"Mark 16:15 preach the gospel to every creature. Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded: Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega .. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, .. they .. have right to the tree of life, and .. enter .. the city."
I am a retired pastor of
the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.
If you prefer to hear the video clip also simultaneously, please click on this link:
If you prefer to hear the video clip also simultaneously, please click on this link: "Video: Believe"
Our topic is, do we believe the truth or the preachers? I am an ordained pastor. I have studied a whole lot of books and heard a lot of sermons. But I have studied the bible also with much prayer, so that God may reveal his mysteries to me. Then, one day I have destroyed all my books, cassettes, and CDs. And, I have decided to teach and preach only the truth from the bible. Now, I am a retired pastor. Jesus Christ was regularly teaching in the temple and preaching the gospel to all people. Then, he says that God the Father was telling him what to teach and preach and he did only that. If we do the same, we will do well.
Let us see a few points from the bible, and please check whether you believe this or not. John 3:14-15 refers to the crucified man Jesus and say that those who believe in him shall have eternal life. John 3:16 refers to the resurrected God Jesus Christ, who is declared as the begotten Son, anointed as God, and is made as Lord and Christ. Those who believe in this true Jesus Christ will have everlasting life. But, if we believe only the facts about him, we will not have everlasting life. Our belief must be in the person, the man Jesus who was dead on the cross, so that we may believe what he has preached, and do what he has said. And we must believe the resurrected Jesus Christ, who is God in the Spirit. Further, we must be cautious about the preachers taking the meaning of "believe in him" all over the map and give all kinds of meanings. If we believe the preachers, we will definitely go to hell. However, if we believe in him, we will trust him and do what he tells us to do for eternal life. That is, we will obey his commandments. We just covered this subject in detail, and if you like to see, the link is: "Believe in Him."
"Mark 1:14 .. Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." So, we must repent first; then only we will know how to believe the gospel that Jesus Christ preached. So repenting is pre-requisite to belief. If we do not repent, we will believe a false gospel.
"Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." They are not children, but adults converted to be as children; and they enter in heaven. 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me ..." That is, these little ones are those adults who believed in him. So, if your belief did not lead you to be converted as a little child, your belief is a false belief. So, true belief will lead us to be converted.
"Matthew 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. 9:27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us." Verses 28-30 say that Jesus asked them whether they believe, then he could heal them. They said yes, and Jesus healed them. These people believed in Jesus. Please notice; they were healed; but they did not have eternal life by this belief. You can believe on Jesus for so many things, but they will not give you eternal life. If you believe in him for eternal life, he will tell you what to do for eternal life and if you do what he tells you to do, then you will have eternal life; or else, you will not have eternal life even though you believed in him, and the scripture is not contradicted.
Let us look at a passage in Mark 9:17-29. We may learn few things here. An evil spirit has possessed a boy and was destroying him. His father brought the boy to the disciples of Jesus and they could not cast the spirit out. Then he was brought to Jesus. It is in verses 17-22. We have studied the divine healing before. Let me refresh it. If God is about to heal a person, the servant of God discerns it, and pronounce the healing. Then God heals, and the healing happens; and this is the order. Now please notice. Verse 22 says that the father of the boy asked Jesus "if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." That is, Jesus is telling that God the Father is about to cast the devil, now it is up to the father of the boy to believe, and when he believes, Jesus will pronounce the casting away, and it will happen. In verses 24-27, Jesus cast it away and healing happened. Now let us see verse 23. It says, "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." I have heard so many ignorant preachers quote this verse and preach power in our belief, which is utter nonsense. They tell it to anybody, to believe as hard as possible, so that it may happen, because all things are possible to him that believe. It may be a stumbling stone set by God for the ungodly fools to fall. What they will not notice, or they don't want to notice is, that it is not a generalized statement as "if anybody believe", but this a personal statement to the father of the sick boy. Jesus says, "If thou canst believe", because Jesus saw God the Father was about to heal. It was personal instruction, but not public. Then, another thing. "28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." Even though God is willing to cast out the foul spirit, if the servant of God is not dedicated enough to do the particular work, God will not do it. God will allow a child to do only the child's work and will let the Son to do the Son's work. So, spent time in prayer and fasting, so that you may receive more power as a son of God.
Then this is a dangerous one. Mark 16:18 says, those who believe may take up serpents or drink poison and they will not die. False preachers will not preach this since, if they are challenged, they are afraid that they will die, and they don't want to die. But read the verse in its context. "Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." It is a little difficult, if you are not paying attention, or if you are not guided by the holy spirit. In verse 16, the belief is in water baptism, and those who do not believe will be damned. It is the belief of a new believer. The signs and wonders will be done by the apostles or disciples of God, who will go into all the world preaching the gospel to all creature, who are spiritual people. In this group of apostles, whoever believe that nothing will happen to them until they fulfill their mission, and venture to take risk, if they had to run into deadly serpents or poison, it will not harm them. They lay their hands on the sick, and the sick will be healed. But it does not tell a boy, who believed that Jesus died on a cross, to take a serpent or to drink poison. So, please study the bible verses in its context. We should not pluck verses to manipulate and teach what we want to teach and preach.
Let us look at another passage. In Mark 11:12-14, Jesus went to a fig tree expecting to eat fruits from it. The tree did not have any fruit, and he cursed the tree. In verses 20&21, the disciples noticed that the tree was dried up so quick and told it to Jesus. "22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith." This verse is taught as the mountain moving faith and so many preachers run with it. But nobody moved any mountain yet. Please notice this verse. It says to have faith in God, and it is not about mountains. Jesus has confirmed that the disciples have enough faith and belief, in here and in the book of Matthew. So, it is not about faith and belief. Then, what is it about. "24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." It is about the things they desire, but not about any mountain. Even then, Jesus tells them in verse 25&26, to forgive others as they pray. So, the mountain is the desire of his disciples to get closer and to be, one with God as Jesus Christ is one with God. Let us say that the mountain is them and the Sea is God. They desire the mountain to be in the sea. It is a personal message to the disciples. It seems impossible. But, if they determined to go for it, it will be possible for them. If we want to connect this verse with us is, first we must become the disciples of Jesus Christ. But, bible teachers use mind power gymnastics to show faith circus. It is wrong.
What is the take away?
We must believe the real truth but not the fake truth. We must believe and study the Bible, but not Christian books. If we believe God for the things of the world, this belief will not give us eternal life. A servant of God cannot cast out strong demonic spirits, without fasting and prayer. Miracle working will be done by experienced believers, but it should not be done by beginners and make it as a mockery. Mountain moving belief is not to do big miracles and wonders, but it is to abide in God. May God keep us safe and give us eternal life.
God Bless You