FCF! From many we have become one body with Christ-°©‐like uniqueness.
We are living in the moment of the greatest revelation of Jesus the world has ever seen. Great revelation always precedes great manifestation!
John 14:21 “…. he who loves me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
The word manifest means to cause to shine, come to view, reveal, exhibit, and make visible.
My prayer for all of us is that when we are viewed by those who come among us in the future, they will see the revelation and manifestation of Jesus among us.
May we truly be the continuing story of God among His people in this Nation and around the World.
Next month we will continue with the attitude of God toward those at varying levels of revelation. Don’t miss it!
-Pastor Bill Annis
‘The birth date of our god has signalled the beginning of good news for the world.’
The above statement is a First Century stone inscription announcing the birth of Caesar Augustus.
However, Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, is always ﬁrst and last.
It was probably 4 or 5 BC
”And she brought forth her ﬁrstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for Him in the inn.” Luke 2:7
I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Saviour, yes, the Messiah, the Lord has been born today.
Angel to Shepherds
A little town birthed a little boy, the Messiah. Little is large if God is in it.
There are 184 verses in the birth narratives of the Second Testament.
These 184 verses repeat the words of 170 verses from eighteen books of the First Testament.
Let’s go to the narrative that no one reads at Christmas.
John’s gospel tells the birth of Jesus as story-less in manner as possible. There are no animals, shepherds or special stars.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God……The WORD became ﬂesh and dwelt among us.”
The signage of John’s narrative isn't a star or a special little town or even a virgin.
John presents Jesus in the sign of seven. Not just seven of anything, but the seven ‘I Am’ metaphors that reveal who this child is. These seven ‘I Am’ metaphors function as a menorah that lights the birth of Jesus just as the seven-branched golden lamp stand called the menorah (tree of life) illuminated the Ark of Covenant, and the original Tree Of Life that lit the garden of Eden.
The ‘I am that I am’ that sent Moses to free His people has arrived; a Savior is among us.
Let’s look at who John beheld.
I am the bread of life.
I am the light of the world.
I am the door of the sheep.
I am the good shepherd.
I am the resurrection and the life.
I am the way, the truth, and the life.
I am the true vine.
There is no higher understanding of Jesus’ divinity as the Son Of God than John’s gospel. There is no fuller understanding of Jesus humanity as the Son of Man (or the human being) than John’s gospel.
Up until this point you could say that no one has seen God at any time, but no longer can that be said. Why? Because the only begotten has declared him, made God visible. John 1:18.
The true light has come into the world, the source of light to enlighten mankind.
A lot will happen in the next 33 years of His life, but when He declares the ﬁnish, the day of all days will have arrived.
John 14:20 “At that day you will know, I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I in you.”
While others stood mesmerized by the spectacular of the event, John stood in awe of who he beheld, “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.
-Pastor Bill Annis, FCF Canada
At the beginning of 2014, the Lord told me to focus on fundamentals. That is why I have spent most of the year teaching on faith in these Mentor Pack articles. Faith is fundamental to our relationship with the Lord because “without faith it is impossible to please God.” There is another fundamental that is just as important as faith, and that is grace.
First, let’s look at what the Lord told Zerubbabel. As governor of Judah for the first wave of exiles who returned under the edict of Cyrus, Zerubbabel was responsible for rebuilding the temple. The land had been devastated, and those who returned were among the poorest of the Jewish captives. In the natural, how could they rebuild the temple? King Solomon had used costly materials to build the first temple, and he had hired expert craftsmen. That first temple was a glorious and expensive sight.
Zerubbabel was not only dealing with poor economic conditions, he faced opposition from neighboring Samaria and discouragement and apathy from the people. However, the Lord gave Zerubbabel a prophetic word through Zechariah: “. . . ‘Not by might [your natural abilities] nor by power [numerical strength] but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of Hosts’” (Zech. 4:6). Zerubbabel wasn’t to put his trust—his faith—in his or any other person’s abilities or resources. The temple would be rebuilt by God’s Spirit.
Furthermore, the Lord instructed Zerubbabel to shout to the great mountain of opposition, “Grace, grace!” (Zech. 4:7) Isn’t that interesting! He wasn’t to shout “Faith, faith.” He was to shout “Grace, grace.” He was to proclaim the power of God to his opposition. By faith he was to trust in God’s grace to accomplish the impossible.
Now let’s look at Paul’s experience. When he sought the Lord about his thorn in the flesh, the Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength [power] is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Often we think that the Lord was telling Paul to “grin and bear it,” but He was actually telling Paul to trust in His grace—His power—to bring him through the issue and into victory. Paul wasn’t to trust in his faith or his ability to overcome. He was to put his faith in God’s grace to give him the victory.
The writer of Hebrews calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29). So grace is more than God’s unmerited favor. It is His power to take care of everything that is beyond our natural, human ability.
That is why Paul would go on to say that he would gladly boast in his infirmities (2 Cor. 12:9). He wasn’t implying that he was excited about the sufferings and was going to brag about them to everybody he met. Paul meant that he could rejoice because he was experiencing another opportunity to receive grace and not do life and ministry by his own efforts, something he had excelled at before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. The more helpless he was, the more he would depend on God’s grace. Consequently, Paul wasn’t frustrated with his ministry because he wasn’t doing it in his own strength.
Often when we are going through hard times, we think we need more faith, but faith isn’t the power that causes us to overcome. Grace is God’s goodness and power that enables us to be victorious. Faith is the way we appropriate what God’s grace has already done for us. As Bill Winston said at Family Church Conference 2014, “Faith connects you with God’s ability.”
That is why one commentator calls faith and grace inseparable companions that “together provide the antithesis to any suggestion of human merit. God’s act of grace is the ground of salvation and faith is the means by which it becomes effective in a person’s life.”
Faith and grace are like two sides of the same coin. You can’t spend just one side of the coin. When you are going to buy something, you use the whole coin.
Your walk with the Lord depends on both faith and grace. You can’t have one without the other.
If we’re not careful, we tend to think that all we need is faith. After all, scripture does say that without faith it is impossible to please God. However, scripture also says, “Being justified freely BY HIS GRACE [my emphasis] through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. . .” (Rom. 3:24).
Salvation, and its many benefits, doesn’t come because we have faith. Salvation comes because of God’s grace. We receive His salvation by faith. I like how Joyce Meyer says it: “Faith is not the price that buys God’s blessings; it is the hand that receives His blessings.”
God is the source of salvation. It is His grace gift to us. Faith means that we quit trying to justify ourselves and willingly accept what God’s grace has done for us in Christ.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines grace this way: “Grace is the attitude on God’s part that proceeds entirely from within Himself and is conditioned in no way by anything in the objects of His favor.” In other words, God doesn’t look at our behavior and then decide on the basis of our behavior to bestow His grace upon us. If God acted that way, it wouldn’t be grace. It would be the law.
Some people argue that preaching on grace gives people a license to sin. First of all, people don’t need a license or permission to sin. They’ll sin with or without permission from anybody. Secondly, if preaching on grace is giving people permission to sin, then why did Peter exhort us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18)?
In the preceding verses of 2 Peter 3, Peter had encouraged the believers to remain steadfast in their faith and not compromise their testimony of Christ. He told them to “be diligent to be found by Him [Jesus] in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14). Peter would not have exhorted them to grow in grace if grace would cause them to sin. No, he told them to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ because that would keep them spotless and blameless.
Growing in the grace of Jesus Christ and in the knowledge of Him strengthens our relationship with the Lord. When we are growing in grace, we are growing in the revelation of God’s great love—how much He loves us and does for us in spite of ourselves. When we understand how much He loves us, we don’t want to sin. Instead we want to be worthy of Him and His great love. Thus, growing in grace encourages and empowers us to walk in righteousness.
Until we see Jesus face to face, none of us will walk perfectly, without sin, on this earth. Only Jesus did that. Even though we will never be perfect in this life, the Father God still pours out upon us daily His grace, His abundant provision, His tender mercies, His loving care.
Lest we think that He is giving us abundant grace because we think our faith is perfect—and that is turning faith into works!—He gives us grace even when our faith isn’t perfect. Remember, the father who asked Jesus to heal His son? Jesus told him, “If you can believe, all things are possible” (Mark 9:23). The man quickly replied, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Faith keeps its eyes on God’s willingness to meet our needs, even when we don’t operate perfectly in faith.
When I am in faith that means that I have taken all the weight off of myself and placed it all on the Lord. I am trusting in His grace—power and ability—to do what needs to be done. I am trusting in His wisdom and knowledge to do it when it needs to be done. I am trusting in His goodness and love to do it in the way that it needs to be done.
Faith isn’t the power that delivers. It is the attitude that sustains us and keeps us firmly rooted and ground in God until God’s power in the form of His grace delivers us.
As the old song says, “Keep the switch of faith turned on.” Just remember that faith is the SWITCH—not the power. God’s grace is the power.
-Pat Harrison, FCF International Founder & President
Most religions believe that God made the heaven and the earth. Most believe that God made man. Most believe that the man God made sinned, and that we were caught in the trap of sin because of this man’s sin.
You may say, “Unfair that’s not my fault.” You mean to tell me that another man disobeyed on my behalf? I am not a sinner because of my own sin? I am a sinner because of anther man’s sin?
Romans 5:19a (KJV)
19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners...
Imagine your boss at work does something wrong and you get fired for it. Unfair! Now imagine that if the company you worked for tells you that if you do 20 things right then they might think about brining you back to work for them. You begin trying to do the 20 things, but you are under such scrutiny you can never make it. It’s a hopeless situation
Most religions teach that one man (Adam) sinned and disqualified you. Most believe that you were given a list of rules so that the God of this religion could take you back into his company. Well, this is true, but only in part.
God has a certain standard of justice, God is a just God and it would not be just if one man could make you a sinner and another man not be able to make you righteous. It would not be just if one man could make you a sinner without your participation in what he has done and another not make you righteous without your participation in what he has done.
We were born as sinners! Adams effect went into the generations. It’s not your sin that made you a sinner, but the the sin of another man. The Bible states that we did not partake in that sin, but were made sinners because of that one man’s sin.
Most religions teach and believe this, but it is religious hypocrisy to teach that one man can make you a sinner and leave out the reality that another can make you righteous.
Romans 5:19b (KJV)
19...so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
What is true fort the first half of Romans 5:19 is just as true for the second half.
Jesus Christ was God in human flesh, he represented the whole world; every person in every religion. He lived His life on behalf of all people, he obeyed on behalf of all people, he died on behalf of all people, he rose again on behalf of all people and he is returning on behalf of all people.
By Jesus’ obedience many have been made righteous through no participation of their own, but by simply believing. There is no person standing before God disobedient in pertaining to all the rules that you think qualify for eternal life. When God sees you he sees you as 100 % obedient to the law system that you think you have to qualify to be accepted by him.
You may see yourself as born lost, misplaced, miscalculated, misappropriated, the right amount in the wrong place. God sees you as the right amount and through what Jesus has done you are now in the right place.
-Pastor Shawn Annis
Hebrews 13:9-13 (KJV)
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
An established heart is the result of sanctification.
Justification is to be made Holy by nature (‘Just-as-if’I had never...). Sanctification is what it means to be made Holy.
The author of Hebrews says, “Be not carried away with divers and strange doctrines...” There are divers and strange teachings on sanctification that have very little or nothing to do with Jesus or the workings of the Gospel.
It is a common understanding that sanctification is an experience that takes place beyond salvation; an experience subsequent to trusting in Christ.
I believe that there are experiences and encounters with the Holy Ghost to be known and enjoyed after we trust Christ (speaking in other tounges is a good example of this). However, I see those experiences as a manifestation of what is already inside of you.
For example, how can Christ be in you and you not be Holy?
The Old Testament patriarchs would have been overwhelmed with and would never have been able to comprehend the idea of God in man. Wherever Jehovah dwelt was considered to be Holy by nature of habitation. Solomon cried out, “...will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have built?” The patriarchs of old would most definitely agree that should the God that the heaven of heavens cannot contain indwell you you’d be Holy indeed. So Holy you are!
It is common to believe that you are either made Holy by an experience after trusting Christ or that you are made Holy by what you do.
Are you Holy?
I am trying to be.
How are you trying?
By doing what the Bible says, I read the Bible, I study, I pray, I set my focus on the Lord, I give up those things that are sinful and I endeavor to honor the Lord.
Let it forever for settled that reading the Bible, studying, praying, and a distain for sin are both beautiful hallmarks of a Christian and identifiable characteristics of a Christian lifestyle. I desire and practice all the above. However, these hallmarks are the fruit of holiness and NOT the pursuit of holiness.
Holiness for some tends to be a lifestyle of confessing sin and committing to God that you are going to do better. Trying harder is a vicious cycle with no reward. It’s a dead end street at best.
Verse 9 says, “...For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.”
These “meats” are a reference to how the sacrificial animals were killed outside the camp and their blood was brought to the alter inside the camp for atonement. The people were then allowed to eat the sacrificial meat. The author here is saying that you and I have the potential to change our mind on holiness. We can receive sanctification by grace or by the old legalistic approach (funny thing is that unless you were born ethnically as a Jew the law never applied to you anyhow).
In other words verse 9 is saying that your heart can be strengthened by grace or you can venture down the road of being Holy by what you do. This road however never has an arrived destination point.
Look at verse 9 one more time. Notice that is says, “...it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein (emphasis on ‘occupied’).”
A pre-occupation with holiness is not what God intended for you. It is a common practice to become so occupied with holiness that you only know what you don’t believe in and therefore have taken your focus from what you do believe in. For example many times when I ask a brother or sister what they believe in they tell me what they don’t believe in. The hallmark of many Christians is what they don’t do. This is a backwards Gospel! Where is Jesus in all this?
Verse 10 says, “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.” Christ is our alter. He is both the sacrifice and the alter. Christ is our everything. Our justification and our sanctification. You are Holy by nature of habitation.
Look at verse 12, “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”
When were you sanctified?
At the death of His Son
How were you sanctified?
With His own blood.
Who was sanctified?
_________________ (not going to answer that one for you)
-Pastor Shawn Annis
In the Gospel according to man there are certain things Jesus cannot do. There seem to be limitations to the proposed finished workings of Christ.
The first thing we are told Jesus (Grace) cannot do is set aside all condemnation (past, present, future tense).
In revealing what Jesus has done for us there are certain “what about verses.” For example:
Question: What about John 5:14? Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
Answer: As New Testament believers, we will not come under this judgment of God. Romans 5:9 says, “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” The man Jesus found in the temple was not justified by Jesus’ blood. You are! Jesus bore that judgment so we wouldn't have to (Isa 53:4-6, 11; Ro 5:8-10; 1Co 15:3). Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”
Question: What about John 8:34? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Answer: Romans 6:16 says “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” The legalistic Jews were pursuing sinless lives so that they could earn God's favor. Paul had proven that no one could keep the precepts of the Law and that the Law was never given for the purpose of justification. What God did in Christ is more powerful then what Satan did in Adam. The serile condition of the Adamic race is broken. In Christ we have abandoned ourselves to His will. In the same manner in which we were slaves to sin under Adam in a much greater and supernatural way we have come into obedience to righteousness in Christ. We no are no longer infatuated or preoccupied by sin. Those that Jesus were talking to in John 8:34 were apart of the Adamic race. You are not part of that race. When Jesus died he took Adam’s race with Him. Your life is hid in Christ!
Question: What about 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.
Answer: Paul was clear that this is a judgment of our works done in the body, it is also true that Jesus bore in His own body all judgment due our sins. Many people choose to do good things, thinking that God will be pleased. Those works that we did in the flesh trying to please God will not abide (loss to us). Paul is NOT speaking of justification; that is God's gift through Christ (Eph 2:8-9). Paul said, “We must all appear before the judgment seat [Greek: bema] of Christ. In Biblical times the term bema referred to a place from which decisions, or punishments were announced. Paul used bema in a different fashion then the time in which he lived: he viewed it more like a judges place at the end of an event, rewarding the athletes. He wrote: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” Paul’s understanding of bema was an exciting experience filled with joy beyond what we could ever comprehend.
Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
When it comes to condemnation I join with Paul and say, “There is none!”
According to Romans 5:10 you were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. The death of Jesus did not change God. The death of Jesus changed our perception of God. We no longer buy into Adam’s view of who God is. Jesus is the express image of God. We have Jesus’ view now. We have been given the gift of repentance which is the gift to change our mind about God. We no longer view Him through the lens of an enemy. On the basis of that you can be saved by His life and yes, walk condemnation free.
Question: Were you reconciled to God by the death of His son or at the moment of your profession of faith?
Answer: At the death of His son which when understood will always give rise to a supernatural profession of faith.
Isn’t it liberating to know that the death of His Son preceded you? No need to struggle with the notion of no future tense condemnation.
In summary, Jesus, has set aside “ALL” condemnation.
-Shawn Annis, Pastor