Newsletter for Dec 2011

Jim Martin Ministries/Grace Ministries International
4184 East Patterson Dayton, OHIO 45430
© 2001 - All Rights Reserved


Dear Friends,

I have heard so many people, including Christians, talk about how they would like to know more about God. I, too, shared that sentiment for many years. But one day, the reality of the following two verses helped me to see what I had been missing for so long,

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  (John 6:38)

Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?  (John 14:9)

If I want to have a greater revelation of who God is and what He will do for me, then all I have to do is study the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus was totally obedient to the Father’s will. As people listened to what He taught and observed what He did, they were witnessing the exact same things the Father would teach and do had He been on earth in a human body.

In James 1:17, God tells us He does not change. That means what He did through Jesus He continues to do this day. This may come as a shocking revelation to many Christians. The reason is because what Jesus said and did is in drastic opposition to what we hear from many preachers today when it comes to how God moves in our lives. I’ll explain what I mean. Many of you are aware of the Christmas song, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. Think about some of its lyrics,

You better watch out, you better not cry

You better not pout, I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice

He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice

Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping

He knows when you’re awake

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness’ sake

The message conveyed is that we are being watched every moment of every day. When Christmas rolls around and it’s time for presents to be handed out, Santa Claus is going to review his record of our actions. If we’ve done what is right, he will give us gifts; if we’ve been bad, he will give us little or nothing. Sadly, there are many in the Body of Christ who, unintentionally, equate God with Santa Claus through their teaching.

For example, they tell you that if you do not tithe or give offerings God will not heal you, deliver you, help your children, meet your needs and so on. If this is true, then we should see as much demonstrated in the ministry of Jesus; after all, He did say “if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.”

However, we do not see anything remotely similar in the ministry of Jesus. Consider the following:

      Jesus never asked one person if he or she was caught up on their tithes before healing them, their children or their servants.

      Jesus never asked one person if he or she had sown a faith offering before He healed them, their children or their servants.

      Jesus never asked any of the thousands if they were caught up on their tithes or had sown a faith offering before feeding them with the multiplied loaves and fish.

      Jesus never asked anyone if they were caught up on their tithes or had sown a faith offering before casting devils out of them.

      Jesus did not ask Peter for a seed of faith offering before the miracle which paid both His and Peter’s tax (Matthew 17:24-27).

      In fact, Jesus never even asked one single person if he or she had repented of sin and offered the appropriate sacrifice before healing them, feeding them or casting devils out of them.

Since Jesus said He came only to do the will of the Father, and that if people had seen Him they had seen the Father, then the way Jesus ministered is the way the Father would minister. That being true, the inescapable conclusion is that our healing, deliverance and blessings of provision are in no way dependant upon our tithes and offerings. In other words, when we approach God’s throne of grace, He does not first check His list to see if we’ve been naughty (held back on tithes and offerings) or nice (given tithes and offerings).

I am fully aware that this is in direct contradiction to what is so often taught in churches and what so many Christians steadfastly believe. The problem is if most Christians hear something taught over and over from more than one source, and the name of Jesus plus a few verses of scripture are included, they will just accept it as being true. But how many of these same Christians spent their early childhood years believing in Santa Claus because of what their parents told them…the same parents who threatened punishment if the children were caught lying?

I actually knew of a traveling preacher who would approach each person standing in the prayer line at the end of a service and ask them if they were current with their tithes. If the person replied, “No,” the preacher refused to pray for them, telling them they were cursed and that he would not touch anything that was cursed! How horrible! Anyone ministering according to the pattern of Jesus would never do such a thing.

Right along with this, we cannot find anywhere in scripture where any of the Apostles required a person to give an account of his tithes, offerings or degree of holy living before praying for that person.

Please do not misunderstand and think I am saying that Christians do not have a responsibility to give financially in support of the gospel. God expects that we will give so that others can hear the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus, as well as receiving help in a time of need. In fact, God has said in His word that Christians are to help meet the needs of the poor; He did not tell us to demand that the poor tithe and sow seed faith offerings before receiving help (Romans 15:25-27; 2 Corinthians 8:9-14; Ephesians 4:28; James 2:1-16).

Likewise, I am not saying that we can live any way we desire, including a life of sin, and that God overlooks such behavior. God has made it clear that we are to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). At the same time, none of the people Jesus healed while on earth were born again; all of them had a sin nature. Additionally, God did not say “by your holiness you are healed;” He said “by His (Jesus’) stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Our Heavenly Father never meant for His church to have such a works-oriented mindset when it comes to receiving from Him. But this is exactly what is happening when we believe that the money we put in an offering plate or our level of perfect living qualifies us for His promises. Yes, I do understand that God blesses obedience. But do you honestly believe that every person who has ever been healed, delivered or blessed as a result of a Christian’s prayers was tithing, giving and living holy? Don’t forget, even the lost can be healed, delivered and blessed through our prayers, for God has not instructed the Church to pray only for fellow Christians.

God has tried to impress upon His children that He bases His relationship with us on the completed work of His Son. Nowhere is this so clearly stated than in Romans 8:31-32,

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

When we put more faith in what we give and what we do than in what Jesus has already done, we are trying to earn God’s promises through our own efforts. Do you honestly believe that our Father places more emphasis on the money we put in an offering plate than He does on the shed blood of our Savior?

But that is precisely what Christians are being told when preachers stress that we must act in faith and give to see our needs met instead of telling us to put our faith in the completed work of Jesus. Take a look at what Jesus said about getting needs met,

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.  (Matthew 6:7-8)

Jesus placed an emphasis on asking rather than sowing an offering. If He knew the key to receiving blessings was giving, then He would have said something like, “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of; therefore, give in faith believing so that He may open the windows of Heaven and release His abundance into your lives.”

I recall quite some time ago when the truth of this hit home for me. My wife and I had tithed, given and sown offerings as faith seed for years. Even so, we never experienced the influx of financial or material blessings as promised by the various ministers receiving those offerings. Then a particular need arose for which the money – a substantial amount to us - was not readily available. I went to God in prayer, explained what was needed, asked Him to supply and told Him I was not going to give any kind of offering or faith seed for the money, that I was going trust Him, the completed work of Jesus and what He had promised in His word. In less than seven days the finances came in, and it was more than what was actually needed! Nothing like that had ever happened in our lives.

That was many years ago. We continue to give, but from that moment on we have never again sown faith offerings for healing, finances or material things. Instead, we ask our Father for what we need according to His word and I can tell you without hesitation, we have seen more manifested blessings since then than in all our years of sowing seed to meet the need.

Take another look at what God said in Romans 8:31-32,

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

To receive salvation, the greatest blessing God offers mankind, the only “work” we had to perform and the only “seed” we had to sow was our faith in what Jesus did for us. Why should we now believe that everything else we receive from our Father is based on what we do and what we give?

I believe the following three factors have played a huge roll in how so many Christians have been led astray:

      We live in a “you get what you pay for” society, and that thinking has subtly impacted the way many Christians approach God.

      Through taking verses greatly out of context, innumerable preachers have significantly misinterpreted scripture concerning tithes and offerings.

      Generally speaking, the Body of Christ is quite ignorant of God’s word.

Even so, there is a solution to this dilemma,

Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.  (Psalm 119:128)

As Believers esteem the word of God to a place of necessity in their lives, they will be less subject to being misled concerning the manner in which our Father moves in their lives. Hebrews 12:2 tells us to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Thus, our faith in how God moves and blesses us should be based on the relationship Jesus had with Him as revealed in the four Gospels. If you want to know how He will minister in you, through you and to you, then study the life of Jesus, for God has made us joint heirs with Him!

Yours in His Love!

May His presence fill your life!



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