So Jesus answered and said to them, 'Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, "Be removed and cast into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says"'" (Mark 11:22-23).
God has used many people in the area of faith throughout human history, but He called one man in particular from the plumber's trade to plumb the depths of the ancient well of faith. We know this is true because of the supernatural fruit of faith in his ministry. Smith Wigglesworth was a blue-collar worker, a servant of God who would read only the Bible, and who dared to act upon the things that God said while others gave Him only lip service.
Many have read the account of how Wigglesworth once walked into the parlor of a funeral home where the dead body of a man had lain for three days. He was on a mission from God. He abruptly told the family to get out of the room. Then he grabbed the man by the lapels and pulled him out of the casket! He propped the body against the wall and commanded it, "Live!"
When he released the man's body, the stiffened corpse promptly fell on the floor with a thud. That is where you and I would have quit, but most of us don't have the kind of faith Wigglesworth had!
Wigglesworth grabbed the lapels of the coat on the corpse and propped the body against the wall once more. Again he shouted, "I told you once, now I tell you again ... live!"
Again, the stiffened corpse fell to the floor with the same thud it had made the first time. Who knows what in creation that poor family and funeral home workers must have been thinking with all the noise coming from behind that closed door!
A third time Wigglesworth picked up the corpse and propped it against the wall. He pointed his finger at the body and demanded: "I've told you once, I've told you twice, but I shan't tell you again after this third time. Now, Live!"
Suddenly the man coughed, shook his head, wiped off his face and walked out of that funeral home!
This supernatural raising of the dead took place in Smith Wigglesworth's ministry not once, not twice, but 14 times. Some say it was even more. Wigglesworth had the God kind of faith to command the dead to come back to life again. Have you ever seen someone raised from the dead? If your answer is no, may I ask, "Have you ever prayed for it?"
FAITH CAN BE NULLIFIED BY RELIGIOUS TRADITION
Faith is a precious gift from God, but it is a gift that can be lost or nullified! I didn't say it--Jesus did. He rebuked the Pharisees and religious leaders in His day saying, " 'Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition'" (Matt. 15:6).
Tradition may steal your faith in three ways:
1. Tradition takes doubt to school and produces unbelief. The Spirit of God still moves freely even when there is doubt, because doubt is nothing more than questioning. Yet even Jesus found it harder to work miracles in the presence of unbelief (see Matt. 13:58). Tradition will school you in the art of producing unbelief.
2. Tradition makes the Word of God of no effect by training you to ignore the power of Satan, to trivialize the spirit of the Antichrist and to be ignorant of your own power.
When we portray the archangel of hell, the chief of demons, as wearing a laughable red suit with horns and a forked tail, he doesn't mind at all! He knows that to refuse to acknowledge the existence of a literal, utterly evil devil is the first step to refusing to acknowledge the existence of a literal God. The Word of God specifically forbids men to trivialize demonic power.
3. Tradition steals your faith and hope; it refuses to allow you to stand up in the winter of your life and bear fruit as if it were springtime. Tradition will train you in the art of being a weak, ineffectual Christian. Tradition refuses to allow you to call those things that be not as though they were. It refuses to allow you to offer the sacrifice of praise, giving thanks to God even when you are experiencing pain and sorrow.
GET RADICAL, 'PROMISED LAND FAITH'
Faith transforms the way you pray. It energizes and empowers the way you do battle in the heavenly realm. When faith takes hold in the redeemed human spirit, walls come down! Suddenly our words take on creative capability. We find that when we declare a thing in the Spirit, God establishes it. If faith is rising in your heart as you read these words, begin to declare your miracle. Open up your mouth and speak creative words with the anointing of God.
Get radical, "promised land" faith! Do you know that God has given you the power to establish your world within the boundaries of His Word? You create your world by declaring the Word of God into your future by faith!
FAITH REQUIRES OBEDIENCE
Kenneth E. Hagin tells the story of the time God spoke to Wigglesworth to "go raise Lazarus." This particular "Lazarus" was a Welsh tin miner who used to work in the mines during the day and preached the gospel at night. However, he contracted tuberculosis. This man spent six years as an invalid by the time Wigglesworth received the orders from God to seek him out.
Wigglesworth wrote down on a postcard what the Lord said and mailed it to the miner's home before his visit. When he arrived, he was greeted at the door by a man holding the card.
"Did you send this?" the man asked. "Do you think we believe in this? Here, take it!" And he threw it at Wigglesworth's feet.
Then the man called a servant and said, "Take this man and show him Lazarus." He said to Wigglesworth, "The moment you see him, you will be ready to go home."
When Wigglesworth was introduced to Lazarus, all he saw was a mass of skin and bones. The man had been spoon-fed his meals for six years, but, even as bad as the illness was, the state of his faith was worse than the state of his physical body.
Most of us would have taken the cynic's advice, given our condolences and headed for home. Wigglesworth didn't have that option because he had heard from God. Faith doesn't give up and it doesn't give in--it prevails. He greeted Lazarus and left the house, but he would soon return.
Wigglesworth sought out seven other people to stand with him in prayer that night. After praying and fasting all night, they showed up at Lazarus' house the following morning. They were greeted by the same cynical family member who greeted Wigglesworth the day before.
But Wigglesworth had been fasting, and God had told him what to do: "Don't pray, don't anoint him with oil, don't touch him. All eight of you gather around the bed and repeat the name of Jesus."
As they spoke, the power of God fell. Then it lifted like a cloud. They continued to hold hands and say, "Jesus, Jesus," as the power kept coming down and lifting.
The sixth time it came down, Lazarus said, "I've been bitter in my heart, and I know I have grieved the Spirit of God." He repented and cried out, "O God, let this be to Thy glory." As he said that, the power of God went through him, and he was healed.
"Lazarus" got up and dressed himself without any assistance. Then he and Wigglesworth walked downstairs while singing the Doxology.
Faith requires obedience to activate God's provision. We've seen how God worked through the faith and obedience of men like Wigglesworth.
The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34). In other words, He doesn't play favorites. He will do for you what He did for Wigglesworth.
All it takes is a seed of faith and the courage to plant it in the field of impossibility. Are you ready? Then take a deep drink from the ancient well of faith and live!
Old-time religion has been replaced by doctrines that claim to be "new" and "improved," but they simply don't deliver, says pastor and author Rod Parsley.
In Ancient Wells Living Water, Rod Parsley takes readers back to ancient times to examine significant moments in Scripture when God did something special at a well, the source of life-giving water. It was at Jacob's well where Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman, and Hagar and Ishmael were delivered from death at a well in the desert of Beersheba.
Using this key biblical metaphor, Parsley shows the reader 10 "ancient wells of scriptural doctrine" from men such as Martin Luther, E.M. Bounds, David Livingstone and Lester Sumrall. Luther, of course, was instrumental in starting the Protestant Reformation with his emphasis on Scripture for the common man. More recently, Sumrall practiced deliverance from demons.
There is much to be reminded of from the lives of those who have gone before, Parsley asserts, and that is particularly true for those unfamiliar with these giants of the faith who wholeheartedly devoted themselves to, among others, prayer, holiness and the work of missions.
Parsley's goal is to urge believers in this day of relativism not to discount what their forefathers taught, and this he does with a fervency that could be mistaken for insistence. In his frank style, he challenges believers to "impose the power of the kingdom of God upon the powers of darkness that bind them." Learn more at charismahouse.com or call (800) 599-5750.
Rod Parsley is pastor of the 12,000-member World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio. A popular author and conference speaker, he hosts a TV broadcast seen around the world.