The shaking

‘And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” And this expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain,’ Hebrews 12:26,27.

‘And His voice shook the earth then’ is referring to when the Lord God descended upon Mount Sinai in fire with smoke like the smoke of a furnace and the mountain quaked and there was thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud and a very loud trumpet sound, all making the people tremble. This was the first shaking. 

The second shaking involves the shaking of the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, as well as the nations, and all created things, (see Haggai 2:6,7). Revelation 20:11 also refers to this second shaking, “And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.” The only thing that will not be shaken is the kingdom of God, Hebrews 12:28. All created things will be removed by this shaking, vs.27, and that which cannot be shaken, the kingdom of God, will remain.

The truth of this coming shaking should be a catalyst for us to exercise diligence in seeking God and His kingdom, while at the same time realizing that all created things will one day be gone, their only worth being a temporary means to deal with our fleshly bodies while we occupy the earth; for when the perishable puts on the imperishable, the perishable (created things) will no longer be needed. 

If we procrastinate seeking God and His kingdom, we may find that the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things eventually choke the word we have received, and that it becomes unfruitful, (see Mark 4 ;18,19). “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,” Hebrews 3: 13. “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts,” Hebrews 3:15.

“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire,” Hebrews 12: 28,29.

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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You cannot serve both

When I was in my thirties I thought about writing a book concerning the psychology of the cross. I wanted to point out the psychological benefits of each and every thing through which God leads His children; how intricately His designs and plans for us benefit us psychologically. I had forgotten about my wanting to do this until now; and I am now so glad I didn’t.

I have found there are some today who preach on the psychological aspects of the Word. They may mention the crucifixion of Christ from time to time, but very seldom. They also say very little, if any, about our responsibility to Christ. They mostly embellish the advantages of Christian principles. 

They lure people with their knowledge of the Word (some of them appear to have very high IQ’s). They expound on the Word with such ease that people think they must be walking hand in hand with God. But, in reality, they are using the Word of God as a means to an end, usually to attain an exorbitant amount of money. 

We must be aware there are those who preach what appears to be the truth, but their heart is not fixed on the Person of Jesus, nor the cross of Jesus. We will know them by their fruits. 

I believe those who use preaching as a means to attain riches would most likely walk away from preaching if their riches were taken away; for their hearts are not set on Christ, but on mammon.

“Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me,’” Hebrews 13:5.

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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Some life changing experiences

When I was sixteen years old, before I became a Christian, I was sitting in a chair looking out a clear storm door, watching clouds go by. They caught my eye because they were moving pretty fast. As I sat watching them go by, a small cloud stopped as soon as I saw it. All the other clouds kept moving by fast and this small cloud sat motionless in the sky. Without realizing that I had stood up, walked outside, and down the driveway, I found myself kneeling in the street at the edge of the curb listening to a departed saint who was standing on the small cloud speaking to me. He told me my purpose in life was to help people. I asked how I was to do it and he said I would find the way. As soon as he spoke these words I saw a figure walking through the sky heading to the small cloud. I immediately looked to the ground because this figure was so brilliant I couldn’t keep my eyes on it. I glanced back at the cloud and the brilliant figure had reached the cloud and the departed saint said, “This is Jesus. I have to go now.” The little cloud began moving with the other clouds and I watched as it drifted away. This was the first I had ever seen Jesus.

A lady from up the street came to see me when I went back in the house and said, “You just had a vision, didn’t you?” I honestly had never heard of a vision (I wasn’t raised in church). I told her what had happened and learned that it was a vision. Years later I was born again and soon afterwards married a girl the Lord chose for me. Her name is Sandra. Sandra means ‘helper or defender of people’. I was to help people and she was to assist me. And we have found the way. 

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The night I was born again Jesus took my arm and walked me down the aisle of a huge open air pavilion at an Oklahoma Church of God campground. When I knelt at the altar He knelt in front of me. Two pastors were kneeling with us, one by Jesus, the other by me. The two pastors began talking to me, but I couldn’t hear a word they said. It was as if they were light years away. I was completely engrossed in the presence of Jesus. I don’t know how long we knelt there, but it seemed to be quite a while. When I finally went back to my seat, it dawned on me that I didn’t even pray at the altar; I had just knelt motionless in front of Jesus. Without uttering a prayer, I was in a brand new place, a place I had never before experienced in my lifetime. There was a Spirit in me who had changed everything; I was literally in a new life, a new realm, that I learned later was the kingdom of God.

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When I was a brand new Christian my grandmother and I had an argument. I ran outside and knelt by a bed of flowers and angrily slapped at a plant with several flowers on it. I immediately felt horrible for striking the plant and said, “I’m sorry.” The plant spoke and said, “I understand, and where there is understanding there is forgiveness.” This was the first time I had ever heard a flower or plant speak.

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When I was twenty-two years old I glanced at a sixteen year old girl whom I didn’t know, and the Lord spoke and said, “This is the girl you are to marry.” We met about a year later, and we married a year after we met. We just celebrated our fiftieth wedding anniversary this past December 22, 2018.  

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One Sunday a lady invited several people to her house after church for some soft drinks and snacks. While there, she invited my wife and me to step into her kitchen with her. Another couple heard her invite us and followed us to the kitchen. The lady began by saying she wanted to tell me about something she had never told anyone before. She said she was the nurse on duty when I was born and that when she entered the delivery room Jesus was standing in the corner of the room. She also said He stood in the corner of the room my mom and I were placed in after my birth. He stayed there until we were released from the hospital. She told us His presence was so brilliant it was hard for her to walk into the room to check on us, which she had to do several times a day. 

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When I was still a young Christian an evangelist held a revival at my church. He was a very humble man. He and his wife were staying at my pastor’s house and I asked my pastor what he was like. My pastor said, “I don’t know. He never comes out of his room. He stays in his room praying.” This gentleman preached his last sermon of the revival on Sunday morning. During that sermon I saw Jesus standing to his left and about a step behind him.

When the service was over my pastor told the congregation this brother and his wife had a service that same evening in another town many miles away and they had to leave immediately. He asked the congregation to remain seated until they had left.

I was very disappointed because I wanted to at least shake this man’s hand. I was sitting on the second row up front. I watched them walk out the doorway into the foyer and then hung my head disappointed that I didn’t get to meet him. As I sat there waiting for the congregation to be released I looked to my right and this humble man of God had walked back to shake my hand and tell me something. He said, “Jesus is going to lead you down a path you wouldn’t choose for yourself. Stay true to Him.” Right then I knew Jesus has some servants who are special, and this brother was one of them. His name was Rev. Robert Morgan.

Rev. Morgan finished his course years ago but his words still comfort me to this day. I don’t have many friends. Most people sit in judgment of me. But Jesus loves me. And I will continue walking the path that I didn’t choose for myself for the simple reason that Jesus is leading me down that path, and He does so in accordance to the will of God.  

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I was in a prayer meeting in Houston, TX with twenty or so people several months before I started Bible College. I was sitting near the bottom of a staircase. Jesus appeared and laid His hands on my shoulders and said, “I ordain you to preach My gospel.” After He ordained me (I felt the weight of His hands) He started up the staircase and I turned back, reached out, and touched the hem of His garment. He stopped, looked back, and smiled, then proceeded up the staircase. He disappeared when He reached the top of the stairs. 

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While in my second semester of Bible College the Lord told me to quit school and move back to Oklahoma because my natural father needed me. I did and we headed to Oklahoma. I hadn’t been with him 15-20 minutes and he had a heart attack and died. I prayed for approximately 30-35 minutes asking God to give him another chance (he wasn’t a Christian when he died). The Lord heard my prayers and mercifully raised my father from the dead. When he came back to life he was a born again Christian. 

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When I was in my thirties I attended a prayer meeting held in the loft of a barn. As we were all praying silently I was filled with faith and stood up and began to speak. Before I could complete a sentence my body fell to the floor and I found myself standing next to Jesus in a place far above the earth. He stood beside me to my left; on my right Peter, James, and John stood with us. Jesus began speaking to me, and, as He spoke, Paul walked from our right to our left several feet in front of us. Paul was looking directly at me. I felt like he knew me. It was that intense. Jesus told me I had been born before my time and the knowledge I had received would be usable, but I must wait until God had completed a work in His people. He then stretched His hand toward me and said, “You are the Apostle of the Restoration. There are two other apostles in the United States.” He gave me the name of one of them. After He said this, my spirit returned to my body. My entire body ached for weeks after this experience. 

When I was seventy-two years old, as I was walking through a doorway from one room to another, the Lord spoke, and said, “It is time.” 

Thus, lettersforchristians.com.

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These experiences have each had an extraordinary impact on my Christian life, and still do to this day. Our Lord is good. He is kind. He cares for each one of us. To Him be all glory forever.

 

His Ways and His Thoughts

Many use the truth of the love of God as a means to become popular and/or for financial gain. They speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining advantage. They say things like, “God loves you and therefore wants you to be financially prosperous; He wants you to become like Him and speak things into being; He wants you to declare and decree whatever you want, or whatever you lack, etc. He loves you so much that He wants you to have all authority in heaven and on earth.” These people peddle Jesus as a sort of life-coach and a personal handyman who helps you get whatever you want and fixes whatever is wrong.  

People who listen to, and give heed to, these people fail to take into consideration Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Many think they are blessed when people like them and accept them, or when everything is going their way, but the Lord says we are blessed when people persecute us, and cast insults at us. We are blessed when we are poor, when we mourn, and when we are humble. We are blessed when we persevere under trials, etc. 

These people deliberately withhold facts, such as, when we ask God for more faith, we are also asking for trials by fire, for faith is tried by fire, 1 Peter 1:6,7; and if we ask for the will of God to be done in our lives, we are also asking for sufferings, for it is the will of God that we not only know the power of Jesus’ resurrection, but also the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, Philippians 3:8-11.  

The Lord’s ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. We, as Christians, must bring our ways and our thoughts into subjection to Him by denying ourselves and taking up our cross and following Him. He is NOT our life-coach, or personal handyman, HE IS OUR LIFE. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. We are not to USE Jesus; we are to FOLLOW Jesus. We are not to WIELD His authority; we are to SUBMIT to His authority. 

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

Rev. Jon Banks

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The Simplicity of the Gospel

The first Adam was created in the likeness of God, and, having sinned, stained the likeness of God he had been created in. The last Adam lived a sinless life and offered Himself for the sins of the first Adam, and for all who had inherited the curse which he received. We are now to lay aside the old self [Adam], the self that inherited a sinful nature from the first Adam, and put on the new self [Jesus], the self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness in the truth, the self which now lives by faith in God and in His Son Jesus.

The old self is of the earth; the new self is of heaven. We are no longer bound to the sinful nature inherited from Adam, we have been crucified with the last Adam [Jesus] and born again and are now members of the body of the risen Christ.  We no longer live for the things of earth, but for the things of heaven, where our new lives are hidden with Christ in God. Our old self which was created in the image of God has been stained by the sins of Adam, and therefore must return to dust. Our new self has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth; that is, we are being renewed in the spirit of our minds as we lay aside the old self and walk in the new. We no longer walk in the sinful ways of the old self, but in the righteousness and holiness of the new. And we do this by believing and trusting in Jesus who is now our source of life; He is our vine and we are His branches. 

As Eve was fashioned from the rib of Adam, so also are we, the bride of Christ, being fashioned from the inmost being of Christ, the life-giving Spirit. Our new self is hidden with Christ in God in the heavenly places, in the kingdom of God, which is of heaven, and in heaven. “[We] have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer [we] who live, but Christ lives in [us]; and the life which [we] now live in the flesh [we] live by faith in the Son of God, who loved [us], and delivered Himself up for [us],” (Galatians 2:20).

We in this new creation have been made complete:  “For in Him [Jesus] all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him from the dead,” Colossians 2:9-12. We were crucified with Christ, buried with Him, and raised from the dead with Him.

As believers in Jesus we must deny our old self and press forward in the Spirit, and take up our cross, and follow Jesus one day at a time. We daily lay aside the old and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. For it is on account of these things that the wrath of God will come, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth,” Colossians 3:1-8. This is walking by the Spirit; this is denying one’s self and taking up one’s cross and following Jesus. This is pressing forward to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

We must never complicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should instead embrace its simplicity. “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe,” 1 Corinthians 1:21. The foolishness of the message is its simplicity. To the world the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ is absolute foolishness. They see it as a crutch for weak people, a sort of psychological booster to get them by. But to those predestined by the will of God for eternal life (Acts 13:48) and called by the Holy Spirit, it is precious. Never lose sight of the simplicity of the gospel:  

The Word became flesh, lived a life without sin, was crucified and buried, preached to the dead, raised from the dead, and seated at the right hand of God. And God, being full of grace and mercy, placed all believers in the Son, and now reckons them as crucified with the Son, buried with Him through baptism, and raised up into newness of life with Him. 

In closing, the Word became flesh and put an end to the fallen nature of the first Adam by offering Himself as a pure and sinless offering for sin, after which He became a life-giving Spirit. He now gives new life to all who believe in Him, and this, by the grace of God. “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit,” 1 Corinthians 15:45. And, “The first man is from the earth, earthly; the second man is from heaven,” vs. 47. The first Adam inherited death. The last Adam arose to eternal life for those who live, move, and have their being in Him. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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Crucifying the Flesh

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires,” Galatians 5:24. How do we crucify the flesh? The Bible is very clear on this subject. “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God,” 1Peter 4:1,2. We crucify the flesh by enduring the sufferings and by learning obedience. 

As we walk by the Spirit one day at a time, our efforts to be obedient begin to become a way of life; a life in which we find that our flesh has less and less sway over us day by day. This is not dying to Self, it is learning obedience, and growing as we learn. It is the Lord training us up in the way we should go, teaching us humility, reverence, and all other godly virtues as we grow up into Him, our Lord Jesus Christ. 

When we try to die to self, we place our attention on our shortcomings and sinful tendencies. This is not healthy to the Christian. As Christians, we are to think of good things, things worthy of praise. There is nothing worthy of praise in ourselves, so we must lose sight of ourselves and set our minds on things above, where our lives are. To do this, we rely on Jesus and walk by faith in Him. This is why He told us that to come after Him, one must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Him.

We are sanctified at the new birth, set apart to God, and made holy by the blood of Jesus. Our Father then begins training us up in the way we should go by leading us through various trials in order to test us, — “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you…” 1 Peter 4:12. Peter exhorts us to rejoice in these trials for we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ, (vs. 13). He also instructs us to endure by humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt us at the proper time, (1 Peter 5:6). He goes on to say that we are to resist the devil, our adversary, firm in our faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by our brethren who are in the world. And after we have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us, (vs. 9,10).

In speaking of things such as worldly chatter, quarreling, wrangling about words and wickedness in general, Paul said, “Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work,” 2 Timothy 2:21. How do we cleanse ourselves? We cleanse ourselves by turning and walking away from everything that pertains to ungodliness, and pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart. We both crucify the flesh and cleanse ourselves by living to God. And we live to God by faith that we were crucified with Christ, buried with Christ and raised with Christ. It is through faith in Christ that we walk by the Spirit in the heavenly kingdom into which we were raised. It is through faith in Him that we overcome any and all things the evil one tries to use against us. It is through faith that we live and move and have our being in Jesus. He is all in all.

Paul wrote to some Christians who had been quarreling with each other, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” He immediately followed with, “AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God,” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. 

Paul was reminding them they also had been unrighteous, but had since become righteous by faith in the sacrifice of Jesus. We all need to be reminded of this very same thing from time to time, otherwise we could end up like these Corinthians, allowing our old natures to creep back in, or, even worse for some, getting stuck in a predicament of trying to save ourselves by works. 

Please test what I have written by the Word of God, and not by what’s been handed down by man; for as the angel told Daniel, “…many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase,” Daniel 12:4b.

Rev. Jon Banks

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Slow to Speak

Our son was in a small Christian school for kindergarten and first grade. We had to take him out of that school because his first grade teacher appeared to have a less than loving attitude toward him. When she learned that we were pulling him out of the Christian school and putting him in a public school, she told him he would no longer be a Christian, but he would be a publican for going to a public school and he would go to hell. He was so concerned about being a publican and going to hell, my wife had to go to the public school with him and ask his new second grade teacher (in his presence) if he could attend a public school and be a Christian. Thank God the public school teacher was a Christian with a good heart and conducted herself as such.

This may seem like a small thing, but consider this, every day there are countless number of Christians who think and behave like the Christian school teacher did — they speak of things they don’t understand, and, at times, do so with judgmental, and “holier than thou” attitudes. Consider also all the false doctrines going around now, doctrines people have concocted without restraint of any kind, leaving others believing they speak for God. For instance, 

decree something and God will make it happen (this came about by people using their own understanding and taking a verse of scripture completely out of context); 

claim the promises of God (this began as a man-made tool to try to overcome a lack of faith); 

create things by the words you speak (this came from the word of faith movement started by some wolves in sheep’s clothing seeking to devour the masses for monetary purposes by giving them what they want to hear). 

There are many, many more false beliefs being preached, all equally harmful, and sworn to be true, by preacher after preacher, and layman after layman.

Those who teach these and other fallacies are on a collision course to be judged by their words, and it won’t be pleasant for them. God is not mocked. “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life,” Galatians 6:8. We must always be careful when we speak to others about the things of God. We must never give advice to another unless we know our advice is born of the Spirit. Only then will it help someone. If we give advice that comes from the flesh, and not the Spirit, it will most likely do harm. We may then find ourselves on a slippery slope in our own Christian life for having harmed someone by speaking of spiritual things from our fleshly minds. Many continually go through struggle after struggle simply because they speak of spiritual things from their fleshly minds.

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment,” James 3:1. James continues explaining how hard it is to tame the tongue. This is something Christians should concern themselves with, for we will be judged by our words, and those who teach will receive a stricter judgment than all the others. If more Christians took James 3:1 to heart, there would be far less arguing over scriptures, and far less false doctrines floating around. We must be quick to hear and slow to speak. This is essential in the Christian walk.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Lest we be carried away

When I was still using my own understanding trying to learn the things of God I jumped on every Scripture I could find that resembled what was on my mind at the time. I also read many books written by Christians. Consequently, I ended up thinking things that were not true. It wasn’t until I learned to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s Word to me that I began learning the truths of God.

Many Christians today are still trying to learn the things of God with their own understanding. They jump from verse to verse, preacher to preacher, and book to book, trying to learn the things of God. As a result, their minds become weighed down with thoughts that often do nothing but confuse them. They end up trying this formula and that formula, hoping they’ll hit upon something that actually works. 

People who rely on their own understanding find themselves taking mental stands against anything that questions their beliefs for the moment. For instance, if one believes healing comes by claiming the promise, he will take a stand against any thoughts to the contrary. His struggle quickly erodes to a mind game, refusing even sound doctrine. In contrast, people who rely on Jesus listen from the heart, and, thus, never enter mind games, (nor do they claim promises from a holy God). 

 People who depend on their own understanding leave themselves open to the wiles of the devil and they end up, more often than not, fighting against the Holy Spirit, all the while thinking they are following Him. They blame the devil when they begin to doubt, when in reality, it is the Holy Spirit trying to warn them they’re heading down a wrong road. As a result, rather than listening to the Holy Spirit, they rebuke Him thinking He is the devil. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and leads them from one snare to another.

When we enter into the things of God with our own understanding, we lose sight of true faith. True faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. It is a matter of the heart; with the heart we believe, with the mouth we confess. If what we believe is not in our heart, it isn’t faith; it’s just our thoughts. We must keep our thoughts in subjection to the Lord, lest we be carried away by them. 

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Clouds Without Rain

A few days ago I heard a self-proclaimed preacher say Isaiah 43:19a is a scripture promising a miracle coming in 2019 for everyone who will sow a seed by sending him $43.19 before the end of this year. One hundred or more people are supposed to send him $119.00, and nine people are supposed to send him $1019.00 (the more dire your circumstances, the more money you should send). He said the Holy Spirit was speaking to these people through his mouth, after which he insinuated that to not send him this money would be an act of disobedience to God. He then took it upon himself to declare and decree these miracles to come in 2019 (as if he were some kind of god). I also heard two other men, both claiming they are apostles, saying nearly the same things on two other programs. 

Yes, I watched a little so-called Christian TV. It’s the first time I’ve watched it in well over a year, and I’m sorry I did. It left me once again feeling that there just might be a special place in Hell for these phony peddlers of God’s Word who speak lies and take advantage of naive people. 

These pompous, arrogant self-proclaimed preachers seem to believe their own lies, and have thousands upon thousands of followers who also believe their lies. As Paul wrote, “But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived,” 2 Timothy 3:13.

May the Lord keep His chosen remnant safe from these thieves who use the Word of God for personal gain, and leave people grasping for straws, and trying to make things happen by speaking words, and by their supposed authority the arrogant have told them they have. They teach both the naive and greedy that they don’t have to pray and ask God for things, they can just declare and decree what they want, and God will make it happen. And, if you can’t make it happen yourself, you can send them money and they will declare and decree it for you.

These thieves are not confined to TV, they are in pulpits all across the Christian world. You will know them by their fruits. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit,” Matthew 7:18. Verses 22-23 tell us that even though they cast out demons and perform miracles, they do not belong to Jesus because they practice lawlessness.

“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness,” 1 John 3:4. It is evident these people practice lawlessness; for rather than submitting to God and becoming bond-servants to Him and His Son, they instead make themselves to be as gods and declare and decree as if God was their servant. They have formulas for how to do this and how to do that, and they’ll send you pamphlets with instructions to do what they do for a so-called ‘donation’. 

Dear ones, those who preach and teach these things are not of God, they are clouds without rain, clouds that float around as if they are spiritual guides for the masses, but their end will be their removal from the Kingdom when Jesus sends forth His angels, Matthew 13:41. Be on guard. 

Many people spend their lives chasing preachers and reading books, looking for answers and formulas for their problems when, in fact, there are no answers or formulas. There is only Jesus. Consider a true servant of God:  A true servant of God knows that all things are from God and through God and to God. A true servant knows that God is the creator and would never even suggest that Christians can create things with their words. A true servant of God would never lift himself up to the level of God, or tell anyone else to do so. A true servant of God would never preach about how to work miracles, or how to receive healing. A true servant of God preaches Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Rather than giving instructions and formulas on how to do this and that, a true servant guides the flock to the feet of the Good Shepherd in whom we live and move and have our being. 

Dear friends, “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him [Jesus] they are yes…” 2 Corinthians 1:20a. The key words in this verse are ‘in Him’. The promises of God are yes ‘in Him’. Fulfillment of each and every promise of God is found, not in formulas, or books, but ‘in Him’. Submit to Him, abide in Him, and you will find yourself saying, “Amen,” to the glory of God.  

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Preaching Satan and Calling Him Jesus

I was nearly brought to tears recently when I heard someone preach that in the beginning God spoke words to create things, “Let there be light,” etc, and then referred to Ephesians 5:1 that begins with, “Be imitators of God…”, and taking it out of context, said we are supposed to imitate God and speak things into existence. He also took the first part of Proverbs 18:21 out of context, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” and used it to prove his point. He was not speaking metaphorically, he was speaking physically. He was telling people who had gathered to worship and learn from God that they should raise themselves up to God’s level and be like God. I’m so grateful the Lord’s sheep will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers, John 10:5.

————————

You don’t have to join a satanic cult to follow Satan, you can simply follow the doctrines of most TV evangelists and many nondenominational preachers and be smack-dab in the middle of the will of Satan, and call him Jesus while you’re there. They preach the very things Satan spoke to Eve — you don’t have to listen to God, you can call your own shots, and to Jesus, you can take authority and make the promises come true. The devil’s end game for both Eve and Jesus was to have them bypass God and exalt themselves to His level. This is the same thing the word of faith movement and many nondenominational churches preach today. They are literally preaching Satan and calling him Jesus. 

If you disagree, try to stop your mind from running for a few minutes and listen to the Holy Spirit. 

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them.

Truthfulness

A friend called me yesterday to talk about some problems he was having. At one point I told him about times doubt would creep in when our son was going crippled and how I would immediately confess them to God and He would help me overcome my doubts. My friend said, “That’s because you didn’t own the doubts.” He went on to explain that someone had told him that, when we doubt, it is really the devil tempting us to doubt, and that we should take authority over the devil and rebuke him, and tell him to leave. So he was saying it wasn’t me doubting, it was the devil tempting me to doubt.

I told him that, on the contrary, I was most assuredly the one doubting; it was my mind entertaining the doubts. I did the opposite of what his other friend had told him, I “owned” my doubts. I confessed them to God and asked for mercy, and He, in turn, granted me mercy and grace abundantly, showering me with love and His understanding of why I was doubting. And because I was honest with Him He became my Rock, my Protector, and hid me beneath the shadow of His wings. 

I explained to my friend that our Father desires truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part He will make us know wisdom, Psalm 52:6. He doesn’t want us stumbling around fighting the devil like our lives depended on it; He wants us cuddling up to Him, casting our cares upon Him and taking refuge in Him. The Bible tells us that when we are harassed by the devil we are to submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee from us. It doesn’t say we are to rebuke him or bind him or send him away. It says we are to resist him and he will flee from us. Peter said, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you,” 1 Peter 5:8-10. 

We must always be honest and truthful with God. We have a high priest who was tempted in all things as we are and He sympathizes with our weaknesses. We can now draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, and receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. We don’t have to go before Him like mighty warriors in need of nothing. He would much rather that we admit our weaknesses, rather than blame the devil for them.

Rev. Jon Banks

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In His Body

Colossians 1:22-23 tells us that Jesus has reconciled us in His physical body through death, in order that He might present us to the Father holy and blameless and beyond reproach. We could not draw near to God while we were alienated and hostile in mind, and engaging in evil deeds. So God, in His infinite wisdom, placed us in Christ, that in the death of His physical body our body of sin might be done away with, as it is written, “…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 6:6,7. We have also been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, (Hebrews 10:10). 

Paul tells us that we were foreknown by God, and that He predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren, Romans 8:29. He accomplished this by placing us in Christ when He was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead.

We were most assuredly in Jesus when He was crucified; we were in Him when He was buried; we were in Him when He was raised from the dead. This is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is Christianity — “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God IN Christ Jesus,” Romans 6:10,11. We are in Him, and we have been in Him since before time when God foreknew us and predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son. And we were in Him when He was crucified, buried, and raised up into newness of life. We are now the body of the risen Christ and He is the head.

Through His sinless life, the giving of His body, and the shedding of His blood, Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities, and made a public display of them, having triumphed over them. He is now the head of all rule and authority. Jesus is now a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek, no beginning and no end, and He has become the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. And having been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin, He sympathizes with our weaknesses, and we may now draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, where we can receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ, absolutely nothing.

What a glorious and wonderful God we serve, full of mercy and compassion and lovingkindness, who sent His only begotten Son to sacrifice Himself, in order that we might be crucified, buried, and raised up together with Him, freed from sin and alive to the Father. We are forever in debt to the Father and Son. Thanks be to God that we will have eternity to praise and honor them.

In the most holy name of Jesus,

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Sanctification Clarification

I believe there has been a misunderstanding about some things I’ve said about sanctification, and I would like to clarify:

We are sanctified when we are born again. This is made obvious in 1 Corinthians 1:2 where Paul addresses the recipients of his letter, “…to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” Paul was, in fact, speaking to all Christians at the church in Corinth, therefore all were sanctified, for his letter was to ‘those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus,’. He went further saying they were part of all who call upon the name of the Lord. He addressed the whole church at Corinth and all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as sanctified saints, or holy ones.

Backing up just a little, the Holy Spirit does NOT enter us when we first believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I believed all my life that Jesus was the true Son of God and was not born again until the Holy Spirit drew me to Jesus. The Holy Spirit entered me at that time and I was immediately born again. We cannot be born again without the Holy Spirit, (John 3:5) for without Him there is no new life, and we cannot receive Him until we repent, (Acts 2:38). And when we do, we are sanctified and sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.

Without the Holy Spirit we cannot be raised up into the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:3) where we now worship our Father, and do His will (as He works, we work). And there, in the heavenlies, our Father accepts us, and treats us as sons and daughters, training us up in the way we should go. He does this while we, at the same time, learn obedience through the things which we suffer. And as we continue in obedience, we move from victory to victory, learning to stand, to walk, and run as we head to the finish line. The Christian life is a steady walk through the trials and tribulations of life, wherein we learn obedience, and move from one obedient act to another, thus fulfilling the will of God with every act of obedience, that we might be to the praise of His glory.  

During our Christian life there are many experiences, some so powerful they may seem like a second work of grace, but they are really just experiences. We receive them simply by walking with the Lord. Jesus ordained me and that experience was extremely powerful and sacred, but it wasn’t a second work. The Holy Spirit has driven me to my knees at times, my spirit was caught up to heaven one time, I’ve had revelations that have taken me to the limits of my understanding, and I never tried to put a name on any of these experiences. They are simply places the Lord has taken me in my Christian walk.

We must simply walk with Jesus and learn obedience, doing everything He tells us to do. In this way we will grow up to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ, and of the knowledge of the Son of God. 

In closing, herein is the sanctified life — denying ourselves — turning away from, leaving behind, every thing and every one we hold dear; — taking up our cross — acknowledging that our old self was crucified with Christ and that we are dead to the law and to sin; — following Him — walking by the Holy Spirit in the perfect law of liberty, obeying the Lord in all things. The sanctified ones do these things one day at a time.

Peace to those who have been sanctified in Christ, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.

Rev. Jon Banks 

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Authority

There are some who are going around preaching and teaching that every believer has the authority of God, and that God is just waiting on them to use it. One of these preachers uses Isaiah 45:11 as proof that all believers have the authority of God. He quotes from the King James Version of the Bible, “Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” This person says on his website, “What a powerful scripture! What does the Lord mean when He tells us to command Him? Well, He certainly doesn’t mean we are mightier and more powerful than Him and can order Him around. He means, concerning the things He has already done, He wants us to take our authority and command His power.” 

‘Take our authority and command His power” — what an arrogant statement. Even Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, refused to lift Himself up to God’s level, both when the devil tempted Him, and throughout His ministry. Instead, He emptied Himself, considering equality with God as a thing NOT to be grasped. 

These false prophets are everywhere. They’re online, they’re on TV, they’re standing in pulpits; they are even in the pews of our churches. In these last days men and women are raising themselves up and presenting themselves to be servants of God and ambassadors of Christ, claiming to have all authority in the name of Jesus. These people are nothing more than peddlers of the name of Jesus. Rather than giving Him the worship and reverence He is due, these peddlers teach people how to use Him. They teach people how to use the name of Jesus, promising the people they can get what they want, when they want. These peddlers are nothing more than opportunistic ear ticklers.

Because of these so-called preachers and so-called teachers there are many today who believe that each and every Christian has all the authority of Christ. Some quote, as proof, Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” The fact that these verses apply to the church as a whole, and not to each individual, is evidenced in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30, “All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?” Since the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit has been distributing gifts as He wills, to one this gift, and to another that.

The man I spoke of in the first paragraph was speaking of healing. He is teaching that all healings have already taken place through the sacrifice of Jesus and, therefore, we need only command the power of God to work and heal. This gentleman apparently isn’t aware that God has given us the spirit of a sound mind. 

I now appeal to your sound mind given you by God, and ask, “If healing is already accomplished for every believer, then how on earth would a sickness or a disease ever come upon a Christian? Are sicknesses and diseases more powerful than God?” Of course not! Healing is not something that is already done; it is something that is promised to those who believe, as is forgiveness of sins. Our sins are not forgiven until we repent of them; our sicknesses and diseases are not healed until we approach God with faith in His promise of healing, and He touches us with His healing power. This is why the Scriptures say a prayer of faith must be offered by the elders.

I believe that we, in these last days, must be of sound judgment and sober in mind and spirit, and prayerfully guard against these false prophets flooding the air waves and pulpits; those who flatter people for the sake of gaining an advantage; those who give people what they want to hear in exchange for money. I believe it is our responsibility to shun these vultures and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, emptying ourselves and becoming servants of God, rather than becoming equal to Him. We are the children of God, He is our Father, not our equal. He sent His Son to save us and to leave us an example as to how we should live. 

Jesus humbled Himself before God, and did nothing on His own initiative, but worked as the Father worked. These false prophets tell us to take the initiative and command healings and anything else we might want. Isn’t this eerily similar to the devil telling Jesus to command the stone to become bread, and to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple? But, what did Jesus say? “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”. And, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”                                                       

Dear friends, we must be on our guard against wolves who would entice us away from our meek and lowly Shepherd. We must always walk humbly before God, trusting Him in All things, and refusing to lift ourselves up to His level.  He is the Father, we are the children; Jesus is the Savior, we are the saved. We must walk reverently by the Spirit, seeking God’s will, not His authority.  

Test what I have said by the Word of God, and please do so with an open and sound mind. 

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. It is my sincere hope that everything I write be tested, not by what others have said, but by the Holy Word of God. Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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Addendum to Concerning the Authority of Christ:

Through the obedient life of Jesus, the cross of Jesus, and the shedding of His blood, Jesus overcame and conquered the evil one, and was resurrected from the dead making it possible for our sins to be forgiven, and for us to be raised up with Him, and in Him. Our lives are now hidden with Christ in God. We are in Christ and He is in God. We have received the Holy Spirit who leads us in our walk in this new life. We are the body of Him who has all authority in heaven and on earth. 

It is the same for the 70 Jesus sent out in His name. When the Holy Spirit came, they, too, were born again. They were no longer just with Him, they were born into Him. Their lives, actually their new lives, were hidden with Him in God. They no longer needed His authority, they were then parts of the body of the One who had been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

We of the new creation need only trust and believe in the name of the Head of the new body wherein we dwell, that is, Jesus Christ. He has already conquered the devil. We need only trust in Him and He will lead, guide and direct us from victory to victory. 

Why would Jesus now find it necessary to give us His authority? He is the head of all rule and authority, all authority has been given Him, and He is the head of our new body, the church. The Holy Spirit who dwells within us now distributes gifts as He pleases, to one this, and to another that. We need only walk by the Spirit, in total obedience, to do the will of God for our lives. Jesus is the head, we are the body; the head controls the body. 

There is nothing in the Bible that even insinuates that we who have been born again have the authority of Christ. Paul mentioned authority he had been given for the building up of the church, and he once encouraged Timothy to speak with authority. But neither of these had anything to do with the authority over demons and sicknesses and diseases, or the authority of Christ. I, too, have been given authority, but it is not all the authority of Christ, it is authority to do certain things pertaining to my call.

Someone may say, “Well, Paul and Timothy needed the authority of Christ to fulfill their ministries, otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to cast out demons or heal the sick, etc.” But I say, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” Hence, if a miracle is needed, the Holy Spirit will provide a worker of miracles. If another problem arises, He will provide someone who can take care of that problem. This is how the church works, not by any authority of a believer, but by the will and the working of the Holy Spirit; not by super-spiritual giants, but by humble souls walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit. 

If the so-called authority of the believer was such an important part of the Christian life, why is it not mentioned in the letters to the churches? One would think it would be covered somewhere in the letters. But nowhere in the writings of Paul, Peter, James, John, Jude, or in Hebrews is there any mention of it. 

It is not mentioned because it does not exist. Well meaning people have taken a few verses of Scripture that pertained to 82 believers (the 12 and the 70) before the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and carried them over into the dispensation of the fulness of times, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth, where Jesus Himself is now the head of all rule and authority.  

Dear friends, the truth is:  as Satan enticed Eve to lift herself up to the level of God, and as he tried to entice Jesus to lift Himself up to the level of God, he now tries to entice us to lift ourselves up to the level of God by telling us we have the authority of Christ and we need only command things to happen, or declare and decree things into existence. We must not be as Eve, but as Christ, 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. As long as we are in the body of Adam, we must LEARN from the example of Eve, and FOLLOW the example of Jesus.

Jesus is no longer walking on the earth in the form of Adam, He is now dwelling within us, and, having been born again, we are now walking this earth in the form of the new Creation, the Spirit of the risen Christ, yet still in human form, also. And, as we maintain faith in His name, refusing to lift ourselves up to His level, but rather walk humbly by the Spirit of the new creation, all things are possible to us. We need no authority; the One who has all authority in heaven and on earth is the head of our body. The Holy Spirit leads one to do this, and another to do that, and we all do something. We are one body fitted together, and each part led by the Spirit of God in ways that He chooses. If we could all do everything there would be no need for the other parts of the body. We need one another. 

This is the gospel of Christ and the kingdom of God. This is the secret that was hidden for ages, that is, Christ in us. Let us bow to His authority and walk in complete submission to Him, for He alone is worthy of all authority in heaven and on earth.

Rev. Jon Banks

P.S. I have seen many healings, one just a few weeks ago. My wife had a headache she said was the worst she had had in her life. I put my arms around her and asked the Lord to take the pain from her. He took it from her instantly. I have seen the Lord make storms turn and move in other directions. I have seen Him heal a child with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have seen Him heal burns instantly several times. I once saw a man die in his sins, only to come back to life a born again Christian approximately 30 minutes later. All these things were done in response to either my prayers, or my saying, “In the name of Jesus be healed.” I had no authority; I had only faith in the name of Jesus. And, because of my faith, I was rewarded by God with answered prayers. I have never once needed the authority of Christ; Christ is my Savior; I need only Him.

P.P.S. It is my sincere hope that everything I write be tested, not by what others have said, but by the Holy Word of God. Please, please weigh everything I say on the scales of the Word of God before you discard them. May the Lord bless you.

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