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Being born of God is also more than being made anew. It includes that, but that is not all that it includes. For God, who makes all things, can newly make them when he pleases; yet that does not make them to be born of him. In the same way, only in a far higher sense, regeneration is more than creation, for there is a kinship with God in it. You know that blessed truth of adoption, by which God takes men, and adopts them into his family; but regeneration is a great deal more than adoption.
A man may have an adopted child, but yet he is really no child of his; there is nothing of himself in him, and he cannot put his nature into him. The divine nature is actually put into us when we are born of God; is that not a wonderful thing? And that miracle of mercy must be accomplished in all of us who are ever to overcome the world. For notice this, no nature but the divine nature will ever try to overcome the world. By nature, we are of the world; and what is of the world will not fight against the world, it will not even think of doing so.
2757. Victorious Faith
But where the divine nature come, it comes to fight against the world. For, see, the regenerated man is sure to overcome the world, when he goes to fight against it, because, first, he has the Spirit of the Father in him. He made it, and he can destroy it whenever he pleases to do so. This new nature is also akin to the nature of Christ; and you know how the second Person of the blessed Trinity — the Christ of God, — lived here among men, and the world could never overcome him. Men could kill him, and they did; but they could not make him sin.
They could drive him from place to place; but they could not make him angry, they could not provoke him to speak any word that he might afterwards regret. They could never get anything from him which was worthy of reproach or of rebuke. Further, we become akin to the Divine Spirit by being born of God, and the Holy Spirit cannot be conquered by the world.
It is he who convicts the world of sin. It is he who shall yet win this world for Christ. He is omnipotent; so, when the Spirit of God dwells within us, as he does when we receive the divine nature, it is not possible that he should be conquered, or that we should be conquered by the world.
Now, men and brethren, listen to these words. Do you not see that you must overcome the world, or else you will perish? But you cannot overcome the world as you are. You must, therefore, be born again. Cry, therefore, with your whole heart to God, and ask him to work this miracle in you. He can take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh. He can breathe on the dry bones, and make them live. Indeed, he, the mysterious Father of our spirits, can create in us a new spirit that shall be begotten from himself, and be like himself; and this we must have, or we can never overcome the world.
It never entered into my head that most professing Christians would ever overcome the world. I do not think they ever will, for the world has, to a large extent, overcome them. Then go; for it does not matter much where such people as you are do go. I hate the very appearance of evil. No; if he could indulge his new nature to the full, he would continually swim in the sea of perfection.
If he could be what he wishes to be, he would never think a wrong thought, much less speak an evil word. Now, the divine nature that is in him fights against sin, it cannot help doing so; and it clings to what is good, and craves after what is right. Just as the ox longs to drink water, and stands in a pool of it on a hot day, and drinks and drinks again, so the Christian seeks to drink in the life and purity of God; — not because he is told to do so, or because some outside force operates on him; but because the new nature is within him, and he longs, therefore, to indulge it to the full; and that new nature, being the nature of God, longs after what is pure, and lovely, and of good report.
The instrument with which this new nature fights against the world is faith; and faith conquers, first, by regarding the unseen reward which awaits us. But do you not see that there is a measure of selfishness there in both cases? The sinner sins in order to be happy, as he thinks; and the new-born man abstains from sin in order to be happy.
Well, that is a good thing to do, though the motive is not the most commendable; and there is a measure of faith about it, for faith is looking for the future rewards, and believes in the heaven which God has prepared for those who love him. But as faith grows, it attains to something better than that; for it recognises the unseen Presence which is with us. We will pat you on the back; and say that you are a good fellow; and you will have a fine time if you come with us.
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I will not do wrong in order to escape your frown; for, by doing so, I should receive the frown of God, and I must maintain my integrity before him. That, you see, is a higher position than the one I first mentioned; for faith not only regards the unseen reward which awaits the believer, but faith recognises the unseen presence of God, and is moved by an all-constraining desire to please him. Now, sir, do you see that little finger of mine? That is the arm of the eternal God; and as long as that arm can move, you will not be able to put me down, for I am only doing the will of Jehovah.
He still had his little finger, but he was not there to put Mr. Oncken down. He came to contribute to Mr. That kind of experience has been repeated many times in the world.
The men of the world resolve to put us down, but it cannot be done. If we were simply of men, we might be put down; but we are of God, and the divine nature in us must conquer in the long run. When faith rises still further, it feels that the soul so loves God: and so wishes to delight in him, and becomes so closely united to God, that it takes pleasure in everything that God takes pleasure in.
It is true faith that believes that God takes pleasure in the humble actions of poor creatures such as we are; but our faith has that confidence. Away with your gold, and your silver, and your smiles, and your frowns; I dare not be influenced by any of these things, and so grieve my God. He sets that mark before him, and shoots at it. I once saw a colonel shooting at a target. There were two targets near each other, and he made a centre at one of them.
So, I hope you see that, if faith is the conquering weapon, and we intend to be conquerors, we must become believers in the invisible God; and in order to exercise faith in the invisible God in Christ Jesus, we must be born again; for, until that new nature comes into us, we never do believe in Christ. We may believe a great deal in ourselves, we may believe in worldly society, in its threats, or in its bribes; but we do not believe in Christ. I have turned neither to the right hand nor to the left.
What I could gather, I distributed according to the needs of my fellow men.
Faith is Born Out of a Relationship with God
I have lived for God, and for Christ, and for the truth; but I have not lived for myself. Whether you know it or not, my friend, that is salvation, — to be saved from sin and from self; and there is no getting salvation from the grovelling baseness of selfishness except by being born again; for self clings to every man until he is born again, and it is not always gone even then.
Again I say that this truth throws us on our beam-ends. Faith Justifying . The first example of faith that the writer presents is that of Abel: B y faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain. This refers to the episode recorded in Genesis There are two ways to understand this statement. The issue was not the sacrifices but the men themselves. God receives the man of faith and therefore his offering, rejecting the man who lacks faith.
We want to affirm this way of thinking, but it does not seem to be a sufficient explanation for what we find in Genesis 4. The Old Testament text seems to emphasize the difference between the two offerings, and not merely between the two men. It was not that the two brothers brought the same offering, one that was received because of faith while the other was rejected for unbelief. No, the offerings were different, and in that difference we see the faith of one and the unbelief of the other.
Abel brought a sacrifice that pointed forward to the atoning death of a spotless substitute. We learn several important lessons from this episode. First, we see that sinful man is justified, or accepted by God, only by faith in the blood of the sacrifice that God has provided. This is a doctrine the Book of Hebrews has repeatedly stressed [; ,28]. This means that you cannot come to God any way you choose. You do not just say you believe in God and then decide for yourself how you will draw near to Him.
He would decide the terms of his coming to God; he would offer a sacrifice according to his own devising. How bitter he was when God rejected him and his self-righteous worship. Second, we learn that it was by faith that Abel was declared to be righteous, or justified, by God.
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Third, we see that Abel still speaks through his faith even though he died. Abel bears testimony about faith — about its value, its worth, and its power to justify those who trust in Christ. Faith in God is never silenced, because God Himself keeps alive the testimony of His faithful servants.
Faith Pleasing God . In verse 4 we saw that Abel was declared righteous by faith, since he came to God through the blood of Christ. Now we turn to the walk of faith with the life of Enoch. The Bible says very little about this man. All that we have comes from the genealogy in Genesis What we know about Enoch, therefore, is that he was the seventh patriarch in the line of Adam through Seth.
When he was 65 he had a son named Methuselah. He lived a total of years, after which he mysteriously departed from the earth without dying.
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But the Bible tells us one vital fact that speaks volumes. Twice in these verses we are told: Enoch walked with God. Far more important than the job titles he held or his attainments in life was his walk with God. What does it mean to walk with God? First, this speaks of a living relationship, a companionship between a man or woman and God.