EXAMPLE OF PETER
Jesus said to Peter, “. . .I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom . . .” Where is the kingdom? The kingdom of God is within you. The kingdom of God is in your heart. “. . . 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). Job loosed these things through fear. God told Satan, “He is already in your hands.” God didn’t put him in Satan’s hands. He was already there through fear.
Satan demanded to have Peter to sift him as wheat. Why did he demand to have Peter?
Well, for one thing, Peter was quick to get in strife. Galatians 5:6 says, “. . . faith . . . worketh by love.” Jesus said, ” Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not . . .” (Luke 22:31,32). When you get out of the love walk, your faith will fail to produce. That does not mean that faith doesn’t work, but when you get out of the love was your faith
will shut down. When you get into strife, you open the door to Satan, and you may end up like Peter or Job. Then you will want to ask, “Why me, Lord, why me?”
Let me remind you that Peter was a forward fellow, always getting himself into trouble by what he said. Someone has suggested peppermint flavored shoes for those who are always getting their feet in their mouths. Well, Peter needed them if ever anyone did. Before the day of Pentecost, he was always
talking before he put his head in gear. Something happened there in that upper room, and he was never the same after that day.
Until Peter received the Holy Ghost, nothing he did ever worked out.
Someone asks, “What is the Holy Spirit baptism with tongues of fire good for?”
Just take a look at Peter’s life and that should convince you. He was a failure, going some where to happen. He went fishing and fished on the wrong side of the boat. He tried to walk on the water but, fearing, he began to sink. He even ran a race to Jesus’ tomb and lost. But-after he received the Holy
Ghost you never find him in failure again. In Acts 9:37,38, when Dorcas died, they sent for Peter instead of the undertaker.
Before he was filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter was quick to get into strife to say the least. Jesus perceived that, and prayed for him. When you get into strife and out of the faith walk, Satan can demand to sift or try you. God can’t do anything about it; you are in Satan’s territory; already in his hands.
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16).
When they came to get Jesus, Peter pulled out his sword and cut an old boy’s ear off. Now, I think that you realize, he was not trying to cut off his ear; the man ducked. Peter was aiming for his head. You can see that wasn’t a love slap. Jesus said, “I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith fail not.” God’s faith cannot fail. God is love. To operate in the God kind of faith you must walk in the God kind of love. Peter was not walking in love.
UNFORGIVENESS BLOCKS FAITH
When Jesus was talking about the God kind of faith in Mark 11:25, He said, “And when ye stand praying, forgive . . . .” Unforgiveness will stop your faith from working. If I were having trouble getting my prayers answered, that’s the first place I would look. I would ask, “Am I holding a grudge, or am I in unforgiveness?”
A lady came to a certain meeting and as the minister was preaching from Mark 11:25, about forgiving, the Holy Spirit convicted her. She hadn’t spoken to her brother in twenty years; so she went across the street to a phone and called him. She apologized, and said that it was all her fault. Their fellowship was restored. She then decided she would go in the prayer line to receive her healing. She realized that
unforgiveness was the reason she had not received her healing in the past. That night before the prayer line formed, every symptom had left her body. She was totally healed.
Sometimes people will ask, “Why am I not healed? I’ve been doing all the right formulas.”
There are principles involved. Are you walking in love? Are you in envy or strife with your husband, wife, or your neighbor? Your faith will fail to produce if you live in strife or unforgiveness. You have opened the door to Satan. You have invited him in and he will show up every time. Tragedy after tragedy has come to Christian homes because of unforgiveness.
In Matthew 18, Jesus told of the man who wouldn’t forgive, and was then turned over to the tormentor. He was given into the hands, or delivered up to the tormentor until he paid the debt. The debt he owed was forgiveness. Jesus said, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (v. 35). God is certainly not the tormentor. Jesus said, “The Father will have to deliver you into Satan’s hands, because He has no other choice” (Author’s translation). You can see the parallel with Satan demanding to have Peter.
Many faith people are saying the right things and doing the right formulas, but inside them is unforgiveness and strife.
Some won’t talk to their brother in Christ. Then they have a car wreck: the whole family is injured , and they wonder why God allowed it to happen. It was not God’s will but they were in the enemy’s hands. Don’t misunderstand what I said. I did not say everyone who has a car wreck is in unforgiveness. There are other things that can cause it, of course. But one of the major causes of tragedy in Christian homes is strife and unforgiveness. Strife and unforgiveness will stop faith from working, and loose Satan against you home. The sin of unforgiveness produces fear, and fear destroys faith.
I don’t have space in this book to teach further on unforgiveness, but I will deal with it in another book.
STIR UP YOUR FAITH
Paul wrote to Timothy: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that is in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:5-7).
What gift is given predominantly in the Bible by the laying on of hands?
The gift of the Holy Spirit. Paul told Timothy to stir that gift up. Paul went on to say, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in thee” (vv 13,14).
What good thing is he talking about?
Unfeigned Faith. It was in Timothy’s grandmother and his mother, and Paul was persuaded that it was also in him.
How are we going to keep unfeigned faith?
We keep it by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. Do you know what it means to pray in the Holy Ghost? It is praying in the spirit or in tongues. Paul said, “. . . I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also” ( 1 Corinthians 14:15). It is an act of your will. It is the greatest force available today to you, as a believer-praying in the Holy Ghost.
Jude said that by praying in the Holy Ghost you build up yourselves on your most holy faith. He is talking about faith you already have inside you. He didn’t say that praying in the Holy Ghost would give you more faith. He is talking about faith you already have inside you. He didn’t say that praying in the
Holy Ghost would give you more faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Timothy had faith because his mother and grandmother had evidently taught him the Word of God. When you get the Word in you, you have faith. It may not be stirred up, and you may not be using it, just as Timothy wasn’t using his.
Paul said in Galatians 5:6, that faith works by love. John said, “There is no fear in love; but perfect
love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). When you have faith working by love there is no fear, but when fear comes in, faith goes out. Perfect love is not there for perfect love casts out fear.
Praying in the Holy Ghost builds you up on your most holy faith. Now this is exactly what Paul told Timothy when he told him to keep that good thing which was in him by the Holy Ghost. You can have faith that does not produce anything. Praying in the Holy Ghost will stir up your faith and make it
available so it will produce.
“For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries (divine secrets) . . . He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself . . . .” (1 Corinthians 14:2,4). The word edify comes from the same Greek word from which we have derived our word charge. If you had a battery that was down and you took it to the service station and asked them to charge your battery, they would edify it, or build it up. When you pray in the Holy Ghost, it charges the spiritual power charge of the inner man. Praying in the Holy Ghost stirs up the gifts of God which are in you. It stirs up the Word of God and makes it available for use. “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20,21).
What did he say praying in the Holy Ghost would do? Praying in the Holy Ghost will build you up on your most holy faith AND keep you in the love of God. Praying in the spirit will keep you in the God kind of love. It will keep you in the love walk. If you get mad at someone, pray in the spirit for an hour. I don’t believe you can come out of your prayer closet and still be mad after praying in the spirit for an hour.
Keep yourselves in the love of God. God won’t do it for you: you must do it yourself, by praying in the Holy Ghost.
Faith does not fail, for it is the law.
Your faith can fail to produce when you fail to walk in love. Love never fails.
Love will always prevail through faith.
Faith will always prevail through love. (1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 5:6).
Lack of knowledge will keep your faith from working. Sometimes we have thought that it was God trying us. I have heard many Christians say, “God has taken everything I had because He didn’t want me to glory in the things of this earth. “No, it is not so. They have been deceived by Satan. God didn’t do it. My Father didn’t do it. He is the giver. He told Israel they would be the head and not the tail, above and not
beneath, blessed coming in and going out. When you believe that God did it and fall for that lie, you become an easy target for Satan. He’ll take every dime you have and leave you penniless. If he could, he would do it to every believer.
“. . . your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The knowledge of God’s Word will keep him from devouring you.
The most devastating blow to your faith is to believe that God is the taker instead of the giver. Not knowing who the troublemaker is will make more trouble for you. A good book to read on this subject is *The Troublemaker by Kenneth Copeland. I will simply advise you to go to the Bible and begin to draw
the battle line. The battle line is John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have me, and that they might have it more abundantly. ”
“Building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.” Take Paul’s advice, and pray in the spirit, building yourself up spiritually. It will keep you in the love of God.
Yes-Faith works, but it can be destroyed by fear, lack of knowledge, envy, strife, and failing to walk in love. There are other things, of course, but these are the major ones. Just because you are a faith man, or a faith woman today, doesn’t mean you will be thirty days from now, if you don’t do what Peter said to do in 1 Peter 5:8,9: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about,
seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith…”
Have you ever wondered why satan is seeking?
Because there are some he can’t devour! If he ever catches your guard down; walking out of love; in strife and unforgiveness, you may not be a faith person the next thirty days.
PRODUCE OR FAIL
Faith comes from the incorruptible seed: the Word of God. To ask, “Can faith fail?” is like asking, “Can a seed fail to produce?” A seed will fail to produce if not cared for properly. It will fail to do what it was created to do if it is not planted in soil that is fertile. It must be planted at the right time, in the right place, and protected until it brings forth the desired results. If you don’t plant the seed properly, it will fail. If you abandon it after planting, it will fail most of the time. If you don’t protect it from insects, birds, and other enemies after it comes up, it will fail to produce the measure it is capable of producing.
It is not always a matter of the seed failing, but a question of, “Did you cause it to fail?” The seed was designed to produce. It knows how. The question is, “Did your action or failure to act cause it to produce or fail?”