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MEDITATION ON GOD’S WORD

Foundational Truth Volume 1

By Peter Tan

© Copyright 2008 by Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any

form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including

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© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 2

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© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PREFACE

This book is the first of fourteen books called the ‘Foundational Truths

Series.’ They are designed to bring a Christian through what I would

consider basic truths essential to successful Christian living. They can be

used as follow up materials to establish the new convert.

In this first book, I have shared the first of what I consider the most

important principles of the Christian walk. They are based upon my own

personal walk and maturing in the Lord Jesus Christ. The truths unfolded in

this book

are the landmarks and foundations of my life and ministry.

The principles taught here may be applied practically through confession

with the help of the other mini-books, God’s Meditation Food Volume 1 and

Volume 2. I do not believe in being bound or enslaved to a method but

anything which gets God’s people deeper into the written Word should be

welcomed.

Most of all, as you read this book, bear in mind the fact that these are

truths that have been proven through blood, sweat and tears. They epitomize

a part of my own life. They are not just suggestions. They are my life! I live

by them.

May God cause you to hunger after His written Word and may it come

alive to you through these pages.

Peter Tan

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1

THE IMPORTANCE OF MEDITATION

Meditation is the most important key in Christian growth. However, when

the word ‘meditation’ is mentioned, Christians sometimes have visions of

half-naked ‘gurus’ or hermits sitting crossed-legged chanting mantras. Can

you imagine King David sitting crossed-legged and chanting? Surely this is

not what he meant when he tells us to meditate on the Word of God day and

night (Psalms 1:2).

Bible Definition of Meditation

What then exactly is Christian meditation? In normal usage, the word

‘meditation’ speaks of the silent thinking upon an object or thought. From a

study of the Bible, we can take note that there is a clear teaching that the act

of meditation is not necessarily silent. In the Old Testament, there are

several Hebrew words for the word ‘meditate’ but the main word is the

word ‘hagah’ which literally means ‘mutter.’

‘Hagah’ has been translated ‘mutter’ twice (Isaiah 59:3; 8:19), ‘meditate’

six times (Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1:2; 63:6; 77:12; 143:5; Isaiah 33:18). It has

also been translated ‘speak’ four times (Psalms 35:28; 37:30; 115:7;

Proverbs 8:7), ‘study’ twice (Proverbs 15:28; 24:2), ‘talk’ once (Psalms

71:24) and ‘utter’ once (Job 27:4).

It can be noted from these Scriptures that meditation does indicate the use

of the mouth as an instrument to mutter or speak God’s Word. Moreover,

when we read God’s Word silently, we are only using our eyes to take in

God’s Word; but when we read God’s Word aloud, we are using our eyes to

read, our mouths to speak and our ears to hear. Three instead of one of our

senses are actively taking in God’s Word.

A Vision of My Spirit Man

When I was a young Christian, I used to read the Bible silently. This

continued throughout my three years in a Theological Seminary. In the

fourth year of the ministry, I had a vision of the condition of my spirit man.

I saw my spirit man as skinny as a bamboo stick. There was a horde of

demons who surrounded me and I could not successfully walk past them.

They blocked my path and I did not have the strength to overcome them in

the vision.

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 5

Upon coming out of the vision, the Lord began to speak to me about the

condition of my spirit man. In all my years of study and accumulation of

intellectual knowledge of the Bible, I had not really fed my spirit man. It

was undernourished and weak. In desperation I sought after the Lord and

asked Him to teach me to feed my spirit man. It was then that He began to

teach me about the truth of meditation.

The Results of Meditation

I sat down and wrote as many promises as I could find from Genesis to

Revelation. I personalized the promises and started confessing them for six

to seven hours a day. For a whole year, I read no books nor newspapers nor

any other materials. I completely soaked myself in the Word of God. Who

wouldn’t after seeing the destitute condition of their spirit man?

At the end of that year, while I was teaching the Word of God, the gifts of

the Spirit started manifesting. The impact and foundation laid during that

one year has stayed with me. I could trace the success and breakthrough of

the ministry to that one year of solid meditation. Revelations began to flow

and I learned more from the Bible than I have ever learned in all my

previous years of hard intellectual study.

The Presence of Jesus in the Spirit Man

The main key to success in the Christian life and in the fulltime ministry is

meditation on the Word of God. Paul in writing to the Romans said that he

served God with his spirit (Romans 1:9). He wrote to them about the mighty

signs and wonders which God wrought through him by the power of the

Holy Spirit (Romans 15:18, 19). God’s Spirit worked through Paul’s spirit

to accomplish the mighty works of God. If Paul’s spirit was weak, God’s

omnipotent and powerful Spirit would have been hindered.

In Ephesians 3:16, Paul prayed for the Ephesians to be strengthened in

their inner man. The inner man is obviously the spirit man. The spirit man

needs strengthening. The spirit man can be refreshed through Christian

fellowship (1 Corinthians 16:18; 2 Corinthians 7:13). A strong spirit man

will mean a strong channel for God’s Spirit. The strength of a chain is the

strength of its weakest link. We are all vessels of God. The power and

presence of God demonstrated in our midst is dependent not on Him, for He

is ever willing to demonstrate His presence and fullness in our midst, but in

the ability and strength of our spirits to be channels and instruments of His

presence and power.

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 6

The grace and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ is within our spirits

(Galatians 6:18; 2 Timothy 4:22). A weak spirit would convey a weak

presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. A strong and well-nourished spirit man

would convey a strong presence and manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is nothing wrong with our Lord Jesus Christ or with the Holy Spirit

when a Christian manifests a weak presence of Jesus in his life; but rather

there is something wrong or amiss in his spirit man – undernourishment!

Paul’s Prayers for the Ephesians

When Paul prayed for the Ephesians, he specifically prayed that God

would strengthen their inner man that Christ may dwell in their hearts by

faith (Ephesians 3:17). Notice how the strength of our spirits is related to the

indwelling presence of Christ in our lives. The conclusion of his prayer for

them is that they may be filled with the fullness of God! The strengthening

of the spirit man will produce the fullness of God in our lives! (Ephesians

3:19). In case we miss the point of what he was saying, Paul repeats again in

the next verse that God is able to do everything for us according to the

power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20).

The only way by which we can feed and nourish our spirit man is by

meditation. The first thing a newborn Christian should do is to learn to

meditate on the Word of God to grow. As newborn babes, desire the pure

milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby. Jesus said that man shall not

live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God

(Matthew 4:4). We are not just to read the Word of God. We are to eat the

Word of God. Eating and living by the Word of God implies meditating on

the Word of God.

Meditating and acting upon the Word guarantees success in the Christian

life and in the ministry (Joshua 1:8). Christians need to understand afresh

the truth of meditation. Just because the devil stole a principle and twisted it

to evil does not mean that there is no genuine principle. The counterfeit is an

imitation of the true one. Meditation started in the Word of God and the

principle has been twisted and used to open doors for the devil to control

and possess people’s lives.

We are exhorted to meditate day and night (Psalms 1:2). We are to talk of

God’s Word when we sit down, when we walk, when we lie down and when

we rise up (Deuteronomy 6:7). The Israelites were told to bind them to their

hands and have them as frontlets before their eyes – a symbol of taking and

acting God’s Word out in their daily lives, and a symbol of visualizing the

Word every day (Deuteronomy 6:8). God’s Word makes it clear that

meditation on the Word is an everyday affair.

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 2

HOW TO MEDITATE ON THE WORD

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 8

Meditation is not a short cut to growth. It is a steady and sure way of

growing spiritually. You may not notice your growth day by day but in the

long run you will notice a marked change and difference in your life and

ministry. If a small boy wants to grow a beard, he can strain and groan all he

wants to but he will not produce a whisker or a goatee. All the boy has to do

is to eat properly and in time he will naturally grow a nice looking goatee if

he so desires.

In the same manner, sometimes Christians strain and struggle to produce

certain spiritual results in their lives but all to no avail. If they would only

patiently feed their spirits, the production of spiritual results would come

automatically as a side effect. No man struggles to produce a beard, it grows

naturally. No man can produce spiritual results by carnal methods; they

come naturally (supernaturally) as a result of the growth of the spirit man.

Two Aspects of Meditation

The first part of meditation is the confession of God’s Word. The second

is the contemplation of God’s Word. Within the first part of meditation are

two sub-parts: the confession of God’s Word to get it into our spirits and the

speaking of God’s Word from our spirits as a decree or command over

circumstances. Both are the speaking of God’s Word but the effect is

different. The speaking of God’s Word is first to implant the Word into the

fertile ground of our spirits. Later the implanted Word takes root and takes

dominion through our lives over the circumstances around us.

Implanting the Word

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

When the Word of God is spoken, whether by others or by ourselves, it will

produce faith in the hearts of those who hear it. We can read God’s Word

aloud to ourselves. It is even more powerful and effective when we

personalize the Word of God. One of the most basic necessities of the

Christian life is to know what the Word of God says concerning us.

There are nearly one hundred and fifty Scriptures in the Bible which tell

us who we are in Christ. There are thousands of Scripture promises for

health, healing, prosperity, wisdom, holiness and for every other need we

have in spirit, soul or body. The tragedy of it all is that many Christians do

not know the promises of God freely given to them through their inheritance

in Christ.

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 9

We partake of the divine nature through the exceedingly great promises of

God (2 Peter 1:4). Some Christians think that the promises of God may not

be for them but Paul says expressly that all the promises of God are ‘Yea’

and ‘Amen’ in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). To the question as to

whether all the promises of God in the Bible apply to us, God has replied

with a resounding ‘Yes’ in Christ. If God did not spare His son but sent Him

to die for our salvation, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all

things? The secret of the overcoming Christian life is in learning how to

actualize the promises into our lives.

Muttering and meditating upon the Word of God, until it becomes alive in

our spirits, is the key to actualizing the promises of God. Muttering (Hebrew

‘hagah’ – mutter) upon the Word of God day and night is likened to a tree

planted by the rivers of water absorbing and drawing water into its system

through its roots (Psalms 1:3).

Four Steps in Meditation

There are four steps to falling into sin. First the thought brought by the

temptation, secondly the picture wrought by the imagination, thirdly the

desire for the temptation and finally the act of sin itself. Each of these steps

lead one into another. If we spend time meditating over an offer of satan, it

will lead to wild imaginations after some time. The wild imaginations will

then lead to a compulsive desire for it. This is then easily followed by

yielding to the lust and acting upon it.

It is easier to overcome a temptation at the first and second stages. When

the temptation has been meditated upon until it becomes a burning desire in

a person’s life, he may need the influence and fellowship of Christians to

help him overcome the desire for the temptation.

Similarly, these four steps apply to the positive as with the negative side.

Many Christians read the Word and know what they ought to do. Hearing

more sermons in Christian meetings lead to even more knowledge as to

what they ought to do. The problem becomes compounded when Christians

know what they ought to do but have no desire to do it. It is difficult to do

what one has no desire to do. How do we get the desire to do what we ought

to do? By meditation, of course!

The daily meditation and confession of God’s Word produces good

thoughts in our minds. Through time, these thoughts become pictures or

visions in our imagination. The constant imaging of biblical pictures and

visions in our imagination will produce a desire to fulfil them. The acting

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 10

out becomes easy because of strong desire. Nobody has a problem doing

what they desire.

The little booklet ‘God’s Meditation Food’ which I wrote, was a small

extract from my meditation file to give Christians a ready tool to personalize

some of the promises of God into their lives. It contains personalized

Scriptures on our position in Christ (all one hundred and fifty of them),

Scriptures on health, healing, prosperity, the thought life, holiness, love and

Scriptural prayers.

Decreeing God’s Word

Once the Word of God is implanted into our spirits, our confession of the

Word takes on a new dimension. It is no longer confessing God’s Word into

us but it is confessing God’s Word against the mountains or circumstances

in our lives. Jesus spoke to storms and they were calmed. He spoke to

sicknesses and they fled. His spoken Word was with great authority. At this

point, our spoken words begin to take on a greater authority and power

when we speak them.

In Mark 11:23, 24, Jesus said that we can speak to mountains and they

shall be removed if we do not doubt. If our hearts are filled with the Word,

we will not doubt. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

If our hearts have been implanted by the Word of God, our hearts would be

filled with faith and not doubt.

The reason Christians claim this promise and speak to the mountains and

it does not work for them is because they doubt in their hearts. They doubt

in their hearts because the Word did not take root in their spirits. They only

have mental assent. If they would only take time to meditate and allow the

Word to take root in their spirits, speaking to the mountains would have

been easy.

We cannot bypass step one, confessing God’s Word into our spirits, and

jump to step two, decreeing God’s Word from our spirits. Jesus said that the

words which He spoke were spirit and life (John 6:63). Jesus was the Word

made flesh (John 1:14). The Word of God is health and life to our flesh

(Proverbs 4:20-22). The Word of God is full of life and affects our thoughts

and even pierces into our bones and marrow (Hebrews 4:12).

There is neither mountain nor any problem that can stand against our

spoken word once our spirits are filled and saturated with the Word of God.

The power of decree is a promise given to all Christians. We can have what

we say and we will only say what is in line with the Word because we are

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 11

filled with the Word. Jesus said that we can have what we say (Mark 11:23).

No matter what traditional churchianity says, confession is still possession

because Jesus said so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 3

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 12

THE ART OF CONTEMPLATION

Confession is loud but contemplation is silent. Contemplation is a lost art

in modern Christianity. The writings of earlier Christians like Savonarola

and Madam Guyon show forth the fact that these are saints who have

learned the art of contemplation. The writings of Sadhu Sundar Singh also

reveal the same depth of contemplation.

Degrees of Mental Strength

The minds of many people have been so perverted and weakened by

temptation that they can hardly concentrate for long on a holy thought. Their

minds are easily distracted and holy thoughts so fleeting as to be negligible.

Such Christians also usually live unsuccessful lives both in the kingdom of

God and in the world at large. There is no possibility of having a holy life

until we have a holy thought life.

Just as people have differing amounts of physical strength, people also

have differing amounts of mental strength. However, those with small sized

and weak bodies may develop them by spending time in physical exercise.

In like manner, those who are mentally weak can develop mental strength

by the exercise of contemplation.

To be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and

peace (Romans 8:6). The act of being spiritually minded – the minding of

spiritual things – is the act of contemplation. Contemplation involves the

concentration of our thoughts on the Word of God. The end result is the

renewal of the mind.

The Four Steps in Contemplation

The Old Testament saints who walked by faith exercised all these four

steps. They received the promises by seeing them, being assured of them,

embracing them and confessing them (Hebrews 11:13). The first step

involves visualizing, the second involves the assurance of faith, the third the

outflow of emotions and the fourth confession. You can see how these steps

are all related to meditation on the Word of God.

The first step involves the imagination. When we read God’s Word it must

not only be sounds to our ears, we must also allow the Holy Spirit to take

the Word of God and create pictures in our imagination. In other words, we

must not only read God’s Word with our intellect but with our imagination.

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 13

A study of the Greek words for ‘mind’ in the New Testament will reveal

the different aspects and workings of the mind of our soul.

The Two Aspects of the Mind

The two main Greek words translated ‘mind’ are the words ‘dialogismos’

and ‘dianoia.’ ‘Dialogismos’ refers to the intellect or reasoning part of our

mind. It is the part that helps us to be logical and analytical. This word has

been translated as ‘reasoning’ in various passages (Luke 9:47; Acts 18:4,

19; 2 Corinthians 10:5). The other word ‘dianoia’ has been translated

‘imagination’ and ‘mind’ and is the more common word used in the New

Testament (Luke 1:51; 10:27; Heb 8:10; 10:16). This word has been used in

relationship to the heart (Luke 1:51; Hebrews 8:10). I believe that ‘dianoia’

has a direct relationship with the imagination part of our mind for Paul

speaks of the eyes of our ‘dianoia’ (Ephesians 1:18 ‘understanding’ –

‘dianoia’).

The equivalent word for ‘imagination’ in the Hebrew Old Testament is the

word ‘yetzer’ which carries the same meaning. It has been translated

‘imagination’ several times (Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Deuteronomy 31:21; 1

Chronicles 28:9; 29:18). The Bible shows very clearly that God is

concerned about our imagination. The renewal of the mind must include the

renewal of the imagination.

The Importance of Visualizing

When Eve saw the fruit of the tree of knowledge, she desired it

(Genesis3:6). When Lot saw the natural goodness of the land by the valley,

he made the wrong choice (Genesis 13:10). When Achan saw the

Babylonian garment together with silver and gold, he coveted and took them

(Joshua 7:21). When King David saw Bathsheba, he lusted for her and

committed adultery followed by murder (2 Samuel 11:2). Wrong

imaginations have caused the downfall of many.

However on the positive side, when Abraham saw the dust by day and the

stars by night as his descendants, faith began to arise in his heart to actualize

the promises of God (Genesis 13:14-16; 15:5, 6). Two people can face the

same set of circumstances but if the imagination of each is different, they

will have differing results. The ten spies saw themselves as grasshoppers

and ended up dying in the wilderness, whereas Joshua and Caleb saw that

they were well able to overcome the giants and they entered and possessed

the promised land (Numbers 13:28, 30, 33).

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 14

The difference between successfully walking on water and drowning lies

in the thoughts and imaginations. Peter started walking on water based upon

the spoken Word of Jesus but when he saw the waves, he was afraid and

began to sink (Matthew 14:28-30). It was not what took place outwardly

that determined the miracle of walking on water but it was what took place

inwardly – the thoughts and imaginations!

The Method of Contemplation

When we read the Bible, we should ask the Holy Spirit to help us picture

the passages which we are reading. For example, if we are reading the

account of Jesus walking on the water in Matthew chapter fourteen, we

should close our eyes for a moment and see, in the eyes of our imagination,

Jesus walking on water. We should hear the waters gushing, the wind

howling, see the pitch of night in the early hours of the morning.

Our imagination should then catch the disciples rowing the boat, panting

and gasping away, with great effort against the strong contrary winds. Then

we hear the scream of the disciples as they notice a distant figure drawing

near them on the surface of the sea. At first there was a scream, then there

was a pandemonium of panicky screams as someone suggested that it was a

ghost. It must have been the strong waves and turbulent sea that kept them

from abandoning ship.

It was then that they heard the voice of their Master calling, “Fear not! It is

I!” For a moment there was dead silence. Then the gruff voice of Peter

pierced the stillness of the disciples saying, “Lord, if it is You, command me

to come on the water to you.”

The above is a short example of how the imagination can make a few

verses of the Bible come alive. We should not only read the Bible but we

should read the Bible with our imagination. At first we find it difficult to

picture anything because our imagination needs training and development.

However, gradually the mind will be strengthened and we can visualize

Scriptures that are more difficult to picture like the epistles. Through time

and training our ability to mind spiritual things increases and we begin to

reap the benefits of a peaceful and holy mind.

Just as an athlete would train a little everyday to develop physical strength

and stature, we should take time everyday to train our minds in the

contemplation of God’s Word. From five minutes we can increase to fifteen

minutes, half and hour and then one hour.

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 15

Therefore, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever

things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely,

whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, if there is anything

praiseworthy, meditate and think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

The Assurance of the Promises

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen

(Hebrews 11:1). Faith is the evidence and assurance we experience in our

spirits when the promises of God are implanted into our spirits. This

assurance takes place only when the process of meditation and visualizing

has impregnated our spirits. Without this process of implanting the Word

into our spirits, we would merely have information and knowledge about the

promises which would only be mental assent.

Abraham received the promise of God regarding an heir when he was

about seventy-five years old but when God spoke to him about a child in his

ninety-ninth year, Abraham laughed in unbelief (Genesis 12:4; 15:4; 17:17).

He believed that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars (Genesis

15:5, 6). At ninety-nine, he thought that Ishmael would be the key to that

fulfilment (Genesis 17:18).

Abraham had assurance for the promise concerning his descendants but he

had not yet received assurance for a son through Sarah. In spite of his initial

reaction of unbelief, Abraham became fully convinced – fully assured – that

God was able to perform what He had spoken. His assurance came despite

the impossible circumstances that faced him in the deadness of Sarah’s

womb and in his own sterile body (Romans 4:19). It was in such

circumstances that God asked Abraham and Sarah to change their names.

From that moment onwards, Abraham did not waver at the promise of

God. He was strengthened in faith and gave glory to God (Romans4:20).

Since faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, Abraham

was strengthened in faith by considering and meditating upon God’s

promise to him. Giving glory to God speaks of thanksgiving to God.

Meditation upon God’s Word produces assurance.

Embracing the Promises

Embracing the promises of God involves experiencing all the feelings

involved in the fulfilment of the promises of God. To see implies distance,

to be assured implies confidence, to embrace implies closeness. By this

stage whatever has been visualized and contemplated upon begins to

produce the good feelings involved. Being assured speaks of the confidence

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 16

received without feelings. Faith does not follow feelings but feelings are to

follow faith.

For example, if you are an athlete and you are lying sick in a hospital bed.

Visualizing the promises of God for healing, you should see yourself

running again. You are confessing the healing Scriptures to yourself. You

see yourself in a race. The crowds are cheering. You are in full health

running steadily to the lead. The joy of victory fills you. Your family

congratulates you. The joy of what you visualize so captivates you that you

forget that you are still in a hospital bed. You start rejoicing in what you

visualize and then suddenly you realize that you are still in bed. By then the

assurance of healing and health has been built stronger into your spirit.

In the first step of seeing the promise, you hold the vision but now in the

third step of contemplation, the vision holds you. It moves you. It motivates

you. It touches you. The reality of the vision far surpasses the reality of the

things around you. This is what is meant by embracing the promises. You

experience the vision emotionally.

Confessing the Promises

By the time your visualization and contemplation has reached step three,

embracing the promises, the fourth step of confession is easy. Many people

find this fourth step difficult because they have not gone through the first

three steps. Confessing the promises involves calling those things which be

not as though they were. It is the same principle as decreeing the promises

covered earlier.

When we have spoken to the mountain to be removed, we are to believe

that we have received (Mark 11:23, 24). Abraham called himself a father of

many nations before he and Sarah received Isaac. To the world, he would be

telling a lie because they can’t see it yet but in God, he was telling the truth

because God had said it. He believed God rather than circumstances.

It is important to differentiate confession of things to come as though they

were and denying the existence of things as they are. Abraham was not

denying the existence of the impossibility in his circumstances but he was

denying the right of those circumstances to continue to exist. The cult of

Christian Science denies the existence of natural circumstances claiming

that it is all a mental mirage. Faith confession, however, understands that

natural circumstances are real but they can be changed and moulded by

believing and confession. This principle did not start with the faith

movement but it started in Jesus’ ministry.

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 17

Jesus showed the power of words over circumstances and exhorted His

disciples over and over again to believe and exercise the same dominion.

For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and

be cast into the sea,’ and shall not doubt in his heart, but believes that those

things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says (Mark

11:23).

If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move

from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you

(Matthew 17:20).

If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to

the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain,’ Be removed and be cast

into the sea,’ it will be done (Matthew 21:21).

Jesus leaves us no room to doubt that if we have faith, our words will

carry the power to change our circumstances. We can have what we confess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 4

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 18

THE IMPORTANCE OF WORDS

Spoken words play an important role in the Christian life. If a person

claims to be religious or spiritual but does not know how to control their

tongue, their spirituality is false (Jam. 1:26). There are two Greek words

translated as ‘word’ in the New Testament. The first is ‘logos’ which means

‘the living word’ – the source of all ideas, words and creation (the life

principle). The second is ‘rhema’ which means ‘the spoken word.’

Understanding ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’

‘Logos,’ for the understanding of the Christian, can be taken as all the

total Wisdom of God inclusive of that which He has revealed to man in the

written Word, the Bible. Therefore, the written Word can be taken as a

compilation of His revealed ‘logos’ to man.

‘Rhema’ has always meant ‘the spoken word’ and for our study we will

take it as meaning this. Many Christians have a vague idea of the difference

and relationship between the two words ‘logos’ and ‘rhema.’ Some

Christian books and teaching have separated the identity of the ‘logos’ and

‘rhema’ that Christians don’t realize the relationship and link between both.

‘Rhema’ is a part of ‘logos’ revealed and manifested to a specific person

for a specific purpose and a specific time. It applies directly to the person

who receives the ‘rhema’ and indirectly as an example and teaching to

others. The Bible contains ‘logos’ but at one time all the ‘logos’ in the Bible

was ‘rhema’ to the people in the Bible. The ‘rhema’ comes from the ‘logos’

and a compilation of all the ‘rhema’ is the ‘logos.’

One way we can illustrate this is by the analogy of the human body. The

whole human body represents the ‘logos’ and the individual cells represent

the ‘rhema.’ Each of the individual and microscopic cells have a specific

function in a specific position and they live for a specific time. The whole

body actually consists of billions of cells.

Sometimes in the Bible the words ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’ have been used

interchangeably. In the book of Acts chapter ten, Luke the author, records

that while Peter was speaking these ‘rhema,’ the Holy Spirit fell upon all

those who heard the ‘logos.’ Both these words were translated ‘words’ in

the English Bible. The two words ‘logos’ and ‘rhema’ have been used to

refer to the same sermon which Peter preached.

All Promises in God’s Word are ‘Rhema’

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There are miracles in the Bible like parting the Red Sea, stopping the sun

and moon and walking on water which are records of how men of God

heard a ‘rhema’ for themselves and wrought such great miracles. Those

miracles are not ‘rhema’ to us. Therefore, if anyone wants to do such

miracles, they need to hear a ‘rhema’ for themselves.

However, there are some promises in the Bible that are clear-cut ‘rhema’

to all who read the Bible. Scriptures like ‘whoever believes in Him,’ ‘if

anyone is sick,’ or ‘he who believes in Me’ are all ‘rhema’ to as many as

come across those Scriptures (John 3:16; Jam. 5:14; John 14:12). We do not

need to ask God whether it is His Will for us to be saved. His Word tells us

clearly His Will (1 Timothy 2:4).

Some Christians equate walking on water with healing. They say that just

as we need to hear from God before we can walk on water, we need to hear

from God before we can be healed. They do not realize that walking on

water is not a promise but healing is a promise! The two Scriptures do not

stand in the same category. Scriptures that are not classified as promises are

records of the possibility of God working a miracle in a certain area but to

do them we still need to hear a fresh ‘rhema’ and command from God.

On the other hand, Scriptures that are classified as promises, some

conditional and some unconditional, are dependent on the conditions

specified for each promise to be fulfilled. Those who say that claiming

healing by faith through God’s Word is Christian humanism, advocate

claiming salvation by faith through God’s promises in the Scriptures. To be

consistent with their unsound theology, they might as well classify claiming

salvation in Christ based on the Scriptures as Christian humanism because it

is twisting God’s arm to save us from our sins based on what He promised

in His Word.

The problem is not in whether healing is God’s ‘rhema’ to us but rather in

the art of meditation on God’s Word until the assurance or faith has dropped

into our hearts. Many Christians act on God’s Word claiming healing by

faith in the Word without any assurance in their hearts. They do it not

because faith has risen in their hearts but because they have seen others do

  1. God’s Word is merely information to their minds but not revelation to

their hearts yet.

A Definition of Confession

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The word ‘confession’ comes from the Greek word ‘homologos’ which

literally means ‘the same as logos.’ Therefore, confession is to say the same

thing as the ‘logos’ or God’s Word says about ourselves or our

circumstances. I call this ‘Word confession.’ The operation of this principle

is the operation of the same spirit of faith. And since we have the same spirit

of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we

also believe and therefore speak (2 Corinthians 4:13).

When the Israelite spies came back from the promised land, ten of them

spoke words of defeat and discouragement. The Bible tells us that they gave

a bad report (Nu. 13:32). What they said was not in line with what God said

and promised. Only Joshua and Caleb said they were able to overcome. It

was also only Joshua and Caleb who entered the promised land.

Before David ever threw a single stone at Goliath, he boldly said that he

would give the flesh of Goliath and all the Philistines to the birds of the air

and the beasts of the field that all the earth may know that there is a God in

Israel (1 Samuel 17:46). He released a Word confession before he released a

stone from his sling.

The confession of our mouth works for or against us, positive or negative.

When Jacob unknowingly said that whoever has Laban’s false gods should

not live, Rachel, who had taken the idols, subsequently died (Genesis 31:32;

35:16-19). Jesus said that we will be judged by every word that we speak

(Matthew 12:36, 37). Death and life are in the power of the tongue

(Proverbs 18:21). The tongue has the power to control and rule the whole

course of nature (James 3:4-6).

James, in his writings in chapter three of his epistle, compares the tongue

to the bit in a horse’s mouth and the rudder of a ship. In modern analogy,

the tongue would be equivalent to the steering wheel of a car. It is the

steering wheel of a car that determines where the direction is. No matter

how powerful the car is, the steering wheel still controls the direction of all

its power. In like manner, the words we speak will control the course and

direction of our whole life. We should be careful what we say and only say

what is in line with the Word of God.

The Importance of Tongue Control

In almost all his epistles, which give explicit instructions on the conduct

of Christian life, Paul emphasizes the control and restraint of the tongue.

In Romans, Paul exhorts to stay away from and note those who cause

division through their words (Romans 16:17, 18).

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In First Corinthians, he exhorts the speaking of things that bring edification

(1 Corinthians 14:26).

In Second Corinthians, he said that his written words were not for

destruction but for edification (2 Corinthians 13:10).

In Galatians, he tells the church not to bite and devour one another

(Galatians 5:15).

In Ephesians, he tells us to let no corrupt word proceed out of our mouth but

only that which is good for edification (Ephesians 4:29).

In Philippians he tells us to meditate on things which have virtue

(Philippians 4:8).

In Colossians, he tells us to do everything in word or deed in the Name of

the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father (Colossians 3:17).

In Thessalonians, he tells us not to be busybodies (2 Thessalonians 3:11).

In First Timothy, he tells us be an example to believers in word (1 Timothy

4:12).

Paul tells us not to consent to those who do not have wholesome words in

line with the words of our Lord Jesus. He tells us to avoid profane and idle

babble (1 Timothy 6:3, 20).

In Second Timothy, he tells us that a servant of God must be gentle and not

be quarrelsome (2 Timothy 2:24).

In Titus, he tells us to have sound speech that cannot be condemned and to

avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions and strivings which are

unprofitable and useless (Titus 2:8; 3:9).

In Hebrews, he tells us that Jesus is the High Priest of our Confession and

therefore to hold fast to our confession (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14; 10:21-23).

Anyone who reads the epistles without seeing that the Christian life

involves the control of the tongue needs their eyes to be examined. The

Word of God leaves us no room to doubt that it is a part and parcel of the

normal Christian life to speak the right words that are in line with the Word

of God.

Grieving the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, as a person, is sensitive to the words that we speak.

Notice how verse thirty in Ephesians chapter four is sandwiched between

two verses which has reference to the tongue. Verses twenty-five, twentynine

and thirty-one of the same chapter emphasizes the control of the

tongue. From this context, we can conclude that the grieving of the Holy

Spirit has to do as much with our words as with our actions.

Sometimes when a wrong word or conversation was indulged in by people

in my presence, I have felt a grieving in the Spirit. I did not realize it then,

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 22

but subsequently in learning to walk closely with the person of the Holy

Spirit, I have found Him to be sensitive to a lot of things which we human

beings are dull to.

We can also see that when the Holy Spirit takes control of a person, one of

the first things that happens is that the person speaks forth in a new tongue.

Since the tongue, according to the epistle of James, is the control centre of

our being, it would only be natural that the Holy Spirit would seek the

control of our tongue when He fills us. The filling of the Holy Spirit will

result in the control of our tongues to utter forth psalms, hymns and spiritual

songs (Ephesians 5:18, 19). The saturation of the Word of God in our lives

will also result in the same control (Colossians 3:16).

The Faith Confession

One of the obvious manifestations that we believe that God has heard our

prayers is the way we converse about those things we have prayed about.

Hearing the way some Christians talk about the things they prayed about

sometimes gives us the picture that they do not believe that God has heard

them. Their prayers seem to be just a religious exercise. God is real! He is a

rewarder of those who seek Him diligently (Hebrews 11:6).

Some people find it difficult to confess what God’s Word says about their

situation because they have not really believed in their heart. They need to

take God’s Word until faith rises in their heart and then make the confession

of faith. David could speak boldly against Goliath because he really

believed that God would help him defeat Goliath. The faith confession is to

believe in the heart first and then confess with the mouth.

The problem why some confessions do not materialize is because while

the mouth confessions are being made, the heart is in doubt. Please note that

Mark eleven verse twenty-four is dependent on the quality of the heart not

to doubt. You can have what you say if it is in line with the written Word

and if you do not doubt.

 

 

CHAPTER 5

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE THOUGHT LIFE

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 23

Many Christians are concerned about changing the outward life – their

habits and behaviour – without first changing their thought life. There can be

no holy actions without a holy thought life. If Christians will change their

thought life, they will be able to change their conduct. A lot of preaching

demands a change of the outward life like quitting smoking and drinking,

etc. Christians who hear such preaching struggle to quit and do not succeed

because they did not change inwardly first.

Jesus and the Thought Life

The revolution that Jesus brought forth to mankind was the replacing of

the Old Covenant with the New. The Old Covenant concerns itself with the

outward life. Paul makes it very clear in the book of Romans that the

struggle to conform to the righteous commandments of the law was not

outward inability but inward inability.

Paul speaks about the willingness and desire of the spirit man to follow

after the law (Romans 7:22). However, he sees another law of sin warring

against his mind (Romans 7:23). The warfare is in the mind! Later on in the

same book, he mentions the importance of minding the right things

(Romans 8:5,6). In Corinthians, he clearly stated that we are to bring every

thought to the captivity of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Jesus emphasized in His teaching that it was not just the action that is

important but the thoughts we think and harbor which are of prime

importance. If a man looks at a woman with a lustful thought, Jesus

considered it committing adultery in the heart (Matthew 5:28). He said that

it was the thoughts of the heart that defiled a man (Matthew 15:19, 20).

Jesus pointed out that doubts in the heart, which are actually thoughts

contrary to the Word of God, would render faith that moves mountains

inoperative (Mark 11:23;Matthew 21:21).

Jesus also clearly pointed out that the reason why Peter failed to

successfully walk on the water was because of his doubts (Matthew 14:31).

Jesus demanded of Jairus that he be not afraid when bad news was given to

him (Mark 5:36). To be afraid is to be filled with fearful thoughts. To

believe and not doubt is to be filled with faith-filled thoughts. Jesus leaves

us no doubt to the fact that what goes on in the thought life is of great

importance to the successful receiving and performing of miracles.

The Relationship of the Mind to the Spirit World

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The realm of thoughts is also the realm where satan places his temptations

before us. Bad thoughts, evil thoughts, fearful thoughts and lustful thoughts

all have their origin in him. He builds strongholds over people’s lives by

feeding them the wrong thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5). The downfall of

Adam and Eve started with their listening to the words and thoughts of

satan. By giving contrary thoughts to the Word of God, he produces doubt

and unbelief.

Have you ever stopped to realize that satan is a fallen spirit being and not

a natural flesh and blood being? If so, did you realize that a spirit being is

having an effect on the thought realm? There is a direct relationship

between the thought realm and the spirit realm. The human mind is a

spiritual sensor and receiver of the things in the spirit world.

Of course, in its fallen state as it is, the human mind is not a perfect

instrument to sense the spirit realm. However, we continue to see a definite

link between the spirit world and the mind. When God created Adam and

Eve, the mind of man was a perfect vehicle to relate to the spirit realm. Ever

since Adam fell into sin, darkness has reigned in the minds of man. Paul

wrote that the minds of man, alienated from the life of God, have their

understanding darkened (Ephesians 4:17, 18).

The Purpose of the Mind

The thoughts that we receive come from three realms. They can come

from the physical realm, from the mental realm (where we think our own

thoughts), or from the spiritual realm. If we could isolate the thoughts from

the physical and mental realm from the thoughts of the spiritual realm, we

would be more spiritually sensitized. And if we could further dissect the

thoughts of the Holy Spirit placed into our minds through our spirit from the

thoughts of satan, we would be God-sensitized.

The sinister reason why satan seems to try to block our thought life with

temptations is that he wants to prevent us from discerning the thoughts from

the Holy Spirit. It is similar to radio operators trying to jam a transmission

by transmitting on the same wave length. The static produced is such that

we either completely cannot hear the broadcast we want or there is too much

electrical noises and static that the transmission we want to hear is hardly

audible. Once Christians realize the purpose of the mind as a receiving

station for thoughts from the Holy Spirit, we will never again entertain bad

thoughts which block our receiving channel.

This is not to say that God transmits directly into our minds but rather God

transmits to our spirits. Spirit communicates to spirit. However, what the

© Copyright 2008 Peter Tan Evangelism. All rights reserved. 25

Holy Spirit transmits to our human spirits will rise up as inner thoughts in

our minds if our minds are renewed and tuned to our human spirits.

The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword piercing even to the

division of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner

of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Why should we

discern the thoughts that are in our mind? The purpose is to discern between

those thoughts that are from God and those that aren’t. The instrument for

doing that is the Word of God.

Jesus told His disciples that the Word has made them clean (John 15:3).

He told them in the preceding verse that those who bear fruit must be

pruned that they may bear more fruit (John 15:2). It is interesting to note

that the words ‘clean’ and ‘pruned’ come from the same Greek word. Jesus

was actually pointing out that the pruning process is done by the Word. The

Word cleanses our thoughts and the intents of our heart. The perfection of

the church of Jesus Christ has also been compared to Jesus cleansing His

bride with the washing of water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26).

The Benefits of a Sound Mind

Jesus Christ demands not only the sanctification of our bodies but also the

sanctification of our minds. Part of the process of the sanctification of the

mind begins when we begin to take God’s Word and contemplate upon it

every day. We need to revive the early Christian teachings on contemplation

to make stronger Christians. When we have a firm grasp of the truths which

Christians have unfolded centuries earlier, combined with the truths of the

present Pentecostal revival, we will have a revival powerful in its outward

and inward forms.

A sound mind reaps the benefits of life and peace (Romans 8:6). Paul’s

exhortation in Romans chapter eight was that Christians would mind the

things of the Spirit so much that they could be led by the Holy Spirit. Note

the words ‘therefore’ which he uses in conclusion to his exposition on the

benefits of being spiritually minded in verse twelve. He connects spiritualmindedness

to being led by the Holy Spirit without the spirit of fear

(Romans 8:14).

Moreover, one of the strongest senses of the inner witness is the peace of

God. The Amplified Bible states emphatically to let the peace of God act as

an umpire continually in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). The Holy Spirit leads

and umpires us by the peace of God in our hearts. We cannot have this

peace without minding the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:6). Furthermore,

Paul in speaking about the ‘umpiring effect’ of peace in our hearts also in

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the very next verse tells us to let the Word of Christ dwell richly (

abundantly ) in our hearts (Colossians 3:16). The contemplation of God’s

Word will bring us to a greater sensitivity to be led by the Holy Spirit.

The two principle keys of confession and contemplation must be mastered

by any Christian who sincerely wants a closer walk with God. These

principles are essential to the whole Christian life including the life of a

minister. Neglecting these principles will lead to shallowness in the

Christian life. Do not procrastinate. Start now to master these two

principles. God is not far from us. He is there all the time waiting for us to

learn to draw into His presence.

“For this commandment which I command you today, it is not too

mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say,

‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us that we may hear it

and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea that you should say, ‘Who will go over

the sea for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it?’ But the Word

is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. See, I

have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command

you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His

commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and

multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to

possess.” Deuteronomy 30:12-16

 

 

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