TO LIVE IS CHRIST – TO DIE IS GAIN

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 AMP

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 Because we know that Christ (the Anointed one), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him. Romans 6:8-9 AMP

I have been crucified with Christ. I was in Jesus when He died on the cross. I was in Jesus when He was raised from the dead. Death no longer has any power over me. The moment my faith connects with His promise, this becomes my reality. I am transformed from the inside out – a new creature in Christ. My life is not governed merely by external regulations, but it is led, guided and prompted by the Holy Spirit. I don’t live a life dictated and controlled by the flesh. I no longer fear the wrath of God. I live a life of absolute faith and implicit trust with one goal – to please Him and only Him.

I am not perfect yet – I am a work in progress. However, the more I come to know Him; the more I come into a revelation of His word, His character, and His plan for me – the more I realize how awesome He is, the more I fall in love with Him, and the more I commit my life into His hands. I no longer live just for me, I live for Him and He lives big on the inside of me. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live here in the flesh, on the earth, I live by faith in my precious Lord and Savior, Who loved me so much He gave me His all – He gave Himself up for me.

For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity]. 22 If, however, it is to be life in the flesh and I am to live on here, that means fruitful service for me; so I can say nothing as to my personal preference [I cannot choose], 23 But I am hard pressed between the two. My yearning desire is to depart (to be free of this world, to set forth) and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; 24 But to remain in my body is more needful and essential for your sake. 25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and stay by you all, to promote your progress and joy in believing, 26 So that in me you may have abundant cause for exultation and glorying in Christ Jesus, through my coming to you again. Philippians 1:21-26 AMP

I am in love with Jesus. I have a revelation of what it means to have everlasting life. I will never die, but I will live eternally in God’s presence. I have eternal life right now. If my body dies, I (my spirit) will live on with Him forever. I already died the death of the cross the day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. That old man is dead. That old sin nature is dead. No one can ever steal from me my resurrection life, purchased with the precious blood of the Lamb. I have glimpsed eternity and I am no longer afraid of death. Because I have crucified my flesh and counted the things of earth as dung, it makes no difference to me if I live here or if I live in heaven. My heart’s desire is rather to be in His glorious presence, but while I still live here on earth, there is work to be done. It is better for those who need Jesus that I remain and labor in the harvest field. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Either way I win!

None of us lives to himself [but to the Lord], and none of us dies to himself [but to the Lord, for] 8 If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For Christ died and lived again for this very purpose, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:7-9 AMP

Whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord. We don’t live for ourselves alone – we are accountable to Him. Whether we live or die, we will always belong to Him. We no longer live to and for ourselves, but to and for Him, Who died and was raised again for our sake.

For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] one died for all, then all died; 15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 AMP

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPIRITUAL CHRISTIAN AND A CARNAL CHRISTIAN

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world’s crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world? [Why do you submit to rules and regulations?–such as] 21 Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them], 22 Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines. 23 Such [practices] have indeed the outward appearance [that popularly passes] for wisdom, in promoting self-imposed rigor of devotion and delight in self-humiliation and severity of discipline of the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh (the lower nature). [Instead, they do not honor God but serve only to indulge the flesh.] Colossians 2:20-23 AMP

When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life]. Romans 7:5-6 AMP

You can be saved and still be a carnal Christian rather than a spiritual Christian. There is a difference between a carnal Christian and a spiritual Christian:

-Carnal Christians have not renewed their mind with the Word of God, or allowed the Holy Spirit to change them.

-They think, talk, and act, like the rest of the world and follow the world’s way of doing things.

-They allow their flesh and fleshly impulses to control them.

-They only function in the sense realm – what they can see, hear, touch, smell and taste.

-They only trust what they can see; they judge things by outward appearance.

-They try to keep God’s Law in their own ability.

-They try to control behavior without changing the heart.

-They try to serve God their way.

-They are afraid of God’s wrath.

-They do not have a revelation of God’s love for them, or His grace and mercy extended toward them, or the freedom that is available to them.

By mercy and love, truth and fidelity [to God and man–not by sacrificial offerings], iniquity is purged out of the heart, and by the reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord men depart from and avoid evil. Proverbs 16:6 AMP

In contrast, the spiritual Christian has submitted themselves to the Word of God and the Spirit of God, to be taught and to be changed into His image: -They have died to material ways of looking at things.

-They function not just in the earthly realm, but also in the Spirit realm.

-They trust the unseen – the Holy Spirit.

-They trust the Word of God.

-They know God loves them and they love Him.

-They joyfully submit themselves to God’s Word, obey God’s commands, and serve Him.

-They act on the Word, doing what it commands.

-They practice the love walk.

-They enjoy the liberty of the Spirit.

-They are not afraid of God or His wrath, because they believe His Word.

-They have a revelation of His grace and mercy extended to all who believe. -They think, talk, and act like Jesus.

-They have a revelation of their place in God’s family.

-They see themselves as God sees them.

-They humbly acknowledge that they are nothing without Him and that He is always to be glorified and lifted up in their lives.

-At the same time, they are bold to stand up and declare and decree a thing, knowing that Heaven stands behind them to carry it out.

-They serve – not under obedience to the old code of written regulations – but under obedience to the promptings of the Spirit in newness of life.

The Peaceable Fruit of Righteousness – Part Two

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

Hebrews 12:11 AMP says, “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Discipline – instruction, training, correction – is not pleasant at the time it is being administered, but it produces righteousness in the person being disciplined and ultimately it produces peace. If you will submit to God’s discipline – through His Word and His Spirit, you will bring forth the fruit of righteousness and peace.

And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; 6 For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes. 7 You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? 8 Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. 9 Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live? 10 For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.  Hebrews 12:5-10 AMP

The biggest problem in the Church today, is that you have too many people calling themselves Christians – children of Father God – who do not, and will not, submit themselves to God’s discipline through His Word and Spirit. Paul tells us not to take God’s discipline lightly and not to get all bent out of shape or give up when He corrects you. We have seen so many people going round and round the mountain one more time, because they have areas of their life that are off limits to God. They will not allow the Lord to bring correction to them in particular areas of their lives, therefore they never grow in those areas and are always in bondage to the mistaken attitudes and ways of thinking that come with pride and sin. Of course, discipline is not pleasant at the time! None of us likes to be disciplined – its hard on our flesh and our pride and our ego – but if we will humble ourselves and allow the fire of God to do its work in us, we will come through the other side with a burden lifted; freer and more joy-filled than we have ever been before; with a new appreciation for our Father God and how much He loves and cares for us!

Paul asks the question: “For what son is there whom his father does not thus train and correct and discipline?” Discipline is for the good of the child. In those days fathers would instruct and discipline their children and God expects fathers to continue to do that today. Instructing, disciplining, correcting, and training his children is one of the main responsibilities of a father – not just putting a roof over your kid’s heads, clothes on their back, food on their plate, and sending them to a good school. None of these things will produce obedient kids and good, productive citizens without your personal, daily input. You have to realize that if you do not give your children guidance – someone else will; if you do not mold them and shape them – someone else will.

Politicians are always trying to remove or hinder parental authority – in the guise of what is good for the child – and have succeeded in many instances, but God put the responsibility for teaching, training, and discipline squarely on the parents, especially the fathers! You have to understand that we are in a war for the hearts of men. Ungodly law-makers and educators would love to have the opportunity to shape your child’s mind and attitude. Why do you think it was so important to the atheists for prayer to be taken out of school? This one decision has changed several generations – and not for the good. America is losing its moral compass as society encourages rebellion against authority and disdain for all that is good. If you do not take responsibility for appropriately disciplining your children, you leave them open for a life of rebelliousness against authority, resulting in rebellion against God, Himself!

Raising and disciplining a child is not the easy way or the lazy way – it requires effort and time and consistency. You have to discipline yourself to take the time and make the effort to input into your children. It takes lots and lots of love and patience. You have to put your own flesh under; you cannot afford to be selfish; you cannot abdicate your responsibilities and leave it up to the mother of your children to do it all on her own. A father’s influence on his kids is huge – whether he takes responsibility or not. He is directly responsible for how they turn out. A father who refuses to be involved with his children’s upbringing – whether he lives in the house or not – is sending a message to his children: you are illegitimate! That may sound strong, but illegitimate children are usually not acknowledged nor treated as sons. If you ignore them – that is the message you are sending – you are saying, “You are not loved or wanted.”

We are not illegitimate offspring – we are children of our Father God. Discipline produces respect. If we respect our earthly fathers and obey them, should we not even much more submit to our Heavenly Father and live! Earthly fathers discipline us for only a short period of time and chastise us as seems proper and good to them; but God disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.

Living in the Family of God

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

Foundation Scriptures: Colossians 3:5-25

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.  Colossians 3:5-25 NIV

1. In the Family, we have been raised to a new life through Jesus Christ—He was raised to new life therefore we have been raised up with Him.

  • We are to seek the rich eternal treasures that are above—in the Heavenlies.
  • Set your mind on the higher things.
  • You died with Him, you were buried with Him and you have been raised to new life with Him.
  • Putting off the old—verses 5-9
  • Putting on the new—verses 10-12

2. Your conduct in the Family of God.

  • Forgiving one another—verse 13
  • Put on love—verse 14
  • Let peace rule—verse 15
  • Be thankful—verse 15
  • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord—verse 16
  • Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him—verse 17

3. Christian family conduct.

Verses 18-25

  • Husbands; wives; children; parents; fathers; servants.
  • The Word of God must be the foundation for our lives.

4. Foundational things you must do in order to live your life prosperously and effectively in the Family of God.

  • Decide to obey God’s Word and take it as the written, spoken, God-breathed pattern for your life in the Family.
  • Don’t be conformed to the world—its ways and ideologies.
  • Don’t be persuaded by outside influences—be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit is the One who has been sent to help you live your life in the Family.
  • He will constrain and restrain you and also release, empower and enable you to live by the grace of God to handle any situation that might come your way.

NB You are part of the Family of God in Heaven and Earth!

Effective Prayer


“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

  1. Pray at all times.

    • There are many things God has equipped us with, to effectively run our race. One of them is prayer.
    • Pray at all times—on every occasion, in every season. Seasons change—pray in every season and don’t stop praying.
    • Pray with all manner of prayer and entreaty. Different prayers for different situations.
    • To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance. The enemy won’t give you a break—don’t give him one. Pray with strong purpose and perseverance. Weak, faithless prayers are not answered.
    • Intercede—stand in the gap—in behalf of all the saints.
    • Intercede means: to plead on another’s behalf; to act or interpose on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition; to act as mediator in a dispute; to attempt to reconcile differences between two people or groups.
    • 1 Corinthians 14:15 – Pray in your earthly language; pray in your heavenly language.
  2. Pray in the Spirit.

    • Romans 8:26-27 NKJV – Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
    • We pray in the Spirit when we don’t know what to pray.
    • When we pray in the Spirit, we are praying the perfect will of God; therefore it is very important to pray in the Spirit even if you think you know what to pray.
    • As you pray in the Spirit, you grow in sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit, and He will lead you and prompt you even as you pray in your earthly language as to what to pray.
  3. Confidence in prayer.

    • 1 John 5:14-15 AMP – And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. 15 And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him.
    • If God hears us, He will answer us.
    • How can we be sure that He hears us?
    • If we ask the Father for anything according to His will, we know that He hears us. You can be confident that you are heard and that the answer is on the way.
  4. Pray to the Father in the Name of Jesus.

    • Under the Old Covenant, people knew God as God, but Jesus showed us an added dimension of Him as a loving, heavenly Father.
    • If you are a born-again, blood-washed believer, then God is your Father. John 16:23-28—Ask Me nothing—ask the Father in my Name.
    • John 14:13-14 NKJV – And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
    • We don’t ask Jesus for anything.
    • We ask the Father in the Name of Jesus. We ask according to His will as revealed in His Word.
    • Our joy is full because He answers our prayers.
    • Jesus said, “Don’t keep asking Me. The Father Himself loves you directly.”
  5. Jesus our High Priest.

    • Under the Old Covenant, men came to God through a priest and heard from God through the prophet. Under the New Covenant, Jesus is our High Priest.
    • Hebrews 4:14-16 – Come boldly to the throne of grace.
    • Because Jesus loves us, because He totally understands what we face, because He took our place, we can now come to God, based on what Jesus has done, and boldly ask for help in the Name of Jesus.
    • People who are timid before God do not have a revelation of how much He loves us and what He has done for us.
  6. Effective prayer.

    • James 5:16 KJV – The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. NKJV – The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. AMP – The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].
    • There are three things at work here. A righteous man; praying fervently; expecting an answer. The result is powerful, dynamic and effective!
    • Fervent prayer. Fervent means: having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling, enthusiasm, etc.; having or showing great emotion or zeal; ardent; extremely hot; burning; glowing.
  7. Righteousness and answered prayer.

    • 1 Peter 3:8-12 – For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their prayers.
    • Righteous in heart and motive, righteous in word and righteous in action.
    • Love God and your neighbor; do good, not evil; clean up your mouth; pursue peace.
    • God’s eyes are on the righteous—He is constantly watching over you.
    • His ears are tuned in to your voice and He hears your prayers. Remember, if He hears, He answers.
    • Commit to righteousness, because you are called to inherit a blessing!

 

Is There Not A Cause? – Part Two

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? 27 And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him. 28 And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. 29 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? 1 Samuel 17:26-29 KJV

Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?

Goliath defied Israel and their God. God was not going to let that happen. He found a young boy with few qualifications in the natural, but who had an unswerving faith in God. Saul, and Israel’s army, saw a giant, but David saw a mortal man defying Almighty God. David had a cause and God anointed him to fulfill that cause. A teenager killed an experienced warrior, who was impossible to defeat in the natural, all because he looked at the situation, not from man’s point of view, but from God’s point of view. No matter how big your giant is, God has the plan to slay it. What cause has God called you to? What giant is out there defying your God? They will not prevail against a man or a woman, filled with faith, and obedient to His plan.

The devil is a liar – God is true

Goliath had a big mouth and he made a lot of scary sounding threats, but David cut his head off. Goliath trash-talked God, but David lifted God up and magnified Him. The devil tries to intimidate you with his lies and fear – but that is all he is – a liar. The truth will always defeat the lie – no matter how big and scary it is. Start talking about how good and how great God is! The truth will prevail. What lie is the devil telling you? Chop its head off!

Please God – not man

God can only use you to the level of criticism you can handle. Other people’s opinions and criticism could not stop David. The rest of the army stood around waiting for who knows what. David saw that there was a cause, and that something needed to be done. He had God to fight for him, so there was no reason to wait. He took action, found the giant’s weakness, killed him, and cut his head off. People may try to discourage you with negativity or mockery, but you need to continue to do what is right and to do what God has called you to do. Please God – not man.

Courage and faith

David was not encumbered with man’s armor or heavy weapons. He was able to move quickly and stay out of the range of Goliath’s weapons. David was an expert marksman with a sling and stones. What made him dangerous to Goliath – was not just his skill – but his courage and faith in God. Even the most skilled marksman will miss the mark when he is shaking in fear.

Use the skills God has already given you

David had already seen victories against a lion and a bear, so he had experience with impossible situations that built his faith in God. He could not have done what he did without absolute faith and trust in God. When you face new problems, remind yourself of – and encourage yourself in – what God has already done in the past. Your strength comes from God. Use the skills He has already given you and move forward in life.

The greater the challenge, the greater the victory

That one act – slaying the giant – launched David into prominence in Israel. Without Goliath, no one would have known David’s name. He was already called and anointed by God to be king, and it would be years before he sat on the throne, but everyone knew of him and they also knew that the hand of God was upon him.

Sometimes your challenges come not from the enemy, but from within your own camp

David’s victory over Goliath made him very popular with the people. Unfortunately, they made him very unpopular with Saul, who was afraid of Goliath, and who was now violently jealous of David – especially since David now carried the anointing that Saul had lost.

Sometimes the small things are more challenging than the big ones – you need courage and you also need patience

While David was hiding and avoiding being killed by Saul, he faced his greatest personal tests. Even though it didn’t look like it sometimes, God was still on his side and His plan was being worked out in David’s life. When David took the throne, he was no longer a boy, but a mature man of proven character. Because he kept his eyes on God and His help, and because he was patient and conducted himself honorably, the tests, trials, and opposition did not wear him down or take him out – rather they helped to develop his character. It’s not the challenges that have the power to conquer us – it is our own attitude that makes the difference between victory and defeat.

David trusted God to keep His word to him

David had two opportunities to kill the man who was trying to kill him, but he wouldn’t raise a hand to King Saul, the man whom God had anointed and appointed. His men thought it was God delivering Saul into David’s hand, but David had too much respect for God. He showed Saul kindness and mercy and allowed God to deal with Saul. No matter what God has promised you, you need to resist the urge to accomplish it by natural means. The shortcut is not God’s plan. Stay on the path God has placed you on and allow God to bring His plan for you to pass.

The Truth About the Grace of God

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17 NKJV

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 KJV

There is a difference between mercy and grace. Mercy is what we receive when God does NOT give us what we DO deserve. Grace is what we receive when God gives us what we DO NOT deserve. We receive both when we obey the gospel and receive Jesus as Lord. The truth is that grace cannot be withheld from man because of any demerit and it cannot by lessened by demerit; neither can it be mixed with the law of works. However, this does not prove that we do not have any conditions to meet in order to receive the benefits of grace. There is not one scripture that teaches unconditional grace, or that God gives grace to those who disobey the gospel. God’s love is unconditional, but His grace is not. You must cooperate with God in receiving, and continuing to receive, His grace.

Romans 2:11 AMP says: “For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].” God is not a respecter of persons. The same rules apply to all. If He saves just one sinner, who disobeys, then He is under obligation to save them all.

1 John 1:7 NKJV says: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” God is under obligation to believers only when they walk in the light and remain true to the gospel. He is not under obligation to sinners until they receive Jesus and start obeying His word.

Titus 2:11-12 NKJV says: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”The grace of God teaches us that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and should live soberly, righteously, and godly here and now. Grace can go no further, if people do not obey its teaching.

It is possible to:

1. Receive grace in vain

2 Corinthians 6:1 NKJV – We then, as workers together with Him, also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

2. Frustrate (set aside) the grace of God in your life.

Galatians 2:21 NKJV – I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

3. Fall from grace

Galatians 1:6-8 NKJV – I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 5:4 NKJV – You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

4. Fall short of the grace of God

Hebrews 12:14-15 NKJV – Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.

5. Turn grace into lasciviousness

Jude 1: 4 AMP – For certain men have crept in stealthily [gaining entrance secretly by a side door]. Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality, and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

6. Sin in spite of grace

Romans 6:1-2 NKJV – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

7. Continue or discontinue in grace

Acts 13:43 NKJV – Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

8. Minister grace to others

1 Peter 4:10 NKJV – As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

9. Grow or not grow in grace

2 Peter 3:17-18a NKJV – You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

10. Receive or reject grace

John 3:16 NKJV – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Revelation 22:17 NKJV – And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

James 4:6-10 NKJV – But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Characteristics of the Power of God – Part II

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. Acts 1:8 AMP

Delivering power:

Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” 21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” Acts 5:17-25 NKJV

The apostles were flowing in the power of God – healing and delivering large numbers of people and more and more people acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior and were being added to the body of Christ. This infuriated the high priest and the Sadducees. They locked them in prison, but an angel brought them out of prison and instructed them to go back and preach in the temple. When we are doing the will of God, the power of the Holy Spirit is also the power of deliverance from the hands of man.

Power in the face of death:

When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:54-60 NKJV

Stephen preached the sermon of his life and the truth he spoke cut the Jews to the heart. They picked up stones and began to throw them at him. Stephen was so full of the Holy Spirit that he seemed oblivious to the stones hitting his body – he looked straight up into heaven and saw Jesus, the Father and the glory of God. Referring to his death the Bible says that he “fell asleep”. The Holy Spirit gives one peace, strength and power in the very face of death!

Power that money can’t buy:

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city. Acts 8:5-8 NKJV

The people of Samaria were enthralled with the power of God on Philip’s life. They were saved, healed, delivered, baptized in water and filled with the joy of the Lord! Even a sorcerer called Simon was saved and baptized!

Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” 24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” Acts 8:14-24 NKJV

Simon wanted to buy the power or ability to fill people with the Holy Spirit, but his motives were evil. Peter thoroughly rebuked him. The power to pray for people to be filled with the Holy Spirit cannot be bought, controlled or manipulated. You must be thoroughly yielded to the Holy Spirit yourself. The Lord can only do through you what He is allowed to do IN you. The power to fill people with the Holy Spirit comes only through the Holy Spirit Himself – not by the power of man.

Overcoming power:

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:11 NKJV

The power to overcome the devil and his works is through the blood of Jesus and the word of your testimony. What the Lord has done in you, to you through you and for you, is a powerful witness and a powerful force! Keep trusting in the power of the blood and the Name, and keep testifying – preach the Word of God and the power of God – and you’ll see great miracles and victories!

Reaching Souls across America