Growing Our Faith
For the encouragement of the Lord’s scattered people,
Every generation has its constant slate of problems for carnal minds to worry about. For those living in these COVID-defined times, those worries have recently greatly expanded and accelerated. The Lord’s hands have brought the well-being of many nations and the physical health of billions to a tipping point. The related worries of life are now consuming the carnally minded and we must be careful not to follow in these ungodly pursuits. The Lord’s people are not carnal-minded anymore and are being separated by these outward events. If we have turned away and been caught up in these issues, we need to turn back to Him and exercise our God-given faith to live a peaceable life.
1Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Joh 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Our faith is essential for us to endure to the end and complete the journey of salvation. The Lord gives us the proper measure of faith when it is needed. The further we progress in our day of the Lord, the greater the faith required to endure the increasing trials the Lord puts upon us.
1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Psa 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
2Co 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
If we lack faith at any time, the Lord makes provision for us in due time. Sometimes this is after we fail so the Lord can teach us through His chastening that brings correction and spiritual growth. This is part of the Lord’s ways to teach us by our mistakes and very sins.
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Psa 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
The sooner we learn to stand on faith and look to the Lord, we will hasten the coming of the Lord to us that is bringing the overcoming that defines salvation.
Isa 45:22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
1Ti 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Our salvation journey has us growing (maturing) in the faith as we progress on the Lord’s timeline. With the Lord now teaching us directly by the life He gives us to live, we are being changed and transformed. What we once could not fathom as a trial we now can face and conquer without fear.
Isa 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2Ti 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
All of us have fallen down at times as the Lord matures us and teaches us, even by our mistakes and failures. Yet even our faith has us knowing, this too is the Lord, so we can quickly get right back up and keep walking the walk.
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Pro 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Even the converted Apostles failed at times as the Scriptures attest. The stories of old written for our admonition include many examples of the Lord’s methods of growing us from being weak into strong in the faith. Like Gideon, we are mighty faith warriors for the Lord “in the making”, but have not attained full maturity just yet. Count it a blessing that we know the Lord’s plan to save us by the experiences He is bringing upon us. We are being refined in a furnace of affliction.
Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
It is through many tribulations and trials that we shall enter the kingdom of God. These tribulations are trying our faith and are the means by which the Lord grows His faith within us in the appointed times. The more we decrease, Christ in us is increasing.
Ecc 1:13 I applied my heart to inquiring and exploring by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens:it is an experience of evil Elohim has given to the sons of humanity to humble them by it.
Stay strong our brothers and sisters. He is coming to gather us and the completion of our day of redemption draws nearer.
Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
The Lord is faithful even when men and all flesh are not. We should remember the promises of God and take great comfort knowing the Lord will lose none of those given to Him in this age.
Joh 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Our faith is being increased as a muscle when we exercise it and use it to stay obedient to the Lord. Taking thoughts captive, turning from evil, fasting from our beastly wickedness is how we pull up trees within us [carnal strongholds] and cleanse the promised land.
Luk 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
Luk 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
A noteworthy current worldwide trial is the COVID-19 pandemic. This has the world’s powers and elites pushing fear and tempts many to put their trust in men rather than God. This pandemic is the Lord’s work as He is even the Lord of all sickness and diseases. Therefore, we shall not fear this virus, nor shall we put our trust in the strength and wisdom of men.
Psa 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
Psa 118:9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
Isa 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!
With these trials, the Lord is further separating His people as our day of redemption draws nearer. Be confident and be strong in the faith. He that has begun the good work in us is going to complete it right on schedule.
4 thoughts on “Growing Our Faith”
Hi Gary, and thank you for your deep and thought-provoking question. I tried not to be too long in answering here, but it didn’t prove easy to be brief. Specifically, you asked the following:
Are the 5, Apostles,prophets, evangelists ,pastors, and teachers active today in the body? Without them vs.12 and 13 cannot happen. I certainly see them working in the early church. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
The short and simple answer is YES; those offices are active today. Yet the truth is much broader and deeper than just saying yes. I hope to expound upon the answer below.
It would help if you stopped thinking in terms of linear time and the events in the Bible as “history”. The early church was simply the chosen vessel of the Lord to receive His grace and Spirit first among the many generations to follow. They, and us that follow, will live by every word God spoke and fulfill the Scriptures in our own time. Their experiences will be our experiences if we are part of the faithful remnant [the escaped remnant] the Lord is saving in this generation.
The Lord comes to fulfill the Scriptures, and he has not stopped coming and is coming and appearing in the hearts and minds of those precious few in every generation since Pentecost. When you read things like this, don’t see it merely as history; see it as active and living experiences you are destined to fulfill.
The plan of God is for us through Christ in us, to fulfill the prophecies written in the book. It is a profound truth that very few are given to understand. I share it with you and hope the Lord will open your eyes to see it. You, me, our wives … every man in their own order will fulfill the sayings in the Bible in our appointed time. When yet carnal, we add to and take away from the truth. As a result, the Lord adds or takes away from our spiritual experience.
All the roles and offices you mentioned from Eph 4, play a big part in bringing us along and preparing us for what lies ahead in our walk of faith, and nothing is wasted.
There is a maturation and progression that all the Apostles and every man will experience in coming to Christ, being raised up in Israel and then be cast away and rejected to fulfil the Scriptures and be saved. We go through all the stages and are exposed to all the roles. Thus we are fulfilling the Scriptures and living by every word God spoke. All the church offices are used to bring those chosen of the Lord into the fulness of Christ.
The early church was an IMMATURE church, and there was a need for structure and many teachings of fundamental truths. We have Paul still bowing down to the law (Nazarite Vow), Timothy cutting his hair, Peter fearful of Jews by not eating with the Gentiles etc.
As is Christ, so is His Christ in their appointed times. The sum of the Word is the truth, which includes us eventually being separated from our spiritual brethren. Even our spiritual mother and father as David writes.
Hebrews tells us that like Christ our Lord, we will not be accepted in the world nor the camp of Israel but will bear the same reproach our Lord faced outside the spiritual city/gathering we desire.
A baby cannot survive outside the camp; thus, babies and the immature need to be prepared for what will be required of them later.
Christ was revealed and established mightily in Paul when He was separated and largely alone in this world.
Even though all the good Paul did in establishing churches and appointing people to these church offices, ALL in those Asian church provinces later forsook Him.
The same happened with the Apostle John, who was exiled to Patmos for His testimony of the truth by His own people.
All the Scriptures of us being in fellowship in an active church of believers is very much part of the learning process and salvation itself. Yet that is not the only phase of that journey, as there is indeed a phase that is one defined by isolation and separation. You, me, and everyone will one day be exiled by our own people on an island that is spiritually called Patmos. This will be because we defended the Word and testified of the Gospel but were rejected. Thus we enter into the Lord’s day, the day of the Lord, and we begin to understand what the Lord has been doing.
John was also forsaken by the very churches he started.
So it will be for us in our appointed times. Even those near and dear to us may well be taken away from us, and we will be isolated.
All the Apostle’s last letters are written to the scattered pilgrims of Israel or what is called aliens and strangers. These are the faithful few and they are not gathered in large groups; they are a scattered bunch that is tiniest of all fellowships
We need to come through these more formal church gatherings and be raised to the truth. This is setting the foundation for Christ truly coming to us. Another way of seeing these offices is as the tutors and governors that raise us as YOUNG INFANTS AND CHILDREN. But when Christ comes to us to mature us in the faith, we are released from them and henceforth are led by the Spirit of God and taught by the Spirit directly. We need no man to teach us anymore. Christ coming to mature us in the faith is the coming on of all the trials and the vials of wrath upon our life. This is our day of the Lord which I have written on more and more as time goes by.
I have written about this separation and shift in our church life over the past two years. We will endure a season where we will suffer as our Lord did. Rejected by our own brethren Israel and suffering for the sake of the Gospel but doing so OUTSIDE THE CAMP. I gave much support for this from the Scriptures in this post.
Suffering Outside the Camp (truthinscripture.com)
I further discussed that now that we are isolated, we are in a mode where we need no man to teach us. We are in the day of the Lord for us (your time may well be different). Here, we are not taught by any man but are led by the Spirit and taught by Him.
Being Taught by Him (truthinscripture.com)
The truth is that all those five positions mentioned in Ephesians are used by the Lord to prepare us and to bring us to Christ. Our journey has many seasons, and those offices and church gatherings do not apply to all of them. But when Christ truly comes to us, we need no man to teach us or lead us. We are led by the Spirit of God, who now teaches us all things.
The Lord is teaching us and quickening our spirits through all the things He is doing in our lives. He is speaking thru events and experiences, not just the written word. The Lord is not limited to the words in the Bible as indeed, all the things Christ did would fulfill more books than the world can hold.
The truth Gary is your life is a book and it has already been written and you are just living it out. Same for every man that has ever lived and me.
All the Lord’s faithful people came thru those offices to find the truth and then be led by the Lord into even greater things. Yet out of the many called, fewer are chosen and even far fewer than that are called to be faithful in this age. That precious little remnant will be made into faithful saints and overcome in this age, which remains our steadfast hope of attainment.
We are thankful for our experiences with prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors. All have served to further our advancement in the Lord’s kingdom. All of mankind must come thru those experiences in their own time to fulfil the Scriptures and complete the plan of God for their lives. We are merely doing it sooner than most and it is all the Lord’s doing and none of ourselves.
I tried to hit the head of the nail here. Many of these things are indeed hard to comprehend and accept. Only by living through these experiences can we look behind ourselves and then understand what the Lord is doing.
Concluding and trying to simplify the answer, I offer this. Yes, those offices are all present in the Body of Christ today and in every generation that may follow. But not everyone in the Body is at the same place in the Lord’s process. Think of the Body of Christ as the Nation of Israel. Within that nation are those in various states of maturity and understanding. You have those under the law (of carnal reasoning), the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Scribes, and even the prophets. The Lord Himself studied and was taught by the elders of Israel until His time of reformation came. So it is with us. We will then be separated from Israel for the Lord to finish His good work in us as His Father did with Him.
Take time to stew on this and let me know if any questions; there may be things you will not understand until you live them out.
Good morning from Michigan!
As I read again Growing our Faith and got to Philppians 3:12-14 another of Paul’s statements came to mind concerning pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ. In Eph.4:11-13. And he gave some apostles and some prophets and some evangelists and some pastors and teachers. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry. For the edifying the body of Christ
Till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Are the 5 ,
Apostles,prophets, evangelists ,pastors, and teachers active today in the body?
Without them vs.12 and 13 cannot happen.
I certainly see them working in the early church. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Growing in Grace and knowledge of him that brought us this far.
Hello Gary and thank you for writing. It is truly a lonely road the further we go down the road being led by the Lord. What the few in “few there be shall find the way” keeps getting smaller the further we have journeyed. We used to know some brothers/sisters near you, but the Lord caused events that separated us as the walk of faith got much harder.
We are truly few yet the Lord has given us the technical means for His “little flock” to stay connected and communicate. I will send you a PM in a few days Lord willing. May the Lord bless your family and give you strength.
Lastly thank you for the prayers.
Thank you for sharing your words from our Lord
They have been an encouragement to my wife and me. I have studied and verified each post as I make my way through your site. Currently we are alone up here in lower northern Michigan in our worship. Would love to hear of other like-minded brothers or sisters near us. We pray you and your family will continue steadfast in our journey in Jesus our Lord.