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.

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.

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. 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.

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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Why I Say the Things I Say

In the past several decades movements have swept through the church, each certain they had uncovered truths and doctrines that had been missing for centuries. Movements such as the Pentecostal Movement, the Full Gospel Movement, and the Word of Faith Movement have been three of the largest and most influential. Thinking they had the answers to all questions, Christians hungry to be fed flocked to them. However, all three of these movements fell short of giving people anything substantial, and instead, appealed more to the emotions and selfishness of those who wanted shortcuts to all things spiritual.

I was informed in a vision that part of my ministry requires destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. Therefore, many of my letters and posts deal with these speculations and lofty things, such as those found in the Word of Faith Movement. 

I mean no harm to anyone, nor do I want to embarrass anyone. My sole purpose is to help Christians lay aside every encumbrance and trust the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is a hard task since there have been so many false doctrines accepted as truth by so many people. 

For instance, the belief the baptism of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by speaking in tongues. This teaching didn’t work out because the Holy Spirit didn’t go along with it. He didn’t give utterance to everyone. So people were told they themselves had to begin uttering syllables and jargons, and the result of their utterances, even though the Holy Spirit had nothing to do with it, would be proof they had received the Holy Spirit. (Even Kathrine Kuhlman, who spoke in tongues, disagreed with this doctrine. She went so far as to say no-one could teach you how to speak in tongues; it was a gift the Holy Spirit delivered without the need to help Him by uttering sounds).

Then came the Full Gospel movement claiming every Christian has a gift of the Spirit and should be using that gift daily. This sparked a generation of super-spiritual (and superficial) Christians who walked around in white loafers and a dove pin on their lapels signifying they had the Holy Spirit, and a load of His gifts.

This ushered in the Word of Faith movement which reignited the teaching that every Christian has the authority of Christ and can use it to change everything from their circumstances to their finances. It sought, and still seeks to this day, to convince the masses that Christians are like both God and Jesus in power and authority, even to the extreme of having the ability to create things with their words as did God. It has done nothing but create multi-millionaire pastors whose followers and supporters beat the air to this day, trying to hit a target that doesn’t exist.  

Please consider this:

  1. All three of these movements were self-induced and self-serving; all three circumvented the will of God and the Holy Spirit and replaced them with their own desires. In all three cases they used their own understanding and their own faculties to make what they wanted come to pass (what they ended up with was just a boost to their egos).
  2. All three shunned the Person of Jesus and the power of His resurrection. They instead relied on their ability to utter syllables and jargons and on their minds’ ability to conjure up feelings of importance, as well as its ability to make them think they are equal to the Son of God.

There are many more speculations and lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God. There are some that have never entered the minds of most Christians. I mentioned the movements above because most Christians are aware of them. 

Please understand that I am not sitting in judgment of my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I am working together with God and crying out, “It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” When I was in my thirties my spirit was caught up to a place where Jesus told me I had been born before my time and the knowledge I had received would be usable, but that I must wait until God had completed a work in His people. He then held His hand out to me and said, “You are the Apostle of the Restoration.” In August of 2017 the Lord said, “It is time.” The times of restoration of all things are now at hand. The Restoration is the beginning of the end. That is why I say the things I say. We must bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ while there is still time.

Also, I did not choose Jesus, He chose me. Even on the night I was born again I refused to walk to the altar, not out of stubbornness, but because I was so aware of my sinfulness and my unworthiness of Him. Someone took hold of my arm and escorted me to the altar. That someone was Jesus. He then walked around and knelt in front of me. I never said a prayer or spoke a word. However, after kneeling in front of Him for what seemed like an eternity, I walked back to my seat a brand new person in a brand new place, the kingdom of the living God.

An evangelist, Rev. Robert Morgan, once told me, “Jesus is going to lead you down a path you wouldn’t choose for yourself.” I didn’t ask for this ministry. It was not my will, it was the will of God. I had nothing to do with Jesus ordaining me with His own hands, nor with my spirit being caught up to stand with Him and three other apostles while a fourth walked by in front of us. I really hope you understand I’m not sitting in judgment of anyone. I am just doing what the Lord called me to do. He loves His people and wants each one of us to know Him and lean on Him. He wants to lead us in His perfect will. He wants us to awaken from sleep and walk in the light of day. 

God gave Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth, and after doing so, He gave us Jesus. God wants us to dwell in Jesus, abide in Him, believe in Him, not be Him. We were never meant to be supernatural heroes, we were meant to be humble and obedient children of God. And because of this I am doing my very best to tear down every speculation and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God; even the things that originate from the minds of people who choose to interpret the Bible in ways that satisfy their own desires. Because of this they walk in darkness, while, at the same time, calling it light, having been deceived by the powers and forces of that darkness, because they chose to satisfy their own desires. 

Again, I didn’t ask for this ministry. Jesus was present at both my natural and spiritual birth. I was predestined and appointed in accordance with the will of God to be an ambassador for Christ; to be set apart to Him, and to speak for Him. I would never hurt, nor condemn, one of His own. But as long as there are speculations and lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God, I will not hesitate to expose them to the light. I will do so by the light of His Word, in order that every thought might be taken captive to the obedience of Christ.

In the most holy name of the One who separated me from my mother’s womb, and revealed Himself to me,

Jon David Banks

God’s most unworthy servant

Followers of Jesus

I’ve heard a lot of people in the last few years talk about our identity in Christ, who we are in Him. They usually zero in on the power and authority of a Christian. They almost never mention the humility of a believer, nor do they mention the last will be first, and they never ever mention abiding in Jesus. Their main purpose is to stress the power and authority Jesus has supposedly given us. They are very appealing to people with the attitude of “What’s in it for me?”

They seem never to be interested in our walk with the living Christ. They just want us to know how much power and authority we supposedly have. I have said before that we don’t have the authority of Christ. I say this because it is not recorded as being so since the beginning of the church. Paul had much to say about the Christian life, but he never mentioned a thing about the authority of the believer. He did speak of his authority as an apostle, but he never even hinted of having the authority of Christ. Paul said the Spirit gives gifts to each person as He wills, and not every person has the same gifts. It seems to me that if every Christian has the authority of Christ, then every Christian would have all the gifts of the Spirit. Yet, the Word of God says otherwise.

With this in mind, please bear with me for a minute or two more. When Peter was questioned after the healing of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful he told the gathering crowd the man was healed on the basis of faith in the name of Jesus, Acts 3:16. The following day the rulers and elders and scribes asked Peter, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?”, Acts 4:7. Peter replied that the man was healed by faith in the name of Jesus, vs. 10. Please notice Peter did not say a thing about his AUTHORITY in the name of Jesus, but merely said it was done by FAITH in the name of Jesus.

One would think that Peter, of all people, would have had the authority of Christ, but Peter didn’t mention it, nor has any other apostle ever mentioned it. Peter did have authority, but, as Paul, it was authority to build up the church. He had the authority of the office of the apostle, not the authority of Christ. 

God gave Jesus all authority in heaven and on earth. Because of this we are able  to preach the name above every other name, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. 

I suggest to you that we do not need His authority today, we need only approach the throne of God in His name, and the gates of heaven will open wide for the simple reason that we believe in Jesus’ name, and we follow His commandments. 

Dear friends, I have seen a man raised from the dead by nothing but faith in Jesus’ name; I have seen demons run at the mention of His name; I have seen many healings take place by nothing more than faith in the name of Jesus; and I have even witnessed weather storms change their direction through faith in the name of Jesus. I have seen many other things but I will stop with this: Everything I just mentioned were done by my faith in Jesus. They are things I personally experienced. I did not have, nor have I ever had, the authority of Christ. 

Whether you believe I have seen these things, or not, matters not. Even if you think I am lying about them, I ask that you please don’t disregard the other parts of this letter. Please consider this also: If Christians have the authority of Christ, why did God not put the truth of it in the letters to the churches? It is one of the biggest and supposedly most important subjects being preached today, but it was never mentioned in the letters to the churches.

Thousands of people were following Jesus and He gave authority to only the twelve and seventy. He did not give them His authority. He gave them authority to accomplish what He was sending them out to do, which was to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and proclaim the kingdom of God was near. Jesus had not finished His ministry. He had not yet shed His blood and had not been crucified, buried, and raised from the dead, the veil of the Temple had not yet been torn in two, and the Holy Spirit had not yet been given. The kingdom of God had not yet come, it was only near. Therefore, in order to do what He wanted, they needed authority, otherwise they would not have been able to execute their assignment.

I submit to you that we don’t need the authority of Jesus, we only need Jesus. He is the Savior; He is the Conqueror, He is the King. Jesus has finished His ministry, the veil of the Temple has been torn in two, and the Holy Spirit has been given; we may now go straight to the throne of God and find grace to help in our times of need. 

I’m inclined to believe that if those who say they have the authority of Christ were to ever see Him as He is now, they would never say it again. Having seen Jesus at least three times, I won’t so much as claim a promise in His name, much less suppose I am equal with Him in any way, authority or otherwise.

Finally, it is my experience that most people who want authority seem to want it to change their circumstances, but followers of Jesus submit to God in each circumstance and, trusting in Jesus, they learn the lessons contained in each circumstance. This is called walking by the Spirit; it is following the example of Jesus and learning obedience from the things which we suffer, Hebrews 5:8. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him,” Romans 8:16,17.

The grace of the Father be with all followers of Jesus. 

The Awakening?

Romans 13:11, “And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.”

Christians everywhere are looking for a last great awakening. Most seem to think God will pour out His Spirit and we will all be super Christians in the blink of an eye. They wait for an hour to come when that happens. However, Paul says the hour has already come for us to awaken from sleep. He says emphatically, “The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand,” Romans 13:12a. He doesn’t tell us to wait for the awakening, he tells us to wake up now and lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light, vs. 12b.

I am aware that some, myself included, have been calling the latter rain an awakening, but I am also aware the church is the body of Christ and is to grow to maturity. In this verse Paul is referring to waking up from an immature state of judging, criticism, disobedience to laws, and all other things done by those who still tiptoe in darkness. He is saying we must begin walking in the light of day as mature Christians, loving one another from a pure heart and sincere dedication to the Lord. That to Paul is truly an awakening. 

I believe we should take his admonition to heart and open ourselves to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to reveal the things in our hearts that are still hidden from the light of Christ, things we may have put off dealing with. I believe we should apply ourselves and remove every hindrance that stands between us and our complete surrender to the Lord.

I believe one hindrance that often goes unnoticed is the emphasis on the teachings that we must do so much before the Lord can do anything with us. It is an indisputable truth that our salvation is in Jesus, and not in anything we do; for the Bible plainly says, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God,” Romans 7:4. 

We were crucified on the cross with Christ that we might be joined to the risen Christ and bear fruit for God. It is already finished. We need only endure to the end. And I believe that, as you endure, you will find, as I did, that if you trust in Jesus and walk in obedient submission to Him, you are already dead to the world and are bearing fruit for God. Yes, you may slip at times, but that is part of growing up. We must learn to walk before we can run.

We were formerly darkness, but now we are light in the Lord; let us walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), proving what is pleasing to the Lord, Ephesians 5:8-10. And, “… all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, ‘Awake sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you,’” Ephesians 5:13,14.

God has already poured out His Spirit upon mankind. Jesus has fulfilled His ministry. He is seated at the right hand of God. He has overcome the world. His light shines today for anybody who will walk in it. The time for us to awaken from sleep is now. We are not to wait for God to wake us up, we are to lay aside the deeds of darkness and walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, and we are to do it today. 

I fear if we don’t awaken now, we will find ourselves in a perpetual wilderness with no rock from which to drink and no manna to sustain us. For to sit and wait for God to awaken us is, in effect, to dismiss the Holy Spirit who says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts….”

Also, nowhere in the Bible have I found the latter rain being referred to as an awakening. To my knowledge, this is a term that has come from man. If this is true, and we do not wake from sleep before the latter rain arrives, will we even know it is raining?

(“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his garments, lest he walk about naked and men see his shame,”) Rev 16:15.

Living a Lie and Calling it Faith

Dear friends, yesterday I posted a letter, “Whatever Happened…?” A couple people thought I was complaining and finding fault with the church. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

#1 — The faults of the church are evident. No one has to look for them — they stand out like spines or quills on a porcupine.

#2 — Not many people realize it but the devil is being preached in many churches, and those who preach him claim they are doing it in the name of Jesus.

Number two is why I say the things I say. I am an ambassador for Christ and He is not pleased with what He is seeing. People are being led astray by false teachers and preachers every day.

The devil’s mission has been to turn souls away from God since the beginning. He does this by enticing people to sin. I’m aware of two ways he does this. He appeals to our flesh, trying to entice us to give in to our old natures in any and every way he finds us vulnerable. If he cannot accomplish this, he uses the same tactics he used on Jesus in the wilderness. He brings Scriptures to our minds and suggests that we take it upon ourselves to make those Scriptures come true. He tells us the promises of God pertain to us and that we need to make them work. From this one point he has convinced many Christians they have the authority of Christ. He has convinced others that they can speak things into being; and still others that they can declare and decree things into being.  

He was successful in turning Eve away from God, but he failed with Jesus. Jesus, being the Son of God, did not fall prey to the temptation to put God to the test by claiming the promise that God would give His angels charge over Him, and bear Him up, lest He strike His foot against a stone. Jesus, instead, humbled Himself and became obedient to God.

If the devil cannot get us to turn from God by indulging in our sinful natures, he will try to entice us to lift ourselves to a place where we are equal to God, as he did Eve. Thus the spreading of the rumor that we have the authority of Christ, and the rumor that we can declare and decree, or just speak things into existence. 

Before I posted the letter yesterday, I posted a request for any one with the authority of Christ to come to the panhandle of Texas and heal a Christian lady of cancer. I also offered to pay all their expenses. Quite a few of my FB friends have said they have the authority of Christ, but none of them responded. 

I did this for one reason, it was an attempt to get each one who claims to have all this authority to have a little sit down with their conscience. I knew that if they did this they would have to consider whether they really believed they have Christ’s authority, or not. And whether they believed they have His authority or not, they would have to admit they are belittling His holy name; for if they have His authority and refuse to use it, or if they don’t really believe they have that authority and yet claim to have it, they are dishonest and need to repent and stop dragging the Lord’s name through the mud.

I am very serious about this. Jesus’ name is being misrepresented daily, and I find it offensive. He is my Savior, my Shepherd, He knows me and He loves me. He ordained me to preach His gospel, and He did so by the laying on of His own hands. It is my responsibility to destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. And so I endeavor to fulfill the Lord’s will, and I do so for the sake of the church.

No, I am not finding fault and judging the church, I have forsaken all that is in the world for the sake of the church. And if I can provoke anyone to have a sit down with their conscience, and face reality (which is Jesus) and forsake their dishonesty of holding on to teachings they don’t really believe (if they really believed today’s world would have been turned upside down by now), then I will receive a reward when it’s all over. And I would gladly forego the reward if it would but help the church.  

One gentleman took it upon himself to sit in judgment of my letter and accused me of being critical and judgmental, and a murmurer and a complainer. He then proceeded to “set things straight for me,” as he put it. He justified his right to do this by saying he was “under the umbrella of the ministry of Rev. Loran Helm.” 

I believe this man was dragging Rev. Helm’s name through the mud for he misrepresented him by not only judging me for things he didn’t understand, but also condemning me for those same things. Fortunately, when Jesus told me of my call He told me there were two others in the U.S. with that same call, and that Loran Helm was one of them. I never met Bro. Helm but I knew he was a true servant of God because of what Jesus told me. Had Jesus not told me about him I may well have come away from the reprimand of the gentleman with the belief that Loran Helm was a man who also sat in judgment of people, for the gentleman inserted himself as an authority to sit in judgment of me by virtue of his being under the umbrella of Rev. Helm’s ministry. 

So, as this man misrepresented Rev. Helm, many today are misrepresenting Jesus, and that is what my letter was about. It was not a fault-finding mission; it was a call to wake from sleep that Christ might give you light. It was a plea to face reality (which is Jesus) and offer your conscience to God and allow Him to reveal any flaws it might contain. God desires truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden parts He makes us to know wisdom.

Therefore if one believes he has the authority of Christ, he has it; and if he has it, he can use it. However, it is more than evident that those who claim to have it don’t use it because they cannot make it work; hence, living a lie and calling it faith. My friends, God is not mocked. It is time we awake and confess our dishonesty.

It is time to stop using the Word of God as a book of facts we can use as proof that we are right about things. It is time we submit ourselves to the Word of God and allow it to divide our souls and spirits, and to judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. It is time to grow up.

Whatever Happened…?

I have visited several churches in the recent past and most pastors seemed to dwell on their pet beliefs. Some pastors focused on the belief that Christians have the authority of Christ and spent most of their time explaining how to use that so-called authority. In one of the churches the pastor exercised his so-called authority and released the Holy Spirit into the sanctuary (or so he claimed). Another church’s pastor repeatedly concerned himself with appealing to the emotions of his congregation trying to entice them to evangelize the town in which they lived. Another pastor begins with Scriptures and ends with cute little cliches` that have nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ, etc.

I sometimes feel like a stranger in a foreign land when I enter a church. It hurts me deeply to hear some of the sermons being preached today. The devil has his foot in the door of so many churches, to the extent that Jesus has been relegated to just another means by which man can feed his ego. 

Whatever happened to revering the holiness and the sacredness of God? Why is there so little respect for Him? What kind of person does it take to stand and say, “I declare this and I decree that,” and what kind of mindset would one who was conceived in iniquity have to have to claim that he, or she, has all authority in heaven and on earth? What kind of preacher would dare preach that Christians should do these things? Oh, yes, they all say these things are biblical, but they are dead wrong. 

These people interpret the Bible with their own selfish and egotistical reasoning, and find ways to satisfy their fleshly desires. They have become pawns of Satan, sent to accomplish what he accomplished with Eve in the garden, but failed to accomplish with Jesus in the wilderness, that of getting people to exalt themselves up to the level of God. The devil’s message of raising oneself up to the level of God resonates from so many pulpits that it is almost unbearable.

Whatever happened to denying your self and taking up your cross and following Jesus? What happened to obeying the Lord and walking humbly before Him? What happened to resisting the devil? When did it become the norm to rail accusations against the devil and take authority over him? When did Christians become so daring and self-willed that they no longer tremble when they revile angelic majesties, when even angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord? What has happened to common sense and common decency and sound doctrine? 

And when, pray tell, was the Holy Spirit, who convicts men of sin before a holy God, replaced with luring people to church with promises of finances, healings, and authority to change their circumstances.

Whatever happened to Jesus Christ, and Him crucified?   

What in the World has the Church Become?

What in the world has the church become? People who attend church regularly rush down the streets and highways exceeding one speed limit after another. And they do this knowing full well they are breaking the ordinance of God to obey the laws that exist. They deliberately ignore Romans 13:1-7 that begins with, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God….” 

What about those who entertain the lust of the flesh or the desire for riches? What about those who sit in judgment of others and the backbiters who spread rumor after rumor slandering their brothers and sisters in Christ? And, what about those super-Christians who are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, claiming this, claiming that, declaring this, declaring that, supposing themselves to have the authority of the Son of God? With their haughty and arrogant attitudes they too show no hint whatsoever of a disciplined Christian life. Believing they have the same authority as the Lord, they feel they need not submit to Him, but are free to use their authority anytime and in any way they wish.

Dear friends, there are countless other such sinful and lawless practices we have all either been guilty of or have seen others committing. With this in mind, would you agree that it certainly appears that many of us are following the Man of Lawlessness, rather than the Son of God; the Man of Sin, rather than the Son of Righteousness? Please ask yourselves these questions: Where will we be standing in the end? Will we be in the camp of the righteous or the camp of the lawless? Will Jesus say, “Well done,” or “I never knew you?”  

I Samuel 15:22, 23, says, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry….” For this very reason God rejected Saul from being king. What does that say for those of us who rebel against the speed limits and cheat on our income taxes, and those who lift themselves up to places of authority pretending to be something they are not? 

In the end will we be counted among the sons of God, or will we be counted as hypocrites and sons of lawlessness? Will Jesus welcome us with open arms, or will He say to us, “Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness?” Matthew 7:23. It all depends on whether we deny ourselves and submit to God and learn obedience through the things which we suffer, or if we feed our egos and do whatever we want when we want. The road that leads to life is very narrow and only a few will find it. The road that leads to death is very wide and many will follow its paths. It is a road that is strewn with fleshly pleasures and countless ego boosters. It is a road on which you don’t have to obey any speed limits. It is a road on which you can cheat on your income taxes and sit in judgment of your fellow man. You need not concern yourself with what is right or wrong; you need only do what you feel like doing. You need not become a bond-slave to Christ Jesus and walk in obedience to Him and to God. On this road you can do whatever you want when you want.

I believe it is time to wake up from our slumber, Romans 13:11. It is time to strengthen what remains and is about to die, for our deeds have been found to be unfinished in the sight of God, Revelation 3:2. And it is time to remember what we have received and heard, and to hold it fast, and repent. For if we do not wake up Jesus will come like a thief, and we will not know at what time He will come, Revelation 3:3. 

There are so many who have been carried away by false doctrines and false assumptions of the day. Please test yourselves to be certain you are not one of them. Guard yourselves to be certain you are walking down the narrow road that leads to life.  

The Full Armor of God

Gird your loins with Truth

Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness

Shod your feet with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace

Take up the Shield of Faith

Put on the Helmet of Salvation

Take the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

That’s it, the Full armor of God; nothing about the spoken word; nothing about claiming a promise; nothing about standing on the word; nothing about declaring; nothing about decreeing. 

Did you notice Paul didn’t mention a thing about using authority over the devil? What was it he said? “In addition to all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish ALL the flaming missiles of the evil one.” Not a word about rebuking; not a word about binding; was Paul ignorant about Jesus giving Christians all authority in heaven and on earth, after it was given to Him? Or, are Christians today ignorant about faith being able to extinguish ALL the flaming missiles of the evil one? 

I ask, “Why would anyone need authority over the devil when faith alone can defeat him? Why would Jesus find it necessary to give anyone all authority in heaven and on earth when it isn’t needed? You may be thinking, ‘He gave 82 people authority during His ministry, why wouldn’t He give it to us?’ The answer is this: Jesus had not yet shed His blood for the forgiveness of sins and He had not yet been raised from the dead and become a life-giving Spirit. Thus the 82 were not born anew, nor were they filled with the Holy Spirit. We today have been born anew and filled with the Holy Spirit. Christ has overcome the evil one and we may now take refuge in our Father through faith in Jesus. We have no need of authority; we need only faith in Him to whom all authority in heaven and on earth was given. 

When Peter and John encountered the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, Peter said to him, “In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—-walk,” Acts 3:6b. And when all the people saw the lame man walking they were filled with amazement and ran to them. Peter, seeing this, explained that God had glorified His servant Jesus, verse13. In verse 16 He furthered explained to the people that on the basis of faith in His name, it was the name of Jesus which had strengthened the lame man; and the faith which comes through Him had given the man perfect health in the presence of them all.

There’s a big difference in having faith in Jesus’ name and having His authority. I, for one, don’t consider myself worthy to have the authority of Christ (even if He were to give it to me). Therefore I have no choice other than to trust the One through whom I have received forgiveness of sins and have been raised up into newness of life and grafted into the Israel above; that One who has given me everything pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of Himself, and in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; that One in whom I live and move and have my being; that One Beloved of the Father who sits beside Almighty God and advocates and makes intercession for me. 

I believe in Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, having been made in the likeness of men, and became obedient to the point of death; for which God highly exalted Him, bestowing on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. My faith is in HIS name, the name of Him who now has all authority in heaven and on earth, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

I will continue to follow the example my Savior set for me and refuse to regard equality with God a thing to be grasped. I will not entertain the thought of being equal to Jesus in authority. I will simply continue to walk by faith in the name of the One who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I need not stand on, nor claim a promise. Nor do I need to speak things into being, or declare and decree things. For my Savior is faithful.  He cannot deny Himself. If I need something, I need only ask Him; for He supplies all my needs according to His riches in glory. Praise His holy name.

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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We may dare trust Him

The following is written, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words:

We are called to follow Jesus, and, to do so, we must walk as if our hands are in front of our eyes, making it necessary to trust God. We must trust Him to lead us in His will. We must trust Him to lead us not into temptation. We must trust Him for all things. Those who have faith in the Lord, have no need to move their hands away from their eyes; for their holy Father knows what is before them. He leads them as He works in them, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. This is walking by faith; and it is the only way to walk by the Spirit.

We cannot walk by the Spirit if we are busy planning our every move, and determining for ourselves what is best. We can only walk by the Spirit when we lose sight of ourselves, and, keeping our hands in front of our eyes, offer ourselves to the Father with a ‘not my will, thine be done’ attitude. We walk by the Spirit by trusting our Father in every situation, leaning not on our own understanding, but acknowledging Him in all our ways, trusting Him to direct our paths. 

Regardless of what we are going through, we can dare trust our Father to keep us, and to lead, guide, and protect us. He is our Rock, our refuge and our fortress; He is our shelter, and he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Our God can most assuredly be trusted. He cares for His own. He is not a perception man has created to worship; He is a Living Being, He is Life, and Life everlasting. From Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

Our God is that He is. He always has been, and always will be. As I type these words God not only exists today, He also exists before time; and He exists throughout eternity; He is before time, and now, and forever; He has no beginning and no end. God simply is. And, from the beginning of creation until now, His mystery has been unfolding on the earth, and will continue unfolding to the end. And we who call Him Father are a part of His mystery, for His Word says, “He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds,” Titus 2:14. These good deeds flow from us as we follow Him with a trust like that of a small child, as He works in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Yes, we may dare trust Him, for He delights in us.

Rev. Jon Banks

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He will guide you into all truth

In Genesis 49, the Word says, “Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, ‘Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what shall befall you in the end of the days,’”. Within this chapter, and chapter 48, are hints of the mystery of God. In chapter 48 Jacob [Israel] said concerning Joseph’s two sons, “His younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he [Manasseh], and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” The name Ephraim means fruitful. Hence, Ephraim will bear the fruit of many nations. Ephraim was the ‘son of the right hand’, Genesis 48:17, which corresponds with Benjamin, which actually means ‘son of the right hand’. 

Ephraim and Benjamin, both being ‘sons of the right hand’, correspond in that the tribe of Benjamin was hardened, in order to allow Ephraim’s descendants of a multitude of Gentile nations to enter the kingdom of God. Thus, Paul’s conversion out of due time; for being of the tribe of Benjamin, Paul was one of those who had been hardened, those who were destined to come into the kingdom after the fulness of the Gentiles have come in. This is why he had scales over his eyes, and, “though his eyes were open, he could see nothing,” Acts 9:8b.

  

Thus, through Joseph, whose name means ‘may Jehovah add/give increase’, the Lord added to the twelve tribes of Israel, and He did so through Joseph’s son, Ephraim, the ‘son of the right hand’, whose name means fruitful, and whose descendants would be a multitude of nations.

The Old Testament testifies of Jesus; for as it is written, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; its branches run over a wall,” Genesis 49:22,. This verse refers to Jesus and corresponds to Ephesians 2:14,16 “For He Himself [Jesus] is our peace, who made both groups  [Jew and Gentile] into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity,”. When Israel was telling his sons what would befall them in the end of days, he was testifying of Jesus. 

These things are a small part of the mystery of God that was revealed to me in a vision. I have mentioned them in order to shed light on the truth that the Scriptures were never meant to be interpreted by man; they were meant to be interpreted by the Holy Spirit. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God,” 2 Peter 1:20,21.

The Word of God and all things pertaining to Him are interpreted by the Holy Spirit sent to us from God. He, in turn, reveals them to us at the appropriate times; as it is written, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth,” John 16:13a.

We must each govern ourselves to follow our Lord by walking in, and by, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, leaning not on our own understanding, but acknowledging the Lord in all our ways, and allowing Him to direct our paths. He will never leave us or forsake us; He is always faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.

Rev. Jon Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

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

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