WHAT IS WISDOM?

SCRIPTURE

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7

INTRODUCTION

We often think of wisdom as intelligence, but we would be mistaken to bring that definition to this literature. When we look at the vast number of topics covered under the heading of “wisdom,” it is easy to despair of finding common ground, for the heading covers artisan skills, scientific knowledge, etiquette, philosophy, psychology, politics, sociology and jurisprudence, just to name a few. Furthermore, the text insists on more than one occasion that the “fear of the Lord” is the beginning or foundation of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; 15:33). Does this suggest that none of those disciplines could be successfully engaged without fear of the Lord?

BIBLICAL VIEW

As we consider the way that people thought in the ancient world, perhaps we can best capture the Biblical way of understanding all of this by thinking in terms of worldview integration. In the ancient world, including Israel, order was an important value.

  • Creation brought order to the cosmos;
  • Law brought order to society;
  • Etiquette brought order to human relationships;
  • Politics brought order to governance and authority.

Ancient wisdom can then be understood as the pursuit of understanding and preserving order in the world. Wisdom is present when order is perceived, pursued and preserved. The people of the day wanted their worldview to fit together like a puzzle — fully integrated, with each piece placed in proper relation to the others. They saw the fear of the Lord as the keystone to this integration process. To “fear the Lord” means to take His person and role seriously.

Order in the cosmos could only be understood through acknowledgment of the One who brought order. Order could only be preserved in society and in life by understanding God’s requirements and expectations. In this way, wisdom can be seen to transcend the basic knowledge or skill related to particular disciplines.

A fool (or any of the other synonyms used to describe such a person): was one who brought disorder into any of the pertinent realms by their behavior or thinking. Furthermore, a fool would be one who did not fear the Lord and therefore tried to find coherence in something or someone else — usually themselves.

THE FEAR OF THE LORD

A reverent awe (holy wonder and respect) of God’s power, majesty, authority and holiness produces in us a godly fear of disobeying or ignoring what He has revealed to us in His Word. This attitude is essential to gaining true wisdom that makes a difference in our thoughts and behaviours. It keeps us from doing things that will destroy us spiritually. The New Testament indicates that a true fear of the Lord in our hearts will be joined by the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM, AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE HOLY ONE IS UNDERSTANDING. – Proverbs 9:10

Are you a mocker or a wise person? You can tell by the way we respond to criticism. If we are truly wise people who want to please God, we will accept correction. Constructive challenges orr correction from a friend, family member or pastor are some of the ways God uses to mold and strengthen our character according to His plans.

Learning from our critics; is certainly the path to wisdom. Wisdom begins with knowing God. He gives insight into living because He created life. To know God we must not just know the facts about Him; we must have a personal relationship with Him. Do you really want to be wise? Get to know God better and better.

THE FEAR OF THE LORD TEACHES A MAN WISDOM, AND HUMILITY COMES BEFORE HONOUR. – PROVERBS 15:33

If we love wisdom and seek the favor of God and men, then here are the rules for our lives: We need to humble yourself before God and men in the fear of God.

What is humility? It is the knowledge that we are very fallible, very foolish, and very weak. It is the willingness to reject our own thoughts and opinions in order to be taught by God or men wiser than ourselves. It is the ability to take correction, confess our faults, and change our methods based on the instruction of others. It is the discipline to keep our mouths shut, to avoid the conflicts of others, and to forgive their offences against us.

The importance of these two prerequisites cannot be overstated. Moses taught the fear of the Lord (Deuteronomy 10:12), and so did Joshua (Joshua 24:14), Samuel (I Samuel 12:14,20,24), David (Psalm 34:9-11), and Solomon (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). It was the conclusion of Solomon’s experimentation where he states that the whole duty of man is the fear of God: without it we cannot even get started.

When we fear the Lord, we have no fear of man, which corrupts the hearts of most men (Proverbs 29:25). If peer pressure does not bother us, and if threats do not intimidate us, then we will be proportionately wiser by not wasting mental effort or making moral compromise based on what others might think or do. Can we grasp this wisdom?

HOW TO BECOME WISE

Wisdom is, in fact, a divine gift that is granted by God to any believer who asks for it. This is the clear teaching of James: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5

Yet, how many of us ask? How many of us pray? Solomon asked for wisdom and it is this prayer that unlocked the riches of the world. We read in 1 Kings 3:8 – 13 (ESV):

“And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude.  Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor.”

The wisdom that we need has three distinct characteristics:

  1. It is Practical. The wisdom from God relates to life even during the most trying times. It is not wisdom isolated from suffering and trials. This wisdom is the tool by which trials are overcome. An intelligent person may have profound ideas, but a wise person puts profound ideas into action. Intelligence will allow someone to describe several reasons why the car broke down. The wise person chooses the most likely reason and proceeds to take action.

 

  1. It is Divine. God’s wisdom goes beyond common sense. Common sense does not lead us to choose joy in the middle of trials. This wisdom begins with respect for God, leads to living by God’s direction, and results in the ability to tell right from wrong.

 

 

  1. It is Christlike. Asking for wisdom is ultimately asking to be like Christ. The Bible identifies Christ as the “wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24; 2:1-7)

CONCLUSION

Yes, wisdom is a bountiful blessing that is available to all. We have only to go to the Lord God and ask for this wisdom. As Paul prayed that the Colossians be granted wisdom, so I also pray for those who read this:

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” – Colossians 1:9-10 (ESV).

Let us always remember that Jesus is the fullness of God’s wisdom. To receive the anointing of wisdom, then, is, in some way, to know the mind of God and to draw close to the one who is wisdom incarnate, even Jesus Christ our Lord:

“but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”-1 Corinthians 1:23-24.

Stay Blessed!

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

Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website:  saltandlightgh.org

 

A REFINER AND PURIFIER

SCRIPTURE

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness – Malachi 3:3

INTRODUCTION

God’s goal for every redeemed soul this side of heaven is spiritual purity and growth. He longs to cleanse us of those spiritual “germs” that ultimately would rob us of purity. That’s why our faith is sometimes “tried with fire” as Peter suggests in 1 Peter 1:7, “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Indeed, God is ever drawing us closer to the fire of His purifying essence so we would be more like Him.  And surely there is much within the nature of us all that needs purifying!!

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God as we read in Romans 3:23. And even after we’ve surrendered our lives to Christ, there are frequent reminders that each of us is human. Most can identify with the bumper sticker that reads, “Lead me not into temptation. I can find it for myself!” I’m sure all committed Christians would agree: We need a cleansing, purifying agent to help us grow. And in Jesus’ name, our Refiner and Purifier, we will find this agent!

KNOWING THIS NAME

It is Malachi who paints a picture of our Lord, a Refiner and Purifier. He gives this description in a prophecy meant to deal with complaining people who had forgotten God’s faithfulness. This scene from the final book of the Old Testament is one of stagnation. It is a scene revealing people who are accustomed to being around godliness, but unwilling to grow up. Yet, amid this picture of a passive people who resist the correction of the Lord, God’s promise rings out: “The Lord… will suddenly come to His temple!” – Malachi 3:1. George Frideric Handel used this scripture in one of the pieces in his epic oratorio Messiah. He declares that a visitation of His presence is coming, and it will be as purging and purifying as when a refiner works with precious metals. The prophecy proclaims, “He will be like refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap” – Malachi 3:2. In short, the Lord committed Himself to work with a people who would allow Him to grow them up! And now, as then, He seeks saints who are willing to permit Him to refine their character as well as purify their lives.

LIVING THIS NAME

The two images presented in this title of our Lord, fire and soap warmly invite our trust and gently urge us to let the Lord have His way in our lives – all day long, not just in the prayer closet. We need to live in the dual reality that Christ is our Refiner and Purifier.

First, the figure of a launderer’s soap brings to mind the everyday process of washing clothes. We’ve all watched what happens when we put clothing in the water, add soap, and then start the washer. Given time, the mere presence of the soap will penetrate and cleanse the clothing.

Second, the image of a metal refiner in Malachi 3:3 depicts our Lord’s gentleness. The soap works with strength; the refiner works with sensitivity. Metal, even such precious substances as gold and silver, is refined by removing the impurities. This is done by melting the metal. As a result of the melting, the impurities (or “dross”) rise to the surface. Then the refiner carefully draws this dross off the top, patiently working until a perfect, mirrorlike quality exists on the surface of the molten metal. If too much temperature is applied, the metal will burn; if too little, all the impurities will not be removed. Thus the finest refiner is the one who sensitively applies just enough heat to complete the task, and who exercises all the patience needed to remove each impurity until the clarity of the surface literally mirrors the image of the refiner.

PRAYING THIS NAME

Although God’s purifying power works continuously, it is during prayer that we become quietly conscious of its full reality. When we pray in Jesus’ name, our Refiner and Purifier, we sensitize our awareness to the gentle “searchings” of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to surface these secret sins during prayer. Never be afraid to allow the Lord, through your prayers, to burn away that which hinders His glory from reflecting through you. Let’s petition God today for a new transparency in Jesus’ name, our Refiner and Purifier.

TODAY’S PRAYER

Lord Jesus Christ, today I want to live in the resources of Your personal ministry as my Refiner and Purifier. I choose to allow You to grow me up! Right now, I openly expose those places where sin infests my thoughts, my habits, my living. I not only ask for Your forgiveness, I invite Your presence like cleansing soap. Launder my soul, my mind – today. And Lord, wherever the fire of refinement needs to be brought to bear upon my being, I open to Your gentle ministry. Remove all dross. Take out whatever cheapens the treasured quality of Your eternal workings in me. And, dear Saviour, don’t stop until Your image can be seen. For I pray this in Your name, my Refiner and Purifier. Amen

HALLOWING THIS NAME

  1. Holy – Isaiah 6:3; 57:15
  2. Holy and Reverend – Psalm 111:9
  • Holy and True – Revelation 6:10
  1. Holy One and the Just – Acts 2:27; 3:14
  2. Holy One of Israel – Isaiah 49:7
  3. Jehovah-Mekaddishkem (The Lord Our Sanctifier) – Leviticus 20:8
  • Jesus Christ the Righteous – 1 John 2:1
  • Lamb without Blemish – 1 Peter 1:19

 

Source: Excerpted with permission from the book “Living & Praying In Jesus’ Name” by Dick Eastman & Jack Hayford, from which we will be sharing some more of the names of Jesus.

 

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; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

 

 

 

 

JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS INTRODUCTION

Today, Friday 10th April, 2020 is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On that day, Jesus was crucified in a very cruel way. It was a painful death but it was also dramatic, symbolic and fulfillment of prophecy. I would like us to journey through the Bible on the story of Jesus’ death.
JESUS PRAYS IN GETHSEMANE
Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and He said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and He became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then He returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When He returned to them again, He found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So He went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then He came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!” – Matthew 26:36-46.
JESUS BEFORE THE COUNCIL
Then the people who had arrested Jesus led Him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. Meanwhile, Peter followed Him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end. Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put Him to death. But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!” Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat Him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?” – Matthew 26:57-68.
THE COUNCIL OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS CONDEMNS JESUS
Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. Then they bound Him, led Him away, and took Him to Pilate, the Roman governor. When Judas, who had betrayed Him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, He was filled with remorse. So He took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.  The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood.  This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver—
the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, and purchased the potter’s field,
as the Lord directed.” – Matthew 27:1-10
JESUS’ TRIAL BEFORE PILATE
Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus replied, “You have said it.”  But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against Him, Jesus remained silent.  “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise. Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas.  As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)  Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about Him last night.” Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!” Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah? They shouted back, “Crucify him!” “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has He committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify Him!” Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!” And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!” So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned Him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. – Matthew 27:11-26
THE CRUCIFIXION
Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”).  The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when He had tasted it, He refused to drink it. After they had nailed Him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as He hung there. A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against Him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with Him, one on His right and one on His left.  The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at Him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!” The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus.  “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but He can’t save himself! So He is the King of Israel, is He? Let Him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in Him! He trusted God, so let God rescue Him now if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”  Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with Him ridiculed Him in the same way. – Matthew 27:32-44
THE DEATH OF JESUS
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.  At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought He was calling for the prophet Elijah.  One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to Him on a reed stick so He could drink. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.” Then Jesus shouted out again, and He released His spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!” And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for Him were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee. – Matthew 27:45-56.
THE BURIAL OF JESUS
As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in His own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then He rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching. – Matthew 27:57-61.
THE GUARD AT THE TOMB
The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while He was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’  So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent His disciples from coming and stealing His body and then telling everyone He was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.” Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it. – Matthew 27:62-66.
STAY BLESSED!
For further inquiries please contact us on Tel Nos. 0302-772013 or 0268130615
Email: saltnlightministries@gmail.com
Website: saltandlightgh.org

 

THE MEANING OF JESUS SUFFERING

“Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to His own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” – Isaiah 53:4-6 (NIV).

INTRODUCTION
Today 10th April, 2020 is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On that day, over two thousand years ago, Jesus was crucified in a very cruel way. It was a painful death but it was also dramatic, symbolic and fulfillment of prophecy. On that day darkness covered the earth for three hours! And the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the rest of the Temple was torn into two, from top to bottom so that we could have complete access to God. Jesus by His suffering on the cross, bridged the gap between us and the Holy God.

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF HIS DEATH AND WHAT DOES IT MANIFEST?
1. The Cross Manifests God’s Love: But God demonstrated His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us – Romans 5:8 (NIV)

2. The Cross Manifests God’s Justice:
“But now God has shown us a different way of being right in His sight – not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in His gracious kindness declares us not guilty (we are justified). He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when He did not punish those who sinned in former times. And He is entirely fair and just in this present time when He declares sinners to be right in His sight because they believe in Jesus” – Romans 3:21-26 (NLT)

3. The Cross Manifests the Wisdom and Power of God:
“I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never find Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save to save all who believe. God’s way seems foolish to the Jews because they want a sign from heaven to prove it is true. And it is foolish to the Greeks because they believe only what agrees with their own wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God. This “foolish’ plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength” – 1 Cor. 1:18 -25 (NLT)

4. The Cross Manifests the Victory of God Over the Forces of Evil:
“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross of Christ” – Col. 2:13-15; Heb. 14:15; 2 Tim. 1:10 (NLT)

WHAT DID THE CROSS ACHIEVE?
The Cross Achieved Forgiveness of Sins.
“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then god made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins” – Col. 2:13 (NLT)
“He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised from the dead to make us right with God” – Romans 4:25 (NLT)

The Cross Achieved Justification, Peace with God and Access into God’s Grace:
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory” – Romans 5:1-3 (NLT)

Achieved Reconciliation between God and Man and Gives Man the Ministry of
Reconciliation:
“All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to Himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to Him” – 2 Cor. 5:18 (NLT)

The Cross Achieved for Jesus the Name above all Names at which Every Knee Bow
and Tongue Should Confess that Jesus is Lord.
“And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father – Phil. 2:9-11 (NLT)

HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?
1. Celebrate the feast not with old yeast of malice and wickedness but with bread without yeast: sincerity and truth.
“Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not by eating the old bread of wickedness and evil, but by eating the new bread of purity and truth”– 1 Cor. 5:7b-8 (NLT)

2. Hold Firm Faith and Approach the Throne of Grace with Confidence.
“That is why we have a great High priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to Him and never stop trusting Him. This High Priest of ours understands our weakness, for He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it” – Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT)

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

 

 

 

THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE – (PART II) (THE CROSS OF CHRIST)

SCRIPTURE

Not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12)

INTRODUCTION
In part one of our article on the above topic, “The Ultimate Sacrifice” (The Cross of Christ)
we pointed out that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross to save mankind was the most shameful death by anyone, yet it was designed that way, that the most abhorrent might bring the most glorious. We also indicated that sacrifices involve many things. But this Ultimate Sacrifice involved three things – a cross, a Saviour and a crown. The first was in the past, the second is in the present and the third will be in the future.

Enjoy the concluding part of the article and share it with others!

THE CROSS: THE EMBODIMENT OF MAN’S REDEMPTION
Man’s record of assistance spins uncontrollably between the realms of ‘unwilling when able and unable when willing’. Not so with Christ Jesus. Jesus’ mission in life was to save man. He Himself said concerning His mission: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” – Mark 10:45. (NIV)

At the core of that package was restoration of all that man lost in the Garden of Eden. He loved us too much to leave us to our own devices and sin’s dreary mire into which we had sunk. He alone also had the power to meet the demands of the law which we violate with impunity.

He chose to do that which none other was able or willing to do. Our sin was costly; we owed the debt of sin that we could not pay and Jesus paid the debt that He did not owe.
A lot of people do not realize what was lost, so they don’t feel the sense of loss. But man—that is, humanity—lost a lot. Eden was idyllic. It was peaceful, a place of beauty, where everything was declared ‘perfect.’ There was no pain, no sickness, no extreme temperature, and no drought. Man and animals lived together in harmony. The fishes in these as lived in harmony. None fed on the other. [I struck out this to avoid any confusion with New Agers and the heresy of Emergent Churches that is introducing ancient mysticisms into Christianity] There was harmony in all of God’s creation. God communed with His children, every evening He would go down to talk about the day with them. They could see, touch, laugh with and embrace God. But with sin, all was lost—but for Christ’s intervention.

THE CHANNEL TO ACCOMPLISH THAT MISSION WAS A CROSS
Barabbas Cross, My Cross: Yet the cross is not the issue, but He who hung on the cross. Jesus Christ hung on Barabbas’ cross. Afterwards, it came to symbolize life to all men until the end of time. Had it remained Barabbas’ cross, humanity would have been no better off today than in the hopeless state that plagued us after our sin in Eden.

The cross on which Jesus Christ hung has long since rotted away, but because the Sinless Lamb of God hung on it, that cross came to take on a life of its own.
No longer just the cross, but now the Cross of Jesus. Not susceptible to termite and decay, but alive and potent in the heart of every believer. Able to save to the uttermost every male, female, young, old, poor or rich person from Calvary to the end of the world, the Cross of Christ lives on today.

The Apostle Paul with his impeccable academic references, his excellent cultural and social pedigree, and his un-impeached adherence to religion-cultural norms, un-equalled and unparalleled passion for perfection of the status quo, declared fervently about his achievements: “…. I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”- Philippians 3:8 (NIV)

He chose not to glory in his accomplishments and achievements. He chose rather to boast in the cross of Christ, the most abhorring object of death at that time: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)

On that old, rugged cross on Calvary, the Son of God died to save man from his sins. There His blood was shed so that we will not have to die for our sins. That cross stands today, no longer representing shame and death, but as the symbol of redemption from sin and restoration back to our Creator.

Tears flow from the eyes of sinful man when we contemplate the depth of agony and love that mingled on that cross to complete the Ultimate Sacrifice. It is what has transformed our lives today and given us the right to be called the children of God. George Bennard captured it well in His well-sung hymn: The Old Rugged Cross.

As you ponder on the words, remember His pain. Reflect on His sacrifice. Review your life. He was nailed to the cross once for your sins. Celebrate the release from the bondage of sin that represents for you and do not nail Him to the cross again with your decisions and actions.

THE OLD RUGGED CROSS:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame; And I love that old cross where the dearest and best;
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain: So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
‘Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.

 

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above;
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see;
For ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died;
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

To Ponder: George Bennard further said that ‘the cross is the only ladder high enough to touch Heaven’s threshold.’ It is clear that there is no other hope for man. We are dead without Christ Jesus for we cannot pay the penalty of sin. He was nailed to the Cross for us that we might be saved. Why not take Him up on the offer of that salvation?
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; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

SIGNS OF THE END OF THE AGE

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. – Matthew 24:4-8
INTRODUCTION
Matthew 24:3-25:46 is called the Olivet discourse. Jesus’ prophecy was primarily a reply to the disciples’ question: “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus gave them:
General signs and a summary of key events leading up to the last days.
Special warning signs that would announce the final days of the present age, which will be the great tribulation.
Spectacular signs that will occur when Christ triumphantly returns to earth at the end of the great tribulation “with power and great glory”.
A warning for those who have chosen to trust Christ during the horrible tribulation period, calling them to be alert to the signs leading up to Christ’s expected return to end the tribulation.
A challenge for believers living before the tribulation to be spiritually ready for the unknown time when Christ will come to take His faithful followers from this world, sparing them from the severe tribulation judgements He will unleash on the earth. Note that although Christ will remove His true church from the world prior to the tribulation judgements, some people will come to Christ during the tribulation; but they will do so under great persecution from the antichrist. Those who survive are the believers that Christ will rescue when He physically returns to earth to end the tribulation and destroy the forces of the antichrist.
A description of the judgement of nations after Jesus’ return to earth.
Notice that many details of Christ coming (and the end times in general) are not revealed in Matthew 24. For that matter, no one has so far been able to interpret or figure out all of the Bible’s prophecies about the end times with complete certainty. In some cases, the timing or order of events is uncertain; in other instances, the specific details of signs or events are not completely clear. No doubt, this is in the plan of God, as the New Testament writers and Jesus Himself were not trying to reveal all the details about the end times. Their main concern was to challenge God’s people to “keep watch” and to be ready for Christ’s coming. For this reason, Jesus’ prophecy contains an element of mystery requiring humility, readiness and a heart focused on the Lord Jesus Himself. We can expect God to give His people additional insight and understanding about end-time events as they unfold.
PROPHETIC ADDRESS FROM THE MOUNT OF OLIVES
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
“Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
THE DAY AND HOUR UNKNOWN
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, He will put him in charge of all His possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to Himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Stay Blessed!

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

DOING GOD THE FATHER’S WILL

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ – Matthew 7:21-23
Jesus emphatically taught that carrying out God’s purposes and desires was 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:
God’s forgiveness comes to us through faith and repentance (i.e., admitting 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.
The obedience to God’s will demanded by Christ is an ongoing condition for salvation; it does not save us, but it is a response and result of true salvation. Yet, it is still God’s power and grace (i.e., 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. Note the Lord’s Prayer and the many challenges and warnings directed toward Christians, telling them to put sin to death (i.e., to rid their lives of sin and not respond to its appeal) and to present themselves to God as living sacrifices.
Because of the gift of 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 is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…For we are God’s workmanship” – Ephesians 2:8-10.
God always gives 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 we do not deserve – does not cancel the need for action on our part. We must respond positively to God’s gift of obedience. We are always free to reject God’s grace, refuse to depend on Christ and refuse to pray for and accept the life of obedience.
MANY WILL SAY…LORD, LORD
Jesus clearly states that there will be “many” who believe they are serving Him and who appear to do great works for Him, yet in reality they never had a true personal relationship with Christ. To escape the temptation and deceit that will be very common in the end times, church leaders (or any follower of Christ) must be totally committed to the truth revealed in God’s Word. We must consider outward “success” or results from ministry as the standard by which to determine our relationship with Christ. Each of us must strive to know Him deeply and to live by the instructions and guidelines in God’s Word.
I NEVER KNEW YOU
Christ makes it unmistakably clear that people may speak about Him and even be involved in powerful, supernatural activity, such as driving out demons and performing miracles, though in their hearts they have no genuine personal relationship with Christ.
Scripture teaches that what seems to be great preaching, strong belief, enthusiasm for God and the working of miracles can be performed even under the influence and power of Satan. Unlike us, Satan obviously has supernatural abilities and will use them to deceive people inside and outside the church. Paul warns that “Satan himself masquerades (walks about in disguise) as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, that many of his servants masquerades as servants of righteousness”. Paul makes it clear that what might appear to be a powerful gift of ministry can be “the work of Satan”.
Many times God overrides Satan’s activity in false preachers in order to bring genuine spiritual salvation or healing to those who truly respond to God’s Word. This means that if the message is true – even when the minister is not – it can still have the proper godly effect on people’s lives. It is always God’s desire that those who proclaim His message are in a right relationship with Him. Yet, when an evil or immoral person preaches God’s Word, God can still work in the heart of those who receive the Word and trust Christ. God does not give His approval on any unrighteous minister or teacher, but He does honour the truth of the message and will save all who accept it in faith.

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

GOOD CHRISTIAN CITIZENS

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:3-8
INTRODUCTION
When someone is born again, he or she is born into a family of faith for all eternity. This family, God’s people, is the church. Unlike any other earthly, entity, the church is not divided according to physical boundary, race, culture, education or any other reality. Instead, the church is unified because of its member’s common experience with the grace of Jesus Christ.
Unity, however, does not mean uniformity or a lack of diversity. Indeed, the great diversity of the church’s members is one of its unique aspects. Though each member is gifted differently, every member comes together to form the whole church. Furthermore, because of the variety of gifts possessed, every member is integral to the church’s healthy functioning. There is, then, no member greater than another, just as there is no part of the body that would boast over its position. The proper response if the Christian is to love and value the other members of the church because of their essential contributions to the health and well-being of the church worldwide.
Please enjoy these portions of scripture that speak to us directly about being good Christian citizens.
A LIVING SACRIFICE
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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. – Romans 12:1-2
HUMBLE SERVICE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:3-8.
LOVE IN ACTION
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:9-21
SUBMISSION TO GOVERNING AUTHORITIES
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour. -Romans 13:1-7

 

LOVE FULFILLS THE LAW
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10
THE DAY IS NEAR
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. – Romans 13:11-14
Stay Blessed!

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TRUTH PRODUCES GENUINE GODLINESS

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving – Colossians 3:23-24. (NIV)

 

Introduction

Some people say that it does not really matter what you believe, as long as you do the right thing.  However, Paul’s letter to Titus contradicts that sort of thinking.  He knew that people become what they think, and that everything they do is shaped by what they believe.

 

That is why he urged Titus, his valued associate who was pastoring a church on the island of Crete, to, “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” – Titus 2:1.  He knew that correct living is a product of correct belief.  Error can never lead to Godliness.  Only truth produces genuine Christlikeness.

 

In our world today, many streams of thought lay claim to being “true.”  Yet they produce nothing that even approaches the character, integrity, and humility of Christ.  That is why believers need to carefully pay attention to the teaching they receive.  Does it square with Scripture?  Does it honor Christ?  Does it acknowledge what Paul calls “the truth which accords with godliness”Titus1:1.

 

We have published this article a couple of years ago but we consider it very relevant today.  Please enjoy!

 

Titus’s Work in Crete

An elder must live a blameless life.  He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who are not wild or rebellious.  An elder must live a blameless life because he is God’s minister.  He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or greedy for money.  He must enjoy having guests in his home and must love all that is good.  He must live wisely and be fair.  He must live a devout and disciplined life.  He must have a strong and steadfast belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with right teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.

 

For there are many who rebel against right teachings; they engage in useless talk and deceive people.  This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation.  They must be silenced.  By their wrong teaching, they have already turned whole families away from the truth.  Such teachers only want your money.  One of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars; they are cruel animals and lazy gluttons.”  This is true.  So, rebuke them as sternly as necessary to make them strong in the faith.  They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned their backs on the truth.

 

Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure.  But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are defiled.  Such people claim they know God, but they deny Him by the way they live.  They are despicable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good – Titus 1:6-16.

 

 

 

Promote Right Teachings

But as for you, promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching.  Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely.  They must have strong faith and be filled with love and patience.

 

Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord.  They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers.  Instead, they should teach others what is good.  These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands.  Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.

 

In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely in all they do.  And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good deeds of every kind.  Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teachings.  Let your teachings be so correct that it can’t be criticized.  Then those who want to argue will be ashamed because they won’t have anything bad to say about us.

 

Slaves must obey their masters and do their best to please them.  They must not talk back or steal, but they must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good.  Then they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive in every way.

 

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.  And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures.  We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.  He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing what is right.  You must teach these things and encourage your people to do them, correcting them when necessary.  You have the authority to do this, so don’t let anyone ignore you or disregard what you say – Titus 2:1-15

 

Do What Is Good

Remind your people to submit to the government and its officers.  They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good.  They must not speak evil of anyone, and they must avoid quarreling.  Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

 

Once, we too, were foolish and disobedient.  We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures.  Our lives were full of evil and envy.  We hated others, and they hated us.

 

But then God our Saviour showed us His kindness and love.  He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy.  He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit.  He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of His great kindness.  And now we know we will inherit eternal life.  These things I have told you are all true.  I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time.  These things are good and beneficial for everyone. – Titus 3:1-8

 

Paul’s Final Remarks and Greetings

Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fight about obedience to Jewish laws.  These kinds of things are useless and a waste of time.  If anyone is causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning.  After that, have nothing more to do with that person.  For people like that have turned away from the truth.  They are sinning, and they condemn themselves Titus 3:9-11.

 

Remain Blessed!

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

 

FAITH IN PRACTICE

And the righteous will live by his faith – Habakkuk 2:4b

INTRODUCTION

Our whole lives depend on faith – from our rising from bed to the going back to it. We wake up, do the normal things because we believe that the earth will still rotate on its axis, that the sun will shine even through storms and rain.

  • That plants, crops, trees will grow even when there is drought;
  • That our vehicles and even aircraft will be able to take us to and fro. The streets will be able to hold our cars, never mind how many potholes;
  • That we will be able to eat and digest our food;
  • That doctors will be able to heal us;
  • Teachers, lecturers will be able to teach us;
  • That security agencies will be able to protect us from those who wish us harm;

We can go on and on. In fact, even right now most of us are comfortable sitting on our chairs because we have faith that they will hold our weight and keep us secure.

In fact, our whole lives revolve around things we believe in, both seen and unseen.

  1. SO, WHAT IS FAITH?
  2. The All Nations English Dictionary defines Faith as:
  • Strong belief, trust, confidence
  • Loyalty to ones promises or word of honour.

 

  1. Webster’s New World Dictionary also defines Faith as:
  • Trust
  • Unquestioning Belief in God
  • Anything believed
  • Complete trust or confidence
  • Loyalty
  1. BIBLICAL DEFINATION

We are talking about God and His Word so it’s important that we find out what God means by faith. In Hebrews 11:1, we read that Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This means that the nature of faith that is acceptable before God is a faith that is triumphant in the worst situations. In the New Testament faith conveys the idea of trust, a firm internal conviction regarding the truthfulness of someone or some claim.

It is faith that believes in spiritual realities and leads to:

  1. Righteousness
  2. Seeking God
  3. Believing in God’s goodness
  4. Having complete confidence in God’s Word
  5. Obeying God’s command
  6. Regulating life on God’s promises
  7. Rejecting the spirit of this present evil age
  8. Seeking a Heavenly home
  9. Persevering in trials and testing
  10. Blessing the next generation
  11. Refusing sin’s pleasures
  12. Enduring persecution
  13. Performing mighty acts of righteousness
  14. Suffering for God

A tall list but as we read in Philippians 2:13 (NLT) – “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”; God who lives in us by His Spirit continues to work in us to give us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. He is the originator of faith and He is our Helper.

  1. In 1 Kings 18:36-39, Elijah practises his faith by courageously challenging King Ahab for his disobedience (rebuking all of Israel, confronting the 450 prophets of Baal). His faith led him to use only the weapons of prayer and faith in God. His confidence in God is indicated by the brevity and simplicity of his prayer. He didn’t need a Genesis to Revelation kind of prayer nor did he stomp and wag his fingers at God. He prayed in agreement with God’s will. Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal and then his prayer was to reveal God’s grace to His people and thus turn their hearts back to God.
  2. We too must put our faith in practice as we see so much evil and wrongdoing in our society. Instead of the daily complaining we must put our faith to work by praying in agreement with God’s will. Titus 2:14, reveals to us that Christ has redeemed for Himself, a people who are His very own and eager to do good. We must therefore use Hebrews 4:14-16 as well as 1 John 5:14-15 to pray for one another so that we will live in the power of righteousness that we have been saved to practice. We must trust God to empower us to change our generation.
  3. In Galatians 1:1-10, Paul was horrified that the Christians in Galatia were allowing the Judaizers to persuade them to abandon their faith in the gospel of salvation by faith only in the Lord Jesus Christ and to accept the false notions that they had to become Jews through circumcision and adherence to rules and regulations before they could become true Christians. It was so false that Paul virtually reined curses on those who brought this false gospel. And are we not facing the same things? Prayer camps, strange prophecies and regulated practices, rituals and dogmas.
  4. Let’s put our faith into practice and accept that Christ’s saving purpose is the deliverance of us believers from the evil that dominates this world’s societies. We must live for God and refuse to be governed by the prevailing values, wisdom, opinions, corrupt desires and selfish pleasures of the people of this world. We must despise evil and love what is righteous – this is our faith – we are a people delivered from evil and brought into God’s marvelous light as we read in 1 Peter 2:9.

We must have our mind conformed to God’s way of thinking by reading and meditating on His Word as the Bible tells us in Psalm 119:11 & 148; John 8:31 – 32 & 15:7.

We must have our plans and ambitions determined by heavenly and eternal fruits and not by this evil, temporal and transient age, no matter how attractive. We must avoid being so gullible and faint-hearted. We say that God is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent. Acting out our faith is what makes us witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. In Luke 7:1-10, the Roman Centurion heard of the God of Jews and His mighty power being displayed in Jesus and he believed in Him and actually sought His help. His faith was commended by Jesus because it surpassed anything found among the Jews. The centurion’s faith combined a long concern for another person – his servant- with great trust in Jesus. He was deemed an unbeliever by the Jews but he had all the elements of a believer in Jesus’ eyes.

We are believers but is our faith in the Author and Perfecter of our faith in Jesus Christ evident in the things we do?

  • Do people see the power of Jesus in the way we practise our Christian faith.
  • Do we love one another us Christ has loved us?

 

Conclusion

Christ Jesus says He has overcome the world and indeed He has by His death and resurrection. His love is abundant – we know it and experience it daily. His grace is divine – we experience that too daily. By our actions let’s bring glory to God and enjoy the freedom and power that our faith brings us.

Let’s dedicate our lives to God and ask Him to increase our faith.

 

Stay Blessed!

 

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Email:  saltnlightministries@gmail.com

Website:  saltandlightgh.org