It's difficult to imagine that I am writing the August blog! Where has summer gone? Last month I wrote on Psalms 40. I would encourage you to read that again before you read this months’ blog.
My great joy is revealing Jesus as the new and "living way" for mankind to be one with God.
I am beginning with a quote from last month. “When Jesus read the Old Testament, He didn’t read it to see what all of us must do to please the Father, because He knew it was written for Him. All Old Testament types and shadows were God’s instructions for Jesus, in order for Him to know what He had to do to take away the sin of all people.”
Hebrews 10:2 KJV says "worshippers once purged should have had no more consciousness of sins.” However, the very offering of the sacrifice continually was, in itself, consciousness of sin.
But something so marvelous happens and so many have missed it. The Scripture says “for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross ….” (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).
This is much clearer in verses 6 and 7 of Psalm 40:
Vs 6. “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.”
Vs 7. “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.”
Jesus says my ears you have opened! I hear what you are saying, you don't want sacrifices, you want me. Here I come the book is written of me.
Jesus said "the joy is set before me. Mankind will be free, I have come to do your will!”
Read Hebrews 10:8 in the new KJV. It tell us Jesus took away the first to establish the second. Verse 10 states by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all.
We can tell the world they can receive the salvation, the healing, blessing, and all that it contains through faith in that one sacrifice. We can tell the Church folk you can receive. There is nothing for you to do to get healed, to live blessed, other than believe in that once for all sacrifice.
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. What was lost in Adam? The innocence Adam possessed was lost. The platform where man lives from the foundation of “I am” and not “I need to become” was lost. In this great loss mankind was lost also.
For God to save us He had to restore the platform from where we function. He had to reintroduce the state where we can have a belief system that cannot produce harm in the form of sin and death. The only way in which He could do that was to become the death system and all its fruit and allow it to die. In doing this, He would give humans His belief system as the belief system whereby we can function, and those that believe what He believes have His life, called eternal life.
The only way a human being can have a belief system that would satisfy Him, would be to have a belief system that is based in truth. The human heart would never believe that he is as God is, unless two things take place.
The first would have to be a total annihilation of any idea that sin or any system of disqualification could be alive. The second would have to be an immortal human on the level of God, seated in the Godhead as the high priest of mankind.
This is exactly what Jesus came to do. This is what the incarnation is. He came and saved the belief that was lost, so that we can have a new truth to believe and so be saved.
He found His Identity in His union with God and saw Himself equal with God all the time. He never had any consciousness of sin for He possessed the being of God in human flesh. When Stephen saw the heavens open, he said "look I see the Son of Man”. Where did Stephen see him? In the Godhead!
One more time maybe our ears will open and we will hear it loud and clear this time.
John 14:20 “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”
The greatest revelation of Jesus the world has ever known is contained right here. It's a blood bought people functioning in their oneness with God. Freed from trying to become, and living from the foundation ‘I am in Him and He is in Me, we have become one’. There is no separation between God and Man because of the Man Christ Jesus. It makes me want to shout the shout of faith!
Again, I give you Jesus,
Pastor Bill Annis, President, FCF Canada
For many years I wondered why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and what the significance of His baptism could be. Many things happened at the Baptism of John; people repented, Jesus Christ was baptized and declared the Lamb of God without blemish, and Jesus was sent into the desert to be tempted of the Devil, just after the baptism. Also at the baptism, John, who was the son of the high priest, declared the burning of the chaff and the coming judgment of God, and— one of the most important things—all righteousness was fulfilled in the baptism of Jesus, according to the Scriptures.
We can see the conglomerate of events that took place in this simple baptism. I would like to have a look at Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God and as the scapegoat, which are best understood in the context of Jesus’ view of the Law from Psalm 40. In Psalm 40, it is boldly declared that the Father had no interest in sacrifice and offerings, but that these things were types and shadows of what Jesus had to come and do.
So when Jesus read the Old Testament, He didn’t read it to see what all of us must do to please the Father, because He knew it was written for Him. All Old Testament types and shadows were God’s instructions for Jesus, in order for Him to know what He had to do to take away the sin of all people. It was prophetically written in such a way that we could see what He prayed, word for word.
There is much to learn from Psalm 40. In it we see how Jesus lived while He was on the Earth and we understand He had to live by faith. He willingly opened up His life for God to bring salvation forth through Him. The Holy Spirit started to speak to Jesus at a very young age; as a matter of fact, the Bible says “when upon [His] mother’s breasts” (KJV, Ps.22:9). I also believe that Mary had a lot to do with teaching Jesus about who His father really was. The only reason I point this out is so we can understand Psalm 40 and the context in which it is written.
Let’s look at Psalm 40:5-10 (KJV):
Vs 5 “Many O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”
The only way I can describe Psalm 40:5 is that it was the “now I understand!” moment in the life of Jesus. Jesus Christ comes in Psalm 40, verse 5 and bursts out with joy because He understands why all these animal sacrifices were done. When Jesus gets the revelation that animal sacrifice was just a type and a shadow and not the substance, joy bursts forth in His life. The Scripture even says “for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross ....” (KJV, Hebrews 12:2).
This is much clearer in verses 6 and 7 of Psalm 40: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.”
Here we see that Jesus realized God never wanted any animal sacrifice, nor did He want any offering from anybody; it was never required by the Father. What Jesus said in Psalm 40:7 is what it’s all about: “In the volume of the book it is written of me.” What that means is that the entire Bible is all about Jesus, and what He had to come and do. The word “volume” in the Hebrew means ‘title’. The best way I can describe it is that Jesus said the law was addressed to Him.
This can clearly be seen in Hebrews 10:5-7 “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
Here we see that the writer of the book of Hebrews interprets Psalm 40 as pointing towards the body of Jesus Christ.
The Law was Never Written to Give Us Life by Our Obedience to It.
Jesus Christ came and declared the correct interpretation of the Law, which was in the context of what He had to do in His body to bring forth salvation unto man; thus, making the Law beautiful and life-giving. If we look at the Law in any other way, it will be devastating and will destroy our lives. With all this in mind, we can understand why the Law was written. It was never written to give us life by our obedience to it; it was written to Jesus.
Vs 8-10 “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy loving kindness and thy truth from the great congregation.”
God Is Not Going to Write the Ten Commandments or Any Other Religious Rules on Your Heart.
When we look at verses 8, 9 and 10, we find that Jesus Christ came giving a new definition to the Law. He declares the correct interpretation of the Old Testament law as that which He had to do to bring forth salvation to man.
This is the law of God, the message of how God was flooded with loving kindness, how He has come and shown His faithfulness towards mankind, and how He showed righteousness to people in saving them from their sins. That is the law of God; that is also the law that God will write on your heart. God is not going to write the Ten Commandments—or any other religious rules—on your heart, for that is called the “ministration of death written on stones,” according to 2 Corinthians 3:7 and other Scriptures.
The only law God writes on your heart is the law that says He saved us by preparing a physical human body, in which the sin of the whole world could be taken away and mankind could be represented in the Godhead, by the resurrection of that body. John the Baptist announced that Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God; this lamb would not only take away the sin of an individual, but also the sin of all mankind. (Jon 1:29)
This is the gift we have to offer the whole world. We can boldly make Jesus known to the whole world. He is God's answer to mankind.
I Give You Jesus!
Pastor Bill Annis
“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
All too frequently I am hearing negative discussions on Christians tithing. Before I share some insight on this topic, I would like to share some personal experiences that Duska and I have had as tithers.
I have been a Christian for fifty-one years, forty-four of those years have been spent in full time ministry.
We were always tithers, because that’s what was expected of us. I can honestly say I didn't always know why we did, other than we were taught that we should.
For the first ten or twelve years I pastored, our Church didn't tithe. We were a giving Church, supporting missionaries as well as helping to start new Churches at home. We always responded to the less fortunate and helped many in times of difficulties. But we didn’t take ten percent and return it to God’s work as the Lord’s Tithe.
Approximately thirty years ago that all changed. God supernaturally took me on a journey which is ongoing to this day. He revealed to me the joy of tithing, and I mean it has become our joy.
Not only have we tithed personally, but we’ve led the Church to tithe of all its increase. This includes all money received, even building fund offerings.
You see, first of all, we weren’t giving to get blessed; we were giving because we are blessed. No one can give what they haven’t received, so the fact we could give meant we had first received.
King David discovered this in 1 Chronicles 29:14, “But who am I and what are my people, that we should retain strength and be able to offer thus so willing? For all things come from you, and out of your own hand we have given thee.”
God is always the first giver, and we have the joy of returning what He has blessed us with.
One of my resent joys has been watching the new FCF Church in Moncton. From day one they have been a tithing Church, and again we are seeing something wonderful happen. The goodness of God is manifest.
I don’t believe the idea that under Grace we are exempt from tithing. This idea is not supported in Scripture. The great difference is that under Law you had to give, but under Grace you get to. I do believe Jesus was made a curse for us, and no one is cursed or loved less by Jesus, even if they don’t tithe. However, the lack of tithing reveals a lack of understanding of Jesus and His goodness in the area of finance.
I am going to give a few points for your consideration, and we will expand on them in future blogs.
We are familiar with Scriptures such as 1 Peter 5:2, Titus 1:7, 1 Timothy 3:3, all of which refer to money as filthy lucre.
Luke 16:11 refers to unrighteous mammon or deceitful riches, and admonishes us to be faithful in this area lest we disqualify for true riches.
Question: How does something unrighteous become righteous?
Romans 11:16 “For if the first fruits be holy, the lump is also and if the root be holy so are the branches.”
This is called representation, the sum becomes what the first fruit is. Jesus was God’s tithe. He is the first and the last. He is the first born from the dead; we are holy because He is holy. The sum of our money becomes righteous because of the first fruit, the tithe. We don’t use filthy lucre. It has been declared righteous money for a righteous cause. We are living under a righteous system.
In reference to Melchisedec, Hebrews 7:4 tells us that Abraham gave tithes to him showing how great this man was.
Jesus is greater than all. When we tithe to our priest, Jesus, we are declaring how great He is.
1 Corinthians 11:26 is the communion scripture. Here we are told we show the Lord’s death.
Hebrews. 7: 8 tells us that tithing is a witness that Jesus is alive. “Here men that die receive tithes, but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.”
Communion isn’t a celebration of the greatness of Jesus, tithing is. Communion celebrates what He did, He died for me. Tithing celebrates what He is doing for me, supplying all my needs according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.
My motive in tithing isn’t to get rich, but rather to celebrate how great Jesus is to me. The blessing of the Lord maketh rich.
My pride isn’t in tithing, but rather that Jesus loves me, and it represents all of His blessing on my life.
I don’t have to, I get to tithe. The increase of tithe is something to rejoice about. It represents that fact that my whole life has increased, His blessing is evident, and His giving to me has become something to celebrate!
Next month be watching as we explore Luke 15.
-Pastor Bill Annis
The following thoughts have been a great blessing to me. I would like to share some of those moments of personal study time with you. I have discovered that what blesses one of us will bless all of us. It's my prayer and heartfelt desire that this will be your experience.
Those of us who have given our lives to the spiritual development of others are often perplexed by what we encounter. The things that get labeled as spiritual, but don't have their origin in the divine life are of great concern and have grave consequences. Receive these thoughts if they are of value and pass them on to others.
If we believe in guilt and condemnation, and believe we are obligated to obey the law to get God to approve of us, we will be born from that thinking. We will owe the birth of our life to that which we believe in.
Let’s read what John 1:12,13 (KJV) says about our birth:
12. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
13. “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
The Question is: To What Do We Owe Our Birth?
According to John, we can have different origins of birth. You can be born of blood, born of the will of the flesh, born of the will of a man, or born of God. The question is: ‘To what do we owe our birth? Who or what is the father of the life we live? Is it obligation, guilt, condemnation, or a revelation of innocence and acceptance through Jesus?’
If you tell a man from the street, who eats from trashcans and sleeps in carefully constructed newspapers, that he is a prince and you can prove it to him, you will only have a prince living in him if he can believe it. Without proof—and belief in the proof—this would not be possible. Our lives are a fruit of what we believe. Many just chase after success because they want to prove themselves. If proving ourselves to others has become the father of the life we live, then we owe our birth to fear of what others think.
Similarly, we find people living a very holy life, but the holy life they live is born from obligation or the fear of hell, making hell the father of their good deeds. This is what John 1:12 is all about. The life we have today, which may be the good, holy life, and the very life we dedicated to God might be born of the will of the flesh or the will of a man, and not of God. John 1:12 clearly states that those who have received Jesus owe their birth—the new life they live today—to God. What that means is that Christ lives in them, because they are persuaded in their hearts about what Jesus Christ has done for them, and in them.
Faith is a crucial factor and our relationship with God is not something unnatural, but very natural and easy to have, once we are in the presence of truth. Truth Ignites Belief! Innocence Believed, Based on What Jesus Christ Has Done, is Salvation Received!
We need to realize that faith is not what we do to get God to do something for us, but faith is what happens to us when we hear what He has done for us. As we feel the faith rise in our hearts and yield to it, we find that which we believe is being born in us, and we are born from the truth that we believe in. When we believe what Jesus Christ has done, we receive the very Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, which means that our life and His life are now the same life, for we are one spirit with Him. This can only take place when we can see ourselves as innocent because of what Jesus has done. Innocence believed, based on what Jesus Christ has done, is Salvation received!
The Greek translation of the word “receive” is to grab ahold of, with a purpose to make use of. Those of us who grab ahold of Jesus, to make use of what He has given us, owe our birth to Him. And we can say that the life we live in Him is a result of Him living in us. This is the only life, His life, a great life. Paul called it ‘the life I now live in the flesh, lived by the faith of Jesus. His life manifested in me to the world.’
Galatians 2:20 (KJV) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
-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, 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.