APPLYING GOD’S PROMISES TO OUR LIFE

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has granted us His very great and precious promises, so that by them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. — 2 Peter 1:3-4

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

INTRODUCTION

God’s promises are precious, magnificent, and have extreme value. The author of Hebrews admonishes us with these words:

Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. — Hebrews 10:35-36

Notice that he says: “When you have done the will of God.” Promises are not given without a plan that involves faith and responsibility, though many times we have to wait for them to be revealed. A biblical promise is a declaration of God’s intention to graciously bestow a gift upon an individual or a group of people. For example, Jesus said,

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3

He knows that at times we may feel tempted to wonder if He is really coming back for us, and so He gives us the promise of His sure return and also of His personal care to reassure us and calm our fears.

1. GRATITUDE

In 1 Kings, we read about Solomon his progress especially his effusive blessings of the Lord for His faithfulness. Then he makes this statement:

Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant. — 1 Kings 8:56

God did exactly what He had promised to do, and Solomon honoured the Lord by acknowledging it. He had a grateful heart, and he wanted the people to respond in gratitude also.

How many times have you prayed for something, asking God to meet a need that you have and to speak to you through His Word, and as you read the Bible, He provided assurance that He heard your prayers and will answer? This is a tremendous gift. But instead of turning to Him with a grateful heart, so often we forget to thank the One person who provides the resources we need. I believe God’s heart must hurt over our self-centered actions. We pray and trust Him and then forget to say, “Lord, thank You for answering my prayers. Thank You for being faithful to the promise You gave me in Your Word. Thank You for meeting my needs perfectly and on time.”

Even those who encountered Jesus during His time here on earth neglected to thank Him:

Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosymet Him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When He saw them, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when He saw He was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw Himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and He was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? — Luke 17:11-17

Nine of these men met the Saviour-Healer, but they never thought to thank God or worship Him for His healing.

2. PROMISE KEEPING GOD

Hebrews 10:23 reminds us to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” God is not going to give us a promise and then say, “You know, maybe I didn’t mean that.” And when He does answer, He wants us to give Him glory and praise because He truly has worked on our behalf.

When God gives us a promise, we can be sure He will do what He has said.

It is a matter of demonstrating His character and nature to us. Believing God, trusting God, studying His Word, and applying it to our life are elements of the Christian faith that must work together. God is not going to operate one way one day and then another way the next. What He tells us in His Word will always line up with His nature and character. God is faithful. Therefore, His Word is trustworthy and His promises are too. He is faithful to keep everyone. Not one promise will fail — ever. People will say one thing and then go and do something else. Many will be kind and supportive in your presence but later will oppose you. But God never will. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). That is a promise you can claim!

Why does God choose to give promises to us? He wants us to learn something about His character. 

God is faithful, true, loving, patient, forgiving, kind, and so much more. He gives promises to us so that we will see His nature and learn deeper truths about His character and personal care for us.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. — Proverbs 3:5-6

Is this a promise you can claim? Absolutely. God is saying, “I’m aware of what you are facing. I know your need. Trust Me, lean on Me and not on your human knowledge, and I will provide all that you need and so much more.” Paul underscores this very thing when he writes,

My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

3. GOD IS FAITHFUL

In 1 Thessalonians, he simply tells us, Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.1 Thessalonians 5:24

God is honored and glorified when we trust Him and when we pray. There is not a time when God refuses to answer the prayers of His people. He says call to Me and I will hear your voice (Jeremiah 33:3).

He wants to give us hope.  All of us are encouraged when we know that someone is pulling for us — someone who wants us to cross the finish line victoriously. You may be able to think of a time when you did not know whether you were doing the right thing or not. Then someone you admired walked up to you and said, “God has placed you on my heart, and I want you to know that I’m praying for you.”

God cares for us, He is cheering for us, and He has a plan for our lives.Psalm 62:1–2 says,

My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

God is faithful to keep each and every promise. He is all powerful, and we can trust Him to take care of all that concerns us. The prophet Isaiah emphasizes His power and majesty:

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing. — Isaiah 40:26

Not only does God take care of the heavens, He personally watches over you and me. Why do people doubt God’s ability? Usually we fail to trust God because we don’t want to lose control over our lives or our circumstances. This is almost laughable because the God of the universe — the same God who created you and me and who has numbered the stars in the sky and holds each one in its place — certainly has the ability to take care of my life and my problems.

In Lamentations, Jeremiah writes, This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I have hope in Him’.Lamentations 3:21-24

No matter what our circumstance, God’s Word has a promise of hope waiting for us.

He wants to develop our faith in Him. When we begin to trust God for simple answers to prayer, our faith increases. The more we read and study His Word, the more aware we become of His ability. One lesson learned at the feet of God builds on another until we have come to a point where we are talking through every decision we need to make with Him. We also discover that if we ask Him to show us what we should do, He does it! He speaks to us through His Word. Then, when we meditate on Scripture, we begin to internalize His truth in our hearts. From this point, we express our needs and God responds by giving us insight and wisdom. He also promises to move in certain ways and provide for the needs we have.

Whatever God calls us to do, He will confirm it in His Word and He also will provide all that we need to accomplish the task. This is how our faith is built. He opens a door and we step through it. He opens another one, and once again we trust Him because we have learned that He is faithful, not some of the time, but all of the time!

Stay Blessed!

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website: saltandlightministriesgh.org

OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE – PART 2

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

MEANING OF OBEDIENCE

Last week we explained that obedience is the act of submitting (obeying) to the commands (laws) of God, the highest authority, creator, and Father of mankind. If we have faith in God and believe Christianity is the truth, obedience is the practice of living by faith, obeying the teachings of the Bible.

A sacrifice is a ritual transaction between a person and God that physically demonstrates a relationship between them. But if the person’s heart is not truly repentant or if he does not truly love God, the sacrifice is a hollow ritual.

1. WHY DO WE OBEY GOD?

We do not obey God because of fear, guilt, or a sense of duty. We obey God because of His love to us, because He loved us and saved us. Obedience to God is not a feeling, not knowledge, but rather, it is a choice and a decision.

SCRIPTURES ON OBEDIENCE

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:22-25

It is important to listen to what God’s Word says, but it is much more important to obey it and to do what it says. We can measure the effectiveness of our Bible study time by the effect it has on our behaviour and attitudes.

As Christians, we are saved by God’s grace, and salvation frees from sin’s control. As believers, we are free to live as God created us to live. Of course, this does not mean that we are free to do as we please.  “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” – 1 Peter 2:16. We are now free to obey God.

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around Him was so large that He got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in His teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow His seed. As He was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” – Mark 4:1-9

The hearing Jesus wants from us is not the kind we use when we listen to background music or when someone starts to recount a long story we have already heard. To truly “hear” Jesus’ words is to believe them, to use them immediately in decisions and attitudes, and to base life on them – our recreation and work, family plans and money matters, praying and singing. To hear Jesus’ words is to make Jesus your true Lord.

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” – Mark 4:13-20.

Jesus is talking about receiving His word and obeying it. We are like the seed that fell on fertile soil because it is reproductive.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” – John 14:15

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. – 1 Peter 1:14

2. BENEFITS OF OBEDIENCE

As human beings we always think of what is in for us when we do something for others. Of course, we should never think of a quid pro quo with God! Nevertheless, God shows His faithfulness by rewarding us for our faithfulness. These are rewards for obedience:

  1. We become a friend of God. “You are my friends if you do what I command.” – John 15:14.
  2. We become holy as God. “And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” – Deuteronomy 6:25
  3. We receive earthly blessings. “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land” – Isaiah 1:19
  4. We have the assurance of salvation. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:13
  5. We receive answers to our prayers. “and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him.” – 1 John 3:22
  1. We are assured of the blessings, example Abraham. “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God” – Deuteronomy 28:1-2
  2. We avoid punishment. “Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” – Romans 13:2

CONCLUSION

The reality of this new covenant was portrayed in Jesus’ supreme example of obedience to the heavenly Father, when He gave Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for atonement of sin.

Jesus’ emphasis on being born again underscores the need of atonement for effecting forgiveness of sins. Jesus talks to Nicodemus about being born again or “from above” as the requirement for entering the kingdom of God (John 3:3-6). The way of death would be thus changed to the way of life.

Jesus prayed that His disciples would be sanctified, be made inwardly holy, and thereby be enabled to live a holy life outwardly (John 17:6-19). Provision for this inner holiness and cleansing requisite for true obedience was effected by His atoning sacrifice on the cross.

The Holy Spirit is provided to all who believe in Jesus. The Spirit’s abiding presence enables all God’s people to carry out God’s will and to live obediently before Him.

Stay Blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sunday 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 FM – Saturdays 7:30 pm, YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

THE WILL OF GOD

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (NIV) – Romans 12:2

INTRODUCTION

God has good, pleasing and perfect plans for His children. He wants us to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honour and obey Him. Because He wants only what is best for us, and because He gave His Son to make our new life possible, we should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices for His service.

THE WILL OF GOD

The term “the will of God” has at least two and possibly three biblical meanings. 

First, there is the sovereign will of God, that always comes to pass without fail. 

Second, there is the revealed will of God in the Bible — do not steal, do not lie, do not kill, do not covet — and this will of God often does not come to pass.

And third, there is the path of wisdom and spontaneous godliness — wisdom where we consciously apply the word of God with our renewed minds to complex moral circumstances, and spontaneous godliness where we live most of our lives without conscious reflection on the hundreds of things we say and do all day.

RENEWAL AS AN ESSENTIAL MEANS OF TRANSFORMATION

And in Romans 12:2, Paul now focuses on one essential means of transformation — “the renewal of your mind.”

  1. If you long to break loose from conformity to the world,
  2. If you long to be transformed and new from the inside out,
  3. If you long to be free from mere duty-driven Christianity and do what you love to do because what you love to do is what you ought to do,
  4. If you long to offer up your body as a living sacrifice so that your whole life becomes a spiritual act of worship and displays the worth of Christ above the worth of the world,

Let us give ourselves with all our might to pursuing this — the renewal of our minds because this is the key to transformation.

This brings us finally to the remedy and how we obey. First, before we can do anything, the Holy Spirit is required.

Our refusal to conform to this world’s values, however, must go even deeper than just behaviour and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind. We are transformed by changing the way we think. It is possible to avoid most worldly customs and still be proud, covetous, selfish, stubborn and arrogant. Only when the Holy Spirit renews, re-educates and redirects our mind are we truly conformed.

WHAT THEN SHALL WE DO?

What then do we do in obedience to Romans 12:2, “Be transformed in the renewal of your mind”?

  1. We join the Holy Spirit in His precious and all-important work.
  2. We pursue Christ-exalting truth and we pray for truth-embracing humility.
  3. Listen to rich expositions of the “gospel of the glory of Christ.”
  4. Read and ponder the Bible-saturated from cover to cover always in search of the revelation of the glory of Christ.
  5. Meditating on the perfections of Christ.
  6. And in it all pray, pray, pray that the Holy Spirit will renew your mind, that you may desire and approve the will of God, so that all of life will become worship to the glory of Christ.

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.  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.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; – 2 Peter 1:3-5.

GROWING IN FAITH

The power to lead a godly life comes from God. Because we don’t have the resources to be truly godly, God allows us to “share His divine nature” in order to keep us from sin and help us live for Him. When we are born again, God, by His Spirit, empowers us with His own goodness.

Faith must be more than belief, it must result in action, growth in Christian character and the practice of moral discipline or it will die away.

Learning to know God better, developing perseverance, doing God’s will, loving others do not come automatically; they require hard work. They are not optional but must be a continual part of a Christian life. We work on them all together. God empowers us and enables us, but He also gives us the responsibility to learn and to grow.

Hebrews 12:5-10

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone he accepts as His son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness.

GOD’S DISCIPLINE PROVES HIS LOVE

Who loves his child more – the father who allows the child to do what will harm him, or the one who corrects, trains and even punishes the child to help him learn what is right?

It is never pleasant to be corrected and disciplined by God, but His discipline is a sign of His deep love for us. When God corrects us, we should see it as a proof of His love or accept is gratefully as the appropriate response we owe a loving Father.

God lovingly disciplines His children to train them to become spiritual champions. It is a spiritual maturing process that God allows us to experience to become like Christ.

God is not only a disciplining parent but also a demanding coach who pushes us to our limits and requires our lives to be disciplined.

Although we may not feel strong enough to push on to victory, we will be able to accomplish it as we follow Christ and draw to His strength. Then we can use our growing strength to help those around us who are weak and struggling.

Endnote

Join me to sing or pray the timely words of this hymn authored by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788) MHB 626:

1. I want a principle within

Of jealous, godly fear,

A sensibility of sin,

A pain to feel it near.

2. I want the first approach to feel

Of pride or fond desire,

To catch the wandering of my will,

And quench the kindling fire.

3. That I from thee no more may part,

No more thy goodness grieve,

The filial awe, the fleshly heart,

The tender conscience, give.

4. Quick as the apple of an eye,

O God, my conscience make;

Awake my soul when sin is nigh,

And keep it still awake.

5. O may the least omission pain,

My well instructed soul;

And drive me to the blood again,

Which makes the wounded whole.

                                                                                                                                       Stay blessed! For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615 Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website:
saltandlightministriesgh.org

OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

INTRODUCTION

A. Let’s clarify what we mean by OBEDIENCE and SACRIFICE.

  • Obedience is doing the will and seeking to please someone in authority over you.
  • Sacrifice is seeking to appease or cool off the anger of an authority you have disobeyed.

A sacrifice is a ritual transaction between a person and God that physically demonstrates a relationship between them. But if the person’s heart is not truly repentant or if he does not truly love God, the sacrifice is a hollow ritual. Religious ceremonies or rituals are empty unless they are performed with an attitude of love and obedience. “Being religious” (going to church, serving on a committee, giving to charity) is not enough if we do not act out of devotion and obedience to God.

DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord”, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21

Jesus emphatically teaches that carrying out God’s purposes and desires is a condition for entering the kingdom of heaven. This certainly does not mean that we can earn spiritual salvation by our own efforts or works. This is true for the following reasons:

1. God’s forgiveness comes to us through faith and repentance (admitting our sin, turning from our own way. Submitting to God and following His purposes). It is made possible by the grace and sacrificial death of Christ, who gave His perfect life to pay the ultimate penalty for our sins.

2. The Obedience to God’s will demanded by Christ is an ongoing condition for salvation; it does not save us, but is a response and a result of true salvation. Yet, it is still God’s power and grace (undeserved favour, love and help) that enable us to live by His standards. This means that we must continually pray for that grace, receive it and put it into action by true faith and devotion to Christ.

3. Because of the gift of God’s power and grace, we are capable of doing God’s will and living right as we follow Christ with all of our heart. God’s Word says that “by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

4. God always give us the strength and ability to obey Him and overcome sin. That is part of the full salvation He works out through those who have entrusted their lives to Him and have been restored to a personal relationship with Jesus. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” – Philippians 2:13

Yet God’s gift of grace – His favour, help and mercy that wedo not deserve – does not cancel the need for action on our part. We must respond positively to God’s gift of obedience. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” – Philippians 2:12

We always free to reject God’s grace, refuse to depend on Christ and refuse to pray for and accept the life of obedience.

WHEN WE WALK WITH THE LORD – MHB 516

1When we walk with the Lord

In the light of His Word,

What a glory He sheds on our way;

While we do His good will,

 He abides with us still,

 And with all who will trust and obey.

 Trust and obey,

For there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus,

But to trust and obey.

2 Not a shadow can rise,

Not a cloud in the skies,

But His smile quickly drives it away;

Not a doubt or a fear,

Not a sigh or a tear,

Can abide while we trust and obey.

3 Not a burden we bear,

Not a sorrow we share,

But our toil He doth richly repay;

Not a grief or a loss,

Not a frown or a cross,

But is blest if we trust and obey.

4 But we never can prove

The delights of His love,

Until all on the altar we lay;

For the favor He shows,

And the joy He bestows,

Are for them who will trust and obey.

5 Then in fellowship sweet

We will sit at His feet,

Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;

What He says we will do;

Where He sends, we will go,

Never fear, only trust and obey.

John Henry Sammis (1846-1919)

Stay Blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sunday 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 FM – Saturdays 7:30 pm, YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

CHRISTIAN CONDUCT & LIFESTYLE – II

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:13-16.

INTRODUCTION

We continue this week with more teachings on Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. To receive the benefits of God’s kingdom, there are principles and standards by which God expects all Christians to live. We must be guided by God’s purposes and values and not by the ways and values of the world.

SALT OF THE EARTH

Jesus’ followers could easily relate to the properties and benefits of salt as described in Jesus’ metaphor.

1. Salt seasons and flavours food, just as Christians should enhance and favourably influence people and society around them.

2. Salt is a preservative, just as Christians and the church should resist moral corruption and decay, preserving a godly influence on the culture.

3. In addition, salt has healing properties, just as Christ’s followers must help bring healing to people who are hurting physically, emotionally and spiritually. Salt also creates thirst, just as Christians – through their good example – should create spiritual thirst or desire in others to know more about God.

Individual Christians and churches that lose these qualities will become spiritually “lukewarm” (unconcerned, unresponsive, lazy), a condition that suppresses or destroys the activity and power of the Holy Spirit. Without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, churches will completely lose their effectiveness and will be rejected and “thrown out” by God.

As a result, these Christians who are not seasoned with salt will be “trampled by men”, which means they will end up giving in to the ways and values of an ungodly society. Taking this path will bring destruction in the end.

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE… THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD DEEDS

In Jesus’ time, people used small clay lamps that burned olive oil drawn up by a wick. As Christians, we should be like these simple lamps, providing light in the spiritually dark conditions of this present world. Our lives should stand out from other people in society in a positive and spiritually enlightening way. After all, genuine faith in Christ cannot be hidden, but will be evident to those around us, many of whom are looking for direction and hope in their lives.

As Christians, we have the privilege of lighting the way to God by reflecting the life, love and light of His Son, Jesus. This happens not only through words, but often more effectively through actions. In order to truly show people who Jesus is and what He is like, we must follow His example and be among people as ones who serve. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” – Luke 22:27.

We should actively look for ways to assist others and meet their needs at home, at school, on the job and in every aspect of life. By serving people, we reflect Christ’s humility and show His compassion. We break down barriers of resistance and opposition to the truth of God’s Word and the reality of Jesus’ life-changing power.

We can serve people through simple acts of kindness and by meeting practical needs. Of course, we must “always be prepared to give an answer” for the reason for our hope and the motivation behind our actions. But many people will not pay attention to the message unless it comes from someone who cares enough to meet their practical needs. For example, there may be times when we must give food for a person’s stomach before we can feed his or her soul. Or perhaps we need to help clean up a neighborhood before we try to help clean up the lives of the people living in that neighborhood. When you work against injustice, share food and clothes, help your family and anyone else who is oppressed, “then your light will rise in the darkness”.

Through practical service and loving interaction, we open the door to share the blood and true message of Christ. Then we will more likely be able to influence people to consider Christ’s claims, believe His Word and yield their lives to Him.

Stay blessed!

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615

Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website:
saltandlightministriesgh.org

TRUTH THAT LEADS TO GODLINESS

INTRODUCTION

This week we just want to quote directly from Paul’s letter to Titus.

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at His appointed season He has brought His word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour,

To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.

TITUS TASK ON CRETE

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, a husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said: ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

WHAT MUST BE TAUGHT TO VARIOUS GROUPS

You must teach what is in accord to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them,and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

DOING WHAT IS GOOD

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

FINAL REMARKS

As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all.

Stay Blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sunday 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 FM – Saturdays 7:30 pm, YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

GODLESSNESS IN THE LAST DAYS

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5

INTRODUCTION

The last days here is not referring to a brief period of time before Christ’s return. In a very broad and general sense, the “last days” can include the entire era between Christ’s first coming, by birth and His literal second coming at the end of the tribulation period. In this passage, Paul may be referring more specifically to the period beginning with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the united believers in Jerusalem, which was the start of the Church (following Christ’s resurrection and ascension back to heaven – Pentecost and concluding with Christ’s return to earth). Through Paul’s prophecy here, the ungodly and immoral behaviour in society will accelerate as the end approaches.

1. The last days will be marked by a widespread collapse of the moral structure of the family and of society in general as people are arrogant “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”. Even in churches, unfaithfulness to God and disloyalty to His truth will increase. These times will be especially difficult and disheartening for God’s true servants.

2. Paul warns that within organized Christianity many will have “a form of godliness” (insincere, hypocritical religion) and will appear to do the right things outwardly; but they will lack the authentic power that comes from a right relationship with God. Such people deny the true power of Christ’s message that produces genuine life transformation and godly character. Paul adds: “I have nothing to do with them”.

The full benefits of spiritual salvation and the mighty end-time outpouring and activity of the Holy Spirit will occur through churches that are truly passionate for Jesus, actively serving His purpose and anticipating His coming. Followers of Christ who remain true to God and His Word will experience greater favour and empowerment from God than they have ever known.

LOVERS OF THEMSELVES

Paul gives a list of sins that all have their root in a love of self:

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – 2 Timothy 3:2-4

Many people today teach that a lack of love for oneself is the root of destructive behaviour and petrsonality disorders. However, God’s Word reveals that the problem lies in a self-centeredness that has no concern for God or others.

WITHOUT LOVE

In the last days, God’s people must be prepared to face an over-whelming rise in ungodliness as history enters its final stages. Paul prophesies that Satan will bring great destruction on the family. Children will be “disobedient to their parents”, and men and women will be “without love”. This can be translated “without family affection” and refers to a lack of natural tenderness and love, as shown by a mother who rejects her children or kills her baby, a father who abandons his family or children who neglect their aging parents.

Men and women will become lovers of money and pleasure and will pursue their own selfish desires with no thought or concern for God or others. Many will consider parenthood, with its demands for sacrificial love and nurture, an unworthy or undignified task. Parents with true love for their children will be rare; they will be replaced more and more by those who are selfish and brutal and who abandon their children, emotionally and physically.

If Christian parents are to safeguard their families in the difficult times of the last days, they must protect them from evil influences and teach them to reject the corrupt values of the society in which they live.

HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS

Paul is referring to those who claim to be Christians, appear to be religious and seem to do the right things, but who do not have an authentic personal relationship with Jesus. Their lives are not characterized by the spiritual power that frees people from sin (their own God-defying ways), selfishness and ungodly behaviour. Such people tolerate immoral behaviours and lifestyles in their churches and among those who claim to know God. They even teach that a person may practice the sins listed and yet still be spiritually saved and have a part in God’s kingdom. While Christians need to reach out and maintain positive relationships and influence with people who do not know Christ, they are to “having nothing to do with” hypocritical people who pretend to follow Christ but are simply trying to fool God and others. Such people tend to distort Christ’s message, mislead others spiritually and cause divisions in the church.

WHO IS ON THE LORD’S SIDE – MHB 820

Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King?

Who will be His helpers, other lives to bring?

Who will leave the world’s side? Who will face the foe?

Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for Him will go?

By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine,

We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

Jesus, Thou hast bought us, not with gold or gem,

But with Thine own lifeblood, for Thy diadem;

With Thy blessing filling each who comes to Thee,

Thou hast made us willing, Thou hast made us free.

By Thy grand redemption, by Thy grace divine,

We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!

Stay Blessed! Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sunday 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 FM – Saturdays 7:30 pm, YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30 am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories

CHRISTIAN CONDUCT & LIFESTYLE

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:3-12.

INTRODUCTION

“The Sermon on the Mount”Matthew 5,6 & 7 – commonly called Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, contain a powerful yet practical revelation of the principles and standards by which God expects all Christians to live. Of course, living up to these standards is possible only through faith in Jesus, the Son of God, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. In this message, Jesus teaches a large group of potential followers what it really means to follow Him and be part of God’s kingdom. All who belong to the kingdom are to demonstrate godly character and have an intense hunger and thirst for righteousness (that is, to do what is right and maintain a right relationship with God).

For the next weeks we will be looking at what scripture tell us about our conduct. There are certain character requirements if we wish to receive the benefits of God’s kingdom; we must be guided by God’s purposes and values and not by the ways and values of the world.

1. BLESSED…POOR IN SPIRIT. The word “blessed” refers to the well-being and joy of those who, because of their relationship to Christ and His Word, find their place in God’s kingdom. The benefits of that “membership” include God’s constant love, care, presence and spiritual salvation. There are certain character requirements if we wish to receive the benefits of God’s kingdom; we must be guided by God’s purposes and values and not by the ways and values of the world. The first of these requirements is to be “poor in spirit” – not arrogant or self-reliant. We must humbly recognize that we are not spiritually self-sufficient. That means that we cannot earn a place in God’s kingdom; we need the Holy Spirit’s life, power and grace (undeserved favour, love, enablement) in order to receive the benefits of spiritual salvation.

2. THOSE WHO MOURN

To “mourn” is to recognize and feel sorrow over our own weakness in relation to God’s perfect standards and ultimate power. It also means grieving over the things that grieve God, such as the unfaithfulness, immorality and cruelty that are rampant in the world. Those who mourn over sin and its effect on people’s lives – and commit themselves to helping rescue people from evil – are comforted by receiving from God’s “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”.

3. THE MEEK

This does not simply suggest a modest attitude toward other people. The “meek” are those who are humble and submissive to God. They depend on nothing but Him for security in life and refuge from trouble. They commit themselves and the direction of their lives entirely to Him. They are more concerned about God’s work and God’s people than about what might happen to them personally. The meek, rather than those who aggressively pursue their own ways, ultimately will inherit God’s benefits and reign with Him in the end.

4. HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

This is one of the most important verses in the Sermon on the Mount. Without this intense desire for righteousness, a person will not pursue a deeper relationship with God or try to develop the rest of the character traits Jesus describes.

  1. The foundational requirement for all godly living is to “hunger and thirst for righteousness”. Such hunger is seen in Moses, the psalm writer and the great missionary, Paul. The spiritual condition of Christians all throughout their lives will depend on their hunger and thirst for: the presence of God, the Word of God, the interaction and friendship of Christ, the companionship, guidance and influence of the Holy Spirit; righteousness, God’s power and the return of the Christ.
  2. The Christian’s hunger for God and His purposes is hindered – and even destroyed – by the worries of life, deceitfulness of wealth, desire for temporal things, lust for life’s pleasures and failure to trust Christ and remain in a right relationship with Him.       When a Christian loses his or her hunger for God and his standards, he or she will begin to die spiritually. For this reason, it is essential that we be sensitive and responsive to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives and consciences, keeping us away from evil and drawing us closer to God.

5. THE MERCIFUL

The “merciful” are full of sympathy and compassion toward those who are suffering either from sin or sorrow.  The merciful sincerely want to help ease and eliminate such suffering by influencing people to depend on God for help and to entrust their lives to Jesus Christ. Merciful people also get actively involved in meeting people’s need. By showing mercy to others, we “will be shown mercy”

6. THE PURE IN HEART

The “pure in heart” are those who have devoted themselves to God and have been freed from sin power by God’s grace (His undeserved favour, love, help and enablement). That grace now enables them to please God and bring honour to Him by the way they live. They seek to have the same attitude that God has – a love for what is true and right and hatred of evil. Their heart (which includes mind, will and emotions;). This means that their thoughts and desires are pure according to His standards of holiness (i.e., moral purity, spiritual integrity, separation from evil and dedication to God). God requires holiness in His followers because He is holy and because only the pure in heart “will see God”. To see God means to be His child and experience a close personal relationship with Him, both now and in His future eternal kingdom.

7. THE PEACEMAKERS

The “peacemakers” are those who have been reconciled to God (restored to a right relationship with Him). Peace with God is available to anyone who accepts the sacrifice Jesus made for their sins by His death on the cross. Those who truly have peace with God will make every effort to show that peace to others – including their enemies – and to bring others into a relationship of peace with God.

8. PERSECUTED BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. People who follow Christ and live according to the principles of God’s Word will face opposition and rejection. Those who uphold God’s standards of truth, justice and purity, refusing to follow and walk in the ungodly lifestyles of society, will be unpopular. They will receive criticism and opposition from the world; and at times from those within the church. The Bible teaches that this is a time to rejoice because God reserves a special blessing for those who suffer for His sake. Christians must beware of the temptation to  compromise their faithfulness to God’s purposes in order to avoid shame, embarrassment or loss. The principles of God’s kingdom never change: “…everyone who wants to live godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. Yet those who suffer and endure persecution because of their devotion and commitment to God are promised a place of honour and reward in God’s heavenly kingdom.

To be continued!!

Stay blessed!

For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615

Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website:
saltandlightministriesgh.org

KINGDOM VALUES – PART 2

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:1-12

INTRODUCTION

We continue with our study on the Kingdom Values that Jesus taught on the Sermon of the Mount, which all believers require for spiritual growth.

3. THE MEEK were not the weak or cowardly. They were those who, under the pressure of life, had learned to bend their wills and to set aside their own notions as they stood before the greatness and grace of God. They were characterized by humble trust rather than arrogant independence as they exercised self-control of life and actions, submitting to the authority of Christ. Our focus must move from dependence upon God. In Humble recognition of our sinfulness, we must empty our lives and now stand before the Lord, seeking to please and serve Him by cheerfully obeying His commands and graciously submitting to the authorities God has placed in our lives.

Again the paradox is clear: The world associates gentleness with weakness, but in God’s eyes strength characterizes the one who harnesses life in order to maintain God-control. Gentle self-control prepares the way for God-control. Just as inheritance of the land was an expression of God’s intervention and deliverance for Israel (Deuteronomy 4:1; 16:20), to inherit the earth was a temporal manifestation of the heavenly kingdom to come and another way to express God’s sovereign rule. Enjoying that inheritance is possible because of a God-given spirit of contentment. “Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.”Psalm 37:16. “Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.” – Proverbs 15:16.

The first four Beatitudes describe the character of one who has been awakened and filled with the Spirit of God:

  1. Being poor in spirit affirms your own inadequacy and humility before the Lord.
  2. You are conscious of your sinfulness and mourn.
  3. You are gentle and allow God to control your life.
  4. You are not self-righteous, but realize only God Himself can offer what is needed. Your spiritual sensitivity brings a complete change of perspective.

Each Beatitude builds upon the previous one and prepares for those that follow.

4. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, “what God requires, what is right, what is just” have a craving for righteousness, comparable to such physical hunger and thirst as was known only in lands where people died for want of food or water. God has placed in His creation an insatiable hunger for Himself – a God shaped vacuum only He can fill.

5. “Righteousness” equalled the will of God. Matthew used this word seven times in his Gospel, and five times the word was used in the Sermon on the Mount. God’s standard for righteousness is the life of the Lord Jesus. The text does not say that the person full of righteousness, realizing the journey of spiritual nurture never ends. The desire for spiritual sustenance must be renewed daily even as in your physical appetite. The word for filled is in the passive voice, indicating that the filling was to be done by an outside agent. The Lord does the filling. The verb is in the future tense, affirming that the filling was not a one-time event. God means for the filling to continue to supply nourishment and satisfaction. The emphasis turns from character to how character is shown in relationship to others.

6. The merciful are moved to pity and compassion – sympathetic to the suffering of another. However, this mercy is not merely pity or an emotional response. To extend mercy God’s way is an act of the will, and once extended, mercifulness draws more mercy. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day prided themselves in doing deeds of service, but their hearts were often indifferent to the sufferings of others (Mark 3:1-6). Mercy ruled out merit and overshadowed other attributes of God. God’s justice was satisfied by the sacrifice of His Son, and that was mercy.

7. The pure in heart are people who are morally upright and holy and not just ritually cleansed. They have a lifestyle not only different and set apart in what they do but also marked by a difference in thought and motivation. To be “pure in heart” is to be obsessed by God and controlled by Him. This purity is an inner fountain that feeds all we do and say. The pure in heart do not harbour ill intentions toward anyone and are obsessed with pursuing genuine godliness. Those who debt has been paid by Christ on the cross will indeed see God. Having been redeemed, we enter His holy presence and see things as God sees them. Many of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day observed the laws concerning ritual cleanliness of the body, but only a person who turns to Christ to cleanse him of his sins will ever see God (Hebrews 12:14).

8. The peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) strive for harmony in all areas of life as a reflection on the inner peace that God brings to His children. Jesus taught that peace will only come when people have peace with God. This Beatitude raises the bar to the highest intimacy with the heavenly Father (Matthew 5:45). The word moves beyond the idea of political and economic stability to include total well-being in the spiritual realm as well. Peacemakers want more than an end of conflict. They want healing among the people, ultimately dependent on reconciliation with God. This derivation of the Greek word for peacemakers is used only here in the New Testament. It refers to one who makes peace and seeks reconciliation rather than to one who is passive and seeking peace at any cost. As peacemaker we separate ourselves from our own interests and whims and what is best for us. We become others-oriented with a deep concern for how the kingdom would be impacted be our actions. We must be willing to suffer injustice in order for peace to reign and Christ to be magnified. To be called sons of God was not a gender assignment but an honourable title that went beyond personal identification to acknowledge publicly our relationship to the Lord and our place in His family.

9. Those persecuted for righteousness’ sake will have the kingdom of heaven, having come full circle to offer the same reward as the first beatitude and best displaying the paradoxical nature of Christ’s kingdom. Persecution was considered a blessing in Christ’s kingdom because it allowed a person to empathize with the sufferings of Christ. Jesus did not promise vindication, but a reward in heaven awaited the person who persevered. Persecution begins when we commit ourselves to Christ and it intensifies as we become more and more like the Saviour. The world expects compromise and the path of least resistance, but Christ demands a gentle spirit and purity of heart and life in view of these three persecutions:

  1. Revile (reproach, heap insults upon)
  2. Persecute (“seek after, strive for” and in its root meaning “pursue”) in the sense that the world was running after believers to cause them suffering
  3. Say all kinds of evil against you falsely (lying) referred to defamation of character or deception by falsehood.

The tense of each of these verbs describing these categories of suffering suggests that the event happened at a particular time in the past instead of being an ongoing and continual action. Persecution happens, but it is not necessarily a continuous experience. There is a window of hope for earthly relief and the assurance of ultimate heavenly deliverance. In verse 12 Jesus used a strong word to express rejoicing and it was amplified with another verb, suggesting increasing intensity of joy. The persecution in itself does not bring joy but often affirms that we belong to Christ, giving us a unique opportunity to glorify Christ and bear our testimony for Him.

Source: Culled from The Study Bible for Women

Stay Blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sunday 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and Uniiq 95.7 FM – Saturdays 7:30 pm, YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

KINGDOM VALUES – PART 1

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:1-12

INTRODUCTION

Jesus presented an upside-down kingdom. The very things valued by the Greco-Roman world (and us too) – wealth and fame – were devalued in Christ’s kingdom. Blessed is usually understood to mean “happy”, but more precisely the word suggests the idea of “being congratulated” because God’s favour is granted to the individual. The blessedness described in the Beatitudes is not a quality characteristic of human beings but a trait of God Himself. Only God imparts this blessedness – not on demand or as the result of your fulfilling prescribed conditions. Blessedness is a characteristic exclusively available to believers. Since this blessedness comes from within, it is neither caused nor affected by outside circumstances. Social and spiritual aspects of life are woven through each Beatitude.

As believers we are characterized by our humility and confidence in God. Through the Beatitudes Christ explained His personhood and His ministry, which were marked by humility and sacrifice. The world despised anyone who was considered weak, but Jesus taught that anyone who recognizes his own spiritual poverty and helplessness is ready for spiritual growth.

1. THE POOR

The poor in spirit could refer to those who are both spiritually impoverished and socially and economically oppressed. Nowhere in Scripture is poverty or absence of possessions declared to be the path to spiritual blessing. The emphasis was upon emptying ourselves to make room for God. One who is poor cannot satisfy his/her own need; they are driven by their poverty to dependence on God. When self-sufficiency and pride are stripped away, we are ready to be responsive to God, His Word and the gracious ministries He sends to meet our needs.

As with most godly character traits, the pattern is found in the life of Jesus. He came into the world in a humble setting – a stable manger in an insignificant village. There is no way into the kingdom of God other than with the poverty of spirit that comes from emptying ourselves in pride, self-reliance, and self-sufficiency and in contrast filling ourselves with God, His strength and God-sufficiency. The emphasis is on God’s power instead of our resourcefulness.

The New Testament uses the phrase kingdom of heaven in three ways. Here all can be included in the meaning:

  1. The kingdom of God within the heart of a believer. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33
  2. The body that includes all believers on earth. “He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. – Luke 11:2.
  3. The kingdom prepared for believers after death. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will beloosed in heaven.” – Matthew 16:19.

In each case God ushers in the kingdom, and Jesus reigns over it. Only the poor in spirit, claiming no personal merit, can enter because grace, and not works, opens the door.

2a. THOSE WHO MOURN

The meaning cannot be confined to sorrow over sin. Again the reader finds a paradox since most people do not recognize sorrow as a blessing. Followers of Christian Science even deny the existence of physical illness and suffering. Yet sorrow and death will always be present. Still this Beatitude does not suggest that physical suffering or loss of a loved one or any other tragedy of life would bring blessing merely as a payment for grief. Spiritual mourning indicates a sensitive consciousness of sin and an accompanying sorrow because of that sin. “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.” – James 4:9. Those who mourn recognize who they are; they see purpose in sorrow and suffering; they allow that sorrow to give glory to God. Tragedies become stepping stones to the heart of God and His comfort. Grief prompted by the sin itself, rather than only by the consequences of the sin that might have affected you adversely, produced sanctified sorrow.

2b. THEY WILL BE COMFORTED

The Holy Spirit enables us to cry out for help because He not only brings conviction but also awakens within our sorrow over sin. As the believer mourns over sin, the Holy Spirit who abides within does His work to give comfort and joy and enables him/her to persevere, even in the midst of sorrow and suffering. The Greek verb is in the passive voice and the future tense, implying not only assurance for the present but also security for the future. The cycle of comfort will be continuous because the Holy Spirit dwells now and forever in the believer’s heart. The blessedness should not be construed as coming from the path of sorrow itself but from the comfort accompanying the believer in the journey.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Source: Culled from The Study Bible for Women

To Be Continued!!

Stay Blessed!

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