What Is Sin?

What is Sin?



 
We hear a lot about sin from Sunday pulpits and while there is variance among preachers concerning where the gray area ends and the sin begins the consensus generally is that they are against it. The same can be said for God in scripture. Not surprisingly the Lord has a firmer grasp on the subject.
 
Paul tells us in Romans 14:23 “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Paul is teaching in this chapter that if God has not by way of revelation given you liberty in an area it is sin for you to do it. He makes the point about whether or not one should eat meat or only herbs saying, “and he that doubteth is dammed if he eat because he eateth not of faith.” But Paul says for himself that God has assured him that it is permissible to eat both telling us in verse 14 “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”
 
In Romans 2:14-15 Paul talks about the law being written in our hearts “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)”
 
Paul says this is how even a gentile can do the will of God without actually knowing or practicing the law. God writes the law in the hearts of men. This takes us back to Paul’s premise “ whatsoever is not of faith is sin” which gives rise to the question“How do we get faith?”
 
Paul addresses this question in Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” Word in this verse is a translation of the Greek word rhema and means that which is spoken. Faith does not come from what is written like Jewish law or even the Bible. Rather faith comes from what Jesus speaks to us by way of the Holy Spirit. This is an ongoing process until the day God takes us home to be with Him.
 
Romans 8:14 tells us “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” The way it works is Jesus speaks, the Holy Spirit shares His words with us by way of our born again human spirit and as a result we have to choose to obey. If we choose to disregard what Jesus says James tells us in 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
 
Roman chapter 1:17 says “…The just shall live by faith.” So quite literally we live by hearing God and obeying the law written in our hearts by Him. This gives understanding to Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him…” Paul indicates that this law written in the hearts of men is an individual process and that as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling we should not judge others that have not received the same faith yet.
 
Paul says for some it is alright to eat meat and for others their faith will not allow it. He calls neither wrong but only admonishes us not to let our liberty cause another to stumble. Let us all live according to the manner of Paul in Romans 14:22 “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God, Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
 
Paul is letting us know that we should not look to our brothers and sisters in the Lord to emulate their behavior necessarily. What God has approved for another may not be the case for you. Once again, we cannot escape the truth that the Christian way is to pray, hear and obey.
 

Written by Wes Arnold, PMT Elder

Wes Arnold
PMT Elder

Do I Have to War Over My Prophecy?

Do I Have to War Over My Prophecy?



 
There is a trend among some present-day prophets to teach that for a prophecy (foretelling of a future event) to come to pass the recipient of the word spoken by the prophet must war over the prophecy. This demand places responsibility in no small part on the person receiving ministry. If they fail to fight the good fight the things foretold do not happen. To understand the truth of this matter will require a modicum (I hope) of deductive reasoning. By that I mean we must link some premises with conclusions.
 
Our first premise is that God knows the future. In Isaiah 46:9-11 God says he does with the words “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
 
Our second premise is that when God says a thing will happen it happens. Verse 11 above indicates once God has spoken a thing it will be brought to pass.
 
Our third premise is that what God has spoken concerning the future He will make happen. He tells Isaiah “yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
 
The verse used to support warring over one’s prophecy is 1 Timothy 1:18 “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
 
In this letter Paul was writing to Timothy to instruct him on how to deal with a growing problem of false teachers besetting the church at Ephesus. Paul is encouraging Timothy to be bold and stand up to these false teachers and confront them with the truth of scripture. To help combat Timothy’s timidity Paul reminded him of former prophesies he had received. Paul was essentially saying “according to what God has told you fight the good fight knowing that you will win in this situation.” Basically, Paul was telling Timothy “Man up son. Don’t you remember what God said?” Paul told Timothy in accordance with and by the prophecies concerning him, he should fight the good fight. He did not say on or over the prophecies fight the good fight. There is nothing in the chapter suggesting Paul was worried that the prophecies would not be fulfilled.
 
To say that a lack of faith on Timothy’s part would alter the future said to come by God labels the words of the prophet a lie in Isaiah 46. It would take willful ignorance to not understand that God told Isaiah if He has spoken a thing to occur nothing could stop it from happening.
 
As I was discussing this issue at the PMT office with Eric this past week I found myself telling him that the future is as fix in time as the past. In other words, in the same way we cannot change what happened yesterday we are unable to change what God says will happen. I realized with a jolt in my mind that what I had just said came not from me but from God. Later on my hour commute home I started thinking that maybe God did not really tell me that and I shouldn’t say that to people with such conviction.
 
Two days later as I left the house I felt compelled to take with me a thirty-year-old notebook gathering dust on a shelf. When I got to the PMT office and looked through it I found a couple verses that I had read before but never paid any attention to.
 
Ecclesiastes 3 14-15 reads “I know that everything that God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed away.”
 
Thanks be to God for confirming His word!
 
It is not logical to say that a future that can be changed is actually the future at all. With our finite human minds we deal with only possible outcomes as a natural consequence of actions. When Gods tells us what is coming there is only one possible outcome.
 
I understand the temptation to deflect accountability for speaking on behalf of God as a prophet to His people. I am even sympathetic to the prophet’s plight. They strive for perfection in operating in their gifts knowing there was and will only ever be one perfect prophet.
 
Jesus operated in every office and every gift and will never be matched in his power or ability. Still though, imperfect as we are we must all carry on in our callings. I am of the opinion though that relying on contortions of scripture to shield oneself from criticism if something one says is going to happen does not will ultimately dull one’s hearing even more. The onus will seem to have been lifted and hearing God accurately may not be as imperative as it once was.
 
Let us all, prophet or not have faith in God remembering His words “yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
 

Written by Wes Arnold, PMT Elder

Wes Arnold
PMT Elder

What Is Faith?

What is Faith?



 
We are told in Hebrews 11:1 that faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. The word translated as faith in Hebrews 11:1 and all that follow in this writing means to win over and persuade. Subjectively we understand faith to be a firm persuasion, conviction or belief in the truth. If faith literally means to win over or persuade this leads us to a question about who is doing the persuading.
 
Hebrews 12: calls Jesus the author and finisher of our faith while Hebrews 11:6 tells us that the faith that enables us to please God involves believing that he is, and that he rewards them that diligently seek him. When we compare these verses with Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” it becomes clear that God initiates faith in the believer. By this we know that every move toward God made by the one seeking Him is a response to revelation. God reveals and we respond.
 
The scriptures indicate that faith can be increased in 2 Corinthians 10:15 saying “Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,”. But faith is not like a muscle in the body that can be made larger by flexing or exorcise. Rather Galatians 3 tells us in verse 2 and 3 “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? So by this we know that what is started in the Spirit must be perfected in the Spirit.”
 
To answer the question about how our faith is increased Romans 1:17 offers some clarity with the words “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” In this verse again we see God’s revelation moving us forward from faith to faith. God speaks, we hear and the body of our knowledge and belief concerning Him grows. It should be understood then that one of if not a primary reward for diligently seeking God is an ever increasing faith.
 
If our hearing is weak our faith will not be strong. If our faith is not on the increase perhaps we have grown weary in well doing and faltered in our due diligence to seek the Lord. Let us all be encouraged to seek the Lord until we find him, hear what he reveals to us and obey his every word.
 

Written by Wes Arnold, PMT Elder

Wes Arnold
PMT Elder

The Spirit of Prophecy

The Spirit of Prophecy



 
In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus gave his disciples power to cast out unclean spirits, to heal sickness, disease and even raise the dead. He commanded them to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel preaching the kingdom of God is at hand. Toward the end of the chapter he speaks of the reward for those that received them kindly saying in verse 41 “Whoever welcomes a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.”
 
In the previous verse, Jesus tells the twelve “anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” This tells us that to know the meaning of verse 41 we need to focus on Jesus. Ultimately Jesus is saying to the twelve men ” when anyone receives you as my disciple they are receiving me”.
 
In John chapter 1 we are told that Jesus is the word. Word is a translation of the Greek word logos which means to speak intelligently. This intelligence can only be discovered by way of revelation. In Matthew 10:27 Jesus tells the disciples “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight, what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” He was sending them out and would not be with them bodily but would still be leading them with revelation. This prompts me to believe that the reward associated with welcoming a prophet as a prophet concerns hearing God.
 
If I accept a prophet as a person able to hear God this allows me to receive a personal word from God by way of the prophet. The same may also be said of the reward for receiving a righteous person as a righteous person. To be righteous means one is in right standing with God. Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he is, and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Since the scriptures tell us that without faith we cannot please God we can deduce that righteousness must involve faith to some degree.
 
Romans 10:17 informs us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. This is indicative of a connection between hearing and receiving words from God either personally or through the ministry of another and being rewarded. In Genesis 15:1 God tells Abraham “I am your shield, your very great reward.”
 
In Revelation 19:10 John writes “…For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” Jesus is the logos who was, is and forever will be speaking as an expression of the divine intellect. He tells his disciples in Matthew 10:26 “…there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: and hid that shall not be known.” He is promising them that revelation will be a hallmark of their life and ministry.
 
When Jesus speaks to us through the Holy Spirit we know he lives. When we hear, him we know He is near and rejoice in His presence. To live a richly rewarded life we must as always, Pray, hear and obey.
 

Written by Wes Arnold, PMT Elder

Wes Arnold
PMT Elder

Freely Give, Freely Receive

Freely Give, Freely Receive



 
There are some who teach that it is wrong to receive financial compensation for ministering in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A popular verse used to support this is Matthew 10:8, which reads, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Admittedly, one could be forgiven for believing that this scripture is agreeing with the above view if it is isolated from the rest of the chapter. Indeed, much incorrect doctrine results from cherry picking scripture out of context.
 
My dear friend and fellow minister of the gospel, prophet Kent Simpson, has taken more than his fair share of criticism over the years for being what some have labeled a “mail order prophet”. With that in mind, I would like to offer an alternate view of verse 8 harmonious with the entirety of Matthew 10.
 
In verse 1, Jesus called unto him his twelve disciples and gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. The gift of this power had strings attached as it came with the command to, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”. As they went about doing this, they were to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils.
 
They were instructed to take no money with them, and to only take the clothes on their backs. In other words, their lodging, food, and clothing would not be paid for out of their pockets. Lest the twelve felt like they were reduced to begging, Jesus assured them that they had every right to expect their needs be met by the recipients of their ministry. He had said to them, “for the worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:10).
 
After Jesus commanded them what to do and how to do it (verses 17-23), he began to tell them what to expect. This is where the meaning of verse 8 begins to take shape. The Greek word translated as “freely” in this verse is “dōreán” and is defined as “without a cause; freely; for naught or in vain”. Two synonyms for this word in the Greek are “eikē“, which means “in vain or without cause”, and “matēn“, meaning “in vain or to no purpose”. Dōreán is translated as “in vain” in Gal 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
 
I believe Jesus was alluding to a logical conclusion the twelve might have come to after being told what the outcome of their ministry in power would be. He said that men would deliver them up to councils and scourge them; a brother would deliver up a brother to death, and a father the child: and the children would rise up against their parents and cause them to be put to death. They’d also be hated of all men for His name’s sake, and under persecution they would flee from city to city. It’s hard to judge the disciples harshly if they felt like their efforts would be in vain.
 
But Jesus was quick to assure them in verse 23 that, “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” In other words, the disciples were to share the goods news of the gospel to the lost sheep of the house of Israel in advance of the judgment that would soon come.
 
It is important to realize that the disciples received a personal word from God involving both a prophecy and a command specific only to them. Not all receive the same word regarding ministry. The apostle Paul comes to mind in this since his area of service was to the gentiles and he did not receive a command to not travel with money. Concerning remuneration for operating under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:9 quotes the law of Moses, “For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain. Is it oxen God is concerned about?“. He makes his point more explicit in verse 11 with, “If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?” Then to avoid any confusion on the matter, he states in verse 14 that “Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”

 
Each of us with a heart to serve the Lord must continually seek him for personal revelation and rely on the Spirit to tell us when, where, what, and how to minister effectively. This revealing will undoubtedly be unique to us as individuals making up the body of Christ. We all have our own place in the body, and using that imagery it is easy to understand that the hand functions differently from the eye, as well as the foot from the ear. But however dissimilar the various parts of the body, each contribute to a unified whole. One minister may hear God say to travel with no money like he commanded the twelve, while another may hear the Lord say it is no problem to sow spiritual things and reap carnal things, which includes money if not other ways of being compensated, much like Paul in 1 Corinthians 9. In both cases the individuals may be hearing God correctly.
 
Even casual observation reveals a myriad of variations on the theme of operating under the anointing of The Holy Spirit, suggesting that no two ministries are exactly the same. Nor should they be, as long as they are being led by God. In truth, the body of Christ would be healthier if it’s parts focused on doing what they heard the Lord say to them and not what they think he should be saying to others.
 
So is it okay to receive financial compensation for ministering in the gifts of The Holy Spirit? Paul taught that it is okay, but we must be prepared to hear God in a personal and definitive way as we prayerfully carry out our own calls to ministry. For that reason, the motto of PMT is “Pray, Hear, and Obey”. God has a unique path for you to follow. Seek the Lord until you find that blessed course and never depart from it.
 

Written by Wes Arnold, PMT Elder

Wes Arnold
PMT Elder