Poking Out Your “I’s”

There is an important step in spiritual growth after the babyhood stage of Christianity. Growth means more than the acquisition of “knowledge” as Paul indicates in 1 Corinthians 8:1

“Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (makes us grow up)”

In other words, if our goal is just to “know all we can” about the Bible, we will lean towards pride, being puffed up, and this is what generally happens to people who just “stay home and study” but never learn the importance and value of community among believers in Christ.

Maturity in the life of a Christian is evidenced by “love of the brethren” as Apostle John stated in 1 John 4:11.

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”

This kind of love develops through relationships otherwise it is loving in word only and not in deed.

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” 1 John 3:11

 A huge acceleration will take place in a person’s spiritual growth in Christ when they make a commitment to live in community with other believers. I’m not suggesting that we all sell our homes and go in for communal living as that is not what Scripture teaches. But the Bible does teach that we are to “share life” with other believers, it is the Greek word “koinonia” meaning “partnership, communion, and fellowship.” 

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John1:7

God has made provision for our fellowship by instituting the Local Church as the place where believers have “partnership, communion and fellowship” in order to grow strong in the Lord and be effective witnesses in our world.

Again, growing spiritually means more than getting Bible knowledge, which we can all do by watching tv and reading books. But we cannot “grow in love for one another” with out “relationship” with “one another.” Real growth takes place after relationships are formed where we actually have to deal with each others strengths and weaknesses, develop the Fruit of the Spirit, and learn to work together on God’s projects for our City, State and Nation.

The big hindrances to growing out of babyhood stages include the following “I’s”.

IGNORANCE –  Many believers are not involved in the life of the Local Church due to ignorance, they just haven’t discovered what God said about it in His Word. A study of all the “one another’s” in the New Testament will provide the revelation.

ISOLATION – Other believers know they should be engaged in the life of a Local Church, but they remain isolated for a variety of reasons. Someone has “hurt their feelings” and they have forsaken the community through offense. Or, some have been abused by authority figures in life and are living in fear of abuse from others. On and on we could go with the reasons for isolation, but the result is the same, they will remain “baby Christians.”

INDEPENDENCE – This is by far one of the main reasons why many Christians stay aloof from the community of saints, pride. Pride is earmarked by the independent spirit that says, “I don’t need the Church; I have Holy Spirit and He will teach me.” There is often an unwillingness to work with others unless “I can be in charge.” Pride looks down on others as not being worthy of “my company” because I am “so spiritual.”

I’m sure you have met people with one or all of these issues that keep them in “babyhood Christianity.” It is time for believers to make spiritual maturity a priority in their lives and become the people God can use to bring transformation to our world. We must obey the Word of God that teaches to “live in Community” with the saints and learn to “love one another.” One of the greatest enemies to our testimony as Christians is the lack of involvement in the Local Church. Without commitment, there can be no conviction to our testimony. See you at worship service!

Dr. John

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Faithful To Your Family

Most of us value our families above all else because they are actually part of us. Nothing will change a person like becoming a parent. You find a love you never knew was even possible for a human to experience as you look upon that child made of your own flesh and blood. I think there is a parallel truth here for Christians who are born again and part of God’s Eternal Family. We are now “bone of his bone and flesh”, just as Eve was taken as a rib from Adam’s side, the Bride (Body) of Christ was taken from His wounded side when He was pierced by a Roman spear where blood and water flowed out. Think of it, when Jesus looks at you, He sees someone that came from his own flesh and blood, and He loves you. 

There is something that happens when we are born again and become part of His Family, we share the same DNA with all those who are born again as well, and we find a new love for these family members we never knew. As Jesus said “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, because you love ONE ANOTHER” John 13:35. This is not a natural love because we may have personality differences (and other issues) that make us unlikable to others at times. But in spite of all this, there is the love of God in our hearts that overlooks things and has compassion instead of complaints about people in the Family.

There is a love you discover as you grow together with others in Christ that you may not at this time even know is possible. But this love grows as we “live in community” with others and are faithful to our family relationships in Christ.

Here is an amazing verse that shows us the love that is possible to experience as we learn to live together, serve together, pray together, eat together, learn together, and worship together,

“Hereby perceive we the love of God,  because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16

This is a great love that is more thrilling to experience for the one loving, than the one being loved. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. We have achieved a great level in God when we grow to this point.

We are the “Family of God” as Paul said in Ephesians 3:15, “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” This is God’s Family, and you are part of it forever.

As we comprehend these deep truths, we will start to relate to the “family” with faithfulness, we will care for one another, watching out for one another’s spiritual well being. We will come to worship services because we love one another and have the “family spirit” that seeks community and relationship. Joining a small group will be something we desire in order to grow in our love of one another.  Being part of God’s Family is so much more than attending an occasional worship service because we “need some Word this week,” or “we need to show up so no one thinks we have backslid.” This type of thinking reveals ignorance of what God intends for His Children, and is missing the greater life of love that is only the result of “Living In Community” and being Faithful To The Family.

At Faith Church International, our motto is “Learn The Word, Live in Community, Leave a Legacy.” If we an help people achieve these things, we will see God’s Name be glorified in the earth.

Dr. John Polis

The Call To Prayer

37086006 - hands of praying young man on a wooden desk background.

When it comes to prayer you will usually see more women joining the meeting than men. Although it was “The Man” Jesus who prayed and taught 12 MEN the necessity and methods of prayer. It was Abraham who prayed for Sodom Gomorrah, it was Moses who prayed for rebellious Israel, on and on men in the Bible prayed.

So what has happened to men today that makes them reluctant to take the lead in the ministry of prayer. Jesus tells us in the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked the disciples to pray with Him for one hour, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” Matthew 26:41. Men must learn to let their spirit have mastery over their flesh, they must learn to have good performance not just good intentions. This is a matter of spiritual maturity as Paul tells us when he speaks to the Corinthians who were “fleshly or carnal.” Carnal people are dominated by the desires of the flesh, and the flesh never wants to pray, it wants to watch tv, play golf, go hunting and fishing, drink beer, have sex and so on. There is no getting around it, prayer left up to the women in the Church is clue to the carnality of the men. The men in the New Testament didn’t neglect prayer and that’s why they had such a powerful move of God to change the world. The leadership were faithful to pray (Acts 6:1-4), the men prayed (Acts 1:14), and the whole church prayed together (Acts 4:23-31). The great leaders of Awakening and Revival were men of prayer, Martin Luther, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, John and Charles Wesley, and so on. They had revival because they were dependent on God, evidenced by the realization that God would respond to their devoted prayer life.

A young boy will follow his father’s example; if Dad prays, the boy will pray. Many men in the world today view Christianity as a women’s religion because they don’t see MEN taking the lead in spiritual things, like prayer and fasting. It is the women who know that things won’t work if someone doesn’t pray, so they pray. The most manly thing you can do is PRAY.

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” Acts 1:14.

MEN, YOU ARE BEING CALLED TO PRAY, not PLAY!

We see Muslim men answering the call to pray by the millions and they are giving the Western world a rough time right now, they are praying for Shariah Law to rule the world. Where are the Christian men praying for “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?” If Islam wins the battle, here is the reason why…they are devoted to the cause as evidenced by their call to prayer.

I am pleading for Christian men to get out of the flesh and into the Spirit of God, become men of prayer. This is the only hope for victory.

Dr. John Polis

Culture Without Conviction

Culture without ConvictionOur culture is rotting because we have a culture without conviction. Jesus said when Holy Spirit comes “he will convince the world of sin…” John 16:8. Conviction is the result of righteous living of God’s people, “sinners cannot stand in the congregation of the righteous” Psalms1:5.

Today, Christians live in compromise not conviction; many are no longer convinced regarding what is right and what is wrong. We are told not to judge or become bigots so we stand for nothing; no convictions. From the top down, in our nation we have lawlessness, the spirit of antichrist at work. If the head is corrupt, the body will be also. The world hated Jesus because He convicted people of their sins until finally they killed him. Jesus said, “men love darkness rather than light because if they come to the light their evil deeds will be exposed” John 3:19. Why do you think there is war against the true Christian lifestyle of righteousness and holiness? It is because men are trying to avoid conviction, otherwise they will have to repent and give up their sin. This is the same reason many so called Christians fall out of fellowship with the Church, they have chosen compromise over conviction.
Carnal believers will always persecute those who are not living to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Read your Bible)

Judgement must begin at the House of God, the Church. We will never see restoration without conviction of sin and return to biblical standards among Christians. Study the history of revival and you will find crime and violence disappears in the presence of God’s convicting Presence. But that Presence comes through people who are living the life of Christ. Sadly, many Christians are not convicted of the most basic commandment, “Thou shalt not steal” Exodus 20:15. Yet many will steal the Lord’s Day (Sunday) for themselves, and the Lord’s Tithe, for themselves also. I know for certain if Christians would get delivered from stealing, it would be the beginning of revival for themselves, and it would be the beginning of living a life of conviction that will bring the Presence of God to our communities. There is no other answer for society. We are told that leaven will spread, whether it is good or bad leaven.

If the Church in every community would come together in repentance and heart felt prayer, living to please God and not ourselves, conviction would fall around us and sinners would be restrained by the Spirit of God, crime and violence would wither. Jesus is still the answer for what is going on in our nation.

I will probably get stoned for being forthright, and slandered as legalistic, but I’m in good company with Jesus and Paul.

Dr. John Polis

Building Strong Faith

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Faith is a way of life for the believer in Christ. This statement should change the way we think about faith and it’s usage in every area of life. Some mistakenly think that faith is something we use only in a crisis of sickness or financial lack. But faith is a proactive force not just a reactive force. We can learn to use faith in advance of needs that occur in our lives by speaking the Word of Faith over every area of our lives, family, business, and ministry. In fact, if we would do this, we would have fewer emergencies to deal with that often occur because we are just living the “whatever will be will be lifestyle.” Here are five ways you can build a strong life of faith.

BUILD ON GOD’S WORD. Luke 6:46-48 tells us to “dig deep” and lay our foundation of faith upon revelation knowledge. Information will not do in a storm, it must be “revelation” from the Spirit of God that will produce faith in the heart.

USE YOUR MEMORY. Matthew 16:5 tells the story of how the disciples had forgotten the miracle of the “loaves and fishes.” They were worried that they might run out of bread for the boat trip with Jesus. He told them to remember that miracle so they would have faith the next time they needed another “multiplication miracle.”

LEARN TO FORGIVE. In Mark 11:25, the Lord tells us that we must forgive before we try to pray the “Prayer of Faith” in vs.24. Faith only works by love, and where there is no forgiveness, there is no love.

RELATE WITH FAITH PEOPLE. Acts 4:12 shows us the importance of associating with people who have an active faith in the Word of God. The disciples had faith because they had been with Jesus. Who are you hanging out with?

PRAY IN THE SPIRIT. Jude 20 tells us to “build ourselves up in faith by praying in the Spirit.” If you have received your spiritual prayer language called “speaking in tongues” then use it daily to build up the inner man and get sensitive to God’s voice.

These five ingredients to Strong Faith will accelerate you into another realm of living by faith as you faithfully practice them.

You Hold The Key

19449887_sAs a believer in Jesus Christ you hold the key to victory in all situations that you will encounter in this life, Jesus said so!

“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 KJV

Jesus was talking about using the authority you have been delegated as a result of sharing His position at the “right hand of God.” We have been delegated the authority of heaven. You and I have been raised together with Christ to sit in the heavenly places. We have been given the same authority Jesus Christ has as Lord of all. When we go forth in His Name, the Name of Jesus, we are acting as a representative of the Lord Himself.

Matthew 28:18 says, “All power (Greek word exousia meaning authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go YE therefore…” When you see a “therefore,” stop and see what it is “THERE FOR.” Jesus is sending us as His representatives with full authority to enforce His will and bind the forces of hell against God’s people. The word, “bind” in this verse means to “tie” like when you tie up someone with a cord. It is used in Matthew 14:3 when speaking of John the Baptist, “For Herod had laid hold on John, and BOUND him, and put him in prison.”

We must learn to use our authority against the devil when he oppresses us with sickness, mental torment and fear. Bind him in Jesus Name and forbid him to continue operating in those ways. He MUST stop! Jesus was keen to teach his disciples how to use the authority delegated to them, and they learned it well as is indicated in the report they gave Him when they returned from a ministry assignment.

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the Devils are subject (obey) unto us through THY NAME.” Luke 10:17 KJV

When any of the enemies works begin to manifest in your life, immediately tell them to stop. Don’t wait to call someone else for help. you hold the KEY! Use the Name of Jesus to enforce the enemies defeat and be confident that he will obey YOU. You may say, “I’m not the best Christian, I don’t know if the devil will obey me.” You are “IN CHRIST” and have on the “badge of authority,” the Name of Jesus. When you stand in that Name, Satan sees Christ and not you and he will run in terror.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee (Greek meaning run in terror) from YOU.” James 4:7 KJV

Dr. John Polis

The Three Most Important Things

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.03.17 AMAs we seek to learn and grow as believers in Jesus Christ there are many subjects to study in order to have a well rounded understanding and faith in God. The following three areas are very foundational and will form the basis for a growing relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” 2 Corinthians 13:14 NKJV 

The Love of God. God is a Father and His Love is the reason for Creation. His desire is for a family that can experience the great love He has for us. When we have comprehended the “love of God” we will understand that there is nothing God will not do for us.

“He that did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.” Romans 8:32 NKJV

Paul said that we can “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). God is Love, so we can be filled with His Love and also love others to the same extent that we are being loved.

“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples (having learned to love as Jesus does), if you have love one for another.” John 13:35 NKJV

The Lordship Of Christ. We are saved when we “confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead” (Romans 10:9 NKJV). Understanding His lordship will determine how we relate to Him. Before we are saved we are under the dominion of the devil. When we receive the Lord, He delivers us from under satan’s lordship and we come under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ. We were slaves to sin under satan’s lordship, but we have been set free now and surrender to the Lordship of Christ out of love and gratitude. To be under His Lordship means we are submissive and obedient to His will for our lives. 

Many born again believers have never acknowledged His Lordship by a total surrender of our will to His will. This is what it means to make Jesus the Lord of our lives.

The Leadership of Holy Spirit. Children need led by a “tutor” as the scripture says in Galatians 4:1-7. But when we become mature sons we are led by the Spirit. It is the privilege of every child of God to have a personal relationship with Holy Spirit; allowing Him to teach and guide us each day into the character of Christ and His destiny for our lives. When we are led by the Spirit, we will have peace, follow biblical principles, and operate in the power of God.

Seek to develop your understanding of these three fundamental truths and you will succeed in your Christian life.

Dr. John Polis