"You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
You worship what you do not know. Do you really know what or whom you worship? Really? Or do you worship because you think singing a song really emotionally is worship? Raising your arms up, singing really emotionally, even with tears rolling down your cheeks…..yes, sometimes these can be signs of a true worshipper, but they are not evidence of true worship, is it? I’ve seen people cry and even fall unconscious at a Michael Jackson concert. Earlier days, it used to be the same at Elvis Presley's concerts. Those could be signs of a true fanatic or evidence of sheer insanity. And there are others who genuinely love the music and the atmosphere, the lyrics and the gyrating tunes. All kinds of people, fanatic, insane or otherwise, all enjoy the Michael Jackson concert without really “knowing” Michael himself. Neither did they know Michael nor did Michael know them and probably didn't care either. There are many today who literally worship movie stars, singers and sports celebrities or at the least "adore" them without knowing them in person.
Likewise, there are many who praise, shout and applaud Jesus for various reasons. Some because of the atmosphere, lighting, sound and performance of the band. And some others because they just saw a sign or a miracle happen or possibly they themselves got healed of a sickness and then some others because everyone else in the building are doing it and they just want to impress others. But then there are some others who worship because they really know their God. They know Him intimately and personally. They know Him enough to confidently say that they talk to Him everyday. They know He listens and even talks back. They hear the loving voice of their God talking back to them. Jesus said "My sheep know my voice".
In John 4:23, Jesus mentions “true worshipers”. This implies there are fake ones. The Father in heaven seeks true worshipers who worship in Spirit and in truth.
When we sing and praise and worship what we do not know, that’s not really worship. But if you do know Him intimately, you cant help but praise and worship Him. You suddenly realize there’s not much you can do but worship His Majesty. He is awesome. He is so Majestic. He is so loving. He is so compassionate. He is so forgiving and gentle. He is kind. He is full of wisdom and power.
Have you considered Him? Have you sat back and thought “Why did Jesus do what He did for me?” Who am I that He should care for me? He didn’t have to. He is God. He could have easily wiped us out of the planet like we wipe a white board clean and started all over. But that would go against His nature. He is a God of love. Perfect love.
When I got saved, I was transformed inwardly immediately, but I wasn’t perfect. I genuinely wanted to be, but I soon realized I couldn’t. I began to be able to "see" the sinful nature in me and I began to loathe my sin in me. I could see Him as a Holy God and me; an absolutely stinking sinful man in His glorious presence. I wanted to be clean, but the more I tried, the more I realized how weak I was and how much of a slave I was to sin. There’s nothing I didn't try, but I found myself failing, seeking forgiveness, failing, seeking forgiveness, failing, seeking forgiveness again and again. Until I realized, this is exactly why Jesus came. So that there may be no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Read Paul’s dilemma in Romans 7. The more I confessed Jesus' Lordship over my life and the more I confessed His righteousness over my life, the weaker sin became. The more I believed in His life in me, the less conscious I became of my sin in me. Eventually sinful habits began falling away from my life like dried bark off of a tree trunk.
That’s why I love Jesus so much. Apart from Him I am nothing, you are nothing and I hope you realize that. Because when you die to yourself, you are more alive than you think you could be, because His life flows through you. There is nothing I can do to make Him stop loving me. There’s nothing I can do to make Him love me more. There’s nothing I have done to make Him love me less. What can you do to such a God? Except fall down and Worship!!!
We humans have a problem. It’s called EGO and PRIDE. We struggle receiving a free gift. We always attempt to try and pay back somehow. But what can you pay God?...So when you consider Him and His love, there’s nothing you can do, absolutely nothing, but praise Him, Worship Him, Adore Him and live each moment of your life with perpetual gratitude for your salvation. Lets not try to pay Him back with our pitiful efforts to portray a holy life. Let's simply accept His free gift of righteousness and accept the fact that we cannot do anything except worship Him with heartfelt gratitude. That’s worshiping Him in Spirit and Truth.
The next time, you are at church and when you begin singing, pay attention to the lyrics, close your eyes, imagine you are singing every word of it to Him and Him alone, remind yourself of how He has saved you, rescued you and blessed you, fill your heart with thankfulness and start singing. Even if you run out of words, just make a tune and hum it along or if you speak in tongues, start worshiping in tongues. Nothing in this world or in the world of the evil one can snatch you from the love of Christ. Be rest assured you are safe in His powerful hold. He will see you through all your hardships. He will carry you through and turn your sorrow into joy. Keep praising Him and worshiping Him. He builds His throne on the praises of His people. Your worship will cause Him to rest in you and if He is in you, what do you have to fear?
Be blessed friends. I Love you all in the Lord. Should you need me to pray for you, leave a comment below and I will definitely pray and come back to you.
Biblical Humility is a lot different to what most people think humility is.
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name [is] Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy [place], With him [who] has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
He promises in His word to dwell with him who is of a humble spirit, and also to revive the spirit of the humble. Is not this glorious? A continual revival. It must be so. His dwelling place must necessarily correspond with Himself with respect to life. The God-life is there, and the spirit of the humble receives continual sustenance. To understand Biblical Humility, there is no better representation than our Lord Jesus Himself. Jesus demonstrated true humility. We call it "Biblical Humility" just to differentiate it from what the world calls humility.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”*
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."
Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Better [to be] of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
"who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end--
"And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you [and] test you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground.
When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble [is] wisdom.
What is Biblical Humility? Of course we see many verses in the bible teaching us to be humble. Is it something we do by making a choice? How do we humble ourselves? How do we know if we are humble or not? Jeremiah says “Our hearts are full of deceit and desperately wicked.”
"The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
To really understand Biblical Humility, its important to understand pride. How does God view us?
The verse in Deut 8:2 and 8:16 –
Deu 8:2"And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you [and] test you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
We know we are under grace now, but all the more because He loves us, He chastises us. Sometimes when we go through things we don’t understand and feel miserable about it, …in the end, we come out better and more humble.
Secondly, our salvation itself…how precious is it to you? We need to get an in depth understanding of our salvation. We are absolutely wicked in all things. There is NO GOOD thing in us. We should be able to realize and see the sinfulness in us, even to an extent of despising ourselves, (Jesus said,…he who does not hate his…..even his own life, cannot be my disciple). But there is a healthy approach to despising yourself instead of descending into depression. The more we despise our sinful self, the more we love Jesus. The more we see how much we have been forgiven of, the more we love Jesus. He who has been forgiven much, loves much. Pride is when we have forgotten what we've been forgiven of.
When we rest on His grace, and not on our ability concerning ALL things in life, He becomes our source of life, peace, joy and gladness. He becomes everything in our life. He becomes our LIFE SUPPORT just as a dying patient in an Intensive Care Unit would be totally dependent on a life support to stay alive. And that makes us humble because our complete identity rests upon Him.
Have you noticed, whenever there is self effort involved to accomplish something, there is also along with it, lack of peace, anxiety, fear of losing, determination, wanting to win, wanting to succeed, etc..That’s why when things dont work out the way we expect them to, we feel miserable and think of a clever strategy to try something new. We explain it away with words like "we need to ask God for wisdom", etc.
True biblical humility brings us to a place where when we pray, we are not anxious about the outcome. We are willing to embrace whatever outcome we have, because our trust is in Him and we absolutely know that He knows better and He will always make it good. True biblical humility comes when you get to a place where you have no confidence in the flesh. When you get a revelation of "Apart from Him, you can do nothing."
Two individuals came to Jesus, each with a deep spiritual problem. One found life, but the other lost it. What was the difference? The first person was a rich young ruler who approached the Lord with the most burning question of his heart: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).
He was not seeking a religious debate as so many others did. He honestly wanted to know. When Jesus listed five of the commandments, the young man replied that he had a perfect record in keeping them all. Christ simply responded to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor . . . and come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22). Scripture tells us that the rich ruler went away sorrowful (Matthew 19:22).
The second man (Luke 19:2 – 19:8) was also rich, but he had gained his wealth by shamelessly defrauding others. Zacchaeus was a well-known crook and most people hated tax collectors. When Jesus came to his house, He said nothing to the man about selling his house or giving his money away. Amazingly, Zacchaeus freely made the decision to give half of his possessions to the poor and restore four times the amount he stole to everyone he had cheated.
Both the rich young ruler and Zacchaeus were rich. But what was it that compelled Zacchaeus to respond so differently than the rich young ruler?
When Zacchaeus saw Christ, he saw the pearl of great price. He saw in Him everything, all things, completion. Zacchaeus realized that all things pertaining to life is in Christ alone. He realized, If I have Him, I can easily give away everything. What else do I need?
2 Peter 1:3 – as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
But when the young ruler saw Jesus, he didn’t see that pearl of great price in Christ Jesus. If we could know what his thoughts were that day, I imagine most of them were focused on what he would be giving up, more than what he would gain in Christ.
We very often make the same mistake as the rich young ruler. We truly want to follow Christ and experience His abundant life, but we focus on what we may have to give up and are afraid to let go of those things we have relied on for so long. The things of this world gives us a "false sense of security" which we cling on to. We call it "being wise" "being practical", and other terms to explain it away. Ever tried "being foolish for the Lord"? Ever tried "letting go of the things this world clings on to for security"?
I challenge you to try it. Try walking out into the street and pick a random person who appears to be lonely. Invite him/her to lunch. (Be careful, for there are some dangerous criminals out there too). For a change, don't worry about the money you'll have to spend on a stranger. Don't worry about what your friends will think. Just be foolish and do something contrary to the world. Treat the person to a sumptuous lunch. Just sit with the person and talk about life and display the love of Jesus towards the person. If you get a chance, talk about your faith in the Lord and what He has done for you. Bless the person and leave. Tell me thereafter that you don't feel more alive for having “given” away your time and money!!! Examine yourself thereafter. If you are cringing at the money you spent and feeling guilty for having done so, then you know where your heart is. On the other hand, if you are feeling alive and joyful like never before, praise the Lord. You've got it!!! You have found that precious pearl of great value in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 10:39 – He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Acts 20:35 - I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
I believe the Lord looks for that “one thing” we grasp so tightly and depend on. It could be anything: our own strength, our abilities, our education, a meaningful relationship, our years of Christian experience, our connections, the good reputation we have established, our position, our extraordinary discernment and other spiritual gifts, our plans for marriage, our financial status, our net worth, or the things of this world like the rich young ruler.
As long as we hold on to that one thing in which we trust, we will never be able to surrender fully to Christ. Such a lack of intimacy with the Lord results in frustration and discouragement on our part.
In addition, that one thing will be a constant hindrance for the rivers of living water to flow freely out from us and give life to others.
How do we recognize the “one thing” still lacking in us? We will know it by the discouragement, tension, bitterness, frustration and irritation that fill our hearts, when that “one thing” is tampered with. God will open our eyes, and we will recognize it if we truly desire to. We will then have the grace to surrender it to the Lord, not by looking at what we are letting go, but by looking at all that we have in Christ— the pearl of great price.
You see, if “our riches,” that which we value most is, our relationship with the Lord and what we have in Him, then no raging storm can cause any disturbance. I believe the Lord wants us to live in a continual state of seeing Him as "all sufficient" and being content in Him alone. Those whose life is full of joy and in the unhindered presence of the Lord are the ones who experience a continuous feast on Him. Nothing else will matter to them, and abandonment to Christ alone is their obvious choice.
Blessings to you.
We are not of this world. We have been translated into the kingdom of light. We are citizens of another kingdom. Read more...Not of this World
2Cr 13:5 - Examine yourselves [as to] whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless indeed you are disqualified.
What if you were alone in a remote village with a lush green forest around you, perhaps by a stream with the sound of water rushing down smooth rocks and no access to TVs, Radios or the Internet and you read this book called “The Holy Bible”? You had no opportunity to get influenced by any preaching or opinions or ideologies of people. All you would have is your own understanding of the Holy Bible. What conclusion would you come up with? Think about that for a moment.
Shut yourself out from all the preaching, teaching and evangelism you get from the television, crusades, conferences, and seminars. If you started blank with this book The Bible, reading it cover to cover for yourself multiple times and then compared what you understood with what you see in Christianity today, would it thrill you or disturb you? Do you see similarity in the faith of the early Christians and today's Christians? Yes of course there is a difference in culture, technology and knowledge, but at the core of it with regards to our inner self, are we more Christ like today or were the disciples in the bible more Christ like than us?
When so many around us live a so called “Christian” life that can be observed and when there is so much abundance of preaching and teaching on TV, Radio and the internet and when there are so many books written by "famous" preachers easily available for downloads on your kindle or in book shops, why read the Bible? Just copy what others are doing, especially the popular preachers because they seem to have got it all together isn’t it? Why not just listen to some podcast in the car for a few minutes each day and a short prayer every night? Why read the bible? That’s what most professing Christians unfortunately do. People attend conferences in large numbers and prefer "listening" and "watching" rather than reading the word of God and meditating on it for themselves.
Friends, don't get me wrong. There are indeed excellent teachers and preachers out there genuinely called of God for the equipping of the saints. Please do attend church regularly, listen to good teaching and preaching and learn. But do not idolize the preachers. They are also men and women saved by grace through faith just like you and me. They are just as dependent on His grace as you are. They need to feed on the word of God just as you do. Where do you think they got their revelation and sermons from? It is from the same source as you get your revelations from. The Bible!! When the Lord returns, there's not going to be any Bishops, Reverends, Senior Pastors, Associate Pastors or Preachers. We are all going to be on level ground, as sons and daughters of our God the Father, as one awesome family.
In a church, when a group of so called “believers” get together, the one thing that should really stand out is “love for one another’. Jesus said "This is how the world will know that you are my disciples. When you have love for one another." - John 13:35.
With that in mind and when you read through the New Testament; When you really dwell upon the “word of God”, what is it that you understand? What is it you expect to see? Remember, you are in a remote village sitting by a stream reading the Bible for yourself and have no exposure to any preaching or TV or the internet and nobody influencing your thoughts.
I have read the bible and this is what I see. I see a committed people…who got so excited to know that their sins were forgiven and they were now reconciled to God again as originally was in the garden of Eden. They were so excited to experience a brand new life that is totally free from the power of sin and they wanted to get this good news (gospel) out into all the world. I see that we are rescued from sin and death and eternal damnation. There is now no condemnation for us, and that we have the same nature of Christ in us because we have the same Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We are citizens of heaven, we are a NEW creation born of God Himself, we have this amazing grace to put to death the sin in us right now, we have been given authority over the devil, and we are enjoying a sense of liberty. This world's system of success, position, possessions and pleasures don't matter so much anymore. I see that such committed people actually got together and loved each other, and joyfully sang songs of praise to our Lord. They encouraged one another teaching people to have faith in Christ, they healed the sick and cast out demons just as Jesus did, shared all things with each other so that nobody lacked anything and nobody had an excess of anything and called such a gathering “a church”. I see that there was a noticeable difference between people who professed to be Christians and people of the world. They eagerly sent out disciples to go and share the love of Christ to others and planted similar churches where people loved one another. They were not focused so much on the size of a congregation or popularity and reach, but on making disciples for Christ. (The book of Acts)
Believing in Christ is not an "intellectual" understanding of Jesus being the son of God who came and died on the cross for our sins and who rose again. On the contrary, it is fully understanding the purpose of His death and resurrection and completely & wholly relying on the finished work of Jesus for our peace, for our eternal life, for our day to day provision, for our divine health and for our abundant life in the here and now. It is about walking in the newness of life.
Romans 6:4 - We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
In the bible we read, the disciples used to go from house to house, have meals together, break bread and remind themselves of Jesus’ work on the cross and identify themselves with each other as those who belonged to God. A sense of commonality without divisions. This is what a church looked like in the “bible” isn’t it? The persecutors of the early disciples of Christ accused them of having turned the world upside down because they lived a very different life to that of the world. And it was obviously noticeable.
Yet in today's world, (generally speaking) there is so little difference between the world and the church. This is because it is LIGHT that dispels darkness. Darkness will never dispel darkness. Jesus said that we believers are the light of the world and salt of the earth. When we as Christians step into darkness, the works of darkness must flee and it will because we are the light of the world. But if professing Christians live in darkness themselves to blend in with the world, then expecting darkness to flee is a bit naive, don’t you think?
But friends, I do not fret because “that church” that we see in the bible is very much alive today…there are a few of God's children in every church around the world who are truly “the church” and these people are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Its these people that the world is attracted to. It is also these people that get persecuted. So examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourself. Compare your beliefs, your actions and your current life to what it should look like as mentioned in the word of God. I encourage you to read the bible for yourselves and meditate on His word everyday, regularly. I guarantee you, you will change and be transformed with a renewed faith, full of love and revelation. Your life will never be the same again.
The apostle Paul got to know the Lord Jesus personally and intimately so well, that though he endured all kinds of hardships such as imprisonment, stoning, lashings, hunger, shipwrecks and more, he still poured out his life until his very last breath trying to share the love of Christ with the lost. He wasn't too concerned about the number of his followers or how many he could attract to an event. All Paul wanted was for the world to know Jesus Christ just the same way as he did.
2 Tim 1:12-13 - That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I knowwhom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
My dear brothers and sisters, the best way to get to know and walk with the Lord Jesus on a daily basis is to spend quality time in reading His word and meditating on it everyday for yourself. Spend time in prayer alone with Him as you read His word. That's when He speaks to you. Jesus said "My sheep know my voice". You will hear Him speak to you. His Holy Spirit will teach you things you do not know and you will begin to see the world and your very own life in a different way. Do attend conferences and seminars when and if you can, and if you know they are led by genuine Godly individuals, but do not give up your personal quiet time with the Lord. Your personal walk with the Lord is far more important than your participation in church organised programs and events.
Proverbs 4:20-22 says - My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ears to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are LIFE to those who find them, and HEALTH to ALL THEIR FLESH.
His word is true life and true health, but only to those who FIND them. May the Lord Jesus bless you. May His Holy Spirit enable you and grant you the grace to set aside quality quiet time alone with Him and His word everyday. Join our community here on Facebook and be encouraged.
Someone once told me that there are three personalities to every individual.
1> What you display yourself to be.
2> What others think you are.
3> What you really are.
And most often, number (3) is in private. In other words, what you really do when no one is watching.
What’s the biggest lie in your life right now? Something that is not real about you. Something that nobody knows. But you are managing to put up a very “Christian” front. Are you living a lie? Friends, it is natural for us to try and put up a “perfect” front because we do not want to expose our sins to others, but God’s word says, “Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard”. Romans 3:23. The amusing thing is that we think even God will not know.
Psalm 139:1 – 4 - He knows everything there is to know about us. There is nothing, absolutely nothing hidden from Him.
Revelation 3:1 – Jesus said to the church of Sardis…you appear to be alive, but I know you…You are dead.
Jer 23:24 - Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?" says the LORD; "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD.
We can so easily portray an image of ourselves, which we actually are not. This world that we live in, and its systems have conditioned us from childhood to master the art of deception. Every Sunday people go to church, raise hands and worship, make an offering, all in the presence of God and go back home without dealing with the real issue of sin in their lives. That is in fact neglecting a major issue. Sin was what separated man from God and sin was the reason why Jesus had to come. Jesus came to destroy the power of sin in our lives so that we can be free from sin and live being “real” without the need for three different personalities.
Church is meant to help you be real. Don't let the hype and glamour of flashing lights, sound, music, posh buildings, elaborate conferences with outstanding performances and eloquent speakers, and coffee shops define your Christianity. Get real. Deal with sin and overcome it. Then you will truly experience the abundant life that Jesus promised.
It can be likened to a person having a box of cow dung or manure in his living room and he goes about cleaning the windows, doors, and tables. He repaints the outside of house and works hard in the garden and builds a beautiful outdoor space to entertain guests. Everyone admires his house and appreciates his success. He feels good about himself and settles down to watch TV. He completely ignores the big box of stinking manure in his living room, because it is too filthy to touch. That would be absurd, wouldn't it? What would you say to such a person? That's right....Get real.
Matt 23:26 – You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.
We communicate to people according to what we want them to think we are, rather than who we really are. That’s exactly what was happening in the church of Sardis… People look at the size of the church, the music, the programs and activities, the conferences and conclude “This church is so loving, so much on fire for God” ….But God sees through it all and knows the reality. Isn’t it? God says, you’ve done great getting the people to think that about you, but here’s the truth...!! "You appear to be alive, but I know you, you are dead"!! (Rev 3:1) In other words, Get real.
I would like to encourage you to examine yourself. Are you real? Does your lifestyle easily blend into the New Testament?
If we were to ask our friends, what do you think of Tom….and write that down. And then if we were to ask God, what He thought of Tom…would that match? Or would the people say much more flattering things about Tom…than God would? If we are more concerned about what people would say rather than what God would, then we are more concerned about our reputation than our character. And we want people to think that we are a certain type of person rather than be honest before the Lord.
Many a times when I worship, I find myself singing, saying the right things, having a smile on my face when people talk to me, I pray for them using the words that I know are the right words to say…be at prayer meetings, and still feel dry and empty on the inside. When that happens, I find myself putting in extra effort to somehow overcome my emptiness and make myself be in the presence of God. I was told to speak in tongues and start praising God and so on. In other words, fake it till you make it, pretending as if God doesn't know how I feel.
I’ve since learnt that when I know Jesus and the gospel of unending grace in Him, then I enjoy a level of intimacy with Him which allows me to be real. I can then tell Him the way I feel and yet know that He still loves me just the same. That assurance not only keeps me real before the Lord but EMPOWERS me to overcome my weaknesses. It is so liberating to know that I can get real before God anytime, no matter how I feel or what I've done. He knows all things anyway. He knows my deeds even before I did them, He knows my thoughts and desires. He didn’t find out about my sinful deeds when I actually did them and He didn’t get surprised either. There's nothing He does not know about me. So, if I get real before Him and speak my heart out, I'm only being truthful. His love is unending. His mercy endures forever. His grace is sufficient...indeed.
When you are not “real” and transparent before God, then you don’t find church, worship and prayer fulfilling. It is because you are not yet free to be yourself before God. When we truly know what Jesus did for us, and when we know that we are now the righteousness of Christ not because of how good we are and how much self-control we have, but because of Jesus' finished work on the cross, and when we know that apart from Him we are really nothing and can do nothing, then we can get real before Him. We confess before Him however we feel, whatever we are…nothing hidden from Him. He knows it all anyway.
When you are real before God, then you can also be real before a brother or sister whom you can trust. God will lead you to such a person. And there’s much freedom in that confession and also is a mighty witness to the glory of Christ.
This is what confess your sins to one another so that you can be healed, really means. (James 5:16). The alternative is to continue to pretend being who we are and be like the church in Sardis.
When we get real both before God and ourselves, then and only then can we love others just the way they are. And that’s not just the ones who are obvious with their sinful behavior but also those who appear to be good. Because we really don’t know what we don't see. We can then consider everyone else better than ourselves.
Phil 2:3 – Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
That’s what Jesus meant when He said Love your neighbors just as I have loved you. Knowing ALL there is to know about us, He still loves us. Nothing witnesses more powerfully than being real, because when you are real, all glory goes to Christ for the amazing transformation He has done in you. There is nothing to boast about.
The apostle Paul was highly educated and prided in his accomplishments. He was impressed and quietly boastful of what his peers thought of him. But after He met Christ and his heart was exposed before God, he regarded all his accomplishments as absolute rubbish.
Phil 3:8 - Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
People have said a lot of good things about me based on what I “displayed”, but I know that I stand before One who knows ALL there is to know about me. And that doesn't condemn me but helps me be real.
This is what Paul meant when he said “I don’t care who judges me, even when my conscience is clear, that doesn’t make me anything…it’s the Lord who judges me. 1 Cor 4: 3-5
Are you one of those Christians who aspires to be a great leader, or one of those who looks up to someone who is very successful and wants to mimic that person’s success in ministry….or are you one who simply loves Jesus for what He has done for you and want to continuously work on yourself to become more and more like Him? Because that’s really all that matters.
A good test is this. Suppose you had a beautiful place to live in with fantastic views, a luxurious 5-million-dollar home, no financial difficulties, no debts, a genuine comfy life and everybody loved you and thought highly of you, but you had no God, no Jesus, no salvation…would you be content?
It’s easy to be accepted by people and go with the flow. But the rubber hits the road when we really want to be what Christ was like, become honest to ourselves and overcome sin in our lives. That’s Christianity.
The only way people will know that you are genuinely a disciple of Christ is when you love them genuinely, without expecting anything in return. Accepting them just the way they are. And that is only possible when you are honest to yourself and to God and are real without putting on any fake façade. Being real does not mean you have to go tell everyone all the sinful acts you’ve done. Of course not. But when you are real before the Lord, you also realize that there’s nothing to boast of in you and therefore you love everyone else like as though they are better than yourself. Being real gives us a sense of how sinful we actually are and how much we have been forgiven. Such a realization will bring out genuine and pure love for others, and such love when manifested in you, will communicate the gospel with much power.
Luke 7:47 – I tell you, her sins – and they are many, have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.
Your prayers will be genuine and full of faith, (not in your ability to believe without doubting), but fully and totally in the love of God and His power.
Be real friends. Stop faking your walk with God. Tell Him exactly how you feel and what you do when no one is watching. He knows it all anyway. Hate the sin in you and don't feel condemned. He already paid the price for your sins. When you are honest and real, you receive the powerful forgiveness of God, and that Grace of God empowers you to overcome sin. When you are real before Him, you will love Him more because He does not reject you. You will love others just as He loves you. You will see others as better than you.
What is (or was) your New Year resolution? Many people have resolutions at the turn of every New Year. Most of these resolutions last for perhaps a week or maybe a bit more…isn’t it? Some plan to lose weight, some plan to stop smoking or drinking, some plan to give up some other bad habit, some plan to be wiser in spending or saving up and some others plan to regularly go to the gym. How long these resolutions last is anyone’s guess!!
There is nothing wrong with having resolutions and giving it a go. They give you a sense of purpose and motivation albeit temporal. In fact, they can be really good, only if you have the will power to consistently do it. As simple as that may sound, that exactly is the problem too, isn’t it? Will Power! People boast about their will power, their strong determination to do something. Will Power is a great gift from God and sometimes it can save your life. You’ll know that’s true if you ever watched any episode of “I shouldn’t be alive” on TV. But man’s will power is really weak when it comes to giving up something pleasurable. It seems a lot easier to give up something you don’t like anyway. It is a lot easier to donate a shirt or a jacket that you don’t much like or wear, than to donate the one you like the most.
Likewise, when you are pursuing holiness, you may find yourself easily giving up things you don’t much like anyway. But you will struggle giving up something that you find pleasurable or something that is a source of comfort to you when you are upset, depressed, and stressed. And “will power” is not of much use then.
When it comes to giving up a pleasurable habit, when it comes to giving up something we know is wrong, there seems to be a struggle. We try to suppress it for a while because our conscience tells us it is wrong. But we all know that it’s just a matter of time before we get exhausted with the mental battle and give in. Then there goes the resolution out the window.
So….what is going on here!! Why is it that we find ourselves so weak?....Does God has an answer? And if He does, then it should be there in the bible somewhere.
And yes indeed…Read Romans 7:15-25 - “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law of God is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is the sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” NLT
Wow! What a profound truth that we all can relate to, isn’t it?
The fact is that we are all sinful and the sin nature in us wars against our will and mind. This life of ours here on earth is dominated by sin and death. This war will always be there and many times we lose this battle. Could this be a reason why resolutions and freedom programs don’t last? We try to win a spiritual war with human strength. We come up with clever strategies and action plans, but it only goes so far. The root cause of our problem is not the habit or the deed itself, but guilt and condemnation. As long as we have guilt in us, we will always lose this battle. It only takes a moment of disappointment or stress or even a moment of success that leads to indulgence in something we know is wrong.
Is there no solution to this inner struggle? Yes, there is. The solution is in getting rid of the sin nature in us. If we had no sin nature in us, then we would not have a problem. But we do not have the power or ability in us to rid ourselves of our sin nature. We were born with it. But the bible says “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” And chapter 8:1 starts off with “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” NLT
I urge you to set you mind on Romans 8:1,2 and meditate on it for the next three months. Your firm belief in the fact that Christ has set you free and that there is now no condemnation, will EMPOWER you to be free from anything you want to be free from. Nothing will have a hold on you. It is not that Christ has paid the price for your sin and therefore you can just remain to be you and keep sinning without feeling guilty or making any effort to be free. It is quite the contrary.
Romans 8:3 – The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So, God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
Because sin has no control over you that believe in Christ, therefore you can now pursue holiness. You did not have that ability before, but now you do. You now have the ability to be led by the Spirit and not led by the flesh. You could not do that before, but now you can. When you make an attempt to resist, a war begins. Your sinful nature begins to war against your spirit, but now because you believe in Christ and you have the Holy Spirit in you, you can now win that war. At first, you may find the war overwhelming and may lose the battle. But stand up and fight again. God will ensure that you never stay down. The gift of “no condemnation” will give you the strength you need to stand up once more and fight the next round. As you keep doing this, you will begin to see progress. You will begin to experience that you are getting stronger, and the flesh (your sinful nature) is getting weaker. As days go by, you will be walking in victory, and you will have slain your giant.
Keep feeding your mind that you are the righteousness of God in Christ. There is now no condemnation for you because you belong to Christ and watch yourself be filled with immense joy, gladness and most importantly, liberty from all bondage. Christ has set us free and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. You will KNOW the TRUTH and that knowledge of the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.
If you are trying to be free from sin and intend to pursue holiness, then let your resolution be to feed your mind on Romans 7 & 8. I believe you’ll not only be free, but also begin to experience an amazing influx of revelation on the truth of the real gospel message from God’s word. This is the gospel, the Good News. We are free from the power of sin. We are free from guilt, and condemnation. We are free not because God decided to be soft on us and sweep our sins under the carpet, but because Christ His Son took ALL of our sins upon Himself and already bore the wrath of God on our behalf. That's why there is now no condemnation for us. When you understand this truth, guilt will have no hold over you and when guilt has no hold over you, sin has no hold on you, sinful habits have no hold on you. Oh! What a wonderful news. That is the gospel my friends. That is what compels me to share the gospel with others struggling with sin. Do you see that anyone who does not know Christ is under bondage to sin? How can anyone who is a slave to sin be happy? He/she is not free at all.
Our Lord came for this one reason. To set us free from the power of sin. To save us from sin. Adam and Eve lost fellowship with God just because of sin. And sin led to all kinds of immoralities, idolatry and evil. So it is quite obvious that Jesus came to get rid of the root, which is sin. And that He did of course. Yes, He came to save us and grant us eternal life. Yes, we are all being transformed into His likeness. But none of that will be possible if we are still in sin. The bible says “Without holiness no one will see God – Heb 12:14”. But praise God! He has made it possible for us to be holy.
Blessings in abundance to you in the name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Mat 28:19-20 - “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. He gave us; (His disciples, assuming you are one), this Great Commission clearly demonstrating an outstanding example of how to go about doing it. Else there would be no need to say “all things I have commanded you”. This implies that Jesus clearly demonstrated, taught His disciples a “life style” and wanted the disciples to make disciples and teach them the same “life style”.
This is how it would look. First generation disciples make new disciples for Christ and teach them to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in turn make new disciples and teach them to make disciples and live Christ like, who make new disciples and teach them to make disciples and live Christ like…Get the picture. The whole earth should thus be invaded with disciples of Christ who live just as He did; reaching out to the poor, the destitute and lost, sharing the good news of forgiveness and freedom from sin and winning souls for Christ and making disciples out of them, teaching them to do likewise.
This task when done right, Jesus said, will bring about persecution and suffering. It will take courage, boldness and unwavering faith. When persecution comes, the true disciple doesn't pray for "protection" like most believers do today, but they pray for "boldness" like in the book of Acts. Why ask for protection against something we know is unavoidable? It will take disciples who are dead to self and are one with the Lord. It will take a disciple who spends intimate time with the Lord. It will take a disciple who is not at all attracted to what the world considers success. Large congregations, popularity, many invitations to conferences, celebrity status on media networks, well sought after by like minded leaders, a busy travel schedule might all be evidence of success and spirituality in the world's eyes. Such people are considered very influential or even dare I say a so called “man of God”. That's how the world sees success. But the disciple of Christ may not necessarily be well known or be preaching to large congregations. All a disciple can see is a dying lost world, suffering in poverty and pain and his/her heart breaks because the disciple knows Jesus' love for them. A disciple has experienced the forgiveness of Jesus to such an extent that the disciple can’t help but forgive others. A disciple is willing to endure persecution, suffering, threats, and even death just so some might get to experience the love of Christ. Because the true disciple knows he/she is nothing without Christ. The true disciple has understood the meaning of Luke 14: 26, 27 & 33.
Luke 14:26-27 - “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else - your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. NLT
Luke 14:33 - So you cannot be my disciple without giving up everything you own. NLT
1 Cor 11:1 - Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
Here in the above verse, we see Paul categorically stating he imitated Christ. Do you have the confidence to say thus? Paul said it because he was assured he was dead to himself and alive to Christ. “Its no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”. Gal 2:20
Now, that’s evidence of a disciple of Christ. And the great commission is go and make “disciples”.
To truly fulfil the Great Commission, the following needs to be done.
Reach & Win – Mark 1:38, Mark 16:15 (Preach the gospel…The gospel of Christ (the good news of salvation through the finished work on the cross) is the power of God unto salvation. (Rom 1:16)
Equip & Build – Matthew 28:19, Eph 4:12 (Make disciples, teaching them….)
Send & Plant – Acts 14:21-23 (to do all that I have commanded you)
How come most professing Christians don’t even appear to be bothered or hurt when considering the millions that are dying without Christ every day, every hour, every minute. How is it possible for people to walk out of a church service and immediately switch on secular FM upbeat music in their cars and drive away? How is it possible for someone to experience the forgiveness and liberating power of our Lord and then be so caught up with Bless me Lord, Prosper me Lord, Heal me Lord, Keep me happy Lord, whilst thousands around them suffer in poverty, pain and rejection? At best they see a poor drunk or homeless on the street and comment "Oh! how sad"...or "You know, its their choice...they choose to live like that"...and even those thoughts only last for a minute. Is this how Christ loved us?
The bible states that we were DEAD in our trespasses and Christ has made us alive. We were not even in a position to acknowledge Him. While we were still sinners, He died for us.
Could it be that the church is to blame? Could it be that the church has lost its purpose of the Great Commission and is caught up with filling up seats and increasing in size, running well organized programs, conferences and seminars designed to maintain people's interest in the church? The affluent churches spend large amounts of money in attractive buildings, lights and sound equipment's, hosting large conferences, flying like minded preachers from all over the world in expensive flights, accommodating them in 5 star hotels and presenting them with love offerings collected from the attendees promising that God blesses those that give generously. These church leaders somehow seem to believe that such programs are changing the world around them. It’s not. Not even a dent. Majority of those that attend are attracted to the large gatherings, music and the show. It does nothing to set them free from sin. Of course there are very few exceptions but the exceptions are despite the flawed attempt and not because of it. And then there are other smaller churches “aspiring” to be like the affluent one’s and trying real hard to imitate them. They also fail miserably in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Most church leaders equate church size to church growth. So they do all they can using clever human strategies and even hire expensive “church consultants” to help them grow their churches. God equates number of true disciples to church growth. Most churches glory in number of people raising their hands and going forward to pray the so called “sinner’s prayer”. Very few genuinely love the lost enough to tell them the truth and ensure they become disciples of Christ.
Sadly most professing Christians are yet to become a true disciple of Christ…(as per Luke 14:26,27 & 33) because if they truly understood the power of sin and their unworthiness before God, the value and the preciousness of what Jesus has done for them, then they would realize He is truly that pearl for which the farmer sold all he had, to buy that pearl..They will by their new nature, be compelled to share the gospel with the lost. They will by their new nature hurt for the lost and carry the precious Holy Spirit with them.
A “believer” attending church cannot reproduce and therefore doesn't bring about church growth. Only a “disciple” can reproduce and bring about church growth. A disciple can be equipped and trained.
Evangelism through disciple making
Do you see how the early church disciples, though very few in number but full of the Holy Spirit and armed with the gospel of grace through Jesus Christ turned the world upside down? Most part of the early church world knew or had heard about "The Way". But today’s churches with so much more technology, media coverage, books by popular preachers written only to earn millions, cleverly planned strategies for church growth and talented preaching appealing to people’s senses are far from even being considered a threat. Amidst all of this however, are the true disciples of Christ purely motivated by love, who are not in the limelight, not interested in what the world calls success and are “nobody’s” in the circle of the influential. They are seeing multitudes of lost coming to know the love of Christ every day. Their ministries accompany many miracles, signs and wonders just as Jesus said it would. They make disciples and send them out to plant other churches on a weekly basis. Their impact is far greater than a vast majority of the affluent churches with all their conferences, music and large congregations. And at a fraction of the costs.
These are those disciples who willingly endure persecution, beatings, insults, threats, and even death just to preach the gospel. That’s how the church grows and grows strong with mature disciples of Christ, every member doing its part which causes the body to grow. How is it that these “nobody’s” without much money or media coverage are able to do so much more than so called mega churches?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with mega churches, but being a mega church simply means it has so much more opportunity to do what really matters to God. Send out disciples to go and make disciples…..from your own flock which God gave you to care for. Equip and train disciples and send them out to plant new churches. Teach them to evangelize, disciple and plant more churches. If you cant find one single disciple whom you can send out from your large flock and plant a church, that tells you something doesn’t it?
Luke 12:48 - " For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
One organization that I truly admire is Bible League International. They partner with “disciples” across the world and serve under resourced churches with training for evangelism, discipleship and church planting. Bible League also provides all the materials needed for the fulfilment of the Great Commission.
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. - John 4:34
Are you trying to fulfil your “ambition” or committed to fulfil His Great Commission?
You take your stand beside Jesus Christ and His cause and you watch the devil come after you buffeting you from all sides. That’s the persecution and trials Jesus warned His disciples about.
I urge the church to wake up, get back to your first love. Lift Jesus up boldly and preach the truth and He will draw all men unto Himself. Teach Christ, Teach what the Lord has done for us, teach Jesus. You can spend your life time as a preacher teaching Jesus and still will not be able to adequately explain Him and His love for mankind. Compel the lost to see the “preciousness” of Jesus. Teach the lost to release their hold on pride, on self esteem, self effort and faith in the flesh. Teach them humility and to rely on Christ and Christ alone and on the finished work of Christ on the cross. Teach them to fight and overcome sin by the power of the Spirit. Teach them to live holy lives. Address the issue of sin with boldness. Do not worry about offending them or causing them to walk away from church. Love them enough to tell them the truth and do it in gentleness and love. Keep doing this and you’ll make disciples for Christ who will be more than eager to go out into the world with the true gospel.
Col 2:8-10 - Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
Have you ever wondered why every prayer we pray ends in "Jesus Name" Amen!! ? What does that really mean?
We must “KNOW” the power and authority in the name of Jesus. If we DON’T KNOW this, then ending all our prayers in Jesus name actually has no faith attached to it. It becomes a memorized jargon.
Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give you authority/power to trample on serpents and scorpions and over ALL THE POWER of the enemy. Nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Here the “power of the enemy” means “ability of the enemy”. So it can be read as “I give you power over all the ability of the enemy”.
Authority is always greater than ability. Satan has the ability to mess with you, but Jesus has given us authority over him. Just like a traffic policeman. An 18 wheeler truck speeding has the ability clearly to run over a mere human being/policeman. The truck is massive and huge. The policeman’s strength is no match for a speeding truck. However, because of the authority the policeman carries with his uniform, he is able to simply hold up his hand and command the truck driver to stop. Even when the lights are green, if the policeman asks you to stop, you stop. Right!!! Likewise, even though Satan with all his demons are powerful and have much more ability than you and me, yet Jesus says He has given us “authority” over Satan’s ability. Jesus said I GIVE YOU, not lending it you, but I GIVE YOU. It’s yours to keep.
Jesus said “Nothing by any means shall hurt you”. Praise God! Isn't that wonderful?
We can have the authority in the name of Jesus, and never exercise it and the enemy will keep messing us up. And that’s unfortunately how many Christians live. By and large the Christians in today’s world use Jesus’ name so loosely without understanding the authority behind that name.
John 14:12-14 - "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do [it].
These verses are not really about prayer. In verse 13, Jesus clarifies this by saying, whatever you ask in His name, He will DO, not He will give. Verse 12 is talking about doing the works that Jesus did. Hence verse 13 says, whatever you ask in Jesus name, He will do.. Verse 14 again, If you ask anything in Jesus name, He will DO it. Wow! How amazing is that!!
John 14:10 - "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own [authority]; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
Interestingly in verse 10, Jesus says the “WORDS” he speaks are not His, but His Father who dwells in Him, DOES the WORKS. Likewise, if we ask anything in Jesus name, that He will DO, not give. And then He says in verse 13…."that the Father might be glorified in the son".
So whatever it is that we are asking is not about making us look good, but that the Father might be glorified. So when I pray for you to be healed or when I cast out demons in His name, it is not so that I can look cool or impress people, but so that the Father might be glorified. That takes absolute humility. It takes dying to self and doing the works of God out of love and compassion. It’s not my asking as a Christian that makes it work, but asking in "Jesus Name" that makes it work. But I must be able to exercise faith in my “asking in Jesus name” and that is only possible when I understand the authority I have over the spiritual realm in using His name. It is also only possible if my inner life is holy, pure and broken of all pride and self.
Matt 28:18 – All authority has been given to me in heaven AND on earth.
Jesus said ALL POWER or AUTHORITY, not some of it, not most of it. ALL POWER has been given…(past tense). He HAS it already. Then, He says Go therefore and teach all nations….Why? He has the authority, not us. But He says“Because He has ALL authority in heaven AND on earth, go ye therefore…” Nobody has any power, but Jesus. And Jesus LOVES to exercise that authority and power through us (His body) who truly "believe" in Him. No reverend, no evangelist, no so called holy man of God has any power except that which he/she exercises in Jesus name. All power has been given to Jesus.
What is authority for? To use it…..isn't it? Now what good is it for someone to have authority over some place and he’s not there? What good for you to have authority over the moon, but you are here on earth? What good that Jesus have authority over all the earth and He is not here? So, it is obvious that He delegated His authority to us the church which is His body, so that we the church may use the authority Jesus has and do the things Jesus did whilst He was here on earth. When you understand this, it gives you a boldness that is indescribable. You begin to walk in the newness of life. For example, youKNOW that you need to RESIST something that you are experiencing because you KNOW that it is NOT of God and now that you know YOU HAVE the authority to overcome it, you can. And you begin to resist it, fight it with a sense of authority not because you are super strong in your own strength, but because you know the authority in Jesus name. Apart from Him, we can do nothing, but with Him, all things are possible.
Paul says "It is no longer I that lives, but Christ who lives in me". How profound and how true!! A truly born again believer should be able to say the same, not because he/she likens to apostle Paul in faith, but simply because that is the very nature of being born again. Our life now is in Christ. Just because we received Christ and became Christians doesn't make us super human beings. We on our own are just as dead as we were before we got saved. It's Christ IN us that gives us the New Life. It's Christ IN us that gives us strength to do the things we do. It's Christ IN us that gives us the hope we now have.
People sing songs about Jesus….Halleluiah Jesus….there is something about that name…and so on. Those songs will make you feel good, but that will not help you live out your Christian life. However if you KNOW and UNDERSTAND the reality of the power in Jesus name, then it’ll have a huge impact on your prayer life and your faith.
Acts 3: 2-7 --- in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Peter said Silver and Gold I do not have, but what I do have…Wow! That means Peter knew he had something…Silver and Gold I do not have, but what I do have…Peter knew he had something and that something had the power to overcome the man’s infirmity. Peter knew he had the delegated authority that Jesus gave. Peter was actually doing John 14. Ask anything in my name and that I will do…Jesus said. Peter did exactly that. Peter ASKED and the Lord did for the glory of the Father. Peter was simply exercising his delegated authority. Peter was not praying a lengthy prayer for healing. No, he just exercised delegated authority. But when you do that, you need to do so in faith and that is only possible when you really, I mean really, know and understand in your heart, the authority that has been given to you. Again, it is also only possible when the Holy Spirit truly lives in you. The bible says, "Our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit". And the Holy Spirit does not live in bodies practicing sinful life styles. I say this in love. Often times, many Christians put up a "lovable" and "christian" front, but have quite a different private life. Their thoughts are impure, they watch movies with swearing and sex scenes for entertainment, some watch pornography, they get angry with their spouse or children and say rude and hurtful words, they gossip, and are very little different to any body else in the world. But, they expect to use Jesus name and heal the sick and cast out demons and speak in tongues.
My dear brothers and sisters, I speak in love. If an evil spirit makes you evil, shouldn't the Holy Spirit make you holy? Overcome every known sin in your life and then you can truly experience the power of using Jesus name.
When we exercise that name of Jesus, that name is understood really well in the spirit realm. It’s not Father God withholding your blessings, withholding your health and healing or anything else good. Its demonic forces that withhold them. And so, when you exercise authority over them in Jesus name, they know it, they hear it and they surrender to the authority that Jesus has been given over heaven and earth. But only when they have nothing to accuse you of.
John 16:23-24 - "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
John 16:26-27 - "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God."
Here we see that we are told by Jesus that in that day, we’ll not ask Him anything. Whatsoever we shall ask the Father, not Jesus…asking the Father in Jesus name. He will give it to you.
When Jesus was walking on the earth, you never see in the gospels where the disciples are praying for something. Why not? Because Jesus the Son of God was right there with them. They had Emmanuel with them. They ran to him for anything that they wanted. They didn’t lack anything whilst Jesus was with them. Even when the storm arose on the sea and it looked like they were drowning, they didn’t pray that God would do something to save them. They ran to Jesus and said “Wake up, Lord, wake up, don’t you care we are drowning? And it was Jesus who calmed the storm saying Peace Be still.
But now look at the verse we just read, In that day, (which day?) the day after Jesus is glorified (after His death and resurrection and ascension to heaven), you will ask me nothing, but you will ask the Father in Jesus name…And why will God give whatever you ask for? So that your joy may be full….not just to excite you and make you feel a bit happy and comfortable, but that your joy may be FULL.
But be careful…watch out for motives. God gives us all things so that we can be a blessing and that His covenant might be fulfilled, not so that our selfish desires might be met.
Matt 28: All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples…
Jesus said ALL authority was His and He delegated that authority to us, His body, and the church to exercise that authority and do business here until He comes again.
Phil 2:9-10 : Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…
God has given Jesus “THE” name and not “A” name…If Jesus name is above every name, then the name of Jesus should be above your favorite preacher's name or Hanuman, Mohammed, Buddha, any other man made Hindu Gods and any other name that you can name on earth. Even sicknesses like Cancer, High Blood Pressure, curses like poverty, anxiety, depression, addiction, (you name it)…is just a name and God says Jesus name is above every name. That’s the authority in the name of Jesus. So when you pray in Jesus name without knowing the authority by which you are praying, then your prayers will be weak and merely words because you don’t know the authority and influence your prayer has in the spiritual realm.
We tend to pray so much with so much effort that we begin to rely on our prayer rather than on Jesus in whose name we are praying and when we don’t see answers we begin to feel sad, continue to cry out to the Lord or sometimes cover it up with comments like God is trying to build my character, He is trying to build patience in me, my faith is being put to test, etc… Some of those might be true, but above all our Father is loving and gracious and WANTS for us to KNOW His Son Jesus. There is nothing more deeper and higher than getting to KNOW His Son Jesus and the authority He has been given.
But on the other hand, now that you know the truth; when you pray and know the authority by which you are praying, demons flee, and you begin to experience the power of God Almighty right here on earth. Only make sure you are pursuing holiness and fighting to overcome sin in your life.
Mark 16:17-18 - "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Isn't that wonderful? Signs will "follow" those who believe. It doesn't say "believers" will follow signs.
Hebrews 1:1-4 – God who in various ways in times past has spoken to us through the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.
Jesus has a name that is above the name of the angels in heaven….a more excellent name. That name has been given to us to use and exercise authority with.
Here is an example of how the church exercised the authority in the name of Jesus….that became a huge news in the early church days in Jerusalem…
Acts 3:16 - "And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which [comes] through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Here's another one of those "I command you in the name of Jesus..."
Acts 16:16-18 - Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation. And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour.
Please read Acts 19:11 – 16 --- They did not have the authority….They were not Christians…They had not believed in Christ and received salvation or redemption…But contrary to them, you and I have the authority to use that name and you have just the same amount of authority as I do, or evangelist so and so does, or apostle so and so does. And its not because of who you are or who you are not, but because of what Jesus has done for you and me. He redeemed us, saved us and reconciled us to God. God does not show favoritism to any man. God responds to faith in His Son Jesus Christ. If you believe, these signs will follow.
Mark 16:17 – 18, 20---- in my name, they WILL cast out demons,
This is Jesus, the head of the church speaking. In His name, we the church will cast out demons, we’ll lay our hands on the sick and they will recover….
Mar 16:20 - And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with [them] and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
In verse 20, we see that the Lord was working WITH them and confirming the WORD (not confirming His power in answer to emotional prayers), but confirming His WORD. Amen!! Praise the Lord!!
Mat 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'
Mat 4:7 Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.
Mat 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'
I am sure you have heard hundreds of sermons preached about how our Lord Jesus used the “written” Word to ward off temptations from the devil. We have been encouraged to do the same when we are faced with tough temptations. We are chided, exhorted and taught that we need to know the Word if we are to speak the written Word to the devil, just as our Lord Jesus did.
I still remember a preacher’s message, “How can you say “It is written….when you don’t know what is written!”. I thought it was a great message then. Many a times when I was faced with temptation, I tried to use whatever little I knew was “written”. But often times, in the face of temptation, my mind went blank with regards to scriptures. The written Word was not the strongest thought at that moment, but the struggle between knowing it to be wrong and yet being tempted by the pleasure of sin was real.
I put in a lot of effort in memorising what was written. And I tried hard. Over time I learnt that the strategy doesn’t work. Speaking out the “written Word” doesn’t work. If that were true, then Apostle Paul wouldn’t have had to write Romans 7, in which he explicitly explains how he struggled with temptation. Please stop now for a minute and read Romans 7:8 right through to verse 25. Are you suggesting, Paul did not know what was written? I think not!! He knew the scriptures very well. He was a well educated Pharisee under the leadership of Gamaliel and was full of Pharisaical zeal..
The reality is often times, in the middle of temptations, we sense a power way too strong opposing our will to obey God’s commands.
Galatians 5:17 - The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. NLT
The battle with temptations mentally exhaust us and eventually we give in. Almost instantly accusations follow from the enemy, which we seldom can counteract. Because we are all guilty of course. We find ourselves weak at that moment although you remember what is “written”. Sure, after a little while (maybe a few days for some), we do get back up on our feet, because by then the temptation is gone and we are able to think clearly again. By now we realize, Jesus our Lord has cleansed us from all sin and that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). We begin our fresh walk with the Lord again, until our next temptation. Then the whole cycle continues….True?
So then, what about Matthew 4? We see our Lord Jesus resisting the devil and his temptations using the written Word of God. Are we not to follow His example?
No, we are not! Did I just shock you? Friends, Let me “Re-introduce” our Lord Jesus and the true gospel to you.
Jesus was both fully God and fully man. All mankind has fallen short of the glory of God. There was only one man on earth who was totally, completely, fully sinless and absolutely righteous. That was Jesus, the Son of the Most High God. No one else. He came to earth to pay the ultimate price for the sins of mankind and rescue us all from eternal damnation. To do this, He had to be born of the law (which no man could keep). Hence he was born of Mary, in the natural way, just like man. To be a sinless sacrifice for mankind, He HAD TO keep the written law of God and live His life fulfilling the law. Remember, Jesus said “ I am the fulfilment of the law.” He also said in Mat 5:17 - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
So, even in the face of temptation, Jesus fulfilled the law, by speaking out “It is written, It is written, It is written….because He knew what was written in the law AND He was the only one who could keep it. No man was/is ever able to abide by the law. Jesus was the only one and remains the only one capable of fulfilling the law.
For example, the law of the land states the speed limit on city roads is 50mph. We know the law. We are tempted to speed, but we are able to refrain and abide by the law. We are capable of refraining from breaking the law. But with the law of God, we are NOT capable of refraining from breaking the law. Only Jesus had that capacity. That’s precisely why He had to come. And He came for one reason, which was to rescue us from the power of sin in our lives. John the Baptist confirmed His purpose by introducing Him to the world saying “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus did not come to “demonstrate” to us, how to keep the law, but to deliver us from it. As the bible says, we were already dead in our trespasses. Jesus came to breathe new life into us. He didn’t come to make bad people good through behavioural change, but to make dead people alive through transformation.
That is the gospel friends. That’s why it is called Good News. Why? Because we are not condemned anymore for having broken the law. We are forgiven. We are redeemed from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13). Our righteousness therefore comes by faith alone. Faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. Our victory over temptation comes by faith alone. Faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross.
When we are faced with temptation now, we ought not to try and remember what is written, but we ought to remind ourselves that we are now the righteousness of God through Christ’s finished work on the cross. We ought to remind ourselves, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). We ought to remind ourselves that we are saved not by our good works and will power to stay free from temptation, but by trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. We ought to remind ourselves that sin no longer has dominion over us because we are not under law but under grace. We ought to remind ourselves that Christ our Lord has destroyed the power of sin by his death and resurrection. The more we remind ourselves of this, the stronger we get in faith and the weaker sin and temptation gets. And suddenly one day, you realise how petty and inconsequential that very temptation was.
Jesus our Lord knew He was righteous and sinless. That’s why in the story of the woman caught in adultery, He boldly said “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” He was the only one without sin, in that story. He could have stoned that woman to death as per law, but He didn’t cast the stone. He forgave the woman caught in adultery and told her to sin no more. That’s because He also knew He was taking that woman’s sin upon Himself shortly. Because Jesus knew He was righteous and sinless, He had the confidence and boldness to cast evil spirits out, cast sicknesses out and command healing. They had no hold on Him. That’s why He said in John 14, whoever believes in Him, will do the works He did and even greater things that what He did.
Jhn 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
How is that possible you ask? If we truly believe the gospel message, then we ought to live by faith that we are now sinless just as our Lord was/is. We ought to live by faith, KNOWING that because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, demons and sicknesses have no hold over us. We are sinless and righteous just as Jesus is because of the finished work on the cross. When we really believe that, then we will have the boldness and authority to command demons out and heal the sick. That is the gospel message friends.
Temptations are not overcome by knowing and quoting what is written, but by faith in the finished work of our Lord Jesus . Amen!!
Is it possible to never stumble? Have you ever wondered how it would be like if you could walk the ideal Christian walk and never stumble? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could be passionate followers of Jesus, be involved in Godly work, preach the gospel, make disciples, never be discouraged or depressed, never feeling low, never falling in sin and feeling miserable?
Life experience tells me that's a pipe dream. But do we go by life experiences or by God's word? I've struggled a lot with temptations, felt discouraged and depressed, even felt useless and inadequate. I've fallen into sin and swore to never stumble again but found I did not have the power in me to keep my own promise. Whenever I tried to resist temptations and obey God, I found there was another power at work in my flesh. I was weak and stumbled again. I've felt that I am incapable of doing anything for the Lord.
I've felt that all I can do is be grateful for my salvation and for whatever I possess and wait till I die and get to see Him. Several rejections in life was and is a major contributor to this. I am sure many of you may relate to this experience.
But then I came across a verse in 2 Peter 1:10 which says "for if you do these things, you will never stumble". What? "Never Stumble"!! Really??? Is that your reaction? Mine was too. :)
To understand 2 Peter 1:10 contextually, we need to read from verse 2 on wards.
2 Peter 1:2,3 : Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Here Peter reminds us that His divine power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life. That means there is nothing more to receive to lead a godly life. We already possess everything we need to lead a godly life. Yet it feels like we stumble every so often, isn't it? That's a lie from the devil my friends. He is the father of lies. Scripture says we already have everything we need to lead a godly life and to never stumble. That means we have the power in us now through the knowledge of Him to resist every temptation and to resist every discouragement. But it is only through our knowledge of Him. Question is how well do you KNOW Him?
2 Peter 1:4 : Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
God's promises have always encouraged us in times of distress, isn't it? But there's much more to His promises than just re-igniting hope and faith friends. Here Peter says, through His promises we can participate in the divine nature, ie. the nature of Christ Himself. That's profound. We, sinful as we are now have the ability to participate in the nature of Christ Himself because we have escaped corruption in the world caused by evil desires. See, somehow these scriptures never come to mind at those particular moments when we are discouraged or depressed or tempted or feeling guilty after having sinned, isn't it? That's the lie of the devil friends. God’s written word is the truth and the truth is that we have been given precious promises through which we can participate in His divine nature.
2 Peter 1:5-8 : For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For this reason....what reason? Because we have been given all things we could ever need to lead a godly life and we have His wonderful promises by which we CAN participate in His divine nature, therefore...make every effort. If we possess these qualities, they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive. Our sense of low self esteem, discouragement and depression comes from a feeling of ineffectiveness and unproductiveness. We feel we are not worthy of anything because we are not accomplishing anything. We feel like a hamster in a wheel, trying really hard and not getting anywhere. That then leads to being discouraged and depressed which in turn then leads to ungodly temptations.
Here Peter reminds us, if we discern the lies of the devil and turn to the promises of God, and if we possess these qualities, we will not be ineffective or unproductive. Isn't that wonderful? But not all of us possess these qualities even though we claim to love the Lord Jesus. We claim to be true born again believers and yet lack these qualities. How is that possible? Well...the answer is in the very next verse.
2 Peter 1:9 : But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
We have gotten so busy trying to serve the Lord and become shortsighted. We have forgotten that we have been cleansed from our past sins. So then, we continue to feel guilty for our sins. This weighs us down and prevents us from being all that God has called us to be. This once again is due to believing the lies of the devil. The truth is that we are indeed forgiven of our sins friends. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1). Peter reminds us that we lack godly qualities or the divine nature of Christ, when we forget we have been forgiven of our past sins. Therefore do not forget that you have been forgiven of your sins. Instead, remind yourselves friends, as often as possible, remind yourselves that you are royalty now. You belong to the King of kings. You have been given ALL you need to lead a godly life. You have the ability in you to possess the divine nature. Then you will never be ineffective or unproductive. You will NEVER STUMBLE.
2 Peter 1:10 :Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.
A life without purpose can be meaningless. It can wear you down, bring discouragement and depression. A purpose breathes life and hope into you. It brings joy and meaning to everything you do. Even your job that you don’t like much will suddenly have new meaning. You will suddenly be endowed with wisdom on discerning between resourceful relationships and time wasters. You will be self-motivated and begin using all resources you can get your hands on for one purpose. YOUR PURPOSE!!
What does your life look like? It’s time to sit back and ask yourself…..what is your purpose? Why do you do all that you do? Why do you wake up each day, get ready and go to work? Does your life have more meaning and purpose after you get back from work? What is it you live for?
King Solomon, was the richest in the world and the wisest man in the world during his time. He lacked nothing. Yet in the book of Proverbs he comes to a very profound conclusion. Life here on earth is meaningless, unless lived for God.
God did not mean for us to live meaningless lives. He created us for a reason and a purpose.
Jer 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
The devil is a liar. Jesus said, he is the father of lies. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Steal your purpose, Kill your motivation & destroy your hope. But Jesus said “I have come that you might have life and life more abundantly”.
There are many examples in the bible where people who lived aimlessly suddenly receiving a purpose from God, went on to live a meaningful and purposeful life. Abraham received a purpose, Joshua was given a purpose, Samuel was called and given a purpose, Gideon an ordinary man received a purpose from God, Jeremiah was given a purpose, David was given a purpose. In the new testament, we see this theme continuing. Mary was visited by an angel and given a purpose. John the Baptist was given a clear purpose for entry into the earth.
Luke 1:76-77 : And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
The latter part of the above verse is a clear purpose given to John the Baptist.
Our Lord Jesus had a purpose. He said “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost”.
All 11 disciples were given a purpose in life when our Lord gave them the Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations teaching them to do all that I have commanded you to do…..”
Apostle Paul was given a clear purpose at the Damascus road encounter with God.
The purpose that God planted in their hearts drove them to extreme endurance levels. They were ordinary fishermen, tax collectors and other ordinary individuals who now suddenly somehow were self-motivated to endure any level of hardship to ensure they lived for that one purpose. They received the Holy Spirit to empower them and they had the grace of God upon their lives. Now suddenly, paying bills, day to day family life, job, salary, etc were all secondary. The “purpose” became the driving factor of life. Their lives had meaning, a cause, a reason and a purpose. That’s what finding your purpose does to you. It gives you new meaning to life. It motivates you and drives you.
Friends, I encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer and fasting and find a purpose outside of yourself. Learn to be selfless. You know by now that you are not going to be taking anything from this world with you. All riches, luxuries, fame, success, pride…..nothing will be of any use to you. The only thing you will leave behind is a legacy. You can choose to leave behind changed lives, transformed communities and lots of love.
There have been many multi-millionaires who have lived, died and gone. What do you remember of them? On the contrary, think of Mother Theresa. Nothing much need to be said, isn’t it. But beware, it’s not about recognition by men on earth. The Lord sees all things and knows each of our hearts. There are countless others just like Mother Theresa who have lived for a purpose outside of themselves and gone on ahead of us. Though not as popular as Mother Theresa was, they have not gone unnoticed. Their rewards are great in heaven.
Therefore I urge you, find your purpose in prayer. Life is definitely much more than going to a job, earning an income, paying bills and buying food. When Jesus said “I’ve come to give you life and life more abundantly”, it was not more money, more wealth, more meaningless life that He was talking about, but a life with a purpose. A God given purpose that will keep you motivated and cause you to enjoy all that you do because your eye is on a much bigger vision.
It surely is more blessed to give than to receive.
Most people at this point think, who am I? How could I do what Mother Theresa did? I can’t do this or that….Friends, you don’t have to do what someone else did. You only have to do what you can. But set your eyes on a bigger goal that is outside of yourselves.
I personally support some people financially who I know are living for a purpose outside of themselves. My purpose is to see people saved through the preaching of the gospel, lives change, people growing in the knowledge of Christ and are lifted up from the depths of a poverty mindset. I love to see children getting an education and communities transformed with love. Now, I can’t do all that by myself, but I CAN financially support those that are doing it. Because I have made this my purpose, my job isn’t a dread anymore. I even try to supplement my income through other means just so I can live for my purpose. The purpose God has placed in my heart motivates me to disregard all inconsequential matters in life and stay focused. As I go about doing this, the grace of God keeps me joyful and content. I have no time for ego battles at work places, jealousy, politics, etc. I have a bigger purpose and a bigger cause. Yes, I’m human too. It does hurt at times, but life is but a vapour. Here today, gone tomorrow. I’d much rather make good use of it.
Matthew 6:33 - Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.
Everything you need for life and godliness will be added to you when you choose to pursue the purpose God has given you. When you ignore His purpose for you and seek after what the world can give you, then the very pleasures you are after will keep evading you. But when you make it your goal in life to pursue His purpose for you, then all things you need WILL be added unto you.
Pray friends, seek the Lord!! Find out how you would make a difference in someone else’s life if you had only 1 month to live. Then live life that way….for the rest of your life. There is an unexplainable joy and freedom in giving up chasing after worldly dreams and pursuing God's purpose for you. Life becomes wonderful. This is the abundant life Jesus said He came to give us. Just reading about it in the bible will not make any difference in your life. But doing it and taking practical steps to pursue your purpose in God will bring about dramatic change to your life and you will stand amazed at how many other lives get transformed and changed because you made that decision.
Jhn 7:17 "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or [whether] I speak on My own [authority].
In today’s world of media and the internet, TV preachers and a church in most suburbs….listening to a sermon is easy. Preachers are everywhere. They take advantage of every possible means to further the cause they believe in. Radio, TV, Streaming Video, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter….you name it. They are there. Gone are the days when all you would get to hear was a sermon on Sunday at church and thereafter you were left to yourself with the Bible for the rest of the week. That wasn’t even too long ago. And it was good wasn’t it?
Ever wondered how much of what you hear is actually of God? Ever find yourself confused about the contradicting doctrines you get to hear these days? People are so saturated with sermons and messages from preachers all over the world, that they hardly have time to be alone with God and read their own bible. Most professing Christians today hardly ever read the bible other than the few verses referred to by the preachers during their sermons.
No wonder we don’t see much of a difference between Christians and the world. Neither does the world see much of a difference. How sad!! Don’t you think? How many of us really will to do His will?
Yet in the early days of Christianity, we see that only a handful of people, 12 in fact were accused of turning the world upside down.
Act 17:6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.
How did such a small group of people be able to turn the world upside down when we with all the technological advancements today are still not even making a dent in our lost world, especially in the western more advanced nations? I don’t generalize this because I am aware there are a few persecuted nations where Christianity is indeed growing very rapidly. However, the same can’t be said for a vast majority of the more advanced Western World. Countries like India, China, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and some other African nations are seeing exponential growth in believers. At the same time, we see an exponential downfall of faith in most developed and affluent nations.
I urge you brothers and sisters, pick up a magnifying glass, open your eyes and really look, investigate what really is causing growth in some countries. I submit to you, it’s the simplicity of the gospel and the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus. They have recognized the root of the problem, which is sin. They have repented and accepted the forgiveness of our Lord with open arms and they do not expect a better life and riches. Many of them have sat down and counted the cost for following Christ. They share their faith in simplicity of heart, one with another. They love each other. They meet together daily or as often as they can to study the Word of God….from the Bible. They will to do His will and not their own and therefore are not easily deceived.
Act 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
2Cr 1:12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
2Cr 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
How much of that do you think is happening today? Very little, don’t you think? There is very little preaching on following in the footsteps of Jesus and willing to do His will.
1Pe 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
We are inundated with sermons on how to prosper, how to have great self-esteem, God loves us and has a wonderful plan for us, how to get guaranteed answers to prayers, 10 key promises of God, 5 keys to a successful marriage and so on. Really?? Is that why the Son of the Most High God went through an agonizing, torturous and painful death on the cross? Was His precious sinless blood shed at Calvary for this alone?
Brothers and Sisters, the answer is a resounding NO!! The reality is that we are sinners by nature, born into sin. Our righteous deeds are like filthy rags before God. The only way we could be reconciled to God was through the shedding of innocent blood. Our Lord Jesus’ death and His shedding of blood reconciled us with our Father in Heaven and we now belong to our Father, as was originally intended. We are now being transformed into the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the ultimate PURPOSE and CALLING of our faith in Him. To be transformed into His likeness.
The only way we can grow into that transformation is by spending time with Him alone and understanding His written Word, no matter what situation we might be facing in life. Our belief and trust in Him shouldn’t have anything to do with the challenges we face in life. Through good times and the bad times, we ideally ought to maintain a feeling a gratitude for our salvation, no matter what. People we call Heroes of Faith all demonstrated this.
Friends, please do not be a fair weather Christian. Don’t come to Jesus, the King of kings just because some preacher promised you a better life, a better marriage and a great career or financial prosperity. But come to Him because you realize He is sovereign, He is real and not a fictional character, He indeed is the creator and there indeed is a heaven and a hell. Come to Him because you know you are a sinner and are extremely grateful to Him for your salvation. Come to Him because you willingly WANT to do His will.
So again, in this world of TV preachers, Radio preachers, DVDs, CDs, Internet, Mega Church programs and a busy “Christian Activity” filled life, how do you know if what you hear is of God or not? Our Lord Jesus gives us the answer in the gospel of John.
Jhn 7:17 "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or [whether] I speak on My own [authority].
When you willingly want to obey and do His will, our Lord says, you shall know concerning the doctrine you hear, whether it is from God or whether from man’s own authority.
The peace, the love, the wisdom and the joy you receive in your quiet time with the Lord and reading His word is simply incomparable to anything else. Especially when you are going through a hard time. Don’t just be a believer, but be a disciple.
Ever asked yourself this question!! Why do you follow Jesus? It's interesting to note that most people will give you different answers, though in reality the answer is only one.
John 1:50 - Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe?
John 2:23-24 - Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,
John 6:26 - Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
Why do you follow Jesus? Is it because He did a miracle in your life? Is it because you saw someone getting healed miraculously? Is it because your prayers got answered when you were desperate for it? Is it because of the many signs you saw which led you to believe that this Jesus is probably real? Here’s a good one….Is it because you have seen that most professing Christians are somewhat good, kind, don’t swear and mostly helpful? Is it because you find friends in church and you sort of love the music and the band? What is the most forceful motivator that causes you to believe in Jesus?
Yes, signs, miracles, healings and answers to prayers do cause unbelievers to draw near and examine the reality of the gospel message we preach, but our faith in Him shouldn’t be as shallow as that. Friends, faith in Jesus our Lord ought not to be for any of the above reasons. Have you come to a realization of how sin has affected mankind and us? We are sinful people. We think and do sinful stuff..…by nature!!. The bible says that our hearts are desperately wicked by nature. We don’t even have to make an effort to be sinful. It’s in our nature to be sinful. Yes, most of us probably don't murder, rape, and commit adulterous acts. But we are proud, greedy, envious, angry, unbelieving, trusting in our self efforts, get lustful thoughts, evil desires that are purely for self gratification and the list goes on.
The bible says “Everyone has fallen short of the glory of the God. There is not one righteous. Not even one”.
Have you ever felt convicted of something in your life and tried to stop it and found you couldn’t? Perhaps an addiction maybe. You found it to be a struggle, sometimes a seemingly unending struggle? That’s because of our sinful nature. Our sinful nature wars against our new born again self. We have a genuine desire to live a pure and holy life pleasing God, but our sinful nature prevents us from doing what we will to do. Sometimes it is also because of the evil forces of darkness that have had control over us for very many years.
We need to realize that we desperately NEED a savior. Without this realization, we’ll find ourselves following Jesus for either one or all of the above mentioned reasons. And when we pray, we feel like we deserve answers to our prayers, we feel like we deserve the blessings of God, we feel like we’re doing everything right and God HAS to bless us. That somewhat sums up much of todays “Name it, Claim it” gospel message isn't it?
The truth is we don’t deserve anything from God. The only thing we deserve is His justice. He doesn’t have to answer any of our prayers. He doesn’t have to work miracles for us. He doesn’t have to consistently entertain us to keep us interested in Him. Yet in His abundant grace and mercy, He does love us, care for us and provide for our needs.
I encourage you to read Isaiah 6:1-5 and get an understanding of how HOLY God is.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.”
Now compare yourselves to Him. Think about Him for a couple of minutes. Visualize yourself approaching such a God seated on His throne in prayer. How do you feel? Proud? Bold? Confident? I didn't think so…Even the angels in heaven who are holy and always in His presence had to cover their face. We see in the book of revelation when John saw Him in a vision, he fell down as though dead.
The bible says “No man has ever seen the face of God”. He lives in unapproachable light.
Yet in His abundant mercy and love; because of His son Jesus' sacrifice for us, He tore the veil that separated us sinful men from His Holy presence and made the way clear for us to enter into His presence. In the book of Hebrews, we are reminded to approach this throne of grace with boldness and with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). That’s because we normally cannot be confident and bold to approach His throne. We can only approach His throne with confidence and boldness because of our faith in what our Lord Jesus has done for us.
Let’s not water down the significance of what Jesus Christ has done for us or who He actually is. He is God, the creator and the very same person we see in Isaiah 6 seated on the throne, living in unapproachable light. The very reason the whole bible story happened is because of "SIN". Jesus came to destroy the power of sin in our lives so that we can once again be reconciled to Him, without sin. He did not come to solve our problems in life and give us a more prosperous and healthy life. He came to save us from SIN.
When we don’t realize our sinfulness in comparison to His Holiness, His magnificence and splendor, we tend to casually approach Him in prayer with an attitude of “our right” to get whatever we ask for. I thank God for his love because the bible says “He chastises those whom He loves”. If I get chastised, it’s evidence that I’m in His good books. Praise God!!
So I encourage you, let your faith not be shallow based on signs, healings and miracles. Let your faith not be based on anything that Jesus can give you. Let it be based on the fact that you need a savior and He is that savior. Rejoice in the fact that you are saved. Be glad and content with the fact that you now belong to God and are reconciled to Him. You now have eternal life. You now have God on your side. He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Rejoice and seek after intimacy with Him.
Remember Jesus said “Don’t rejoice because the demons are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in the Lamb’s book of life”. Jesus was glad that He gets to be with us, but we seem to be glad because of the power and miracles we get to see. That ought not to be. We need to rejoice because we get to know Him and be with Him and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him.
There’s so much more I want to say, but I will end here with this encouragement. No amount of miracles, healings, signs, wonders and financial blessings can replace the satisfaction you get in simple intimacy with Jesus. Signs and wonders will follow those that believe…..not run ahead of those that believe.
So why do you follow Jesus?
I was radically transformed by the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ back in 1997 in a most unusual way and unusual place. Read my testimony here. Over the years of my walk with God, I have come to realize a few basic truths that have altered my life.