The Faith Walk
From the Book of John Chapter 1, Verses 1-3… In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
What do we believe? How do we walk?
We believe that Jesus was the Son of God; we do not believe that Jesus was merely a great teacher or a wonderfully compassionate social worker. Many liberal churches today attempt to water down the “Good News” by more or less accepting the view of Jesus as the “Great Social Worker” in the sky, which is nonsense. There is no refuse for the faint at heart by repeating this false doctrine that Jesus was merely a great man, a great teacher, but not God. Jesus said on many occasions that he was God. The Lord claimed unequivocally to be the Messiah. It is obvious that Jesus believed he was God; so, either he was, or he was mad! And, if he was mad, all of Christianity has been based on the teachings of a mad man for two thousand years.
So, what was the purpose of the Ministry of Jesus?
Well, one purpose was essential… Jesus came to suffer on the cross and carry the sins of all mankind to the cross with him. This great sacrifice was necessary to give sinful mankind a way to return to the presence of God and to fulfill the requirements of the Old Testament (THE LAW). Jesus was the scapegoat, the perfect, spotless sacrifice required by the Old Testament. Remember… Jesus lived in the times of the Old Testament. There was no New Testament during the life of Jesus. The Messiah created the New Testament (GRACE REPLACED THE LAW) by his sacrifice. Leviticus 16:10 “But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.” Jesus paid the price for our sins the same way that scapegoat of old bore the sins of the ancient Hebrews under the old law. He was the perfect sacrifice. The Lord took our sins and infirmities with him to the cross. He paid the price for us all.
But there was another great purpose for the ministry of Jesus,
That purpose was…To teach all mankind who would listen and understand how God’s kingdom works here on earth, to empower men and women in this life with the tools necessary to overcome the power of sin and death.
To illustrate what Faith For Tomorrow means when we claim that one essential purpose of the Ministry of Jesus was to empower men and women here on earth, consider the Parable of the Bad Steward found in Luke 16 1-12. What follows is an expanded translation from the King James Version of the Bible. There may be some interpretation involved. Faith for Tomorrow uses this interpretation instead of the actual text from the KJV because there are people who have difficulty with the old-style English of King James’s time.
The lesson begins… Later on that same day, the Lord gathered his disciples together in the shade of some trees and started to tell them another story to illustrate further what he had been telling them earlier. He said, “There was a man of wealth who had a chief steward who handled all his accounts. At some point, the wealthy man began hearing rumors that his steward was cheating him. So, he made a surprise visit to his hired man and told him, ‘I hear from everyone that you are cheating me; therefore, I want to see all the accounts you have been handling for me, and if what I have heard turns out to be true I will fire you from your job. Have the books ready for me to inspect when I return next week.’ The steward was extremely worried. He wondered how he would live if he were fired from his job. He was not qualified for any other job and was too proud to become a beggar. Then he made a decision. He had thought of a way to make new and influential friends who he could fall back on when he became unemployed. So, he paid visits to his employer’s creditors. To the first creditor, he visited he said, ‘How much do you owe my Master?’ The man replied, ‘One hundred measures of fine olive oil.’ The crooked steward said, ‘Alright, take your receipt and change the figure to fifty measures of olive oil, and I will change the figures on my Master’s account book to match.’ To another creditor, he said, ‘How much do you owe my Master?’ The man replied I owe him one hundred bushels of wheat.’ The steward said, ‘Change the receipt to forty bushels, and I will change the account book to match.’ When the wealthy man heard about what the steward was doing, he laughed and went so far as actually to commend the unworthy steward for being so deceitfully cunning.” At which point, Jesus paused in his story, then said, “You see, the children of darkness are in their way much wiser than the children of light. They understand how the kingdoms of this world work, and they use that knowledge to their benefit. But the children of light make no effort to understand the kingdom of God. If they did, they would work diligently and store up treasure for themselves toward the day when all else fails.” Momentarily, Jesus paused again, then coming to the point, he said, “Am I telling you to act like that dishonest steward? No, of course not! Remember, the kingdom of God works on faith and faithfulness. A man who is faithful in small things will also be faithful in big things, and a man who is untrustworthy in small things will be untrustworthy in big things. If a man is not honest on his job, or in his home, or with his friends and relatives, how can he be honest with the things of God? If you cannot be trusted with your employer’s wealth, why would God trust you with the riches of the kingdom? No man can serve two masters, or else he will begin to hate one and love the other; or, he will stay with one and despise the other. Just the same, you cannot lust after money and serve God in faith.”
Dear Reader… The lesson is clear from the Parable of the Bad Steward, if you are a follower of the Lord, then learn as much as you can about the kingdom of God. Study the Word of God and use the principles you learn in the Scriptures in your daily life. Remember… There are thirty-nine books in the Old Testament (the Old Witness) and twenty-seven books in the New Testament (the New Witness). Arm yourself. The bible contains words of strength from Moses, Isaiah, King David, Peter, Paul, John, and the Lord Jesus… the CHRIST. The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. Walk by faith, not by sight. Walk by faith in the Word of the living God. If you believe, then act like a believer. Don’t be afraid! Every day give voice to the Word of God. Pray continuously and believe.
The Apostle Paul wrote... Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints… Ephesians 6:10-18
Faith For Tomorrow
William J. Seymore (An Example of a Committed Faith Walk)
In 1906 William J. Seymore was 35 years old when he accepted an invitation to preach to a small, mostly African American congregation in Los Angeles. He ended up his stay in Los Angeles preaching from the front porch of a small house located at 214 North Bonnie Brae Avenue. The Holy Spirit fell over Pastor Seymore’s ministry and soon there were so many worshippers, including large numbers of whites, that they filled the block.
The following is a quote from a Bonnie Brae resident at the time: “They shouted three days and three nights. It was Easter season. The people came from everywhere. By the next morning, there was no way of getting near the house. As people came in, they fell under God’s power, and the city was stirred. They shouted until the foundations of the house gave way, but no one was hurt.” Thousands of persons descended upon Los Angeles. Pastor Seymore and his supporters found a small building on Azusa Street, and a revival broke out that was like no other. Men and women went to Azusa Street, waded through the crush of people, heard Pastor Seymore preach the love of Jesus Christ, and went out into the world to preach the good news. Newspapers of the day, including the Los Angeles Times, could not ignore what was happening on Azusa Street and sent reporters to the scene. The stories seemed to have dwelt to quite an extent on the fact that whites and blacks and Latinos and Asians were coming together there to worship, and they seemed to love each other, and sometimes they even hugged each other. The Los Angeles Times found the hugging to be disgraceful.
The revival lasted for approximately three years until, eventually, the Azusa Street Church settled down as a small Pentecostal ministry quietly led by William J. Seymore for the rest of his life. He is buried in a nondescript grave in a cemetery in East Los Angeles. Not many people visit his grave.
William J. Seymore was the son of slaves; early in his life, he lost an eye. He never became wealthy and never lived in a fine house. He lived and died modestly. But, the movement that began under his direction at Bonnie Brae and later at Azusa Street started a flow that became a great river of faith. Great ministries, like the Assemblies of God, were born. At Azusa Street, thousands heard God’s call. Today there are something like 500 million Pentecostals worldwide.
There are no monuments to Williams J. Seymore anywhere in Los Angeles or anywhere else. There are no holidays in his name. He never received an honorary degree from a University. Schoolchildren do not read about him in school. And that is as it should be for a faithful servant of God because in heaven, he sits to the right of Saul of Tarsus.
Easter week... the Faith Walk Continues:
Easter Week begins with Palm Sunday (Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter Sunday). Palm Sunday is the day that commemorates the arrival of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, at the gates of Jerusalem on his final ministry visit. The people greeted him as the King of the Jews by spreading their garments on the ground before the donkey upon which he rode. They waved palm fronds, representing life, before the procession and shouted praise for the King. Palm Sunday is also the beginning of Passover week, and Jews from throughout the Jewish Diaspora were pouring into Jerusalem and camping in the temple’s vicinity. As the week went on, several events took place,
- Jesus preached to the multitude and gathered an additional following about him.
- Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple for blaspheming that holy place.
- Jesus preached and healed, and at the end of the week, took the Passover meal with his disciples in the upper room.
- During the Passover meal, Jesus told the Apostles he was about to be falsely accused and executed, but, as usual, they didn’t understand.
- That evening Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, taken, held overnight, and tried in secret before the Jewish Council.
- The following day, which was Friday, Jesus was dragged before the Roman authority and then before the Roman-appointed King of Galilee.
- Jesus was condemned, taken to Golgotha, and executed by crucifixion.
- At sunset (Friday Evening), he was removed from the cross and placed in the empty tomb of a rich man.
- Three days later, Sunday, his disciples went early to the tomb to anoint the body with spices, but the tomb was empty... He had risen!
Many of you may not know that the date for Easter each year is not fixed; the date changes and can occur anytime between March 21 and April 25. All because the early Christian authorities fixed the date for Easter to the Passover full moon. Their rules were:
Easter would always fall on a Sunday because Jesus rose on a Sunday.
Easter will always fall on the first Sunday after the Passover full moon.
This year, 2023 AD, Easter Sunday will be… April 9. HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE!!!
HE HAS RISEN!