By His Stripes We Were Healed

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His stripes you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls,” 1 Peter 2:24, 25. 

These verses are akin to, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me,” Galatians 2:20; and Galatians 5: 24, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

According to the above Scriptures, we know that Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross, not only that our sins could be forgiven, but also that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us. And because we belong to Christ Jesus we have crucified our flesh with its passions and desires. And we do this by faith in what Jesus has done on our behalf. The life which we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God. For He bore our sins in His body on the cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. 

“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond approach — if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard…,” Colossians 1:21-23.

Jesus has reconciled us in His fleshly body through His death on the cross, and we  were born-again into a new man, the Son of God, and by His stripes we were healed. He bore our sins in His body, that is, the body of the last Adam, and we who were descendants of Adam were crucified with the last Adam, Jesus, and raised up with the risen Christ into newness of life, and now live to righteousness.

We descendants of Adam were buried with Jesus through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin, Romans 6.

We have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls, having been healed by His wounds, and in Him we have been made complete. We now lay aside the old man, our sinful self, and put on the new man created in the likeness of the risen Christ. We do this daily by denying our self, taking up our cross, and following the risen Christ.

“For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him we have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him we were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which we were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead,” Colossians 2:9-12.

Jesus is a complete and perfect Savior; believe in what He has accomplished. Our salvation is in Him, and only in Him; for by His stripes we were healed.

Rev. Jon Banks

Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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The Sweet Aroma

“For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin,” Romans 6:6-7, According to these verses we were crucified with Christ, our old self, or old man, that is Adam, was done away with on the cross of Jesus, and we are no longer slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. 

Verses 10-11 say, “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” These verses tell us that because Jesus has conquered sin, having died to it, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin [for we were crucified with Him], but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 

Something to note here are the words ‘in Christ Jesus.’ Because of these words we know that we are only alive to God when we are in Christ Jesus. As Jesus said in John 15;5, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” To be alive to God in Christ Jesus, we must abide in Christ Jesus. In this way, and only in this way, can we bear fruit, and the Father be glorified, (verse 8).  

John 15:10 says, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” Verse 12 says, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”

To love one another as Jesus has loved us, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross, and follow Jesus; that is, turn away from our self and its selfish tendencies and lusts, and consider ourselves dead to sin, [having been crucified with Christ on the cross], and follow Jesus in newness of life in the Spirit of God, having been raised up with Him into the heavenly places. 

Having denied ourselves and having been raised up with Jesus, the love of God will most assuredly flow through us like rivers of living water; and we will be patient and kind and without jealousy; we will not brag or be arrogant, nor will we seek our own; we will not be provoked, nor will we take into account a wrong suffered; we will not rejoice in unrighteousness, but we will rejoice with the truth; and we will bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. We will be in Christ Jesus, abiding, obeying, and loving all people; bearing fruit that glorifies the Father. And God will, in turn, manifest through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place, (2 Corinthians 2:14). 

Rev. Jon Banks

Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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In the Name of Jesus

Concerning doing things in the name of Jesus:

Doing something, such as speaking, in the name of Jesus does not mean doing, or speaking, by authority He has given us, or even by His authority. Worldly preachers have been teaching this to entice the selfishness in men for some time now. But it is untrue; it is the height of arrogance. Jesus spent His entire life walking in obedience to God, and, because of this, He was given all authority in heaven and on earth. And these worldly preachers would have us think that He would just give it to us. This teaching is a product of selfish imaginations that have taken the Word of God out of context, twisting it to tickle the ears of selfish people everywhere. Nowhere does the Bible say we have been given authority.

On the contrary, the Bible tells us that doing, or saying something, ‘in the name of Jesus’ is an act of faith in His name. For after Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—-walk,” to the lame man at the gate of the temple, he explained to the crowd that gathered, “And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all,” Acts 3:16. So when Peter said, ”In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,” he was acting on his faith in Jesus, not his authority in Jesus.

It is by faith, and faith alone, that we walk in the kingdom of God; and it is by abiding in Jesus that we pray, and speak, in accordance to the will of God, and thereby have faith that our prayers will be answered; for it is not we who live, but Christ who lives in us.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Abiding in Jesus

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1 NASB. In order to have this assurance and conviction, we must be in Jesus, for in Him is the kingdom of God, and no flesh is allowed in the kingdom of God, only those who put away the flesh and its worldly desires, and put on Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, can partake of the delicacies of the kingdom of God. For this reason Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” “If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples,” John 15:4-5; 7-8.

Abiding in Jesus we can ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for us. ”And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him,” 1 John 5:14-15. Those who abide in Jesus have forsaken themselves and seek not their own will, but the will of God. Therefore, they have the assurance of what they hope for, and the conviction of what they cannot see, for God hears prayers that are in accordance to His will, and, because He hears them, He answers them.

If we ask and do not receive, it is because we ask with wrong motives, so that we may spend it on our own pleasures, James 4:3. So we must most definitely lose sight of ourselves and abide in Jesus, praying for things that are in accordance with God’s will, so that our prayers will be heard, and that we will receive what we have asked for.

Rev. Jon Banks

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The Power of Positive Thinking

There is such a thing as the power of positive thinking. It can work wonders in your life. It can change failure into success. Norman Vincent Peale wrote an entire book about it. Napoleon Hill, who was an advisor to Andrew Carnegie, as well as Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, wrote a book entitled, Think and Grow Rich, which was based on the use of positive thinking. These books from these two men have sold millions of copies. Many patterned their lives after them. 

As good, and as popular, as these books have been, they have no place in the kingdom of God. Children of God are not of the world, as Jesus Himself spoke,  “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world,” John 17:16. We have been born into the kingdom of God. We now walk by faith, not by sight; and our faith is not in our works, or our tenacity, or our drive for success; it is in the Son of God, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

There are many today who are peddling a doctrine based on positive thinking. Some use Scriptures such as Proverbs 18:20, 21, “With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; he will be satisfied with the product of his lips. Death and life are in the power [lit. hand] of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” 

Even though these verses are saying we will reap either good or evil by the words we speak, some take them out of context and say they mean we need to speak things we want, in order to make them come to pass. They say we can declare life, health, prosperity, a new car, and any other thing we want, and we will receive them. Needless to say, those with hearts full of greed, envy, and selfish desires flock to this heretical teaching. Another Scripture some use is Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved,” even though it speaks of salvation, and not of obtaining things you want.

Please consider this: 

Jesus said, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man,” Matthew 15:18. 

So if my heart is fixed on myself I will speak of things that benefit me, I will declare anything and everything that makes my life easier. 

But if I am a follower of Jesus I will deny myself, and take up my cross daily. My heart will be filled with the love of God and the Spirit of Christ, and I will speak of things beyond myself, for it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

We Christians are not to think on things we want or need; we are to cast our cares on the Lord and trust Him, while setting our minds on things that are true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and of good repute, and any other thing that is excellent and worthy of praise.

It might be well to mention that when Jesus told the disciples they could ask whatever they wish, and it would be done for them, He said this would happen IF they abide in Him, and IF His words abided in them, John 15:7. This promise is to those who deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Jesus. And to this we were called, to abide in Him, not use Him.

Grace and peace to all who walk in reverence before the Lord Jesus,

Rev. Jon Banks 

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Our Focus:

Jesus said, “Therefore [because He was leaving this world] you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you. And in that day you will ask Me no question. Truly,  truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will speak no more in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father,” John 16:22-28.

What a Wonderful Counselor Jesus now is to us, telling us plainly of the Father, that we may know Him and worship Him with complete trust in His love for us. And what a Wonderful Father we have who sent Jesus to atone for our sins, and raised us up with Him into His holy kingdom, giving us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them we might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Our gratitude alone should propel us to keep our focus on His beloved son Jesus, and not allow differences of opinions, or doctrines, or any other such thing to take the eyes of our hearts off of Him. He, like His Father, is love; pure, unadulterated love. As we continually keep our focus on Jesus, the love of our Father flows in and through us like a river, saturating our hearts and spilling out to others, like streams winding and reaching all with whom we come into contact.

Walking this way our love for one another also grows; and as our love for one another grows, we will one day find that we have attained to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.

As a result, we will no longer be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but we will all speak the truth in love, and grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. We must abide in Jesus to accomplish this. Our focus must remain on Him.

“No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”

“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

 

Obedience

A word about our obedience to God: I believe that each act of obedience reverberates throughout eternity. I believe it does so for the simple reason that it is God who is at work within us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. By His power He moves us from obedience to obedience; and because He is eternal, each act of obedience has an eternal effect, its very essence being a part of His mystery, which is Christ in us.

I believe that no act of obedience should be thought of as insignificant. Every time we speak a kind word, or put a shopping cart back in its proper place, the Light of the world shines in darkness and the powers thereof are forced to acknowledge defeat. In each obedient act, from opening a door for our wife, to praying a critical prayer for a brother or sister at death’s door, the kingdom of God finds expression in the earth.

Jesus said the one who is faithful in the small things will be put in charge of large things. I believe He said this because love and respect are best exemplified in the small things in life. Obedience in a small area resounds with responsibility, commitment, and sincerity; it resounds with respect for God and with working together with Him. And every act of obedience (large and small) inherently proclaims that Jesus is the Christ and that by the power of His love He transferred us into His glorious kingdom, where His name is not only spoken, it is honored.

Dear friends, because of His great love for us Jesus offered Himself up, a pure sacrifice for sins, and, in so doing, He disarmed the rulers and authorities; that is, through the shedding of His blood He rendered powerless and ineffectual the weapons that had been used against the children of Adam since the Garden of Eden. In His obedience unto death the scripture was fulfilled, ‘No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.’ And now we who believe in Him may proclaim, “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Him.”

Whosoever will may now forsake the futile ways of our forefathers and partake of the inheritance of the saints, and walk obediently with God through faith in Jesus. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death, and we are no longer bound to the selfish idiosyncrasies of the old nature, but are free to put on the godly virtues of the new. And as we consider ourselves dead to the world and alive to God, we find that He, in turn, works within us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure; His kingdom comes, His will is done, on earth as it is in heaven.

We who have been so fortunate to taste the mercies found in Jesus, and have received this great salvation, should be living proof of these eternal truths. Through the blood of His cross we should follow our Lord’s example and continually offer ourselves to His Father and our Father, becoming living sacrifices in all things; to the end that the kingdom of God might find expression in us, and bear fruit in the earth. We should be as branches grafted onto a vine, who, having no sustenance in and of ourselves, now receive our lifeblood from the obedient One who loved us to the uttermost.

As disciples of Jesus we are to testify of Jesus; that is, we are to bear witness that God raised Him from the dead and gave us life in His Spirit. We bear witness to these truths in our obedience; for each act of obedience speaks of His blood of the covenant, giving evidence before the principalities and powers, and before all creation, that it is both powerful and perpetual; it is both effectual and eternal. From everlasting to everlasting the blood of Jesus flows from triumph to triumph in the actions and reactions of those who hold the testimony of Jesus. May we be found in that flow, bearing witness to its efficacy in all things, both the large and the small.

Rev. Jon Banks

©2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

Slain in the Spirit

In the late 1970’s I was in a church service in which a lady was touching people and they would fall backwards, supposedly slain in the Spirit. I attended the meeting with one of those people. He had a very serious heart condition. When we entered the church his pain was so great that he could hardly walk. When the time came he went up on stage and, when she touched him, he fell backwards. When he came to, the symptoms of his heart condition had disappeared. He felt brand new after this experience and actually turned somersaults on the stage.

I prayed and asked God to let me know if being slain in the Spirit was really of Him, and went up on stage to find out. When my turn came, the lady reached out to me and pulled her hand away the very second she touched my forehead. She actually jumped back a foot or two. She just stood there with a confused and startled look on her face, and never said a word. I stood in front of her for twenty to thirty seconds, then turned and walked away. (Every single person before and after me fell backwards when the lady touched them; I was the only one who didn’t fall.) After the service, I told the person who had thought he was healed that even though his symptoms had disappeared, what had just happened to him was not of God, but he didn’t believe me. After going several days without his usual symptoms, he quit his medicine and died of a heart attack within thirty days.

This gentleman assumed that because he felt wonderful and the symptoms of his heart condition had vanished, his experience was of God. Yet, though the symptoms were gone from his mental awareness, they were still present in his body. I warned him nearly every day after his experience that it was not of God and that he should not quit his medicine. He ignored me until the day he died.

Please consider this: People who are supposedly slain in the Spirit usually fall backwards, needing someone to catch them. And when women wearing dresses and/or skirts fall backwards they sometimes also need someone to cover them. The Spirit of our God is holy; He would never betray His holiness and put women in this kind of situation. Likewise, He would never put a man or a woman in a position in which they might hit their heads when they fall under His power. The spirit behind this so-called “slain in the spirit” is not holy.

Be careful what you accept as truth. Weigh everything on the Word of God. The phenomena they call “slain in the Spirit” is not in the Scriptures, nor is it in the kingdom of God.

The human mind relishes in physical signs it can see, and oftentimes ends up laying aside its soberness and accepting those things without regard for the Scriptures. We must always be cautious. 

 

© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

The Substance and the Evidence

Once in a while I stop and study nature, watching the birds and frogs and butterflies and all the little creatures; I also watch the flowers and the grass and the stars in the heavens. I consider the human body with its intricate workings, like its ability to give us thoughts, as well as the ability to act on those thoughts. I watch anything and everything I can. 

As I study these things, I am struck with the mastery of their existence, and the intricacies of each and every aspect of their being. And, being mindful that God has fashioned and formed them from nothing, I reach a place where I can do nothing but stand in awe of the living God, for He is beyond comprehension. And, when I reach this place, I understand the simplicity of faith, that it is simply a child-like trust in the One in whom we live and move and have our being. 

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Everything Christians do is done by faith. We walk by faith, live by faith, endure by faith, pray the prayer of faith, etc. The KJV says faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

So, how do we attain this substance and this evidence? Do we claim and strive and rebuke until they are established in our mind? Do we enter into a mind game and refuse to entertain doubt? Absolutely not! 

We, instead, trust our Father for He is light, and in Him there is no darkness; and, being light without a speck of darkness, He cannot lie, therefore, He is always faithful. If we find ourselves doubting from time to time, we need only confess those doubts and ask for His help.  

Dear friends, our Father’s character is beyond reproach. Therefore the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen are found not in a feeling or a thought, or in any other part of us, but in the integrity of God who is always faithful and cannot lie. Faith rests in the integrity of God. Anything beyond this is of the evil one.

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Many Christians place too much attention on the devil. When he comes near, they take their focus off Jesus and begin talking to Satan, rebuking him, and claiming authority over him, etc. They do the same when he comes near others; they rebuke and demand he leave them alone. But is this biblical? No, it is not.

There is much in the Bible about God rebuking man, but nothing about man rebuking Satan, except when Jesus rebuked Peter by saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” He was not calling Peter Satan himself; He was likening Peter to an adversary.

The Bible tells us we are to resist the devil and stand firm in our faith. If we do this, the God of all grace will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us. We need only trust God. He sent His Son not only to forgive our sins, but to deliver us from our sins as well. Do you think that if we resist the devil through faith in the sacrifice His Son our Father will allow the devil to overcome us? 

Those who believe in Jesus walk by faith in Jesus. They trust Him for, and in, all things. This includes the forces of darkness and all other forces and foes; they trust Jesus to deliver them, firm in their faith that He is a perfect Savior. They find no need to rebuke the devil, or bind him, or send him away. They simply submit to God, resist the devil, and he flees from them.

This is walking by faith.

 

© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

What’s In It For Me?

Have you noticed that many today preach a gospel of “what’s in it for me”? Preacher after preacher rave on and on about the authority of the believer and all you can do with it. The underlying theme of their sermons seem to be not what God has done, but on what we can do. Rather than present Jesus as the Savior of mankind, they present Him as a guru who gives you tools to do anything, and get anything, that you might want. They appeal to the ‘self’ of each individual, that part of us that wants what it wants when it wants it. This kind of preaching uplifts the ‘self,’ stroking its ego and feeding its inherent feeling of importance.

The preaching of the cross, however, does the direct opposite. It exposes the sinfulness of the ‘self’ with its ego and its feeling of importance. The cross screams that the self is so sinful, it must be crucified. Thus the statement of Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me,” Galatians 2:20a. From this we know there is no good in man, for no one is good except God alone, (see Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19). For this reason our sinful ‘self’ had to be crucified with Christ before we could enter the heavenlies with Him. And, having been raised up in the heavenlies with Him, we are now new creatures; that is, it is no longer we who live (it is no longer our ‘self’ who lives), but Christ who lives in us. 

So it is that Jesus said we must take up our cross and deny ourself and follow Him, for there is no self in the kingdom of God, only the body of Christ.

Beware of those who uplift the self.

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I believe that people who talk about who we are in Christ Jesus are walking down the wrong road, because I have been taught by Jesus Himself that I am nothing in Him and that He is everything in me.

I am aware that we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and people chosen by God as a possession for Himself, that we might declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. I am also aware that we are workers together with God, and sons and daughters of the most High. However, I also know that I was conceived in iniquity and that I was a creature destined to wrath, and I was saved from wrath and from my sins by the sacrifice of Jesus.

And not only was I saved from wrath and from my sins, I was also saved from myself by the sacrifice of Jesus. I now deny myself (consider myself to be nothing) daily and walk by the only good that has ever been within me, the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, as I said,  I am nothing in Him and He is everything in me.  

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I believe Christians who dwell on authority and on who they are in Jesus would do well to follow the example of Jesus and refuse to regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. I believe they should consider themselves to be nothing, and empty themselves, and become bond-servants of the Lord. I believe they would do themselves a favor if they concentrated on learning obedience through the things which they suffer.

Rev. Jon Banks

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A Christian is…

A  Christian is someone who walks in constant submission to the Lord. A Christian’s heart is tender to the voice and leadings of his Lord. If a Christian sins, he is immediately convicted of his sin by the Holy Spirit, and because of his sorrow for his having gone against the One who loves him, he repents without a second thought.

A Christian is someone who puts the welfare of others above his own welfare. He esteems others above himself. He seeks not his own will, but the will of his Lord. He does these things because of the love in his heart for all of mankind, the love that was poured into him by the Holy Spirit of God.

A Christian is someone who endures each and every situation he encounters by simply trusting his Lord. He believes that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. And he takes to heart the reality that life on this earth is only temporary, and eternal life is yet to come.

A Christian is someone who never follows strangers, nor entertains the opinions of man; for he knows what is in man. He never seeks to be noticed, he seeks only to be nothing, that his Lord might be everything. A Christian speaks the truth in all things, even if his speaking is harmful to himself. 

A Christian is someone who submits to all authorities and obeys the laws of the land. He does so, not because he has to, but because all authorities are established by God, and he wants to walk pleasing to, and worthy of, his God.

A Christian is someone who appears as a light in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, for the simple reason that he bows to the authority of his Lord, and obeys Him without question.

 

© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

A few thoughts:

I have never in my life bound Satan in the name of Jesus. There are two reasons I have never done this: first, the Holy Spirit won’t allow me to do it, and second, I have never had a reason to do it. I believe that Jesus Christ has overcome the world. I also believe that whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and the victory that has overcome the world is our faith. And I have faith in the Son of God, and I have been born of God, and He who is in me is greater than him who is in the world. Why would I bind a defeated foe?

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Michael the archangel didn’t dare bring a railing accusation against the devil, he didn’t dare rebuke him, yet I hear Christians today rebuking the devil and bringing  railing accusations against him quite a bit. Dear friends, don’t follow men; read the Word yourself, and lay aside the opinions and practices of men, preachers or otherwise. 

Don’t go off on the silly tangents you hear people spouting today. Judge everything you hear by the Word of God. Read the Word, walk by the Spirit and obey the Spirit, and you won’t fall into the practice of these haughty doctrines that are flying around.

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2 Peter 2:9-11 …then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. Jude 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

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Several times I have joined others in laying hands on someone and praying for him, or her. Many of those times I have had to withdraw my hand and back away because of someone saying things that should not be said, such as, claiming a promise, rebuking the devil, binding the devil, etc. The Holy Spirit will not allow me to involve myself in such ramblings. And I submit to you, that if you walk by the Spirit, He won’t allow you to involve yourself in these, or any other man-made ramblings either.

“Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar,” Proverbs 30:6. It is a very dangerous thing to follow the teachings of man, for the one who follows these teachings is as guilty as the one speaking the words that have been added to the Word of God. 


“Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar,” Proverbs 30:6. 

This verse is also dangerously akin to those who claim to have the authority of Christ and are not even able to make it rain, much less raise the dead and heal the sick. 

They are reproved, judged, and found to be liars by their own words each time they speak in their supposed authority and nothing happens. 

“For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned,” Matthew 12:37.

 

© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

Pray in Secret

Even though Jesus warned against the practices of praying in public and using meaningless repetition, many people still make their prayers known and/or use meaningless repetitions. Aside from the hypocrisy of wanting to be heard by men, I believe there is another reason many do this, that is, because the attention of others provides a sense of stability to their double-mindedness, and cushions their unbelief.

Jesus said we are to pray in secret, (Matthew 6:6). This is not as easy as it sounds. When we go into our inner room and shut the door, we are the only person there, with the exception of an unseen God. In my case, it is just me, by myself. There is no one to shout “Amen” and no one to agree with me. This is where rubber meets the road. This is a lonely place, but it is also a place that leads to steadfastness and inexpressible joy. 

When Jesus said we must go into our inner room, and shut the door, and pray in secret, He also gave us a promise that God who sees in secret will reward us. Our prayers are to be as our giving, — in secret, (Matthew 6:1-8).  

One of the greatest examples of believing that God is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him is when one is in dire need, and asks God to fulfill that need without telling anyone else of the need. To trust God alone, without the involvement of another human being, is one of the highest forms of respect that one can show to the Lord. It is faith with works; the works being resisting every urge to plant seeds of your need in the minds of other people. It is submitting to a trial of fire where the heat is so intense that every crutch and every excuse burns to a crisp, and every ounce of dross melts away, leaving only faith in its most brilliant form, that of absolute dependence on our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our Savior. Double-mindedness and unbelief are burnt to a crisp in this sort of trial. 

Grace and peace to all who trust God, and not man.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God.

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About the Passion Translation:

The writer of the Passion Translation claims to have received the words of this translation from God. However, after people began to complain about some of his wording, he changed it in several places so that it would appeal to a broader base of people. He freely admits to these changes. According to his own admission, he actually changed words he claimed were received from God to different words that appealed to more people. (The writer will not comment on what changes were made.)

Not only this, he claims Jesus took him to a library in heaven and let him choose two books to take back to earth. Just after choosing the two he wanted, he saw a third book entitled “John 22.” Jesus supposedly told him he wasn’t ready for that book yet, and that He [Jesus] would take him back to heaven in the future and give him the John 22 book. 

This man claims that the John 22 book is actually the 22nd chapter of John that doesn’t exist in the current Bible. He says it coincides with John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.” He explains this verse is referring to a generation greater than any that has ever existed. And he goes on to say that, when the time comes for that generation, Jesus will take him back to heaven and give him the John 22 book. He will in turn share it with the so-called great generation and they will usher in a great awakening and revival, the likes of which (so he claims) the world has never seen before. This gentleman also claims that the John 22 book will contain things going on in the times of the so-called great generation.  

It is a well known fact that the Passion translation was written for, and is widely used in the New Apostolic Reformation, a cult that has men and women crawling out of the woodwork claiming to be apostles.

The Passion Translation should not be considered truth. It is not a Bible. It is a misguided work of a man who is a part of the New Apostolic Reformation. This man has been passing himself off as an Apostle, even though he was not appointed as such by Jesus. He appointed himself to be an apostle, as did all other so-called apostles in the NAR. This movement is of the devil. And the Passion Translation written by one of its members is also of the devil.

It is a travesty. It is a watered down work. It is the result of a distorted and twisted attempt to undermine the true Word of God and produce a substitute that aligns with the NAR movement. It is extremely dangerous. The writer took upon himself the liberty to both remove and add to the Word of God.

Do not add to His [God’s] words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar,” Proverbs 30:6.

 

© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

Thoughts, Notions and Clichés

People who use their natural minds to discern spiritual things flood the airwaves and pulpits and fill the pews of our churches. You will know them by their fruit. They tell us we need to know who we are in Christ. They entice us to take our so-called rightful place in Christ and command everything from the weather to the devil. They say we must never tell God how big our problems are, and that we should rather tell our problems how big our God is. In short, they twist the good news of the gospel of Christ and turn it into a ritual of mind games. 

When our only son’s body was being ravaged for approximately fifteen months by Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, I never told the devil how big my God is. I never cared what he thought or knew. On the contrary, I told God how big my problem was. Even after the Lord revealed that He would heal my son, doubt would creep in from time to time when I was least expecting it, and, when it did, I would go straight to the Lord and confess my doubt. I didn’t blame the devil and rebuke him. I was the one with the doubt, so I went straight to the hills from whence cometh my help and asked for mercy, and each time the One who loves me forgave and comforted me. 

The ridiculous cliché, ‘Don’t tell God how big your mountain is, tell your mountain how big your God is,’ is just that, a ridiculous cliché. Oh, it’s a cute little play on words, but it is also a hindrance to a Christian. It is a ploy of Satan to entice us into mind games with him, thereby preventing us from seeking the Lord and trusting in Him.

I am not insinuating that everyone who uses this cliché is of the devil. I am saying the cliché itself has its origin in the evil one. It was designed by Satan himself to draw people away from God. And somewhere along the line Satan found some preacher with a tendency to appeal to the emotions of the natural man, and planted this cliché in that preacher’s mind, and he began using it. And now, today, many more who walk in their natural minds have picked it up and are spreading it around as if it were gospel. But they are wrong, it is not gospel, it is the opposite of the gospel. It is anti-christ. It is a tool of the devil.

The devil’s thoughts and notions appeal to the pride of the flesh. Consider this: Nearly everything that spews from the mouths of those who use the devil’s thoughts, notions, and clichés is meant to uplift their hearers to a place equal with God. And their hearers inevitably walk away reviling angelic majesties, completely ignoring the fact that Michael the archangel did not dare pronounce a railing judgment against the devil. Like unreasoning animals they revile things which they do not understand, all the while thinking they are doing the work of God. They have turned off the narrow path and are headed down a wide road that leads to destruction. One cannot lift himself up to God’s level and escape destruction. 

Still these people march on, thinking themselves to be equal with God, rebuking and reviling, as if they have unlimited authority. You may be thinking, “I hear people rebuking Satan in the name of Jesus all the time. Are they wrong?” In reply, I ask you, “Have you ever seen it work? Does Satan turn tail and run when they do this? What about those who bind Satan in Jesus name? Has that ever worked?” Absolutely not! To this day he continues to prowl about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Does this mean there is no power in the name of Jesus? God forbid! It means those who do this are clouds without rain. They are those who are tossed about by every wind of doctrine that comes along, reviling where they have no knowledge or understanding.

This is very serious. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. It is already the hour for us to awaken from sleep. We must lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. We must lay aside the thoughts, notions, and clichés that insinuate we are equal in any way with God. Even the thought that we have the authority of Christ began when someone leaned on his own understanding, and, coerced by Satan, subverted Scriptures and added words that didn’t exist. We were never meant to walk in authority, we were meant to walk by faith in humble obedience to our Lord; and our faith is not in ourselves, or in what we may have, but in Christ who has conquered and overcome the world.

People who entertain the thoughts, notions, and clichés of Satan live their lives wearing blinders in an effort to keep reality at bay. Rather than admit their efforts don’t work, they continue blindly from one failure to another because they think their blind loyalty to their dogmas is actually faith. But rather than exercising faith, they are actually just following the crowd. Most mega-churches and most non-denominational churches are filled with people who are looking for shortcuts to spiritual things and they go where they will hear what they want to hear. Thus they flock to preachers who tell them such things as, “You have all authority in heaven and on earth, and you can heal all sicknesses and diseases at will, and you can speak into being whatever you want in your life; you can declare and decree whatever you want.” 

I submit to you now in the sight of God that all this is straight from hell, and any and all who continue down this road, whether preaching it or believing it, are working together with Satan. Thanks be to God His elect hear His voice and will not follow a stranger. 

True faith is not a mind over matter tool, it is the substance of what is hoped for, it is the evidence of what is not seen. It has nothing to do with mind over matter, and nothing to do with claiming a promise. Faith is found in Jesus and rests in the integrity of God; if you believe in God’s integrity, why would you even consider claiming a promise? Why would you rebuke or bind the devil? Is he stronger than God? If so, then we are just beating the air; if not, then why bother with him? Instead of binding and rebuking the devil and instead of claiming a promise, why not just believe the Lord. That is what He asks of us. All this other stuff is not of the Spirit, but of the flesh, and perpetrated by Satan. 

Please weigh these things on the scales of the Word of God.

Rev. Jon Banks

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