Category: Walking by the Spirit

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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© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

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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© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

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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© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

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.

 

© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

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.

 

© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved