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

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.

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

Guaranteed Growth

41369318_sWill 2016 be a year of marked increase in your spiritual life? Will you be able to look back at the end of the year and see the progress you have made? If this is your desire, then you must have goals to reach the result.

 

GOD DESIRES GROWTH in our lives as His children, just like any parent wants to see their children growing at a normal and healthy rate. “…desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby” 1 Peter 2:2 KJV.

GROWTH OCCURS NATURALLY as we take in the proper nutrients, get the necessary exercise, and rest. A regular diet of anointed teaching, bible reading, prayer, serving, and relationship building will all result in steady growth into the fruitful Christian life.

GROWTH CAN BE HINDERED by continuing to practice sin after we have been born again. “…let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us…” Hebrews 12:2 NKJV. Sin is like the weeds in a garden that eventually outgrow and choke the living plants that would otherwise produce fruit. It must be eliminated.

GROWTH RESULTS IN GREATER PRODUCTIVITY as Jesus taught in the Parable of the Vine and Branches. “By this my Father is glorified that you bear much fruit, so you will be my disciples” John 15:8 NKJV. Being productive as a Christian means I am ever increasing in faith and the love that attracts and wins others to Christ.

GROWTH BRINGS THE GREATEST REWARDS in life as we are promoted in every area where we have achieved another level of maturity, wisdom, and skill. The people who enjoy life the most and add value to the lives of others, are the people who have the desire to grow and have set goals to reach the desired result.

GROWTH WAS THE GOAL of Jesus Christ while living on the earth and fulfilling the will of God for his life. “And Jesus increased (grew) in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52 NKJV.

A Profitable New Year

47188658_s2016 can be our best year by following the instructions God has provided to insure profit in every part of life. Isaiah 48:17 ESV declares

“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.’”

Here are six ways that you can insure a profitable year.

1. Profit from your Birthright. Genesis 25:32 KJV “And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: what PROFIT shall this birthright do to me?” Esau was profane, irreverent, secular and temporal, and he had no appetite for spiritual things. Jacob had a spiritual appetite and was rewarded even though he had obvious character flaws. Jacob profited from his spiritual hunger which led to a great change of heart and blessed life. We have a birthright as well, being “joint heirs” with the “Firstborn of many brethren” Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17, 29). Maintaining spiritual hunger will result in a deepening relationship with Father God and entrance into all that belongs to us in Christ.

2. Profit from Faith. Hebrews 4:2 KJV “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well a unto them: but the word preached did not PROFIT them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” How do we mix faith with the message we have heard? By putting our faith into action as James said in James 2:17 Moffatt’s Translation, “Faith without corresponding actions is dead”. The Ten Lepers of Luke 17:11 put faith into action when they believed the word of Jesus and proceeded to “go show themselves to the priests”, acting as though they were “already healed.” Faith “calls the things that do not exist as though they already do.” Romans 4:17-20

3. Profit from Revelation. John 6:63 “the flesh PROFITS nothing, the word that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Jesus meant that His words didn’t come from human reason but revelation from the Spirit of God. His words could impart spiritual life to the followers. When we meditate on God’s Word, the information can become revelation to us. It is that revelation knowledge that brings impartation and transformation to our lives. We gain maximum PROFIT from revelation of the Word.

4. Profit from Chastisement. Hebrews 12:10 KJV “For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our PROFIT, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” Our manner of life in Christ is just as important as our position of life in Christ. Every person born again will encounter the discipline of our Loving Heavenly Father who seeks to have His children bear His Image. This discipline keeps us from “turning aside to our own ways” resulting in unnecessary hardships we bring upon ourselves (Isaiah 53:6 KJV). Having a manner of life that reflects who He is in us is great gain. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 KJV

5. Profit from Good Works. Titus 3:8 KJV “…be careful to maintain good works… these things are good and PROFITABLE unto men.” We gain access into the lives of others by our good works among them, giving us the opportunity to share our faith and lead others to Christ. Good works do not improve our position in Christ, but good works improve our relationships with people of the earth. We may not be remembered for what we have believed, but we will be remembered for what we have done for others in His Name.

6. Profit from the Supernatural. I Corinthians12:7 KJV “For the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to PROFIT withal.” The nine Gifts of the Spirit are available to all believers to equip them for supernatural service in Christ’s Kingdom. When the Spirit of God is in manifestation everyone profits according to the teaching of the Apostle. The operations of the Spirit are the standard equipment of the New Testament believer, available for the asking, seeking and knocking. “Follow after charity, but desire spiritual gifts.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 KJV

Follow these biblical instructions for a Profitable 2016!

Dr. John Polis

Broke or Broken

11793555_sThe Bible speaks of two types of poverty, “spiritual” and “material” poverty. Most believers have heard the message of Biblical Prosperity and know how to advance themselves in material possessions; however, there is a lack of understanding of spiritual poverty and how to be rich in spiritual things as well.

“Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” Revelations 3:17-18 NKJV

According to these verses, we can be materially rich, and yet be living in spiritual poverty, we can be broke spiritually. If we see material possessions as the hallmark of God’s blessing, then in fact we have become Materialists who have a “spirit of mammon.” Materialism exists in our lives when we are trying to meet spiritual needs with material possessions, something God denounces in the Word. When we focus on our material accumulation at the expense of our spiritual richness, we are called “wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked,” these are not the things I want to hear spoken over my life or ministry and yet, many believers have never progressed beyond the pursuit of material blessings.

Being spiritually rich means that I have an abundance of revelation of God’s Word in my heart and that I have sought and learned how to flow in the Gifts of the Spirit in order to fulfill the ministry of Christ in this world. There is only one way to become spiritually rich, we must be broken vessels before the Lord. We do have a treasure in these earthen vessels as scripture says, but for the anointing to flow in our lives and be released to others, we must have a “broken and contrite spirit.” (see Psalms 51:17) This is simply a heart that is fully yielded to God in submission and obedience to His will. The story of the Woman with the Alabaster Box illustrates the fact that God wants our full surrender, a will that is completely submitted to His will before He will bring us into the abundant spiritual life in Christ. We are not talking here about  a doctrine or works but being in position for God to work in and through us for His own glory. We are either broke or broken when it comes to our relationship with God. Which are you?

God’s Plan For Sundays

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 2.57.40 PMA national outreach program called “I Love Sunday’s” was just concluded with over 30,000 churches participating, including Faith Church International in Fairmont, WV where I am Senior Pastor. The messages were very helpful in refocusing our priorities and the use of Sunday as a day God intended for physical rest and spiritual refreshing. Another aim of this series was to give people who attend church regularly an opportunity to invite those who don’t. The efforts were successful at our campus with many new guests in our Sunday services. Our prayer now is that all the folks will get in the habit of using Sunday as God intended, and continuing to invite others as a matter of course.

While reading Acts 20 recently, I noticed a passage that shows how Christians in New Testament times met on the first day of the week (Sunday) to do at least three things that we should also practice today.

“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them; ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:7

  1. The disciples came together. Scripture exhorts us to “assemble together” regularly to provoke one another to love and good works. Hebrews 10:23-25
  2. The disciples broke bread. This can be a reference to eating together, and/or taking the Lord’s Supper.
  3. The disciples heard Paul preach the word. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God under the anointed ministry of the local church eldership who are five fold gifted ministers.

This was the practice of the first Christians, and one reason the early church was so effective in turning the world upside down. We could summarize these three points by saying that an effective Church/Christian will understand the need and importance of a “corporate unity” (coming together for a common purpose), “to establish close relationships with other believers” (breaking bread) and to “grow in faith” (hearing the Word of God).