FAITH BUILDING PROGRAM:
BIBLE teachings

 

                   IF YOU SEEK HIM,

 

                 YOU WILL FIND HIM.

 

                                              By: Hans Hofman

 

 

Dear Friends,

What a privilege it is to be a child of the living God! In the previous newsletter we

began with a text from Nahum 1:7:  He knows those who trust in Him.

What a wonderful privilege that by His grace we may put our trust in the living

God and that He knows us.   Last week I read in 1 Chronicles 28, where David

announces God's plan and purpose relating to David s son Solomon.

In verse 6 we see that God has spoken to David:  He said to me,  It is your son

Solomon, who shall build my house and courts...

 

GOD GIVES CLEAR INDICATION

 

Our God is a living God, who wants to communicate personally and directly with

us. He makes that clear in the same verse when He says:  I (God) have chosen

him (Solomon) to be my son, and I will be his father.   He indicates then quite

clearly which place and what position Solomon, son of David will take up in

God s heart and plan. A son and a chosen instrument to achieve God s purpose.

David had too much blood on his hands to be able to carry out this part of

God s plan. That is why God chose David s son Solomon to build His temple.

Building God s house is  holier work than waging war in the natural world, where

David had been more occupied.

Both David and his son were exactly in the place God wanted them to be and

doing the thing that God wanted them to do inorder to achieve HIS PURPOSE.

God s purpose and objective is that His Kingdom shall be built. That is also the

first task He gives us:  Seek first the Kingdom of God...  That is the way Jesus

points us in, instead of having us be anxious about earthly things. What shall we

eat or drink tomorrow, or what shall I wear, or what will so-and-so think of me,

etc.There are people who agonize about such things for days. But Jesus said,

 Do not be anxious about tomorrow but seek first (today)My Kingdom and My

Righteousness and all these other things will be given you. 

Being anxious is a form of fear, but Jesus says,  Do not be afraid, put your trust

in Me; I shall lead you.  -  Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything ( in

every situation and circumstance) by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving

(i.e. believing that God hears me now) let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and

minds in Christ Jesus.   Phil. 4:6,7.  Those are the instructions the Good

Shepherd has given us, so that we do not become overwhelmed by fear, stress

and the illnesses which are caused by them.

 

TO PROCLAIM HIS MIGTHY DEEDS

 

Just like David and Solomon, every child of God belongs to the chosen race (see

John 1:12).  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God s

own people, so that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you

out of darkness into His marvellous light.  (1 Peter 2:9)

Let s look back at 1 Chron 28. During the many years that I have been privileged

to work in the Gospel - for that is also by God s grace and not anything we can

earn or deserve - I have met very many Christians who experience difficulty in

their relationship with God.   Seeking God s will for us is a matter between the

child of God and his heavenly Father.

If our local fellowships are properly run, prayers are offered in the prayer

meetings and by the fellowship leaders that the members will be led daily by the

Holy Spirit and that they will be protected by Him from being misled.

The shepherds, teachers and other supervisors too are charged with the task of

ensuring that no sheep lags behind in his/her growth in discipleship and

membership of the body. If this pastoral care is missing, after a time one or other

sheep will become just a chairwarmer, while other hungrier sheep will seek food

elsewhere, so that they can grow, and yet others will grow weak and get

entangled in the thorns of self-interest abounding in the world.

 

GOD'S SPIRIT NEVER WORKS IN CONTRADICTION TO HIS WORD 

 

Good fundamental teaching is also necessary there. Without good teaching

training our churches may be filled but no disciples are made. By instruction

which is directed towards the practice of everyday living we learn to listen to the

voice of God and His Holy Spirit and to obey it. We learn to withstand the Devil

and the temptations/lusts of the flesh.. And also why these exist, etc. Practical

training is also necessary there.

Each member (each cell) of the body of Christ - the fellowship - must learn to

distinguish the true body of Christ from influences of false, misleading and

pretending groups and people. We can only do this if God s Spirit is guiding our

living relationship with Christ and by sufficient knowledge of His Word. Then we

shall be  girded about with the truth .

This means that our norm in distinguishing the body will be God s Word and not

our emotions. God s Spirit never works in contradiction to His Word.

David knew God and despite his moments of weakness he recieved forgiveness

and God called David His friend. What a privilege by God s grace. Oh yes,

David had, despite the sins he confessed,  David had to bear his share of the

consequences (just like anyone else).

But God did not give up on David. He did not stick a lable saying  sinner  on

David. God s grace and forgiveness goes further and deeper than the attitudes

which men take up, which sometimes smell of pride.

 

A COMPLETELY DEDICATED HEART 

 

The first task and thus the first personal responsibility that Solomon received in

1 Chron.28:9 was,  And you My son Solomon, KNOW THE GOD of your father

(David).  Know God? That requires having to do with God, studying His Word,

prayer, walking and working with Him, etc.  Because that is how you get to know

someone best.   and SERVE HIM WITH A COMPLETELY DEDICATED HEART

The Amplified Bible speaks here of a  blameless heart  that is a heart that is

irreproachable, in which there is nothing evil. So - a pure heart.  AND WITH A

WILLING MIND .  A  way of thinking, therefore,  that makes a clear choice to give

God the first place and honour in everything. What is more important than the

prayer meeting, Bible study, evangelisation and mission work? Because it is in

such choices that we show who is really number one in our hearts.

 

Is it myself or is it our Saviour and His Kingdom? (In reality and not just in words).

So we should not have an ambitious attitude, but a spirit of obedience and

willingness to follow,  honour and respect for God. The attitude that Jesus

showed towards His Father.

 For the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.

IF YOU SEEK HIM, HE WILL ENABLE YOU TO FIND HIM.

As we get to know God, we realise that we do not have to pretend.

Now we can put aside all disguises and see our Father face to face and walk and

work with Him. Anxiety about people disappears and the confidence of the Holy

Spirit replaces it. When God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ take a central

place in our lives and have priority over everything else, we realise what Paul

says:   I am crucified with Christ. Now it is no more I but Christ who lives in me .

 

When we read this passage carefully and compare it with the New Testament to

see what God thinks about us and what His plans are for us, we get a burning

desire to obey and serve the living God out of our love for Him.

He calls us to the place He has prepared for us and leads us there. The tests and

training throughout our life with God. Remember the great promises God  gives

us if we seek Him, get to know Him and obey Him.

What a wonderful blessing and privilege it is to know that we are children and

fellow-workers of God the Father and God the Son. He has personally sought us

out and knocked on the door of our hearts until we opened to let Him in and to

be born again as His child.. He has bought us and paid the price with His blood!

Why then would anyone run after other people (prophets etc.) to seek God s will??

That sort of problem arises from a faulty relationship with God, where there is not

enough Bible study and prayer. Anxiety about other people and giving (too

much) honour to other people.

Where God s Spirit is, there is freedom!

Freedom within the framework of God s Word and Will. That is where the Lord

also speaks freely through His children.

Thus  prophecies and visions show us His plan for people and His church.

Seek first the Kingdom of God in the inner chamber (alone) and seek God s plan

for your own life. God s plan never contradicts His Word. God s leading brings us

straight to the point to do the  will of Him who has called us. Be filled with the

Holy Spirit and walk in the anointing of the Holy Spirit which every obedient child

of God receives for the task which God has given him/her ( His anointing is

however only available as long as the task is carried out. Current only flows and

can be used when the light is switched on.

The anointing/working of the Holy Spirit is only effective at the moment that a

God-given task is carried out.)

 

He said,  Go and teach all people, baptizing them and teaching them to do all

that I have commanded. Make all people my disciples....  And I shall be with you

until the end of the age.

 

                 

                                        IF YOU SEEK HIM,

                       HE WILL ENABLE YOU TO FIND HIM

                                                   

                                                     Part 2

 

I would like to continue where we left in part 1, that is with the tremendous

promises which follow the command to preach the Gospel -

 ,,, And behold I am with you to the end of the world.  Matt 28:20

 AND BEHOLD...  says Jesus to His disciples. They had been learning how TO

SEE for three years. To see in the same way as Jesus had shown them and

taught them in word and deed. Sadly enough it often remains just words for us

Christians. Sometimes it seems as if a fog hangs around God s people, made

up of all sorts of theings which mislead us and which sometimes even choke us.

I regularly see that in conversations someone tries to put his/her real questions

into words or express their needs and others, who might be expected to listen,

give an answer which has nothing to do with the matter in hand.

For some strange reason to do with the ears and eyes of the helper-listener the

question/need doesn t seem to register and the  answer given is quite

inappropriate. It is therefore not surprising that those seeking help do not get it.

Constructive help such as Jesus gave to people is missing.

Seeing, listening, teaching, healing and restoring - these seem to me to be what

belong to Jesus and His ministry. They should be found in the family of God,

the fellowship of believers.

 

JESUS OUR EXAMPLE IN ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE 

 

In the example which Jesus Himself gave us in the years that He spent with His

disciples we see Jesus in all His moments of strength and weakness.

Jesus came down from His throne, the royal place He had with His Father, to

dwell in human flesh on earth for 33 years. We see Him at the wedding feast.

We see Him weeping at the grave of a friend and we see Him concerned

about His people. We see Him carrying His cross, we see Him as a victor

forgiving His murderers and we see Him as the risen Christ.

From His childhood He was aware that He was the Son of God.

But we read in the letter to the Hebrews that He was tempted in all sorts of ways,

just as we are, yet He did not sin.

As a twelve year old boy He chose to stay behind in the temple to discuss with

the experts in the scriptures. When His parents went looking for Him they were

amazed to find Him there. But He said to His mother,  Why were you looking

elsewhere for me?  Didn t you know that I have to be occupied with My Father s

matters? (Luke 2:49)

That must have been a painful moment for Joseph, His step-father.

The scripture records that they didn t understand what He was talking about.

Here we see the first example of Jesus s relationship with His heavenly Father.

Jesus points us here to the importance of speaking about and examining God s

Word and of putting God the Father in the first place in our lives.

Considering He was only 12 years of age at the time, He should have been

submitting Himself to his parents. But that is just what He did, for He went back

with them to Nazareth and was obedient to them... And Jesus increased in

wisdom and stature and in grace with God and man. (Luke 2:51a,52)

In this example from Jesus s childhood we see two relationships - the relationship

between the child and His earthly parents, and the relationship between the Son

and His heavenly Father.In both relationships Jesus gives us an example of

obedience. God has ordered that we live in a world in which there are authorities

to be obeyed for our benefit. So we see that in Jesus s life, when He stands in

the right relationship with God and with His earthly parents He is richly blessed.

 Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in grace with God and man.

 

The example which Jesus gave during His earthly life is not recorded in the

Bible just by chance. It isn t there just to serve as a nice story about a perfect

boy. NO, it is there so that we can learn something from it.

We can learn how as children of God we can be victors as we put God s will into

practice in our lives. Don t be so pious that you ask just for a little crumb of the

great feast He is offering you. After all, Jesus came not to deal out crumbs, but

to give us life more abundantly, full of joy and the peace of a life with God.

 

JESUS KNEW WHO HE WAS FROM THE SCRIPTURES

 

The disciples had to learn to trust the Father, just as Jesus did. Jesus set the

pattern for us by spending time in the evening and during the night in prayer, in

conversation with His heavenly Father. And Jesus knew the scriptures which

bore witness to His coming, to where He came from and the works which He

would do. Jesus too knew who He was, where He came from and where He

was going. He knew what His position was in His daily confrontations with the

kingdom of darkness.

He knew His place, from God s point of view, in the society in which He lived.

He belonged to the Head (God), not to the tail (the spirit of fear of Man).

He was instructed in all these things by the Father, because Jesus invested

time in His relationship with the Father. And since his relationship with the

Father was, from the start, so close, so united, the Father was able to give

Him the anointing with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed

Him with the Holy Spirit and with power . (Acts 10:38)   

 

The lack of the real presence of the Holy Spirit and thus of divine power in many

churches today must be attributed to the lack of a relationship with the triune

God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Another important cause is that the search for God is separated from His Word.

But the Holy Spirit never works in contradiction to the Word of God.

So wherever the Bible is disputed or where God s voice is not recognised,

the Spirit of God is not allowed to work. Just as the Spirit does not work outside

of His Word, so the Word doesn t work without the Spirit. The letter kills, the

Spirit gives life.

If anyone serves the Lord with a dedicated heart, God will reveal His grace and

truth to him. For  grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17.

The Holy Spirit will therefore work, according to His promise and will lead us to

all truth. It is the Holy Spirit who convinces men.

 When He comes ( the comforter/the Holy Spirit) He shall convince the world of

sin, of righteousness and of judgement : of sin, because they do not believe in

Me; of righteousness, because I go to the Father and you shall see Me no more;

of judgement, because the prince of this world (Satan) is judged.  John 16:8-11.

 

FOLLOWING JESUS OR THE PIOUS SPIRITS 

 

I believe we have often become too cautious to test things in the light of God s

Word. From early years you hear that you must not judge.

And that is true: it is for God to judge, He who will judge the living and the dead

on the day of judgement. It is the difference between judging and condemning.

But we must also judge or test in the light of the Bible whether something is of

God or not. Satan has unfortunately infected many with a sort of pious fear, so

that they dare not take a clear Biblical fact as a standpoint from which to judge.

But we must test everything in the light of scripture and declare what God

declares, and see, and want to see, things as God shows us in His Word to see

them.

 

Without this firm foundation, given to us by God in His grace, we cannot

form any judgement.

If we see someone who is in bondage to Satan, or someone going wrong, misled

by the temptations of the flesh, must we, as God s children, piously look on and

think  Who am I to say anything to him/her?

Is that the love of God? Or is it the misleading of the pious spirit, who doesn t

want the other person to be saved, or doesn t want  you to be used by God to

be a blessing to the other?

Jesus never hesitated, but He spoke the right word at the right moment with

authority.As a result of His relationship with the Father, Jesus was led by the Holy

Spirit to intervene in the lives of those around Him to lead them to the Father and

into His kingdom. Or to teach them about the higher plan which the Father has

for their lives - namely the royal priesthood in the holy nation of God, so that from

their position as children of God  you should decalre the praises of Him who has

called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.  1Peter 2:9.

We are therefore called by God, people who ought to declare His Good News;

God s witnesses, God s ambassadors in this world.

 

What I specially want to emphasize in this second study is the importance of

following Jesus example.

The big question for us must be  "WHAT WOULD JESUS DO ?" 

And then to walk with God in the light of the answer, in obedience to His Word.

God s blessing makes us rich!  We can see that in the picture of Jesus s youth.

His earthly life should be our example, for His life radiated His living relationship

with the Father;  His dedication and obedience to the Father; the visible

presence and working of the Holy Spirit; His teaching with authority the

constantly sounding warning against fear of man.

 

In closing I want to repeat what God said to Solomon,  And you My son (... fill in

your own name) KNOW YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM WITH A PERFECT,

DEDICATED HEART AND WITH A WILLING SPIRIT, ... if you seek the Lord... you

will find Him...

 

The success and the victory which God wants to give us in this life is bound up

together with the relationship which we have with Him. If this is poor or defective

as a result of laziness, then the blessing will not come.

If our relationship with the Father is pure, holy and rooted in His Word,

then God s  blessing will follow us and the working of the Holy Spirit will be visible

in our lives.

"The Lord s blessing makes us rich! Earthly striving can add nothing to it."

(A proverb of Solomon)   

 

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

SPIRITUAL
GROWTH

Spiritual growth is a God-given, biblical
principle.
If a child doesn’t grow properly, you take it to the doctor. If a
plant doesn’t grow, you examine it, water it and control vermin.

It is remarkable that so many people live in
spiritual poverty. They own a Bible, use to sing for hours, attend plenty of
services, but they lack practical education. Why don’t we see the fruits that
Jesus speaks of in Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15-18 and 2 Tim. 2:2, just to mention
some of the most famous Bible verses?
Not many people evangelize and
evangelization happens only on a small scale, on the Internet as well as in real
life. Of course, thousands of excuses can be found for not going out and telling
the world about Jesus. The biggest excuse that I have heard in the past 35 years
is fear, stemming from a lack of knowledge of questions like: "Who am I in
Christ", “What have we received with Jesus" and "What armour do I wear and how
does it enable me to go out in Jesus’ name?” Church leaders bear great
responsibility with regard to this, even today. It is also their responsibility
to seriously warn against
deviant teachings that distract us from God’s
actual order as they were particularly spread in the nineties, leading to many
schisms.
Often, we know how to sing the newest songs, but Jesus said,
TEACH them to obey EVERYTHING I have commanded you.” That is what we
need in order to have ready knowledge of the Word of God and to be able to
easily share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people who don’t know Him as their
personal Saviour and Redeemer yet. Jesus is the True Vine and we, believers, are
the branches that should bear fruit. That means that we have to apply what Jesus
taught us and bear fruit, so that His Name will be made known and glorified
throughout our lives.
Jesus prayed in John 17:18-20, “As you (Father) sent me
into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify
myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. My prayer is not for them alone.
I PRAY ALSO FOR THOSE WHO WILL BELIEVE IN ME THROUGH THEIR MESSAGE,…”
Jesus
also said, "Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest
field." Labourers aren’t commissions; Jesus’ co-workers are disciples, his
devout followers who are set ablaze by God’s Holy Spirit in order to tell others
about Jesus and the Father. They are people who hear God’s call and simply obey
His Word.
Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John
20:21