Monthly Archives: February 2018

What is a True Believer?

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What is a True Believer?

There is a stunning turn of events in John 6:61-66.  Many of the so called “disciples” that followed Jesus left Him and never followed Him again:

Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Notice how they were called “disciples” in verse 61, but then we find that they didn’t really believe.  When it came time to really pick up their cross and follow Him, they instead “turned back and no longer followed Him.”  They were offended at some things Jesus said about Himself.  They couldn’t understand the spiritual meaning.  The real problem though, was that they were not true believers.  Jesus previously spoke of this in the Parable of the Sower.

Some just didn’t understand the Word from the beginning:

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.” (Matthew 13:19)

Some receive it with joy but they only follow Jesus for a short time:

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.” (Matthew 13:20-21)

Some hear the Word but their lives never change:

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)

Some hear the Word and understand it, they follow Jesus to the end:

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:33)

Paul was concerned that some of the “believers” in the Corinthian church were not true believers.  He reiterated the gospel message to them and challenged them to examine themselves to see if they were in the faith.

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1 Cor. 15:1-2)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? (2 Cor. 13:5)

Paul also tells us that there are those that profess to be true believers but their actions say something totally different.  Neither are they true believers.

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (Titus 1:16)

having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. (2 Tim. 3:5)

John reminded us that if someone is not a true believer they will not stay with Christ.  They will leave Him and not come back to Him.  This shows that they never really were a true believer.

They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. (1 John 2:19)

And Peter tells us that someone who is not a true believer will return to the world and turn from following Jesus as their Lord and Master and never come back to Him.

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:20-22)

Jesus Himself taught us that being a true believer involves a great cost. The reason many stopped following Jesus (such as in the John 6) was that they didn’t count the cost of being a true believer.

“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:27-30)

What then is a true believer and the signs of a true believer?

We can see in our main passage in John 6 a sharp differentiation between those that were false believers and those that were true believers.  The false believers were offended by Jesus’ teaching and couldn’t accept it.  They stopped following Him and never returned.  They could not accept or understand His words.  On the other hand, the true believers were compelled to stay and to continue following Him because they knew in their hearts that He was the only way to God and eternal life as we see in verses 67 and 68:

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.

They came to “believe and know.” This was a permanent change in their hearts and there was no going back.  They had found the pearl of great price and treasure hidden in the field (Matt. 13:44-46). Where could they go? What could be better? That is the experience of a true believer.  There is nothing that would or could persuade them otherwise.  They were sold out to the idea.  Their hearts were won over by His love.  Yes, Peter would turn away from Jesus later on and deny he knew Him (John 18:15-27).  But this was only because he was afraid of the people that arrested Jesus, not because he couldn’t believe or accept the Lord’s words.  In it he learned how very dependant he really was on Jesus.  He wept in remorse over his denial of the Lord.  His faith did not fail him in the end because it was a true faith (Luke 22:32).  If he wasn’t a true believer, he would have not have had a godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10), it would have only been a worldly sorrow it would have only led to death.  When the Lord confronted Him he returned and showed that he was a true believer.  He then went on to do even greater things for the Lord.  We do stumble at times as true believers because of our lack of faith and frailty, but because we have a true faith in Him, we get up, learn from our mistakes and sins, and go on to maturity.  We have a godly sorrow that leads to repentance.  I mean, where can we go, He has the words of eternal life? What else could be better? We’ve found the priceless pearl and the field of infinite treasure.  So is it thought, believed, and acted upon in the heart and life of the true believer.



Healing the Inner Man

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Healing the Inner Man

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.(John 8:36)

Healing of the heart or soul (inner man) comes through relationship with our Heavenly Father through His Son Jesus Christ.  Once we are saved we go on a journey of learning how to abide in Christ and how to live as Sons of God.  We learn how God sees us and thinks of us and we fall more in love with Him.  We see that He is our perfect Father and unlike our earthly parents or authority figures He would never abuse us or harm us.  We learn to trust Him because He is always faithful.  This is a learning process that comes through studying the Word of God to understand who God is and His great love for us.  Healing comes to our souls as we step out in faith and forgive those who have offended us, pray for those who have used us, and ask God to keep changing our hearts.  When we are tempted we choose God’s way because we love Him and are so thankful to Him.

Healing principles:

  1. Repent of your sins – be open with the Father about what you feel and struggle with and cry out to Him for help – be humble – HEBREWS 5:7-9
  2. Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so you may be healed – let the Spirit of God show you what to pray for each other – JAMES 5:13-18
  3. Forgive those who have hurt you and bless them – LUKE 6:27-31
  4. Obey God no matter how you feel – let the fruit of the Spirit come forth daily – GALATIANS 5:22-24
  5. Practice the spiritual disciplines daily: prayer, confession, fasting, worship/praise – stay connected to Jesus (abide in Him) – JOHN 15:5-10
  6. Walk in the Spirit – rely on the Holy Spirit to lead you in everything – ROMANS 8:5-6
  7. Serve God, help the needy, focus on helping others not yourself! The less you focus on “self” the more free you will be – ISA. 58:6-14


O LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. (Psalm 30:2)

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. (Psalm 107:20)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5)

For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD, ‘ Because they called you an outcast saying: ” This is Zion; No one seeks her.”‘ (Jer. 30:17)

But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. (Malachi 4:2)

For I am the LORD who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)

Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isa. 53:4-5)

Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.(Isa. 58:8)



Keys to Effective Prayer

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Keys to Effective Prayer

  1. Answered prayer is strongly tied to our daily relationship with and obedience to the Lord

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

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 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. (1 John 3:22-23)

God loves to answer prayer because we are living in a way that is pleasing to Him.  By staying close to Him and waiting upon Him to hear Him and do His will, we will be in a great place to pray as He wants us to and be in line with His desires.

  1. God hears us and answers us when we pray according to His will

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

We know His will from the Word of God and from that close and personal relationship we have with Him.

the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangersI am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (John 10:2-5, 14)

God may answer us “GO, SLOW, GROW, or NO”

GO – Yes, it is time

SLOW – Your own the right track but keep praying and waiting on My perfect timing

GROW – I have so much to give you and use you for but you aren’t ready yet, you need to keep learning and growing so I can get you that place where I can entrust you with this.

NO – I have something better for you

  1. Persevere in prayer because there is resistance to God’s will

 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:12-14)

Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” (Luke 18:4-5)

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt. 7:7)

Sometimes the delay in answered prayer is because there is a battle going on in the heavenlies and your prayers are the weapon that will bring the breakthrough.  But keep pressing in until you see the answer from Him.

  1. Always pray with faith

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  (Mark 11:24)

Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” (Mark 11:23)

Faith is not a force.  Faith is only as good as the source you are connecting it to.  When you have faith in God to do great things you are believing in the One who is almighty and all loving.




What is the Internal Call?

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No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day… My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 6:44; 10:27-28)

Effective calling can be defined as the act of God the Father that operates in the context of the Gospel proclamation in which He calls people to Himself for salvationEffective calling is referred to as internal calling. The Gospel call is offered to all people—even to those who do not desire the Gospel.  Sometimes, the Gospel call is referred to as external calling or general calling.  Since the Gospel call is the vehicle used in Gospel proclamation and is intended to be preached to all, it can operate as an effective call or general call to the sinner.

The elements of the Gospel call, which invites sinners to embrace the message, involves the explanation of the facts concerning salvation.  The facts concerning salvation indicates that all of mankind have sinned (Rom. 3:23), the penalty of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty of sin (Rom. 5:8).  Another element is the invitation to respond to Christ via repentance and faith (Matt. 11:28-30; Matt. 11:28; John 1:11-12); and thirdly a promise of forgiveness and eternal life (John 3:16; Acts 3:19; cf. 2:38; John 6:37). []

The Lord will lead us to Himself if we desire to come to Him. Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him will be saved (John 6:40). If we acknowledge God through General Revelation (cf. Psalm 19:1-2; Romans 1:20) then our hearts are open to respond favorably to the Gospel message (the external or general calling) when it is presented to us. He sees that willingness and desire in our hearts and will guide us to His Son if we would just reach out to Him because He is not far from any of us (Acts 17:27). And He wants to be found (Jeremiah 29:13). He makes Himself available, reachable, and findable to all who desire to find Him.

What the internal calling means is that only those the Father draws can come to Christ (John 6:44). Jesus will lose none of those the Father gives to Him (John 6:39). When someone cries out to God and asks Him to reveal Himself, He will teach them how to get to Him and be reconciled to Him (Matthew 7:11). Whoever learns from the Father comes to Him (John 6:45). What we need is a teachable, open heart to believe the gospel message (Matthew 13:8). And if we want more light and knowledge of the truth then He will “order our steps” and “draw us” to His Son (John 3:21). The internal calling is set into motion once He sees our desire to know who the true God really is. He will then bring us the right persons and put us in the right situations to where we can hear the gospel and of course we will then respond to it because it is what we were truly seeking. Our hearts were ready to receive the seed of the gospel and begin bearing fruit for Christ. This comes from the wooing of the Spirit and the drawing of the Father because we said yes to Him and were willing to hear, understand and repent. In this situation, our hearts are convinced that we are sinners and need God’s help. We seek God’s help. He draws us. We respond to His internal calling because He is basically giving us over to what we truly desire. This isn’t to say that there is not a battle waging for souls and the destiny of souls (2 Cor. 4:4-5). Unbelievers are in spiritual blindness. However, the battle is for truth. Blindness speaks of not being able to see the truth (1 John 1:5-7). So, when someone takes a step towards God and realizes they need Him and want to find Him, it is then by His power alone that the blindness can be broken. God accomplishes this through the internal calling. He works in our hearts to show us the truth, opens our eyes and hearts to it, and makes us into a new creation when we answer the gospel call.