Tag: Following Jesus

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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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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© 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

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

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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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

What in the World has the Church Become?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

The Full Armor of God

Gird your loins with Truth

Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness

Shod your feet with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace

Take up the Shield of Faith

Put on the Helmet of Salvation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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We may dare trust Him

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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He will guide you into all truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rev. Jon Banks, God’s most unworthy servant

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

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© 2019 Jon Banks All Rights Reserved

Return to your first love

The church in Ephesus was known for their good deeds and their toil and perseverance. They could not stand evil men, and put to the test those who were  calling themselves apostles, and found them to be false. They had persevered  and endured for the Lord’s name’s sake, and they hadn’t grown weary. Today the church in Ephesus would be considered a pretty good church, strong, steadfast, giving, haters of evil. What more could one ask for in a church? But Jesus had one thing against them, they had left their first love. 

Jeremiah 2:2b (NIV) says, ‘This is what the LORD says: “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved Me and followed Me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.”’ From this we see that leaving our first love is losing our devotion to Him whom we have been betrothed. It is losing sight of loving Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. It happens wen we get caught up in the doing, rather than the being. It happens when we become unrestrained in our thinking and begin forming opinions and doctrines with our own understanding, thereby becoming entangled with formula after formula, rather than His Presence. 

The church in Ephesus was busy making sure everything was right. They did good deeds and they learned perseverance and endurance. They abhorred evil, and turned away false apostles. To the human eye, they were a beacon of perfection. However, in their zeal to please the Lord, they lost sight of their fellowship with Him. They became so busy ‘being’ Christians, they lost sight of the living Christ within them. To the eye of Him who had purchased them from the ravages of sin, this was sin, and they needed to repent and do the works they did at first. They needed to return to a place of complete love and devotion to the One who had betrothed them.

We, today, must guard ourselves from leaving our first love. We must shun the tendency to allow our minds to run unrestrained; for, in so doing, we will find ourselves forming opinions; we will find ourselves holding to this doctrine and that doctrine, rather than holding to the head. We will find that, although we are endeavoring to do the things required of us as pertains to our place in the body, we are flip-flopping; flip-flopping because we are not holding fast to the head, Jesus. 

Dear friends, we can search the Scriptures day in and day out looking for answers to this question and that question, only to find in the end that it is futile. There are no questions. There are no answers. There is only Jesus. He is the way and the truth and the life; and in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form. We have been granted precious and magnificent promises, in order that we might become partakers of the divine nature. We are to follow Him of whom the Scriptures testify. We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. We cannot be partakers of the divine nature if we are not holding fast to the head. We must abide in the vine. 

It is sad that so many weary ones search the Scriptures looking for this and for that, and never turn to Him of whom the Scriptures testify. Oh, they call on Him, they use His name, but their trust is not in Him; it is in formulas they have fabricated by taking Scriptures out of context. They are so busy trying to be Christians, they have forsaken the living Christ. One might say they are now worshipping an idol; an idol of an image of God they have fashioned for themselves. And they reached this point because they left their first love, either by ignorance, or by a desire to do things their own way.

If we hold fast to our first love, we will not be tossed about by doctrine after doctrine, or opinion after opinion. We will be anchored in Him who loves us, resting beneath the shadow of His wings. And as He leads us beside waters of rest and makes us lie down in green pastures, we will find that He also guides us in the paths of righteousness and leads us into all truth. We need only follow Him; for in Him are all things pertaining to life and godliness. We need only walk in simple child-like trust as He works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Hold fast to the head; abide in the vine; trust in Him with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Return to Him of whom the Scriptures testify. Return to your first love.

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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I will not betray Him

When I was a young Christian, an evangelist, Rev. Robert Morgan, told me Jesus was going to lead me down a path I wouldn’t choose for myself. And so He has. I speak the truth, yet I am regarded as false; I speak from love and I am rewarded with contempt. Someone once spray painted my car with obscenities; I have seen some who dislike me urinating on my wife’s garden after dark; blatant lies have been told about me. I have been accused many times of things I haven’t done. At least one preacher has warned his flock about me, accusing me of saying things I didn’t say. This gentleman, of the Christ Fellowship circle, intentionally lied in order to turn others away from me.

But through all this I remain faithful to the Lord Jesus and offer myself, a living sacrifice, that the truth of His gospel may abound, and that false doctrines and speculations and every lofty thing might be destroyed.

I don’t have the luxury of telling people what they want to hear; I have been commissioned by the Lord to speak the truth. I wasn’t allowed to follow this man and that man, or this doctrine and that doctrine; I was led to follow Jesus. And this I have done, and for this I am regarded by many as an outcast, unfit to be accepted.

Am I feeling sorry for myself, or hoping for pity from others? Absolutely not; I consider it an honor to follow the path the Lord has prepared for me. It is a great honor to be treated as Jesus and the prophets were treated. And, as it was with them, most of my ill-treatment has come from the religious of the day.       

Still, knowing the times of the restoration of all things is at hand, I press forward, endeavoring to snatch from the fire those who have been deceived to lift themselves up to God’s level, those who claim to be equal to Christ in their authority, those who hold fast to doctrines of men, and even those who have unjustly mistreated me. 

I am a servant of the Son of God, separated by Him, ordained by Him, and commissioned by Him. I will not betray Him. I will continue speaking the truth, regardless of what might befall me. 

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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The knowledge I have received

In the early 1970’s Jesus appeared at a prayer meeting and placed His hands on my shoulders and said, “I ordain you to preach My gospel.” He started up the staircase where I was sitting, and I leaned back and touched the hem of His garment. He stopped, looked back, and smiled at me, then ascended to the top of the staircase and disappeared. A man at that meeting did not know what was happening, but he was aware that something wonderful had happened.

Several years later I was in another prayer meeting in a different state and my spirit was caught up to a place far above the earth where I found myself standing between Jesus and Peter, James, and John. Paul was also there; he walked from our right to our left a few feet in front of us and disappeared from sight. Jesus told me that 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 told me several other things and I returned to my body, which ached tremendously for weeks after this experience.

The knowledge I had received was the revelation of Himself. Looking back I can honestly say that I cannot remember one thing concerning the kingdom of God and the mystery of God that I have learned from man. Everything I know has come directly from heaven. This may sound pompous, but it is the absolute truth. I still remember that as a young Christian listening to my pastor, I often felt he and I were reading different Bibles. This has been my experience with preacher after preacher. For most of my younger years I gave others the benefit of the doubt and doubted myself. I believe this was due to my having PTSD, which I have struggled with for years.

Then one day the Lord gave me a vision in which I saw His mystery unfolding and unfolding and unfolding. It soon surpassed my understanding and I could no longer comprehend what I was seeing. Still, it continued unfolding. From that day on the Lord began instilling confidence within me, confidence that He had been leading me the whole time. It took several years for me to overcome the tendency to doubt myself and to accept that He was leading me. Now I have no doubt the knowledge I received was just that, knowledge I had received, not learned, knowledge received by way of revelation; it was the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

Some people get frustrated with me when I won’t give their opinions any thought. I try to explain to them that I know what I know, and therefore their opinions on this subject and that subject are nothing more than their opinions, and have nothing to do with the truth. They think I’m just a stubborn old goat. The truth is the Holy Spirit won’t allow me to entertain the opinions of man. Some think I’m someone who thinks he knows everything, or that I think my opinions are more truthful than the opinions of others, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’m acutely aware that I know very little, and therefore I strive to form no opinions.

The knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ is a part of me, and to even pretend that I might be considering something other than this knowledge is out of the question; I would be betraying the One who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I will not do that. 

The Lord set me apart from my mother’s womb (He was seen by the nurse on duty in both the delivery room, and the room assigned to my mother and me after my birth). And, when the time came, Jesus took me by the arm, led me to an altar, and knelt in front of me (He held my arm and walked me down the aisle and knelt in front of me; I was born again without uttering a word). There He became unto me a life-giving Spirit, breathing the Holy Spirit into me. He then began training me up in the way I should go and revealing Himself to me.

I read no books other than the Bible. I study no man, no denomination, no theories, no opinions (not even my own). I listen only to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The knowledge I have received (not learned) —- the knowledge Jesus spoke of —- is knowledge that has come not from man, nor through man, but directly from a revelation of Jesus Christ.

These experiences are very sacred to me

and I share them with the Lord’s permission,

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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Collision Course

Paul prophesied that in the last days difficult times will come, 2 Timothy 3:1. He further states that men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. He also said evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. One might argue that people such as these can be found throughout our nation.

Bills are being written that approve of abortions, one up to 40 weeks. Some of these may become law. Law makers are trying to eliminate the phrase, ‘so help me God’ from the oath to be truthful. Some new people to congress refused to place their hands on a Bible to take their oath and were allowed in, in spite of this. 

Our highways are flooded with drivers who willfully disregard posted speed limits. Many citizens refuse to come to a complete stop at stop signs, in direct defiance of the authorities that exist. And they do this even though common sense and common decency dictate that one should be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

Many women in our society are blatantly defying the word of God and claiming to be equal with men. I’m fully aware this particular subject is not popular, but I’m speaking to the church, where it is critical. One apostle said to the church at Corinth, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” This is the divine order; this is the will of our God. Therefore, a woman who claims to be equal to a man is like a man who claims to be equal to Christ. Both are insubordinate. 

(Men and women are actually equal in the kingdom of God; for as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God. So in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. However, the Lord’s divine order remains, Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman.)

Our society has been turning from godly principles for some time now. The practice of homosexuality is now regarded as normal by many Americans; it is being celebrated on national television, both in shows, and in commercials. There are now laws that allow marriage between two men, and between two women. Some churches are now sanctioning homosexuality.

We are quickly becoming a nation of habitual criminals. Whether it’s a mother ignoring the God-given right to life by aborting a child, or a driver ignoring the stop signs and speed limits, or a woman trying to gain authority over a man, or churches sanctioning homosexuality, it is insubordination; and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.

The types of people listed in the first paragraph are becoming more and more prevalent day by day. Our society is in the grips of the powers of darkness and evil; for the mystery of lawlessness is at work. And the man of lawlessness, who comes showing no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor regard for any other god, magnifying himself above them all, will soon be revealed.  

Many today are under his control, some even teaching and preaching that we are gods who can create things with our words; and we can declare and decree things to come to pass; and if we want something we need only claim it, and we will have it. In essence, they teach that we are equal with God, having the power and authority to do what we please, whenever we please. And sadly, the arrogance and insubordination of these types of people are on the verge of becoming the norm. 

I believe our nation is on a collision course with the wrath of God; and I don’t think it can be avoided.

“The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; in the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught. The Lord has made Himself known; He has executed judgment. In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared. The wicked will return to Sheol, even all the nations who forget God,” Psalms 9:15-17.

Rev. Jon Banks

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

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