BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #73

From “Discipleship and Discipline”, by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“In Hebrews 11, we find God’s “Faith Hall of Fame”, wherein we are given a partial list of that Hall’s inhabitants. We tend to concentrate and focus on the “conquering heroes” among those listed there: Abraham, Noah, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. We oftentimes forget the unnamed ones who “trusted God and were tortured, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free. They placed their hope in the resurrection to a better life. 36Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. 37Some died by stoning, and some were sawed in half; others were killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, hungry and oppressed and mistreated. 38They were too good for this world.” Hebrews 11: 35b – 38a. We disciples should know that we are more likely to be unnamed than named as “conquering heroes”, even though we, as they, are “more than conquerors””

“No one in America alive today will ever forget September 11, 2001.”

“”One of the initial phenomena coming out of the tragedy was an unretouched CNN photograph of the South World Trade Tower showing the “image” of Satan in the smoke billowing from the place on the tower where the second plane impacted the building. Everyone I spoke with reacted to the picture by saying, “this confirms that this was a supremely evil act! See! The face of Satan! This tells us that these people are wrong to attack us, to take innocent lives! Their cause cannot be just!!” While these are all credible conclusions, is there not more? Was there a message for America in that God allowed us to be subjected to such horror, terror and despair? Was this allowed to occur merely to call us to heroism, sacrifice and circumspection? I think not. We as a nation- “one nation, under God, indivisible”, must reflect on how far we have wandered from the faith of our fathers. Jerry Falwell was vilified for suggesting that we as a people might have lost our way, what with banning prayer in schools, legalization of abortion and other policies and laws that run counter to God’s word. Maybe it was the way he said it. Will a just God long tolerate institutionalized racism? Will He not call us, “who are called by My name” to repentance- individually and corporately? Will He not demand discipline from His disciples? I think so.””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #72

From “Discipleship and Discipline”, by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

““Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with Him? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with Him in His death, we will also be raised as He was. Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share His new life. We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and He will never die again. Death no longer has any power over Him. He died once to defeat sin, and now He lives for the glory of God. So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.

Since Jesus has all authority, He can give us the power (note Matthew 28: 18KJV: “All power…”) to make disciples of all the nations. John 1: 12 (KJV) says “…to them gave He the power to become the sons of God…” The source of our power is the Holy Spirit of God “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes to you. Then you will be my witnesses to testify about me in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (God’s Word Translation.) Note that the power is useful for witnessing. The power for conviction rests solely with the Holy Spirit (see Bill’s Letter to the Christians, below). Witnessing is the privilege and responsibility of disciples.

“When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 14 – 20, New Living Translation)””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #71

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“CHAPTER THREE: POWER FOR DISCIPLESHIP- THE RESURRECTION, continued
“Recall the Great Commission. “When Jesus came near, He spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.” (Matthew 28: 18 – 20, God’s Word translation)

Recall our earlier discussion about acceptance. Acceptance means to reach out with an open hand to receive. Acceptance implies a willingness to take something offered from someone else voluntarily. Acceptance conveys not only the willingness to assume personally the responsibility to take the appropriate action, but also implies a confidence or assurance that one has the capability/capacity to do the job successfully. We must accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. In the same manner, we must also accept the responsibilities of discipleship. God does not force Himself on anyone!

If we are to make disciples of all nations, we must have the power to be disciples. “And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised Him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His name.”

The power for discipleship and discipling is in the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #70

FORGIVENESS Sermon by Minister Hicks 59:15 Minister Hicks Album Christianity

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #69

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:
““CHAPTER THREE: POWER FOR DISCIPLESHIP- THE RESURRECTION

The power to be a “living sacrifice” must come from within, from having devoted ourselves to our Master, from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We must have decided to respond affirmatively to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, to the purpose of putting God before self, His purposes before our desires. “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3: 7 11, New American Standard Bible).””

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #68

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“Having established the fact that we can offer God nothing more desirable to Him than ourselves (“I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me.”), how can we effect the sacrifice we are urged by Paul to make? Paul makes it clear that the balance beam upon which a disciple stands is manifesting his being owned by God in a world dominated by Satan. We are charged not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove- demonstrate, manifest, make visible that invisible reality, that truth of our relationship to Him- what His will is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (complete). “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2: 10″

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BILL’S BLOG ENTRY #67

From “Discipleship and Discipline” by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“”How were we dead and yet breathing? Explain that, will you! “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)… For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” (Ephesians 2: 1 – 5, 8).

In the scale of our life’s experiences, the grace of God far outweighs any sin we have committed. Yes, we were dead, sowing dead seed, engaging in lifelessness. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5: 8).””

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